The Original keeps on Returning

“Do not cling to your timeline,” he said.

As I followed this directive down a few paths, I felt lost. The Orient had gone, no direction. So I said, “No lighthouse in sight. No sun, no stars. What can guide me? Which line to follow? Where to put my foot?”

He smiled. In his eyes I saw how he felt for us, how he was willingly entangled in our human predicament. And yet he answered, “If all lines would be equally good and equally challenging in the long run, if the multitude of possible destinies were of equal quality overall, which timeline would you really want to travel down? What would you want to be your guiding light?”

On a round planet a path can bring you anywhere, and will eventually, if you travel it long enough, bring  you everywhere. And I’m in love with the two-armed form, the never ending diversity, the manifold presencing itself uniquely and originally wherever I care to just look.

The Original hides in plain sight. It reveals its nature as nothing; nothing without a capital letter and a -ness at the end. Imagine, if you like, a completely empty space; and for you smart-asses reading this, a space completely without any energy fluctuations, virtual or manifest. Now, if anyone would be asking you, “What is happening there?”, you’d answer, “Nothing is happening there.” That’s what I mean by nothing. The empty space would be nothingness, but what’s happening there is, “nothing, whatsoever.”

That’s how the Original is hiding in plain view, and reveals itself to me as soon as I remember, and sometimes even without me remembering anything.

The Neverending Dreamer by Cameron Gray

As soon as you try to take hold of the Original, mentally, feelingly, in Spirit or Soul, or any which way, it hides in plain view again. Pretending to be nothing. But once you see, once you understand that you cannot understand, that it cannot be turned into anything whatsoever, even identified with or arrived at neti-neti or iti-iti or any other way, once you let go of letting go, once you re-member, the Original is there. And even though you cannot identify with it, it’s You, it’s Me, it’s presencing originally wherever you care to turn. And it’s nothing special at all.

When the Original returns, it doesn’t return as a realisation. Realisations may follow in it’s wake, and often do, but the Original is no realisation. No sky, no heaven lights up, although colors may return to what seemed like tinges, hues, and glosses before. No divine trumpets announcing the omnipresent, non-dual, eternal out-of-time happening, although a transparent joy may infuse all that appears in your awareness as the Original returns to its ancient homestead in plain view.

And the Original keeps on returning. Not once and for all times, although it may often seem to be that way. Until you discover yourself in the distance, taking yourself to be this, that or the other. Trying to be enlightened. Trying to be good, beautiful and true. Meditating in the divine and blissful regions of the never-ending realms of light and darkness. Or finding yourself stuck in this or that karma, this or that trauma, this or that complex, this or that pain and suffering, this or that desire; finding yourself in all the never-ending imperfections of the human form. And that is Original as well: everything in plain view is. So you do whatever you can, to get the stuck unstuck, to see through your powerlessness and powerfully embody everything you choose, to welcome all and everyone that happens to visit the guesthouse of your awareness. Because, you may conclude on the timeline you’re on, whatever you meet, you meet as the one and only Original one. And healing is its wake, the trail it leaves behind. (Thank you Jody for pointing that out.)

For as long as you try to wrap your head, your self around it, the Original will hide in plain view. But as you accept the impossibility of it all, as you allow for nothing to happen at all, it may unwrap itself for you, and recalibrate everything just for the pure fun of it, the simple and ordinary presence of whatever happens to be.

Nothing is as it is. (Yes, you can read this at least in two ways.) So what I do, whenever I feel like it, is bring myself and what concerns me, or whatever else I care to bring, to nothing. And then it is touched, or maybe recalibrated and brought to another resonance, or it simply stays just the way it is originally.

Nothing is gained, and magically everything is. So, letting go of your timeline, which line to follow?

(Take Two – Take One here)

 

Body, Soul and Spirit 1: Modes of being alive

This is the very first installment of what I hope will become a Body, Soul and Spirit series of posts that will meander around most of the topics that keep fascinating me since a while.

Starting with a meeting with a great and lovely man in Basel, Switzerland who remembers a long line of incarnations in a, for me, absolutely credible way and context, I’ve started to reconsider most – and in the end probably all – of my convictions connected with body, soul, spirit, consciousness, life and what, who and why we are. (In my hippie-days Death used to be a more or less constant companion, and now s/he is in a new way, faced with the endingness of individual life a couple of times recently. This surely also plays a role: a renewed fascination with each night’s fading of awareness and the life of dreams, and the reappearance of more or less the same person in consciousness upon waking up…)

I will not be very philosophical, in the usual sense of that word, about this, even though I’m in love (philo) with wisdom (Sophia). This inquiry is also very personal, anecdotal and hopefully at times poetical. I might also rave and be full of pathos for something or other… we’ll see. What’ll be my guide, or should I say guides?, are my fascinations with what appears in the theater of what it is to be ‘me’. I could, of course, also call it the arena or the clearing – that space in which matters, things, imaginations, illusions and the real alight; what we ordinarily call consciousness, that mode of being alife that ever eludes our grip of understanding; trying to understand consciousness is as if the eye were trying to see itself, when the best it can do is see itself reflected in a mirror.

Modes of being alive

Being conscious, aware; being taken; in a pensive mood, reflecting on important and not so important, but urgent matters; reverie; witnessing, choiceless awareness; in the flow, totally immersed in sensual immediacy… many of the possible modes of being alive, and some of them mutually exclusive. When, for instance, I’m in a reflective mode – and mood, as often I am these days – I can’t really witness being reflective more than generally, can’t reflect and be choicelessly aware and without judgement at the same time. Isn’t reflecting closely considering a matter, the way the soul participates in life for instance, and looking what this means, what are the concepts being nourished on soul and what are relevant experiences, and what have interesting persons said about this matter? Witnessing this reflection I wouldn’t follow one thread or another but rather I’d let them all unfold as they please as, also, sensations of breath come up and unfold and whatever else unfolds or pops up in consciousness. Witnessing is mostly passive, and only active in extracting oneself from being caught up in any of the phenomena that are witnessed.

adi_da_samraj2Certainly, when in a deeply enlightened mode of awareness, everything can be done or not done – but then there is no witness, no anyone, and, really it is so beyond anything that means something to me as human that I’m not really interested in ‘getting there’ again. Also, those that are supposed to be there – claiming it for themselves or others claiming it on their behalf, the followers or disciples – do not have any characteristics that seems truly valuable; on the contrary, there seems to be an atmosphere of megalomania around them, an air of absolute altitude, an assumed divinity that unpacks as utterly undesirable social context. The unresolved power-issues around that mode of aliveness in our day and age – enlightened teachers abusing their students – are such that however true and beautiful that mode is from the inside of it, it is best left alone.

On the other side of the spectrum, or so it seems, is flow, a mode of being alive that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has made popular; flow as total immersion into what you’re doing. In sports it’s been called ‘being in the zone’. Witnessing could be said to be transcendent to everything that appears and flow as being totally immanent – you’re totally in it. You can witness the flow of events but then you’re not in the flow because being in the flow collapses any kind of witnessing as activity that plays a role, even though there is a particular kind of awareness available. But it’s more that the awareness of it is part of the flow as a whole than that the flow would happen within consciousness. For me this happens in dancing with closed eyes, easily, or in something called body-flow, where the body can just do what it feels like doing… It’s mostly a very sensual experience, being in a physical sensing mode.

Seems I had to do some explaining to come to the main dish I’m serving here which is that these modes of being alive are in a very large sense mutually exclusive. We are polymorphs, being with many (poly) forms (morphe) and – something I might pursuit at a later time – maybe there is really no unity below all this; although there is the idea that “Isness” – a German term coming from Meister Eckhart, “Istigkeit” – would describe that essential unity, something Mister Tolle calls The Power of Now. Nevertheless we cannot both be in the flow and witnessing at the same time. We could do that in a team, with a third friend then reflecting on what we’re doing, you in the flow, me being choicelessly aware of all this. Which brings me to another very mysterious mode of being that I’ve been blessed to participate in at times: the mode of we-fullness, as I keep calling it, the mode of being with others in such a way that you are deeply convinced and experience yourself to partake of a collective being, the ‘circle-being’ , the first inkling of a collective consciousness, I think, the becoming aware as a living multi-personal field.

foodBack to the main dish. As we do not eat hors d’oevre, main dish and dessert all at once, as that would maybe not taste so great, or at least very different from tasting them separately, so this goes for the modes of being alive. The “One Taste” (Ken Wilber’s diary-like book on being in non-dual mode most of the time) is really a “special taste”, a “particular taste” that some people like and evangelize about; but it is neither superior to other tastes, unless you like it, of course, nor is it the basic essence of all other dishes. The commonality is that it’s all food, but that doesn’t make it one, dish.

Honoring all meals and dishes we are served by life and psyche, by being and soul, by the gods and whoever else cooks them (including all the cooks inside of us) means neither reducing them to the recipes nor to their essential ingredients but eating them with mouth, nose and everything else, actually tasting the meals and the company we eat them in.

Emperors_New_Clothes

We’re polymorphs, able to take on many forms – or maybe it’s forms that take us on; it’s voices that speak us, maybe the voice of the enlightened spirit, the pensive wizard, the flowing joy, the heroic responsible person, the mystic poet and so endless on. There is no need, whatsoever, to become monotheistic about diversity, to call on our unity, to invoke our oneness, to go for the One that keeps it all together. That, as it reveals itself to me more and more obviously, is the naked emperor whose new clothes of the unity of his realm really do not amount to anything but the ego’s (or hero’s) vanity. Yes, in a certain mode of being alive I have experienced an all-pervading oneness, an ecstatic experience par excellence. But it is only in reflection that I can turn this into the essential or absolute or superior or ‘real’ (maybe even with capital letters); a reflection I’ve followed for most of my life. But not so anymore as I’ve come to honor the multitude of meals and cooks, all feeding the soul.

And this post, quite obviously, has been created in a reflective mode of being.