Calm into the oneness of natural existential interbeing;
be aware;
return attention to the breath—towards easily breathing with your body’s posture;
while mind is full of illusion, reorient with the non-dual, impermanent, empty nature of existence;
simply “activate” your awareness to notice and allow thoughts, emotions, sensations to come into & out of attention—do not hold onto nor work with such forms now;
total awareness is wholeness.

a poetic writing focusing on practicing awareness meditation
David Danyluk

Quote references in mind while writing:

practice is refuge

I know it has been quite a while—a year and a month—since I have written a post. Nevertheless, I recently remembered how helpful the process of writing can be for clarifying and centering my mindfulness in practice. The other morning, I turned to my wire bound, blank page journal and began writing while in a state of resolve to rise from a recent bout with dissociation, laziness, procrastination and worry. Contextually, unexpectedly, I am going through another new phase of life. My grandmother died late last year and my father died early this year; I’m attending to the needs of major transitions alongside my mother. There’s a lot of new legal and financial situations to navigate and it gets a bit harrowing at times. Gratefully, my mom and I are doing OK, not great, but adequately meeting the complexities of the situation.

I went out to a local Starbucks to write. I like the surrounding activity of a cafe which can move me just beyond my typical self-absorbed consciousness. First, I wrote about how challenging life has been lately, practically documenting an account of my life for myself to reflect on later (as I am now). Secondly, I quickly listed the stuff that I need to attend to nowadays, just to get clearer about what needs doing. Thirdly, I was clear enough to begin writing about what I need to do for myself now—reprioritize—as life has changed somewhat significantly.

Invariably, I must return to re-understanding my relative being among the absolute oneness of non-dual existence. This is the ultimate contextualization or foundation. This absoluteness is as intrinsic as the relativity of our limited human existence, and they’re never actually separate. In this realm of just barely grasping absolute existence, awareness, loving-compassion & pure radiant beauty simply are. Us fallible, egocentric, enculturated creatures tend to act primarily within our situational and conditional contexts, i.e., relativity. Hey, it’s practically necessary! However, when we begin to get the deeper sense of the truth of existence as always impermanent, non-separate and empty, i.e. the absolute, we may connect in a bigger, broader, more spacious way with our/all existence. With this tentative sort of truly wise understanding, relativity and the absolute are not two, but, more accurately, all one. Working with this re-contextualization of life is essential for what I call “practice.”

Furthermore, I went on to write about the important distinction between what and how. In short, relativity is what, practice is how. We could think of relativity as dependent on conditions and situations, while the absolute is not dependent on the causality of conditions and situations. In this way, as the Dharma elucidates about the Tao, our amazing capacity to be aware beyond content (the object/things of what) and be lovingly compassionate no matter what is happening, the reorientation of practice in living daily life is that of making how more important than what. Practicing turning our attention to how our lives are lived through our relative selves and situations is the serious, even radical, and ultimate reprioritization. Understanding this is the foundation of practice and doing this is the beginning of how we may do anything. For an instant, we may also notice that this is also the spacious, empty orientation in connecting with true freedom, creativity and joy. This is our true nature; there is never not working with the way things are, so let’s practice intently.

True practice itself is refuge and the same absolute place of love, no matter what.

Gassho/Namaste

spaciousness

I, or more accurately, my consciousness has re-arrived at a personally purposeful state of spacious awareness.

It has been a gruesome winter for me. With little respite, I’ve been depressed and attempting to cope with this strongly conditioned state of being by both beer drinking and late night movie watching. These activities take my mind off of the process of depressing, though they don’t help me much beyond such temporary alleviation and actually have other detrimental effects. It’s so easy to remain shortsighted in depression, and it seems that is the function of depressing: to limit the difficult and psychologically unacceptable parts of one’s context(s). Depressed people, like all people, can actually function well in particularly amenable contexts, yet falter in other contexts. Understanding that depressed people are all people, the likely reason for this type of psychological depression is a natural mechanism, even if it is an inhibiting and limiting contraction.

Bringing this back to my situation, having looked through my handwritten journal, loneliness and lack of life direction appear to be the main triggering aspects of my life that confuse me into the reactive conditioned processes of criticism, dissatisfaction, self-pity, boredom, restlessness, desire, etc. I can see this more clearly now because I am not currently in the reactive state of existence. This leads me to what I want to describe and expound on, which I think has more use—for me and others—than continuing on with reframing depression. Of course, it is also helpful to destroy the personal and social stigma of depression; though when we get the breath of fresh natural air as we are emerging out of emotional and mental suffering, we need to continue on with learning to breathe freely.

Breathing freely, feeling good, clarity of mind, and healthiness are all experiences of spaciousness. This is merely one way to understand our living vibrance of our existential nature. As existence may be fundamentally described as impermanent, non-separate, and empty, when we, or again more accurately, our consciousness is able to open flexibly to & with the vast natural emptiness of existence, what we experience is the presencing of peace. Understanding that our true nature is no different than all of existence, it is in ‘the mindful awareness of the spaciousness of existence’ that we find both the total acceptance and functional non-attachment which allows our being (mind, body, energy) to be flexible. Hence, the breathing analogy in the preceding paragraph is apt if we think of our mind as lungs. (Please take a breath break.) Non-acceptance and attachment will severely limit our ability to think, and breathe, such that we may become depressed in order to attempt to manage our personally maligned projections and perceptions of our life context(s). Of course, we need to remember that all things are truly processes, as everything is always changing.

How do we, humans, facilitate ‘the mindful awareness of the spaciousness of existence?’

There are innumerable gates (techniques), because there are innumerable conditioned situations. I meditate daily. Admittedly, I do so because I already know from experience that, a) not doing meditation is detrimental for me, and b) meditation is the best way for me to calm into the stillness of spacious presence beyond thinking or acting. For the record, I typically do zazen meditation practice. I also continue to write about important realizations, deep understandings, and notes about my practice journey in a handwritten journal. While my formal practices undoubtedly contribute to my experiences, there is also the undeniable effect of all of existence which is beyond mere me. Beyond the notion of self, I am existence and existence is me, for there is no separation. We are original nature; and in order to re-arrive consciously with original nature, we really do need to leave our conditioned minds aside. (This is why involving one’s self completely in an engrossing activity can be a similar experience.) The process of depression is a coping mechanism of psychological separation. In the depressing state of being, we’re living conditioned responses in fear. In great contrast, facilitating spacious awareness is a process of calmly allowing/accepting everything to be as it is and figuratively applying mental space (a visualization of actual emptiness). In my current experience, this practice is working, and I notice how imperative silent meditation is for preparing me for this experience as well as consciously recognizing it and being able to write about it here and now.

relax into practicing ‘being-with’

I had a good conversation with a friend recently that helped me gain some perspective on my comparatively deeper state of relaxation lately, in contrast to long term chronic stress from conditioned ways of being in states of suffering.

It’s immediately understandable that to be relaxed is a good state to be in. However, when you’ve lived a life of conditioned stress and it has been the typical operational mode of being, relaxation feels well, though weird and unsettling too. Relaxation can feel peculiar and strange. The spaciousness of true relaxation may even be perceived as unhelpful and wrong. It can all too easily be rejected. So, it takes the practice of openness and consciously aware presence with sensations, emotions, thoughts and perceptions to honestly be present with simply being existentially alive.

Considering what the difficulty is in this situation, I notice that when it is extremely challenging to be present without the claptrap conditioned chatter and reactivity of decades of stressful being, I must be present with it. I am beginning to name this arriving at what is “being-with,” a confluence of three subtle attributes of awareness practice.

One, mindful non-attachment, a slightly wider perspective of knowing and understanding in general continuity with the way things are, while also spaciously allowing the letting go of attachment and detachment. Taoist and dharmic understandings of the nature of existence greatly assist this attribute of awareness practice. Knowing that self-bound limited conditioned knowing cannot be wise holistic understanding is particularly helpful in practicing non-attachment, which is akin to non-doing and choiceless awareness.

Two, total acceptance, is humbly arriving at the way things are now. This is it, here and now. Not accepting the way things are now is the relative fragmented framing of existence by egocentric karmic conditioning which brings forth both delusion and dissatisfaction. Acceptance must be total because there is nothing other than this nowness and nothing is ever separate.

Three, just presence, which is just being. There isn’t a separate object to be with, so, being present is just being with the way things are in this very moment, which is always the only locus of existence, as far as we know. It is conventional to view a particular human being is a “part” of existence, though all “parts” are what make up the form of non-separate changing existence. Deeper understanding allows us to realize that there is actually greater emptiness than form that comprises existence. Here too, beyond conventional meanings, we begin to fathom the Zen understanding that form is emptiness, just as all parts are not separate and always changing in existence.

Emptiness, like the spacious non-attachment of openness, is an important aspect of our existential nature as living form. “Being-with” is how I succinctly rephrase the essence of what awareness practice is: the aware conscious living presence with the way things are. These three attributes I’ve outlined are my attempt to understand how to practice when egocentric karmic conditionality is really what I am releasing attachment from into the ever present original nature of existence.

Gassho/Namaste

PS: I am working on “the way is” content and this post may help me towards publishing it.

objectifying practice is not practice

Recently in my practice with awareness in life, I seemed to really begin to notice that when I strain to understand and get stuck in thoughts, emotions and sensations, that’s when life is miserable. So, I’ve been seeing and dealing with these prolonged difficult situations as if I was totally ignorant to what is going on and it’s been horrible. I see that now, but in the moments and days of such lameness, it wasn’t clear.

I gave away the point of this blog post in the title. I want to remember what this blog post is all about, immediately. But to continue with what I’ve learned over the past month or so in my daily practice, I noticed that when I discontinue the difficult search of finding the relief from suffering and confusion by rigorously diving into practicing with ritualistic discipline or thinking, reading, and journalling about philosophical Buddhist concepts, then, the spaciousness opens again. It’s often extremely subtle shift, but it is also such an easier acceptance of the way things are and not even getting bothered about what my mind is confused or worried about.

Objectifying practice is not practice. When I look to practice rituals (stretching, meditation, journalling, taking care, etc) as the saving technique for relieving my suffering, they don’t. It seems to me that the reason this objectifying approach for ending suffering is ineffective is that it is an extension of identification with that technique. The identification process is undoubtedly a process of separation: me, technique, me with technique, technique from suffering, me from suffering. But all of that is not in keeping with the way things are, it’s not practicing anymore, and it won’t work for ending suffering because it is an ignorant approach that lacks deeper understanding.

I went through at least a few, more like several, “objectifying practice” periods over the past month and a half. Giving up on practice would most assuredly put me in a worse situation, though what’s fascinating is that I have opened up a fair amount wider with a practical understanding that objectifying practice is NOT the way to go. So, I’m apparently getting less stuck, because I have learned something. Diligence & discipline are certainly good, though they are the issue when it comes to searching for the relief of suffering by objectifying practice. Letting go of the attachment to “searching for the relief of suffering by objectifying practice” is the answer. Deluded by the desire to end suffering through practice techniques, it can be very difficult to notice, stop, and let go of the identified attachment inherent in objectifying practice. Though it is assuredly possible, even practicable.

state of mind, openness awareness practice

I’m going to offer myself and others a supportive practice quote from Krishnamurti’s 1969 publication “Freedom From The Known.” It’s important to return to the serious functional matter of practice and to practice because we see it is needed for ourselves. This is a clarification of the heart of life practice to assist with practicing no matter what the circumstances are.

“Verbally we can only go so far: what lies beyond cannot be put into words because the word is not the thing. Up to now we can describe, explain, but no words or explanations can open the door. What will open the door is daily awareness and attention—awareness of how we speak, what we say, how we walk, what we think. It is like cleaning a room and keeping it in order. Keeping the room in order is important in one sense but totally unimportant in another. There must be order in the room but order will not open the door or the window. What will open the door is not your volition or desire. You cannot possibly invite the other. All that you can do is to keep the room in order, which is to be virtuous for itself, not for what it will bring. To be sane, rational, orderly. Then perhaps, if you are lucky, the window will open and the breeze will come in. Or it may not. It depends on the state of your mind. And that state of mind can be understood only by yourself, by watching it and never trying to shape it, never taking sides, never opposing, never agreeing, never justifying, never condemning, never judging—which means watching it without any choice. And out of this choiceless awareness perhaps the door will open and you will know what that dimension is in which there is no conflict and no time.”

J. Krishnamurti

Gassho/Namaste

glimpsing me inhibiting my way

I’ve been going through some disorienting new experiences, many with great reluctance. I’ve been reading Krishnamurti, Cheri Huber, Pema Chodron, David K. Reynolds, Byron Katie, and Kim Saeed lately. I’m struggling to find monetary sustainability and understand and focus on doing what is important. I’m practicing awareness as best as I can on a daily basis. I’m tired. I’m often confused and depressed.

Caught up in stories of dissonance between natural being and the conditional structure of society, I get lost. This morning as I was listening to NPR and drinking coffee, I quickly wrote down a strong thought: “Stop oppressing yourself!” Yeah, that’s my problem, I thought to myself, and has been since I internalized the structure of society into my own psyche at an early age and unwittingly became the marginalized, ostracized, subjugated victim. Me in the context of my family and social life situations impressed this overbearing psychological structure that I have identified with for most of my life.

Since I don’t enjoy utilizing the language of politics and instead prefer to use the language of psychology, philosophy, spirituality, and anthropology, “Stop oppressing yourself!” means that I must make this my current personal life purpose. Sounds dramatic, maybe. It is practical and gives focus to the awareness practice that I am already committed to in my life. I will display this new phrase in my space for me to remember the pivotal importance this focus has in operating anew in life. This is true change, seeing myself clearly, caring with compassionate awareness, breathing with and though the internal suffering, understanding the functional external structure of society, and returning to presenceful “Faith in Mind” attitude in the natural goodness of the Way of existence.

This is a non-dual, multi-level, secondary integration, knowing one’s self, organic sort of process of healing with deep aware acceptance. I’m the only one who can take the requisite actions I seem to need to help myself, for “relying on others” appears to keep me mostly in the victim role. My current purpose is to rise from self-victimhood, with awareness, consciousness, care and acceptance.

This is a very good self-understanding to learn today.
Gassho/Namaste