JOAN TOLLIFSON: on how her teacher Toni Packer taught via questionings

With typically inspiring frankness Joan Tollifson has an article on how her teacher questioned her as part of her teaching of Joan;

Examples are;

“Habit has two parts, Toni says. There is the habit itself (finger biting, smoking, drinking, whatever), and there is the observer who wants to stop, who is also a habit. And there is the conflict, the battle between the desire to indulge, which is an escape from what is, and the desire to stop, which is also a movement away from what is.

Toni suggests that the only real solution lies in complete awareness. In such awareness there is…no intention, no judgment, no conflict, no separation from the problem, no self to be improved or fixed, no direction. It is open, relaxed seeing.

“Can we look carefully at this ‘me’ that seems to be the power behind making decisions, really go into it, trace this chooser, this doer, all the way to the root?” Toni asks me.

When we do that together, all we find is thoughts. Conflicting thoughts: “I want to bite,” “I want to stop.” It feels like a battle between “me-the observer” and “me-the addict.” But both of these “me’s” are images constructed by thought and imagination. What’s actually going on is just an alternating, conflicting series of thoughts. No one is “doing” them; they’re happening.

“I have to bite,” “I can’t stop,” “I should stop,” “I’m addicted,” “I’m an addict,” “I’m a terrible person,” “How can I stop?” “If I just get this one loose end, then I’ll be satiated,” “It would be unbearable to feel what I would feel if I stopped,” “I’m stuck, this is hopeless,” “It’s been going on for a long time,” “It’s out of control,” “I’ll never get free,” “I should be able to control myself,” “This is sick,” “I want to be healthy.”

“These are all thoughts,” Toni says. “Do you see that?”

“But some of them are true,” I reply.

“Are they?” she asks with electric intensity, her eyes closed, her hands suspended in midair, listening.

“Well, I am addicted. It is out of control,” I insist.

“Thought seems to be just reporting the facts, objectively: ‘I’m addicted, this is out of control.’ But are these really facts? Or are they ideas? These are very powerful thoughts, and every thought produces neurochemical reactions in the body.”

Whichever position has more energy in that moment wins out, Toni suggests, and then there is either the thought, “I’m good because I had the will power to stop,” or “I’m a failure because I didn’t have enough will power to stop.” Thought creates “me” who has “done” one thing or the other, and is “successful” or “unsuccessful” as a result. And then more thoughts about me quickly follow: “I’m on my way to enlightenment” or “I’m a hopeless case on my way to total doom.” Either of these thought-trains will generate a tremendous response in the body, either good feelings or terrible feelings, elation or depression.

“Do you see how all these powerful thoughts and the feelings they produce in the body all revolve around the idea and image of ‘me’?” Toni asks. “Do you see how it’s all thinking?”

There is rain falling outside the meeting room, trickling down the window.”

Go here to read this wonderful article – http://www.joantollifson.com/writing19.html

Scott Kiloby says; "Seeing through the story of self has been one of the greatest healing tools I’ve found. "

Scott Kiloby says that when he was younger he had various forms of illness, some labelled, some not defined, but now looking back he sees them as arising from his ‘story of self’;

I love particularly the first and last sentences here;

“Seeing through the story of self has been one of the greatest healing tools I’ve found. It worked better than most of the medicine I took that was prescribed by a doctor. And it was certainly more helpful than all the addictive substances and activities I used to try and medicate the emotional and mental suffering. Those were all merely band aids for a more pervasive cause of stress and dis-ease—the story of me. The story was really not about survival at all. It just seemed that way. The only thing that survives in the story is the story itself. As long as the story is entertained and followed, the story persists. And as long as the story persists, with its intense peaks and valleys of thought and emotion, stress happens in the body. Perhaps heart disease and cancer should be replaced at the top of the list of human killers with “the story of me.” Millions of dollars in health care costs could probably be saved each year by teaching people to rest in presence and let all emotions and sensations to be as they are, without stories and labels.

For Scott’s article go here – http://kiloby.com/writings.php?offset=0&writingid=379

For more information about seeing through the story, check out Scott Kiloby’s ‘Living Inquiries.’

Comment on the 8thC summary of Nonduality by Adi Shankara

AN 8th C PRESENTATION OF NONDUALITY

RP This wonderful 6 stanza summary of Nonduality seems to me to be pointing to the Godhead, the unknowable Infinite Mystery that is beyond all access.

When we rest as Awareness we rest in the enveloping, boundary-less presence of the Whole. But we can never penetrate or embrace the Whole of the manifest/phenomenal world – let alone the Godhead/void from which all of the manifest/phenomenal emanates.

That is at it should be. Mystery is the number one fact of life! It is only in standing silent before Mystery that we can be united.

It is in the humility and Mystery of our not knowing that we are One.

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“The great Adi Shankara (first Shankaracharya) of the eighth century summarized the entirety of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic philosophy) in six stanzas. When a young boy of eight, while wandering in the Himalayas, seeking to find his guru, he encountered a sage who asked him, “Who are you?” The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as “Nirvana Shatakam” or “Atma Shatakam.” “Nirvana” is complete equanimity, peace, tranquility, freedom and joy. “Atma” is the True Self. The sage the boy was talking to was Swami Govindapada Acharya, who was, indeed, the teacher he was looking for.

I am neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the ego, nor the mind stuff. I am neither the body, nor the changes of the body. I am neither the senses of hearing,taste,smell or sight. Nor am i ether, the earth, the fire, the air.I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I am neither the Prana, nor the five vital airs. I am neither the materials of the body, nor the five sheaths. Neither am I the organs of action nor objects of the senses. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I have neither aversion nor attachment, neither greed nor delusion, neither egotism nor envy, neither Dharma nor Moksha. I have neither desire nor object of desire. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I am neither sin nor virtue, neither pleasure nor pain, nor temple,nor worship,nor pilgrimage, nor scriptures. And I am neither the act of enjoying,the enjoyable nor the enjoyer. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I have neither death, nor fear of death, nor caste nor was I ever born, nor had i parents, friends and relations. I have neither Guru nor disciple. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He,I am He.

I am untouched by the senses. I am neither Mukti nor knowable, I am without form, without limit, beyond space, beyond time. I am in everything, I am the basis of the universe, everywhere am I. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He,I am He.’

YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqMFz_0VOxY

PRAYER: Oh, God, make me a hollow reed

Is this a translation from a prayer in Sanskrit?

‘Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others.

I have left behind me impatience and discontent. I will chafe no more at my lot. I commit myself wholly into thy hands, for thou are my Guide in the desert, the Teacher of my ignorance, the Physician of my sickness.

I am a soldier in my King’s army. I have given up my will to Him and my life to dispose of as He may please.

I know not what fate Thou deignest for me, nor will inquire or seek to know. The task of the day suffices for me, and all the future is Thine.

Thou changest weakness to strength, doubt to faith, perplexity to understanding. When I am fit to bear the burden, Thou wilt lay it on my shoulders. When I am prepared to take the field, Thou wilt assign me a place in the Army of Light.

Now I have no other duty than to equip myself for Thy Service. With eagerness and patience, with hope and gratitude, I bend to the task of the hour, lest when Thy call comes I be found unready.’

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A zen saying; “It is too clear, and so it is hard to see” – but later “I can see more clearly now”.

This is worth a separate post;

“It is too clear, and so it is hard to see. A dunce once searched for
a fire with a lighted lantern.

Had he known what fire was, he could have cooked his rice much
sooner.” ”

Zen saying – http://www.firedocs.com/carey/happen.html

Inevitably for me it reminds me of the song that starts;

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)……….

Bill Carey: The Cornerstone of Reality is Consciousness & the Zen Gateless Gate

I came across an interesting insight by Bill carey on consciousness. Consciousness is a synonym for awareness for some writers on spirituality. My simple distinction is between the physical consciousness and the spiritual awareness. Awareness can be difficult to explain in a Nondual context. “Rupert Spira says;

“By ‘Awareness’ I mean whatever it is that is aware of our experience. By ‘mind’ I mean thoughts and images (although in a wider context I sometimes use the term to include feelings, sensations and perceptions as well.)”

The Bill Carey piece;

“Finally, I came to understand the nature of reality, whose cornerstone
is consciousness:

(a) it is created by the delimitation of perceptual chaos through agreement;

(b) it is unique to each individual; and

(c) we create a cultural consensus regarding the content of “reality”
using language as our tool.

Language is our willed abstraction of our experience, just as identity
is our willed abstraction of what some call “the ground of being.” A
visceral understanding and utilization of these insights constitutes,
in a real sense, the abandonment of all paradigms; at that instant,
one steps through what Zen calls “the gateless gate” (a one-way
passage, by the way.)

But everybody’s got to do it by themselves, because it isn’t teachable
in any current sense of the word, since language merely abstracts the
experience rather than describes it. Yet the experience is available
to everyone. Once again, Zen:

“It is too clear, and so it is hard to see. A dunce once searched for
a fire with a lighted lantern.

Had he known what fire was, he could have cooked his rice much
sooner.” ”

http://www.firedocs.com/carey/happen.html