Category Archives: nonduality

to lay bare

When I entered my mid-twenties, spiritual search underway, I longed for “enlightenment.” It seemed like the maraschino cherry I’d always begged my parents for–the taste of a rare and enigmatic sweetness. A few people mysteriously earned this cherry. How’d they do that? More chanting? Better diet? Longer meditation? Kinder demeanor? Deeper surrender? Selflessness? It seemed unreachable and scary. I tried it all.

I mistakenly believed something needed to be added. It took thirty-seven years before I understood the reverse is truer: a laying bare. Stripping down. Emptying out. The implications of this are–initially–far scarier. I apparently needed to dismantle and unlearn the vast house-of-cards I had constructed.

The good news is that we don’t “do” it. And there’s no “i” nor “it,” either. When the time is right, this stripping away occurs all on its own–life’s reckless brilliance. I doubt it can be prevented. Resistance is futile.

©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
image credit: by CopyrightFreePhotos CopyrightFreePhotos.HQ101.com (Own work by uploader [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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

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
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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

pain as free medicine

In early February, I ruptured a disk in my low back: first an ache, then a burning two-inch poker, then an angry nerve’s lightning bolt searing down my leg. For the next week, until I saw a spinal specialist who prescribed the right nerve medication, I hobbled with a cane, couldn’t sleep, was unable to sit at my desk, and had no appetite. Intractable pain is exhausting.

And yet!

Sometimes, while lying awake, present to the moment which was busily announcing its presence—where else could I be?—I focused on severe pain as rich sensation. Although the aching and burning didn’t let up, the sensations did fluctuate, always subtly shifting. For brief periods, the margin between agony and ecstasy melded. Such a mystery.

Other times, I rested in and as the “field” (a simpler word for “consciousness”—more plainsong, less full orchestra). That’s the apparent choice: either be the sensations, or be the field in which sensations arise. In neither instance did the pain go away. Thisness is thisness—there is no choice but to be it all.

Apparent choice? No choice? Which is it? Once I heard Adyashanti answer a student’s question this way: “If there’s an apparent choice, make it.” I giggled with delight and slipped that expression in my pocket. Of course, both—“both” is a concession to the failure of language to express the inexpressible—are true. Neither are true. Nothing is “true.”

Because of this teaching—this ever-evolving-no-place-to land-understanding—no story formed. I had no fearful thoughts of the future, or story-building about what caused it to happen—which would have added suffering on top of acute sensation.

Gratefulness flooded for the extravagant pain, my husband’s precious care, the abrupt interruption of teaching, driving, and writing. Gratitude lit me up: this apparent paradox of field and sensation, the ever-inseparable unmanifest and manifest, never other than what it is: outrageous, unstoppable, and luscious free medicine.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
photo credit: Emily Polis Gibson of the Barnstorming blog
credit for “free medicine

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality