Archive for the ‘Right action’ Category

You can’t be free if you judge people

The human race has blossomed into a multitude of diversity.

If in that diversity we exercise a tendency to judge people, that indicates that our ego is locked in a cycle of prejudice and misunderstanding – we are not free.

Within the recognizable borders of our 257 nations, there are now 7.3 billion (people) different egoic views of the one same Earth based reality that we all share.

The rules that govern our Universe are the natural laws of attraction, and free will. Within those parameters, all of creation exists and continues to grow.

As human beings we have many things in common. Our survival needs include nutrients (food), oxygen, water, a safe place to sleep, and shelter from the vicissitudes of atmospheric climate. Living organisms need to reproduce. The human body must be able to get rid of waste and nonessential items. A skeletal and muscular system is needed so that our bodies can move from one place to another. Blood transports nourishment to every cell in our body. Our five senses feed us information about our environment and allow us to respond back accordingly.

The manner in which we respond to others in life is referred to as our personal behavior and world view.

How is our behavior built, and what determines it attributes?

You can't be free if you judge people

Every human being is a complexity born of multiple factors, which are….

1. Pure spirit, timeless and eternal, unmanifest conscious Being which exists at the seat of every individual.

2. Available information:
In our physical material manifested form, using our five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste), we collect knowledge about the world that we find ourselves living in. Factors such as race, religion, culture, degree of literacy, place of birth and where we currently live, limit what information is available or given to us.

3. Decision-Making Process:
This cognitive process takes place in the human mind & intellect, and are influenced by each individual’s available information and…
– level of consciousness and clarity of intellect
– the external pressure of parents and society
– personal values, expectations and past experiences
– life lessons learned
– individual differences
– and a host of other factors

4. Human Behavior:
Each individual’s behavior is based upon the quality of their decision-making process which, in turn, is based upon the quality of their available information.

5. Ego – Individual Manifested Reality (your world view):
Everyone views the world differently.
That causes us to be loving, hateful, passive, aggressive, introverted, extroverted, deceitful, etc.
The quality of the condition which manifests in any society is based upon the aggregate quality of behavior within that society.

With the birth of the human ego also comes the birth of the human attribute of judgment.

More specifically, why do we judge other people?

For one, we see ourselves as different from them. We have our own behavioral traits and so do they. Sometimes we see traits in another person that we won’t tolerate for ourselves.

The world is a mirror of confusion. What you see is what you constructed for yourself based on your level of consciousness. What you witness and experience in the outer objective world, is simply a reflection of your own subjective inner world. The world returns back to you (like a mirror) what you give to it.
– If you are hateful, you will predominantly see hate in the world.
– If you are distrustful, you will support conspiracy theories.
– If you are loving, you will see the good and divinity in all people
how true it is, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder

We may view a young mother seemly neglecting her child and judge her as unfit. But we don’t see her pain and struggle with stress, the pressures of no money, and how overwhelmed by it all she feels.

We may view a homeless man wondering the streets and looking in the garbage for food. But don’t judge him as unfit and lazy for not having a job.
We don’t see his PTSD from fighting in the Iraq war, or from losing his job and house, or for living between a rock and a hard place. Maybe he has developed mental issues and has fallen into alcohol and drug addiction. As he battles his personal demons we should instead extend a hand of love and compassion.

We may view a couple quarreling with each other, but don’t judge them for being a public spectacle.
Often nasty personal explosions start with minor digs. Hidden feelings and insecurities come bubbling into the open. We don’t know the history of how hurt and pain planted itself into their hearts. Longing for help is now an act of their desperation. We don’t see the long journey to lasting love that they are on, so do not judge.

We may view some young boys taunted an old lady caring packages of bread home for her family. She was waking up a long and steep hill. “Why did she not just pay the 25-cents and take the bus home,” the boys chided.
The boys did not know that this woman is a recent immigrant to the country, has virtually no money, and is struggling to make every penny count. She walks to the thrift bread store twice every week to get day old bread for less money. She balances her financial insecurity with providing for her family. We need to respect all people and not judge their actions.

We may view Ms Success on the TV hawking her newest product guaranteed to save you time in the kitchen. “How much money does this gal need,” you may think to yourself as you focus on how “stuck up” she appears to be. But don’t judge her unkindly, because she really is not on top of the world as it may appear.
Ms Success has always been driven by the fear of never being good enough. That started when she was young and could never get the respect of her father no matter what she accomplished. She has trapped herself in a never ending cycle of good, better and best. Nothing short of perfection haunts her every day. Judge not her personal struggle trying to liberate her wounded inner child.

We may view a coworker agonizing over an upcoming yearly performance evaluation. The evaluation is management’s view of how well a person has performed – meets or does not meet expectations. Don’t judge this worker as being inept and a loser just because you aced your evaluation. We don’t know the steep hill and fears faced that they had to climb, just to reach this spot.

Remember that all daily life struggles are self-created. We are responsible and have created the dream world that we find ourselves living in – even though sometimes it seems we have little control and few options.

We can certainly practice to judge less and that’s admirable, but by approaching the problem on the level of the problem only limited success, if any will be achieved.

Self-awareness is a first step toward personal evolution and empowerment. But when we talk about self development we often refer to refinement of thinking and intellect. Unfortunately, that still keeps us bound to the field of mind (time/space/causality) which is what we want to transcend.

What we really need is self reorganization. That means changing the very cognition, state of consciousness that we have.

Growth of heart, compassion and consciousness is a good way to “outgrow” the tendency to judge.

We will be judgmental as long as our ego and world view primarily remains individualized and self centered. We are imprisoned by your own mind and that in turn leads us to engage in destructive and further binding human activity.

But now it’s time to break free from our chains, continue self reorganization, develop consciousness thru meditation, and thereby enjoy greater empathy with the entire world.

The shackles of the ego are loosened and eventually broken thru spiritual pursuit and the regular practice of meditation. Meditate every day. Seek to become enlightened. Free yourself from the bondage of judgment and enjoy unlimited freedom.

Create

Inspire

Do what you love

Follow your heart

Love now

Posted by on February 1st, 2016 Comments Off on You can’t be free if you judge people

The Wise Woman

The Wise Woman

“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

– Author Unknown

§§

When all tendency of selfishness has vanished, you will truly know abundant life.  Meditate every day to taste the nectar of eternal bliss consciousness.

Posted by on October 8th, 2012 Comments Off on The Wise Woman

Native American words to live by

Chief Dan George

Since the beginning of mankind’s first steps on the Earth we recognized that special kinship with this beautiful, blue world. The Native American people lived on the land in harmony with the seasons and the rhythms of the creation.

Here are a few words worthy to ponder, and use as a guideline for a life well lived.

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Algonquin Tribe

The Great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us that which we put into the ground she returns to us….
(Big Thunder)

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Blackfoot Tribe

What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
(Crowfoot)

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Cherokee Tribe

O’ GREAT SPIRIT
help me always
to speak the truth quietly,
to listen with an open mind
when others speak,
and to remember the peace
that may be found in silence.
(Prayer)

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.
(Prayer)

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Coast Salish Tribe

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
(Chief Dan George)

The time will soon be here when my grandchild will long for the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce needles, or the screech of an eagle. But he will not make friends with any of these creatures and when his heart aches with longing he will curse me. Have I done all to keep the air fresh? Have I cared enough about the water? Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild’s fondness?
(Chief Dan George)

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Dwamish Tribe

… all things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man … the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
(Chief Seattle)

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
(Chief Seattle)

The wind that gave our grandfathers his first breath also receives his last sigh and the wind must also give our children the spirit of life.
(Chief Seattle)

———————————————————————————————————————
Hopi Tribe

Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.
(Proverb)

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Lakota Tribe

Lakota Instructions for Living:

Friend do it this way – that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way,
the Power Of The Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.

If you do it that way – that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind
as One – whatever you ask for,
that’s the Way It’s Going To Be.
(White Buffalo)

———————————————————————————————————————
Mohican Tribe

When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
(Chief Aupumut)

———————————————————————————————————————
Navajo Tribe

I have been to the end of the earth.
I have been to the end of the waters.
I have been to the end of the sky.
I have been to the end of the mountains.
I have found none that are not my friends.
(Proverb)

———————————————————————————————————————
Pawnee Tribe

In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn.. all things tell of Tirawa.

All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly…. We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two.
(Eagle Chief)

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Ponca Tribe

There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled,
which leads to an unknown, secret place.

The old people came literally to love the soil,
and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of
being close to a mothering power.

Their teepees were built upon the earth
and their altars were made of earth.

The soul was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of
propping himself up and away from its life giving forces.

For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply
and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of
life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
(Chief Luther Standing Bear)

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Pueblo Tribe

Hold On
Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.
(Prayer)

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Seneca Tribe

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit.
If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about
it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?
(Sogoyewapha)

———————————————————————————————————————
Shawnee Tribe

According to the Native People, the Sacred Space
is the space between exhalation and inhalation.
To Walk in Balance is to have Heaven (spirituality)
and Earth (physicality) in Harmony.

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
(Chief Tecumseh)

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Sioux Tribe

Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy…

But anywhere is the center of the world.
(Black Elk)

And while I stood there
I saw more than I can tell,
and I understood more than I saw;
for I was seeing in a sacred manner
the shapes of things in the spirit,
and the shape of all shapes as they must
live together like one being.
(Black Elk)

Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other,
thus should we do,
for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.
(Black Elk)

It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.
(Ohiyesa)

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.
(Chief Yellow Lark)

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Ute Tribe

Earth, Teach Me
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
(Prayer)

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Other sayings …

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)

Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood, only then is there a possibility of “Balance and Harmony” the goal of Indian Spirituality.
(Dave Chief, Grandfather of Red Dog)

Honor the sacred.
Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we
share the Earth:-
Four-legged, two-legged,
winged ones,
Swimmers, crawlers,
plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.
(Native American Elder)

Certain things catch your eye,
But pursue only those
that capture your heart.
(old Indian saying)

———————————————————————————————————————

We are all Native peoples of the Earth. Live in harmony with creation.

Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin
We Are All Related

Posted by on March 26th, 2012 Comments Off on Native American words to live by

Describing the indescribable, within the limitations of language

Strawberries

Soon after the Great Spirit created the first man and the first woman, they began to quarrel. Nobody remembers why, but because of it, the first woman ran away in great anger. Soon, the first man became very sad, and began to moan and weep. The Great Spirit heard his cries and felt sorry for him. “Would you like to see your wife again?” he asked. “If only she’d come back,” the first man promised, “I’ll never quarrel with her again!”

“Go find her, then,” said the Great Spirit. The first man ran after her, but the first woman had too great a head start. So the Great Spirit created a huge patch of blueberries in her path, hoping she would stop to eat. But she was so angry, she didn’t even slow down.

Next, he tried raspberries, then currants, and even blackberries. Although the thorns tore her clothes and scratched her, she kept going.

Finally, the Great Spirit created a new berry growing along the ground, and she slowed down to try one. It was so good, she stopped to pick more. That was how the first man finally caught up to her and apologized. They made up, and the strawberry is still shaped like a heart because it symbolizes the love of The First Man and The First Woman. And Native people call it the heartberry.

(A Native American Folk Tale)

§§

Ashley and Changying just arrived home from school and made a bee-line for the kitchen.  They threw their backpacks on the couch, hungry and in the mood for a late afternoon snack.  A fresh bowl of fruit was on the table.  It was as colorful as a crisp autumn day, filled with sunshine and the gentle rustic colors of falling leaves.

“What’s that one,” inquired Changying in her girlish inquisitive tone.

“Oh, that’s a strawberry straight from the California fields,” replied Ashley.

Changying was a high school exchange student from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  Her mother Chu-Hau (chrysanthemum) worked at the Kaohsiung City Chungcheng Cultural Center, and her father was an engineer.  She had two other sisters and one brother.  Being the oldest sibling she was the first to travel abroad.

“What does it taste like,” exclaimed Changying as she looked at it with a curious demeanor.  ‘It’s shaped like my heart.”

“Well,” chimed in Ashley, “they smell like a rose and taste mostly sweet.  The skin has all those tiny embedded seeds which seem to get in my teeth.  It’s juicy, and the medium size ones have more flavor than the larger ones.  They are a fragile and a delicate fruit; you don’t want to bounce them around otherwise they get squashed.”

Changying picked one up, smelled it, turned it around, and then put it in her mouth.  Her eyes lit up and her face became one big smile.

“It’s really wonderful,” added Changying.  “But no matter how well you describe it – you need to hold, smell, and actually taste it to know what it truly is.”

§§

Changying made an astute observation.  No matter how well the strawberry was described by Ashley, using all available adjectives and nouns to be found in the English language, it is not the same (or as complete) as the actual experience of eating the strawberry.

So to, when we try to describe the joy that unfolds due to our meditation practice, or the nature of the unbounded eternal blissful conscious absolute, we can only use words – to convey ideas that hint at what the experience is really like.

We are limited by the confines of language, and the ideas that our minds can conceptualize.

Experience of the Self is knowledge that transcends speech, word, and the field of mind (time, space and causation).

To help overcome the limitations of language and the thrifty conveyance of ideas several interesting techniques have been developed.  Among the grab bag of tools available to us are oxymorons, the use of apophatic descriptions (i.e., Neti neti – not this, not this), and the Zen Koan.

Oxymoron

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines opposing terms.

For example, we use Yin and Yang, the Chinese Tai Chi symbol that enunciates the universal principle of opposites, yet is combined as a single whole.  By highlighting opposite values, we are better able to understand the full breadth of ideas.

Here is a short list of language oxymorons:

active retirement deafening silence legally drunk student teacher
almost exactly death benefits minor crisis sweet sorrow
alone together deafening silence near miss taped live
amateur expert definite maybe objective opinion terribly good
awfully nice diet ice cream old news timeless moment
bipartisan cooperation educated guess open secret unsung hero
bittersweet even odds original copies virtual reality
black light found  missing passive aggression work party
boneless ribs freezer  burns religious tolerance working holiday
civil war genuine  imitation rolling stop
clearly confused good grief same difference
clearly misunderstood great  depression seriously Joking
climb down idiot savant small crowd
constant variable least favorite soft rock

Oxymorons can also be used to describe objects.  For example, have your ever seen:

solid water (ice)
artificial grass
invisible ink
wax fruit

.. or other such items?

§§

Adi Shankara (788 – 822) was one of the first Advaita philosophers to advocate the use of the phrase Neti neti (not this, not this); an approach to assist the student in understanding what is beyond reason, word and thought – the Absolute.

By first bringing the students attention to what is, and then pointing out – that the Absolute is not this, and not that, – awareness is shattered and mental boundaries broken to open up one to the field of infinite possibilities.

For example:

It is different from the known; it is also above the unknown.
Kenopanishad (I.4)

From whence all speech, with the mind, turns away unable to reach it.
Taittiriya Upanishad (II.9)

There are two forms of Brahman, gross and subtle, the material and the immaterial, the mortal and the immortal, the limited and the unlimited, Sat and Tyat
(Brahman sutra)

Whenever we deny something unreal, it is in reference to something real.
(Brahman Sutra III.2.22)

By such sentences as “That thou art,” our own Self is affirmed.  Of that which is untrue and composed of the five elements – the Sruti (scripture) says, “Not this, not this.” (Neti Neti)
(Avadhuta Gita, verse 25)

Always “not this, not this” to both the formless and the formed.
Only the Absolute exists, transcending difference and non difference.
(Avadhuta Gita, verse 62)

Many religious traditions make use of this same principle. For example,

* God is neither existence nor non existence.
* That which is infinite is known only to itself (Quintus Tertullian, Christian).
* For we explain not what God is but candidly confess that we have not exact knowledge concerning Him (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Christian).
* Descriptions of God reveal not the nature, but the things around the nature (John of Damascus, Christian).
* God is absolutely different from anything else, and, as above, is in consequence held to be totally unknowable. It is for this reason that we cannot make any direct statements about God (Kabbalistic teaching, Jewish)
* I Am the One I Am (Exodus 3:13-14, Jewish)

§§

The Zen Koan is a beautiful example of using a story, dialog or question is such as way that the meaning cannot be understood through rational thinking.  Instead, intuition and radical out-of-the-box thinking are required.   This attempts to overcome the limitations of language and reason.

Joshu Washes the Bowl:
A monk told Joshu: “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked: “Have you eaten your rice porridge?”

The monk replied: “I have eaten.”

Joshu said: “Then you had better wash your bowl.”

At that moment the monk was enlightened.

Seizei Alone and Poor:
A monk named Seizei asked of Sozan: “Seizei is alone and poor. Will you give him support?”
Sozan asked: “Seizei?”

Seizei responded: “Yes, sir.”

Sozan said: “You have Zen, the best wine in China, and already have finished three cups, and still you are saying that they did not even wet your lips.”

Tozan’s Three Pounds:
A monk asked Tozan when he was weighing some flax: “What is Buddha?”
Tozan said: “This flax weighs three pounds.”

Dried Dung:

A monk asked Ummon: “What is Buddha?” Ummon answered him: “Dried dung.”

Blow Out the Candle:
Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night he came to Ryutan and asked many questions. The teacher said: “The night is getting old. Why don’t you retire?”
So Tukusan bowed and opened the screen to go out, observing: “It is very dark outside.”

Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle to find his way. Just as Tokusan received it, Ryutan blew it out. At that moment the mind of Tokusan was opened.

“What have you attained?” asked Ryutan.

“From now on,” said Tokusan, “I will not doubt the teacher’s words.”

The next day Ryutan told the monks at his lecture: “I see one monk among you. His teeth are like the sword tree, his mouth is like the blood bowl. If you hit him hard with a big stick, he will not even so much as look back at you. Someday he will mount the highest peak and carry my teaching there.”

On that day, in front of the lecture hall, Tokusan burned to ashes his commentaries on the sutras. He said: “However abstruse the teachings are, in comparison with this enlightenment they are like a single hair to the great sky. However profound the complicated knowledge of the world, compared to this enlightenment it is like one drop of water to the great ocean.” Then he left the monastery.

Lao-Tzu has stated, “To lead the people, walk behind them.”  President Barack Obama of the United States has started to practice the concept, “Leading from behind.”

§§

Beyond concept and language; the Self is known by means of direct experience.

The Dao (Tao) is found outside the realm of Yin and Yang.  Untouched by time and timelessness, the field of birth and death, dharma and adharma, the immutable ineffable defies even the poetry of word and idea.

Not by books or study; the Self is known by means of direct experience.

It has been said, “To the enlightened one, all of the Vedas (books of knowledge) are of no more use than is a small well in a place flooded with water on very side.”

Through right view, intent, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration (the Noble Eightfold path of Theravada Buddhism) the individual becomes worthy of enlightenment, but the Self is known by means of direct experience.

So close the eyes (meditate) and allow the mind to settle to its natural state of least excitation – pure silence.  In meditation the experience of pure awareness becomes clearer, day after day.  As the nervous system becomes more cultured greater values of joy and liveliness animate your individuality.

Although we try our best to point the way using language and reason, Enlightenment is gained by direct experience.

Posted by on November 7th, 2011 Comments Off on Describing the indescribable, within the limitations of language

Out of body experiences, a distraction along the path

Animal Spirit Guides

From time immemorial human beings have had Out of Body Experiences (OBEs). Many cultures have incorporated these practices into their religions and earth based beliefs.

For example …

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
(The New Testament; Corinthians 12:1–4)

Glory to (God) Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque, to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts we did bless, – in order that we might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).
(The night journey of Mohamed; Surah 17.1)

In a recent survey as many as one in ten people claimed to have had an OBE.

Some out of body experiences happen naturally, while others are the result of deliberate practice and effort.

Some people have spontaneous OBEs while:
– under the influence of an anesthetic
– semi-conscious due to mental trauma or a direct blow to the head/body
– under the influence of Peyote (mescaline) or other psychedelic drugs
– participating in rituals
– sensing or feeling a “phantom” body limb (e.g., an amputated leg)
– under electrical stimulation of the right angular gyrus (located at the juncture of the temporal and parietal lobes) of the brain.

Near death experiences are just another form of these same phenomena – temporary conscious observation/interaction with the subtle, non physical world.

It has been said that all of us have an out of body experience every night. During deep sleep (while in REM) our subtle body hovers within 2-3 inches of the physical body. The physical brain, the seat of current life memory, is abandoned during this period – so there is no memory of the event.

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual tradition that is still practiced in parts of Tibet, North and South America, and Africa. Emphasizing religious experience over faith, their proponents claim that these practices are one method for communication with the subtle non-physical world.

Totem Pole

Many Native American tribes built religious ceremony and ritual around these practices.

Most Shamans rely on out of body experiences, along with dreams and visions. They serve as an intermediary between the human and spirit (non-physical) worlds. They often use animal guides as message bearers, and also for interpretation of omens and portents. Shamans practice divination and seek to learn the outcome of future events.

In the past OBEs have been known as “Spirit Walking.”

Today there is a growing movement of teachers and organizations that promote the practice of OBEs. Techniques have been developed through direct OBE experimentation, and seminars revealing that knowledge are offered to the general public.

When one willfully tries to have an out of body experience, there are three phases that each practitioner passes through before reaching that state:

* Sleep paralysis; which often feels like a heavy lead blanket laying on your chest
* Rushing noises; which sound like static, white noise, ringing, and buzzing
* Vibrations; subtle or gross

This occurs as the subtle body detaches from the physical-etheric body.

Purposeful OBEs happen during hypnosis or REM sleep (not lucid dreaming).

Out of body experiences are a needless distraction on the spiritual path, and sometimes become an actual impediment to progress.

Unless an out of body experience happens naturally on its own, it is a hindrance because:

1. Separation from the physical body, even for short periods, weakens the link that exists between yourself (ego) and your current chosen vehicle (the physical body) for evolution.

“Remember your Creator before the silver cord is snapped”
(Ecclesiastes 12.6)

The “silver cord” that out-of-body explorers often report seeing is the thread which carries life energies from the monad (self) to the heart chakra, animating the physical body.

2. You run the risk of getting sidetracked. The beauty of the subtle world is dazzling and intriguing. If you rely on out of body experiences as your primary means of spiritual growth, to the exclusion of meditation, you will not achieve enlightenment.

The subtle world is just that, another world in the field of thought, time, space, and causality.

3. There is time enough to explore these realms after death; when the monad, along with our emotional, mental, and lesser causal bodies leaves the physical realm.

Out Of Body Experience

Here are some examples of out of body experiences …

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from “A Journey from Perception to Knowledge, Peace of Mind and Joy,” by James Blanchard Cisneros:

In my first totally conscious OBE, I answered for myself two of the deepest questions a human being can ask himself: “Can I really exist without my body and can my soul actually curse?”

During the experience, I remembered the vibrations quickening in speed and raising in volume. Fear had stopped me so many times before, but this time, I was ready. The vibrations quickened to the point where it felt more natural to leave my body than to stay in it. I gave the okay to go and I was gone.

Immediately, I found myself shooting out of my body and ended up five feet over it. I must say that the first phrase that I ever uttered while out of my body was not “this is one small step for me and one giant leap for mankind.” I just looked around in total awe, and when I realized what was really happening, I yelled, “What the [expletive] am I doing up here?” After that now infamous first phrase, I shot myself right back and, with one big thump, re-entered my body and the experience was over.

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Tami Simon speaks with William Buhlman, interview text courtesy of Sounds True, Insights at the Edge:

TS: So what’s the relationship between this spiritual essence—to use your language—and the physical form, the physical body?

WB: I perceive the physical body as a vehicle of consciousness that we use to learn and grow and explore the physical world, because all of us are explorers, because this isn’t our natural habitat! We’re only here for a temporary period of time, so each of us is essentially, when we enter a body, we have become explorers, entering this dense body. I perceive the entire physical world to be the epidermis layer of the universe. I know from my own out-of-body experiences (or OBEs) that there’s countless realities, subtle realities that exist inwardly, and that as we have an out-of-body experience, we’re actually moving inward into the universe, and we’re experiencing these other realities that exist.

TS: OK, so here you are, you’re one of the world’s leading experts on out-of-body experiences. Did you spontaneously have an out-of-body experience at a young age? Is that how you became interested in this? Did you just decide, “This is my field of inquiry: how to leave the body and travel the inner dimensions of the universe”?

WB: Well, no, not exactly. A friend of mine in college, John, had a spontaneous out-of-body experience, and he came to me and shared his experience, and he got me excited about it. I was not a believer in the topic at all—never heard of it! I decided, well, if he could have this experience that so altered him, so changed him, I wanted to see myself if it was real.

I found that there were books available on the topic, and I began to do one of the techniques that I found, which I now call the Target Technique, where I essentially just focused my attention on three objects that were in my mother’s home as I fell asleep every night. And into the third week of doing this, I awoke in my small dorm room, I was laying on my side, and when I reached out my hand, my hand actually entered the wall. That’s when it hit me, that “Oh my God! I’ve done it!” because I had to prove this for myself. At that moment, I thought about standing. I’m standing by the foot of the bed, looking down at this lump that was my body, and it was a shocking revelation! It changed my entire paradigm! I was fully aware, fully awake; it wasn’t a dream, and I was existing, consciously, beyond my body.

TS: Your energy body hand was through the wall?

WB: Yes. And of course, before that, I felt a high vibratory feeling throughout my body that was totally, at that point, alien to me. I had never had an experience like that, but as I reached out my hand, my hand and arm actually entered the wall, and I could feel the energy of it. That’s when it hit me, because this is such a radical thing for many of us. It’s unusual for many people to experience this. It certainly was for me.

For me, it was important to prove it to myself, because I would have never believed it if somebody had walked up to me and told me, “Oh, Bill, you can leave your body!” There’s no way I would have accepted that as a reality! The beauty of out-of-body exploration is that we do have this capability of verifying our own expectations of what this is. I think that’s very powerful.

TS: What would be the benefits of me experiencing more time in the subtle body?

WB: Answers to the questions of life. As we move inward, one of the powerful things I’ve found is that we have the power to obtain the answers to the big questions, the answers to the really important ones, like “What are we?” “Where did we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our purpose?” These questions are available. As you move inward, you begin to connect with the more expansive part of ourselves, and this is where the answers are found, because this is where we truly reside as pure consciousness. This is where we’re far more expansive than in the physical body.

It’s almost like a vast dimension of consciousness has been focused, for each of us, into a tiny vehicle we call our physical body, and as we leave our physical bodies and begin to explore, we’re exploring ourselves! We are actually exploring the higher dimensional realities within ourselves, and we’re in touch with this higher portion of ourselves, so we can obtain answers that way.

Also, one of the great benefits is your fear of death, of course, disappears. In all the people that I’ve ever met that have had out-of-body experiences, there’s no fear of death.

TS: So you have no fear of death?

WB: No, because I know it’s a facade. I know I don’t die. I know for a fact, because I’ve been out of my body thousands of times. I know this is just a vehicle of consciousness.

TS: So what’s it like for you when you’re fully disconnected from the physical body, and you’re in the energy body? What is that experience like?

WB: Freedom. Unbelievable freedom. There’s no limitations. That’s what’s so wonderful about it: You no longer have any form-based limitations, unless you so believe you do. So you could fly, you could walk through walls, you could stand in the corner and just raise your vibration rate and explore anywhere you wish to go.

TS: Well, let’s not skip over the exciting vibrational state!

WB: OK! The vibrational state is essentially the prelude to an OBE that 80 percent of people experience, according to my research. It is powerful; it’s abrupt. It’s shocking for people. Suddenly you’re paralyzed; you feel paralyzed, and there’s energy flows going through you. There’s this electrical buzzing noise moving through you, or you’re being touched, or you feel like somebody’s trying to pull your legs, or you just feel a presence in the room or your name being called. There’s over 50 different elements that make up the vibrational state. Essentially, anything strange that happens out of the norm during what we perceive as sleep is the vibrational state. It’s the prelude that indicates that the transfer of consciousness is beginning, and for many people, it gets to be quite exciting. You have to be prepared for it. You have to remain calm. You have to surrender.

For instance: paralysis. I enjoy that temporary state of paralysis, because I know that’s a launch pad for OBEs. I surrender completely to it, and that’s what works. You surrender, because you’re transferring your awareness. You have to let go of the physical. The paralysis state that many people are so afraid of is actually a very natural state of consciousness. Same thing for the vibrations, and all this is part of the vibrational state.

TS: So the courage that you referred to earlier is being able to let go through that vibrational state, to go with it?

WB: Yes. You have to surrender and let go. You have to surrender to the now,

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If an out of body experience (OBE) happens to you unasked for, in a natural way, then it is for your benefit and spiritual growth. Otherwise, it can become a stumbling block on your spiritual journey.

After enlightenment the five senses naturally become more refined. At that time nature spreads out the subtle realms of creation for you, to see and explore for increased enrichment. Guided at that time by egolessness, action is 100 percent in accordance with the laws and purpose of nature. Every breath taken is for the betterment of mankind.

The Buddha has said,

This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is a flash of lightning in the sky. Rushing by, like a torrent down a mountain.

In meditation the mind settles down to unveil our true inner identity. Beyond the realm of subtle worlds is the eternal timeless value of existence. That is who you truly are.

Posted by on October 30th, 2011 Comments Off on Out of body experiences, a distraction along the path

The fisherman at Taravao Point

Outrigger Canoe with Sail

The sun broke the horizon and the first rays of the day bathed the beach. The sand was still cool from the prior evening. Shore birds like the Manu O’Ku (Fairy Tern) and the Stilt roamed the water’s edge in search of breakfast. They danced back and forth as the incoming waves came ashore; in turn chasing them up the beach and then leading them back down again.

A monk seal family arrived last night to sleep on a secluded corner of the sand. They were now beginning to stir, their eyes slowly opening to the newfound day.

A cool breeze blew across the water as the morning fishing fleet began to assemble. Sitting up on the beachhead were a dozen or so boats. The smaller outrigger canoes were used for fishing mainly inside the atoll. The larger boats, the multihull sailing craft, fished the outer reef and deeper waters of the continental shelf.

Hikialani, one of the local fishermen, was checking over his boat.

Although a morning ritual for him, he greeted each day with hope and thankfulness for the wondrous bounty that nature was about to provide.

Since he was going for larger fish today, to be found in the deeper offshore waters, he prepared his sailing craft. He would have to go out farther. On board he inspected the gaff (a specialized fishing spears), hook, dip-net, casting net, rods, reel, braided line and leaders, lures and bait (shrimp/mullet).

The tide was still ebbing so Hikialani’s strategy was to anchor just short of the outer atoll. With the wind coming out of the west, should the anchor break or “let loose” his boat would slowly drift away from the reef on its own. Anchoring on the leeward side was the best choice under these conditions.

He’ll lower his bait line down to the bottom (60 meters) and then raise it up a little. Hikialani hoped to attract a Black Grouper, Omilu, Ono (of the mackerel family), or O’opu. Any of these would due, and would serve as a great dish for the family’s dinner tonight.

Although he rarely used carved whale bone (as hooks) to actually catch fish, he brought some along since they were a gift from his father; passed on to him from his father’s father. These were sentimental pieces that reminded Hikialani of soft and happy days gone past.

This beach was located at Taravao point, on the southern tip of Aitutaki Island. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, Aitutaki is one of the many Cook Islands. This was his home, and his father’s before him. His wife and six grand children also loved the Island, and flourished there.

As some of the other fishermen began to arrive a curious tourist, who had been walking on the beach for some time, approached Hikialani.

The tourist commented, “I’m from Singapore and have been vacationing on this beautiful island for a week now. The sunsets are spectacular, the food tasty, and the weather just right. It must certainly be great to live here.”

Hikialani contently replied, “Yes indeed, this is a good place to sing the song of life.”

The tourist hesitated for a second, as if debating in his mind, but then remarked, “I’ve noticed that every morning you go out with the other fishermen but you return to the beach by noon. They stay out for the whole day and come back with a large catch, their boats amply filled. You come back with only a few fish. Is it worth your time? Why do you even bother?”

An ordinary person may have taken offense to the question, since the manner of its presentation was a bit condescending. But Hikialani just smiled. His heart was filled with happiness as he responded, “it provides for me, my family and some neighbors. That’s all I need.”

Coming from a corporate background the tourist was perplexed by this answer. He saw all kinds of opportunity for advancement and commerce on the Island. The tourist remarked, “Yes, but if you fished all day you could afford to buy a bigger boat.”

Hikialani softly asked, “And then what?”

The tourist pursued, “Then you could hire a crew member.”

Hikialani softly asked, “And then what?”

The tourist rejoined, still holding on to his point of view, “And then you could buy a 2nd boat.”

Hikialani softly asked, “And then what?”

The tourist countered with, “You could sell more fish and make more money.”

Hikialani softly asked, “And then what?”

The tourist was a bit annoyed at this point, but he alleged, “Then you could be the captain of a whole fleet and everyone would be working for you.”

Hikialani softly asked, “And then what?”

The tourist leaned forward and said, “Well, I guess that once you’re on top of the world and you have lots of money, you can do what you want with your time.”

Hikialani softly stated, “But that’s exactly what I am doing right now. My job for a few hours each morning is to provide food for my family and neighbors. I spend the afternoons with my grandchildren.”

“Everyone needs some activity and purpose. If you find a job that you love, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. And that’s where I am. I just fish.”

The tourist was perplexed, but did see the logic and wisdom in the fisherman’s words. He only said, “Best wishes to you,” and walked away disgruntled.

§§

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is how to give up what you don’t yet have.

Meditation is a wonderful tool for unfolding greater peace of mind and satisfaction in life. By developing greater awareness of the inner recesses of consciousness, something that meditation does, life blossoms and bliss becomes a daily reality.

Body and mind are both impermanent. Seek that which is everlasting and not subject to the vicissitudes of phenomenal existence.

Open the lotus buds of your soul. Each petal is permeated with the exuberance of joy. Sow the seeds of forgiveness and charity. Although the trials of life have buffeted your sails and thrown your craft upon the rocks, the eternal smile of ecstasy still shines upon you.

The vitality of the cosmos is seeking you, as a worthy conduit of divine expression.

Posted by on September 25th, 2011 Comments Off on The fisherman at Taravao Point