The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, 

poems and humor.

July 2014

This Month's Contents: Energy & Grounding in the Body by Linda Clair | Bring All of Yourself to His Door by Sakim Sanai | Video: Gretna Green Starling Murmurations | Preconceptions by Ricky Cobb | True Meditation by Adyashanti | Inner Wakefulness by Rumi | Quotes | Humor | New book excerpt: Struggling to Open from Beyond Relativity, by Art Ticknor | Reader Commentary |

Editor's Note
by Heather Saunders

Note to self:




Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Grounding in the Body
by Linda Clair

Question: When I’m sitting I often feel a lot of energy in my body. It feels like every cell in my body is vibrating. What is this energy? Is it physical?

Linda: It is both physical energy and an energy that is beyond the physical. When you start to withdraw from thinking and become more still, your consciousness starts to speed up, because it is not being dragged down by the mind, which feeds off thinking. Even though it appears that thinking is an incredibly fast process, it’s actually very slow compared to the speed of pure consciousness. Thinking is a relative process and with anything relative, time is involved. When you start to withdraw from the thinking world you start to go into the timeless dimension, where there is no relativity, no separation – there is only now. The belief in time slows your consciousness down because you are always going from one thing to another thing. When you stop doing that – when you realise that everything is one, the energy wasted in going from one thing to another, which is the thinking process, is freed up and starts to vibrate at such an incredible speed that everything becomes still, everything becomes one. So, what you’re experiencing is your consciousness speeding up, and you will feel that in every cell in your body.

Question: There are times when it’s very uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do with it – I feel like expressing it in some way. What’s the best way to cope with it? Should I move around?

Linda: It does become very uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but I would suggest staying as still as possible during the sitting. The habitual reaction to feeling energy in the body is to express it in some way, to release the energy, but stillness is the way to contain and ground this energy more deeply in your body. The tension that can often be felt in the body while sitting in meditation is the physical body trying to contain this non-physical energy. It creates a kind of friction that can sometimes be felt as intense heat. The more deeply you can ground the energy in your body, the stronger and more concentrated it becomes, and the faster your consciousness becomes.

bridge The whole way I use energy has changed. I'm not extreme with my body anymore. I can't be forceful with my body any more. I used to push it to do things that I thought I wanted to do, without listening to it, but I can’t do that anymore- the force has gone out of it. It felt a bit disconcerting at first, but it now feels completely natural. The body is actually far more intelligent than the mind.

Question: You talk a lot about being ‘grounded’ in the body. Can you explain what you mean by that and why you see this as so important? What is its relationship to the thinking process? Can this practice really lead to freedom? Sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible . . .

Linda: When you start to become more grounded in your body, more anchored in your body, just more here in your body, you start to see how much control the mind has over you, over your body. You start to see how little time you actually spend in your body, here, present.

Each time you move away from here into thinking, you need to bring your attention back to the body. It doesn't matter what you're thinking about, the subject is irrelevant - the subject is just there to catch your attention, and everyone has his or her favorite topic. You have to be ruthless with the thinking process. No matter how seductive a thought is, bring your attention back to the rise and the fall of the abdomen with the breath. Bring it back to your body. If you're getting strong sensations in any part of your body, use that to keep you here, to keep you present. Keep coming back to the breath but don’t focus on it, don’t try to exclude anything.

You can't stop thinking. You can't just say, 'I'm not going to think.' You need to be aware of the thinking process -which is just a movement away from now, and then bring your attention back to the body. The action of bringing the attention back to the body includes the action of turning away from the thought. It's quite a simple practice but it's incredibly difficult when you start to do it. There will be periods when you just feel here and it will just feel amazing, and other times when it will feel almost impossible to come back.

This takes a lot of energy. There are times when you'll just be too tired to be able to bring yourself back to where you are. But you start to see that the thinking process is a habit and to break a habit you need to practice not getting into that habit – to withdraw again and again and again. Eventually it becomes more difficult to think than not to think. You start to see how highly overrated thinking is, how unnecessary thinking is most of the time, how inefficient thinking is. You see that nothing is going to be solved by thinking.

Look at it logically. What good is it doing you thinking about something you might do in the imaginary future? You know this intellectually. You know this logically, but you need to prove it to yourself and realize in your own body, in your own psyche, that this is true.

Your mind or ego will resist this practice almost every step of the way. What you need to do is tire it out, prove to the mind that you’ll do anything to be free of it - you’ll do anything to become free.

It's important not to see the mind as the enemy, not to see anything as an enemy, but to understand how it works, how caught up you are in your mind. Rather than blaming your mind, your thoughts, you take responsibility for how you feel.

You need to know that this is possible - it's very possible, and I can say it's worth every little bit of effort, every moment of suffering, to be free. You wouldn't be doing this if there weren’t some longing in you to be free. It's the most amazing way to live your life. In a way it's not your life any more. It's just life. So you're not happy all the time or blissful all the time, sometimes maybe, but there's this depth every moment, a depth of aliveness that is beyond description.

Check out Linda's website for more of her teachings. Linda is travelling to the United States this fall. She will be at the TAT Fall Workshop, August 29 - 31, and she is doing a 5-day silent meditation retreat in the Catskills, New York, Sept 12 - 17. For more information on the retreat go to vastemptiness.

Bring All of Yourself to His Door
by Hakim Sanai

Bring all of yourself to his door:

bring only a part,

and you've brought nothing at all.

~ from The Walled Garden of Truth,
Translated and abridged by D.L. Pendlebury

by Ricky Cobb

Look out for words like should or shouldn't, supposed to or not supposed to, always or never. They often do not describe reality truthfully.

Should or shouldn't describe our wishes according to man made laws, agreements or tradition rather than actual natural law ("heaven's will") or what actually happens.

The same goes for supposed to and not supposed to which point to how we wished situations or people or things were different than they are. They can point out non-acceptance in our lives or show where we need to make a change.

Always and never point to absolute changeless conditions which do not describe the reality they point to.

Happily ever after is a lie. There is no permanent happiness without a transcendence of "happy" and of time. Time itself is synonymous with change. There is no permanent hell either, only changing situations and what seems to be someone in their midst experiencing them.

bridge Absolute conditions do not apply to relative reality. "They" are the base for relative reality's existence. Therefore, words like always and never only apply in the utmost abstract sense and not to any further ideas beyond themselves.

It would be correct to say "always is." It would be equally valid to say "never was." Logically, the words are opposites but they have the same root meaning. The words, both of them, point to truth of timelessness, the eternal.

Commonly, when people use these words, always and never, they mean something longer than they can bear or would wish to stay the same.

Watching our mind for these preconceived ideas can be helpful in finding out the expectations and beliefs behind them.

We may find that our experiences do not match our preconceptions about how things should be or how they actually are. Our first error then, is an assumption built into what we take "myself" to be.

There is a correction that can happen, by refinement or reiteration, which can move or remove preconceptions into alignment with what is. For some, this correction may include trauma or suffering. For others curiosity or the pull away from suffering may act to bring it about.

The correction comes by way of self honesty, which comes from humbleness and open-mindedness: the opposite of the close-mindedness of words like should or shouldn't, supposed to or not supposed to, always or never.

In short, watch your mind and be honest with what you see there as well as what you see in the world. Gradually or suddenly a correction will happen but may take time depending on how much resistance you give it.

Visit Ricky's website: What is this Life.

Gretna Green Starling Murmurations

True Meditation
by Adyashanti

True Meditation has no direction or goal. It is pure wordless surrender, pure silent prayer. All methods aiming at achieving a certain state of mind are limited, impermanent, and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True Meditation is effortless stillness, abidance as primordial being.

True Meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not being manipulated or controlled. bridgeWhen you first start to meditate, you notice that attention is often being held captive by focusing on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets and tries to control what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.

In True Meditation all objects (thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc.) are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to focus on, manipulate, control, or suppress any object of awareness. In True Meditation the emphasis is on being awareness—not on being aware of objects, but on resting as conscious being itself. In meditation you are not trying to change your experience; you are changing your relationship to your experience.

As you gently relax into awareness, the mind’s compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.

As you effortlessly rest into stillness more profoundly, awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive habit of control, contraction, and identification. Awareness returns to its natural condition of conscious being, absolute unmanifest potential—the silent abyss beyond all knowing.

~ from The Way of Liberation: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, p. 22.
52-page Ebook is available for free PDF download.

Inner Wakefulness
by Rumi

This place is a dream
only a sleeper considers it real
then death comes like dawn
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought
was your grief

A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived
and he dreams
he's living in another town
in the dream he doesn't remember
the town he's sleeping in his bed in
he believes the reality
of the dream town
the world is that kind of sleep

Humankind is being led
along an evolving course,
through this migration
of intelligences
and though we seem
to be sleeping
there is an inner wakefulness,
that directs the dream
and that will eventually
startle us back
to the truth of
who we are

~ from The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks.


"Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count."

~ from I Am That, by Nisargadatta.


Beyond Relativity
by Art Ticknor

Spiritual Magazine

Struggling to Open

I still can’t grasp why God’s alleged will for us seems to be at cross purpose with nature’s. Reunion with the Source vs. the allowance/creation of an ego to further individual delusion and collective procreation?

God’s will is whatever happens. It’s the collapsing of the probability wave in quantum physics. Reunion with the Source may not be God’s will for all creatures. Not all buds on an apple tree flower … not all flowers set fruit … some of the fruit feeds deer, some feeds bears, some feeds humans, some feeds worms, moths and maggots, some fertilizes the ground, some produces seeds that germinate into new trees. The apple tree, the apple, the flower, the seed, the moth, the maggot, the worm, the bear and the deer may not feel separate from their source. The pre-self- conscious child may not feel separate from its source. The ego is, by definition, the feeling of being something separate. Our bodies are going to fertilize the earth, may even feed a bear, may participate in creating new bodies, may help take care of other bodies. They will undoubtedly serve nature’s purpose in whatever way god wills. If god also wills for some or all of those bodies to graduate from self-consciousness to Self consciousness, I don’t see that as being at cross-purpose to nature. It may or may not serve the cosmos in some way, but I’m rather sure it doesn’t interfere with cosmic functioning.

This brings up a lot in me. Mostly rage, frustration, and self-loathing. I am not willing to accept that (that I’m an unflowered bud) about myself, when it may actually be the case that, the way it stands now, my destiny is to live a mundane life—to not Awaken.

This, in turn, brings up the fact that there is a conviction state somewhere far back, that drives everything, that I will “have” a Realization—it’ll just be a matter of time. I’m not sure how much of it is a genuine intuition and how much of it is simply a subtle rationalization that holds the illusion intact. For now I’ll assume it’s a pipe dream that holds the identity intact.

The truer feeling about what is actually happening is that I am a horribly compromised individual (a set of contradictory and confused impulses) and that the way things are now, I am not destined to awaken. It’s like I’m resisting the voice: “Yes, it’s totally possible to simply just be a guy who has a job, who loses his hair, who gets married, and all in all has an ordinary life, with no shot at awakening.”

I know I don’t need to believe or be convinced of either outcome, but I need to look at what I’m avoiding, which the apple tree metaphor helped out with.

Is there value in a seeker accepting the fact that he may be a flowerless bud?

You’ve nailed the EXACT obstacle. You’re NOT the bud you’re watching. You are NEVER that which is seen.

Acceptance relates to the past and present, not some imaginary future. In all honesty, how can you pretend to know one way or the other what’s in store for that lovable bud that you’re watching and identified with (in love with because, in fact, you are its creator). If the flower bud is self-conscious, it may feel that it’s struggling to open. How poignant would that be, looking at what you’ve created and knowing that it’s struggling to find Your Love, which has never left it.


~ excerpted from Beyond Relativity: Transcending the Split Between Knower and Known, pp. 30-32. This is a new collection of essays, dialogues, and reminiscences of the spiritual path from Art Ticknor.

Reader Commentary

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