Zen Algebra–a meditative satsang with Jon Bernie on enlightenment

Zen Algebra–a meditative satsang with Jon Bernie on enlightenment

[Meditation bell and birdsong] [Meditation bell and birdsong] I thought we’d have algebra class tonight. [laughter] Just imagine a big black board behind me, and the word “freedom” written on it. Or you could have underneath it, in parentheses, your choice of words. You know: “Enlightenment,” “peace,” “happiness,” “fulfillment,” “liberation,” “salvation.” Something like that. Generally the the algebraic formula for freedom is something like, “A plus B equals freedom.” I’m going to give you the real formula tonight: “One minus one equals freedom.” Coming back to zero. Which is everything and nothing, simultaneously. Form and emptiness. Relative and absolute, integrated. One minus one. Whatever you have, give it away. Whatever you’re holding onto, let go of. Simple. Return back to zero. Openness. Clarity. It’s like your mind can take…can have a shower. And it becomes a crystal clear mirror. Free of debris. And then you are what you see. You are where you feel. You are connected. And everyone, on their own, has to find out how, in their own experience, to have one minus one happen. What is the point of something, for
instance, as basic and valuable as mindfulness practice, for instance? Where you bring attention to what’s arising, what’s present, to find out how to bring awareness to what’s perceived,
in such a way that it can evaporate? Not because there’s an expectation that it should evaporate, or that
there’s a desire that it evaporates. But just simply that
there’s a certain way of giving attention that actually produces one minus one. Not by any effort, or belief– simply by its very nature. Just like, I’ve often mentioned, that ice cube, being dropped into a glass of warm water,
will return back to its original nature. Freedom is a natural unfoldment of consciousness. So by sitting still, and breathing, and paying attention in a
certain way, consciousness is You know, consciousness has many, many names: energy, presence, prana, qi, are different descriptions, different kinds of consciousness. Even thought is energy. Some people are so skilled with thought
that they can move objects at a distance. That’s far out. Maybe even produce healing. Usually thought is, in this realm, is seen as kind of an impediment, because it’s usually a struggling with what is. It’s a trying to
figure it out, or defending. There’s a kind of
thinking that exacerbates suffering, or even creates it. And yet, there’s another realm of thought where thought is magnificent. Where it’s creative, where it’s liberating. So whether you’re giving attention to
mind, body, heart, energy, presence, you can find out in any of those ways, how one can minus one. We’re using [language] and one of the most obvious and unconscious areas is speaking. Because we’re talking all the time, or communicating, now more than ever. With email and
texting, and, you know, every possible way. And yet, we are expressive beings. An expression can be liberating. Often we’re, we have been conditioned to fit in, and belong, and live up to others’ expectations or our own.
And we’ve restricted our authentic natures. You know, kind of contracted our natural ability to express. That’s why I think this beautiful laboratory that we have here,
this sanctuary of satsang here, with the expression part is so powerful, can be so powerful. One minus one happens by itself. We don’t make that happen. There’s no control or manipulation in it. Freedom is like a seed that germinates. It’s completely natural. We are seeds that have germinated. And look at this. How often do we stop and say, “Wow, this is a miracle!”– and completely unknowable. And every moment of freedom is a moment of awe. Otherwise, we’re being somebody, getting
somewhere, you know– doing life. And that’s fine. You all know that life is the great teacher. Every moment, what is happening for you right now and
every moment, is the teacher. Not some dude up in the front, or some teaching, some written–no. I mean, that can be helpful maybe, hopefully. Every moment you can ask, if you want– you don’t have to, but you can ask, “What is it going to take, right now, to be here, a hundred percent? To be open, available, receptive and alive?” You can ask yourself any moment. And then something will be given to you
in that moment. Some insight, revelation, guidance. Maybe just [sighs] a sigh of relief, that you took one
second to stop. And then maybe you’ll take another
second, and a whole bunch of seconds. [Laughs] You know. The number one complaint that I hear on retreats is, that they have to end. [laughter] They don’t. I remember I was watching the videos that we’ve been putting together on this last
retreat. And it’s really far out to watch them actually. They should be up soon if you are interested. I was saying that, you
know, this goes with you. This, too. This goes with you. And I’ve been hearing so much feedback that’s underlining that as accurate. Because the retreat, satsang, this IS you, right now, always. When you see the radiance of another,
you’re seeing yourself reflected, your true self. Isn’t that nice? You know, when you’re feeling love, you’re giving and receiving your true open-heartedness. And I think that’s when we are the happiest and the most fulfilled as human beings– when we are in that unified space of unconditional loving– giving and
receiving, openheartedly. And I think everyone has at least moments
of that fullness, that fulfillment. And I think generally when we have that, there’s the desire for “Yeah! That! I want to be, I want to live there.” Because that’s home. We already, our guidance system knows that that’s the big zero. You know, that’s the fullness, the one minus one. It’s amazing that something as undefined, unexplained, inconceivable, as “just being here” is the presence of our aliveness, can come into the foreground. What’s referred to as awakening, which is ongoing by the way, that that can just happen right now all by itself, when you stop trying. And then, just surrender to that. Give
yourself to that. Bring yourself– allow yourself to be brought home, where you can be nurtured, and loved, and fulfilled, unconditionally. Because, you know, trying to get fulfilled
conditionally is a mixed bag. [laughter] You win some, you lose some. It’s unpredictable. [Laughter] It’s nice to find out what you can
truly rely upon, which is not an outside of yourself. What you can truly trust, which is not outside of yourself. Just remember one thing, if you want to
remember anything: just be right here. Give yourself permission to be right here. Whatever it takes, to be right here: Forgiveness, compassion, patience, tenderness. Whatever it takes. And then, really listen to the teaching
in the sound of silence, in the alive stillness. Awakening happens all by itself. The only thing we’re really learning is just to let it happen. It takes the whole burden of responsibility off our backs. A certain kind of sense of responsibility. And it gives us a whole different perspective of what responsibility really means. It really means just bringing awareness– allowing ‘what is’ to be in awareness. You might say that’s effortless responsibility. Otherwise we get caught in doing it, managing it, orchestrating it– subtle. It’s subtle, right? That distinction. The secret is, over and over and over, discovering what being awareness is, what being presence is. That’s the perspective that allows awakening to happen. Ironically. That’s why they call it grace because it just comes by itself. And then, oh wow! Any attempt to hold onto it obscures it. So eventually, we begin to learn as a human being– it’s hard
as a human being, because we’re so programmed to survive, which means, you know, seek comfort and avoid pain. To just trust that the process is happening. To be, to let that awareness take us. For me, one of the images I used to have in my own
experience of that, was just laying back and floating. just [sighs], weightless floating. And realize that this presence has a
force to it. It’s like a force…truly. And every cell in your body can dissolve into it, IS it. That’s what enlightenment describes, is the
enlivening of every cell. Whatever is happening right now, whenever is present in your experience– see if you can find a space that’s letting that be right now. Or, even if it isn’t letting it be right now. If there’s some turbulence of mind or body or heart, find a perspective that can at least let that be. [meditation bell and birdsong]

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  1. Joking aside, I love you for sharing your words. After practicing Self Enquiry as taught by Ramana Maharshi…your words are making them sink in and finally take hold. Sometimes you get me so in that moment that I start to hallucinate and your face and head does some interesting things 🙂

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