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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3239, Sunday, July 27, 2008, Editor: Mark 

As long as you do not see that it is mere habit, built on memory, prompted by desire, you will think yourself to be a person - living, feeling, thinking, active, passive, pleased or pained. Question yourself, ask yourself. 'Is it so?' 'Who am I'? 'What is behind and beyond all things?' And soon you will see your mistake. And it is in the very nature of a mistake to cease to be, when seen.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to ANetofJewels

The present moment is the most profound and challenging teacher we will ever meet in our lives. It is a compassionate teacher; it extends to us no judgment, no censure, no measurement of success and failure. The present moment is a mirror, in its reflection we learn how to see. Learning how to look into this mirror without deluding ourselves is the source of all wisdom. In this mirror we see what contributes to the confusion and discord in our lives and what contributes to harmony and understanding. We see the relationship between pain and its cause on a moment-to-moment level, we see the bond between love and its source. We see what it is that connects us and what it is that alienates us.

- Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield - Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, posted to The_Now2

Even though the surface appearance of things maybe good or bad in any situation. The surface appearance of things may be destruction. It happens. The surface appearance of things may be death, at this moment. Death is happening in nature all around. It's the time of year when things die, all the leaves falling off. Is it that bad? No. With nature you can look at death and say "how beautiful it is." Now in the human realm usually we call death bad. And react. We bring gentle acceptance to what is. The mind might say "Yes, but this obviously is bad." Yes but with the allowing the "isness" of this moment comes the realization of goodness even though on the surface it may not appear so. Even in the face of death that realization of goodness can be there because death is the ending of the form. The leaves are forms of life. The human body is a form. The ending of a form is death.

And so the realization comes of that which is beyond form. That realization can only come to you when you allow the for that this moment takes to be as it is. I am not saying you become passive, that you are no longer capable of action. No, it is an inner accepting of `this is what is.' Then action, intelligent action, if it's necessary, arises out of that. It's the basic, the ground, the basic realization is the "isness" and then action is no longer reactive. When you do not allow the `isness; of this moment, action is reaction. It is not intelligent, it is conditioned. It is perhaps intelligent in a relative or limited sense but not in a true sense. It is not intelligent, it is conditioned action, it is reaction. And that is the meaning of the Eastern term Karma, because Karma translated means action. Karma is reaction, action-reaction, which is a continuous cycle that keeps you trapped in the same conditioned existence. You re-enact continuously.

So it's only through first of all realizing this is all there is, this moment is life itself. This moment is as it is because the totality has brought it about. Whateverevent is happening at this moment is connected to the totality of the cosmos. Nothing is separate, there are no separate events. Even physicists these days will agree with that, they have seen the interconnectedness of all things. Buddhists have seen it also, even 2,500 years ago they saw it. And so it is as it is. You allow it to be. You see the immutability of `is.' You can't really argue with `is.' `Is!' And that becomes the basis, that inner alignment becomes the basis for action if action should be needed, very often action is not needed. A simple allowing is enough for greater intelligence to come into play and you could sit there and things develop in the right way.

So allow the form that this moment takes, to be as it is, instead of reacting to the form that this moment takes. Allowing this form to be takes you to what we could call the formless-consciousness, unconditioned, not the object-consciousness. The reaction is the object-consciousness. So this is a strange, almost a paradox. Peoplewant to reach the, whatever they call it, "ultimate reality", the `transcendent.' And usually they regard the forms that surround them in their daily existence as an obstacle to reaching the transcendent, or reaching who I truly could be, or who I somehow suspect I could be, the essence of who I am or could be. Somehow it seems the universe is conspiring, my daily life and my existence seems to be conspiring to hold me back from that. I am surrounded by so many limiting and limited circumstances in my life that there seems to be some kind of conspiracy and it wants to prevent me from fully being myself. Does that sound familiar? I want to break out of this limiting life situation that I am in. For some people it's their circumstances, their living circumstances. For some people it's their work situation. For some people it's the physical body which is beginning to be limited. Can't move that fast anymore. What is this? I want to break out of this. To know myself fully as that which is beyond form and yet al the forms that are in my life are limiting me, impinging upon me from all sides and when I free myself from one limiting form for a little moment, and then, then the next thing comes in! And that's in the nature of object consciousness, one thing after another. And so people then live in continuous to a limited extent yes you can improve the forms around you. To a limited extent, this is true. You could be living in a very unpleasant little noisy dirty hole (laughter) and then through incredible effort and energy, ten years later, five years later, you finally made it and you live in a mansion. This is nice. And you of course will have created different life circumstances; you are in a different life situation now. After a little while of the feeling that you have made it, the new life situation will manifest as other limitations. You will find other limitations on you, perhaps you created a business empire. That's why you could afford the mansion, and then lots of things there impinge upo you. The stock market becomes important. A few people I've spoken to told me that they experienced recently `the Dark Night of the Soul.' I said `what happened?' They said `the stock market.' (laughter) Well, I don't know, perhaps, perhaps. And so in your new situation you find other limitations. And then you try to get free there.

So there comes a point when you realize, yes, to a limited extent you can play in the world of form, improve the forms. But not as some ultimate answer to who you are. Not in an attempt to find who you are. In that sense forms around you are not going to help because you will always encounter the limitations of forms around you. So you can play around with the forms in your life. This is a beautiful game to play but without expecting self-realization or self-enhancement through finally achieving a certain configuration of forms in my life that is absolutely perfect and right. It can be for a little while and then you encounter the other side, that every form has built-inlimitations. Once you know that the play of form is beautiful, you can participate in it.

But! To know yourself beyond form, the world of form cannot help you. Here comes the paradox that I pointed to earlier. The paradox is allowing the form that this moment takes to be as it is, internally. Let's say you are living in an unpleasant place. It's cold, it's wet or damp, or noisy, or cramped. And there you are sitting on a chair. It is the form that this moment takes, and you realize the limitations of that form. And yet you allow this moment to be as it is. Some people confuse that with accepting a story they are telling themselves in their head concerning this moment. And that is a mistake that some people make, I have noticed that. When we speak of allowing this moment to be they confuse that with creating some interpretation of this moment which is a story and saying `Well I might as well accept that this is how it is.' An example of that would be; say the stock market has crashed and your wife ha left you, a synchronistic event, (laughter) and then the story comes in, in your mind which says `Okay, you've worked for nothing for 25 years. All that is built up, all the energy, 80% of it you lost, and your marriage has failed. You failed at that also, you failed at your business and you failed at your marriage. There's no point in even carrying on now because it at your age what can you do? Who would want you?!. You haven't got enough time to build up another business empire.' The story goes on in your head. It's an interpretation of this moment. I failed. It's been pointless. My life has come to nothing. And this is a simple story, most stories are more complicated than that. The story is not this moment. The story is the story in your head. It's mind-forms. Object-consciousness. So what is this moment, what is the form of this moment? The form of this moment is not the story about this moment; it is the simple appearance of this moment which is chair, walls, window, cold, noisy neighbors, an unpleasnt smell But even unpleasant is the beginning of a story.

Just sit, Just this. This is the moment. This is Now. And you are sitting, perhaps you still have a chair. You're sitting on a chair. And that's a strange thing, what happens if I allow this moment without the story. And then, oh, strange, suddenly by allowing the form, suddenly there's a peace that arises, from a deeper place. And you look around at the forms and it is that spacious presence that is there then. When the forms are no longer obscuring that. But, you can only get to that when you allow the forms... that which appeared to prevent you from finding yourself is actually, becomes actually the doorway. The forms that appear to be the obstacle become the doorway if you allow the forms. Not the story, the simple form of this moment to be.

- Excerpt from Eckhart Tolle retreat at Omega, October 2002

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