Sunday, January 31, 2016

Deluded Ordinary Mind

     “Buddhist psychology offers models of the process and structures of the mind. It shows how flight from the existential inevitability of loss, pain, and death leads to delusion, which is a subtle and pervasive refusal to face reality. Instead, we attempt to find and hold on to something that is concrete and substantial. This common mentality is one of grasping, which leads to attachment and creates an accumulation of habit-energies, preferences, and behavior patterns that support the illusion of an enduring self that can escape impermanence. Buddhist psychology sees this self as a defensive structure that lacks foundation yet dominates the ordinary mind.”
        Caroline Brazier. “Buddhism on the Couch. From Analysis to Awakening Using Buddhist Psychology.” Ulysses Press, Berkley, CA, 2003. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Freedom from Emotions that are Derived from Division

     “It is surprising indeed to realize that none of our arguments with what is, or with what was, have any basis in truth. Our arguments are just part of the dream state. Now, to say they’re part of the dream state or to hear someone else say it is not enough. Each of us has to look for ourselves; each of us has to look into our own emotional life to bring into awareness anything that has the power to cause us to experience division. We need to look at our emotions and see them for what they are; we need to question their truthfulness, to meditate on them in silence, and to let the deeper truths reveal themselves. 
     As I said, this isn’t necessarily an analytical process. True inquiry is experiential. We aren’t seeking to stop something from happening, for true inquiry has no goal other than truth itself. It’s not trying to heal us or to stop us from feeling unpleasant feelings. Inquiry can’t be motivated solely by a desire not to suffer. The impulse not to suffer is understandable, but there is something else that must accompany genuine inquiry, which is the desire and the willingness to see what is true, to see how we ourselves are putting ourselves into conflict. 
     Once we realize that it is you and me who put ourselves into conflict – that nobody and no situation in our life has the power to do it – we see that our emotional life is a portal. It offers an invitation to look deeply, to look from the awakened state – a state that is not trying to change or alter anything, but is itself a lover of truth.
     It might be easy to misinterpret what I’m saying to mean that all negative emotions are indications of division. This is not what I mean to imply. One can be sad without feeling divided. One can feel grief without being divided. One can feel a certain amount of anger without being divided. … spirituality includes a vast array of human emotional experience. Thus one should not conclude that the presence of negative emotions – or what we call negative emotions – is an indication of illusion. The key is whether or not the emotion is being derived from divisiveness. If it is, then the emotion is based on illusion. If you inquire sincerely and discover that an emotion is not derived from divisiveness, then it is not based on illusion. Seeing this opens up to having a wide range of emotions. We open up, becoming a big space in which the winds of different emotions can travel through our system.”

       Adyashanti. “The End of Your World. Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment.” Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010. 

January in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saturday, January 23, 2016


     “Truth is a very high standard. Truth is not a plaything. To tell what is true within ourselves is not to tell what we think; it is not to tell our opinion. It is not to dump the garbage can of our mind onto somebody else. All of that is illusion, distortion, projection. Truth is not unloading our opinions onto someone. That is not truth. Truth is not telling our beliefs about things. That is not truth. Those are ways that we actually hide from truth.
     Truth is much more intimate than that. When we tell the truth, it has the sense of a confession. I don’t mean in a confession of something bad or wrong, but I mean the sense that we come completely out of hiding. Truth is a simple thing. To speak the truth is to speak from a sense of total and absolute unprotectedness.”

       Adyashanti. "The End of Your World. Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment." Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado, 2010. 

     See also:

Artist: Robert Pope

Monday, January 18, 2016


      “An old Zen master said ‘Three or four times I’ve had the great death’ - which in Zen refers to great awakening - ‘but my life is lived in the million small moments that make one dance.’ And right there is the marriage of the absolute and the relative. Great moments of breaking through into the timeless. And then the greatest state of realization coming into, and embodying itself into human experience.”                                                         Adyashanti


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sense Emptiness

     “The 'I am' is the awareness before thought.”               Nisargadatta Maharaj

     Adyashanti comments on this: “He’s saying to dwell in the sense of 'I am' - to dwell in the sense of awareness before thoughts. Not the idea, image or understanding of awareness, but to dwell in your sense of awareness, of I amness. Realize a deeper sense of your own being. Nisargadatta defined 'I am' as consciousness itself, and being consciousness it is completely without form – your own formless nature – silence, stillness, nobody there."

     “All that is necessary to awaken to yourself as the radiant emptiness of spirit is to stop seeking something more or better or different, and to turn your attention inward to the awake silence that you are.”                                           Adyashanti 

     See also:!Identity-Awareness-Healing/c17jj/569aa56f0cf2e94e3fbb25bf

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Open Heart-Mind for An Unknowable Event

            All shall be well,  
            and all shall be well,  
            and all manner of things shall be well.             Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1416) English Christian mystic

     “In the final stages [of dying], one is simultaneously immersed in the demands of care and faced with the enormity of what’s happening. At this time, it’s easy to feel isolated – a hallmark of illness whether for the patient or for caregivers. Again, it may be helpful to remember that the personal and universal are interwoven, that we are engaged in the universal ritual of moving toward death, that we are not alone even though what we are experiencing feels totally unique and personal. 
     Sometimes I wondered how it was possible to feel, even in the midst of difficult circumstances, that at some level all was well. The emphasis here is on the word level. The wisdom traditions speak about the relative and absolute levels of reality. Relative reality is the world as we know it – whereas absolute reality is unconditioned, beyond duality, free. We can have glimpses of that level even in the presence of death.

Khandro Rinpoche’s most valuable reminders for me were:

          “Be easy with yourself”,

          “The best practice is calm abiding”,

          “Go beyond hope and fear.”

       Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle. “Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows. A Couple’s Journey through Alzheimer’s.” Penguin, NY, 2008.

Photo: David A. Lovas

Friday, January 1, 2016

Letting Everything Go

Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
Johnny Cash "Hurt"

     As Alzheimer's progresses, Hob gradually loses all connection to the life he had known. As a senior meditation teacher (in Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen order), Hob knew very well that we are to let go of absolutely everything - even Buddhist teachings! But unless our practice is very advanced, actually letting everything go is far from an easy - we suffer because of, and in proportion to, our futile clinging.

     “… the story was like a golden thread for him, a connection to a teaching that he needed when everything else was dissolving.” 

       Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle. “Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows. A Couple’s Journey through Alzheimer’s.” Penguin, NY, 2008.

                              There is no place to seek the mind:
                              it is like the footprints of the birds in the sky                         Zenrin Kushu

                              Nothing lasts forever
                              Even cold November rains                                                              Guns & Roses "November Rain"