Getting Rid of the Buddha

“The Void needs no reliance; Mahamudra rests on naught.
Without making an effort, but remaining natural,
One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.

If one looks for naught when staring into space;
If with the mind one then observes the mind;
One destroys distinctions and reaches Buddhahood.
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About Mahamudra
Above is a small excerpt from the Song of Mahamudra by Tilopa. In the West people are familiar with the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada and a handful of other texts from the East that inspire them to step into foreverness.  Unless someone has a strong relationship with Buddhism, in particular the Kagyu linage they may not have heard of the Song of Mahamudra and the name Tilopa would be meaningless. There are numerous stories about Tilopa that vaguely outline his life but as usual like with most Teachers or Sages the details are sometimes not overly relevant, scholars could argue for years about ‘information correctness’.  If we are serious about Spirituality we will be interested in transformation. That is what Tilopa’s goal is about, what lives on is a loose map of his experience to create a doorway for others to step into. His student Naropa is a much more familiar name to many and then there was Milarepa .
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Tilopa
Generally if I was to discuss Tilopa and his work I could make it very brief and say one short statement from his Song of Mahamudra that would clearly define his perspective, “Naropa, although it cannot be said, I will say it for you.”  This is my loose translation but it embodies the essence, the indefinable is outside the ‘ known’ and the framework of thought.  I will dig in and unpack more of his often misunderstood approach that is hidden within dogma and wisdom.  In truth Tilopa was a Jnani, the word Jnana is often translated as knowledge, this translation is incorrect in this context, Jnana is more about
experience than information.
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Tilopa was Indian not Tibetan, although he was an advanced Buddhist scholar in his earlier years in Bengal his understandings and depth of experience were way outside what would these days would be considered mainstream Buddhist thought. Although it is not referred to in texts about his work because of his relationship to Buddhism, he was what we would call a non dualist, his perspective was closer to Advaita than anything else, his experience and understanding of Emptiness and the Void eclipses what is presented in mainstream Buddhism. This is in no way a criticism of Buddhism or implying there is a limitation, what I am doing here is breaking the ‘box’ open and going past the surface.  Some may disagree, this is not a concern for me as I know this subject from the ‘inside’ and I don’t have a problem saying that some people are slaves to dogma and it gets in the way as they try and squeeze everything into their belief system.  Tilopa was not about dogma, that came later after he passed over/through; he was interested in removing the dogma that surrounds Advaita and creating a doorway for others to pass through, the fact that it comes under Buddhism is incidental. I will also clarify and this will be in contradiction to some pundits, Advaita is not about philosophy, it is about experience.
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Let’s Go There
The wonderful Sage Jiddu Krishnamurthi once said, ‘you must become nothing‘.  These words are nestled in one of his lectures.  And this is where the Maha Siddha Tilopa and Krishnamurthi meet. A core aspect of Krishnamurti’s work was about undoing dogma, tradition and social conditioning.
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Emptiness is something we often hear about in Buddhism, this Emptiness in certain cases equates with what some of us call the Void, the Silence or Nothingness. Currently, we live in a world where things are valued, if we wanted to name the age we live in it could quite comfortably be called the Age of Obsession, as well as Self Obsession or to coin a new phrase the Age of Attachment to Stuff… let’s dig in and explore a little .
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The World Around
The chaos of life rings and hums all around us, music that resembles ‘filler’, something which often is a product that has very little meaning, it is really just a distraction to make people absent, it adds extra noise to what’s going.  Lots of objects taking up SPACE, information about nothing in particular, academics theorising, philosophers looking smart but really just throwing their opinion into the mix, pride in their words and loving their mirror reflection.  The world we move in is a maze, a mousetrap, a labyrinth, that’s not a problem and although many people on the Spiritual path think we need to escape, I am not in a hurry to run, we can become its slave or master.  Instead of running I will let everything around rise and fall, the relation to space is something that needs attention.
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Fleeting Moments
The world is not solid.  People assume it is, the evidence is if we run head on straight into a bus stop pole, we may cause serious damage; we could call up numerous examples that confirm the world is solid. The world has rules, nature has guidelines that objects generally adhere to… but when we look closely, things come and go, they appear on the stage temporarily, some for thousands of years, they are not permanent. By observing  and understanding the depth of and importance of impermanence comes freedom.  Objects and that includes the bodies people inhabit are constantly being recreated, there is a ‘molecule shuffle’ going on, a refresh every moment. Emptiness is the constant, like a canvas or the silence that allows music notes to breath.
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Buddha and the Mousetrap
Although it may be an uncomfortable thought, it is worth considering going past the Buddha, by saying this I am not being disrespectful.  The Buddha and the teachings in the end are a noose, they are a comfortable place to be in for a period of time, it’s like stopping and pitching a tent as you pass through the desert to seek shelter for the night, a resting place for your camel.  But if you stay too long, nothing changes and you become caught in a maze, it might be a beautiful and enchanting and SAFE but it’s the Buddhist maze and the observer/experiencer of the dream is much bigger than that.
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Mahamudra although it is a word that has been given numerous meanings, it is something that encompasses and includes ‘totality of things’ it is really ‘that which perceives’.  If I was to say it is a WAY of SEEING, it would be partially correct but could be misinterpreted, if I were to define it as a process, Mahamudra is more about the moving of ones awareness.  The real issue is thought, thought is the problem, thought is like a fabric that wraps around things and hides what’s outside it or inside it, thought works like weeds wrapping around a tree that eventually strangles it, thought is a network that imprisons man.

Tilopa tells us
“Without making an effort, but remaining natural,

One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.”

This snippet of brilliance is contradictory to most teachings.  People want to do something and think they have to, there is an understanding that they need to go through a series of steps to reach the goal.  People are educated to achieve, to be more, to score a lot of points and be acceptable to God, it is a classroom mentality.  However, Wisdom comes by extraction, experience leads to Wisdom; there is an over obsession on being good, religious people can be very ugly with their guilt and judgement of others.  Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching reminds humanity to be natural, to see what polarity does. Tilopa is closer to Lao Tse.

What people don’t understand is LIBERATION is the BEGINNING not the end.

The eye of wisdom pierces the veil of Maya
“Don’t do anything” says Tilopa

Taking the wriggles out of nature brings ugliness
Adding to oneself creates a sense of loss and unnecessary seeking

Lao Tse prefers to live by the River
Buddha is long gone, his people are attached to ending suffering
The Void remains the same, Emptiness is full to the brim

Tilopa 2.0

Finding Peace with Unknowing

When I was a kid I remember my sister saying to me, “wanna play a card game?” I said, “yes, which one?”  She said, ” fifty two pickup”, then to my frustration she proceeded to throw the deck of cards in the air, they scattered across the floor accompanied by the sound of haunting thunderous older sibling laughter. Over the years I’ve felt that same sensation just after life’s milestones such as before or after moving house, the end of a relationship, leaving a job, death of a dear one or some type of trauma large or small or the sale of a previously loved ‘I will never leave you’ favourite guitar. These events that leave us a little unsettled remind me of fifty-two pickup, all the elements are there, they look familiar but there’s a feeling of chaos and a sense that someone or an invisible being has played a dirty trick or they weren’t straight with us.  Trying to grab all the cards or more specifically the pieces of our life and put them into a sensible workable order so we can function again seems to be the issue we are regularly faced with at the various milestones of our lives, that unknowingness at times has a haunting sadness about it.
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Cafe Culture
Cars go past the cafe, a lot of them seem ghostly, they’re almost empty apart from the occasional over animated driver speaking with his invisible friend or more than likely someone at the other end of a mobi-fone conversation; multi-tasking has become more common now, brain electrons zoom so fast. We’ve come a long way since the horse and cart, men on the Moon, flat earth concepts (chuckle), the hidden space programs no longer a conspiracy theory (I will leave that subject for others to debate, this subject is not in my portfolio and is too far removed from my Sunday coffee hit), tech companies can make a 3D printer that can print a building but ironically their ability to manufacture a normal printer that spits out a piece of paper with a bit of text print on it without any problems still seems to be a challenge and is a thorn in the side of many IT people and office admin.
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The Non Hangover
It’s Sunday, I am not a heavy drinker so I don’t experience hangover-regrets or that scary feeling of not knowing what really happened the night before, some days I do have that ‘what’s it all about, where’s it all going?’ feeling that often comes after the infamous big night out but it’s from being alive and not from substance abuse. There is an oddity for me with the questioning ‘what’s it and where’s it’,  I am very informed and have a big internal crystal ball that gives me a rather detailed view of what is unfolding on the world stage, not being able to see things that are more personal is annoying. I guess in all honesty those questions are more about a deep yearning for wanting to put my roots into the ground, define a new direction or better still wanting that sensation of falling or being in love. Falling or more correctly rising in love and wondering who that future being is, is what I think has often troubled me most, the element of surprise is too much and although one of the beauties of life is the unexpected mysteries that arrive on the doorstep, having our heart in order is for me a doorway to an abode of peace; the parting of a loved one always rocks the Universe and all the wisdom of Buddha and the inner Sage regarding detachment doesn’t count much for nothing in moments of loneliness when a kind word or a tender hand is probably all that is required, our inability to reach out for that is one of the great mysteries of life.
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Surfing the World Around Us
The wonderful thing about our existence is we have the ability to experience an over abundance of things that can create a distraction, if we are inventive as well as inquisitive, new vistas present themselves and for many of us if we can temporarily put our traumas and pains on hold we can preoccupy ourselves and glide over the ocean of sadness like a surfer slowly paddling across the water knowing there are sharks out there somewhere but understanding when we do the maths, our odds of surviving the day without being munched on are pretty high.  Some people take up art, a musical instrument or writing, as a writer I know it can be a little self indulgent and without an astute editor in our head we often need to be cautious we aren’t just feeding the fire of our problems and amplifying our pain, for me Quantum Physics or something a little more tasty gets the the electrons in my brain fired up.
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Food therapy can get expensive, fortunately I like good quality health food and there’s little chance of me ever being over weight or getting sick and I have a rather strict regime of not exercising, I’ve worked with the logic for years that if I exercise, a message will go from my brain to my body that says “I am unwell”, this allows me to maintain good health and saves a lot of time.  I know that approach sounds crazy but it works for me, to argue against it is futile and would only undermine it and I prefer the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t touch it’.
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I can quite confidently say there is not one of us that haven’t felt lost, I guess there maybe some exceptions such as Ramana Maharishi, Shirdi Sai Baba or the Avatars Krishna, Rama, Matsya or the one currently hiding in centre Earth.  At times our boat floats in the ocean, gets swamped by waves and heads around directionless, the wisest of men and woman have experienced/suffered this, the not-as-wise-as will also have doses of it so there is no need to feel special if we suffer, it’s the normal.
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Healing by Looking at the Big Picture
If we look back in time and see all the civilisations that have come and gone, the human species and its variants have managed to maintain its presence on planet Earth, whether this has been due to interference and help from off Earth entities is not the point, life here has persisted and in this is where our hope lies. It may seem like I may be a pessimist when I say look at the lost civilisations which are buried in molten rock or under the ocean or the North or South Poles, I could also include the network of tunnels all across the Earth where the old communities hid from the elements and predators but in being able to see and accept the comings and goings of communities, a wisdom of the impermanence of the nature of things kicks in.  Many would know that this ‘impermanence’ is one of the core underlying ideas of Buddhism or any other half decent approach to  self transformation.  When we look at the bigger picture of the cycles of comings and goings we can see in the macrocosm that there are patterns that are reflected in our microcosmic world.  This careful observation is very useful for dealing with the unwanted and unexpected things that leave us feeling a little shaky, sad or at times even devastated.  By observing nature and here I mean the cycles of life, we can learn to see deeply and without having to put too much of an emphasis on an issue we will gradually accept the inevitability of change and allow what ‘needs to leave us’ go on its way. If we are constantly focused on one problem and forget all the wonders going on around us it can poison the garden of our lives, and that really is a tragedy.
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Change is constant and this is a good thing, we gather our wisdom from experiences and wander into foreverness.

Tilopa 2.0

Dogs Teaching Humans How to Stay

stay

It’s one of those days when I want to run, things feel mysteriously empty, not in a Buddhist way, there’s a gentle ache in my Being.  I could hurriedly say I don’t like this feeling, instead I will attempt to sit with it after I have distracted myself for a few hours with coffee, chocolate, food, writing articles and a few meaningless things that I will give importance to in an effort to make me feel like I am doing something of substance.  Like many people, for years of my life I have struggled with saying what needed to be said and often in most cases I just walked away feeling disempowered and disappointed that I wasn’t heard or have been misunderstood or mistreated.  I am not into power, I find it hideous; the power I am interested in is the Power of Creation, to bring new things into being.  In the world of mice and men I have a tendency to walk away like a puppy and lick my paws after the scraps in life.
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Dogz
I only ever had one puppy, he was a black and white Cocker Spaniel, a gorgeous being who got taken out by a milk truck driver when I was about four years old. I am not a dog person these days but watching my son train his beloved best friend teaches me a lot; how to soften up and also toughen up, not be so uptight, dirt and poo is not as bad as I thought it was, and most of all how to develop discipline.
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The D Word
The word discipline is one that every teenager, gypsy, anarchist, rebel, vagabond and village Bohemian gives the finger to.  When I eventually realised that SELF Discipline has no relationship to the big-stick-discipline I headed off on a new journey of discovery; I was reminded that practicing guitar for ten hours a day was a definition of the friendly-D-word. It is obvious that there really is no relationship between the two D words but like anything, until we know it in the totality of our being, (read as: understand it and do it first hand) there is always going to be someone with a big stick standing over us correcting our ways and in response our thoughts will be saying, “stuff you.”
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Learning Dog Tricks
Life is meditation with a few thoughts in between, well maybe more than a few, it’s closer to a snow storm or rainy day, they just keep falling into our space, we capture some, others go back into Emptiness. Learning to stay is something that dogs do well, waiting, sitting, focusing, no distractions, what ever goes by don’t follow; we learn to watch the rise and fall of moments and events, knowing that in time all things must pass.
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Just Being
Sometimes I am the master of thought, wisdom is easy for me but today I will sit, feel what is in my being, embrace the uncomfortableness, wait  with a slight sense of timidness and wonder instead of giving into fear, I will not fantasise that by speaking up for myself it will bring about turmoil and if it does so be it.  There is a time to step up and a time to retreat and be silent.  For me peace is important, to be understood has always been a critical thing but due to the diversity of human nature this is never guaranteed and is a little fanciful, unrealistic at times but sometimes possible.
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The Caravan of Life
I sit and look in the invisible rear-vision mirror and see my past dissolving, before me there are new experiences unfolding and cascading, new people and things, moments I never dreamed of or had even considered.  I seek love, empathy and compassion.

As the SAGE Rumi says,
“Come Come whoever you are,
Wanderer, wayfarer, lover of leaving,
Even if you have broken your vows thousands of times,
Come, ours is not a Caravan of Despair”

I will tie my camel and stay in my tent until the storm passes.

Tilopa 2.0

(image is the property of the wonderful cartoonist Maria Scrivan and is used for educational purposes so we humans can learn from dogs) 

First Noble Truth Reconsidered

The world we move in has always been gifted with great Teachers. They arrive open hearted to lay a foundation for future generations to be able to put in place a set of principles so humanity can protect itself from itself.  Hedonism, decadence, over consumption, excessiveness, imbalanced life, narcism always seems to naturally run rampant, humanity at times is like a car rolling along without breaks and is in danger off self destruction, when we add science to the mix we end up with Weapons of Self Destruction in the hands of madmen.
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After the Main Guy Leaves
It is not uncommon to see the situation where once a great Teacher has left, after a short period of time things get a little bit twisted, okay let’s be clear, it’s really a BIG little.  It’s easy to follow dogmas, they are comfortable – feel good, dangle some beads around the neck, set up an altar and a few statues, grab the prayer book, learn the designer lingo, and then bond with a ‘sense’ of community who are all going the same way … regardless which way, doing it together feels safe.  Spiritual aspirants usually call themselves the ‘black sheep of the family’ but always join another flock all wearing the same fleece.  It is easy to be told or fed someone else’s wisdom, to accept and believe what it may mean when you are told it by a more senior member of the community or someone you feel is ‘in the know.’ Those in the know are powerful, it is not uncommon that they sometimes misuse that power; obviously not always as there are well intentioned people everywhere.
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HOWEVER it is critical to question everything, if not we may unwittingly become a slave to a concept.  It’s easy for the Spiritual bling to creep in, it can take over our lives and we can assume that these things make us closer to God or the goal, when really it’s often just wallpaper, delusion, Maya at its finest. Spiritual adornments are just laying extra layers over the top and block the view. The Universes/ Prakriti is the playground, there is form and the formless.  Out of Emptiness emerges all things, they rise and fall in consciousness. When freedom is what a person is seeking, imprisonment just doesn’t cut it…run…run fast…get out of there ASAP, in a moment we can cut through the delusion and if we linger it does lead to immense suffering. The baby and the bath water doesn’t cut it… run…run…run…back to yourSelf. Each moment we have the opportunity to abandon EVERYTHING, there is no obligation to the past or what we have committed too when it comes to real freedom.
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The Buddha
Great minds don’t think alike, they go where no-one has dreamed.  They bring in the unknown, something extraordinary that creates a new pathway for humanity; these people make others feel a little uncomfortable, people run away. Uncomfortableness is good, it’ll make you a little itchy, restless, give you sleepless nights; these will say what you are NEVER ready to hear.
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Buddha Gautama was one of many throughout the history of the endless Dance of the Cosmos who emerged out of the Infinite Silence to uplift humanity. He arrived and like other great Sages his very presence transformed those he encountered, even if they didn’t know it, the mixing of His field with theirs was enough to totally destroy them, I say destroy because in freedom everything we believe to be true gets annihilated, Buddha planted the seed as He wandered, even those who hated him benefited by encountering Him. Those who follow later, the people who form groups that ultimately morph into structured spiritual or religious organisations, cults and sects, they will interpret the words and experiences to suit their limited perceptions and understanding and create dogmas.
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Is it Noble? Is it True?
Although I am very familiar with Buddhist texts, the other day my eye was caught and I froze when I read a reasonably common translation of the First Noble Truth. ‘All Life is Suffering’, this is one translation, one of many, I won’t address other ones that may be wiser but this is a springboard for removing something that has filtered through those that are both in and outside the Buddhist faith.  I felt a little unsettled when I was reminded of this way of thinking, it knocked on my being so I decided to explore it.  I could see clearly that it had the potential for undermining the wellbeing of the well intentioned Spiritual aspirants. I do know that if we dig in and run with it we will probably find something transformative. If we are not cautious we can easily bind ourselves to a self-imposed dogma, there’s always a type of subtle programming that can undermine our joy.
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Lights Action  – Take Two
Let’s start over.  What I write here is not about being correct and attempting to be wiser than others. These are living teachings not historical.  I am interested in transformation, creating a bridge to cross over; we need to be prepared to abandon what we assume to be true.  Humility is reflected in our ability to be wrong, to throw EVERYTHING out the window.  Without this attitude there is no hope, we can become prisoners of doctrines and our misunderstandings.  Philosophy is about opinions, people looking at an object and telling us about it, that is only mind games, speculation.  I have learnt from experience that much that I considered to be true, even EXPERIENCED based things were totally wrong, the experiences were real but in time I discovered it was my interpretation of them that was upside down.  I recommend being open because if we are not, when it COLLAPSES and we see into what is really going on, it will be a shock to ANYONE, I know this first hand.
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Our Nature and Birth Rite
Happiness is not just a goal for the future, although if we are generally unhappy now it is reasonable to have desire for it to emerge at some point downstream in our lives, this is normal but really, happiness is for NOW. If we are always running to find happiness in future times, living with a hope that one day it will be okay, unknowngly our life will flit away, the wrinkles gradually arrive, the signs of ageing creep in, the sparkle in the eye dissolves like salt in water, the essence of electrical current in our being whittles down to zero; but the doughnut on the string will still be out of reach even when the angel of death passes over and knocks on the door and welcomes us in.  If we are addicted to our past and are hypnotised by all the blissful moments that flowed under the bridge, we may find ourself always trying to recapture them; that first kiss, travel in new country, a breakthrough in art or music where we discovered we could compose a song or said “hey I really am going to be an artist”.  We do need to embrace our worthiness but find ways not cling to things, to see events like petals on a flower in our garden of existence, an ever changing lush landscape with seasons.
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We need to be cautious of what drives us. By this I mean there is something deep down hidden in the subconscious that impacts on the way we feel the world and create our lives.  The first Noble Truth about suffering requires a lot of thought, clarity needs to be there, our insight must deepen.  If we stay on the surface and take on the concept ‘all life is suffering’ we will be in serious strife. We may get caught as if we as humans are in debt to suffering and continue the narrative.
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Beauty 
I grew up by the beach, as a child the rolling waves were inviting but scary, the gritty sand in my toes, kids using sieves to find coins, playful waves on the shore, the gentle swish noise of the water moving backwards and forwards at the edge of the great blue expanse, the rock pool with baby tiger sharks wiggling, fish, starfish, jellyfish, the sunrise, all those wondrous lifeforms reminded me there was more than the television, the milkshakes, girls in bikinis strutting their stuff, the smell of coconut oil. There is no need for me to seek suffering there; only a madman does that.
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On a hot day I can still taste the ice creams and paddle pops I ate as a child, feel the sun against my skin, sense myself diving under the waves, swallowing a little too much salt water, dumped on the sandbank.  I rarely eat ice-cream now, my body finds it too cold as it heads down my insides but I honour its existence, some glorious being breathed it into being.  I am not addicted to my past experiences, if I cling too much to the joys and keep pulling them into the ‘screen in my frontal lobe’ I will find myself lacking, they are gone, have moved back into Emptiness.  And if I am a slave to the joys of my past I will have to embrace its twin, the sadness, despair and tragedies that slayed me at moments.
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I found it
I see the clouds changing shape, they take new forms just like the molecules in the world around me. I know that I have found love, not just in the arms of those wondrous women beings who passed through my life and left a piece of their beauty in me, those wondrous beings who helped shape the man I am for better or for worse, I embrace love in the passing play of life, not clinging but in learning how to accept the diversity of all things, the aridness of the desert, the biting cold, the gentleness of meek people, acceptance of those who are naive, the loud and bold also have their story, and the sound of a child singing strange noises.
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I will leave suffering to those that need it to guide them.  I will walk another way, an uncharted path and be my own Buddha.

Me Too and the Fragility it Brings

Lately during Springtime where I live and also far off across the world as Autumn spreads a veil of leaves across the land; the hint of summer here, away over yonder across the not-flat-earth, the gentle sting of the cold is cutting in, women are stepping up to the mark, in unity, some broken, angry, fragile, ever so heroically and with trepidation to claim back what was lost and to tell the world what just isn’t okay.
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At first some people were wondering what #MeToo meant; someone assumed when I wrote ‘me too’ whether I was coming out as a rainbow person, I nipped that one ‘in the bud’ and declared my blokey-ness’ pretty fast and yes like millions of other heterosexual males I do honour peoples choices and rights in love.  We’ve seen the breast and prostrate cancer icon posts on Social Media, at first were mysterious and confusing.  And as a parent who had my oldest wondrous son suicide, I often go into mild panic mode and lock myself in my house for half as day when I see the posts about suicide and am confronted by the ‘if you really cared you would post this to your Fakelife Page’, all well intentioned but it only reminds me that people DON’T understand trauma and they do not realise doing good their way is perceived as bulldozing the garden of others like myself who are fragile beings. And it’s not that we want to feel that way, ‘it just happens’
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Us as Well 
In Australia we have had an ongoing Royal Commission Into the Institutional Response to Child Abuse, that title clearly defines what it is, it has outed so many molesters.  Like many others who experienced the crimes of the Catholic Clergy as a ten year old I was violated by a GROUP of supposedly adult Godly men, I stepped up, not because I wanted to but I knew that those of us who do have basic intelligence, can articulate, have sound memories and that little bit of Frodo courage, we could inspire others to hopefully heal, to claim back and maybe even have a victory over the crimes against humanity.  I do know of other men and women who testified from their jail cells, some on their death beds, some limped in pretty messed up, however there are those who are forgotten in psychiatric wards or in many cases are those homeless people we walk past every day in the cities, their stories will go down with them in their graves.
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Being Gentle
So leaving the ‘hero to oneself’ moments aside and stepping back into the field of life, here’s what I think people need to consider, we are in a very delicate stage of human evolution, we are moving away as a species from living like ‘knuckle draggers’ (thanks James Gililland) to become beings who are more sublime, empathetic, compassionate, with passing phases of being emotionally intelligent. When the Australian Royal Commission was announced, when I looked around I noticed a lot of people were coming apart; on the news there was an endless stream of information about the forthcoming Inquiry and unbeknown to many the vulnerable were being stirred up because it was in their face everyday.  During that time the Lifeline (suicide help) phone in lines were being swamped with calls, in one week it increased by 25% and we do know a number of people left us as they did not cope. Back in the supposedly real world out on the streets because I was a little outspoken, I had quite a number of women approach me to discuss their issues relating to their abuse when they were children.  I seemed to be reasonable human to approach as they found it unusual for a man to speak up about abuse.  The issue we were faced with as a community was the crimes committed on those tender women were outside the scope of the Royal Commission, they were fragile and due to the increased coverage they couldn’t run and had to in some way process what was coming up relating to their deep dark past. This is not easy, I know this journey well.
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This Me
So I write now to make a plea to the community to be gentle with each other because men like myself do feel vulnerable, we are triggered by what has emerged in MeToo in the same way that others felt fragile when the Royal Commission emerged. We are also the MeToos, there are literally millions and millions of men like myself who were abused by men when we were children and we are also fragile around other men but we are not part of the violations, I am clear that NOBODY has said we are.  There are wondrous men in the community who do attempt to be noble, respectful and wish to see women claim back their power and want to see the GODDESSES that women are emerge and wish to see boundaries that are put in place respected.
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I know from the experience of years of slowly unpacking the violations on my being by miscreants, at this moment it is a time when the community needs to hold each other, to be there united in healing, to be gentle when it’s easier to be bold and angry.  To make people accountable for crimes is more than acceptable but great caution is required to not break everything else in the process.  I wish everyone healing, transformation and hopefully this coming forward by the millions of Metoo’s can make the world a better, safer place where peoples sovereignty is respected.
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May all Beings Be Happy
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Tilopa 2.0

 

Beyond Myth and Feeling Beings

One of the problems we have is ‘intelligent people’ rule the society, not the governments, they are run by hideous tyrants.  What I mean is ‘intelligent people’ have hoodwinked the communities from one side of the globe to the other that they with their knowledge or more specifically I will say ‘impressions and viewpoint of the world’ are at the apex of civilisation and that anything that is not according to their set of rules or understanding is lesser, of not much value, inconsequential and needs to be minimised, put in its place or even scoffed at.
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FEELING
Arrogant elitism has a feeling about it.  And this is where the ‘feeling people’, the Empaths, the Sensitives, the Mystics like myself, the dreamers, the wanderers, the gentle of heart, those of the Spirit have the ability to claim back our power and rise above the limitations of imprisoned social consciousness and disempower in our thoughts those who have dominated the civilisation for ions.  It is FEELING that is the doorway to transformation, not emotions, FEELINGS, not intelligence, FEELINGS.  As the great sage Tilopa 1.0 said a thousand years ago “Although it cannot be said, Naropa I will say it for you”.  All the wise men go past intelligence but many have it in their tool box to pull out when needed.
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NATURE
The wind gently brushed against my skin, normally I hide from that blowie wondrous Being who picks up the seeds and scatters them to their new quarters to create future generations of their species; but now as my heart opens a little I am learning to break down the walls of the prison I have been educated into.  I’ve always loved the salt water on my skin, the Sun that glorious living God burning the surface of my being, the sand in between my toes reminding me that grittiness and texture is a sensation I need to seek more often.  Wrapped in water under the waves I recall a deep past when some of my ancestors the Mermans and Mermaids swam with Matsya to save the Vedas from being lost forever. To many, they see that as Myth and Legend, stories for children, tales told by a foolish primitive community that was too stupid to understand what was real and what was important or intelligent.
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As Mother Earth suffers mans pollution, all the hideous crimes against nature, the obliteration of species; man the outcast of the Stars with his narcissistic tendencies and over abundance of self importance. We now see and experience the affects of ‘intelligent’ man who have allowed businessmen, tyrants, the elite, sociopaths to call the shots of the destiny of man.
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Smarty Pants
Intelligence can be wise, Jiddu Krishnamurthi had extraordinary intelligence but he used it to place mankind under the microscope and transform lives, Einstein and others had a creative intelligence and questioning to translate the mysteries of the the world and beyond into some sort of super reasoning and formulas.  I do think being a genius is the ultimate – cooooool. However if intelligence reigns supreme at the expense of the feeling faculties we shall suffer like we are a being out of balance who has tiny legs, arms and torso with a head that is too big for the body to carry around.
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the NEW DAWN
And now we rise.  It has been said for quite some time that a New World would come, the old would be washed away in the twinkling of an eye. The Feeling Beings are reading the stars, no not that intriguing Vedic Astrology that marks the descent of Kings, Gods and Goddesses. The heavens are alive, once perceived by some as dead and mysterious; the dreamers are reading them, the Astronomers look on in wonder and tell everyone “look up” the heavens are full of living entities. The Feeling Beings are watching nature, the creatures who are our brothers and sisters all have the wriggles, they are telling us great change is coming. But intellectual man feeds the media with its problems, its studies, its half-arsed knowledge and has not listened to the wisdom of others, those who protested the war in the 60’s, the logging and damming of rivers in the 70’s, the tree-huggers of the 80’s and all those who came later with their warnings of ‘you are going the wrong way’.
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There is a great separation going on, those that feel and dream a miraculous future at one end of the spectrum and those who fear and have no trust that the Heavens are alive and the beauteous Being that we live and move in and on, shall claim back what is hers.  She will shake her garment, raise her head nobly and those of us who LOVE will travel with her and go beyond the known limitations.
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May all beings Be Happy
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Tilopa 2.0

When Our Hearts Cracks Open

We’ve all been there, the dream dissolves.  Suddenly there’s a doorway in life, it appears from nowhere and we unwillingly step through it and are left feeling bewildered and question whether the period of our life we were in was a fantasy.  The familiar things around us, the places, the impressions in our thoughts that in a flash take us into a moment we treasured. The transience of life is something that won’t go away, it’s seems like when we are born we have a sticker slapped on our bum that says “change is the only constant embrace it or suffer.”
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All pain comes from attachment so say He the Great Buddha, his words were probs a little different but the essence the same.  My dearest friend and teacher once told me, “wherever there is pain there is clinging.”  At times it seems that wise words when we are in the state of suffering are almost offensive, insensitive, inhumane and lack in empathy.  But I know from experience the Sages who are our dearest of kin have placed them there within the scope of our consciousness so we can reach up to them when we are ready.
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The Seasons
The loss of a loved one, whether it be through death, or the changing fortunes on the screenplay of life are always challenging but are critical and are a natural process.   I do know well that transformation or what I would call the alchemy of going from raw material to gold is a usual process and also when I look at nature that we are part of, without the changing seasons there is no growth, no flowering of the tree of life; there can be no symphony without each musician playing his or her part perfectly in time with the composer’s intention, if we decide to go off in another direction and attempt to play something of our own, there will be chaos.  And I am not saying we are puppets in the hands of the Divine, it’s more like we need to fine tune our instrument, listen carefully and be in harmony with ourselves and this harmony joins the Totality.
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Being Vulnerable
Contrary to normal opinion, When the Heart Breaks Open it is safe, yes feelings arise that we may not like, there is an uncomfortable-ness about it. Being uncomfortable is not our favourite place as humans, we are standing on new ground or more precisely falling through an unknown area of space. The feeling of insecurity is usually perceived by people as an enemy.  If we have the ability to sit with it, to hold until the wayward thoughts and emotions subside we will see and experience something extraordinary.  If we become a slave to our thoughts and stay ‘in them’, suffering is a long experience, some people never recover.  If we are very gentle on ourselves, inquisitive and LOOK at the rise and fall of the sensations rolling towards us, we may notice that the perceived bee sting is not really there, it is the fear of the sting that we had, there will be sweet honey when its time.
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Embracing Eternity
I am grateful for life, for love, for the experiences that have and will shape me. In my life which has had its more than normal quota of trauma and loss, there are days when I have begged for it to all go away, to just rest in the Eternal Silence that underlies all things.  But then I remind myself that the Eternal Silence is ever present, it’s closer than a breath away, I can go there at any moment, it encases all the Universes.  The mystery of life is too precious to run from and based on what I am seeing now my intuition tells me where I am headed is beyond my wildest dreams.
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With a sense of curiosity I will say yes and give thanks to all that has been, is and what is to come.

Tilopa 2.0

From Suffering to Freedom

The path of self transformation is a bumpy one.  Each person has a history, some traumatic.  When we look at the lives of others we can become inspired by their ability to rise above tragedies,  admire their courage and at times share their tears.  Many great men and women have inspired me to never give up, to keep plunging deeper into the mysteries of life.
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Like others I too have a story, one that will never ever be told completely and will be lost forever in time and that is for the better. But from the experiences that I needed to rise above, I found a way to bring about some type of healing, a way of addressing the thoughts that troubled me and ran in the background of my life since a child.
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I have created a book to help others come to some type of peace, to slay the dragons of troublesome thoughts, to claim back and enhance the quality of life. This book although small was seven years in the making and it is tender.  It is not about survival and the crimes committed, it has a sweetness, a vulnerability about it.  Being able to show our vulnerability is okay, as men it can be difficult but if we are smart or wise enough to embrace those moments and use them as food to empower our being, we will grow and eventually only casually look back.
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This book is my offering to help heal those who have suffered.

All my love Tilopa 2.0

Embracing Fragility and Vulnerability

The societies we live in are crazy; and that is an over generous appraisal on my part.  We inhabit fractured communities on this wondrous planet, all disconnected from each other and the Eco systems we are intertwined with. The Earth is a living being who unfolds her beauty in Spring, in that season everything has a freshness and bounce in its step; in Summer the hot sun in the desert burns the Earth, only the strong survives but life abounds behind the scenes; Autumn drapes her fabric, colors unmatched, her beauty steals the heart of the onlooker; the bitter bite of Winter has us rushing for soup and wood-fired pizza and diving for cover under blankets. Underneath it all the canvas of the Living Silence maintains its equipoise hidden from all.
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Man and His Mad Agendas
Man has his missions to the Moon, to Mars; his agendas block, straighten or redirect the river, he flattens the hill to extend suburbia into native grasslands, in the process he makes his beloved brothers the animals homeless. Man in the news media tells us of the worst of human behavior and then gives a moments reprieve with trivia, celebrity bling and sport, dumbing down the masses, the man in politics supports the systems to keep everything just out of reach to break the back of the community, people become dependent on the broken system, one that was never designed to nurture it.  Politicians are meant to serve the people not control them and implement hideous agendas.
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The Empty Sky
The Buddha Mind does not belong to Buddhism, it is homeless like the biblical Son of Man having ‘no place to lay his head’.  The sky holds without holding, the Buddha Mind encases all that arises in it, lets it fall back into Emptiness, neither owning or disowning. The man of a lesser god judges, he doesn’t know the great Tao encases the play without a fuss, everything rises and falls into space, empires come and go.
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The world at times can push against us, our fragility can scream, we feel as if we are going to break.  If we have read the Zen classics we will know it is the hollow bamboo that bends in the wind, it is in Emptiness we find peace. We have seen and learnt war doesn’t end in peace, there is no relationship between the two. War is about two false concepts that have nowhere to go, they bash against each other, in a way enemies deserve each other, it’s a love hate relationship, love ones own opinion and hate the other. Peace and emptiness are essentially the same, neither of them DO anything, peace is always relaxing into itself, Emptiness is the canvas that holds the universe.  War is the fruit of those who don’t understand their innate nature and inter-connectedness.
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Coming Apart
In those moments when we are most vulnerable there is a natural feeling that we need to protect something, and this is a logical response.  But if we take some time to look closely we will see we have an IMAGINARY identity. We are educated into thinking a particular way, to have opinions, to make them known seems reasonable, to stand up for ourselves, some say our views define us, it makes us feel relevant. However, in an aggressive world those who can yell the loudest, be the biggest trickster, articulate ‘on the fly’ better than others are always the champions. It doesn’t mean that those people are wiser or have better world views, they are better salesmen at selling their version of reality. When someone feels like they are not heard, an internal argument lingers long after a discussion, it eats away at them. The assertive views of others can be like arrows that shoot through the aura that surrounds a sensitive being.
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Unbeknownst to many, the Sages don’t actually mind what people think or believe. This is because they have nothing to protect, when required they state what is there, what they see and is beyond doubt in that moment of timelessness, there is no conflict with the world.  Why argue with a rock or a doughnut, why go into conflict with somebody who looks through a tiny window and can’t see the whole landscape, who doesn’t know their place in the tapestry of foreverness?  The winning of an argument is for drunk men, politicians or philosophers in the park, slaves of soap box wisdom. The philosophers aren’t usually wise men, they are smart men on the way to being wise, critical thinkers, they have opinions, they are speculators not experiencers, they are at the middle or beginning on the journey of transformation. Opinions get in the way of super-consciousness
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The Eggshells of Life
Fragility is a good thing if we know how to work with it.  An eggshell is a protective layer, under it is a new life.  The trick with the fragility is to know how to use it, to know when to crack the egg open.  The new life that emerges when cracked will be vulnerable, will require some tender handling and protection.
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So how do we work with this, how can we be fragile, extremely vulnerable and still feel safe? How can we navigate harmlessly through a world full of what seems like predators, through the chaos of life on Earth which is at war with everything around it?
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Nature is a wondrous thing.  If we look around us we will see the trail and reminders of billions of years of existence.  The stars with their mysteries, we know from research by astronomers that galaxies are in the making; planets hang in space like the baubles on a Christmas tree.  When we look across the mysterious world we see Jonathan the 183 year old turtle who lives on the island of St Helena, he and his relatives have over time developed a shell to protect their tender bodies. The cactus in the desert with its prickles telling everyone to stay away; the birds wings give them an escape strategy and the chameleon saying ” I’m not here, you can’t see me”.  If we are sharp in out thinking and have the ability to look clearly at the world around us, I mean the world MINUS man, although we will see a pattern that resembles survival of the fittest, we will notice multitudinous species that have managed to navigate the ensnarement’s and the trial by fire of life.  In this vision of the world around us we can find wisdom, it becomes our guru.  Man has intelligence, he may come out second best when wrestling with a tiger but if we look at the worlds population of 7.5 billion people, the human entity is not doing too bad in the survival stakes.
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The Invisible Glue
There is something odd that happens to humans, there is an attitude of wanting to hold ourselves together, it’s not just about self preservation, it’s about our IMAGINARY self. Sure we have a body, it goes ouch ouch if we are silly enough to ride a bicycle with our eyes closed or if we get dumped in the surf by mistiming a wave, that’s a normal response.  But the vulnerability and fragility that I am talking about is different.  We may have a strong body and still feel fragile emotionally, we may have enough money but feel a sense of lack, we may present with wonderful social skills but still feel like we don’t fit in.
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So what to do? How to be free from the vulnerability and fragility? I know from life experiences that regardless what has gone on in my life, I am still here, my awareness is still intact, my bruises have come and gone, my heart has healed.  I have navigated decades, quietly slayed the enemies as they have blocked my path, met and danced with the ghosts of loved ones who have passed over, stood on the precipice and looked out into foreverness and felt totally insignificant, raised myself above things that would have normally broken most men and survived against all reasonable odds, and this why I write.  I understand beyond all doubt that the rise and fall of events on the screen of the world doesn’t ‘touch’ the observer of the passing show, the wondrous mystery of life.  And it is not that I don’t feel, do I feel? YES, my heart bleeds daily. But I understand that feelings and emotional responses are part of their own world.  Regardless what presents itself I continue to rest in the Silence; when I remember I jump to the part of myself that observes the events of my life.
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Awareness
Learning to ‘jump’ to different parts of ourselves is something we can practice.  It comes about by watching the movement of our feelings and emotions when we are alone.  It is the same process that some people use in meditation.  Taking time out to do this will change our lives, it teaches us to know when to enter or retreat in an unemotional way.  We need to be gentle on ourselves, we won’t always get it ‘right’.  We are learning to tame the dragon, not to slay it.  Understanding ourselves and being kind to ourselves is important.  Accepting that being vulnerable or fragile is the natural order of things, it teaches us to walk gently among others, when we are gentle on ourselves we learn to be a little kinder to others, to see their vulnerability, to know when to step back.
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Everything has a place.  We do not live in a world where ‘only the strong survive’, this comes from a militant mindset.  The gentle, the vulnerable, the wise have survived for eons, they are our teachers.  I bow in honor of you.
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May all Beings Be Happy

The Meaninglessness of Fame

There is an unnatural desire in man (the species) to want to be famous, to stand out, to receive accolades, be important, to be raised up above others. Having said this, I am not writing from what is known as ‘the tall poppy syndrome’, a type of sickness that wants to see others cut down if they are successful.  Achieving things is fine, going past our known potential and doing what may have been considered impossible, creating wondrous music, to excel at what we do, this is something that I consider as natural, to unfold something extraordinary in the human kaleidoscope is noble.
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The Big People Know Everything
When we are children we start to ‘look up’ to people, we are little, they are big, they have more experience in the world and looking out our tiny window we see that they can do and know many incredible things.  Depending on the experiences that happen to us and whether we are powered or dis-empowered by those who educate us, we gradually slot into a place in the community. In some cases in the past adults had an attitude of ‘children should be seen and not heard’.  This attitude has spawned generations of suppressed humans who feel like they are wearing a suit of armor two sizes too small with minimal joint movement. In some cases, in those moments when they escape the suit they often lose the plot and we see a trail of casualties of drug and alcohol abuse and other destructive behaviors.  And of course there are others who manage to surf the gigantic waves and ride safely to the shoreline and live out beautiful lives.
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The Leveler 
I discovered by accident years ago that all men and women are equal. Yes we hear that every day, there are documents in place, people spout it from pulpits in churches, the writers of political speeches throw it in every now for touchy feely effect to have you believe their brand loves everyone.  We have to come back to basics here and rip the idea of ‘all are equal’ apart.  Here’s how it works. I may be a barista, the worlds best, dreadlocks, hipster clothes, mice music oozing out from the vinyl on the stereo system, a smarty-pants walk, everybody loves me.  When I am making the worlds best coffee that has been carried by donkeys from deep in the jungles of Amazon,  I am doing my dharma (my natural calling and life purpose done with utmost integrity and virtue), at that moment I am invisible; when I am invisible God/ the totality of Being/ the Sublime Super Consciousness is flowing through my veins like water at the Iguazu Falls.  When it’s time to go home and I don my alpaca sweater, pick up my 1940’s typewriter and climb onto my solar powered bicycle, no longer am I the worlds best barista, I am just doing what I am doing, biking it down the road, giving the finger to motorists, smiling at the lay…deeees.
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Being able to TURN OFF who we believe ourselves to be is probably the second greatest secret there is.  There is an invisible hierarchy in all communities, and in many cases it’s not so invisible, it’s overt, in your face segregation into pockets of people who ‘know their place’.  I m reminded of a story from India.
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“There once was a man, well educated, had lived in the West for many years and went back to Bharat (India) to visit his family.  He ad a slight arrogance about him that often is seen on the faces of those who see academia as the pinnacle of civilisation.  He got to the river , climbed into the ferryman’s small rowboat. After about five minutes as the boat paddled across the waterway, in ‘exhibition of intelligence’ he opened out a newspaper. (NOTE: Prabhu is a term of respect.) The ferryman said “Prabhu, what is this?” The man gave a little exaggerated chuckle and said “What, you don’t know what that is, you poor fellow, it’s the New York Times, you have wasted a half of your life,missed so much, you don’t know much about life”.  The ferryman said “No, Prabhu I don’t what New York Times is, what does it say?”  The visitor said, “Hear take it, read it.” The ferryman said, “Prabhu, please could you read it to me?.” The visitor said, “what! you can’t read, you have wasted three quarters of your life”. Just then a storm came up, the visitor looked terrified.  The ferryman said, “Prabhu, what is troubling you?” The visitor said, “It is looking very stormy”, he started to shake as the boat rocked up and down.  The boatman looked at him and said, “Prabhu, can you swim?” The visitor shook his head implying that he couldn’t swim. Just then a massive wave hit the boat and as it was turning upside down, the ferryman said, “Prabhu, you have wasted your whole life”… We all value different things, we humans develop a sense of self-importance relating to our achievements.  The tragedy is if we don’t treat them respectfully they divide us, they allow us to feel greater or lesser than others.
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Cosmic Glue
The moon shines out in the night-sky, the planets, shooting stars and a few spacecraft from outside the Earth show themselves briefly and disappear; the night has a resonance about it, a ringing, a deep hum beneath it and occasionally it is broken by the noise of man.  The light of the moon is shared by the rich and poor, lovers, the lonely, the dreamers and the animals peeping out of their holes in the ground.  The Earth in it’s magnificent beauty holds us, its trees that add to its wondrous garment give shade to Sages, dacoits, the homeless and the athletes who need to rest their tired legs. We are bound together, our ancestors held hands with those of strangers we see in the street, the water running through our bodies was once part of something somewhere off in the skies… we are a part of the totality of all of nature and in our hearts our spirits are bound.
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Thought 
It is thought that divides us, everything else is bound together in nature. Molecules collide, they dance and although we can’t hear it they sing. The song of the bird although feint adds a sweetness to the day.  The discriminating mind has its benefits, it allows us to know that 7 pieces of pizza although desirable, will create a problem; walking backwards down the street will not be the immediate logical choice when we think it through.
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We know this ‘thought-thing’ we have can take us to heaven or hell, if we brood over something it can turn into anxiety or stress, if let something go without a fuss, things go smoother.  The ‘thought-thing’ that people usually (and erroneously) call the mind is the source of our discrimination.  We pull stories out of our memory banks that travel with us through our lives.  We have placed people where we think they belong.  There is a tendency to look up to people who have achieved great things, and in the community there is often a feeling of ‘better than’ the less fortunate, the illiterate, the homeless, those who behave in manners that are anti-social.  The poor look at the wealthy and often feel lack, doctors and lawyers are also held in high regard by the uneducated, their feeling of self-worth  can be challenged.  It’s this looking up and looking down that is at the heart of all our problems.
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Bringing a Sense of Order
If I come back to the idea of the dread-locked barista with his hipster clothes, when he goes home the Espresso machine gets turned off and it rests patiently awaiting to appease the needs of the taste buds of early-risers wanting their ‘hit’, the barista is just another hipster in torn jeans, doing his thing, breathing the air or puffing on his e-cigarette.  And after a long shift the doctor lays down his tools after achieving what centuries ago would have seemed a miracle and in some ways I guess it is; he once again becomes himself, a living breathing being with normal emotions, needs, desires, joys and he suffers the same hurts as any of the other brokenhearted, fears of death and other traumatic losses.
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By coming back to basics and seeing that in navigating the human experience we need each other; if a man is suffering, regardless whether he is rich or poor, whatever his cultural background, a healthy being reaches out with empathy, compassion, kindness. At the water-well we all need to quench our thirst equally, a smile is contagious like a yawn, and when we lay our bodies down at night to rest in the dream state, there is no-one higher or lower as we wander the star-fields.
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Tilopa 2.0