Category Archives: thoughts

what’s in it for me?

MeWhat’s in it for me?

Absolutely nothing!

“Me” is simply an idea attached to sensations in the body.

The graphic represents the misunderstanding perfectly–the very misunderstanding that is playing out on the world stage right now.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
graphic credit

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the voices

mind voicesI still have mind-voices murmuring to me–but not the kind that folks are medicated for. These are not loud, and they don’t order me around. But they are persistent.

I believe we all have voices that talk to us–the specter of our parents and how they raised us, the teacher who shamed us in school. I remember the day that I cried at our neighbor’s home, and Mom busted me, saying, “We don’t take emotions to the neighbors. What will they think? If you want to cry, cry in the privacy of your own room!”

I’m not denying what arises, but not giving it energy, either. So the voices are no longer locked up. What I’ve learned to do is notice, and walk on by. Notice, nod a greeting, and turn my attention elsewhere.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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relative truths

undivided-1Relative truths are like small maps–you see the neighborhood, but not the limitless universe it is part of. We need these little truths. They help us navigate life, prevent us from careening our car into the one in the next lane.

But small maps cannot open us to deep beauty, or dissolve suffering. For that, we need a truth so huge, it is undivided.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

image credit: Julia Hennock

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private, or not private?

privateWe believe that our thoughts and feelings are private–and are grateful that this is so. Who of us has not had mean, murderous, or lecherous thoughts from time to time? We hold them close, enfolding them in a metaphorical cloak, hiding them away. Perhaps we’re ashamed, or fearful.

But is this privacy really true?

Thoughts, feelings and perceptions to occur to this body-mind, but not the one sitting next to me–that is true.

But the awareness that knows my thoughts, and your thoughts is not private. It is the awareness that knows all experience, and receives that experience without comment or judgment.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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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

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inquiry, take two

smiling shivaYesterday’s post quickly falls apart under close scrutiny, because in the first half I spoke about the personal, separate “I,” and in the second half, I was referring to the inquiry that brings one to understand there is no personal “I” at all–all there is, is freshly unfolding life.

This is how words continually miss the mark they aim for. And yet, I cannot deny my love affair with them. Words keep me up at night, as I lie in bed honing, mentally wordsmithing, searching for the most subtle,  direct, honest expression I can put forward.

Inquiry is Shiva. It destroys what we believed ourselves to be. What’s left has no ownership–but nothing has been lost. As my friend and teacher Elias Amidon says, “We’re ruined.” Then he can’t help but chuckle.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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inquiry

pointing-fingerMany of us are confused when we first learn about inquiry–the tendency is to turn our inquiry outward, to question about the meaning of life, or our beliefs, in relation to other peoples’. But inquiry really means turning around, and looking at the source of our experience. It takes a while to get the hang of it, because it is completely counter to what society teaches us.

My thirteenth summer, I went to a ranch horse camp in Colorado for two months–delicious fun. Soon after I returned home, my mother called me to her desk, and pointed to the eight letters I had written from camp–a Sunday requirement before we could eat dinner. “Your sentences all begin with ‘I,'” she said. She had circled all the “I”s with dark red pencil. “This is an ugly sign of self-centeredness.”

But how to express the experience I was having at camp without using the personal pronoun? I was dumbfounded–and humiliated–by her judgment.

Fifty years later, when I was introduced to inquiry, the instructions were exactly the opposite from my upbringing. “Look to the source of your experience,” my teacher said. “Stay with yourself. Don’t leave home.”

Really?
Initially this was very uncomfortable. I felt my mother–now dead–shaking her head, and her finger, at me. I smile, thinking of all her social training washing quietly down the drain.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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Ripeness, by Jane Hirshfield

This poem touches me so very deeply that I share it with you.

RipenessRipeness

Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.
To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.
And however sharply
you are tested —
this sorrow, that great love —
it too will leave on that clean knife.
–Jane Hirshfield
 from “The October Palace”
credit: the post and photo come from Panhala Poetry

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hanging on

flashlight beamHanging on is an activity of the powerful mind that we use in a very limited way. We hang on to repeated patterns of thinking—regardless of the negativity they bring—because the repetition comforts us. How can our thinking apparatus be both powerful and limited?

Easy. Imagine a flashlight beam on a dark-of-the-moon night. It illuminates only the tiniest part of the whole, yet that is where all the attention goes—down that narrow band of light. So it is with the mind. The focusing power creates a compelling but narrow finger that draws all of the mental attention into stories of the past and future. Consequently, we miss where life actually happens: now. The grandeur available in the present moment is usurped by that skinny bandwidth that has no root in reality. So caught up, we miss the truth altogether, and live a mind-fiction instead.

If you are reading these words, it’s likely that you have noticed the limitations of the mind, and realized that if you continue to stack the deck the same old way, you get the same old result. At some point, our restless search for something better finally turns us toward home. Then, more and more often, we can enter the present with open hands instead.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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no more escaping

no more escapingMost peoples’ waking hours are spent trying to escape what is going on right now.

She’s impatient with her husband’s snoring; he wishes she wouldn’t leave water on the bathroom floor. We’re irritated because the boss walks by too often to check what’s on our monitor, or the weather is too chilly, or too humid. Or perhaps we are simply wishing that our vacation would begin, that our back would stop hurting, or that our bellies were flatter.

If we’re human, we’ve wished for life to be other than it is. Sometimes our desire to escape what is happening is subtle, but often, it is blatantly obvious.

Notice that what is happening right now is the unstoppable birthing of life, and because it is here–already–it is not escapeable. Wishing it were otherwise is the main way that we torture ourselves. Perhaps what is opening in our lives is painful. Welcome it–because it is what it is–and if the pull is there to make change, and change is possible, do so.

I remember right after my father collapsed and died of a massive heart attack, I had the urgent desire for time to stop–to somehow honor the moment, and give us a breath to adjust. But the next moment descended, and the next… and soon it had been two days since his death, and then two weeks, two years, two decades. A vast coming and going, this journey, all within the spacious aliveness of awaring.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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