Category Archives: Advaita

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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Filed under Advaita, Awakening, Musings, Non-duality, Rupert Spira

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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Filed under Advaita, Awakening, Poetry, thoughts

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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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders, Non-duality

life is buzzing

bee hive 2Have you ever seen a swarm of bees? They are all so busy being. Bee-ing! That is how life is right now–high activity, all clumped together, tasks jumbled on top of one another. Paint around the shower, replace medicine cabinets, vacuum before the carpet guys arrive, instruct them about the specifics, cut shelf covering just the right size, refinish the old cabinets–but how? Find curtains, order blinds… the list feels endless, and that is a story this pattern has created.

We moved three and a half weeks ago, and then prepared the previous home to go on the market. That’s enough!

But now we are renovating a condo for my son, who is returning to California after twenty years away. It is obviously the right condo, and it showed up at what the mind would like to say is just the wrong time. That is a story as well.

Life unfolds. End of story. Wanting it to be one way or another is a prescription for suffering. Noticing how it is–with innocent curiosity–returns me home, to the home that will not move, disappear, or change. Dependable. Home.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

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moving… or not?

In the world of appearances, we have moved–our address has changed, our home layout is different, our belongings are finding new resting places. I have established yet another spoon drawer in this kitchen, and a drawer with items that have holes (strainers, steamers, grater, colander).

But what has moved, really? This-that-we-are, this that never leaves and is ever-present, doesn’t move. This bright and radiant no-thing remains ever radiant and bright. All the rest comes and goes.

We can depend on that.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders

naked presence

bridge and bright skyWhat is it that is so compelling about the spiritual journey? It dragged me further and further from the root of myself.

For thirty-eight years, I searched desperately to find something that felt truly and deeply sacred. Convinced that I would recognize this something when it showed up, I prayed, meditated, chanted, and tried to be the very best person that I could. I read deep books, and struggled to learn.

If only I were good enough. There must be something inherently wrong with me. Clearly, I wasn’t worthy.

But-this-that-we-are could not possibly be an object. Objects, or the multitudes of manifested stuff that the Buddhists call “the ten thousand things,” come and go. The truly sacred could not possibly show up and dissolve–I knew in my heart that it must be what I imagined as permanent ground.

But even “permanent ground” is a misunderstanding, because permanent must imply the opposite, impermanent. That which is truly sacred–that which is beyond names–has no opposites, and is outside of time; it is both eternal and infinite.

I have never met Nirmala, but he set me straight one afternoon in Boulder, Colorado, August, 2009. I was resting in a motel room and picked his book, Nothing Personal, out of my back pack. I started at the beginning. Around page five, I read this sentence, and it brought me to a full stop: “So, what else is present right here, right now, besides sensations, experiences, thoughts, feelings, and ‘you’–that doesn’t  come and go?”

Thirty eight years on a spiritual path, and I had never questioned this before. I reread the sentence four or five times. Then I put the book down on the bed, and turned inward to examine my experience. The best description of my state is beginner’s mind–I looked freshly, without anticipating what I might find.

And… there “it” was. Alive, naked presence. Untouchable, unfindable as an object. But it seemed obvious that naked presence has always been my constant companion. This thought arose, “Really?!” Chuckling erupted.

For months, I checked tens of times a day. Still here? Still with me? And finally, the checking, the questioning, stopped. Naked presence cannot be lost. Certain states of mind may veil this-that-isn’t-an-it, but presence is wholly dependable.

I couldn’t lose this if I tried. It is both unfindable and unloseable.

I remain an unnamed vessel of vast grateful-ing.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: the beautiful blog, Barnstorming. Check it out.

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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders

obstacles

refinish wood floors 3During our home renovation, I’ve paid close attention when apparent obstacles arise.

My tack is different these days. Instead of resisting, I soften, and get very curious. Perhaps what is presenting is not an obstacle after all, but a moment to review, perhaps change course, and see what else is opening.

Yesterday, Bob, the flooring guy, let us know while we were confirming dates for next week that rather than starting on Monday, he couldn’t begin hardwood repairs until Wednesday. The initial plan had been to repair the red oak floor in the kitchen, and then refinish the kitchen and all the hallways prior to laying carpet in the bedrooms, living room, and family room. We are on a specific schedule–we want to move and have a week to get settled before my husband has minor surgery and is laid up for a bit. My old pattern would have been to tighten and resist change, to worry, and fret, to lie awake at night, to envision hopeless outcomes–all that energy spent on an imaginary future that may not come to pass.

Instead, a kind of  inner space opened up. Out of that emptiness, a new plan seemed possible–lay the carpet on Monday, and tape off entryways to the living and family rooms that don’t have doors to reduce the sanding dust on the new carpet. My husband realized the swap opens Tuesday for other small finishing tasks–perhaps Alan the furnace guy, or Scott the electrician can use that available time. This way, we can remain on schedule to move August 1st. Bob blustered a bit about the change in the order of his work, but his blustering is his, not mine. Once he saw that a bit of dust on the carpet didn’t concern me–I surely know how to vacuum–he was able to soften as well.

These skilled tradespeople are awareness in a different, beautiful skin; we are truly not-two. When I knowingly live that, they meet me there.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders, Non-duality