#78 Paradoxes

From Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and through the eyes of *Ursula K. Le Guin

Nothing in the world is as soft, as weak, as water;

Nothing else can wear away the hard, the strong and remain unaltered.

Soft overcomes hard, weak overcomes strong.

Everybody knows it, nobody uses the knowledge.

So the wise say:

By bearing common defilements you become

a sacrificer at the altar of earth;

by bearing common evils you become a lord of the world.

Right words sound wrong.

*Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and essays. She has received many literary awards and is internationally well known.

The Tao Te Ching is possibly 2500 years old. The first copy Ms. Le Guin knew belonged to her father, a first edition 1898 copy by Paul Carus. It became a part of her life as a child as it was a frequent reference book of her father. She lived with this book her whole life.

Today

Today I give thanks for everything; every one and all. For the multitude, for the undefined, for the wrinkle in mind. Unsifted is our joy.

Priceless Gifts

An empty day without events.

And that is why

it grew immense as space. And suddenly

happiness of being

entered me.

I heard

in my heartbeat

the birth of time

and each instant of life

one after the other

came rushing in

like priceless gifts.

~Anna Swir, The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy

November 27, 2019

 

Beyond Resistance. Approaching 2020

Resistance is a widespread phenomenon in biological, social and psychological domains of human cultural development. ~Nandita Chaudhary

Though there is truth in the above statement, it follows that this wide spread phenomenon is part of the ever evolving nature of existence and that we constantly are moved toward greater awareness and less resistance. This is evident all around us. Global movements that suggest opening and embracing with compassion and the desire for the well being of all beings. Has always moved us, though slowly, by greater numbers.

Justice, discrimination and benevolence. These fine qualities of which humans are capable are familiar to us, known to us. That which is not in abidance with these qualities seems quite clearly, out of place; an imbalance that hurts. Tired of the pain we open and in opening we address our fears, the basis for the resistance; we free all.

The last month of 2019 feels pivotal in our journey. We do not cower in the tempest but bravely stand guard for what wisdom tells us, is the only way to go.

Peace on Earth is every day. What does the dawn illumine? From the perspective of this year’s end we find the rather important asteroid Pallas Athena moving through Sagittarius and for the first weeks of December, conjunct to the Sun. What does this mean? Pallas Athena is the goddess of wisdom, protection—standing tall for ‘the highest good’. She leapt fully armour clad from the brow of her father Zeus. An adult woman, she is a warrior and yet has overcome aggressiveness. Creative intelligence guides her and to see all forces united rather than divided through war.

Athena stands for justice and the pursuit of Truth. The peoples’ needs are considered rather than those of the individual. With Pallas Athena in Sagittarius there is noble intention and faith and trust in this intention to align all with the single purpose of realizing our undivided Reality. From this arises great compassion. Athena in Sagittarius carries us into 2020 as a marker for our higher intent. How does this affect us on the individual level?

There may be a fire burning within you; an ember that sparked awareness in recent months (or years) that now consumes fear and old patterns of behaviour. Ready to confront all resistance and be free of all limitations we are the spiritual warrior whose mission it is to obliterate the illusions to which we are attached. Everyone has Pallas Athena in their chart. We are all the hero/heroine prepared to stand tall for the highest good.

For each of us to fulfill our quest it is necessary to release one of our deepest encumbrances; that of self judgment. So many wounded children struggling to be adults. Such compassion for our hearts in their state of emotional distress. How to accomplish the letting go?

Acceptance is the key to a peaceful existence. Creating a deep mental state of being that rejects nothing is the best form of refuge there is. This means you allow yourself to be as you are. This does not mean complacency. It means actively cultivating the ability to allow yourself to receive the grace of being. ~Judith Hanson Lasater, Yoga Journal

Grace informs us that nothing is lacking, nor can we add anything to what is already perfection. In my simple existence is perfection. If I care to argue with that it is not Truth but the ego putting forth recommendations that have no significance to what is. What others have to say is again the ego (most of the time) on its way to self satisfaction and self perpetuation—all illusion as neither are permanent, will cease to exist. Bring no lasting joy. So much suffering would be ended if we all knew that everything we do is in perfect alignment with what is and could not be otherwise. Every thing we do is a learning process. We cannot be judged for wanting to grow and evolve. “Mistakes” are inevitable.

We circle and circle and circle fearful of the dive that carries us deeper, through the illusion, the patterns of conditioning (ancient and persistent) toward the mighty pulse of Reality that is the life force of all things. If all that I have on this seemingly perilous quest is an intention to be open, to hold out my hands in order to receive, my doing is ended. There is joy knowing that there is no effort required. “I” cannot make a mistake. There is no need for judgment.

With deepest and most sincere intent we embrace these powerful opportunities to embrace Self and one another until we have crossed the great divide. Peace on Earth is the dawn of every day. It pours forth from our hearts—one heart and is not extinguished. This is our prayer as we close 2019 and prepare to step into New Being.

This New Moon 11.26 7:06 a.m. (PST) at 4 degrees Sagittarius: Is in the 12th house of spirit, where all dissolves into the essence of Truth. We no longer seek, we have found. Each one of us will have an aha moment that propels us into 2020. It may feel like a Tsunami or it may feel like a gentle breeze tugging at fall leaves that willingly give way to the changing of seasons. We continue to ‘rise’, the continuing cycle sees us freer; fewer limitations.

The New Moon conjuncts the ascendant (7degrees Sag.) from the 12th house. What we bring into being at this time is a deep well of Truth and knowing. Beliefs are let go. Knowing is different than knowledge that gives a sense of pride. It is without thought that we feel an abiding peace and joy. It is that Truth. The ascendant represents what we contain and reflect on entrance into duality. This New Moon contains and reflects Truth. That is the Archer’s mantra–”I seek Truth”. What is that Truth, lest we lose sight of the goal? Truth is abiding awareness that has no beginning and no ending; that there is no separation. We understand the nature of duality and so are home.

We talked about Pallas Athena at the beginning of this article residing in Sagittarius (presently 7 degrees Sag.). It exactly conjuncts the ascendant and this New Moon. Our highest aspirations gain altitude and the warrior within will not be denied rising above. This brings us a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction (point of fortune also at 7 degrees Sag.). It is where we most want to be.

The Archer’s flaming arrow never misses its mark. Its mark is everywhere and sets our hearts afire with desire for simple Truth. As the flames burn away what is superfluous one feels a deep sense of peace. Simplicity of ‘what is’ allows us, after a very long time to rest and Be. The joy resounds. No wonder that these Sagittarians are known for their wonderful sense of humour. They get it!

In this season of giving thanks we may express gratitude for the many synchronicities that place us in the right place at the right time. When we are open and without resistance we feel the Universe moving through us in miraculous ways that we, on some level, know can not be otherwise.

In Not Wanting…

#37

Over All

The Way never does anything,

And everything gets done.

If those in power could hold to the Way,

the ten thousand things

would look after themselves.

If even so they tried to act,

I’d quiet them with the nameless,

the natural.

In the unnamed, in the unshapen,

is not wanting.

In not wanting is stillness.

In stillness all under heaven rests.

From Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin translation

“In not wanting is stillness.” We are not being asked to stop wanting, only being guided to the realization that when we want nothing we are never disappointed. We do not suffer. We have long been accustomed to a perpetual cycle of desire, fulfillment and then what’s next? With dedication we can focus on our desire nature, to see it clearly and to notice who is doing the seeing. Who/what sees has nothing to do with desire. The attention shifts from the desire to the observer and there is freedom. A knowing arises. I am released.

All of this occurs as part of a rather organic process that is life here naturally unfolding. We are a boat afloat on a sea of possibility our oars are long ago whittled into sticks to prop open our eyes so we don’t miss what is right in front of us. Truth that is the eternal unfolding, expansiveness of Being.

We circle and circle and circle fearful of the dive that carries us deeper, through the illusion, the patterns of conditioning (ancient and persistent) toward the mighty pulse of Reality that is the life force of all things. If all that I have on this seemingly perilous quest is an intention to be open, to hold out my hands in order to receive, it is enough. My doing is ended.

Clarity: Examining the Edge

Not to give up under any circumstances should be the motto of our life: we shall try again and again, and we are bound to succeed…” Sri Chinmoy

It is in our hearts to succeed. Every time we venture upon the day our desire is to succeed. It is a deep longing that motivates and moves us in life. It does not comprise thought, though thoughts eventually arise to inform us. Information we often do not need. All that we need is to know; that as human beings, receptacles of ‘divine essence’, shining forth from the place of stillness is our greatest moment, our greatest success. The Truth of this is what we wake up to every morning. From this place of stillness we need no information. Everything makes perfect sense or no sense at all. And then the day unfolds.

The mystery of the moment is that it opens all moments.” ~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.

August was an opportunity to set our thoughts aside long enough to attune to the deeper calling. To step aside that we might have a clear view. The deeper calling is always there. And so are the thoughts that obscure our ability to hear that. By now, we are accustomed to the ‘interference’ and can be less dominated by thoughts and beliefs, the conditioning, so that now we may explore areas less travelled in our psyches, daring to find our edges and push beyond. In yoga a practitioner moves gently into a posture, finds the edge of that posture, explores that edge and then pushes past it, a little at a time. Life can be like that, encouraging our selves to go further than what feels comfortable and familiar. This way movement continues and we continue to grow.

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience. ~Henry Miller

Life requires us to constantly embrace the unfamiliar and to take leaps from that place of thinking we know something to a place of not knowing. In the not knowing we are like infants, relying on our senses to venture into new territory. It happens repeatedly this challenge. Challenge is not new to us only the untravelled space where we would go. We greet each challenge with a similar attitude and from the heart there is a ‘knowing’ of success; that because every challenge leads us closer and closer to Truth and successfully discovering our Truth (which seems like a complex task) is the simplest task.

We are that Truth. So we haven’t far to go in terms of leaping or challenging or exploring. Those, we utilize to discover what is limiting us from knowing what is essential.

For example, fear can equal resistance. We may be aware of some of our fears, perhaps many of our fears. Or we may be at a stage of life when we have conquered our fears—we think. Yet we continue to bump up against something as we move forward that impedes our movement; like every time we go to stand up we hit our head on the ceiling. We come up against an edge. Time to explore the edge, greet the challenge, and ‘leap’ beyond it. And if it is as Henry Miller says that, “We live on the edge of the miraculous”, to disappear the edge and be the miracle.

Miracles are life. We call them miracles because they continue to leave us in awe—the simplest things.

Life is a miracle.

The commonplace miracle: that so many common miracles take place.” ~Wislawa Szymborska, The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy

What ever stands between us and the miracle? Fear. Fear and resistance to look at the fears. Our fears—of pain, of loss, of lack, of aloneness. We are conditioned to create structures to alleviate our fears and yet these structures over the centuries can produce habitual behaviours that are limiting. We may approach the edge without having the courage to ‘press on’. The birth process is an example of our first encounter with the edge and powering beyond the edge for life’s sake. The infant without thought must face the risk or die. Babies born by Caesarian sometimes lack the drive or motivation in life to make decisions and power on. Rebirthing experiences have accomplished after the fact, the will to push on through and feel a sense of accomplishment that benefits our journey here.

The rebirthing process is a profound way of visiting our initial challenge of life and perhaps discovering fears from which we have created edges. Rebirthing is another kind of journey into deeply rooted sensations and experience. These journeys can be facilitated with guided imagery. Along the way we discover edges. Edges that may pertain to not just this life time.

As an exercise, allow your self to be guided through a space that is in total darkness. Allow your senses to precede you. The mind is at rest. As we let our hands guide us, take one step at a time into this space. Whatever images may appear in the darkness are remnants of the past and do not necessarily constitute the edge. They are not the edge. The edge is known, felt. Symbolically we press up against it or perhaps literally, we press up against it. Feel suddenly constricted, contained. We are not free. Continue one step and another. The exploration is yours alone. Takes you deeper.

How you process on this journey is something that occurs without the mind, though the mind will certainly be active. Remain in the darkness long enough to sense the organic dissolution of an edge. It need not fully disperse although it could in a moment—dissolve. We recognize limitation and desire to be free of that limitation. This is an ongoing exploration that does not cease, even when we leave the body. We continue to divest our selves of every bit of structure that we have created in the process of identification.

In Tarot, the Moon XVIII of the major arcana is the card which takes us deep into the essence of being. It is an inward journey to the core of our being. The Sun XIX, the shining Self is the outward expression of the core of being. Not so easy to look at as the brightness can be overwhelming. If you are a Moon admirer you have spent many nights staring at the Moon in all of its phases, perhaps in adoration of what shines upon us with such apparent grace. The allure of the Moon draws us into the depths of our hearts where the mind hasn’t passage. From here the confidence to Be rises into each day as the Moon sets, gives way to the Sun. During the night, in darkness we have wandered guided only by the subtle glow of this reflection. Here we have met many a challenge, perhaps over and over again, jousting with the same demons and yet always rising in the morning and then as the sun sets ready to pursue once more whatever lies in the way of clarity, of freedom.

In our dreams we continue our effort and find that everyday obstacles have less effect upon us. At times we present our selves with Herculean tasks that we overcome with sheer knowing that everything is possible. When we, in awareness, realize that all existence is seamless, the knowing established in dream time or in any moment of clarity remains with us. Every component becomes an impediment to awakening. We know this Reality as the illusion of all else is understood; that the Moon, and we, in all its/our glory are a reflection of ‘light’ that is everything and everywhere. Even in apparent darkness there is that and edges are simply a construct of the mind easily dissolved when the mind is at rest.

Once you realize this floating life is the perfect

mirage of change,

it’s breathtaking—this wild joy at wandering boundless and free.

~Han Shan, The Poetry of Impermanence…

A Clear View…

In the exercise of our thinking faculty, let the past be dead. If we allow our thoughts, past, present and future, to link up in a series, we put ourselves under restraint. On the other hand, if we never let our mind attach to anything, we shall gain liberation. ~Hui Neng, from Journal of Chinese Philosophy Vol. 13 (article by David Loy)

Can we have a clear view on this planet? We start with the physical reality. If one lives in a city of any size our view will be impeded by structures, people, vehicles and bits of nature here and there. In the country less so. Not so many structures, not so many people—more nature. Always though, something greeting the eye that the mind will habitually interpret. Even if we removed everything from the Earth—every structure, person, tree etc. there will still be the line that exists between earth and sky that we call the horizon. We are heavily conditioned to thinking not observing; defining, analyzing, judging. Centuries of human experience produce layers of thought and belief that leave us performing in a repetitive manner.

The web tightens—more people, more judgment and beliefs that maintain suffering. Yet to see clearly no more or less is required. The phenomenal world is not relevant to clarity. What is relevant to clarity is, is it what you want, clarity? There is nothing required in the wanting. The wanting is always there. The deeper we dive the clearer this becomes. We hear it, in the stillness. Thoughts can spontaneously arise and dissipate without creating a ripple. It is what the mind/ego does with a thought that presents one with a situation often requiring more thought, more struggle, more confusion etc.

Clarity, seeing without impediment and the fact of impediment is a notion, a thought. And, we will not get rid of thoughts the same way we do not get rid of clouds or rain. We eventually realize though, that thoughts are not I. “I” pre-exists thought and will be, after thought.

We realize that it is an illusion, this thought that there is someone doing the thinking. And, “if there is no thinker, there is no such act (thinking).”

Clear view has nothing to do with thought. So to see clearly means really, to observe and listen deeply. How to ‘do’ this or how does this happen? Buddha said, to follow your breath—the inhale and the exhale. When we are focused on the breath we are not thinking.

Another little exercise: allow your hands to precede your mind. Offer your hands to this moment without a thought. Allow the hands to listen; sensing without putting anything into words. Thoughts may arise. They will also float away like bubbles of water, rising to the surface and pop they vanish replaced by another and another that all eventually, dissipate; return whence they came. It is just what happens.

Thoughts linked together become a story, it is in the linking, as David Loy suggests, that they become ‘meaningful’. Thoughts by themselves are quite innocent. It is we, who attaching to them, or attaching them to each other that we create a story that involves me. Me then can dialogue for hours sometimes, regarding this story, the result of being affected by these thoughts that we choose to focus on in such a way to achieve something for me personally. This by the way is okay, really okay. However, once we are aware of how we are caught in the illusion of a me, the story will be seen as arising from a pattern of thinking that has been recycled, oh so many times!

Next time you are with a friend, notice the story as it may evolve as you talk with each other. It may be easier to have this reflected to you. Ultimately you will notice your own story when it arises. Rest your hands on the table palm up and listen. What are you hearing? Not suggesting that stories are not okay. They are okay. They are the delicious way we relate our experiences. But they are an experience. An experience is temporary. When we are in the story there we are and not often aware of Truth, the eternal.

Hands are marvelous instruments like antennae they receive and at the same time are able to give. Lying upon a surface they appear to hold nothing and yet offer everything without a single movement or gesture. Accepting the nothingness that is you and at the same time giving everything. Be aware of your hands in greeting, in reassuring, in healing and as a means of conveying that goes beyond the ability of a word to describe. A fact about fingers; they are ‘more sensitive than the eyes—the fingertips have a large number of receptors responsible for sending messages to the brain.’ Fingers can be a first line of defense and also awakening. They awaken us to everything within our reach.

Imagination? or is everything reaching out to us? Reaching, stretching, wanting to be touched or finally awakening to the landscape as touch. No touching, no touch-er, just touch. The immaculate interplay of Life. Touching deeply we sense the convergence of rivers and oceans, sky and clouds, human hearts and breath in one moment that renders one speechless. Everything is at our fingertips. Nothing is beyond our grasp.

……

Tarot cards guide us to a deeper listening. They can be a step in the direction of Truth as all steps are. Rather than talking about an individual card, I invite you to choose a card. Some people like to spread the cards and then with the palm of their hand feel the card that calls to them. This would be an opportunity to allow your hands to lead you. Sit with your card that is a silent voice beckoning you to discover, to realize a deeper awareness of Self. Where within do all things converge? And the sense of time is lost to a knowing of only this moment. Every card in the deck will lead you to Truth. Where in your life are you being asked to take two steps to the left so that you might have a clear view? The cards have there mundane, practical aspect but they will follow you as you make a plunge into Self.

Priceless Gifts

An empty day without events.

And that is why

it grew immense

as space. And suddenly

happiness of being

entered me.

I heard

in my heartbeat

the birth of time

and each instant of life

one after the other

came rushing in

like priceless gifts.

~Anna Swir, from the Poetry of Impermanence,

Mindfulness and Joy