The way beyond effort and effortlessness

In the mind made clear by practice,
(naturally resting,
empty of thought,
self-shining and luminous,
effortlessly present)
a phrase uttered can reveal the transcendent,
as can a gesture, glance, object or experience.

Many wise ones,
having practiced thus,
attained enlightenment upon hearing a bell ring,
or seeing bird fly past,
or hearing the master speak,
(in truth the master is formless and always speaking,
but can we hear Him?)
or via numerable other everyday occurrences.

Our enlightenment is weak when discursive thoughts,
due to a lifetime of habit,
enter the fray,
and are taken seriously.
This means we have grasped ourself
(formulated an idea of who we are)
and we become like hungry animals seeking sensation.
The twins of self-concept and desire have been born.

Seeing this,
For self-concept itself is a phenomenal experience,
grasping itself is a phenomenal experience,
subject to impermanence,
empty in nature,
while the transcendent is ever-present.

Rest here in transcendence,
where all the myriad changing phenomena
are seen as mere modulations of One Mind,
where there is no separate self,
and no self-concept in operation.

We are naturally free,
untouched by phenomena,
neither clinging,
nor rejecting.
Here the transcendent and immanent are one,
like the ocean and its waves;
there is neither transcendence nor immanence,
just water moving.

If self-concept springs up,
(together with its wingman desire),
strike it down at its root.

How to do this?
Notice the desire is not you,
notice the self-concept is not you,
notice these have no intrinsic being,
and that they will pass,
and all is just a modulation in Being.
Things come and go in Being
but Being remains unchanged,
and Being is just an empty word
signifying the raw experience
of whatever is happening,
as it is.

The essential instruction
is to rest in Being,
which is your true Self,
devoid of the twins of self-concept,
and self-concept operating as desire.

In trying to rest in Being,
you are not resting in Being:
you have already have made it into a concept:
self-concept and its functioning as desire have already been born.

When there is no concept operating,
Then you are resting in Being,
And you have attained the natural way,
which is beyond both effort and effortlessness.

The essential instruction
is therefore not to rest in Being,
but to not allow defilements to arise.
What are defilements?
They are the twins of self-concept
and its functioning offspring, desire,
which together incestuously beget a multitude of sinful grandchildren.
How to not let defilements arise?
See that defilements do not truly exist,
defilements being only illusory concepts,
a cascade of thoughts.
This is resting in non-conceptual Being.

How important these teachings are!
Yet they are nothing but the groaning sounds of a mammal,
an antidote to illusion,
of equal insubstantiality as all transient phenomena:
the boat that carries us to the other shore
is seen to be made of water!

Ahoy! All is water,
All is Spirit,
shimmering and shining and glistening:
there is nothing here to grasp!
Where is the space for ‘you’?
All unfolds spontaneously.

Watery worlds rise and fall,
Isn’t it wonderful in its myriad complexities?
Isn’t it so simple?

11 thoughts on “The way beyond effort and effortlessness

  1. In my opinion, the mind can not be ’empty of thought’. Mind only exists as an abstract idea – there is no separate mind to begin with. Of course, the same holds true for ‘enlightenment’. It, too, merely exists as a concept. When you judge the fleeting experience of an ’empty mind’ and of ‘enlightenment’, it may seem real to you for a moment, but since it is a fantasy, it will not last. You make up such phenomena, and while they will definitely vanish, you remain. Thank God, it is not the other way around. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom,
    “The kingdom of God comes not with observation”
    You say “Rest in Being” as devoid of self concept and desire, but “Do not Rest in Being” as a cesspool of rising defilements . ( My interpretation 🙂 This you call ” Resting in non-conceptual Being”
    Is this the same as generating Peace?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is the wake of our forward motion Always peace? Blessed be the Peace Maker. If I follow Peace so closely will my Doing be spontaneous Peace even though I am not the Doer?


  4. This is beautiful. When I clicked on the link to this I didn’t know who wrote it and while reading it I thought it was the words of Ramana Maharshi and was surprised to find out it was the words of Tom Das. You are both wonderful teachers and I am forturnate to have found these teachings. Many Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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