Category Archives: simple pleasures

I have a plan

planHow many times have we said, “I have a plan” over our lifetime?

When we approach life with a plan, there is always some part of us to improve, to correct, to change.

I remember that I always had an idea of what events, relationships, or even my hair styles would look like, but they never turned out the way the mind envisioned. I had self-improvement schemes, too. For example, if I were kind enough, other people would be kind in return. Not necessarily so…

I no longer live with a plan. However it is, is how it is. This makes this wild experience we call life much simpler and easier. Much less stress, resistance, and drama.

Not having a plan makes life interesting right now, because I’m taking a year-long real estate course where I’m required to make a business plan. Which, of course, I will–because I’ve committed to completing this course. I will put close attention to what they ask of us, and attend to the details. But do I “believe” in it? Do I really believe I have individual control over my life? No longer–because this is so obviously not “my” life. I’ve spent hundreds of hours noticing, and I cannot find a “doer.” And yet doing happens, and life continues to unfold. Occasionally events even turn out in a pleasing way. Just as often, they do not.

I soaked in the hot tub tonight. Abruptly, the body-mind stood, and stepping out of the tub, wrapped up in a towel. There was no plan–or even the premonition of a thought–of leaving the warmth of the tub at that moment. And yet it occurred. I slipped into bed, looking forward to deep rest before an apparently very busy day tomorrow. Forty-five minutes later, I found myself sliding my feet into slippers, wrapping up in a hoodie, and returning to the computer.

Do I have any sense of when writing will stop, and I’ll return to bed? No idea at all. Perhaps writing will go on all night. Perhaps, a couple of minutes from now, the body will put itself back in bed. Whichever occurs, or something else completely unforeseen–I’m sure to be surprised by whatever shows up. That’s part of the delight of living now–it’s all so surprising.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
image credit

3 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Surrender, thoughts, Truth, writing

desire

rocks like a waterfall smallerYesterday’s post didn’t satisfy me. I rewrote it, and it’s still kind of… unrewarding. Onward–now is now!

Desire is a harsh taskmistress– we both want and don’t want the object of our desire. For example, Breyer’s mint chocolate chip ice-cream tugs at me in the evening, but I don’t want to put on extra weight. I yearn to find a home in a community close by and move, but sigh deeply, pondering all of the heavy lifting involved. Easily, tens of additional examples are available.

That’s the mind’s game: desiring. Another name for it is seeking–seeking other than what is here, right now: warm cup of coffee, Phoebe-the-hummingbird sitting on her fresh clutch of eggs on the monitor to my right, the small, burbling fountain in the background. All perfect, when the mind rests in the present. If I rest here and notice the stream of desires that arise, I can also take note of what is aware of the desires.

That-which-is-aware has no preferences. Desires can roll on by like waves on the beach; they simply show up and fade away–if we don’t grab on to them. It has become rather playful to watch them come and go.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: I took this photo in December, 2000, on the Oregon coast

Leave a comment

Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Surrender, thoughts, Truth

not enough

its_not_enough_buttonMost people live in a world of “not enough.” Not enough love, not enough money, not enough of the right kind of food, not enough time.

How many thoughts do I have a day wanting to change something in my life?

Honestly? Quite a few.

But I believe them less and less–because this moment, this moment right now, is precious, just as it is.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

1 Comment

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, stories, thoughts, Truth

breath

breathe out the worldA little experiment to play with:

Breathe in, first noticing what is known (the world), then the knower (awareness) and then knowing alone–no longer any division between the knower and the known.

Then with the light of knowing, breathe out the world.

I would love to attribute this because I heard it from someone, but the memory of who shared it has flown… deep thanks to that person.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

1 Comment

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Truth

simple and uncontrived

tulip heartLife itself is simple and uncontrived. Thought, and the attendant feelings that attach to them, build complexity. Some people thrive on that. They can have it!

More and more, I’m leaning toward keeping it simple. The necessary tools or information aren’t fully available until the moment opens. When I pay attention to this moment, there is no need to be concerned about the next. It will come as it comes, and when it does, I’ll attend to it.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Jeffrey Foltice

Leave a comment

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, thoughts, Truth

hope, take two

Iman with flower 2 yrsHope still arises, of course. I have no control over that. But in the same way that I respond to crazy thoughts, I just don’t grab on.

Hope has been a familiar companion, so I wave a friendly hello–but that’s the extent of the interaction. Instead of swinging into an imaginary, constructed future, I remain here, the only “place” where life can truly be experienced.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

2 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Truth

the unknown – take two

marsh path 1 smallerWhat is it that humans fear the most? Most people are apprehensive about the unknown of death, the unknown of their body not existing any more. On top of that is the fear of being forgotten—and that doesn’t take very long. For most of us, not famous, it takes just a couple of generations. This fear of not being is mirrored every time we experience deep quiet. I know people in my circle of friends who always have their television on. Another friend told me that her father would beat her if she turned off the television in the early morning hours of the morning. He wanted it on all the time, no exceptions. Sound, as company. Sound, to ward off the inevitable.

Fear also haunts people when their minds fall quiet. My friend Susan pointed out to me that the space between thoughts is terrifying to many people, again because it approximates death. It is in that very space that life actually lives—and we try to shut it out.

When I went on a ten-day solitary, silent retreat, most people I spoke to said that they could never undertake a retreat like that. The very thought of it petrifies them. I didn’t know how it would affect me—I wondered if I would find my own company uncomfortable—only to discover the delicious, vibrant emptiness that is available when we set down all daily activity and plunge into the unknown. It can make us hunger for more.

The easiest way to approach this empty, alive unknown is to follow a thought back to its root. When we discover there is no root, in fact, nothing there at all, there is at least a split second where we experience the absence of anything—and then we can return to the safety of the known world.

Ha! As though it is safe here!

I’ve become cordial with and curious about the void-that-is-not-void—the delectable, vibrant nothing-that-is-everything. It’s the very source, and it’s right here, right now, always.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

Leave a comment

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, thoughts, Truth

sensation as an anchor

anchorSometimes we feel less present than other times. In actuality, this cannot be true–but the separate self believes it to be so. Paying attention to sensation can be helpful, because sensations only occur now, in the present. As soon as you focus on the current sensation, you are instantly here!

This works very well when I discover that I’m anxious or afraid. Instead of focusing on the label, I notice sensations in the body; sometimes I choose a different sensation from the obvious one. Even while anxious, there are sensations in my feet or fingertips, for example. Simply noticing the feet or fingertips–and taking attention away from the central sensation I labelled anxiety or fear–can break the pattern free.

More often, I dive right into the discomfort. When it isn’t labelled, simplicity abounds. A simple sensation. A wonderful anchor.

4 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, thoughts, Truth

what do we know other than knowing?

knowing1

What do we know, except knowing itself?

I stare at words forming on the screen–actually, they form more intimately than that. They form right here.

An airplane is rumbling overhead–except in my direct experience, the sound is occurring right here.

I feel my butt settled deeply in my ergonomic desk chair (I’m working very hard on correct posture), but the sensations of that contact actually have no margins–no place that butt stops and chair begins–and furthermore, the sensations are felt right here.

I still taste cashew in my mouth; however, in my direct experience, that tasting happens right here.

This morning I brewed fresh coffee–I remember the smell. I remember that smell now, and it’s right here.

All of it, closer than close.
And when I break all of these perceptions and sensations down, all that I have left is the knowing of them.

That’s what we know. Knowing.

That’s all we know.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: Entertainment Wallpaper

Leave a comment

Filed under Advaita, Non-duality, simple pleasures, Truth

universe

barred spiral galaxyLast night as I sat in the hot tub, steam rose, hitting the frigid air. Stars–some in familiar patterns–dotted the moonless sky.

I mused about the immensity of the universe, and then thought turned to look at the word “universe” itself. Uni-verse.

One song!

Who named this vast, outrageous display, and got it so right?

I soaked and smiled, soaked and smiled.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo: barred spiral galaxy from NASA archives

3 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Musings, simple pleasures, spirituality, thoughts, Truth