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Archive for the ‘emptiness’ Category

It is as if a raindrop fell from heaven into a stream or fountain
and became one with the water in it so that never again can the
raindrop be separated from the water of the stream; or as if a
little brook ran into the sea and there was thenceforward no
means of distinguishing its water from the ocean; or as if a
brilliant light came into a room through two windows and though
it comes in divided between them, it forms a single light inside.

St. Teresa of Avila
Quoted in ‘The Virago Book of Spirituality’ Ed. Sarah Anderson

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I sat there and forgot and forgot
until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched. . .
Eventually the watcher joined the river
and then there was only one of us.
I believe it was the river.”

Norman Maclean

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Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

 

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Natasha Dern, Huffington Post

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The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.

I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal – a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.

An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.

The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.

Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.

No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.

And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.

Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching.

And then forget that you are there.

Lao Tzu
from Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
translated by Brian Walker

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…The day you are discontented not because you want more of something but without knowing what it is you want; when you are sick at heart of everything that you have been pursuing so far and you are sick of the pursuit itself, then your heart will attain a great clarity, an insight that will cause you mysteriously to delight in everything and in nothing.

Anthony de Mello
The Way to Love

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To move
Cleanly.
Needing to be
Nowhere else.
Wanting nothing
From any store.

To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.

Awakened eye
Seeing freshly.

What does that do to
The old blood moving through
Its channels?

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

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Non-Duality
The bell tolls at four in the morning.
I stand by the window,
barefoot on the cool floor.
.
The garden is still dark.
I wait for the mountains and rivers to reclaim their shapes.
There is no light in the deepest hours of the night.
.
Yet, I know you are there
in the depth of the night,
the immeasurable world of the mind.
You, the known, have been there
ever since the knower has been.
The dawn will come soon,
and you will see
that you and the rosy horizon
are within my two eyes.It is for me that the horizon is rosy
and the sky blue.
.
Looking at your image in the clear stream,
you answer the question by your very presence.
Life is humming the song of the non-dual marvel.
.
I suddenly find myself smiling
in the presence of this immaculate night.
.
I know because I am here that you are there,
and your being has returned to show itself
in the wonder of tonight’s smile.
.
In the quiet stream,I swim gently.
The murmur of the water lulls my heart.
.
A wave serves as a pillow
I look up and see
a white cloud against the blue sky,
the sound of Autumn leaves,
the fragrance of hay-
each one a sign of eternity.
.
A bright star helps me find my way back to myself.
I know because you are there that I am here.
.
The stretching arm of cognition
in a lightning flash,
joining together a million eons of distance,
joining together birth and death,
joining together the known and the knower.
.
In the depth of the night,
as in the immeasurable realm of consciousness,
the garden of life and I
remain each other’s objects.
.
The flower of being is singing the song of emptiness.
.
The night is still immaculate,
but sounds and images from you
have returned and fill the pure night.
.
I feel their presence.
By the window, with my bare feet on the cool floor,
I know I am here
for you to be.
.
“Call Me By My True Names” 

The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh.

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There is a whisper, but it’s louder than the wind.
It calls to us, “Come Home. The story is over, the pages are worn thin. Come
home.” It’s like a chant,
a sacred OM underlying all else. It requires no doing anything, or going
anywhere or becoming anything.
If only we see that we are this whispering sound,
all else will dissolve into peace.

~Rafael Stoneman

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Amma:   Consciousness is always present in us— now, in the present moment—-but we may not be aware of it.  In fact, only the present moment is real.  But to experience this, we need a new vision, a new eye and even a new body. 

Questioner:   A new body?  What do You mean by that?

Amma:    It does not mean that the body that you have will disappear.  It will look the same, but it will undergo a subtle change, a transformation.  Because only then can it contain the ever-expanding consciousness.

Questioner:   What do you mean by expanding consciousness?  The Upanishads declare that the Absolute is purnam [ ever-full ].   the Upanishads sayd, ” purnamada purnamidam….” [ this is the whole, that is the whole…” ], so I don’t understand how the already-prefect consciousness can grow?

Amma:   That is very true.  However, on the individual or physical plane, the spiritual aspirant goes through an experience of expanding consciousness.  The total Shakti [ divine energy ], of course, is unchangeable. Though from the Vedantic [ pertaining to the Hindu spiritual journey, for  the individual there is one such so-called journey, for the individual there is one such so-called journey toward the state of perfection.  Once you attain the Goal, you will also realize that the whole process, including the journey, was unreal, because you were always there, in that state, never away from it.   Until the final realization occurs, there is an expansion of awareness and consciousness depending on the progress of the sadhak [spiritual aspirant ].

For example, what happens when you draw water from a well?  The well is immediately replenished by the water from the spring beneath it.  The spring will keep on filling the well.   The more water you draw, the more water comes from the spring.  so you could say that the water is the well keeps growing.  The spring is never-ending source.  The well is full, and it remains full because it is eternally connected to the spring.  So you could say that the water in the well keeps growing.  The spring is a never-ending source.   The well is full, and it remains full because it is eternally connected to the spring.   The well keeps on becoming perfect.  It keeps expanding.

Questioner:  (after a thoughtful silence)   It’s very vivid, but still sounds complicated.

Amma:  Yes, the mind will not understand it.  Amma knows that.  The easiest is the most difficult.  The simplest remains the most complex.  And the closest seems to be the farthest.  It will continue to be a puzzle until your realize the Self.  That is why the Rishis [ ancient Seers ] describe the Atman as “farther than the farthest and nearer than the nearest.”

Children, the human body is a very limited instrument.  However, like the well, once we are connected to the eternal source of the shakti, our consciousness will keep expanding within us.  Once the state of ultimate samadhi [ natural state of abidance ]  is reached, the connection between the body and the mind, between God and the world, will start functioning in perfect harmony.  Thus, there is no growth, nothing.  You remain one with the infinite ocean of consciousness. 

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