1oo…

…pages
whirled past in the wind
the laughing Buddha’s
entertaining dream?
answer whirling too
cartwheeling, then gone…

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So, thank you for sharing in some of my wonder and wonderings. This format has been interesting and fun. If you’d like to see more art experiments please visit my Facebook page for over 800 pictures in the same vein. Namaste and peace to you…

I…

In some teachings, the “I” is said to be like a gateway between the relative and the absolute. In mandala art and other sacred art, there is a center or origin from which the rest of the piece springs. Sometimes this is called the bindu. I spoke a bit about “I Am” before but, technically, there has to be an “Am” or “being” to even utter “I” so “Am” actually predates “I”. To say it another way, “presence” must predate “presence of” but what is this presence? That’s the whole riddle of Self-Enquiry and “who am I?” What the hell is “I” and from where did it spring? Some say this is the highest question one can ask and it marks the return to or awakening to the absolute reality. I won’t make a value judgment about this but I will say it’s a highly interesting question that leads the questioner on a process of discarding relative definitions until there are no more definitions that will fit. “Neti, neti,” is the name of this practice but shall we call it a practice? It just sort of comes naturally as you search for the root of your very roots, as Rumi would say…

In the end, you sort of come down to presence or being. An awareness but not an awareness of because there are no objects “there”. This is the “I Am” without even the thought “I Am” which Nisargadatta Maharaj referred to, the Turiya state Ramana Maharshi spoke of, and so on. Many names have been used but really you can only called it pure being or just being. Then the “I” will rise from “That” and become this or that. This is pretty much straight Advaita Vedanta teaching but it also has its place in Buddhism, Zen, Christ Consciousness, and so on. Is it just a teaching or the absolute truth? Well, no one can decide that for you. Me, I like to believe there is an absolute state and have had some experience of “That” but I couldn’t assure you 100% that when the last neuron dies in this organic form that “I” will go on. In all honesty, and with my history of clinical depression, there were and still are times when “I” does not want to go  and has prayed for a peaceful end which, sadly, never came…

Then, when it did seemingly come, it was not the end. What a surprise! Awareness was still there and it was the purest, expansive, loving, peaceful, experience this “I” had ever known. No angels, no choruses singing, just pure being. So, that’s what I now consider to be the root of “I” and I could say IT seems to have two sides: conditioned and unconditioned. So maybe the “I” is like a gate or seed form like some teachings assert. Ramana Maharshi spoke about this in more detail. Even for a relative “I” it is a fascinating study. As for terms like “awakening” or “expanding consciousness,” I sort of chuckle at those. Think about this: how can that which never sleeps awaken or how can the infinitely expanded become more expanded? These are mind games which keep you on the seeking trail of searching outward when you really need to turn your attention to what already is at the root of your roots. What you can do is become more aware that you are that awareness or presence that predates the body, personality, and all following things. This is the meaning of “turn within”.

Having said that, I would have to say I sort of had an awakening experience and, yes, that is irony. But I would still question that experience, and others, also because they came and went. Does the absolute come or go or is IT merely aware? Isn’t awareness always wide open and awake to whatever comes? Does it have preferences or do they form a bit later? All interesting questions IF you’re into this sort of thing. Anyhow, such are my thoughts this morning and, again, these are things I think about as I go through my day and as I work on a little art. The following piece is fairly simple but I liked its simplicity. I added an “I” as the origin point as these thoughts came to me. Now what do you think happens if the “I” dissolves? Wouldn’t everything simply be the absolute then? Hmmm, that echoes Rumi’s, “how can there be a window where no wall remains?” 😀

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If you are spirit…

…all is spirit alone. – Sri Ramana Maharshi

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite teachers. I have thought about it a lot over the last five years and let it sink in. You cannot explain spirit no more than you can explain God. “You cannot put God in a box,” I say quite often and it’s true because God would be the box, also not the box, and also beyond the box (after Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj). It is often said that God or spirit is the light that shines on the intellect itself so how could the intellect define it? It’s plain that the intellect is a deft dancer but even that is observed so what is aware of the mind dancing? Who watches the rise and fall of consciousness itself? These sort of questions intrigue me and when I had the big death experience I had a taste of an elusive something and haven’t been the same since. But, I cannot explain that something to anyone except in the most general terms like pure being, the great peace or, as many teachers have pointed to, the “I” itself. The best you could possibly say is that it is the same “I” everywhere, at all times, and that’s all there really is. Is that a point of view or a feeling? It’s both and one confirms the other. The more you actually experience pure being the more you find that’s all that remains after all the colors have came and went. You laugh a hell of a lot when you realize the intellect cannot really grasp IT! And you feel the pure taking on color, painting with all manner of variations, and then receding back into pure. Pure, colored, at rest, moving, expanded, contracted, as I have said before, so much like the ocean or breathing. What a wonder!

Sometimes I will ask myself why I write about this or sometimes I will read something and I will ask who is trying to convince who? Does the spirit really have anything to prove? I even quit writing for a long time because there really weren’t any words that would fit what I was feeling. What more was there to say? I Am became a sort of mantra. I Am was enough. Anyhow, I am not trying to prove anything or convert anyone to a belief. I am just I relating to I in the color of the English language. Yeah, I relating to I. Is it all entertainment, like some teachings assert, or is I attempting to know itself somehow through the scope of its seemingly unlimited potentials? Ha, the intellect boggles at this one. Who really knows? Even the great sages start pointing to the beyond at this point and start urging silence. “What is the use of all this rambling,” some would say. Be still and know, turn within, and all that. Maybe they have a point or maybe they don’t but they often wrote a lot of material too, didn’t they? There’s a certain joy in expressing joy. It’s like the spirit bursting. And then there’s the quiet joy of just being. Somewhere between no thing and every thing life breathes like an ocean. Vibrating. Pulsing. Spinning like a coin. What mystery!

I am that I Am is about all that I know today. This or That may come later but such boundaries never last. Waves rise, waves fall, and the ocean observes with interest. What colors were spirit exploring today? What range? What depth? What silly ramble or arts? I shall close with this older piece that reminded me of the opening quote and the infinity of variables today. Namaste.

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Flowers…

…in the morning. “I” seems to enjoy making these as a bunch were made. So “I” shares his joy (or wonder, as he often says) with “you” but he often wonders why? Isn’t the joy of making these enough? It seems like it should be. In fact, it’s kind of an honor to feel joy and be able to express that, isn’t it? And yet “I” finds himself kind of hoping for something more. What? Is there anything a “you” can give an “I” that he or she doesn’t already have? It’s funny how we search outside for what really lies at the core of our own being. Always looking for something elusive. I am reminded of the hungry ghosts of certain Zen teachings and yet I am also reminded of Buddha saying, “happiness never decreases by being shared.” Mostly, my sharing seems to somehow stain an infinite wall of silence almost like a weed intruding into a well kept garden but sometimes, just sometimes, someone will appreciate the flower of the weed. Why is that important to “me”? I have been pondering this…

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Dem bones…

So many thoughts passed through this space as I was working on this. Thoughts of the dead time of Winter where everything turns inward and awaits Spring. Thoughts of Rumi talking about roots and the life at the core of the roots and returning to the root of the roots. Thoughts of cold weather inducing aches in your bones. Thoughts of death, the cessation of all forms, the falling away of leaves, the skeleton bleached white in a cold sun, and the meaning of this all.  Thoughts of delicacy and fragileness and how brittle or thin things can be. And then again to the roots or the bones, the very marrow from which all things spring… As near as I could tell, that would be the Great Spirit which breathes life into all or simply recycles it. Then I thought of wheels, the revolving states, and the fact that I’m always gone in the vast beyond. Nirvana means extinction some would say… It’s all in this piece:

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Elemental…

…has been the theme for the last few days. The four full scale pics are available for viewing on the Facebook art page. I think the Water one probably came out the best because I was able to adapt the edges with a radial blur but, as always, opinions vary… I liked this mini montage also:

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