Saturday, April 13, 2024

Keep Your Head Up My Love

Noooooooooooooooooooooowwwww …....

faint eternal recurrent whispering hug in silence
reassuring lullaby alone
authoritative voice under a lonely streetlamp 
increasingly confirming warmth glowing within

evermore fingers pointing towards one home
if only we open ears to hear, open eyes to see, open heart to receive …

    “Our English word ‘mystery’ comes from a Greek verb with the root meaning of ‘shutting’ – closing your eyes or shutting up. (The word ‘mute’ comes from the same linguistic root.) Mystery commands silence, since it is precisely that which cannot possibly comprehend mystery intellectually, cannot grasp it by means of logical terms, and yet we can understand it.
    The distinction between comprehension and understanding is a most important one. We may not have reflected on the difference between these two forms of coming to know something, but we are familiar with it – from our experience with music
.
    No intellectual analysis can ever hope to grasp music in its essence. Yet we can deeply understand music, in moments when we are being moved by it. This understanding implies more than mere emotions. It is an insight deeper even than intellectual comprehension. T.S. Eliot has such moments in mind when he speaks in The Four Quartets of ‘music heard so deeply / that it is not heard at all, but you are the music / while the music lasts.’ Our ‘being moved’ implies that music must ‘do something’ to us before we can understand it.

    Thus, mystery is not a vague and mystifying term. We can clearly spell out what we mean by it. Mystery is a power that we can never comprehend but can understand through its impact on us. ‘What we can grasp gives us knowledge, but that which ‘grabs us’ gives us wisdom,’ says the great medieval mystic Bernard of Clairvaux.

    A mystic, as the word suggests, is someone who lives in touch with Mystery. In this respect, all of us are mystics. In our Peak Experiences, we become aware of that fact, but whether we are aware of this or not, we are at all times immersed in Mystery. Mystery is the power that empowers nature. It is in us and all around us, present and active in all there is.
    When I ask myself, ‘Who am I?’ it does not take long for me to reach a point where I no longer comprehend myself, but I do understand who I am: I am rooted in Mystery. I find this to be true also of everything around me: when I inquire into anything deeply and long enough, my quest leads into Mystery.”

    Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023. 

 

    Spiritual intelligence - the ability to recognize & connect with the deeper dimensions of human experiences, such as meaning, purpose, & transcendence. It involves skills such as self-awareness, reflection, and a sense of connection to something greater than oneself : http://www.johnlovas.com/2019/11/what-is-this-who-am-i.html


Leonard Cohen - "Anthem" (Live in London)


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Meaning

    Yesterday, during what for me was a pressure-cooker, stressful situation, I experienced a mysterious, wonderful surprise. For mothers, especially grandmothers, this would have been 'no sweat,' but at least some men would empathize with my predicament. I was left to look after my 3 grandchildren: a 19-month old wanting a snack in her high-chair; a 4-year old who wanted to watch 'Paw Patrol' on his iPad (for which I had forgotten the password), BUT who needed an impressive poop in his pants cleaned up; AND I had to walk both of them in a stroller to pick up a 9-year old on a play-date near-by - all within 30 minutes. My initial panic melted into a miraculous 'namaste' connection & wondrous collaboration with the two little ones, resulting in both of them being cared for lovingly, smoothly, effortlessly.
    The
joyful connection we shared was a peak spiritual experience for me, and it happened not during a silent meditation retreat, but during what started out as a 'real shit-show.' This direct experience was transformational, affirming the truth of many mystics' sayings, perhaps the most relevant one being, 'Only have no preferences.

    We automatically judge everyone (ourselves included) & everything as good or bad. But what if everyone & everything is exactly what we need not just to accept, but something FAR MORE RADICAL, to love & nurture like our beloved grandchildren? Our entire life could be miraculously transformed. It takes a while to de-armor & liberate our heart-mind, BUT THAT is ENTIRELY the meaning of our life!

    Below, David Steindl-Rast, a wise 97-year-young Catholic monk and Zen master, has spent a lifetime skillfully putting experiences like mine above into words: 

    “Whenever Mystery or the Great Mystery is mentioned ... remember that this does not refer to something vague or mystifying, but to something we encounter at every turn, with a minimum of mindfulness. Mystery is a power that affects us and everything there is, yet we cannot grasp it intellectually. We can, however, understand it to the extent to which we interact with it from our heart.

    In everyday speech, we tend to use the words ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’ interchangeably. Such careless speaking can lead us to muddled thinking and, in turn, to unfocused doing. Therefore, a more precise use of the terms is important for our orientation.
    Purpose relates to work; meaning, to play. We work in order to achieve a purpose, but playing is meaningful, without aiming at any purpose beyond itself. As soon as work achieves its purpose, it comes to an end; to continue would be meaningless. But play can go on and on; it is meaningful in itself.
    To achieve a well-balanced life, we need to balance purpose and meaning. But we will not reach this goal by jumping back and forth from working to playing. We need to integrate the two – to do our work, whatever it may be, with a playful attitude. Any work that you can perform with full presence and with the intention of serving others will be meaningful and, in this sense, playful and worth doing for its own sake. If, considering all this, we ask for the meaning of life, we find a highly surprising answer: a meaningful life must be a playful life. Hinduism speaks of lilathe Great Mystery playing in us and through us. We have called it the Great Dance.

    Lila is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘play.’ In Hinduism, ‘lila’ refers to the idea that we can ultimately recognize, in all that happens, the Great Mystery at play – the Great Sacred Dance of the universe. Not only for Hindus but for all of us, this image is worth pondering. The meaning of our life, we may discover, is learning to stay in step with the cosmic dance.

    T.S. Eliot speaks of the Now as ‘the still point of the turning world.’ That Now is the moment when the dancer is ‘still and still moving,’ perfectly in step with the cosmic rhythm.

    What ‘this whole show is all about’ – the central Mystery of the Great Dance – is Love.”

    
David Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023. A Meaningful Book!

    A wonderful overview of the above pivotal topic can be found in Chapter 1, "Spirituality as Common Sense" p21-30 in: David Steindl-Rast. “Common Sense Spirituality. The Essential Wisdom of David Steindl-Rast.” Crossroad, 2008.

David Wall via Getty Images

Monday, April 8, 2024

Hold On, Let Go

     This morning, I woke up from a deep sleep, and immediately sat down to meditate. The house was quiet. The sun shined in. I felt no desire for anything - generally (eg food, drink), or from the meditation. I felt peace, stillness, equanimity. Silence & stillness permitted clear awareness, which in turn allowed me to perceive what is appropriate to this moment, which was simply to be peace.

     Being open-mind-heartedly engaged with whatever the present moment holds makes most of us afraid, so we anxiously try to escape : http://www.johnlovas.com/2017/01/what-do-you-need.html

    "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." Joseph Campbell

     Be not afraid, it's your time to become a mature human being : http://www.johnlovas.com/2020/11/the-mature-human-being.html

 


 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Recipient to Provider

     At first, we're afraid & feel alone in a seemingly hostile world. Newborn babies probably feel this way, but to highly varying degrees, visceral fear & estrangement can weigh heavily for a lifetime. To prevent this, it's absolutely essential for us to be nurtured in safety & unconditional love at the very least in the first few years of life http://www.johnlovas.com/2021/10/whats-this-all-about.html . We desperately need to have that primal fear, insecurity & isolation loved & hugged out of us! At least one caregiver needs to be dependably safe, holding us, and loving us unconditionally.

    Not knowing we are loved & lovable makes the heart grow cold. And all the tragedy of human life follows from there."
    John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006. EXCEPTIONAL!

    Gradually, we all need to evolve into becoming dependable sources of nurturing, safety & unconditional love. Without a nurturing recipient phase, the provider phase is at best very challenging, or drastically worse - "and all the tragedy of human life follows from there."

    Some of us mature, grow up, evolve into who we're meant to be - adults who are spiritually fit to welcome babies and the growing numbers of severely traumatized children & adults into the world. Inter-generational trauma is the natural result of spiritually unfit parents.
    I
strongly suspect that none of us had philosopher kings & queens, saints or mystics as parents. And no matter how hard we tried to be model parents, probably none of us were always instantly there to pick up our crying babies, comforting them back to sleep. That's the baby's first taste of the frightening fact that external circumstances are NOT completely controllable

    The older we get, even the control we did have over our physical life in our prime, progressively starts 'slip-sliding away.' We have 2 choices, age unsuccessfully - OR - successfully.

    “The easy path of aging is to become a thick-skinned, unbudging curmudgeon, a battle-axe. To grow soft and sweet is the harder way.” James Hillman
 
    "Aging is inevitable; becoming wiser with age is not. Researchers, theorists, and clinicians have noted that older adults approach their lives in one of two ways: Either they draw on their strengths & live life to the fullest, or they magnify their weaknesses & restrict their lives to succumb to life's inevitable end.
Rigidity is a tendency to resist change, while flexibility is the ability to adapt to change. The conscious aging theory espouses late life as a period of deeper meaning & personal growth.
    As long as one remains engaged late in life, personality continues to develop. One's sense of self changes as one negotiates the conflicts proposed at each stage (of psychological development). The conflict assigned to 'old age' is that of integrity versus despair."
Giblin JC. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv 2011; 49(3): 23-6.

    Spirituality for me means ‘aliveness.’ It comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means 'life' or “life breath.” So, spirituality is our full aliveness — particularly the aliveness to that mystery with which we are confronted in life. As human beings, we are confronted with mystery — that which we cannot grasp. We cannot get it into our grip. But, we can understand it by letting it grasp us.
    That is the longing: to find opportunity to let yourself be gripped & grasped by this great mystery. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a great medieval mystic, says, 'Concepts give us knowledge. What we can grasp gives us knowledge. What grasps us gives us wisdom.'
    Every human being longs for that wisdomlongs to be touched by that mystery. A good example is music. We can’t grasp music. Nobody can grasp music. But, we can understand music. How do we understand music? When it grasps uswhen it does something to us. Then we understand. That is a big, pretty accurate image for what it means to be to be in touch with what I call mystery.”
    
David Steindl-Rast: Grateful Living in the ‘Double Realm’ – Tami Simon interview
https://www.resources.soundstrue.com/podcast/david-steindl-rast-grateful-living-in-the-double-realm/
 
    The ancient Asian greeting, "Namaste" (the Divine in me, recognizes & honors the Divine in you) intended or said while bowing with palm of hands held together, is beautifully expanded upon:

    “I honor the place in you
     where the entire Universe resides.
     I honor the place
     of love, of light, of truth, of peace.
     I honor the place within you where
     if you are in that place in you,
     and I am in that place in me,
     there is only one of us”
        Ram Dass, on the meaning of Namaste

    "What I ultimately encounter in any You, I can also encounter in any tree: Mystery. This happens, as Buber says, ‘through decision & grace.’ Both are necessary: I must decide to open my heart wide for this experience and receive it as a gift. ‘All is grace,’ said St. Augustine, all is Life’s gift. And Life is the story of our adventurous encounters with that ‘Secret,’ of which, so far, we only know from Robert Frost that it ‘sits in the middle & knows,’ while ‘we dance in a ring & suppose.
    Draw
out the line of any relationship into infinity and it will lead to that ‘Secret’ – the Mystery, which we encounter in & through all that exists.

    Even the most jaded hearts “are longing whether or not they are aware of itto be liberated from their love of power by the power of love.

    But how can we have reverence for human dignity unless we stand in awe before the Mystery? Human dignity is rooted in Mystery.
    David Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023. DEEP & POWERFUL

 

Smiling Nova Scotia, late March 2024

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Love and Live!

    “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” John W. Gardner  

    We are, as Bruce Cockburn sang, "lovers in a dangerous time." We anxiously twitch to echos of the worn out phrase, "It's Do or Die!" in far too many, far too popular blow-em-up action movies, in our own tortured imaginations, and even in the reality of war-torn lands.
    Most
of us have almost forgotten our true nature, which is always gently whispering encouragement, "Love and Live!"

“And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts;
a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused,
whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky,
and in the mind of man; a motion and a spirit that impels
all thinking things, all objects of thought,
and rolls through all things.”
William Wordsworth 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.”
William Wordsworth

    How can an Ego that is lost & entangled … find its way out and recover the right relationship to the Self (Universal Consciousness, Ultimate Reality)? The answer is this: since the Ego has become lost through forgetfulness & fear, it can find its way home through the opposite of these two: mindfulness & trust. In its innermost heart, the Ego never fully forgets the Self – the puppeteer – but its memory is dulled, as in sleep. The Ego can be aroused from that sleep and return home to the Self – becoming ‘I myself’ again, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
    It is important to remember that the Ego is not a third entity in addition to the I and the Self. The Ego always remains the I, but it is an I all shriveled up, because it lacks the expansive awareness of the Self that unites it with every other I.”   
David Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023. EXCELLENT, PROFOUND & PRACTICAL!

    Iain McGilchrist's 2021 two-volume book, "The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World" covers in masterful detail, how we deal with reality in two very different, complementary ways: left-hemispheric dominance (essentially serving the "Ego") and right-hemispheric dominance, with an appropriately subordinate supportive role for the left hemisphere, (essentially serving the "Self").

    “I found out from robots the most crucial rule of all for living. Human minds are constantly being thrown off the track by complications. The picture is rarely clear. We are told everything has buddhanature (Divine Nature), and we try to act accordingly. But then we discover that someone we know has done something perfectly execrable (dreadful, appalling), and we begin to doubt. ‘How,’ we ask ourselves, ‘could anybody who would do an evil thing like that have the Buddha (Divine) inside him?’ We feel that our trust has been betrayed, and we resent the person even more.
    But robots are simpler than people. So are mountains and rivers and plants and animals and insects. Suppose these less complicated creatures begin to cause us difficulty. In that case, we have no trouble seeing that the fundamental cause is our failure to function in accordance with the principles of the universe. The machines, the mountains, the rivers, the plants, the animals, the insects all tell us that we, filled from head to toe with the buddhanature
(Divine Nature), have nevertheless not succeeded in being what we ought to be.
    When we forget to respect the buddhanature in the wind and the water, typhoons and floods inform us of our lapse and show us in no uncertain terms how we have not lived up to the buddhanature within ourselves. When we forget the buddhanature in automobiles and other machines we have created, a warning comes to us in the form of accidents or pollution. Everything in the universe constantly tells us that the way to perfect our buddhanature is to respect the buddhanature in other things & people.”
    Masahiro Mori. “Does a Robot Have Buddhanature? A Leading Figure in the Field of Robotics Investigates.” Tricycle March 21, 2023.

    All that we behold is full of blessings.” William Wordsworth

    When we sit and meditate, the Ego does its best to retain control by chattering on, the same circular "story of me" we endure day in and day out
.
    Mercifully
by relaxing, remaining still, and listening deeply to the silence, we periodically return home, disappearing in Mystery. Each time we return with a mind-heart a little bit more open & wiser.

"Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan


 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Not One, Not Two

Faces and Vase

     Neil Theise: “When I think of the word ‘enlightenment,’ or ‘kensho’ in Japanese Zen, or ‘awakening experience,’ to me it's not so much about what you discover, but it’s that you have that moment when you see the two faces and then suddenly you see the vase.
    Someone asked me, in a yoga group when I was giving this talk, ‘What’s enlightenment like?’ – like I know (laughing). I had used a video of a murmuration of starlings (see below). And if you’ve ever actually been present for starlings, you may first just hear this sound coming from up there, and you look up and there’s this thing in the sky and then there’s this moment you realize, ‘Oh no, it’s starlings.’ It’s an extraordinary moment! There’s a joy to it and an excitement to it. That to me is an enlightenment experience
.
    You saw reality one way (face / black cloud), you saw it another way (vase / starlings). The most extraordinary enlightenment experiences are, when you see the world of everyday reality, samsara, and then suddenly you see its non-dual pure awareness aspect (ultimate reality), and they aren’t two. It’s just, do you see it this way (face /
everyday reality), or do you see it this way (vase / ultimate reality)? I think in Zen practice, in Buddhist practice, the question, the aim, how do you alleviate suffering, is learning to flexibly move between these 2 views. We’re separate. I hurt. I’m alone (face / everyday reality). We are seamlessly one whole thing within which everything is just as it should be (vase / ultimate reality). I’m separate. I’m alone. I hurt (face / everyday reality).

    Rick Archer: “And my sense is that … it’s not strictly 'either or.' So as you go along, it becomes more & more blended, 'both and.' And that it may be that, like my video camera right now, I’m in focus and the background is a little bit fuzzy, but then the camera could be adjusted so that I’m a little bit fuzzy and the background is clear. And I think that’s the way it works. As one goes along, eventually there’s always this continuum of pure awareness or self-realization or whatever you want to call it, in the midst of whatever else that's going on.”

    
Neil Theise: “Right. And you’re just able to do it that much more flexibly & freely. You know, the freedom, when people talk about in Zen terms ... People talk about the freedom of a Zen master, of a Zen adept. The freedom is the freedom to move back & forth (face, vase, back & forth) with ease.”

   
Rick Archer: “And again, to have both there all the time. And sometimes the fact that it’s there might not be obvious. Always there might not be obvious. If you could sort of say that pure awareness is like a tone, the tone is always going, after a while you wouldn’t be paying so much attention to it, you’d be doing this or that, but any time you want to check, oh yeah, the tone is still there.
    And so, you know, like in my experience, like sometimes if I injure myself, like I fall off my bicycle or something like that. The contrast of that experience makes it, vividly evident that there’s something that’s not affected by that and that something is always there and it just, you don’t have to pay attention to it as 'a thing,' because it isn’t one, but it’s just this, like the screen of a movie – they always use that analogy. The screen is always there no matter what movie is playing on it. But awakening is more like a state where you actually see the screen AND watch the movie at the same time. The movie no longer overshadows the screen.”

    
Neil Theise: “And not get caught by either. ‘Oh this isn’t real. I’m not going to react emotionally what’s going on because I know it’s just light on a screen. But on the other hand, ‘Oh my God, what a story!’

   Rick Archer: “You want to enjoy the movie - you paid for it. That’s the task, right?”
    Neil Theise interviewed by Rick Archer: https://batgap.com/neil-theise/

 

    "Enjoy the problem you're trying to solve!" Wise advice I heard on TV.

    “We are all faced with a series of great opportunitiesbrilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” John W. Gardner

    "Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough." George Washington Carver

    "You learn about a thing ... by opening yourself wholeheartedly to it. You learn about a thing by loving it."
Barbara McClintock - Nobel prize-winning geneticist

 

    David Steindl-Rast PhD (psychology) is a highly- & widely-respected Benedictine monk, 97 years young when he wrote this, his most recent book. As one expects from mystics, Steindl-Rast's book beautifully resonates with Neil Theise & Rick Archer's discussion above:

    "I have been privileged to meet people whose I seemed completely translucent, letting the Self shine through. In their presence, it becomes easier for me to be myself. At such moments, I’m aware of being a unique expression in space and time of the one great Self. Different traditions call the Self under this aspect by different names. For the Native American Pima people it is I’itoi; for Hindus, Atman; for Buddhists, Buddha Nature. Christians call it the Christ within us. St. Paul points to this when he writes, ‘I live, yet not I, Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). To become ever more transparent for the Self in this sense is the great task of ‘becoming who we truly are.’

    That task involves ‘playing my role in life well,’ …

    There is only one Self. To forget this fact amounts to forgetting that it is ultimately the Self that – through its countless manifestationsplays all the roles on the world stage. When I forget that, I become like the actor so lost in my role that, in the end, I can no longer distinguish myself from my role. To the extent to which this happens, my I loses awareness of the Self and, by doing so, becomes an Ego.
    Ego is simply the Latin word for ‘I,’ but we’ll be using it with a negative connotation because we need a word for the I when it loses – partly or completely – awareness of the Self. The more the I forgets the Self that makes it one with all others, the more it feels isolated and becomes the Ego.”

    David Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023.

 

    Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts.” David Whyte, poet & philosopher

    True adulthood … is a difficult beauty, an intensely hard-won glory, which commercial forces & cultural vapidity should not be permitted to deprive you of.”
Toni Morrison 


    “There are only two ways to live your life.
     One is as though nothing is a miracle.
     The other is as though
     everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein


    Michael Singer does an amazing job of illustrating how everything is miraculously amazing even with the restricted vision of materialist science: Michael A. Singer “Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament” Sounds True, 2022.


    “The important thing is not to think much, but to love much, and so to do what best awakens us to love.”
Saint Teresa of Ávila

    "... one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
Ram Dass

 

    We are called “to serve not our limitations but what’s whole & unbreakable, our true self. It’s easy to identify with all the places we’ve been hurt & abandoned, but can we identify with the timeless wholeness that weathers every condition? If we can’t, we may spend this life protecting ourselves and never risk really living.” Bonnie Myotai Treace

 

"A murmuration of starlings"


 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Waking up to Being Alive

    Bold title! IF one is more inclined toward the academic / knowledge than deep understanding / direct experience, then one's meditation practice may never start or will tend to gradually diminish! Along with that, the richness of one's life may peak at "ordinary unhappiness."
    This
is true EVEN IF one's past includes a long track record of serious meditation practice, including many longish silent meditation retreats, many years of teaching meditation, and great earnestness in seeking ultimate Truth!
    All
this is to emphasize the PIVOTAL, PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE of REGULAR WISE MEDITATION PRACTICE. You CANNOT replace PRACTICE with anything else - any amount of reading, thinking, conversation, teaching or writing, any more than you can replace actually skiing by reading, thinking, talking, teaching or writing about it!

    Below is the full transcript of Eckhart Tolle's SUPERB MEDITATION GUIDANCE - savor it slowly & please PRACTICE this rare gift

    “Meditation is really all about becoming still, without going to sleep. It’s not so much about becoming still, but being still. Becoming would imply that you have to go somewhere or do something. Being is already here & now.

    And in a sane life, a conscious life, a harmonious life, there needs to be a balance between becoming and being
.
    Becoming is doing things, getting things done and so on in this world, dealing with things, creating things, achieving things. And being is about awareness of the present moment, which after all is all you ever have. Whatever you achieve through becoming in the future eventually turns into the present moment.

    So as I speak to you, the meditation, if we even want to call it that, it’s perhaps best to forget about the word, as I speak, be aware of the silence or the stillness between the words. Being aware means just notice that it’s there. It’s very simple
.
    So you notice that in addition to the words, there’s another dimension that is easily overlooked, and that’s the dimension of stillness, which we could also call space or spaciousness. So when you notice that there are two, so to speak, two dimensions here, the dimension of words which you hear and which then become thoughts in your head, and the dimension of no-thing, spaciousness
.
    And so you just notice, that’s all that’s required, that there is that dimension also present. So you notice it in between words, and even behind the words, so to speak
.
    Now when you notice it, what happens inside you? What does it mean to notice the stillness, to be aware of the stillness? (Sense / feel it, without words.)

    It means you have become still inside. It means you’re conscious, but at this moment, you’re not thinking, but you’re alert, present, completely here, but not thinking. So that’s the realization of the dimension of depths within you. 

    And without that realization, your entire life is a surface phenomenon. You run around on the surface of being, never satisfied for long, frustrated, almost aways feeling there’s something important missing in your life. And of course, there is. But you can’t find it on the surface of your life – the horizontal dimension, looking here & there. You have to, not become still, but realize that that dimension of stillness is already in you. And another word to describe it is to say it’s this alert presence that you can sense right now.

    And you may find the mind wanting to come in, from time to time, and say something about it, or even deny it, or say, ‘I don’t understand it,’ or say, ‘What’s the point? I have other problems to worry about. I’ll become still when I have solved all the other problems.’ 

    But why most people experience life as a succession of problems, and ultimately a frustrating experience, is because they haven’t discovered that dimension – the most vital thing or no-thing to discover within yourself. That stillness is also power. It's the Source, not only of yourself, it is the Source of life. And nothing creative can ever come into your life if you’re not connected with that.

    Whenever you feel joy - for moments perhaps - in your daily life, or a moment of loving interaction with another human being or an animal, or when you suddenly see beauty somewhere and you go, ‘Oh!’, now without you necessarily being aware of it, there has arisen a moment of stillness in you, if only three seconds, or perhaps a bit more. And it’s only there that the joy of life arises, or the ability to really connect with another human being.

    Without it, without the stillness, you have only your conceptual mind – thinking, thinking, thinking – and you relate to the world through the conceptual mindjudging, thinking, judging, interpreting continuously, the inner self-talk, the monologue, which may become a dialogue in your head. ‘You’re no good!’ says one voice. The other one says, ‘But I’m trying, I’m trying,’ whatever the voice in your head is doing. And then you try to relate to another human being through that. And before long, concepts come in, judgments come in. So there’s always a sense of insufficiency, of lack, of not enough. There’s always conflict arising when the dimension of stillness is not operating in your life at all, or only very briefly. Yes, it’s good if you can occasionally experience joy and a sense of aliveness and see beauty and a loving feeling towards another human being, not egoic (transactional) love, but goodwill flowing out (spontaneously) towards another human being (ie unconditional love). Yes, it’s wonderful, but if it’s only for brief moments, then yes, at least that keeps you going. But it could be much deeper. It could operate in your life continuously, so that you never lose touch with it.

    But the first step is realizing that it’s there always. It’s already here
.
    In
the little book, ‘Stillness Speaks’ I wrote, ‘You are never more truly yourself than when you are still.’
    And
you might think that’s a strange statement. Most people when they talk about ‘myself,’ talk about their personal history, and their personal problems, and their life situation. When they talk about ‘myself,’ that’s what they refer to. They refer to my relationships, my work situation, my financial situation, my home situation, my health, me and my life. And of course, all that is the case. But, is that who you really are?

    "Awakening to Stillness: Eckhart Tolle's Path to Conscious Living - Guided Meditation" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjMeG6K9Fdw

    Another excellent way of feeling or sensing into, directly experiencing true Self beyond our worn-out words (narrative-self - "the story of me, myself & I," hurt child, small separate self, personal self, noisy ego, etc) is Helen Hamilton's 30-minute guided Self-Inquiry exercise: https://www.helenhamilton.org/uploads/4/0/0/9/4009977/an_introduction_to_self-inquiry.mp3 

 

 "Awakening to Stillness: Eckhart Tolle's Path to Conscious Living - Guided Meditation"