#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.

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.

Crossing the Threshold

We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.” ~ H. L. Mencken

We may stand peering across the ocean without expectation and all the while reaching out wanting to touch the answer. We’ve waited to hear it and have given up waiting, having listened for a life time for just the ‘right’ words. All the words that tumble from our lips with such ease are not it. They too sink into the abyss enveloped by the silence. Stillness makes sense; shakes me loose from this long established perception that the horizon is a line between the earth and the sky.

And sometimes when I sit with you, hear you tell me about the various complexities of life that create this feeling of ‘going no where’ I want to show you that the door for you, is always open; that you can cross that threshold as easily as you inhale and exhale. If you follow the breath you will find your self exactly where you want to be without anxiety, worry or unnecessary drama. The inhale and exhale happen and have nothing to do with the mind. Our movement through life, our living life, has nothing to do with the mind. The mind relishes the past. All of our thoughts are based on the past. Judgment rises from what we think we know. Glorious the moment that I know ‘nothing’ then, I appreciate the moment, observe it without thought; come to rest.

This instant is beyond time. Time is also a notion of the mind. The mind is also a notion, like a wave rising from the ocean. That ocean of eternal peace is you. What is the difficulty that we suffer from? It is that we seek peace elsewhere and do not experience that we are peace incarnate itself.” ~H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji)

Listen, as you stand in this moment open to all directions and bending to the wind. I am a tree, not minding as thoughts shake loose and are scattered, skipping along the pavement no matter what the season. Their imminent demise a liberation.

Listen, as the rain becomes a torrent. Together we cascade over earth and rock. I am the rock, the mountain; standing oblivious to the earth that rises to a peak, to touch the sky, imperial blue, I am the sky. No matter the direction I face nor the element I meet, ‘That’ I am and all joyfully descending to the sea where silence quenches my thirst. I drown in ‘not knowing’ and relinquish the thought, I am not ‘This’.

I peer into this large breakfast bowl filled with bits of this and that and see the world swimming there. There is harmony in spite of all the various shapes and sizes, differentiation of color, all united, all destined for ingestion and integration. Oblivious though to the ‘process’ of ingestion and integration.

Simply floating in the sea from which they arise. ‘We’ are the observers observing our selves and rest in knowing That.

With these eyes I see that all that passes before me are expressions of something that the mind cannot comprehend. Yet the mind interprets—we need not listen to mind. With these ears we hear a symphony. The mind wants to analyze. If we focus on any particular instrument or a specific segment we may lose the magic and the mystery of the whole. Let the mind come to rest and we miss nothing, All continues to unfold with grace.

In the summer months when there may be many moments of gazing at the ocean and deeply immersing oneself in infinite possibility, often there is a loss of identification with the body mind, the self, and a sense of Being, peace and oneness. The line of separation between all things melts and we are free!

May we embrace the moment and fall into silence.

 

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!

Every day is a miracle…

And everything together, all the voices, all the goals, all the striving, all the suffering, all the pleasure—everything together was the river of what is, the music of life. And when Siddhartha listened attentively to the thousandfold song of the river, when he did not fasten on the suffering or laughing, when he did not attach his mind to any one voice and become involved in it with his ego—when he listened to all of them, the whole, when he perceived the unity, then the great song of a thousand voices formed one single word: OM, perfection. ~from Siddhartha, Herman Hesse

One time, while looking in a mirror in the candle light faces roared across the surface as though on a movie screen, the film speeded up. Faster and faster they appeared and disappeared until my head hurt from watching so many images fly by. Old, young, black, white, yellow skin; hats, turbans, shawls, berets, bandages, cloaks, hoods, fierce eyes, grim, stern, laughing, smiling, loving. Faster yet and all became a blur. I closed my eyes and heard the roar of the ocean and finally fell asleep.

We rest knowing that it all comes and goes with haste, with deliberation, with certainty but that which I truly am is, always; expressed from the heart in multi-hued magnificence. Magnificent because it is everything. And previously I had dared only chip timidly at a corner of the stone that loomed over me, silently demanding to be chiseled away until only the truth remained. What was the fear that prevented boldly hammering away at the facade? Was it the fear that there might be nothing left when the process was complete? If only I had realized how very simple it is to embrace nothing as though a long, lost friend; the source of liberation and knowing Self.

Every day is a miracle, a mystery, an opportunity to discover something previously unknown. Being in the flow delivers us to the doorstep of the unexpected, what is in the moment, a miraculous opening of the heart—the heart crying out to the world in love—alive and listening. The vibration carries across the vast landscape of human experience soothing, caressing and cradling all into one exquisite expression and that is the eternal OM.

Let the heart lead in this dance of life so that each step is movement in harmony and peace. We listen without hearing. We listen with the heart and are transparent so that when the wind blows strong in late autumn days we are lifted into flight, set free to join the dance that has always enticed us, always moved us even when we have been most reluctant to take that next step.

 

June—Into Summer and the ‘Quest’ for Freedom

for june blogWe must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

A dancer leaps from the stage, a grand jete, filled with grace that can only be the result of an empty mind. Great athletes, artists, people ‘employ’ an innate sense of the absolute to defy the physical limitations that confine most. There is no thought that it is not possible, only the overwhelming desire for freedom.

Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can. ~Martha Graham

Grace ushers us from moment to moment if we allow that; if we do not have too many thoughts that say it is not possible. Life is exactly what we’ve always wished for, if we don’t get in the way. The dance does not proceed if we stand on our own toes.

In June allow ‘grace’ to sweep you off your feet, to find your inherent direction and let go in order to enjoy the freedom of waltzing through life without a care in the world. Not easy you say? Okay if you say so. After all it is your experience and it will be exactly what you want it to be. You might ask however, who is in charge? And am I being led on a mighty goose chase only to discover that what I really want is right back where I started from. Whew! What an exhausting journey. When completely done with the pursuit of the illusive waking up, finally we rest in exactly what is here and voila! That’s it! So simple.

There are so many things we would not dream of questioning—the setting of the sun, the movement of the river, waking up each morning to a new day. Why do we question our true nature from which all else arises? Why do we seek, and therefore must doubt, Reality and instead abide in the suffering brought about by confusion? Not questions that require answers only consideration and only if one desires freedom. Otherwise we scoot along doing the very best we can and in a way it is all the same, as everything is ‘that’ in every moment. One way the ‘ego’ takes responsibility for our life and drives us mad. The other way, there is no need to control anything as it all happens regardless of any apparent participation by any ‘me’. Me only exists in relation to other and both do not exist as they are already and always ‘that’.

As soon as you believe that a label you’ve put on yourself is true, you’ve limited something that is literally limitless, you’ve limited who you are into nothing but a thought. ~ Adyashanti

In June as we approach the longest day of the year, (June 21st) with daylight hours extended there is a natural optimism that frees us from some limitations. There is a desire to experience the freedom one felt as a child when the months of summer brought liberation from teacher, books and desk. One could create from the imagination and follow that vision wherever it might go. We were free to Be simply. We flowed as the river flows. In the classic Rider Waite deck these qualities are represented in the Page of Cups.

The Page of Cups is the inner child, our pure, creative and innocent nature without the conditioning that later would obscure our sense of Self. The inner child experiences no boundaries or limitations as everything is possible. All comes from the heart, is the heart.
In esoteric symbolism the fish is spiritual ideas or awareness. The fish in this page’s cup is indicative of his connection to Self and therefore an endless source of free flowing energy that is emotional peace and joy.

The other two cards for June are: Seven of Swords indicating the freedom to escape the perpetual deluge of thoughts that would otherwise drive us hither and yon in a confused state of frenzy, chasing rainbows and tilting at windmills. In this card the young man moves forward with ease and grace, burden is no longer a word in his vocabulary. The number seven represents the overcoming of challenges that then allow life to flow with greater peace.

Nine of Wands where the hard work has been done, all fears and concerns have been relegated to a position of inactivity. As such the young man who has obviously fought his battles can rest in a place of confidence. Nines are a high level of attainment and as Wands are the last suit, of inspiration and spirit, he has conquered the issues of the other three levels—of the physical, the emotional and mental and can therefore relax and enjoy in his knowingness.

In Chinese astrology June is the month of the Horse the animal with whom we associate freedom in spite of the long history of servitude to man. An image of a horse running across an open space uninhibited, unfettered makes our spirits soar. We have memories of being unfettered that this image triggers. Then ask your self what is between me and freedom? The ‘quest’ for June, liberation, freedom.