Tag Archives: love

Trusting the Inner Self

Trap: Identification with pain. The usual reaction to pain is avoidance, either through distraction or medication-induced relief. Thinking it is “us” that hurts, we must get rid of our pain. Pain is nothing more than a signal that something needs our attention. Identification with our thoughts and feelings, and thus our pain, keeps us from this simple truth. By avoiding pain or medicating it out of our awareness, we procrastinate facing both the problem the pain is pointing to and the action or change needed to solve it.

Trick: Seeing pain for what it is. By seeing pain as the simple signal it is, we can turn our attention on it without fear or over reaction. The underlying problem can be dealt with and, usually, the pain stops. This is especially true in relation to psychic pain, the avoiding of which can keep us in the following Trap of

Ignoring our conscience: That faint voice from the depths is often seen as a pain to be avoided, thus preventing us from learning the following Trick of

Trusting the Inner Self: If we learn to listen to this inner voice, our own inner wisdom, we see that instead of it being a pain or inhibition keeping us from what we want, it is actually a guiding signal from an interior compass deep within. This beacon gives us direction in our search, pointing to a path or lifestyle that gives better probability of Becoming. Experience will show that the pang of conscience is best dealt with by the avoidance of temptation, not pain.

 Bob Fergeson

Into the Deep

As I walk along the snowy trail
my face to the starry sky,
the night air feels as rain.
The animal self howls and moans
at the night, for it
knows of its illusory existence,
of its own eternality, its life and death.
For it heard, as I heard,
these words we spoke:
Rest easy in the Deep,
as the Deep….
for We are the Deep.

Orion in the Deep
Orion in the Deep

“The earth was formless and void,
and darkness was over the face of the Deep,
and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”

Saint Nicholas

According to local Irish legend, Saint Nicholas is buried in Co Kilkenny. The grave is said to be in the ruined Church of St Nicholas, Jerpoint. The church is all that remains of the medieval village, Newtown Jerpoint, that fell to ruin by the 17th century. The village was surrounded by the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey, founded in 1183. Located on 1,880 acres, the abbey had its own gardens, watermills, cemetery, granary, and kitchens. It served as a launching point for Irish-Norman Crusaders from Kilkenny. The abbey was disolved in 1540.

The ruined church is now found on privately held farm land. Located to the west of the abbey, the church has an unusual grave slab with an image of a cleric, thought to be a bishop, and two other heads. The cleric is said to be St Nicholas and the heads, the two crusaders who, so the story goes, brought Nicholas’ remains back to Ireland. Though the church dates from 1170, the grave slab appears to be from the 1300s.

St. Nick
St. Nick

 

The tale tells of a band of Irish-Norman knights from Jerpoint, traveling to the Holy Land to take part in the Crusades. On retreat, as they headed home to Ireland, they seized St Nicholas’ remains, bringing them back to Kilkenny, where the bones were buried.

Evidence lends some posible credence to this tale as the Normans in Kilkenny were keen collectors of religious relics—possibly even more so than the Italians. And it is known that Norman knights from Kilkenny participated in the Holy Land Crusades.

Another version of the story tells of a French family, the de Frainets, who removed Nicholas’ remains from Myra to Bari, Italy, in 1169 when Bari was under the Normans. The de Frainets were crusaders to the Holy Land and also owned land in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. After the Normans were forced out of Bari, the de Frainets moved to Nice, France, taking the relics with them. When Normans lost power in France, the Nicholas de Frainets packed up once again, moving to Ireland. This story has the relics being buried in Jerpoint in 1200.

This poem by Bill Watkins commemorates the legend:

‘The Bones of Santa Claus’

Where lie the bones of Santa Claus
To what holy spot each pilgrim draws
Which crypt conceals his pious remains
Safe from the wild wind, snows and rains.

It’s not in Rome his body lies
Or under Egypt’s azure skies
Constantinople or Madrid
His reliquary and bones are hid.

That saint protector of the child
Whose relics pure lie undefiled
His casket safe within it’s shrine
Where the shamrocks grow and rose entwine.

Devout wayfarer, cease your search
For in Kilkenny’s ancient church
Saint Nicholas’ sepulcher is found
Enshrined in Ireland’s holy ground.

So traveler rest and pray a while
To the patron saint of orphaned child
Whose bones were brought to Ireland’s shore
Safe from the Vandal, Hun and Moor.

Here lie the bones of Santa Claus
Secure beneath these marble floors
So gentle pilgrim, hear the call
And may Saint Nicholas bless you all.

article from Stair na hÉireann:  https://www.facebook.com/StairnahEireann— with Lisa Dublin and John JQ Quigley.
Guiding Light
Guiding Light

Images of Essence

Steps
Steps

Images of Essence, featuring Nostalgiawest photographer Bob Fergeson and poet Shawn Nevins is available in a .pdf file format for viewing on your computer or phone for only $6.99.  For iPhones and iMac, it’s available from Apple for only $3.99!

Great idea for Christmas!

Click on the links below to get yours now!

For .pdf file download, click here:

http://www.blurb.com/b/606747-images-of-essence

For iPhone from the Apple Store, click here:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id662178671

Open Trail
Open Trail

 from the book:

“Lovely”Lovely

Without lifting a hand,
the world becomes more
than I could ever make it.

 

* * *

Beauty as a Path Within

Trough Springs Canyon
Trough Springs Canyon

One fine day in the spring of 1997-8 or so, I was hiking out of Trough Springs Canyon. I had made the trip to the creek in the bottom, taken my weekly shower in the rarity of flowing water in the otherwise dry desert, and was walking up the thousand feet of elevation gain to my truck back at the trailhead. The past week or two had been spent in solitary retreat, fasting and reading, sitting in the desert’s immense silence. The exercise of hiking provided a break in the routine; I was in good spirits as I trudged up the narrow canyon through the large rocks.
The end of the ridge I would soon be walking on came into view above and to my left. From the perspective of being down below the sheer cliffs it took on the appearance of a peak, a glimmering tower of red sandstone set against a stark blue desert sky. I couldn’t stop looking up at it; it began to capture my attention in a strange way. After a few glances, I stopped at a switchback and turned towards it, and was hit with a beauty I have rarely seen. The peak hadn’t changed, but in that instant something in me was open and unguarded, and I couldn’t turn my head from the view. I gazed in awe at the rock, and could not believe it to be so maddeningly beautiful.

Heartbreak Peak 2
Heartbreak Peak 2

The view had somehow opened me up. I don’t want to sound too poetic, or grandiose, but that’s what happened. My heart began to ache, both figuratively and physically. My chest was in agony, and I thought of William Blake’s words, “…portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.” I could not hold the beauty, it was too much for my heart to bear. So it broke.
I do not wish you to think I’m exaggerating. It happened so fast and unannounced that I had no time to stop it, something I probably would have done if I could have. But the process had begun, and all I could do was drop to my knees on the rocky trail and weep. I had wept tears before: when my father died and I realized what his life had been like, for him. And when my dreams of the secluded life on the Zen Master’s ashram had been dashed from a good dose of reality. But this time it was somehow different. I was not weeping for the loss of something, or from the shock of hitherto unseen truths; I was simply allowing the beauty of my own true existence, reflected in the desert peak, to become apparent and real. I could now accept it, even though my mind could not believe it.

Trough Springs View
Trough Springs View

My heart had been opened, and in an unselfish manner. There was no loss of a loved one, or dashed hopes, but simply the seeing of things objectively, letting the beauty come through before it could be washed clean of its power by the reasoning mind. It flowed through unhindered, unabashed, and unexpected. I no longer had a need to filter perception; to keep my heart safe and secluded from its own treasures. I began to weep not only for the impossible view before me, but at my own heart’s opening. It was free, free of the tight bonds of reason and practicality. Free of the ‘shoulds’, the rules, the restraints. Not free to ‘do what it wants’, to indulge in the childish fantasies of teenage youth, but free to simply be, without correction.
Every time I hike that trail I try to capture with my camera the beauty of what I’ve come to call Heartbreak Peak. The photographs are pale copies, some better, some worse, but the view itself is still astounding. What hits me when I now re-visit that lonely canyon isn’t as much memory, but gratitude. Gratitude that something opened a crack in my heart to let in Grace and Love. That spontaneous breaking of the prison wall that was keeping me locked up as well as secure, allowed the higher part of me to make contact. It forged a connection from the low to the high, from the mundane to the eternal. I can now walk that trail, I try to visit it every year or two, and sing praises to my Self. I was rescued and delivered from the ‘secure’ unconsciousness of a buried heart, to blindingly clear Light and Love.

Heartbreak Peak
Heartbreak Peak

Now that I’ve had a few years to dwell on the above event, it’s become clearer to me what happened, and why it’s so important for anyone on the spiritual path. My Zen teacher used to take those who could make the trip, to the east coast seashore in hopes of catching that Beauty through a sunrise over the ocean. He had seen before what an effect this could have on the heart, if the person was ready. Maurice Nicoll wrote of Beauty and the Puer Aeternus, how the eternal child is our intermediary between the mundane and the divine, and how Beauty can be a door through which we allow the divine to make contact. Before the above event, the trip to the seashore and the words of the wise were only theories with which I had no real relationship.
If you have the chance to allow Beauty to break you, whether through a sunset, the eyes of a child, or a desert peak, don’t fear. It may seem you’re losing control and it’s too much to bear, and it is. But don’t be afraid, for if you follow Beauty and Love within to your own heart, the Infinite may become your Home.

– Bob Fergeson

Trough Springs Trail
Trough Springs Trail

Bart Marshall – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Bart Marshall
Bart Marshall

Bart Marshall describes his spiritual path as “self-guided eclectic.” It began with a death experience in Vietnam in 1968 and ended in 2004 on an airplane at 30,000 feet over the Atlantic as he returned from a workshop with Douglas Harding. In those intervening years he “turned over every rock” in his quest for a final answer, but counts three teachers as the most influential: Richard Rose, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Douglas Harding.

He founded Self Inquiry Group (SIG) in Raleigh, North Carolina (www.selfinquiry.org), and for many years held weekly meetings before stepping back in 2013. Sometimes called “the reluctant guru” by those who know him, Bart nevertheless travels widely to speak when asked, and teaches retreats and intensives with Deborah Westmoreland (Conscious TV interview) events that have proven to be highly transformative for participants.

Bart is the author of The Perennial Way: New English Versions of Yoga Sutras, Dhammapada, Heart Sutra, Ashtavakra Gita, Faith Mind Sutra, and Tao Te Ching, and an upcoming book, Christ Sutras (Fall 2014), which contains the complete sayings of Jesus from all sources arranged as topical sermons. He is currently completing a book of essays on spiritual matters, Becoming Vulnerable to Grace.

Interview recorded 11/8/2014

The Cloud of Unknowing

Written around the year 1375, The Cloud of Unknowing was written as a letter of advice to a young novice just setting out on the path of contemplation.  The author, believed to have been a country parson, writes in a personal, direct style, hoping to share his knowledge of contemplation with the young would-be monk.

  The theme of the Cloud of Unknowing is of turning one’s attention within, away from the mind and its objects. The attention is turned inward upon itself, and since it is now focused on nothing the mind can understand, sees only a ‘cloud of unknowing’, a seeming nothingness. For most seekers, this can be frustrating, if not impossible, for it gives no immediate reward, or even an object or image for their mind to grasp. To simply aim one’s attention at its own source is to look back up the ray of one’s awareness, where the mind and ego cannot go. This also takes the attention off of the body and its desires and fears, along with the senses and outer environment.

Cloud
Cloud

For when you first begin to undertake it, all that you find is a darkness, a sort of cloud of unknowing; you cannot tell what it is, except that you experience in your will a simple reaching out to God [a naked intent unto God]. This darkness and cloud is always between you and your God, no matter what you do, and it prevents you from seeing him clearly by the light of understanding in your reason, and from experiencing him in sweetness of love in your affection.

 – You are to smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love. -… no man can think of God himself. Therefore, it is my wish to leave everything that I can think of and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think. Because he can certainly be loved, but not thought. He can be taken and held by love but not by thought. – Cloud of Unknowing
.
The gift of The Cloud is its simple message of going beyond the mind. We cannot find our Source, or “God”, by thinking, or through worded thought, but only through what it calls love or longing. This may be called a vector, a direction we follow through our intuition, even after we have gone beyond our mind. It leads us into an uncharted realm, a cloud of unknowing in the back of beyond, where we lose our ‘self’. If we continue into this Great Unknown, guided by this longing, perhaps we will meet our Self,  and find we have been there all along.
.
For whoever hears or reads about all this, and thinks that it is fundamentally an activity of the mind, and proceeds then to work it all out along these lines, is on quite the wrong track. He manufactures an experience that is neither spiritual or physical. He is dangerously misled and in real peril. – Cloud of Unknowing

 

http://www.mysticmissal.org/archive4_cloud_of_unknowing.htm

Mountain High – Touching the Void with Bob Fergeson

“When the thought and the mind goes away, all you are left with is the real part of yourself…. In the quiet, there is a sense of eternality and unconditional love.”
~ Bob Fergeson

The sense of eternality marks the work of photographer, mountaineer, and spiritual teacher Bob Fergeson. Set among the Rocky Mountains, Bob’s story weaves the passions of the creative life and a love for the outdoors into a compelling narrative of a spiritual search. From his childhood attempts to capture moments of ethereal, quiet beauty with a Brownie box camera, Bob’s life careened towards a crushing encounter with alcoholism, then flowered in a time of self exploration through painting, drawing, and dreamwork, led to years of spiritual disciplines, and culminated in a final encounter with Truth that left him weeping on a Colorado mountainside.

Whether you frame your quest as a search for God, truth, enlightenment, awakening, certainty, or an aching longing to fill a void inside, you will find this feature-length documentary is more than just a film, it is a resource that you will mine for inspiration and advice again and again.

Stream Or Download The Movie:

If you want High Definition, the digital version is for you. It’s also great for avoiding postage costs.

For the $9.95 budget version: mountainhigh.vhx.tv/buy/mountain-high-budget-edition
For the $19.95 supporting version (includes bonus footage): mountainhigh.vhx.tv/buy/mountain-high-supporting-price

Questions about streaming and downloading? See this FAQ.

for more info: http://www.poetryinmotionfilms.com/mountain-high.htm

 

Seeker’s Stories

Seeker’s Stories: fellow seekers tell their stories of life on the Path

Paul Schmidt,  Ike Harijanto,  Rupert CriswellTim Howell,  and Dave Martin describe their struggles with self- inquiry and illusion.

The Path
The Path

Whatever I had been doing was serving me. Robert Adams has said “Every desire every urge is a search for the Self.  But we’re misdirected”.  I’d agree as it seems my path has turned out to be one of reorientation.  Finding my way now to a point that must be reconciled with myself.  – Tim Howell

 

click here or on their name to read their personal accounts:

http://mysticmissal.org/blog/?cat=192

Ennui

Ennui  by  Ike Harijanto

 

It is not blind

for it has no eyes.

A glob blubbery blob, marshmallowy,

yellow, bloated Ennui

blows thick smoke from a hookah drooping

off its thick puckering lips.

 

For Life and Love it’s an ogre so hungry.

Beware of its smoke for it can swallow

whole and drag low,

then all motions drags a clunky

laborious chain of “Why?”

 

Marshmallow Ennui imperceptibly

turns into sticky molasses Depression quickly.

It’s not a morphing; it’s a giving of way,

for Depression is a desperate try

against falling so deeply asleep that is Ennui.

 

It drags you into a gray-brown bog,

Blowing its drowsy fog.

I fall asleep without knowing it,

thinking I’m awake, thinking I’m aware.

 

553830_439267869427405_548650054_n

Ennui is a know-it-all thinking, “I know too much.”

Ennui is an armchair traveller claiming, “Been there, done that.”

Ennui is jadedness yawning, “Meh,

seen everything already.”

Familiarity turns into a malady.

But don’t waste your life feeling guilty,

For it’s not you

who says, “All is done; nothing to do.”

It’s Ennui!

 

How did I fall asleep? I don’t know;

Didn’t catch myself nodding.

In this thick heavy fog, God of Light, please show

Just a needle of Your Light piercing.

From this aggressive vortex pull of Sleep,

that seducer,

I want out, I want to wake!

 

Henri in ennui, again

What are you, Ennui?

A resistance born of negativity,

a lack of meaning of life, or merely,

a superfluous entity?

What an irritating allergy

sapping energy,

this chronic, addictive serving of me.

Why are you here? What are you trying to tell me?

More importantly, how do I

widely open my eye?

 

Ennui

Thrill is not its remedy,

for Ennui’s not a hole

for the Muse to fill with lively creativity.

Maybe it’s a bothersome additional

to simply shoo, shoo.

 

Can’t reason with that entity.

Need I take it so seriously?

Ennui, ennui, go away

Come back another…

Well actually, don’t bother!

 

– Ike Harijanto

 

* The hookah is a reference to a poem by Charles Baudelaire entitled “To the Reader” in his Flowers of Evil

Henri in ennui
Henri in ennui

The cat is Henri, guru of ennui, found on youtube : http://youtu.be/Q34z5dCmC4M and FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/henrilechatnoir