I was quite taken with the idea put forward by David Hodges about nonduality being the “open source” version of modern spirituality in yesterday’s NDH:
Just because you are a smart person, steeped in technology, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a deep spiritual connection. Just because your rational brain rejects what you see as the mythologies on the trash heap of spiritual history, doesn’t mean that you can’t construct a viable alternative.
The hacker’s path is now, at this time in history, the one to watch. And NonDuality is the spiritual hacker’s Open Source operating system.
There are many paths to God.
I quite enjoyed reading about the “intentional community” that he has developed, especially with respect to the makeup of the community’s weekly meetings and their consensus-based approach to solving problems and making decisions. Fascinating stuff; I trust there’s a book in there somewhere. I also appreciated David’s description of what surrender means to him, and how that sets a certain context for his own inner drive and his interpersonal relationships:
When faced with oppositional energy from someone or some situation I try non-resistance, the way a martial artist might. Then the oppositional energy often is deflated or transformed into something good.
Surrender also means I stopped having anything to prove. I stopped trying to perfect myself. I prefer to be whole, with a lot of flaws, then to aspire to perfection, which is a recipe for making oneself crazy. Surrendering the personal will means opening up to the incredible manifestation power of the universe. So many things have manifested for me at the right time, that trying to exert will to make them happen seems pointless.
I posted something on Facebook this week about focusing our attention on what’s going well on our lives, as opposed to focusing our attention on what needs to be fixed. I’ve been developing a hypothesis relative to the obesity support groups I participate in, based on the idea that many of us (especially the disregulated eaters among us) have a constant narrative running through our minds that we’re not good enough, that we’ll never be able to control our urges, and that we don’t deserve to be healthy, well-adjusted people.
Mindfulness = a clear awareness of what is really happening in this very moment.
It can be difficult to maintain mindfulness if you perceive that what you’re doing is wrong. It’s painful to sit and camp out on the feelings that arise from thinking about what you’re doing wrong in this life, or what isn’t going properly.
So I say, don’t do that. Don’t devote any mental energy towards whatever in your life is NOT going right.
Reflect over and over on anything and everything you’ve done since you woke up today that is GOOD. There is almost always more of that than the bad, although it’s more common for us to think otherwise…
The post inspired some commentary from folks who don’t seem to believe that we’re intrinsically GOOD inside. I had a similar experience at a support group run by a clinical psychologist who simply refused to accept my premise that we might be able to recover from our emotional eating habits by looking inward and accepting ourselves wholly for who we are, flaws and all, and learning to trust our own true instincts about how, what and when to eat.
In closing, I’d like to highlight an issue of Mark’s from earlier this year that I marked at the time as being particularly good. It focuses on recognizing your own intrinsic goodness, how to be happy, and how to recognize the unsubstantial nature of the stories we tell ourselves. Please enjoy.
Issue #4864, Saturday/Sunday, March 16/17, 2013
“Why is everyone here so happy except me?”
“Because they have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere,” said the Master.
“Why don’t I see goodness and beauty everywhere?”
“Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.”
– Anthony de Mello
Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine… Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sunlike, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful.
You see persons and things not as they are but as you are.
– Anthony de Mello
At this time in our present history we have the ability to be conscious of the stories we have been taught and how they define us, as well as the stories we unquestionably have believed about who another is. And we can take responsibility for the result. We can marvel when we discover that the stories of previously demonized others (enemies) are as beautiful and multi-layered as our own. We mature when we see that some of the stories cherished as the foundation of a culture are revealed to be flimsy and insubstantial and sometimes outright false. One generation’s true and defining story can be proved to be a lie in the next generation. Stories that celebrate freedom and revolution against tyranny can turn on themselves and become stories of reigns of terror.
We recognize the location of the story in our flesh and emotions. From this recognition choice is born. We have most often either chosen to continue the given story or to rebel against that story. Naturally we have been thrilled to discover that we can choose to live a different story, one we feel more in alignment with. There is yet another choice. We have the capacity to take a moment and release all stories. We can experience what it means to be nobody.
Underneath all the stories, we can experience that deep core of ourselves that is historyless, genderless and parentless. That presence is unencumbered by relationships and has no past and no future. In the core of our beingness we are free of definitions. Unencumbered by our definitions we experience ourselves as conscious intelligence aware of itself as open, endless space. This instant of being storyless is an instant of freedom. For even if our story is filled with light and beauty, to the degree that we define ourselves through that story, we are less free.
After such a moment, stories are never the same. They can be present, as they most likely will be, but they no longer have inherent power to define us. The inner wealth that is available to us is then not limited or augmented by particular inner or outer events. While the personality or the “creatureness” of each individual continues just as stories continue, the underlying awareness, the true “I” has come home to itself.
– Gangaji from Hidden Treasure: Uncovering The Truth In Your Life Story
Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!
– Anthony de Mello, from Awareness
The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.
– Ram Dass