Showing posts with label Simplicity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simplicity. Show all posts

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Keeping Things Real



If there is one thing that we can all be absolutely sure about it would have to be the fact of our 'existence'.

Don't we wake up each morning and know that we are alive? Whether that feels good or not is another matter but we all know that we 'are'.

This is something we are so familiar with that we simply take it as a given.
We seldom if ever give the fact of our existence a second thought.

But stop right here!

There is a wonder and a mystery in this overlooked and all too evident fact.

Are we not always Ever Here Now?


Read on in Never Not Ever Here Now
Volume Four in the series; Shades of Awareness

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Power of Simplicity

  
King Cobra
King Cobra

When Sri Ramana Maharshi was sitting on the Hill of Arunachala in the South of India one day, a cobra passed by, and, because the Maharshi was sitting right in its path, it slithered up onto His legs and over before passing on its way. The Maharshi sitting quietly and without showing the least concern or reaction observed its passage. 

People who were present at that time were shocked and afraid, but the Maharshi showed no fear or even surprise. When they asked Him how it felt He replied with the utmost simplicity, 'cool and soft.'

It is generally known that cobras are among the most dangerous of snakes in the world and the people of India are only too acutely aware this. If such a thing would have happened to one of us, well, you can imagine our reaction, our fear, our dismay...

Such reactions seem natural and normal, yet in actuality, they are nothing more than instinctual and borne out of habit.

We routinely invest so much emotional energy into the way that we react to 'life' and don't even know that this kind of living drains such a huge amount of our energy and time. It's little wonder that the world is in such a confused state.

Things happen, so what?

In our world, things never cease to happen. Motion and change are an integral part of our reality.
But stop for a moment.
What would it be like to let the world 'happen' around us and yet remain quietly centred in our awareness of being? Not in a zombie-like way but as an intensely aware point of focus. How would that change our perspective on the things that happen in and around and to us every day of our lives?

How much energy would we free up within ourselves by this simple change of perspective? If we are not perpetually caught up in the goings on of our lives we might begin to notice everything with much greater clarity and in a far more vital way.

People often had the impression that the Maharshi was not aware of what was going on around Him, they thought that He was in samadhi and their ideas and projections about what that state might be like led them to believe that He was in some way separate from the world, no longer a part of it and yet exactly the opposite was true, no one was more observant, aware and dynamically present than the Maharshi. He missed nothing.

From the tremendous power of His inner stillness and outer simplicity, He was far more present and vitally alive than most could ever imagine.

It is 'natural' for us to want to right wrongs, to change things, to feel that we are in charge, that we have some control over what happens to us. This is human nature, the great illusion of self-identity,' of 'ownership' of 'doer-ship.'

And yet there is another reality and even if one does not understand it, one should at least know that it exists.  Within the utter simplicity of who and what we really are, the inmost central core from which our world actually arises, there exists, not just the promise, but the fact of peace and happiness. This is not something which is outside us, it is not something which is far away. It is near, so very near that it is usually completely overlooked.

The incident of the snake gives us an example of a very different way to react to our world.  Whether we are aware of it or not there is an innate fullness in every moment, and if we do not project onto that moment our supposed thoughts and emotional reactions, then we allow ourselves the possibility of the unfolding of simplicity.

There could well have been a very different outcome to the 'incident' of the cobra and the Maharshi. However, because the Maharshi moved from an inner core of complete awareness, instead of reacting from instincts of panic and fear which in turn would most likely have ended in a fatality, it so happened that a cobra received the blessing of direct contact with a Jnani and went peacefully on its way and the Jnani came to know the cool and soft feel of a cobra on a hot summers day... 

Volume Four in the series Shades of Awareness

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Silent Power of a Mountain

Mount Kangchendzonga
 One day, while sitting in the loft of my 'tin palace,' a small retreat hut which I built at the end of a ridge not far from Darjeeling, a town in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas, I was overcome, as happened on many occasions, by the majestic vista that spread out before me.

 From my perch, I could gaze out the window past the cupola of a small Chorten which rose up right in front of my house. It had been there a lot longer than my little house. These structures are a Buddhist symbol of the stages of enlightenment and often contain the relics of holy beings. Beyond the chorten, a line of bamboo poles had been raised, each containing large colorful prayer flags which fluttered in the wind. Each flag was covered in ornate Tibetan script bearing mantras and prayers. 

Beyond this, a few sturdy trees clung to the edge of the cliff face hiding somewhat the vast chasm which opened up right below. From that point, space ruled and swirling mists rose up from the distant valleys far below. 

The huge peaks of the Himalayas rose up just a few miles to the north, and on a clear day, one could see from Mount Everest in the west, right across a huge swathe of towering peaks to the tiny kingdom of Bhutan in the east. 

But there were no clear mountain views that particular day. Instead, monsoon mists billowed around the steamy valleys in an endlessly shifting dance.

And yet, there were moments when the clouds parted during the rainy months and then one could catch a fleeting but unforgettable glimpse of the huge massif of Kanchendzonga, freshly dusted and clothed in a thick and brilliantly white mantel.

Kanchendzonga is the world’s third highest mountain. It is an enormous eruption of black and grey granite that rises up 8586 meters in the far eastern portion of the Himalayan mountain chain.
That is just a few meters short of Mount Everest.

Recognized as a sacred mountain by the natives of the fiefdom of Sikkim, it holds a certain mystic and is revered by the locals who remain committed to protecting it from the footprints of irreligious mountaineers. 

However, the mountain itself is a treacherous domain for mortals and many have lost their lives trying to scale its flanks.

But from a respectful distance, the monsoon vistas are very special. There is no other time during the year when the play of light is quite so luminous and pure. What can emerge between the billowing clouds for fleeting moments are evanescent explosions of brilliant color and light. They appear as almost not of this earth.

*****


These glorious visions of the mountain had inspired and sustained me for the many years while I lived on that ridge. The mountains were a ceaseless ocean of shifting color and light. They never looked the same. The play of light, the subtle shades of color, the shifting clouds and moods which it drew forth at different times of the day and night; all were a constant reminder, for me, of the dance of life which is forever changing. One could never lift ones gaze and not find there a new world of wonder.

During those years this majestic view of clouds, light, and mountains was nature's teaching for me. To look out of my windows and see how everything interacts in the natural world was a constant and vital lesson in impermanence and change.

Nature reflects the basic truths of life ceaselessly and with unmatched simplicity and beauty.
Even so, we often fail to notice them. We are constantly reminded of life's impermanence and yet we are swallowed up by our thoughts and by the ceaseless stream of distractions which claim almost all of our attention from the very moment we wake in the morning until we close our eyes at night.

Caught by the movement of the forms upon the screen, our eyes fail to see the screen upon which their movement depends. We gaze right past what is always present, unmovable, unshakable and mountainlike, grasping instead at the dancing forms and the shifting play of colors and lights.

In times cluttered with ceaseless distractions it is in the simplicity of nature that we can find, quite effortlessly, little windows of opportunity; windows that allow our spirit to soar free from the worldly display for a moment or more.

In the freedom of just such a moment, we can begin to discern what is constantly shifting and changing and what is consistently present and stable and begin to know the difference. In our eternal search for happiness, this is a very essential milestone on our journey back to the source of all being.

The silent power of a mountain can help us to recognize the unshakable power within.

*****

Read More in Masters, Mice, and Men
Volume Three in the series; Shades of Awareness