Saturday, July 30, 2011
Take Two: Notes from the Field and the Story
"One of the prices of being struck sane is that we can expect precious little agreement from the world. This is the case of the drunkard attempting sobriety, and it is also the case of the mystic who steps aside from the rush toward better dreaming and into actual Clarity. In both cases the sacrifice is seen in hindsight as insignificant in comparison to its rich rewards."
I think sometimes this blog will consist of "formal" teaching essays, like the one I opened with last night, sometimes a "looser" talking, and at others, just quick comments or pointers like the one directly above.
Of course I'm guessing. I'm noticing an already developing pattern, and then coming in behind that noticing and saying that an "I" here is deliberating over what an "I" is going to do instead of telling the truth. The truth is that the most I can do is report on what has already happened, or make a guess about what might happen.
I am as much in the dark about what will fill these pages as you are. Neither one of us is running the show, although both of us are watching the show from the very same space.
I have gone off on a tangent. This is not what I came to report. (This tendency to wander off-task is a habit, perhaps a bad habit, but I'm not trying to break it, so we will likely see a lot of it.) At any rate, I came to write this post's opening comment, and then to say "Thank you!" to a few people. These people have helped to prove that no statement, including the one above about 'precious little agreement from the world' is ever true. It is a position, but it is not the truth.
Regardless of my position on any subject, if I am willing to tell myself the truth, I can always find another position that is equally as true, or even more true than my own. Once the devilishly unstable nature of positions is seen--yours or mine--I cease to place so much credence in them.
Let me try to get on with this thank-you-thing before I forget all about it.
My wife, best friend, and constant-tweaker, Betsy Hackett-Davis, has already come forth with both encouragement and suggestions on how to improve the look of this thing. She is my Heart of Hearts, and has better taste than I do, so you (and she) can be sure that I'll be listening. Her job here is making our world more beautiful, and she is very, very good at it. Perhaps I will love her more than I do right now, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, when my capacity to love has grown, as it seems to be doing daily. At the moment, I'm all full up!
My wonderful teacher, Scott Kiloby, sent a kind note within hours of my first posting here. Scott has been incredibly generous and patient with me over the past year, gently pulling the rug out from underneath me whenever and wherever I took a firm stand. I found my teacher completely by accident (the actual odds of us coming together were of course no more or no less than 100%) through a linked-recommendation by Amazon.
The first passage I read in his daily meditation book, Reflections of the One Life, was enough to send me back to the computer to find his others (Love's Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search and the very well received e-book, website, and ongoing experiment, Living Realization). I knew immediately that I had found my one-on-one teacher. It took a little while longer for Scott to find that out! Especially helpful to me in washing the looking glass of Awakeness are one-on-one telephone conversations with Scott, and Web-based group meetings that fly the Living Realization banner.
I had not planned on doing so, but find that I cannot not mention Adyashanti, who is a bright light for both Scott and me, but Adya's personal accessibility has an inverse relationship with his renown. He is a great Buddha to whom I bow with deep gratitude for his humility, patience and kindness in dealing with this arrogant and thick-headed student. His website is a treasure trove of wisdom.
I also heard overnight from another author whose work has been particularly key to any understanding there might be here, and whose personal integrity and generosity have meant so much to me. As ever, he was quick and kind in telling me about his assessment of my initial posting on "Awakening Clarity". That author is James Braha. If you have not read Living Reality: My Amazing Summer with Sailor Bob Adamson, then you are missing out on, to quote the title of my own Amazon review, "The New Benchmark of Advaita". I give it--and James--my highest accolade. You get a great story while also benefiting from exposure to that pillar of Nonduality, Sailor Bob Adamson. ((James, send this along to Bob, would you, please?))
Another unexpected thank you: I would be entirely remiss if I did not express my deep gratitude to my friend Michael Jeffreys who years ago in an email whispered two words to a careening seeker that totally reoriented the map of my life. He said only, "Eckhart Tolle." Years later, we have many more mutual friends, but he always seems to be a step ahead! I'm glad of that, because he continues to point the way for me.
It seems this has turned into an over-long acceptance speech at the Oscars. Do forgive it. But my gratitude pours out like a river, and it will not be contained. Eckhart Tolle needs my approval like a polar bear needs an overcoat. Ditto with Byron Katie. But Eckhart saved this life and Katie shaped it.
Dear Ramesh Balsekar passed away last year, but not before he became a seminal influence in my apparent development. It is seen now that Ken Wilber was the first teacher to really break through the dream trance with his Kosmic Consciousness CD set from Sounds True. (Thank you, Tami Simon!) Amazon tells me I bought it in January of 2006. Amazon says that Adyashanti's Spontaneous Awakening, also from Sounds True, was bought one month later, in February. The trance would be thoroughly broken in September of that same year, but only through the grace of incredible suffering.
Tricia, wherever you are, and Tammy-in-Portland, thank you for helping me stay alive long enough to find Home. Thank you, Mr. Mike and Charlie N., for hauling me out of Mt. Tabor City Park, where I found myself living in the bushes in 1998. Thanks, Neil, for holding my hand while I learned how to be a real book dealer, which is my dream vocation.
This blog would not be being written, nor would this life be being enjoyed, were it not for the Bodhisattva Bill Wilson. The yin to his precious yang was Dr. Bob Smith. Thank you for everything I have, sweet gentlemen. In that same vein, I thank the roughly hewn saint, Lloyd S. Thank you, sir, for saving my life. I love and respect you and you are the best at what you do.
And last, special thanks to, Janwillem van de Wetering, whom I was so pleased to be able to thank prior to his passing in 2008. He gave me my first big hints about what was really available. I bow to Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi, Philip Kapleau-Roshi, Ganga-ji, Gandhi-ji, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, and most especially, I kneel and bow to the Twin Treasures of the Teaching: Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj.
There. We're done. Until we're not.