Monday, November 13, 2017

How to be in the NOW --o-- (very practical steps)

"The NOW, the NOW, .... everyone tells me to be in the NOW !"
Felix put his cup down and looked at Orion.
"..but HOW ? How do I get into the NOW ?
I am running around like crazy, I have a 101 things to do and all I get is ONE more thing to do: be mindful of everything else. Geezz. 
I don't get it."
Felix exhaled, leaned back and shook his head.
Orion looked for something on his right, then held up a fresh pot of tea, a question on his face.
A spicy cinnamon and clove smell pervaded the cave.
Felix nodded and pushed his cup across the table.
Orion looked at him: "Oh my god, I should be doing the accounts but I'm surfing the net, I should be doing a thousand things and its all too much and I'm trying like crazy but I'll never get there.... arrragghhhh. 
Is that about it ?"
"Yep that's about how it goes," Felix smiled for the first time since he had entered the master's cave.


He stood up, walked over to the ledge. The dusty wind from the great sea of sand, Umi-Jabour, blew strongly and whistled on its way up the cliff face where Orion's cave lay. He looked down, four hundred meters below him , rocks and white bleached twigs. The bones of those who had fallen.
Why was Orion the only one who didn't put in a window or a guard rail ?
He turned and faced Orion, "I'm sick of it. Sick of living like that." 
Felix returned to his cushion, and the cup of steaming spicy tea, "how do you do it ?" he asked Orion, "you are the Abbot of the oldest tradition and you are always calm.  
Are you just good at keeping it all inside ?" 
Orion chuckled, "no, if I kept it inside I would have exploded long ago." 
"So what do you do ?" 
"Be honest." 

"About what ?" 
"About the moment you are in NOW." 
"I am here with you." 
"And you feel pulled to finish the work you promised Arthur, and you are in a hurry because you left your post to come here and talk to me and you don't want anyone to find out." 
"Uhhmm.... yes, yes, exactly."
"That is the condition you are in NOW. 
How can you be here," Orion tapped the table with his cup,"if you don't include all ?"
"Because I shouldn't even be here taking time to talk to you !" 
"Ok so include that too... that's part of the NOW." 
Orion leaned back looked out at the vast sand dunes stretching to the horizon and thousands of miles further on. Eagles soared past the cave.
"My master used to tell me, "acknowledge your condition in the NOW and you will have peace."
He looked at Felix, "I used to sit where you are now," he smiled, "and I used to argue with him even more than you."
Orion rarely talked about his master, Felix waited quietly, hoping he would say more.
"He used to tell me:  It is not your problems themselves,  it isn't the conflicts in your life, and it isn't even the misunderstandings which create this turmoil in your soul, it isn't any of those things.
Can you guess what it was ?" Orion looked up at Felix.
"... not facing the situation I am in NOW ?"
"Yes, true, but there is more.  What does 'not facing' mean? "
"It means.... not looking at the truth.... running away."
"Exactly, ...... but ....  running from ?" Orion looked at his visitor intensely.
"The problems and conflicts ?"
Orion shook his head, "can you go deeper ?"
"Myself."
"Exactly, running from ourselves."
Orion chuckled.
"Do you run from yourself ?"
"If you mean, distracting myself and never staying still ?"
"Yes, that's it. Good way to put it."
Orion narrowed his eyes and smiled, "Let's go even deeper: Why do we run from ourselves ?"
"Fear ? It would have to be fear."
"Yes. And what are we afraid of ?"
Felix looked out at the desert. Some of the windriders were training in the afternoon breeze.
"We fear ourselves."

"Why?"
Felix shrugged, "that's as far I got. I could never figure out the reason.
"You are almost there."
"Because there is a terrible thing within us ? is that it ?"
"Yes," Orion's smile was wide and happy.
"Is there ? Is there a terrible thing within us ?"
"What do you think ? "
"Yes, I think so. We need to keep a lid on it, keep things orderly and have rules and regulations, otherwise chaos will break loose."
"So then we really should run from ourselves, shouldn't we ?"
"I know, you have a better answer, " Felix knew the master well enough.
Orion leaned forward, "tell me, if we are basically terrible and fake, we have every reason to run from ourselves. Don't we ?"
Felix nodded, "ok, but what if we aren't ?"
"Yes, good point. If we aren't then we are running from a phantom, an illusion, a bogey man."
"So are we or aren't we terrible ? Is the real me really corrupt and terrible and needs to be restrained by civilization ?"
Orion shrugged leaned back and sipped more tea.
Felix likewise leaned back against the cave wall,"you won't tell me, will you?"
"There is no point."
"Why ? It would help me tremendously to know the answer."
Orion shook his head, "no, actually it wouldn't. You would walk out of here and think you knew something, and think you had the truth."
"But I would !" Felix said louder than he intended.
"No, you would have my truth, not your truth."
Felix sighed and rolled his eyes.
"I'm not playing word games," Orion smiled and stood up.
"Surely there is one truth, about this question."
Orion pushed at wall behind him, it was a long dividing wall that could be pushed into the rock behind.
"There is one truth about everything and that is:  It is your truth, and your's alone.
That is the only truth that matters in this case.
Find it.
If you really want peace, find it."
Felix stood up and followed the master into the next room, a great hall. From the ceiling hung three large gliders.
Orion unfastened one of them from its suspensendors in the ceiling and gently guided it to the launching rail.
"How ?"
" The same way you get into the NOW.
That same path leads you to find the truth of your BEing."
Orion strapped himself in and grabbed the line that would open the sliding window of hangar.
He looked at Felix, waiting for him to speak.
"You mean 'acknowledge my inner reality in the NOW' ?"
"Yes exactly,  and you will have peace."
"What if I find I AM terrible, and it is true that I am a corrupt cesspool of  evil ?"
"That question is why most of us humans don't want to know."
"But you know."
"You have to know for yourself, deeply fully beyond what anyone else says. That is the path to your true self, to your BEing."
"I'm not sure."
"That is fine.
It is honest. Acknowledge it.
You can only find yourself if you really truly want to know the truth, no matter what it is, and you are determined to face it, regardless."
"If I want the truth within myself above everything else ?"
Orion smiled, "and if you don't,  -- yet, --  then be honest... about that.
You cannot force yourself to desire the truth above all else, until you DO desire it genuinely from the depth of your soul."
"When, how can I ..... ?"
Orion shook his head, smiled and pulled open the door.
"It's a wonderful day to fly.... take the first step, the others will follow.... "
His glider shot forward and down, unclipped it itself and flew free into the evening breeze coming in from Umi-Jabour.
- Tengra Ngiam,
  Xylantheum.
  13.11.2017




The above was inspired by the writings:  Love: Not a Commandment, But Spontaneous Soul Movement of the Inner Self  ---  in the Pathwork Lecture series number  133
Especially this article below (from Lec133) was seminal:
The acknowledgement of the immediate now is still not sufficiently understood and is often overlooked by the majority of my friends. 

Whenever you acknowledge the truth of each moment, you will be in peace, regardless of how much disturbance and unreality still exist in you as conditions to be gradually eliminated. 
                           Fully acknowledging your condition in the now must give you peace. 
So please understand and do not forget:  It is not the problem itself, nor the conflict, nor even the misconception which create turmoil in your soul, but it is your running away from yourself. 
                        Your not being in the immediate now, your fighting and struggling against it in an unconstructive way, causes so much soul-hardship.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Inner realities: Anger (part1)


Arthur pushed aside the thick curtain impatiently
Ah good, Orion was in.
He jerked the curtain fully open and stood waiting for the old master to notice him.
Orion looked up from the intricate device he was working on, his eyes lingered a moment on Arthur. Then he waved him to the cushions on the other side of the table.
"Master, I want to hit someone. I'm  REALLY angry.."  


"Ok."
"Ok ? You think it's ok ?"
Orion looked  at  Arthur, looked out at the desert  on his right and nodded.
He took a small piece of copper foil, bent it and attached it to others on the delicate looking structure.
"But you don't think it's ok," he looked up at  Arthur briefly, picked up the delicate device and held it out  against the  morning  light.
The air from the Sea  of Sand  whistled  past  the open  mouth of his cave, carrying the particularly dry pungent  scent of the desert in these northern parts.
"No I don't. I mean yes I do, I'm so furious with her. I just want to scream at her."
"But you came here instead."
"Yes."
"Why?"
"I shouldn't be this  angry should I ?"
Orion looked at him.
"You  are this  angry."
"But I shouldn't be......right  ?"
"Why not ?"
"You ask me 'why' ?"  Arthur took a deep  breath, spreading out his  arms in exasperation.
"You taught  me to be mindful to be calm, to observe my thoughts....and  now you ask me why I shouldn't be angry?"
Orion eyes flashed.
"I asked  you to be aware, to observe, not to force calmness where there is fire."
"I don't understand."
Orion stared at Arthur, "you are furious, yes ?"
"yes."
"So observe that."
"But I'm sooo damn angry!"
"So? Are you trying to be calm or to observe ?"
"Humm... . "
"Calm may come eventually, but it's not what you DO."
"I know I'm not meant to judge, but I wanna  scream at her. I can't help feeling: Isn't it wrong to be this angry ?"
"Are you trying not to judge ?"
"Yes, but I can't."  
"Observe the judgement," Orion again looked at Arthur intensely, "Observe the  ' I'm so angry feeling...'."
"I'm just confused."
"Observe that. It is what IS."
"What  ? I don't get it."
"Whatever is, IS. There is nothing to DO, nothing to fix, nothing to clean and make presentable."
Orion turned the thing he'd been working on around very carefully, examining it, poking it here and there with a small metal rod..
Arthur stood up and  walked to the  edge of the cave looking down past his feet, six hundred and fifty meters to the rocky ground. 


In centuries past, many people had  "fallen" to their death from these caves. White bones, death and vultures had covered the bottom.  Now only grave markers lined the bottom.
That was when it had been the prison fortress of Ur-Ani-Ya. A place of such death and despair, - the scars were still healing five hundred years later.
Ur-Ani-Ya had mysteriously vanished, suddenly imploded in the last days of the month of Wendurath, 3178.
It was a mystery for five hundred years, until 3548, when the diaries of Aer-il-hambara, Chancellor of the house of Aer-Ayrus were found.
They were found deep in the cave system of Serianna, where the ancient fortress of Ur-Ani-Ya had stored its energy.
Now everyone knew the story of Aer-il-hambara the black eyed Aesinth, who had destroyed Ur-Ani-Ya, the most powerful fortress - and herself as well.

Arthur was sick of hearing it again again. The families of the the house of Aer-Ayrus knew nothing else to talk about.
He looked down.
"AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!"
Arthur's face turned red and beads of sweat gathered on his forehead, "I hate you."
He took  another deep  breath and stared at Umi-Jabour, the greatest desert in history, the Great Sea of Sand.  
Eagles soared past them on the updraft.
He turned around, looking at  Orion who was  still busy turning that thing he was working on from side to side and examining it very closely.
"Better ?" he asked without looking up.
"No!"
Arthur sat down.
Orion looked at him, hid a smile, and  pushed the delicate structure to the side. He pulled out a bowl of dates from the shelf behind him and put it on the  table between them.
"I haven't really progressed  at all," Arthur took a  date,  "I just destroyed a year of practice  by getting  angry like that."
Orion shook his head, "you didn't. Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit".
Arthur frowned at the strange words, but let it pass.
"Calmness is not the aim, it's the result. If you aim for calmness you will not find it. You will get tight brittle control and more tension."
Orion spread his hands, "that's my experience. You may  be different."
He smiled and shrugged.
"So what, it's just the old 'observe, don't judge' mantra again, is that it ?"
Orion nodded, "yep, that's it,"  reached over to his right and  brought  out a steaming pot of tea.
"Even when I'm furious ?"  Arthur asked..
Orion nodded, "even  when I'm furious as hell. When I don't want to stop. I accept that. I watch it, I embrace it with love."
Arthur stared at Orion," are you joking ?"
Orion stared at Arthur, "wherever you are, take a step back. Look and see the 'me  that does not want to see'."
In another voice altogether Orion continued, "I see the resistance that never wants to give in, I see the hate that wants to murder...
I see and I observe."


"Wow," Arthur sat back exhaling deeply, shaking his head, "wow."
"Why ? You think some things are excluded from the oneness ?"
"I'm not supposed to, but, yes."
"That's honest," Orion smiled, "whatever you exclude, judge, cut off - you make it your enemy, you give it more power."
"Can't I win ?"
"Yes, if you will pay the price."
"What's the price ?"
"That another will win over you."
"No I mean win finally, total victory."
Orion took a deep breath, looked at Arthur for a long time.
"You mean win once and for all, always on top, always king ?"
Arthur squirmed uncomfortably, "I guess so".
"Why ?"
"To be King forever, to be safe forever."
"And others ? To be your 'subjects' forever ?"
"OK, you got me."
Orion shook his head, "no, I don't want to 'get you'.
Winning over the 'bad guy', is the illusion that keeps the endless fight going. Each side fighting for goodness, purity and safety through the annihilation of the other,... " he opened his hands, pointing his head to the desert on his right, "you get endless war."

The desert, Umi-Jabour, had been created in the greatest war the ancients had ever fought, over three thousand years ago. Their civilization had ended.
The continental plate had split, land had dropped, land had risen, and the cliff Orion's cave was carved from, had emerged.
"Yet each side only sought safety from the other...." Orion sighed.
He pushed a cup of tea in Arthur's direction, and they both leaned back.  
"The question is," Orion smiled his upside down smile, " what do you want most ? Safety or being in control ?"
"I would be safe by being in control, having the power behind me."
"Hmmm....," Orion looked at Arthur, "you can answer that one yourself, does power and control lead to safety ?"
Arthur  shook his head, "true safety comes from within yourself, - knowing that you can look after yourself better than anyone or anything."
Orion chuckled, "a textbook answer, but we'll let it stand."
Arthur sipped his tea, looked out at the Sea of Sand. A few windriders were circling in the updraft, Ari sensei and his students.
He faced Orion, "ok, let's say I have the power and the control: I am king forever, I am safe."
"Safe from what ?"
"From being powerless."
"So you have power and control just to have it, for its own sake ?"
"No, not quite. I have it to be safe."
"Safe from what ? Pain ? Death ? Unhappiness ? An assassin ?"
Arthur nodded.
Orion chuckled...., "we humans have tried that path over and over again. And fortunately it doesn't work."
"Why ?"
"It's not how reality is made. I can't explain to you 'why'. You just know it in your bones."
"And if you don't ?"
"Then you join those who try that path over and over again... until you truly know."
Orion sipped his tea, slowly lost in thought.
Arthur watched him.
The master's eyes moved to his visitor, "...and isn't that what we're here for ? To learn, to know - through experience ?"
Arthur was surprised at the question.
He had expected the usual insights and the masters touch.
They looked at each other.
Orion sighed, and hummed a tune from a well known song:
"Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.."

Arthur looked at Orion, a long time.
He was different these days.
"Tea ?" Orion pushed the pot of spicy tea towards his visitor.
Arthur poured himself a fresh cup.
"You came here to ask, 'what do I do with the rage, my murderous feelings, right ?" Orion said.
"Yes."
"You know what to do."
Arthur shook his head.
Orion looked the young man in the eye.
"Ok, I won't follow my anger, and I know I can't 'kill' the anger.  
What else ?", he waited then added, "ignore it?"
Orion shrugged, "an interim solution, it will surface again, and again. The ancients tried that until everything surfaced at once," he  again indicated the desert with a tilt of his head.
"What then?"
"You know."
"Accept."
"You are repeating a text book answer.
What you think I want to hear.
What is YOUR answer ?"
Arthur sat back, looked at the desert.
"It's no different from any other thought or feeling is it ?" Arthur mused.
"Yes, it's another thought, it's another feeling."
"But stronger."
"Yes, much stronger, but essentially the same as all the others."  Orion agreed.
"Then why don't I just treat it the same as all the others. See it. Watch it arise, watch it be, watch it fade." Arthur watched Orion's face.
Orion smiled his upside down smile, the scar on the left side of his face stood out clearly.  
He reached for the teapot and poured himself a cup of tea and dragged his strange device back to work on it and became totally absorbed with it.


Suddenly he  looked up, at Arthur:  "Ok, then, tell me, why you are here" he waved at the bowl, inviting his visitor to take some more, nuts and dried fruit, "what really happened ?"

End of part 1

By Tengra Ngiam
Hong Kong, 2017


This is an old prayer it came to me to rewrite. It’s about surrendering.and
I don’t know which side everybody’s on any more, and …I don’t really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we’re on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish you courage in your struggle. There is on both sides of this struggle men of good will. That is important to remember… on both sides of this struggle. Some struggling for freedom, some struggling for safety. In solemn testimony of that unbroken faith which binds a generation one to another, I sing this song: “If it be your will”.

Leonard Cohen:

 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What's behind the mind ? ...and what's behnd that ?

Seven hundred meters of sheer cliff forced the air from the great desert Umi-Jabour up into the forested lands above.
The Buteo hawks rode the air currents in long leisurely circles, barely moving a wing. They were expert gliders and used the natural air flow to spiral up.


Orion, had been sitting in meditation for hours, facing the desert, from his cave in the side of the cliff, when the room was filled with tension.


The heavy curtain behind him separated noiselessly in the middle and a face with bright eyes and dark hair watched him. 
"Please make us some tea Elsa" Orion's quiet voice carried just far enough for her to hear. 
Just as noiselessly the newcomer entered, filled a kettle and put it on the hotplate. 
Her movements betrayed the calmness of the long distance windrider. 
She sat on a mat by the table behind Orion and waited.
Orion remained sitting as he had been for the last three hours. 





The kettle boiled and Elsa moved to prepare the tea. 
She pulled the power cord from the kettle in a hard sharp jerk and poured the hot water into the already prepared pot.
Of all the guilds, windriders were the most opposed to the ways the ancients. They utterly loathed electricity and all things electronic. Waste was anathema to their creed and everything was put to purpose. 

She wore the elegant and smooth clothing of a master windrider.  Cloth mended and tended, repaired re-formed over a lifetime.

"What's behind the mind ?", she whispered. 
Orion remained as he had been. 
The wind soughed and ruffled her hair. 
The dry dusty scent of the desert made her feel at home. 
Originally from the far North, where snow and ice covered the ground for most of the year, Elsa had found her calling in the hot dry desert winds, soaring and gliding like one of the hawks. 
She had found again the old ways of entering a deep level of awareness, where mind and body fused and time moved differently, sleep-waking.  
Windriders now used sleep-waking, to cover vast unimaginable distances, flying for days on end. 

Yet some never returned. 
Their families blamed Elsa. 
Some brought back news of settlements isolated since the great cataclysm three thousand years ago. 
They praised Elsa. 






Orion, stood, stretched, and faced his visitor as he continued to bend and stretch.
"You mean who chooses what your mind thinks about ? 
The fears, the desires ?"
Elsa nodded.
Orion smiled. 
He walked to the back, carried the steaming teapot to the center of the table and poured tea for Elsa and himself. 
"Some people would say your mind chooses."
"No. My mind finds reasons for a choice, once it is made. 
But the choice is made elsewhere."
"You are sure ?" 
"Yes."
Orion sipped his tea, savouring the scent of cinnamon and liquorice root and watching a hawk soar past his cave.
"That's what I found too," he said after a while.  
Elsa knew better than to ask him, she waited for him to continue.
"You are wondering why you chose to be a windrider, and found the way of sleep-waking ?"
Elsa shrugged, "in a way, yes. But not only."
"Who am I?" Orion asked. 
"Yes. Exactly."
Orion took a deep breath, "the answer can't be put into words." 
"Elsa nodded, "yes. Words compare, describe in terms of the known."
"And who you are is not describable that way." 
"Yes. I am who I am." 
Orion nodded his head and watched Elsa intensely. 

Tengra Ngiam,
20Sep2017 
Hong Kong
 ---o---




References:


Buteos.

Buteo







These soaring hawks have long, broad wings and wide, fanned tails. Buteos are built to glide effortlessly on air currents. They can soar for long stretches without flapping their wings. Their soaring ability lets them hunt for prey while circling over open areas. They will perch on trees and utility poles and wait for unsuspecting prey to move below. Buteos include the Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk and Rough-legged Hawk.  http://www.hawkmountain.org/raptorpedia/how-to-identify-hawks/page.aspx?id=353