Hinsdale Lake_0704a

What beauty resides in our own backyard

Yet to see it with clear eyes

Not blemished by other thoughts

But brought into view by presence in mind

And silence of noise that rattles our brain

That stills one’s heart for a moments breath

And sheds a tear of loving oneness

With all that is our gift

With all that we can surrender.

As I try to meditate this morning, thoughts are on the rampage, thrusting and exploding everywhere in my mind; they repeatedly capture my attention. I’m swallowed up for a time. Finally, I decide to just let them be. Don’t try to stop the thoughts. Awareness falls back into sporadic observation. I’m alert enough at least to be curious about what is capturing me. In that modicum of alertness, a subtle shift happens in what I’m able to register. Ah. This is food for a question to V.

“V,” I abruptly inquire. “Please tell me about how thoughts capture my mind and attention so quickly and thoroughly. I’ve just been ravaged by them, trying to sit quietly and meditate.”

“This is a natural human condition,” she answers just as promptly as I have asked.

“Sorry for this sudden inquiry. Good morning, V, dear friend and mentor,” I apologize.

“No apology necessary. It must be vexing to feel like a victim to mental processes. Tell me what you have observed.”

“Well, I’m glad you asked. But I haven’t actually thought about it yet.”

“Go ahead then, now. Think about thinking. Observe your observation. Be clear.”

I ponder. “I guess I’m trusting that, as I describe this to you, it will become clearer. The act of focusing awareness makes it clearer.”

“No doubt it does, as you stay present.”

“When I was watching the thoughts wrangle around across the screen of my mental ‘theater’, I began to realize they weren’t outside or above me; they were right inside me—up close and very personal. I’ve heard numerous meditation teachers say, ‘look at thoughts as clouds floating across the sky.’ Well, that’s a nice maxim, but it doesn’t describe what I was experiencing. Those thoughts were right inside my head, beating on my attention—from the inside. They did an excellent job of masquerading as me. It felt like they had taken over my whole awareness.”

“Still, you were able to detach somewhat and observe them. Correct?”

“Yes. Well, I could observe them, but I wouldn’t say I could ‘detach’ from them. As soon as I relaxed, the thoughts came streaming back and submerged me. I was them again at that point. It wasn’t like I could even catch them sneaking back. They would just suddenly be there, in me and around me, using me—and I was unaware of anything else. This is not like little puffy, white clouds drifting in the blue sky. They were more like tornadoes churning between my ears.”

“That’s a good analogy. I understand. There are indeed thoughts that are like puffy little clouds, but there are also many of the like you describe. Even if they are ‘constructive’ thoughts—helping you plan events or solve problems—your mental apparatus works to impress them upon your awareness strenuously and completely; it wants your full attention. Your sentience is picked up like bits of straw in a storm. Am I right? You feel as though you are inside your thoughts more than they are inside you.”

“Exactly. You must have been human once!”

V smiles. “Yes, more than once. I can remember thoughts behaving this way. Let me help you out a little.”

“Please do.” (more…)

I ask, “I’m wondering about the old admonition, ‘Disciple, know thyself’, inscribed on the Temple at Delphi. Philosophers and spiritual teachers down the ages have advised us to ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ So, I’ve asked that question, but I don’t have a satisfying answer yet.”

V watches me silently, nodding. I continue, “Of course, I can describe myself with many different labels, roles, or achievements. But it’s not who I really am, not down inside my psyche. At the same time, mysteriously I do have a sense that I know who I am. If I go deeply enough within, I sense a living presence at my core. I certainly recognize my own being and perspective on life—my own awareness; I just can’t put a tangible description on what it is, who it is.”

V answers, “You don’t know and yet you do know. It is paradox, of course. Nevertheless, understanding this can be quite simple. Your not knowing is in the mind; that’s all. The heart is the place to know who and what you truly are: It knows that you are truth itself, the essence of Source.

“The reason you cannot find satisfactory explanations of who you really are is the same one that keeps you from capturing the pure truth of anything. The truth of you—of all—has no form; no words can contain it. It exists without a framework for the mind or ego to hold as information. The essence cannot be captured in formation. Essence has no handles or boundaries! The ego-mind wants to grasp understanding. There is nothing in ‘truth’ or in the deep ‘self’ to grab and hold onto. It’s like trying to limit the flow of air inside a birdcage.

“Appreciation of the paradox of knowing-yet-not-knowing opens us up beyond the mind. If you look at the two sides of knowing as one and the same state in essence, you sidestep the mind and leave it flaccid and porous. The embrace of this paradox is your ultimate liberation. This is the fullness of empathy.”

My uneasiness makes me ask, “Why does this make me feel so uncomfortable? It seems like it sends me forever in circles, chasing my tail. ‘Who am I? I don’t know. Who am I? I do know—in my heart. Yet I cannot say.’ Why not? Why can’t some words be put on it?”

“Because words cannot contain the liberation that lives at your core. Think about it: Why would you want to circumscribe liberation with trifling words or thoughts? This is the great, grand Life of Source. Yes, we do put words—pointers—on it. But it is very important to realize these words are inadequate and ultimately unsatisfying to our questing spirit. The very words ‘Source’ and ‘Life’ are totally insufficient, except to point our awareness in a direction of awakening. Any word is. That is fine, as long as we sense and know inwardly that there is a state of being that far transcends the pointer. It is right to hold ideas in the mind about deeper truths that cannot be spoken, as long as we realize these ideas are only introductory symbols.” (more…)

“Somehow I don’t think I’m finished with my exploration of death,” I sigh. “Especially given that insight about resistance blocking my finding it.”

“I agree,” V sighs back.

“But moving on for now,” I allow. “Let me ask something about what you just brought up. Is ‘isness’ exactly the same as ‘what is’?”

“It is more than what you might normally consider to be ‘what is’. It is the Now, the deeper quality of the moment. To know your isness is to apprehend the essence of all creation—the ‘Great Isness’, shall we say? Who you are is a non-separate, non-detachable fragment of that. Your persona is an eye-slit in the mask of the Great Isness. The eyehole, of course, is what consciousness uses to peer through into your particular incarnation. Human beings identify so thoroughly with the ‘eyehole’ that they cannot see themselves as otherwise. Imagine, for instance, what a blow it would be for the ego to suddenly have no way of seeing. ‘No,’ says ego, ‘I am my eyes!’ And ego also says, ‘I am my mind!’ Imagine what a blow it would be to go mindless!”

I smile. “I’ve often wondered if I was going out of my mind. Is that the intention of your messages? Must we become mindless in order to understand the Life of Source?”

V explains seriously, “Yes and no. The mind has been a great boon to the advancement of your species. But it has now become more of a limiting factor in overall evolution; it blocks you from bridging your awareness into consciousness. The mind provides a home for the ego—a hiding place we might say. The most important single thing you can do as a human now is to move beyond thought and evolve out of ego. The mind still wants you to be its servant, but you must become the master. Evolution proceeds ever thus: Advances occur; they serve for a season; and then they need to be transcended. At this stage, what was once of great value becomes worthless; and more, a hindrance.” (more…)

I have found more easily the space of stillness with help from Life Of Source. The idea of living in Presence is more gargantuan a task than any other and yet it is found in the simplicity of life as no other simple measure may express. The complexity of our minds has driven us far away from this most subtle truth. But there is a way to retrieve our most dear friend. Here is an excerpt from Chapter XXI, “Conversation With Stillness.”

“What did you write?” V asks with curiosity.

“The dialogue surprised me, I have to say. I’ll just enter it here, and you can see:”

I sit with silence and feel the space.

The sensation of presence enters around me and in me.

It is alive and welcoming. I appreciate its resonance for many minutes before I start.

“May I dialogue with you?” I whisper in my mind.

“May we have a conversation?”

 “Yes, you may” an answer comes, quieter than my whisper.

“Ah, that pleases me,” I sigh.

“But why is that?” replies the silent one within.

I ponder. “Because I need to know more.”

“More? More of what?” presence asks.

I wrinkle my brow and try to imagine. What indeed!

I finally answer, “More than just this silence, I guess.”

“There is no more than this,” presence says straightaway.

“Words are less than this, my child,

less than this full moment. Hear me clearly:

There is no ‘more’ of presence.

I am all and always that I am!

When words are formed around me,

they are but a tiny part of what I might be.

They form an outer edge, a crust, a temporary fence;

and thus are more subtractive from the whole

than being whole.”

I sigh, a little disappointed. I wait, but then I say, “Does that mean

I should not speak to you?”

The spacious being brings up its voice from the stillness deep,

“Go ahead and speak. Yes, you may.

Your words and mine can rightly be as pointers on our way.

Only, we must know them, as they really are:

They are the lesser part, the humbler part,

of all the Life expression in our world.”

“What are words for then?” I ask, dismayed.

“What are we doing with them here?”

“These words we use and wear

are your sensibilities and intellected dreams.

These words—of here and now—speak out from you,

though they appear to be the voice of me.”

I ask, “But are you not inside them somehow?

Could this not also be the voice of you?

Can’t you be here among us in these words?”

“I can. And indeed I am.

But you may not completely, truly know me here—

in mere word or thought or sound.

For me to truly be, I must be whole!

Look not for presence to expose itself so indiscreetly,

nor in such a finite way

as a fabricated trace of forms.

It’s not for eyes to prove nor ears to drill,

the ways or means of what I really am.

To know me as I am—and that I am—you must stop!

And stop again, upon your very heart.

No longer be a speaker;

not a seeker, nor a guide;

not a leader nor a follower nor a finder be;

not a teacher nor disciple; not a devotee.

Escape your understanding and your postured mind.

Just stop and listen to the silence.

Let me in. Let me go.

Let my freedom justly rise.”

I reply, “It worries me to think of what you’ve said.

If I am to be none of those things you catalog,

what ever can I do to know you

as my essence does seem to urge?”

The precious presence—Life itself—falls down

around me in its space. Its silence shakes me to the cell.

“Be tranquil, here, in heart. You must come down

and be what is—the just and blessed will—yet even destiny.

Be calm. Be true. Be very silent and be

purely still!”

ⓒ 2014 Robert L.Potter

Did you ever wonder why, with all the time spent at spiritual practice, your human dynamic still takes preference over your inner life sensibilities? Anxieties, frustrations, depressions, all are mighty exhibitors in our life’s struggle for perfection. And even more so for those who strive for this spiritual perfection, as a test so to speak, or maybe a means for the ego to keep us bound to the structure of its realm. The truth is, with the exception of a few who have seen through  the veil and are able to balance in both worlds, the rest of us are just pilgrims on the road of experience.

I’m trying to be realistic in knowing my own rumblings. I see them as part of the expanding plan of the universe. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to maneuver through these turbulent waters without feeling trepidation along the way, always in hope that you will wake up one day with a newness that eradicates all the gross malevolent spirits that haunt your soul with such determination.

It is time to share these misgivings with one another and hold to the truth that, in the end, the soul will shine through with its glorious exalted SELF. With all the pain that we have experienced, through these trials and tribulations, nothing can compare to the imbued state of Bliss that touches our heart when our Loving SELF blesses it with waves of Divine Presence.

And so it is Love once again that rings true in this journey of ours. Unconditional in its formed and formless state. I wish to bring you an excerpt from Book Three, Letters from 500 – Amen. It’s from the epilogue “Why Souls Love the Earth.” We do love it you know. When you think about it, there can be no better journey than  living through the world of the unconscious self and awakening into the world of the Unconditional Lover.


“Love is God. It is divine nature. Source. Love is everything you can name and not name. It is everything you can do and not do. It is all there is! In duality, love is seen to be just an aspect, a mere face of the deity, or an energy presence. But these are only perceptions. We can describe love in many ways, even in terms of its opposites—fear or hatred. However, no description or perception can contain all of the true essence. Love is the ultimate, perfect, formless ‘container’; it is also that which is contained. It embraces all creation. Love attracts and merges all, binds all in its boundless domain. We talk of love, trying to capture an understanding of it. We say it is this or that, as I am doing now. We try to place it into a form, to put conditions on it. They do not fit. They never can.

“Love is Oneness. It is the Void. Paradoxical to what I just said, there is no ‘container’ for love. There is no form or separation of it into this or that. Love is not separate from truth or beauty or God. Love is not separate. And yet we treat it as though it can be differentiated. We must, if we are to use our minds in this world—in speaking and writing and imagining.

“Souls love the Earth because they know their place—in both realms. They also know us, the projection, as we are. They embrace the two—from the One. This is true love—embracing duality from Oneness! We, on Earth, are forms incarnate. We have broken off into the Illusion in order to be projected here, to perform roles and functions in the great game of evolution. We cannot do this without a base from which to live and move and have our being. That base is love. It is soul. In its bridging and form taking, soul comes to know duality. It takes on a dual nature, which bestows its twin quality, wisdom.”

Excerpt from Letters from 500- Amen copyright ⓒ 2012 Robert Lee Potter