Read time: 30 minutes

A Story from the Realms of Alchemy

Over many months during the year 2008

True Silence cannot be kept.
It can only be discovered.
~ Mooji

It is morning, woke into all the same terror, center of it moving around, abdomen, belly, chest, laying still so as to be with it, “trying” to not resist, run, fight, not add energy to it… Mind attention tries to get away into thoughts, falls back into the terror, there is nothing solid left to hang thoughts onto… As if the infrastructure thoughts used to organize themselves around has crumbled into dust, identity still struggling to stay intact, survive… Only bits and pieces left, tumbling up out of nothing, and then fading away…

Occasional fragments that seem to assemble into a very fleeting “me,” with fear the only constant, as if I am only movements of fear and terror, along with a very deep desire to die… In and out of it all weave thoughts that conflict between reasoning the desire into action and reasoning it away… A strong sense of the harm such an act would cause others, along with a sourceless certainty it would make no difference, is all that seems to stop me sometimes from acting it out…

Last evening I was suddenly, no sense of a transition, just simply there I was for some hours in what I am calling the other place, peace, Presence, fear no more, thoughts just thoughts and not much attention to them as they occasionally rise and fall away, seeing how all things can (and do?) happen out of that place, and that even my own affairs could get done on their own… Maybe it had to do with connecting with someone last evening just a bit, or, it just came, grace…

Went to sleep in and as that peace and presence… Now this morning, as most mornings for months, is this overwhelming fear and anxiety, worldly activities seemingly impossible, affairs not getting done, the course of my life going to hell with me, so to speak… The “doer” dying away because it cannot “do,” or so it seems… Can only “try” to stay present, not run, clearly no where to run to, only this desire to run left… it seems sometimes I try to run into the desire to die, disappear so to speak, like a wild critter cornered and no way out, in terror literally trying to flee into itself, back into its own origins…

If my psychic mental emotional body were a physical body it’s if I am lying in bed dying, bones crumbling, muscles weak and in constant pain, organs barely functional, hardly able to lift a glass of water, and yet something I am still wanting to get out of bed and move in the world and do my work and live a life…

And this eternal awareness even now, of another way to live all of that– centered in the “place” I was (not was in but actually was) last night… It was clear last night all of my life gets done through me somehow, me merely appearing to do it, even as I experience a sort of joy in the apparent doing, yet not a me anywhere here that I “am,” somehow, with nothing actually being done, words not able to say it… That “non-place” never seemingly staying long enough for a life here in the world to root and expand out into larger life, sort of as in “happen…”

I get confused and torn sometimes by the “making the dream state better, or waking up” choice or distinction… People have recently helped me see the way I hold two very serious horse accidents in my lower body, along with the constant need to keep my liver healthy, all of it layered upon extreme early and later childhood traumas, not to mention a very, very checkered life journey…

I worked in serious ways in Santa Cruz over a lot of years with two very good somatic therapists, but how much does any of that sort of effort matter, anymore? How is it that I block things into my lower body even more since the horse wrecks, and how it is that letting go of being with a woman seems to be the hardest and most debilitating thing my life has ever given me to experience, over and over?

Am I trying to run away from ALL of that and all of life to boot, into so-called enlightenment? And yet, I have been it seems intensely chasing “God” for nearly all of my existence… The company of a woman and simple survival the only serious competition to that seeking, to the point that I would invariably make survival and relationships a part of the journey, very often to the detriment of both relationship and survival…

Yet, what else is there, with truly healthy mind/body relationships with others apparently infinitely unattainable in this insane, hugely conflicted and self destructive dream world we humans have collectively and fearfully believed into seeming existence… Waking up out of it seems to be the only possibility, or at least the only possibility that has actually, really and lastingly mattered or made sense to me…

At this point I don’t seem to have a choice, this is all happening anyway, something calling to me from way beyond this tenuous existence as a “someone” in a made-up world of someones, a calling that has so often nearly overwhelmed even my most basic instincts to survive…

I listened to a Satsang yesterday, in which the teacher spoke in his own unique way to a woman who seemed to be experiencing something very similar to where I’m presently at, about the reality of utter and total defeat, crushing, messy… The end of “me,” exquisitely tangible, not an idea, this me, not an abstraction, crumbling and dissolving, ripping and breaking up, going apart into nothing…

So aware even now that, as much as I desperately want to surrender I am not surrendering, instead and in a sense I am still “seeking” to die so that I can stop dying… I cannot surrender, and yet cannot stop trying to surrender, or so it seems… And the blessing that some teachings sometimes speak to, the “grace” of “being surrendered,” is like believing in the holy grail, as if I am trapped by belief (or hope) into a sort of eternal non-believing…

Or perhaps I am actually being surrendered, and this is just what it looks like, right here, right now, this conditioning called me, these memories, beliefs, ideas of separation, just another unique and yet in so many ways unremarkable life journey…

Remembering teachings on not resisting, remembered not as thought but as if reality remembering itself, for a couple days I had a real sense of or immersion into here and now, all resisting seemed to stop, and a whole day of simple presence… Things, thoughts, feelings, trying, all of it rising and falling away within non-resisting awareness… Then, I watched my mind make non-resisting into another desperate “thing to do,” so that once again I got caught up in resisting the effort to grasp onto non-resisting… Lo and behold, non-resisting became merely another way to resist… And as always in resisting, hell…

I am so attached to the “no place” place, and have so much aversion to this so-called dream, otherwise known as the manifest world…

—-

The day before yesterday found myself back in Presence most of that afternoon and through the evening and into sleep… Upon waking in the mornings most times I get caught back in the mind pretty quick, my resistance to this waking dream world collectively believed so deeply felt in the body always seeming to start as soon as I wake, and then of course resisting the resisting, etc. etc., on down the rabbit hole…

But yesterday in the morning I seemed to be more present than usual as I awoke, and somehow found myself staying with that initial presence so that it grew, and without noticing where or how, it shifted and I was again in Presence all that day and evening, things got done, the doing now doing itself through me, me doing but not doing, reading, being, sitting, doing, writing, people, conversations, out and about, the store, some work, all day long, walk in the evening with my dog, a very nice day, peace, joy and Presence, life happening, understanding in my body without words or concepts, as if the fabric of Awareness is the very physical world is my body, as if Awareness itself is the body, and the body the physical world, all doing not separate, doing itself simply an expression, or something…

I went to sleep that way, a day and a half, first time I can remember that it stayed with me waking in the morning… Even though I saw how mind gets going that morning it was like I didn’t go with it…

Then this A.M. my mind coming back in, ahead of me, slowly, like between two worlds most of the day so far (now mid-afternoon), but getting more and more into the hell realms, sort of watching, fear of hell which I know just gets me there more, strong aversion to my own mind, aversion that goes with seeing the hate, violence, machinations and alienation of an insane world (an article someone sent me that I probably “shouldn’t” have read), with such a “world” being so often the hook that gets me into hell, maybe even as much as my own inward stuff, fear of survival, loneliness, etc…

An incredible attachment to Presence and an extreme aversion to hell… Yet when I’m in Presence there is a sense of eternity and I’m not fearing hell, feel almost a fondness maybe even love for it even… I don’t really ‘remember’ the experience of hell in Presence, just a sort of shape and some of the terrain, the bones of hell so to speak, something to be loved in its passing, as if it left me a great gift of itself, a teaching rather than a reality, so to speak…

But always in Presence there is still this “me” that wants to “stay” in Presence, a peaceful “me-mind” that occasionally creates images of “staying,” that for a while are let go of, sort of, maybe, so much attachment to staying in Presence…

A lot of this morning it is almost like I am in “both” places, places that I seem to also know somehow are the Same… Awakeness, Hell, wanting the one, aversion to the other…

Yet only One…

In Awakeness I both see and Am the world, and in Hell I think the world – it is the same world but not the same experience… And so it “seems” different… In Hell I think my dog Dancer is 12 years old and fear his death or that he wanders and gets hurt, even though he is still healthy and agile, and in hell I think a woman and suffer being apart, even though I remember there is nowhere to go…

In Awakeness I see (realize?) I am part of a Whole, my dog is old, a woman I knew lives somewhere else and it is All simply now, Dancer’s eventual death a part of now, his alive Presence no less now, a woman gone from my days still with me in so many things we shared, our hearts interconnected, loving, still somehow our energy interactive, a whole seamless thing, these words not saying it even slightly…

And just now remembering something about Christ’s garment being a seamless Whole…

The very simple truth I believe I share with all human births is I do not ever want to go back so deeply lost as forever into Hell… Resisting Hell, yet resistance itself still being my main route to Hell, in some ways I still don’t apparently get…

Is there not a middle path through this fire that consumes me, is not Awakeness and my heart also there, here, in Hell? Not my heart that yearns to love but my heart that is Love, and the world as One, this heart of all hearts… How to stay present in Presence when all the world around me is lost in the insane dreams of an insanely conflicted human imagined world…

When loneliness and alienation feels so extreme, that is when Hell is at it’s worse… And yet I also, even when I forget somehow I still know, even in hell, that all of that is merely my own insane dreams, and that separation does not exist, is not real, and the Real world, as an expression of Awakeness, is the Truth of Love made manifest…

In Hell all I want is to die, to end my own as well as all perceived suffering, and I think sometimes maybe, if I care for anything beyond myself, that if I die the Awake World might be made more manifest by the absence of my own separation, somehow, Inshallah…

In Awakeness it doesn’t matter if I am alone or interacting with people, it is all the same peace and quiet joy, an Awareness that understands (seeing with my ears, hearing with my eyes), without thought or concept. In hell being alone is hell and interacting with people is hell and there is no understanding anywhere at all… Thoughts and concepts crashing around in utter confusion and chaos…

There is still a “me” in Awakeness- desiring to not go back to hell, or more specifically, desiring to stay in and as Awareness … Attachment to joy and peace, to an understanding that is infinitely empty, to a stillness that transcends all duality and yet is the source and substance of all activity and relativity… And such a strong aversion to Hell, suffering, fear, pain, grief, loneliness, and being pulled apart by this yearning that consumes me…

The clear realization that I hate my mind came to me as I drove away from SW Sangha day before yesterday, late morning, such a simple obvious thing but the first time I really saw it past the idea of it, even as earlier that morning I was Hell almost beyond endurance, or so it seemed…

My mind really hating my mind, this Illusion called me hating the illusion of itself… After seeing the hate I actually maybe started to feel in my heart some care, acceptance and even perhaps a loving kindness towards my own mind, thoughts, attachments and aversions… Just a very barest beginning glimmer and maybe a first time…

—-

I continue today with a whole lot of fear and all the feelings and seeming internal experiences that orbit around fear, the complexity of the feelings at times more overwhelming than the fear itself, though fear seems to be always at the center, sort of where it all begins and what holds it all together, like the gravity of the sun holding the sun itself as well as the solar system together, fear holding together all of this hell realm as I am calling it…

I have heard teachers basically refer to holding all of it as energy, but I don’t seem able to intentionally shift to a perspective like that yet, my mind continuing to shape all the different energies into the shapes and beliefs of fear, with all the various feelings, thoughts and sensations that collectively seem to become out of that energy the substance of my hell realms…

Yet still continuing, moments and even occasional hours or days of peace and Presence, Awakeness, joy even… But mostly it is as now, hell… The other night sleep was not the usual refuge from hell it so often is for me, I was awake most of the night in a tiny little retreat cottage at SW Sangha, far off by myself, so incredibly separate and alone, nearly the whole night crying and begging to a God I felt, feel, infinitely separate from, to please let me die, pleading, please let me simply and fully, totally and forever die, no rebirth, no Nirvana, no me, no enlightenment, no rewards, no God, nothing, please… I am so sorry, whatever I did to deserve this please forgive me and let me be no more… “I” did not choose to exist, this is not fair, please, take my life, identity, thoughts, feelings, body, my everything, allow me only to cease, not-exist, forever…

And that hell without all the pleading and God stuff and etc., is basically where I am now again as I write, though less lost perhaps, rising a little out of it as I begin, typing on a computer out here in the middle of the vast mountain desert, just the simple act of writing seemingly enabling the possibility of some contact with this place inside myself that also surrounds me and is me, this place where teachings speak to me, with me, from me, as me… I remember again the image, the Duet of One…

Later on yesterday I was, no warning as usual, slowly and never sure, back in that peace and Presence place that is always so tenuous and seemingly short lived when apart from it and eternal when it is… At any moment there can become something that I identify with, or want to make mine, or want to push away, not accept, and then I am caught, lost, and back in hell…

This “me” place that hangs on and on and on, always loosing “not-me” in the fractured kaleidoscope of a mind that can’t hold onto any sort of an identity for more than a brief moment… Understanding and chaos, mind and feelings and no-mind and no-feelings, hell and Presence swirling around as if there is never an end to hell, with occasional Presence making hell even more hellish because this memory of a me is still caught in comparison, relativity…

Just barely functional as usual, no intentions that can hold water beyond this timeless moment, barely able to connect with people and always moment to moment, holding (maybe with some kindness?) all of this difficult feeling inside of me even now, as I write… Trying, the very little bit of try that seems left, to be with all of it, inside and out, and not-do what I can… I can see how some people make “doing the next thing” into another trip about an imagined future… Maybe I do that sometimes, but mostly the next thing is just barely all I manage to notice, if I manage anything at all…

I hear teachers and teachings say go into the fire, step into it… I want to ask what that means, what does stepping into the fire look like..? I know what it feels like, but what does it LOOK like…? It feels sometimes like I am stepping into the fire and trying to get away from it all at the same time.. Perhaps THAT IS the fire, what it “looks” like so to speak…?

And inquiry, do I really know what inquiry is, being curious is, looking not for answers but with active curiosity letting what wants to reveal itself reveal itself, asking without expectation what is real, what am I believing, what seems to be happening, what is the story, the lower case source…

But these are just words, actually doing inquiry is so vague, like watching the sensei when I studied Aikido, very easy to see what he or she was doing, but so hard to get (let?) it into my body so that it did itself through me… And now in the context of chaos, with inquiry so tenuous and hard to be still with, I don’t even know if there is a real question I am asking or merely another thing made up, just some more story I am contriving…

In some ways it is hard to write, writing seemingly an escape from myself that never works for very long… A part of me feels like each time I reach out to someone from this place of transition (the only place I seem to be these days, praying that it is transition and not ever deepening insanity), I am imposing my hell upon another, being repulsive, a crazy person, a loser,, bad, etc., etc…

I call friends when it seems like the only thing left is to kill myself, though I don’t say that to them usually, just call someone, different ones, spread it out, with no one really understanding… A long time Vipassana practicing friend says meditate, make the choice to feel good, a long time Tibetan practicing friend says envision a different life, a happy life, a Theravada friend say love myself, a physician friend offers the possibility of drugs, and I just want to end this life, which never seems possible either, especially when I think of all the friends and people who care about me, the hurt it would cause them, and my dog’s pain in my ongoing and unending absence, and the general mess of loose ends I’d leave behind, not to mention the belief I still seem to have, maybe what stops me most of all, that it would not change anything, that what is trying to escape hell would just find the same or worse hell on the other side of killing itself, but no longer with a human birth that makes real change and the falling away of beliefs in separation possible…

Also it’s an effort to write because the little that seems to be left of my self image keeps wanting to make what I write into something that looks good, with a part of me feeling like people are going to disappear on me if I reveal myself as just another mess, so many deserving people in the world reaching for help, why would anyone want to waste their time on this mess…

When in the peace and Presence place a peaceful sort of energy seems to abound, be in surplus even, no lack of it, a real feeling of physical health and vitality seeming to come along with Presence….

But then sometimes it seems like I am just another one lost in a strange, crazy “spiritual” world of people all over everywhere who believe waking up means “choosing” or envisioning (imagining) happiness, or earning it via long bouts of meditation, or by following all the 8 fold this and 4 noble that and 10 what-evers, all the while they ring bells and memorize spiritual commentary about other people’s commentaries on other commentaries…

All of that in some ways no different from a mainstream world that believes war and conflict and battle and competition and extreme control of what is believed to be other and separate is the only way to lasting peace and joy and happiness…

It is possible that this writing is merely another effort on my part to control or avoid rather than surrender… I never know, I really don’t know anything at all, except this seeming fear and anguish and the yearning for abiding peace, abiding God, and/or for the end of myself… And sometimes that all seems to be the very same thing…

And probably is…

Someone suggested I am paying attention to non-dual teachings to much and that I should just do the next thing and be there with what arises, not realizing that already IS what I “do,” the only way I can even brush my teeth these days is to be there in the brushing, not somewhere else…

And yet, when there is nothing else possible, listening to and reading teachings is all that seems to make the difference between merely chaos and hell, and believing in the possibilities of chaos and hell leading to waking up, really waking up…

Either I am waking up or I am insane… At least for the first time I know (or think I know, as in believe) that waking up is actually possible for regular people, with all those years of reaching for something I did not really believe was possible for this so less than ordinary person, but still and always having to reach for what I sometimes called God anyway… No choice because nothing else ever, ever, ever made sense…

The desire for love, companionship and intimacy with a beautiful, desirable woman still grabs me so hard sometimes… I tried more than once to combine seeking God and being with a woman into One Way, and always I failed… The fear of being alone continues to be perhaps the most terrible fear of all…

I still it seems have a weak hold on an image I’ve carried for a long time, an image of place-based communities that enable shared values, relationships, and life as a whole to flourish, and in the context of such a community a woman partner and the sharing of a way with her that is all about eternally waking up together, all of it in-formed by a Universe that is eternally Awakening through relationship and community and the Earth as a Whole, just as much as it seems to be awakening through each (or some?) of us individually…

I seem to still be attached to the possibilities and images of a world such as that, a World in which all of life and existence is waking together, actually awakening into each other and into everything… As each other, through each other, and for each other, all of existence one incredible awakening that is so paradoxically never not awake, an evolving, loving, joyful event, with pain, death, aloneness and all of that a part of it but not separate from the Love that under-girds everything…

Why do I keep being caught up in such images, fantasies and desires, when it is only my own awakening that seems to be calling me always deeper into the fire, all of this of course presuming I am not just and merely insane…

I am like one of those guys who would sit outside the monastery gates in olden times, in Japan or China, season after season, wanting to come inside and learn, as if I have been out here waiting and wandering for all of my life, looking to be let in and be taught by someone who really, really knows, wandering and seeking, but never finding the right gate, not even when sometimes a teacher does briefly seem to appear… I have wandered out here for so long now I have become an old man…

No matter, I sit outside the Gate still, nowhere else to go… And maybe sometimes someone hears my pounding heart and a head pokes out and speaks to me… And sometimes I am speaking back, throwing messages over the top of the gate even, wanting more… A world without closed gates… And as I finish these words, tears…

I tried to leave this path, make spirituality into something part time, peripheral, rather than my life… Horses, a piece of land, a woman who tried to stay with me… I imagined losing myself in the desert mountains on horseback after I “got it together…” A few years later, after many less obvious unheeded massages, it took first a dead horse and then two major horse accidents for me to finally listen, let it all go…

I seem to know the truth of the words that one cannot earn Grace… Simply “be still and wait forever” is all, here in the midst of such total unknowing, terror, and my mind’s incessant attempts to fill up the unknown with itself, no matter what horrors it creates in its own image…

I noticed when Awakeness visited this last time what is meant about the body being the duplicating machine of the mind… I “saw” a thought and immediately saw the body believe it into a feeling, saw it all, and in the ‘seeing’ all of it fell away, ceased… Same sort of noticing happened a few more times while Awakeness remained…

Everything that I care about, Awakening, God, the Wild Earth, loving a woman, friends, my dog, the possibilities of community, health… Hell is the absence of (seeming disconnection from) all of that, along with fear, grief and despair that it will all be absent forever…

A hell that keeps coming, coming, coming because my mind is infinite in what it can make up in the beliefs of separation, the power of this mind that is a fragment or extension of the mind of God believing it is separate from God and now a god in its own right, whenever I believe it… No way out that I can exercise from within the beliefs of hell, hell unable to un-believe or un-hell itself, for every hellish effort is merely a continuing of hell’s beliefs in its own illusional existence…

Always seemingly lost “forever,” this quest for awakening, enlightenment, God, as if impossible, and perhaps only a little less ridiculous than the quest for satisfaction in riches and power might have been, if I had ever felt called in that way…

Reading the words “Every time a human touches into that unconditionality it’s such peace and fulfillment…” And I think of a concentration camp, a war zone, a refugee camp, a third world prison… Can I touch into unconditionality even as I feel those places in me…? Does awareness really wake up to itself in those sorts of places…? I remember the description of an awakened prisoner in San Quentin, and a person who awakened in a Nazi concentration camp… Does Awareness wake up, Awakeness realize itself, that which is forever beyond words be that which I Am, even in the midst of this grief and fear and pain that I feel right now as I realize that prisons and camps and war zones are also that which I Am…?

This anguish beyond words for all the incredible suffering that I and all of Creation is one with, a suffering that I want to be apart from yet can only be free of in knowing my total oneness with all of it…

In the Hell Realm now, terror at being alone and separate for ever, with horror, insanity, pain and suffering all that I am left with, war zones, prisons and refugee camps, no intimacy, no love, no beauty, no peace, no compassion, no joy, no life, this anguish beyond endurance wanting to die…

Just barely maybe getting a glimmer of an understanding of true inquiry, investigative awareness… Mostly it seems I suck at it…

Hopelessness as the other side of hope, no hope, as if somewhere back there I really fucked up really bad once or many times and there is no possibility of resolving, transcending or being free of whatever it is I have done to create such Hell. God keeping me alive and awake in this hell….. . It is not even that I am “in” Hell, but that I am Hell…

Doing the next thing in the middle of chaos, crazy runaway mind, overwhelming feelings and no sense of anything that could describe a life of meaning and purpose… Not much of any will left, my body wracked by fear, despair and pressure, emotional pain, loneliness, hopelessness, mind running into thinking, fantasy, story, grasping, hoping, all of it in fragments without cohesion, meaning, or any tangible “substance” other than fear… and overarching everything a deep profound and powerful desire to die… Awakeness seemingly gone forever…

Skirting some fear, depression and loneliness this morning, but it could be that I also know I am OK, and maybe also with a sense of where I explored last night, or That (Self) which was doing the exploring, or something… It seems, listening to teachers and teachings, that at some point one may be able talk and even write about all of this, if/when it is called for, without getting lost in identification with the words, and without becoming lost in being a somebody in the eyes of others..? Being a somebody in the eyes of a world in the beliefs of somebodies, that feels sometimes to me way, way more terrifying even than being alone…

I find myself wondering what depression is… This being alone never stops, it is the end of it all in a sense, something I seem to know, but also not wanting to know it a lot of the time still… When it is Presence it is definitely alone, all-one, which does not feel like alone feels right now as I write… And yet is it not Presence that I also see in some others’ eyes sometimes…? In Presence I am all beings and there is no such thing as alone, only One…

This morning a walk in the hills, Presence for a while there, rest of today feeling like on the verge of Hell and on the verge of Presence, both and neither, just plain vanilla depression and despair maybe, the veil swirls one way, then the other, resisting hell or feeding hell, bits of Hell and Presence, asking myself what is real, what am I telling myself, now, here, what is this story…

And so I see a story, this story, stories, the story of Hell, the story of separation, the story of the world, the story of them and me, them and us, the story of someone particular to love because I can’t love it all, or love myself, and then suddenly a swirl and there is no story, Presence…

Until the next story, my mind is as infinite as the Universe, it can keep coming up with stories forever, can’t stop it, so obviously and majorly believing my mind, identified with it and hate it all at the same time, this mind that goes on and on, myriad variations on Hell, or so it seems…

Yet earlier this morning for a while feeling clear, present, No-Self, gone, gone, gone beyond the going, even the going gone…

So much feeling, where does all this feeling come from, for my whole life feeling has dominated, or so it seems, feelings so outside of and larger than everything else, even as a kid… Is it really just energy…? Looked for and found a web site that has a lot of Nisargadatta on it, in the process of looking for him discovered a whole lot more, didn’t realize that Non-Dual had become such a consumer item, spiritual materialism for the 21st century…

I feel like a real provincial, always just going with what came next, never knew there was a “non-dual” movement, “neo-advaita” or whatever it is called, until recently… Most of the non-dual stuff I’ve just been looking at via google seems so, I don’t know, contrived…

Just feeling really depressed by it all now, want to curl up and die, everything becomes a “trip” as we used to say, yet some teachings are utterly real, speak to me, in me, are me, as me, and though I hear sort of some of the same words from all these new-age non-dual folks it is as if a lot of it is merely about more power and self-imagery, stories to sustain their own identities, in other words just more stuff…

Not my way, or something… People always seem to want power, identity in the eyes of others, or something, damn, I want out of it, all of it, please dear God no more spiritual trips, please, please help me… The end of graven images, even non-dual ones, enlightened ones, teacher ones, awakened ones, no-me ones, all-is ones…

So much stuff… Are more and more people really actually waking up…? And am I still after all this time seemingly just as far away as ever from waking up…? I know, not far away, right here, I’m already awake, just don’t know it, all that jazz, fuck, digging it deeper and deeper this depression, like I am the last one in the so-called “spiritual” world to get it…

Or, maybe there is something ELSE besides all these non-dual, “no one is here,” “no one to awaken” trips… Even though I “know” no one is here and there is no one to awaken… Maybe making fun of myself is what’s really happening here…? The possibility of a sense of humor even here in Hell…?

Who am I to say anything about anyone or anything, with me spending so damn much of my time lost in thought and in my own drama and feelings, with hell, fear, despair, depression always the places I return to… In some, maybe many ways this has been going on for years, maybe my whole life, more so than I am willing to admit even, escalating beyond all comprehension or endurance these last few months… I choose to die, let go of all of it, no awakening, no enlightenment, no no-me, please death let me embrace you fully…

I have experienced the Duet of One many times, but only I seemed to know it… Sometimes in talking to people something comes through, something responds, but none of it is me… Somehow I get out of the way or am gotten out of the way, no knowing why it happens, just does, never determined by “me” in any way…

But not ever out in the open so to speak, this One knowing itself as both of us, recognizing and acknowledging itself in and as each other… It is always the other person perhaps having a profound experience, or not, maybe thinking I had something to do with their experience, or maybe not, and me letting it be that it was just a good moment, appreciated, as much them as me, because it was…

But what I always look for and miss is this place where we simply are, the same, looking into each other eyes and hearing with each other’s ears and knowing together that it is so… This One Energy that we are, dancing with itself through us, its own knowing of itself…

And even those occasional moments with people have been just as intermittent and non-determinable as Presence presently is… For years have had brief experiences with others, if I could see it coming I got out of the way best I could, let it be, over when it is over, let go, never me…

I’m still feeling into all the ways the terrain seems to have shifted around me recently, seeing, my stories, even my stories and beliefs about hell, what wants to die, so much and so much more… The question came, what is this me that “wants” to “drop away?” And suddenly there it was, no me, at least in that moment… A me here now or so it seems, describing it, yet no me here now either…

What is this about being alone? The greatest question of all for me perhaps… Perhaps the greatest question for all humans in the beliefs of separation…

I am alone now, it is a given, a reality, or fact, not to be argued with, or so it seems… I haven’t always been alone, and can remember being alone as something that I sometimes missed in those times when I was not alone… Either way seems to be the way, but the way I would still choose it seems is to not be alone… I have some grokking of the Ultimate Aloneness teachings point to, that we all are, which is not loneliness, and have in brief moments experienced my own sense of that… But I am also here in this world with no way out, only through, and in this world alone is about something else…

What alone means for me in this world or so it seems, this experience of life as a part of a seeming world of others, is two-fold… On one hand it is about not being with a primary partner, a lover, a woman, someone in particular to love and to be open and vulnerable and unconditionally intimate with, someone who loves me and who’s survival and comfort means as much to this “me” as my own survival and comfort does…

And on the other hand alone means the absence of a community of people on a shared spiritual path that includes some common language and experience, and maybe even some sort of common worldly destiny or lifestyle, a collective way that manifests and reveals uniquely and yet universally at the same time what we and all life are, unique, individual and yet together…

People, and multiple generations even, with whom openness, intimacy and vulnerability, comfort and natural ways of survival has become a shared experience… All the while that there are the natural realities of life, difficulties, learning, and all of it, whether we are alone, or not…

So my question becomes, what is there to be discovered and maybe realized in the context of just this being alone that I am knowing as me now…?

I am being very rational here this morning in order to type and get this out… A big part of me just wants to cry and/or go back to being with the shifts in terrain that seem to be happening now… Rational was not the basis last night, I was very present, vulnerable and open, alive and real, right here, with so much more happening and seeming to come through than can ever be put into words, rational, irrational or otherwise…

I’m scared to stop writing, because I will then be back alone with what I am feeling around being alone, asking myself what story, what belief is this about… What comes up now is the belief that I deserve to be alone, am a bad person who does not deserve the sort of companionship I seek, that I am being punished, exiled…

And no, I don’t know if any of that it is true, but I don’t know that it is not true… I simply don’t know, and, I am alone… And maybe there is a deeper story, a deeper pattern here, this very belief that says I am alone… I do have a number of friends but most of them do not know me in these ways I have been finding myself more and more, and there is virtually nothing I can share with most of them about it…

I seem to be writing partly to run from hell, from being alone, the same thing at this point, with running digging me ever deeper into hell, so much wishing I could have gone a different way last night, yet so much else did happen, don’t want to loose touch with that…

And now another morning, last night I saw clearly through hell, hell is a belief, story, not necessary, the belief is what wants to die, and some kindness and understanding towards that, the ways it served me perhaps, kept me alive, out of jail in all the ways that can be experienced here in this world’s beliefs of separation, protected others even perhaps, but not needed any more, let it go to rest in peace, not hated, loved in passing even…

This morning, alone, but hell of a different sort maybe, what is this alone, I don’t know, really don’t know… Maybe alone is not hell…?

Saw so clearly through and past hell last night, now am in hell deeper than ever… Fear beyond fear, anguish beyond comprehension… Nothing I can do, nothing I can not do, a small child lost and alone wandering in the darkest night, a night that promises to last forever, a scream to somehow encompass forever the child’s only response… I was left alone as a very small child in some desolate and scary places for very long periods… Here is where it comes back perhaps… Wanting to be forgiven…? Hell is dying over and over and wanting it to end, never really being dead, truly gone… Forever, no one, nowhere, alone beyond comprehension, no love no god no light…

Does this really end, hell, separation, or is it only for special people to truly awaken…? When I am in Presence I know it is already everyone, here I know nothing…

I seem to have this belief, it goes back a long way I think, that I will not be graced by the end of myself in separation until I am able to endure and accept without resistance the most hellish hells my mind can imagine… And, considering the infinite possibilities of imagination, perhaps that is a belief I need to ask, is it true…? Must I…? And my answer is, I don’t know, but maybe not, with some growing hope that it is not true, because that could be an awfully forever long journey through hell…

All of this is made up by my mind, I know, but there is no outside of this at all now, mind is nuts, pressure, filled to brim with chaos, bits and pieces of stories, thoughts, images, body full of overwhelming energy, fear, anguish, terror… Watching it all and falling into it all and watching it all…

Hell is all there is now, wanting to escape and “trying” to stay, know soooo much of what teachings say about all this, but knowing teachings doesn’t change anything, still Hell beyond measure, still want to die rather than be here in it, even though I think I know it is the hell that really wants to die, but all of that just ideas now, I would without hesitation kill myself right now except that it would deeply hurt friends and others, leave a mess, and almost certainly not change anything…

Mind at war with mind, the totality of all existence seemingly filled with this war, this hell, as if this is all there is- outside, inside, total… Just last evening I was back in Peace and Presence, am often there now, or so it seems, for moments hours even a couple days here and there recently… But always back to this Hell, which I still seem to believe in so firmly as a result of conditioning that I continue to gain some understanding of… And it is a Hell that is always “forever,” longer than I can imagine in other words, when I am in it…

Seems sometimes as if both Presence and Terror are in some sort of joined together crescendo, but that is probably just another head trip… All that is left here and now is despair and terror beyond words, absolutely nothing I can do or not do… Yet, my mind, more and more subtle and desperate all at the same time, keeps trying to do it… I simply do not know how to Be with this, Be with Hell…

Early morning. Doing the next thing is all I can barely do, the terror hovering everywhere… Letting go of the steering wheel is not a game or an idea any more, for a long time now… Every time my mind grabs on to the wheel my world goes careening all over the place, into total chaos– the letting go is now all encompassing, beyond all comprehension… My whole world is falling away, literally, mind terrified and grabbing on to bits and pieces it imagines to be left… Doing the next thing becomes “eat your soup,” as a friend said the other night…

The next thing appears now to be to write some more, reaching out for the barest threads of a sense of others…

A piece of land I dreamed into existence for over 20 years is sold, giving me some more money and payments that will cover the mortgage on a house here in town… An extensive and highly active local community email list and a website forum that I started over 7 years ago is being turned over to a community group just now forming itself at my suggestion…

The list is unusual, maybe unique, 2000+ addresses on it, just about all local in a rural SW New Mexico area as big as some eastern states with a population maybe 40,000 total, the list and forum progressive, alternative, sustainable oriented… They took up most of my life and attention for the last seven years, soooo much writing, all done for free, just a little bit of work doing solar design to keep me going financially… The list and forum became much to much for me a long time ago, nearly killing myself to keep it all going, determined to be faithful to shared ideas of local sustainable earth based spiritually awake community… I have also now withdrawn from all environmental and community-radio boards and activities…

I cannot do design work now either, cannot “do” anything any more, or sustain any of the willfulness and intention of old habits… New patterns and enough space from the fear, both of which might allow me to work again, have not developed… These days new patterns seem to be a lot harder to manifest than when I was young… And space from fear seems to be totally beyond my control…

Good friendships are also falling away, some very painfully… I cannot share what is happening with almost anyone here now, their concerned and fearful interpretations of it all, no matter how open and honest I am, only adding intensively to my own confusion and fear…

Regular people just think I am going nuts, a physician friend wants to give me drugs, Sufi and Buddhist friends say that non-dual teachings are messing me up and to sit, follow the precepts, study, train my mind, etc… I’m in a small town, to which all my ties seem to be falling away… In a small, rural and relatively remote town one doesn’t avoid people without turning into a hermit, they are here in your face, the community of what is, not like in an urban world where one can hide out and/or move on in terms of community relatively easily, without even moving, so many social layers intermixed…

I stayed at a place up in Northern NM called Lama Foundation for a few weeks recently, a place where I lived in the late 70’s for a couple years… Even there though, except for one friend, there is no real understanding… Connecting with people who know and trust and live the non-dual teachings I am absorbed into is my vague hope now, if I can somehow get away from here… So much dualistic spirituality from my past just falling away, and so many relationships along with it.

Before I discovered non-dual teachings I was living many of the bones of them without much understanding, trusting my instinct, having given up on the “new age” a long, long time ago, spiritual materialism, all of that…

I’ve reached for tastes of sangha in little ways whenever I could, and tried with the list and forum to join in the creation of sangha by other means and understandings, but it is all falling away now, like a dream turning into formless fog, fear of the vast emptiness that shines darkly through the fog overwhelming me… Moments of Presence as I am calling that place that awareness sometimes shifts to, maybe enough to sustain, but never enough to dispel the fear for long, my mind grabbing at Presence over and over and over, loosing it always in the grabbing…

On one side of doing the next thing is terror of an unknown nonexistent future, Emptiness imagined into the shapes, textures and feelings of a terror filled mind projecting itself outward, thoughts and conditioning, on the other side of doing the next thing is sinking into inertia, dropping down into inaction, fear of all movement or action, falling down and down always into the next thought or crazy image…

Both sides the same place, all of it terribly lost from Now, This that is right here in front of me, all there is… And yet I am real, I am here, right now as I type I am, no where left to go, Terror or Now, no seeming control over what happens next… What the teachings say is true, there is no place to be, identify with, know, yet I am still Here, Terror all that is left to grasp on to and still believe I am…

Letting go even of terror now, this most familiar place of all…

Silver City, NM
2008

 

I am making those writings public to serve the possibilities of others who may find themselves transitioning in similar ways, so they might be encouraged to realize there is something larger also happening, something they can perhaps tune into and be supported by, as they persevere… And so they can know they are not alone, even as they are being called to discover in some different and larger ways what not being alone is about…

This is also being shared so folks who believe they can “do” awakening like a study project or a collection of techniques might begin see the awakening journey in some larger ways… And how much it calls for from us, for it to be true…

That it is, at least for awhile, for some, about the end of the world as we believe we know it to be… Not as in new ideas and emotions replacing old ideas and emotions, but as in the end all of our beliefs that we are our ideas and emotions and sensations… And that instead we actually, always and already ARE this fecund, limitless emptiness which is the Source, Love and final “destination” of everything, and that we have for all this time feared, most of all… JF

css.php