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

Rite of passage

Every newborn welcomed into the human family holds the promise of a full and joyful life.

As we make our way from childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age and retirement, every culture celebrates personal and community milestones.

What does it take to become a man in Papua New Guinea? How is coming of age marked in the Australian Outback, or in the Christian Church? Why pierce the skin in ceremony, have a Sweet Sixteen Party, or stand before your elders and read from the Jewish Torah?

Rite of passage is celebration of life events that mark a turning point. They are each based around three central themes:

Separation – an individual is no longer identified by their prior life status.

Transition – during this period an individual undergoes tests and challenges to prove that they are indeed worthy of the newer upcoming status.

Re-incorporation – having passed the necessary trials and proved their worth in the eyes of the community, the individual is reintroduced to the society with new honors and status.

As we recognize stages of human growth and development, we should also recognize attainment of spiritual milestones.

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Celebration of birth

Mother and child

Every culture since time immemorial welcomes the newborn into society …

For Native Americans, the celebration of a child’s birth starts while the mother-to-be is pregnant. At the time of first moon, the clan’s grandmother prays for the successful entry of the new member. The Mother goes into the woods and collects special herbs for their spiritual leader to use in ceremony. Female relatives and the clan Grandmother assist in the birth. Only rarely are fathers allowed to attend. Thirteen days after birth the Spiritual leader introduces the new child to the tribe.

In India, Hindu ceremonies are performed during pregnancy, to facilitate and promote good health for mother and child. Among the religious orthodoxy, at the time of birth and before the umbilical cord is severed, the father will place a golden spoon or ring dipped in honey, on the babies lips. The word vak (speech) is whispered three times into the child’s right ear, and special mantras for long life are recited.

The Okuyi transit of childhood is celebrated by many Bantu ethnic groups living in Western Africa. When an infant reaches four months of age, or when a child becomes an adolescent. Mother and child are placed in the center of a group surrounded by singing and dancing Okuyi performers. Dressed in costumes resembling the spirit of past clan ancestors, the performers recount the tale of a panther taking the baby. Pointing a spear toward the child, blessings are bestowed. The Okuyi then continues the dance around mother and child.

Most Christian denominations practice Baptism. Parents present their newborn child to the community and priest. This usually takes place during the main Sunday morning service. Parents publically proclaim on behalf of their child that they believe in God and that they will bring the child up to follow Jesus.

The ceremony culminates with the child being sprinkled (poured or immersed) in water. This signifies purity, cleansing from sin, and devotion to God.

The priest will recite, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (according to Matthew 28:19).

From a spiritual standpoint, the anointing with oil on the child’s forehead – is meant to open the brow chakra to religious visions, clairvoyance, observation of auras, and precognition.

In Judaism, a newborn baby boy is presented to the community during the circumcision ceremony, called a “bris.” The Bris Milah usually completes this in about 30-seconds. The event also signifies the child’s entry into the covenant with Abraham.

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some, or all, of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. This practice is not restricted to any particular religion or culture. About 1/6 to 1/3 of all males worldwide are circumcised. Depictions of circumcision have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs.

According to the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota, USA), circumcision may have positive health benefits, which include:

• Easier hygiene
• Decreased risk of urinary tract infections
• Prevention of penile problems
• Decreased risk of penile cancer
• Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections

In Islam, young women often undergo female circumcision.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes this as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.

The Islamic Hadith text indicates that circumcision is better for a woman’s health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband, the Prophet’s saying “do not exceed the limit” means do not totally remove the clitoris.”

According to Wikipedia …

“The procedures known as Female genital mutilation (FGM) were referred to as female circumcision until the early 1980s, when the term “female genital mutilation” came into use. The term was adopted at the third conference of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in 1991 the WHO recommended its use to the United Nations. It has since become the dominant term within the international community and in medical literature.

FGM is typically carried out on girls from a few days old to puberty. It may take place in a hospital, but is usually performed, without anesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife, razor, or scissors. According to the WHO, it is practiced in 28 countries in western, eastern, and north-eastern Africa, in parts of the Middle East, and within some immigrant communities in Europe, North America, and Australasia. The WHO estimates that 100–140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation)

Depending on the degree of mutilation, FGM can have a number of short-term health implications:

• severe pain and shock
• infection
• urine retention
• injury to adjacent tissues
• immediate fatal hemorrhaging

Long-term implications can entail:

• extensive damage of the external reproductive system
• uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections
• cysts and neuromas
• increased risk of Vesico Vaginal Fistula
• complications in pregnancy and child birth
• psychological damage
• sexual dysfunction
• difficulties in menstruation

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Entry in to Manhood

The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania prepare their young men by having them participate in the ritual Maasai Lion Hunt. Participants deliberately seek out the more robust, mature, aggressive, and active lions for pursuit. Armed only with the tribes traditional spear, the young men come face to face with this “king of beasts” to prove their fearlessness. Some never make it back home, but the overwhelming majority do.

The young men are eager to become recognized warriors. Once the Hunt is completed they can take their place in society as men, and actively participate in the security and protection of their tribe’s territory.

The Thread Ceremony (Upanayana) is widely practiced in India by members of orthodox Hindu religious groups. For young boys between the ages of six and twelve this observance is used to highlight the transition to awareness and adult religious responsibilities.

Upanayana

When young Burmese boys approach the age of ten, some participate in the Poy Sang Long Buddhist ceremony. Dressed up like the Buddha, they spend three days ridding around on the shoulder of grown men, imitating the Buddha’s walk toward enlightenment. Those that wish to become monks are then ordained, while the other boys return home.

In Judaism coming of age for a 13-year old boy means having your Bar Mitzvah. After reading from the Torah at a Saturday morning service and completing various requirements, they are now considered to be an adult.

Going forward the Bar Mitzvah candidate now bears their own responsibility for Jewish ritual, law, tradition, and ethics, and is able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.

The evening is usually followed up with celebration and festivities.

From the mid 16th century all the way to the twentieth, young boys in the Western World wore gowns or dresses until the age of eight. A gown was more convenient for potty training and for covering up a fast growing child, especially when clothes were expensive. Then, in celebration, they are given their first pair of pants (breeches). After “breeching” a young boy’s father becomes more actively involved in their upbringing.

The tribe elders pierce the young man’s chest, shoulders, and back muscles with wooden splints. He is then hoisted up into the air. Additional splints are then inserted into his arms and legs. The skulls of his dead grandfather and other ancestors are then placed on the ends of the splints. Because of the skin stabbings, there is some bleeding. All the while the boy is in agony, almost delirious, but yet he is determined to bear the pain in silence. After all, this is his test of manhood as a member of the Mandan Tribe.

Teenage boys often participate in the First Holy Communion ceremony. The word “communion” is derived from the Latin “communion,” and is often interpret to mean fellowship. By taking part in this, their first Holy Eucharist Sacrament (symbolic of Christ’s last supper), they are recognized as adults, and full members of the Christian community.

Young boys of the Native American Cherokee Tribe are blind folded and led into the forest by their fathers. After finding a suitable spot, the boys sit and are left to endure the night without ever removing the blind fold. They are to remain quiet and composed. When the morning sun rises and its first rays strike the boys, they can remove the blind fold and return home as men.

Other Native American rites of passage include confronting various wild animals, hunting and fishing, cultivating combat skills to become a warrior, honoring the Earth and the Great Spirit, and a host of other ceremonies.

Participation in a Vision Quest often serves as a stepping stone toward manhood. It’s a time for wilderness solitude and personal reflection. Contact with animal spirits raises the young man’s awareness to the interconnectedness of all life.

In Australia the Aboriginal tribes send their adolescent boys out on a Walkabout. This is a test to see if they have the survival skills necessary to live on their own in the outback (desert, marsh, mountains, etc.), for a period of up to 6-months.

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Entry into Womanhood

Shanghai International Debutante Ball

The Débutante Ball has long been the celebration of a young ladies entry into formal society. Although started as a French tradition by aristocratic and upper class families, this gala event is now celebrated all over the world.

Debutante (from the French débutante, “female beginner”).

On December 28, 2012, the International Débutante Ball will be held at the New York City , Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Sweet Sixteen is a coming of age party celebrating a girl’s sixteenth birthday, primarily in the United States and Canada.

In the Jewish Tradition a 12 year old girl will have a Bat Mitzvah. It is similar to the Bar Mitzvah as practiced by young men. It denotes that the young girl is now a woman, and as such gladly takes on the responsibilities of her Jewish Heritage.

Bat Mitzvah

It’s interesting to note that the Bat Mitzvah is a relatively new phenomenon. Traditional and Orthodox Judaism still does not recognize the participation of women in religious services. But the more liberal Reformed and Conservative branches do. Those communities started to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah in the late 19th and early 20th century. It is growing steadily as more and more communities have accepted the practice.

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Adolescence

Members of the Unitarian Universalism congregations celebrate Coming of Age (COA). This is for both boys and girls.

Coming of Age

Starting around 12 years old, the congregation’s youth pair up with a mentor, and attend special COA program classes.

They prepare a “faith statement,” which signifies what they believe in and the type of civic and spiritual life they would like to lead. They learn about other world religions, and what their Church’s covenant of faith affirms:

• The inherent worth and dignity of every person
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

When the class is complete the COA participants are presented at a Sunday morning service. They each read their “faith statement,” and the Unitarian Universalism congregation members pledge to stand with them, side by side, in loving support, for their journey into Adulthood.

Many Christian denominations offer the sacrament of Confirmation to their 13-14 year old, boys and girls. Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments that commemorate the life of Christians. At this service the Gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed.

In the American Amish heartland of Pennsylvania the young folk at about age 16 enter into Rumspringa. They then have a choice before themselves; to either choose baptism within the Amish church, or instead leave the community. They have a period of time with which to make that decision.

Come what may, the vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church.

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Adulthood

In Ancient Greece the term “dokimasia” referred to the process whereby young citizens gain the skills necessary to partake in public rights and duties.

Other milestones that signify entry into adulthood are:

• High School Graduation
• The first drivers license
• First legal drinking age
• Gaining the right to vote
• College Fraternity Pledging

In Burma members of the Theravada Buddhism tradition may send their son’s onto the Shinbyu celebration. This gives them a chance to more closely study the teachings of the Buddha, and to follow their Dharma path. If it is right for them they can choose upasampada ordination into the rank of monk.

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Other milestones that all cultures celebrate are:

Marriage
Motherhood
Fatherhood

At our 40th birthday we can say, “I am a free and willing, independent, self responsible human being.”

At our 80th birthday we can say “I have achieved my goals and aspirations. The present is rich, and life is beautiful.”

… and

Death, a transition to another path.

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Your Spiritual Life

Meditation

The first time that you ask the question, “Who am I, what is world all about, how did I get here, and what is my purpose in life,” you have taken the first steps on the Spiritual path.

When you recognize and take note of the beauty, delicacy, strength, and wonder of life, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you stand in awe under the starry night sky and feel amazement, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you hold your newborn child and feel your heart overflowing with joy and love, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you help your neighbor bring in their groceries, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you strive to do your best on the upcoming school exam, and in whatever you do, you are on the Spiritual path

When you read a book and your mind entertains new ideas and possibilities, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you wash your clothes but it’s done with purpose and joy, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you say a prayer before eating, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you treat every day of your life as if the last, and enjoy that day as a bonus, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you care for all men, women and children, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you sit in silence, you are on the Spiritual path.

When you close your eyes to meditate, you are on the Spiritual path.

… and a million and one other ways, you are on the Spiritual path.

Our spiritual journey consists of all that we do, as movement away from identification with our individual body, mind and ego – toward expansion of universal absolute awareness and bliss.

The realization that “I am not body,” “I am not mind,” “I am eternal unbounded Being,” completes the circle of life.

When you start meditation some traditions offer an “initiation” ceremony, while others do not. Your first meditation is a rite of passage.

When you sit in Sat sang with other like minded spiritual people, that is a milestone.

When you take Shaktipat with a spiritual teacher, that is a milestone.

When you rise above the binding influence of culture and religion, that is a milestone.

When your mind transcends in meditation to finer levels of thought, that is a milestone.

When your mind is silent and bliss consciousness dawns, that is the milestone of milestones, your grand rite of passage.

Posted by on October 10th, 2012 Comments Off on Rite of passage

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

Up into the sky

The Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (CREAM VI) experiment

During this time of the year the Sun never sets below the horizon. It goes round and round skimming the mountain tops. Some call this the bottom of the Earth, but I call it majestic Antarctica.

At four in the morning I joined the engineering crew to start up the helium pumps. We had a 14-million cubic foot balloon to fill with that “lighter than air” gas. Sixteen acres of light weight polyethylene fabric was outstretched on the frozen landscape. The wind had subsided to less to that 5 mph and the weather forecasters still held to their prediction of diminishing winds. So today was launch day.

Polyethylene was discovered by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett in 1933. It’s much better than latex for balloons, because it’s less porous and fewer helium atoms escape through the membrane.

As a balloon rises it expands due to the lessening of atmospheric pressure on it. If a balloon is over filled, it will reach a burst altitude. Our calculation of 14-million cubic feet will prevent that from occurring.

I am a graduate student at the University of Maryland. We built and designed the Cosmic Ray Energetic and Mass (CREAM VI) experiment. Our partners from NASA assembled the launch apparatus and handled the logistics. Hopefully our experiment would soon be floating 126,000 feet above the Antarctic landscape. Many hours of planning and construction went into today’s realization of dreams.

I first became interested in space engineering during an introductory high school physics class. When I studied physics I felt awe and marvel, at both the complexity and inherent simplicity of the Universe. As big as the biggest and as small as the smallest, it seemed that everything danced in orderly fashion to the music of natural laws.

My name is Sing and I come from the town of Visakhapatnam, India, that beautiful port city on the Indian southeast coast. My parents are of moderate means as my father is a sales merchant. But somehow he managed to send me and my sisters to good schools. Our family follows the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Guru Nanak (1469-1539) began his life as a young poet and spiritual thinker. He studied both Islam and Hinduism. He refused to follow the Hindu tradition that stratifies the population by cast. Instead he insisted that all people are equal, irrespective of cast, vocation, or gender. He expressed that people should be known by the things that they do and their individual qualities. Guru Nanak said that spiritual pilgrimages and penance were far less important than spiritual practice to develop ones soul. He showed that spiritual growth was through meditation and that by living in harmony with nature the divine would shine in every person.

I practice our form of Kundalini yoga and meditation every day.

By six in the morning the balloon, while still on the ground, was starting to take a shape. I retired to my room for a break while the next crew monitored the helium flow.

Early flight

It seems that the human race has always been mystified and enthralled by the prospect of flight.

On November 21, 1783, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes made the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet in Paris. We’ve come a long way since then, as modern day balloons can fly to an altitude of at least 26 miles (42 kilometers).

Two weeks ago while packing my bags for this trip my brother’s young daughter asked me how many balloons would it take to lift her high up into the sky. She had just seen the movie “Up” and was captivated by that portrayed sense of adventure.

Although the calculations can be quite detailed taking into account – the size of the balloons, the weight and composition of the balloon material (plastic sheet, latex, polyethylene film), the lifting agent used (helium or other), the surface atmospheric pressure and back pressure imposed during flight, but in all …

… it requires approximately 450 cubic liters of helium to lift 1-lb (0.453 kg) off the ground.

So that means you need about 1,900 balloons (at 15-cm radius) in order to lift my niece 30 kg (66 lbs) up into the wild blue yonder.

So you don’t need to be concerned when you go to the carnival or circus, about your child being swept away by a handful of balloons.

One day while practicing my Kundalini yoga I realized that over the past several months the thoughts that came up during meditation seemed to be less distinct and clear. It was like I was experiencing thoughts in a more refined or delicate essence. Then it clicked in my head about what my teacher had once told me; during meditation the mind travels inward to experience more subtle levels of thinking. It’s a natural process. Once it’s started its kind of like diving; taking the correct angle and then just letting go. Gravity does the rest. In meditation it’s the natural tendency of the mind to experience more and more happiness, that effortlessly propels it to finer values of thought.

That’s like when an inflated balloon rests on the ground it’s still rather small. As it rises up into the sky it expands and gets bigger and bigger. Like that, a thought starts out as subtle and non-concrete. It’s just a little push of intelligence and energy. As it rises up through more concrete layers of creation it solidifies more and more. When it finally “bursts’ onto our awareness and it dawns as a thought, it is fully developed and seeks to provide an impetus for further thought or action.

As human beings we have various needs, requirements and desires. Once the basics are fulfilled, we expand our footprint in the world and seek greater understanding and fulfillment.

The Hierarchy of human desire:
• shelter – food – sex
• wealth – so we don’t have to worry about individual existential needs (the prior group)
• power – political empire and control of job
• knowledge – art, science, religion (belief and prayer), and imagination to dare the impossible for humanity
• self actualization
• meditation – to realize who we really are and what our relationship with the universe is.
• enlightenment – the dissolution of the ego establishes us beyond time and space, as part and parcel of the infinite eternal.

Guru Nanak Dev

The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and Sikhism center on:
• Equality of all humans
• Equality of women
• Universal message for all people

The Mul Mantra, found in the Adi Granth religious text, expounds the essence of Sikhism:

“One Creator. Truth is His name. Doer of everything. Fearless, revenge less, undying, unborn, Self illumined, The Guru’s gift, Meditate! True in the beginning. True through all the ages. True even now. Oh Nanak it is forever true.”

It has been said that the Mul Mantra removes negative influences and can change every person’s destiny toward happiness.

§§

Remember to practice meditation every day. As we live and work in this world seek to experience the source of all that is.

Posted by on July 22nd, 2012 Comments Off on Up into the sky