Tag Archives: Dzogchen

what is this?

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Abbey D'Agostino of the United States (R) is assisted by Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand after a collision during the Women's 5000m Round 1 - Heat 2 on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

What is this?
This outrageous, ever-unfolding display:
decapitations, orgasms, bombastic politicians,
premature babies born with everything wrong, struggling to breathe.
Grannies rock them back to life.

Two runners fall, one tears her knee.
The other, a competitor, eases her up–
forgoes the race, and trots beside the hobbling athlete.
They cross the finish line together, dead last.
Now friends for life.

Prior to this erupting chaos,
prior–but not in time–
is the ineffable:
empty of things,
but full of possibility.

Rest there–or better said,
rest here
in this ground of being
and, still resting,
join the show.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
image credit: Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, Dzogchen, Musings

the one taste

double rainbow old oakIn February 1972, my Sufi teacher, Moineddin, and fifteen of his students were eating dinner at the Kyber Pass Restaurant, a Middle-Eastern place either in Berkeley or Oakland. Ever since I had taken initiation the previous November, I had been dreaming of receiving a new name to replace Rita. So when Moineddin turned to me and said he’d gotten a name, I felt a shot of electricity. Finally I would be done with my birth name that never felt right!

“It’s Amrita,” he said. “It comes from Sanskrit, and means ‘Divine Nectar.’” Then he turned to the larger group and chuckling, added, “I love a pun.”

My insides felt pasted together. Amrita. I’d wanted to get rid of my name so badly, it was given right back. My expression must have reflected my disappointment, because he raised his eyebrows. “You don’t have to accept it.”

Reject the name my teacher had bestowed? Not something I could do.

It took three years for me to learn to love the name. Often I was asked what it meant. It felt awkward to say “divine nectar”—people generally had some kind of reaction–but a few years later, I heard amrita translated as “living water.” That worked.

Pir Moineddin died in 2001. In 2008, the non-dual teachings exploded into my life. I was glad that my Sufi teacher had already passed away; he was an honorable and wonderful guide for thirty years … but I would have left him in order to delve into what I knew in my bones was a deeper truth.

I asked Elias Amidon, who introduced the non-dual view to me, for some books to read. He first suggested titles by Jean Klein, which I devoured. A few months later, I asked for a more expanded reading list. He offered some Dzogchen texts translated by Keith Dowman. He knew these texts would keep me busy for a long time. Somewhere in the middle of the first text, Dowman mentioned the word amrita, and translated it as “the one taste.”

The one taste of everything.

A resonance of ease opened deep inside, and I gave quiet thanks to Moineddin.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: Panhala Poetry

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Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality

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
photo credit

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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
image credit

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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

oneness and multiplicity

OnenessLogoTonight, I took part in a reading at Sisters Consignment Couture in Sonoma, California. We read short sections of memoir about sisters, or people close enough that we consider them our sisters. David shared how his father turned malevolent when he drank, and thrashed his wife–frightening him and his three sisters. Catherine’s sister died five years ago of lung cancer, and she so clearly depicted walking with her sister towards her death, and the loss she still feels today. Joelle wrote about the night she was taken home abruptly from a slumber party because her sister, Wendy, had died in a car accident. Laura described unreasonable and thoughtless behavior of a Mother Superior when she and her sister were little. I read a short piece where my best friend and I spontaneously created a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital to honorably dispose of my wedding ring from a previous marriage.

The common thread that expresses oneness amidst the seeming disparity of experience and stories was so obvious–our compassion and love for family and friends, the exquisite rawness of our shared human experience. The mind notices differences, a skill that we require for many activities. We can make use of the able mind and know it is not the largest truth. The deeper heart recognizes with undeniable clarity that life is not-two.

©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, spirituality, stories, Truth, writing

is it a barren nothing?

black eye galaxyIs it a barren nothing? So fun when deconstruction has to begin with the first five words: “It” is not an it, but we call it that in order to use words at all. Otherwise, it would be necessary to remain silent.

Both my husband and I went through a period we now call “the bardos.” In 2008, meaning in our lives fell away, and life felt very flat. Barren. Even unappealing. I no longer understood how to live, and was afraid that life would be boring, or uninteresting.

Ha! Not the case, and the bardos turned out to be a phase that lasted a couple of months. Life’s vitality returned–on its own terms! Now life lives–and it’s engaging, challenging–all that it was before, except it has no meaning, and I’m absolutely clear that I have no control at all. It’s all one big life unfolding–beautifully, horribly, confusingly, touchingly.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: NASA’s incredible archives

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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, Silence, spirituality, stories, thoughts, Truth