I’ve been following a blog called “Standing in an Open Field,” written by a Zen priest named Dominic. Today Sensei posted a piece of writing by Jeff Foster, and I’m copying it here because it’s such a wake-up call for me: [Links follow this post.]
I find truth in anything anyone ever says about me, so nobody can be my enemy.
Call me a fraud, I can find it.
Call me a liar, I can find it.
Call me a failure, I can find it.
Call me unreasonable, irresponsible, ignorant, deluded, full of ego, totally unenlightened, the worst being in the world, I can find all of it.
As consciousness, I can find anything.
Like you, I have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, and no image to protect.
Every possible facet of human experience is available here.
This is truly the end of war.
It is the end of protecting and defending a mirage called ‘me.’
So, next time you get triggered by something someone says to you or about you,
ask yourself this: “What am I defending?”
This inquiry is the key to unimaginable peace.
Deep gratitude to anyone who has ever given me any kind of feedback.
-Jeff Foster ♥
I want to be like this! I’m so tired of EGO constantly raising its ugly head, galloping headlong into my thoughts and sucking me into its vortex a hundred times a day!
Truly, I think my situation is actually getting worse rather than better over the years. Could it be something to do with age? Perhaps, without my noticing it all these years, I’ve managed to devolve from a relatively meek and humble young person into a dogmatic old woman in my elder years!
Or maybe [hopefully…hopefully…] I’m simply beginning to notice it more.
But oh, I would so like it to be gone!
By now I was curious to read more about Jeff Foster, so I followed Sensei’s link to his website and read more of his writings. For instance:
What is Life Without a Centre?
Life Without a Centre is about the non-separation (‘non-duality’) between you and your world. It is about the origin of suffering, and the discovery of freedom within that very suffering.
It is about the ways in which we try to run away from uncomfortable and painful experiences, and the possibility of discovering ease and relief right in the midst of those experiences. It is about seeking, and the end of seeking. It is about seeing life as it is, right now.
What do you mean by ‘non-duality’?
Think of the word ‘non-duality’ as a ‘finger pointing to the moon’ (as they say in Zen) directing your attention to the wholeness of all life, to the Oneness which exists here and now. It points to an intimacy, a love beyond words, a completeness right at the heart of present experience. It points to where you already are. It points back Home.
It is beyond comprehension, yet it is as obvious as breathing, as familiar as the feeling of your heart beating in your chest, as ordinary as the sights and sounds and smells appearing in this room.
So ‘non-duality’ simply means ‘wholeness’?
Yes, ‘non-duality’ is simply a word I use to point beyond your ideas, concepts and beliefs about life. It is a word I use to point to life as it is, beyond what you think it is – and to who you really are, beyond who you think you are.
And ultimately, who you really are, and life itself, are inseparable. They are not-two, they are non-dual, they are intimate. This is a timeless truth that goes right to the heart of all the world’s spiritual traditions, and ultimately right to the heart of modern science too…
Attempting to describe the indescribable, that’s how I see these messages from the awakened ones, the ones who have somehow reached a whole new level of consciousness. But Jeff does a good job, don’t you think, of trying to describe it to the rest of us who are still slogging along our pathless path?
Jeff Foster studied Astrophysics at Cambridge University. In his mid-twenties, after a long period of depression and illness, he became addicted to the idea of ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and embarked on an intensive spiritual quest for the ultimate truth of existence.
The spiritual search came crashing down with the clear recognition of the non-dual nature of everything, and the discovery of the extraordinary in the ordinary.
In the clarity of this seeing, life became what it always was: intimate, open, loving and spontaneous, and Jeff was left with a deep understanding of the root illusion behind all human suffering, and a love of the present moment.
Many thanks to Sensei Dominic for sharing this material so that I might share it as well.
Sensei’s home page is: http://standinginanopenfield.wordpress.com
Jeff Foster’s home page is: http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com/
This image of Jeff Foster is found here: