Category Archives: Advaita

home!

My family is home, with power on in both locations. Perhaps the worst is over–for us. It’s clear others are still at risk, and I pray for their safety and their animals as well. I am deeply thankful to the firefighters who risk their lives protecting ours and our property.

Remaining wholly in the present made it possible to move through this time without debilitating anxiety. I only suffered those first minutes after the evacuation order came, waking me from uneasy sleep. Then I pulled out my metaphorical toolbox and put it to use.

Concern, of course. Planning, of course. We need the mind to navigate life. Distress is different–it takes an already difficult situation and makes it unbearable. Anxiety of that kind haunted me for decades until this understanding took root: emotional suffering is optional. It is not necessary when we embody where to take our stand, as the pure awareness that we are.

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checking the news

Here’s a form of perseverating–I can’t stop the urge to check the news for fire and air quality updates. Even during retreat meetings I’m aware of the pull, which I resist. My phone is turned off during our gatherings.

Of course, when I do check at meal times, it’s frustrating because there is no new news, only rehashing what we already know, although air quality shifts rapidly when wind direction changes.

My job: remain centered here and now, notice when the mind wants to leap into a nonexistent future. There’s no way to know, and “what might happen” isn’t a healthy place for me to spend time.

I’m grateful to be with 170 like-hearted souls, exploring the margins of human understanding and noticing our direct experience.

 

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wildfire

4 a.m. I stand in our home, quivering, awakened from restless sleep. Nixle text: mandatory evacuation order. Power has been off for six hours. Our go-bags wait by the door, including the one for our dog, Bodhi.

Time to go. If we lose our home, what can I bring that fits in the car to help a new place feel familiar? I grab ten pieces of art from the walls–the gorgeous color-pencil drawings our friend Suzette did of our dogs, and two others. My laptop, so I can write. Coats. I check for device chargers.

This is the new reality. Brain adjusts, body resists, then gets in gear. Destination: friends in Petaluma, seventeen miles away. We take both vehicles and enter the parking lot of evacuees. An hour later, we’ve gone two miles.

Drivers are remarkably generous, letting others into the creeping auto stream from side roads. I see no road rage and am grateful. The updated Nixle notice comes in–my son, who doesn’t drive, must evacuate as well. My husband peels off to Santa Rosa to snag him and his go-bag.

It only takes me three hours to travel the seventeen miles. Charge the iPhone on the way. I’m welcomed with a sweet hug from our dear friend. Power has been cut to Petaluma as well, but the gas stove works. Warm tea! Five hours later, husband, son, and dog finally make it.

There is no complaining, only attention to what must be done–keep devices charged, eat food before it spoils, send love and best wishes for the well-being of people and creatures closer to the fire than we. Await Nixle updates. Breathe. Count blessings. Be present.

 

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enfolded once again

sleeping-bordeaux-puppy and kitten

Once again, I’m in retreat, enfolded in loving hearts, kind words, deep friendship, and expressions of truth.  This is a diverse group of people pulled together by common interest. We come from all over the world: Germany, Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Britain and, of course, the US, to name a few.

Here’s a fresh take on an old acronym: ADD, Awareness Deficit Disorder*. Chuckles erupted around the room.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2018
*quote from Rupert Spira

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the implications

When pointing out is kind, patient–and skillful–and, if the student* is mature, understanding one’s true nature can be readily seen. Many people think this is the “goal,” the end of story. That’s a mistaken belief.

As Rupert says, upon seeing our true nature, we begin living the implications of this understanding—an unending revelation. For some people this is a gentle, gradual process, for others, a hellava’ ride.

There is no “I’ve arrived” or “I’m done.” The tap root of the “i” has been severed; the breakdown of old patterns and tendencies unfolds in its own (put favorite expletive here) good time. This unraveling cannot be hurried, but it can be attended to. Willingness helps, resistance does not. The process deserves respect and certainly demands courage.

*I have never heard Rupert refer to retreatants as “students.” He calls us friends.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
photo credit

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our mother tongue

Last evening before dinner, I sat in a common area and spoke with a man attending his first retreat with Rupert Spira. During an abrupt transition in this retreatant’s life, he found a YouTube clip of  Rupert teaching. He said, “I didn’t understand all of what Rupert spoke about that first time I listened to him, but I did recognize it as my mother tongue.”

Yes! Tears filled my eyes.

If you, like I, explored countless pathways and discovered that none of them have fulfilled what your heart yearns for, when you are introduced to this understanding something may flutter in–or batter–your chest: an apprehending, a knowing, an avowal even, that you have come home. This is the beginning of a lifelong integration.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
image credit: By Mokkie – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Filed under Advaita, Awakening, Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, Rupert Spira, spirituality

prime question #3

Prime questions have become creative play for me–new ways to reflect on the truth. I call them prime questions because they remind me of prime numbers, a number only divisible by itself or by one.

Look at our own experience–

  • our thoughts vanish,
  • our feelings fade,
  • bodily sensations arise and pass away,
  •  our perceptions–sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures–all are equally transient. We shift our gaze, and what we were looking at before disappears; what we hear changes moment by moment; smells are even more ephemeral–unless it’s skunk, and even that eventually dissipate. Tastes are hard to nail down–I notice this each time I suck on a square of dark, salty, caramel chocolate. Gone, so quickly. And textures? We only feel them while we’re touching them.

Even planets come and go.

Look now: what doesn’t change?

 

© Amrita Skye Blaine

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prime questions 1 and 2

Last night in the hot tub, the phrase “prime questions” came to me. These questions do not refer to the manifest world of objects, thoughts, feelings, or perceptions–all that comes and goes. The questions ask us–metaphorically–to turn around and notice what is true.

Prime questions cannot be answered.
They can be known.

Here’s a twinned pair of prime questions:

Physical objects arise in space; in what does space arise?
Events arise in time; in what does time arise?
Rupert Spira

If we are willing to
STOP
and truly consider what the questions point to, our lives will be altered irrevocably.

rupert-spira

 

 

 

image: Rupert Spira

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017

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one small thing – unedited free write

[We were given the prompt, “one small thing.”]

one small thing
just look slantwise
for a moment
it can happen that fast–
without warning,
the apparent world turns inside out
a Mobius strip
and no thing remains the same

one small shift
a spiral in fate
unforeseen and blindsiding
yet asked for, too
all known falls away
concepts, beliefs, assurity,
all gone,
never to return

one small twist
and, what now? how shall you live?
can you welcome no meaning
and love what comes?
wild paradox lacks any frame
when you think about it, too vast to hold
so don’t. don’t think about it,
you’ve gone down that torturous trail ten thousand times

one small turn
invited, yet unexpected
sought after, yet surprised
and the world erupts as a one-song-uni-verse

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2016

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self-care

Annular eclipse 1In direct experience, it’s clear that this whole cosmic show is “not two.” No apparent thing can exist on its own; all apparent objects are interconnected–whether hard objects, such as planets and trees and squirrels who dash by my office, or soft objects, like thoughts and feelings. All ways, one undivisible whole.

So why is it, that self-care falls away? I steadily care for my lovely husband, our adult son who suffers from chronic pain, our elderly lame dog. Yet days can go by where I disregard aerobic exercise, stretching out and strengthening my overused shoulders, and fail remember to swallow supplements in support of those very shoulders. Stranger still, I neglect writing–the very source of passion and focus in my life.

Somehow, this neglect points to a subtle sense of separation–a “them” (worthwhile) and an “us” (to be taken for granted). As a dear friend-who-points in Eugene would say, “just to notice.”

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Annular eclipse by NASA (link unavailable due to government shutdown…)

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