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

 

Building clarity…

From the ground up…building clarity…

An understanding of the true nature or reality of inner phenomenon has the power to cut through unclear and foggy states of mind.” ~Llama Yeshe and Llama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Energy

What, if any, are your objectives for 2018? Putting aside the general list that many of us carry around indefinitely, would one of those goals be for greater clarity? Clarity that creates peace of mind rather than struggle. When events around us escalate in intensity, peace of mind has a positive impact on many levels; on the several levels relating to the individual and on a collective level.

Clarity. When we are clear the clouds part, creativity erupts sending ripples of joy out in every direction. The simplest things are simply delightful and compassion is a torrent that carries us home. Clarity=the absence of chaos=creation. If we have several thoughts that are contradictory we spend a lot of time considering each one and trying to make decisions that are based on these thoughts whose origins exist somewhere in the past—have nothing to do with this moment and sometimes serve to leave us in a state of confusion unable to move. All of this inertia due to thoughts that when we stop to look at them often have their origin in something some one else said decades ago. A caring mother who over and over again reminds you, “Be careful you are going to fall.”

The things that happen to us

Are trying to have a conversation,

to make us stop or turn around…

~Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory… In popular usage, mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on “inside our heads.” Thus we “make up our minds,” “change our minds” or are “of two minds” about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access.” ~wikipedia

What distracts us from peace of mind? Thoughts in the form of worry, concern, an emotional state, fear, responsibility etc. Thoughts that relate to more, better or different, a dialogue that affects most of us at some time. If we are having a private conversation with our selves as suggested by the above description of the mind it seems likely that with some awareness and quite a lot of determination one can positively influence how attached or not they are to these thoughts that arise without provocation.

What are thoughts? The scientific community has not arrived at an answer to this question as yet although there has been a great deal of research concerning that question. It is ‘thought’ that it would be improbable to have an original thought. All thoughts are based on the past. If we did not have thoughts, we would have no way of describing or defining what we experience. We would be free to observe without judgment. We would know peace of mind, the clarity that is when thoughts do not distract us from Truth; that what ‘I am’ is not the mind (or the body).

Freeing the self from thoughts is however not the objective. Thoughts have importance, there is a tiger I need to run away, a car is approaching I won’t cross the road. Many thoughts of course, serve us well. It is when we give time and space to thoughts that limit us (from Life) that we want to pay attention.

A human being that feels a lack of freedom will inevitably seek liberation in spite of fears that reside within most of us at the thought of freedom. If I am free, completely free of any notion of separate existence then what? The not knowing can be frightening. One step at a time. We treat our selves gently and do not judge. The ego self follows the Truth at all times with varying degrees of attention. The more ‘baggage’ we dispense with (meaning conditioning that creates beliefs), the clearer we become, the more attentive we are to our deep knowing—I am not this mind/body.

With clarity we get a strong sense of what is beyond our experience in the relative world. Or a strong sense that there is something ‘beyond’ our experience in the relative world produces greater clarity. We get a glimpse. It can be seductive and we ‘agree’ on some level to let go of whatever stands in the way of Being Truth. Clarity is one step on the journey toward Truth. Clarity requires honesty; looking at what appears to be my self with discernment and inquiring. The ‘Work’ designed by Byron Katie asks the question “Is it true”. You have an issue, a thought that stops you? Is that thought true? Most of the time we find that we do not know if a thought is true particularly when it concerns our interaction with another person. We have assumed it is true without really examining, with honesty that thought. It may occur at some point to ask, ‘do I really know that anything is true?’

The less we think we know the clearer we become.

But the hold thoughts and beliefs have upon us is strong and deep. The structure that dominates our existence, defines our existence, is the centuries of thoughts that inform us. Every thought that has ever occurred exists within the collective conscious, the pool from which we all fish. If we could see these patterns they might appear as a network that ties all of us together. It defines our existence and from this we may derive a sense of security.

If we strip away all of the phenomena in our reality and gaze out into space, still, a line of separation will define earth and sky. We have seen this horizon line since our beginning here and beyond. None the less it is a perception of the mind. Truth, knowing that everything is one, no separation, removes the line. We are free to be here without judgment. Without a thought that anything should be this or that. When we judge, we immediately create a ripple in the pond of stillness. It is okay, the ripple. The ripple will eventually come into stillness. If however the boat rocks, it can continue to rock even when the pond is peace.

If no one winds the clock the hands cease to move. The mind at rest listens. It hears the grass grow; feels the trees bending in the breeze and wonders at the perfection of all things without question or comment.

Earth, sky, you and I are not separate or other than ‘that’ from which we arise—the great pool so to speak, though the moment we attempt to define our true nature we have missed the mark. Words cannot do an adequate job as they are an aspect of ‘that’ and therefore cannot comprehend source. Definition gives us a sense of security and yet whatever is established in our minds is temporary. The sense of security is sort lived as are our forms that are dependent upon a physical world that is ever changing. All forms eventually cease to exist while Truth of Being is eternal.

As the structures continue to collapse do we wish to be caught in the drama and imbalance that appears to ensue? Sometimes we do, so be it. We can easily and unknowingly travel that path as it is a well worn avenue. Or we can inhabit the space of calm, tranquility that presides naturally. And from this place create based upon the natural rhythm guiding all of us with grace.

As the old structures and patterns cease to support us what will replace them? Do not be in a hurry to create something based on what we have experienced in the past. Give your self a moment, this moment of stillness to ‘listen’, to hear and feel the underpinnings of what has always supported us in the most perfect way. Without thought or without attachment to thought we see that everything occurs without my interference with perfection.

En route to establishing clarity and peace of mind there will be obstacles. Fear can be a stumbling block. Even some of the deepest fears can be faced upon the pathless path as we are, on a deeper level, so sure of ‘something’. What is that something? Impossible to put into words, that something defies definition.

Though truly, there is no effort required here, every ‘effort’ you make from now on toward clarity is one that arises from the ‘unknowable’ source. Whatever teachings come to you, book, video, conversation with a stranger or moment of silence recognized, ushers you to the place within where awareness is Self-Self awareness.

Silence

Flows into me and out of me

washing my past away.

I am pure already waiting for you. Bring me

your silence.

~Anna Swir, Our Two Silences

Jeff Foster, from Falling in Love with Where You are

Friend, from the very beginning, you were not broken. You were not born into sin. You were not destined for the garbage heap. There was never anything fundamentally missing from your life. You just thought that there was.  Others tried to convince you that you were not good enough, because they too felt not good enough. In your innocence and with no evidence to the contrary, you believed them. So you spent all those years trying to fix, purify and perfect yourself. You sought power, wealth, fame and even spiritual enlightenment to prove your worth as a ‘me’. You played the Build-A-Better-Me game, comparing yourself to other versions of ‘me’, and always feeling inferior or superior, and it all became so exhausting, trying to reach unreachable goals, trying to live up to some image that you didn’t even fully believe in anyway, and you longed for the deep rest of yourself…

But you were always perfect, you see, from the very beginning; perfect in your absolute imperfection.

Your imperfections, your quirks, your seeming flaws, your weirdnesses, your unique and irreplaceable flavours, were what made you so loveable, so human, so real, so relatable. Even in your glorious imperfection, you were always a perfect expression of life, a beloved child of the universe, a complete work of art, unique in all the world deserving of all the riches of life.

It was never about being a perfect ‘me’. It was always about being perfectly Here, perfectly yourself, in all your divine strangeness.

“Forget your perfect offering,” sings Leonard Cohen. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

There is Only Love, Welcome to the New World

Only by Love, only by Loving
Can you maintain the sense of Love and Peace.
Then emotions and fear will not dominate you
Because you are Love.
When in Love, only Love sits in your heart
And so fear has no place. ~Sri H.W.L. Poonja, Papaji

Gentle remembrance descends upon us as leaves fall from a tree, eventually touching the earth whence they came. We return to knowing the love that is our true nature and the unity of all things. Therein lays ‘salvation’.

“Teach the children love.”

As a number 9, this New Year will be dominated by service for the highest good. Each individual will be called upon to be the best that they can be; to deliver the goods they have developed over much time and bring levels of healing to human consciousness that will lift us beyond the grip of centuries of habitual response patterns.
We will hear the one heart beat from the ocean depths, to the mountain peaks, in the hot desert winds. The cool of stillness will permeate the air we breathe and we will hear only the sound of the waves perpetually caressing the shore before disappearing back into the sea.

Wisdom shall prevail. Wisdom to know thy self in the silence where understanding is based on not knowing and deep love pervades all existence, is tangible, is continuous, is what we undeniably share from breath to breath. ‘Utopia’, the realm of the idealist, rises up and out of the illusion that individuals create to keep the ego company in the world where the need for many things drives the train; always climbing the hill.

2016 is a year to reinvent our language. On January 1, Mercury, planet of communication, the messenger, is at 29 degrees 31 minutes Capricorn. In the last moment of this sign, that is the master of structure that supports humanity, so evolved is the knowledge of this structure that it has begun to dematerialize. The old structure is no longer necessary. Instead it becomes something that embraces all of us in love not judgment. Mercury is trine to the Moon at 0 degrees Libra where the notion of individuality has been transcended. We accept emergence into the sea of peace and perfect balance.

As we reinvent our language we give our selves the opportunity to “reconnect” the receptors that plug us into the unwavering intelligence of the heart. We trust because that is what is most obviously the only thing to do and know that there is no effort required to Be here in love and delight.

Mars at the same time, at 28 degrees Libra, the warrior of love, squares Mercury and generates the energy to honor thy true Self; with sword of light illuminates the path of ease and draws in the power of grace to shake the roots that have shackled us to an experience of suffering here; the spiritual warrior everywhere aggressively promoting love and peace.

Words maintain their power of poetic storytelling and sharing of the experience here but no longer have our entire attention as what delivers truth. A compassionate gaze, loving gesture, a smile or a frown, a back turned against the cold and bleak urban silence speak louder than words.

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another,
not words.” ~ Rumi

Words spoken from the heart can not go far astray. The heart with ever beating pulse is the same pulse that beats in every heart and connects us to truth. The truth of being can not be described with words. Words have the potential to confuse and distract and yet this is our primary form of communication. The fewer the words, the simpler the statement, the closer we are to truth. The heart generates not from the past but from this moment to the next.

Words produce, like the spider, silken threads that lead us between periods of silence from this place to that where thoughts can conjure an infinite number of pictures that deceive and distract us from the truth which is without need of explanation. Silken threads that produce an energy imprint that travel through time.

Words, we chew on them as though they were delectable morsels that excite the palette and fill us up when in fact they can leave us perpetually searching and emaciated.

Words accompany us when the silence becomes unbearable and words then, from the mouths of babes and guru elevate us to breathe and ingest stillness.

Seeing delights us beyond words, is without judgment and moves us with ease and grace in the direction of this moment that happens to be, always, what is.

Seeing is the soul stretching its legs, taking ego by the hand and dancing through the night. In the morning it is apparent that under the stars, in the mysterious moonlight a wedding has taken place and at the subsequent banquet there is neither guest nor groom nor bride just a satisfaction uniting moment to moment.

Seeing allows us to wander without agenda touching, smelling, hearing as a human being, upright mammal, lost in the sensuality of an experience and ecstatic to do so. In the next moment there is clarity that such purity is truth, is this, no separation. I am what is sensed, all me/us, one—no separation.

“The observer is the observed.” ~J. Krishnamurti

One heart beat that we all hear and respond to even through the many layers of conditioning. From the deepest well from which we draw sustenance we find an endless source of love. The heart beat soothes us, calls us home and reverberates through time and space. There is awareness that ‘home’ is never not and this one has never not been, and has never not been the most perfect expression of source. With this realization love flows freely, endlessly, always has except that this mind has constructed such tales to obscure truth. And none of it matters because none of it is Real.

Love drifts, soars, meanders and dances in open spaces where flowers, yet to spring forth
will soon add their dazzling colors to a verdant landscape; in darkness to comfort the child in a moment of distress; in cities between the mortar and the meeting and in every nuance of expression that occurs in every interaction there is Love. Have we any reason to doubt our own existence as Love?

If there is a tarot card that guides us in 2016 we may consider the Fool 0. Empty headed, empty handed, except for the white rose of “spirit” and empty he stands at the precipice of not knowing. Love flows and he is willing to be moved by Love, with Love and for Love. He is Love and goes where he is called to go and to ‘do’ what he is called to ‘do’. There is no effort required here and in this we finally rest.

Wishing you the most exceptional 2016 of giving and receiving Love, Being and radiating Light. Namaste ~Anna

Happiness is…

Happiness is not a Pursuit (thoughts for December)

There exists a way of being that underlies and suffuses all emotional states, that embraces all the joys and sorrows that come to us. A happiness so deep that, as Georges Bernants wrote, “nothing can change it, like the vast reserve of calm water beneath a storm.” The Sanskrit word for this state of being is sukha.

Sukha is the state of lasting well-being that manifests itself when we have freed ourselves of mental blindness and afflictive emotions. It is also the wisdom that allows us to see the world as it is, without veils or distortions. It is, finally, the joy of moving toward inner freedom and the loving kindness that radiates toward others. ~Arun Gandhi from a forward to Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

When we suspend judgment and see with the eyes of grace wherein everything is an expression of Divine Wisdom, there is a beautiful rhythm that rocks us, guides us, moves us. We touch the untouchable, drink in the dry desert, hear the silence, feel the stillness and dance to our hearts content in a world of marvelous mystery and limitless creation.
There are no thoughts of past or future only the resounding vibration that permeates all creation, establishing without thought, harmonious resonance in which the Being is freedom to play in the endless field of possibility.

Happiness is not a pursuit but the natural feeling that abides when we step out of the mirrored corridor of physical existence that causes us to reel in confusion. With which image do I identify A., B., C., or none of the above? If you answer none of the above the illusion/confusion disintegrates like a disturbing image in a dream that dissolves when we awaken. An afterimage may linger but it is known to be without substance (i.e: ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and change) just as when we awaken to our true nature, the mind is seen to be an accumulation of thoughts that populate emptiness and are without substance. Whatever the thought, it is based on the past and is not the result of observation of this moment.

In this moment without thought is that which cannot be described with words or apprehended by the mind. It requires no effort, no thing, to be in this moment. The simplicity of this allows the body to rest in a way that it has not for perhaps a very long time. For this moment we have relinquished any desire for control over or attachment to any thing and abide in peace.

You must choose between your attachments and happiness. ~ Adyashanti

Happiness is knowing that there is nothing in the relative world that can displace what is always present, unwavering even in the face of worldly events. When we are peace—what a place of stillness to greet that world! May each and every day be filled with peace of mind and loving heart; that our steps touch the earth and each other in a way that amplifies the essence of wholeness, oneness, the Absolute. Let December be about giving of thy Self and reveling in this pure joy.

Sagittarius is the dominate sign for December and exists almost completely within the constellation Ophiucus the healer, known as such for the association to Asclepius the Greek healer. In mythic lore Asclepius witnessed a snake bringing herbs to an injured snake whence he developed the powers to heal. As the story unfolds, Jupiter was dissatisfied with this potential gift; that humanity might know immortality so he slew Asclepius and placed him in the sky as the constellation Ophiucus.

The constellation is the healer entwined by an enormous serpent, the serpent being representative of ‘wisdom’, the knowing of Truth. In the tarot the constellation of Ophiucus is associated with the Tower, number XVI of the major arcana. Number 16 or 7 reduced, is the number of tests or trials. The Tower is where we accomplish the letting go of old beliefs and patterns that we might be free to know the immortality of being; that our true nature is always, not influenced by weather or time. The Tower is the material plane, the structure that we create that we might feel secure and still wend our way to ‘god’. Yet if we believe that through this, in any way, we might discover Truth we are not clear. It all comes tumbling down—eventually—and, it is an event that can elicit great joy in a seeker, as then one is truly free, touching ‘god’ in everything, seeing ‘god’ as everything; knowing that ‘this’ is I and there is nothing I need do to uphold ‘this’.

If an additional card were created for the Tarot deck, making it number 22 of the major arcana, it might be a heart, access to the eternal Om, the pulse that infuses every cell every where. In Hinduism Om is ultimate reality, the Absolute, god. It is what is once we have mastered the journey of duality, the physical World (No. XXI major arcana). The number 22 is a master number that symbolizes the mastery of duality. Once we know the nature of duality we are at once aware of our true nature.

Our fears may run deep. That which inhibits us from knowing Self may rear up at us during those moments when we seem closest to Self discovery. If we have the Courage and Strength (No. VIII major arcana) to proceed through each moment, no matter how excruciating it may seem, we find what lies at the ‘heart of the individual’, deeper than the deepest fear, abiding in stillness and peace is ‘that’, ‘that’ is.

Happiness is ‘that’.

Thank you for your presence and the love that you are. May your holidays be filled with happiness!