Tag Archives: nostalgia

On True Observation

 “The magical side of self-observation is to give yourself a little time before you react to incoming impressions. ” – Maurice Nicoll

dawn of awareness
dawn of awareness

The ego has been said to be legion, meaning that it can take on infinite forms in order to hide and maintain its power. One of its main tricks is to keep us identified with a series of emotionally based reactions which color our thinking, feeling, and sense of self, while believing we are observing life and ourselves objectively. Roy Masters once remarked that most of us live in an emotionally based day dream state of thought; patterns of belief formed through unconscious emotional reactions to experience. Continued belief and identification with these patterns ensures the ego’s dominance.

Another of its tricks is to pass the buck, to split itself in two: the ego1-ego2 game. It labels the separated part as ‘ego’(ego2), while it hides in judgment as ‘ego1’; the pot calling the kettle black.

The ego1-ego2 game is perpetuated by emotionally based judgment and self-critical reaction, rather than non-critical, non-judgmental self-observation. This ‘method of maintaining egocentricity’ was first mentioned by Alfred Pulyan, and describes the ego’s schizoid ability to split itself in two in order to maintain its position as ultimate boss. An example goes like this: “I’m destroying my ego, I’m never going to let it mess up my life again”, says ego as ego1, referring to ego2 as ‘ego’. In this manner, it can maintain a safe position all the while allowing the ‘me’(ego1) the feeling it’s making progress  by destroying the ego(ego2) This trick insures it’s hypnotic hold over our awareness.

What I call ‘energy knots’ or ‘buzz balls’ are key to this. These are reaction patterns formed from emotional energy tied to an event. The attached energy keeps the event/memory alive and running in the mind. When we are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of these patterns in real time, and are caught off guard so as not to lapse into the ego1-ego2 trap by immediately reacting in a negative manner, we have a rare opportunity. These afflictions to the individuality sense show us ourselves and our patterns. Witnessed in real time, riled up and spinning, these energy knots give us the chance to see our ‘self’ clearly, if we observe non-critically. We then stand a chance of raising ourselves out of dualistic observation and judgment, and look with pure observation: awareness. As soon as we judge the pattern, we slip down into the ego1-ego2 trap. When we criticize and judge a part, labeling it in effect as ego2, we become the same; another ‘part’, ego1. You can’t see your pattern, much less your ego, from its own level. You have to raise yourself up to a different dimension; a non-dualistic awareness.

A facet of this non-judgmental observation is discernment. We need discernment, which is innocence, as opposed to judgment, which is fueled by fear, resentment, and guilt. If we look at these reactions to seeing ourselves (one part judging another) we can see that judging is a negative emotion, a reaction only, not an awareness. It’s on the same level as ego. If we don’t have a sense of innocence, a pure mind operating on a level above belief, we tend to lapse into judgment and negative emotion, which is again, ego.

To rise above the ego, to separate from it, we need to return to our original innocence. We can find that lost innocent state through refined nostalgia: discernment based on retreating from what is less than pure to that which is simpler, more original. This ‘spiritual nostalgia’ is a longing for simplicity, the truth, not a sentimental attachment to the past and memory. Rising above the dualistic trap of ego1–ego2 we return to true discernment, the emotional element of which is nostalgia, which has no basis in criticism or judgment. From this perspective we can see how the ego1-ego2 trap works. We can climb above it as awareness, a simple witnessing, not from judgment.

A real time pure observation of a buzz ball releases the bound up energy from the mind, giving us a sense of lightness and clarity. We are freed from a belief. It’s a backing away from the gestalts of emotionally based thinking and feeling, leading to patience and the ability to witness without reaction: true freedom.

-Bob Fergeson

path to freedom
path to freedom

Awakening Together Interview

This past Sunday, March the 20th, I was privileged to talk with Regina Dawn Akers from Awakening Together. We discussed many topics relevant to the spiritual search, a good evening that I hope will be informative to those longing to look within.

The audio of the interview is available on their web site through this link:

Audio from March Satsang with Bob Fergeson

Dark Zen – A Guru On The Bayou

Ever wondered about the connection between Zen and self-knowledge? If you have even a glimmer of interest in these matters, this book can open a new dimension for you. This much prized knowledge is delivered via the friendship that develops between a lost young man and a Zen master.Dark Zen - Bob Fergeson-1

Nostalgiawest photographer Bob Fergeson has just released a new book, set in the swamps of Louisiana. Bob couches Zen lessons and a methodology for spiritual development into a simple story that allows the teachings to shine through. This book has something to offer the complete beginner and the more seasoned seeker – simple explanations of profound truths.

The book is available on amazon, in both print and Kindle editions. The Kindle version has full color photos taken by the author in southern Louisiana.

– Dark Zen in print

– Dark Zen Kindle –

 

Bayou Glory
Bayou Glory

Discernment

TAT 2015 November Gathering

Friday through Sunday, November 20-22

Discernment

Discernment.

Discernment means separating the wheat from the chaff, the more true from the less true.

In spiritual work, discernment relates to the truth of being: Who or what are we at the core of our beingness? In religious terms we might say that the goal is becoming one with God or All. In psychological terms we might call it self-realization or -recognition.

The mind is our tool, our worksite, and our playground in the search for Truth. We capitalize truth to indicate that what we’re looking for needs to provide an absolute answer to our core identity in order to be fully satisfying. Of course there’s no way to know if that’s possible unless we “find it,” “go there,” or “become it” (highly paradoxical implications).

“If the Truth is within us, and we do not see it, it can only be that we see through the glass darkly,—at this stage of the game.” ~ Richard Rose, The Albigen Papers, from chapter 7, which is titled “Discernment.”

Meet our presenters:

  Anima Pundeer: Penny that hides the Sun. Discerning the Problem

Mumukshu, a Sanskrit word, is one who discerns the basic human problem of self-non-acceptance and seeks freedom from this. It is from this standpoint that Vedantic philosophy helps us start the inquiry. Neti-Neti – not this, not this – is a path of discernment which finally takes us to what IS.

Anima is a super busy mother of two. Lives in Houston Texas with her family. When she has spare moments, she weeds her vegetable patch.

In June of 2004, she had an experience where she realized her All-ness and One-ness… She finally knew Freedom. She feels immense gratitude for all the help and guidance she got from her fellow seekers. She feels she couldn’t have made this without her Guru and her friends … and the only way she feels she can help anyone is by sharing her own struggles and obstacles.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon…

  Bob Cergol: DISCERNMENT: Retaining the identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind

In the paper on Discernment in his book The Albigen Papers, Richard Rose lists the above phrase in a list of techniques that help us understand ourselves.

Have you ever said about someone, or just as likely, about yourself: I was lost in thought…. I was swept away…. I got caught up in the mood…. I was swayed by the crowd…. I don’t know what came over me!

You’ve wondered, marveled and puzzled over your observation that you disappear during nightly sleep. But what about the countless times throughout your waking day where the very same thing happens?!

This Friday evening session will attempt to set a tone for the weekend’s theme in the form of a guided meditation followed by whatever discussion spontaneously ensues.

Bob was 19 when he met Richard Rose and had a teacher-student relationship with him for the next 20 years, including living several years at Rose’s house and farm. At the end of that period, and shortly after getting married, his search culminated in a self-transcendent realization. Bob’s writings have appeared over many years in the TAT Forum, and in presentations on several of TAT’s conference DVDs. Bob and his wife have two girls, now both in college, and he works in the I.T. field.

  Bob Fergeson: Discerning a True Direction: Nostalgia as Our Inner GPS

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really want. It will not lead you astray.” ~ Rumi

For the interactive sessions, we’ll give personal examples of nostalgia, looking for clues as to how they help discern base feelings and moods from true longing. In preparation, participants are encouraged to remember glimpses of nostalgia, to share them with their fellows.

Bob is a Colorado based teacher, writer, and photographer. His work attempts to use the feeling of longing and nostalgia as a way within. He spends his time washing windows and hiking, as well as exploring our inner country with fellows from the Denver Self-Inquiry Group.

  Paul Constant: Absorbing Conflict

In this session, we’ll use the group’s energy to maximize our discernment of opposites. Through a combination of interactive discussion, silence, and full group exercises, we’ll attempt to cultivate something deeper and widen our perspectives. Paul will walk us through a few simple approaches that point us away from the world of paradox and toward what is.

Paul has been a TAT member since 1985. His fascinations and explorations are directed toward integrating body, mind, and Essence through rapport. Read his essays Friendship and Spiritual Rapport, or listen to the audio recording of his September 2015 presentation titled Softening Our Attachments and Becoming What Is (MP3 file; 1 hr, 12 min). Paul and his wife live in Pennsylvania. They were adopted by two kittens in 2013.

  Shawn Nevins: The Lying Mind

The Lying Mind – You know what you want. You know the truth. If so, then how, why and where does your discernment get mangled? Through exercises and discussion, we’ll get to the root of the lying mind.

Shawn “Fell onto the spiritual path in 1990,” had an enlightenment experience in 1999 and since then has enjoyed making films, writing and working with the TAT Foundation as well as his own small group in California. See his work at poetryinmotionfilms.com.

  Tess Hughes: Separating the wheat from the chaff; the Absolute from the relative

Tess credits the teachings of Richard Rose and The TAT Foundation with bringing her decades long seeking to a final resolution, the awakening to her True Nature. She loves to share this with other seekers.

Tess asks participants to have pen and paper at the ready for an exercise intended to get participants to catch and note their passing reactions and thoughts to presented stimuli, as a means of becoming discerning about their “within”.

The registration deadline for the November Gathering is Saturday, November 14th.

http://tatfoundation.org/nov/tat_november_gathering_2015.htm

Second Edition – Images of Essence

 The TAT Foundation is pleased to announce a second edition of Images of Essence is now available in a new, more affordable paperback version. This beautiful book of poetry and photographs has been likened to “Rumi with a Nikon,” and the authors’ creative wanderings touch a deep cord of recognition of the profound in everyday life.
Now available for $17.95 on Amazon and for $2.99 in a digital edition for the Kindle.

 

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

True Crime and Tetris – by Dave Martin

When I first came across Bob Fergeson’s site and articles a couple years or so ago, two things struck a chord with me – his article on the Puer Aeternus and his description of ‘nostalgia’, the sense that I’d once been someone or had something or been somewhere that I no longer was.

The place or thing or person did not seem to matter as much as the sense of something ‘missing’, the longing of a ‘return’. It did not make immediate sense but I went back to the articles over and over.

There was something there, some truth I sensed but was not quite able to experience or realize. If there is anything different these last few years, it is that – the sense that I am finally on to something, close to something, something I’d given up on ever finding many, many times but never quite been able to get completely out of my system.

My life before that was much like anybody else’s – an attempt to get through life with the least amount of pain and the most amount of pleasure I could, trying to fit in and believe the same things that all the people around me did. The problem was that nobody was ever ‘right’ for very long… The other problem was that none of them seemed able to see that they were wrong, let alone admit it.
Tetris
Everybody around me seemed to be frozen in place, like the colored blocks in the video game ‘Tetris’ that slowly descended down, down and fell into some niche, locked in by other blocks, never to move again.

For some reason that always scared the hell out of me. The only thing that scared me worse was that despite all my flailing around and so-called careful maneuverings to avoid that for myself, I seemed no more happier than they were. I could find no path out, no viable alternatives.

As a teenager I was drawn to true crime books and autobiographies of those that lived outside the rules, so much so that I would later ‘explore’ some of those options but find out they were no more fulfilling than any of the others.

I tried desperately many, many times to call off the search, pretend I didn’t care, lose myself in some other pursuit or endeavor, tried to buy into the bullshit, but eventually, every time, out would come the flashlight or flamethrower and out would go another illusion…

But then, every once in a while, I would catch wind of – something.

According to the Zen Ox Herding pictures, most of my life has been the first one – aimless searching, with the sound of cicadas droning in the background.

But then there was the second picture – the discovery of footprints in the dust and snow every once in a blue moon, just enough to keep me going on…

And then, during the last 4 or 5 years, finally, glimpses of the rear of the bull in the readings of some of the works of Richard Rose and the Tat Foundation, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Jed McKenna, etc., and the resonances they evoked within me.

But not much more than that until just a couple weeks ago.

Then, finally, I believe, I not only saw the whole animal but actually touched it, briefly – long enough to know it is real. The funniest, oddest, most wonderful thing about it was that suddenly a lot of things I’d read about it – ‘closer than close’, ‘the simplest thing’, ‘something you already are’, suddenly made sense. Laughingly so!

Am I ‘enlightened’? No, but I believe I’ve not only finally had a glimpse through the brick wall of the Secret Garden, but smelled and tasted the fruit.

I find myself now back at the wall, aware of what lies on the ‘other side’ (Ha!), playfully searching for another hole, another glimpse, feeling now as if it’s more of a ‘relaxing into’ that is needed than a ‘search’.

We’ll see!

Dave Martin

 

Capturing Inspiration

I started carrying a tape recorder about the same time as a camera, and for the same reason, to capture inspiration. And as the cameras, they’ve changed with technology. First was a cassette, then a couple of digital’s, and now the ubiquitous smart phone. They’ve been of enormous help saving ideas for writing, whether essays, material for a book, or just something I don’t want to forget on the grocery list. When I’m out walking or skiing, that’s when ideas/inspiration seem to hit, and getting them on tape before they fade away has been a life saver.

Over the hill, and far away
Over the hill, and far away

One of the many spots I associate with inspiration is shown in the blog post below:

http://www.nostalgiawest.com/blog/2014/2/the-old-second-creek-a-frame

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