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August 2012

This Month's Contents: What do you want? by Linda Clair | Still Expanse by David Carse | Lazy Inspiration by Shawn Nevins | What Calls the Eye to See by Adyashanti | The Divine Discontent by William Samuel | Quotes | Humor | Reader Commentary & Question of the Month |

Editor's Note
by Heather Saunders

spiritual magazine

For me, August is the dog days of summer. The feeling is one that seems conducive to getting quieter, settling down. The summer attitude allows for just sitting still, not doing anything, resting. Perhaps we can shift this attitude over to the ego, allowing it to relax, rest, stop defending. Send it on a summer holiday, give it permission to become quiet. And if the ego can become quiet enough, maybe we can catch a glimpse of what's before it, beyond it, behind it. Take advantage of the dog days.

What do you want?
by Linda Clair

Linda: What do you want? What do you want more than anything else? When I met my first teacher I realized what it was that I had been looking for throughout my life. I wanted freedom. Freedom from desires, emotions and fears that limited my every action and stopped me from fully enjoying my life. Freedom from my mind. Eventually I got what I wanted, and have found that freedom is really freedom from wanting anything.

Q: You often ask people what they want. Why do you ask that question so often?

Linda: To encourage them to reaffirm their intention - why they're doing what they're doing. In meditation practice, in the whole process, you can get a bit bogged down at times, a bit complacent. You really need to keep reminding yourself why you're doing this. What do you want? What do your really want more than anything else?

It gets people to look inwards a bit more, rather than just listening to me. It puts it back on them - makes them take responsibility for what they're doing. "I'm doing this because I want freedom." Even though freedom is really freedom from the I, you have to keep reaffirming that and strenghtening your resolve and your intention. Often just asking that question helps to do that.

I'm saying - do you want freedom, or do you want to keep suffering? It means different things at different stages. If someone still has doubts about what they're doing - and you can't help but have some doubts at most stages - you have to say, do you want to keep suffering or do you want to do something about it. The mind will keep resisting, saying "this is scary, this is the unknown - I don't want to do this." It feels more secure to stay with what I know, even though I suffer. Most people are addicted to their suffering.

Q: So in asking that, are you trying to cut through the resistance?

Linda: Yes, it's a way of trying to cut through resistance. The resistance comes up at different stages in different ways. But do you want to be on your deathbed, thinking, oh well, my life wasn't too bad, I suppose it could have been better? Do you really want that? Do you want your life to be just OK? Sometimes I feel good, sometimes I feel bad. Oh well....that's how it is.

But what I'm saying, and other people have said, is that you can do something about it. But there is going to be strong resistance, so you have to keep looking at what you really want, and what everyone really wants is freedom from suffering, freedom from unhappiness.

Q: What about material desires?

Linda: There's nothing wrong with having money, buying a new car, but will it satisfy you? You'll feel OK for awhile, but then you'll want a newer car, or a better car, or a bigger car. Nothing in the world is really going to satisfy you, and what people want is some kind of lasting satisfaction.

What happens eventually is that if you do have money it's nice, but there's no attachment to it. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter. You know that nothing like that will completely satisfy you.

Keep looking beneath these desires. Why do I want a bigger car? Why do I want a bigger house? Why do I keep wanting all these things? When I say, "What do you want?" I mean to look at your deepest want - looking beyond all the peripheral wants.

Q: I've heard it said, though, that you should look beneath the desire for freedom to see who it is who wants freedom.

Linda: Yes. But there is the tendency for that to become very intellectual, very much in the head. At a certain stage, you are able to do this without it becoming intellectual, to look at who it is, but up to that stage I advise people, especially during formal meditation, to keep coming back to the body, because that keeps it much more simple, much more real. There's less room for delusion and error. My first teacher, Peter, said that for most people it's better to ask, "Where am I?" than "Who am I?" Answering the question, "Where am I?" is easy. I'm either here or I'm not.

If you start looking at who it is, people often tend to go straight to the head - straight to the mind, and it can become very complicated and messy. Up until a certain stage, until you really do start to lose your attachment to the body, it's much simpler and clearer, to keep coming back to the body.

To find out more about Linda Clair visit simplemeditation

Still Expanse
by David Carse

excerpted from his book "Perfect Brilliant Stillness"

Do not judge the questioning or the longing,
the seeking or the sadness,
the impatience or the resistance,
the opening or the letting go.
It is all the perfect unfolding as it is:
only watch it and know you are not that.
You are Loving Awareness in which all this arises.
You are Quiet Compassionate Space in which the life
that you think of as 'yourself'

This Still Expanse of Acceptance between the thoughts
is All That Is.
That is What You Are.
Let the Love that is this Stillness that You Are
Embrace you,
Overcome you.

Lazy Inspiration
by Shawn Nevins

I hear some artists say they only create when inspired. If I took that approach, I would never accomplish anything.

At this moment, I'm procrastinating starting the first edits of hours of footage of Bob Fergeson. Months from now, there should be a feature-length film called Mountain High. Right now, however, there is nothing but some notes on a page and a desire to do anything except start. I've snacked, answered emails, started washing clothes, and even started writing this essay. The genesis of this essay being a walk in the park earlier this week.

Behind our house, Wildcat Canyon Regional Park offers a couple of thousand acres of hilly solitude. On my first trip, I hiked straight for the top of a 1000-foot peak, ascending 500 feet in about a half a mile. Within five minutes, my body revolted against the attempt. Seemingly, anchors were cast behind me, as my legs weakened, my breathing labored, and every physical signpost said stop.

Unfortunately, it had been many weeks since I last hiked. As I watched my body half-heartedly labor and whole-heartedly protest, I recalled this reaction was nearly always the case. Even when I am used to regular exercise, the body initially complains. The complaint isn't as long or loud, but the initial reaction is always the same: "What are you doing? Stop!"

Pushing through the body's complaints, the anchors soon released and I began a steady rhythm of hiking. Seemingly resigned to labor, the body began to perform as desired by my goal. Topping the hill, I took a well-deserved break and enjoyed the views of San Francisco Bay. I hiked another mile before mind and body agreed they were truly tired and it was time to go home.

I find there is nearly always resistance from the mind and/or body. My mechanism would rather sit under a tree and nap for eternity. Yet it also enjoys exploring and creating. The contradiction leads to faux protests, thin complaints, and paper tigers. There is an initial barrier, but if I push it allows me to pass. This barrier is a known part of me and maybe part of you.

Amelia Earhart wrote, "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward." There is some truth to that as well as some early-20th Century pop psychology. Inspiration often leads us to act, yet her mere tenacity is what often abandons us. Some are slow to act, yet fully commit when they do; others are quick to act and equally quick to abandon.

Become familiar with the ways you deceive yourself. I have no idea why I procrastinate hikes and projects. Rather than analyze and seek to destroy the root, I find that noticing the forms of protest and acting against them will generally cut through the protest and lead to sustained action.

Regarding the film, I recognized my procrastination, sat down at the computer, and opened the editing program. Just that first step led to the next, as day after day the first step leads to the next.

Visit Shawns' website: poetryinmotion

What Calls the Eye to See
by Adyashanti

It isn’t that appearance is spread before and the seer watches remaining behind. It’s his ‘pulsation’ when he sees himself.
~ Jnanadeva

What you are now stands before me immortal and true. I see it in the ground underfoot, and in the clouds in the sky, and in the mist gathering among the canyons, and in the face of the old man walking his grandchild down the sidewalk.

In the robes of monks I see it, and in the rags worn by the women begging for change outside the supermarket. I see it in the sympathetic eyes of the mother greeting her young son as he returns home from the war, and in the father trying to comfort his baby daughter as he stands in line at the grocery store. I see it in the curve of my face in the mirror, and in the multitudes of stars in the sky.

I not only see it but I hear it as well. I hear it in the cries of the newborn baby hungry for its mother’s breast, and in the laughter of the old men sitting in the donut store together, and in the quiet sobs of the man placing flowers at his wife’s grave. I hear it in the ancient chants echoing through the open window of the old church, and in the ladies sitting on benches in the garden laughing with delight, and in the man working at the butcher shop asking his customers “Who’s next?”

What calls the ear to listen or the eye to see more than the surface façade that shrouds the essential spirit? Parting the strata and dross, what is essential picks its way through the manicured narrative of endless lives. In each moment of every day, Truth is not lacking or held in abeyance for some later date; it is given in full measure, and abundantly so.

Don't be afraid of what appears to be chaos or dissolution -- embrace the full measure of your life at any cost. Bare your heart to the Unknown and never look back. What you are stands content, invisible, and everlasting. All means have been provided for our endless folly to split open into eternal delight.

Awakening is all about perspective. From a narrow focus on personal identity, we awaken into an infinitely vast yet intimate view, where we see everything as it really is: eternal and sacred.

The Divine Discontent
by William Samuel

For all of us there comes a time when we finally get down to brass tacks, living and being the Spiritual Life. Usually, adversity of some sort, health, business, grief, loneliness or boredom, drives us to this decision.

Oftentimes it is fear of one kind or another. Perhaps we simply yield to the prodding of others, or to the urge of an intangible feeling within--the "divine discontent"; but whatever the reasons for our action, one fact is certain: the decision that brings it about is very personal. It is an alone experience that takes place within.

You know this is a fact.

All have discovered that, from the moment we act on the decision to discover Reality, we begin to find it. The moment we sincerely begin a determination of the Absolute, it continues of its own accord until Reality is disclosed!

The acted-upon decision to determine fact from fiction is somewhat like pushing a canoe into a river where it is quickly caught up in the silent and effortless flow to a happy and Infinite awakening. It is like putting seed in fertile ground.

"Mr. Samuel, be specific! Exactly what action is required? Church activity? Prayer? Healing? Self-immolation?"

Here is the answer: our first action is the effortless turning within to the Self to listen to the Heart. This is it. This is all!

Is this a disappointing oversimplification? Did your erudite nature expect a profound revelation, a metaphysical pronouncement of reason and logic to shake the intellect?

So you, like so many, expect Reality to come forth only from blinding flashes of Light and ecstatic Illumination?

Here is the unadorned Truth, stripped of the ego's covering of abstruseness and intellectualism. Truth is simple. It is always simple. The Truth is easy and uncomplicated. It is tender and effortlessly available. Its location is not limited to the great libraries, nor to universities, temples and cathedrals. Truth, and the honest statements about it, are simplicity itself. It is found with the heart, with the Self, here and now.

For years we have gone outside to teachers, leaders, and holy books, when the entire universe of Truth has been within us all the while. Its confirmation is found nowhere else.

Where? Within the Heart! Here! Now! REALITY IS EASILY COMPREHENDED inevitably, intellectual mankind complicates everything and makes a mystery of truth.

In intellectual circles the idea is prevalent that Reality is relative at best and can never really be known; that all we can do is get closer to it--and that, say the ministers, philosophers, theologians, and educators, takes years of study, prayer, self-immolation, self-denial, suffering, toil and perhaps a death or two thrown in for good measure.


Reality is real, not relative, and it can be discovered without labor!

Instead of effort, it is the tenderest labor of love; it is happiness beyond belief; it is reward that hasn't even been dreamt of!

Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

For this proof, the first action is simply, quietly to turn within to one's Self, there to listen to the Heart, where Truth is and where the answers are!

THE ANSWER IS HERE One's own Heart is here, consequently the Truth is here.

It is comforting to desist from the rat race for a moment and acknowledge that Truth is at hand. Truth is the solution to all that seems untrue, hence unreal.

How wonderful to realize, no matter what the apparent problem, that one is never any farther from the Happiness, Peace and Tranquillity he may think he needs than himself. "Himself" is right here, this very now, closer than breathing.

"My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever-more; Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you".

Excerpt From A Guide to Awareness and Tranquillity


"Longing is always there, it just manifests in different forms throughout your day. Longing to step out in the sun on a cold winter morning, longing for friendship, to love your child, for the peace that you feel all around, hunger, any and all desires that make your heart yearn. If this is not longing for the Source, then what is it? Once you recognize this, then it becomes hard to turn your head away from it.

The nature of yearning for anything else other than Source is such that the more you feed it, the more intense it gets, and finally you see that at the root of all yearning is the yearning for Source. So whether you recognize it or not, that slight restlessness/yearning/anxiety is always there.

In my experience, yearning for grapefruit is basically yearning for the Source."

~Anima Pundeer, from an online group exchange


If you don't see a video clip above, go directly to youtube.com

Reader Commentary & Question of the Month

June's question:

What is your strategy for going beyond the mind?

Received responses:

Drop all strategies of the mind to go beyond!


When I let my mind reflect the deep unknown, there is no need for beyond.

~Imants Baruss

...And this issue's Question:

What is really real?
What is more solid than anything else?
What can you know for absolute certain?

Pick one (if these are different questions) and reply to .

Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book! Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.


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