Who am I? by Eckhart Tolle

When you look at a tree, you are aware of the tree. When you have a thought or feeling, you are aware of that thought or feeling. When you have a pleasurable or painful experience, you are aware of that experience. These seem to be true and obvious statements.

Yet if you look at them very closely, you will find that in a subtle way their very structure contains a fundamental illusion, an illusion which is unavoidable when you use language. Thought and language create an apparent duality and a separate person where there is none.

The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the tree, the thought, feeling or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear. As you go about your life, can you be aware of yourself as the awareness in which the entire content of your life unfolds?

You say, “I want to know myself.” You are the I. You are the knowing. You are the consciousness through which everything is known and that cannot know itself. It is itself. There is nothing to know beyond that. And yet all knowing arises out of it. The “I” cannot make itself into an object of knowledge, of consciousness.

So you cannot become an object to yourself. That is the very reason the illusion of egoic identity arose because mentally you made yourself into an object. “That’s me,” you say, and then you begin to have a relationship with yourself and tell others and yourself your story.

By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self-seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn’t happen is not that important anymore. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form. No more and no less.

When you know who you truly are, there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is, vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on a form. That is the joy of being, of being who you truly are.

Thinking Clearly by Byron Katie

“Once you can think clearly, without the stress of your painful thoughts, the whole world, in all of its unlimited abundance and glory, will open up for you. A fearful mind is limited; it can see only a very few options. A clear mind can see many more options—unlimited options. It can act efficiently, effortlessly, intelligently, in the present moment, and not be stuck in its deadly stories of past and future.”

~ Byron Katie

Awakening by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Awakening can happen only when there is the utter conviction, through intuitive apperception, that we are the subjective dreamer and not the dreamed objects which disappear with the end of the dream. ~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Every Moment is the Guru by Charlotte Joko Beck


Words from Toni Morrison on finding resilience in tough times……..

I am staring out of the window in an extremely dark mood, feeling helpless. Then a friend, a fellow artist, calls to wish me happy holidays. He asks, “How are you?” And instead of “Oh, fine — and you?”, I blurt out the truth: “Not well. Not only am I depressed, I can’t seem to work, to write; it’s as though I am paralyzed, unable to write anything more in the novel I’ve begun. I’ve never felt this way before, but the election…” I am about to explain with further detail when he interrupts, shouting: “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work — not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”

I felt foolish the rest of the morning, especially when I recalled the artists who had done their work in gulags, prison cells, hospital beds; who did their work while hounded, exiled, reviled, pilloried. And those who were executed.

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.

By Toni Morrison

“How to Be Peace” by the Dalai Lama

“Whenever I meet even a ‘foreigner’,
I have always the same feeling:
‘I am meeting another member of the human family.
This attitude has deepened
My affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural wish be
My small contribution to world peace.
I pray for a more friendly,
More caring, and more understanding
Human family on this planet.
To all who dislike suffering,
Who cherish lasting happiness–
This is my heartfelt appeal.”

by The Dalai Lama

A New Way to Talk to Each Other by Adyashanti

Via Omega Institute…….

Spiritual teacher Adyashanti offers us a way to be in conversation with each other that connects rather than divides. You can start practicing in the very next conversation you have.

Omega: How can we learn to communicate better with each other in these polarized times?

Adyashanti: Lots of people are saying what we need is to have a deeper, richer cultural conversation about the issues facing the country. It’s easy to say that, but what does that mean?

I think it means that we start by admitting that we may not have all of the answers. Right now, especially in politics, everyone is fairly certain that their way of looking at things is the right way. Even with these big political and cultural issues, we have to become honest and say, “Maybe I don’t know.”

For example, if we ask the question, “What do we do about the racial strife in this country,” immediately, if you’re sensitive, you know that you don’t have the whole answer. You don’t really know. If you stop there for a moment, you can sometimes feel the mind opening to possibilities. To me this is what the practice of inquiry is for. It is to open the door for possibilities, not for our mind to jump in and immediately tell us the answers.

Omega: How do we know what to say to someone if we’re in that “I don’t know” place?

Adyashanti: Dialogue happens in a creative space. Instead of arguing, instead of one side trying to convince the other side that it’s right, we need to be willing to enter into a creative dialogue together. We need to do this even with people we disagree with quite strongly, otherwise, we’re not going to get anywhere.

Even if your viewpoint wins the day and becomes part of the policy or the right person is elected, or whatever, that doesn’t mean the underlying tensions that are creating all of this have been changed in any way. This is what’s been disappointing about politics right now—and why people are reacting the way they’re reacting. Because election after election, leader after leader, there is hope followed by disappointment.

But we blame our disappointment on stuff out there. It’s the politicians, it’s their fault. But it’s all of us who are now pointing fingers just as much as the politicians. We are just as divided as they are, and we have to admit that.

We need to enter into a much more open creative space, otherwise, I think what we’re seeing now is just the beginning. It can get way worse than this, and sometimes reflecting on that can make us either afraid or it can motivate us to take a new approach.

Omega: What does it mean to be in creative dialogue with each other?

Adyashanti: This type of dialogue allows for something to arise out of the conversation that perhaps nobody brought to the table. Real relationship can be magical and creative like that. In the Bible, Jesus says, “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am.” This is a way of saying that something dynamic can happen that’s bigger than both of you.

When you truly connect with someone else, even somebody who doesn’t share your viewpoint, there’s a third thing that starts to spin between you. This third thing starts to emerge, and when people notice it, they start to think, “We might really have a chance.” But we’ve got to let go of our judgment and our certainty to get there.

Even when we’re connected, that doesn’t mean we’re going to have the same ideas. Bad ideas flow out of a lack of connection. If there isn’t consensus, it’s a sign we’re not connecting. When we’re connected, I’ve found that there is, at the end of the day, usually consensus.

I’ve seen this happen over and over in my own life when I’m willing to enter into that creative dialogue. Often when I walk away, the resolution is not identical to what I came with to the dialogue. It’s something different that showed up through the dynamic interaction.

We’re losing what it means to be in creative, dynamic interaction, and I think we’re losing it because we’re afraid. Until we can start to admit that, it’s going to be hard to have that dialogue.

Omega: How can we begin to practice being in conversation this way?

Adyashanti: I often like to suggest that we practice with a small conversation. Even in conversations that are completely without consequence at all, if we really pay attention, sometimes it can be eye-opening when we see that we are trying to skew the conversation. We’re not listening, we’re just waiting for our turn to speak. Even in the most casual conversation, when we start to become aware of that, we can change it and make different decisions. That begins the process.

If we think that it’s just the politicians who have to do this, we’re probably going to be disappointed. It begins in very simple human ways, and then we can start to up-level it. But that means that we have to stop blaming the politicians. There’s only one way they got there—you and I put them there. So we have to take responsibility for that. Why did we do that? Why do we keep putting people in who don’t want to have the conversation? I think all of that is important to ask, too.

Omega: Would you be willing to teach a communication workshop?

Adyashanti: The part I play in this is helping people find the level of intimate connection where conversation needs to arise from. To change conversation into something more creative, we have to be able to stay with ourself, to stay open and available. I work with getting people to stay in the present moment, in a field of intimate connection, where how you communicate will naturally be transformed.

Omega: How do we know if we’re communicating from a place of presence?

Adyashanti: When we are open, we become sensitive, and we can actually feel when a word comes out of our mouth that’s not connected. If you’re paying attention, you can tell the specific word where you left being connected with someone.

When I see that happen, I stop right in the middle of a sentence. I’ll sometimes do it when I’m teaching. I’ll be in front of a group of hundreds of people, and I’ll stop and I’ll just say, “I want to restate that,” because I can feel it’s not as connected as it could be. That’s groundwork stuff. That’s reorienting toward a felt sense of connectedness. And then the conversation can occur.

Is it always easy? No. Especially when you feel triggered and you’re upset. To stop and feel connected takes some intention. It takes caring. It takes some acknowledgment that this is not always easy, but it is absolutely necessary.

© 2018 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies


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