Friday, October 23, 2009


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What is the imaginary story you have concocted that you call your life? The mind writes the plot – and you are ALWAYS cast in the starring role – The Romantic Lover: a Romance; The Rejected Lover: a Tragedy; the Successful Entrepreneur: a Hero’s Journey; the Failed Businesswoman: another boring Tragedy; the Silent Mystic: A Drama (by Ingmar Bergman; too dreary for words); the New Age seeker: A Comedy of the Absurd.

This relative life is consciousness in motion; the events and the roles change; the scriptwriter (or spin doctor) interprets the facts to create a plausible storyline that leaves you always the hero; the mega movie star of your own invention. The supporting characters play their roles perfectly. (In their own imaginations, of course, they are the stars of their own shows and you are the bit part player.) This imaginary invention of the unfolding Story of You is told through the genre of a fictional documentary; with a handheld video camera recording the ups and downs and accompanying narratation as the story unfolds. Like most home video productions, much of what is filmed is simply inconsequential and boring – sparked with a few dramatic or comic moments, downplayed or amplified, re-lived again and again through retelling. Can you see that you are the author of the narrative of your life? Can you see that you are the spin doctor, selecting and interpreting the “facts” to paint yourself in the hero’s role?

What happens when the narrator stops narrating? What happens when the spin doctor stops doctoring the facts? Just for a moment – let the story stop; let the narration cease. Look. What remains?

in the open window
a bright moon
croaking frogs
-- Issa

Life – with all its forms, shapes, colours, textures, sounds – just is. Life unfolds – with no conscious effort; silence is punctuated with the sound of the egyptian geese calling; darkness gives way to the bright rays of the sun; the blank white screen on the computer is filled with black typed words. From this vantage point, everything is a mystery, a fascination. What might happen next in this narrator-less show? A spider crawls across the beige carpet. A cup of coffee is sipped. The phone rings, a voice says “hello” – the response comes easily, naturally, playing the role that is required for a time.

There is no stream of thought binding the flow of feeling, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling into something fixed or solid. The fictional “you” is absent – removed from the scene. There is just what is. When the noisy, contracted, suffering, separate "you" is removed, the natural empty spaciousness of everything reveals itself; hidden in plain sight.

On a rock in the rapids
a fallen camellia.
-- Miura Yuzuru

This poem, by the poet Hakuin captures the essence of these postings:

The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He'll never give up.
If he'd let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.

Can you see that your fascination with the entrancing story of yourself is a hook that traps you? “There is no truth in this farce,” says Maharaj. Can You see that your efforts to change yourself, to improve the world, to reach some goal of enlightenment are all volitional actions in the relative? You are the monkey reaching for the moon in water. These efforts are simply generating new roles, new plotlines in the story of your particular human life, new scripts for the narrator to read out. Stop!

Who Are You in the absence of a narrative that creates continuity and casts you in the starring role?

Who Are You when you drop the efforts to become?

Who Are You beyond the form, shape, colour and texture of relative life?

Who Are You?

Give up. Surrender. Let go of the branch and disappear in the deep pool.

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

(For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – that guide You from the temporary fluctuating relative stance to abidance as Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog.)

Comments / clarifications may be sent to – a temporary email address available for the duration of these guest postings.

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