Confusion requires thinking. The present moment is not confusing.
*Joan Tollifson. Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogues About Non-Duality.
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Leaving this day, to facilitate a sharing time with a group of veterans, I remarked to a friend, in jest, “I’m going to lecture on the Mystery of life.” She replied immediately, with a serious look, one of full conviction, “Life is really complicated!” “I disagree with you on that,” I said, “life is not complicated, life is simple. We create the complication.” Then, I saw a shift in her conception, like a light came on in her eyes, seeing again the simplicity, the purity of, Life. And we could say, even better than that Life is not complicated, that Life is neither complicated nor uncomplicated; complexity arises within Life and disappears within Life~ Life remains, birthless, deathless, untouched by anything happening within it.
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Life is and is happening. Life is the isness is-ing. Being is be-ing. That is Life. Life itself is simple, pure of addition, free of suffering, confusion, complication. Life is neither personal nor unpersonal. And, ironically, while Life itself is free, say of confusion, for Life cannot be confused about itself, confusion arises in and as Life and returns to the purity of Life prior to confusion. So, Life appearing is not Life prior to appearing. Appearing relies on consciousness, yet consciousness, along with perception and conception, or seeing directly and interpreting what is seen, is a movement from pure Life.
We can conceptually divide this seamless, undivided Life in this way, yet we speak of an experience, and the post-experience of pure Life is called delusion in that Life is not seen as it is. Still, the delusion is itself Life, too. This is why Buddhists speak of the enlightened being one who sees Nirvana and delusion as one, not two. And, then, “Not one, Not two.” We cannot think ourselves out of this conundrum, this seeming paradox; indeed, the paradox is only mental. Life knows in itself no conundrum, even as Mystery cannot be Mystery to itself. This is a reason I capitalize as Life, to differentiate from life as most see it, either a mere biological functioning or the details of experience. Rather, Life is prior to either biological or its experience and each appears as and in Life.
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This all may sound complicated, but such appears this way only for we have been socialized within the tyranny of thought, and in thinking the mind complicates and, then, interprets complication as our natural state. Simplicity is our natural abode of easeful being, we naturally are easeful being.
I have had persons, over many years, and after I spoke on something obvious and simple, tell me what I said was profound and hard to understand. This confused me, as I saw what I had shared as simple, very direct, without fabrication and complication. What they were saying, I concluded, after years, was, "I've been trained to miss, even ignore, the obvious, to be familiar with and comfortable with socialized fabrications, complication, and confusion." Possibly, and it seems to me, what makes the person-centered self feel most threatened is what is most undeniable, most present, most here-and-now. The suffering ego, habituated to its suffering, to its complication, cannot choose the obvious truth and remain in control, and remain in the delusion of life being a problem to me. Indeed, such a self-sense is inflated, as seen in thinking that I am so important God, Life, the devil, ... thinks so highly of me as to intentionally make trouble for me. The sufferer is an inverted form of self-inflation, of pride. The self-inflated victim is the other side of the coin of the prideful victor, both being expressions of self-infatuation, with the former donning the costume of humility.
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The ego-sense can be threatened by the obvious, the simple, likewise in the expression of disbelief, "Oh! it can't be this simple. You mean heaven is right here within and around me. But...". The ego-sense oft seeks complication as an escape from simplicity. And, when looked at closely, one cannot even find an ego, cannot find a sufferer, cannot find anything personal about Life itself. The ego is simply, we could say, a process of believing in an I apart from Life. Even the word "exist" means, literally, "to stand apart." The ego as an "I apart" depends on the delusion of itself to validate itself, to confirm itself through seeing Life as a problem, he or she or they my enemy and our enemy, myself as the victor or victim, and so forth. Yet, the ego itself is simply a process arising in Life, the sufferer is a delusion within Life and disappearing back into Life. Complication is nothing more than a temporary experience, and what one says is complicated, another interprets otherwise.
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A participant asked this day, in the sharing on intimacy, or being-with, Life, “How does this relate to meditation?” I recommended not engaging a technique of meditation, not to use the word meditation. Simply sit, be quiet. The body will relax down. Observe what arises and look at it ~ thoughts, sensations. Do not get involved, do not deny. See all this arise and disappear, this showing how everything is doing that, all the time. If happy, happiness arises and disappears. If sad, sadness arises and disappears. Everything born, dies; all comes, goes. And, I could inquire of you, the reader, "What remains? What is present before that something arising? That something disappearing? What is present in deep sleep? What is present, unchanged, during the temporary apparent states of wakefulness, sleep, and deep sleep? In the moments when you are not thinking of yourself, where does the self ~ you ~ go? From where does it come back from? Are you a self at all? Or, is the self another passing experience? Is the self anything other than a thought? Is it possible you are more than a self? That you are unthinkable? Is it possible, then, to see when the thought of self is absent, Life is as it is, totally impersonal, free of an "I" a "you" an "it," and the emptiness, for spaciousness, in which even the delusion of self appears and disappears?"
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So, to be with complication ~ which is a self-experience ~, as to be with anything arising, we befriend such as an experience. We may, for example, look at depression happening. We see, we know, “I'm not depressed.” “I'm depressed” becomes insight that, rather, “Depression is present.” We remove self as the owner of depression, as the victim of depression. Depression happens. Depression is not out to kill anyone, or hurt anyone. Depression occurs within Life. From this perspective, we can befriend depression. The ego-hook is when we claim depression as something “I have,” and that leads to nowhere but suffering. Depression itself is not suffering, only an emotional state of pain. Yet, when “I have depression” arises as a thought, suffering is and will increase. This applies to all apparent complications of life.
Life appears to me to be complicated, to be a problem, when I formulate the concept that says it is so. Even the “I'm a complicated person” is untrue. For, first, you are not the person appearing as this ever-changing personality. And, second, as consequence, you are prior to complication, for prior to person. The sense-of-person is a costume, a veil, of Truth, Being, Life. The moment we identify as an individual, a person, we invite innumerable complications, any number of varieties of personal suffering.
Again, if I do not touch pain, physical or emotional, with the idea "I have...," pain remains simply, even if painfully, pain. The moment one clothes pain with personal ownership (as in, I am depressed) or identifies with pain (as in, I am a person who suffers depression, or I am a depressed individual), then the door is opened to adding suffering as a feeling element to the bare knowing of pain as pain.
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I am speaking of a way of wisdom wherein we do not seek escape from Life, or pain, or confusion, or complication, or fear ... but in-scape into an intimacy with Life and what arises within Life, a clear seeing of the details within Life, experiences transient, coming and going. In this, we learn to see all appearing as impersonal. Even Love is impersonal, even if we tend to personalize it, such as "I love you." Really, Love is simply happening. Love is the same expression of Life you are, I am. And, even with pain, emotional or physical, we observe how this shifts, such as in intensity or location. Anyone observing pain closely, any happening closely, sees nothing is present apart from shifts in its appearance. And, likewise, grieving, for example. A person grieving a death is not always grieving. That would be impossible. Grieving appears only in the presence of the story of loss. Yet, in the absence of a griever, such as when forgetting the loss while happily sharing with a friend, the griever and grief is absent. We are taught to process grief, when, we may need to process the griever. For the experience of a griever and his or her grief arise together, each relying on the other. Take one away, both would disappear. What would remain? Grief appearing and disappearing. And, as long as one thinks he or she is supposed to be grieving, that continuing to grieve is the so-called only normal response to loss, griever and grieving will continue. Grieving and the griever, as an apparent complication, are related to thinking, related to a self-sense that thinks too highly of itself. Yet, to befriend grief as a universal experience shared by many, within Life, grief as grief and not my grief, is a selfless knowing. This is not personal, even if the grief is palpable and real. Grief, then, is not complicated, grief is a simple way Life shows up in the body in response to loss and is no different from the same appearing in the body of another who experiences a loss. No one, then, has grief. Grief is an experience arising and disappearing in and as Life. Of course, most grief work is based on the normality and essentiality of grieving as person, and person grieving is personal grieving.
So, what I here write will not agree with most therapy, as such is based on a psychological understanding of person, and such sees all grieving as a personal experience, nothing more. In that approach, grief is personal, so a complication; here I write of grief being grief, not a complication, not a problem, not something needing to be processed personally by a person. How can grief be befriended, when grief is seen as something to process through, rather than be-with and without agenda to control it, to chase it away, to get it over with as soon as possible, so I can get back to normal? Rather, an impersonal approach to grief, and other apparent complications, demonstrate respect toward Life manifesting as such, not as hindrances to my life, problems that must be overcome. To be against grief, to be against Life then, turns life into a battleground, and the struggle will never end. The person goes, then, from one personal struggle to the next, and so much so one becomes identified with this suffering, with possible brief interludes. This is what Buddhists refer to in, "All life is suffering." This is, in other terms, a living hell. How odd, hell has become normality, when heaven is our natural abode. How odd, to the extent we guard and defend our personal hells, when Grace loves us into being at every moment.
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So, any apparent complication can arise, can be welcomed into conscious experience as happening within Life and expressing Life. In this nonjudgmental openness, we learn of Love, not a love based on a particular version of Life, such as my life, or a certain feeling, but a pure openness to and with Life. And, Life, including all, includes even a personal attachment to suffering, an insistence on my life being a problem, being complicated, being against me. Life includes everything. Life, likewise, includes a seeing into the personally-generated suffering, the exhaustion with it, and a movement to befriending Life. The result is learning an easeful way of being, and in this one invites, by graceful presence, others to a relationship with Life more free of suffering, more contented in oneness with Life itself, so more loving to others, oneself, and other creatures sharing this Earth together.
*The vision statement for Lotus of the Heart is Living in Love beyond Beliefs. These presentations, inclusive in nature, are invitations for persons to explore for himself or herself. Brian does not claim to have answers or the Truth for anyone. He provides pointers to Truth, so as to inspire others on his or her own journey of Truth, to compassionate living with Earth and all creatures sharing this planet.
*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, for spiritual guidance via phone, Skype, or in-person, Brian can be contacted via the above email.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.