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#3536 - Monday, May 18, 2009 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights

As It Is, Not How We Want It to Be

Rather than worry or obsess about enlightenment, why not be honest and accept that we will have our good days and our bad? We will have some enlightened moments of loving-kindness, as well as some dull ones. This encourages all of us to stay real and experience the moment as it is—not how we want it to be.
–Donald Altman, from Living Kindness (Inner Ocean)

    “In order to come to that which you know not, you must go by a way in which you know not.” 
- St. John of the Cross



Garrison Retreat 2008

Opening talk

Disk 1


So this is what makes our time together enjoyable, actually, when we are interested in what’s real. ‘Cause Reality is the most rich amazing thing there is.  Of course reality is the only thing there is.  You see Reality isn’t something that’s hidden in a tea cup.  It’s not like ‘it’s the essence of the cup.’ Immaterial unformed essence.  There’s a reality in here.  Of your body, there’s the essence of you as if there’s some little ghostly immaterial thing floating…That’s nonsense, that’s a fantasy.  (knocks on the table) This is reality.  This is what you’ve got to deal with.  This is where you always come back to, isn’t it?  You know you have those little spiritual vacations?  You might sit in meditation and run into samadhi state.  It’s wonderful.  And your mind is very quiet.  Who knows what happens, you get taken up into the 18th realm.  Did you every ask yourself, ‘Why is it that I keep ending up back here.” (knocks the table) Every spiritual vacation I take, that I hope is going to last forever, I keep ending up where?  (knocks the table) Right here. You ever noticed?  You have some mind blowing revelation and it lasts how long?  Couple hours, couple days, couple weeks, couple months, 6 months and then where do you end up?  (knocks the table) Pretty much where you started.  You end up right back here.   Right?  Does that make sense. 

The day I realized that was like mind-numbing.  It wasn’t blowing, it was numbing.  Like damn!  Literally it took years for it to occur to me, till I asked myself, ‘Why is it  I sit and I meditate and I meditate and I meditate, meditate, meditate ‘cause that’s pretty much what I did.  Why is it every once in awhile, not that often, once in awhile I’d have some amazing experience and it’s just really lovely and groovy and fantastic and I think ‘this might be it.’ And then why is it I always end up back here?  And I thought if I always end up back here, why do I keep pursuing over there?  That was the mind-numbing insight.  When I realized I keep pursuing over there, this place I call Nirvana or enlightenment or awakening.  I’ve got awakening or enlightenment somewhere other than here.  Even at that time, I had read all the books, I knew they said, ‘Right here, right now.’ I heard all that but it’s not like here here, right?  (laughter) It’s like I’m sure it will be like here without totally being here.  You know,  ‘In this world but not of it.’  Like 2 worlds, one Nirvana, one here.  Walking the edge of the relative and the absolute without losing balance.  Something like that, you know?  (laughs) And then it hit me, why do I keep ending up back here and I thought maybe because ‘back here is where it’s at.’  

            Maybe there’s something here (knocks).  The very place where I don’t want to be, maybe there’s something here. 


Spirituality that leads to awakening is really about having our answers questioned. Having our world-view questioned, having our self-view questioned and having our spiritual view questioned.  That’s spirituality.  Or as St. John of the Cross said “In order to come to that which you know not, you must go by a way in which you know not.”  I don’t know if you’re impressed by that but it’s one of the most lovely pieces of  spirituality,  “In order to come to that which you know not, you must go by a way in which you know not.” It’s lovely and it’s easy to forget.  “Go by a way in which you know not.’  To unknow is much more useful than to pile up knowledge.  To unknow things.  Don’t worry, I don’t mean unknowing like everything you learned in school, well maybe some of the stuff you learned, but most of it will probably be there intact for better or worse when it’s all said and done but to unknow.  Unknow who you think you are. To unknown it.  How do you unknown it?  You let yourself see that you actually don’t know.  That’s the beauty of a question.  The beauty of a question highlights what we don’t know, right.  What am I really, what am I ultimately really and truly, absolutely?  What really am I?  What is the person sitting in this chair?  What am I really?  Thoroughly, absolutely.  What am I?  The question gets you to that place of, ‘I don’t know,’ quickly.    “In order to come to that which you know not, you must go by a way in which you know not.” And then you get to that unknown and then you stop right in the unknown, in that experience of not-knowing.  Something very potent could happen if you let yourself not-know.  You stay in that experience of not-knowing. 

So in satsang actually we come here to unknow.  That’s my hope anyway.

    posted to TheNow2 & Wisdom-l

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