måndag 31 januari 2011

Sit Down and Shut Up

Battling the demons of boredom. 

Figuring things out. 

Keeping busy, remaining occupied.

Perfecting oneself. 

These kinds of things. 

But for how long?

fredag 28 januari 2011

Life Is Complicated

must try to understand

Video: Integral Monastery

tisdag 25 januari 2011

Facing Reality

Ever noticed that even though you can’t see your own physical face directly, you nonetheless know quite accurately how your own face looks in any given situation? It is as if you were looking at yourself from the outside. Obviously, the hours we've all spent standing in front of a mirror has resulted in the fascinating ability to generate an internal visual representation of your own face from within your consciousness.

Try it! Make a face. A smile, a frown, a sad, confused or flirtatious face, or whatever you’d like. Notice how, as you do that face, you somehow just know how you look, even though you’re not standing in front of a mirror.

An interesting little spiritual practice is one where you try to let go of this internal representation. This is accomplished simply by, as you’re mindful of whatever is going on, start loosing up on all the muscular tensions in the face. All of them! One after the other, eyes, cheeks, mouth, forehead, until you feel no energy is spent powering any area of your face.

People will look different doing this. Some will look extremely tired, others will look blissful, others will look just blank. However, the way one looks is exactly what this practice is not about.

I’ve noticed that the sense of self is intimately tied to facial expressions. The internal visual representation of your face fuels the sense of existing as an individual entity, physically separated from everything else. By loosing up and letting go of the need to adequately present yourself to the outside world through facial expressions, the sense of self may start to become lighter, vaporous and transparent. It is like it slowly starts to merge with space, until left is only a sense of non-obstructive openness.

It should be noted of course, that this is a practice best performed in private, as it's very much against social convention to stop facial expressions. These expressions signal who we are; do we seem trustworthy, kind, willing to cooperate? Or do we seem tired, bitter, and hence not open for interaction? Without facial expressions, there is just no way to tell. Proper facial expressions are vital from the perspective of social etiquette. 

The only problem is that people don’t view facial expressions simply as social cues and signals used conveniently for communicative purposes. In addition, people believe that facial expressions and identity are one and the same! So, if you appear happy or sad, people will typically assume this is an accurate representation of who and what you actually are. A happy person. A sad person. Therefore, if you were to, in public, do the practice described above in which you stop sustaining all facial expressions, people would think you were either, at best, bizarrely tired, or, at worst, mentally disturbed! So best to do the practice in private.

That said, this is a simple and handy practice that I personally find very effective as it comes to both the small and the lofty. The small concerns the relief of tension and stress all throughout the body, as well as the mind. The lofty involves the prospect of an utter disentanglement of confusion; indeed, a blessed drenching in the rain of nondual reality.

"...rather, he made himself nothing..."
Philippians 2:7

Images: http://bit.ly/gOBlzT & http://bit.ly/dSLUQT
Text: Integral Monastery

söndag 23 januari 2011

Wings of Wisdom

"O daughter, how is a Bodhisattva victorious in battle?"
"Manjushri, when analyzed, all phenomena are unobservable."

Superior Sutra of the Sport of Manjushri

Image: Gustave Doré

torsdag 20 januari 2011


1, 2, 3
A, B, C
Yes, digits

Walking to school
To learn more
About digits
Hell, yeah!

Staring into the abyss of life
Hot damn, can’t see a thing
So let’s do something
Count! Point! Spell!

Must do something
Or else
The world might cave in
And it’ll be our fault

School bells ringing
1, 2, 3
That’s what we learned today
A, B, C


The world is calculating – I am free.

Photo: Integral Monastery 
Text: Integral Monastery

söndag 16 januari 2011


"Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"

"Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

- Mark 13: 1

Photo: Integral Monastery

lördag 15 januari 2011


Nobly, the great priest
deposits his daily stool
in bleak winter fields

- Buson

torsdag 13 januari 2011

The Inconceivable

Walking home this evening, the snow was very white.

The Buddha asked, ”-Manjushri, what should one rely upon for right practice?”

”-He who practices rightly relies on nothing.”

The Buddha asked, ”-Does he not practice according to the path?”

”-If he practices in accordance with anything, his practice will be conditioned. A conditioned practice is not one of equality. Why? Because it is not exempt from arising, abiding, and perishing.”

- Demonstration of the Inconceivable State of Buddhahood Sutra

Photo: Ernst Vikne.

onsdag 12 januari 2011


"Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring."

- Francis Harold Cook

Photo: The Integral Monastery

tisdag 11 januari 2011