Cup of Nirvana Philosophical and Contemplative Explorations

The Naked Journey Into Now

Truth is a dancer, spinning you around, tossing you aside,  taking all your breath. And at long last, when you think you’re about to die, you fall blissfully into her tender arms. Truth is a lover.  Truth is a dancer.

Sometimes truth appears as Krishna, sometimes as Jesus, sometimes as the Buddha, sometimes as Allah, but if you’re really lucky you’ll see it as the dog laying in the shade, the teardrop rolling down your face, and the ground upon which you walk.

The greatest challenge in the search for enlightenment is finding the path that leads to it, and the greatest challenge in the search for the path to enlightenment is realizing where you are at present.  The path you’re seeking is actually where you are in your present condition, and the light you hope to find at the journey’s end is already your present reality.  It’s shining as the I behind your I. 

Everything you are in this very moment – your love, your hate, your joy, your sadness, your health, your addiction – it’s all an expression of the Absolute.

Being born is Zen. Drinking is Zen.  Eating is Zen.  Breathing is Zen.  Loving is Zen.  Dying is Zen.  You are this.  You’ve always been this. You’ll never be more than this.  There is nothing more than this. What then are you seeking?  Birth is now. Death is now. Breath is now. 

What’s in a breath? A child playing in the sand. A young woman singing to her cat.  The philosopher deconstructing arguments.  The gardener planting flowers. The lover laughing.  Cook cooking. Actor acting.  Dancer dancing.  Poet writing. Tear drop falling.  Lover leaving.  Gods dying. Devils being born.  What’s in a breath? Your redemption. Your Self – the sweetest freedom.

To see the flower without judgment is all that is meant by Nirvana. So let this be your practice: stroll through gardens and pick flowers for the wreath that will celebrate the day of your death. 

One who contemplates the ocean in silence and one who plays in it with laughter are non-different, for resistance is found in neither one and consequently peace is found in both.

Seek as one who wishes to find nothing. Practice as one who wishes to achieve nothing. And most fundamentally, love as one who wishes to receive nothing. 

What is it to love, to truly love? It’s to embrace the deepest mystery and risk the greatest folly. It’s to bear your unbearable absence and find you inescapably present, recurring apparition of my nostalgic night.  It’s to watch for you at ocean’s edge and see you dancing as the waves. It’s to watch for you at sunset and see you as the light that is gradually transformed into night. What is love, you ask?  It’s to stand in the center of the fire with you and watch our world be burned, and then to be buried beneath the ashes of passion’s tortured expectations.

If you wish to open your heart wide to love, open your heart wide to pain, for he who suffers little loves even less.  Therefore kiss with tender lips the center of your sorrow and make love to your relentless pain. Then you shall dance with desire and stand in the center of the fire. 

If you can bear your sadness long enough, you will see that it is not your sadness you carry, but the sadness of the world.

The substance of everything unpleasant in life is the very bliss we wish we had instead.  

Today is the first day of Autumn, just when I thought she was in the past. But Autumn always returns, and I’m learning to embrace her presence afresh each time with an open acceptance, whether accompanied by joy or sorrow.  She’s just a season, though Keats perhaps thought she was a goddess. Like the waves upon the sea, the breath upon my lips, the rising of a craving, the blooming of a flower, the passion of a lover, Autumn comes and goes. Impermanence. That’s the basic truth. That’s the deal. And yet she remains my beautiful teacher, and my love for her abides.  She nails this painful truth into my heart. I let her cut me and bleed me into gratitude and peace, and then I am free – the sweetest freedom.

True freedom lies in the ability to say “yes” to whatever places you on the fine line between utter destruction and complete fulfillment. Anything short of this is a life half lived, and any such life is hardly lived at all.  

Divested of expectation, you overflow with gratitude.

Only one thing prevents us from experiencing God . . . the failure to realize what we love most in life. 

If I knew that this would be our last night together, I would give you just one thing, my silence, for this love of mine is not something that can be spoken, nor even understood, not even by the gods.

People don’t fear death as much as they fear silence. In fact, they fear death only because it’s the great inescapable and eternal silence.  If you would then conquer the fear of death, regularly enter silence.  And in the silence, experience freedom as the other side of nothingness, the complete negation of yourself.

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