Category Archives: spirituality

slantwise seeing

bridge and bright skyI only dropped acid once, over forty years ago. I spent the clear August afternoon in a lush Connecticut garden, breathing in the piquant scent of ripe tomatoes, and eating sun-warmed raspberries from the vine without the use of hands. The brilliant sunlight seemed dim in the face of the unmanifest light–Nur in Arabic–that clearly birthed the plants, the space, my body. From this unseen, bright capacity erupted everpresent, unnameable isness.

When the drug wore off, so did the slantwise seeing. That day echoed earlier childhood experiences, and the remembering and longing ignited a potent search.

Thirty-six years later, I finally admitted to a precious and trustworthy friend that my quest had failed. I had not found the peace or the clarity I sought. In his wisdom and generosity, he pointed me home. That was seven years ago in August. I took his suggestions to heart. Over time, beliefs fell away. Patterns strained, screamed, and eventually crumbled. My understanding of love expanded. On the outside, much appears the same. On the inside, life as I knew it upended. Searching screeched to a halt. Longing dissolved.

Today, no longer slantwise, the light returned.

Although I still hang out with pointing friends, direct experience is the only reliable touchstone.

It does not fail.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit, with gratitude: Barnstorming blog

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Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, 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


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


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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Filed under Advaita, spirituality

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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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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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, spirituality

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