• November 30, 2018

    Do I see how I fill up my life? Do I see how my time is stolen from me by habitual ‘doings’?

    Can I stop the momentum of my life and make room for communication with the Absolute?

    Each of us needs to find a way to invoke higher emotion in order to enter into communication with His Endlessness. Have you found yours?

    Could I recommend that you consider glorification?

    What is glorification? It’s a profound pleasure…praise, adoration and joy all rolled into one. The great thing about glorification is that it has no place whatsoever in ordinary life. Nothing merits glorification except the universal being. Therefore, I have not learned how to fake it. It has another advantage. It seems to me that the universal being likes to be remembered in this way…it brings out the best in Him…so He participates with pleasure.

    Beware of the standard prescriptions. I hear some of you say that you must learn to be thankful for all that you have been given. This is a frequent refrain in most spiritual schools. Has anyone here figured out how to be thankful? Can you turn it on when you think it is appropriate? Unfortunately, most of us can. I frequently pretend to be thankful in situations where it is socially expected. Furthermore, most of my thanks are directed at people and that’s just not the same as His Endlessness. But your experience may be different.

    I think every human has a note or tone that derives from the Absolute…His calling card to Himself, placed in you. There are many such qualities but there is probably one that you are most able to invoke because it is innately you. Following someone else’s direction on what this is for you is not likely to work.

    We do not make room for the Absolute if He is just an idea. Can you find something in common with Him, an inducement, a dart of pure pleasure which supports a relationship?

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  • April 20, 2018

    We are trapped in mental structures which influence how we think and perceive. Perhaps in meditation, perhaps in prayer, can I catch an insight into another way of perceiving that comes from a less limited frame of mind?

    Let me try to show you what I mean. This is only a thought experiment but perhaps it will help.

    I identify with the solid bits of the universe. I have a material body and I think of myself as living in a material world (thank you Madonna). What are the consequences of this assumption? Space is empty and solids occupy space. Dimension is a clever way of accommodating things so they do not overlap. So, identifying myself as solid, I treat space as just a physical dimension where I am separate and occupy my own space.

    Separation establishes the need for movement and movement creates duration or time. Time is a clever way of making sure that not everything happens at once.

    Within dimension and time, there are events. The only events that I recognize are in dimension and time. Otherwise, they are not real. When events occur within time, one follows another. I try to decide if the event that comes first causes the event that comes after. I also perceive that events begin and end. Can I see the eternal, the unchanging? Can I see possibilities that do not occupy time and space? Probably not. .

    The consequence of identifying with physical reality is that I may lose access to qualities that are formless. My sensory apparatus links to my brain and displays what I see and sense. Who experiences this neurological data? Is it the brain? Scientists search for the correct brain structure, meanwhile confusing perception and content. There is a quality of perceiving that is independent of what is perceived. Have you noticed this? Have you observed that perceiving is not ‘located’? That it seems to exist in space?

    In a similar way, where is attention? Is it in the brain? Attention intimately connects me to what it attends to even over distance. Does it defy the separation of space?

    Where is the presence of my presence in the present? The state when I am present clearly has a spacious, non-physical quality. Can I find in me a place for the experience of love? Yes, love has physical effects but is it contained in my nervous system? Is it only a sensation?

    How does the universe appear from the perspective of space? Can I identify myself as space? Do I contain infinite possibilities which are no less real than the ones that are expressed out of my ‘emptiness’ into the tiny bit of me that has taken ‘form’? Is there distance, or just ‘more’ of myself? Is there time, or just an eternal present where all the events that ever did, are or will happen(ing) are here and now? Perhaps space is where miracles occur but we only know this when we enter the realm of the miraculous.

    From the perspective of space, the universe of a trillion galaxies spanning trillions of light years may be of no definite ‘size’ whatsoever. Without my conceptions of space and time from the physical world, how would I know?

    According to the current findings of physics, every region of space is awash with different kinds of fields composed of waves of varying lengths. Each wave has energy. When physicists calculate the minimum amount of energy a wave can possess, they find that every cubic centimeter of empty space contains more energy than the total energy of all the matter in the known universe.

    Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum not a vacuum, the ground for the existence of every single thing. The physical universe is not separate from this cosmic sea of energy; it is a ripple on its surface, a comparatively small “pattern of excitation” in the midst of an unimaginably vast ocean. “This excitation pattern is relatively autonomous and gives rise to approximately recurrent, stable and separable projections into a three-dimensional explicate order of manifestation,” states Physicist David Bohm.

    In other words, despite its apparent materiality and enormous size, the physical universe does not exist in and of itself, but is the surface of something far more ineffable, a passing shadow over the face of the deep.

    Have you thought about how it is possible for this world to exist? Oh, we are told the story of the big bang and evolution over billions of years. Really? This may explain a process but it tells us nothing of how anything can be, how there can be a big bang to begin with. Can you hold this question and not fill in the blanks or turn away in boredom because the question is unanswerable? If you can do this, you may receive the electric being-shock that confirms: we do not know our origin or purpose and the fact of our existence is an absolute miracle.

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  • January 20, 2017

    Where are you in time? Does it seem that your experience of time is more about the before and after of personal events, the past and future, and less about the now?

    The cliché is that we should live in the present. Does this mean that we lose the benefit of our experience and the lessons of history? Being in the present does not mean ignoring the past or not remembering it. It’s a question of placement. Being in the present is a beginning. Now, can you bring time past and time future into the present?

    There is a world of difference between re-entering the past and re-identifying with it, or bringing the past into the present to inform the present moment. Re-entering the past is a fantasy because the past that we remember is partial and subjective and its relevance to the present is easily lost. Bringing the past into the present integrates experience. What is relevant to the present is extracted and related to what is happening now, becoming part of the present. This understanding is consistent with how memory usually works; I do not remember the specifics of events so much as their impact on me afterward, upon reflection.

    It is very useful to notice where you are located in time. Events in our past or anticipated events in the future act as anchors for the attention, pulling us forward and back, out of the present. These attention-anchors create our orientation, unconsciously selecting what we see and relate to. If we continually inhabit time past and time future in our imagination, we become lost in time and the opportunities of immediate response in the present become extremely limited.

    Present time is the only time when anything happens. Please understand this.

    Experience becomes relevant, and not an escape, when I am oriented in the present. Can I anchor myself in the present and bring the content of other times to me? Attention on sensation can do this. Having a body locates me in the present. A vague notion or thought of my body image does not suffice. I need direct sensing.

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  • December 22, 2016

    I have fleeting moments of presence but it never seems to stabilize. Is it possible to maintain a state of presence?

    This is a fundamental question for our work. To inquire into this I am going to start with the assumption that you are able to invoke presence into the present. Now, what is the process that causes you to fall out of presence?

    I become interested in something and my attention pulls me into whatever that is, I start thinking about it or interacting with it in some habitual way and then I’m deep into sleep again.

    Yes, that’s it. Attention involuntarily attaches to something and triggers a fall from presence into identification. Identification with what? Usually you become the thinker but it could also be your body sense or some idea or image you have about yourself. This process of falling can be observed as a seizure of attention which has become involuntary, followed by the assumption of an identity.

    In presence, attention remains connected to home base… it moves out to attend to things but at the same time remains attentive to being present and to itself. This understanding was once known as ‘nigah dasht’, knowing where your attention is. Of course, only attention is sufficiently quick and accurate to know where it is. Attention must therefore be free to operate without interference. This is a great discovery.

    Is it possible to think while being present?

    That seems possible. In presence, thoughts seem to arise and fall away as a kind of after-image of perception. Sometimes I can even speak these thoughts while remaining in a state of perception but usually I end up becoming the thinker and then I’m asleep again.

    What kind of thinking takes you out of presence?

    Anything that has a sense of compulsion like having to plan something or defend a point of view or get something I want. Or disagreeing with where I am and what I’m doing.

    So, to remain present attention must remain voluntary, which includes being in basic agreement with the present. Attention can temporarily be captured or become attached to something but then it must rediscover itself, free itself, before presence is lost. Presence, which is the source of voluntary attention, operates in the same way. Presence knows directly and immediately that it is present. It does not need to have this verified by another. In fact, it cannot be verified by another, including the thinker or one of your personalities, because then you are not present in the present, you are identified. Also, once again, these entities outside presence are too slow to be relevant.

    To remain present, there must therefore be confidence that presence can immediately know itself to be present and therefore remain present without my personal effort or control, except to re-invoke if need be, to renew the descent of presence into the present. If I try to be present, some identity is probably reinforcing its own existence by making counter-productive efforts.

    It is difficult not to think of presence as an entity.

    That is true. It would be easier to think of it as a thing. But as soon as you give it some sort of conceptual form, your thinking is likely to begin constructing a substitute for the experience of being present. Presence is our true self, our real ‘I’, and it has a definite sense of existing, but it is not like any other self we know.

    Then what is presence?

    Presence is perception and a temporary absence of identification which is always a construction made from past experience.

    Presence gives us the capacity to enter the present. Without it, the present is a flow of moments that have no duration, too fleeting to enter. Ordinary time is time passing, succession without constancy, without being. To be in the present requires ‘something’ that is constant; it is necessary simultaneously to be in a dimension of time which does not flow from moment to moment. This other dimension is the eternal and when it intersects with time passing, ‘I’ have entered the present.

    And who is this constant ‘I’? The ‘I’ of presence is rooted in the eternal present, a dimension of time which is unchanging. This ‘I’ is not a construct of the psyche, not an identity or personality fabricated from experience. This ‘I’ is my original face, my form from before I entered into time passing. It is who I am when I remember myself as the voyager. It is the passageway to those qualities originally bequeathed to ‘me’ from the Universe’s Treasury of all possibilities.

    When I am not present, I have forgotten who I am; I have entered a world of illusion.

    Related Post:
    Invocation of Presence – August 10, 2015

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  • July 11, 2015

    There is nothing in our world that is more mysterious than time and there is nothing more intrinsic to our existence. In my view, time has three dimensions, meaning that we can speak of a volume of time just as we can speak of a volume of space.

    The first dimension of time is succession, time’s arrow, the time measured by clocks.  It is difficult to imagine anything existing without this ‘horizontal’ flow of time. Can you see what a brilliant innovation successive time is? If you were to create a universe from nothing, would you not begin with this dimension of time? Because of this time, not everything has to happen at once.

    Succession creates the possibilities of past and future, evolution, cause and effect, fate and free will, uncertainty.

    The word succession means one thing stepping into the place of another. In the present moment, which is an infinitesimally short period of time in the horizontal dimension, the present is immediately replaced by another present, unendingly. This is the very nature of impermanence, instability, non-presence. To identify with the things of this world is to fall under the dominion of time passing and to accept a state of mechanical non-existence, the status of a non-entity.

    In horizontal time, the one who experiences can never catch up to the present moment because it does not actually exist; it is gone before it can be known. By the time we know what it is, it was. It slips through our fingers, leaving only an impression of what was there.

    The second dimension of time is the realm of continuous occurrence. This continuity is not by way of repetition; it is an always resounding, a note that does not diminish or vary. This is eternal time, not eternal in the sense of a long time, which is the first dimension of time, but eternal in the sense of neither beginning nor ending.

    Consider the contemplation of love, a feeling from the second dimension of time. Its nature is never different. To the extent of your capacity to accommodate it, this feeling is an enormous, simultaneous download which includes all of the associated gestures and feelings of love—submission, combustion, tenderness, humility, ecstasy, joy—which are exquisitely excruciating. We can attempt to unbundle these strands but it is their very intrinsic relatedness which makes the experience unsequential, not in successive time.

    The second dimension of time contains and hides the world of being which is available to heart but not to thinking because thinking is successive. Events in the second dimension are made available to thought through myth—stories that construct an apparent sequence from simultaneity so that the essence of these stories can be invoked, such as the life of Christ, the illumination of the Buddha and the salvation of Noah. These ‘events’ are complete, compound entities in the eternal realm, Meanings containing enormous amounts of information, the traces of which are preserved in teaching stories suitable for the ordinary world. These stories do not leave factual evidence in our world because they did not happen here. The stories are meant to point to there, the eternal world, where they have transcendent meaning and continue to occur.

    Events in the second dimension of time occur perpendicular to the first dimension and they behave somewhat like standing waves in physics–a wave in which each point on its axis has an associated constant amplitude. The locations at which the amplitude is at a minimum are called nodes and the locations where the amplitude is at a maximum are called antinodes. In the eternal, a node is the point of non-accessibility while the antinodes are where the wave is available to be experienced.

    To be present is to be at the intersection of the first and second dimensions. The present is made real because presence, being eternal and timeless in relation to the first dimension, is able to exist and continue in the impossibly brief moment of time passing. Only the eternal presence can catch up to the present and make it real. To stand at this intersection is to enter the Real World, as the Sufis say, and to be a Real Human Being.

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