Silent Retreat – poem by Dorothy Hunt

Retreat

Sit quietly.
Strip off the masks
of self-deception,
self-reflection,
self-improvement,
self-judgment.
If you want truth,
these activities waste energy.

Sit quietly.
What is peering out
from behind your mask?
Without relying on a single thought,
who are you?
No matter what you see,
there is more unseen.
Always, the Mystery invites itself deeper.

© Dorothy S. Hunt

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What Can Be Said About Love?

What Can Be Said About Love?

© Dorothy Hunt, 2009. All rights reserved.

The following poetry and words are written by the wonderful poet, spiritual teacher and psychotherapist Dorothy Hunt from San Francsico CA. They came out of her monthly newsletter which I highly recommend. http://www.dorothyhunt.org


What can be said about love?
Nothing, really.
We are either being love
or we’re talking about it.
Talk is cheap; love can’t be bought.

It is not about flowery words,
or the agony or ecstasy of emotion.
It is not even about relationship,
or merging union with the Divine.
Where are there two?blleed

And yet . . . and yet . . .
This wordless pull of connection–
even when the mind
wants no connection.
What is that unsought warmth?

That melting of resistance,
the fire that makes
even iron turn to liquid,
or a caterpillar dissolve
before wings emerge?

Love’s only true language is Being.
Demand love, and it will flee.
Bargain with love, and you will lose.
Eventually, you will rejoice in defeat;
Love refuses all separation.

Love moves, responds, touches,
returns the unwanted pieces of your life
back to wholeness. Its language is truth,
and truth speaks love, but these are words,
and not alive, until your heart opens.

Every moment love is gently knocking
from inside, longing to flow out;
but we are busy looking elsewhere,
searching in the market place of “me’s”
to fill the emptiness that is, itself, vast love.

What can be said about love?
Nothing, really. These words fail.
We are either being love
or we’re talking about it.
Choose the former, if you have a choice,
for love alone transforms.

© Dorothy Hunt, 2009. All rights reserved. http://www.dorothyhunt.org

Dorothy continued in her Moon Mountain Sangha newsletter with the following words.

Dear Friends,

I would like to invite each one of you into your true, open, and undivided Heart to discover the Love that is already deeply present. The mind asks, “How?” But it is not the mind that will tell us. There is no “I am loving” in the deepest love, no efforting, no demanding, no thoughts of worthiness or unworthiness, and no one claiming to be Love. Love simply shines as itself on whatever it sees. Such love has no conditions, demands no rewards. Love is all it knows to do or be. It springs from Awareness, arises right out of Emptiness. This is a love that transforms whatever it touches but has no agenda for anything to be transformed. It is totally unself-consciousness; it simply moves when our heart is opened, when we are no longer fiercely guarding our separation. A little teaching story told by Anthony de Mello goes like this:

What is love?
The total absence of fear.
What do people fear?
Love.

We can remain “separate” to the death, but in love, we cannot continue to hold ourselves separate. Perhaps this is the real reason we fear love while simultaneously longing for it. Are we ready to let go of the “one” searching for love so that Love can simply move us?

© Dorothy Hunt, 2009. All rights reserved. http://www.dorothyhunt.org

“Come Empty Handed” poetry by Dorothy Hunt

“Come Empty Handed” © Dorothy Hunt, 2007

Come empty-handed to the

dwelling place of your own heart,

not knowing what to expect,

not caring if you find an innocent child,

a roaring tiger, a vast emptiness

or the river of your drowning.

Not caring if you find nothing at all

or everything your heart’s desired.

Face where the mind cannot go,

the place beyond division or distinctions.

Even then, you will not see God.

You will discover the darkness of Unknowing,

before there was a mind to speak of God,

or truth, or freedom.

Yet in this infinite Mystery,

you will be God’s seeing,

God’s listening,

God’s shining.

And everywhere you look,

there you will be looking back at yourself.

© Dorothy Hunt 2007.

check out Dorothy Hunt at http://www.dorothyhunt.org

“Let everyone be as they are.” Adyashanti

“Let everyone be as they are.” Adya said this to me almost 4 years ago at the end of a conversation with him. I am continually learning what this means. After he said this, he brought his hands over his heart and said “bless you heart’. What a gift to have teachers that guide us to the Truth within.

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My deepest gratitude to all that give us the space to Be That Which WE ARE in all of our Human-ness if there is such a word. Or I could say…. my deepest gratitude to my teachers, friends, and family that give us the space to acknowledge whatever arises and hold us in Love when things present themselves that we’ve hidden from for so many years.

My deepest gratitude for ‘something here’ that gives acknowledgement for all the pain I have hidden and run from the last 35 years…

wow…. i’ve talked about hellish experiences and stories of childhood for all these years, but never was connected to the feeling sense of it all…. Just up in my head… which is ok as well. It is how i survived. The body is releasing, opening……. so much held in, no blame… just a letting go… ahh yes! as i say in my yoga classes……

perhaps when all is met within, the stories loose their force to consume our attention?

Let myself be as I am! Let myself be a human and stop trying to be some super spiritual blah blah blah concept of something other than what I am….!!!!! What am I without all the conditioning?

received this wonderfully timely quote today in an email.

“Stop being who you think you are, and be who you Are. Let yourself know what you already know.” — Adyashanti

I love yoga! Meditation or Medication? as Adyashanti says.

Don’t get me wrong because of things you see me write about yoga in this rambling blog i appear to be enjoying. I do love to share the assorted pictures i have been taking with my new little point and shoot camera. The following appears to ramble all over the place….. something really enjoys writing…..

I live and breathe yoga yoga yoga, or so i thought. I love yoga and if i hadn’t been addicted to it for all these years I’d probably be addicted to alcohol and valium like my mom was. The tools of yoga are wonderful to help us live in our daily lives and my body, my thinking mind and whole emotional feeling nature would not be the same if yoga hadn’t come into my life. My family wouldn’t be the same if i hadn’t immersed myself in the world of yoga all these years.

In an 1997 article i wrote that is posted as a page, i talk about yoga being 2 things, a process and a state of being. Yoga the process, is the methods that we do to attain a happy body and a better relationship with life on all levels. Thousands of tools to help one understand the workings of the mind, body and emotional nature. I say in my classes, use your body as the object of the experiment. Learn to watch, listen and embrace or give space to what arises in each pose. Can we melt into the aahh yes! underneath, inside each pose, even when it is a strenuous pose. The aahh yes is the Space, the Gap, the Stillness in each pose. It is the thoughtless experience of a pose and our LIFE! Not possible to really say in words, though this ego still tries. Find out for yourself….. drop into the relaxation that is already here!

soft pink peony

I spent so much time looking looking looking , doing doing doing. Patanjali, the sage wrote thousands of years ago that yoga is union of body,mind and spirit. That of course is the western defination that one reads everywhere these days. Now what does that definition mean to YOU? What does it feel like inside of YOU? Union of body, mind and spirit? Union implies separation. Can the body, mind and spirit be separate… really? From the minds point of view, everything seems separate. Even the word ‘union’ which many use to define yoga is a duel word.

Is is possible that ‘Yoga’ union, is already here? (forgive me as this is a spin on a question I hear Adyashanti ask). How can we find something if it is not already here. If we go looking for a treasure, it is assumed it is hiding under the ground for example. You aren’t going to find it, if it is not already there! Same thing in yoga/meditation practice…… How about noticing what is already here underneath it all? This is radical! You mean i don’t have to purify this or that, eat that food, not this food, think these thoughts , get rid of those ‘bad thoughts’… it is endless the prison of beliefs i have been living under.. What a relief!!! What has always been here in my whole life? You mean all this doing that i have been doing – I can really stop it now? What does the energy of doing, feel like inside, under any story I might tell myself? What is this? What is the fuel for the doing? What would life be like without being moved by this energy?

free and happy kids playing

What feels the same as a 4 year old and a 45 year old inside. What is THAT? Who is THAT? What is the playful spontaneous energy of a child, feel like inside. I have spent so much of my life resisting it all. It was a mind blower to really see/feel this inside. Is it okay here now? It is amazing how childhood learned patterns of survival for example – are still influencing me now – until take notice or am hit over the head with them!!! As i go deeper inside whether I want to or not, patterns are revealed and often I see origins of a thought/feeling pattern and then see/feel how it still affects my life now. Just in the deep noticing….and a holding of a sort, a huge relief.

WHAT ABOUT LIFE WITHOUT FEAR AND TERROR FUELING IT?

Wow! Seems like i have to relearn how to live without the fear and the utter terror subtly fueling my life. No idea how. ….. Will let life just unfold.

Might not sound like alot to you, but for me this is huge. You mean I don’t have to see life through the veil of fear and terror unconsciously anymore? The feeling of fear and terror seems palpable these days. i go about daily life as if it is not there, not telling my yoga students what is present for example… but hey, i’ve hidden from it this long, i can hide it in a yoga class – no problem…..

Wow, I don’t even know how to live with the fear of being hurt. Something i learned as a child. No wonder I started yoga, thanks be to God (old church words coming out of me) for teaching me about relaxation, yoga, and the Divine. Feels like I’m getting sidetracked here….. we’ll see.

My spiritual trip has been so much in the mind of beliefs and concepts. I would take a belief to be true and that would be my identity. I’ve come to see that thoughts in themselves are ok and aren’t the problem. It is believing the thoughts to be all true that creates suffering on many levels!!! It feels like to me, perhaps i am ignorant, but a thought that is believed creates the attachment or stickiness and the resulting pain or suffering. Check it out for yourself. Byron Katie has a fantastic process she calls the work. She introduced using 4 simply questions to find the Truth. I’ve put her websites on the blogroll. She has said the “All suffering is is an uninvestigated thought.” Investigation – oh something lives this inside here. Yes, I resonate with deep investigation, though it often uncovers that which i have been hiding from my whole life. FEAR.

1. a thought innocently floats through the mind

2. something inside believes it and I could call this stickiness or attachment

3. something CALLS IT MINE

4 because of this belief that the thought is taken to be true, the mind starts to judge the situation/self/others/world for example and then feelings/emotions and bodily response happens.

4 Rage, ulcers, heart attacks, depression,denial, addictions addictions and more addictions etc.

How about asking, is it that believes the thought? …………..

Oh my God…… it is yes, another thought that believes it to be true!!!! Only another thought. Where did that thought come from…. another person, book, teacher, the clouds……

What is not affected by thoughts? What is not conditioned? What is not conditioned, what a question….. what is not learned? What is not created or thought up by humans?

I AM WHAT? I AM……….. I can fill in that blank with many ‘things’ such as happy, sad, stiff, hungry. All states or experiences. What is the ‘I AM’ as it appears that whatever is filled in the blank can’t be the I AM. The I AM seems to be present throughout life. Everything else changes, comes and goes…. what about THIS I AM? What IS THIS?

A believed thought seems to be a huge part of human suffering.  I ‘ve discovered this inside for myself and am continually when i remember – checking this out inside here.  Even the whole idea of a ‘ME’.  This ‘me’ we believe in – or something or someone believes in, could it be the source of suffering in humanity? ”  What is this ‘ME” ?

“Only an uninvestigated thought causes suffering.” I think Byron Katie says something like that. She has a fantastic 4 questions that she calls the work, that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to investigate the Truth. I’ve posted her websites on my blogroll.

I started yoga years ago, because I was told by this prison psycologist that to ‘die consciously’ I had to learn to meditate.  To  meditate I understood because of reading BE HERE NOW by RAm Dass and Autobiography of a Yogi that I needed to practice yoga.  To die consciously.  Oh my goodness! What/who is conscious? What/who dies?  What IS asking all these questions? Where do they come from?  WOW!

The leaf below changes colour in all its glory, doesn’t seem afraid to drop from the tree!

How about meditation with absolutely NO GOAL, NO FORM!!!!!

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Baba Hari Dass a wonderful yoga master from India says that ‘ Yoga is Meditation’.

“Real meditation is not about mastering a technique; it’s about letting go of control. This is meditation. Anything else is actually a form of concentration. Meditation and concentration are two different things. Concentration is a discipline; concentration is a way in which we are actually directing or guiding or controlling our experience. Meditation is letting go of control, letting go of guiding our experience in any way whatsoever. The foundation of True Meditation is that we are letting go of control. ” Excerpted from the book True Meditation by Adyashanti. Adyashanti enjoying us crazy students, or not!

Adya goes on to write on page 10 of True Meditation; ” What happens when you allow your experience to be exactly as it is without trying to change it? Instead of a technique, True Meditation is actually a stream of investigation. What happens when we actually let go of control and manipulation? ”

Adya says later in the fantastic if not the best book on meditation ever printed,

“The point here is awakening , right? the point is not to learn how to suppress yourself so that you feel better. Its’ how to wake up to the reality of your being, and we wake up to the reality of our being by relating with our human nature, not by avoiding it. Not by going around it. Not by trying to pray it away or mantra it away or meditate it away. We wake up by letting everything with ourselves reveal itself, be felt, be experienced, be known. then and only then can we move on to deeper level. this is very, very important and it’s something a lot of people dont’ understand. It’s easy to use meditative techniques to suppress our human experiences, to suppress things we don’t want to feel. But what is called for is just the opposite. True meditation is the space in which everything gets revealed, everything gets seen, everything gets experienced. And as such, it lets go of itself. We don’t let go. It lets go of itself. ” copyrighted Adyashanti in his book True Meditation

My son meditating at the cottage on Thanksgiving.

Wow all these years, I was taught in the yoga world, control, control, control.  At my first retreat with Adya a few years back, i realized after over 25 years of meditating on and off, i still didn’t know it within – what true meditation was. I told him and he asked me ” Do you want to know what meditation is? I said, “I don’t know do I?” In one instant I discovered inside the answer, That which was always here.!

My Deepest Gratitude

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My son meditating on Thanksgiving weekend at the cottage . I am thank-ful for the teachings of yoga that my children now resonate with. I am thank-ful that they resonate with Spirit.