All That Matters

“The person, the ‘I am this body, this mind, this chain of memories, this bundle of desires and fears’ disappears, but something you may call identity, remains. It enables me to become a person when required. Love creates its own necessities, even of becoming a person.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

These days, it appears that there are some nondual-type teachers who claim that the “self” is merely a thought creation, a dream illusion, unreal. However, that’s actually only a fraction of it — like standing in the parlor and imagining one is seeing the whole house. Stopping there and fixating in that position would be a most premature conclusion, a perceptual error in recognition and appreciation.

In reality, the “self-sense” is an expression of something much more than a mechanical assemblage of mental events transpiring in the brain, and those who tend to conceptually write it off as that are missing its real purpose. In that regard, let’s explore the issue a bit further (elaborating on the consideration begun in the essays “The Ego Is My Friend”, and “Self-Realization”).

There is an apparent tendency of many aspirants to get fixated in concepts about emptiness. It’s true that form is empty, but if one stops there, they miss the other half of the revealed wisdom in the Buddha’s equation, and that is, emptiness is also form. For a number of reasons, clinging to the notion of the emptiness of the self or ego is even worse than clinging to its form, primarily because it paralyzes the natural functioning of the human-soul fusion. Seeing through the substantiality of the self is merely a preliminary recognition. If one follows through with the inquiry, the “self” then returns, or is revealed as, a skillful servant, rather than a tyrannical master, so to speak.

Essentially, the sense of self is a unique and ingenious “space suit” that Spirit employs to navigate and thus enjoy the human experience, and so is absolutely necessary for life and relationships. We came here specifically to enjoy the experience of manifest 3-D human existence, and all the lessons and recognitions about what we truly are (and are not) that come with the “package”, and so attempting to eliminate the very vehicle by which we would do so is functionally counter-productive.

Indeed, such efforts mainly serve to prolong an inner conflict, the war with oneself. The human-based religious fantasies of original sin, perpetual guilt, and body shaming which have plagued mankind for ages are always spawned from that false internal division, as are the sometimes bizarre lengths to which aspirants of those persuasions have gone to alleviate their own self-created dilemmas.

All that is really necessary is to understand that the “self” is not really who we are, any more than we are the automobile we drive to get from one geographical location to another. With that recognition, we are then free to create with it like a paint brush on the canvas of experience, appreciating it for what it is in the context of the play of consciousness itself.

As mentioned, there are numerous nondual teachers who focus on no-self, but the result of that emphasis often leads to an imbalanced view and conduct. It is not really comprehensive to claim that there is either absolutely no self, any more than it is to say that there is actually an independent and enduring self. It is far more nuanced than that, and additionally a lot more fun to experience the whole matter as part of the vast and glorious mystery of our appearance (as opposed to some dry and dusty dogma). The Two Truths Principle is helpful in this case. That is, on a relative level there IS a person, though on an absolute level, there IS NOT. Both are true on different levels, and being able to fully appreciate the paradox of that is what maturing in awakening is all about.

When we put on our clothes, for example, those clothes are not who we are, but they are not just a daydream either — they serve a very necessary purpose if we want to be able to get around in the world, and that is what needs to be recognized in regard to the self-sense — it is the vehicle by which Spirit operates and explores in the 3-D realm of materiality, and so it can’t just be brushed off as a delusion or daydream.

No-self-type teachings frequently become appealing intellectual positions, and consequently end up being impediments, rather than liberating, because there is not a direct experience of the reality itself, but merely the (distorted) experience of the concept. One reason for this error is that such teachings are typically encountered prematurely, without a prior foundation of spiritual practice having been established to anchor the aspirant in humility, wisdom, integrity, and compassion. In that regard, the Persian poet Rumi made an astute observation: “If you are eager to be nothing before you know who you are, you rob yourself of your true being.”

Traditionally, for example, the advanced principles of Advaita Vedanta were taught to initiates only after they completed some years of yogic endeavor, and were then deemed ripe enough, and prepared enough, to handle the implications of those teachings in an appropriate manner. For that reason, it was considered the crown jewel of the wisdom teachings — in other words, the final or ultimate teaching. The same might be said about Dzogchen, or Ati Yoga.

These days, people can find the “secret teachings” on the internet, or at a half-baked guru’s “satsang”, and end up confusing themselves for a long time as a result, especially if they are mixed in with other spiritual supermarket acquisitions. It can often be quite difficult to awaken such individuals from the smug trance of misplaced certainty which accompanies fixation at the conceptual level with emptiness and no-self positions.

Likewise, the materialist assertion that Spirit is some sort of brain epiphenomena would be tantamount to believing that the radio announcer is a little man inside the radio. Spirit is not a brain figment, but unless one has the liberating experience and consequent recognition granted via expanded consciousness, they may continue in the conceptual belief that it is so, short of the big surprise they get when the body (with its brain) drops away.

In any case, the Self, Source, Pure Presence, All That Is, the Divine — whatever name humans apply — is manifesting Itself as all beings, in order to experience Itself through an infinite number of eyes. This is the Great Delight of the Infinite, though incomprehensible to the limited human intellect’s processing capacity. All selves are shards or extensions of Source in that respect, and all return to Self.

There is a valid recognition that, at the ultimate level, nothing happens. That is not really our concern while we are here, appearing and engaged in this realm or vibrational frequency, however. Rather, our job here is to directly realize that love is all that matters, and then to embody the implications of that recognition in our conduct and relationships. In the end, none of our fine notions about emptiness, the self/no-self paradox, and the fate of our daydreams will survive. Only Love is real, and that is the “lesson” we must come to real-ize in this human incarnation. The rest will unfold naturally.

From that perspective, the “self” is merely a prop in Love’s Play, and not some delusion that must be vanquished or made to disappear, but only rightly understood. For the best theatrical production, the actor on the stage must play their role to the best of their ability, but also recognize that the role is not their true identity.

When we conflate the fictional role we play with who and what we truly are, we inevitably suffer the consequences that come with such poor judgment and discernment, and that is the value of intermediate teachings such as “annica”, or no-self, which are meant to free us from lingering in that case of mistaken identity.

Essentially, no teaching is going to fully liberate us, because we have never been bound to begin with. Again, that is Love’s Play — a game of Hide & Seek with Itself, pretending to be separate for the thrill of reunion. It is only in direct recognition of that which is and has always been the case that we can even speak of liberation, since it is liberation from the false notions of limitation and attachment to provisional identities that have obscured our native state of unconditional love.

The infinite forms and personas that Love employs to express Itself do not in any way detract from or lessen Spirit’s timeless perfection. There is only one Source, one Self, projecting Its infinite forms through the inconceivable holograms of luminosity that we call Spirit. Moreover, this magical realm we call “the world” is a wild wonder beyond human reckoning! The mere appearance of anything at all is a perpetual mystery of pure awe and ceaseless astonishment! Why retreat into frozen poses of abstruse dharma, when every molecule of light amazes itself at its own inexplicable appearance?

These ever-shifting props that provide the sense of time and change are nothing but batons we juggle in the mid-air of the here and now! How thrilling to suddenly realize that the synchronous majesty of our infinitely expansive being is the perfect expression of That which is living us now, dreaming us now as a miracle fashioned out of unimaginable Love. Yes, we are Love, and Love must love, for therein shines our perfect purpose beyond any need for ersatz redemption.

There is one Presence, one Power, of which we are all unique projections. All the myriad sentient personalities flash and frolic as dreamy thought forms dancing in the Heart/Mind of Source. Drawn deeper into this stunning recognition, all universal nature herself becomes transparent as the manifestation of the Living Womb of Light, delivering everyone and everything into pure light and more light still.

That clear light radiance of awake awareness has no before or after, nor parts that somehow come together or randomly divide. There is only This! Such recognition is not an acquisition of the mind, but rather a letting go and awakening at the Heart — our destiny and present condition — when all that would obstruct clear seeing is sacrificed at the altar of the Unconditional, for the selfless sake of Love alone.

May all beings awaken to the bliss of their own true nature, their own primordial brilliance — only Love!

Q: What is this big talk about elimination of the self? How can the self eliminate itself? What kind of metaphysical acrobatics can lead to the disappearance of the acrobat? In the end he will reappear, mightily proud of his disappearing.

Nisargadatta Maharaj: You need not chase the ‘I am’ to kill it. You cannot. All you need is a sincere longing for reality. We call it atma-bhakti, the love of the Supreme: or moksha-sankalpa, the determination to be free from the false. Without love, and will inspired by love, nothing can be done. Merely talking about Reality without doing anything about it is self-defeating. There must be love in the relation between the person who says ‘I am’ and the observer of that ‘I am’. As long as the observer, the inner self, the ‘higher’ self, considers himself apart from the observed, the ‘lower’ self, despises it and condemns it, the situation is hopeless. It is only when the observer (vyakta) accepts the person (vyakti) as a projection or manifestation of himself, and, so to say, takes the self into the Self, the duality of ‘I’ and ‘this’ goes and in the identity of the outer and the inner the Supreme Reality manifests itself.

This union of the seer and the seen happens when the seer becomes conscious of himself as the seer, he is not merely interested in the seen, which he is anyhow, but also interested in being interested, giving attention to attention, aware of being aware. Affectionate awareness is the crucial factor that brings Reality into focus.

baby universe

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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ https://freetransliterations.wordpress.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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43 Responses to All That Matters

  1. azyuwish says:

    This was great! Thank you Bob!

  2. Anthony Simpson says:

    Thank you, Bob. 🙏😎

    There seems to be something amiss here?

    It has something to do the misidentification of being a particular separate self, one which has an independent volition, while yet it can be directly seen that this self-identified ‘me’ is really only a thought-construction, and as such, does not really exist.

    Outside of the mind – as thought, where is the individuality of any real separate self, and where is there any ‘entity-doer’, and where is any actual real separation of phenomena, when all form is essentially Empty, without any ‘conceptual designations’.

    The world – just like the separate self, can be directly seen to be just a construction of ‘name and form’, which is the mind, as thought! Otherwise, it is all really just ‘One Seamless Whole’ – with no real separation anywhere. No separate selves – and no separate phenomena!

    Take away the ‘name and form’ imposed on this ‘One Seamless Whole’ – by the mind, and there is only the natural Spontaneity of selfless Compassion – with no ‘me-doer’. Then there is only Love.

    Silently, inherent in this natural existing Unity, there is already Love, because Love does not admit any separation whatsoever. Love is not the product of an imaginary separate self and its dream of a self-centered, independent free-will. Love is not the superficial illusion of the dualistic behavior of separate phenomenal appearances – as one separate thing, ‘loving’ another separate thing.

    It seems that if there is still some residual identification with an evolving entity – at any level, whereby it imagines is navigating its way through phenomena – in order to reach some yet higher, superior state of Being, then it will continually remain stuck in this endless illusion of continually becoming a ‘bigger, badder self’, which is – in reality, nothing but just a modified continuity of the same old false process of ‘psychological becoming’, which is the perpetuation of a false, spiritually ambitious, entity.

    This is how thought can trick itself into believing it is always becoming a more highly evolved entity, one which is progressively becoming more (or ‘less’), and thereby extending and solidifying itself as a false, separate, solidified self, which is just same personal conflict and suffering as before.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Greetings, Anthony, and Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

      When in doubt, feel into your core emotional response. Some say trust your heart, which is another way to say the same thing. The problem I have noticed with so many spiritual people is that they tend to get stuck in their head, especially when they first encounter teachings like Buddhism, which are already tending to be rather philosophically oriented, at least as they are typically presented. The same is true of Advaita — people hear them and have an experience of the concept, which is not the same thing at all as the direct experience of what the concept points to.

      What we truly are is so very beautiful, so amazing, and yet there are those passing themselves off as “spiritual teachers” who would like to reduce it all to some brain phenomena or thought-form/daydream.

      Additionally, there is a common error many make when they confuse or conflate Spirit with its personas. Here is an essay you might find illuminating in that regard:

      https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/infinite-expansion/

      Blessings!

  3. Bob OHearn says:

    I believe it was the introduction of certain Zen concepts in the 1950s in the West that created a somewhat imbalanced interpretation of the process among the intelligentsia, in which awakening was equated with attaining some sort of nothingness, a version of existential nihilism. It is in fact still a kind of misunderstanding that the the “self” is to be eliminated, dissolved, or transcended, when in fact it is only our false ideas about and mis-identification with the “self” that are seen through and discarded. First people entify the self-sense, making it into some sort of substantial foe that must be manipulated, then they get busy trying to eliminate their fictional creation. It is all rather humorous, except that spiritual people take it so seriously, and get themselves into all kinds of knots and internal conflicts in the process.

  4. Mike Fitzpatrick says:

    3-D human existence. Is that a step up or a step down?

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Mike, it is the current experience of those incarnating here, at this vibrational frequency. Moreover, it is not that other frequencies are “better”, but that is another matter that would require some discussion. Everyone is exactly where they belong — that is what counts right now.

      • Mike Fitzpatrick says:

        Here’s a good one: what if we were saying that our meaty, suffering earth life incarnation amounts to the eqivalent of a trip to Disneyworld or Six Flags in the Spirit world,with corrections for scale? Maybe we just come here to hang out with cats, or dolphins.. make be we come here to make war. I’ll say one thing, the spontaneous invention of Bebop in the 40’s and 50’s is worthy of scrutiny. I know there is no accounting for some of the incredible music and creative situations I have been involved with. And finally discovering that my favorite thing about being a drummer was being involved in making people dance, which is spirit, which is transmission, which is fellowship, and ultimately what is prayer.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Great Mike!

        From what I have learned, each one has their own unique reasons for appearing here, and they cover the gamut from an educational curriculum, to tourist destination, to trying to get something right for the umpteenth time, to serving the general evolution, to helping to heal, to accomplishing a mission for one’s soul group, and even to some sort of (self-imposed) incarceration, and that’s just to name a few common motives.

        What they all have in common, however, is the desire to experience the physical realm in the form of human beings, and all the various adventures that come with that possibility.

        Earth does happen to be a war planet, and many come here to find out how they will react in situations of conflict.

        Moreover, in the greater scheme of manifestation, this a rather harsh and primitive place, where greed, envy, hatreds, and ignorance are often the order of the day, along with all the suffering that accompanies those poisons, and so this realm serves as a kind of testing ground in that respect, where there is an opportunity to see what we are really made of, and whether or not we can rise to a level of integrity and selfless compassion that would in turn qualify us to move on to more advanced or expansive levels in the universal mandala, where increasingly higher frequencies can be accessed.

        In other words, it is a question of access, and access depends on what we bring to the table. For example, a person enmeshed in low level reactivity and violence is not going to be able to access the same bandwidth as someone who has matured in empathy and peace.

        I have discussed some of these themes in other essays here in this blog, including “Notes from the Other Side”, “The Game”, “Prison Planet Samsara”, “The World of Warcraft”, “School of Life, Play of Light”, and several other essays.

  5. Mike Fitzpatrick says:

    Thanks Bob, very stimulating answer…. I was going to mention but forgot. In the movie Wings of Desire, there’s a scene where the 2 main angels are comparing notes, and the dark haired one confesses how much he would like to be human instead of eternal… great line: “to lie… through one’s teeth!” Love it. Btw, my visits to the public library for computer time are kinda different since seeing that movie, lol.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Ah, loved that movie! In fact, I found the script online once and copied some of the better dialogues, for example:

      Marion, to Damiel:

      The new moon of decision. I don’t know if destiny exists, but decision does exist. Decide. Now we are the times. Not only the whole city, but the whole world is taking part in our decision. We two are more than just two. We personify something. We are sitting in the People’s Plaza, and the whole plaza is filled with people, who all wish for what we wish for. We are deciding everyone’s game. I am ready. Now it’s your turn. You’re holding the game in your hand. Now or never. You need me. You will need me. There’s no greater story than ours. That of man and woman. It will be a story of giants. Invisible, transposable. A story of new ancestors. Look. My eyes. They are the picture of necessity, of the future of everyone on the plaza. Last night I dreamt of a stranger. Of my man. Only with him could I be lonely. Open up to him. Completely open, completely for him. Welcome him completely into myself. Surround him with the labyrinth of shared happiness. I know it is you.”

      ~Wim Wenders

      😉

  6. Mike Fitzpatrick says:

    Wow

  7. Carlton Booze says:

    Dear Mr. Ohearn:

    I do enjoy your blog very much, even though, admittedly, there are still many things that are pretty much way over my head, when it comes to understanding then applying what I read on your blog.

    For instance, in this, your most recent entry, you speak of many teachers and aspirants not understanding or taking into account the fullness of emptiness, or at least the part of the teaching that accompanies emptiness – that people are not understanding that no self doesn’t mean a self that is illusory, or that it doesn’t exist. That they are just looking at one side of the teaching, and ignoring the self that exists conventionally – did I understand your contention there?

    If that is the case, then I would like to what are the real, down-to-earth and practical implications for realizing the conventional self – how can I apply this to my life on a daily basis? You give some really good similies or metaphors (get them confused!) to explain how this understanding would apply. For example, when you said using a map to direct you to your destination doesn’t make you the map, or when you spoke of the self being a spacesuit for negotiating on this plane of existence, etc. Nice! But how would that help me were I a person of color, (not necessarily the best colored spacesuit to wear in a color-obssessed world) or a person with a mental illness (depression), or some other challenge? You said love is the answer, but how does that work when someone is about to blow your head off at Bible study, or when you have to suffer through hundreds of micro-aggressions during daily life (people not giving you enough room to walk by them on the sidewalk for instance, thereby, not giving you enough room to move because they feel you’re not their equal?)

    And, to touch on another aspect of emptiness that to me is just as important. I’m not sure if it was the Buddha who said this, but it was asserted that the self is empty because it only exists moment by moment, or when Hume wrote about the self being nothing but a “bundle of things” as an entity. How can someone only exist moment by moment, when their likeness or certain characteristics about them are continuous? Sure, I’ve read how cells replace themselves every few years, and we wind up with different bodies inside, or that the things that once motivated some at a younger age no longer do so. But, to me that’s a very, very weak argument for attempting to explain our emptiness – nothing that I’d care to hang my hat on, I’m afraid.

    It’s a weak argument to me, because it’s like splitting hairs. Of course if you get a microscope and examine someones’ cell structure, you’re going to see replacements, that’s not a convincing enough argument to assert that we’re empty because we don’t remain the same. Were I a criminal lawyer representing someone who committed a crime when they were younger, how would they not be the same person, given their fingerprints, and other matching features? Can someone being bullied or persecuted take solace in the assumption that technically, they’re somewhat a different person than they were the day, week, year before? They’re not attacked because they became a different person altogether overnight; what’s so empty/heartening about having to continue trying to negotiate around in the same “spacesuit?” Are their feelings or egos repaired or brought back to their pristine condition?

    So, now that you can see that I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, can you help me clear these things up, sir?

    Your blog is really a gift to me, that I haven’t fully appreciated yet, I’m sure.

    Regards,

    Carlton

    On Jun 29, 2015 11:23 PM, “The Conscious Process” wrote:

    > Bob OHearn posted: “These days, it appears that there are some > nondual-type teachers who claim that the “self” is merely a thought > creation, a dream illusion, unreal. However, that’s actually only a > fraction of it — like standing in the parlor and imagining one is seeing > th”

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Dear Carlton, thank you for your extended comments, and I do appreciate your questions!

      Nevertheless, it would require a lengthy essay in return to begin to answer you, and that in turn would likely generate even more questions.

      Instead, I would suggest that, if possible, you find a qualified guide or teacher in your area with whom to explore the many themes you have brought up here.

      I do not mean to brush you off, but simply to suggest that, given your sincere interest, a direct relationship with a face-to-face teacher who is qualified to counsel students would be much more expedient in this case for you.

      A search of the internet will usually provide you with the names of near-by Dharma centers to check out, and I wish you the best in your explorations!

      Blessings!

      • Carlton E. Booze says:

        Hello Again Bob:

        Yes, I was rather long-winded, and thanks for your suggestion to find a guide who could respond to my questions.

        But, I live in Italy now, and don’t know Italian. Besides, there aren’t many Dharma centers in Italy, I’m afraid.

        Nevertheless, thanks for responding!

        Best Wishes,

        Carlton

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Actually, there is a very good Dzogchen teacher based in Italy, see here: http://www.dzogchen.ro/merigar-west

        If you contact them, they might be very helpful!

        Best Wishes, Carlton!

  8. marcelvuijst says:

    Thanks Brother for another wonderful post!

    When you know the Source, you also know where voidness ends.
    Enjoying this fine brew, makes these lips all wet!

    Thanks again, blessings!

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Ah Brother, glad to hear you enjoyed the ruminations on luminations! It’s fun to explore the jewel from different angles, and appreciate the various facets of the diamond!

      Love & Blessings!

      • marcelvuijst says:

        It so is Brother, the myriad of angles and variations seem to be endless, it’s good to no longer get stuck by particular experiences and setting up a part against the whole 🙂

        One by one each thing has it one by one each thing is complete, should one take a shine.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Thank you, Amigo!

        Yes, the only problem ever is fixation, since the function is flow.

        Blessings!

      • marcelvuijst says:

        Ain’t it so Brother, thank you!

        Differences and divisions are never in opposition! 😉

      • Bob OHearn says:

        The pivot of Tao passes through the center where all affirmations and denials converge. He who grasps the pivot is at the still-point from which all movements and oppositions can be seen in their right relationship.

        ~Old Chuang’s Way

        😉

      • marcelvuijst says:

        Beautiful, thanks Brother!

  9. Bob OHearn says:

    When I speak these things people believe that they become completely annihilated and there’s nothing left. They melt into the great ocean of nirvana. This is not necessarily true. You will always be awareness. You will always be pure intelligence for that is your real nature. You will always be blissful. Except you will understand that you are not who you appear to be. Your body will still appear to be doing things, going through its motions. You will appear to be an ordinary person but you will know. You have lifted yourself up above the gross world into the heavenly world of pure consciousness and you will be at peace.

    ~Robert Adams

    • Carlton E. Booze says:

      Hello Bob:

      I just wanted to thank you for the Italy link. I contacted them, and I’ll try to be patient, but they’ve yet to respond – maybe because I told them that I’m unable to pay for direct transmission with the Venerable Master. Honestly, they’re too expensive for me at this point.

      Still, I’m very happy to have read more of your writings (namely ‘Notes From The Other Side’) because it really, really cleared-up a few things for me, so had I see it earlier I wouldn’t have needed to write at such length before. So, in the interim, you’re helping me with what I feel I need!

      Warmly,

      Carlton

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Hello again, Carlton!

        It’s good to hear that some of your questions were answered!

        In regard to the Italian Dharma center, if you do not hear back in a reasonable time, I do have a couple of Italian friends I could check with, who may be aware of other resources there, and of course there is always the search engines on the web that may yield some additional possibilities.

        I wish you the best in your pursuits!

        Blessings!

      • Carlton E. Booze says:

        Dear Bob:

        Oh yes, I intend to check-in with you about this, as soon as I fconsider that the dharma center is unlikely to respond to my contact. Friends, patriots, expatriots, websites, I frankly would gratefully appreciate any assistance with this, as I’m totally sincere about living and trying to love skillfully on this plane, with the cards that I’ve apparently dealt myself!

        Again, thanks so much.

        Soon,

        Carlton

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Carlton, I have messaged an Italian friend, and will get back to you when I get a reply.

      • Carlton E. Booze says:

        Wow, much appreciated, Bob.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Hello Carlton,

        this is a note I received back from my Italian friend:

        Dear Bob,
        there is a good centre that I know:
        Monastero Zen Il Cerchio
        Via Privata dei Crollalanza 9
        Milano
        tel. 028323652

        I don’t know if English is also spoken there, however they produce videos with English subtitles..
        For further information, you can check their website on Google, searching Monastero Zen Il Cerchio.
        I hope that your friend will find what he is looking for.

      • Carlton E. Booze says:

        Thank You!

        I will definitely contact them asap. Milan’s about 2.5 hours away, so I won’t be able to visit. Still, I may be able to access their video resources, which is better than nothing!

        With that and your wisdom writings, I’ll be better off than I was before I came upon your blog!

        The best of Blessings to you!

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Likewise, Carlton!

  10. Carlton E. Booze says:

    Oh, Bob:

    You also mentioned web links that I could access. The You Tube videos I found for the monastery in Milan were in Italian (naturally) so I’m almost back to square one!

    Therefore, I’d appreciate if you’d still be able to provide me with those sites, contacts, or whatever you have when you get time.

    Thanks Again,

    Carlton

      • Carlton says:

        Oh yes, I’m familiar with this website, but can you suggest what to read that could serve as introductory to your writings? I’m pretty sure they’re based in the (Mahamadra) tradition for instance, right?

        Incidentally, because of the dearth of dharma center organizations in these parts, I’ll just accomplish what I’m able to via the web. Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to obtain teachings from a living Master this time around!

        Thanks for your help, Bob

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Carlton, Hi!

        I am not affiliated with any particular group or persuasion, although I do appreciate Buddhist traditions such as Ati Yoga and Zen, but also Advaita Vedanta and various nondual themes expressed by certain Sufi and Christian Mystics.

        Mostly, I rely on my own experience to guide me (especially what I learned as a result of what might be called an nde in 1984). I am grateful for all the many teachers I encounter who help inform me and point the way, including my own Beloved.

        There are so many wonderful texts, it is hard to single out any one in particular. When I was first introduced to Zen via my teacher Suzuki Roshi, his book “Zen Mind Beginners Mind” was very helpful. Later, I came across a book that would sustain me for life, “I Am That”, by Nisargadatta Maharaj.

        I hope you do continue to find my essays helpful! In terms of finding a Master, establish the firm mental intention, and ask in your heart that it come to pass, that you should meet the right teacher.

        Blessings!

  11. Carlton E. Booze says:

    Hello Bob!

    Through your writings, and the comprehensiveness of your blog, I’ve found many answers to the questions I had! Admittedly, had I only taken the time to read “Notes From A Prison Planet”, I wouldn’t have had to write you such a lengthy nonsensical post! I won’t bore you with details of why this is so, but it really hit home. Even though I’m hardly to the point where I can enjoy the existence of being a depressed “meat bag” of color and all that it entails, I can nevertheless try and make it easier on myself by working to “seeing through the facade of the self”!
    Your writings also address how to do that as well, thankfully!

    Unrelated, just curious:

    Do you believe in predestination?
    Do you actively practice mindfulness?

    Do you address those topics?

    Okay, I don’t want to get too windy here!

    Thanks Again

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Dear Carlton,

      Glad to hear that you found some essays helpful and clarifying!

      Regarding predestination, I address that topic in the essay “Fate & Free Will”.

      Regarding mindfulness, please see the essay “True Meditation”.

      Blessings!

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