Bowl of Berries and Baby Girl III 2015 55" x 73" mixed media on canvas
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JUST the BEGINNING
Now, returning our focus on the subject of the ego, the good news is that with a little persistence, that part of the ego that keeps us small and limited can be undone. Its life and power are but what we give it. And as our light of awareness, with deep acceptance, shines on that part of the ego, its illusory power lifts and our being is free to expand into its larger sense of Self and into unity. To some, this happens suddenly, but for most of us, it is a gradual process.
Exercise: Take a few moments now and look closely at your sense of self; this feeling of “me." Observe first of all that it is this sense of self that is attempting to do this exercise. Observe how it defines itself through the body’s posture; its gestures and movements, the tensions in the muscles; the way the eyeballs are moving in the sockets, the breath. And notice how a sense of self is woven into all these body sensations creating the sense of “me.” Also, notice the particular emotional or instinctive moods and thoughts that are passing through this sense of self or ego. Study it all closely with a playful curiosity.
To all this, we will now bring what I call "The Burning House Exercise." Imagine, on your in-breath, flames consuming every fiber of your sense of self. Surrender it all to the flames, and ask that only what is essential remain. There is no violence in this. These are loving flames. Some people prefer, instead of flames, the image of water washing away this sense of self, and others a light shining the ego away. On your out breath extend out peace or stillness, or whatever you are inspired to do. Do as many repetitions of this visualization with the in and out breath as are needed. If during the exercise you ever get confused about what the ego is, just remember the very simple definition that it is the feeling of being someone in particular.
Bringing Down the Eye Kite 1992
21" x 14" pastel pencil on paper
The eye of awareness is being brought down by grace, depicted in the loving efforts of the little cherubs. The house is the symbol of the body, in which the self on the bottom floor sleeps, dreaming its world, while on the floor above the noble part that is in us all, quietly reads, meditates and holds space for revelation to come.
You probably noticed after doing the exercise, there is still a sense of self, but did you notice a lighter feeling, as if you let go of something. This is enough at this point. Whenever anything disturbing arises within you do this “Burning House” exercise. I do it at least twenty times a day and sometimes more as things arise. Observe how the effects of doing this exercise grow stronger over time.
This is preparing you for the lifting of a large part of the ego in a deep and real sense and transforming your relationship to it. What will that be like? For the answer we want real experience; concepts are no longer enough for us. And how exciting it is that you will actually be able to experience it for yourself. But let me just say, for me, when at those times my identification with the ego is lifted, what I have noticed is that the destructive, negative patterns are gone within “me,” replaced by ones more neutral or more loving. Yet much in “me” stays the same. There is an essence, which we are born with, that now can finally manifest more openly, free of self-judgment and self-attack. And as was mentioned above, those parts that are necessary to interact with the world are also still there (which can also be a part of our deeper essence). Yet, this body/mind—personal self has shifted from belonging to a very strong individuated sense of presence to belonging to something larger, incomprehensible, spacious—a Self of oneness defined by its inclusiveness. It is curious that to others it may appear as if nothing has changed, except that one is kinder, more tolerant. Yet, within, it is very, very different.
The Sleeper and Waking 2002
40" x 29" mixed media on canvas
The bookseller paused. “Are you ready to go to Inlăkesh?”
“Yes, I am,” Tobe said without hesitating. He was relieved to find that all his nervousness was gone.
“To have the portal open up to you,” continued the bookseller, “you will first need to get rid of what stands in the way of your seeing it—all that unnecessary inner clutter—all those heavy thoughts and feelings. You will be vibrating too low to see it, even though it is right in front of you.”
Tobe was ready to let go of everything that stood in the way, and he could already see some of the blocks in himself: all those heavy, dense emotions. He did not wait. He remembered an old fairy tale of a Prince who used a sacred fire to free his kingdom from a darkness. Why not try it now? Tobe imagined flames inside himself. He could feel them growing. These were not angry flames; a benevolence was in them. He watched them consume every thought and every feeling.
He also gathered up every weakness and fear he could observe in himself, as well as the ones he could not see but knew were there. He fed them all to the cleansing flames. When he forgot and the fire went out, he lit the inner flames again. He gave it all up to the flames—even everything he called “Tobe.” He waited to see what remained. It was soothing to let go of everything. “House on Fire,” he called it, and from that day on, it never left him for long.
When Tobe felt the burning was complete and all the flames had died down, ‘he’ was still there, but now he felt quiet and empty inside, and full of clarity.
“Very good,” said the bookseller, studying Tobe closely. “And you did that all by yourself. Now you will be able to see the portal.”
The bookseller paused to take in the night, and then said, “The quicker vibration of Inlăkesh, as I said earlier, makes Inlăkesh shine through the things of this dense world. You can see it shining through in the beauty of things: in their perfection and in their life. If you are still and go deep into all these things, you will see the portal start opening up to you.
DROP CAP - Chapter 5
Tobe and the Bookseller overlooking the carnival.
This is where Tobe discovers the portal to the magical land of Inlăkesh where the River Is flows.
The following drop cap and text are from Tobe and the River Is:
Now Back to My Paintings:
This process of moving away from the ego as our sense of self is a very simple process. The more glimpses we have of our grandeur, our strength, our beauty, the more willingly we let go of the ego's limitedness—its state of separation, and its hold on us. This transition can be so joyful, and we will find ourselves moving enthusiastically towards this new life and to a new amazing world, hardly able to believe it possible to be living a life so transformed and magnificent.
As our time together here draws to an end I would like to touch on a couple of things. The principal aims of this website have been to turn your mind in the direction of your true nature; to better prepare you for the amazing states of consciousness that will come to you; and to help you to welcome them, without fear and resistance. How deeply your experiences go is up to you. But eventually, you will face your higher reality. Perhaps it will occur quite unexpectedly at a moment of severe suffering that is embraced; or at a moment of intense danger. It can also come quite gently through a moment of incredible beauty; or at a moment where love’s pure presence is felt, or perhaps you will wait until the end, at the moment of death. Often it comes through sincere interest and commitment. And yet, ultimately, it is by grace that reality flows into us and lifts us up into a new world—a whole different dimension of life.
Mystical House II 1990
18" x 14" pastel pencil on black paper
It has been a pleasure sharing this journey of perception with you. In parting, I leave you with these words that sum up the message of this website: There is a perfect Oneness that flows all about you and in you this moment. It is constant. Just keep your focus on it, harmonize with it, surrender into it, and it will show you that you have Everything!
La Puerta 1986 12" x 8" watercolor