Archive for the 'Nature of Mind' Category

Seek and Ye Shall Not Find

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

“Seek and Ye Shall Find!” In daily life this may be true; the more we search for something, the more likely we are to find it. Although, even in this realm, synchronicity sometimes plays an important role, opening us to possibilities we never could have planned for. [see: How to be a Wizard]

But when it comes to finding our own inner essence, the opposite is true. Whether it be settling into meditation, finding inner peace, or discovering the true nature of the self, seeking stands in the way of our discovering the truth.

Seeking has some goal in mind, something it wants to find. It creates a focus and a slight tightening of consciousness. It may not be obvious at first, but when the mind is quiet this faint background tension becomes apparent.

In such a state we cannot, by definition, be totally at ease. Only when we let go of all seeking, or any wish to find some other state of mind, can we be truly free. When we do let go completely, and accept our experience exactly as it is, the mind falls back into its natural unconditioned state. [see: The Natural Mind] We find what we have been seeking; and realize that it has been obscured by the very act of seeking.

But do not try to stop seeking, for that will only repeat the error at a subtler level. When you notice that an attitude of seeking has sneaked its way back in, simply notice it. Let it be. Accept it as part of what is happening in the present moment, and you will fall back into the truth that lies beyond all seeking.

The Path of No Path

Monday, November 23rd, 2009


Spiritual teachers with non-dual leanings often say that there is no path to enlightenment. There is nowhere to get to; you are already enlightened, you just do not know it. There is no need for a technique or practice; they will only keep your mind trapped in the illusion of relative phenomena. Do not meditate; do nothing.

There certainly is a profound truth embedded in such statements. When awakening occurs, there is the realization that there really was nowhere else to get to, no higher state of consciousness to achieve. The world remains as it is, and your experience remains as it is. What shifts is your relationship to experience, or rather your non-relationship to it. The identification with a constructed sense of self is no longer there. “You” are not thinking, seeing, breathing; thinking, seeing, and breathing are just occurring. It is obvious that it always was this way; but all our wanting, striving, clinging, avoiding, and self-identification obscured this simple fact.

In this sense there is nothing to do. The very opposite: it is our doing that is the problem. When we let go of all attachments as to how things should or could be, we wake up to the truth of what is. Even the word enlightenment is misleading; it implies some other, “higher”, state of consciousness. This is what makes the statement “you are already enlightened” so confusing, But to say you are already awake, but not awake to your own wakefullness, or you are already aware, but not fully aware of awareness, makes more sense.

From the awakened perspective, it is true that there is nowhere to get to. This is why many teachers say: Do nothing. Stop. Don’t meditate. Don’t try and get somewhere other than you already are. There is nowhere to go. Nothing to do. There is no path.

And yet… Many of these teachers did tread a path. Some spent years investigating the true nature of our apparent “I-ness”. Others followed a path of total surrender, or a deep deconstruction of experience. My own glimpses of the truth have come in periods of deep mediation, when the mind is totally relaxed and still. Then I see so clearly there is nowhere to get to. And yet, if had not followed a path that allowed me to drop into a deep stillness and let go of my habitual mode of experience, I would not have fully appreciated this truth.

So from the unawake perspective—which is where I am most the time, and probably most of you are most the time—there are paths to follow. And, until such time as they are no longer needed, the paths that help the most are those that develop the skill of letting go, allowing the mind to relax, releasing all effort, all trying to get somewhere. So, do not meditate an intent to reach some enlightened state of being. But do take time to let the “doing mind” die away, to sink into your own being, Take time to learn how to do nothing.

Falling Back Into Love

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Two new short podcasts: “Falling Back Into Love”, and “Love: A Fundamental Quality of Consciousness”

http://www.peterrussell.com/TV/audio.php

Praying for Peace – A Different Take

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Each of us would rather experience peace than suffering. One reason we do not experience as much peace as we would like is the result of how we see things, the interpretations we put on our experience. If we see things through the eyes of fear and anxiety, caught in judgement or frustration, wishing things were different, clinging to some idea of what we want to happen, then we create discontent and discomfort – the root of so much suffering.

Yet this is the way our everyday self, the ego mind, tends to see things. It grasps onto what it thinks will make us happy, rejecting what it thinks will bring us pain. It may, from time to time, bring us temporary happiness, but it seldom finds real peace in what it sees.

If we are not at peace, then it just may be that it is our way of seeing that is the culprit. We may not realize that we have become stuck in our perception. We may not realize there is another way of looking at things. But deep down we know. Our innate wisdom, the quiet inner voice of the unconditioned self, knows. We have only to open to it, with an attitude of innocent curiosity, and ask: Could there perhaps be an other way of seeing this?

In doing so we are praying to our inner self for guidance. We are praying for peace. But we are not praying to be given peace. We are praying to be shown the way to peace within ourselves.

Forgiveness – Seeing the World Differently

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The conventional understanding of forgiveness is of some absolution or pardon: “I know you did wrong, but I’ll overlook it this time.” But the original meaning of forgiveness is very different. The ancient Greek word for forgiveness is aphesis, meaning “to let go.” When we forgive others we let go of the judgments we may have projected onto them. We release them from all our interpretations and evaluations, all our thoughts of right or wrong, friend or foe.

Instead we see that they are human beings caught up in their own illusions about themselves and the world around them. Like us, they feel the need for security, control, recognition, approval, or stimulus. They too probably feel threatened by people and things that prevent them from finding fulfillment. And, like us, they sometimes make mistakes. Yet, behind all these errors, there is another conscious being simply looking for peace of mind.

Even those we regard as evil are seeking the same goal. It is just that for one reason or another—who knows what pain they may have endured in their childhood, or what beliefs they may have adopted—they seek their fulfillment in ways that are uncaring, and perhaps even cruel. Deep inside, however, they are all sparks of the divine light struggling to find some salvation in this world.

When we let go of our judgments of others, we let go of the source of much of our anger and many of our grievances. Our bad feelings may seem justified at the time, but they don’t serve us—in fact, they usually cause more damage to ourselves than they do to the other person. The freer we are of our judgments and grievances, the more at peace we can be in ourselves.

The Connection Between All Beings

Friday, June 12th, 2009

New podcast. Life throughout the universe, evolving in consciousness. ETs. Whales.  Song as a universal medium.

http://www.peterrussell.com/TV/audio.php

Return to Natural Mind

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

New article on website, written as chapter for new book The View

Seeking a better state of mind… Getting lost in Samsara… The Clinging Mind… Letting Go.

http://www.peterrussell.com/SP/NaturalMind.php

The Wake-Up Call

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

The ancient Chinese symbol for crisis, wei-chi, combines two elements: danger and opportunity. The danger is that if one continues to pursue approaches that are no longer working, then disaster is imminent. The opportunity is to let go of the old patterns and find new ways of being that unleash new, and possibly unforeseen, potentials.

The many global crises we are now facing are symptomatic of set of values and mode of thinking that is no longer working. Our tools and technologies have given us unprecedented control of the world around us. We have thus fallen into the trap of believing that the path to human fulfillment lies in manipulating the world us, manufacturing ever more things, and so creating ever more waste. This is clearly no longer working. Over consumption of resources and unbridled pollution of the oceans, atmosphere and soil are now threatening human civilization, if not humanity itself.

This approach also no longer works on an individual level. Despite all our burgeoning material comforts people as a whole are no happier than they were fifty years ago. The need to feel in control of events leads to greed, anxiety and fear, states of mind which, by their very nature, take us away from the peace and fulfillment we truly seek.

Many in the past have seen through the illusion that fulfillment comes from what we have and do. We call them the wise ones, the liberated, the enlightened. These are people who have discovered a deeper meaning to life, an inner joy that is not dependent on circumstances, and a compassion that leads to care for other beings. Such people are often revered as saints, yet there is nothing special about them — apart from the fact that they have woken up from the dream in which the rest of us live. They hold the key to our future. A world in which we can live together, free from unnecessary fear, and in harmony with our surroundings.

Our various crises are pushing us towards this shift in consciousness, calling us to a collective awakening, and to a world governed by wisdom and compassion rather than greed and fear. The time to make wake up is now. The danger is too immense to risk. The opportunity is too good to miss.

Waiting Is

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

“Waiting Is”—a phrase immortalized in Robert Heinlein’s celebrated sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land.

For most of us waiting is not easy, often a bore. Waiting for a bus or train, we look for something to do to pass the time. Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, we idle away the minutes thumbing through magazines of no particular interest.

We want the waiting to be over with, so that we can get on with whatever is the next task at hand. Yet in treating waiting this way, we deny ourselves a most valuable opportunity.

Pure waiting, not waiting for any event to happen, just waiting without wanting, can be a profound spiritual practice.

When you simply wait, not waiting for anything in particular, not wishing things were different than than they are, the mind relaxes. And, as you let go of wanting, you will probably find your awareness of the present moment expanding.

Many, from Buddha to Ram Dass and Eckart Tolle, have encouraged us to be more aware of the present, to “be here, now”. And numerous practices aim to help us become more aware of the present. Most, however, lead to focussing of the attention on some aspect of the present—the breath, a visual object, a mantra. The focus may be effortless, nevertheless it is there, a very faint directing of the attention.

With pure waiting, on the other hand, there is no attempt to be aware of any particular aspect of the present. Instead, with nothing to do, no particular thing to wait for, there is space for more of the present to reveal itself. We begin to notice aspects of our world we were not aware of before—the sound of a clock, or a distant conversation; a tree gently waving in the breeze; the touch of clothes against the skin. It does not matter what. It will probably be different every time, simply because the present is different from one moment to the next.

As you get the hang of simply waiting, you will find yourself being present in a relaxed, innocent, undirected way.

So the next time you have to wait for something, use the time as an opportunity to become more awake. Instead of waiting for that something, simply wait. No expectations. Simply stopping, and waiting, with an open mind.

Nor do we need to wait for a late bus or be sitting in a “waiting room” before we can practice waiting. Any moment of the day we can choose to pause for a while and simply wait.

Waiting without expectation for whatever is next. Maybe a bird flies past the window. Perhaps the refrigerator starts up. Or we find we have wandered off on some thought. It doesn’t matter. Waiting is.

You can start right now. Pause. Take a breath. Relax… And wait…

Loving Your True Self

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Love your self. It’s a common refrain.

One way to interpret this is loving who you are—accepting yourself just as you are, warts and all; having compassion for your shortfalls, while rejoicing in your gifts. Loving ourselves in this way relieves us of much self-judgment and self-criticism.

We can also love ourselves at a deeper emotional level. We can take that feeling of love, which dwells in our hearts, the feeling that we often connect with loving someone else, and allow it to flow towards ourselves. In this case we are not loving our manifest selves, with all their various qualities, we are simply experiencing love for our self. Culturing such feelings of self-love brings deep ease and relief.

Beneath this individual self there is what some traditions call the “true self.” Others call it the pure self, the unconditioned self, the universal self, no-self, essence, pure being, or true nature. It is that which is always there whatever our experience. It is the essence of what we call “I”—something so familiar and personal, and yet on deeper inspection totally impersonal, without any qualities or character. It is the pure am-ness that we know when the thinking mind becomes still, and we rest in primordial awareness.

The taste of this essential self is delicious. Mystics have written volumes of poetry about its blissful nature. Enlightened ones have urged us to discover it, and to soak in the calm and joy it brings. Knowing this true self is so delightful we don’t need to develop or culture love for it. We cannot help but be in love it with it.