In this annihilating experience [of advaita] one is no longer able to
project in front of oneself anything whatsoever, to recognize any other “pole” to which to refer oneself and to give the name of God. Once one has reached that innermost center, one is so forcibly seized by the mystery that one can no longer utter a “Thou” or an “I.” Engulfed in the abyss, we disappear to our own eyes, to our own consciousness. The proximity of that mystery which the prophetic traditions name “God” burns us so completely that there is no longer any question of
discovering it in the depths of oneself or oneself in the depths of it. In the very engulfing, the gulf has vanished. If a cry was still possible—at the moment perhaps of disappearing into the abyss—it would be paradoxically: “but there is no abyss, no gulf, no distance!” There is no face-to-face, for there is only That-Which-Is, and no other to name it.
In that breaking-through, when I come to be free of my own will and of God’s will and of all His works and of God Himself, then I am above all created things, and I am neither God nor creature, but I am what I was and what I shall remain, now and eternally.
… When I stood in my first cause, I ‘then had no ‘God,’ and then I was my own cause. I wanted nothing, I longed for nothing, for I was empty Being and the only truth in which I rejoiced was in the knowledge of my Self. Then it was my Self I wanted and nothing else. What I wanted I was, and what I was I wanted and so I stood empty of God and every thing.
A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.
(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.
[Photo: ‘Golden Spirit’ by Alex Greenshpun]
Thoughts are the play of pure awareness. They arise within it and dissolve back into it. To recognize pure awareness as the very source of thought is to recognize that our thoughts have never begun, continued or ceased to exist. At that point, thoughts can no longer trouble the mind.
As long as we run after our thoughts, we are like a dog chasing a stick. Each time we throw the stick, he runs after it. If we look at the enlightened consciousness instead, the source of our thoughts, we will see that each thought arises and dissolves in the space of that consciousness, without engendering other thoughts. Then we will be like a lion, which does not chase after the stick, but turns to face the thrower. You can throw a stick at a lion only once.
To conquer the uncreated citadel of the nature of mind, we must go to the source and recognize the origin of thoughts.
The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light.
He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.
There is Peace Beyond All
There exists something that ﬁts nowhere
and yet is in no way remarkable
and yet is decisive
and yet is outside it all.
There exists something which is noticed just when it is not noticeable
and is not noticed just when it becomes noticeable
for then it is mistaken (like silence) for something else.
See the waves under the sky. Storm is surface
and storm our way of seeing.
(What do I care for the waves or the seventh wave.)
There is an emptiness between the waves:
Look at the sea. Look at the stones of the ﬁeld.
There is an emptiness between the stones:
They did not break loose—they did not throw themselves here,
They lie there and exist—a part of the rock sheath.
So make yourself heavy—make use of your dead weight,
let it break you, let it throw you, fall down,
let it leave you shipwrecked on the rock!
(What do I care about the rock.)
There are universes, suns, and atoms.
There is a knowledge, carefully built on strong points.
There is a knowledge, unprotected, built on insecure emptiness.
There is an emptiness between universes, suns, and atoms.
(What do I care about universes, suns, and atoms.)
There is an odd viewpoint on everything
in this double life.
There is peace beyond all.
There is peace behind all.
There is peace inside all.
Concealed in the hand.
Concealed in the pen.
Concealed in the ink.
I feel peace everywhere.
I smell peace behind everything.
I see and hear peace inside everything,
monotonous peace beyond everything.
(What do I care about peace.)
~Gunnar Ekelöf, from ‘Variations’, trans. by Robert Bly
(Photo by Martin Rak)
If you ignore its profundity,
you can never practice stillness.
Like the Great Void, it is Perfect and lacks nothing,
nor has any excess.
If you discriminate,
you will miss its suchness.
Cling not to external causes,
nor stay in the Void.
Differentiation ceases if you can be impartial.
Stillness comes when all disturbances are stopped,
clinging to stillness is also a mistake.
If you cling to opposites,
how will you know the One?
(Photo by Roman Putincev)
It is very difficult for us to represent space without a center and without a periphery. When you look out of the window here, you first see trees, bushes, meadows, stars, the moon. You look at objects in relation to other objects. Your looking is a kind of comparison. You know yourself only in objects because you relate with your personality which is an object too. So what is important for you is to experience the absence of all objects, including your center, your personality. Your presence is in the absence of all objects. In other words, you are really present only in your absence.
And in the beginning was love. Love made a sphere: all things
grew within it, the sphere then encompassed
beginnings and endings, beginning and end. Love
had a compass whose whirling dance traced out a
sphere of love in the void: in the center thereof
rose a fountain.
Awareness is all there is. You can’t say it comes from anywhere, because it is all that there is. We talk about non-duality. It is never born; it never dies. It is just unceasing. It is constantly and ever and all that there is. Yet, it is no thing that can be grasped in any way, shape or form. It has no beginning and no end, no time, no space. All those things appear in it. They are all things. And things can’t grasp what to the thing is no thing. It can’t grasp it. It is just like asking ‘where does space come from?’ when you ask ‘where does awareness come from?’ Can you find a centre to space? Can you find a circumference to space? Can you postulate anything outside of space? What would it be in? It must be in space! It is the same with awareness. It is everywhere. It is every ‘when’. It is all times and all places.
The “One Who Knows” clearly knows that all conditioned phenomena are unsubstantial. So this “One Who Knows” does not become happy or sad, for it does not follow changing conditions. To become glad is to be born; to become dejected is to die. Having died, we are born again; having been born, we die again. This birth and death from one moment to the next is the endless spinning wheel of samsara.
We sleep in God’s unconsciousness.
We wake in God’s open hand.
We weep God’s rain.
We laugh God’s lightning.
Fighting and peacefulness
both take place within God.
Who are we then
in this complicated world-tangle,
that is really just the single, straight
line down at the beginning of ALLAH?
* * *
When you are with everyone but me,
you’re with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
you’re with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
When you become that many, you’re nothing.
(Photo by Sergey Braga)
Wind and Water and Stone
The water hollowed the stone,
the wind dispersed the water,
the stone stopped the wind.
Water and wind and stone.
The wind sculpted the stone,
the stone is a cup of water,
The water runs off and is wind.
Stone and wind and water.
The wind sings in its turnings,
the water murmurs as it goes,
the motionless stone is quiet.
Wind and water and stone.
One is the other and is neither:
among their empty names
they pass and disappear,
water and stone and wind.
(Photo by Kat08glow)