Thursday, November 27, 2008


Much confusion can arise around acceptance.

What is acceptance?

In the mind, we have an idea of what this means. We think of acceptance as something we have to do in the face of difficulty - a kind of grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it approach. This is so difficult to do when what is actually happening inside us, is this storm of resistance. Perhaps we are facing a difficult challenge and we have run out of options to address it. The thoughts running through the mind are taking the form of: This should not be happening. This is wrong and bad. Then we remember this spiritual advice of acceptance. To some it sounds beautiful and noble, but it also seems impossible to achieve! So we pretend to accept. To others it sounds like a good idea since nothing else is working, but it still seems very difficult to actually do!

Or perhaps we are living with someone who is being difficult, and we have learned through tough experience that we cannot change her. So we try to accept this person, either because it is the only option left to us, or because we want to be noble and try to feel good and loving toward this difficult person. It works for a while, but then the facade cracks, as all facades eventually do. And it feels so painful. Even when it works, it is such a burden to keep this kind of acceptance going. Right?

Is any of this familiar so far?

So is this the acceptance that is being pointed to?

Is acceptance something we have to struggle to do?

A friend of mine recently wrote this to me: Acceptance which seems so important and necessary and even noble to the mind is just a mound of dirt and rubble, heavy and lifeless, compared to choiceless awareness.

Acceptance is not something to do. Acceptance is choiceless awareness. It happens and it is happening all the time. We can just tune into it. It is much simpler than we think and it is abundantly available. There is already something here that accepts everything just as it is. It is the same something that allows everything to happen! What prevents us from tuning into it is the belief that this moment should be different. And if there is anything at all to do, then it is this: see this belief in operation. Only see it. See that this belief has formed in the mind. We did not make this belief, nor choose to have it installed. It is there quite innocently. See this. That really is all.

This acceptance is not passive, as mind fears. This acceptance does not freeze us into inaction. Look around you. Is life going on? This acceptance that is already here does not halt the flow of life. This acceptance is powerful and real and present. It is the source of all action.

Discover this for yourself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't believe the mind and don't reject it

A wise teacher said, Don't believe the mind and don't reject it either.

Sometimes, as seekers, we take the first part of that teaching to heart, but not the second part. Right?

Infact, the two parts can seem downright contradictory. If we don't believe the mind, then it seems like we must automatically ignore it. True. And the key word is automatically. This is the conditioned response of the mind. We are conditioned to have an either-or response. So if we embrace one pole, then it stands to reason and experience that we cannot embrace the opposite pole. But is that really true?

As we travel on the so-called spiritual path, many of our beliefs actually start to shed and drop away. And most seekers develop a growing and quite healthy inability to believe mind's endless thoughts. :-) But frustration can set in even in the midst of this growing clarity. The frustration can be that thoughts don't stop or that we feel stuck in the mind despite so much having fallen away.

This is where the second part of the teaching can come in handy. Don't reject the mind. Don't resist the mind. For we know that what we resist, persists. And then we feel stuck in the same rut of thoughts and beliefs. So if you feel frustrated, see if there is something of a rejecting attitude towards mind, and towards the thoughts and beliefs. It may be subtle, but even the most subtle rejection can potently reinforce mind.

Perhaps part of the difficulty is that mind keeps posing arguments that sustain it's either-or nature. So it insists that what is not believed must be rejected. Sometimes the seeker buys into this insistence and a certain hardness can develop. All this can be happening very subtly. If this rings a bell for you, tune into it. And expose it to the light of the question: Is it really true? Is it really true that if I don't believe mind, then I must reject it?

You may make surprising discoveries! :-)

Perhaps I can offer an analogy for the mind to consider.

Imagine that you are with an innocent young child. And this beloved child is telling you about the fairies and elves in the garden, or the the monsters under her bed. Would you believe her stories? No, but would you reject them? Isn't there that gentle place within us that can listen to the story, take delight in it and give it loving attention, without believing it? Go there.

This is the quiet ease with what is. This is the resting in the groundless ground. Discover yourself here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What am I really seeking? - Part 1

Bear with me here while I pose some funny questions.

Imagine that the ultimate truth itself came to you dressed up as God and said: I am here to confer a boon on you. You can have whatever you want, if and only if you can clearly tell me what you want.

What would your answer be?

Further, imagine that it is made very clear to you that this offer is open for all time. In other words, there is no expiry on this offer. :-) So no need to rush and no need to sweat.

What would your answer be?

Ask yourself: What am I really seeking? What do I really want?

Stick with this one question. Get curious about it. Discover what arises.

This is a key question. It can laser-focus your attention to that which matters for you.

Feel free to write in and share.

I will return to this in future posts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What is grace?

The seeker asks 'What is grace?'

After a lifetime of living in the mind, of worrying about himself and his worth, of feeling unfulfilled or stressed or unhappy or all of those, the seeker cannot be unfamiliar with the enormous power of mind to keep him in the trance. The seeker cannot be unfamiliar with thought's prolific ability to procreate! - One thought leading to another to another and to yet another, seamlessly and unceasingly.

Given this incessant nature of mind, what's to stop us from being enmeshed in its entrails forever?

Isn't that something to stop and consider?

What made the seeker a seeker? What put him on the journey to look beyond mind's babble? What put him on the journey to know his own truth? After all, he could have remained as he had for so long, - taking mind to be his full reality.

Whatever it is that does this - it births the seeker. It puts a spoke in the wheel of mind. It may start with a small spoke, but it knows what it is doing. For even the smallest spoke must start to affect the turning of the wheel, in it's own time.

So what is it? - This quiet, self-assured, powerful, loving force that can quiet mind? That, - dear seeker, - would be grace, - Is it not?

Grace births the seeker. Grace pulls the seeker back, again and again from the trance of mind. Grace finds the teacher, whether internal or external. Grace puts the seeker in the way of the teaching. And grace delivers the seeker into truth.

It is all grace. And deep, deep, deep gratitude is the response. Also from grace.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who is enlightened? - Part 2

So what is already enlightened?

What already has no argument with reality?

When we sit with this question and let it sink deep within us, we may first notice the resounding silence. The mind may launch an argument right away, wanting an answer to the vexing question. We don't have to settle for mind's prattle. We can notice the silence in the background, and see how the silence holds mind's argument. We can notice that the silence is aware of mind's argument, and yet offers no counter-argument of its own. We can notice this everpresent silent awareness. Is there a moment when this is not?

Arguments start and stop; noise starts and stops, objects in the mind appear and then disappear. Where do they go? Where did they arise? What is present before they arise and after they go? Everything appears in the everpresent silent awareness and returns to it.

And what is the everything that arises within awareness? Can it be anything other than awareness taking shape as something? Can it be 'made of some other substance'? Can a wave be anything other than water in different shapes? But this is not something to be deduced in the mind. See this for yourself. Get to the root of everything that pretends to be other than awareness. Get to the root of every argument with reality.

If I take myself to be this body-mind, then clearly I was born at some time and I must die at some time. What did I come from and where do I go? Notice mind's insistence on this identification with the body-mind. Alas, even the mind is not happy with this identification. If it were happy with it, then you would not be reading this post, right? :-) So notice that mind believes what it does because it does not know any better. But something inside us remains unfulfilled by mind's reasoning. That is the doorway. Go there if you can. Simply occupy that unease with a curiosity to find out what it really is. Don't be afraid of it - it is grace waiting to be received.

This everpresent silent awareness has no argument with reality. It is already enlightened and it is everything. And this means it is I. The I that you are is already enlightened. And all the feelings of unenlightenment are only enlightened awareness in different shapes - free to play in complete freedom - so free that there is nothing to lose even in feeling unenlightened.

For this here is forever enlightened, beyond feeling and thought. And from this enlightenment it plays a darned good game of virtual reality, so real that it fools itself quite successfully - a remarkable feat in itself. And this miraculous self-delusion is seen through and a belly-laugh arises from deep within.

So in summary,

I notice the everpresent silent awareness, that is present before all thoughts and arguments and after them. I see that that which appears and disappears within the everpresent silent awareness is nothing but awareness itself in different forms. I see that this body-mind too appears in the everpresent silent awareness. I see that I am the everpresent silent awareness. Nothing that this body-mind does can be other than the everpresent silent awareness. And it is from this seeing, and from this freedom that I can drop the argument with reality.

The wave knows itself to be water and from this knowing it is free to be a tsunami or a lapping beach wave. From this knowing it is free to be powerful and to be overpowered as the case may be. From this knowing it can advance or retreat as it may happen. This is water living as the wave. This is enlightenment living as you and I.