Reunion teaching February 2019


This is a hybrid (or perhaps a halfbreed) combination of an oral, in person teaching and a solitary written one. It doesn’t scan well but that is perhaps the nature of the beast. Thanks to Susan Westlund and Jan Schaeffer for their assistance.

Barbara Cordts’ Teaching, Sanctuary in the Pines
Saturday, February 9, 2019

There is never anything wrong with what is happening. There is never anything wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your life, in politics, in war—it doesn’t matter. There is never anything wrong with what is happening.

I’m going to assume that there is something in all of you—that when you consider what I’m saying—there is something in you that resists that idea, that thinks it can’t possibly be right. But as much as we can say that anything is true, we can say there is never anything wrong with what is happening.

Of course that also means there is never anything right with what is happening.

The problem we have with non-duality is that it really is non-dual. Notice in the second paragraph that “true” is a dualistic idea, implying that something could be false. We have trouble with the language about this because once we use words we’ve strayed from the center.

The first step toward non-dual awareness, and ultimately the only step, is acceptance. We have to accept what is happening. And we must accept thoroughly and completely, without reservation or doubt. Then all the apparent dualities—good, bad, right, wrong, spiritual, non-spiritual, moral, immoral—all of those dualities disappear from thought. Non-dual awareness leaves no room for judgements or preferences. It leaves endless room for faith and trust which lead to openness and deep relaxation.

This is from the Tao Te Ching (#1), attributed to Lao-Tzu.

“The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.”

From the human standpoint, there is a great mystery at the heart of all Being. Being emerges from non-being, and is not different from non-being—the darkness within darkness, the No-Thingness, the Source. All things emerge from the No-Thingness. It is unknowable. We can approach it—and in the fullness of realization, the human being disappears into Source. It doesn’t mean you become invisible. It doesn’t mean you cease to be. Such a one lives in the Not-Two, not separate from what is happening.

We think we know who we are. We have a whole list of our characteristics. We tend to be pretty seriously identified with them, although they are all contrived. They are all made up with a lot of help from our family, our education, our culture. There are personality and aptitude tests that help us find our “identity.” You can look in a magazine to “find out what your personality type is.”

None of this is essential to your identity. None of it. When we get right down to it, we have confused the space between birth and death as Life, my life. We think, “I was born in this place and time and will die in some place and time, and that is/was my life.” But that is NOT your life. Your life does NOT end (or begin). It is eternal. Maybe this confusion is an unintended consequence of creation, or maybe it’s intended. We can’t know. There is really nothing we can know, which makes us uncomfortable, which scares us. We want to know. It makes us feel like we have some control over things, this feeling of “I know.” But the desire to know and understand and the sense of comfort and control it brings occurs because we don’t know who we are or what life is.

We have an idea, not necessarily conscious, but not hidden. We have this idea that whatever is going on in our minds, in our life, or in the world—we have this idea or feeling— “this is not it”. We are sure there is something more or different. “Soon I will be enlightened.” “Someday I’m going to have the life I want.” “If I just do this right, things will all get better.” “When I have enough money all will be well” “I am not enlightened.” We refuse the moment—what is right here right now. We resist the moment.

The basis of identity is always and only in the moment. Eternal life is always in the moment. You are always eternal life. You just don’t recognize. We can give up the idea that “this is not ‘it’.” Give up the thought that “I am not enlightened” or the idea that finding “it” it will take a long time, or that you have to go to this retreat and that retreat and do these practices and meditate and… You will realize that you were always already That, already Source. All of those ideas I just mentioned stop you from recognizing it. You can’t make yourself be spiritual and enlightened because you are already That. You can’t make yourself into something that you already are. It doesn’t matter what kind of practices you do. Some practices move you away from the realization that “I am That.” Some practices affirm that you are not already That. But mostly it is our thinking and our beliefs that stand in the way.

This is the difficulty that people have. We resist. We say “I don’t like this.” Or, “I have this bad habit.” Or “There is something wrong in the world and I need to do something to change it or get away from it.” Or we think: “The way I need to change the world is to help other people, have compassion.” Those ideas and all of the actions that spring from them will keep you from realization. Mostly the ideas “there is something wrong” and “I am not enlightened” stand in the way of recognizing: Nothing needs to change. Nothing needs to be fixed. Nothing is wrong. It is simply what is happening. If it is helpful to you, you can think: “God is happening.”.

Avoidance and attachment—anything that takes us away from full acceptance of the right here right now (which is always dynamic)—keeps us from realization.

Realization is not something we can “get” by being good. Or by getting rid of all of our desires, or by changing something we think is wrong. It can feel really good being dedicated to a practice. But It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in meditation, or if you spend any time at all. You can’t change yourself into something you already are. Just let go of the effort, the idea that “this is not it.” The difficulty is that some people have trouble believing that no effort is required or that effort directed toward a goal actually gets in the way. They resist. “I get sick,” “I am unhappy,” “I can’t pay my bills,” “No one loves me,” “My car broke down,” “My dog died,” “My wife left me.” (Makes a joke about a Country Western song.)

It doesn’t mean you need to give up your practices, just what you think and believe about them.

I understand the difficulty of letting go of those things. We’re just going on about our lives. That’s fine. There is nothing wrong with it. But if you can let go of some of those ideas, let them move out of range of their own accord, something else will begin to become visible. Our concerns and our desires and preferences are most always about ourselves: what I want or don’t want, what I feel, what I believe. Full acceptance of one’s self, others, the world as it is, can be quite challenging (although all it takes is a one moment of full realization).

It can be hard for people who have committed to a spiritual practice to understand that they don’t have to be more compassionate, more loving, more dedicated, do more practices. But there’s nothing you need to do. You are already That. Just give up the idea that you are not and do as you are naturally moved to do.

The closest approximation I’ve come across of what I am trying to say is “Be still and know that I am God.” Or just “Be Still”. Or “know that I AM.” You come from Source. You are Source. You are Source. What else could you possibly be. You have just turned your back and looked away, become fascinated with world of things.

Maybe this I by design. Maybe not.

If you understand this, you won’t need to concern yourself with being spiritual, compassionate, or anything else. Simply get out of the way and let everything unfold. When we try to change the world or ourselves or others, we are simply confusing things, mostly ourselves. We just need to let go and let it happen as it will.

One of the difficulties about this is that we need to trust enough to let ourselves be spontaneous, unplanned—and not partake of any kind of willful decisions, or invest in particular actions or outcomes. We need to drop our preferences. That means zero. Thinking is frequently a big obstruction.

Have no particular desire or aversion. Have no “I want this and not that.” Be true in each moment. So, whatever happens is okay. This includes any thought or feeling you have or any action you take or words you speak. To say it is okay is not to say it is good. Nor is it bad. It is as it is. This is what the Tao refers to as “non-doing:” genuine spontaneity. It doesn’t mean don’t plan. It means don’t invest in outcomes. It doesn’t mean don’t remember. It means don’t let the past drive you.

I wrote something about this and posted it on the website, something like this: “Spontaneity has no past. It’s unconditioned. Nothing that came before made this happen. It has no future, no investment in an outcome; it has no intended arrival point. It is exactly what it is right here, right now.”

If you have ever opened into bliss, the kind of bliss where nothing needs to happen, when everything is perfect, and you wonder “how would I ever want to move out of this bliss?” (Actually, you don’t wonder except maybe in retrospect. Words are so inadequate.). If you’ve ever had the experience of bliss, you know that eventually something happens. You do something. The action didn’t come out of any obligation or desire. You are that bliss and you have no sensation of time. No idea that “I need to do this or that, something else.” but in the midst of that bliss, you act. That act is spontaneous and natural. That is your true Being, your true life which is the same as all life, all truth: Source.

If we leave ourselves alone; if we leave the world alone, everything will take care of itself. Everything in the world will be fine. As Julian of Norwich said: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”. .We don’t need to reach understanding or find meaning. Let it be.

“But what if ... ?” We have these habitual ways of thinking. Don’t try to stop your thoughts, just experience them as if they were children playing in another room. They’re fine, but they don’t really have anything to do with you and you don’t need to hold on to them or follow them or change them. You just need to let them be. They will move of their own volition. The way we get involved with our thoughts is how we tell ourselves stories. And then we say, “That’s a good story,” or “That’s a bad story.” Or “I‘m a bad person.” Or “He’s a bad person.” “That’s terrible.”. That’s wonderful.” And that seems to us to be truth.

When we grab onto our thoughts, get involved with them, we lose the here and now. As soon as you know you’ve grabbed on, just let go, allow it to go its own way. Don’t follow. I guarantee it will change. Of course, even just sitting or just anything is perfectly acceptable. Let it be.

It is helpful to notice what is actually occurring, around you and in your mind and body. But noticing doesn’t take effort. It’s just paying attention without getting attached to particular ideas or feelings. In fact, once you are attached you can no longer notice without prejudice.

It seems to me that the development of the conviction that we are individual human beings—separate from other human beings, and the world around us,—that partaking of that way of being in the world—is possibly a requirement of “this grand experiment.” I don’t know if there was intention behind this grand experiment. What I do know is that there is an incredible, unfathomable benevolence involved in our creation, and it suffuses everything. No one is left out. Nothing is left out. Not war, …. not anything. The most wonderful and most awful occurrence is enveloped in that same benevolence. It is infused in the creation of everyone, everything and every action.

Find that deep relaxation of the mind and heart. Let the mind go to sleep without actually going to sleep. It’s probably tired from all that thinking. (Smiles.)

The world of things, of beings—the world we live in—emerges out of No-Thing. The intermediary step is image. I could say it’s idea, but as soon as I say that you think “words.” But it is still No-Thing. It’s this slight coagulation of No-Thingness into some vague thing that might be an image. Out of that, ultimately, Thingness emerges—human bodies, human experience, the world. Idea grows the way thingness grows out of No-Thingness.

In magical training, one of the tenets taught is that if you know the name of someone or some thing you can have power or influence over them. That is why in the magical tradition people have secret names.

Human beings like to know the names of things. But we can confuse ourselves with the names we use, the concepts, they no longer refer to what is real. Humans learn to use names. We make them up ourselves, we name things that aren’t really real. Things like time, culture, morality, right and wrong, good and bad, past and future. They’re constructions. We confuse ourselves and each other by telling ourselves these things have reality.

This is not to say that the world isn’t real, or that you aren’t real. But the nature of that reality is misconstrued, misunderstood. The world exists as your mind. The self you think you are exists because of this world. They are identical in essence. Not Two.

Kerry can you ask the question you have?

‘There is that poem that you’ve read to us over the years, the one about how everything is swinging back and forth and the “Silent One, slowly growing a body.” I feel like that is happening…”
Between the conscious and the unconscious, the
mind has put up a swing:
all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway
between these two trees,
and it never winds down. 
Angels, animals, humans, insects by the million, also
the wheeling sun and moon;
ages go by, and it goes on. 
Everything is swinging: heaven, earth, water, fire,
and the secret one slowly growing a body.
Kabir saw that for fifteen seconds, and it made him a
servant for life.
(translated by Robert Bly)

I have received a letter from at least one other student wondering about this, so I am going to try to put some words to it. I have been trying, but the words have just not come out.

This student wrote, “ I am now seeing images of an underground railroad station. It is as though it was created in consciousness and is now available to everyone, conscious or unconscious, like a path in the woods that has appeared. We don’t know how it appeared but we are grateful for those who came before us.” This is a lovely image and experience, leaning in the proper direction.

There are ranges of consciousness that are shared by anyone who enters into them consciously. If you open yourself to those ranges of consciousness, you can communicate with others, living or dead, and that community of consciousness has an effect. The word ‘community’ doesn’t apply in the usual way here, because it doesn’t consist of people identified with their bodies and minds, but with a ranges of consciousness and specific levels and experiences of awareness.

I’m not sure what the person meant by saying that “the ‘underground railroad’ is available to everyone, consciously or unconsciously.” If they happen upon it consciously, it would be a great boon. If they stumble upon it remaining unconscious of it, I’m not sure of its effect. The effect of a group happening upon it consciously would be like rabbits—put a male and female rabbit together in a hutch and you get more rabbits. And more rabbits. And more rabbits. It works kind of like that.

Let me quote a Taoist teaching: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

It can take a lot of trust in the beginning, to let things flow naturally. Because who you think you are is not really who you are.

From the Tao te Ching: (#3)

If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.

The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.


Thank you, Barbara. And many thanks to Jan and Susan as well for helping this to become available for us all. A variety of experiences occurred for me the evening you posted this teaching, but before I was able to view it, and they have pointed me toward some questions. The first experience was what seemed like the discovery of a meeting place. It had the sensation of being an enormous temple within. After the fact, the experience reminded me of what Elisabeth Haich describes in Initiation as a state where contact is established between the Sons of God and they “meet” through uniting their consciousness each evening. When I initially read this description in the book, it felt too literal to be accurate, but in the accessing of this inner space, it was quite real and obvious. So the question comes up, especially given the timing with your teaching: Is this somehow related to the community of consciousness that you indicate above? Is there a meeting place within that is an intermediary between the realm of image and the realm of form? Another experience from that same night was an instructive exchange about how to hold image in awareness (as opposed to words or thoughts; it had more of a psychic ‘sending’ feel to it) in order to communicate a request and receive assistance about a particular scenario. This was related to a strong desire that I had been holding to assist another in a way that would be truly supportive. There was a distinction revealed in that instructive exchange related to insight-that-transcends as compared to thinking-that-bogs-down. There was also the opportunity to practice the technique that was conveyed and to receive immediate and effective inner feedback. These words don’t do much to describe the exchange, but what was particularly meaningful about this for me was the vividness with which the instruction was occurring *on the inside*. And how clear and utilitarian it was and has been. And, again, it seemed to have to do with something that was closer to the realm of image/dream than the realm of shared form. I see that the teachings have always been occurring both inside and outside, but does there come a time to lean more deeply inward to hear what comes through from the inside as well as the outward expression? Is there a way to foster the ability to meet within, as a collective? When Karen Klein and Jackie Taylor shared their dreams prior to and after you shared your teaching, it prompted a similar question because the nature of the dream experiences they reported felt related to this type of inner+outer instruction and recognition. And the dream sharing also seemed to correlate to aspects of the process by which these teachings (and any teachings) come into the world. Not to mention the way each of us brings our own unique offering as we contribute to this process. Their dreams seemed be echoing in me: “It’s time.” But is this description impacted by a particular focus through which I am experiencing matrix/emanation? i.e., a filter that influences what shows up in my world as “meaningful”? Or does this have broader significance? Is all of this simply more resistance to the moment, and what is offered? There has been a lingering question about *reflecting* on these deeper insights as they arise spontaneously versus *releasing* them as they arise spontaneously. I see that, ultimately, they too are thoughts and can be released with the sinking into non-duality. But still I wonder about the value that may be revealed along the way. I have begun experiencing the fabric of space/time in a way that parallels another experience - that of the nexus between matrix + emanation. I experience the latter pair also to be intertwined as a dynamic, flexible, intelligent fabric or network. I now see - as it is occurring - how I do, actually, create my reality. It is *true* that my expectations and beliefs, whatever they are, turn the blank canvas of matrix/emanation into a paint-by-number that informs everything else of where and what color is to be filled in. And then what once was a blank slate evolves into this filled-in DIY oil painting that, lo and behold, looks *just* like the picture on the cover of the box it came in. I’ve begun to experience - and believe in - the reality of what happens when the expectations change. And of looking for something else to come back out of the matrix into which my initial expectation/message was sent. It really is that simple. I look for this something else and keep looking for it to show up until it does. And it always does. The unaffiliated particles always cooperate - and always show me what ingredients I’ve put into the mix. And if I expect something new and different, even slightly different, it begins to reveal itself to me to the extent and intensity with which I look for it. I have begun to feel the return of these bits of benevolence that I send out into the openness of What Is, as they come back to me exponentially magnified. Like, a lot. I also see that there is something in here about being out on the wave of a question that is being asked. There has been the symbolic/mythic/transcendent/dreamscape revealing of the answer (actually, it is the revealing of the *relationship* between the question and the answer) at the same time that there have been words and thoughts and concepts in the mind. All is meaningful and valuable. So. To follow (maybe) Kerry’s line of questioning: You have talked before about what occurs when we walk the paths of the traditions of the passing era. You have explained that the heart of these traditions may be revealed to anyone who sincerely travels the pathway into their center - and that the heart of their realization can be embodied and magnified through this lived experiencing. You have expressed that "enlightenment" is birthright, that it is the basis for the next era. Is it important for us - as a group - to have a clearer concept of the heart of the realization of these teachings of the dawning era? Is it time for new and greater delineation than what we have been able to receive thus far? Or is it more the case that we are to embody, without over-conceptualization? Maybe another way to ask it: How do we, as a group, happen upon this underground rail station *consciously*? Have we already? What would/does that look like? Does this become a cyclical or spiraling journey, a revisiting and strengthening of a new trajectory and openness in order that it, too, may fall into supportive, foundational functioning? How to engage and access and participate more wholly in the community of consciousness that you refer to, and the ranges of consciousness available therein? What is still to be learned about this that can keep us pointing forward and moving forward and opening and expanding and integrating and embodying? Do the same principles of manifestation apply here? Can we employ such principles for an intended effect? Could manifestation/creativity as it relates to these teachings coming into the world possibly be the crown jewel of manifestation/creativity, in this time and place - and with this group of people? I deeply feel and sense that there also must be others who can ask their questions, from their own unique perspective and capacity, from whatever their facet of the gem that this is.
There has been a question about resonance/vibration and accessing different ranges of consciousness stirring in me for a while. I have been unable to form it. This latest teaching and the comments from our Open Door friend have been helpful. Contemplating and relaxing into the eternal life has led to a deepening of surrender. The contrast between trying, forcing or wanting a specific outcome and living from a place of trust has been instructive and helps me to recalibrate more easily. When an urge or desire arises, I find myself leaning more toward the feeling or emotional state, rather than a specific manifestation. There is a sense of something resonating from my heart center, a quickening and excitement of what is to come. Unlimited possibilities. My practice has been to resonate with Barbara and the Open Door group body to assist me in clarity and for a deeper understanding of what is. I have no ideas about what this would look like. During a meditation this week I found myself embodied as a hawk flying over Black Mountain and Wandering Ridge. At one point I screeched, emitting, “I am here with you”. Is this experience one of those different ranges of consciousness?
Speaking of connectedness and ranges of consciousness, here is a synchronous side-note that feels meaningful to share: Throughout this past week a few of us have been in correspondence about a specific intention we are holding and beginning to blow life into - and the motif of ‘three birds’ has come up and been mentioned by each of us on various occasions. In playfully and joyfully exploring that image (which came from where? from yet another?) as a way of building energy around this intention, we have exchanged words and stories about many different types of birds that have been appearing in awareness, inside and out. Toward the middle of the week, I shared that I had seen three hawk-type birds on separate occasions over the course of a day. One of the others of us, in response to this sharing, made reference to the sound emitted as being, specifically, “squawking.” Certainly pretty similar to “screeching.” Just thought I would throw this into the pot as an example of the resonance that you mention.
here is a portion of a response I made to someone privately. It seems to apply here as well. I don't want to discourage you from something that is clearly of great interest to you and there is nothing wrong with your experiences and what you are pursuing because of them.   As your teacher, I must caution you that it is just as easy to become fascinated and distracted by our inner experience as it is to become fascinated and distracted by our experience of the outer world.  All experience, including the meanings we make from it, arises in the same way and is  defined by our beliefs and expectations.  My instruction to you would remain "Pay attention to what actually occurs".    If you do this, all will become clear.  Be patient.  Enjoy your life.  Keep enough detachment to see it all as a great, unending play.  Barbara
Thank you Barbara for your teaching. It's a comfort to know there are no mistakes. What a relief. It seems I have come to some similar place not because of great discernment, but because I am so tired of the managing of things. Out of this fatigue, came an almost forced experience of watching how things unfolded anyhow, maybe the same as when I was managing them. Only since I'm not so busy managing, but only pointing things in the right downward current with a little touch of the paddle here or there, I have enough quiet to observe. I'm noticing that there is an efforting that is required, but it's not to keep stabbing and steamrolling in this direction or that. Rather, it's more like following the scent of something or what I remember from somewhere about tracking an animal. Just waiting for the breeze to bring along a smell or a sign, but to continue walking in the right general direction, maybe a little slower and more leisurely until the next track emerges or bread crumb... In this way, my life is feeling more creative and mysterious. The effort seems to be now more in the holding back of the habit of knowing or doing, at certain times, or caving in to fear or panic when I think the thought, "Where is this going?" or when someone asks, "But what will you do?" or "How long will this go on?" or questions about money, time, or other certainties. And I feel the compulsion to need to know before I actually find out by letting it unfold, and the contraction. The bigger challenge is how to "plan" like this...or work on a team on non-like-minded individuals. That's why it feels important to have a forum, a community, like the underground train station, where we're all gathered, bags on the ground, reaching our hands out toward one another, providing loving assurance we are not alone. Thanks again Barbara and fellow companions for these reminders and pointers and the continued holding that we are together.

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