6/16/2015: A friend of mine none-too-tactfully called to task my "describe a banana" take, and questioned what the point of this place was. This is all I could come up with:
What Is Nomango?Nomango is simply the eternal expression that there is only this. But this is not what you think it is. The mind is the world of abstract thought, so it thinks this is the planet Earth, full of people, places, things, decisions, time, objects that can be named, bananas, mangos, etc.
But in the immediacy and full splendor of here and now, apart from the abstract, there are none of those things, and yet there is everything.
You are correct, of course, when you say that an experience can only be described in comparison with other experience. Both of those are still the play of abstract thought.
That there can be no description of this, including the taste of a banana, is your key to the doorway through which you will truly see the universe for the first time.
6/13/2015: It's double-shot Saturday! Why are there so many references to alcohol on this page, anyway?
Drunk/MonkAlcoholism and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. One may look nobler and more "righteous" than the other, but whether you are perched on a meditation cushion or a barstool, they are both mind-made schemes for escaping suffering. And as such, they are only temporarily effective, and both ultimately unsatisfying.
The only way out, the final dimensional shift, is the realization that while there may be deep, even horrific suffering, there is no one, ever, who suffers.
I'll drink to that.
Now Hear ThisYou are not that to which life is happening. You are that life which is happening.
Describe A BananaHere's a shot of liqueur. What's it taste like? Tastes like a banana, right? Very good. It's called "99 Bananas", and it's 99 proof (hence the "99") and it tastes like bananas (hence the "bananas").
Now, here's a banana. What's it taste like?
I'll let you struggle with that a while before I give you the answer.
It is indescribable, because it is beyond description, beyond words, beyond concept. It is just that. It is just what is. And now you know, this is your life. Anything which is describable is conceptual only, a figment of your imagination, an illusion. Whatever is left is your life, is you, is all that there is.
What's it taste like?
6/4/2015: You don't think I forgot about ya, did ya? Nawwww, I'd never buy a domain name, create a new website for it, and then abandon the entire thing in two weeks. You must be thinking of someone else!
5/26/2015: Howdy y'all. As you can see, this place still isn't organized. Oh, but it's gonna get organized! Just you wait! In the meantime, here's a little ditty which might be of particular interest to my so-called "athiest" friends.
The Official Religion of Planet EarthChristianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism... All pikers! Rookies! Pretenders to the throne, upon which sits the greatest, most popular religion of all, practiced devoutly by virtually every single human walking the face of the Earth:
The religion of Me.
What is religion if not an absolute faith in something that can never be known, never be touched, never be seen, and of which there is no scientific evidence? The athiest pounds his desk insisting that all religion is a farce, since there is no provable "God" out there in the heavens, while at the same time, thinks absolutely nothing of his utterly absolute belief and confidence in a "me" to whom "his life" is happening.
And yet (see wine glass trick) at this very moment, right here, right now, there is life blazing along like always, full and immaculate in whatever appearance it takes, and nowhere in it is there anyone or anything that it is happening to. You can take a dead guy and cut up their brain, cell by cell, and you will never find the person who experienced their life. And it is always right here, right now, so even if you look into the past or future, you will still never find anyone, because there's nowhere to look.
Just this, completely whole, no subject or object, nothing inside or outside of it which is doing it, or which it is happening to.
Just this, always and forever.
So. How religious are you?
Relative and AbsoluteLet's discuss what is meant by relative and absolute. Many words have been used in their place. Form and emptiness. Duality and nonduality. Appearance and ultimate. The timeless indivisible present, and last Thursday afternoon. I'm still working on coming up with newer, shinier, better ones, but in the meantime, let's use relative and absolute. When we speak of "relative reality", we're in the world of concepts, names, objects, people, places, things, and time. You're over there, I'm over here, throw me the ball. This is where the mind spends 100% of its time. If you ever find yourself thinking, know without a doubt, you are in the world of the relative, which can be very helpful for knowing how many quarters you need for the laundry machine. Absolute reality, however, contains none of these things, and yet contains all of these things, and yet doesn't contain anything, because it is everything. Relative is the world of words, which is why words are essentially useless where the absolute is involved. You may have noticed that already. Let's try it a different way:
I am the Zen master, standing in front of you with a large branch from a tree outside, and I will demonstrate to you the relative and absolute reality of this branch. In the relative, here is the base of the branch, and here is the tip. Here is the bark, and here is the root. Here is the sap, and here are the growth rings.
Now I will demonstrate the absolute reality, as I rear back and smack you with it. CRACK!!
See the difference?
Enlightenment In 60 Seconds, Or Your Money Back: I wrote this one a week or two ago, attempting to help out some friends who had told me they were suffering and wanted a taste of what I'm talking about here. I began by outlining some simple meditation exercises, but they refused to do even that, so I came up with the quickest, easiest way I could think of:
Brute Force EnlightenmentAlright, because you idiots aren't willing to spend five minutes a day to feel better, we'll have to cut to the chase and do this the brute-force method.
Here now, I will say two things. The first one, your mind will hate a lot, because it's a conceptual statement that you know to be wrong and ridiculous. The second one, your mind will like a lot, because it's a step-by-step plan of action to get from one place to another, supposedly better, place.
1. Your life makes you suffer because you think it is happening to you, and it isn't.
2. Here now is a fun, easy exercise you can do to prove this is the case, and thus be free of all suffering. It requires a crystal wine glass, preferably with a little nice Cabernet or Pinot in it. If you don't have one of those, just use this YouTube video, which features a guy hitting himself on the forehead with a Reidel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFMkOPW2A88
- Close your eyes (not mandatory, but probably helpful) and ring the glass, by flicking it with your finger, or hitting yourself on the head, or whatever. Really want a nice ring to it. Or just play the YouTube above. Brrrnnnnnnnnngggggggg...
- Pay attention to what's happening. Do it a couple more times, and each time, pay attention to the actual experience of it.
- Then imagine I'm there asking you, okay, what happened?
And you say, "I heard the sound of a wine glass ringing."
Or if you're a real scientific-minded guy with a lot of knowledge, or just a smart-ass, you'd say, "I flicked my finger against the glass, which imparted a vibration, which was converted into sound waves at such a frequency that when they reached the tympanic membrane, they were converted into synaptic impulses which the brain interpreted as the sound of a wine glass ringing."
Now, hit it again, and tell me what is undeniable in the experience, apart from all of the conceptualizations about it. What is there? What is really, plainly, effortlessly, obviously, undeniably there?
No "I", no "hearing", no "sound", no "wine glass", no "ringing". None of that is to be found anywhere, is it? There is, quite plainly, brrrrnnnnnggggggg. And nobody anywhere, who is hearing it.
And that is all there is, ever.
There. That is the secret to life and happiness. Please remit payment within 30 days to avoid further collection activity.
Oldies But Goodies: I was looking back through some similar writings I did in the past, and was shocked -- shocked! at how perfectly my current transformation has left obvious that which I had understood, even years ago. And yet, back then, I still drank, I still suffered, I still feared. Look, this is maybe the best thing I ever wrote: Effortless Now Is Bullshit. A little hard to follow at this point, but re-reading it, I could have written the exact same thing today, as I abide in freedom, free from that against which I struggled for all those many years.
I would describe where I was back then as standing on the shore, gazing over the ocean, seeing it perfectly, but still too fearful to dive in. I'm glad I wrote that, because I see the same thing now, it's just I'm no longer on the shore. I've gone forever into that ocean, and there's nothing left.
While I'm here, let's bring this old one out too, which still might be my favorite thing I've ever created in my life. Seemingly paradoxically, now I see that I've never created anything in my life. Life has simply created this. Still, though, check out what I did! So Now Then
5/23/2015: I've been doing a little writing over at the Jolt Country BBS, but those fine people shouldn't be forced to read this stuff whenever it comes out of my fingers, so I'll start posting it here instead. Again, I WILL get this organized at some point, just not today. Let me get all the stuff here first, then we can work on organization, okay? OKAY? Okay.
Why Trying To Beat Addiction Might Not Be A Great Idea
There are many programs, AA the most prevalent among them, and including actual hospitalized in- and out-patient programs (one of which I was involved in for about a week before I went to Scotland) which seem to be effective, to varying levels, methods of "beating your addiction". Of "dealing with the problem." Of "coping with the struggle".
To the extent they help folks to achieve the sobriety and life they want, I cannot say there's anything wrong with that approach. However, given my own experience within the last month, I believe there is another, possibly more effective approach to consider.
In many cases (including my own), the addiction can be traced back to what I'd call a deep sense of unease, of inadequacy, of incompleteness. There was no one thing or situation in particular you could point to as being the cause of that feeling, but there is a constant, lurking sense that something is not okay. Something with me, or my life, or "the world", or whatever. Some profound error is eating away at me, killing me from the inside, slowly, cancerous.
That's all a bit dramatic, but it gets the point across. Something is not okay, and I can't seem to arrange my life in a way where it feels okay and stays there. Sure, a fun new house or new car or new sex or accomplishment makes everything okay for a bit, but then the not-okay-ness comes back, and eventually the entirety of life feels like a struggle because nothing works.
Except alcohol works. Maybe only for a few hours, and I know I'll pay for it in the morning, but goddammit, right now, I want to feel complete and okay, at least long enough to get to bed.
And there's your addiction, right there.
And you can read all about methods of fighting it, and work with an AA sponsor, and go to therapy, and do all of the work you can do to somehow cope with the issue. As I said, however well that works, great.
With me, however, when the root of the problem was removed, the addiction vanished. Completely. I drank nothing for three weeks, with no desire, and even on vacation, if I had a beer with dinner, I rarely had a second, and on most of those rare occasions, I left it without finishing it. The compulsion to drink, the need to set everything right, the incompleteness was just not there anymore.
The danger, I think, with something like AA, is that it implies (and even explicitly states, in some cases), that addiction is a solid thing, a problem that you will need to fight against your whole life (you know, "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic", and the like), which, Catch-22, ensures that the problem will be there your whole life. The struggle against the problem, in fact, maintains the appearance that there is a problem to struggle against.
All of this precludes the possibility that the root of the addiction itself can dissolve, and with it, the addiction.
At the beginning of every outpatient session I went to, we were asked to fill out a sheet describing what coping mechanisms we'd used in the past 24 hours.
I had to lie every time, and make something up.
The truth was, I had used zero coping mechanisms, because there was no longer anything to cope with.
"Form is emptiness, emptiness is form."
If you want to be a Buddhist monk, they tell you that on your first day, before you even get your robes. Then it's up to you to figure out what it means.
The best analogy I think that's available to us in modern times is this:
Imagine a movie screen that expands infinitely in every direction. And on the screen, the entirety of the universe plays out. This is the realm of the relative. The world of objects, people, places, things, events.
But regardless of the images playing out, there is only ever the screen. This is the realm of the absolute. When people speak of nonduality, of oneness, even of God, this is its true essence.
Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Relative is absolute, absolute is relative. The movie is the screen, and the screen is the movie.
Just because there's only a screen, though, doesn't make the movie any less riveting. You'll laugh, you'll cry, it'll become a part of you. That's why this realization does not lead to passivity or apathy.
And why in one sentence we can say "there is no spoon", and then in the next, ask for a spoon, so we can have our chili.
Form is emptiness.
Emptiness is form.
The Practice of Awakening
If awakening is an "activity", or a "practice", it feels like this:
Realizing what is, and discarding the rest without a second (or first!) thought.
This takes some courage, because "the rest" is what most of our lives are based on, virtually every waking second.
If awakening is an "event", it feels like this:
It feels like jumping off a cliff, or perhaps more to the point, being pushed off of it. Terrifying. You know you're going to die. You feel the wind and the ground rushing up to smash you to bits, 32 feet per second per second at a time, powerless, helpless, hopeless.
Then you start flying. Then you disappear into the sun.
That is the activity. That is the practice. That is the event.
And all of that can be safely discarded as well.
There Is No Spoon
Enlightenment is the constant, recurring realization that there is only what is, and nothing else.
But what does that mean?
Let's all get our Matrix(R)-brand spoons out.
Hold your spoon in front of you, and look at it. If I ask you "what is?", you will answer, "I'm holding a spoon."
Some teachers will say "look deeper", but that's confusing to me. I would say something more along the lines of, "don't look at all". Don't try to find anything. Just tell me what is.
All you can find is the indescribable experience of sight -- a long, perhaps shiny silverness (or whiteness, if it's a plastic spoon), oblong at one end. A sense of smoothness, a sense of hardness in your fingers.
The breath, moving in and out.
The sound of a truck on the street outside. (There is also no truck, only the sound.)
There is only the pure experience, appearing in, and as, consciousness -- boundless, unbroken, infinite awareness.
And not a single spoon to be found.
Go ahead. Try it.
That bitch was right.
5/22/2015: I need to get this place organized, but I can tell it's not gonna happen today. In the meantime, here's a new feature I'm calling "shots" until I come up with a better name. Little flashes of enlightenment to share before I forget them, not that anyone ever needs to remember them. Also it's an excuse to try to get CSS to do this:
U and I
Undeniable and indestructible. At the end of the spiritual journey, you realize these as the nature of your true self. Those two words represent freedom from fear and lack, from suffering. Your false self must truly die first, a fact which brings true meaning to the allegory of dying to attain eternal life. Fortunately, your false self is already dead, because it never existed. What is left, all that is left, is the undeniable, indestructible this, endless, beginningless, that other than which there is nothing, that which you are.
"U and I" has a cuter meaning, though, if you read it as "you and I". In the truest sense, "you and I" are undeniable and indestructible, because "you and I" are inseparable from each other and this. Also it sounds all romantic if you want to use it to make some chick swoon. It's perfect!
See, wasn't that fun?
Here's one more, just for kicks:
Suffering is the mind attempting to solve a jigsaw puzzle that has no pieces.