What’s so Great about Stillness?

“Now you tell me, where does stillness end? My body has very much of an end. This video has an end. The day will end. But when you connect with stillness you connect with endlessness.” ~John Butler, Spiritual Unfoldment

In Every tiny crevasse, and then tinier, 
or in the most grandiose, 
In the unborn, the aged and dying, 
There is eternal stillness; 
that beyond time 'speaks' without words, 
permeates without touching, 
Is, without a single thought.

In these days with Mars having just gone retrograde in its own sign of Aries (September 9-November 14) we have opportunity to look at what anger is and how it might be utilized to fuel expansion and deeper awareness.

“Of course, the human mind has both positive and negative sides. But the negative is transient, very temporary. Your up and down emotions are like clouds in the sky; beyond them, the real, basic human nature is clear and pure.” ~Llama Yeshe

The mantra for Aries “I seek (my) Self. Whether we are engaged in deeper reflections upon the individual self or seek knowing of the undivided Self navigating the terrain of hidden emotion can assist us in becoming less burdened, lighter and freer to experience peace. In the end both serve one purpose, freedom to Be.

As the pioneer of the zodiac Aries leads the way, is the torch bearer for self discovery. No matter where one is in that journey this time now gives us motivation to observe, reflect and ultimately to express in a way that manifests as deeper understanding of the human relationship to the undivided Reality.

If Aries is adept at survival and we elevate that potential we may ask the question “what is it that always survives?” regardless of the disasters that visit humanity throughout the ages what is it that is, not subject to the elements or ‘time’? That is the Reality we approach as all beliefs in the transient dissolve.

The deeper we look into self more and more of the self disappears. We are being urged at this time to discover what lies beyond all emotion, longing; longing for love, or money or even peace. When we know ourselves as That all longing desists.

Aries retrograde has the confidence, the courage, the determination to swim further and further away from the known and into the depths of the unknown in order to know Truth. If anger is an emotion that needs to be observed and expressed along the way it shall be approached with indomitable spirit. Aries at its very highest is the flame of spirit on Earth, shining brightly for all of us; pointing the way to peace.

Now?

“Letting go is not a one time event; it is a letting go as long as there is anything left to which one clings. For anything to which we cling is not our sacred self.” ~Robert Wolfe, Living Nonduality

There may be a dozen excuses why at this moment, now, it isn’t possible to wade through the thoughts and dive into the unknown, hands reaching out to feel the emptiness, no expectation of grasping anything and coming up free; empty handed and empty-minded. Now what excuse is there that would deny me everything?

In this moment…

“You are telling me that you perceive an obstacle on the path. Your idea of a path is itself the obstacle. If the One is omnipresent (:present in all places at all times) your path of improvement–which takes your focus out of the present–is leading you away from what can in this moment be seen!” ~Robert Wolfe, Living Nonduality

We can be saved a great deal of energy by ‘attending’ to the moment. Wherever we are and no matter what may appear to be going on around us, the inhale and exhale, of the billions, in unison, of the One, delivers to us everything we need. In this moment therefore, there is nothing I want. Without filters everything has no limitations. Without resistance the immaterial is seen to reside as easily as the material is ‘seen to reside’. In other words, all in all at all times–what more can there be?

“It needs practice, like anything else. In the same way that you have to build up your muscles to carry heavy weights, you need to practice with consciousness to see things more deeply.” ~Russel Williams, Not I, not Other than I 

From the Obvious to the Subtle

Our major struggles end up being with our own inner fears, insecurities and destructive patterns and not with outside forces.” ~Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Coming down from Franceschi Park recently there was a doe descending a slope. When my car came round the corner she quickened her pace and disappeared into the bushes. It was a surprising sight somehow. A large wild animal roaming free. It has been years since I have seen a deer in Santa Barbara. The occurrence startled me into contemplating its symbolic meaning. Especially at this time of the New Moon and in light of current turmoil.

In Celtic tradition there were two aspects of the deer: the feminine element, called Eilid in Gaelic, the female red deer, symbolizing femininity, gentleness and grace. It was believed that the deer called to men from the kingdom of the fairies to free them from the trappings of the earthly world and taking them to the world of magic. https://www.faena.com

It was a bit how I felt. Perhaps wanting to disappear into the foliage to discover what has given these seemingly delicate but mighty animals the ability to survive in ever changing circumstances. It must be magic! Though humans have the capacity to think we too are animals. When we stop thinking and tune into deeper waters we are guided with ease and grace toward the unknown. This may seem mysterious and it is somehow magical that Life will unfold without us ‘doing’ anything.

Deer symbolize the powers in nature that are not easily subdued. They are native to every continent except Australia, thus they are able to adapt very well to many habitats. They represent instinctual energy, independence, and regeneration, which stems from their antlers being shed and re-grown each year. This instinctual energy that deer represent tells us to trust our gut reactions…http://www.purespirit.com

With the constant flow of information that comes at us from many directions we may seldom pay heed to the deeper waters of the intuitive faculties. So many distractions! These days it may seem to require Herculean effort to still the mind and be in silence. Deer are quiet. At times they take on the cloak of invisibility. There she was in that moment, agile, moving with great ease. Then gone in the next moment. Leaving her message rather indelibly etched upon my inner eye. Everything is possible when we are irresistent to change. Animals do not think they know anything; are guided with perfection based on their wholly instinctive natures. We too have that capacity.

Deer also symbolizes the gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Should a deer come into your life, Ted Andrews tells us to look for new perceptions and degrees of perceptions to grow and expand…http://www.purespirit.com

Beliefs are being examined and those that are limiting are being discarded. The approaching swell has the power to diminish all that has stood in time to guide us in ways that have created the under utilization of our truest qualities. Heaped upon them is fear.

Deer beckons us to go deeper into the forest, into the mystery that lies deep within. There in the quiet, the stillness we may be and contemplate nothing in particular and witness the self/ego disappear as the energy of ancient solitude settles into the bones. With a sigh, an exhale I realize I am that, this infinitude of peace.

New Moon: July 20th 28 degrees Cancer 27 minutes 10:33 a.m.

Not much fanfare around this New Moon. No eclipse or solstice or exact conjunction to any important angles or fixed stars as we had in June. It is the second new Moon in Cancer this year. June 20th saw the solar/lunar conjunction at 0 degrees Cancer 21 minutes. The alpha and the omega we could say here. In the beginning (June) the moon was influenced by the moon, ruler of the first decant of Cancer while the ending (July), the last decant, is represented by Neptune natural ruler of Pisces the last of the water signs.

Moon is our emotional, instinctive, instinctual self—in June, new moon in Cancer, we received a large dose of energy focusing on this area of experience. Neptune now alleviates the burden of self examination due to emotional upheaval, in favor of letting go of all things personal to feel the true lack of separation between “this one” and all else. We are offered a glimpse of the magic of freedom from suffering. The instinct is to be without boundary, without need to classify or identify. To not take things so personally.

In the July New Moon chart there is a long trine—8 degrees between Sun/Moon and Neptune. Neptune only gently nudging these luminaries—a blessing and a whispering; to discover the treasures that lie within.

Neptune exactly trines the asteroid Vesta at 20 degrees Cancer elevating the notion of our task to one that serves the heart of humankind. Vesta is associated with the vestal virgins of Rome, the keepers of the flame. They tended the hearth that symbolically was the heart of Rome.

Vesta is where we find our deepest desires kindled; that are kept alive through great moments of victory or times of distress and devastation. Always alive within us is ‘spirit’ that which survives when all else ceases to exist, it is. Neptune and Vesta energy touches us in such a way that we cannot not sense the fire of spirit burning within. Each life is being altered according to the extent of openness we each have at this time. The cup cannot receive more than its capacity. The rest would be lost.

In exact opposition to the Sun/Moon is Saturn in Capricorn. A heavy hand to discipline, to teach us our lessons? Or the mature hand of wisdom that guides us toward a deeper sense of responsibility for the well being of all—not the victim but a part of the healing. And thank goodness for Saturn in Capricorn! It is the rudder that keeps the ship upright. It is the grounding that keeps us ‘heads above the water’. Neptune is in Pisces and Sun/Moon, Vesta and Mercury are all in water. Saturn provides an earthly anchor lest we feel in danger of being swept away. That of course is the thought, “I will be swept away, annihilated.” Saturn asks us to allow for old patterns to be swept away and to trust that what lies underneath the old structure is our greatest sense of security, our salvation.

The sign of Cancer with Moon rulership has not only to do with nurturing and nourishing the physical and emotional bodies but also the ‘soul’. This we do by diving into source.

The Moon XVIII of the major Arcana in Tarot rules the night the unconscious and represents our quest for freedom from the tyranny of the mind. It requires courage to plumb these depths, the darkness can be daunting. Fears are sequestered here. And yet, once we recognize that these fears are not of our making, that they are the product of conditioning we are freed from their grasp and free to gather the riches of these depths—stillness, peace, quiet that is the soul’s domain.

In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am – unbound.” Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Deeper than thought…Breathe

There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity. ~Rumi

Even in this apparent chaos and turmoil, in this vital time of great change, letting go and feeling into a new skin, we can breathe. We can inhale deeply into and beyond all that seems disruptive, deceptive and disorienting. The inhale carries us into the quiet, the stillness unperturbed by any noise of this material world. We can inhale so deeply that our focus on anything external to the self ceases. We become captivated (in a sense) by a boundless peace; a knowing that accompanies this, that ‘this’ is Truth. We slowly become uninhibited; shed daily experience like water from a duck’s back and are free to embrace presence, the present moment, every minute detail existing here but previously invisible to the preoccupied mind. With the deepest inhale illusion is shattered and love cascades in an endless outpouring of Life. It is as simple as that, one breath to reacquaint one self with eternal, infinite now.

The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness…. There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe. ~Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body

In Praise of Silence

A day of silence can be a pilgrimage. A day of silence can help you listen to the Soul play its marvelous lute and drum.” ~Hafiz

So much is being said about these days and what they mean…really, do we know? Our words are supposition, digging in the past and projecting into the future. Neither are effective. Words seem inadequate to describe unfamiliar circumstances the effect of which has us occasionally spiraling out of control.

We are not in control. We do not know. And yet, we are not victims. Whatever goes on here, we are all in the same soup. We create, we experience—we react—we learn—we evolve. No matter what the circumstances we are presented with, we always have the option of creating with our best foot forward. In challenging situations human beings are very good at giving their best.

Most of us see this as an opportunity not to feel that we must go to battle but to take a look at whatever fears we may have based on the current situation. As much as we may miss connections with our loved ones, friends and family, we honour this time as a reprieve from the routine that may keep us focused externally. It is a time to ‘abandon’ our thoughts, give our selves space to have clarity; to listen to the silence. In silence there is no suffering. In silence we find there is no separation. Even in this current circumstance of needing to physically separate, we find there is no separation. We come to rest between the thoughts, a length of time that eventually has no measurement. There is only Now.

Now is quieter than the mind.” ~Adyashanti (April 5th livestream)

Silence, though ever present is not what we are accustomed to. Silence though, is peace. It provides a moment in which to notice and feel into the inexhaustible, infinite nature of Reality. A moment here is enough to carry us forward to further inner inquiry. We are pulled, called to go deeper. We seek Truth.

What am I between my thoughts? Where do I end and the trees begin, the sky…” ~John Butler

It is very possible to side line our attention to all the goings on, the noise of our human community and listen instead to the stillness, the silence. Reflection occurs and realization happens. Realization that the ‘me’ I thought I was exists as a thought. In the silence I do not find ‘me’. Me is what stands between one and freedom.

Me stops us from going deeper. When we listen deeply we forget about me.” ~John Butler

Recently I came across the videos of John Butler and his expression of Truth after his many years of meditation and inner focus. His way of communicating may be of interest to some. Included at the end of this article is a link to one of his short videos, Silence is never boring. John also shares his very simple way of Being that promotes listening, looking and feeling, a meditation that allows for deepening. That in another video. The basic steps I share here.

According to John: Keep your feet on the ground. Feel the weight of your hands on your thighs. Look at what is around you, take in all that is in your environment. Listening, looking and feeling. Being the observer and being aware that I am the observer we become aware of infinite presence. This stilling the body and the mind in a very simple way helps create peace and calm as does any form of meditation; sitting with what is and noticing that.

True knowledge comes through revelation.” ~J. Butler

New Moon April 22 Taurus 3 degrees 24 minutes @ 7:26 p.m. PDT

Conjunct with Uranus and Square with Saturn, expect the unexpected and emotional ‘unrest’

How can we best utilize this New Moon in Taurus? What might our intention be to assist the realization of the vision we nurture, wherever one is on their path. We can look at the qualities of Moon in Taurus as a reference point. Moon in Taurus people appreciate stability, to feel secure and to know that they are cared for. Taurus, ruled by Venus (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek) is the sign in which we learn what has value to us and where we seek pleasure and happiness. Taurus, an earth sign is most often regarded as that which acquires all things material.

However, as Aphrodite was born of the sea, from the remains of her father Uranus’s genitalia, there is a deeper aspect to this planet’s expression that is taken into consideration at this time as Uranus is conjunct to this New Moon. Uranus is known as the ‘awakener’ in astrology, as its presence is responsible for significant change—revolution for evolution. Uranus disrupts the usual in favour of freedom to Be. In order to Be we shed the accumulated conditioning that has encapsulated this planet for—a long time.

To be that which you cannot, not be.’ ~Bob Nickel

Uranus will direct attention to a deeper level of Taurus ability that relates to the five senses. Taurus is sensitive to the feeling nature, listening, observing, smelling, tasting and touching. These heightened aspects in human beings gives one a greater sense of security in the world, knowing what dangers one might need to deal with. When we give deep attention to our senses, as is possible at any time but more so during this New Moon, we discover a new ‘area’ accessible to all. Here there is Truth when we experience depth of being through our senses. We gradually let go of the material to achieve peace. Detachment for Taurus is a healthy achievement. Through detachment we eliminate emotional limitations.

To assist in this process is Saturn, the planet of discipline, focus and work squaring Sun, Moon and Uranus. The taskmaster is overseeing our travail to make sure that we dutifully approach the acknowledgment of patterns and conditioning that inhibit greater awareness.

Taurus is earth, the farmer, those tuned into nature with a natural ability to appreciate how all in nature unfolds without the need for thought. If we stand and listen deeply, no matter where we are, we can hear the rhythm that moves everything. This New Moon can guide us deeper to a permanent security known through ever present interconnectedness—no separation.

Also in this New Moon chart, Point of Fortune in Scorpio opposition to the New Moon. Here is another call to deepen. Scorpio wants depth and to connect with the vital nature of existence, the essence. Scorpio does not abide with pretense. The Point of Fortune is where we find our greatest sense of fulfillment. Venus, ruler of Taurus is being called upon to exhibit what lies within not just the beauty without, for which she is most often appreciated.

You want to overthrow the established order and transform it into something better because you know that true security can only be found by being in touch with the source of life.” ~Jessica Davidson from Point of Fortune in Scorpio

In conclusion, this New Moon offers us an avenue for deepening, emotional growth and realizing an imperturbable security with which we proceed with greater confidence and sense of well being. As we are exploring new territory at this time, our vision is to be open to the unfolding of ‘this one’, the deeper expression of what ‘I’ have known to be true thus far. Sharing the light within that so beautifully illuminates this world in which we live.

Video: John Butler-Silence is never boring (one of his lovely offerings)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SVxdnE84bM

Letting Go…

In ignorance we strive to maintain the illusion. In innocence we let go.”

Often we hear that we need to Let Go! What does that mean? In innocence we are without story or conditioning. Without conditioning we have no beliefs that deny our true nature. Begin to know Self as that limitless, unconditioned, story-less, infinite and eternal Essence. Letting go is less about ‘doing’ anything as it is about simply not attaching to our thoughts. The ‘goal’ is less about letting go than it is about allowing. Allowing for what is, rather than about what we habitually identify with. It is about Being—there is nothing with which to identify. All that we identify with consists of thoughts from the past. If we put all of our memories in a box who am I? A place to begin an inquiry into that which has no Real existence. Eventually we arrive at the question for which there is but one answer and feel a deep, profound sense of peace. There is only “that”.

When you are deprived of all your attributes, then His qualities become your qualities.” ~Al Hallaj from The Essence of Sufism by John Baldock*

Not being attached allows for that which occurs in the moment but does not interfere with or influence the next moment. That is when we know the freedom of experiencing every moment as it is. Letting go is a gift we give our selves to live life as Truth. There is an ease and joy to that which gives us a greater desire for clarity and simplicity. A gift we give ourselves coming from a place of LOVE and compassion. Not something to be demanded of the self or an expected accomplishment. If so we may end up disappointed and/or judging the self.

It is not a goal to be achieved, letting go, it is what naturally occurs when I know what I am not. If we can put it into words, what I think I am, that, I am not.

#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.