This blog is about contemplative inquiry

Tag: Jeff Foster


Jeff Foster on ‘dirty love’ and the place of rawness in lives that we package as ‘spiritual’ – a word that sometimes goes with a certain kind of polish.

“Love is … a living, breathing, real-time reality. The poets and sages were right. …This love, this deep and ever present silence that you are, is so vast it swallows everything. It pays no heed to images of how it should be. It does not try to impress, it is not looking for rewards, acceptance or validation. It is not pretending to be transcendent, or fearless, or beyond pain, it has no use for the word ‘spiritual’ or ‘enlightened’, it does not act as if it’s above everything. It knows no bypassing, no clever tricks, no way to numb itself to itself. It gets its hands dirty.

“Yes, this is a dirty love. The unloved and unwanted and unmet get stuck under its fingernails. It wants all of its children, not just the pretty ones. It is the mother, the father, the lover, the guru we have always longed for. It loves because that’s all it knows. It would work its knuckles to the bones just to be here.

“We pretend to be fearless and beyond human concerns only because we are afraid. We act at being peaceful and undisturbed only because there is a storm inside. We strain to show others how far beyond anger we have gone, only because anger still rages within us, longing to be met. We show off our perfect spiritual know-ledge in public to mask our perfect private doubt. It’s a perfect balance.

“Who will stop pretending? Who will meet the ‘shadow’, the misunderstood ‘dark side’ of life, those waves of ourselves that are not inherently negative or sinful or dark, just neglected and abandoned and longing for home? Who will meet life’s orphaned children? Who will sacrifice the image for the delight of not knowing?


“Even the unwanted are wanted here in the vastness that we are. There is plenty of space. Beyond awakening, there is this grace, this inexplicable and heart-breaking timeless welcoming of everything as it arises. By dirtying itself until it cannot dirty itself any more, love purifies itself.”


Jeff Foster Falling in love with where you are: a year of prose and poetry on radically opening up to the pain and joy of life Salisbury: Non-Duality Press, 2013


Some people, having vaguely heard of non-dual traditions, get a notion that they turn us away from our messy human lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are two brief passages by (respectively) a mid-twentieth century and a current non-dual teacher.


“To be, to exist with a name and form is painful, yet I love it …. It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to seek adventure in becoming, as it is in the very nature of becoming to seek peace in being.” Nisargadatta Maharaj.



Cherish your doubts. They are the seeds of Mystery.

Embrace your sadness. Great joy lies within.

Turn to face your fears. At their core lies peace beyond words.

Celebrate your boredom. It is radically alive.

Hold your grief. Let it break your heart wide open.

Befriend your anger. Know it intimately as the life power that burns suns.

Acknowledge your pain. It is the body’s plea for attention.

All feelings are deeply intelligent. Get out of their way.

Let them do their sacred, universal work.”

Jeff Foster Falling in love with where you are: a year of prose and poetry on radically opening up to the pain and joy of life Salisbury: Non-Duality Press, 2013


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