Category Archives: spirituality

the gift

GiftTruth is what I have wanted most in my life; that desire has been the driving, propelling force.

Convinced I lacked something, and in the only way our culture directs us, I looked for that something outside of myself–for the missing key I knew was needed for fulfillment.

Some gifts are so small, so simple, and yet have huge ramifications. The first gift came as a quote from Al-Bistami, a Sufi who lived 1200 years ago. It is reported that he said, “This thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.” These words haunted me. I sensed truth, but couldn’t figure out what he meant. The words lived inside in a wordless place, like a little burning coal, and served as a constant irritant. When the meaning finally opened–that seeking is the problem, not the solution, but the drive to seek is generally required–I was ready for the experience of unlearning all that I believed to be true.

Welcome to the non-dual teaching. This is referred to as the direct path, and described as radical. I might add a cautionary beware–if you open fully to this teaching, life as you understand it will change in unexpected and even dramatic ways.

None of the beliefs I held before remain. The whole crazy, knotted mess simply fell apart. This has been the biggest gift of all.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: the gift

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Filed under Musings, Non-duality, spirituality

uprooted

UprootedTreeThere is nothing I enjoy more than discovering and seeing through beliefs or subtle thoughts of separation.

This has become play more than work, and the discoveries often show up as pure delight. Yesterday, seeing through the core of paradox was one of those moments.

In 2008, my belief in prayer was abruptly uprooted, and I felt its loss terribly. A way of life that seemed comfortable, that I thought I understood and knew how to control, was gone. The question kept arising, “Now how do I live?”

Today I discovered that in a subtle way, prayer still exists–but prayer is not offered from a small “I” to something outside of what I truly am. Instead, all of this life has become the unspoken offering–show, use, and refine this-that-I-am as a clear vessel. I’m humbled that I know nothing, and never will. Yet there is a delightful relaxation, too. I don’t need to know anything. If I am fully open and surrendered to listening, the endless, eternal present will provide what is required. Each erupting moment is a boundless unknown–this itty-bitty brain could never learn what is required to “manage” it. Supposing it could is a display of arrogance.

I feel as though my forehead is on the ground, and I’m eternally whispering “show me.” Show me the way now. And now. And now.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders, spirituality

conclusions

playful elephantThe mind–any mind–wants to make conclusions. It lives for conclusions. That’s what it’s built for: judging–or discerning, if we are blessed with subtlety–supposedly choosing, and making conclusions.

On a hot, sunny day, sweat rises on the skin, we make the conclusion that it’s too hot to be outside. My co-worker frowns at me, I make the assumption that I’ve done something that displeased them. But who knows? Perhaps they don’t feel well, or their child got called into the principal’s office.

If we acknowledge the mind’s activity, but leave it alone and simply remain curious, suffering decreases. We can’t know the outcome–for sure–before it arrives anyway, so the stress-free response is to remain open.

The stakes drop. Life becomes less serious, and more playful.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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they die of neglect

red demon skullBedtime used to bring my wild, blood-red demons–nightmare scenarios about my son’s health–all the eventual horrible happenings that might occur.

I suspect the pattern arose so I would feel prepared for any outcome; I’ve been blindsided a few times in life. But the net effect was that rather than dying once, I, or my son, or my husband, died hundreds of times. Not a helpful outcome, either for sleep or psyche.

Come to discover, if I leave the thought train alone–if I do not suppress it, or try to quiet the mind in any way, but simply notice, and acknowledge, the train rumbles right on by, off into its own dark and unpleasant future.

I remain right here, face against the soft pillowcase my sister made me, under the warmth of our downy, with my husband breathing evenly, quietly, beside me.

When thoughts are neither followed nor denied, they die of neglect.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
with thanks to Rupert Spira for the prompt, “they die of neglect.”
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ripening

ripeningThe ripening that brings one to the non-dual view is not under personal control. People are drawn to the teaching or not. They may be uninterested, but then a few years later, can’t understand what took them so long. This was true of me.

Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now sat on my bookshelf for ten years before I read it. I was drawn to make the purchase–but then, there it sat, unopened.

One day in 2007, I saw the title gleaming on my shelf and pulled the book out out, turning it over in my hand with wonder. I knew that it had been waiting there for a very long time. From the moment I cracked it open on that day, I was drawn into the truth I found there. I instinctively knew that it was true–true for this body-mind, in any case. I read for hours.

The the pull that began that day was unstoppable. It lead to the Open Path training with Elias Amidon; the writings of Jean Klein, the Dzogchen teachings, and Nirmala; sitting with Tom Kurzka, David Waldman, and finally, Rupert Spira. The search ended there in the clarity of the teachings Rupert provides. The unlearning and dissolving of old patterns continues–that is apparently a limitless undoing.

Always a beginner. Eternally grateful.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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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
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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

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