consciousness

When we are not attached to who we think we are, life can move through us, playing us like an instrument. Understanding how everything is in continual transformation, we release our futile attempts to control circumstances. When we live in this easy connection with life, we live in joy.

As the Buddhist view has consistently demonstrated, it is the perspective of the sufferer that determines whether a given experience perpetuates suffering or is a vehicle for awakening. To work something through means to change one’s view; if we try instead to change the emotion, we may achieve some short-term success, but we remain bound by forces of attachment and an aversion to the very feelings from which we are struggling to be free.

PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all of those things and still be calm in your heart. ” ~ unknown

We know that our dreams are just ways we have of telling ourselves about ourselves when we are asleep, and yet we have learned to keep from ourselves so much of who we fully, truly are that our dreams seem strange. Amazing, isn’t it? What we tell ourselves about ourselves must be told with so much secrecy and arcane symbolism that we can’t remember it, and if we can, we can’t understand it. At such moments our inner world seems shrouded, muted, alienated, as the natural world seems when it is covered with snow.

Isn’t it sad to realize that we have learned not to accept who we fully are? And isn’t it wonderful to remember that gradually, with courage, we can come to accept and include even what at first had appeared so strange, so horrible, so not-me in our dreams?

The universe is more interested in you than you are in it. Why? Because the universe is trying to evolve, at the level of consciousness, and consciousness can only develop through you. Human beings are the vehicles through which consciousness can take the next step. From this perspective, we are merely pawns in a much larger process. Spiritual awakening is not about you or me—it’s about the evolution of the process itself. Individuals who have been culturally conditioned to see the world through a very small and personal lens find that very hard to appreciate. But as you begin to awaken, you will start to see your own experience from the perspective of evolution itself. And you will begin to understand that when you become deeply interested in the evolution of consciousness and culture, the universe becomes interested in you! A potential partner in the evolutionary process appears, in the form of you.

In meditation we seem to be sitting by ourselves, but we do not sit just for ourselves. By focusing our attention on the breath, the body, thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or any other facet of our experience in meditation, we become more mindful—not mindless—through the transformative power of moment-to-moment alertness and presence of mind. Instead of absentmindedly stumbling through life like sleepwalkers, we can use contemplative practice to achieve extraordinary insight into ourselves and the world in which we live; to inhabit and appreciate more fully the here and now; to free our minds and open our hearts, and to relax into our natural state. The cultivation of mindfulness helps us wake up to things as they are rather than as we would like them to be. And as we wake up to truth, to reality, we become a force for universal awakening, working with what actually is, not delusive fictions.

In Evolutionary Enlightenment, the perennial revelation that there is only One is interpreted as the recognition that we are all part of One Process—a singular cosmic unfolding that began fourteen billion years ago and is still evolving, in this very moment, as you and as me. Every aspect of your experience in every moment, from the gross to the subtle, has been produced and is being produced by a cosmic process. Your physical form has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the exterior of the cosmos. Your psychological and emotional experience has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the interior of the cosmos. When you awaken to this perspective, you literally can no longer see yourself as separate. You can’t see your experience, at any level, as occurring in isolation from everything else that exists. The separate world of “me” that the ego creates is seen for what it is: an illusion. And you realize that even your capacity to experience that illusory world of “me” has been produced by this vast process. You cannot stand outside of it. You are the process.

A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?

The beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I live for you.

I’ve disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am only present for you.

I have forgotten all my learnings,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.

I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.

If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.

From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it

Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for

Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did

I am bewildered at the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes

My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold

I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine

Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow

My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you

Your effulgence
has lit a fire in my heart
and you have made radiant
for me
the earth and sky

My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer

The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space—which is the mind’s natural clarity—begins to expand and settle.

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earthdrop
Rest in Natural Great Peace

When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Rest in natural great peace.

Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of…

- Sogyal Rinpoche

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