Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving with my friend, Susan. She invited me over to her cozy home, knowing that I would be alone, and that I don't mind being alone. It is a delight to see her and her feline crew of four--especially Midtown, the Norwegian Forest cat that I found, as a famished and shivering kitten, at the mall where I work. He's handsome and healthy now, thanks to Susan, who promptly took him in. For a few tender moments, he allows me to stroke and hold him. But because of his temperament, he soon scurries back out into the bright, chilly afternoon.

As Susan cooks, I wash dishes to keep them from piling up, as well as peruse her slew of subscribed magazines--Time, Newsweek, The Economist, and my favorite Entertainment Weekly(!). After a while, I step out into the backyard with my organic eggnog. The yard is wild and familiar: The stunted red maple and the myriad of oaks, along with the distant catalpa and ever-present wisteria. And though it's late in the season, kudzu and pepper-vines loop through and over much of the length of the metal fence. The kitties, unseen, are at varying points in the farrago of leaves and color, reveling in the fact that they can pounce out at me at any moment.

The food, of course, is delicious. There is the tofu turkey with tamari gravy, corn souffle, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, and roasted brussels sprout with brown butter and almonds (looking rustic and Tuscan in the royal blue bowl). For dessert, we devour fudgy-pecan pie, topped with organic wipping cream.

The afternoon sun angles softly onto the table through the storm-doors and windows, which are steamed with aromatic condensation. Midtown sits regally on the front porch with his back to us, facing the sun-set. Perhaps he, too, is giving thanks for this blessed appearance in awareness.


Not long after Buddha became self-realized, he met a man on a road who was astonished by his peaceful and singular presence. The fellow asked if he was famous or a magician or even a god! Buddha answered "no" to each question. The man then asked, "Well, what are you?"

Buddha replied, "I am awake."

How marvelous that. He knew, of course, that the statement wasn't quite right. For this Living Reality is always up-front and in the very bow of your life. Indeed, you are It. Your body and brain are certainly there and functioning quite nicely, thank you. But with self-recognition, your thoughts, feelings, and physicality are almost secondary. For you see that you literally are being LIVED; that there is no "you" living a life.

But Buddha, I suspect, was simply using his answer as a cue, a guide. If we get too enraptured with the terminology, we'll overlook that beingness to which he was pointing. For after Buddha's reply, you'll notice that your thoughts are momentarily quieted. If you bring your bare attention to that silence, you can directly and immediately see that it is bottomless, exquisite, and clarity itself.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Don't try to repeat or memorize these pointers. Rather, let them resonate within you. You may even try putting them aside for a while, and then re-reading them. Coming upon them fresh in this way just may allow you to see, directly and unequivocally, the awareness to which they are pointing.


Nonduality is oneness without a second.


Throughout the day, see that there is a living, immutable presence within you, whether you are thinking, singing, reading, or emoting. You are only able to recognize those thoughts, feelings and melodies because of this pure, nonconceptual background. Thoughts and responses come and go. But you, the background, remains.


Let's be clear about our terms: Consciousness is a state, and it includes waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Awareness is the source from which consciousness arises. Awareness is what you truly are.


However romantic it may sound, there is no "journey of awakening." How can there be when you never move from being stillness itself?


Genuine, self-realized teachers will never hold silent retreats, offer transmissions of power, stipulate spiritual practices, focus upon "overcoming" the ego, or require your allegiance. They will simply point to your pristine and radiant nature. Because the personality and perspective of each nondual teacher is different, you will likely resonate with one more than you do the others. That's perfectly fine and normal. Besides, they all are pointing to the same truth.