Category Archives: Burning Man

WAITING FOR BARDO

WAITING FOR BARDO

DSC00070 (1)There is no future. There is no past. Only the ‘Now” is Present.

Waiting is ‘pushing’ for the future, at least as far as identity is concerned. Identity being the catalyst for accomplishing happiness and inner peace.

The baggage of the past is an encumbrance for the present when considering the need to let go of our heaviness of self. Lose the baggage and we travel easier.

The future is never given in advance. Presence in the reality of ‘Now’ is never compromised by future except in a distorted state of mind.

DSC00079The door or bardo, is our entrance/exit into different realities. The full, undistorted reality of Now and Presence, is consistent through our souls’ travels. The timezones we project, in this life and that life, in past and future, are really only ’Now’. This is so due to there being no other timezone than ’Now’, at any time; even during transition.

DSC00106The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “bardo” as a noun and as “…a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death.” A secondary definition is “…an indeterminate, transitional state: wandering adrift in a bardo of intense negativity, blame, disappointment, criticism, and denial.”

DSC00109The typical “bardo” or door, surrounds the last moments of our life. This is where the practice of spirituality is culminated into an awareness of opportunity to be realized into a deliberate act during the transition. Attempts to cling to conditioning, beliefs, and content, only derail the opportunity to move past ourselves.

DSC00117This ‘option’ at ’that’ time, is really no different than any other time in our life, except that it is our last opportunity. Do we really want to wait until the last moment?! Just as there is an opportunity, albeit, a final one, to predispose the moment of death, there is one Moment always available right Now.

DSC00038The reality is that there is no need to change Reality. The narrow idea of separation is false consistently, whether we realize it or not. Believing in ‘separation’ is a daily investment in non-Being. Identity cannot be found in the body or the mind, contrary to popular belief. Separation introduces a plethora of distortion due to it’s contrariness to Reality. It makes us unready for the final moment.

DSC00052When we more fully let go of perseverating on our separateness and move toward the unity in diversity, we move through the bardo of ’that’ Moment. Beliefs cannot get us where we already Are. Dropping the beliefs and seeing without illusion and distortion, facilitates the entry into the bardo of ’Now’. This is the immediacy that can be brought about right before death OR in this very particular Moment.

“Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.” Annamalai Swami

Belief in separation and banking in the past and future, are narrow interpretations of Reality causing the turbulence of unnecessary suffering. Shifting in the greater spaciousness of no-thing in everything, allows the opening to ‘Be’. The narrow confines of ideas, beliefs, and thinking may be the hallmark of our civilization but so are the wars and inhumanity to humankind we find in our daily life.

We are the ’form’, certainly. But more certainly, our identity does not abide there. Objectlessness, contentlessness, and pure spaciousness are our containers for our Awareness. The informed Formlessness is our built-in knowledge of whom we always have Been and continue to Be. This access is the door with no name or form or even characteristic. Can we dig it? It is letting go of the tripe to experience the Divine.

The bardo of ’Now’ is open always. There is no waiting for Godot or bardo.

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AWARENESS OF AWARENESS

AWARENESS OF AWARENESS

DSC00169Mindfulness is a thought-based awareness. It is still using the structure of the mind to posit realities. Realities, however, come in limited and in unlimited forms. Senses are limited to include the Buddhist 6th sense of ‘thinking’. Limitation obviously means there is an endpoint. Sense utilization is the perceiving of that which is limited and finite and perceivable.

DSC00259Unboundedness is not an idea that can be fathomed. It Is. The idea called ego and the finite mind cannot plumb the transcendental reality. The limitation of that self-image is that it can only point to ‘It’, not actually harness the Truth with more ideas.

DSC00121When we transcend the mind, we leave behind the incapable vehicle of mind, employing
Awareness in taking us to where we Are and/or where we would like to go (Duality is believing we are not already there now). The mind being aware of the mind is still in the context of mind.

DSC00283The question is how to access Awareness and how to deemphasize the full-employment of the chattering mind, to a secondary modality. Primary identity needs to shift into the Awareness of Awareness in order for the brain to be trained and the naturalness of sourcing from this field to occur, constantly.

The mind, the ego, the senses, and the constant effortful attention needed to abide in the false self, can be ‘let go’ to the extent that it is not needed 24/7. The primary ‘knowing’ is in the Knower not the tools of the human condition. Reversing this flow to ‘It’s’ proper perspective allows a more correct utilization of tools, not the overachievement of confusing ‘form’ as ’the way’. Identity is always in the Formless, while the ‘doing’ is in the Form. To confuse this perspective is to be confused. Form will be lost anyway. When we stop attaching ourselves to it, we allow the naturalness of whom we really ‘Are’ to come through. Form will continue to be there when we need it in this life.

DSC00193Awareness includes both limited and unlimited perceptions. Again, it is the identity that has shifted from one fictional point to a ‘no point’/‘every point’ of connection. The vehicle we call ’the body’ is truly just a vehicle that we have hijacked and put artificial boundaries on, like identity.

DSC00261Separation appears to be ‘real’. But then what is ‘real’? Is what is ‘real’ determined with any finality by using instruments that have limited capacities? Or is what is ‘real’ best determined by using the faculties that are more appropriate to ’Seeing’?

DSC00263On a physical level, we can better connect to others and form community when we understand the physiology of the autonomic nervous system, especially the Smart Vagus, a more recent addition to the sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems. In “Four Ways To Click” Amy Banks, MD, states that there has been an evolutionary need to connect with our human group in order to promote the care of our offspring. This evolution has yielded a neuro-pathway from the face muscles to trigger the Smart Vagus. The Smart Vagus can tone down the fight/flight of the sympathetic nervous system and promote more social engagement. Even artificial smiling expressions, can access the hard-wired systems of the heart, lungs, and GI tract, resulting in a softer para-sympathetic response.

DSC00272Good vagal tone promotes affect that relates well to people and thus regulates how we feel. Listening is also another access point to calm ourselves a la Smart Vagus. Hearing requires a motor action that gives bidirectional feedback to the autonomic nervous system. When we listen we access the Smart Vagus and can settle down. Fight/flight/freeze are built in options but Smart Vagus is the third branch that connects us to us, allowing for greater community.

Reactionary does not have to be so reactionary. Knowing and using our system advantages can give us the edge to break out of an evolutionary slump.

When our idea of identity is limited by an over-investment in a faulty model, then separation is the distortion that is yielded. The skill-set needed to process a unified model is not a cognitive mind-based perspective.

If we look at our focus, we may be able to see more clearly. If our focus is 99% on the “seen”, then we have limited vision. If our focus is greater than 50% on the “See-er”, then we have begun the shift to source identity from the Formless. Just cognitively knowing what to do is not enough. It Is the ‘knowing’ from Awareness that tell us everything. Only when we shift out of mind-based ideas and thoughts to Awareness, do we have the shift that matters. It matters because we actually ’see’ the world differently i.e. not dualistically. “What Is” does not polarize against the likes and dislikes of ego/mind. There is an acceptance to whatever shows up while the ‘pushing’ of resistance is not a factor.

DSC00046If we are embedded with the “seen”, then we lose the “See-er”. Losing the “See-er” is losing Being itself. As the “See-er”, we look from It and It’s Boundlessness. The identity in the personal self is very secondary to the See-er because the “seen” is no longer primary. Unhooking from the “seen” allows us to be the “See-er”, which we have always been anyway. Looking out from Ourselves now means we don’t locate in one venue over another, internally. We lose the narrowness of ego-mind/false self, while being in the personal self.

Awareness can only ’see’ Awareness. When we Are the “See-er” with full-bodiness, we find our ‘no-point’ of existence. We Are the “Unseen”. See it. See Us. Be ’that’ “Unseen” effortlessness always. The Presence is in the “See-er” in the Now. The “seen” is unstable form. Subtleness is Us and everything because it Is the Nothingness of Formlessness. Awareness of Itself without content or boundaries is our deepest core. This is Our identity.

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RED MEAT FOR THE EGO

RED MEAT FOR THE EGO

DSC00069 (1)‘Formlessness’ is not an idea. It Is. If we continue to think that it is an idea, we are still trapped in the contextual mind. Thought cannot get us there. To connect with It, is to Be It, effortlessly. “It” is already here Now. The subtle Silence and Presence, which is the source of ‘all’, including the mind and thought, predates every ‘thing’.

DSC00276The assumptive thought we have that promotes separateness and suffering, is that we need to be ‘some thing’. That ’thought’ is just a thought, first. The root thought that thinks thinking is the be all and end all of life, is the ‘I’ we have manufactured out of thin air. ‘I’ is the 1st overlay covering up the ultimate connection, sometimes referred to as “The Formless”.

DSC00260Our misstep is that we have manufactured a monster and gave it consciousness. This “Frankenstein” is untenable due to it being completely imaginary. This ‘fictitiousness’ is it’s asset and pretense. It does not exist but contemporaneously, it believes it does, while insisting that reality is essentially what we can see and feel externally. This apparent conflict with it’s own imaginary existence is one of the first things overlooked. The delusion begins.

DSC00056 (1)At an early age, society conformance demands an identity to differentiate and become somebody. We are asked to become somebody when we already “Are”. That is not to say that we shouldn’t do anything with our life. Oh, No! It is our destiny to fulfill our soul’s code, however that may manifest for each of us. It is not to get lost in a delusional identity that most often does not foster a more ideal pathway to Being. The problem is moving from the undifferentiated to the differentiated, without the loss of whom we really Are, at any time. We Are the undifferentiated consciousness in differentiated form. Perennial Consciousness does not change. Form changes.

DSC00080We are misinformed by both our external and delusional internal guidance, to unnecessarily struggle against the unstable, contracted, and manufactured little idea of self. We demonstrate that we are cut off from the guidance of the Formless connection that we have always been. This loss of connection can be regained at any Moment.

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps it up, I change bats. After all, If I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
Yogi Berra

DSC00088Once the “I” is artificially created, it is birthed in struggle due to ‘it’ being a contraction from the fullness of infinite space and time. Establishment of the “I” is artificial due to the construct being pure imagination. This amorphous construct now requires additional content called self-image. Self-images are very unstable due to no infrastructure except thought. The amount of self-image structure needed is truly unfathomable because there is never enough content to sate ’some thing’ that is ‘unreal’. And we think we are so smart, rich, and know so much, while our core is as unreal as a passing dream.

DSC00155If we are unhappy, our first urge is to bolster our self-image and go shopping, get a better job, commiserate with friends and relatives, and/or find some more meaning in our life. All without even considering our fraudulence of self i.e our Frankensteinish need to defend and empower our illusory self-image.

“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” Yogi Berra

DSC00273The ’thought’ of not having an ‘image’ that represents us is scary. This feeling and response is an addictive affirmation of our ‘stuckness’ and unwillingness to ‘let go. The “I” and the ego that maintains it, need the ‘red meat’ of more stuff, need the acknowledgement of other people’s opinions and affirmations, and need the constant iteration of ideas that make up our meaningless images of whom we ’think’ we are. If this isn’t a trance state, then what is? Snap out of it!

“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
Yogi Berra

DSC00044Just the consideration of not believing in the false created self is not marketable to most individuals, due to fear. This underscores the fact that this illusion is fear-based. Fear is a good motivator to continue to do ourselves the wrong way. Fear also marks the trail of egoic trance that keeps us in a trance without our knowing that illusory limits were placed on our Unlimitedness. It is not unlike a baby elephant being chained early on with a light duty chain. The chain remains the same in terms of thickness as the elephant grows to a size to easily snap it. However, the early image created is more powerful than the chain. It is no longer the chain that binds. It is the image we maintained through our life that binds powerfully.

DSC00057It is not a matter of changing images and believing we are greater than we allow ourselves to be. It is losing any need for any image to represent us. No names or forms can successfully describe the Formless. “The Tao that can be named is not the Tao.” The ’no thing’ of Formlessness is our eternal reference to whom we have always been. Nothing can be added to It. It is always full. No overlays.

Seeing the Formless Awareness is seeing what is not and then seeing “What Is”. Seeing “What Is” is our most intimate and subtle Presence that is as much a thing as space itself can be. Infinite Potential is Awareness unbounded by limitations, to include ridiculous images. It is There in the spaciousness where there is unlimited freedom without contraction. Red meat is a diet for the hungry ghost, the ghost with a large appetite and small mouth that can never be satiated.

DSC00077See what is beneath and before any thought in the spaciousness of infinity.

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THE HIGHEST SKILL

THE HIGHEST SKILL

DSC00093Skillful and unskillful, are utilitarian terms on the spectrum of possibility, in creating consciousness or unconsciousness. The terms are somewhat neutral given other less desirable terms like good/bad. Plumbing the choice between skillful and less skillful, is plumbing the full space of whom we ’think’ we are and whom we really ‘are’. Confusion comes in when we set artificial boundaries on either identities. Limitation is exaggerated when the iceberg of false identity and it’s subterranean conditioned self is not fully seen. Limitation of the unbounded spaciousness of Self is also a built-in problem, due to the possibility of limiting awareness of the Unlimited.

DSC00166Skillfulness, for example, is our ability to see the conflictual patterns of behaviors when we do something ethically challenging that tears at our integrity. This is especially true when we indulge in a self-satisfying behavior that is not in keeping with decreasing the possibility of pain to self and/or others. Doing something that is less progressive in our development, is doing something in a denial of a full reality of “What Is”.

DSC00030A review of a less-skillful behavior would reveal the glossing over of a less than thorough inventory of the predilection of self versus Self. Until that is acknowledged, distortion and cherry-picking, is the norm.

Getting past the false self is getting past the unmarked territories of non-being, first. If the Self is not separate, then there has to be consideration to causing the least amount of harm possible to others, to include the whole planet. When it is impossible to do no harm, Vedanta says do as little harm as possible.

DSC00235Moving along the path towards the subtle Oneness of Formlessness, is losing the familiarity and false comfort of all the structures that compelled the ego self to falsely substantiate itself. Fearlessness, is seeing the dead-end denials and subterfuges as part of the false identity. That is, it is now part of the revelatory process, in that there is a ’seeing’ that does not re-injure self because ’self’ is no longer an issue. The shift to Awareness as the non-identity identity makes this an option. When there is no one (false self) to injure, defend, or affirm, the identity of Everything/Nothing gives credence to a natural harmony with the unity in the diversity, to wit, everyone and everything. If this wholeness is truly our base, then ‘our’ interest is always ‘Our’ interest. There is no room left for false acquisitions and ideas.

DSC00137The path to higher consciousness is not unlike the shift of the body from a glucose-based system of operation to one of a fat-based system that eschews that roller coaster of peaks and troughs of the Ho-ho’s kind of energy of the body to one of a ‘good’ fat model. When we choose food that does not have fast carbs and raw sugars, like medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil), we begin to opt for a fasting glucose range of under 84 mg/dL. When we surpass 100mg/dL we enter into the pre-diabetic arena of body response. An increase in our carbs/sugars over a continued period of time evokes the body to prefer to burn sugars and store excess sugars as fat on the body. When there is no place to put the excess sugars, the body’s bloodstream becomes a moving storage facility resulting in leptin resistance with insulin levels up.

DSC00175This is in contrast to a diet with limited carbs/sugars where the body burns all the moderate levels of sugars first. The healthy fats do not get unnecessarily stored. Rather they create a flatline of energy where the body does not peak/trough as much, resulting in a more ideal weight with less metabolic stress.

Not unlike the peaks/troughs of diet, the false self does itself a disservice by demanding acknowledgement from the fullness of “What Is”. This contraction is a stress that is not natural to the Self or body. It is an unnecessary artifice that evokes a recklessness in harmony with Self and environment. The fat-based diet is analogous to a Self-based diet of identification. To ‘Be’ otherwise is to go on the roller coaster of the highs and lows of precipitous change.

DSC00047The ‘highest’ skill would be something that can achieve the highest level of inner/outer satisfaction, yes?

DSC00054And that would be what?

Fulfillment to the point of no desires? Consummation of our deepest goals, like peace and happiness? Knowing beyond just understanding the subtlest of Truths?

Yes, kinda sorta. Identification and sourcing the Formless while Being in the temporariness of form with connectivity to all beings, is the skill that evolves from ‘no ideas’, to Self, to all others in the phenomenal world. The skill to broker that constantly, 24/7, is the ticket to ride.

Unconsciousness to Consciousness of Self, to identity shift to Self, to external shift to the phenomenal world as Self, to the Eternal Now as the beginning and end of everything, is the path of the Infinite going to the Infinite. The perennial journey starts right Now. See skillfully. Choose when there is a choice (dualism). Otherwise, there is no choice, which is “What Is”.

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GOING INTO THE FORMLESS @THE BURNING MAN

GOING INTO THE FORMLESS AT THE BURNING MAN

IMG_0069The expansive amplification of 69,000 committed people has a profound effect on all participants in a particular venue, when that amplification is “The Moment”. Turning up “The Moment” at the Burning Man is the result of the culmination of planning, travel, expense, and general sacrifice, to go to a calling that challenges the day-to-day, with survival and adaptation, while peppering the ordinary into the extraordinary. It is the stuff that a ‘good’ life is made of. When we show up for the ‘show’, we really want to be there. The amplifier, called The Burning Man, turns all that collective energy up, scorching our eyebrows from the fires in our bellies.

IMG_0072The journey to the Burning Man and the journey in our particular life, is essentially the same. Given uncertainty and change, and the dynamics of both venues, we accept the extraordinary, the ordinary, and the challenges with equal vigor. Accepting only the pieces of the drama that we like, is to push against “What Is”. The equal acceptance, and no less than that, is the ‘Way’ of life. To bob up and down when things get ’sticky’, is to lose the Permanence of whom we always Are. To ’not’ participate in the ‘bob’, is to choose and acknowledge the deposit of our energies in the pocket of “The Formless”, constantly. The less energy we deposit in the roller coaster of ‘form’ (the ‘bob’), the more stable our platform.

IMG_0080White-out dust storms raging at 45MPH+, 31 degree nights contrasted with 90’s + in the day, are de rigueur, as are, the emotional storms of quiet desperation and crisis in consciousness in the default world. When we fully accept the circumstances particular to our unique situation, good or bad, we bond with the energy that unbinds our stuck-ness. Like and dislike have nothing to do with it. We may experience preference, but preference does not have a place in the Moment. When it does occur, it displaces the Moment with distortion and resistance. Freedom to Be, is dumped unceremoniously with the wrong choice. The ‘flow’ can flow because it has no hard n’fast bindings.

IMG_0061Engaging in our delusional preferences with any vigor, deposits energy in the wrong stream. The Stream of Formlessness is waived for the stream of “ME” and “I”.

IMG_0063At the Burning Man, it was my predilection to proceed on the open expanse of deep playa to short-cut travel from one part of the city to the other. Deep playa was not really part of the planned trip, but that is where I found myself with another traveler. A white-out transpired with no useable vision past about a couple of feet. We were nearly running into Art objects due to reduced vision. We decided to head up together because of the challenge the environment suddenly created. A bicycle was between us, each holding one end of the handlebars. Our GPS was only the music we could hear in the distance. After about 30 minutes in, we made it across and found our bearings and thereafter our destination.

IMG_0067What was left, was the residue of a bond that developed in the challenge of that moment. This bond was just as important as the bond that was later formed with other participants in a later camp benefit, i.e. steam bath and excellent food. The outcome was basically the same but under utterly different circumstances. Both circumstances played out and both were treated with equanimity. To pursue one outcome with a different response, would be to push past the boundaries of “What Is” and demand it our way. That would be untethered ego.

STA_0098Connection to the ubiquitous ego has the familiarity of vain insanity. When we are in it, we cannot fathom the depth of delusion/illusion. Only when we get perspective of witness, can we leave that longstanding pattern in the dust of the playa.

The ‘Seeing’ does not ever stop, even when we refuse to ‘See’. Awareness abides whether we unite with it or are alien to it. ‘Seeing’ the limitation of limited form is the beginning of the end of delusion. The white-out of egoism lifts.

STA_0099Awareness is Present Now. Awareness of thoughts is most obvious. Awareness of physical things is always an easy one. Awareness of sound, inner and outer, signals a slight shift into the Subtle. Awareness of space is getting close to Awareness of Awareness, which is the alpha/omega of the most intimate part of Ourselves. It is there, in the Formlessness of Consciousness, the deep playa within, that We abide effortlessly. This Source, Our Source, is the touchstone of connection and expansive consciousness. It is here, where We Are most comfortable and at home. Welcome home burner. Love is cooking on the stove.

IMG_0081The shift to the Formless, is a shift to what already is and has been Present always. It is a shift, often from the confused state of whom we thought we were to whom we really Are. We had all or most of our eggs in the wrong basket. When we start transferring these proverbial ‘eggs’ to the ethereal basket of no-form, we shift accordingly. How much shift is dependent on how many eggs transfer.

There is no necessity to keep any ‘eggs’ in the Form. Moreover, all the ‘eggs’ are Formless in nature anyway. The form is only a temporary vehicle which wastes the ‘eggs’ of Awareness on illusory matters. We Are the Formless and the Form, with the Awareness connection located in the Nothingness of everything i.e. The Formless. Formlessness is the open unstructured desert where infinite potential abides, creating forms like Black Rock City. It is in the Infinite Potential where the artists of the playa source their best ideas. This Is the Connection we were looking for anyways. We connect here solidly first and then play the limited role of form and personage second. Not the other way around.

IMG_0088Shifting out from the form requires the baggage of “I, me, and you” to be ‘seen’ away (not pushed). The loss of these expressions of separateness is a clear prerequisite for Being. It is only when this baggage is dropped can “The Energy” fill the vacuum and connect Us all effortlessly. Until that happens we are living in a sanitized pretense of egoic trance.

IMG_0087What is interesting, is that observers observe incorrectly that when “The Energy” shows up, the individual goes into a trance. The quality of the energy, the ceasing of pushing, and the need to control and manipulate, are not present in this state of Being. The egoic trance has the quality of separateness and delusional ideas and beliefs that have no basis in reality. It is integration through Formlessness versus separation and aggrandizement in the endpoint called ‘form’. Clarity and the seeing of the egoic contracted trance, is the beginning of liberation from form. It is the “Man” burning and the “Temple” connecting to the Formlessness where all connections lie.

IMG_0066Be first, then ‘do’. This means that the connection is most importantly from the no-thing called Formlessness Awareness. That subtle and powerful field of fullness is where nothing can be added because it Is everything always. After continuous connection to this field, the ‘form’ is informed with the genius of the entire Universe. This is the ultimate collective consciousness, that is, “The Energy”. Letting the dictator of the ego go, and allowing “What Is” to enter, was the original starting point anyway. Welcome home burners. We Are already there Now.

“This isn’t a journey about becoming something. This is about unbecoming who we are not, about undeceiving ourselves. We don’t end up anywhere other than where we have always been, except that we perceive we have always been completely different. We realize that the heaven everyone is seeking is where we have always been.”       Adyashanti

Let the “Burn” begin every single Moment of our existence, on or off the playa. The “default world” is the illusion. There is no need to stop ‘burning’ even when we leave the event. When We are the Connection, the ‘form’ is just another medium.

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