• November 22, 2020

    We are so conditioned to make efforts. We think we can make efforts to change ourselves. We want to affirm and we do so with the pushing force. And what does that do? Look into it. You can see that it defeats itself. Can you jump over your own knees?

    Let us go by way of the negative, shall we? A somersault rather than a jump.

    Let’s consider fixation. What could be more ‘me’ than fixation? I’m always compulsively thinking about something so I miss much of what’s going on. My attention is forever being attracted to something or other, either because I like it (and therefore cling to it), or dislike it (and therefore avert it, push it away). My attention may skip from one thing to another but is it not always fixated one something, somewhere?

    What would it be like to be unfixated? Well, that would mean seeing/hearing/sensing everything around me. Immediately my affirming self jumps to the fore. “I can do that,’ says me. Wrong step. Let’s start again. If I am not clinging or averting, what is going on? What is the gesture that is neither? A gesture that is neutral, unattached.

    I have such a gesture, one that does not arise automatically, a conscious gesture therefore seldom arising. This gesture is releasing, allowing everything to be exactly as it is without my engagement.

    My eyes are open. I see. I notice that I am looking at something and my field of vision is narrowed. Can I release this something and temporarily see everything?

    There are two steps…noticing the fixation and releasing it. Affirming that I can see everything is not a step, it is a fixation.

    Can I learn to notice and release fixation? Find out. There are many fixations, of thought, of sensation. Can I notice and release them all as they arise? What happens if I do?

    Here’s the real secret. Skillful releasing offers up a direct perception of emptiness, not the emptiness of depression but rather the emptiness of pure consciousness, consciousness unattached and able to sense/glimpse itself. In Buddhist terms, you have experienced Sunyata and the spontaneous response is very joyous, a momentary freedom known as the first Bhumi. Bet you didn’t see that coming. No one does.

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  • April 9, 2019

    Collage by Sae Kimura

    You continue to emphasize that everything in this work comes back to observation of self. I think I am beginning to know my habitual reactions but I do not see much change in myself.

    This is a subtle process. You may not notice the changes that arise over time. It’s a form of homeopathy, like curing like. The tendency to anger is observed as anger…its sensations and related gestures. The cure is the thing itself. Anger releases anger. Adopting a posture of peacefulness is most often a form of repression which does not release anger.

    By release you mean express?

    No. I mean a voluntary release of the impulse, which means that it is transformed into energy which can be expressed in other ways or not expressed at all. I have the power to choose, in the moment.

    So you are not erasing the tendency to react with anger?

    No. I am putting the anger reaction on wheels. I have baggage but it’s mobile.

    Perhaps you are missing a critical intermediate step. Observation, knowing the sensation and shape of your reaction as it takes place in real time, is the first step. The next step is to be impartial…that is, not reacting to your reaction. No judgment, no justification, just observation, recognition, perhaps amusement. Then you can easily move the reaction out of the way and respond to the situation at hand freely and creatively.

    The secondary reactions such as justification and judgment must also be observed impartially.

    When I discover and begin to track my habitual reactions, it’s natural that I should want to eliminate them. This is wrong motive. Perhaps it will come about, perhaps ongoing impartial observation will eventually erase the sensation-based electrical anomaly that sustains my reaction, but adopting this orientation risks becoming goal-seeking, which is not impartial observation. Our work is not a path to self-perfection, it is a path to freedom from self.

    The freedom is in the moment, to be able to set aside the reaction because impartiality has put it on wheels.

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  • February 21, 2016

    I sit in the meditation chamber. I agree to wait. I am not waiting for anything, just waiting. I am content with whatever happens. I am content with whatever will happen. It is enough to wait.

    Since I am waiting and there is nothing in particular to do, I ask to be alert. Can I be alert? Alert but not tense, alert but also relaxed.

    While I am in this state of waiting, not for anything in particular, just waiting, I invoke attention. Attention engages sensation as I wait. I summon a field of attention which surrounds me. I ask that attention penetrate my heart. I sit with this. There is no move to make. I can wait, not moving on.

    Energy arises. My body is intensely sensitized. Can I awaken now, physically, mentally, all that I am? Can I simply be?

     * * *

     The awakened state can be discovered in meditation. It does not require special efforts.

    What awakens? The parts of me that sleep. Which parts are sleeping? My physical organism, my mind and heart. They stumble about in confused darkness, enmeshed in dream-fragments, unable to gather the energy to awaken. Presence is always able to participate, waiting, willing to enter when called to take its place as vice-regent of the city of my being. But presence cannot enter when my city is sleeping and the dominion of presence is denied by my identification with other roles and aims.

    What is awakening? Lighting up the city with the correct energetic charge, harmonizing its different departments and stopping up the leaks. Who is to accomplish this work? Voluntary, impartial attention. It arouses energy and activates the heart, unifying the city, enabling presence to enter. The city awakens.

    But, before the desirable can be accomplished, the undesirable must be relinquished.

    Can the usual efforts to do something be abandoned?

    Can ordinary thinking be released?

    Can involuntary attention on habit-formed boundaries be withdrawn?

    Removing limits opens the way to a real encounter with the miracle of being.

    The city’s defenses fall away and sleep is overwhelmed.

    The secret is in the asking.

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