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A Recipe for Fire:

How can we have a deeper experience of Devotion?

Devotion has traditionally been related to dualistic teachings.

The reason for this is that "the other" is required. Devotion is always between two, you and the beloved. The non-dual teachers are quite clear that you ARE the beloved and there is no separation, so no need for devotion.

That said, even among non-dual teachers there have been great devotees. Poonja-ji used to say that it was his preference to be born again for the sake of devotion, yet he was simultaneously convinced that it was impossible to be born again, because he knew himself as that which was never born to begin with. So there is some paradox there.

To be in Devotion and be awakened to the non-dual is sometimes called "Parabhakti", translated as "Beyond Devotion" or even "Devotion to the Beyond". Among those who are not dualistic, there is a paradox in Devotion because you must allow yourself to be identified with the limited, even if you know that you are beyond it as well. That is the only way.

So I can say a little from my own experience.

First we must awaken to Consciousness. That's the first step. Often people ask, " What is it that awakens to Consciousness?" The spiritually correct answer is, "Consciousness awakens to Consciousness itself". Regardless of the truth of it, past a certain point, I don't find that to be a particularly helpful answer. If you want to go the next step, you might consider that consciousness has no need to awaken to itself, it's already self-aware! What awakens to Consciousness is always the body/mind. That is a key to embodiment.

Here's a three-step recipe of self-enquiry. You can take as long as you need to do it; years even… but don't skip the order:

1) When ready ask, "What if I am that which is aware of all that arises? "

Recognize yourself as pure consciousness, inseparable from the infinite unmanifest absolute.

In other words identify as consciousness that is beyond the body/mind and all manifest existence, yet contains them.

Notice all that arises is arising in and as that consciousness.

Steep until ready.

2) When ready ask, "What if I am that which continues to arise?"

Recognize yourself as that which arises as the limited body/mind, inseparable from the vast matrix of all manifest existence.

In other words identify as the body/mind, that which is both in consciousness and yet a form of it.

Notice the experience of recognizing pure consciousness has always been experienced and recognized by the limited body/mind and no one else.

Simmer until ready.

3) When ready ask, "What if I am both that which is aware of all that arises and that which continues to arise? And what if I favor neither identity but embrace them as if they were both true?"

Recognize yourself as both pure consciousness, inseparable from the infinite unmanifest absolute, as well as that which arises as the limited body/mind, inseparable from the vast matrix of all manifest existence.

In other words identify as consciousness that is beyond the body/mind and all manifest existence, yet contains them.

And yet identify also as the body/mind and all manifest existence, that which is both in consciousness and yet are forms of it.

Notice all that arises is arising in and as that consciousness, but also notice that the experience of recognizing pure consciousness has always been experienced and recognized by the limited body/mind and no one else.

This is a contradiction beyond logic that can be known when ready. It is the paradox that we are. The effect of this recognition is to live in an affected sensitivity founded in a space which is always unaffected. This new identification is more than recognizing the manifest life as a form of Consciousness; it is also simultaneously recognizing that the experience of realizing Consciousness is a form of the manifest life. It is not simply reducing life to a sub-category of consciousness and not reducing consciousness to a sub- category of life. It is the embracing of both views being true, both sequentially and simultaneously.

The result is to be dropped between the source and it's manifestation. The “gap” between Consciousness and phenomena is our fullest place of identification, here we are: stretched to encompass all of our experience. Only in this gap can we be both, and honestly include all of what we know as ourselves, without dismissing anything.

This gap is paradox itself. It is the place of meeting of both Consciousness and It's Power, both God and Goddess, both Shiva and Shakti. That meeting place is the place of Divine Sensitive Desire. I feel it to be our Essential Sensitivity. It is of the nature of a rub, a yearning, a friction, desire. Here we are literally the Peace-Filled Desire of the infinite. It is most certainly not simply peace for it's own sake, neither is it simply movement for it's own sake.

The less conscious it is, it functions as the source of all our petty desires. The more conscious it is, it is the yearning in manifest form for that which is beyond, it is never satiated, and always enough. You can also say it is always satiated but never enough. It is the thrill and suffering of the universe.

It is the meeting of Duality and Non-duality.

It is the Heart of Devotion.

It is the yearning in the awakened soul (that knows that she is God), to meet and merge with God and the disappointment of such a soul in the face of every limit.

It is the Goddess Devi questioning Siva, as if she didn't know.

It is Ram crying for Sita.

It is the sacred heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin.

It is the incarnation of Krishna and the Crucifixion of Christ.

It is the spontaneous Bodhisattva desire to embrace every limit for the sake of every limited being, while knowing that in the absolute truth there are no limits and limited beings. And although there is no time, it is to carry that desire forever.

It is not an idea or ideal, it is a fire.

Bring to a boil.


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