anantakasainlife

creating boundless space in our lives


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2016-09-17 08.28.18

Photo by S. M.

Unhappiness is everywhere. It is embedded in our mind, which by its very nature is chaotic and problematic. It wants to control and take things. It is always fighting the present moment because it fears the dissolution of forms.

We are run by our mind so we look at life from a limited perspective. We see the procession of forms and not the space that allows the forms to be. As a result, we only see fragments of life, not the totality of life. Life, in all its glory, is benevolent, abundant, and helpful. Whereas each passing moment is subject to the polarities of life: good/bad, happiness/unhappiness, success/failure, and so on.

The way to be free from unhappiness is to de-personalize a situation. We look at a dilemma as if it were happening to somebody else. We put the situation inside a box and we watch the event from outside the box.  For instance, if somebody calls us stupid, we put this person in an imaginary case and look at him/her from the outside. This person may yell at us and call us many names. But we remain calm and peaceful because we know that they are inside the box and therefore can not hurt us.

We discard our harsh judgments and rigid expectations about the person and the situation.  We accept each moment as it is. This acceptance doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means we acknowledge this moment and do what is needed. We go with the flow of life. We become fully alive and enjoy the freshness of each moment.

This is when fear and desire lose their hold over us. We watch the play of forms and realize that there is nothing personal against them. It’s just the way of the world. We begin to play with them and even enjoy ourselves in the process.

 


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Fire

source: sodahead.com

source: sodahead.com

Suffering is the fire that burns up our ego so our pure, true self can emerge. The ego is that voice in our head that is constantly thinking, judging, imagining, needing, wanting. Its needs are limitless and illusory. Everything that we can insert after  the words “I am _____” or “We are____” is associated with the ego. We define ourselves by who we think we are. We are beautiful, handsome, rich, successful, educated, famous, etc. The list can go on and on. These are ephemeral things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Yet, we cling to them with every fiber of our being. We identify with the illusion of ourselves.

Suffering releases us from illusion. It brings us back to the source of all life by getting rid of all concepts that come after “I am” or “We are”. We are stripped of our ego, so we have nothing, like the rest of creation. We are then able to feel our true nature, which is “I am” or “We Are“. Nothing else needs to be added to our true selves. We are whole and complete now.

However, suffering is painful and excruciating so we often run away from it. Our ego is not ready to be burnt up. We don’t want to lose our identity. We dredge up thoughts, emotions, feelings from the past or expectations of the future to keep our identity in place. But if we allow the fire to burn us up, we create space for our true self to arise. How is this done? We don’t resist what happens; we let it happen. We watch events unfold without getting entangled with them. We watch people leave us and things taken away from us. We empty ourselves into God so He can come in and make us whole. We go beyond the boundaries of our limited mind and return to space, which is our origin. We become spacious, boundless, limitless.


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Resistance

sport-kid.net

source: sport-kid.net

We resist the world in two ways: we want the negative things to stop and we force the positive things to continue. We do what we can to avoid or get rid of the negatives and we search for ways to let the positives stay.  This is considered normal. This is also insane. Why? Because this pattern of resistance is going against the flow of life. We pull one way and life pulls the other way. This friction causes disruption, unhappiness, diseases, stress. We believe that if only we can get rid of the negative situations and focus on the positive events that our lives will be better. But unfortunately this is not the case. The positive already contains within itself the concealed negative. We can not have one without the other. It is part of the dance of life.

So how do we deal with the fluctuating forms that come and go without going mad? The key is to allow things and people to be as they are.  We don’t force our opinions and judgments on others. We permit events to happen without interfering with them. We create space within ourselves so forms can move the way that life intended them to be. We then notice that things magically improve. The negative that we once avoided, but were forced to accept, suddenly changes into something creative and beneficial. The positive that we clung to would have turned into excess and waste, had it not been curbed. It is only through non-resistance and surrender that we go beyond the play of forms and experience the beauty of life.


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Fragment

Source: fin6.com

Source: fin6.com

It often seems that the more we try to change something, the harder it gets. We try to get rid of an addiction but we find ourselves doing the same thing over and over again. We try to change our partner’s personality but he/she resists our efforts and we end up breaking the relationship. We try to be loving, responsible parents to our children but we are overwhelmed by the myriad things we have to do that we hardly pay any attention to them. We try to be a good worker but there is so much backstabbing in the office that the atmosphere is crackling with toxicity.

Why are things difficult? Why do we have to go through so much hardship to achieve our goals? And why do we fail so often? The reason is because we force the situation to bend to our will. We want something or someone to make us happy. We attach ourselves to the situation, every fragment of it. Our attention is focused entirely on the form of each moment (good or bad), and not on the formless (the space that allows everything to be as it is). And because every form is fleeting and ephemeral, we are in a constant battle to hold on to it. We further strengthen the situation with our negative energy and resentment.  And when things don’t go our way, which is always the case, we resort to using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain. Or we find another partner who we think will bring us happiness. But once the effects of alcohol or drugs subside, or our partner’s flaws come out, the pain comes roaring back. Then we are really in trouble because we feel there is no way out.

But the truth is that there is a way out. The key is to allow this moment, good or bad, to be as it is. Instead of fighting each moment, we look at it without any judgment or comment. This is at first hard to do because our mind tries to take over our body. It wants us to do something, even if that something causes us harm. But if we continue to observe things, we are creating space within ourselves. We allow the universe to come in and work through us. And it does a far better job than what we, in our limited capacity, can ever do. Why? Because the universe is whole, whereas we are only a fragment of it. When we allow it to enter our lives, we let go of our fragmented views and become part of the whole totality, which has the fullness and richness of life. We feel an aliveness within us that is much more powerful that any potent alcohol, drug or person. We feel our true self, and are able to connect with everything and everyone.  Out of this sense of awareness comes the solution, answer, or right action.

So if we want to change something, we start by accepting each moment as it is. Even if the present moment brings with it pain and suffering, we surrender to it.  We realize that suffering is the fire that is needed to burn our ego so our pure, true self can emerge. We go beyond good and bad and experience the fullness of life.


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Tricky

source: www.oneslidephotography.com

source: oneslidephotography.com

The mind always tries to trick us into thinking anxious, toxic thoughts. Whatever we do is not enough. We hop from one job to another searching for the dream job in which our talents are recognized and we earn lots of money. We get ourselves deeper into debt to get a good education, a nice house, or an expensive car, in an attempt to gain admiration from other people. We go from one relationship to another seeking the perfect partner so we can be happy and fulfilled. We seem to be on a perpetual treadmill of chasing the next moment, hoping that it will bring us satisfaction. But when we achieve our goals, we find that we are not satisfied.  That we should have done this or we forgot to do that. There is this infinite need for more that gnaws at our very existence.

Why is this? And why do we continue on this endless, useless quest for more? Because we look to the various forms—which are fleeting and unstable—to  fulfill us. We look outside ourselves for the truth, when in fact, the truth is within us. But if this is the case, how come we don’t feel this truth? Why isn’t everybody looking within for the answer? Because our true self, that which is one with the truth, is covered up by our noisy mind. We feel the dysfunction of our mind all the time so we can not feel our inner body, our true self. We get taken in by the stress, the drama, the conflict.  And we repeat this pattern of behavior every day.

What can we do to stop this cycle? We start by watching what is happening at this moment (inside and outside ourselves) without judging. This moment is all that we need and carries with it all the truth and answers that we seek. But we have to be still and quiet to know this. We are then able to let go of the past and future. We bring a fresh perspective and are able to do right action. But what if the the mind starts to think nasty thoughts again? We just look at it but we don’t judge it. We repeat this process again and again until we become free of our mind. We break the cycle that had held us in bondage.


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Stripped

Source:pathfindersoftware.com

Source:pathfindersoftware.com

We live in a civilization that is preoccupied with things, or in its basic form, thoughts. We are always running towards the next thing to do, to have, to achieve. We don’t treasure the present moment because we believe that the next moment will bring us fulfillment, joy, or happiness. But when the next moment arrives, we find that it is not enough, that something is missing. Or we discover that something or someone comes to disrupt the moment and we are left wishing for a different outcome. We don’t want what we have, and we want what we don’t have. This affliction has led us to suffering, despair, nervous breakdown, even death.

How can we free ourselves of this useless, self-defeating attitude? We start by being friendly with the present moment, no matter what it brings–whether it is a screaming customer, a  crying child, an argumentative co-worker, a scheming relative, a dying mother. We watch the situation and let it play out without any thought or comment. We cease to identify with the stories and forms that come with the situation and so we are not drawn into the tears, the stress, the drama, the frustration. We surrender to suffering, loss, despair, even death. This act of surrender frees us from our entanglement with forms so that our formless, beautiful spirit is released. This spirit is a vast, loving, dynamic, infinite, all-loving, all-knowing presence. It burns up the negative energy that was swirling around the situation and turns it into something pure and wonderful. We discover that death or suffering is life’s way of stripping us of illusions so we  can realize the true essence of our being. We open ourselves to life and are able to connect with every being without any attachment. We know that forms come and go but our real self is timeless and will live forever. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in The Little Prince, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away.

___________________________

This post is dedicated to my beloved mother, who passed away peacefully on Thanksgiving, 11/28/13. This one’s for you, Mommy!

peace-dove


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Oyster

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An oyster produces a pearl by releasing a substance called nacre when sand (or any irritating substance) slips into its shell. Over time, layers and layers of nacre coat the sand until the gem is formed.

We, too, can learn something from the oyster. Instead of shunning or running away from irritations or troubles, why not embrace it and let something useful come out of it? As Eckhart Tolle points out, behind every disappointment or frustration is a good thing that is waiting to come out. Of course this is easier said that done. We live in a civilization that wants to enjoy life to the fullest and turns away from it at the slightest hint of trouble. We want to have a good time all the time. We only see one side of things, which distorts our perspective. We are not balanced so when sadness and frustration come (and they will), we feel disoriented and then resort to drugs, alcohol, projection into the future, blame, or anything that gets us out of the current situation.

This is a recipe for unhappiness. The key to lead a balanced life is not to focus on one thing (the good) and turn away from the other (the bad), but to let both things (good and bad) come to the fore without any interference. They are the two sides of life: one can not exist without the other. So we leave things alone so life can work on its two opposing aspects, reconcile them, and then release its magic. We are then able to  uncover the gem that was hiding behind the situation. Like the oyster, we embrace life’s irritants and turn them into pearls.