Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Am Presence

“I am the light shining upon all things.
I am the sum of everything,
For everything has come forth from me,
and towards me everything unfolds.
Split a piece of wood and there I am,
Pick up a stone and you will find me there.”

Logion 77 (The Gospel of Thomas).

The quality of awareness that is demonstrated in this saying reveals how the “One-ness” that is shared by all of us is part of a dynamic whole. Our understanding is that this is part of the perfect, untouchable aspect of all living things and is eternal and omnipresent, whether we are aware of it or not.
We can always find a deep peace dwelling within ourselves if we are willing to be patient. This peace is an aspect of the eternal, living presence which some call God. Others do not perceive it as a part of a divine presence, but as a “luminous emptiness", an unknowable but vast sea of love and wisdom.

Regardless of the names we give it, this presence exists in all of us. For example, whenever we have an experience of peace we are calling upon this indwelling presence. We have ‘resonance’ with it because it is an aspect of our True Self already. We don’t need to name it, merely drop into the heart and as Buddha advises, ‘experience it for ourselves’.

Wow! We can simply let go of all the stories, names, meanings and symbols and simply return to our heart knowing. Religions, creeds and customs are meaningless unless we engage them as teaching devices. We can do this by sitting with the aspects that resonate with us and seeing how they bring a more expanded awareness to the surface.

In a contemplative practice the heart sends its fully formed messages to our mind. They are far more complex and complete than we can create with the efforts of past interpretations and established meanings…..Try it; it’s easier than you think.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A word about experience vs. belief

“Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained”.

Frances Vaughan and Roger Walsh (Gifts from A Course In Miracles, 1995).
Recently we are having and sharing deeper experiences of One-ness, or Non-Duality. What does this mean to us?

We have been clear from the outset that we are interested only in experiencing Divine Presence, not following a specific doctrine or religion of any kind. We agree that Truth reveals itself when we are ready. It is a heart knowing, not an intellectual or pro-scribed explanation written by someone outside of ourselves. It does not aim to convince or convert.

At Light Tree we only want to know what is true. We don’t concern ourselves with established teachings unless we sit with them and they resonate within us in some way. Even then, we surrender what we think we know and ask our Divine guidance for clarity. Only by quiet contemplation and prayer can we begin to glimpse what our inner Self is conveying in each moment.

Buddhism has established a time-tested methodology for awakening. Many of us who are born in the west have longed for a way into an authentic experience of ourselves, but are disinterested in mainstream religious practices and ideologies that do not ring true for us. At Light Tree, The Course In Miracles continues to be the gold standard for non-dualism because it clearly shows us how to un-do the ego and its limited world-view.

Having said this, we have found many contemporary teachers that can be accessed through the miracle of e-technologies or books. Non-Duality reveals itself through many traditions and many teachers, our Selves included. Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopalian Minister and established scholar of Contemplative Christianity aims to recapture the original teachings of Jesus. She ably demonstrates ways that we can apply this direct knowing in our everyday lives.

In The Wisdom Jesus and The Meaning of Mary Magdalene she reveals simple and well established practices that are accessible to those who are more familiar with the Christian tradition. Centering prayer and Lectio divina are indispensable tools for those wanting a direct experience of Divine One-ness.

In the next series of blogs we aim to explore some of the direct teachings we have experienced and hope that by discussing them we will be better able to deepen our understanding of these rich resources. We trust you will be inspired to delve deeper into your own awakening process as a result.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Falling Asleep or Waking Up

Falling Asleep or Waking Up:  Which Am I More Afraid of?

Recently in a group meditation, I found myself giggling irresistibly – hardly appropriate behaviour some might say.  In the background, we were playing a CD entitled “Holy Harmony,” an especially soft, gentle, lullingly repetitive, vocal ensemble.  For some reason, I was reminded of a skit from the Canadian SCTV comedy show popular in the 1980s. In it, one of the comedians, Eugene Levy, does a take-off of the generation of American singers called “crooners,” Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Perry Como, among others.  When I was growing up they were still household names.  Perry Como was probably the most mellow of the lot.  He took crooning to a whole new level of slow, smooth, and quiet. 

In the skit, Eugene Levy wears a silk dressing-gown with a natty cravat and carefully-styled hair.  He is reclining on a bed facing the audience.  As his musical accompaniment plays, he attempts to produce some vocals, but the effort is almost too much. He is scarcely able to lift his head off the pillow.  Occasionally, however, he rallies and utters a few barely audible notes.....  You get the picture.....  The height of mellow.   

As my giggles subsided, I wondered what it was that actually seemed so funny.  Somewhere in the laughter, I realized there was an aversion: an aversion to inertia, to not doing, to giving up, to falling asleep.

In spiritual terms, “falling asleep” means forgetting the truth of who we are, that is, our oneness.  “Falling asleep” is believing the misperception that we are separate entities.  On this occasion, however, my aversion to falling asleep felt more like an aversion to not being separate, to loosing one's identity.  So which is it?  Do I want to be separate or one? Am I more afraid of waking up than falling asleep......?  At least I can try to be honest.  Maybe that's a beginning.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding Fear with Love

“The world will never be good unless you are willing to see its goodness. What you experience depends on how you look at things. When you look with judgment, life is twisted and empty. When you look with an open heart and mind, life is poignant and meaningful…

The only thing that can successfully address your fear is to hold it with love. As soon as you look with love, you see a different world.”

Paul Ferrini: Everyday Wisdom www.paulferrini.com
Arwen Barr
Our current practice at The Light Tree has brought us to some stunning conclusions. We had been labouring under the false impression that we were sincerely seeking a change in awareness in order to live from an authentic experience of ourselves.

Continued reading and meditation practice has revealed how longingly we cling to the false self with all its illusions. How we love the life we seem to have created and how reluctant we are to surrender our attachments! Like Gollum in Tolkein’s Lord of The Rings we guard our creations possessively. We don’t really want to experience the peace of our True Nature because we are too busy accumulating and guarding our precious treasures.

This kind of commitment to distraction leads us to suffering. Each time we think we are unhappy, uncomfortable, or in some kind of distress, we are ferociously hanging on to our own definition of reality. Instead, we can choose to surrender to something altogether more delicious. Instead we love to wallow. Self pity, blame and projection are our favourite tools for diversion.

We can only sit back and giggle when we sense the game is up. How crazy are we anyway??? Our Mighty Companions are helpful at this point as we sit and laugh together at how easily we can be fooled…

This kind of awareness can only come from ruthless honesty with our selves. We have to be willing to give up the game. Guilt tends to arise telling us that the lie is necessary for our well-being, but really this just keeps the blame-shame game going a bit longer. If we can sit patiently with the story as it spins its tale of woe, we can begin to sense there is something else there.

At this point only Spirit, our True Self, can point the way. If we don’t ask our Higher Self for direction we can end up spinning the tale out even further, lost in space, lost in mind, lost in ego-land. When we don’t know how to get out of our drama, it’s probably time to stop and surrender to our inner wisdom.

How we do this is up to us. Maybe a walking meditation, yoga session or another favourite grounding practice. Whatever it is, do it now, do it often and do it regularly. The results are worth it.