It’s been a month now since my blog “Chocolate Nirvana,” in which I provided some preliminary observations on the symbolic nature of what at the time was a temporary suspension of my nearly two-year sugar abstinence. As an introverted intuitive, I live deeply in the symbolic realm, and my involvement with “chocolate” has been a wonderful example of the dance between symbol and new life orientation.
Since the earlier blog, I have continued to eat dark chocolate once a week, and there’s been no “falling off the wagon” into an oblivion of pastries, candies, and other sweets to which I was addicted my whole life. Apparently moderation is possible, and cravings can be engaged in ways I hadn’t considered under my earlier “black and white” thinking. Of course, perhaps I wasn’t ready for this path until now. As I said in the earlier blog, this is about the discovery of and commitment to boundaries shaped by spiritual practice and the resultant clarity about myself and the world, not to appease others or make them happy. This is the “sweetest freedom,” but it reaches beyond chocolate to how we engage every aspect of life.
What follows are some spiritual contemplations that have evolved out of my new orientation. In a sense, the “sweetest freedom” is nothing more or less than life as it is, that is, life free from the mind’s filtering, story telling, and dualistic conceptual grid. It is a way of describing my coming into consciousness of this. In Oneness everything is included, because aversion is simply another form of attachment. These contemplations touch on this sweetest freedom as manifested in love, karmic influences, truth-seeking, spiritual practice, and so-called “awakening.”
I’m not proposing any of this for “acceptance.” The only objective is the cultivation of awareness: simply be aware, aware of what arises in you, the reaction, whether positive or negative. There’s really nothing more to do with any of this. It’s here only to be an occasion for bringing more illumination to what you already know.
(1) Pick up the chocolate knowing you don’t need it. Take pleasure in the sight of it, the smell of it. Eat the chocolate tasting it. Take pleasure in the tasting of it, but taste it without expectation of anything further arising, remaining, or dissolving. When life becomes this “chocolate,” and you penetrate every activity and relationship with this same understanding, you’re tasting the sweetest freedom.
(2a) The liberation was truly experienced, but it was only temporarily experienced because it was rooted in aversion.
(2b) The love was truly experienced, but it was only temporarily experienced because it was rooted in aversion.
(3) When a woman so inspires me that I totally forget about her, I know that I’ve found a new, unique, and powerful form of love. And while this love naturally flows outward and is capable of tremendous enlargement and evolution, it’s sufficient that it fully and completely possesses itself. This is the “full cup” kind of love.
(4) She sleeps naked in the night. So near; yet so far. Her name is Truth. I don’t obsess about penetrating her. I simply surrender to the music playing in my head and quietly fall asleep. Truth immediately becomes my most faithful lover.
(5) Hold on to nothing, least of all yourself.
(6a) She wanted to trust him but her need to control him was greater. The gods granted her wish. The gods made him co-dependent. But Irony is the true ruler of the cosmos. Her wish, once granted, made her unable to trust herself. The gods laughed.
(6b) He asked the gods for the most precious, unique butterfly. The gods granted his wish. Alas, the man was soon destroyed by the hurricane generated by the butterfly’s wings. A man in love with a butterfly is in the most vulnerable position because the gods know exactly what is necessary.
(6c) After blowing away her lover, the winds subsided and the butterfly started life again as a caterpillar. She longs for wings again. She longs for her freedom. Meanwhile, a man somewhere in the world asks the gods for a unique butterfly. The gods snicker.
(7) Whenever a woman turns me on to an amazing book, I know I’ve struck gold twice. Whenever a woman turns me on to an amazing book, she turns me on. That’s the second nugget. Here’s the jewel “beyond enlightenment” I find concealed in my hair.
(8) 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 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.
(9)You are what you are. Everything else is bullshit, bullshit I tell you, including so-called “enlightenment,” “spiritual practices,” and anything that is a substitute for what is the most naturally knowable and evident truth to each one of us. I don’t say, “have no practice.” I say realize your practice is already your present reality. You’re already engaged in it. Everything else is bullshit.
(10) The most difficult thing to grasp, indeed utterly ungraspable by the mind, is that student and teacher are non-separate, practice and goal are non-separate, delusion and awakening are non-separate, hell and heaven are non-separate, and you and your enemy are non-separate.
(11) 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.
(12) A man took a shower after several hours of contemplating enlightenment. As he stepped out, only one thought occurred to him: ‘This was the best shower I’ve ever had.” In this moment he totally forgets about his search for enlightenment. His search temporarily had ended with everything he was looking for. He then heard a toilet flush and resumed his search for enlightenment.
(13) The best part of waking up may simply be being aware of Folgers in your cup.
(14) Massage your thoughts with tenderness and they will retire into the stillness from which they arose.
(15) The Blue Jay squawking and screeching at my door is none other than my mind reminding me of its discontent. Loving the Blue Jay is non-different from melting away my discontent, and loving the Blue Jay is non-different from loving myself as I appear as these unpleasant sensations and thoughts. Tenderness. That’s what’s needed.
(16) No one can complete you because you’re already complete, lacking absolutely nothing. All seeking, whether of persons, status, or material possessions, is rooted in ignorance of this fundamental truth: you’re already everything your mind is seeking. There is no other freedom than that which is already your present reality. This is inaccurately called Zen, but it’s really life as it already is for you, whatever your life may be.
(17) Folgers coffee falling as rain from the sky, turns to chocolate that drips down my lips. I taste it and let the taste go. It leaves my lips with a kiss goodbye. The butterfly is free, and so am I.