ACFIP Newsletter
Issue 41 - June 2014
Quarterly Newsletter of the Australian Centre for Inner Peace



Michael Dawson
PO Box 125, Point Lookout
North Stradbroke Island,
Queensland 4183,
Australia

Email: mdawson@acfip.org 
Web site: http://www.acfip.org



CONTENTS:

* Can We Stop Thinking?- Michael Dawson
* When Love Comes into Form - Scott Kiloby
* Life Untainted by Thought - Jan Frazier
* The Phases of Awakening - Adyashanti
* Spiritual Maturity - Jac O'Keeffe
* Workshops
* Books and Audio Materials for Sale
* Links
* Inspirational Quotations


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Can we stop thinking?
- Michael Dawson -

A quiet mind is all you need. 
All else will happen rightly,
once your mind is quiet.
 As the sun on rising makes the world active,
so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind.
 In the light of calm and steady self-awareness,
inner energies wake up and work miracles
without any effort on your part.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj -


This question is bound to arise on the spiritual path. We are told in many spiritual traditions when the mind becomes quiet, then spirit or God can enter us. As our awareness deepens, we can't help but notice a continuous train of thought in our mind. I'm not talking here about practical thinking, which is necessary. The American teacher Adyashanti refers to this type of mind as "toolbox mind". It's the other 99% of our thinking that I am referring to..

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 125.

The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. 2 It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness.
A Course in Miracles. T-23.I.1.

The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still.
A Course in Miracles T-28.I.11.

It is easy to make the mistake of trying to make your mind stop thinking. In my early 20s I was following the path of Buddhism. I signed up for a seven- day meditation retreat - vipassana meditation. In this retreat we were supposed to watch our mind as much as possible, just noting the thoughts going by. This was meant to be a silent week, apart from our morning interviews with the meditation master.

Each day began with a one and half hour group meditation starting at 6 a.m. in a hut in the garden, then solitary meditation in one's room and in the gardens until the final group meditation at 7.30. At 9 o'clock we were allowed to just give up and relax. I went with the intention of clearing my mind of all thoughts. Big mistake! I was astonished at how little control I had over the thoughts passing through my mind, and stopping them was a virtual impossibility. Yet I tried as hard as I could, exhausted myself as well as becoming disappointed in myself. To make matters worse the group meditation hut in the garden had a metal roof. Birds and squirrels were continually running over it during the meditation. Some of my thoughts included "Why did they build this hut in this garden for goodness sake!".

Thinking happens. (This could become a new bumper sticker.) It will probably always happen — on its own, as it were. The option is NOT think versus decline to think. The option is, see that thought is occurring OR enter into it as though it were real life. Learn to see thinking as a phenomenon, just that. To stay outside of it and just let it do its thing, without your getting into the ring with it. You don't have to humor every thought. Jan Frazier

On the third evening of the retreat, while sitting in this hut, I just gave up. "Let the birds and animals run as much as they like over my head," I thought. Suddenly my mind became very quiet and memories from very early childhood began to surface. They were so interesting I started thinking again and off I went. But I had learned something important: to surrender, to give up control, seemed to be a doorway to a quieter mind.

Another time on the retreat was one evening approaching 9p.m., the time when we could, so to speak, stop being aware. I was looking forward to 9 o'clock. At the stroke of nine I collapsed on the bed and fell instantly into an amazing state of awareness. I could watch thoughts coming in, saying "My goodness this really is awareness!" But I still remained the quiet observer, and was not attached to these thoughts. It was very peaceful and without any effort. I was reminded of my earlier insight that I received in the meditation hut - surrender!

All the life you’ve ever lived occurred in a now. The rest of it is dry cardboard in the mind. Only you keep trying to invest it with reality. The mind thinks up a thought, and the ego invests it with reality. That’s what we do. But there’s nothing that says it has to be that way. The mind could think up a thought and you could just leave well enough alone, declining to take that next step. Jan Frazier

I like to meet and read about people who seem to have had a permanent awakening, and have lost their sense of personal identity, feeling at one with everything. Do they still have thoughts they don't really need? Yes, it appears that they do. However, they seem to have far fewer thoughts than they did before their awakening. Finding themselves in the now they have few thoughts about the past and future which consumes a lot of our thinking. They have dropped the thoughts of judgement which also take up a much of our thinking. Losing the sense of personal self and feeling one with everyone means there's no one left to judge, as everyone and everything is actually them.

When the teacher Jack O'Keefe was asked about this she said, "Yes there are still some thoughts. It's like having a radio on in the background. You know it's playing but your not interested in listening to what is saying". Another time she referred to these thoughts as the surf noise in the background when you're staying near the sea. You know the sound is there but you pay no interest.

When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked if he still had old selfish ego thoughts he replied "Yes, occasionally one does appear in my mind. I see it arise, I give it no attention, and it just dies away."

But what about how "good thoughts"? Should we not hold on to them? Here is what the Course tells us:

In selecting the subjects for the application of today's idea, the usual specificity is required. Do not be afraid to use "good" thoughts as well as "bad." None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The "good" ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The "bad" ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. You do not want either.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 4

Thought is at a remove from life. Period. It will never be otherwise. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “true” thought or a “good” thought. (The ego doesn’t like that.) The only useful thing to do in relation to a presently-occurring thought is to see what it is: a thing produced by the mind. Not to step into it and live within it, as if a play could become life itself. When the play is being lived in, life is being missed.
Jan Frazier

We are clearly being told here to let go of our attachment to all non-practical thinking. These thoughts just get in the way of discovering our spiritual identity. So, what to do?

You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

The Course encourages us to be patient with ourselves, smile gently at our ego thoughts, to let them come and go with an effort not to become interested in them. Here is Jesus's reply to Helen Schucman, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, when she asked Jesus to get rid of her fear thoughts.

The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate. At that level you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations.
A Course in Miracles. T-2.VI.4.   

We need to wait and watch. Hoping that these endless thoughts will start to die down with this practice is just another thought we get caught with. A large percentage of our thinking can be taken up with what we think is right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly. These are all ego judgements and we can become very attached to them.

  ........  for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Hamlet. Shakespeare

As we learn to give up these thoughts we will start to experience the peace that the Course teaches.

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.
A Course in Miracles. T-3.VI.3.   


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When Love Comes into Form
By Scott Kiloby

I had a profound awakening experience in 2007.  The only word that describes that experience, for me, is pure love.  It felt like the entire universe was drenched in love.  Love was everything, because there was nothing left of separation.  I laughed for days, while looking back at how the pettiness of self had reared its head all those years in my 20’s and 30’s, with my fears, resentments, emotional reactions, and feelings of awkwardness and alienation in relationships.
In that moment, it seemed as if in one fell swoop the entire story had been lifted.  There were no separate forms.  No Scott, no partner, no parents, no friends. Nobody.  Pure formlessness.  And I thought I was done or there was no one to be done, as they say.  If there would have been a certificate for achieving the be-all, end-all realization, I would have taken it and hung in on my wall.  Done, finished...it’s all over.  Enlightenment is here...so I thought....
But that wasn’t the end.  It was just the beginning. In some way that was not fully conscious, the love felt like “too much.”  It’s as if a part of me began to find little ways to distract myself from it, and to suppress or push down the bliss that wanted to ease-fully flow throughout my body as the contraction of self released.  The distractions were ohhh soooo subtle, not even recognizable.  I wasn’t consciously distracting myself. The experience of no self was fully here. I saw no self whenever I looked.  But the distractions appeared anyway, right out of the conditioning of my body and mind.
It started with really subtle addictions to fairly innocuous things.  Not the big stuff like heroin or alcohol.  Instead it was coffee, sugar, sex, and for a short period of time, tobacco.  Each little addiction would obscure the love in its own little way, making my body feel slightly dull and contracted in certain spots.
And then there were the relationship issues.  No big blowouts.  No screaming fits of rage, depression, or conflict.  Just little eddies of emotional reaction coming from a leftover sense of “I’m unlovable.” These weren’t big stories that came trumpeting in with lots of pomp and circumstance, but more like a sting in the stomach here or a feeling of fear there, when that very old story of unlovability would be triggered.  It was mainly my partner that seemed to be able to trigger these tender spots.
How could this have happened?  I thought I realized that life is pure love?  How could I still be experiencing these small pockets of separation?  These questions popped up.
The answer to all those questions, as I’ve said, is that the love felt like “too much.”  At first these addictions and triggers seemed like regression, until I realized instead that these were all opportunities. Life had started anew back in 2007, but the body and mind found ways to hang out in old patterns. I knew then that all I had to do was take a more focused look.  No more self-deception.  No more stories of someone who is enlightened. Looking needed to happen. This love just needed to find its way into the human form of Scott.
I did that looking with what I call the “living inquiries.”  Way before I trained facilitators, I was using the inquiries to untie the knots of these addictions and relationship stories.  The inquiries were my own little private tool.  I was like a child who had discovered a new toy and I was so eager to play.  And as each story unraveled, and each pain was felt and each addiction was released, the love surfaced again in full force.  It started to infuse every form, every manifest thing in my experience.  This time it was not pure formlessness.  It was coming into every aspect of life, every relationship, every behavior, every reaction, everything.  At first, I saw the thought again, “This is too much.”  But instead of giving it any attention, I relaxed and looked.  I looked for the self that was unlovable in every relationship trigger, especially when the quips of my partner would bring a sting. I couldn’t find that unlovable “me” anywhere, not even in these really subtle triggers that, perhaps, many people don’t even bother looking into even after a big awakening experience.
As the addictions died their sweet little deaths and the unlovable story was all but a distant memory, I remember seeing how innocent it all is.  It’s so innocent that the body and mind would try to protect itself from a love that big, a love that has no boundaries, a love that infuses every form.  Of course the body and mind would do this, if it felt as if the love was “too much.”  And of course that kind of love is too much for a self.  A self can’t hold it or do anything with it.  The self is the antithesis of this big love.  The self is just a series of mechanisms designed to protect itself from feeling such a natural flow of loving energy.  As all this unfolded, the story of being enlightened died too.  That story too was a form of self-protection.  It began to seem like a distant memory, irrelevant completely.
Today the love is no longer too much. It’s just simple love. Really simple! The love seemed big in that experience in 2007 because it was like a bright light switching on after years of darkness. But once the light is on and it begins to illuminate all the small pockets of darkness, it is no longer big.  It only seemed too big when I, the self, was trying to hold it, contain it, or make room for it.  When that stopped happening, it turned to a simple love that infuses everything, a love that doesn’t announce itself as special or enlightened or even universal.  It’s too simple for all that mystical wordiness and self-aggrandizing.  And it’s not just formlessness, as it seemed before.  It’s not other-worldly.  It’s form too.  It’s this world, these relationships, these people, this life.  It is right here, everywhere.  It’s not just realized in an experience.  It’s lived.  It’s a love that just says “hi” with a smile to the stranger behind the gas station register.  It’s a love that finds no trigger when my partner makes a little quip. It’s a love that feels warm compassion for someone who is struggling. It’s a love that makes room for everything, even pain, fear, and conflict.  It’s a love that just keeps quiet about itself, except for moments like this when I write about it.  It’s a love that is not too much at all.  And it’s as much about being a person, as illusory as that is, as being nobody at all.
© Scott Kiloby, 2013
Scott’s email: scottkiloby@aol.com


Scott Kiloby is an author and international speaker on the subject of awakening and addiction. To learn more about his work with the Living Inquiries, visit his website as www.kiloby.com.
His latest books are Living Realization: Your Present Experience . . . As It Is, and Living Relationship: Finding Harmony with Others.

The above story was extracted with permission from The Journey Home: Awakening in the Dream, published by In the Garden Publishing in partnership with OneTheMagazine.com.
Available from GroundingHeavenAsEarth.com


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Life Untainted by Thought
Jan Frazier

http://www.janfrazierteachings.com/blog/?p=4079

When the mind has lost the habit of running on its own, one of the things that’s become vivid is the difference between thought and life. 

When the habit of ceaseless thinking has unwound, the mind doesn’t do something unless you ask it to.  It rests, like a lazy dog.  Imagine.  All’s quiet in there.  Just life:  just this moment of life, sans commentary.

You forget you wrote and directed the movie, and star in it.

The only reason the mind ever ran on its own, the way it always did until it didn’t — the fuel that sustained that momentum, all those decades — was that you kept mistaking thought for life.  Kept entering into the content of your thoughts as if they were reality itself.  Every moment that was going on, you were missing life itself.

Mistaking thought for life is like stepping into a movie and forgetting it’s a movie.  You forget you wrote and directed the movie, and star in it.  And write the reviews.

Thought is like a lens to look through at this moment of life (and past ones too, and imagined future ones).  What is it when you’re just there for a moment of life, letting it saturate awareness?  What is it to have no interpretation?  No label?  What is life, absent meaning assigned by the mind? 

How the chains rattle at that last part.  A life without meaning?  Sounds like an anemic thing, a sad and pointless stretch of time.

 Does a moment of felt existence have meaning to a child (or a dog)?  Life — which is this immediate scene, inside your feeling self and around you — is a sensory phenomenon.  It is felt.  It is not a piece in a larger picture, an episode in a narrative . . . unless you wake the snoring dog and command it to spring to life.

What is life like when that doesn’t happen?  Have you ever asked yourself that — what life feels like absent the running commentary, the need to understand, evaluate, put in a context?

Mostly, the question is never even asked.  Who does it ever dawn on to wonder if it could be otherwise, and what that would be like?  To ask how the habit of mental handling blunts the clear view of life — the deep drink of it! — and how that leads inevitably to suffering?

It isn’t about trying to stop the mind, which no one has ever succeeded in doing.  It’s got to do with seeing that thought — this current episode of it — is thought.  Seeing that the movie is a movie.  Seeing the difference between the lived moment itself and what thought does with it.

It is not (God save us) about replacing one sort of thought with another.  Looking for a “better” thought.  Nor is it about trying to gauge the validity of a given thought, as if its apparent truthfulness makes it a better place to occupy than life itself.

Thought is thought.  By definition, it is at a remove from life.  Overlaid on it.  Being in thought means life is at a distance.  Missed altogether, more often than you could stand to realize.

Oh yes.  There is such a thing as useful thought.  But that kind of thinking doesn’t have anything to do with ego, with your sense of a self — your hurt feelings, your goals, your belief in what’s right and valuable and necessary.  Useful thought has to do with finding a cure for HIV, or figuring out how to replace a broken corner of a roof, or charting a route to a distant city, or learning how to speak a new language.

After the mental task is accomplished, you tell the mind to go lie down, and it does.  And when you lie down at night, you really, really sleep.

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Adyashanti -The Phases of Awakening.
1hr 12mins audio from:
http://www.adyashanti.org/index.php?file=productdetail&iprod_id=539

My notes from the audio mainly in Adya's own words

Caution:
The description is not the same as the described; the map is not the territory.

In one sense there is a linear progression but in another sense there is not.
You can hop a long way ahead for a time. And hop back. Hold this talk lightly!

Mistaken ideas re awakening:
1. Just one event (except for a tiny minority).
2. All awakening is the same.

States of consciousness change e.g. you are now different from child consciousness and what you found important then.

Adya's teacher said spirituality is nothing more than maturing beyond  a healthy adult. But some children can be  spiritually mature.

Need for healing
All these following stages or transitions trigger certain psychological and spiritual holding points and resistances. With a transitions you initially experience the joy and beauty of the stage (not always) but with it comes a more intense light and eventually that light will trigger anything in you that is opposed to that light.

People experience the joy of the transition and then get surprised at all the dark stuff that comes up for healing which if not dealt with can take them out of the transition. Sometimes people ignore what's rising and hope it will just go away. Others find it horrifying that it can still be there when all this light and beauty has appeared. But if you are humble it's not shocking. It's arrogance to feel shocked, overwhelmed and judgemental - who did you think you were? You are not unlike the majority of humanity.
Even people in the advanced stages of spirituality will have important psychological material to deal with. Sometimes it can be done by simply shining the  light on the issue but at other times it will need down and gritty work to really move through it. In time the inner forces will unify as the divisions have gone.

It can be unhealed stuff that has not previously come up due to the intensity of the light causing whats opposed to that light to become active, to become conscious. Opposed means some confusion, doubt, holding, misunderstanding, despair, doubt, anger etc. This goes on until very advanced stages of consciousness. When you are ready to see these shadows and accept them they will be healed so you can move on.

Stages/Phases:
1. Egoic consciousness from child to healthy, mature adult.
Under developed egoic consciousness takes everything very personal.
A healthy ego takes things much less personal, has a resilience to misfortune, and intuits there is something beyond itself. When you are just your psychological content you are the ego.

2. Realisation of soul or witness. The witness watches the ego. The observer. Outside the ego - impartial. Spiritual practices enhance the witness. Things bother you less. You witness your psychological content. If pure witnessing is difficult an object is given to concentrate on e.g. a mantra, the breathe.

Mistaken ideas re self enquiry (examples of self enquiry questions: What am I?, Who is angry? Who walks?):
A person expects to discover a real me. It's a shock not to find anything so feeling this is a mistake you try again. You find a big empty void amid all the content. No me is found! Just a core of awareness with no one being aware. Realisation "I am the emptiness that's there!" The emptiness is then no longer seen as a threat or deficiency. Felt as freeing and liberating as your psychological content no longer defines you. "I am not intelligent/stupid - ugly/beautiful - wise/foolish - mother, teacher, student etc."
Ego content does not go away accept in a tiny percentage e.g  Ramana Maharshi.

This transition maybe more or less permanent and accessible to you although you will be dragged back into your ego at times. Tho other extreme is you experienced the awakening for an instant only and left with a good memory which is a very common experience. You want to get back but are not sure how you got there in the first place and what worked before may not work now.

The reason there are so many pointers about relaxing, surrendering, letting go is because the thing that keeps us in a certain state of consciousness is a sort of psychic even physical contraction. It's a type of resistance, a type of conscious and unconscious holding. When you relax it becomes much easier to transition from one state of consciousness to another. And if you are really tight, and really struggling and really striving and holding on its really hard for that transition to happen. However, if this struggle is taking to extremes sometimes the exhaustion makes you let go - the path of pain (e.g. Adya).
To struggle is the opposite of what's called for.

The End Of The Journey by Jan Frazier.
http://www.janfrazierteachings.com/blog/?cat=5

Stop trying to wake up. Let go of effort. Trying has to do with time, with the desire to bring about change. You’re awake, you’re awake. You just don’t know it. Know it. That’s all. Stop trying to become what you already are. Relax. Relax yourself into a piece of cooked spaghetti.
The trying is the problem. All it does is provide distraction from seeing what is. It actually causes harm. Why are there all those stories about how it was only when the person gave up, exhausted, that it finally happened, that the blinders finally came off?
But don’t give up so that it will happen. Just give up because you’re worn out. Because it feels good to rest. It feels good to be what you are. That’s the whole thing. Stop trying to become. Just be.
Let the spiritual journey come to an end. Let go of the idea that you are moving in a certain direction, the destination of which is fulfillment. Let go of the idea that change is what’s needed.
Pitch your tent in the burning city. Find out who you are.
People can’t stand to have their journey taken away from them. They need it to console themselves, because the place they seem to be at present doesn’t feel very ecstatic or liberated. So the answer seems to be — go someplace else. Get systematic about it. Get a practice going; read some books. Find a teacher and hang on their every word. All of this seems like it might take you someplace.
Just because dropping the journey doesn’t bring about instant enlightenment doesn’t mean the journey was a good idea after all. Ending the journey has the effect of focusing the attention on reality: this moment.
Ending the journey takes away escape routes, closes off the highways out of the burning city. Pitch your tent in the burning city.  Jan Frazier

Getting stuck:
For a while this realisation of awareness at your centre is very freeing and leads to a certain amount of contentment, joyousness, fun, flow and liberation as you are no longer caught in your ego all the time. It's possible to get stuck there as you feel safe, untouched, unharmed. "Nothing has ever happened to this awareness that I am, nobody can take it away - I just going to stay here (a spiritual shipwreck)." Attachment always impedes your spiritual growth. However, it's appropriate and natural for a while - you should not be in a rush in all this. Rushing is the greatest way to resist the whole thing.

Drawback:
After you have matured there and been hanging out there a while all of sudden the next stage of maturity dawns on you because you sense a dryness in it. The witness feels dry, lacks fullness and richness. You are the witness of form but no longer identified with form which is a bit arid. You can hide out there as it feels peaceful but this delays the next stage of awakening. But as you start to experience the limitations of the witness you are starting to contact the boundaries of the next stage. Its detachment which at the beginning is its source of freedom becomes its unsatisfactoriness. Detachment is somewhat cool and we become unsatisfied with it.

3. The Transition into Spirit.
You enter the domain of divinity. Spirit is also awareness or consciousness but it's anything but empty. It's brilliant, sublime, beautiful, transcendent - the witness realises this incredible fullness, this richness. The spiritual essence of things. The detachment of the witness is still there but it does not block you, or get in the way of experiencing a type of divinity. It's the sense of the sublime. You have discovered something of extraordinary significance, meaning and beauty. It can be a momentary glimpse or something more available.

At the lower end its just the feeling of divinity pervading your consciousness.
At the start the still centre is place you will go to for refuge or you will try to come to and feel yourself being pulled out of.

When awareness and divinity merge its been called union with God (still duality). In modern language it's when your awareness and will and the movement of divinity become united. They become one movement. That's at the very high end of the development of spirit - a union of wills, of energy. You will feel it when you get there and probably also the battles of will that often takes place. With it comes a deep sense of contentment, calm, well being, divinity, a sense of awe and at the centre all is still. The battle to pull yourself back into the stillness is gone, finished. It's a place of deep rest because you are no longer internally divided. Now you are only made conscious of what you need to know at that moment. The rest will stay hidden until we are ready to see it. A life centred around self no longer makes sense. Now there is nothing left to do except to do something oriented away from your limited self. Everything else feels unsatisfying. Not that you become a do-gooder. What is enriching and nourishing starts to change - away from the personal me and its needs.

You can have the realisation of non division - "My God, everything is one!" while you are devoid of the actual experience of non division. That can confuse people. One is an intuitive leap the other is a felt experience, a sense of coming together - all is quiet.

"My house now being all stilled"  St. John of the Cross.

In time there is a transition from a personal God, a personal relationship with God (duality), to a transpersonal relationship with God and then finally a non relationship with God.  When there is no more "otherness" there is no more relationship which is a very advanced state of spiritual being. You have lost the sense of a tiny entity in a big wide universe. For those who have developed a personal relationship with God they may not be immediately happy about it. Because there are really a lot of nice, beautiful and helpful things about having a personal relationship with God. Once they let go of it they are fine but they may may be unsettled and shocked when the personal relationship ends. "You took my personal God away!" has been said to Adya. When you lose your personal God you gain something of immeasurable more value.

The deepest state of Spirit.
You are in the deepest state of absolute formless absorption. What's real to you is this divinity, this Spirit. Some who are deeply absorbed (not all) will literally perceive and feel the entire world of form to be illusory and unreal. You feel you are pure , infinite potential. You can't see, taste or touch it.  But it's more real than any of your senses have experienced.

"The world is illusion. Brama alone is real."

Pure formless absorption  - that's how you see the world. It's possible to become attached to that as you can with any of these stages/states. Then your life can start to fall apart. "Adya - I have a job and kids and it's all illusion!!!" Adya usually replies "You are dam lucky you have something you have to get up for every morning. Otherwise you might get completely stuck there and maybe indefinitely!" You would then be a spiritual shipwreck. (Adya said the 10 Zen Ox herding pictures described his journey).

Spiritual shipwrecks can occur at several points along the way but at this point the person sees the world as a total illusion and from that state of consciousness its true. They can lose their job and marriage as they are no longer there and sometimes these events can start them to move again. In ashrams and monasteries where they understand this they give very practical daily tasks to the person so the person does not get stuck there.

And the next step is the third line of the above quote:
"Brama is the world".

4. The collapse of the spiritual world.

The last stage is sometimes depicted as a the blissful sage walking down of the mountain. The mountain is the mountain of pure formless absorption in the infinite potential (Buddhism - sunyata or emptiness). Walking back into the world after their spiritual high point of union with God. Everything is now seen as equally infinite.  The phrases "There is nothing to do" and "Nowhere to go" is only relevant to someone who actually sees there is only the infinite. These phrases are not helpful for those at earlier stages of awakening.

You don't so much break out of this wonderful third state, it just falls away. It's losing your inner world. When it falls away what is perceived is just the infinite. Everything is the infinite. Form is the infinite as is formlessness. A rock is the infinite is as much the infinite as your deepest spiritual experience of God. Everything is equal. Good is the infinite and bad is the infinite, it's all one seamless thing. It's not inner or outer. It's just That. The Buddha said "Everything is Suchness or Thusness". The "Suchness" is the divine, the infinite. All states of consciousness are of the same "suchness", the same substance, as are all forms and formlessness. You are no longer in a state of consciousness, you have experienced the substance of all states of consciousness.

It's always been that way. Ultimately you are It looking for Itself. But it seems you have to go totally through that looking to find that out. An obvious by product is a sense of wellbeing, selfless love, a type of joy, a collapse of the spiritual world. Bliss may or may not be experienced and can be experienced well before this stage (but not by everyone). The distinction being spirituality and everyday life no longer makes any sense because you see its all the same thing. So spirituality served you up to a certain point and then when its time it falls off. You don't lose anything but gain the true vision of things.

All these stages sound like a linear progression but you can go  from total egoic consciousness into a deep realisation of everything being God or the infinite like that. The chances are that you are not going to be able to stay there but you can jump levels at any moment. You can also jump backward, and you usually do. But when you look back all of your journey usually, but not always, you see there was this progression. Even though you were leaping all over the place there was this progression. This can also be seen in a young child who suddenly speaks wise sentences but can't maintain this state for long before reverting to young child consciousness.

These forward jumps leave an indelible imprint and a foretaste of what will become your natural and ordinary state of being.

Caution:
Hearing material like this the mind is tempted to grab hold of it and wanting to measure itself and feeling good or bad according to where it finds itself in the hierarchy. This is very counter productive to any development on any level. Understanding the stages is fine but its the comparison and judgement which is counterproductive. People's experience is unique and diverse and these phases won't always look the way I describe them. Never try to shove yourself to tightly into anyones box including mine. Just be open to how things are appearing to you.

In the end there will still be an ordinary human being walking around this globe called earth. This may be just the smallest piece of the manifest dimension of you but none the less there will always be that ordinary person  getting up and getting breakfast and has a seemingly ordinary life just like everyone else. We will see each other with dignity, even the human struggles people have.

Michael Dawson
www.acfip.org
Sat, May 4, 2013

                ___________________________________________________________________________


 Spiritual Maturity - Jac O'Keeffe

From Awakening to Liberation, a forthcoming book by Jac O’Keeffe. Copyright © 2014 by Jac O’Keeffe. Reprinted by arrangement with FliHi Media. Visit www.jac-okeeffe.com for a future book release date.



Until the last century, the theoretical framework of Advaita Vedanta was preserved and presented mainly within the esoteric spiritual teachings of India. Traditionally, these non-dual teachings were not imparted freely. An apprenticeship of twelve years’ service to a spiritual teacher or guru was customary, after which the guru determined if the student was ripe to be introduced to the non-dual perspective. While this might seem extreme in this current freedom-of-information era, the practice nevertheless did contain its own wisdom. The pointers of non-duality are of little use to the immature mind and, in most cases, have an adverse effect and actually delay maturation. It is essential to work from the level of consciousness at which one has stabilised. Immature seekers want to bypass the proper development of ego in order to avoid confronting the shadow aspects of the psyche, but do not have the capacity to perceive their own whereabouts on the progressive path. On being told that they are God, or that there is nothing to do, or that they do not exist, etc., they grasp at these concepts and overlay them on unexamined personal beliefs in separation. At this particular stage, introspection or personal development is perhaps more appropriate alternatives for seekers.

Immature seekers also often pursue a spiritual role model/guru in search of love and acceptance. But, without sufficient self-awareness, they fail to recognize this motivation and so their innate lack of self-love perpetuates itself. Inevitably they find reasons to later reject the guru, since an immature mind always demands conclusions – about themselves and about their guru – which act as continued validation and defense for the fragile ego. The dualistic polarities of right and wrong, real and fake, manifest in full force so long as the ‘I’ concept seeks its footing in erroneous opinions. Frequently jumping from one guide on spiritual matters to another, such seekers can understand neither the guidance nor the guide due to their substratum of immaturity.

In Advaita Vedanta, there is no support for the immature seeker and when resistance to what is presented by the guru builds, the ego defends itself in every possible way. Thus spiritual bypassing is created, whereby spiritual teachings are used as an avoidance of egoic issues. Ironically, this strategy has emerged as a dualistic counterbalance to the contemporary global availability of non-dual perspectives. Immature seekers with no knowledge of the subtleties of mind dismiss as madness what they do not understand. The teachings and actions of the guru are interpreted perversely and, in defending itself, the seeker’s ego is strengthened. All of this is simply because mind is not yet sufficiently turned inward.

Everything in the phenomenal world has its place, just as every pointer to that which is beyond mind is useful in its own time. Maturation of mind continues indefinitely until all beliefs in separation are dissolved. The discernment to know when to effectively use, and when to drop, spiritual practices is inactive in the immature mind. Consequently, certain spiritual techniques such as of self-enquiry cannot ‘work’ until the seeker is ripe.

In India, the theory of non-duality is housed within Hinduism. Prayer, yoga, service, the cultivation of devotion, and the practicing of good works are not seen in any way as being in opposition to the ultimate realization of Truth. All levels of maturation are accommodated within this unified system. When mind is unready to respond to non-dual pointers, then these spiritual practices have their place. Currently, there is such an abundance of options in the West that it is not clearly seen that every spiritual practice of merit ultimately prepares mind for its own dissolution. As each has its place in the greater scheme of things, it is important to participate in spiritual practice with the ultimate goal in view. For example, exploring past lives can equally easily build-up the sense of ‘I’ or dissolve it.

Let the central focus be the seeing through of false identification with the body-mind organism. In all of this, the wise option is to follow what makes sense internally and not to pursue a conceptual explanation merely attractive to mind. Allow your spiritual practice to be guided not by desire, but by an intuitive sense that there is a refinement or purification of mind inherent in it. Whatever reduces the sense of the personal ‘I’, whatever reduces identification with thought, is indeed a useful practice. All of this activity will eventually spin itself out. It is important for this maturation to unfold naturally, since the organic falling away of spiritual practice happens only when mind is appropriately ripe for the attitude of non-duality to take hold.

In all of this, the paradox cannot be avoided that the realization of Truth is not dependent on any spiritual practice or maturity of mind. The dance of the progressive path happens in a time and space, which is the product of erroneous thinking and misidentification. This misunderstanding gives rise to the idea of a personal ‘I’, an imagined individual trying to reduce himself in order to remember what/who he is. The reduction of the ‘I’ is in fact not directly related to the seeing of Truth – it is simply the activity that happens as the illusion of life is weakening.

The direct path does not make allowances for the personal ‘I’. Irrespective of the practice advocated, it offers no result or conclusion: it can at best be described as a technique which destroys the idea that there is someone using it. Here it is recommended to pay no attention to mind, as though having zero tolerance for the appearance of the illusory world. However, the immature mind will interpret this suggestion with a practice of having a zero tolerance attitude, and this in turn strengthens the idea of an ‘I’ doing something to gain something better. And so it can be said that spiritual practice can indeed help to dissolve the ‘I’ but, on the progressive path, it can also perpetuate the ‘I’. It is wise, therefore, to participate in spiritual practice aware that it cannot of itself lead to the recognition of Truth. And yet, phenomenally there is great value in reducing identification with thoughts and thus lessening beliefs in duality. Let spiritual practice continue until it is seen to be a happening in consciousness and that you are not the one practicing. When there is no attachment to the spiritual practice, this shift can come about. Let it be seen that everything happens by itself, and that there are no individuals doing any of this.

The significance of silence is not to be underestimated!

Any movement of a personal ‘I’ simply endorses the idea that there is an ‘I’ who is ultimately seeking Truth. Non-duality emphasizes that there never was an ‘I’, that the very idea of anything existing is false. There is nothing of any substance or authenticity in whatever appears as real.

For those drawn to the non-dual perspective, be aware that there is no longer a formal context in this framework to allow for a maturing of mind. Recognize that both spiritual and religious practices have their place in enabling each seeker to respond optimally to an internal pull, and that it is up to seekers to find their own way of engaging with teachings delivered in this manner. Likewise, non-duality must be considered as a disposition of the mind. It is not appropriate for application to worldly affairs, and the wisdom to deal with such matters must therefore be developed independently. This approach ripens the intellect to the point of being able to yield to a receptivity of mind intrinsic to a non-dual perspective, and it is your responsibility to discover what works for you.

In spite of all of this, how could you ever imagine to be apart from Self? To be what it is that you are requires no effort because you are always that which is prior and beyond all concepts. You cannot be other than that. Yet so long as you imagine yourself to be other than what you are, the spiritual search has its place. To know that which you are, there must be two selves for one to know the other. The search for truth does not end in finding truth phenomenally: there is nothing gained anew in Self-realisation. All that happens is the complete dropping of identification with thought.

Thus what is called ignorance is but the unsatisfactory attempt to identify Self with what is not Self. Your intellect, and the one that suffers from the desire to find Truth, must realize that what can be known is only what you are not. In this knowledge all that presents as phenomenal reality is laid bare in the seeing that this cannot be what you are. Attachments to the false individual persona must fall away. What remains cannot be known by that same faculty which has brought you this far.

Intellect can only operate in the context of subject and object. Within this dichotomy, there must be something to be known or understood and a separate individual with something to gain in acquiring this knowledge. Let all ideas drop about enlightenment and retain the sense of direction which arises from this goal. Allow a softness to arise in place of the eager and greedy seeking of the highly sophisticated tool, which is mind. Develop the wisdom to know when to pick it up and when to lay it down. Anything that can be known cannot be what you are. What you are is prior to all dualistic explanations and pointers. Self is within the direct experience of all, but not as one imagines it to be: in the absence of all phenomena, imagination and intellect have no place. Self is only as it is.

Don’t ponder on this or try to figure it out. It is not understandable at any level deeper than intellectual theory. Mind cannot fathom beyond this because, to do so, intellect requires an object of perception for its activation in thought. Understand and accept the role and limits of the enquiring mind. It is a tool that serves well on what is known as the progressive or gradual path. When identification with the body and thought ceases, it is understood that Truth is never lost or found but that what you really are simply reveals itself. There is nothing new to learn in this revelation, it can manifest as an aligning with an inner knowing that has always been integral and intuitive.

Jac O’Keeffe is originally from Ireland. She travels throughout the world sharing with others the way to openness and freedom. Her extensive background in energetic healing gives her a unique ability to pinpoint where people are stuck due to identified thought—whether it is karmic, energetic, or psycho-spiritual-emotional in nature. Jac always points to the unlimited movement of consciousness, and to that which is prior to consciousness itself—all facilitating the pull toward self-inquiry, awakening, self-realization, and to that which is beyond all concepts.

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Forthcoming Workshops on A Course in Miracles
Germany


For up to date information on my workshops go to http://www.acfip.org/fws.html



Germany 2014 Dates

Bonn

28th-29th June, 2014
10.00am to 6.000pm

Inner Peace - Our Natural State
- A Course in Miracles workshop -


It (inner peace) is given you the instant you would have it. ACIM T-15.IV.9.   

The purpose of this world is not to find a permanent peace and happiness.
 It cannot be found here.

You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began. T-13.VII.3.   

Instead, if we see the world as a classroom of forgiveness we will discover the uncaused happiness that lies within - our natural state. To forgive is to look at everything in our minds and in the world without judgement. 

Forgiveness offers everything I want. Lesson 122

While we search to fulfill our desires in the expectation of happiness we block the awareness of the constant, uncaused happiness within.

You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it.  .....  Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world (inner peace) is but your welcome of what always was. T-13.VII.9.   

Peace is the absence of desire; forgiveness reveals our natural state. 

This workshop explores, with the aid of exercises, how we block this happiness and peace and how it can be revealed.

No knowledge of A Course in Miracles is required.


An Evening Introductory Talk - Fri 27th June 2014
7.30pm to 9.30pm


Contact:
Albert-Schweitzer-Haus
Beethovenallee 16
Bonn 53173
tel: 0228 - 36 47 37
http://www.albert-schweitzer-haus-bonn.de






Freiburg

Freiburg  2014


July 4  6pm to 9pm
July 5 10.00am to 6.00pm
July 6 10.00am to 5.00pm
Inner Peace - Our Natural State
- A Course in Miracles workshop -


It (inner peace) is given you the instant you would have it. ACIM T-15.IV.9.   

The purpose of this world is not to find a permanent peace and happiness.
 It cannot be found here.

You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began. T-13.VII.3.   

Instead, if we see the world as a classroom of forgiveness we will discover the uncaused happiness that lies within - our natural state. To forgive is to look at everything in our minds and in the world without judgement. 

Forgiveness offers everything I want. Lesson 122

While we search to fulfil our desires in the expectation of happiness we block the awareness of the constant, uncaused happiness within.

You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it.  .....  Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world (inner peace) is but your welcome of what always was. T-13.VII.9.   

Peace is the absence of desire; forgiveness reveals our natural state. 

This workshop explores, with the aid of exercises, how we block this happiness and peace and how it can be revealed.

No knowledge of A Course in Miracles is required.

Contact:
Margarete Sennekamp
Winterhaldenweg 4,
79856 Hinterzarten,
Tel./Fax: 07652-917530
email: M.Sennekamp@t-online.de
www.Sophia-Institut.de

PLEASE NOTE: The Australian Centre for Inner Peace is not a counselling or psychotherapy centre; therefore we do not offer telephone or email service or counselling, therapy, or crisis intervention for personal problems. Please see the Contacts section at the end of this newsletter.

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BOOKS AND AUDIO MATERIALS FOR SALE - by Michael Dawson


New teaching and healing materials - eBooks and downloadable MP3s:

Ebooks:

1. Healing the Cause -A Path of Forgiveness.
Inspired by A Course in Miracles.
This is the eBook version of the paper back.

2. A Course in Miracles - Explanations of Major Themes
New book in eBook format

3. Forgiveness - A Path to Inner Peace.
Inspired by A Course in Miracles
This is the eBook version of the paper back.

The eBook versions can be read on Kindle, iPad, Microsoft eReader, Nook, PDF readers (Mac and PC) and most eBook readers.

For more details and how to purchase please visit: www.acfip.org/books_tapes.html


Downloadable Mp3s:

1. Healing the Cause: Self-Help Exercises 1
This MP3 contains the identical four exercises as the CD

2. Healing the Cause: Self-Help Exercises 2
This MP3 contains the identical four exercises as the CD

3. Healing the Cause: 3 Self-Help Exercises in English with German translation
This MP3 contains the identical three exercises as the CD

For more details and how to purchase please visit: http://www.acfip.org/books_tapes.html


Books:
Healing the Cause - A Path of Forgiveness.  Findhorn Press 1994
Also available in German, Romanian, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.

The Findhorn Book of Forgiveness.  Findhorn Press. 2003
Also available in German, French, Polish and Romanian.

For more details and how to purchase please visit: http://www.acfip.org/books_tapes.html

MP3s (see above) and CDs:
Healing the Cause:
Since 1986 I have been conducting healing workshops in the UK and abroad, and have continually experimented to find healing and forgiveness exercises that are effective.  I have found that a particular exercise can be effective for one person but not another. Accordingly, I was led to develop a series of exercises. Over the years workshop participants asked if these exercises could be put onto audio cassettes and CDs so they could repeat them. This has resulted in the Healing the Cause - Exercise series - Tapes 1 to 4 (2 exercises on each tape) and CD1 and 2 (4 exercises on each CD)

CD - 3 Healing Exercises in English with German translation. 10 Euro
Content:
Ex1. Forgiving Ourselves.
Ex2. Changing Perception and Finding peace.
Ex3. Changing Perception of another - exercise for two people.

These exercises are similar to existing exercises already available on CDs but are translated into German.
 
Workshops:
1. Three Steps of Forgiveness.
This workshop concentrates on the process of forgiveness from the perspective of A Course in Miracles. Includes 3 healing exercises.
 Recorded at the Annual Miracle Network Conference in London, November 2001. 1 hour 12 mins. One CD
2. Finding and Eliminating the Blocks to Receiving Guidance.
This talk investigates what stops us hearing the guidance that is ever present in our lives. Recorded at the Annual Miracle Network Conference in London, October 20001 hour. One CD

For more details and how to purchase please visit: http://www.acfip.org/audio.html

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CONTACTS and COURSE INFORMATION

Search Engine for ACIM Sites, Definitions and Articles by Joe Jesseph.
A Web search engine dedicated to finding discussion and definitions of terms and concepts found in
A Course in Miracles as well as Web sites, articles and other writings related to the Course.

Question and Answer Service from the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
Their electronic outreach section has a question and answer service on the theory and practice of the Course. Their database of 1,400 questions and answers is searchable. They no longer take new questions as they feel all possible questions have now been put.

Foundation for Inner Peace..........................Publishers of A Course in Miracles and responsible for the translation programme. On-line mail order.

Foundation For A Course In Miracles................FACIM is the official teaching organisation of the Foundation for Inner Peace and the copyright-holder of_A Course in Miracles and all related materials. Publishes the quarterly Lighthouse newsletter. They have extensive on-line mail order for their books, CDs and DVDs.
The Foundation was started by Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick and has moved to Temecula in California. Kenneth is my teacher of A Course in Miracles. His body died in December 2013.

Their publications can also be ordered in Australia at:
Adyar Bookshop
230 Clarence Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Kenneth Wapnick ......……… Biographical information and excerpts from his writings

Kenneth Wapnick on YouTube

Glossary of ACIM terms from FACIM

"The Most Commonly asked Questions about A Course in Miracles"
by Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick

Index of Links to Miracle Studies Resources ...……....... A rich resource of materials on A Course in Miracles by an ex-staff member of the Foundation For A Course In Miracle. Joe also has a blog and has recently published  A Primer of Psychology According to A Course in Miracles.

miraclestudies.net  ………… A Course in Miracles Resource Web Site for ACIM Students

A Course in Miracles Study groups

Search for A Course in Miracles Study Groups Around the World.

The Foundation for Inner peace also has a study group search engine.

Miracles Studies Australia  http://www.miracle-studies.net.au  lists study groups for Australia and new Zealand


Purchase ACIM on line
ACIM Historical Recordings & Video


A Course In Miracles Pen Pals:
The Miracle Network http://www.miracles.org.uk hosts a A Course in Miracles pen pals group:
To  join this e-mail discussion group,  send your e-mail address to e.pals@miracles.org.uk. 
They will send you  updated lists of other e.pals and  inform them of your e-mail address.

Belief.net ACIM discussion:
This Belief.net web-based discussion is hosted by Joe Jesseph.
http://community.beliefnet.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=151

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INSPIRATIONAL QUOTATIONS

About three times a week I send a short quotation from some spiritual teacher or poet to people who have requested some uplifting thoughts. I have included some below. If you wish I can add your name to the email list.


How long, O Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin? Shall we not put away these sharp-edged children's toys? How soon will you be ready to come home? Perhaps today? There is no sin. Creation is unchanged. Would you still hold return to Heaven back? How long, O holy Son of God, how long?

A Course in Miracles  Lesson 250


Do understand that you are destined for enlightenment.
Co-operate with your destiny, don't go against it, don't thwart it.
Allow it to fulfil itself.
All you have to do is to give attention to the obstacles created by the foolish mind.

Nisargadatta Maharaj
I Am That

 
When you listen to the voice in your head, that
is to say, do not judge.  You'll soon realize: there
is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching
it.  This I am realization, this sense of your own
presence, is not a thought.  It arises from beyond
the mind.
  
Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now


One is more likely to awaken through surrender than through seeking to waken. The effort to awaken is the effort of ego, whereas to surrender is to give up all efforts and to place oneself in the hands of a vast force that is more powerful than any realization of non duality.
When one finally gives up one's futile attempts to make reality conform to one's own wishes, and allows it to unfold on its own terms, all the energy that was tied up in foolish attempts to manipulate the universe is freed up.

Mariana Caplan
Halfway Up the Mountain - The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment


__________________________________

Michael Dawson
PO Box 125
Point Lookout
North Stradbroke Island
Queensland 4183
Australia

EMAIL:       mdawson@acfip.org
WEBSITE:   http://www.acfip.org