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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #4203, Sunday, March 27, 2011

There are always moments when one feels
empty and estranged. Such moments are
most desirable for it means the soul has
cast its moorings and is sailing for distant
places. This is detachment - when the old
is over and the new has not yet come. If
you are afraid, the state may be distressing;
but there is really nothing to be afraid of.
Remember the instruction: whatever you
come across - go beyond.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, from I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to AlongTheWay


In every moment, there are two possibilities. One possibility is to have all of our curiosity, attention, and passion focused on what is happening. The other is to have that same curiosity, attention, and passion focused on what is not happening, what is not present, or what we think should or shouldn't be happening. In every moment, the question is: What are you giving your attention to? Are you allowing what is or going to battle with it, trying to change it in some way?

When our focus is on what is, our experience of what is opens up and becomes bigger, richer, and more complete. But when it is on what is not (the past, the future, or any thought about what is), our experience of the moment contracts and becomes narrower and full of suffering and struggle, because inherent in a focus on what is not is a struggle with what is.

When we look, we discover that most of the time we are in opposition to what is and oriented toward what is not. Life is mostly about how to make things better and get more pleasure or how to get rid of things that are painful. We are constantly evaluating our experience, looking to see what's wrong with it and how it could be improved. We tend to be focused on what's wrong with the moment or on what could be added to it to make it better. As a result, our attention becomes very narrow and our awareness limited.

Once we see how much time we spend struggling with what is, the tendency is to go to battle with that - to try to fix that tendency to try to change everything. But that only changes the content of our struggle: Now we are struggling with our tendency to try to change things. We suffer over the fact that we are suffering.

The other possibility is to just notice how much you suffer, without trying to do anything about it. Just allow the fact that you don't allow much. Just recognize that that is the way it is. This struggling with what is, is just what we were conditioned to do, and this conditioning is also a part of what is.

Once we stop being in opposition to what is, it is possible to see how all our struggling comes from the idea of a me. Without the assumption that something is my experience, there wouldn't be much point in trying to change anything about the moment. Our effort and struggle to change what is only makes sense if there is a me. It is all in service to maintaining the idea of a me. In fact, the struggle is the me. When there is no struggle, there is no me. All of our suffering is the result of having and maintaining an identity.

Once we realize this, the tendency is to try to fix this - to try to change our belief about who we are. We focus on getting rid of identification, which is focusing on what is not again. We are still suffering because we are at war with our tendency to identify. Instead of accepting what is (our tendency to identify), we are oriented toward how we think it should be: I should know better than to be caught in identification. I should know who I really am.

Another possibility is to be really present to this tendency to identify without making any effort to change it. If that's what is happening, then that's what is happening. You just let it be that way. You can even be amazed by it all, including the fact that there is a sense of a me. You see how unreal this me is, but you don't struggle to be rid of it. There's no longer an assumption that something is wrong that needs to be fixed.

- Nirmala, from That Is That - Essays About True Nature


Pressed; the words won't come,
the story unwilling to be told.
Listen; who has anything to say
worth sharpening your ears for.
You know everything already.
You hide it inside, all the secrets
you have searched for so long and hard.

Sit here, be still, be silent
. Say nothing at all. See how everything is
the way it is; simple and obvious
and laid out before you. A playground
for your life to roll through, head over heels
and heart over head. Here it is.
Just for you. Wholeness.

- Ashley, posted to The_Now2

Nobody ever fails in Yoga... It is slow in the beginning and rapid in the end. When one is fully matured, realization is explosive.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to ANetofJewels

When a feeling of spiritual contraction comes over you,
O traveler, it's for your own good.
Don't burn with grief,
for in the state of expansion and delight you are spending.
That enthusiasm requires an income of pain to balance it.
If it were always summer,
the sun's blazing heat would burn the garden
to the roots and depths of the soil.
The withered plants never again would become fresh.
If December is sour-faced, yet it is kind.
Summer is laughing, but yet it destroys.
When spiritual contraction comes,
behold expansion within it;
be cheerful and let your face relax.

- Rumi, Mathnawi III, 3734-3739, version by Camille and Kabir Helminski, from Rumi: Daylight, posted to Sunlight

The Whole Place Goes Up

Today with Spring here finally we ought to be living
outdoors with our friends.
Let's go to those strangers in the field
and dance around them like bees from flower to flower,
building in the beehive air
our true hexagonal homes.

Someone comes in from outside saying,
"Don't play music just for yourselves."
Now we're tearing up the house like a drum,
collapsing walls with our pounding.
We hear a voice from the sky calling the lovers
and the odd, lost people. We scatter lives.
We break what holds us, each one a blacksmith
heating iron and walking to the anvil.
We blow on the inner fire.
With each striking we change.

The whole place goes up, all stability gone in smoke.
Sometimes high, sometimes low, we begin anywhere,
we have no method.
We're the bat swung by powerful arms.
Balls keep rolling from us, thousands of them underfoot.

Now we're still. Silence also is wisdom, a flame
hiding in cotton wool.

- Rumi, Ghazal 1370, version by Coleman Barks, from Open Secret, posted to Sunlight

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