You can neither search nor give up searching. Searching will happen of its own accord until it stops. If you try to give up searching, you will search for a method to give up searching.

Richard Sylvester


The dream bus

“Award winning film makers Boris and Claire Jansch go on a journey to unravel what it means to be alive. What if the search for happiness was based on a huge misconception, a misconception that has been drummed into us since birth, that we are separate individuals.
This radical and challenging documentary ventures into the heart of the mystery of identity, flipping the idea of spiritual endeavour on its head, revealing a message so profound and yet so simple that it might just end the search.”

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —

as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

Mary Oliver

Toni Packer: Dying

Most of us are afraid of dying. One can try to combat the fear of death by concentrating on death as a practice. Recently I heard of a monastery where the monks were not supposed to talk at all, except for when they met each other they said, “Remember, brother, that you are going to die.”

What goes on in these people’s minds? What are they doing in this exercise? Essentially the resistance to being here now is the fear of dying and losing all that we know about ourselves our whole history. So can one work with this fear directly, listening openly, vulnerably, dying to ideas as they come up about myself and the world? No idea,
not being anything, no grasping to be somebody, not anything when that happens freely there is no fear of dying, because this is what we really are, what we were before we are born, and what we will be when we die.
It is our true state. Now. There is nothing fearful about it.
Q: Do you ever think about your own death?
Packer: Sometimes. I wonder how it will be. At the moment of dying I will not be the way I am right now, living. There will be a total letting go of the need to continue. I am sure of that. And that takes care of itself.
Q: How can you be so sure?
Packer: More and more the concern about death and dying is totally absent. There is just the vastness of purely being here that knows no story about itself. And then there are times when I am thoroughly enjoying being with somebody, or sharing a wonderful meal, or smelling the new spring flowers. And, at such a moment, thoughts may arise, “Oh, someday I may not have this anymore. This marvelous view here of the
hills and the snow-covered trees.” Then there could be a twinge of either sadness or nostalgia. Seeing that fully is the dying. At the moment of dying you simply do not want things anymore, there is a totally different space.

No one is doing this

I wondered about this, why do we feel so good walking through the meadows? The sparkling grass, the flowers, raindrops hanging from the leaves and branches. Clouds and animals. Why does it feel so healing? So in touch. Is it because a leaf does not think? And therefore does not vibrate with confusion? It’s either a little brown bud, the first green glossy opening of tiny leaves, and now bright yellow, orange and red. There are no regrets here, no wanting. No fearing. Does the leaf want to come out? Is it afraid to turn red? I don’t know, I’ve never been a leaf. Nor a tree. It doesn’t affect one this way. It’s all here the way it is: cracked branches, upright ones, dried, crumpled leaves and nibbled ones. A lot of nibbling has gone on for these leaves. There they are, full of holes, like the finest of lace. Somebody put some out on the dining room table. It was neat to see: nibbled, holy leaves. Almost transparent. No sob story emanating from them.
I’m not denying that there is freedom. Of course there is!
But there is a lot of buzz and fuzz in this thinking organism. Which is no one’s fault. It has evolved this way, and now we’re stuck with it, or we feel we are. Caught up in our thinking, in the emotions triggered by thought and memory, and taking for real what is imagination about ourselves and each other. Imagining the dream to be true! The pain that goes with it, the suffering, or the momentary ecstasy.
Can that buzz of thinking, of imagining, of wanting and fearing, and the organism humming along with it, can it clear up in quiet listening and looking? Be seen for what it is and seen through? Not changed, but seen through. In openness, stillness, emptiness.
Not the words.
Chirping of cicadas and breathing and people moving, leaves rustling and gentle rain dropping… is that thought? Wanting? Or is it just happening, plain and simple, with no one doing it?
No one doing it. No one.
That is all.

Toni Packer

I Hope You Die Soon

Liberation is freedom from the burden of being a
person who apparently has to make choices and
decisions; choices and decisions which have con-
sequences. What a wonderful relief it is to see that
there is no choice, no person, no separation. Noth-
ing you have ever done has ever led to anything
because you have never done anything. No one has
ever done anything although it appears that things
have been done.
Isn’t it wonderful that you have never made a
choice in your life? There is nothing to regret, noth-
ing to feel guilty about. Nothing could ever have
been any different, nothing could ever have been
any other way. Isn’t that a relief? Nothing matters.
There is nowhere to go. There is nothing that has
to be done. There is no meaning and no morality.
There is no help and no hope. You can let it all
go, you can release all the tension. You can begin
to enjoy the wonder of hopelessness and the gift
of meaninglessness. You can begin to enjoy your
complete helplessness.
In liberation it is seen that nothing has any
meaning, it is simply what it is. The story does not
stop. The story continues but now it is seen that
it is just a story. All the passions of your apparent
life are just stuff happening. The conflicts, the loves,
the struggles for control and power, the victories
and defeats are simply phenomena arising in one-
ness and falling away again with no meaning at all.
Nothing has any more significance than anything
else or could ever be greater or lesser. The Trojan
war and a glass of beer are equal.
Except, of course, to the mind.

Richard Sylvester

Self as rainbow 2

We see a rainbow, but what we have is drops of rain and light—a process. Similarly, what we ‘see’ is a self; but what we actually have is a whole lot of thoughts going on in consciousness. Against the backdrop of consciousness we are projecting a self, rather than a rainbow. If you walk toward the rainbow you will never get there.

David Bohm, Thought as a System

I had posted this wonderful quote from Bohm several years ago; I now feel I have understood something new about it.

A whole lot of thoughts going on in consciousness. To this, Bohm would probably add, there are a whole lot of feelings floating around too. On top of which there is a subtle sense of self fleetingly dancing in there somewhere; and it is this sense of self, which is in essence a thought/feeling, that somehow seems to anchor all the other stuff that floats around in consciousness.

Try as we might, we cannot pin it down; the rainbow simply cannot be found, for it is ultimately an optical illusion. For this reason, probably, Ramana insisted that we try to find out the “I” thought. Seek and ye shall not find, for it is fundamentally illusory.

I absolutely love this metaphor: drops of rain and light posing as a solid self. Drops of thoughts and emotions. Can we merely see them as drops of light, sun, rain? Nothing else is required.