Tag Archives: direct experience

touchstone – take two

All my life, I’ve hungered for a touchstone–something reliable, constant, steady. Something that would not come and go.

The moment in September 2009 that I turned around–in a metaphorical sense–and took note of the unchangeable aspect of what I am, my experience rearranged. The moment itself was quiet, and the shift seemed almost imperceptible. Although I was alone at the time, I spoke my response out loud: “Really?”

At first the aftermath took the form of the tiniest aftershocks. About nine months later, the big one hit. The whole house of cards that people knew as Amrita collapsed. This was not easy, either for me nor those closest to me. Most of the cards simply blew away, never to be found again. A couple of cards remained, but not to be re-constructed into a house. They float on groundlessness.

Now I add other words to describe this touchstone: Eternal, Infinite. Peaceful. And this touchstone is forever “with” me–I simply hadn’t noticed. I can’t offer an image as a representation like I usually do with blogs, because it is not a “thing.” It has no objective qualities. It is unfindable–one cannot even turn toward it, because it is too close. Closer than close. Yet it-that-isn’t-an-it is knowable. Be-able.

© Amrita Skye Blaine 2015



Filed under Awakening, memoir, Musings, Non-duality

mind game – update

Ripple-EffectLast evening, Caverly Morgan and I talked about anxiety and self-love. She is an introspective, thoughtful woman with a Zen monastic background, and works with teens in the Portland, Oregon schools. Check out her website onehouseofpeace.org. She had some suggestions about working with the overactive nighttime mind which I decided to try out, along with the self-reminders I posted yesterday.

When I went to bed and relaxed my body, as usual, the mind fired up. I worked with sensing the feelings that underlie and precipitate thought, and while doing this, noticed just how strident the mind was. With curiosity, I queried, “Why are you so loud?” The answer: “I don’t feel heard.”

One of my companions over the last nine years has been a volume of daily readings called The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. In one entry, he describes how Aboriginal Australian people pay their respects when they come upon each other in the bush. Their greeting is, “I see you.” In this vein of deep love, understanding, and union, I responded to the mind by saying, “I hear you.” I repeated this, with love, a number of times. The mind chatter volume immediately dropped. Now I could rest in being, aware of, but not engaged with, the ongoing commentary.

I went on to sense the feelings beneath the chatter, and then, prior even to feelings, bodily sensations, which I invited to soften, and permeated with knowing presence. At some point, filled with gratitude, I dropped off to sleep.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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Filed under Daily reminders, insomnia, mind, Musings, thoughts

mind game reminder

funny-crazy-mind-bunnies-clipartToday, surrounded by loving, awake friends, I was reminded of other ways to address the nattering nighttime mind.

The thoughts are precipitated by feelings. Sink into those. Welcome them, even if they are uncomfortable. Most likely, they are familiar friends who have been with me most of my life.

The feelings, when I place my attention on them, reveal themselves as simple bodily sensations. Notice these.

Allow pure awareness to seep into them, expanding and dissolving the remnants. Or invite them to soften and gradually disperse.

Rest in beingness.

Repeat again, again, again. Again.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts

mind game

untamed mindLife is busy. I take moments during the day and rest in the truth of what I am. But the most available time is when I go to bed, and don’t go to sleep–aging insomnia—so I hang out simply being.

For a few blessed moments, quiet.

Then the mind starts rambling, babbling, screaming. The thoughts are annoying, repetitive, and without meaning. Obnoxious. At first I was sure the mind was getting louder. It dawned on me it has always been this loud, but as my appreciation and attraction to being grows, the noisy mind becomes more obvious.

The teaching says, “Leave thoughts alone. Don’t touch them.” Supposedly, if one leaves them alone enough, they lose strength. This is not my experience. They natter, natter, natter on. I do my best not to fiddle with them.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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Filed under Daily reminders, mind, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts

eddies and whirlpools – redux

eddiesImagine—we’re floating down a gentle river in inner tubes on a blazing July afternoon. Our butts hang in the cool water, the tube surfaces are warm—growing hotter where the water does not splash on them—and the sun beats down on the exposed parts of our bodies.

Then, abruptly, a whirlpool catches your inner tube, and for a little bit, the tube is spun in place in the river, and you are seemingly separated from the main flow—then the whirlpool disperses, and off the ride goes again.

A while later, an eddy pulls my tube into a bend—a quiet nook in the river—and now I appear to be independent of the main flow. Then the eddy gives way, and the tube rocks a bit until the current grabs it and pulls me back into the main body of the river.

We are always one with the river, but seemingly separated at times. What a delicious metaphor for awareness and embodiment. Awareness is the river—always there, always alive and flowing. The whirlpools and eddies are embodiments—where for a little while, we show up on the planet; we look separate, we may feel separate, but we are never separated—or independent—for one instant from the grand flow that we are.

Then the body dissipates just like the eddy back into that from whence it came, and once again, only one awareness, one river.

Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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Filed under Daily reminders, death, Musings, Non-duality, Truth

love waits – a poem

Love Waits

Love waits
patient, unseen, outside of time.
It cloaks as car accident,
chronic illness, or grief;
starry night, baby’s breath, or
first ripe raspberry in spring.

It is waiting,
waiting for you,
waiting for you to turn around,
to finally turn inside.

This love flows, wholly dependable,
unlike relationship, made of two:
at best, a luscious, rampant garden,
filled with surprise and hidden delight—
still—in all its fullness, a mere reflection,
temporary and time-bound for loss.

Love waits,
waits for you,
waits for you to turn around,
to finally turn inside.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015


Filed under Awakening, Love, Non-duality, Poetry, writing

the source of thoughts

thinker-clipart-thinking-person-hiIn our western culture, we assume that the source of thinking is the mind.

This was deeply embedded in my parents’ belief system, and passed along to me. It was an unquestioned assumption.

But how could this be? The so-called mind (which is a concept; I have never found a thing called “the mind,” have you?) is itself an apparent object. It is a thought; it cannot generate thought.

Thoughts bubble up in consciousness, like every other apparent thing that manifests. They arise in in it, and are made of it.

©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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coincidence and mind

diceWhat is this phenomenon we call coincidence? Inner knowing says: seemingly coincidental events are not extraordinary, not at all–in fact, they are quite ordinary.

Mind delights in entertaining itself with stories of magic and mystery.

Some moment–now, or in an eon or two–thought notices the endless, repeating, always-behind-the-present nature of itself, and tires. No-thing it followed, yearned for, and commented upon has fulfilled its longing for more, for answers, for riches, for love, for understanding. For the briefest instant, thought stops.

The whisper of a crack appears. Dust settles there. Perhaps a trickle of water finds its way through. A seed plants itself. Maybe a teacher appears. Soon, the crack is an ever-widening crevice, pushed open by the roots of knowing. There is no stopping the process; the pattern has crossed the point of no return. Frightened, thought–which in turn is laced and embedded with feeling–scrabbles for the known. But the known is unreliable; it comes and goes. Suffering or chaos ensue. Little bubbles of grace erupt. Eventually, the pattern cannot hold together, and crumbles, finer, finer–much like the first dust that floated into that tiny fissure.

Mind quiets, or at least is not given much credence. It is recognized for what it is: a necessary tool for some aspects of life.

A generous love blooms.

And what of coincidence? Each time, a gentle reminder that this unfolding pageant stems from the same eternal, infinite source.

©Amrita Skye Blaine
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start here

bird in dogs mouth

I come across this photo. The mind squawks, “No! Poor bird!”

Pausing, I start here. Here, now. Quietly notice.

The dog’s lip is curved around sharp teeth. In the retrieving world, this is called “soft mouth.” The bird’s feet are not clamped in distress, nor do they seem dead. They may be registering surprise, but again, that’s the mind commenting. I can’t know.

Smiling, I imagine the dog opened her mouth and, the bird, sensing fresh air and opportunity, took flight—another comment of the mind.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
photo origin: unknown. If you are aware the source, please contact me so I can properly assign credit.

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what is disappointment?

disappointment.1Our sage is ill, flattened by a virulent flu he picked up on an international flight. 106 people from all over the world have gathered for a week to be with him–from Colorado, North Carolina, Switzerland, Australia.

A week or more, carved out with care–we shoved back or delegated work, engaged house and animal sitters, cleaned out the fridge, put the mail on hold. Invested hard-earned savings. Such an opening for disappointment to flood in.

What is this thing we call disappointment? The mind weaves a story that circumstances should be other than they are: threads of “what ifs” and “whys” and “how comes” and perhaps even an “oh poor me.”

But I’ve heard none of that–no undercurrent of grousing. No grumbling at all. Only wishes for the return of our sage’s well-being. This community is enjoying what has been given: the sweetness of like-hearted souls who find themselves sharing space and time in an unanticipated way. What a lovely marker that the teaching has gained more than a footing, has actually taken root.

Are there preferences? You can count on it. But when we notice druthers and leave them alone, they come and go–naturally, like breath.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
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Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality