Questions & Responses
The Fullness of the Heart
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After yesterday’s session I came up with 2 thoughts/questions
This is more philosophical (?) question: I always thought that what we discussed/discuss is concerning living organisms (ticks (ECK!) to humans); it doesn’t really encompass nonliving things (like rocks, chairs, walls, concrete) but I got to wondering for some reason after yesterday’s gathering………………………..I don’t know why.
Sacredness is all intertwined with religion for me and I find difficult to get past that, but I know I have experienced scared feelings outside of religion – primarily in nature. For example seeing really cool things…………….redwoods and the Morpho butterfly in the jungles of Costa Rica with it flashing bright blue as a ray of sunlight hits its open wings. I experience these moments in my heart (I think).
Heart experiences for me are very full (sometimes to bursting) and span from joy to grieving (here is where it feels like it is bursting most). Heart has some religious intertwining’s but nothing like sacredness.
The rest of the inquiry I continue to cogitate/meditate/feel………………………
Thank you for sharing your contemplations and wonderings. Thank you for being willing to contemplate and wonder!
Yes, we tend to carve up Reality and conceptualize existence into categories such as living and dead. But is it true? It may be a useful description relatively. But fundamentally, is it true? Is the seed that gives way to a sprout “dead”? Are the leaves that have fallen from the trees, and are now giving way as soil, “dead”? Are the atoms and electrons that are holding together a concrete wall, “dead”? While these same elementary particles are “alive” when arranged in a human body? If existence is “everything that exists” can anything within existence be said to not exist (dead)? Expressions within existence are unique, diverse and always changing, transforming. However, all expressions within existence arise from and AS the ONE SOURCE and return to the ONE SOURCE. Fundamentally, essentially everything IS life itself.
I relate to the description of your heart experiences as being full. Yes, as you said, the heart is the place where we are able to experience the Fullness of Being. The bursting openness. And the sacredness of all of life. It is where we are moved by the beauty of a butterfly in flight. Thank you for sharing that image. Beautiful.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your
to the living walls.
Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?
Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.
be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.
O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you
speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.
“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”
What does the caterpillar "know"
When I say "the caterpillar doesn't know it's eventuality as the butterfly". I am bowing to this Unknowingness, this Buddha caterpillar. Who is perfectly and wisely in harmony with its dharma and its nature. Perhaps they are living in a felt sense of dread and separate identity. But I don't see any caterpillars pacing the parking lot in angst filled self-consciousness. Conflicted as to whether they should build cocoons or not build cocoons. Wringing their hands in existential fear and uncertainty. They can't maintain their caterpillarness and simultaneously transmute into the butterfly. They must give way. And they do. Brilliantly and Unknowingly. Moment to moment. With wisdom and intelligence beyond the plans of a thinking mind.
The Warbler Knows
By Ivan M. Granger
The warbler knows
only dawn's shaft
on her breast.
Forgetting false future
suns, she sings
in no voice
but her own.
Transformed knowledge, which is an unknowing,
is the way of transparent knowing,
it is the way
When you learn this
you can learn everything
and return to everything
and praise everything.
All creatures flow and return to their source.
Transformed knowledge and love draw up and lead
and bring the soul back into the first source of
the Creator of all in heaven and on earth.
What is created flows out but remains within. So,
when we return to our first origin,
which is our primal purity,
we discover our freedom
and are free.
Could you say a bit more about the word surrender. I like the words "let go". Or allow. But I'm also drawn to the word surrender even though it kind of scares me.
When the ego process, the "me" imagines surrender it generally conjures up a giving away of power or a losing of a battle to an "other". Submission to someone or something outside of one's self. This brings up fear. The ego has to build itself up with pride or anger, a defense of some kind, in order to face fear. We come on big when we feel small. And intuitively the ego, which is simply a process of belief, belief in a separate "me" entity, knows that it has no inherent power. The me knows that it is like a 3X3 skiff in the middle of the ocean. And the "me" lives with this fear buried deep in the psyche. The fear of certain death.
What if the "me" just said "yes"? A complete and total "YES". I'm gonna die. I surrender to this absolute Reality. Yes. Ok. What if? What if it hoisted the white flag, laid down right now? RIGHT NOW.
There is a sense of "losing" implied in the word surrender. This sense of loss is a precise pointer. This is the way of the spiritual seeker, the spiritual warrior. The "me" must eventually lose the battle, the struggle. The "me" must step down.
Pride and conditioned defenses are no match for Truth. The Truth of one's Being. In its deepest sense surrender is a "YES". The perpetual "no, I will not go", the existential grip relaxes. In Truth, we are always every moment surrendering to What IS. There is no other way. But the conscious realization and direct experience of this truth is a surrendering of the "me" to the eternal Self.
As someone said yesterday in our meeting, the "I AM" is surrender. Exactly. The unthinkable, unknowable Mystery of pure potential surrenders, gives way in each and every moment AS the birth of all of existence. Finally, in this conscious experience we realize that Surrender is the very nature of "I AM". The very nature of Beingness. Of Life.
Rest and Be Taken
When there is deep abundance
there is nowhere to abide.
There is nowhere to rest
or grasp onto
and yet there is rest
The sky abides
yet it never rests.
Neither can we say that
the sky is not always at rest.
We talk about the sky
as if it were something
as if it actually exists -
and yet we cannot say that
the sky does not exist.
The sky is nothing but
coming and going.
Everything is perfectly spontaneous.
The coming and going arise mutually
If the true I is asleep
you will miss the point entirely
and you will continue to dwell
in the world of opposites.
So see the two as one
and the one as empty
and be liberated
within the world of duality.
At first it seems
as if begoing follows becoming.
But look even closer
and you will see
that there are only
flashes of lightning
illuminating the empty sky.
Life and death
becoming and begoing
are only words.
In order to save your life
you must see that you die
moment to moment
instant to instant.
Now where are you going to abide?
And where are you not abiding already?
Indeed there is nowhere
to rest your head
and there is nothing but rest.
So let go of all ideas
about permanence and impermanence
about cause and effect
and about no cause and no effect.
All such notions are dualistic concepts.
The Truth of what you are
is completely beyond all duality
and all notions of non-duality,
and yet it includes duality
and non-duality alike.
Like an ocean
that is both waves and stillness
and yet un-definable
as waves or stillness.
The truth of being
cannot be grasped by ideas
Both waves and stillness
are the manifest activity
or your own self.
But self cannot be defined
by its activity
nor by its non-activity.
The truth is
and closer than your own skin.
A single thought about it
obscures its essence.
The perfume of true life
is right in your nose.
There is nothing you can do
to perceive it
and yet you must do something.
Rest and be taken.
Rest and be taken.
I had a dream about you the other night, we were sitting down to talk and you seemed so excited and I was nervous and then we got interrupted and had to reschedule. We were in some high school gymnasium, it was very odd, haha.
Anyways, I thought I should probably check in!
So here it goes...
To be honest, it has been really hard for me to stay present during the Zoom calls, I have moments of extreme fatigue, day-dreaming and just not understanding what is being said at all. 2020 has taught me that I struggle with virtual connections, I really miss the in person meetings, but I am grateful for this platform to have community. I find myself really loving the meditations and wanting to sit longer and incorporating that more into my every day life. And I do feel like my heart is slowly opening. I don't get a physical heart sensation as much as I get just an overwhelming feeling of joy, love and gratitude. Lately I have been having days of extreme joy and excitement followed by a day of extreme grief. Could it be that the more my heart is opening the more I am feeling my grief as well?
I recently had a beautiful experience with Mother Mary coming to me, she had her arm wrapped around me and was whispering in my right ear but I couldn't hear her, I just felt her. I feel like she is my guide right now especially in this heart work and I loved hearing you talk about her in last session!
I am currently in a big transition at work. With all of this excitement going on, it is hard for me to stay fully present, but this is part of my heart opening, as I am following my heart! It feels so right and I'm just trying to stay patient, grounded and steady with an open heart through this whole process while being with the waves of excitement and fear that come up, but sometimes the fear is really loud! The fear for me is loneliness and I'm not sure the root of it, I'm still sitting with this.
I am so grateful to have the gift to learn from you and I wish I could be more present and with it. Please know that I am so appreciative of you and your work and the Full Circle Family.
Everything about this email brought me joy. I don't know where to start. I'll start with Thank you! I so appreciate when someone shares their heart path. I have such a feeling of gratitude and awe every time I'm included on someone's journey. Thank you.
As the personal heart opens to the Heart which is beyond any notion of open/close, the capacity for joy, love, gratitude, grief and all the rest comes into consciousness. It can feel like a roller coaster. I always referred to that phase as "a rock n roll show". I felt like the layers of protective padding between me and "all of it" had been torn off and I was open to everything. Everything was experienced. All the bits and pieces throughout time/space of my personal stuff, the collective, the unconscious, the psyche came home. Came home to be seen and loved. It really is the Great Homecoming.
Because in Truth, all the bits and pieces are essential facets of the Whole. We call it this or that but essentially Wholeness cannot be carved into fragments of this and that. How fortunate and perfect that you are being drawn to meditation and sitting during this phase. How beautiful that you are listening and available to your inner wisdom. Beautiful. And that you have discovered Mother Mary, one of the archetypal blueprints of compassion, as a guide. I'm so happy about this.
Sometimes we have to find the "discipline" that is spoken about in all spiritual lineages. Kind and gentle but alert and vitally engaged. Profoundly attentive. This is why the paths of spirituality almost always encourage postures that keep us awake. Hard pews in the churches, lotus position, straight spine etc. Eternal Presence is eternally present . Access to this Truth, as a direct experience, can sometimes be facilitated through the body and senses. Tuning into the breath. Even naming the objects in the room. There is the screen. There is the Zoom session. Here I am in the chair. My feet are on the floor. What would it mean to be right here, right now just as the breath is? Just as the space in the room is?
What is all-ways Here? Never coming or going but always and already Present, Here? Even as attention wanders or disengages or dreams, what is aware of attention wandering?
It can be helpful to understand that we all receive transmission differently. The words are an interesting and simultaneously confounding part of any spiritual teaching. And some of us are not going to "get it" from the words. But kinda miraculously we will find ourselves more drawn to sitting, more open-hearted, more capable of riding waves of emotion, with spontaneous insights, aware of archetypal helpers etc. Not because of what the teacher is saying or even because of what the teacher is doing. But rather in response to associating oneself with Truth. Shared intention and showing-up. Combined with the guidance of a teacher enlivens One's natural potentiality for Self discovery.
"It feels so right and I'm just trying to stay patient, grounded and steady with an open heart through this whole process while being with the waves of excitement and fear that come up, but sometimes the fear is really loud! The fear for me is loneliness and I'm not sure the root of it, I'm still sitting with this. " Beautiful, beautiful. So sincere and wise. Its so moving to know that you are dancing this way. Having the capacity to acknowledge reality. And sit with the fear and loneliness. While remaining curious about the root. What a gift.
All my Love,
I just need to find my way there.
I feel so completely disconnected from spiritual reality that I don’t even have a sense of where it is. I feel like someone erased all my existing knowledge, plopped me down in Kansas in the year 1200 and said “go find the Statue of Liberty”. Like, I have no idea which direction to move; north, east, west, south, forward in time, backward in time. And because I live in my head and because I don’t know quite how to break through my built up insistence on “rationality” and “Newtonian physics”, as you would say, it’s very hard for me to engage with spirituality without that voice in my head just constantly saying, “dude, you know this is bullshit”. Back then I wasn’t seeking. Now I feel like I WANT it and the desperation makes it more difficult to attain it. I just need to find my way there.
Thank you for this sincere inquiry! I intimately remember this phase. And when we are in this phase, its very hard to see it as being perfectly perfect. But it is, it is. When we first start out , when we get called you might say, its usually out of a sense of deep frustration. And it absolutely feels like you know there is “something” but you can’t figure out the how, where, what of the situation. That is perfect. You are on the right track. The Unknowingness, in the end, becomes the “view”. The way. We can’t find our True essence with the mind, the intellect. Because Essence can’t ever be objectified. Its pure subject. Its ubiquitous, eternal, boundless, formless, timeless, changeless etc. Its too close, too intimate, too fundamental to be extricated and examined. It must be directly experienced. Be still, even for a few moments, and take note of all the thoughts and descriptions, narrations, categorizations. Take note of all the thoughts. And then take note of all the belief in the thoughts. The subtle difference between the thought itself and the choice to lend belief to the thought. Then take note of the feelings and sensations in the body that rise out of the beliefs. Just follow the process. Then…. And this is critical, QUESTION the beliefs. You can always go back to your beliefs if they serve you. But just for one moment, even 10 minutes, QUESTION rather than believe. Just say maybe. Maybe, we’ll see, perhaps, I’ll get back to you. Practice this for a few days, maybe a week, whatever. And see what happens. Use your innate talent of precision to really look into the process of belief and see what you find.
What “sees” the whole process? What “sees” thought? What “sees” belief? Who is the “witness” ?
When the soul calls it feels like FIRE in the entire system. Desperation, heats up. Frustration heats up. Intellectual dead end heats up. Perfect. Give in. Give way. The Wisdom that runs this Universe is unstoppable. The intellect thinks it can give a good fight, the process of belief which is “ego” thinks it will somehow hold up. But let’s face it, THAT which gives birth to the Universe (you and me) moment to moment or……….intellect? Place your bet. Intellectualism and Newtonian physics are absolutely relatively true. And useful!! Especially when in service to the uncaused Love at the heart of existence. But we can’t be loaded up with intellectual knowingness and make it through the eye of the needle. Its like using a hammer when you need a drill. I’m not talking about New Age magical, childish wishing spirituality. An apple is gonna be subject to gravity when it falls from a tree. The mind thinks its either/or. Either time or timeless, form or formless, etc. But Reality is infinitely dimensional. Infinitely. And the Source of Reality has no characteristics whatsoever. Completely attribute less. I know it seems crazy but “the erasure of prior knowledge” and the unknowingness is the fertile ground. The clean slate. The open sky. Its exactly how it has to be.
Let it find you . Rather than you finding it. Allow. Relinquish. Yield. Let go. Be still. Relax. Surrender.
We can’t attain something we fundamentally ARE. Its a discovery, an uncovering. Like waking up in the morning and discovering this world still exists. Was here all the time when you were sleeping. Its exactly like waking up from a dream.
Much Love to you. Jen
It is. That is what I is.
I am still reviewing the contemplations but here are a few thoughts I have had. These contemplations have really gotten me to delve deep into everything I have learned and I am finding comfort in doing them, if that makes sense. Much love to you!
Heart- That is my strongest chakra. I feel it, I breathe it, I live it. My feelings of heart are deep, broad and encompassing. When I meditate I often breathe love into the heart from anyone and anything that is giving it. When I exhale I breathe love back out of the heart like a blanket that covers the entire universe for anyone or anything willing to receive it. It always is felt in my entire body and deeply satisfying. Heart is my connection to all that is.
Sacredness- I relate the word to religion, holiness. I have never thought of it in relation to any other thing. It is priceless in all forms, it is reverent. There's a silence and stillness about it. It makes me quiet and humble in it's presence.
I- Straight from my thoughts without cleaning it up, I am is the essence of me that knows and I/me the ego is the part of me that is not or does not listen well enough yet to see fully the I am that knows. I/me is wanting to be the special one that stands out, the one that insists on being right, the one that doesn't want anyone else to be like themselves but in the same breath does not want to be odd man out. I am has no such characteristics, as a matter of fact it has no such directives. It is. That is what I is.
YES! "I am has no such characteristics, as a matter of fact it has no such directives. It is. That is what I is." Liberating discovery! Namaste' Dear One. Deep appreciation and love for this sharing. Your words bring me joy. Thank you for your deep Presence and willingness to "delve". In gratitude, Jen
Love for Love's sake
Reflecting on the course and how much I was resonating with the Mother energy you brought (also in retreat). It feels more and more clear and important to me that my practice is a giving way to Love for Love’s sake. Just being the best fertile soil I can be. In 2020 especially, it feels like a critical revelation in my development: I practice to say yes to life force and Love, and self “improvement”, or any kind of spiritual materialism becomes ever more irrelevant and even profane.
That’s my morning reflection in regards to the course
YES! exactly. So beautifully, precisely expressed. We ARE the light of the world. "Love for Love's sake". The "critical revelation". Exactly. Beautiful.
You knew this deepening was coming. And you kept showing up in that perfectly challenging and arid phase that often precedes the deeper opening. Thank you for your willingness and sincerity. We become consciously empty, ever-more unknowing AS divine instruments and naturally the fullness of Love finds expression.
The Bodhisatva’s mind is not frightened by the total absence of any recognizable, definable or findable being called a bodhisattva. —Prajnaparamita sutra