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A good spiritual friend who will help us to stay on the path, with whom we can discuss our differences frankly, sure of a compassionate response, provides an important support system which is often lacking. Although people live and practice together, one-upmanship often comes between them. A really good friend is like a mountain guide. The spiritual path is like climbing a mountain: we don’t really know what we will find at the summit. We have only heard that it is beautiful, everybody is happy there, the view is magnificent and the air unpolluted. If we have a guide who has already climbed the mountain, he can help us avoid falling into a crevasse, or slipping on loose stones, or getting off the path. The one common antidote for all our hindrances is noble friends and noble conversations, which are health food for the mind.

Practicing meditation for long periods makes it possible, at least temporarily, to know what it means to have no relationship to the passing of time and the movement of mind and memory. And not only that, it provides us with access to our own primordial depths, which inevitably gives rise to a profound and abiding sense of happiness. And that is because, slowly but surely, we awaken to that dimension of ourselves that has never been born and has never entered into the stream of time. Repeatedly experiencing such an enormous shift of perspective makes clear the liberating truth that the source of real contentment has nothing to do with satisfying any particular desire. And it reveals to us, over and over again, that who we are always has been perfectly free from who we have been as a personality.

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

We live in the same world, but in different worlds. The differences come partly from our living in different places. If you live to the east of a mountain and I to the west, my world will have a mountain blocking its sunrises, and yours its sunsets. But—depending on what we want out of the world—our worlds can also differ even when we stand in he same place. A painter, a skier, and a miner looking at a mountain from the same side will see different mountains.

The traditional notion of enlightenment was all about winning release—profound existential release from the world and the time process. And that release occurs when you begin focus on the Ground of your own Being, on the nature of consciousness itself, free from any identification with time or any objects. As that happens, you sink deeper and deeper, until you find yourself in an ocean of timelessness. And when you find yourself in this ocean of timelessness, if you have the courage to stay very awake, what happens is that the sense of time ultimately disappears altogether. And that’s the only place and the only way to experience unparalleled and perfect freedom, because it is only in that mysterious place that exists before time began, before the universe was created, that perfection exists. The only thing that is perfect is that empty ground, because nothing has happened there yet—the world has not been created, no mistakes have been made, and no chaos or confusion could possibly arise, because nothing has ever happened. That is why, when you enter into this timeless depth, you will have the experience of rapture and absolute release. It’s a natural result of recognizing the inherently already perfect nature of that empty ground.

We must die in order to truly live. We must experience absolute non-existence in order to truly exist.

The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony with things as they happen. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance – or lets things take their course.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

There is more to desire than just suffering. There is a yearning in desire that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can.

As the well-known contemporary Indian teacher Sri Nisargadatta, famous for sitting on a crowded street corner selling inexpensive bidis, or Indian cigarettes, once commented, “The problem is not desire. It’s that your desires are too small.” The left-handed path means opening to desire so that it becomes more than just a craving for whatever the culture has conditioned us to want. Desire is a teacher: when we immerse ourselves in it without guilt, shame, or clinging, it can show us something special about our own minds that allows us to embrace life fully.

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Dare to Look…

Dare to Look
through your Eyes
as GOD gazing
upon GOD.

by Rod

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