Contemplations (2005) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2005) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2005)

Collected contemplations from 2005 by Jarek Czechowicz


  • The Nature of Our Illusion
  • Experience, Symbols and Silence
  • North Pole - South Pole
  • No Thinking, No Problem
  • DisAbility & Spirituality
  • Social Change and Spiritual Justice
  • Space, Time and Silence
  • Metta Sutta
  • Wonder
  • Loving Yourself
  • Welcome To You
  • Direct Knowing
  • Tsunami and Tragedy

The Nature of Our Illusion

The nature of our illusion is that we take our thinking much too seriously. Thinking is something that we experience, just as we experience our body aging or the changing scenery of the universe around us. As our attention attaches to any particular thoughts they manifest to some degree in imagination, words or actions, as part of an ever changing and unfolding reality.

In the 1960s American philosopher Alan Watts entertained audiences with the idea that the earth produces people in the same way that an apple tree produces apples. In like manner the mind produces thoughts. The funny thing is that we tend to think that 'we' think our thoughts. And if that doesn't make you smile then you might be taking your thinking too seriously. That's not to suggest that thinking is bad, nor that you shouldn't experience skilful thinking.

We take our thinking so seriously because 'we think' that we don't want to lose anything - at least not anything that we like or love. Yet experience constantly demonstrates that we lose things - in fact everything, yet in Truth we lose nothing. Countless thoughts have arisen and disappeared and yet we still choose to believe that they belong to the transient individual we call 'me' - 'I' indivisible, yet somehow separate, from the whole.

How do you create a thought? How do you know it's yours? You might say: "I know it's mine because no one else can observe it directly". Well you can't observe your own face directly. Does that mean that your face belongs to whomever can observe it directly?

You don't create your thoughts. You like to think they're yours - particularly if they're pleasant - because you experience them and you want to retain the pleasure of that experience. But what about all the unpleasant thoughts that you would prefer not to experience? If you think they are yours then you probably believe that you have lots of problems.

If you know that thoughts are not your creations then you can simply attend to the best available thought or action until prevailing conditions change, just as you might dress suitably when you observe changes in the weather. The best available action might mean applying your skills, 'going with the flow', enjoying the comfort of friends, seeking professional advice or taking medication.

One might ask: "But if I don't create the thoughts then who is it that attends to the best possible thought or action?". This is something you can disciver in meditation by resting attention on any paradox that discursive thinking provides. Paradox is a doorway through which conceptual thinking cannot pass but through which Truth can freely enter.

Thought - which in this context includes feelings - can be overwhelming at times. Even a small insight into it's nature can help free you of many burdens and help you to experience your inner peace sooner rather than later.

If you expect to sit still in meditation, or contemplation, or prayer, to master the mind by controlling or stopping all thoughts, then you could experience a lot of anxiety and other psychological suffering. Meditation and expanding awareness is not about being controlling or being in conflict within yourself. It simply IS being. It simply is BEING - observing the experience, the giving, and the accepting - even in the midst of complex activity.

In the Bhagavad Gita 3.4 - 3.5 Krishna states: "A man does not attain freedom from action by refraining from action. ... For not even a moment can a man be without action. All are helplessly driven by the forces of Nature". The forces of Nature include thought. Thought is natural. So sit still when you sit still and move when you move, in either situation rest your awareness in selfless contemplation.

Selfishness manifests with the illusion that things - including thoughts - can be yours, or should not be yours. There is no selfishness when there is no 'serious' identification with passing thoughts. Consequently any resulting actions are inspired, spontaneous, appropriate and compassionate through their genuine selflessness.

In light of this, if you believe that you have 'free will' then you should at least use it to be happy and to attend to some good thoughts and activities - or simply surrender to the Biblical wisdom of 'Thy Will Be Done'.

A wise person once said, "To know God you must lead a selfless life."

"But what if at the end of it all I find that there is no God?" asked another.

"Well, then you've led a 'selfless' life for nothing."

December 2005

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Experience, Symbols and Silence


At any moment an infinite number of events are manifesting and flowing before our awareness - and they demand our attention. In response we give our attention, usually unwittingly and according to our desires, intentions and attitudes. This interplay of manifestation, attention and desires defines the reality that we experience in our mind.

We have developed the mental habit of understanding our experience as occurring in a linear fashion, as though each event had a clear cause and a clear effect. As though we were flowing through the events rather than they flowing though us. But we also have the natural capacity to experience the very same events more deeply, as part of an unending undivided flux of consciousness.

The ocean and it's waves serve as a useful metaphor. A single wave on the ocean can be photographed, recorded and understood as an abstraction but it is far more meaningful to experience it as part of the ocean. When we think about a wave through the use of words or symbols we are not experiencing the wave, we are experiencing our own thinking about the wave.

The process of understanding things as we do reveals to us the nature of our mind, yet our ignorance prevents us from knowing this. We think we are having insights into the nature of the wave, or whatever else we might be investigating.

To come closer to the experience of the thing or the event we need to approach its source. We begin by letting go of pointers such as words, symbols, verses, explanations, descriptions and theories.

The real experience of all things is in silent awareness.

The real experience of all things is in silent awareness. In silent awareness we come to know that our mind, body, ideas and prayers are inseparable parts of the arising and subsiding waves of creation. All of it is the prayer, the mantra and the song arising in a pure field of awareness.

November 2005

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North Pole - South Pole


A spiritual seeker found herself wandering around the South Pole. She didn't know where she was but had heard that she would become enlightened once she arrived at the North Pole.

Fortunately the weather was fine and there were a number of spiritual teachers at the South Pole at the time. And they had all been to the North pole.

She went to each teacher asking for directions to the North Pole. Each raised their right arm parallel to the ground but each pointed in a different direction.

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No Thinking, No Problem


The thought of 'not thinking' might seem very strange to some people. Yet everyone experiences 'not thinking' at various times, though they may not be aware of it. When the state of 'not thinking' arises together with an awareness of that condition then a sense of deep inner peace emerges.

Most people recognise that they have experienced an unconscious state of 'no thought' after dreamless sleep. Many long to return to it every morning not long after they wake up. The pitfall is that it is an unconscious state.

Entering a state of 'no thought' while awake and active strikes a note of concern, or even fear in people who think compulsively. This is because they equate lack of thought with being out of control. For them, incessant thought can give the illusion of having a measure of power. And so they seek through thinking a condition that thinking cannot provide.

Both pleasure and pain can cause a temporary detachment from thought. In some cases pain can cause a significant shift toward awakening consciousness. Unfortunately pleasure is deceptively misleading and can easily bring deeper unconsciousness.

A state of higher consciousness is marked by a reduction of incessant analytical thought, a lack of worry, a freedom from frustration and anger, and a sense of ease and flow. One still interacts with daily life as it unfolds but one is less likely to get caught up in its snags.

Being fully absorbed in an inspired activity, or in one that requires great focus, can also lead to a temporary state of 'no thought'. Unlike dreamless sleep, impressions are made in the mind during these states but awareness shifts away from the habitual engagement of ongoing thoughts.

Obstacles to achieving 'no thought' arise with the belief that the condition has to be understood intellectually. An attachment to an intellectual outcome prevents the state from arising because the belief, and the resulting desire to understand, generates more thinking.

If one is inspired by thinking itself, then a point of 'no thought' can be reached through the observance of thought as it arises and subsides. This cannot be achieved through a linear rational thought pattern or 'thinking technique' but rather through noticing the nature of thought, noticing the transition from one thought to another, or noticing the way that arising thoughts seek and get attention.

An insight through inspired thinking gives the impression that thought is somehow external and objective to an internal and equanimous observer. This initial detachment from thought is what gives rise to the idea of stilling the mind. There is a sense of stillness even though thought continues on as usual. The sense of stillness indicates that one is becoming free of thought. An increased sense of contented peace always accompanies a positive detachment from thinking.

It is not a matter of controlling the mind through will power. Rather it is a disentanglement from attachments to pointless and unproductive thinking. This is accomplished through a peaceful and patient inner acceptance of whatever arises.

Seeking to control thoughts with will power is like trying to beat the waves of the ocean into stillness. It just creates more agitation. The key is to compassionately and patiently ignore unproductive thoughts while gently retuning the attention to inner peace, or at least to more productive thoughts.

Thinking prevents the arising of the peaceful inner condition that is sought through thinking. Achieving inner peace through compulsive thinking is like looking for light in a dark place that has no access to light. The best course of action is to leave the dark place and enter the light. In spiritual terms this is done through surrender, acceptance, love, compassion, and being fully present in the moment.

Sustained absence of thought is rare. Yet every time it is experienced with awareness one learns to rise above the waves of thought. The practical result is that unproductive thinking is replaced with inspired thinking and unconsciousness is replaced by an awakening awareness.

October 2005

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DisAbility & Spirituality


Much of modern society is based on ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’; on willful action rather than inspired action. Because of that, our ideas of ability and disability represent a quite limited view. A mature society that understands itself from a spiritual perspective will not think in terms of disabled; it will enjoy the unlimited resources of all ‘enabled’ people.

Society’s perceptions of disability grow out of our shared goals and values. When the value system is based on ‘doing’, people come to expect that they will be gratified through an ideal set of actions. Action apparently promises relief from feeling undervalued, unimportant and inadequate—and any other number of negative conditions.

Action is obviously a part of everyday life, but society, which has surpassed itself in the field of action, now finds itself in a phase of diminishing returns. Conflict, stress, and overwhelming fears of loss and failure are outweighing the simple joys of living.

Some spiritual humourists have observed that we might be better described as a society of ‘human doings’ because our lives, thoughts and conversations tend to revolve around willful action. There is a constant struggle to maintain, improve or escape current conditions, and a desire to experience some ideal condition that promises instant gratification.

Unfortunately instant gratification doesn’t mean that you get lasting gratification instantly, it means that gratification only lasts for an instant, just long enough to keep you dissatisfied. If it was otherwise then it would be called ‘permanent gratification’.

In willful action your attention is constantly looking to the future with expectation. This creates an inner friction between an imperfect present condition, and an imaginary but highly desirable future condition; whereas in simply ‘being’, your awareness rests in the present moment and responds to arising circumstances without inner friction, or at least with less friction.

When our measure of value is based in ‘being’, then a more permanent gratification manifests through a sense of inner peace. Many burdens drop away, and mental knots unravel, of their own accord. This is not a super-human achievement; it is a natural state of being available to anyone.

Consider a wondrous landscape that inspires music or a painting. The landscape simply ‘IS’. It doesn’t intend anything. Yet its simple presence can inspire a great work of art, as can the presence of a friend.

Just as air inspires the body, just as Creation inspires life, you can inspire action without having to willfully do anything. Sometimes that inspired action is your own, at other times it manifests as the inspired action of others.


We are all faced with limitations and obstacles. For some people, numerous obstacles seem to appear at once. Whether able-bodied or disabled the thing that bears down upon us is the ongoing intellectual and emotional weight that we place on our experiences.

Consider the nature of an obstacle or a disability. Obstacles only arise in relation to desire. Where there is no desire there is no obstacle. If you genuinely have no desire to do something, to control something or to own something, then no obstacle can arise.

If you are fulfilled, contented and at peace, then you do not need to do anything willfully. If, as a contented person, you choose to do something, then it becomes selfless because you don’t need or desire the outcome for yourself. Any action you take becomes a natural action that emanates from your ‘being’ rather than from your ‘doing’. Your action is inspired for the benefit of others.

Content and at peace in your ‘being’ you are at once content and at peace in your doing. You can still choose to face obstacles in order to do something for a good cause, but the obstacles are no longer seen as a heavy and negative psychological burden. Obstacles become an adventure in the service of others.


Many people think of spirituality as being an alternative to religion when in fact spirituality can complement any area of life. Spirituality provides us with a way of integrating our knowledge, our beliefs, our faith and our actions to create well-being.

Well-being reflects the integration of the various elements of the individual and of the society, including those elements that seem to oppose integration. Note that the keyword is ‘well-being’ and not ‘well-doing’. The full social integration of all people begins with a shift in perception, away from just ‘doing’ and toward just ‘being’. Just Be.

September 2005

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Social Change and Spiritual Justice


Inner peace, or at least a spiritual dimension to life, is a prerequisite for understanding real social change. Ravi Ravindra points to this in his book 'Christ the Yogi' when he writes: "... only those who have left the world can change it."

The idea is strangely familiar to many people and has links to both mundane and scientific notions. Some pragmatists value the idea of thinking outside the square. In physics a related principle is known as Gödel's Theorem. These are based on the assumption every system has an inside and an outside.

Any system of thought or explanation of reality offers an appearance of consistency from within itself, and that system can only be changed from a metaphorical 'outside'. This outside position is perhaps more appropriately described as a shift in consciousness, an expansion of awareness or a moment of insight that moves the thinker beyond the given system.

Ravi Ravindra's statement - found in his insightful reflection on the Gospel of John - points beyond the linear and the lateral. Like all statements of its type it can hold complex meaning. More importantly it can provide a paradox, a rift in thought, and an opportunity to experience another 'world' of knowing.

One expression of inner peace is the ability to consciously leave behind all kinds of thinking, including the thinking you are now experiencing, to enter a state that reveals a higher level of order. Call it intuition or the Will of God. Call it the intelligence that governed your development since before you can remember, or for that matter, since before you could even begin to think about it.

This higher order intelligence is the perfection of the path of least resistance. All forces are applied and distributed at the right time and by the right amount to sustain creation. It is balance and justice in its very essence and not something that any individual can posses. It is the state of natural being. Faith without the need of hope. Having without the need of acquiring. Change without the need of effort. Mental opposition and resistance to this natural balance causes the appearance of conflict and psychological suffering.

Human intelligence without inner peace or a spiritual dimension is a low order intelligence, albeit quite a powerful one. It finds itself bewildered and at odds with almost everything. It tries to force things to conform to its own will and limited expectations. It becomes full of anger and pride when faced with obstacles, invariably leading it to take actions that often worsen its predicament, all the while pursuing some imaginary reward.

From the intellectual and emotional perspective everything could be so much better, everything needs to be put in balance. From the spiritual perspective everything is already better, or rather, everything is at it is. Everything IS in balance.

August 2005

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Space, Time and Silence


In time there is nothing unchanging. In space there is nothing solid. In silence there is nothing thought.

Our attention moves toward the objects that stimulate our desires, but rarely rests in that which contains those objects, namely space and time. Our attention moves away from the objects that stimulate our aversions, but rarely rests in that which contains those objects, namely space and time.

Our thoughts are constantly moving from this object of thought to that object of thought. A restless movement of arising thoughts and dissolving thoughts, arising impressions and dissolving impressions, arising sensations and dissolving sensations. Yet our attention rarely rests in that which contains these manifestations, namely silence.

We tend to assume that space, time and silence form something like an infinite container, something separate, ineffable and abstract, yet somehow substantial, and out of which thoughts and objects mysteriously appear. The tendency of the mind is to draw the attention away from this container and into its contents.

Notice the unnamable shapes. Notice the timeless moments. Notice the gaps in thought. ( You can sometimes notice these more easily when you laugh ).

When the attention moves away from the contents to rest in stillness then the container disappears, and space, time and silence permeate every object and every thought.

July 2005

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Metta Sutta



The Buddha's Hymn of Loving Kindness.

This is what the wise and skilful ones instruct to attain peace:

Be honest and humble. Speak gently and sparingly. Be content. Cultivate your inner peace.

Do not overwhelm yourself with useless and numerous tasks. Live simply. Let your manner be balanced toward all people. Be neither impudent nor groveling.

Do nothing that the wise would not do. Be joyful and undisturbed.

Wish peace for all beings, whether you perceive them to be large or small, visible or invisible, near or far, born or unborn, in high or low positions.

Deceive no one. Despise no one. Harm no one. Have no desire for the suffering of anyone.

Embrace all creation with boundless love just as a loving mother cares for her only child.

Cultivate a pure heart. Radiate loving kindness unbounded by space and unobstructed by selfishness.

Learn to be constantly mindful until you can sustain your mindfulness in all circumstances, whether walking, standing, sitting or laying down.

Free of selfish desires, free of egotistical opinions, free of distracting thoughts, free of turbulent feelings, abiding with clear vision, in a state of sublime peace, the one with a pure heart is free of suffering.

June 2005

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What is your body? Where does your body begin and where does it end? The answers might seem obvious, until you stop to wonder at your body.

Wonder has been limited by many thinkers because they haven't known that wonder is approached, and experienced most fully, by dropping all concepts. Consequently it has been under-represented in our language through usage such as 'I wonder what this means?'.

Wonder is the glorious state of mind that observes through intuitive insights rather than intellectual incisions. Wonder digests creation in ever greater portions, and with increasing ease. Wonder is immediate. Wonder in now.

Most people can experience a degree of wonder at extraordinary phenomena. Great scientific equations are born of wonder, as is great art. But very few people experience wonder at the mundane and the obvious. And what is more obvious than one's own body?

Wonder at the way your body recycles nature! Wonder at the way it is transformed by nature!

Water flows through your body constantly. Where does it go? Back to nature and into the next body. As does food, as does air. Can anything be more obvious? Every other particle of your body has come and gone in the same way since you were stardust.

Consider the following composition by St. Augustine: "People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; And they pass by themselves without wondering."

We extend into infinity, even at the obvious level of everyday existence, through all the forms of matter that temporarily construct and constitute our body. We extend into infinity through the countless elements that we unwittingly share with all.

Sometimes sequences of words are remembered and repeated yet their meaning is lost. The same happens with ritual actions. Words and rituals have preserved much human knowledge, not by containing the knowledge but by pointing to it. When meaning seems most obvious then it is usually lost. When we learn to wonder at the obvious things around us then their lost meaning reappears.

May 2005

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Loving Yourself


If you have a headache you don't hit your head. If you have a sprained your ankle you don't stomp on it. If a part of your body is damaged and hurting, then the sensible thing to do is to treat it with care until it can function at its best. So why can't you always treat yourself and others with due care? Perhaps there is something you have overlooked.

Pain signals that attention is required, but sometimes damage in a body-part is apparent only when it is nearing total loss of function. There are also instances where the nerves and feelings don't register pain at all.

Imagine if all your body-parts were numb. You might not notice damage until it was too late. You might even harm yourself many times inadvertently.

Now imagine that other people are like parts of your own body to which you are numb. You can sense them externally but you can't truly register them internally until they make contact with a part of you that is sensitive.

If people are hurt and in pain they might try to send you pain signals. If they are happy and in pleasure they might try to send you pleasure signals. Of course you'd prefer to go toward the pleasure signals, and avoid the pain signals, at least until the latter become too painful.

Here is the significance of this imagination. When your body's nervous system recovers from it's numbness you can then better determine the relation of your various body parts and the condition of those parts. When your awareness recovers or discovers its metaphorical 'spiritual nervous system' you can then determine the true relation of yourself to other people.

Once you begin to expand your awareness, awaken your consciousness, recover feeling in your 'spiritual senses', the idea of loving your neighbour as yourself begins to make perfect sense. You realise that you are not separate from your neighbour. Your neighbour is an extension of both the 'spiritual you' and the 'physical you'.

You might hurt others because you think you are separate from them. Others might  hurt you because they think they are separate from you. This is acting like a person who, while sleeping, repeatedly hits his numb head with his arm, and in the morning complains of a headache. While sleeping he does not realise what he is doing. On waking he begins to realise the truth:

Love your neighbour as yourself
because your neighbour is You.

April 2005

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Welcome To You


Things arise and pass away constantly. Some affect us, some we ignore, and some don't even seem to be arising or passing. A moment ago your body was over there and now it's here. You were thinking something else and now you're thinking about this. What gives you the sense of being you?

You were once a baby and now your old enough to read this. You look very different today and you will look very different in the future. If you could hold the baby that was once you then you would probably not recognise that baby as being you. In one way you are not the same person. In another way you are the same.

If the baby is you then why is it so different from the way you experience yourself now? If that baby is not you then why have you experienced a sense of sameness? The sense of identity that links the you of yesterday to the you of today depends on an illusion of continuity in time. Your sense of temporal continuity seems to extend from a vague past unconsciousness up until the present moment.

One day in the future your body will return to dust and to the elements. Is that 'you' as well? If you could hold the dispersed dust, water and other subtle elements that once formed your body, mind or soul, then you would probably not recognise yourself in that future state.

What would happen if you could experience a sense of continuity in space in the same way that you now experience a sense of continuity in time? Your sense of spatial continuity might begin at the vague outer recesses of infinity and end right here.

If you experienced yourself as being continuous in space in addition to being continuous in time, then you might find yourself in Paradice (plural of paradox). You might look around and become aware of yourself within the things around you: people; nature; the universe. Look! Your perception of time and space has suddenly collapsed into the present moment and everything is You.

Say hello to You.

Smile and wave.

Welcome to YOU.

March 2005

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Direct Knowing


The underlying assumption in much of thinking is that the thinker has time to consider all available information. In reality this is never the case. In time-poor conditions such as emergencies and time-rich conditions, like those approaching meditation, conventional thinking can give way to an awareness that could best be defined as 'direct knowing'.

Direct knowing is accessible to everyone, yet strangely unfamiliar to many people. It has some basic pre-requisites: inner peace, active-calm, calm acitivity and trust. One is actively-calm when relaxed, alert and ready to act. One is calmly-active when performing a task without distracting thoughts or feelings. These are accesible but uncommon states because thoughts and feelings generally mask inner peace.

It is considered normal when the mind seems to float from one idea to another like a small feather blown about in a gust of wind, or when it jumps about like popcorn. Less desirable when turbulent like a log tossed about in a raging river. More desirable when forced into a narrow focus like the photons of a laser. But these are all forms of mental agitations in search of fulfillment or pleasure.

So much of pleasure is little more than a degree of relief from pain. We unconsciously create unnecessary pain every time we try to control situations for selfish purposes. This condition is summed up by the statements: "I'll be happy when..." or "If only...".

The pursuit of happiness suggests that happiness is to be found at the end of a journey, at the end of a work, at the end of a course, at the end of an equation, or at the end of a rainbow. But it's either not there, or not there long enough to satisfy desire. Whenever a better future condition arrives it's not long before another problem, and another aversion arises. Consequently thinking, be it informal or formal, often becomes a tool for steering away from aversions and toward desires, through interminable attempts at controlling conditions that change.

Conventional thinking doesn't understand the beginning of things and it doesn't understand the end of things, yet it imagines it understands the middle of things.

Sooner or later that kind of thinking implodes on itself, figuratively speaking, creating confusion, depression, anxiety and all kinds of complex problems. Conventional thinking doesn't understand the beginning of things and it doesn't understand the end of things, yet it imagines it understands the middle of things. It regularly reaches a point that can be roughly interpreted as meaning: "HERE IS THE EXIT" or "THIS WAY OUT", but it can't leave itself behind. Instead it says: "There must be way out of here" or "There must be some theory that explains this." And so it turns back in on itself.

The experience of direct knowing extends beyond the plays and struggles of inner and outer conditions. It allows us to deal with all conditions as effortlessly, joyfully and painlessly as possible. Pleasure and pain remain as before but become more manageable, because direct knowing helps us to understand that we are not inextricably locked into particular conditions, and in turn leads to more compassionate and direct action.

'Compassionate action' is powerful, forgiving and for the highest good, like a sunrise that energises everything, regardless of what the thing was, or how it behaved the day before. 'Direct action' is immediate, like water that reflects light instantly, not pausing to ponder whether it should or shouldn't reflect the light.

Compassionate and direct action sometimes manifests in people during emergencies when thinking 'stops' automatically. In these situations people demonstrate heroic and even superhuman qualities. They do the right thing at the right time without 'thinking' about it.

In states approaching meditation, attachment to thinking falls away by observing how thinking arises and dissolves. Thinking, when needed, becomes more skilful. Action, when needed, becomes more graceful and free of selfish motives.

Direct knowing is another aspect of the intelligence that helps us to breathe and do all the other things we normally do 'without thinking'. It is an awareness of the peaceful silence out of which thought and action manifest.

The simplicity of peace is incomprehensible. To really 'know', you must become your own proof.

February 2005

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Tsunami and Tragedy


To come together to oppose a perceived threat or avert a disaster is a natural social response for civilised and evolved human beings. The tourists who stayed in Asia to help survivors and the many volunteers who have since gathered to offer aid have shown great courage and compassion. Our personal challenge for the future is to awaken these inner qualities permanently, to enable selfless action, even when there is no overwhelming threat or disaster.

In everyday life we are often unable to act selflessly because our minds are possessed by many selfish fears and desires. If true wealth is meant to provide a sense of complete and permanent satisfaction then it is only available by firstly doing good for others. This doesn't mean doing something good while hoping secretly for some personal reward. It means doing something helpful without expecting a personal reward.

This might seem quite paradoxical until we realise that we are part of the whole and not a collection of independent observers. If our lungs refused to give oxygen to our body, if our heart refused to supply blood, if any part of us refused to give to the other parts, then we would become very sick or die. Our heart doesn't wait for a negotiated settlement before it starts pumping. Neither do the parts ask for more than they need. Yet we often forget to be selfless until circumstances shock us into being so.

A disaster like the Tsunami can temporarily free our mind of its usual obsessions and compulsions. During a small window of opportunity we can have an insight. We can understand deeply, and not just intellectually, that our treasures, grand or small, are not actually ours. There is nothing that we can possess. No material thing is secure and free from dissolution. If there is any security then it is in having a peaceful mind, a mind that can let go of its losses, share its gains, and in the process create a better world for all.

By helping others through their tragedies we can learn how to deal with our own tragedies. In turn, each of our own tragedies provides us with an opportunity to grow in our compassion for others. If we feel helpless in overwhelming circumstances then we should still do something helpful for others, be it through a gift or a thought. If we feel we need help then we should seek help and still do something helpful for others.


January 2005

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Contemplations (2006) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2006) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2006)

Collected contemplations from 2006 by Jarek Czechowicz


  • Incomplete Happiness
  • Birth and Death
  • Seeds
  • Difficult People, Difficult Self
  • What Do You Mean?
  • Are You Experienced?
  • Peace and Empowerment
  • Stillness
  • Decisions, Sponteneity and Freedom
  • Differences
  • Passive and Active Meditation
  • Don't Blame The Baby

Incomplete Happiness


Nothing is ever complete. The very idea of completion is incomplete. This is so because we use a limited method of interpreting reality that often requires numerous re-interpretations before things 'make sense' or make us happy.

We try to convert natural and spontaneous phenomena into static and abstract concepts in order to create stepping stones toward understanding. This process of breaking down and reconstituting reality leads to many opposing and entertaining beliefs. For example: the idea that consciousness grows out of unconsciousness, or that the one is separate from the other.

It's more efficient, and enlightening, to bypass this intellectual side-show and move directly through insight into understanding. We can understand 'things' more clearly when we are aware of their 'arising' and 'becoming' rather than focusing exclusively on their relation to other things.

We like to believe that information is fixed but it's more like water. Water adapts to the shape of its container and information adapts to the 'shape' of a particular mind, or mental condition.

When we don't understand something it isn't necessarily because we need more information but because we lack insight. Insight is the light of understanding. Information is simply an interpretation of the landscape.

Great comedy exploits the weakness in our system of thinking to transport us beyond it, if only for a moment. Seriousness is often the companion of ignorance because it takes a stand on a fixed position. The cosmic comic knows that every fixed position in the universe is resting on a banana peel.

Every piece of information represents a particular and often biased view. When we think predominantly within the categories of 'this and that', 'true and false', or any other discrete system, we limit our capacity to notice valuable transient possibilities and transcendent Truth.

Being aware that everything is transforming we can more easily appreciate and accept the limitless options that the universe is constantly offering. We can see how one thing is dependent on another, even when they seem to be in opposition for no apparent reason.

We tend to claim happiness when all the pieces seem to fit, when there is no opposition, when there is a sense of completion, until it all becomes unstable again.

Being incomplete is the natural condition of things.  Incompleteness is a prerequisite of being something, or someone. Our feelings of separation and incompleteness are quite natural to the extent that they reveal our need for deeper spiritual experience.

When we learn to be comfortable with our incompleteness then we paradoxically begin to feel complete. Knowing through insight that inner peace is always available, we can smile at the idea of pursuing happiness. And we can really enjoy the game, even though we will never finish it

December 2006

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Birth and Death


The death of a loved one can bless us with the deep insight that life is a process of receiving and letting go. Receiving is easy for many people, but letting go can be a challenge. When both receiving and letting go are in effortless balance, then the ongoing transformation from birth to death becomes a spiritual resurrection into awakening consciousness.

Christ said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you". As such, each person has direct access to heaven's estate. There are those who would have you dependent on them for admission, but no one can stand between you and that which is within you. You cannot be denied access, at any time, other than through your own ignorance.

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi once said, "The most important thing in life is to discover what is the most important thing". In a universe where infinity seems to be the rule, where an endless parade of forms and ideas dazzle your senses, you can be forgiven if distraction delays discovery.

The simplicity of some profound insights belies their subtlety. You may well think: "What is this most important thing, and how does one discover it? Is it an object? Is it an idea? Is it a person? What has heaven to do with Zen?"

Like a kitten entangled in an unraveling ball of string, the mind becomes entangled in its own thoughts.

Don't get drawn blindly into endless complexity, try instead to quietly observe the obvious - the peaceful awareness that permeates whatever you are experiencing. To do this you must first fully accept your experience. Acceptance opens the door to higher intelligence, to spontaneous and appropriate action, and to inner peace.

Through your own observation and through science you can learn that, at a cellular level, parts of you are dying and reborn at each moment. The skin you have today is not the same skin of thirty days ago. By this process you are transformed from cradle to grave. Your death and resurrection is happening right now.

There is something peaceful in all of this, something effortless, something that is free of fear. You can experience it now and during your everyday activities. If you can't experience it through inner stillness then experience it through gratitude.

Enjoy everyone and everything that comes into your life but know that they are not yours. This is the beginning of the mystical art of dying before death. It has nothing to do with self-inflicted suffering, and everything to do with experiencing life to the fullest, and the sharing of peace and happiness through your being, and your work. In this moment you are born again, and again

November 2006

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Peaceful presence is a unifying experience whereas thinking is by nature divisive. Being fully present to others reveals a significance much greater than their words.


Thinking deals with things, units of measure dividing creation, just as inches or centimeters divide a ruler. Without division there is no difference, nothing to think, and no 'thing' to express.


As soon as we name a thing we divide it from the whole.


Thinking is spontaneous despite its rational reputation. It is the thinking about thought that conceals its nature.


The mind is in constant flux. All things are transient and this includes all perceptions and all points of view. 


We hear it said in some circles that music calms the mind whereas words agitate. In other circles it is said that music agitates the mind. To adhere to either view is to miss the deeper experience.


We can hear music in any sounds, be they sounds of nature, or noise, or words. The experience is invariably accompanied by the cessation of judgement. Hearing our favourite melody we don't think: "There's a high note, there's a low note, a short note and a long note." Letting go of our analysis allows us to appreciate the music.


We don't wait impatiently for the last note before enjoying the song. The joy of the music is in the moment, in resonating with it as it arises. So it is, or can be, in other areas of life. The song of life is playing constantly. We can enjoy this transient dissonance, or this imperfect cadence, once we let go of our constant descriptions and judgements.


The mind divides creation into countless measures and patterns but there is no dichotomy between heart and head other than the one we choose to create. We have the capacity to bring a peaceful presence to our mind, and in doing so we learn to let go.

October 2006

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Difficult People, Difficult Self


Difficult, challenging and annoying situations are like the walls of a dark winding corridor. Every time we bump into them we can know the clear path is nearby.

The same can be said for negative qualities that arise in our own mind. Instead of reacting negatively to them we can regard them as a reminder, or a pointer, that is directing us toward the clear path of our inner peace.

Consider negative people, situations and thoughts as though they were an alarm bell. If an alarm bell warns us of danger we should be grateful for its loud and disturbing tones as we move to a secure and strong position. Any arising negativity, be it an undesireable situation, a difficult person, or a disturbing thought can be viewed as a reminder to return to the safe harbour of inner peace.

All too often we react negatively to negativity. Circumstances might dictate that we oppose a negative force. This does not mean that we should in anyway take pleasure in the process of forceful opposition. To do so would be to be lost in deep unconsciousness.

From the position of inner peace we can recognise the most appropriate action. It might be to abandon the situation, to ignore it, to accept it, to challenge it, or to engage it, knowing that things will change anyway. Without inner peace the mind is lost in confusion, stumbling from one undesirable situation to the next, or from one dysfunctional relationship to another.

As loving beings we can Love all things, including difficult people. As wise beings there are times when we stay away from some situations and some people. With awareness we can learn to stay away from certain thoughts. Ajahn Chah, a Theravadan Bhuddist teacher who lived in the forests of Thailand once said: "Love the tiger, but at a distance".

Reacting negatively to negative people leads to hatred. Reacting negatively to our own thoughts leads to self-hatred. Hate can be overcome by Love because real Love has no personal preferences. Love does not oppose hate. Love is deep inner peace and all negativity and differences dissolve with the experience of it.

September 2006

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What Do You Mean?


What more do we need to understand? There is always something more that we think we need to know. Something that will explain this thing, or that thing, or everything, once and for all. Can we leave this type of inquiry alone long enough to see deeply into the nature of the inquiry itself?

The word 'why' embodies the mind's voracious and unending appetite for knowledge and explanation. The letter 'Y' is a perfect counterpart to the word 'why'. It could easily symbolise the way the mind divides the one, into the two, and into the many.

All symbolism is course compared to the reality moving through your awareness. So rather than becoming lost in another theory of anything and everything, let's become aware of it arising, like a far away sound, coming closer and closer.

If you heard in the distance a passing car, your mind might barely register the sound of its motor. However, if you suddenly found yourself magically transported into the car then your awareness of it would be transformed into endless detail about the vehicle and it's journey.

So it is with any passing thought. As a passing thought takes your attention, your awareness becomes filled with experiences flowing forth from the pregnant potential of that contact. It's as though you are being endlessly drawn out of your peaceful nature and placed into these thoughts and experiences.

On your temporal journey you notice all kinds of things coming into your everyday life. Each of which takes your attention. Yet you seldom notice that your thoughts are arising, just like everything else.

When you experience your thinking as a subtle arising quality of consciousness rather than expecting it to deliver any conclusive meaning or result, then you experience yourself as the Stillness and not the seeker. In your ordinary life you are moving in relation to the rest of creation. In your extraordinary life you are perfectly still, and all of creation is moving.

The search for meaning is endless and restless, the experience of Love is timeless and peaceful. If anything then Love and Peace is what all of this means. You are arising out of the very Source of creation right now, as are your thoughts, as is everything else. Every temporal moment is arising out of this timeless state of being.

August 2006

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Are You Experienced?


Most people think about their experiences but never notice that thought itself is an experience. Thought has a tendency to refer back upon itself to form beliefs. This creates some very strange loops that eventually knot and tether people to confusion, delusion and a less fulfilling experience of life.

When we experience something for the first time the experience is immediately translated into a thought, and, with repeated exposure to similar experiences, into a belief, a generalisation or a theory. As our experience moves through thought into the realm of belief we increasingly ignore much of what is arising in the moment.

A belief might help to quickly categorise an experience but in doing so it omits a richness of detail that could otherwise have a great and unique value.

Being too dependent on thinking we become ignorant because we ignore the obvious. To master the obvious one needs only to know the obvious, that which is arising. Yet to know the obvious we must be fully present to it, without being entangled in thoughts about it.

Having formed set beliefs we respond to a given situation in mechanical and predictable ways. Being aware of what is arising we respond in harmony with a given situation as it is.

Ignore what you believe and acknowledge what you're experiencing. Then you can know your thoughts as an experience. Become aware that there is knowing beyond thinking. You don't need anyone's authority to confirm this other than your own direct experience of those moments when thinking subsides.

July 2006

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Peace and Empowerment


A spiritual teaching empowers the individual and an empowered individual will by nature act to enrich the community according to his or her abilities.

Contrary to popular belief the spiritual teacher does not actually do anything to empower the individual in a hierarchical manner nor by way of cause and effect. The one spontaneously compliments the other in the process of spiritual unfolding. Just as the hand brings nourishment to the heart, the heart brings power to the hand.

Even negative people are not alienated from the process, although they seem to alienate themselves from the very thing they seek, which is lasting happiness. Such people are best viewed as spiritually immature. They are like a child's growing pains, but often a pain to others as well as themselves.

Reacting from a position of fear, they are invariably absorbed in hurried and competitive behaviors, rushing to purchase a low quality of civility through the mutual but temporary gratification of endless desires.

This is simply a level of consciousness that anyone can experience. And those experiencing it are regularly unhappy with the way things are, even when surrounded by obvious wealth. While in that state of consciousness a person has no interest in a text of this kind. There doesn't seem to be much sense or advantage in it.

Yet there are quite a few practical benefits to knowing inner peace. One can act quickly when necessary without feeling disturbed. One can adapt to changing conditions without being annoyed, deal with agitated people without becoming angry, create new resources instead of competing for old ones, and one can enjoy the moment now rather than in some imagined future.

The importance of this text is not so much to convey an intellectual theory or to achieve a material goal, but to point to the experience of 'observing' thought itself - like a child watches in wonder as clouds float across the sky.

The more one enters the state of observing one's thoughts - without fully absorbing the attention in any of them - the less self-conscious, and the more self-aware, one becomes. From the intellectual perspective one seems to be separating from one's identity and from worldly things. Yet from the spiritual perspective one feels more than ever a part of it all.

One cannot know this intellectually, it can only be experienced directly. And with such an experience all compulsive and chattering thinking subsides - or at least becomes less dominant. This is not to say that the intellect loses power, it can be powerful when engaged. But engaging the intellect moves one into time, without sufficient insight this can be at the expense of spontaneity and inner peace.

The word peace is often heard but seldom understood. Generally the word is used in conjunction with some form of agitation for or against one thing or another. Even in meditation many people agitate against arising thoughts.

Existing in a state of agitation one loses the real peace of being oneself - "One Self" - and the inherent spontaneous creative power that expresses itself through each individual goes unrecognised.

June 2006

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The stillness that is spoken of in meditation practice is a metaphor for the experience of meditation. It is often confused with restraint of physical motion and restraint of thought.

Many people who 'practice meditation' try to sit still and try to control their thoughts. There's nothing unnatural about sitting comfortably or not thinking, it's the attempt to be controlling that causes many to miss the mark. A mind exerting self-control to achieve stillness is like one hand trying to control the other hand - in the process both are incapacitated or at best dysfunctional. 

Let's examine a few things about stillness and activity that we consider to be true through direct experience or through scientific knowledge. Things in your immediate environment might seem stationary but they are revolving around the Earth's axis at 1671.7 kilometers per hour, and then revolving around the sun at 66600 kilometers per hour.

When sitting still, there is as much activity in your body at the cellular level as in a bustling city. At a molecular level there is so much activity in your body and your environment that some quantum physicists declare the not-so-obvious notion that certain particles seem to be moving through time.

Now, before these ideas carry you away on unrelated scientific or philosophical tangents, just notice that your thoughts are also very active. The mind is constantly presenting ideas, opinions, theories, judgments, chatter, images, sounds, emotions, dreams, and so on. So where is this stillness?

The stillness of meditation has little to do with the relativities of physical or mental inactivity - yet once experienced it can be recognised in all conditions. The metaphors and techniques used in meditation practice might be well-intentioned but they are not the experience. Techniques like slowing the heart rate, controlling the breath, holding certain postures, acquiring knowledge, belong to all temporary and changing conditions. As such they are not the stillness of meditation, yet it can be experienced within them if one has the capacity to be naturally attentive, and to let go.

Meditation is the state of the natural mind which is graceful, creative, easy, free,  productive and spontaneous - sometimes thinking, sometimes free of thought, sometimes active, sometimes in repose.

The stillness of meditation is that upon which all change seems to register in your awareness. It is your 'field of awareness', your 'ground of being', your 'presence', your 'here and now'. It's so simple, so ever-present, so obvious, yet so elusive that very few people experience it directly - even though it is with everyone all the time.

May 2006

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Decisions, Sponteneity and Freedom


A decisive person is one who takes very little time to decide. The more decisive the person, the less time they require to decide. By that standard the person who takes no time to decide is the most decisive. Such a one is spontaneous.

Spontaneity is the condition of 'being' fully in the moment with little or no resistance. In a word, it is 'freedom'. It could be described as being fully open to, and accepting of, and a part of, whatever arises. This is accompanied by a psychological sense of lightness and ease.

Decisions are only ever required when obstacles are perceived. Sooner or later they are accompanied by an increasing sense of seriousness, burden and anxiety. So a decision-maker is not really free, even though 'free-will' is ascribed to such a person.

Free-will only exists in relation to potential or perceived obstacles. There is an untenable but widespread belief that the right application of 'free-will' and special techniques will lead to lasting happiness. This is like believing that a person immersed in water can become dry by learning a secret swimming technique. It's obvious to us that the only way to be dry is to get out of the water. But getting out of thinking is not so obvious.

Thinking techniques or spiritual techniques might seem helpful or useful in dealing with obstacles, but they are ultimately irrelevant when it comes to freedom. One only becomes free by stepping out of thinking and then re-entering thought from the new perspective of a consciousness unburdened by thought. Then one can immerse oneself in the metaphorical water without getting wet, that is to say without becoming overwhelmed and lost in endless streams of unconscious thought.

April 2006

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That which differs from you defines you.

Your connection with the rest of creation is most clearly defined wherever something or someone differs from that which you consider to be yourself. The perceived asymetry of creation gives you the impression of being an individual.

The more something differs from you or opposes you the more self-conscious you become, and as you begin to transcend those differences you become more 'Aware'.

Difference extends to opposition. Opposition intends to unity.

Instead of being seen as negative, opposition can be understood as a degree of difference. As such it is an expression of diversity, a creative, transformative and balancing aspect of the universe. 

The breath provides a good example. When you inhale a breath the force of nature at some point makes you exhale the breath. The lungs expand by degrees until what seems to be an opposing force begins the contraction of the lungs. The inhalation is not better than the exhalation. The exhalation is just as positive a function as the inhalation. Both are necessary for you to exist in your present form.

Every form exists within an infinite field of diversity. 

Opposing and differing opinions give shape to a mental reality just as opposing and differing surfaces give form to a building.

Whenever you develop and express an idea then someone, somewhere, at some time, will misunderstand, disagree with, or oppose that idea. This is fundamentally no different from the natural principles that balance inhalation and exhalation.

There is no absolute or steady state of concord or discord within the universe. Infinite variations in degrees of similarity and dissimilarity arise and fall like waves of harmony and dissonance.

In whatever can be defined, there is the mind.

Your sense of individuality arises from the mind's overarching tendency to experience reality through its division rather than its union. Meditation, contemplation and self-inquiry reveal the nature and tendencies of the mind.

When you experience transcendence of the mind and its myriad forms then the peace that is always with you begins to unveil itself. This is the "peace that passeth all understanding".*

*... And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus  Philippians 4:7

March 2006

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Passive and Active Meditation


A passive meditator tends toward physical and mental repose while not wanting anything for personal gain. An active meditator tends toward physical and mental activity while not wanting anything for personal gain.

A person who expects personal gain from meditation is less likely to experience meditation. Desire becomes its own obstacle. Consequently, the prerequisite for either passive or active meditation is selflessness or renunciation.

The Buddha described the first level of meditation as 'the bliss of renunciation'. In the Hindu and Yoga traditions its equivalent is 'detachment from the fruits of ones work'. Renunciation is often accompanied by an intention for the highest good and the highest good includes one's own benefit.

In passive meditation the highest good is served when the passive meditator allows all thoughts, feelings, people and conditions to simply be as they are, without engaging them during the period of passive meditation.

In active meditation the highest good is served when the meditator embraces creative ways to work with existing thoughts, existing feelings, existing people and existing conditions rather than opposing them.

Every person experiences at different times more or less mental activity. The meditator is no different however the awareness of the meditator is not lost in the arising forms. The light of consciousness shines independently upon action, or inaction, just as the light of the sun shines upon all aspects of the day.

February 2006

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Don't Blame The Baby


As a baby learns to walk it often falls over, sometimes hurting itself and sometimes damaging things around it. The important thing is that the baby is encouraged to walk and not punished for falling.

With encouragement and guidance the baby progresses from an unskilful to a skilful state. If we could understand all our actions as being either unskilful or skilful we would be a more enlightened and prosperous society. Unfortunately we often hinder our own development through misguided punishment and blame.

Parents recognise instinctively that a baby simply lacks skill. It would seem absurd to blame or punish a baby for falling over. Yet for some reason many people believe that beyond a certain age unskilful actions should attract blame rather than guidance and encouragement.

As a result some individuals experience constant anxiety, no matter what they try to do. In spiritual endeavours this unproductive attitude keeps them trapped in constant dissatisfaction with their practice and their progress.

Offering encouragement and understanding strengthens and enriches individuals and society. The prevailing custom of attributing punishment and blame produces a society that functions at levels far below its potential.

When guided by an understanding of skilful and unskilful actions we embark on a uplifting path toward prosperity for all. In material terms individual performance gradually improves through the joy of being and of action, rather than through fear of failure or humiliation. The joy of success is a much more powerful motivator than the fear of failure.

The next time you are tempted to blame or punish someone consider whether they are simply acting unskilfully. Perhaps they deserve guidance more than punishment.

January 2006

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Contemplations (2007) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2007) by Jarek Czechowicz

Contemplations (2007)

Collected contemplations from 2007 by Jarek Czechowicz


  • What's New?
  • Symbols & Sanity
  • Achievement
  • Clear View
  • Lifelines
  • Incomplete Happiness

What's New?

You can't see something until you see it, you can't notice something until you notice it, even if it's right before your eyes.

When most people say that something is new they actually mean that it's very familiar but with enough difference to pique their interest. The mind learns and understands new things first by noticing them and then associating them with known things. This is why gaining knowledge becomes progressively easier as more knowledge is gained. The downside is that it can make it more difficult to notice obvious things that are truly different, new and original.

In everyday situations your mind narrows your field of attention to it's strongest and immediate interests, thereby filtering out many things that could be beneficial. For example, if a pick-pocket meets a sage, the pick-pocket looks only to see if the sage has pockets. Likewise your mind looks for what it thinks it wants, and not what could provide you with the greatest benefit.

The mind is committed to meeting its desires which are well known to it, and well established. Anything that is truly new is unknown, unfamiliar and threatening to the mind. It is often avoided or quickly filtered out if it does not fulfil expected criteria. This remains so until firm pathways are developed between what is new and what is both known and desired. Unfortunately this sets up a cycle of spiritual ignorance in favour of short-term and short-sighted benefits.

Even something that is rotting or decaying is in reality new at every moment.  To see beyond the mind's categories of "old and new" requires a shift in consciousness through meditation or awakening, by intuitive leap, by de-focusing, relaxing and letting go of words and other symbols, until every mundane thing shines with a timeless freshness unknown in common hours.

Newness is the mark of the universe. A deep appreciation of the new is nothing less than a returning to origins, to the unmanifested, and a witnessing of how things materialise. The mind cannot readily comprehend this because it is obsessed with understanding, grasping and controlling transient forms and circumstances as though they were stable and unchanging, yet they are more like ripples and waves flowing through each other to express endless variations.

Our understanding is limited by our mind's natural tendency to judge things according to its desires which require a framework of space, time and most importantly thought. You might ask how we could function if we did not think. In fact much of what we experience is already functioning quite successfully without thinking - everything from the formation of galaxies to cell duplication and your capacity to breathe. The atoms and cells in your body don't need committee meetings to achieve the most complex things.

When you realise that thought is arising spontaneously then you can begin to experience thinking in a new way. Until then you will try to arrive at your own enlightenment through thought. Enlightenment is not an individual experience. By approaching this understanding through thought, which deals in symbols, you will not notice the reality beneath those symbols - that everything is always new and original and constantly arising out of the source of creation.

December 2007

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Symbols & Sanity


Each of these words you are now reading symbolise an aspect of creation and is a legacy of someone's experience of reality. The same applies to mathematical, algebraic, logical, technical and musical notations. It also applies to art, photography, sound recording and film which take symbolism to a new level of subtlety. Yet none of these are the reality that they represent.

Each of these ways of expressing, considering, and communicating reality are valuable to the extent that one is not fooled into beleiving that they are the reality.

To be useful a symbol must be stripped of as much reality as possible to make it communiable and manageable. The number 1 does this perfectly as it can be applied to anything. The word chair can only be applied to certain things whereas photo of your face can only symbolise you.

None of this is particularly obvious when one is caught up in thinking and relying purely on symbols to resolve problems or gain understanding, particularly when such thinking is fuelled by emotion. The trap in relying on symbols is that they have the inherent trait of becoming self-referential. Consequently the mind becomes unwittingly drawn into and trapped in a self-referencial system that forms endless strange loops.

Through this unskillful use of the mind one begins to inhabit a world of symbols rather than reality.

November 2007

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When you are in spiritual balance then there is nothing to achieve, there is simply an inspired flow of creation. It is only when you are out of balance that you are driven to act out of desire.

Becoming more aware of your connection with the source of creation you see results beyond the ordinary and you recognise the real cause of your past frustrations.

"When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him of power." Tranxu, a Chinese sage (Source: Come Home to Yourself, Anthony de Mello)

With your attention speeding toward a future goal you loose your footing in the present moment causing you to stumble and miss the goal.

What is your goal? Is it made of things? Or is it the sense of peace and contentment from certain achievements. Perhaps it has nothing to do with things or achievements. If you knew you would get your material goals with a guarantee of accompanying misery then you would reject them. So what is the real reward?

The real reward is inner peace. It cannot be conditional upon achieving a transient goal because inner peace is always present, but seldom noticed. True achievement is a by-product of inner peace, gratitude and action. If expected results don't materialise then you can still enjoy your inner peace.

Too often inner peace is confused with inaction. In fact you can be very active and more productive because you are no longer wasting energy stumbling into the future over distractions and psychological obstacles.

As you return to spiritual balance you inhabit the present moment so fully that every moment brings unexpected achievement.

September 2007

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Clear View


Would you travel by car if you couldn't see through the dirt and grime on the windows? If all the other vehicles were in similar condition there would be ongoing collisions. Each journey would be dangerous and fearful. Would you be courageous or ignorant to travel in this manner?

There is a simile here for our journey through life. Dirt and grime is the metaphor for spiritual ignorance. Unfortunately many people can't see, nor wipe away, their own ignorance. It's as though they are driving blind.

Ignorance is generally understood to mean a lack of knowledge. Intelligent people genuinely believe that they are overcoming ignorance by acquiring knowledge, which is in itself a never ending quest. The lack of insight into this constitutes a part of spiritual ignorance.

Many people, including the kind an generous ones, develop toughness to survive their ongoing inter-personal collisions. They speed into the infinite variety of human experience, never really seeing what is right in front of them.

When faced with their own reflection some animals become aggressive, some flee, while others return again and again, without ever realising that they are seeing themselves. Yet there are animals that recognise their own reflection. 

Similarly there are some humans who do not recognise their own reflection in the universe. So they react out of anger or fear, or, like intellectuals seeking knowledge, they return again and again out of curiosity, never realising that they are seeing their own reflections.

Spiritual ignorance prevents them from seeing through the illusions and appearances that arise in their mind, which they then reflect back into the world, and the world in turn reflects back at them, with the most engaging and intriguing variations.

It is often said that the veil of ignorance is cleared through certain spiritual practices. This is not so. Spiritual practices are the blossoming of awakening into form. You will not awaken spiritually because you do spiritual practices. You do spiritual practices because you are beginning to experience glimpses of awakening. When seen with a clear view then practice ceases to be a goal-orientated ritual or technique.

True spiritual practice is enlightened action arising from inner peace, wiping away ignorance, to reveal that we are not the traveller, we are the timeless stillness in which the universe unfolds.

March 2007

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In our work there are no deadlines, only lifelines. When we work to deadlines we work out of an underlying sense of fear and pressure. When we create lifelines we work out of fearlessness and inspiration.

Meeting deadlines we feel we have to complete a task on time before we can relax. When we work with lifelines we create more than expected, more than imagined, and we are relaxed in the process.

This is not the relaxation that follows completion of an unpleasant task, but that of enjoying what you do, being in the zone, in the flow. People who say they can't relax have forgotten how relaxed they were as children, when lost in play, in the high state of 'being natural'.

Losing this natural state is not a prerequisite of becoming skilled or knowledgeable. It is only lost through the onset of ignorance, when we begin to ignore our own experience in favour of beliefs.

There is an odd idea in contemporary society that everything should go according to schedule. We conveniently overlook the fact that things rarely go to schedule, certainly not as planned, and sometimes things don't go at all. Yet life goes on.

Deadlines imply that you or those in your care might somehow suffer, because others will cause harm if the deadline is not met. This represents an impoverished social arrangement. A healthy and wealth-creating attitude is one where you want to help most people, and most people want to help you. A deeper way to understand it is that you are serving all things and all things are serving you. To see this you must lose a good deal of fear.

There is no guarantee that things will go as you plan if you subscribe to the idea of lifelines. But there will be less fear and stress, which is a good start. It will draw your attention to doing more of what suits your natural talent, more of what you enjoy, more of what benefits society. The lifelines you create will serve others, and the lifelines others create will serve you.

If there is a sustainable approach to work it is this: Work out of inspiration rather than desperation.

February 2006

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Incomplete Happiness


Nothing is ever complete. The very idea of completion is incomplete. This is so because we use a limited method of interpreting reality that often requires numerous re-interpretations before things 'make sense' or make us happy.

We try to convert natural and spontaneous phenomena into static and abstract concepts in order to create stepping stones toward understanding. This process of breaking down and reconstituting reality leads to many opposing and entertaining beliefs. For example: the idea that consciousness grows out of unconsciousness, or that the one is separate from the other.

It's more efficient, and enlightening, to bypass this intellectual side-show and move directly through insight into understanding. We can understand 'things' more clearly when we are aware of their 'arising' and 'becoming' rather than focusing exclusively on their relation to other things.

We like to believe that information is fixed but it's more like water. Water adapts to the shape of its container and information adapts to the 'shape' of a particular mind, or mental condition.

When we don't understand something it isn't necessarily because we need more information but because we lack insight. Insight is the light of understanding. Information is simply an interpretation of the landscape.

Great comedy exploits the weakness in our system of thinking to transport us beyond it, if only for a moment. Seriousness is often the companion of ignorance because it takes a stand on a fixed position. The cosmic comic knows that every fixed position in the universe is resting on a banana peel.

Every piece of information represents a particular and often biased view. When we think predominantly within the categories of 'this and that', 'true and false', or any other discrete system, we limit our capacity to notice valuable transient possibilities and transcendent Truth.

Being aware that everything is transforming we can more easily appreciate and accept the limitless options that the universe is constantly offering. We can see how one thing is dependent on another, even when they seem to be in opposition for no apparent reason.

We tend to claim happiness when all the pieces seem to fit, when there is no opposition, when there is a sense of completion, until it all becomes unstable again.

Being incomplete is the natural condition of things.  Incompleteness is a prerequisite of being something, or someone. Our feelings of separation and incompleteness are quite natural to the extent that they reveal our need for deeper spiritual experience.

When we learn to be comfortable with our incompleteness then we paradoxically begin to feel complete. Knowing through insight that inner peace is always available, we can smile at the idea of pursuing happiness. And we can really enjoy the game, even though we will never finish it

January 2007

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Anger or Peace

Anger or Peace

Anger or Peace


Anger is a form of self-punishment. If someone does what you think is wrong and you get angry then your rationale is: "They have done the wrong thing therefore I must punish myself". If you don't see it then you will punish yourself further by recounting and re-living every anger-causing incident, and that is a movement into deeper unconsciousness.

To highlight this point let's replace the 'someone' with 'something', for instance, a car. Imagine a man who has had a bad day, and to top it off his car gets a flat tyre on his way home. He gets out of the car to fix it and finds that he doesnt have a spare. Anger arises so he kicks the tyre and injures his foot. He thinks the car should not break down so he punishes himself by becoming angry. The underlying concept here is: This should not be happening now. And beneath that is a sense of loss.

What we see as normal behaviour is often very unhealthy. Unfortunately it's so widespread that it's a danger to society. It's not a question of justifying anger by blaming someone else. Nothing has the power to make you angry. Anger arises within you in conjunction with certain thoughts.

When attention moves away from thoughts that accompany anger then anger subsides. And if it doesn't subside then it eventually causes so much pain that it wakes you up. At that point concepts fall away naturally and you see through anger, and with the seeing your habituated responses begin to dissolve.

A person more established in non-conceptual awareness is open to anger if it arises. However the anger is experienced as an echo of conditioned thinking. Anger doesn't have to be acted-out; instead it can be seen to arise and pass away, until it is no longer triggered by the conditions that previously caused it.

The benefit of rational thinking is to have a process that is purely conceptual and dispassionate. Yet without a degree of awakening thinkers rarely see that concepts are as ephemeral as their subject matter. Consequently rational arguments too often devolve into emotional conflicts. Emotions can easily overwhelm rational thinking, particularly when health is out of balance. So anger is also a warning sign.

The root of anger is the fear of losing that which was never yours to lose. Nothing is yours because your essential relationship to everything is one of freedom.

This is why some spiritual teachers say, "You are already enlightened". In a way that is true because there is nothing you can practice that will bring you closer to pure awareness. You are already in it. There is nothing you can practice to bring you closer to the present moment. Once again, you are already in it.

Even when thinking about the past or the future, or when overpowered by anger, you are still in pure awareness, and in the present moment. This is not seen because your attention is immersed in a fog of concepts and identifications. Just like in a dream at night you are not aware of your body on the bed until you wake up.

Between you as the egoic individual, and you as pure awareness, are all the appearances that take your attention. Concepts are also appearances, and as useful as they might be, they are at best relatively and temporarily true.

A constant flow of pleasure, pain, attractive and aversive forms pass through your awareness. Trying to control them is like grasping and pushing at water. It eventually and inevitably becomes tiring and frustrating. Once you see your true relationship to the world then the interactions with it become lighter and more enjoyable.

If anger arises repeatedly then see it as an appearance of fear and let go of the thoughts that trigger it. Without attachment to concepts anger has no opportunity to grow and peace has a chance to emerge, or rather to reveal itself to you. Peace is always here.


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Being Misunderstood

Being Misunderstood

Being Misunderstood


Sadness, confusion, and even conflict can arise when you discover that much of what you believe has been distorted, misrepresented, or misunderstood by another person. However being misunderstood can actually be a great blessing, and if you look beyond the initial burden the problem brings then you might see a doorway to awakening.

To retain your sense of individuality, to even exist, there have to be many differences between you and everyone else, and all other things. Full and complete understanding requires you to give up your sense of personal identity, and there are very few people, if any, who are prepared to do that. You might say that misunderstanding is part of the price you must pay for having a sense of individuality.

My definition of individual is: indivi – dual, the indivisible-duality.

As long as you think that you are separate from others then you will have agreement and disagreement, understanding and misunderstanding, and you will look for ways to explain and clarify what you mean. Remember times you’ve said, things you didn’t mean to say, didn’t want to say, or regret saying. Whether you intended saying it or not, it happened. It just came out. Normally that’s seen as a mistake, an error, or as signifying something else, like a Freudian slip. However it actually reveals reality manifesting quite independently of how we think it should be.

Relationships provide a perfect setting to become aware of how indivisible-duality presents itself as the individual. Two people can be going along just perfectly in a relationship until something goes wrong. They suddenly discover that they don’t share the same understanding, which can lead to unnecessary conflict. What arises is reality, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not. Life seems to be a combination of what you think should happen and what really happens, and sometimes the two coincide to suit the individual or the couple.

As an individual you are often divided against yourself, for example when you don’t know what to do, or how to decide, or when you criticise and congratulate yourself. At the same time you are the indivisible-duality, and you can know that whenever you’re not thinking. There are many times when you’re not thinking but the mind tends not to notice or remember them.

From the space or state of non-thinking you can notice more easily the very things that understanding tries but fails to fully accomplish. Both thinking and non-thinking arise in a state of pure awareness or pure consciousness. Do you know that you exist? If the answer is yes, then you are in that pure state. You became more aware of it for at least the split second that you stopped thinking as you checked to see if you exist. It is in this pure and natural state that you are the indivisible-duality manifesting as the individual, and so are your partners, friends, and enemies.

If your sense of individual identity is threatened, and you are unaware of indivisible-duality, then each misunderstanding holds the potential for conflict. If you are aware that your partners, and your potential enemies, are also the indivisible-duality, then the possibility of misunderstanding is diminished. And there’s no possibility of misunderstanding turning into conflict when both sides are aware of their true nature.

Next time you seek to understand or to be understood, see if you can sense yourself as part of the other and the other as part of you. You might see that there is only one indivisible-duality manifesting as two. The understanding you want from another person cannot be found in them, it is actually found in knowing your true nature, which is also their true nature, and the source of love.


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Dancing On The Edge Of Thought

Dancing On The Edge Of Thought

Dancing On the Edge of Thought



The many shapes that your body takes from cradle to grave are all expressions of you across time. The many other beings and things that you perceive are all expressions of you across space.

Its quite easy to accept the opening sentence, because you experience a sense of continuity through time. Yet, it's just as valid to experience a sense of continuity through space. For some it occurs suddenly, for others it begins with compassion, transforming gradually into a feeling of oneness, and ending in non-duality where time and space appear as projections of the present moment.

No matter how you rationalise reality, your theory or belief system remains one of many perspectives. The question is whether you consider your particular point of view as the only correct one. Is it as valid as any one else's perspective? Or do you see all perspectives as transient and ephemeral?
These three attitudes broadly represent a movement from fear to knowledge to love. They also reflect your view of yourself and your relationship to others. After all your sense of self only has meaning in relation to something or someone else.

For many people the most familiar attitude in life is one of fear, expressed as I'm right and you're wrong. From this position cooperation occurs primarily for gain, or to avoid conflict and loss. In this state of consciousness you see yourself as being separate from everything and always prepared for fight or flight. Yet increasing numbers of humans are realising a higher consciousness, one of greater insight that allows them to accept, if not adopt, the views of others. It is accompanied by a deepening respect and care for the natural environment, signifying a more selfless attitude as being the preferred way of interacting with the world. In other words the link between self and other is begins to unveil itself. A further unveiling occurs with the presence of love, where theres an open, light-hearted and compassionate quality to your experience of life, or an inner peace and equanimity when things are chaotic.

If someone hurts you and you're acting from fear then you will resent that person. Acting out of knowledge and wisdom you might try to understand their behaviour, or even try to see it from their perspective. With love you also see the blessings, and positive opportunities, in what is ultimately a changing condition.

Situations and actions are endless. The important thing is the relationship between you and the other, between you and the task, between you and the object, between the aspects of your own self. Until you discover your true nature you will continue to find yourself in relationship with a mysterious world. As you discover your real identity things lighten up.

If someone argues with you then you can have an inner sense of lightness and playfulness. You can criticise without needing to embarrass or resent anyone, and you can accept criticism without feeling attacked. You don't have to accept bad behaviour, but you are more capable of understanding it, forgiving it, and having compassion for the transgressor. At the same time it could be best to stay away, like caring for a wound, and then leaving it alone to heal.

When your stomach aches you don't claim that it's attacking you because you see it as part of yourself. Likewise when interacting with the world you can take the perspective that it's all a part of you. The world causes you pleasure and pain just as the body does. It all becomes clearer as the link between self and other is unveiled through compassion and higher consciousness. This is what leads to a sense of continuity across space. Call it Love, that eternal state where time has no place.

Ultimately it doesn't matter how you rationalise the universe. It can be a unity, a duality, a trinity, or an illusion, and it can be interesting to explore all those possibilities, and to build bridges of understanding between those who adhere to one or another theoretical or religious perspective. Nevertheless there is no mind-made bridge that can span all the expressions of consciousness. In the end it's the intuitive leap of an open heart that completes the crossing. Then you find that there was never the need for a bridge because everything was already supported in stillness, in love, in awareness. The small self wants to push its way to perfection through power, through knowledge, through spiritual practices, not realising that all its efforts, all its achievements, and all its complaints, are arising out of perfection.


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Dealing With Change

Dealing With Change

Dealing with Change


Knowledge begins when perceptions are questioned. Normally you understand and question things based on the assumption that your perceptions are correct, and that you know how to think. Once you perceive something, thought automatically weaves a tapestry of conclusions and possibilities against which reality is judged. Unfortunately the examination of perceptions is often overlooked in the rush to be busy. Everyone has experienced times when their perceptions were flawed. It would seem like an important thing to notice in other situations as well. Nevertheless people tend to look outwardly rather than inwardly so they only notice what they perceive and not how they perceive.

Change begins with consciousness.

Change is what gives you a sense of being alive. Since inception your body has grown from one cell to millions. You have never known what thoughts will arise in your mind, so each thought brings change. And who knows what outer conditions will arise? By now everyone should be comfortable with change, but it's rarely the case.

Be at ease with not knowing.

Knowledge is always expanding to reflect, interpret, affect, or create changing conditions. Something always seems to be missing because knowledge cannot exist without the unknown. The very act of thinking precludes the possibility of having all the information. So be at ease with not knowing. Then at least your pursuit of knowledge or understanding will not be obstructed by anxiety.

Use your attention to navigate changing conditions.

Whatever arises will either be what you want or what you dont want, it will bring a degree of pleasure or pain. Both are completely natural but unrelated to peace of mind, so be happy knowing that you never know what will arise, either in your mind, or in your environment. As thoughts or conditions arise notice how you bring your attention to some things while ignoring others. Your sense of free will is in your capacity to bring your attention to that which arises. So use your attention to navigate through turbulent conditions, either through or away from troublesome thoughts.

Beliefs are barriers to reality.

The barrier to transcending beliefs is ephemeral, it has no substance, yet it is so powerful that it keeps people locked into dysfunctional patterns of suffering. Beliefs and conditioned thoughts provide a sense of reality that can blind people to the proof of their own experience. Thoughts that cannot be discarded, ignored or transcended create a mind made armour ready for conflict, and a mind made prison.

There is a useful example of dividing a rectangle into four smaller rectangles by drawing a cross within it. It is correct to say that the divided rectangle becomes four rectangles, but it is also correct to say that it becomes nine. Looking at the same image some people will only perceive four or five, or eight rectangles. This example not only speaks to broadening of perceptions, it also reveals how thought divides reality, creates knowledge, and how people can hold conflicting views of what is in essence the same thing.

Make sense of change by resting in the changeless.

We perceive change by measuring one state of being against another. Typically we compare the present moment to the remembered past, or to the imagined future. A thought of the past gives the past a sense of reality. A thought of the future gives the future a sense of possibility. Both past and present exist only in thought. See for yourself. Can you go into the past, or do you think of the past? Can you go into the future, or do you think of the future? Only the present moment, the now, is real. Yet the now has no duration. It cannot be measured. Check for yourself. When does now start and when does it end? As I have said on another occasion, the present moment is not a point in time. When you try to measure time you start from a point that has no duration, and end at another point that has no duration, and then assume that the first point continues to exist in reality. As you examine this deeply you will find there is no duration, only a sense of your being. A sense of knowing that you exist, that you are here.

Keep your attention open, not tightly focused on anything, but open to everything.

The word awareness is sometimes confused with the word attention. We often talk about becoming aware of something when we mean bringing our attention to something. Attention is an emanation of awareness. You cannot become aware because you are already aware, you are awareness itself, and things arise in awareness. If you try to focus your attention on awareness your mind will go to a concept of awareness. It's like a light beam trying to shine on its source to illuminate it. It cannot do so because it is emanating from the source. Keeping your attention open is accompanied by a sense of ease that reveals your connection to awareness. At the same time it allows you to respond to the situation at hand because your attention is not caught in any particular concept.

A strong desire can arise for meaning, reasons and explanations when dealing with changes that you don't want. Most people are quite comfortable with the idea that the formation of a galaxy or a planet is a cosmic event, so you might appreciate that these local changes are also cosmic events, albeit on a smaller scale. Whether grand or small these events arise in awareness, within you.

Do without expectation

Understand things as clearly as possible and express yourself as clearly as possible, then let it all go. Everything always changes and knowledge is always incomplete. You will be happy more often if you don't expect things to make sense.


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Freedom and Problems

Freedom and Problems

Freedom and Problems


The thing that prevents you from experiencing freedom is called a problem, something that wont let you rest until its resolved, or gone. A problem presents at least two possible outcomes, one of which you believe will point you in the general direction of freedom, through a relief from anxiety and some promise of pleasure. Unfortunately the solution to any problem can never deliver you to freedom, only to a new set of problems.

Freedom is not what you believe it to be.

You have been taught to pursue concepts like freedom and happiness, when they are already yours. Freedom is always present, always available, but not easy to find when attention is absorbed in thinking and problem solving. To experience your innate freedom you must see beyond believing your thoughts.

More than one person has said to me, Im always where I dont want to be, or, Im never where I want to be. You can hear this message all too often, in many variations, even from people in very comfortable surroundings.

Your ideas about freedom keep you seeking and dissatisfied. They lead you further and further along an endless stream of problems. The more reactive you are to those problems the harder it is to solve them, or escape them. When reactivity stops, when you relax, and start to see the situation with a sense of wonder, then you begin the journey to real freedom.

Whether something is defined as a problem or a solution depends on the mind that perceives it. Both problems and solutions arise within a field of freedom. Notice that your thoughts are appearances in awareness, just like other objects or forms. Thoughts are thought forms just as objects seem to be physical forms. Your thoughts are coming and going according to their nature, in the same way that all things come and go.

When you put your hand into flowing water you can swirl it around and try to create shapes and patterns, but those forms cannot be permanent, they give way to the flow immediately. All matter flows according to its nature, and the even the most solid looking objects are transforming very slowly. You can affect anything for a while but sooner or later everything returns to its natural condition. That doesnt mean that your actions upon the world are futile, in fact they can be very good and helpful, as long as you dont think that theyre good and helpful. The air youre breathing doesnt say, Look how many people Im helping! It is selfless, in the true sense of the word.

Once you let go of your concepts about things, particularly how you think they should be, then you become open to more possibilities. You might even begin to see opportunities within your problems, or some of your problems might dissolve.

The key part of any problem is that you believe your thoughts about what is happening. This causes you to overlook the obvious fact that your situation is changing moment to moment. In addition to this you can only see your situation from a limited number of perspectives. By the time your thinking explores a few of them the first one has changed. Operating in this way you will always feel beset by challenges because the unknown keeps appearing as a potential problem, when if fact it is not separate from you. Without realising it, you are surprising yourself over and over.

The pursuit of knowledge is the spontaneous ongoing inquiry into the changing landscape of thoughts and forms. When you dont have the capacity or desire to pursue knowledge any further along its infinite pathways then you can always settle on a belief. A belief is the minds spontaneous agreement with its own concept. Attachment to concepts gives a sense of security and stability where there is none. Once you see this, many problems and negative things begin to fall away, because they have less and less to hold onto.

See your problems with a sense of wonder and be free, then do whatever needs doing.


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Giving Up Unhappiness

Giving Up Unhappiness

Giving Up Unhappiness



I was enjoying a beautiful sunset at the beach. The sky looked as though it had been splashed with the warmest colours Nature could find. The sun floated on a cushion of summer air above a quiet ocean and the beach promenade formed a wide line between me and the sand. A male and female couple stopped a few meters in front of me and became silhouettes against the sunset. They were arguing, and continued to argue for some time, eventually walking away, still arguing. They never saw the glorious vision that was unfolding. It was everywhere yet they couldn't see it. How would the world look and what would people see if they could give up their unhappiness?

You are paying a price for your unhappiness. It consumes your energy. So what do you get for it? You get a strong sense of your individual self which is always strengthened in opposition to other things, other people, and other ideas. The greater the opposition the greater is the sense of the egoic self.

Happiness on the other hand is always accompanied by a dissolution of the sense of self. You can't be unhappy about anything when youre in the peaceful twilight state before fully waking in the morning, before the memories of your problems pour into your mind. Its also difficult to be unhappy when youre laughing so hard that you can barely breathe. In both cases you are aligned with the situation and not opposing anything.

The less you oppose a situation the more your sense of self dissolves, the more your perception of a problem dissolves. It becomes more manageable, and what remains is the sense that you peacefully inhabit a transient circumstance.

If your car is bogged in a muddy track you can use an opposing force to drag the car out of the mud. However you dont have to oppose the situation emotionally. In fact you can be singing and laughing, in which case you have more energy to deal with the experience. If you choose to be unhappy about it then the experience becomes very draining.

Pleasure is too often seen as happiness, and the pursuit of happiness generally means the pursuit of pleasure. Happiness cannot be pursued as it only arises with letting go. That which provides pleasure is based in form and will soon enough provide pain. That which provides happiness is based in the formless and continues to provide happiness.

Unhappiness has nothing to do with the situation at hand. It is always something that is added to the situation through the way you think. Any situation is always as it is. That means it is changing and impermanent. If you demand things to be other than the way they are, then beware that you are not drawn into lower levels of consciousness.

Every situation is imperfect in some way, and it is thanks to its imperfection that it exists. But imperfection is really a matter of opinion. No thing is imperfect and no thing is perfect. The universe offers an infinity of differences and similarities that exist quite independently of the mind's definitions.

Labeling something as imperfect is to imply that it should not be as it is. Nevertheless it is as it is. The inherent and necessary imperfection of reality gives people the excuse to be unhappy. As long as you describe conditions, undesirable to your self-interest, as imperfections then there will never be a shortage of things to complain about. It means you view reality in a limited way. Reality, though infinite is limiting, that is how it exists. However your view need not be limited.

To be unhappy you must be on the lookout for imperfection, which is potentially in everything. You can take all kinds of actions and spend lots of time and money to position things exactly as you want them, and then they change anyway. If you continue to be upset by this then you fall into suffering. Eventually you get out of suffering not by solving any problem but by a shift in attention, a change of consciousness.

You can take your attention out of thought just as you can take your self out of a situation. So remove your attention from false and draining thoughts, allow yourself some inner peace, and give up unhappiness.


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Natural Meditation

Natural Meditation

Natural Meditation


Natural meditation is relaxing your attention so that it simply rests in awareness. Attention is a contraction in awareness like a moving spotlight that includes only what interests you. Everything else is filtered out or ignored. Your strong desires are accompanied by a tight focus of attention that makes you forgetful of awareness. By relaxing your attention your focus softens and becomes more like a flood light illuminating a wider field until everything is seen in the light of consciousness. As your attention comes to rest your natural state of being is revealed, and all is seen to be flowing through awareness.

Everything you experience in life is changing because the essential nature of the mind is activity. You cannot be free of activity in life, yet you can know the stillness beneath the change. This stillness is awareness, the unseen aspect of your essential being.

Natural meditation is a reminder of your true nature. Relaxing your attention gently removes the conceptual lines of separation between objects, between you and others, between you and awareness, until you and your environment are seen as one. This dissolution of the sense of separation, including the loss of individual identity, happens to you every night when you fall asleep, so its really nothing new; however with natural meditation you remain awake, active, and fully functional, very possibly better than usual.

Whenever you relax your attention you come nearer to the simplicity of being, whereas contraction of the attention draws you away from meditation. There is nothing easier for you to do than to be your natural self. It is relaxing and spontaneously productive. Your mind-based self, or ego, is the one that is habitually reacting to conditioned thought patterns and their consequences. It is easily identified as being tight, stressful and difficult.

Meditation is often associated with increased or expanded awareness, however you really can't be more aware than you are, or more aware than anyone else. You are already as aware as you will ever be. Awareness is veiled by the mind, particularly when you are attracted or repulsed by something. All desires, aversions and conditions are manifestations of truth, and looking at them in a certain way conceals the knowledge of truth. Truth cannot be found through thought because truth is also the seeking, the looking, and the inquiry, through focused attention. Whether you are a spiritual seeker or someone seeking an end to material problems, you are unknowingly looking for that which is looking.

How you seek determines what you find. Whatever you want, or dont want, requires your attention. Certain things become more prominent in your mental or physical environment because when your attention focuses on an object, then that object matters to you, it becomes matter, either as a physical form or a thought form. Things appear to bring you happiness, or not, however your happiness, or relief, actually comes from the relaxation that follows the struggle for acquisition. Happiness is in the relaxation, not the attainment.

Material forms populate your physical world, and thought forms populate your mind. When a thought arises in the mind you assume that it is yours. A thought forming in the mind is like a cloud forming in the sky, both come and go and neither has an owner. Your past is thought (memory) and your future is thought (imagination). What makes you believe that this fleeting moment, which has no duration, is not thought? You as an individual are a concept. You only exist as a person when you are identified with your thoughts. The sense of self, the ego, begins with the idea that you are the thinker.

It is not possible, or even necessary, to express all of this flawlessly through words, or to think it through to an ultimate conceptual framework, because all thought, rational and irrational, is in essence spontaneous. While not obvious from within the conceptual state of consciousness, you can see it for yourself in natural meditation by noticing how your rational or irrational thoughts come to be in your mind. You can observe this by relaxing your attention, but not by focusing. Focusing your attention points you to forms, relaxing your attention points you to the formless out of which forms arise.

Anxiety, suffering and struggle are the expressions of opposing thoughts experienced through contracted attention. Inner peace reveals itself with the relaxation of attention which opens a portal through the conceptual state of consciousness to the stillness of spacious awareness.

This is the essence of natural meditation. Relax your attention as though gazing into a boundless empty sky, then experience thoughts and actions from that perspective. Relax into happiness, into your true nature.


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Obstacle and Relationships

Obstacle and Relationships

Obstacles and Relationships


Your most important destination in life is to attain your own inner peace. And you are as close to that goal as the number of detours and obstacles on your path. You can overcome your obstacles by struggling with them, or by seeing them through fresh eyes, and a shift of attention.

Take your focus away from the idea of obstacles and place it onto the idea of relationships. It seems like a great leap but its really a small step. Look at the very essence of the matter. Your sense of self is only possible in relation to something other than yourself. The question is whether you can have a peaceful relationship with that thing, or person, or situation, or whatever arises.

A very experienced yoga teacher, who has her own successful school, was on her way to satsang accompanied by a friend. A short way into the forty minute drive, and not far from home, her car broke down. Her friend thought they would have to wait until roadside assistance arrived, but the teacher knew where she was going. She left the car behind and they arrived at satsang on time.

You must know where youre going to get there. Once you know your destination you might discover many ways of arriving. You can find various maps, ask for directions or get someone who knows the way to take you there. Your goal is always attainable, even with many detours.

The lesson is both practical and spiritual. No matter what you set out to do, sooner or later, you will notice a number of opposing forces that seem to prevent you from arriving at your destination as smoothly as you would like. For example, you want to cook dinner but the pantry is empty and you have to go shopping. You have a special diet and the shop is out of the ingredients you need. You return home and remember that you forgot to send an urgent email, but your computer freezes. Youre hungry but now youre too tired to eat. If only everyone's obstacles were so simple.

These opposing forces are present even when we think things are going smoothly. To get up and go for a walk you have to oppose the force of gravity, or lethargy, thats keeping you seated. Obstacles are part of the inherent structure of creation. Once you know this you cannot be surprised or upset by set backs, failures and detours. Successful people work hard because they understand, at some level, the nature of set backs. Obstacles appear at every level of activity, and most people keep getting upset by them, including successful people. In light of the fact that this is happening to everyone why not acknowledge it is a universal pattern and laugh next time you notice it.

If your motivation to overcome obstacles is powered by fear and anger then you will experience unnecessary suffering. You will keep being upset when things seem to go wrong, and you will be less successful than you could be. If your motivation is powered by love and compassion then your experience of the very same things will change. And you will better understand why doing the right thing in the right way does not necessarily guarantee the desired outcome.

You don't have to abandon material goals but your relationship to them can be different. You can be so focused on obstacles that you overlook the many things that are going right for you. You can forget to be grateful. The moment you stop, and take time to count your blessings, you will feel a sense of inner peace arising.

Ultimately it is not about whether or not you reach your material goals; it is about your relationship with whatever arises in this moment. When that relationship embodies inner peace then subsequent moments become easier.

Look at your relationship with a person you like. Its easy because its pleasant. Now, what about someone who has lied to you or hurt you? Can you find inner peace in this relationship even as you interact with them? What about when youre running late for an important appointment and you find your car keys are locked in your car. Can you have a peaceful relationship with that situation?

If you cannot find your inner peace when things seem to go wrong then youre caught in a trap. But its a trap that releases you once you see how it works. Then it snares you again the moment you forget.

Meditation is being at peace with whatever comes and whatever goes. It is the art of letting go. When you can bring clear attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions, then you are practicing mindfulness. When you can bring awareness to your relationship with whatever happens in the course of your day then you are practicing an active meditation.

What you now consider to be an obstacle might in time prove to be a blessing, and it will more likely be a blessing if your relationship with it is one of inner peace.


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Problems: Getting What You Want

Problems: Getting What You Want

Problems: Getting What You Want


You will not have whatever you want as long as you want it. You will have whatever you don't want as long as you don't want it. If you don't understand this then you will find it difficult to be grateful for what you have, which, unless you learn to see things differently, will be what you don't want. Read it again.

Obviously you have achieved certain goals and you might even have trophies and press clippings to prove it. Even the person with the most failures has achieved many things they wanted. If achieving your goals was truly fulfilling then you would have accumulated enough contentment by now to last a lifetime. Nevertheless we see many decent yet unfulfilled human beings asking, "Why can't anyone get what they want?" Then there are the few who say, "I got what I wanted". Here's how it happens..

The core of every stressful problem is fear which inevitably manifests as the desire to be in a better and more secure situation. The core of every solution is to flow as harmoniously as possible through the current situation, or away from it.

Flowing harmoniously through a problem might lead to new answers. Flowing away from it will might lead to different opportunities.

There are three broad levels to what you want. In material terms you want a particular thing or experience. In psychological or emotional terms you want whatever success represents: recognition, appreciation, acceptance, or evidence of competence. Spiritually you want to be one with love.

Unfortunately love is generally confused with pleasure and so goals often symbolise the capacity to attain pleasurable states. Anything perceived as preventing you from getting more pleasure or depriving you of pleasure is a seen as a problem and it begins to manifest as fear. Once it manifests as fear it expresses not only as fear but also as anger, hate, or any other negative emotion.

A negative emotion is a warning signal that you are going out of harmony with love.

There is no clear cut point at which harmony turns into dissonance because each person will perceive things differently. What is harmonious to one is dissonant to another. The key is to be aware of signals from your body, your emotions, your reason, and your intuition. As with anything in life a certain degree of knowledge and skill is required to navigate with or against the current. Ignorance is not always bliss.

Hear your inner guide, the quiet voice that is clear but often ignored. If you look closely you can see that problems that arose gradually were made known to you earlier by your inner guide. There were early signs that you never noticed.

You always receive divine guidance. Do you listen to it?

Every problem you have is a call to your creativity. If you can't respond spontaeously then ask yourself the question: "Is this something I can solve or do I let it go?" Nothing stifles creativity like repeating the tired old mantra of the complainer. Complaining is like repeatedly tripping over the same snag, yet never removing or avoiding it.

A creative solution is always about positive change. To create is to grow. Use an uplifting mantra or melody to accompany your creativity if it helps, or silence if you prefer. Create a new set of words to describe your situation. Re-interpret your problem until it reveals a new opportunity. Design a new set of actions to break unproductive old habits. When exploring new possibilities you might find yourself down a dead end, which is fine if that's where you are awakened. If not then get out of there and move on.

Any problematic situation has numerous characteristics. Identify the ones that are sticky. Which ones do you keep focusing on? Re-focus your attention until you notice the things you keep overlooking, and avoid the ones you keep tripping over. Ultimately there is only one thing to notice, and then the rest falls into place. In the meantime be creative and let go.

Finding a solution is like looking for misplaced keys. For example, you can't find your keys because you forgot that you bought a new key ring. So your mind is looking for a certain shape but it's the wrong shape. Your friend, who is not looking in the same way as you, wants to help you and quickly sees the keys. That's beginners' mind.

Let's look at it again. First there is the thing you want, your keys. You want them but you don't have them. Second is the thing you have, the annoying search for your keys. You don't want it but you have it. Then there is the thing that keeps you lost, your incorrect idea about the solution based on a fixed idea. While in this state of annoyance you are oblivious to all your many blessings.

Finally your friend hands you your keys and you have achieved your goal. But are you happy? Is there a lasting contentment? No, you're still upset because now you're late for your appointment. Here we go again.

Be like the friend who found your keys: have an mind free of fixed ideas, then think creatively about what service you can provide for others. Now you are opening the door to receiving what you need.


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Pure Awareness

Pure Awareness

Pure Awareness


This story has an inside and an outside, but language was not created to tell it ...

Now is the dawning of a new way of relating among people as significant as the emergence of language.

Spoken words are meaningless to someone who has never heard language. And words written on a piece of paper appear as shapes and patterns to someone who can't read. Similarly the use of language in a story like this can seem insignificant or even confusing to people who are not familiar with awakening, even though it is very simple. But those that are ready will resonate with a story about pure awareness.

Awakening is an evolutionary leap out of thinking to experience thought, emotion, and matter from a new perspective, that of being simultaneously 'separate from' and 'one with' everything.

Every situation contains a perfection that is untouched by whatever is happening. That perfection is your awareness, a pure stillness and ever-present peace beyond understanding. Awareness is without thought, yet contains it, and is one with it.

The cessation of thought can unveil your natural state; however you don't have to stop thinking permanently to be in your true nature. You can know yourself as awareness while continuing to think, feel and act. Yet most people think, feel and act without knowing their true nature. Actions, emotions and thoughts make up the inside of the story. It is a world made of polarities and differences, opinions and perspectives and dominated by thought forms that cause you to struggle. These are just dreams, and the sooner you let go of them, or learn to enjoy and play with them, the easier your life will be.

There are dreams within dreams. You dream when you are asleep, when you imagine the future, when you think of the past, but it really all happens now, in the dream of this moment.

Your concepts depend on a perception of continuity which is served by memory. In other words you compare something that exists now with something that you think existed. But that comparison happens now, as a thought. In order to remember something you have to be separate from it. To remember means to put back together. You don't remember what you were before you were born because you were not separate from anything. To remember past lives you have to be in the mental realm of thought and separation.

Is your past or past life real, or is it a dream? Compare the dream you had a few years ago with the things you did on the same day. Which of them seems real now? They are both like a dream. The same applies to a past life. It is really a thought in the present moment.

A personal story is based in a sense of continuity, which in itself is a thought. For example, the only evidence you have that the place you are in has not changed in the past minute is that it seems similar to a moment ago, but at a deeper level you know that in time it will change so much that it won't even exist.

An unexplored and misunderstood fear of change combined with an overwhelming desire for security is at the root of personal and social suffering everywhere. All social problems are made worse by ongoing failed attempts at finding security and happiness, often at the expense of others, in an environment of thoughts and forms whose very nature is to change. Those that awaken, and many who meditate, are likely to deal with change more peacefully because they have some sense of their true nature beyond the dream of their life.

Life is generally lived from one perspective, that of the personal story, the inside story. The view from within your story is about what happened, who did what, and who said what, and so on. Now more people have the opportunity to know that they have an existence outside their story, as pure awareness.

You are a part of every experience. Your conviction that there are experiences happening outside of you is an experience that you are having. No one can ever prove this to you because their proving this to you is also an experience that you are having. Test for yourself that you cannot step out of your awareness to know otherwise. See for yourself that it is possible to simply be, with or without thinking, with or without emotion. Look into this if you want to know unconditional love.

Unconditional love is pure awareness. It is not an emotional state because all emotional states are conditional. Only pure awareness can hold everything unconditionally. Neither thought nor emotion can do this because their existence is dependant on separation. The state of separation is an altered state of consciousness which is widely considered the 'normal' state of consciousness. This is equivalent to spiritual illiteracy because everyone has the potential to know their natural state but they are, in the most innocent sense, ignorant of it.

Pure awareness is your true nature. As pure awareness you don't need a purpose. This is very different from how things seem in everyday life. Yet an independence from purpose can actually make your life seem more purposeful if only because your experience of life becomes more harmonious. Water doesn't struggle to flow because it exists in harmony with its true nature, so no matter where it is it fulfils its purpose without having a purpose.

The difference between the inside story and the outside story is this: From the perspective of the inside story, I speak these words and you read these words. From the perspective of the outside story, awareness speaks these words and awareness hears these words, and there are no dividing lines between the 'I', the 'you', and awareness.


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Re-inhabiting Your Life

Re-inhabiting Your Life

Re-Inhabiting Your Life

by Jarek Czechowicz

Awakening is a falling away of all thoughts, an unveiling of everything and nothing, as part of the one being. Re-inhabiting your life is about living and thinking from that perspective.

You can experience a falling away of thought in a number of different situations, these include dreamless sleep, deep laughter, and even sneezing. Unfortunately you can't do much else while laughing or sneezing. For most people, day to day life without thinking seems unimaginable, yet at the same time, they inhabit the greater reality from which thought and life arises.

Thought filters reality in a way that makes you believe you're separate from everything else, and it traps you into an isolated sense of identity. It's a dream state that leads to suffering.

Language expresses limiting perceptions. By language I mean any spoken or written symbols that represent some aspect of reality, or imagination, with the intention of communicating meaning.

Every language - spoken, symbolic, or numeric - is based on the assumption of separation.

It's important to understand that language conveys information from an unawakened perspective, from a perspective that does not recognise the flowing oneness of reality, or the stillness beyond the movement of consciousness. This is not easy to convey to anyone who believes that thinking will bring them to truth. Thought will just keep them seeking.

Language names the forms and functions that you perceive. They might be inanimate, animate, or imaginary. Whenever you name something or learn the name of something do it with the awareness that it's not really a separate thing.

Nothing needs to have any meaning. You only need to have a meaning of life if you're living from a perspective of separation. The greater your need for meaning the greater is your separation from reality which manifests as inner or outer conflict and disappointment. If you're acting from a perspective of inner peace, contentment, and gratitude then you really don't need meaning because the idea of separation has little or no hold on you.

The concept of meaning stems from the limiting perception of linear cause and effect. How did this come about? What will this lead to? What does this represent? How is this thing linked to the other thing? Everything has an infinite number of causes from all directions, not just what you perceive to be the cause.

Float along this stream of infinite causes and effects and navigate the flow by not grasping at things. Notice reality revealing to you an order that you never imagined possible.

You are not doing anything. Anything that you do is simply a part of the transformative process of reality coming into being. There is no 'doer' - someone doing something. The doer is a misperception that arises the moment you first perceive yourself to be a separate entity, then you perceive yourself as someone who can do something, and finally you see yourself as having a personal will.

If you see yourself as a doer then do everything as an offering, as something that you're offering to the world, to another person, to the community, or to use a religious concept, to God. This doesn't mean doing anything and everything that others want you to do. There's an intellectual trap that would have you believe that you can do anything you like, because ultimately you're not doing anything. Falling into that trap can easily turn your life into a nightmare. If you truly see that you're not doing anything then there's a greater harmony in your experience of whatever arises.

All thought reflects a perception of separation. As soon as you label a thing then it becomes separated from everything else. Perception itself implies a perceiver and a thing perceived. The essence of duality is that everything must be different from everything else, and no two things, no matter how similar, can be exactly the same. Duality - separation - is a misperception, but not an illusion.

Thought is real to the extent that you know it to be a part of your reality, it's unreal to the extent that it would have you believe that it can reach truth, and it's completely false when it pretends to be the real you. When thought pretends to be the real you, it becomes your ego, and then you live in a kind of dream state, not fully asleep, but not fully awake.

Your thoughts are the root of form. People, animals and plants appear, grow and die. Some never take seed, some die young, some die old. See your thoughts in the same way, water them with your attention and they grow, withdraw your attention and they disappear. Then see them like clouds, forming and dissipating, each perfect in its shapeless form, yet without independent existence.

Life is like a dream. How far do you travel in your dreams at night? Obviously you don't go anywhere. Your body is at rest, for all practical intents and purposes it is still, but your consciousness is divided into all the characters and dreamscapes. When you wake up what happens to the version of you that was the dream character. It dissolves into the oneness of your awakening. The dream character doesn't survive the awakening, you awaken, and the dream character awakens into you. In the same way your ego doesn't survive spiritual awakening. It awakens into stillness, and like the dream character, your ego dissolves into the greater reality.

In a lucid dream you know that you're dreaming, and you know that your body is asleep. You're awake within your dream, and you seem to have some freedom to affect your dream. A person who is simply dreaming has no knowledge that they're dreaming and no sense of influence over their dream. You, as pure awareness, are dreaming a life, and within your life you are either awake or sleep. Even if awakening happens in your life, the ego can draw you back into the sleep of suffering.

Conditioned thoughts cause suffering. These are your repetitive, habitual, dysfunctional and unconscious thought patterns. As you begin to recognise your conditioned thoughts some will fall away just by being noticed, while others might continue insisting that you give them your attention and become absorbed into them. See them for what they are. If you can't ignore them then go through them with the greatest possible clarity. With each arising they will have less and less energy to attract your attention. The deeper the conditioned thoughts the stronger they call you, and the longer they might take to subside.

Conditioned thinking is so powerful that even those that express awakening most fully can be caught by thought and thrown into emotional turmoil. The difference is that they know what is happening and they can recover quickly, and without clinging to the dysfunctional thoughts. You must be able to recognise and notice your conditioned thoughts arising before they catch you.

Opposition strengthens the ego. Your small self, your ego, feels strongest and most alive when it opposes something. At the group level the ego is strongest against and opposing group. And of course the worst expression of the ego's divisive nature is war.

You can oppose things without becoming absorbed in egoic struggles. See through opposition and notice your ability to change the focus of your attention, remember that opposition is natural to the extent that everything exists in a state of difference from everything else, but only from the perspective of the ego.

Emotions reveal your relationship with reality. An emotion is the mental equivalent of an instinctive physical response. If you see a breath-taking landscape then you might feel at one with it. If you hear a petty argument between nearby people you might feel like moving away from it.

Ultimately you experience emotions based on your own thoughts about life. These emotions can continue even when the thoughts are no longer present. So regardless of whether your thoughts are positive or negative they can trigger emotions in a self-perpetuating cycle. And when the thoughts subside you can be left with an emotional experience that is either heavenly or hellish.

Some people might believe that awakening is about detaching psychologically from their emotions, or from others, or from life's problems. Psychological detachment is a way of shutting down. Transcending emotion is not rejecting emotion. It is experiencing emotion - if it arises - from an awakened perspective, one that knows you to be an integral part of whatever form reality is taking in the moment.

Life is relationship. From the perspective of a personal self you are in relationship with everyone and everything else. Your centre is defined by the word I, and all your relationships are measured against this sense of self. From the perspective of awakening, you are everyone, and everything, and there is no separation. To be divided against your self is to be deeply asleep, so the only way to relate to everyone and everything else is to treat them as you would treat yourself. To do this you must at least love yourself, or know yourself as love.

When you re-inhabit your life your eyes continue to see everyone and everything as separate, but you know it all to be your own self.


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Seeing Beyond Appearances

Seeing Beyond Appearances

Seeing Beyond Appearances

by Jarek Czechowicz

Reality is one thing, what you think about it is an entirely different matter. If we all saw things as they really are there would be no conflict over individual points of view. Obviously the world is not like that. You see things as you see them, not as others see them. The question is whether you can look beyond appearances, beyond what you see, what you imagine, and what you believe.

Conflict is unavoidable as long as humans believe their beliefs. Inner and outer conflict is an expression of opposing flows of thought, like hot and cold air fronts that manifest as powerful winds. They are difficult to see but their effects are very visible, and can be devastating.

When you wake up to the nature of thought then you can hold the differences presented by thinking without confusion, without inner conflict, without the compulsion to resolve them, and without the need to claim the superior point of view. You might find yourself near a breeze or a hurricane but you know it will pass.

You can say to someone, "I completely understand your point of view. Would you like to try another way of seeing things? Perhaps it will bring you less suffering." Most people will reject the offer preferring to keep their suffering. They will embody the view that reflects their state of mind, their state of consciousness, and then they will justify their choices with clever reasons, even when their choices are obviously causing self-harm. Yet, trying new ways of thinking could be as simple as swapping a recipe.

So much of thinking is automatic and almost mechanical. You ask someone who is suffering, "Have you considered meditation, or chanting, or satsang? Would you like to come and hear some spiritual teachings that might help? "Oh no, I don't like that, it's not for me", they say. They react to negative projections of their own mind, imaginings that have nothing to do with the beautiful activities you propose. It sounds funny, but true, to say to a negative person, "I would avoid that too, if I believed it to be what you believe it to be."

Most thinking is a form of blindness that keeps humans trapped in the prison of the egoic mind, where negative thoughts and experiences repeat themselves over and over in slightly different ways. Some people eventually want to be free and wonder if there could be a way out. They become spiritual seekers with a growing intuitive longing to know reality, but they remain dominated by thinking. Fortunately their gentle inner voice is heard more and more clearly until it finally leads them to peaceful silence.

Truth begins where thought ends. Know yourself to be free beyond the thought forms.

You can observe thought as long as you are not attached to its content. The content of a thought is separated from reality and has no independent existence. Thinking "this is a cloud" is like trying to catch a piece of cloud in a jar. You will never see the cloud by looking in the jar, it doesn't exist there.

Watch this sentence. There are shapes and patterns in it. You also see words, and you can hear this sentence as sounds in your head, but you cannot observe it as a thought form as long as you are caught up in its appearance, or in trying to understand what it means.

Let's return to the personal level. When you like someone, do you really like the person, or do you like your own opinion of them? When you dislike them, is it because the person changes, or because your opinion changes? The reality is that both change within the play of consciousness. Look deeply and see if you are at peace with reality, or whether you are always reacting to nothing more than your own opinion of things.


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The Present Moment

The Present Moment

The Present Moment Is Not A Point In Time


When thinking of the present moment, the now, most people imagine a fleeting point in time, where the future, as potential or probability, arises into the present and then becomes the past. The assumptions are that the future exists in some latent form, and that the present becomes the past. These two most common and basic assumptions are incorrect.

The past is a thought, like a dream, in memory and the future is a thought, like a dream, in imagination. Both have a sense of reality only when you think of them.

This present moment is not a point in time; it is the source of what you think to be the past, present and future, and the source of space and time. If you want to know the very limits of the universe you need not go very far. Infinity ends here, here and now. Not the here located in front of your physical body, or the now of any time-keeping system, but the here and now that is behind your knowing, your awareness.

In the deepest sense, here is the same as now, and here is not a point in space, just as now is not a point in time. The here and now is the eternal wellspring of creation, and your seemingly personal life is a unique emanation of eternity.

Concealing your oneness with everything is your thinking. This is not inherently negative, no more than consciousness or awareness can be negative, but thinking can initially be a significant obstacle to knowing your true nature.

Consider what happens when you think. Do you actually think or do you think that you think? Most people will say, Of course I think! And many will dismiss the question as being utterly absurd. Yet it might prompt some to notice their thinking, and more than that, to notice the stillness within. When you look more deeply within yourself the light of awareness shines more brightly through your being.

Whenever thoughts arise, your attention becomes absorbed in them, and everything you think about seems important. The cost of thinking to the individual is at best a mix of pleasure, imperfection, and incompletion, and at worst suffering. Nothing manifests exactly as imagined, and if it does, then it does not last. Nothing is remembered exactly as it happened, and there is always more that needs to be known, or experienced.

If you think without being present, that is without awareness, then you succumb to suffering, and this is the condition of much of humanity. As soon as you become fully present to what is happening, then you cease to exist as an individual personality. Through presence you increasingly know yourself to be an integral part of whatever is happening, which is an expression of your natural state of being.

You are stillness itself, and creation is changing around you. It seems as though you are moving because you identify strongly with your body, but you are still, and your body is moving. It seems as though your mind is busy because you identify strongly with your thoughts, but you are still, and your thoughts are transforming. Identify with consciousness and you might even believe that you are an enlightened person. Everything is changing, and you are still.

To be an individual in the world is to be dependant on all of creation. Your personal actions are like the movements of a wave, seemingly independent, yet caused by the movement of the entire ocean. You are divided from creation, this ocean of light, by nothing more than lines of thought.

Ideas depend on lines; imaginary lines that divide one thing into many, lines that enclose, lines that keep one category apart from another. Look closely at the lines in these written words, and then look at the many formless shapes in between those lines. You will recognise one or two shapes but the remaining forms have no name.

Reality does not obey the laws of grammar or science, nor does it always coincide with our ideals of what should or should not be happening. Our thoughts are particular aspects of everything that is arising. From where does all this thought arise? Like all of reality it arises from the here and now, from silence, from stillness, from ever-present awareness, from this present moment.

Your experience of reality depends on how you inhabit your mind. You can see yourself as an individual seeking out personal relationships and conditions that will offer security against an uncertain or hostile world, or you can see yourself as a wave on an infinite ocean of shimmering light.

Can you imagine that the waves on the ocean might one day become the ocean? They are already the ocean. Can you imagine that you might one day enter eternity? You are the eternal, and this present moment is timeless.

In thought we are different, in awareness we are one.


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What To Do

What To Do

What To Do


The movement of thought is a natural flow of creation, just like the wind or the ocean. Yet it might not seem that way when you are caught in the midst of problems. You have probably heard people say that they feel as though they are drowning when talking about their worries. Its a significant metaphor. When you go swimming you know whether you are wet in the water or dry on the land. However you might not have realised, that your attention is similarly immersed in an ocean of thought. You can get out of it and rest on the shore of freedom to watch the flow of thought. But the busy mind asks: "Who will get things done? What about my problems? What can I do?"

Realise that whatever you are looking at is changing before your very eyes. When you look at something you think you know it. You look away from it, and back again, and there it is just as it was. This perception is incorrect because in reality the thing has changed, albeit imperceptibly. Eventually it will change so much that the form you thought you knew will become unrecognisable. And notice that you are changing as well.

A concept is a way of mentally holding onto, or grasping, a reality that is constantly changing.

The customary way of seeing things is in terms of creation and destruction. However this does not reflect the subtlety of what is really happening. Looking beyond conditioned concepts you will see one form flowing into another.

Sometimes this happens suddenly as in a natural disaster, yet often it happens very gradually and imperceptibly. For example some of the water molecules in your body evaporate into the air and become a part of anothers body through inhalation. Some of the dead skin tissue from anothers body falls to the ground and becomes part of the dust under your feet. These are just two examples of what happens at many levels.

Once you notice these transformations in what appears as the outside world then you can more easily turn your attention to the flow of your own thoughts. Be aware that you can get caught in the trap of thinking about thinking. This can be very enticing and difficult to escape. It was overlooked by centuries of philosophers and it prevents you from knowing yourself to be free.

Look with a relaxed focus beyond concepts, into the inner space that holds your thoughts. This is somewhat like looking into the physical space between objects, where there is really nothing on which to focus. With this relaxed focus your attention is not snagged by any particular thought or form. Here your thoughts and actions are seen as part of the arising and flow of consciousness. This is the beginning of freedom.

Unfortunately any desire to be free prevents you from experiencing freedom because your attention becomes snagged by the desire. If the snag dissolves and you think, "I'm free", then you become snagged again, this time by the idea of being free. The idea of freedom is not freedom just as the idea of a tree is not a tree. When you think Oh theres a tree then you miss its magnificent presence. Yet this happens so often with so many things that it is considered normal. See how often you forfeit the experience of reality for the experience of concepts.

Im not proposing that you abandon thinking, to never think again. It is a different experience of thought, a different experience of life. Before awakening you take your thoughts seriously, and they can make you suffer.

Stop mental suffering by questioning your thoughts. Recognise the habitual reactive patterns that define you as a limited and local entity. Every challenging experience is an opportunity to observe your own conditioned responses. From time to time pay more attention to your thinking than to the perceived problem, and feel the space that holds your thoughts. The way you think about a problem is an integral part of the problem.

You are greater than you think. To be in the world is to be conceived, to become a concept. Thats why its called conception. To be in the world but not of the world is to transcend the limiting conceptual state of consciousness. The first concept is that there is an 'I'. Then there is something other than I, another object, another creature, or another person. This initial sense of 'I' is the beginning of the proliferation of thoughts. In other words, the mind perceives increasing numbers of things that are 'not I'. Then it wishes to understand them, to know the relationship between them, and its place within those relationships. This can only be done through fixed concepts. Consequently things are seen in very limited terms of whether they can help you, or harm you, or neither, or both.

The mind tries to grasp whatever arises, whereas the heart flows with whatever arises. The mind sees everything as being outside of itself. The heart sees everything as being within itself. Once you realise all things are parts of yourself then you know how to treat them, and you know what to do.


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