A collection of Bonni’s blog posts from 1997 to 2008. It’s called “Bonni’s Blog Collection” to infer that these are explorations, and not polished pieces. This collection includes many of her common themes. You will hear her voice in all of them. They were lovingly collected from the Sunshine Coast Retreat House website in February 2018.
Here is a favorite excerpt — she talks about progression on the spiritual path in the article named “Dharma of Unfoldment”. The contrast between monastic stages and a lay person’s stages is direct, funny, and useful.
For example, the Sixteen Stages of Insight, are really useful if one happens to be in retreat practicing strict, formal meditation on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness for two or three years. It’s not such a useful tool if you’re practicing for a week or a month and it’s an almost-completely-beside-the-point tool for someone who’s getting up every morning, helping a family get out of the house on time, getting to work, taking care of business and maybe having a brief, sleepy dialogue with their meditation cushion before they go to bed!
A number of years ago Namgyal Rinpoche articulated a way of viewing the progression of the spiritual path that speaks more universally. It begins with Prisoner, the realization that you actually are not free. The next stage is Fits and Starts which encompasses all of the explorations which we enter in a dilettantish manner in an attempt to find our way out of our imprisonment.
The third is periods of blankness, or Quietude, when after all frantic searching, the being just stops, shuts up and begins to go inside in a disciplined and sustained fashion to look at what is really going on.
The fourth stage begins with the awareness of how much conditioning is expressed in Bodily Phenomena. One experiences the body going through changes as the screens and filters and blinds that block the physical level, impede clear emotional perspective and cloud mental function begin to break down and purify.
Then one comes to the fifth stage, which is noticing that one has an Effect on the World, on other beings, on animals and plants. With this seeing, compassionate aspiration arises, not only to stop polluting through one’s aversion and selfishness and confusion, but to become one who is a blessing to all manifestation.
As that aspiration develops, the consciousness moves into a state of Non- duality, and the formerly unconscious drive to awaken becomes the central unwavering focus of one’s existence.
When this ripens, there is Liberation, no longer being the blind prisoner of unceasing becoming, but a state of at-one-ment with the dance of universe.
Now that’s Dharma!