California Institute of Integral Studies - banner

Latest

Under the Rug – Kim Schrag Paintings [Artistic Endeavors]

In this latest installment of the Artistic Endeavors section, we are pleased to feature artist Kim Schrag. Long time readers of NDA will have seen her vibrant works adorning many of our posts. Kim’s work is certainly a feast for the eyes.  N-Joy the “Under the Rug” gallery below (click on any image to view the gallery).

A note from Kim:

“This is my new series of oil paintings on plaster. You may remember a series I did a few years ago with this technique. I love the surface quality. They have been mounted with a 3″ white mat and a cherry frame (by Fernando of course).

“The series is a commentary on the experience of being human. I am trying to be more aware of what is usually not seen or talked about and create images that reflect my observations. There will be a show this spring of the 14 paintings at Corners Gallery in Ithaca.”

 

  • Awareness
  • Roots
  • A Leap of Faith or Hitting Bottom
  • Accumulation of Memory
  • Freedom and Anxiety
  • In Gods House
  • Just One More
  • Riding the Wave of Time
  • The Barn
  • The Birth of the Universe
  • The Emergence of Form
  • The Story I Was Told
  • The Swimmers
  • Under the Rug

www.unboundart.com

 

If I had the time, I’d be like the Buddha [Guest Blog]

By Peter Fenner

 

Art: Julian Bound

One of the common things I hear from people when I’m running a workshop is that, “This space is great, but my life is so busy. I just don’t have the time to rest and be present to “what is.” I’ve got the meals to prepare, emails to do, phone calls with family and friends, making a living! All I really want is to spend my life in this space, but I have all these other commitments that I can’t walk away from. What can I do? How can I respond to the demands of life and still cultivate the connection to nondual awareness?”

I respond to this plea in different ways.

First, I will point out that the “doing nothing” that’s happening in a workshop or on a teleconference call can’t be compared with inactivity. I may say, “It’s true that in [Timeless Wisdom] workshops we aren’t playing sport, surfing the internet, engrossed in a movie, negotiating airport security, or visiting our parents, but the “this” we are doing—that’s happening here—is ultimately unrelated to being still, or inaction. At the very least we can see how, right now, it’s possible to abide in awareness—and talk, listen, make notes, stand up, sit down, and move around.

It’s true that, as beginners, it’s easier for us to enter awareness when the environment is simple, stable and undemanding. But, it’s also important not to make a connection and think that “this”—being here—is doing nothing. We aren’t doing nothing in the way we typically use that phrase. We aren’t sitting around aimlessly, watching things go by. We are resting in a pristine state of being: a state where we could rest, fully aware, without a flicker of boredom or distress, for eternity. This is completely different from “hanging around, letting time pass by, doing nothing, until something comes along.”

In fact, I question the belief that we really want to spend more time resting in awareness?

I think that, if we really wanted to spend more time “here”, somehow we’d figure out how to do it. The Buddha worked it out—how to be permanently free—as have hundreds of thousands of other sages. What’s clear is that there is a fundamental change in priorities. For the Buddha, the priority wasn’t having a roof over his head, or knowing where his next meal was coming from. Something completely different was going on. So different that he didn’t need a roof over his head, money in his pocket, or fallible human company. It’s easy to say, “Ah, but he could renounce all those things because he was enlightened.” But this is a cop-out. For the Buddha, the only thing was abiding in liberating awareness, needing nothing, rejecting nothing, and letting his life unfold with no concern or preoccupation about tomorrow, or the next minute. His power and influence as the founder of a new religion came precisely from his capacity to encounter everything that came his way:

  • scorching heat
  • drenching rain
  • an empty stomach
  • ridicule
  • unrestrained adoration
  • assassination attempts
  • numerous smear campaigns

…without any of these producing the slightest mental or emotional disturbance. Such was the power of his unconditioned love and nondual wisdom.

 

Salt Lamps

Space

 

If the same priority was alive in us, we wouldn’t be who we are. It’s very simple; we’d be a completely different person, someone so different from who we are, we couldn’t even recognize ourselves. We would see a clone of our body, but the speech, functioning, gait, comportment, lifestyle, network of friends and colleagues and career (if we could still call it that) would be completely different: like someone from a different planet. For a start, we wouldn’t be saying, “I don’t have enough time to rest in awareness. My life is too busy. I have too many other commitments.”

There is nothing to be gained in thinking, “I don’t have enough time for this work.” We rest in awareness for us long as we can. If we could do more of “this” we would. I have no doubt about this.

I invite you to be honest and realistic about how you are with this. Complaining about our time being limited and committed, and wishing it were otherwise–that there wasn’t so much to do, there weren’t so many responsibilities–merely fosters conflict. No one ever entered (or re-entered) this state by thinking, “I wish I could do more of this.” Unless, of course, in thinking like this we see that there is no “this” to want more of! No one has ever entered buddhamind wishing that their life was different. In this work we embrace what is, aware of our deepest longings and our present choices, acknowledging where we are with love and understanding.

The Bhagavad-Gita speaks about the practice of desireless action (nishkama-karma). When time is available, we sense that there’s nothing we need to do, and so we do exactly that. We find a quiet place and abide in unconditioned awareness. In the rush of getting things done we may forget the possibility of being “here,” but not entirely. Unconditioned awareness is always here, silently in the background, needing and expecting nothing but somehow drawing us into it. Knowing that the ever-present possibility can shine through at any moment, we grow in our capacity to find the time for abiding. We remember how sweet, peaceful, spacious and free this space is, and we receive it as the sourceless gift of the universe. We find a few minutes each day, and each week, to rest in nondual awareness, and we plan ahead for a retreat so we can dwell more deeply and uninterruptedly in timeless presence.

 

Image divider

 

 

Dr_Peter_FennerPeter Fenner, Ph.D. is a spiritual leader in the adaption and transmission of Asian nondual wisdom and Founder of Timeless Wisdom, a California nonprofit. He is a pioneer in the development of nondual therapy. He created the Radiant Mind Course® and the Natural Awakening: Advanced Nondual Training.

Peter runs courses, trainings, retreats and satsang telecalls and offers individual coaching sessions. His students and clients include Buddhist psychotherapists, psychologists, coaches, Zen masters, Sufi masters, Vipassana and Mindfulness teachers, Yoga teachers, psychiatrists, medical doctors, hospice workers, students of Tibetan Buddhism, followers of Advaita, artists and spiritual seekers worldwide.

Peter also offers retreats on four continents. He has presented his work at leading universities and institutions including Columbia, Stanford, CIIS and Naropa.

www.radiantmind.net

 

 

*Buddha Pic/Art: Julian Bound

The Nonduality Club [Humor]

nondual-club

Are you a member?

 

This reminded me of some of the Comment sections on various ND-related sites out there.

You know where there’s a heckler in every crowd! A know-it-all [aka' comment troll] that will fight til’ death to try to prove his point – or prove you wrong. Or the wannabee teachers/nonteachers who try to one-up the previous person who commented or those who pick holes at the featured content or author.

Even Brad Pitt knows it’s futile to talk about talking [laughs]…and of course, one can argue that there are no rules or even duality.

 

  • There is no duality; the mind, awake or dreaming, moves through maya (“illusion”); and only nonduality (Advaita) is the final truth.
  • This truth is concealed by the ignorance of illusion.
  • There is no becoming, either of a thing by itself or of a thing out of some other thing.
  • There is ultimately no individual self or soul (jiva), only the atman (universal soul), in which individuals may be temporarily delineated just as the space in a jar delineates a part of main space: when the jar is broken, the individual space becomes once more part of the main space.

~Gaudapada

[ building further on the Mahayana Buddhist concept of shunyata (“emptiness”) ].

Wake Up, Wake Up & Remember Who You Are

JaLee bookThis book contains JaLee’s original diary writings and true life experiences.

JaLee is a pen name sharing her story with anyone inspired to [experientially] awaken to the truth of who you really are. She could be your next door neighbor, satsang friend, sister, co-worker or even you.

Her first gurus were doodle bugs, sunflower seeds, slurpies and self inquiry beginning at age six in the early 70’s. Observing life, suffering and welcoming relief, angels appeared to her until Ramana Maharshi whispered in her ear thirty years later. She’s never been to India yet somehow peace found her anyway. She resides in the United States, lives an ordinary life and does not teach.

Book Description Excerpts:

Part I, Ramblings from a Truth Seeker’s Path, (1977-2000), begins with a piece written at age thirteen and continues with various writings until age thirty-six. She shares her joy, loneliness, hope and deep emotional pain in these early writings. The pain she experienced reflects a universal struggle in which our human suffering fuels desire to know the truth about who we are.

Part II, Journey into No Path, (2000), illuminates a truth seeker’s journey into deep inner peace—a remembrance of I am that I am, a conquest over every thought that I think I am. This blissful realization was celebrated in the piece Awakening on the Airplane, composed after experiencing a radical epiphany on August 27, 2000 as she was sitting in an airplane reading a book.

Part III, Bliss Years, (2000-2003), briefly glimpses into newly awakened, passionate and ecstatic expressions celebrated through poems, prose and ordinary life experiences.

Part IV is called Life after Awakening, (2004-2010). There’s really nothing to say about this except it’s the simplest chapter of all.

Image divider

 

Message to Readers

by JaLee

Warmly I whisper to you, “Wake up, wake up and remember who you are—the exquisite One you already are!” Yet who am I to suggest this? What do I know more than you? Strangely enough, I know nothing more than you. I’m not a spiritual guru or someone offering you a new belief system. On the contrary, I’m an ordinary person who realized one day that my belief in my beliefs, only fooled me most of my life.

This book contains a narrated collection of writings from my private diary spanning twenty-three years of emotional suffering, ending with spiritual awakening— enlightenment, oneness recognition, now presence and experiential nonduality—deep and irreversible inner peace.

Oh, and that “soufflé” thing in the book’s title is just a light-hearted way of saying, “Really now, how seriously are we going to take this awakening claim crapola?” In one sense it’s completely laughable (my nonduality friends are bobbling their heads up and down now) yet paradoxically, it’s painfully serious as well. Planetarily or relatively speaking, our collective consciousness has sleep-sufferd long enough. It’s simply time to wake up!

Or not! That’s the coolest part of all. Truly nothing in our One heart needs to change. But until we all deeply realize that, we’ll continue being driven by an innate and unexplainable wanting of things to be different than they are. We’ll continue playing this elusive hide and seek game together until our need to change magically morphs into knowing, beyond thought, that it’s all just perfect as it is or isn’t, right now. And until then, game’s on.

Humor helps

 

Image: Francesca Cattaneo

Image: Francesca Cattaneo

 

 

So drifting back to the topic of this book now, my shifting shamanic journey and rapid dismantling process did seem like a big deal at the time. But really as it faded into everyday life, the whole shebang was known to be nothing at all. And although the initial experience did feel like the ole’ cosmic two by four knocking me blissfully to the moon, I’m not claiming an exclusive, mystical experience here. There’s nothing elitist or woo woo about it all. I’m talking about a simple perception shift where my mind collapsed into ordinary okay-ness with who I am now and life as it is now—unwavering inner peace aliveness permeating all human stories arising, no matter what.

This cellular peace shift didn’t turn me into someone special. It’s available to anyone regardless of who you are or what you believe because ultimately all these ideas fall away, leaving only you, the real you beyond any mind belief—this is peace. Even the word peace is just a thought in the end. As all thoughts drop away, what remains?

The most direct spiritual path cuts through our human story illusion and points the seeker to exhaust all searching through inner inquiries such as:

  • Who am I?
  • Who am I not?
  • What am I?
  • What am I not?
  • What is self?
  • What is not?
  • What is real?
  • What is not?

Numerous instructors teach oneness or nonduality influenced, direct paths to awakening, including Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle and many others. These committed teachers and their student’s hunger to be free, inspired this diary’s publication.

So although I can’t claim anyone reading here will discover an instant recipe for awakening, I can safely say that a classic shedding process commonly experienced by many who awaken, is succinctly revealed here. This means that anyone who sees his or herself in my character, or resonates with my core struggles or insights, may find these reflective experiences helpful. My deepest intention in sharing this journey is to nurture the realm of possibilities and hope for others suffering just like me. Follow the bouncing ball dear friends. Love knows the way.

You are reading this by no accident. A deep longing within you welcomes this moment. This longing knows , beyond thought, who you are. This longing desperately wants you to remember. The potential for remembering lives inside you right now.

 

Peace is already here.

Freedom is knocking at the door.

Awakening is possible.

 

Information on direct path, self-inquiry, oneness or nonduality influenced teachers can be found on her website:

www.remember-who-you-are.com

 

%d bloggers like this: