Mountain Rain Forest Notes

August 3, 2007

Even though the life a monk was not to be my destiny beyond a certain point, there were many things about the monastic life that I loved: the camaraderie with fellow novices, the one-pointedness of purpose, the wisdom, kindness, and encouragement of some of the elder priests, the company of those to whom the process of truth, openness, understanding, compassion, and liberation was sacred, the subtle joy and serenity of living a simple life in nature. Beginning this weekend, I will begin sharing some of what it is to live this life alone and together with people who come from all over the world to share in this gentle, passionate, profound investigation here in the high mountain rain forest. A number of you have submitted some excellent questions and comments in recent days, and I will begin responding to those this next week as well.

-Scott Morrison-

True Nature

August 3, 2007

From an everyday materialistic, mechanistic, popular, dualistic point of view, it seems so illogical — definitely not scientific. However, contempt prior to investigation is hardly scientific either. So eventually, you may come to a point where, irrational or not, you simply have to find out for yourself. If you do, you will discover that what most people think of as the “real world” is little more than a cruel, cynical, sadomasochistic fantasy. Set that completely aside, even for just a moment, and you will begin to discover, at the core, a radically different universe, one that hardly anyone would have ever imagined possible. It is not, however, based on blind optimism, or the triumph of positive over negative. In fact, it is so unexpected that you may find yourself suspended in a state of wonderment that it could actually be this way.

All you have to do is open your eyes and ears. All you have to do is open your mind, completely, and you will discover that your heart has always been open. It’s a mystery, the way that just about everybody imagines they don’t know. But here it is, beyond denial. Every leaf, every flower, every blade of grass, the bark of every tree, every droplet of water, every puffy white and blue-gray cloud, the warm blue of the sky and the brilliance of the sunshine, every gurgling brook in the shadows of the forest, every still mountain pool, every cool breeze off of the ocean, every scent of wild ginger, passion fruit, long leaf pine, or ylang-ylang, every insect, every lizard, in the song of every coqui and the cooing of every dove, in the squawking of every parrot, in the bright silver moonlight, in the sparkle of every distant star, in the earth and every living cell of your body, and the very air itself is shimmering with energy and saturated with the hidden warmth of kindness. Who would believe this? Maybe everybody already knew, but who could have possibly known?

-Scott Morrison-

You Cannot Be Saved

August 3, 2007

You cannot save yourself. You cannot be enlightened. You cannot be liberated. You cannot stabilize your Self Realization.

Scott Morrison cannot be saved. Gangaji cannot be saved. H. W. L. Poonjaji cannot be saved. Ramana Maharshi cannot be saved. Krishnamurti cannot be saved. Jesus cannot be saved. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, cannot be saved.

If you give up, completely, on trying to do anything for yourself at all, you gain everything.

-Scott Morrison-

In the Eye of the Storm

August 3, 2007

Dear friends,

It�s good to be back. The new hard drive has been installed and hopefully an Internet connection can be established by the middle of this coming week from our rather fragile and tentative base in the high mountain rainforest. Also, there is what looks like a fairly large, powerful storm, Georges, heading this way, expected to arrive sometime Monday. Fortunately, I love hurricanes. They always bring out the best in people.

In any event, thank you for checking back in. I love you all very, very much.

Scott

Love Without Sorrow

August 3, 2007

Dear Scott,

Life brings most of it’s valuable lessons through relationships we hold dear. All i have learnt through the painful experiences is that “love is not enough”. Isn’t it ironical?

I’m letting myself feel the restlessness and emptiness inside, hoping that it’ll eventually lead me to a more meaningful purpose of life. Am i wasting my time refusing to wake up to reality? Am i supposed to loose myself in mundane responsibilities like all humans do? What am i living for, if not for True Love?

Take heart. It is good that you are not trying to repress or escape your feelings, but there is a greater opportunity here. The intimate life, the awakened life, requires wisdom also. Wisdom is none other than deep insight into the nature of things, the result of open awareness and honest reflection. This hurt that you speak of is caused by a lack of clear understanding, and it will come to an end when that understanding is complete.

The problem is not with love, but with that which is thought to be love (by just about everybody), but is actually clinging to how we want things to be. How to know the difference? The flavor of true love (which is unconditional) is always of joy and freedom, of serenity. If the taste is, instead, one of expectation and hope, of tension, fear, worry, frustration, longing, or sorrow, then it is simply not love. Clinging, by whatever name, always results in suffering. If you truly understand that, then it is easy to let go.

There is an ancient teaching which says there are two kinds of suffering: suffering that leads to more suffering, and suffering that leads to the end of suffering, by coming to recognize the difference. Such experiences, however painful, are opportunities to put an end to suffering.

-Scott Morrison-

Holy Man

August 3, 2007

“Holy Man,” directed by Stephen Herek, with Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston and company. It’s funny and touching. Go see it. (Especially if you like to smile.)

The world is slowly waking up, step-by-precious-step.

-Scott Morrison-

There Is No “Other”

August 3, 2007

Dear Scott,

Thanks for your words. It made me realize how dependent i had been on my reflexes to react to suffering and pain. With deeper understanding and will i hope to bring about positive transformations in my life.

It’s interesting to notice how exaggerated desires and hopes can lead to a sticky relationship. But how do you define “freedom” in committed relationships like marriage? How do you explain this need for true intimacy, to share one’s life, to belong…? Where is the balance?

“Freedom” means freedom from the bondage and torment of self centered thinking and feeling. Marry the truth of who you really are, disappear, completely, into honesty and kindness, and you will find that you belong totally to what is, to whomever and whatever is present on the most intimate of terms. If you try to make anyone a special object of that happiness, then fear, frustration, resentment, and sorrow are virtually guaranteed.

I’m not trying to be hard-nosed in putting it this way, but I don’t think it serves us to pretend things are other than the way that they are. Just because most everybody seems to subscribe to a certain set of opinions about relationship, marriage, and commitment, no matter how rationalized or justified, doesn’t make it honest. What is is the only true relationship. Do you really want to be free? Find out what happens when there is no story — past, present, or future — about “you” and no story about the “other”.

-Scott Morrison-

The Purity of Your Own Heart

August 3, 2007

All of that having been said, where, then, is Jesus? Where, then, dwells the Christ?

These are, of course, just words and sounds, but the real question remains: where is everything Jesus, or the Buddha, or Ramana, or any other teacher who has ever meant anything to you? Footsteps of lovingkindness, of joy and freedom that may have been taken thousands of years ago are your steps also. They are your very next step. The Buddha is the beginning, the middle, and the end of your next breath. Ramana lies at the core of your being. They are not different. This not about elevating, clinging to, or getting rid of any particular religion, spiritual path, or teacher. It is about bringing undivided attention to what they all point to.

Awareness is everywhere. Truth is everywhere. Love is everywhere. We could continue, out of habit and defense, to deny it, but to what avail? When all names and divisions have come to silence, what is the purity that always remains?

-Scott Morrison-

It’s Completely Up To You

August 3, 2007

Why continue hiding behind the pretenses and defenses of self consciousness, self doubt, or cynicism? Why let yourself be distracted by what you imagine other people think? There is such a blessedness, such a precious, subtle, profound, and exquisite beauty inside and all around you! Set aside theories, opinions, beliefs, and prior assumptions, yours and everybody else’s. Why not find out, beyond all speculation?

What is it like, to be truly alive and awake?

Happiness, freedom, and peace do not lie elsewhere, at some future time. It’s completely up to you – this very instant – as you’re sitting here looking at this screen. All you have to do is give yourself, completely and absolutely, to the heart of what is. All you have to do is give yourself, completely and absolutely, to what you already are — to what, at your very core, you’ve been all along. It makes no difference if you have heard or read or thought it ten thousand times. No matter that you may have trivialized or betrayed it a hundred thousand times, thinking, “I already know this.” All that counts is whether you are willing to truly let it in this time:
Awareness is everywhere.

Truth is everywhere.

Love is everywhere.

All you have to do is allow yourself to be unconditionally open to it, without negotiation, distraction, or defense.

Everywhere and always. On every breath. On this breath. In everything you think, say, and do:

Sincere.
Honest.
Kind.
Wise.
That’s all. Nothing more. Why not find out? Yes, finally find out for yourself, beyond all doubt.

But only if you want to be happy, free, and at peace, that is.

-Your own Self-

What Have You Got To Lose?

August 3, 2007

Dear Mr. Morrison, I came across your website recently and have been stunned silent by what I’ve read. I have been in a halfhearted pursuit of Enlightenment since I was 17, when I first encountered the work of Ken Wilber while struggling to break free of an existential depression that first gripped me a year earlier. For two years I have realized that all I really want is Enlightenment, yet I have consistently avoided a vigorous pursuit of it by trying to learn more about it first. For months now I have understood that this attempt to know more about it is just a fear-based reaction, a resistance against not-knowing, but I have been unable to eliminate my doubt (which seems remarkably similar to fear) and simply give myself up to “faith” or “trust” in what the Enlightened ones claim is true.

So I have sought more knowledge, looking for that juicy morsel of written patterns that will completely bolster my confidence and purge my fear. I have actually been looking for a statement to the effect of: “Pure consciousness is _not_ a by-product of neural activity, not dependent on the human brain, and when you attain Enlightenment you will realize this beyond even the slightest shadow of a doubt–not because you are ‘not-knowing’ and incapable of doubt, but because you know fully and completely, and doubt cannot touch your conviction.”

What I found on your site was much more shocking and inspiring. All along I’ve put such a profound trust in _thinking_, in _knowing_, that I’ve never once seriously considered that maybe, just maybe, what thinking and knowing presents me with is not the reality at all. I guess, being a student of Ken Wilber’s work, I’ve known this–intellectually or theoretically–all along, but I never really let it sink in. I’ve depended upon thinking, upon the accumulation of knowledge about reality, as far back as I can remember. I’ve _trusted_ thought and memory so much that I’ve built my entire existence around the process, and the idea that my collection of ideas about reality might be consistently incomplete, misleading, or absolutely _wrong_ has terrified me.

Now I can see how utterly insane it is to pretend one already knows what he is looking for; i.e., that I know anything at all about “Enlightenment” or “Awareness” or “Reality.” The finger most certainly is _not_ the moon, and the only way one can see the moon is to look away from the finger, rather than persisting in being fascinated by it as a defense against not knowing whether there really is a moon at all.

I’m still having trouble giving up completely to this, though, and I guess that’s why I’m not yet Enlightened (and thus capable of abandoning that concept). This is the first opportunity I’ve had (or at least taken) to communicate with an Enlightened person, so I would greatly appreciate any insight you could give me into the following concerns, which have plagued me (and prevented my from letting go of thought, of letting go to Love) since I first consciously began this quest:

1.) If I disentangle myself from thought, feelings, and memory, so that I rest as absolute Awareness itself, will I really be living as I should? Can you promise me that this awareness knows what it is doing better than the current “I”–the ego of thoughts and feelings–ever could? Andrew Cohen said, “It is only what you do or don’t do that creates karma. If you understand this deeply then you will find that who you are has absolutely nothing to do with what you think.” Is this really true? Is this Awareness so filled with pure concerns, pure love, and pure intentions that if I give myself to it completely–if I give up on constantly “knowing” and concern with thinking–that I won’t regret it later (i.e., I won’t make a mistake and hurt someone)? You see, that’s what I’m really afraid of. I’m afraid that if I cease being somebody, I’ll not be able to trust the actions of this “awareness.” Is God truly absolute Goodness? Is God completely trustworthy?

2.) You say that reality is ever-new, impermanent, and absolute Awareness itself, so it is forever “Unknown.” What we think we “know” is not reality but memories and other mental conceptions of reality. But isn’t thought just as much “reality” as anything else? So can it really be known? Is that just an illusion of new thoughts imagining they can grasp previous thoughts? Or are thoughts _all_ that is ever known, and since “the universe is created by thought alone,” is being free from thought what it means to be “awake” from the dream of time, space, and things? And why, if you are Awareness Incarnate, are you not _aware_ of what I am thinking right now or doing right now? If it’s the same awareness in everyone, why doesn’t one resting as that awareness know everything that everyone else knows? This has always confused me, and while I can come up with some possible answers, I’d really like to know the truth. Can you answer that for me? Please?

3.) Awareness is nondual. Awareness transcends the mind-made duality of love vs. hate. Yet “Awareness is Love” and never is it said that “Awareness is Hate.” How can Awareness be more like one quality than another if it is nondual? If I sit in the sun, feeling the cool breeze, accepting things exactly as they are, it is obvious that Awareness is Love. There’s no question. But once I start thinking about it all, contemplating nondual philosophy . . . ah, the thinking again. Enlightenment is just freedom from a fascination with thinking, isn’t it? Yet without thinking, there could be no Enlightenment. Fascinating. . . .

4.) Is it really worth it? Can you promise me, honestly, that if I focus on this above all other concerns and desires, I will be happy? That I won’t be afraid of anything anymore? That I will be free of _doubt_? I’m willing to go all the way, if it will _really_ make as big a difference in “my” life as you and others say it will. But until someone can promise me–promise me with absolute sincerity–that I will not regret dying into this Mystery, then I’m going to hang onto my thinking, my self, my life, my security. Perhaps I’m just arrogant, maybe I’m an asshole, but I want to put my trust in someone, in _you_, and not some book or website.

Please answer my questions and concerns, if you have the time. I would really, really appreciate it. Thank you for helping me to look at my relationship to thinking a little more closely. I never really questioned it before.

You’re making this much more complicated than it actually is. At this point, you might as well go ahead and let go of the whole notion of “Enlightenment,” and “Enlightened ones,” for that matter. Those are just words, labels, images, memories, fantasies, and so on, all of it with immense emotional investment, identity, and a bottomless pit of self loathing, self justification, and self aggrandizement, are they not? So let’s drop the pretense of student and teacher, one-up and one-down, and go into this as friends, sincere comrades in the exploration what is. As such, I can’t honestly promise you anything, but going about it in this way opens up a real possibility of discovering directly how it is and what is true – that which is not dependent upon or limited to anyone’s belief or the pretense of authority at all.

If we examine it honestly and directly, it becomes apparent that awareness has no opposite, is that not so? When are you not aware? You may focus and concentrate on some particular object or field or type of experience, but you are still aware, are you not? Even in sleep, when mental and physical sensations become muted and shut down, you are still aware, are you not? (check it out yourself and see.) Is there anything that you ever see, hear, smell, taste, feel, think, say, do, or otherwise experience in which awareness is not there also? Doesn’t that make you a little suspicious? Everywhere you go, everything you do, awareness is also present. “You” and “awareness”. Are they not one in the same? This is not a concept. We may trivialize it with some kind of mental defense, and try to turn it into a “philosophy of awareness,” but what for? What good would a “philosophy of orgasm,” or the “psychology of eating delicious food,” or the “relaxation religion,” or the “path of smiling” be? Or even a “philosophy of pain and discomfort”? Of what use is a fictitious buffer between ourselves and all of life? In this sense, love has no opposite either, does it? It includes everything, even things we imagined we didn’t like or want. When awareness is allowed to be wide open, that is, not manipulated or limited by clinging, craving, fearing, or resisting, is there not just the sweet simplicity, sensitivity, and intimacy of all that is?

Furthermore, I suggest you forget about trying to give up “your self,” “your life,” or “your security.” We can’t give up something we never had in the first place, can we? If, as a child, I sneak downstairs to catch Santa placing the presents near the tree on Christmas Eve, only to be shocked by the discovery that it was my parents all along, do I really give up “Santa”? Suddenly, with the searing force of lightening, what was vague and confusing all makes perfect sense: We don’t even have a chimney… and how could he have made all those deliveries in one night… and how did he know what I wanted for Christmas, and so on. We may maintain some sentimental memories of “Jolly Old Saint Nick,” but we can no longer believe in “him” in the same way. (There is no Santa in our future.)

In other words, your self and your life and your security don’t really work or check out very well with reality because they don’t really exist in the first place. They are just mental/emotional inventions. Of course thoughts (thoughts about ourselves or anything else) are real in the sense that they are experiences, that is, phenomena arising in consciousness (in you), but to imagine that they somehow are, or could encompass the vast, infinite whole of reality is both scientifically and spiritually naive. They’re just thoughts. Mental images, sounds, associations, feelings. That’s all.

“Is it really worth it?” you ask. Is clear observation worth it? Is honest reflection worth it? Is the rich serenity of humility and understanding, and the sweetness of intimacy with all that is worth it? Is being unconditionally awake and alive worth it? Is being freedom and peace itself really worth it? What are notions of “God” and “spiritual awakening” all about, if not this? I can’t see where anything else makes any sense. But the only way you can truly know is to find out for yourself. What do you have to lose?

-Your own Self-