Mind, give up your restlessness; hold the balance evenly before you. On one scale of the balance place all the objects of the world, and on the other God Himself, the Lord of Prosperity. As between these two, reflect wherein lies greater peace and greater good. From reasoning and experience, whatever appeals to you as the repository of bliss, take it with all your heart.     ~ Adi Shankara




There is no such thing as a person; at least certainly nothing that can be captured within the body or the mind. But yet we habitually and chronically lazily think of “persons” — those shorthand versions of ourselves and others that spark emotions ranging from infatuation to bloodlust. These models that we clutch to and work off of – how much do they have to do with the living reality appearing before us?

And are appearances “real”, in any reliable and enduring sense? What is real beyond our direct knowing of our being?

The conceit that so many authorities put forth – that anyone really knows how to be human, the right way to be human, turns out to be cockamamie on the face of it. There is consciousness, experience, the energy of consciousness which is set unrolling of its own accord, unstoppable and wild. Aside from that, though, we know nothing of what we are, who we are, what this is, what life is. We don’t know how to run and tend to this human machine, the experience of which we are caught up in. We have no idea. We know the definitions that we encircle around experience with our minds. But no one really KNOWS. Directly.


We all love each other. The heart is incapable of closing, its outpourings can only be temporarily blocked (and even then, they are at work under the surface so to speak.) The reason why we close off in hatred or anger or grudge-holding is precisely because our hearts are so open and in fact the fundamental  reality. When the truth of this radical and permanent openness would seem to be challenged by someone or a particular situation, then we often contract and fold into doubt and attempt the impossible —  to staunch the always-flow, the ceaseless transmission that constitutes our hearts’ open nature. If hate were the fundamental reality then we would have stones inside of us rather than hearts (nothing against stones, and to be sure they also shine with God’s love, so begging pardon for metaphoric license here) and our deepest desires would be to be hated and to be able to give hate.  Or to be indifferent and to be able to radiate “passionate” indifference.


Furthermore, when we love someone, it is never a one-sided affair. Love by nature is non-dual, and so when we are loving someone, there is not “me” loving “them”, but simply LOVE . (Love dissolves the illusory sense of a separate “me” and “you”.) The ever-present love that is always there, being acknowledged by our conscious minds. Just as God (aka Love) is always already the case, is omnipresent. However we place barriers from experiencing and knowing God due to our thoughts, our doubts, our fears, our hesitations, etc.

The reason for our heartsickness with others, the reason for our heartsickness with God, the reason for the pains of our loneliness and sense of homesickness is precisely because Love is our deepest nature, the actualness of Reality, and we know this on some level, and following so, on experiencing the sense of separation caused by dualistic error we are feeling the “wrongness” of the situation – something that we know ultimately to be true (though if not in our conscious minds) is appearing to us differently, and the resulting dissonance bothers us – at some level we sense that something is wrong with this picture. Where has heaven gone?



on jealousy –
this speaks to why we must kill the mind. The mind will always attempt to interfere and to fascistly regulate, to gratuitously cause mischief, to stingily proportion and measure out – it is obsessed with accounting records, with balance sheets, with all dead ash in general – as opposed to the living waters. So we must ignore this mindstuff and instead attend to the everpresent quality of love. Right now, right here, love is. We are not separate from it (though we can try to portray ourselves as being so through our thoughts). Nor are the “others” separate.

This is the divine solvent which directly melts away all jealousy and possessiveness. No thinking necessary (or encouraged, in this case). Rather, simply acknowledgment of love’s presence.

The rattling of the train with or without brakes
As I live out the raw stuff of my life, the filling in the dosa
My life is completely without brakes, rushing headlong towards death
Great bliss overwhelms me as I think of my former life. Another city another place another time a different year, a wholly other parade of the seasons
What seemed so frustrating then and in moments since is now colored happily, not with nostalgia, but with detachment, with a realization that it like every other moment is equally passing before the sovereign and absolute Self
And I can’t help but wonder if you loved me for merely diving in – Siva/Shakti
All of life is only the poetry of the incarnation
Does the real take its guise in illusion, or vice-versa?
It’s late, and I feel that I’ve lost count at this point
All of life turns out to be about me
Not egomaniacally, but because the witness of the transparent Self.
Waiting through ages of the whispered promise and romance
To find out who I am
Liberation … be careful what you wish for!

We can always find reasons not to love someone. So why even get started down that road, pondering whether someone is “deserving” of being loved or not? We may have been taught that way, but is such really even love, the idea that in order to be loved we must first earn it or prove ourselves worthy of it somehow? If we are going to start attempting to calculate whether others (or ourselves) are deserving of love or not, then we will end up never loving at all!


The only thing to do is to love without any hesitation whatsoever. If we have to go through a lengthy judgment process first, entailing determining whether others are worthy of our love and approval, then we will end up loving no one. Looking for reasons to love is the very definition of conditional love. If x is the case, if y condition is fulfilled, then I may deign to love you. All of the great saints and sages (and naturally God himself) followed the opposite tack. They love immediately, unconditionally, unhesitatingly. There is no tribunal or grand jury set up in their hearts to first measure out the virtues and vices of a given person (or animal or thing or vegetable or mineral). They simply love, as a matter of course.

Most people are not burnt out enough on trying to find real happiness or lasting satisfaction amidst the temporary conditions of samsara.

Most people don’t actually want to discover their true nature. They want to be entertained, or they desire to achieve greater prosperity, better relationships, etc., via self-help schemes.

Most people are still tangled up in the eight worldly preoccupations catalogued in the Buddhadharma teachings. They have not yet approached the freedom of not caring about receiving praise or blame, of being indifferent to either receiving recognition or having one’s name remain obscure, etc.

Most people are not willing to give up everything for Truth, for God, for Reality. They want to continue on with a comfortable middle-class existence, with all of the respectability, (illusory) security and comfort that such implies.

Most people are terrible at doing nothing, at simply being. They want something complicated and involved to occupy their minds with, they want to have a feeling of achievement, they want a sense of heroics, of having overcome obstacles. They want to get somewhere and to be Somebody, a la Brando’s character in On the Waterfront.

Most people work eight plus hours a day, not including commute-time, and all of the other time built around simply getting ready for and decompressing from the workday. This is an unnatural situation which leaves people exhausted, and with far too little leisure time to be able to devote to inner work and investigation of their being. Add to this the strain and labor involved in raising children, in maintaining relationships with their partners, in navigating all of the complexities one need deal with in contemporary society, and the result is that most are simply exhausted by the time they get around to figuring out how to spend their leisure opportunities. People quite understandably would prefer to catch up on sleep, or to numb or distract themselves with intoxicants and media entertainment than to meditate or spend time in contemplation.

Most people have been taught that we live in a sterile, unenchanted  world. Ideas and experiences concerning he Divine have been thoroughly exorcised, swept under the rug and repressed, so that we can then feel as if everything is under control and that the deity of Science will solve any problems and be able to explain away any loose ends. Most people are embarrassed to admit to devotional or religious feelings, for fear of coming off as some sort of superstitious bumpkin or worse yet, mentally unstable. As a result the incredible power effected by devotion to God or representations of enlightened mind is not taken advantage of so that one might be aided along the path.




There is a basic assumption many of us hold which partly expects, in the process of beginning to seriously dedicate ourselves to spiritual practice, or in making a commitment to work on (and hopefully with!) ourselves psychologically, or in immersing ourselves in any general sort of inner work, that our lives and habitual dispositions will quickly become purified of all of the unpleasant and chaotic aspects that we have for so long become accustomed to living with (and which in fact were probably responsible for driving us onto such a path in the first place). So it comes as something of a surprise when we are earnestly engaging in practice and our lives seem to become even more chaotic and our minds even more unpleasant environments to hang out in all day. Or even for five minutes straight.

This is not to say that there are not moments of great bliss, of wonderful revelations, of experiencing more love within us and as us than we ever had thought possible. Part of what pulls us along on our path is the experience of such sublime moments. However, it may happen that at other times we find ourselves being positively squeezed by life … that we are going crazy, or that despite all of our best intentions we are continually making others and ourselves unhappy, or that our vasanas are springing forth with a previously unknown frequency and fury!

What are we doing wrong, then? As it turns out, in most cases we are doing nothing wrong. It is simply natural that when we begin to place attention on areas of the psyche that we have previously put a great deal of energy into avoiding over the years, (e.g., our fears, our deep lusts, any of our heretofore repressed shadow aspects) that Things will end up being stirred up in the process. And because our psyches are so intimately connected with the apparent world “out there”, it is inevitable that situations may manifest in our lives which play upon the resultant stirring-up that our spiritual practice has initiated.

It is similar to cleaning out a dusty attic or a long-neglected basement storage area. Once we start moving things around, seeing what’s buried among the piles of crap, and deciding what to throw out, what to clean and rescue, what to keep or rehabiliate, it’s sort of  inevitable that the process will be a messy one. After all, we are stirring up cobwebs, dust, layers of mildew … heck, we might even send a mouse or two scurrying about. Or we could discover that some bats have made the area into a lounge of sorts for their friends and family.

A cooking metaphor is apt here as well. If we have a pot filled with water sitting on a stove, then all is calm. But after we pitch the heat up, we will eventually see frantic bubbling, steam, and a great deal of heat will be created, such that we can become badly burnt if we were to grab onto the sides of the pot without wearing oven mitts or some other form of protection. In some cases the water might even boil over and make something of a mess on the stovetop, or even extinguish the flame.

Similarly we might think of childbirth. Pregnancy itself is a lengthy, inconvenient process. Sometimes we wake up in the morning and become physically ill. The pain of being in labor is excruciating and intense. When the baby finally does emerge, it is covered in blood and fluids, and the umbilical cord must be sliced away. The baby itself is crying and somewhat horrified to be out in the world, naked. “Here we go again… noooooooooo…” Yet this is how we are incarnated, how our spirits are brought into the physical world so that we may commence introducing more love and beauty into the scene here on planet Earth. Somehow a seemingly very unpleasant and painful process has led to great beauty and love, as when a mother looks into her child’s eyes for the very first time.

So this big squeeze, the sense that life is conspiring to drive us just about crazy is not an indication that we are doing things horribly wrong. More likely it is an indication that we are being cooked, that we are finally cleaning house, that we are undergoing a process that will ultimately give birth to something extremely beautiful. Rather than panicking, it is a call to surrender even further to the Divine. “Not my will be done, but Thine.” If we truly surrender to the reality that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnisicent, and most importantly, all-loving, (“omniphilic”???) then we can relax, even though we may feel that we are being squeezed and that things are falling apart around us to some degree. We may then proceed about our day, in humility and gratitude, and leave it to the Higher Good to work things out. Inevitably we find that Love, being the principle force in the universe, will have its way.

Most of us grow up encouraged by a society which places a naive faith in the powers of thought. Which is to say that we believe that in large part the way to achieve happiness or any of our ostensible goals in life is best accomplished by merely thinking our way to our desires’ ends, as if life were perhaps merely a series of math problems or engineering problems to sort through. One obvious hole in this assumption is that even the world of math and the so-called hard sciences do not rely strictly upon analytical thought. Intuition and other irrational and even completely inexplicable methods are used to arrive at solutions to problems in these fields. We are all familiar with the story of James Watson dreaming of two intertwined snakes which subsequently led him to the idea of the double helix… or simply of our own realizations while taking time away from a problem and stepping into the shower, or taking a long walk.

Nevertheless we have been made to believe that rational thought is somehow the summum bonum of human activity and that the ideal approach to most any seeming problem is to think our way through it. Obviously this may be true in many instances. If I am heading across town and want to get from point a to destination b in the quickest way possible, then it behooves me to consult the time tables for the train or bus and then to puzzle out which route would be the most efficient one for me to take. However, even in so straightforward-seeming a case, irrational elements invariably will come into play. For instance, maybe we will remember that a friend had a recent awful experience on the train which would provide the shortest journey, and so we will be inspired to take an alternate route which will involve a longer time in transit. Or maybe we will have a strong intuition to avoid a certain bus route, and in taking an alternate one we end up running into an old friend that we haven’t seen in some years. These things happen on a regular basis, but I think we tend to downplay our own native gifts of intuition and the degree to which our psyche meshes with the apparent external world “out there”.

I think (ironic using that phrase here!) that any spiritual practice inevitably involves a progressive realization as to the limits of thinking and the powers of the rational mind. While we are conditioned in our society to champion the virtues of the type of intelligence we associate with IQ measurements, and to regard such intelligence as being one of the most valuable and important traits that we can have as human beings, in reality such an emphasis on immersion in the purely cerebral ignores and also presents a limiting viewpoint of so much of what makes us valuable as human and spiritual beings.

For instance, although I suppose in theory one might be able to think their way towards love, based on a theological treatise, or say a Buddhist text which reasons out just why we should be compassionate and practice loving-kindness, in reality love is causeless,and in the end has very little to do with any thinking process. In fact, the thinking process merely gets in the way of and poses obstructions to the divine current and its all-surrounding healing power and energies of love. As it turns out, all of the things which block love are based in thoughts — e.g., resentment, stubborness, reluctance to forgive ourselves and others, and so on. At the same time, when we actually experience Love on a deep level, our minds feel at once calm and peaceful — precisely because our thoughts, our activity of mind has begun to slow down and space has opened up in which we may experience our inherent peaceful and loving nature.

The experience of faith is obviously another one that is hampered by thinking, or at least by over-thinking. Doubt is an activity of mind which never really serves any good, at least when applied to the issue of belief in beneficent spiritual powers. Doubt is a basic saying of “no” to life, to the paths of our lives, to the idea that we are at bottom supported by a beneficent universe. And Doubt’s partner Worry similarly serves only to obstruct healing forces in our lives. The healing force of love is not something that can be stopped; however it can be temporarily blocked. One of our tasks as sādhakas is to remove the blocks which prevent us from being open to the energies of love and healing in our lives. Somehow thinking our way along this task will not quite get us there. We need to love our way there, and to let go of our constant flurry of unnecessary and unhelpful mind activity, and to begin to open to the love and grace that is always present.

A common reaction to downplaying or even discouraging the role of too much (supposedly!) rational thought is to fear that one will end up as a jellyfish, or a piece of driftwood. How will I be able to make decisions, to formulate a coherent shopping or laundry list or to solve problems at work if I am not thinking? For starters, eliminating thought is not the idea here. We will always be perfectly capable of performing necessary life tasks and of having interesting conversations, or doing just about anything else we care to have our minds help us do. The idea here is to recognize and surrender to the realization of the limitations of the mind, and to realize just how much of our thought is unnecessary or downright unhelpful. As this process continues, the more egregious and repetitive nature of our mind’s chatter will gradually subside, and we will naturally begin to sink into a more peaceful place while we go about the day performing our life tasks. In fact, we will be able to take care of our obligations even more skillfully, precisely because our minds will no longer be as chaotic or cluttered.

Peace. Whereas there is such war everywhere, all the time. Life needn’t be a huge fight all the time. Or at all. Peace is the absence of that struggle. The absence of defense. Why do we go into loving relationships, even, as if they were a theater of war that we must gear up for?

The way that I’ve approached my life has involved war, constant war. No peace. Dissatisfaction with my mind, dissatisfaction with reality, the way things are. It needn’t be so. Peace is here and now. The entire world is actually made out of love, is simply a reflection, an extension of our heart;  however in our ignorance we actually build an alternate, superimposed world out of fear, we construct it entirely out of our fears.

An incredible emphasis on defendedness renders all of us scarred, before we even set foot into “battle”. Why have we turned intimate relationships, ostensibly the setting of and vehicle for love, into a theater of war? Our duty in this world as the body-minds that we are associated with is to incarnate further love into the world. This is nigh impossible however, as long as we are so defended. A rigid defendedness implies an expectation of and preparedness for war, for battle. But there is no battle aside from the one that we in fact perpetuate through our own habitual strategies of defendedness. Take inspiration from Paul Reps, and live and believe that the war is over, and in fact it is only you that is perpetuating it. War is over! Peace is all that there is.

We can and should take seriously the insistence of Jesus that “in my house there are many mansions”. This is true on many levels — not just in the sense that God invites our souls to all of us as well as to God, but also in the sense that there is room enough for both our materialistic as well as other needs and wishes in this immediate world in general. It makes no difference to God; in fact God is only concerned with teaching us how to love, and other boring stuff like that. But if it need be the case to lead us to investing more of ourselves in that curriculum, then God is more than happy to give us whatever our hearts may desire.

This may sound very Pollyanna-ish, and to be sure, there are diverse interpretations of Jesus’ and other sages’ insistence on and assurance of God’s generosity, but, if one acknowledges one’s own native and eternal relationship with God, and desires to love God, (i.e., acknowledges the basic sense of love in oneself) then one will be embarrassingly blessed. That is the price of acknowledging one’s relationship to infinity. Mind you, the caveat of “be careful what you wish for” always applies. This is not any sort of curse, but rather a blanket acknowledgment that limited things will never truly satisfy our souls.

We are tempted to think at times of material things as somehow “wrong” or offenses against the Divine, but rather, we should think that it is an offense to harbor the notion the Divine would not love to give us everything that we long for, or put alternatively, that, simply having everything we can think of can ever truly satisfy us.