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Archive for August, 2010

Amidst my loss of equilibrium earlier this week, I opened Tantric Quest at random.  I came to a place where Devi was describing how nothing can be rejected in Tantra, how we have too many half-fullfilled desires, too many half-accomplished actions due to all the cultural hazings and moral restrictions posed upon us.  That to create an asceticism that nurtures some kind of ‘purity’ born of all those concepts would be to kill the spirit. 

In the same section she also described how the “distractions” and “disturbances” that arise during our meditation can be incorporated into the process instead of trying to cultivate them out.  That in fact, they nourish the calm even further, the way the clouds nourish the clear sky or the shooting stars nourish the night time.  (I apologize, I cannot quote directly as I lent my book last night, I will later make an addendum)

She also mentioned the heart meditation, observing the breath passing through the heart chakra.  So I returned to this meditation, simply watching my breath go by, as I centered myself at my heart, like the wind blowing across my face in a train station as the train goes by.  In a little while, I started feeling equanimity again, relaxed and alert.  And the heart’s equanimity truly rejects nothing, makes no distinctions.  It is all bliss.

The practical effect yesterday was this:  I drove to a party last night with a friend.  It was a nice motorbiking day across our tropical island to a country club in Taipei.  It was nice to have a partner to ride with as well, someone to share the experiences, the beautiful places we passed, the wind, the sun, the rain.

But the rain started really coming down after awhile.  And riding a motorcyle this is hard to deal with, almost impossible in a gale.  My helmet doesn’t have a visor, so I could barely see at times.  Yet I continued doing the heart meditation, and I started noticing what choices I was making.  I noticed a very solid, powerful choice. 

Though I considered trying to stop and abandon my scooter for a cab and then find it again later, though I found the squinting against the driving rain difficult, I still noticed that my heart was making a choice for solidity.  Any of these paths would have been okay (continuing driving, taking public transportation, getting a cab).  In the past, I might have “pressed forward” with an attitude of one foot in front of the other, or some other ego need to make things go a certain way. 

I had enough equanimity to not be worried what happened or what I choce to do, yet enough clarity to know I would get there and get home just fine.

The Kung fu of this was very powerful.  Again, my vision was incredibly limited, yet I was able to drive perfectly well, and very safe, even following a bus across Taipei to get to the party (which is hard because the bus can make left turns at intersections, but I had to go to the right, then wait for the light to change, then catch up again).  And the ride back, somehow the stinging rain in my face on the freeway was irrelevent, pleasant even as we flew down the coastal road.  As for my limited vision, it just allowed me to tune into the what I could see and feel and go forward with alertness and calm.

I drove in these conditions for a total of three hours or so, aware of absolute calm and certainty inside myself the whole time.  The entire experience was of the type of Kung Fu that would allow me to lead expeditions across jungles.  I also realized it would keep me alive in a battle, or help me make the right decisions in a very tight situation.  It was a beautiful choice, not made from the mind, but made through the equanimity of my heart.  A very powerful kind of freedom.

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So, I’ve carried that knowledge that I don’t even exist.  And the experience of it, even for a short time, stays with me…  My week has been so strange.

Firstly, I was left asking myself, “how far am I willing to go with this?”  I mean, this felt beyond “removing layers of bullshit and seeing myself” this felt, as I said, “there is NO ONE THERE.”  At the time I wasn’t bothered (for who would have been bothered?), but a day later, two days later, even by the time I posted my last entry, I was asking myself, reevaluating my willingness.  Simultaneously realizing that I couldn’t simply turn my back on truth, and desperately attempting to bullwark my concepts in defense of such a looming truth (and laughing at my doing so).

It’s been a rough week…

Ultimately, I’ll continue the self-enquiry.  The bullwarks of concepts and ego-defense will prove as gossamer and insubstantial as anything else in my “personality.”

And why would I stop?  Who would be making the decision to stop?  Seeing the truth also reveals the inevitability of it.  Truth is Truth and stands on its own.

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Jellyfish

In Tantirc Quest, Devi describes part of meditation saying that your abdomen is to be as supple as a jellyfish, your head a second jellyfish.  Rolfing had helped me get the belly as supple as a jellyfish feeling sometimes.

However, in doing the self-enquiry, I’ve started getting my head to be the same way.  I notice that as I let go of attachments, say to feelings or people or things.  I mean, attachments to feeling upset about something, tired about something, even confused about something or liking a thing, or thinking a lot about a thing… really almost anything can be one of the ones that makes a tension in my skull or face.  My head relaxes.  Places actually let go in that way.  My head starts to feel supple as a jellyfish.

The key to all this seems to be in the relationship between concepts and tensions in the body.  The more concepts I let go of, the more my body just relaxes.  I remember doing this in a crude way years ago.  I had learned the Buddhist Koan “if we chop of your hand, are you still you?”  And I would do a yoga stretch and ask myself the question, but the way it made sense to me then was, “if you had a different best friend as a child, would you still be you?  If you didn’t like your favorite food would you still be you?  If you disliked your favorite music would you still be you?  If you didn’t feel loyalty to your friends or family would you still be you?”  I would notice where I’d have a resistance and work to let go of it and lo and behold, I would stretch further, as more muscles would relax when I’d let go of these “oh-so-important” aspects of myself.

Last weekend, I had a glimpse of the thinner-than-a-spiderweb structure that constitutes my entire sense of ‘self.’  I can’t explain it other than to say I was doing self enquiry, and doing it ruthlessly, and I seemed to turn at 90 degree angles to everything.  I couldn’t find any sense of self at all.  It wasn’t an experience of vastness or open foreverness….  it was an experience of NOTHING….  and it continued on and on like that for awhile.  I was still doing stuff, but time could have been microseconds, or not even time.  Like I was in the crack between everything and nothing existed at all.  I truly got the phrase “there is no one to become enlightened.”

All this self-enquiry is changing my experience of life.  I continually bring more and more of that light into my life.  The experience is tangible enough to color my whole life just because I HAVE to acknowledge what I am seeing, what I am noticing.  And it is changng everything now.  I’m pretty sure that a lot of the experiences I’m having now or will continue to have for a little while are just carryovers from habits I’ve cultivated for decades, or effects of specific actions.  My feeling is to continue on my way, let the good come with the bad, and just let it all go.  What can I really hang onto?

And I’m curious what continues.  Ramana Maharishi described some sense of his actual being, though many enlightenment poems I’ve read from Buddhists to Jed McKenna suggest that there is nothing at all at our core.  I cannot say at this point.  But it looks as if there’s no one experiencing the nothingness….  it’s just NOTHING.  like even the structures of experience and observation are little gossamer webs that melt away until …  there isn’t anyone having an experience.

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