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



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

That

Meditation practice can become dominated and ruined by seeking.  Seeking a quieter mind, seeking some "spiritual experience", or even seeking to "get better at not seeking".

True practice is simply noticing what has always been so - noticing That which can never be lost or found - That which does not come nor go - That which is always at hand.    

To God belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of God. God is Omnipresent, Omniscient. (Quran 1:115)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WHO?

Meditation is the search for what to surrender; then surrender surrendering. 

Then, if you are really daring and want to swim in the deep end of the pool, find out who it is that would surrender.

peace on you,
bob

Monday, December 9, 2013

don't take it personally

This week I'd like to share two quotes, one from Zen, and the other from Islam.  The quotes are about "true seeing" which is the fruit of ernest meditation practice.

Is it not all this "me-ing" and "mine-ing" that is at the root of our mis-perception and suffering? That things, ideas, and feelings are "ours" is just not so … to quickly validate this, just ask (during mediation): "who is it that is: thinking, feeling,and experiencing?".  You will easily see the absolute nothingness of the self image.  

"Know that fundamentally you do not lack unsurpassed enlightenment; you are replete with it continuously. But you may not realize it and may be in the habit of arousing discriminatory views and regarding them as real." (Dogen)

"To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God." (Quran 3:109)

peace on you,
bob

Thursday, December 5, 2013

take it back

Why is meditation considered difficult?

In our 'modern' society just sitting quietly doing nothing, expecting nothing … just noticing our surroundings (both inner and outer) is perhaps our greatest challenge.

This is sad!  

Sit quietly for at least twenty minutes each day and take back your emptiness.

peace on you,
bob

Monday, November 25, 2013

washing

Meditation can be thought of as washing ourselves of our small-self concerns by bathing in The Eternal Divine.  In other words: just letting go of whatever arises during our session and remembering God.

If meditation is "remembering God" then what is one way that it is done?

A popular Sufi technique is to, under your breath, repeat some phrase like "God The Forgiving" (Alllah Al-Ghaffar") while directing your attention to you heart - feeling His forgiveness. God’s name “Al-Ghaffar” (The All-and Oft-Forgiving) in the Quran means that God forgives all kinds of sins everywhere and at all times as He is the Oft-and-All-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

Again, when thoughts, feelings, or body sensations arise - just return your attention to the phrase "God The Forgiving" and to your Heart.


He knows everything that goes into the earth, and everything that comes out of it, and everything that comes down from the sky, and everything that climbs into it. He is the Most Merciful, the Forgiving. (Quran 34:2)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

appreciation

Meditation can be thought of as washing ourselves of our small-self concerns by bathing in That which is Changeless and Loving.  In other words: letting go and remembering God.

We don't often talk about God's reaction to our practice.  According to the Quran, God appreciates our practice and rewards us generously for it.  The Appreciator (ash-Shakur) is one of His beautiful names.   

(Quran 20:8) God: there is no other god besides Him. To Him belong the most beautiful names.

Peace on you,
bob

Thursday, November 14, 2013

accidents

When we sit in Silence our attention naturally turns from our past ideas about how things OUGHT TO BE to how things ARE right now.  In other words, meditation broadens our perspective - we come to see how everything is connected.  In spiritual circles this is called "true seeing" or having a "oneness experience".    

When we call something an accident it is a failure to recognize the broader elements of the event.  For example, a failure to see how the mere picking of a flower moves the stars.

For the broadest perspective consider:

"I created jinn and mankind only to worship Me(Quran 52:56)

Peace on you,
bob

Sunday, November 3, 2013

true surrender



Silent meditation leads us to see things "as they are".  In other words to see them impersonally, without the sense of 'me' or 'mine'.  How different everything looks when we put down the burden of "how we think things ought to be".  

True seeing is surrender … surrender of our thoughts of ownership and control and to see things as "they are". 

To God belongs everything in the heavens and the earth. God is in full control of all things. (Quran 4:126)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meditation is an unlearning


When we seek 'things' we are simply filling up the precious space in our lives; the space where true comfort abides.  More roller-skates, more food, better relationships, more talent, and more wisdom  … these 'things' only reduce the possibility of true happiness right here right now.

Meditation is the search for space, peace, freedom.  Lasting happiness can only be found by letting go of 'things'.  Meditation is letting go, unlearning, and a falling into helplessness.

Empty yourself utterly … even let go of the "I-thought".  

become helpless,

bob

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

practice


Meditation is the practice of leaving the world of "how I think it ought to be" and joining the reality of "how it is" right here right now.  

The important word here is practice … Dropping our pictures of "ought to be" is hard because most of us have spent years building these pictures and trying to cram the present moment into them.

Another way to think about this is meditation is leaving the realm of 'why' and entering the world of 'what' (what is arising in consciousness right now).  Practice, practice, practice.

peace on you,
bob 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

problems?


I like what Anthony Robbins says about money:

"Money will not solve any of your problems but it will allow you to arrive at them in style.

So it is with meditation:

"meditation will not solve any of your problems but it will invite you to laugh about them".

peace on you,
bob

Thursday, October 3, 2013

sanity #2


Picking up on last weeks post … defining insanity as putting energy into stories that are not true begs the question "What is the truest story?".  

Silent meditation invites us to answer this question.  As we become quieter and quieter stories about "me" and "mine" drop like flies.  Leaving: 

To God belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of God. God is Omnipresent, Omniscient.
(Quran 2:115)

Peace,
bob

Saturday, September 28, 2013

sanity


My friend Greg shared this wonderful definition of insanity with me … I think it is spot on.

Insanity is putting energy into stories that are not true.  And as you might guess:

meditation is the practice of dropping  or seeing through stories that are not true. 

An example here might help:  When meditating, the 'story' might arise that I need to "be a better person" and that meditation will help me.  Why is this story false?

There are many levels at which this story is not true; the most obvious is that, while meditating, I am, in fact, just sitting still.  That I am sitting still is a more accurate story.   Can we become a 'better' stiller sitter?  (You should be laughing now!).  Next week I'll dive deeper into why even the story that "I am sitting quietly" is not true. 

Again, meditation is the dropping or seeing through stories that are not true … becoming sane.

peace on you,
bob

Saturday, September 14, 2013

surrender


Be helpless, dumbfounded,

Unable to say yes or no.

Then a stretcher will come from grace

    to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.

If we say we can, we’re lying.

If we say No, we don’t see it,

That No will behead us

And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,

Beside ourselves, and only that, so

Miraculous beings come running to help.

Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,

We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.

When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,

We shall be a mighty kindness.

 Rumi

When Jesus sensed their disbelief, he said, "Who are my supporters towards God?" The disciples said, "We are God's supporters; we believe in God, and bear witness that we are submitters."


(Quran 3:52)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

relax and see


Meditation is relaxing.  When we relax we drop our control pictures, our desire for more, and our need for things to change.

When we meditate in this way,  we come to sense our very being: that state of mind and body without thought.  What a joy it is!

The ultimate purpose of meditation is to realize the Source of our being which is alluded to allegorically in the Quran (24:35)

God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The allegory of His light is that of a concave mirror behind a lamp that is placed inside a glass container. The glass container is like a bright, pearl-like star. The fuel thereof is supplied from a blessed oil-producing tree, that is neither eastern, nor western. Its oil is almost self-radiating; needs no fire to ignite it. Light upon light. God guides to His light whoever wills (to be guided). God thus cites the parables for the people. God is fully aware of all things.

peace on you,
bob

Saturday, August 24, 2013

on meditation practice




On meditation practice: stop all the searching; meditation is not a process; just be!

Out beyond the world of ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field.  I will meet you there. 
Rumi

The only way to meet Rumi in that field is to realize that you never left the field.
bob



Saturday, August 17, 2013

what is obvious



Meditation is the search for the obvious. Unfortunately, we are taught to search high and low via books, gurus, and practices. Searching teaches only one lesson:  search harder and with more persistence.

Give up the search and see what has always been, is here right now, and will always be … 

(Quran 2:15) To GOD belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of GOD. GOD is Omnipresent, Omniscient.

peace upon you,
bob

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

wisdom is release.



Is it not too much food that causes all manner of problems?
Is is not too many expectations that ruin relationships? 
Is it not too many ideas of how things ought to be that cause suffering?
is it not too many rules that ruin the fun in a game?
Is it not too many constraints that destroy creativity?

Meditation is the practice of release!

Release, release, release, release, release, and then release releasing.

Peace on you,
bob

Saturday, July 27, 2013

meditation is worship


Simply do this; Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself.   Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed.   Hold onto nothing.   Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything.   Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hand unto your God.

Course in Miracles Lesson 189

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

meditation



Meditation is surrender.  Surrender is the sweetest taste as noted in this snippet from a Rumi poem:

Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything

Fast with your mouth to taste food, fast with your mind to taste bliss.

bob

Thursday, July 11, 2013

meditation is simple


We make this whole meditation thing much too complicated … it's really quite simple.

By simple I mean: 

To see clearly you must be empty (free of your ideas about how things "ought" to be). 

Meditation is emptying ... give it a try for a few minutes each day.  That is: sit in Silence and notice what arises in your consciousness. Resist nothing, cling to nothing, remember nothing.

What you notice will eventually disappear leaving space (or emptiness if you prefer that word).  From your new perspective of space, it becomes clear that nothing whatsoever is yours! This is what is meant by seeing clearly.

(Quran 39:62) GOD is the creator of all things, and He alone has the power to determine the fate of all things.

peace on you,
bob

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hiku


Searching for the One?
So weary of the longing?
Bite a strawberry

(Quran 2:115)  To God belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of God.

Monday, July 1, 2013

spiritual?


The term 'spiritual' is thrown around much these days.   What does it mean to be 'spiritual'.

Does it mean to wear certain crystals? - to don certain color clothes? - to work towards some "oneness experience" - to perfect some advanced yoga posture? To align oneself with a powerful guru or teacher? I think not!

Messengers and prophets for thousands of years have given precise instructions on how to be spiritual which is: to surrender to God and obey his commands which are:  

a. worship the One God,
b. be good; do good, and 
c. be charitable.

It is not surprising to note that these principals are dictated in steps 3, 10,11, and 12 of the AA program.

Step 3 is about surrender(where it all begins).
Step 10 is about morality(be good; do good).
Step 11 is about worship (prayer and meditation).
And step 11 is about charity.

(Matthew 22: 36-40) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(Quran 2:277) Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.

peace on you,

bob




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

who are you?


Continuing with the topic of long term fruits of meditation practice … 

As mentioned last week, reverence becomes our default world view after establishing a sound practice.

However the question remains:  Who is reverent? Who are you at the root? 

Earnest practice yields the answer -  

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


bob

Monday, June 17, 2013

reverence


Greetings,

Sometimes I like to talk about the long term fruits of meditation practice.  In other words, how does meditation change us in deep ways vis a vis our views toward life?

Meditation is emptying!  When we empty we drop our beliefs about how we think the world 'ought' to be - When we drop beliefs we open ourselves to seeing things as they actually are - When we come to see things as they are we uncover the reverence deep within us.

ahhhh reverence!  

peace on you,
bob

Saturday, June 1, 2013

how long to meditate?


You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour

- old Zen saying.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ahhh Silence


As meditation is the search for what to give up … Silence is the best teacher.

In the presence of Silence all that is temporary shows up. All things transient are candidates for release if you so choose. Release is the wise (and only) choice. 

The father of release is Silence.  


“Silence is the language of God, 
all else is poor translation.” 
~ Rumi

Sunday, May 19, 2013

JUST BE

During meditation we can "just be" ... as Silence demands nothing from us, we are invited to let go and be ourselves without the stain of achievement. 
Rocks do this sooooo naturally.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


How easy is it to forget who created everything on the earth and in the heavens.  The goal of meditation is to remember the Creator.

(Quran 2:115) To God belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of God.  God is Omnipresent, Omniscient.

remember?
bob

Saturday, April 27, 2013

what I teach



Meditation is that gentle practice of letting go of "how we thing things ought to be" for how thing are right here right now.

When we perform this practice regularly, we begin to lose sight of what is 'me' and 'mine' and Reality shines through.  

Then peace abounds.

ok?

bob

Thursday, April 18, 2013

not personal

Meditation is the pathway to the realization that "things are not personal" - that there are deeper purposes in creation than 'our personal aspirations'.

Perhaps life, as it appears, is, in fact, not personal and not even broken.  Could it be that events are unfolding in precisely the way they should be?  Regular meditation practice leads us to the undeniable fact that we are not in control of a single thing including the next thought that might arise in 'your' mind during 'your' meditation practice.

"All that is hidden in the heavens and earth belong to God, and all authority goes back to Him. So worship Him, and put your trust in Him.  Your Sustainer and Protector is never unaware of what you are doing" (Quran 11:123)

May you find peace in 'your' heart,
bob

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Position during meditation


What is the best position to take during meditation?  Sit as far away from thinking about yourself as possible.   Is it not self concern that causes suffering? At night we completely forget about ourselves and upon awakening we feel refreshed - there is a big clue here. 

Looking at this business about position another way: thinking too much about ourselves is foolishness as everything clearly belongs to God. From the Quran 4:132-134 we have: 

To God belongs everything in the heavens and the earth, and God is the only Protector.

If He wills, He can annihilate you, O people, and substitute others in your place. God is certainly able to do this.

Anyone who seeks the materials of this world should know that God possesses both the materials of this world and the Hereafter. God is Hearer, Seer.  

Peace on you. 
bob

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Give it up


Meditation is that act of yielding your creations to that which the Divine has created and graciously offered to you as a gift.

The hallmark of a successful meditation practice is appreciation.


(Quran 45:15) We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him arduously, gave birth to him arduously, and took intimate care of him for thirty months. When he reaches maturity, and reaches the age of forty, he should say, "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to You; I am a submitter."


peace on you,
bob

Friday, March 29, 2013

Silence


Silence is the best teacher.

Silence is always there; Silence never misleads; and Silence is Golden.

Peace on you,
bob

Friday, March 22, 2013

lâ ilâha illâ allâh


What is the purpose of spiritual practice?

I know I skate on thin ice these days to say that the purpose of spiritual practice is to become spiritual - to liberate ourselves from our worldly persuits and troubles - not to reconcile with the world, nor to fix ourselves in some way - but to get closer to Spirit or God.

Given this purpose, the practice of meditation and prayer should therefore be directed away from the world and towards God.  So … in meditation we simply let go of all thoughts, opinions, and beliefs about how we think the world ought to be.  Stated another way: during meditation, we release our tight grip on the world and remember God.

There are many verses from the Quran that guide meditation.  Two of my favorites are:


51:56-58: I created jinn and mankind only to worship Me: I want no provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me - God is the Provider, the Lord of Power, the Ever Mighty.  


13:28 those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God - truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace - 

peace upon you,
bob

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dreaming


During meditation we are letting go - letting go of thoughts.  When we let go of thoughts we let go of any and all concepts about ourselves.  When we let go in this way, our small-selves disappear and a state of pure being emerges; the dreaming ceases.

Is it not wonderful to know that we are more than our thoughts about ourselves?  

peace upon you,
bob

Saturday, March 2, 2013

ZaZen defined



In the outer world of good and evil, when not a thought arises in the mind, that is called za (sitting).  Inwardly, to see one's own nature and not be moved that is called Zen (meditation).

How amazing that the self nature is originally pure!
How amazing that the self nature is unborn and undying!
How amazing that the self nature is inherently complete!
How amazing that the self nature neither moves nor stays! How amazing that all dharmas come from this self nature!


The Sixth Patriarch

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

the great accomplishment

The great accomplishment during meditation is to just sit; any other feat is a dream.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

no hidden ball


There is nothing new nor anything you do not already have which needs to be gained. The feeling that you have not yet realized is the sole obstruction to realization. - Ramana Maharshi


Meditation is the search for what cannot be lost; Give up the search for some particular experience or understanding; there is no hidden ball. 

bob

Monday, February 4, 2013

making too much out of nothing


Sometimes I think we make up fanciful stories about meditation:  its purposes, the techniques, the benefits, and the postures.  Perhaps it is just the sitting in Silence that is the whole of it.  Just sitting, being quiet, and relaxing.

Perhaps it is as Eban Alexander reports in his book: "Proof of Heaven" : “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever," “You have nothing to fear" and “There is nothing you can do wrong.”

peace on you,
bob

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

liberation

The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.

 
—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955)

There are many ways to attain liberation from the small-self; meditation is one of them.  Regular meditation practice exposes the nonexistence of the 'ego' and shows that liberation from the self is unnecessary. 

Liberation has always been; you only believe otherwise. Silence illuminates this fact.
bob

Friday, January 25, 2013

meditation is emptying

Meditation is emptying.  When we are empty we see things as they are not as we think they ought to be.  When we see things as they are we fall helplessly into gratitude - we see what God created not what we created.  This perspective brings the greatest Peace.

So ... how to empty?  Here are some wonderful instructions from the Course in Miracles:


Simply do this; Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself.   Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed.   Hold onto nothing.   Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything.   Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hand unto your God.

Course in Miracles Lesson 189

give it a try,
bob


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

tyranny of becoming


"Meditation is turning "inward." Most of the time our deep-seated beliefs go unnoticed due to our focus on habitual day-to-day activities. When we sit in Silence and relax, our "thought life" becomes visible."  

One deep seated belief that leaps at us during meditation practice is: "I am not ok right now but if I do x,y, or z, I will be ok sometime in the future." For example: "If I could just lose 10 pounds I would feel so much better about myself".

Living our lives out of the belief  that doing something now will bring about future happiness can be called the "tyranny of becoming". Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to improve our lives in some way, but when the "tyranny of becoming" becomes our life motto and daily mantra, it blocks the real freedom and happiness found only in the present moment.

Ramana Maharshi, the famous Indian sage, said: "you are already free but only believe otherwise".  

This says it all; we only take up spiritual practice because we believe that we are broken in some way. In the present moment when thoughts subside - is this true? Where is the YOU to be broken?

turn inward and notice,
bob

Thursday, January 10, 2013

difficulty in practice


When we find that our meditation practice becomes difficult, it means that we have expectations about what should be happening during our session.  We may find ourselves having 'noisy mind' but perhaps we want to be surrounded by golden light, and some feelings of bliss. 

Removing difficulty in practice is easy … simply make your goal for the session to be 'noisy mind' - try hard not to have feelings of bliss during the session.  

Enjoy and welcome noisy mind - take what you get during each session - you will come to realize it is not you.

peace on you,
bob