Discussion of spiritual practices: awakening, meditation, and the freedom that cannot be lost or found. All perspectives are welcome; advaita, christian, buddhist, islam or even no perspective at all. Just pointing to that which is nearest and dearest.


For some "awakening hints" take a peek at: www.robertflegal.com



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

becoming

We become like that upon which we put our attention. When we put our attention on things we become like things … temporary and fragile.

When we put our attention on Silence we become vast, radiant, and eternal. Meditation is that practice of putting one's attention on that which does not come and go. Lean into the Silence.

may Peace be upon you,

bob

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

remember God

My wife liked last week's message, so I'm referring to it for this week … It's all one needs to know.

peace be upon you,
bob

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the path

Regular meditation in the spirit of emptying yourself leads to a loss of self concern, which in turn leads to an experience of the awesome perfection of all things just as they are right now, which in turn leads to worship of the One.


repetition is the key,

bob

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

two prayers

Let's end this series of posts on prayer with two great prayers, One is Christian and the other is Islamic. Notice the astounding similarity. If the Bible and Quran were lost and only these two prayers remained, they would suffice.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

In the name of God,
the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy,
Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy, Master of the Day of Judgement.
It is You alone we worship,
it is You alone we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path: the path of those You have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray.

bob

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

praying for forgiveness

There are so many kinds of prayers (ways to remember God) but why not pray for the only thing you really need.

The only thing you need is forgivenss. For if you knew that you were completly forgiven, you would have no guilt. If you had no guilt you would be completely free of fear. The fearless are like small children ... full of wonder, curosity, and rivited in the present moment. Children are not yet divided ... Isn't this all you ever really wanted.

Pray for forgiveness ... it's the shortcut.

bob

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

prayer


xxx
For the next few weeks these posts will be devoted to the topic of prayer. Meditation leads to surrender; surrender leads to prayer. For now, let's define prayer as remembering the Divine (God if you prefer that term).

The first thing to note about prayer is that we are always in prayer.

Our thoughts and hopes are always directed toward something; it may be hoping that our job situation will improve, that we might lose some weight or that we might become a better person. Some of us are locked into what I might call "negative prayer" ... that is, putting our focus on the negative aspects of life.

Worship is defined as love and devotion to something. Wanting things like a better job, more money, and such things is, in fact, an act of worship. Of course, we worship that which we believe will bring is happiness and peace.
In spiritual circles worshiping things is called idolatry

So now the question (because we are always in worship) is: " What are you choosing to worship"?

Think about this .... ok?

bob

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


xxx

Meditation is, at the root, a profound surrender of everything we think, feel, and experience. It is a willing and loving submission to the Unknown.

So ... during our practice periods we simply sit in stillness and let that which is not seen guide us ... guide us Home.

Empty yourself utterly,
bob

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

why effort in meditation practice is important

Unless you make tremendous efforts, you will not be convinced that effort will take you nowhere. The self is so self-confident that unless it is totally discouraged it will not give up. Mere verbal conviction is not enough. Hard facts alone can show the absolute nothingness of the self-image. 



Sri Nisargatta Maharaj

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

surrender

Meditation is the practice of being at peace no matter what is presenting itself.

Most of us live in the dream of "how things ought to be" rather than in the actuality of the present moment. In other words. we are "playing God".

The habit of continually seeking for things to be other than they are can be broken. The key to breaking this habit is repeated surrender.

One of the things I admire about Muslims is that they pray five times each day. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you surrendered to "what is" that often every day. Here are some comforting words about the power of surrender from the Quran (2:186):

When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.

The path to truth is surrender ... come on in ... the water's fine,
bob

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

surrender

Meditation is surrender. During practice we surrender our beliefs, aspirations, and troubles. Once we have surrendered these we then surrender the surrendering and join The Living One.

It's the straight path...
Bob

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

mistakes in meditation practice

Meditation is sitting in silence and simply noticing what is presenting itself right now ... when we do this we notice that which has always been true: that life is free from a separate 'you'. Here are four common mistakes that we make in our practice that dull this insight.

expecting certain results
trying to “do it right”
getting lost in “small-self” negativity
trying to have some particular “spiritual experience”

bob

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the make up of prison bars

prison of our own making

My wife and I went to see Shakespeare's play Hamlet this weekend. If you are wondering what life looks like to the awakened then read Shakespeare and see. Here's a snippet from a conversation between Hamlet and two of his friends from college (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) about Hamlet's depressive state ... meditate on this: it's all you ever need to know about the real prison.

HAMLET
Denmark's a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.
HAMLET
oodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.
ROSENCRANTZ
We think not so, my lord.
HAMLET
Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
narrow for your mind.
HAMLET
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
GUILDENSTERN
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
HAMLET
A dream itself is but a shadow.

see ... bob

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

xxx

Meditation is essentially the practice of living in truth ... the ever present truth that is here now without 'story' and without you.

Daily practice points the way ...

bob

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

getting it

surrender now

Meditation is fundamentally about surrender. When we truly surrender we are "not trying to get something" or "hoping for some outcome". We are only empty to what will happen next. So when meditating just let go ... sit in silence and see what happens without expectation. You will soon notice that what is presently arising has nothing whatsoever to do with you.

Sit daily and notice the truth of your absence. There is nothing to get as there is no one to get it.

notice!
bob

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

meditation

candle

There are so many meditation techniques and spiritual practices. All are good in that they point in some way to the impersonal Truth that is here right now..


As the goal of spiritual practice is to see without a doubt that Life is already free of the idea of 'you', then complicated techniques can slow down realization.


So ... when meditating just sit in silence and "take what you get". In other words, just be still without expectations and notice what presents itself.


You will come to see that all that presents itself is not you. You have always been free.


Ahhhhh,

bob


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

self concern

Occasionally I run across some words that say it all. This one is from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

"Learn to live without self concern. For this you must know your own true being as indomitable, fearless, ever victorious. Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts, and ideas, and live by truth alone".

So when we sit in meditation just notice that nothing that arises is you ... not me, not me, not me.

bob

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

dreaming

xxx
Eternal truth cannot be lost or found ... it is here right now. But, the ego does not want to see that; it wants to search, and search, and search some more thus ensuring it's seeming survival in separation.

One of the best pointers to Truth can be found in the children's round: "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream".

During meditation practice just let go and remember that you are dreaming ... all will become clear.

ok?
bob

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What is here?

xxx

Absolute mystery is what is here. We try through concepts to arrive at some conclusions about life, to make it seem tame, or to find some sort of fixed truth about ourselves or the world. We do this habitually to cover our fundamental insecurity and the fact that we have so very little control. But defending ourselves with ideas never works, does it?

But when we notice, through our direct experience, what presents itself right here right now, we are flung into That which cannot be described in any way whatsoever. We are smack in the middle of the Mystery that is beyond thought but is effortlessly experienced.

Meditation is just noticing what is here right now without expectations. In that sense meditation is identical to enlightenment.

see?

bob

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

wisdom

There is an excellent little spiritual book titled "The Wisdom of Insecurity" (by Alan Watts). As with most spiritual books the title says it all. In reality we can rarely predict or know what is going to happen next ... life is full of surprises in each and every moment. Notice, for example, that you cannot even predict the next thought that is going to appear in your awareness.

cause_of_suffering

When we live out of the wisdom of insecurity, we are automatically detached from how we think things ought to be and therefore free to respond freshly to whatever life serves up in the present moment.

When we are detached suffering cannot be found. So wisdom can also be said to be identical to detachment. Are you wise?

love,
bob

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

silence

We become like that with which we associate. Just take a look at teen behavior to see the truth of this statement.


When we associate with silence, or stillness if you prefer, we become like silence: non-judgmental, forgiving, vast, and peaceful.


In my view the highest form of spiritual practice is to sit in silence without expectation. When we sit regularly in silence and take what we get from each session we become like silence. We, without effort, lose our fears, guilt, and loneliness. This is because silence knows nothing of these dreams.


Regular silent meditation will teach you that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, and that, at the root, you are silence itself.


bob


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

reality?

Life (as it really is) is beyond thought and beyond anything that can be imagined. Thoughts divide and separate Life into seemingly broken pieces. Life is whole, radiant, and peaceful.

The trick, if I might put it that way, is to become still. When you are still, seeking drops away and Life is seen as it really is: without a 'me'.

To find that stillness you must realize that ALL your thoughts (however ugly or beautiful) are lies.

So ... during your meditation periods, just treat ALL thoughts as lies ... just let them pass ... until they stop ... then you will see.

Understanding is the booby prize.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

silence

Silence is the best teacher. She charges no money, suggests no practices, and never ever judges you. I challenge you to find another like Her.

Join Her daily ... She patiently waits for you with a priceless gift.

bob

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

those pesky thoughts

When meditating we sometimes fall into the trap of trying to quiet the mind. It is the nature of the mind (due to conditioning) to think. It is its job!

Just like it is the nature of the wind to blow hither and yon, it is natural for thoughts to arise sometimes often and sometimes rarely. We need do nothing about them because they are not 'ours' any more than the wind is 'ours'.

Just noticing this is massive freedom as well as the goal of meditation practice. You are beyond anything that can be thought, felt or experienced.

good news huh!

bob

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

why meditate?

The purpose of meditation practice is to lead us to the realization that life as it appears is already free of me.

When we first begin meditation practice most of us are hoping to escape from some discomfort in life, to gain some spiritual insight or perhaps even to achieve enlightenment. In other words to gain something for ourselves. In the beginning meditation is seen as a means to some personal end.

As we mature in our practice, we begin to wonder: "who is it that always seems to be seeking something?" ... Who am I really?

When the "I thought" is examined we realize that there is no me whatsoever. It is merely a fiction based on ideas from the imaginary past. We see that, right now, Life is just experiencing Life. Everything is impersonal. In the absence of 'me' there is only freedom, peace, and wholeness.

see?

bob

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the idea of more

In the King James version of the Bible the word evil is mentioned 442 times (by my count). What is all this 'evil' business?

If you read the 442 passages, beginning with the Adam and Eve story, I bet you will conclude that evil is simply the idea of more.

Is it not our resistance to what life presents that causes us to twist and turn? Always wanting things to be more or different than they are: more money, better relationships, more success, more, more, more.

During meditation we allow things be as they are (they are that way anyway). When we accept that life could only be what it is in this present moment, resistance drops away, we lose self definition and the idea of evil cannot be found.

oh my,

bob

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

real freedom

Immutable freedom can't be lost though we can forget to notice its presence. How do we not see the vast freedom that is at the core of who we are? Simply stated, we lose sight of what is nearest and dearest when we attach to some particular view, or to some 'special' person or thing.

How do we avoid the suffering that comes with the habit of attaching? Ultimately the only way to stand free of attachment is to accept whatever is happening in this present moment. When we accept what is happening (whether 'good' or 'bad') we lose individual definition; then freedom dawns immediately.

There is nothing to do and nothing to achieve There is no need to even stop doing. Just notice what is happening right now and see that it is already free of 'you'.

so simple,
bob

Thursday, June 24, 2010

wholeness

The idea that there is a separate 'you' is just that ... an idea. Where actually do 'you' begin and end? When you cut off 'your' fingernail, is it still yours after it is in the wastebasket? If you were to lose 'your' arm, would you still be you? When you embrace a new idea, is it 'yours'? If we are honest and look in the present moment, we have to admit that we don't know who or where we are.

Searching for ourselves, the truth, or happiness in the world of ideas or things never yields fruit. The fruit that I'm alluding to is that fruit whose nature is immutable, eternal, and whole. Thoughts divide. How can we find wholeness through the process of division?

During meditation just acknowledge how mysterious this present arising is ... it is not in parts! Give up searching and so much dividing. Give up all your words. Give up even giving up and SEE!

ok?
bob

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

what more can one say?

In the gap between what we think ought to be happening and the way it is right now lies the grand expanse of human suffering.

bob

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

are there two of you?

Many of us involved in "spiritual practice" take the view that there is an ego-based-self and a higher self. And that these two are fighting each other somehow. Isn't this just silly? For if that were true, there would have to be a third self that is judging the battle and would declare a winner. So now we are up to three selves. Oh my!

The question that meditation poses if we sit in silence for even a little while is: "Who am I?" ... sometimes we are happy, or sad, or mad, or angry, or pleased, or fulfilled, or bored, or in pain. Are you these experiences? Everyone notices that all experiences just come and go despite our efforts to control them (the big insight that almost no one is willing to face).

What if you were NOT! What if life is just unfolding all by itself without a 'you'. Could it be that the reason you have not been able to find happiness and truth is that there is no one to find them?

hmmmmm,

bob

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

nothing lasts

Dear Friends,

During meditation we notice that whatever arises in awareness does not last ... sorrows, burdens, great feelings of freedom, thoughts, no thoughts, sounds, silence, or whatever. Everything is transient!

This is the 'big insight' that confronts you every second. The ego (merely a bundle of thoughts about the past) is completely unwilling to accept what is so obvious to anyone who has sat on his or her meditation cushion for even a few hours.

If the ego were to accept the fact that nothing lasts it would have to accept that it too is temporary ... ouch! This would undermine its whole foundation that it actually persists and exists and is 'you'.

Change, change, and change and all that changes is absolutely impersonal.

ok,
bob

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

searching for what cannot be lost

CANDLE

Many of us, in our meditation or spiritual practices, are searching for something: some sense of freedom, some better identity, or perhaps some good feeling. Searching can never uncover what has not been lost.

You are, in fact, that vast timeless space in which all 'things' appear. You are not a 'thing. Rather you are That in which all 'things' appear. By things I mean: thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and any external object.

So .... in meditation JUST BE ... don't take yourself to be anything that is thought, felt, or experienced. Do this and you will find stillness; then all will become clear.

ok?
bob

Thursday, May 20, 2010

rest redux

Recognizing the awakened state is easy while imagining that you are separate takes careful planning and constant effort. Resentment, envy, and negative opinions drain us of life energy ... they drive us into a sort of sleep where we seem alone and unfulfilled. Blaming others is hard work.

When the desire for things to be other than they are drops away the immutable peace [pure awareness] that is always present becomes visible. The habit of unconsciously recoiling from life as it appears right now hides this fact. So ...

Give this a try. Next time you want to harshly judge another [which by the way is only thinly disguised self hate] - instead just relax. Just relax your body and your mind. Forget about the past and the future; let go of the things you think you need or want. Then notice, right here right now, the radiant peace that permeates everything in your field of awareness ... the pencil laying on the table, the sound of the air conditioning, the hairs on 'your' hand - peace everywhere without any effort at all on your part. So easy ... just relax.

Awakening is effortless ... bathe in this knowledge and all will become clear.

ok?
bob

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

just rest

Effort based 'spiritual paths' only feed the small self (ego). The foundation upon which the small self rests is the belief that you are somehow separate and that you need to do something to end that condition. A tasty meal for the small self is a large plate full of seeking, as the small self is only made up of unfulfilled expectations.
So ... how do we see though the fog of all this seeking? The answer is given in many teachings but one of my favorites is the way Jesus put it over two thousand years ago. He simply suggested that we unburden ourselves and join in That which has already been accomplished. His good news was and is that you are without the blemish of guilt and that you have always been Whole.
So ... during meditation we just relax and let all searching go. We gently surrender our expectations, hopes, and efforts. We simply rest - rest in the spaciousness and freedom found in the present moment - rest in the Wholeness that becomes evident when we give up the search.

In Matthew 11:28-30 we find this wisdom stated perfectly. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

ok?
bob

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

life without center

In spiritual circles there is this idea of 'centering' ... that is, finding "our center." I guess the idea is ... if we somehow "find our center, "we can remain there and not be affected by life and its many twist, turns, and ups and downs. Does this ever work? Have you found your center?

Where would your center be? Take a look right now and see if you can find it. Bet you can't!

The idea of finding our center is one 'spiritual' variant on the idea that we can find some state or place where, in the future, we will have some consistent experience. As Dr. Phil often wisely asks: "How is that working for you?"

I suggest that if you take a careful look right here right now, you will find that there is only emptiness when you ask the question: "Who am I?" How can emptiness have a center? How can the profound freedom to let things be just as they are right now have a center?

Living life without center is to live life as it spontaneously arises in each moment ... noticing its astounding perfection. How do we know that it is perfect? Because that is how it is ... nothing can ever be other than it is.

So ... rather than trying to find some 'center' when you meditate, just notice how perfect everything is right now. Then you will see that the idea of 'you' having a 'center' is riotously laughable. Enjoy the laughter! As Alan Alda notes: "When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other."

ok?

bob

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

be still

In spiritual circles the goal seems to be awakening. What is this awakening business? It is something we can discover through effort?

In the end, we realize that 'we' do not awaken, seeking simply falls away and the awakened state remains. In the absence of seeking, there is no 'me'. The 'me' consists only of seeking, seeking things to be other than they are right now which is very very very still.

LILLY ON A POND

So ... whatever your practice or beliefs about awakening are, the key is: be still and all will be clear.

ok?

bob

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

meditation goals

How would you know if your meditation practice is succeeding? Would you be having some oneness experience? Would you have a quiet mind? Would traffic lights change for you when you approached them? Would your relationships improve. Would you have more money? What would it be?

To know whether any enterprise is succeeding or not, we need to compare the current state of that enterprise relative to some goal. Unfortunately we too often set our 'spiritual' goals from our past conditioning. We often choose our goal to be one that we picked up from some teacher, to erase some past hurt, or to get something we lack. As thought is always about the past, this means that all such goals are just our past conditioning warmed over. New mixes of past thinking are still just past thinking. If we think about it, it is the past we are trying to transcend.

Let me challenge you to make your meditation goal be something that is not some 'new' version of your past thinking. Why not shoot for something fresh!

Why not choose your goal to be one that has already been accomplished yet is knowable right now? In other words, why not choose a goal that is outside the framework of past and future and outside the realm of 'things'.

What is available right NOW that is right smack at the heart of what is nearest and dearest to you? It is simply the forgiveness that has always been. If you make forgiving the world (and yourself) your goal, you will know that you are succeeding when you know that unconditional Peace is who you are.

PS: My wife told me I'd better explain what I mean by forgiveness as there are so many interpretations of the term. As you read this blog, I'd like to to at least know what I mean by the term. True forgiveness is the acknowledgment that the 'incident' never occurred ... that the 'incident' was just a fiction of separated mind and has no reality whatsoever right now ... it's something like a bad dream. Moreover the test to see if you have forgiven some one or some thing is: if you can remember it, you haven't forgiven it.

comments?
bob

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the wisdom of insecurity

It is amazing how much one can glean from the titles of 'spiritual' books. Take for example Alan Watt's book: "The Wisdom of Insecurity". We don't need to read his book to guess the main point ... that trying to control everything and clinging to opinions about how things ought to be in the future is folly. Expectations and opinions are rarely in agreement with presently arising reality. Moreover, the only real security lies in knowing that there is none.

During meditation we ask the question "What is absolutely true right now" We turn our attention away from the past and the future". In the silence that presents itself during meditation we notice that we can't control anything that is happening. In that silence, we notice that we cannot predict which thought will pop into our heads next, or how we will feel in the next second, or what noise in the room might arise. We see that wishing for some better 'future' is to miss the wonder and mystery that is here and now. Is it not clear that our attempts to find security is what causes our feelings of insecurity and unhappiness?

I like the way Alan Watts states it:
"If happiness always depends on the future, we are chasing a will-o-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish in the abyss of death."

What is your experience?
bob

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

everything belongs

Discomfort arises when we believe that "what is happening right now is not enough or does not belong". Think about it ... what is arising right now is enough and belongs because it is all there is (at this present moment). Things cannot be other than they are.

We habitually recoil from "what is" by expecting something else. This endless judging and comparing causes dis-ease. Judging, for some of us, has become a habit or even an addiction ... happily all habits or addictions can be broken. There is nothing wrong with judging per se: we could not survive for a day without it. But when it becomes an addiction we have trouble, trouble, and more trouble.

So ... give this a try. Next time you meditate just say "YES" to everything that arises in awareness. Just welcome every thought, every feeling, and every perception whether 'pleasant' or 'unpleasant'. When we welcome what is arising, we are affirming reality and subverting the ego's automatic recoil. Then life is seen to be free from 'me'; and desire-less, welcoming peace shines. By the way, you don't have to restrict this "everything belongs" practice to your meditation periods. You can do it anytime.

Enlightenment is effortless. It takes great effort to carry so many opinions about what belongs and what does not. Unburden yourself .... no one is forcing you to carry so much.

bob

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

everything points to truth

Have you noticed that everything that arises in Awareness is transient? Thoughts don't last, emotions come and go, our field of view and body sensations are always in flux. One day there is happiness and the next sadness, bliss, anger or whatever.

Are you seeking truth in things or thoughts? You will never find truth in anything objective because everything that is thought, felt, or experienced is temporary ... the Truth is beyond all that and is unchanging.

You are Awareness. The One who only notices, never judges, never condemns, and never changes. Awareness is not a thing, an idea, a noble being, nor can it be lost or do anything. It is what all appearances point to.

Everything that arises points to Awareness as "every thing" arises out of Awareness, abides for a moment in Awareness, and falls back into Awareness. Just stop seeking for truth in things; then things will lose their hold on you; and You will remain as you have always been: whole, eternal, and free.

bob

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

conditioning

You are not your thoughts. Herein lies great freedom ... freedom from the past and the freedom to act spontaneously in the present moment. Saying that you are not your thoughts is equivalent to saying that you are not your past, as thoughts are always about the past.

From childhood on we are barraged with thoughts about who we are, what we should believe, and how we should act. There is nothing wrong with all this conditioning. We need it to interface with the world's conditioning. Problems start when we forget that we are much much more than our thoughts. When we forget this, we unconsciously act out of our conditioning which is always a recoil from present reality.

This mechanical recoil causes needless suffering for us and others. Why? Because we are out of step with what is happening right now.

Daily meditation gently releases us from the tyranny of the past (our thoughts). It allows us to see that we are vast indeed. Moreover, we see that there is no need to rid ourselves of thoughts or even to change them because we are able to see that we have always been completely free of them. Do you see this?

bob

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the first law of holes

The first law of holes is: "when you find yourself in one, stop digging!"

We bring our "doing more" attitude into our meditation practice. We are usually looking for results from our practice like: to get enlightened, to quiet our minds, to get closer to God, or to have some blissful experience. Though we may get these 'things' we will not find what we are really looking for because it can't be lost or found. The Divine nature of all things is only seemingly masked by so much seeking.

In meditation it is best to just relax, let go, and take what you get. Drop all techniques, drop your ideas about enlightenment, drop your ideas of what is good or bad. Just come to your practice empty handed ... innocently and effortlessly into the present moment. Let Love come to you.

bob

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

good news!

While meditating, guilt or shame may arise in your awareness. If shame or guilt is not 'your thing', substitute any other negative emotion for the purposes of this discussion as this post is not about shame or guilt per se. It is about the negativity that can arise during a meditation session.

Because feelings or thoughts of shame or guilt come and go during your meditation session, means that they are not real. That which is real does not come and go. So ... given that they are not real, there is no need to do anything about them ... we need neither engage them nor push them away. Just notice that all negativity is transient even the thought that this feeling will never go away.

I have been sitting in Silence for a long time and I have realized something that I want to share with you if you have missed it ... It's good news.

You are NOT GUILTY of anything; you are completely FORGIVEN. The separation from Life that you imagine never happened. You are WHOLE and always have been. You only imagine otherwise.

This week, while you meditate, I invite you to join me in the certain knowledge that you need do nothing; that you are totally FORGIVEN. When thoughts that indicate otherwise arise ...just notice that they disappear by themselves leaving you without thought and COMPLETE right here right now.

Can you see this?

bob

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Why meditate?

CAUSE OF SUFFERING DIAGRAM
The purpose of meditation is to see the completeness of the present moment where it is noticed that what is arising is absolutely free of 'me'.

Discomfort (suffering) is caused by the gap between what we think ought to be happening and the reality of what is arising in the present moment.

Obviously, what we think ought to be happening comes from our past conditioning. It is this past conditioning arising in the present moment that creates the idea of a 'me'. Whatever is arising is not 'me'; it is only past conditioning arising as thought.

To illustrate all this consider the common traffic jam. During a traffic jam cars are moving slowly (if at all), the engine idle can be heard, and the scenery is more or less stationary. That's pretty much it! But what do we think 'ought' to be happening: cars should be moving at the speed limit or more, there should be fewer cars on the road, drivers should not be switching into 'our' lane, and our plans to be on time are intact. These fanciful ideas about how traffic should be clearly come from past conditioning.

So ...given such a big gap between our expectations and the reality of a traffic jam, it is not surprising that we get upset. Meditation practice shines a bright light on the gap between presently arising reality and our 'dreams' about how things ought to be.

Awareness is curative ... regular meditation practice affords us the opportunity to see with clairity our "ought to be" dreams. Simply seeing this recoil from reality melts the dream and reveals the completeness and peace of the present moment in which we always find ourselves completely at home. Next time you are in a traffic jam notice the staggering peace that is there.

bob

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the purpose of spiritual practice

The purpose of spiritual practice is to frustrate. The 'you' trying to get free of 'you' is like a dog chasing its tail. Is this not your direct experience? Have any of your efforts to find immutable freedom ever lead anywhere?

Yet, without practice and effort, we seem to remain in separation and suffering. What's going on here? This seeming dilemma cannot be stated more clearly than Nisargatta Maharaj states it:

Unless you make tremendous efforts, you will not be convinced that effort will take you nowhere. The self is so self-confident that unless it is totally discouraged it will not give up. Mere verbal conviction is not enough. Hard facts alone can show the absolute nothingness of the self-image.

Friday, February 19, 2010

the end of suffering

In the imaginary gap between what we think ought to be and what is arising in the present moment lies the grand expanse of human suffering.

This explains why we suffer so needlessly ... we have taken our conditioning to be ourselves ... living out of the past projected into the Now as the idea that things should be different than they are ... and that we are those ideas.

The good news here is that suffering is a gift. Whenever we are experiencing suffering (anger, resentment, loneliness and so forth), we are reminded that we are not seeing reality (the reality about who we are right now) but that we are sleepwalking in a dream about the past.

So, suffering points to immutable freedom ... all we need do is notice. Awareness itself gently washes away untruth and leads us home. We need do nothing.

bob

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whose thoughts are these?

Just notice sometime how you cannot predict which thought is going to appear next in your awareness. If you could predict them you would not allow unpleasant thoughts. If you could control them you would probably choose a very different "thought life" free from envy, resentment, and unforgiveness of others and yourself.

In a like fashion, we cannot control or predict which sound will happen next ... perhaps a bird tweeting, a dishwasher running, or the sound of someone's voice who has just entered the room.

The reason we cannot predict which sound will come next is because we have no control over the matter nor are the sounds 'ours' to control. So it is with thoughts ... they are not yours.

Ahhhh ... the freedom!

bob

Friday, February 5, 2010

seeking revisited

Dear Friends,

In the last post I talked about seeking and the perils of getting lost in it. Seeking can be a trap because "Seek and do not find" is the workout regimen of the ego. On the other hand, Seeking is not bad. Without some of it we would simply languish in disease (no fun for sure). But a question that we forget to ask is: "What are we seeking?"

Mostly we seek for some 'better' future outcome or some relief from the discomfort of the present moment. If we think about it, we see that our seeking is just rooting around in the past for some solace. This is because the future is just the past in drag. What if we sought the Truth? The Truth that does not come nor go. The Truth that does not hide itself. The Truth that just IS ... right here right now.

What are you seeking? What would happen if you found it? How is it different from what's appearing right here right now? An even deeper question is: "Who's doing the seeking". Who are you?
bob

Friday, January 29, 2010

seek and do not find

Thanks to all who shared on "why Jesus was killed" -- great comments!

Those of us involved in spiritual practice (of whatever form) are seeking something: God, the truth, peace, enlightenment, or whatever. Could all this seeking be causing the problem we are trying to solve?

I did a little study about nine months ago on the idea of evil in the Christian Bible. It turns out that the term evil (or Devil, or Satan) is mentioned 563 times; 446 times in the Old Testament and 117 times in the New Testament. That's a lot!

I read each passage in context and concluded that in the Bible EVIL is THE IDEA OF MORE. It began in the garden with Adam and Eve being unsatisfied with paradise and wanting more. Check out your Bible and see if you agree with my conclusion.

So ... I'm suggesting that it is our endless seeking "something more" than is appearing right here right now that is causing our suffering. Said another way: it is our idea of how things ought to be conflicting with how things actually are in the present moment that causes all suffering. In silent meditation we can see this pattern clearly.

Can you see this pattern in yourself? How can it be that what's so right now is not enough? Are we tired of playing God yet?

bob

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why was he killed?

Good morning friends,

Thanks for your comments on "Jesus' essential teaching'. Yes, love and grace are the standard answers to this question. But, think about this: if someone went around professing love, compassion and forgiveness, why would that be so upsetting that he would be killed within a year of sharing that message. Is loving that upsetting! I bet something else was being taught that was terribly really upsetting to to the general community. What was he saying that was so radical that he was summarily killed? Awaiting your comments ...

Bob

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hello Josh,

Your profound questions and doubts about spirituality and Christianity have moved me to start this blog ... a place where we can (and invite others) consider some of the hard questions that most churches avoid because they are in the business of "selling Jesus". They are not places, in general, where a rigorous search for the spiritual truth is undertaken.

Anyway, my first question for you (anyone reading this blog is welcome to chime in) is: What was Jesus' essential teaching? See if you can state it a few words.

Awaiting your thoughts ...