Thinking more about the last post on the importance of my relationship with Aliveness. From a nonduality standpoint there is the question, “who is having the relationship”? There must be two or more to have relationship. How can there be relationship if there is only One.
Looked up the definition of the word relationship and the ones I liked most were…. (1) The way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected. (2) The “sense” of being connected.
If I substitute the word “connection” for the word “relationship” a new understanding comes to light. A true connection is not two separate things…but those separate things becoming one. All the different types of relationships come to mind such as family, friends, coworkers, casual, intimate and I look at them to determine if I feel connections or if I am relating as a separate self to their separate self. The second definition indicates that connection is a sensation or feeling.
I realize that most of my relationships are not connections but two or more sharing their separateness. I would like for that to be different and maybe that’s why a connection with Aliveness/Presence is important to me. Although an open connection with others is probably…. absolutely… the exact same thing.
Still thinking about yesterday’s post on what is important and being able to build your life around the answer. I said “my spirituality is most important….my relationship to spirit trumps all other relationships.”
I didn’t realize that until I typed it. Now I’m wondering about the choice of the word “Spirit”. The word comes from Latin meaning “breath”. Breath is certainly our invisible source of aliveness.
How can you have a relationship with aliveness? All religions and spiritual teachers mention an invisible unknown mystery to life and give it some sort of name. We all know that the names are endless for that which cannot be named. I guess Aliveness is as good a name as any, it doesn’t make your mind wrap around an object or make it personal.
It seems the only way I can have a meaningful relationship with Aliveness is to treat it like any other relationship that is important to me. Be attentive, listen, nurture it, don’t ignore it because of the constant bombardment of thoughts, appreciate it…..love it.
Trying to look into my agitated mind today now that I have some time to reflect. Reading over a little journal I keep of things to contemplate and ran across this one:
“Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.”
This seems simple until I think of what really is important to me…at this point I don’t really know. I can spout all of the usual responses but when you think about the second part of the question, it becomes more complex…..”have the courage to build your life around your answer.”
I don’t have a good answer but have decided to just think about it today. I first think of health…happiness…family…honesty. Then the question remains how to build my life around one of those choices. My response usually comes back to “my spirituality is most important”….my relationship to spirit trumps all other relationships….still don’t know exactly how to live it tho.
I’ve only been blogging for a year and not very consistently. Inspiration to write ebbs and flows for me. I just reviewed all of the blogs I’ve done and most relate to my journey down the nonduality path. I just completed the Liberation Unleashed process where the only goal is to help with the realization that there is no personal self….that’s it…nothing else. All other spiritual beliefs and concepts are put away temporarily so that the focus is only on direct experience.
There is only one person outside of the blogosphere who knows of my spiritual journey and that I am involved in the LU process. Not that I want it to be kept secret…exactly the opposite. I am excited to share my insights but I honestly don’t know where to begin the discussion with anyone who has never heard of the no self concept. My knowledge of it has progressed over the years going from one path to the next and the different concepts all linked up together at some point.
I remember when I first became aware of the no self philosophy…it felt uncomfortable. I felt more comfortable keeping the personal self in a separate compartment I called the ego, small self, lower self or a “little me” in the background not to be confused with “my higher self” hanging out somewhere above my head. There seemed to be two parts of me each taking turns being in charge.
Realizing that the little me in the background doesn’t exist and never has existed takes some honest looking. Maybe for some it’s a spiritual awakening happening in a flash but for me it has been a slow process that started two years ago backed up by 25 years of spiritual seeking.
I still don’t know if any awakening happened….I have no expectations of enlightenment….realization is a better word I suppose. Nothing really changes….just a clearer lens to look through.
Every year I host our family Christmas party. We have a large family with over 35 people attending bringing food and presents. I have hosted and attended many gatherings of that size and if planned correctly they can result in some sort of organized chaos. Not this event…no matter how much I plan, it seems to end up being a totally “unorganized” chaos. I don’t know if this comes from one of my control issues or if it’s just the dynamics of this particular group. Since most seem to enjoy themselves I’m assuming it is likely my perception of unorganized chaos.
I try to prepare myself for dealing with the chaos and see it as a test of my centering practice. All I have to do is find my center and enjoy the show….but this never happens, not even for a moment. Most of the year I spend time in self realization, self inquiry, meditation and other various spiritual practices…so what good is it if it can all be erased in four hours?
It’s as if I have forgotten everything and am totally immersed in a whirlpool of activity that leaves me exhausted and wondering what exactly happened. What to do when caught in a whirlpool? I know nothing of whirlpools but after a little investigation it seems they are unavoidable if you’re following the flow of the river. The best you can do is to just deal with it for a while and then it releases you back into the flow. Doesn’t do much good to plan for it….
“Managing Whirlpools” by Ken Whiting (World Champion Kayaker)
“In many cases whirlpools can be totally unpredictable and pop up in front of you unexpectedly. Fortunately there is a way of dealing with them if you can’t miss them. You can actually enter the whirlpool and use its energy to your advantage to get through it……If you fight the whirlpool’s current, you’ll get sucked into its maw……unfortunately the only way to really develop your comfort level with whirlpools is to play around in them.”
Modified excerpt from “The Ultimate Guide to Whitewater Kayaking”
I usually don’t have a particular intention during meditation but today I had the intention to understand my next step in this spiritual journey. I feel like I’m jumping around again between different teachers seeing the sameness in all their teachings. I put out this intention…didn’t get an answer so I quit meditating early with a bit of an attitude. The attitude was one of feeling discouraged wondering if I will ever be content to just “be”.
I sporadically keep a journal. I picked it up and read about a dream I had almost exactly a year ago to the day. I was trying to find a connection at a train station. I was running around trying to find the next train, up and down stairs, in elevators and then a man appears in a chair with wheels and says he knows the way and to hop in. It was uncomfortable fitting in the chair with him at first but I got settled in and we flew through the station quickly. I remember the relieve of giving up looking on my own and letting him navigate. I don’t remember if we made it because the next thing I remember is looking at him from a distance and he was eating chocolates not worrying about catching the train at all. Then I started judging whether he was the right one to lead me after all and the anxiety started again.
Well, here I am a year later still looking for the next train. But now I finally realize why I never want to stop seeking or looking for the next train. If I stop seeking I’m afraid of going back to sleep again and living my little mechanical life outside of awareness.
My spiritual life has always been a priority for me and I try to keep it strong because my little life has never seemed as important to me as my spiritual life. It came to me that I need to switch that notion and make my little life a priority because that is what is..right now. It’s not attached to the next teacher or to the cushion. This is one of the common threads in most teachings but now I may be actually getting it.
I’ll have to remind myself (probably often) that the fear of going backward and living that mechanical life outside of awareness is not possible because my hope is that once it’s seen… it cannot be unseen. My next step is to realize that my little life is what is important….living it within awareness is the practice.
I guess maybe having an intention during meditation is a good thing after all.
I walked a large outside labyrinth this weekend. I had never walked an outside labyrinth nor one this large. I was the only one walking so I walked a moderate pace and it took 45 minutes. It was in an open field with a narrow uneven mowed down path in grass and wildflowers that were knee-high. At the beginning I was thinking of the history of the labyrinth dating back to 4500 BC showing up in every culture around the world and the mystery of it all.
Then I started thinking about the correct “procedure” of walking the labyrinth, was I walking too fast, too slow, this is walking meditation, I need to stop thinking so much, how much longer until I reach the center? All the same things that happen during regular meditation. After about ten minutes this mental activity slowed down and I began to notice how many crickets there were on the path, and butterflies and all the different kinds of flowers.
Then I became interested in my destination and started looking ahead trying to see the center but I couldn’t tell where it was because of the tall grass. I could only see about four feet in front of me…I couldn’t look ahead.. all I could do was follow the path because I knew it would lead to the center eventually. When I got to the center I thought maybe there would be something there to symbolize the end of the journey, even just a candle or something….there was nothing. I stood there for a moment but didn’t have the desire to stay for any long length of time contemplating so I headed out on the same path out of the center.
I noticed that the walk out of the center was a little faster pace and easier for some reason. I hadn’t noticed earlier that the walk into the center seemed harder and longer but now noticed that walking in the uneven terrain was much easier. I stopped and looked back at the center a couple of times but again I couldn’t see it when I looked back. Then all of a sudden the path opened up and I was done. That was definitely meditation in motion…..
The most common spiritual inquiry question “Who Am I?” has been a question of mine since I can remember. Not because of spiritual inquiry but because of wondering what my name really should be. I was named after my father whose name was Harry Carl so the closest female version of that name was …Harriett Carlyn. The label was strictly a namesake because no one ever called me by either name. At some point the “o” was put in the middle name making it the more commonly known name of Carolyn. After that, my label changed many times throughout my life. I just counted seven different forms of identity in my wallet all with different names. This display of aliases has created problems for me at times especially in airports.
Maybe that’s what started my spiritual quest of trying to discover who I really am. I always envied people who were given a name at birth and have never known any other label. It seemed they always knew who they were and I was always wondering. So now that I’m on this road to “no-self” I can finally stop wondering who I am…and just be whatever name pops out of my wallet that day.
How many names would each spiritual seeker have if they changed their name with each shift in perception or with each “Aha” moment? After so many changes the names that identify us would become meaningless…
The Witness has been my identity for the last several years. When I became aware of her I grasped her like a long lost friend and she has been with me ever since. She could be watchful of thoughts, people and things from a distance staying disconnected..being a spectator. I was quite proud and happy that I had her…seeing this as an advancement of my spiritual growth.
It is with regret that I have come to realize that she came just to take over the role of my previous identity. Although she has helped me make great strides in self realization, she has now made me aware that she too represents a separate self and needs to go. She has been a true friend and guide and I don’t want to let her go….maybe I’ll just call on her when needed rather than cutting it off completely…hard to say goodbye.
I had the basic concepts of most seekers on Oneness, Consciousness, Absolute, Awareness and thought I was moving along the Path, slowly but starting to get it. Now I realize that the ideas that formed those concepts of reality are outdated and a new paradigm has begun which is turning everything upside down and creating a shift in perception.
My old paradigm was…I’m here inside this body and the world and others are out there. I accepted that because my belief was that the me inside was a fragment of the Absolute/Awareness/Consciousness and was safely contained in my body/mind and would show up now and then just to remind me where I came from. My search was to find ways to call up that contained Awareness on demand because that was where happiness and peace resided….and that wonderful thing called enlightenment.
The new paradigm (which is still in progress) is …who I am is not contained inside this body/mind. Sounds like a simple statement and I have said that for years but still held the feeling of being a separate fragment or person. In order to accept this new paradigm as Truth, more investigation into what I am “not” is needed…mainly not this person that seems to be contained in this body/mind. Just that simple investigation can turn everything upside down. Better still is rolling around the notion that objects only “seem” to exist outside of awareness and that the observed and observer are one and the same. My mind would like to make sense of that one but probably doesn’t have the capability and keeps trying to figure it out anyway….meanwhile my idea of reality is turning upside down.
This song started playing in my mind a few days ago as if I were singing it to the Absolute itself so I found the lyrics to “Upside Down, You’re Turnin’ Me” which sums up my feelings at this point.
Filed under Absolute, Direct Experience, Direct Inquiry, Enlightenment, Mind, Nonduality, Reality, Seeker, Spirituality, Truth, Zen