Archive for the ‘Knowledge’ Category

A spiritual view of the Classical Elements; earth, water, air, fire and aether

Ancient Greek scientists and philosophers looked at the world and decided to classify all universal elements as; earth, water, air and fire. That was around 450 BC.

When Aristotle came onto the scene he added a fifth element, which he called aether. His reasoned that aether was what filled the universe above the terrestrial sphere, and was the pure quintessence of the heavens; what the immortal Gods breathed (just as humans breathe air).

For us earth dwellers, the element FIRE is the most important of all for spiritual growth. It is the BRIDGE between our physical bodies and our nonphysical bodies, leading to pure unmanifest being.

Earth, water and air are physical substances. They are constructed from the basic building blocks (elementary particles) of our universe. Adding fire (heat) to their constituency causes then to change form – from solid to liquid to gas.

For example, the element lead (Pb) changes from a hard solid substance to a liquid form when heated to (327.46 °C, 621.43 °F). Apply even more heat and at 3,180 °F it boils and becomes a gas.

The Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869 was the first scientist to categorize atomic elements into the understandable and logical sequence of a periodic table. As of today 118 elements have been identified. They are distinguished by each having a unique atomic number; the number of protons (positive charge) in the nucleus.

Fire is energy in all its forms.

As electricity it sparks between human brain cell synapses giving us the ability to think, remember, and thru the nervous system – cognize and experience the outer physical world.

Because of fire, all knowledge that has value can be known.

Because of the destructive value of fire, we can change and grow as human beings. That’s because the dissolution of one state (current condition) is a necessary precursor for the creation of the next.

Our vital life force, sometimes referred to as prana, is fire. This fire causes your heart to beat, your food to digest, your organs to operate, and your body to function. In this capacity it is sometimes called the five vital body forces (Prana vayu, Apana vayu, Samana vayu, Udana vayu and Vyana vayu).

Fire is the energy/impulse that causes the human nervous system to function.
When cells in the body need to send a message from one point to another, they open a membrane gate. Then sodium and potassium ions move freely into and out of the cell. Negatively charged potassium ions leave the cell, and positively charged sodium ions enter it. This switch from negative charge to positive charge generates an electrical impulse. The impulse then moves from the nerve thru the spinal column into the brain. The brain then provides an interpretation (pleasure or pain) of the impulse.

Fire causes your body muscle fibers to contract, thereby allowing you as an individual to move.
When you desire to stand up or change position, electrical impulses travel from the brain, down through the spinal cord, and are transmitted through the motor nerves to the muscles. At the junction between the nerve ending and the muscle (the motor end plate), chemical signals are released. A complex form of chemistry then takes place which causes the muscle to contract and then relax. Without this fire, we could not move.

A moving electric current (Fire) creates a magnetic field. The human heart is a source of electro-magnetism that, even at a few meters away, is detectable by modern scientific instruments.

Our Kundalini Shakti energy is a form of subtle fire.

The Chakra centers are found in the etheric body. Auras emanate from our non-physical emotional or astral body. There is a relationship between aura color, wavelength/frequency, and amount of energy (Fire).

Fire is the life force that animates our physical, etheric, astral and mental bodies. As life energy it permeates all. It is the bridge between the physical and non physical universe.

In the Hindu Vedic tradition, Agni is the god of fire and sacrifice, of divine knowledge. 218 out of 1,028 hymns of the Rig Veda are dedicated to him. The Agni Purana has 15,400 verses.

As we grow and consciousness expands, our desires become more mature. What we used to want is now replaced by higher goals that benefit not only ourselves, but humanity as a whole.

Renunciation is not the process of denial and forcefully giving up what we want in life. Instead, with increasing spiritual maturing we see that some of those things that we thought were necessary are no longer needed and relevant to our life.

Living with a few items is not living in poverty. If you want something and you can’t have it that is poverty. When you have few things but want nothing else that is affluence.

The term Advaita means non-duality, or not two. Everything in all its forms, both manifest and unmanifest, is part of the One.

We need to meditate every day to dissolve the blockages (samskaras) in your nervous system. That is what prevents us from experiencing enlightenment and eternal bliss. It’s like we are observing the Sun through a cloudy and dirty filter. We don’t see the Sun as it truly is. The filter needs to be cleaned. As such, as stress and strain leaves our nervous system thru meditation it functions more efficiently and we experience greater love and bliss in our lives.

Kind regards

Posted by on February 9th, 2016 Comments Off on A spiritual view of the Classical Elements; earth, water, air, fire and aether

A Mature Ego is an essential part of the Spiritual Equation

On this warm summer day in Northern Quebec, crystals of faux amphibolites (cummingtonite-plagioclase-biotite-garnet) lay exposed on the ground and bathe in the bright sunlight. Considered to be among the oldest rocks on Earth (4.28 billion years old) and possibly part of our planets original first crust, these ancient sentinels of time – have no ego.

Of course everyone would say that a rock has no ego. That seems to be just common sense. Such a notion is quite preposterous and borderlines on insanity.

But why is that, and how do we know?

A rock displays no visible sign that it is aware of itself, or its surroundings. Yet the ability to be aware is not the sole criteria for confirming the existence, or non existence, of an ego.

The term ego is often defined as a human trait. It’s how we see ourselves as separate and distinct from all other people in the world. It gives us the sense of I and mine; a unique identity in our world of multiplicity.

Yet just having an individual body, with both inner and outer awareness, is also not the sole criteria for confirming the existence of an ego.

There is much more to the ego than that. We need to explore deeper.

Most religious and philosophical systems categorize the different levels of creation. Some speak in terms of different bodies, while others speak in terms of unmanifest and manifest principles. In the mainstream Buddhist tradition there are three sheaths (Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya), subdivided into 31 levels. In Hinduism there are five Koshas (Anandamayi, Vigyanamayi, Manomayi, Pranamayi, and Annamayi).

Let us explore where the ego resides, and where it does not, based on the Theosophical system of seven divisions:

• Adi – Spirit, the first, original, and primordial element.
• Anupadaka – The unmanifest logos, self born and spontaneously generated.
• Atman – The highest part of a human being, pure consciousness. It is the realization and knowledge of “I am the absolute SELF, eternal and unbounded.”
• Buddhi – The spiritual soul, the faculty of discriminating, the channel through which streams divine inspiration.
• Mental – Manas, the Causal and Mental realm.
• Astral – The emotional realm.
• Physical – The dense physical world composed of material, liquid, gas and etheric levels.


The crystals of faux amphibolites are composed of hard physical substances. It can be seen, tasted, smelled, touched, and even heard when the forces of nature (erosion and heat) act upon it. These minerals have a physical body, a basic consciousness, and nothing more.

Plants and flowers first appeared on the earth’s surface about 700 million years ago. These delicate and beautifully life structures have a material as well as an Etheric body. We have learned in previous posts that having an Etheric (life force) body is characteristic of all living beings.

Plants are conscious of their environment. When the sun rises in the morning many species turn in that direction to bathe in the warm precious rays. When the sun sets many close their petals and rest. They respond to heat and cold, drought and rain, and thrive when conditions for growth are present. Scientists now believe that somehow plants communicate with each other. When a pest (i.e., aphids, beetles, caterpillars, etc.) or disease is present and threatens a plant community, plants in the area take a defensive posture.

Because of the presence of plants on the Earth we have a life sustaining oxygen-enriched atmosphere. This happens thru a process called Photosynthesis …

6CO2 + 6H2O + sun light = C6H12O6 + 6O2

(carbon dioxide + water + sun light = glucose (sugar) + oxygen)

We owe our lives to plants. Plants are the bottom line basis of the food chain. Without plants there is no food.

When we as human beings fall asleep, dreaming takes place when our awareness is centered in the Etheric body. So it is said that because the highest body a plant has is Etheric, a plant’s consciousness is likened to that of a dream state.

With only a Physical and Etheric presence plants are incapable of emotion or reasoning. They have no ego, or sense of I or mine, since that is a more highly developed life trait.

Animals have a Physical, Etheric, and Astral body. Nothing more, nothing less.

On the physical level, animals are acutely aware of their environment. In fact they are more attuned then we are. They can see, taste, hear, smell and feel. Depending upon the species of animal, their five senses are more developed and function beyond the normal range of human perception.

The Astral body (linga sarira) is also known as the feeling and emotional body. Because animals have an Astral body they can experience; anger, fear, happiness and sadness.

In order to function more efficiently and express greater awareness in our diversified time/space world, life forms have developed more complex brain and nervous system structures.

As you can see from the picture below, greater expression of life’s intelligence depends upon more refined physical organs.

Animals rely on instinct to guide and protect them in the world. Through instinct, or feeling what is right, they know what to eat, where dangers are, and how to act. It’s a collective consciousness that they share. They do not have the ability to reason, which is a higher trait.

They have no ego, or sense of I or mine. That feature does not develop in the Astral body, which is the highest attainable for animals.

Men, women and children stand shoulders above all other living creatures on the Earth. That’s because humans have a Mental, Buddhi, and Atman body. Our sense of Ego, or identity, lay within all three of these levels.

For the most part, the Atman body is but a seed within modern man. It lies dormant and undeveloped.

Although the Buddhic body is somewhat more utilized in man, it still remains an untapped reservoir of potential. Today intuition and the higher values of mind function at minimal levels.

Our true individuality is referred to as the Monad, whose presence resides in Atman and Buddhi.

The Mental level consists of the Causal and Mental body, sometimes called Manas.

The practice of meditation develops all human bodies.

If you believe in reincarnation it’s the ego consisting of Atman Buddhi Manas that come to regeneration, again and again.

The birth and development of ego is a major milestone in the spiritual development of human beings. It’s one of the foremost characteristic traits that separates and makes us unique, among all other Earthly creatures.

Only people and higher beings have an individual ego, one per life-form.

On the evolutionary ladder one rung below us, animals have a collective or group identity that resides on the Astral level. When an animal dies their life experiences and lessons learned are incorporated back into the Astral group identity. That is where animals get their instinctive nature from.

For man, the full development of ego takes place in our material time-spatial world.

When one is faced with choice, preference, and a multifarious environment in which to act, human distinctiveness becomes sharper and more pronounced. It is said that no two people are exactly the same.

Human beings have control over their Buddhi, Mental, Astral and Ethric bodies. Even though these inner bodies can bring to bear great influence on our physical body, it’s the external physical laws of nature that holds sway and actually govern it.

Try not drinking or eating for a period of time, and see what happens.

When our inner life force withdraws from the physical body at death, then the corporeal forces of nature take over and decay promptly sets in. So from the standpoint of material existence, we can honestly say that our physical bodies are more in tune with the laws of nature; than our Etheric, Astral, Mental and Buddhic bodies.

Exposed to the field of space/causality over time, human beings have diversified thru the development of different races, languages, and cultures. All of these activities strengthen and make for more pronounced human ego.

People are also different from each other based on their sexual identity (male & female), sexual orientation, how happy (or sad) they are, and whether they consider their lives to be a success or failure.

Modern Psychology identifies personality and intelligence as the two root factors that distinguish one ego from another.

• Personality – Your style of dealing with other people and the world
• Intelligence – Your abstract reasoning, problem solving, and capacity to acquire knowledge

Both personality and intelligence are somewhat stable over time, but they can change. Meditation serves as an accelerant to elevate both of these characteristics to the highest possible levels of life.

Human heredity and personal experience account for why people are different.

Behavioral Genetics has found that our basic inclinations in life are contained in our DNA; passed down to us from our parents and their family lineage. Our basic view of life is also molded by experience in our shared (family) and non-shared environments.

Here is an interesting tale about two identical twins …

“Lulin and Yanfei discovered they had been separated at birth. The two were put up for adoption as infants because of China’s one-child policy. The girls share a number of things in common: They were both married in 2007, their husbands have the same name (Bin), they share some of the same hobbies and favorite foods, and their sons could pass for twins. Here’s something that’s really uncanny — they each have a scar on their fingers resulting from similar accidents that happened when they were 6 years old.”

This story clearly demonstrates that there is high heritability for almost everything; intelligence, personality, how happy you are, how religious you are, your political orientation, your sexual orientation, et cetera, et cetera.

Now with regard to the influence of environment, here is another story …

Spring has arrived so Chinese farmer Shaozu sets out to plough his fields and plant his crops. This past winter was financially difficult so he had to sell off some of their dairy herd to make ends meet. Because of that he only has enough cow manure to fertilize half of his fields. After fertilizing half, and waiting the required time for proper soil assimilation, he planted his corn seed. There was plenty of rain and sunshine over the next weeks. But as expected, the corn that grew on the fertilized soil was larger and more robust than the corn that was not fertilized.

This story clearly demonstrates that the same corn (identical genetic makeup) grew differently based upon the environment that it grew up in.

Over time the various climatic and environmental differences on our planet shape and influence how people develop and mature. Live by the sea, and your world revolves around water, adventure, and seafaring. Live in the mountains, and your physiology adapts to the thinner air and harsh climate. Live in the desert as nomads, and you are more likely to be thin and tall in body structure.

If you live where there are four distinct seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) your outlook on life gets molded differently than someone who lives at the equator, where the climate is similar all year round.

Our various human cultures and religious systems create egos that are vastly different. Because of these two strong influences on a persons life, philosophies and world interpretations vividly contrast. Some people believe that the “here and now” is all that is important and all that really exists, while others believed that their current life is but a test and preparation for a next one.

Systems that treat women as unequal to men have a detrimental effect on ego development.

We eat different foods, wear different clothes, and live in different places. Some people are outgoing in nature, while others are shy. Some are smarter than others, and some have better memories. Some are resilient, and some are dependent. And what we learn from our parents greatly influences how we interact with the world.

As we dive deeper into the world of materiality and continue to study its endless differing aspects, the human intellect develops further and becomes more refined.

Thinking in terms of language rather than in pictures, is a sign of greater discriminative skill.

Intellectual human development is on the rise. As noted, the “Flynn effect “is the substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

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The ability to remember is intimately linked to the structure of ego, and what we sometimes call the soul. Our Causal body retains the essence (memory impression) of all personal experiences.

The birth of ego is a blessing and part of the natural unfoldment of human life. But now that the ego is born, our spiritual mission is to bring it to maturity. That means overcoming and outgrowing the negative attributes of a young, totally self centered ego.

After having fully embraced the physical world we should now set our sights on learning loftier lessons. Human beings are now on the upward (spiritual) swing of evolution.

Through concerted effort, growth, greater knowledge, and meditation; negative ego attributes (selfishness, greed and violence) will give way to peace, harmony, and enlightenment for all.

Great people have said …

The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention.
Alan Watts

More the knowledge lesser the Ego,
lesser the knowledge, more the Ego
Albert Einstein

The Ego is a veil between humans and God.
In prayer all are equal.
Rumi

When your mind becomes fixed on Me, you shall overcome all difficulties by My grace. But, if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish.
Bhagavad Gita

When the body is filled with ego and selfishness, the cycle of birth and death does not end.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib

The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.
Tenzin Gyatso

I add …

A mature ego is one that imbibes all the noble truths of life. Having attained enlightenment through daily meditation, functioning now fully in the Atman body, every action promotes peace and well being for all.

Posted by on July 6th, 2013 Comments Off on A Mature Ego is an essential part of the Spiritual Equation

Prana, the Foundation of Life and Catalyst for Spiritual Unfoldment

If you are a rock basking in the sunlight and gazing out at the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean, you wouldn’t really notice the presence of Prana. And chances are, you wouldn’t care about it either. But if you are a plant, an animal, or a human being – your very survival and existence here depends upon it.

So what is Prana, and what roll does it play in life?

The Buddha taught his disciples that the body of all that is, and is not, consists of three sheaths (trikaya); Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.

Dharmakaya is the absolute, the essential constituent of all constituents, the unity of all things and beings. It is beyond space and time, concept and thought, and the field of all that is. Buddhist meditation masters refer to Dharmakaya as, “the basis of the original unbornness.”

The absolute is not the relative world taken to an extreme. It is not the farthest distance that one could travel. It is not the longest time that our universe could exist. It is not forever, because that to has a beginning and an ultimate end. It is not infinitesimal, or infinite. Instead, it is completely outside, separate, and distinct from all causal and relative realms.

Sambhogakaya is known as the body of bliss. It’s there you experience the result of good Earthly deeds, and enjoy the benefit of all the time you spent practicing Buddhism. In this body your relative-individuality experiences the bliss associated with the realization of the absolute.

Nirmanakaya is the Earthly sheath where your physical body is present today. In this body you experience birth, pain, happiness, sickness, health, old age and death. But you are manifested here to have the opportunity to practice your dharma, and reach for enlightenment.

When you see terms like “absolute,” and “beyond time and space,” Prana does not reside there. Instead, Prana exists and functions within mind, in the relative field of shape, time, space and causation.

Prana plays a pivotal role in all mind/time/space environments; the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya sheaths.

Energy is needed to move around and function in our world. Whether we travel up or down, or straight along the highway, force is expended to keep us moving. If we are walking, we burn calories to power our leg muscles that make the journey. If we are driving or traveling by train, a fuel source is needed to move the vehicle’s wheels and keep us rolling on our journey. The Earth rotates around the sun, and Galaxies spin in the farthest reaches of the universe.

There is One main source of energy for all that is. But in our world of multiplicity we call it by different names, depending upon how and where it brings to bear its influence. We have labeled one force “gravity,” to describe that aspect of the One that works thru the presence of matter. We have labeled another force “electricity,” to describe that aspect of the One that works by shifting atomic electrons around to create a potential for work.

… and so there are cosmic and solar energies, Prana, Kundalini, and a plethora of other aspects yet to be identified.

We commonly refer to the term “Prana” as that aspect which enters the etheric human body through cosmic and solar currents, and enters the physical human body thought the breath.

Prana is the basic life force that animates living beings in our time/space world.

The Sparrowhawk

Prana is present in all that moves and does not move, but is especially powerful in living things – from microbes, plants, fish, birds, mammals to man.

All living Earthly creatures, whether large or small, need three essential functions to sustain life:

• breathing, for Pranic energy
• eating, for food (input)
• excretion (output)

An Elephant Family

In human beings Prana is responsible for the breath, sensory perception, thinking, digestion of food, and body waste elimination.

Here is how Prana provides the energy that is the basis of our metabolic processes:

Inhalation entails the reaction of the Hemoglobin (Hb) in our red blood cells with Oxygen gas (O2) from the air, to form Oxyhemoglobin (Hb-O2).

Hb +  O2 = HbO2

The red blood cells then travel the body to deliver its oxygen. Glucose and other sugars react with the oxygen to produce energy:

Glucose + Oxygen = Carbon dioxide + Water + Energy

C6H12O6 + 6O2 =  6CO2 + H2O + Energy

The practice of Meditation releases stress from the human nervous system, thereby enhancing our more efficient use of Prana. The breathing discipline that seeks to culture and enhance the breath (Pranayama) is a science onto itself, and worthy or your further inquiry.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has said, “Breathe less and live longer.”

Mind is the stage or platform from which Prana and any other form of energy has existence. In our physical world, that energy takes on various forms:

Types of Physical energy:
• Chemical
• Elastic
• Electrical
• Electrochemical
• Electromagnetic Radiant Energy (light)
• Gravitational
• Kinetic – by virtue of the fact that it’s in motion relative to the ground
• Magnetic
• Mass (E=MC2)
• Mechanical
• Nuclear
• Potential – based upon it state or relationship
• Solar energy
• Sound
• Thermal, or heat

Energy is the latent potential that has the ability to perform work.

Work = Force * Distance

Dolphins at play

Now let’s be more specific about what Prana does for us …

Prana acts within every human body to sustain and promote healthy living conditions. The five major currents of Prana acting and circulating through the body follow nature’s path, to address different functions of the cosmic life force.

The five fold natures of Prana are …

Prana: upward energy
Apana: downward energy
Samana: inward energy
Udana: outward energy
Vyana: expansion in all directions, all-encompassing.

Although these five Pranas are different from each other, they are more commonly known as Mahaprana (great prana).

“Just as an emperor posts his officials in different parts of his realm, similarly the chief Prana allots functions to the lower Pranas.” Prashanopanishad

“Pranam Brahmethivya jaanath” – says the ‘Taithriya Upanishad.’
“Know that Prana (vital energy) is one of the representations of Brahman (Almighty)”

Let’s look a bit closer at the five subdivisions of Pranas …

1. Prana
This Prana is centered in the region between the larynx and the upper diaphragm.

Although closely associated with our respiratory organs, it also plays a vital role in enabling speech via the mouth and nose. It powers our body’s use of water, and the production of sweat and urine. Prana enlivens our sensory organs (sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing) and couples with the mind to interpret and make “apparently real” what we are experiencing.

When Prana gets out of balance harmful desires and insatiable craving may develop.

2. Apana is centered below the navel.

It provides the energy for the large intestines, kidneys, anus, and reproductive organs to function properly. From a physical standpoint, Apana rids the body of what cannot be digested and what has accumulated as toxins.

From a psychological standpoint, Apana helps to eliminate poisonous ideas and harmful emotions. When Apana gets out of balance mental depression may set in and the body is weakened.

3. Samana is centered in the region between the heart and the navel.

Samana is involved in the functioning of the pancreas, liver, and digestive system. Residing in the stomach, food is converted into refined nutrients and energy so the body has strength and can function.

If the natural flow of Samana is hindered in the body, excessive mental attachment and greed may develop.

4. Udana is centered in the body above the larynx. Responsible for building and maintaining body muscle, this prana also plays a key role in the functioning of our sensory organs; namely the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin receptors.

The uninhibited flow of Udana promotes a positive mental and physical enthusiasm. It enlivens your creative and spiritual potential. When out of balance, personal pride and arrogance may develop.

5. Vyana is the prana that encompasses the whole body. It helps with governance of the other fundamental energies, regulates the balance between the upward (Prana) and downward (Apana) forces. As a master controller, Vyana coordinates overall body health and activity.

When functioning properly this prana supports our free movement in the environment and enhances self confidence and independent thinking. When the flow of Vyana is restricted individuals feel isolation, hatred and alienation for others.

Upon entering our bodies (etheric and physical) Prana flows through conduits or channels more commonly known as “Nadis”. Ancient literature states that the total number of nadis in the human body is 72,000. Of these 72,000 there are 12 primary flows which Traditional Chinese Medicine has termed “meridians.”

The 12 major meridians in the body:
• Lung
• Large intestine
• Spleen
• Stomach
• Heart
• Small intestine
• Bladder
• Kidney
• Pericardium (Circulation/Sex)
• Warmer
• Liver
• Gallbladder

There are 3 other primary flows that run the entire length of the body, up and down, and these have been termed Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna by adherents of Yoga and Hindu philosophy.

… now this is where the science of Kundalini comes into play.

Our life experience is made possible by the presence of Prana. Through these channels, the glorious life force Prana flows in all men, women and children.

§§

Jumping for Joy

According to the Tao Te Ching,
“Because the eye gazes and catches no glimpse of it, it is called elusive; Because the ear cannot hear it, it’s called rarified; because the hand cannot feel it, it is called infinitesimal; it’s rising brings no heat, it’s sinking no darkness. It is called CHI.”

As we practice meditation the 5-fold Pranas become more enlivened and begin to function more efficiently. They work better together as a group and instill health and a positive mental outlook. As such, Prana is a catalyst for promoting spiritual development and our conscious well being.

Prana vitalizes the entire human system, while Apana grounds us and enhances personal stability. Samana bring joy and a peaceful outlook, while Udana adds lightless to all of our activities.

Continued spiritual development for human beings depends upon integrating absolute bliss consciousness within our relative world. By animating our etheric and physical existence, Prana thereby maintains the platform for continued human evolution.

By meditating every day, you move several steps closer toward realization of your full potential. The world needs your gentle fearless spirit, harmony and wisdom.

Posted by on May 26th, 2013 Comments Off on Prana, the Foundation of Life and Catalyst for Spiritual Unfoldment

The Right Brain hemisphere is your highway to the Eternal Transcendent

Dr. Pierre Paul Broca

Many great and wonderful things come in pairs. Two halves of a cupcake is great for sharing. Investors want their stock to split. Computer bits alternate between a zero, and a one. There is Yin and Yang, Ladies and Gentlemen, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Milk and Cookies, and the famous Holiday half price sale.

And with that, one of the most striking discoveries of modern medicine is that the human brain has two hemispheres.

In 1840 the French doctor and anthropologist Pierre Paul Broca was presented with a medical mystery…

A young patient named Louis Victor Leborgne was admitted to Bicêtre Hospital where Broca was working at the time. Louis Leborgne seemed to be healthy in most respects other than he could not speak clearly. When he tried to talk only garbled sounds came from his mouth. He was classified as having “aphasia,” which literally means “incapacity to speak.”

Not only could he not speak, but he also couldn’t write. He was right handed. Leborgne seemed to be intelligent, still exhibiting full use of mental and physical capabilities, and yet, he had this inexplicable deficiency.

In 1861 Leborgne passed on, and so Pierre Broca decided to perform an autopsy. Pierre found a lesion in the left posterior frontal gyrus area of the brain. After careful study Boca concluded that was the part of the human physical brain that controlled speech. If damaged, physical speech is rendered unintelligible. Any destruction to a nearby part, later termed “Wernicke’s area,” was found to inhibit a person’s dispensation and understanding of language.

Over succeeding years doctors and scientist have been able to pinpoint areas of the brain that control other life functions. For example, it was found that the Medulla regulates unconscious activities such as breathing and blood circulation. The Hypothalamus is concerned with hunger, thirst, moods, sexual maturation, and the regulation of body temperature. The Thalamus handles traveling nerve signals, and the Cerebral Cortex facilitates thinking, learning, emotions, and voluntary muscle movement. The often misunderstood Pineal gland mostly sits and waits for your spiritual awakening.

The brain also has a left and a right hemisphere. The Corpus Callosum is the bridge between the two halves of the brain. Although both hemispheres have different purposes and functions, they need to learn to work better together.

The left hemisphere is your anchor in this time/space causal world. The right hemisphere is your divine spirit, which transcends all that is, and is not.

Each hemisphere addresses a different set of functions, behaviors, and controls. Here is what scientists have found:

Left brain functions:
• Controls right motor and sensory activities
• Is the center for reaction, language, and writing skills
• Linear processing of information, from part to whole
• Sees details, and not the big picture
• Makes lists and does daily planning
• Completes a task one step at a time
• Uses symbols, letters, words, and mathematics
• Makes decisions based on logic
• Sees cause and effect
• Looks at differences
• Deals with things as they are
• Is the center for individual, ego based activity and identity (the small self)

Right brain functions:
• Control left motor and sensory activities
• Is the center for relationships, artistic and music expression, visualization, and intuition.
• Holistic parallel processing of information, from whole to part.
• Sees the “big picture” and not the detail
• Reads words in context, and understands formulas
• Makes decisions based on intuition
• Like to draw and manipulate objects
• Likes open ended questions
• Sees patterns and resemblances
• Is creative
• Thinks in terms of visualization and images
• Is the center for transcendent, absolute based identity (the large SELF)

Many EEG (Electroencephalogram) studies over the past fifty years have clearly demonstrated that meditation enhances and improves the cooperative functioning of both brain hemispheres.

The fact that you have both a left and right brain hemisphere show that your nature is truly two-fold, individual and universal.

For the Enlightened person, both hemispheres operate at full capacity and interact as a seamless whole.

The physical brain functions because consciousness and life energy “Prana” permeates it, through and through. Often called Chi, its five aspects (Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Yyana) animate all human ethric and physical activity.

“From prana indeed all living forms are born and, having been born, they remain alive by prana. At the end they merge into prana once more.” Taittiriya Upanishad

Mind and Prana live in a sort of symbiosis with each other. Where you find Mind, you also find Prana. But Mind is more subtle than Prana.

Fluctuations of Prana rise as thought. Identification with thought is the display and property of your ego.

Your left brain hemisphere allows you to understand language, cause and effect, and examine detail. When that part of the brain is damaged the ability to speak is also impacted. It is the scientist within you.

Your right brain hemisphere nurtures your creativity and allows you to see the forest from the trees. When that part of the brain is damaged the appreciation of music and the spiritual quality of life escapes you.

Through meditation as your consciousness rises above the barrier of time, both brain hemispheres function more and more as one. The right hemisphere leads the way to the transcendent, while the left hemisphere stabilizes that experience in our time/space world to make it permanent and real.

A fully enlightened person stands on the Earth and yet functions from the spiritual heights of Satchidanada (eternal being, knowledge, and bliss).

Beyond the influence of pain and suffering, heat and cold, light and dark, right and wrong, life and death – lies your true identity. When the human ego dissolves into the universal reality you take your rightful place as the crown of creation. Thou art That, eternal, unbounded and free.

The Earth was born so that humanity could manifest on the physical plane and thereby complete the evolutionary process of perfection (Self realization).

Meditate every day to reclaim your eternal freedom.

Posted by on May 12th, 2013 Comments Off on The Right Brain hemisphere is your highway to the Eternal Transcendent

An Atheist’s perspective on meditation

Atheism Symbol

The sun was shining and the warm autumn breeze blew across the Mediterranean shore. The leaves of the Cypress trees danced about while the onlookers at Café Portofino sipped their coffee, chatted with their friends, and nibble on Cannolis. Both locals and tourists could be seen walking the cobble streets, entering shops, cafés and restaurants, and walking out with wide smiles.

Brown Castle stood upon the hilltop as a sentinel gracefully watching over the Italian seaside. All is beautiful, just as it was meant to be.

My name is Angelina and I am writing a midterm paper for my college social studies class. My professor handed out many topics from which we could choose to research and compose.

I briefly thought about one of the choices, how the influx of immigrants was changing the fabric of Italian society. Writing about the effects of global warming, a second choice, was also attractive. But instead I decided to venture into the world of atheism, to better understand how people come to pick that path. For me, a devout member of the Catholic Church, not believing in God seemed irrational and heartless. What human viewpoint could bring a person to such a conclusion – as atheism?

Georgio is my fellow classmate, who volunteered to be interviewed for today’s assignment. I did not know that he is an atheist. As we enjoyed our coffee and pastries, sitting outside in view of the ocean, the morning conversation slowly turned to the topic at hand.

Portofino Italy

Angelina:
Georgio, what is atheism, and what if anything do you believe in?

Georgio:
Well, to start out with, we are just regular folks. We eat, sleep, and work hard at our jobs to make a living for our families. We love, dream, and meet misfortune just like anyone else. We wear the same clothes, eat the same foods, and breathe the same air. I like to exercise, stay fit, and do my daily meditation. My heart beats just like yours.

But the defining difference is that we atheists do not believe in God. If you are Monotheistic (belief in one deity) or a Polytheistic (belief in multiple deities); we do not share that sentiment.

Angelina:
So does that mean you would not attend a Christian Church or Hindu Temple service?

Georgio:
Yes. I don’t attend religious services or subscribe to any philosophy/system that promotes deity recognition or worship. We believe that there are no deities of any kind.

I do believe in the basic goodness of people. I cherish love and life. I live by the Golden Rule and respect nature and most aspects of this world.

But there are some churches and spiritual traditions that emphasize the search for truth and meaning, in a non-sectarian way. Those are places that I can attend a service, if I wish.

Angelina:
Well, if you don’t believe in God what do you think happens when we die?

Georgio:
I have always felt that when I die, I am dead and finished, and my conscious life will simply come to an end. I’ll be gone. I don’t know what generates consciousness or awareness, but I expect that it will end. Maybe I will live on as memories in my surviving loved ones, in those who carry me on in their hearts. But for myself, I will cease to exist.

Angelina:
Do you hold any family, political or ethical views?

Georgio:
Just because I’m an atheist that doesn’t mean I hold radical views. Quite to the contrary, we are fairly main stream.

I support the rights of married and divorced couples, gay or straight. Opposition to gay marriage is based more upon traditional religious beliefs, which atheists simply don’t share.

I rely on science to determine when life starts. If a newborn baby can survive outside the womb due to an early premature birth (after 37 weeks), then that’s when human life starts. Although abortion is not a pressing issue for me, I tend to be more pro-choice. I respect the rights of women.

I strongly believe that our country got it right with separation between of church and state. Far too many wars have been waged in the name of religion. Millions have died for their cause. And when I look around the world I see daily occurrences of beheading and forced religious conversion. It’s a misguide ego thing.

Religious States and Theocracies are so yesterday. They belong to the medieval 12th century, not to modern man. I hope that mankind will outgrow those dark features of human unconsciousness.

Here in modern Italy, reborn as a secular state in the 19th century by liberals, church and state are separate. Gone are the days of the Reformation. But even so, the Vatican still exercises a huge influence over Italian politics and society.

The World simply is. Born with a Big Bang, it’s operating in accordance to physical laws. And now scientists are saying that there could be as many as 17 billion Earth like planets just in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. How will the Church deal with that?

Angelina:
Speaking about different types of governments, are there some places in the world that are better for atheists than others?

Georgio:
Yes, definitely.

While most government constitutions in the world have nice language that supports freedom of speech and religion, very few nations actually abide by it.

Check out the Freedom House 2013 assessment for yourself. Of all the areas on the Earth, Western Europe governments are the most free (96%).

Western Europe – 96%
The Americas – 69%
Central and Eastern Europe – 45%
Asia Pacific – 43%
Sub-Sahara Africa – 22%
Middle East and North Africa – 1%, (Israel is the only free country in that region)

http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FIW%202013%20Booklet.pdf

Freedom is essential to life and human growth. It provides a safe platform for the search for truth and meaning.

Atheists and humanists suffer persecution worldwide. For example, an atheist would be sentenced to death in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, the Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In other countries, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait and Jordan, “blasphemy” laws prohibit its discussion.

According to the Pew Forum, as of 2011, 47% of the world’s countries and territories have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith), or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions, or religion in general).

Angelina:
What are your views on war?

Georgio:
Think beyond your own personality. Then there will be no wars.

But as a group we sometimes discuss if there ever is justification for going to war. Some atheists believe yes, and others believe no.

Angelina:
Is health care a right or a privilege?

Georgio:
Just as in your question about war, us atheists have a wide variety of opinions on this topic. Should end-of-life treatment be provided, and should governments be responsible for providing universal coverage to everyone? Some atheists believe yes, while some others believe no.

Angelina:
You mentioned staying fit and healthy. I thought that meditation was more of a religious practice and that as an atheist you would never get near it.

Georgio:
I practice meditation to reduce stress and strengthen my individuality. I found that a calm mind better helps me to concentrate on the task at hand, and enjoy life’s experiences more. Peace of mind helps to free me from worry.

Here are some additional benefits of meditation:
• physical relaxation becomes deeper with continued practice
• studies have shown increased blood flow and a slower heart rate
• decrease of the aging process
• better social behavior
• it’s easier to get rid of bad habits; they just fall away
• personality becomes more balanced
• phobias & fears become less
• satisfaction at work increases
• has been shown to lower high blood pressure
• there is less restless thinking and wandering of the mind
• less anxiety attacks
• will power becomes stronger
• with a clearer head, it’s easier to make better judgments
• enhances the immune system
• helps to build self confidence
• contributes to greater creativity and brain wave coherence
• leads to better grades at school, and an improved memory
• helps to quit smoking and alcohol addiction
• emotions become more stable
• relationships with just about everyone gets better
• petty issues no longer have any sway over you
• more self actualization
• more acceptance of oneself

Angelina:
Do you pay your taxes like most people?

Georgio:
I suppose we share the biases of just about everyone in society. Lower taxes and limited government, or higher taxes and more government, are in question.  Take your pick, because there are valid arguments on both sides of the equation.

Angelina:
Do you believe in Global warming?

Georgio:
Based on climatologically records that have been kept over the past few hundred years, and geological research into climate over past millennia, it does seem that average temperatures are increasing.

Now whether that is due to manmade pollutants, or other human activity; or natural causes beyond our control, that question is still up for grabs. Some of my scientific friends say that there is undeniable evidence that the current 7-billion people of this planet cause significant carbon dioxide emissions. We certainly pollute the waterways with pesticides and a multitude of other chemicals. The coral reefs in the world’s oceans are dying. Species are disappearing from the face of the earth.

But my one geologist friend states that the current warming is all part of a natural cycle that the Earth goes through; from ice age – to warming – to the next ice age. The continents will all be rearranged again over the next 250-million years. Due to continental drift they will once again come together to form one big super land mass.

But I do believe that we need to limit human created contaminates in the oceans, land and atmosphere, to keep the earth as pristine as possible.

Be as friendly to this beautiful planet as you can.

Angelina:
What type of world government is best?

Georgio:
Any country that separates Church and State is preferable. Religious theocracies and religious republics are horrible, since they regularly prey on atheists and other minorities.

Angelina:
I’m curious as to what events and experiences in your life brought you to embrace atheism. Were you raised that way by your parents, or did you choose atheism for yourself?

Georgio:
As with me, many atheists grew up in families that were religious. My parents are Catholic and go to church every week. They consider themselves to be god fearing, charitable good Christians.

When I was young I went to Church with my parents, but somehow what I learned there did not resonate with me. I didn’t know if there really is a God, because I never saw, heard, or touched him. Yes, there a plenty of status of Jesus and Mother Mary and the other Saints in Churches, but I never actually saw God with my own eyes.

Some people say that they talk to God every day. But what is that all about? God is certainly not appearing and standing in front of them so that they could have a real face to face conversation. It seemed to me that just as children have invisible friends to play with, so to, that adult relationship with God is nothing other than imagination. It’s one sided, and then people look for events in their lives to “justify” or “prove” that God answered them.

Faith is good for some things. Speaking for myself, just because I don’t know something first hand, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. In fact, our five senses perceived just a tiny fraction of what is happening in our environment at any one time. And the curtain of death is hidden from us all. The afterlife, if there is such a thing, must be wonderful because everyone who goes there doesn’t see fit to return.

And yet for me, faith must build upon actual verification to be trusted. If my science professor tells me that electricity in the flow of electrons from negative to positive charge, and he shows me that in a laboratory experience, I start to have faith in his teaching. If later he tells me that space-time is all relative and depends upon the speed of the observer and the observed, although I don’t understand Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, and the mathematics are way beyond me, my faith leads me to believe that what he has said is true. So faith builds upon concrete and verifiable truths, not something that is just taught in the Church, and you just must believe it or else.

Religions seem to have done a lot of harm in the world. All too often it stops people thinking in a rational and objective way. It divides people, and is a cause of conflict and war. Religion doesn’t give equal treatment to women and gay people, and thus offends basic human rights. Religion obstructs scientific research and evidence, and is a political tool for the social control of people.

But it’s also possible to be both an atheist, and spiritual.  Virtually all Buddhists manage it, as do some adherents of other religions.

That’s why I practice several forms of Buddhist meditation. I do Vipassana Mindfulness Breathing Meditation and Walking Meditation as I can. But I make sure that I do their Mantra Meditation twice each day, morning and evening. It’s very relaxing.

Epicurus, that ancient Greek philosopher (341 – 270 BC), was one of the first atheists. He presented the theory of “materialism.” It states that the only things that exist are bodies and the space in between them. Epicurus taught that the soul is also made of material objects, and so when the body dies the soul dies with it. There is no afterlife.

It seems to me than some atheists are much more “spiritual” than most solid church goers, simply because they question everything and want to find out the truth – not just blindly accept something because a Religion, or Priest, or Imam, or Rabi says so.

So my religion is the search for truth and social justice. I’m a humanist. No deities are involved.

Angelina:
Well, thank you Georgio for meeting with me today and helping in this college assignment. I have certainly learned a lot.

Georgio:
Sweet Angelina, enjoy the rest of your day.

§§

Monotheistic Religions:
Bahia, Christianity, Hinduism, Deism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.

Polytheistic Religions:
Hinduism, Shintoism, Chinese folk religion, Wicca, and Taoism.

God, religion, and atheism are concepts that only exist within the realm of mind. All of that occurs in thought; bound by time and space, past, present and future.

To He/She who has transcended the sphere of mind and relativity, immersed in timeless eternal absolute being, those concepts which may have once guided the seeker upon the path are now cast aside. Unfettered by limitation of any kind, the enlightened person serves as nature’s gift.

No matter what meditation practice you prefer, or how you came to meditation, spend some time with it every day. Your reward will be immeasurable.

Posted by on January 21st, 2013 Comments Off on An Atheist’s perspective on meditation

Vedanta Philosophy 101

Om - Vedanta Symbol

From an academic standpoint the discipline of Philosophy is often described as – any study or interpretation of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

Whether you adhere to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, David Hume, Lao Tzu, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Baruch Spinoza, or another, your curiosity and drive to understand the world that we live in; propels your spiritual search.

Complementary, shaped by years of experience with parents, siblings, teachers, co-workers, environment, culture and religion – we all see and interpret the world slightly differently.  Every person’s viewpoint of life can be considered to be their own personal philosophy.

Vedanta philosophy is a Hindu interpretation based partly upon Vedic text and on the teachings as expounded by the Upanishads.  They are not considered to be revealed truths, but instead consist of over 200 commentaries elucidating various aspects of Vedanta.

The principal Upanishads texts are:

Aitareya Upanishad
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
Isavasya Upanishad
Katha Upanishad
Kaushitaki Upanishad
Kena Upanishad
Maitri Upanishad
Mandukya Upanishad
Mundaka Upanishad
Prasna Upanishad
Svetasvatara Upanishad
Taittiriya Upanishad

As with most teachings, there are different interpretations and categories of Vedanta Philosophy.  The major schools are …

Advaita Vedanta:
The teachings of Shri Shankara which describe all as Brahman; the absolute timeless Being, which appears as our activity based transitory field of space, time and causation thru the process/power of illusion (Maya).

Dvaita:
As taught by Madhwacharya; Brahman, individual souls, and existence (physical, etheric, mental, spiritual time/space) are eternally separate, yet communal units.

Dvaitadvaita:
Formulated from the teachings of Bhaskara; the individual spirit (Jiva) is both the same and one with Brahman.

Lakshmi Visishtadvaita:
Presented by Sri Srinivasa Deekshitulu; this branch of philosophy considers all things to be sakala (manifested/form) and nishkala (unmanifested/the formless absolute).

Shuddhadvaita:
As initiated by Vallabha; enlightenment is only possible through the practice of Bhakti (devotion).

Vishishtadvaita:
As qualified by Ramanuja; individual souls are unique and distinct while inseparable from Brahman.

Baruch Spinoza (1632 – 1677) maintained that, “The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue, as the human spirit longs to define itself and better understand the world of existence/nonexistence.”

Vedanta philosophy:
Inquiry into the nature of our world; what is eternal and what is the transitory ephemeral  (fleeting world).

Let’s now discuss the central themes of Vedanta.

1. The Non-dual nature of the Ultimate Reality.

Once we find ourselves awake in a human body we begin to perceive various things around us.

As a newborn child we feel the warmth and gentle caress of our mother.  We hear her laughter and can feel the beat of her heart.  The sweet taste of milk satisfies our thirst, as we see her ever loving face. Exposed to the five Tanmatras and aided by our sensory organs, we begin our life’s journey.

Five Tanmatras:
Sabda (sound), Sparsa (touch), Rupa (form), Rasa (taste) and Gandha (smell).

Five Jnana-Indriyas:
Srotra (ear), Tvak (skin), Chakshus (eye), Jihva (tongue), Ghrana (nose).

Five gross elements:
Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether.

Sensations and perceptions are transferred to the human brain via nerve impulses, which in turn, employ the mind to generate an experience.  Cognition consists of integrating the sensory input and all the attributes (smell, form, texture, color, and taste) to project an image in the mind.

We can consider the physical brain to be hardware, while the mind is software.

Kathopanishad gives us a very nice analogy that describes the various characteristics of human life:

Chariot

Know the soul as lord of a chariot,
the body as the chariot.
Know the intuition as the chariot driver,
and the mind as the reins.
The senses, they say, are the horses;
the objects of sense the paths.
This associated with the body, the senses and the mind,
the wise call ‘the enjoyer.’

Beyond the senses are the objects of sense.
Beyond the objects of sense is the mind.
Beyond the mind is the intuition.
Beyond the intuition is the great soul.
Beyond the great is the unmanifest.
Beyond the unmanifest is Spirit.
Beyond the Spirit there is nothing at all.
That is the end; that is the final goal.

Are the objects of our world real, or simply an illusion?  If there were no awareness, would they even exist?

Space Time Continium

An object exists only if we have knowledge of it.  That implies that there is a knower (Rishi, the inner self), the process of knowing (Devata), and the object of knowing (Chandas).  Objects exist only in the field of space/time.  There is no individuality or distinctiveness anywhere else.  The conveyance of space/time is the mind.  Beyond mind is absolute-bliss-consciousness, Brahman.

We all experience the solidity and apparent reality of our world.  As we meditate over a period of time we experience deeper levels of thought and consciousness.  As that happens the hardness of the world experience softens.

For example, while walking on the beach and enjoying the sun we can take a stick and drag it through the sand. That creates a line or furrow. The harder we press the deeper the channel we create. That line remains in the sand and will stay there until the wind or surf eventually covers it back up. Now take that same stick and swipe it through water. You will notice that it also creates a line, with emanating ripples, but that will not last long. The impression in the water quickly disappears. Now take that same stick and swipe it through air. That also creates a line, we can feel the resulting wind, but that disappears even faster.

As consciousness expands the imprint of experience on the mind becomes less and less. The winds of time and change and their resulting vicissitudes fall more softly on our psyche. Less indelible become their influence. Just as dragging a stick in the sand makes a deep furrow not easily covered up, swiping the stick through the air makes much less of an impression. So to, as our individual consciousness grows the impact of experience softens.

As we continue our meditation practice individual consciousness expands along with personal strength and stability.

But during meditation we can transcend the mind, leave it at the doorstep so to speak, and walk thru the entrance; as the individual self is transformed into the grand eternal reality (Self).  Beyond thought, perception and the three gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas), lay the everlasting absolute timeless Brahman.  Thou art That.

The three Gunas:
Sattva (light, bliss, goodness), Rajas (passion, motion) and Tamas (inertia, darkness)

But, the superimposition error (Adhyasa) occurs when we take ourselves to be the body-mind-intellect complex, and not the timeless reality.

We depend on our senses, but all too often believe something is real only if we can; hear, touch, see, taste, or smell it.  Science has shown us that  we see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum (gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infra-red, microwaves, and radio waves) and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum (radio & TV, 1000 MHz – 50 MHz ).

The universe is an expression of the one Spiritual Reality.

Movement in space creates time, and movement in time creates space.

The absolute (Purusha) and relative universe (Prakriti) is the non-dual nature of existence/nonexistence.  Purusha is the clock maker, while Prakriti is the ticking clock (space/time continuum). Purusha is non material, yet by sleight of hand allows Prakriti (matter) to appear.  The one allows itself to appear as the many.  Thus, the drama of life is begun.

2. The Divinity of each Soul.

Within each person resides the divine essence, found at the core of your innermost being.

Human life offers the opportunity to unfold the unbounded reality, found within every man, women and child.  The goal of life is to manifest this purity into all aspects of empirical activity.  The divine soul aspect (One) is silence, while the expressed world (individuality) is activity.

Because we are a reflection of the absolute, timeless and without borders, we have the strength and urge to pursuit freedom and bliss.  That drive is embedded in everyone’s heart.

Vedanta acknowledges six valid means of knowledge:

The Pramanas are:
Pratyaksha (perception), Anumana (inference), Upamana (comparison), Agama (scripture), Arthapatti (presumption), Anupalabdhi (non-apprehension).

According to the “Uthara Memamsa” of Vyasa Maharshi, we all share similar traits.

•  Thru the deception of Maya we take on individual form, name, and action. The unmanifest seemingly projects itself as the material space/time continuum.

•  The individual soul (Jiva) remains in ignorance (not knowing, Avidya) of its true nature.

•  The cause of bondage and suffering is due to Nescience, which is lack of knowledge and awareness.

•  Liberation is the experience of supreme bliss, identification with the absolute, and the cessation of all suffering due to Nescience.  Direct knowledge (experiential) of the Supreme Self reveals the Non-duality of silence, thought and experience.

Karma literally means “action.”  We can also describe its broader implication that elicits “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  In the West, this is often referred to as the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

From the standpoint of the science, Sir Isaac Newton stated in his 3rd Law of Motion, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Vedanta philosophy embraces a broader concept of Karma, and uses it to explain the inequalities and fortunes/misfortunes of human life.  Why is one person born blind or with an affliction, while another person is not?  By coupling karma with reincarnation it is rationalize that blindness at birth is a consequence of negative behavior in a prior lifetime.

From the standpoint of the non-dual absolute reality, there is no positive or negative, only what is and what comes next.  A volcanic eruption or earthquake is the result of natural plate tectonic motion.  If we don’t get in the way, we don’t assign significance to the event.

The moon Io which orbits the planet Jupiter is the most volcanically active place in our Solar System.  And yet, since these eruptions and the resulting outcropping of poisonous gasses do not affect human life, we remain indifferent.

We assign attributes (good, bad, etc.) based upon whether the event is perceived to be beneficial or not, for human survival and the search for happiness.

When we throw a stone into a lake, circular ripples emanate for the point of impact and travel outward.  As the wave moves its intensity diminishes by the square of the distance.  At twice the distance from impact, the intensity is 1/4th of the original amount.  At four times the distance from impact, the intensity is 1/16th of the original amount. The influence of human action albeit reaches to the ends of the Universe. The affects of Karma are unfathomable.

We act in this world by way of bodies (spiritual, causal, emotional, etheric and physical), animated by the forces of nature:

The five Pancha Karmendriyas, Organs of Action:
Upastha (creative), Paayu (elimination), Paada (foot), Paani (hand), Vaak (speech).

The five Pancha Jnaanendriyas, Organs of Cognition:
Ghraana (nose, organ of smelling), Rasanaa (tongue, organ of tasting), Cakshu (eye, organ of seeing), Tvak (skin, organ of touching), Shrotra (ear, organ of hearing)

This world is but the play and display of consciousness.

I-ness and mine-ness bind you to the wheel of Samsara. Destroy these notions and identify yourself with the Atman, the non-doer.

Upon reaching Enlightenment, these forces still continue to act and karma returns as it must.  However, established in Satchidanada (being, awareness and bliss), you are now beyond the binding influences of karma.  Sitting as the silent witness, the world of play takes place as a movie on a screen.  You remain untouched and beyond any sphere of influence.  Unborn, eternal, everlasting, you are one with the non-dual reality.

3. The Oneness of Existence.

Swami Sivananda states in his Moksha Gita, “That which is neither subtle nor dense, which has neither caste nor name, which is immutable, immortal and bodiless, which is beyond the reach of mind and speech, that should be understood as Brahman.”

This is also an essential teaching of the Upanishad texts.

And yet we all verify that the multi-universe that we live in seems not to be that at all.  We are bound by time and space, live individual lives fraught with suffering and momentary happiness.

How does the One seemingly become the many?

The term Maya is used to describe the projecting aspect/power of the One to simulate the appearance of the many.  Thru Maya the unreal appears to be real.  As such Prakriti projects itself into movable entities.  Under the cloak of Maya we are in bondage to forms, objects, ideas, and actions.

Maya consists of Avarana-Sakti (the veiling power) and Vikshepa-Sakti (the projecting power).

Commenting on the principle of Maya, Shankara has said,  “Like the appearance of silver in mother of pearl, the world seems real until the Self, the underlying reality, is realized.”

The great poet Mevlana Rumi (1207 – 1273) has said, “Oh! joy for he who has escaped from this world of perfumes and color!  For beyond these colors and these perfumes, there are other colors in the heart and the soul.”

Thru the work of Prakriti individuation flourishes and continues to expand into ever more multifarious forms.

From Maya are born …

Two apparent realities from the One:
Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).

The distinction between the Self and the self:
Atman (the Self) and Jiva (individual self).

The five Pranas, vital forces:
Prana (respiration), Apana (elimination of body waste), Vyana (circulation of blood and support of the nervous system), Udana (supports standing tall and production of sounds; speech), Samana (digestion and assimilation).

The six Sat Kancukas, coverings:
Niyati (limitation of place), Kaala (limitation of time), Raaga (limitation of attachment), Vidyaa (limitation of knowledge), Kalaa (limitation of creativity), and Maayaa (limitation of individuality).

The three Antahkaranas, inner instruments:
Manas (emotional mind), Buddhi (intellect), and Ahamkaara (ego connected with objectivity).

The six Bhava-Vikaras, modifications of the body:
Asti (existence), Jayate (birth), Vardhate (growth), Viparinamate (change), Apa­kshiyate (decay), Vinasyati (death).

The six Vairies, enemies:
Kama (passion), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (infatuation or delusion), Mada (pride), Matsarya (jealousy).

The four human conflicts:
Individual (conflict within one’s own self between reason and feeling, emotions and understanding), Social (conflict with human society), Environment (conflict with nature), and Cosmic (how and why is all of this here).

From and intellectual and logic standpoint, we can also make an argument that existence is One:

•  The knower of change is changeless; otherwise there could be no awareness or knowledge of change.

•  Awareness of individuality and distinction is possible only if consciousness itself is not divided, and does not change with change.

… thus we can say that changeless consciousness, which is the unaffected and undivided witness of all change, is the ultimate Reality.

Greater exposure and assimilation of pure consciousness thru meditation breaks the bonds of Maya and incorrect self identification.

The veil of Maya is lifted when liberation (moksha, enlightenment) is gained.  Thru the continued practice of meditation you can pierce the cloud of illusion and see for yourself that Maya is not a fanciful concept, but does indeed obscure that fact that existence is one.

4. The Harmony of the higher Religions.

World Religions

Religions are the concept of mankind.  To the extent that they point to and guide people toward correct understanding and experience, they may be valid.

Rules, creeds, ceremonies, symbols, doctrines, faith and holy books, can be the outer trappings of a universal message tailored to suit specific peoples at different times.

Religions are often centered around a Proponent, Book and Building. The leader of a new religion may expound wisdom, grace and divinity from their level of consciousness, but over time the message is diluted and becomes ineffectual. That’s because followers are not at the same level of consciousness as the leader; so the full wisdom of the teaching is perceived and interpreted in a distorted manner.

Some religious leaders are more divine than others.  Some preach compassion and universal brotherhood, while others preach obedience to their God thru submission and the sword.  Some leaders turn the other cheek and forgive all, while others lead armies of conquest and subjugation, beheading all those who stand in the way.

All those who believe that their God is the one and only true God, have deluded themselves due to ego and culture identification.

A true religion is one that proclaims the universal message of peace, and displays unconditional love toward all people.  If non-judgmental and accepting of all that is, it may deem worthy of your study.

§§

Having gained Enlightenment the knower of reality has transcended the teaching of Vedanta Philosophy.  It has served as a valuable bridge to cross the gap and shed the prior life of unknowing.

Close your eyes and meditate every day.  Expand your conscious awareness and loving heart.  Contribute to society and help pave the way toward a peaceful world.

Posted by on November 25th, 2012 Comments Off on Vedanta Philosophy 101