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Highlights #621

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Wednesday, February 14



This meditation is loosely based on an ancient Tibetan practice
known as Tonglen, and has been used by many generations to
cultivate bodhichitta, or compassion. Once the steps have been
practiced it becomes very simple. It can be used as a way to
open and heal one's own heart, to develop the skill of living
from the heart rather than from the head, for dissolving the
feeling of separation and isolation, and for giving
unconditionally to others, specifically or globally.

The description here is taken from Relaxing Into Clear Seeing by
Arjuna Nick Ardagh, a modern teacher of awakening and


Step1: Get Comfortable Find a comfortable place to with with
your back fairly straight and your chest area open. Now close
your eyes and take a minute or two just to settle and tune in to
the environment around you.

Step1: Fan the Flames of the Heart Begin to focus the breath
into the middle of the chest in the "Heart Center" to the right
of the physical heart. As you spend a few minutes focusing the
in-breath in this way and allowing a gentle sigh on the
out-breath, you will notice the Heart center beginning to
change... to glow or radiate. You may find it useful to imagine
that you are fanning the flames of the Heart with the in-breath
and allowing the warmth of those flames to travel through the
shoulders and down the arms into the hands and down the chest
into the belly on the out-breath.

Step 3: Mount Form on the Breath Once you feel the Heart
radiating in this way, you can start to imagine the Heart center
as a window into the emptiness or vastness which is your true
nature. You might even have the sense of being limitless and
looking out through this window into the world of name and form.
Now you can imagine breathing in form through the window of the
Heart and allowing it to dissolve into formlessness, and then
breathing formlessness back out through the window of the Heart
into the world of form.

Step 4: Mount Thought on the Breath Notice thoughts now as you
continue to breathe form through the window of the Heart into
the formlessness and breathe formlessness out through the window
of the Heart into form. You may also begin to notice the way
that thoughts arise and fall spontanenously in consciousness.
Sometimes we suggest seeing them like little children playing,
sometimes squabbling, sometimes running, sometimes slouching.
You can begin to use the in-breath as a vehicle to carry thought
back through the window of the Heart into infinite silence, into

Try it now: With the in-breath absorb thought through the window
of the Heart into the silence that is free of thought; with the
out-breath allow the same silence to burst forth and permeate
the field of thought.

Sometimes people like to visualize this as waves on the shore. A
wave breaks on the shore and then falls back into the ocean,
drawing with it whatever is on the beach; then another wave
breaks and floods the shore again. Continue to absorb thought
back into silence with the in-breath and allow silence and form-
lessness to permeate the field of thought with the out-breath.

The feeling is like a mother standing at the door of the house
welcoming her children home at the end of the day. With the
in-breath you open your arms wide, as if to say, "Come home,
thought. It's okay to come home to that which gave you birth."
Whether the children have been fighting or playing, lazy or pro-
ductive, it doesn't matter, for they are all children of
emptiness. With the in-breath you can bring them home to rest
and dissolve like so many streams and rivers brought back to the
ocean from which they originated. You are embracing thought with
the in- breath, kissing it, hugging it. With the out-breath you
are allowing vastness, silence and the mystery of formlessness
to burst forth once again as Lord into the field of thought:
fresh, original, spontaneous.

Step 5: Mount Emotions on the Breath. Take all the time you need
to allow the previous step to become natural, like the waves
breaking and disappearing on the shore. Now continue in the same
way with emotions. First notice the way the emotions shift and
change. Then with the in-breath absorb the emotions back into
the stillness of love, and with the out-breath allow the
vastness, the safety, the warmth of the Heart to permeate the
field in which emotions arise. You may find your own images to
represent this process.

Step 6: Mount Physical Sensations on the Breath Now continue in
the same way with physical sensations. With the in-breath absorb
all sensation back into the blissfulness of the Heart. With the
out-breath, allow that same blissfulness to radiate into the

You will need to allow yourself plenty of time with each step to
start to feel this becoming real.

Step 7: Mount Everything on the Breath Now you can continue to
absorb with the in-breath, and bless and radiate with the
out-breath without making any distinction between thought,
emotion and physical sensation. All form is absorbed and
dissolved back into formlessness. All vibration is dissolved
back into stillness. With the out-breath the Heart itself is
radiating its fullness back into form, permeating form with
formlessness. You can continue to practice the Heart meditation
with eyes closed, or you can open your eyes and go about your
day, continuing this rhythm of absorbing and permeating.

Always start with yourself. Once you feel it flowing freely with
yourself, you can extend it.


This meditation has been the greatest friend to many teachers
and practitioners in many traditions, not only in Tibetan
Buddhism. Here, Bhagavan Sri Rajneesh (now known simply as Osho)
comments on Tonglen in his excellent Book of Wisdom:

"If you can experience it - this is of tremendous importance -
then start absorbing it. Don't throw it away. It is such a
valuable energy; don't throw it away. Absorb it, drink it,
accept it, welcome it, feel grateful to it. And say to yourself,
'This time I'm not going to avoid it, this time I'm not going to
reject it, this time I'm not going to throw it away. This time I
will drink it and receive it as a guest. This time I will digest
it.' It may take a few days for your to be able to digest it,
but the day it happens you have stumbled upon a door which will
take you really far. A new journey has started in your life, you
are moving into a new kind of being.....

"But start with your own self. Make a small experiement with
your own pains, sufferings and miseries. The moment you accept
the pain with no reject anywhere, its energy and its quality
changes. It is no longer pain. And once you have found the key,
then you can share it with the whole existence. Then you can
take all the suffering of all the world, or all the worlds.

"Ride on the incoming breath and your small heart is bigger than
the whole universe, if you know what miracles it can do. And
then pour out your blessings. It is the same energy passing
through your heart that becomes bliss, that becomes blessing.
Then let blessings go riding on the outgoing breath to all the
nooks and corners of existence.

"Atisha (aTibetan teacher of Heart Meditation in the second
century) says: This is compassion. Compassion is to become a
transforming force in existence - transforming the ugly into the
beautiful, kissing the frog and transforming it into a prince,
transforming darkness into light. To become such a medium of
transformation is compassion."

When we teach this Heart meditation in gatherings, there is an
intensity and wakefulness that fills the air. The beauty of the
Heart meditation is that it is essentially natural. Rather than
visualizing anything, we are utilizing the quality that the
Heart already has, to absorb and accept unconditionally and to
shine forth and radiate. If you try this on your own for a
while, you will notice that it becomes second nature. The
meditation simply brings your attention to what is already so.

Listen to what ordinary people like you and me have been
experiencing, after practicing the Heart meditation for the
first time.

"I notice that all the colors have become brighter, and there is
a quality of silence in the air. The silence seems so much more
real than the words and the movement."

"Everything feels like it has a sameness to it: the chair and
the people and the carpet and the sound of the birds outside. As
I absorb all these things as well as my own reactions to them
into myself through the Heart, they all become a part of me, and
with the out-breath they also become infused with me."

"Feelings of liking and disliking other people become less
defined here. I have always had subtle likes and dislikes of
different people. Now everyone seems the same! I don't mean that
there's no differences, but everyone seems intimate to me in the
same way."

"Waves of feeling coming in and going out. It is all me. As I
absorb myself back home into myself, in the same way I find that
everything and everyone absorbs back home into myself, and is
reborn out of myself."

"There is a peace and vastness deep inside myself. As I rest in
that, I find that it has the capacity to embrace everything, and
in that way to change everything completely. There is only love,
these waves are love, this dissolving is love dissolving into
itself, this blessing is love bursting out of itself. I find
that I have been looking for love, but actually I am love

from Relaxing Into Clear Seeing Arjuna Nick Ardagh


Oh, Wise ones! Any comments on this article?

from "What Is Enlightenment" magazine

Volume 4 , Number 2

Love is not a Feeling by Barry Long

I was asked to contribute an article for this magazine. I don’t
usually mix my teaching with others, but in this case I wanted
to respond to Andrew Cohen’s personal invitation. Since the
magazine title asks the question, “What is enlightenment?” I
will address that. Also, as the last issue was devoted to
interviews with five distinguished traditionalists, it seemed
appropriate to write about religious traditions and the
spiritual life. And as I always put love first, I will write
first about love. I suppose the most radical part of my teaching
at present is that love is not a feeling.

Everybody suffers from love, or the fear of it, or the lack of
it. Why? Why is love so universally and inevitably
heartbreaking, whether it be through the end of a love affair,
the death of a loved one or being locked in with the habitual
casualness or grim indifference of a partner? The answer is
because we’ve been taught and conditioned by the world to
believe that love is a feeling.

Love is not a feeling; it’s a sensation. Drinking water when
you’re thirsty is a sensation, not a feeling. Being in nature or
swimming in the sea is a sensation, not a feeling. Lying down
when you’re tired is sensational, not a feeling, although you
may say it feels good. Feeling is an emotional interpretation of
experience and these sensations don’t need interpretation; they
are just good or right. Making physical love rightly is a
sensation, not a feeling. So is the love of God. The same goes
for joy and beauty; both are sensational.

But in our ignorance we emotionalize joy, beauty and love. We
make feelings of them, personal interpretations based on our old
emotions. We put our personal past on the present with the
result that joy, beauty and love don’t seem to last. But it’s
our emotional substitutes that don’t last and we become bored,
discontented and unhappy again. The sensation or knowledge of
joy, beauty and love is of course still there, but it’s
overwhelmed by these coarser feelings.

Feelings are constantly changing. None is dependable for long.
You can love someone intensely today, and tomorrow or next month
not feel a thing. Except perhaps for the feeling of doubt or
depression that what was so beautiful could change so quickly.

Feelings, even the best of them, turn to
negativity—disappointment, anger, discontent, resentment,
jealousy, guilt, etc. A good feeling starts off being elevating,
exciting, like taking a drug substance, alcohol or having sex.
But what goes up must come down and feelings are no exception.
So in a couple of hours or days the downside starts and you
perhaps wonder why you feel moody, depressed, suicidal, or just
plain unhappy. You’re paying the piper for yesterday’s music.
And between the upside and the downside is the no-man’s and
no-woman’s land of boredom, indifference, inertia, weariness and

Okay, so you don’t have drugs, alcohol and sex but you love
someone, as a feeling. Then it won’t be long before you’ll be
experiencing one or more of the painful feelings I’ve mentioned
above—and thinking it’s natural! Wait and see. Even in everyday
living you’re continually interpreting experience via your
emotions instead of being the experience direct. “This is good,
that’s bad,” your feelings swing subtly to and fro all day long
obscuring the reality, the sensational knowledge or gnosis, that
it’s not bad at all; it’s simply life as it is.

All feelings are false and deceptive. And in the spiritual
process the area of any person’s life where they still have
feelings is where the next stage of their unenlightenment will
be addressed. So, where I come from, there’s the answer to the
magazine title, What is Enlightenment? Enlightenment is to be
emptied (not empty) of feelings and thus at one with the pure
sensation of divine being. And that pretty well sums up the
whole spiritual process. But the spiritual process is so little
understood that people don’t realize their feelings are personal
and false and have been misleading them all their life. If
that’s not true, why is humanity still unenlightened and
basically unhappy after all this time—when enlightenment is the
completely natural, sensational state of being every moment?

By disidentifying with your feelings you break your attachment
to them. When that is done sufficiently you’re back at the
beginning, in pure sensation or unconditioned knowledge. You’ve
been beating your head against the wall to get some feelings and
all you’ve got to do is break the habit and get used to living
anew without pain and conflict. But that’s a mighty realization,
and a mighty simple one which few are going to accept—they’ll be
too busy defending their feelings! So, I guess I’ll still be
demonstrating this the day I die.

Incidentally, it seems to me that’s why Andrew Cohen tells his
students to be fearless and deadly serious. It takes that kind
of one-pointed commitment to detach from the delusion of
feelings and finally discover the blessing of the valiant; once
freed of personal feelings the troublesome mind stops forever.

Now to traditions. I’m not a traditionalist and I didn’t have an
Eastern master. My teaching stems from my own gnosis and love
and shares little common ground in practice with other teachings
that invariably show an allegiance to Eastern traditions. I
never deny the enlightenment of another enlightened spiritual
teacher. Every enlightened teacher is doing his best in this
matter, in this body of sense. But I am often critical of the
hype and mystification that is inevitably associated with
Eastern traditions in minds cultured in the West.

All spiritual traditions come out of the East. And the
traditional Eastern way, particularly in the ancient Tibetan
Buddhist and Indian Brahmic priest-ruled societies, was to seek
enlightenment and to give the life, and often the lives of the
children, to that pursuit.

This—the search for enlightenment—to me, is and was the
beginning of spiritual ignorance. And it is the traditions and
traditionalists that today unwittingly perpetuate this

I am enlightened. No man is more enlightened than I am, and I am
no more enlightened than any other enlightened man.
Enlightenment is enlightenment. And that’s that. It’s an
unalterable, unwavering state of knowledge and being beyond
doubt, a completion every moment by grace of the Most High, the
unspeakable one, God. That’s the ultimate; the absolute being
beyond any description. But the ultimate, the enlightenment of
man, must translate into his living life. And to me and my
teaching that means an enlightened man is liberated from
unhappiness. Being and living free of unhappiness is the natural
and simple state of all life on earth—except man. He has been
misled away from it by spiritual lures and glamor and the result
is the conflict and pain, the fluctuating unhappiness, of his
short life.

Enlightenment can’t be pursued or sought after. Even mentioning
the word puts people further from the state. It gives the
impression enlightenment is something to get that they don’t
have. This creates a multitude of inimical reactions; chasing it
by following paths and ways; or feelings of discontent,
self-doubt, frustration and inferiority; or the defensive
ridicule of this most admirable and completely natural state of

Today the carrot of enlightenment through priestly traditions
continues to promise something to be gained in the future.
Whether it is the Buddhist nirvana, the Christian heaven, the
Islamic houri paradise, the Judaic Eden or the Hindu moksha, the
prize is never now. Paths take time, ways take time, and
traditions are the very stuff of time. So there’s always the
talk of time past in the form of Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed
or other past masters and what they supposedly said or did.

Truth is the reverse. Truth is here now; no past, no future.
People are unenlightened only because they believe in the truth
of the past and therefore must look to the rewards of the
future. To be enlightened, to return to the original state of
life on earth, requires action now in the present with no
reference to the past. What has to be done is to kill the old
priest in you, starve out the traditionalist, the follower, the

If you go to think about what you should do next to become more
enlightened, don’t. The thought is the priest trying to get you
to think of what some teacher or so-called master said instead
of being responsible for yourself and the truth now. If you see
yourself discussing enlightenment, stop; it’s the unenlightened
priest talking. If you want to run from the present difficult
situation, don’t; it’s the priest giving you more time to suffer
again. If you want to wear clothes of another culture midst the
people of your own culture, don’t; it’s the priest wanting to
dress up, impress and glamorize himself. If you are moved to
shave your head for spiritual reasons, don’t; it’s the priest
getting up to his old tonsorial tricks when your only concern is
being what you are now.

In other words, to be enlightened of the acquired burden every
spiritual belief and notion has to be abandoned, every reference
to what any spiritual teacher or master has ever said must be
set aside.

What does that leave? Your own experience. Not your historical
or memorable experience, for that’s the problem. Your own
experience is your self-knowledge of life. Let’s establish once
and for all what this means now. Forget everything I’ve said in
this article except this question: Do I want to suffer or not
suffer NOW? That’s the only truth for you. There’s no tradition,
no past, no discussion in it. It’s all you need. Keep it with
you and at the next temptation to suffer it will prevent you

But only if you’ve learned in your own experience what causes
you to suffer. If you haven’t learned that, you’re still
attached to suffering and will unwittingly embrace it. In that
case you have to read on, take more time and ask yourself more

Have you learned yet that you only suffer when you think about
events or feel about them, that you don’t suffer from events

Have you learned yet that every thought about yourself is a
thought of the past, that worry is thinking and that all
thinking eventually leads to worry, fear and insecurity? If so,
each time you go to think, or catch the thinker thinking even
about “good” things like last night’s movie, don’t; stop. Not
because Barry Long says so but because you’ve realized the truth
of thinking in your own experience. It’s what you’ve learned
from life, not from someone else’s experience. Therefore it is
the truth for you now and every moment. Otherwise you must go on
thinking and go on suffering. One day, when you’ve had enough of
the pain, you’ll come to your senses.

Have you learned yet that every feeling is a feeling of the past
and that every “good” feeling soon changes and eventually
becomes the feeling of doubt, confusion, boredom or sorrow? If
so, stop believing your feelings; don’t act on them; wait.

Action will happen in its own time. Action taken on the strength
of feelings inevitably leads to more feelings to correct the
action previously taken—and so the feelings of discontent and
conflict, and corrective actions, go on and on repeating
themselves. If in your own experience you haven’t yet learned
the truth of the deception of feelings, then you just have to go
on believing and thinking, having faith in the past and hope in
the future, being happy today and unhappy tomorrow, but never
being in command of your own life for long.

What about compassion? Compassion is another word like
enlightenment that Eastern-based teachings have ritualized,
taken out of context. This influences followers to try to be
compassionate. But compassion is natural. Any concept or thought
of it is phony. You can’t try to be or do anything that’s
natural; it’s already there. What has to be done is to stop
indulging what’s not natural in you—such as suffering. Trying is
trying to get something for yourself, the sufferer. And
compassion is the absence of self or personal suffering. Only
then, in the absence of motive, can the one and only
compassionate God be compassionate as God sees fit, and not as
selfish man imagines. No self means no selfish intent, no
personal satisfaction, no personal feeling of achievement, no
personal decisions or choices. Compassion then is simply an
activity of divine being and not of any person.

Is suffering humanity (suffering under its own self-delusion)
really served by the hoary old story of the bodhisattva who
supposedly out of compassion refrains from entering nirvana and
chooses to save others instead? Where is he? If he’s not here
now he’s a phantom of the imagination distracting people from
the truth of being now. And anyway, in the enlightened state
life unfolds without the burden of choice or alternatives. You
just do as you do.


I thought Mr. Long was doing OK (conceptually, as all writings
like this try to deal with something beyond words) until the
flat declaration "I am enlightened."

If there is any such thing as "enlightenment," it does not
belong with or to any "I." The word does not even belong in the
same sentence as the word "I."

Better yet, let's just discard this idiotic word "enlightenment"
entirely (but then, the magazine would have to change its name

He also states this:

Enlightenment is to be emptied (not empty) of feelings and thus
at one with the pure sensation of divine being. And that pretty
well sums up the whole spiritual process.

The above is ridiculously "pat." It's ludicrous. He seizes on
concepts like "divine being" and "spiritual process" and creates
answers to questions that didn't exist until he put the answers.
In other words, he claims there is such thing as "a spiritual
process." Says who?

Overall I thought he was doing well for awhile but it got
ridiculous later on. Then again, the audience for this magazine
has to be considered -- mostly people who seek and find a
comfortable, 'permanent' niche as a seeker -- which absolutely
precludes finding, since seeking must be given up to "find"


This is the paragraph I like:

"to be enlightened of the acquired burden every spiritual belief
and notion has to be abandoned, every reference to what any
spiritual teacher or master has ever said must be set aside."

I guess that gives me permission to disregard everything in
Barry's article.

Someone asked me tonight, over pizza, whether I was afraid of
dying. My impulse was to answer 'No'. But I caught myself. Was
that MY answer now or from another time? Really it wasn't my
answer. Everything has to be questioned. Every hypnosis has to
be penetrated to find a lesser hypnosis, every trance to find a
shallower trance, every mask to find a closer mask.

I think Barry Long is interesting, but he speaks like a Master
and Masters are hynotists.


Namaste - My archives are public can you list the site also in
the 24 hours open section..... Thankyou Love and Blessings
Sat*Chit*Anand Shanti-Shanti-Shanti Om

God-Realized URL


It's about losing, not about winning, and it's about losing RIGHT
NOW, not tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. "Tomorrow"
is nothing but a fools game.

I wonder if it is about anything really. Winning or losing? Both
imply an active agent. Perhaps it is all about shouting about
losing and winning. :-).
--Love to all, Harsha

Yes, it is about something Harsha - Fools rushing in where
angels fear to tread.

I vaguely remember that in primitive societies, fools who got
hit by lightning and survived, became shaman and, then, had
nothing to fear, being feared by the others :) Angels, with
their highly combustible wings, when hit by lightning, are
almost instantly incinerated - hence the fear :)


A question I have here
is when is nondefensive trust
possible, when can "the
intent to be one-up" be released,
when is equality and
honest sharing possible,
including sharing
of critiques without defense --
according to your view?

According to my view based on top notch astrological research, this is
possible when Jupiter is in Pluto and Saturn is in Neptune and Mars is in
Venus while sun and the moon are both in harmony and are eclipsing each
other and the eclipse has become self-canceling so everything appears bright
in the daylight and dark at night.

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