meditation and spiritual growth

Dear Friends,

Please feel free to contact me if you have suggestions for future post topics, comments, or would like to share your spiritual journey.

john.kirszenberg@meditationandspiritualgrowth.com

Kind regards,
John

meditation and spiritual growth

Once upon a time a universe came into existence.

Although slumbering in Being for countless eons before the invention of time, consciousness became aware of itself and began to stir.

Separateness (the Ego) was born.

The manifestation of mind brought forth the winds of time and space.

The song of Om began to echo across the ethers. Vibrations matured into fluctuations of solidified energy (matter).

A high temperature quark-gluon plasma came into existence 10-6 seconds after the Big Bang. Subatomic particles along with baryons (photon, neutrinos, electrons and quarks) made an appearance. The nucleosynthesis of light element creation started after the first second. The lighter leptons reacted with baryons to create more complex states of matter. Protons and neutrons came together to form heavier states of hydrogen (deuterium).

After only three minutes matter dominated the Universe.

The Ego descended further into creation giving rise (via mind) to thought and intellect.

Although photons (light) were fashioned at the onset of the creation process, the extremely high temperature and pressure of the plasma prevented those photons from escaping and actually being seen. After spending the first 300,000 years in darkness, the Universe lit up and finally became visible.

The distinction between rishi (the knower), devata (the process of knowing) and chandas (the known) took hold.

The awesome temperatures and densities began to dissipate.

Then stars began to shine.

Thermonuclear reactions inside of stars created heavier and heavier chemical elements. As time progressed the expression of cosmic intelligence took on more refined physical structures:

Atoms Galaxies Stars Supernova Molecules Solar Systems Earths Life Bacteria Invertebrates Fish Amphibians Early plants Reptiles Flowers

Mammals

… and people.

The senses, organs of action, and physical sensation (smell, taste, form, touch, and sound) now directed the Ego’s experience.

Today we live within the confines and structure of mind; which we have meticulously assembled around ourselves.

All too often we identify first and foremost with the physical body. The sense of “I” and “mine” predominate. Our first allegiance seems to be toward self and family.

Since different laws of nature predominate over different areas of the Earth, it is natural that human variation in appearance, speech, and mannerism has developed. But unfortunately gripped by the power of Maya (illusion) differences divide rather than unit.

The mind, not strong enough to maintain it essential nature (bliss consciousness) remains overshadowed and a fraction of its inherent infinite potential.

As difference predominates the drumbeat of war and conflagration increase.

There are many causes contributing toward war. Militarism, competing national alliances, religion and cultural difference, poverty, lack of opportunity, hunger, revenge, hatred, and a warped sense of justice – to name a few.

Lack of full development of the individual, family and society, shroud the mind with problems. Without clear vision alternatives are not seen.

Mankind is bound up in the hypnotic trance of materialism, immersed in the outward stroke of evolution.

The Ego has become a citizen of a human tribe, specific to location, race, religion and culture.

There are people who rationalize their bad behavior by blaming others. Not taking responsibility for their own actions, they feel justified in perpetuating tyranny and violence.

As the human ego completed its descent into the realms of fatigue, confusion and problems, a small light of understanding began to shine forth. The tide began to turn.

From time to time some brave souls stand up to defend themselves. Freedom from oppression and tyranny is their goal.

Today we honor those who have fallen in that pursuit.

Afghan War Memorial, Yekaterinburg, Russian

Armenian Genocide Memorial

Boer War Memorial, Palmerston, South Africa

Cenotaph War Memorial, Hong Kong

Civil War Memorial, Denver, CO, USA

Corp Museum Memorial Wall, Israel

Iran – Iraq War Memorial, Baghdad, Iraq

Jewish Holocaust Memorial, New Haven, Australia

Korean War Memorial, Canada

Language Martyrs Monument of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Latvia War Memorial

Memorial dedicated to the victims of Taiping, China

Memorial Tower for the people, genocide under Pol Pot, Cambodia

National War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada

Polish War Memorial

Sarajevo War Memorial

Soldier and Sailors Monument, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

The Philippine Chinese War Memorial Hall

Turkish War Memorial

Uganda Gulu Peace Memorial

Ukrainian Genocide Famine Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington, DC

War Memorial Suez Canal Bayonet

War Memorial, Canberra, Australia

War Memorial, Ireland

War Memorial, Nice, France

War Memorial, Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka

World War I & II, Hainault England War Memorial

World War I Memorial, Elie and Earlsferry, North East Fife, Scotland

Put revenge back into its box. Otherwise, plan on digging a grave for yourself also.

Man did not fall from grace. Rather man is fulfilling his predestined journey traveling from unconsciousness (mineral) to semi-awareness (vegetable) to daytime awareness (animal) to Enlightenment (all men, women and children).

All of the Universe is alive, it’s just in different states of awareness (expressed eternal intelligence).

Today humanity is on the inward stroke of evolution. Looking within to find its essential nature.

This is all part of a marvelous design.

The Unmanifest Self illuminates the ego, which in turn animates the mind. The individual mind has its seat in the human brain. The world of space/time/causality is created, seen and experienced by the mind.

The mind entertains thoughts. It incessantly seems to wander. Connected to the brainstem and spinal column, sensation and spatiality are experienced and made real.

The mind entertains the flow of thought, that is a primary function. So don’t blame it when it ceaselessly wanders about.

Yet, when the mind turns inward during meditation objective knowledge ceases. The mind, illumined by the Self, discovers its true parent. The mind sees its own source and becomes that.

The Ego now becomes a citizen of humanity.

The human mind seeks to merge with cosmic mind.

Sat Chit Ananda (Eternal being, knowledge, bliss):
Maya cannot obscure Sat, but is does obscure Chit and Ananda, making them appear as specifics (a process called Visesha, apparent differentiation by Maya)

On Enlightenment:
There is nothing to realize. It is nitya suddha buddha mukta (the Eternal, pure, aware and liberated) state. It is natural and eternal. There is nothing new to gain. On the other hand a man/women must lose their ignorance. That is all.

This ignorance can be traced to its origin. In this world there is subject (inner) and object (outer). Such duality is characteristic of the mind.

With the birth of mind comes distinction and separateness, the whole field of multiplicity. Good and evil then become relative terms of importance. They are measurements of gain or loss with respect to the ego.

The human Ego is now becoming a citizen of the cosmic mind.

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Human evolution propels us forward.

Meditation allows us to take giant leaps ahead. This skill hastens the day of Enlightenment.

Some teachers say “be here now,” or simply, “be in the present moment.” That advice is true coming from their level of consciousness, but not readily realizable for most others.

The disillusion of ignorance remains everyone’s responsibility. Meditate every day.

Let these wars be the last that humankind ever sees. Rise up to that exalted state of eternal absolute bliss consciousness.

It’s best to avert the danger that has yet to come.

Honor fallen heroes by meditating every day. Lay the seeds of compassion and love.

That platform (Enlightenment) of consciousness is abundant life in all its stellar values. Wake up and realize your true eternal identity.

Once upon a time a universe came into existence. But whether that existence is real or not depends upon ones frame of reference.

The Ego is now dissolving into the embrace of eternal bliss. Realize your heritage.

meditation and spiritual growth

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

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

But why is that, and how do we know?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Physical – The dense physical world composed of material, liquid, gas and etheric levels.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The practice of meditation develops all human bodies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is an interesting tale about two identical twins …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great people have said …

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

More the knowledge lesser the Ego, lesser the knowledge, more the Ego

Albert Einstein

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

Rumi

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

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

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

I add …

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

meditation and spiritual growth

The human spirit is free, unfettered and timeless.

With the manifestation of space/time/causation, a multitude of individual egocentric souls are born.

Each soul has the ability to transcend the influence of relativity and experience the bliss of true freedom. Free spirit became individualized, so that it can experience itself.

Every day a new child is born of the Earth. The forces of nature animate the new body and offer it strength, love, and the prospect of a fruitful life.

Each new life wakes to the reality of our relative world. Already overshadowed by the illusion of space/time/causation, that free spirit now begins to perceive and define itself within the confines of individual body and mind.

Parents extend their love, a gentle caress, and protective benevolence. A child comes into the world via parents, but they are independent souls. They are in the protective custody of parents for a time, but they are free and not owned by any man or women.

Additional layers of enslavement are quickly placed on the newborn youngster. Cultural, race, gender and religious values are imposed. Training based on what is perceived to be right, and what is perceived to be wrong, as defined by respective societies, takes place. Each child is taught how to act, think, and evaluate the world.

Layer upon layer of mental constructs and restrictions have taken away the newborns freedom.

The sun shines everywhere the same. It does not hold back its life giving warmth and light. It is humanity that compartmentalizes behavior and action. We create and label as good or bad. Nature makes no such distinction.

After the enslavement of the mind by its identification with concepts and sensations, other human beings in position of power – impose their will upon people.

We are not free because other people want to control us and tell us what to think. They do this out of their own insecurity, limited vision, and impending sense of loss. They are not enlightened.

Big business with its money, Religion (Church, Mosque and Temple), and the Military constantly vie for domination of the masses of people. There are also a multitude of lesser players whose aim is to subjugate and bend your will to theirs.

So today we find that there is a cost for freedom and the attainment of full Human Rights. Until the consciousness of human beings transcend the binding influence of ego; there will be strife, suffering, and the continued suppression of people.

Human Rights for all …

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The Four Freedoms as presented by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, during his State of the Union address:

1. Freedom of speech and expression 2. Freedom of worship 3. Freedom from want

4. Freedom from fear

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From the January 20, 1961, United States Presidential Address by John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

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From Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 10, 1994:

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country,the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!

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Form a speech given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, Austria, June 1993:

Human Rights and Universal Responsibility

“Our world is becoming smaller and ever more interdependent with the rapid growth in population and increasing contact between people and governments. In this light, it is important to reassess the rights and responsibilities of individuals, peoples and nations in relation to each other and to the planet as a whole. This World Conference of organizations and governments concerned about the rights and freedoms of people throughout the world reflects the appreciation of our interdependence. No matter what country or continent we come from we are all basically the same human beings. We have the common human needs and concerns. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering regardless of our race, religion, sex or political status. Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and in freedom. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the basic characteristics of a human being. It is very often the most gifted, dedicated and creative members of our society who become victims of human rights abuses. Thus the political, social, cultural and economic developments of a society are obstructed by the violations of human rights. Therefore, the protection of these rights and freedoms are of immense importance both for the individuals affected and for the development of the society as a whole.

“It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. Some people think that causing pain to others may lead to their own happiness or that their own happiness is of such importance that the pain of others is of no significance. But this is clearly short-sighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is short-lived. In the long run causing others misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear and suspicion for oneself.

“The key to creating a better and more peaceful world is the development of love and compassion for others. This naturally means we must develop concern for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we are. In this respect, the non-governmental organisations have a key role to play. You not only create awareness for the need to respect the rights of all human beings, but also give the victims of human rights violations hope for a better future. When I travelled to Europe for the first time in 1973, I talked about the increasing interdependence of the world and the need to develop a sense of universal responsibility. We need to think in global terms because the effects of one nation’s actions are felt far beyond its borders. The acceptance of universally binding standards of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants of Human Rights is essential in today’s shrinking world. Respect for fundamental human rights should not remain an ideal to be achieved but a requisite foundation for every human society

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David Cameron’s speech on the European court of human rights – Wednesday 25 January 2012

UK Commitment to Human Rights

First, I want to make something clear. Human rights is a cause that runs deep in the British heart and long in British history. In the thirteenth century, the Magna Carta set down specific rights for citizens, including the right to freedom from unlawful detention. In the seventeenth century, the Petition of Right gave new authority to Parliament; and the Bill of Rights set limits on the power of the monarchy.

By the eighteenth century it was said that: “this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our constitution, and rooted in our very soil, that a slave the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and with regard to all natural rights becomes instantly a freeman.”

It was that same spirit that led to the abolition of slavery … that drove the battle against tyranny in two World Wars … and that inspired Winston Churchill to promise that the end of the “world struggle” would see the “enthronement of human rights”.

As he put it, victory in that war was the “victory of an ideal founded on the right of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, and on the conception of the State as the servant, not the master, of its people.” These beliefs have animated the British people for centuries – and they animate us today.

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Vision of Humanity has published their 2012 Global Peace Index. Here is their ranking by country:

From most peaceful to least …

1. Iceland (the best) 2. Denmark 3. New Zealand 4 Canada 5. Japan 6. Austria 6. Ireland 8. Slovenia 9. Finland 10. Switzerland 11. Belgium 12. Qatar 13. Czech Republic 14. Sweden 15. Germany 16. Portugal 17. Hungary 18. Norway 19. Bhutan 20. Malaysia 21. Mauritius 22. Australia 23. Singapore 24. Poland 25. Spain 26. Slovakia 27. Taiwan 28. Netherlands 29. United Kingdom 30. Chile 31. Botswana 32. Romania 33. Uruguay 34. Vietnam 35. Croatia 36. Costa Rica 37. Laos 38. Italy 39. Bulgaria 40. France 41. Estonia 42. South Korea 43. Lithuania 44. Argentina 45. Latvia 46. United Arab Emirates 47. Kuwait 48. Mozambique 49. Namibia 50. Ghana 51. Zambia 52. Sierra Leone 53. Lesotho 54. Morocco 55. Tanzania 56. Burkina Faso 56. Djibouti 58. Mongolia 59. Oman 60. Malawi 61. Panama 62. Jordan 63. Indonesia 64. Serbia 65. Herzegovina 66. Albania 67. Moldova 68. Macedonia (FYR) 69. Guyana 70. Cuba 71. Ukraine 72. Tunisia 73. Cyprus 74. Gambia 75. Gabon 76. Paraguay 77. Greece 78. Senegal 79. Peru 80. Nepal 81. Montenegro 81. Nicaragua 83. Brazil 84. Bolivia 85. Ecuador 85. Swaziland 87. Equatorial Guinea 88. United States of America 89. China 90. Dominican Republic 91. Bangladesh 92. Guinea 93. Papua New Guinea 94. Trinidad and Tobago 95. Angola 95. Guinea-Bissau 97. Cameroon 98. Uganda 99. Madagascar 100. Tajikistan 101. Liberia 102. Mali 103. Sri Lanka 104. Republic of Congo 105. Kazakhstan 106. Saudi Arabia 107. Haiti 108. Cambodia 109. Belarus 110. Uzbekistan 111. Egypt 111. El Salvador 113. Jamaica 114. Benin 115. Armenia 116. Niger 117. Turkmenistan 118. Bahrain 119. Rwanda 120. Kenya 121. Algeria 122. Eritrea 123. Venezuela 124. Guatemala 125. Mauritania 126. Thailand 127. South Africa 128. Iran 129. Honduras 130. Turkey 131. Kyrgyz Republic 132. Azerbaijan 133. Philippines 134. Cote d’Ivoire 135. Mexico 136. Lebanon 137. Ethiopia 138. Burundi 139. Myanmar 140. Zimbabwe 141. Georgia 142. India 143. Yemen 144. Colombia 145. Chad 146. Nigeria 147. Libya 148. Syria 149. Pakistan 150. Israel 151. Central African Republic 152. North Korea 153. Russia 154. Democratic Republic of the Congo 155. Iraq 156. Sudan 157. Afghanistan

158. Somalia (the worst)

Reference:
www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/

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Amnesty International keeps track of Human Rights around the world. Their report by Region and Country can be found at …

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries

§§

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom – has found the following …

United States Commission On International Religious Freedom
Annual Report 2011

Countries of Particular Concern – CPC Recommended for CPC Designation Watch List Countries – 

Where serious violations of religious freedom are engaged in or tolerated by the government.

Burma China Eritrea Iran North Korea Saudi Arabia Sudan

Uzbekistan

Burma China Eritrea Iran North Korea Saudi Arabia Sudan Uzbekistan Egypt Iraq Nigeria Pakistan Turkmenistan

Vietnam

Afghanistan Belarus Cuba India Indonesia Laos Russia Somalia Tajikistan Turkey

Venezuela

Reference:
http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-and-briefs/annual-report/3594-2011-annual-report.html

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Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication lists …

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Free – 89 Countries

Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Cape Verde
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guyana
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kiribati
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Zealand
Northern Cyprus
Norway
Palau
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico (USA)
Romania
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan (ROC)
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Vanuatu

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Partly Free – 64 Countries

Abkhazia (Georgia)
Albania
Armenia
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Central African Republic
Colombia
Comoros
East Timor
Ecuador
Fiji
Georgia
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong (China)
Kashmir (India)
Kenya
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mexico
Moldova
Morocco
Mozambique
Nepal
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Philippines
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
Somaliland (Somalia)
Sri Lanka
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tonga
Tunisia
Turkey
Uganda
Ukraine
Venezuela
Zambia

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Not Free – 56 Countries

Afghanistan
Algeria
Angola
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Belarus
Brunei
Burma (Myanmar)
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chad
China (PRC)
Congo, Dem. Rep. of
Congo, Republic of
Côte d’Ivoire
Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip (PNA)
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kashmir (Pakistan)
Kazakhstan
Laos
Libya
Mauritania
Nagorno-Karabakh -Armenia/Azerbaijan)
North Korea
Oman
Qatar
Russia
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
South Ossetia – (Georgia)
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tibet  (China)
Transnistria (Moldova)
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
West Bank (PNA)
Western Sahara – (Morocco)
Yemen
Zimbabwe

Reference:
http://www.freedomhouse.org/reports

§§

Whether born rich or poor, healthy or sick, black or white, tall or short; everyone is valued and divine.

Bowing to cause and affect we weave complex life patterns. Some are beneficial, while others are not. Guard the freedoms that you already have, and work to extend them to others.

Nothing is sacrosanct, so challenge hypocrisy and dogma. Do not be afraid to question. As a caged bird takes flight when the door is open, so to open your heart and mind to all possibilities.

Liberty, freedom and full human rights are your birthright.

Strive in this lifetime to unfold your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual freedom.

Eternal bliss consciousness is the home of all that is and is not.

Since you can think and entertain thoughts, you can meditate. Locate the source of freedom at the seat of thought.

You have always been free, but the clouds of space/time awareness shroud that realization. Meditate every day to lift the fog of unknowing, and reclaim free unbounded eternal consciousness.

meditation and spiritual growth

The original Star Trek series featured Captain James T. Kirk of the star ship U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701) and crew of 430 men and women on a five year mission, “to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before.” As the United States was preparing to land a man on the moon this science fiction series, inspired by Gene Roddenberry, captured the imagination of enthusiasts worldwide. We were all looking forward to the day when Warp drive space travel would become a reality.

Star Trek

This successful TV show inspired other series based on that similar theme, along with 11 movies (12th currently in production).

The Original Series …..….. (1966-1969) The Animated Series ……. (1973-1974) The Next Generation …….. (1987-1994) Deep Space Nine ……..…. (1993-1999) Voyager ……………….…… (1995-2001)

Enterprise …………….…… (2001-2005)

Mr. Spock was known for emphasizing the use of logic over emotion. Scotty, the lieutenant commander and chief engineer, worked to keep the matter/antimatter reaction assisted by dilithium crystals generating high energy plasma for greater than light ship speeds.

A solid substance converted into a liquid is an example of a thermodynamic phase transition from one state of matter to another. Or more simply put, under the right conditions a solid material (ice) can transform to a liquid (ice melting to water), a liquid into a gas (water into steam), and gas into a plasma Bose-Einstein condensate.

When the right circumstances are present, a phase transition occurs rapidly. For human beings, when the “last stress” is release from the nervous system, enlightenment suddenly dawns.

In our travels from Baltimore to San Francisco there are mileage markers and sign posts along the way. Just as the scenery changes from flat land, to mountains and to valleys, so to on our trip toward Enlightenment there are also visible milestones. Each step along the path brings about greater unfoldment of our potential in the realm of body, mind and spirit.

Physical – better physiological functioning of systems Astral – temperance of desire, deeper but more stable emotions Mental – clearer and more focused thinking

Causal – growth of maturity and wisdom

After starting meditation the practitioner should notice beneficial changes in their life. Allow four to six months to evaluate how you are doing. Regularity is of utmost importance. If your instruction is to practice 20-minutes morning and evening, incorporate that into your daily routine. Get up in the morning, shower, meditate, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, meditate, eat dinner, and relax for the evening. Or whatever your daily instruction is (once a day, twice a day, 20-minutes, two hours, etc.) incorporate that into your schedule and be consistent.

Benefit comes through continued regular practice.

While sitting in the car at Embarcadero Boulevard admiring the view of Fisherman’s Wharf, we should take our foot off the brake and coast down the road to San Francisco’s Pier 39. Like that, meditation provides us a clear and speedy path toward development of full potential.

Inner silence * (waking & dreaming & sleeping) = Full Potential

The daily practice of meditation (and activity) integrates the value of pure consciousness into our waking, dreaming, and sleeping states. As the three states become more familiar with pure awareness the contrast between being in meditation, or out of meditation while active, become less and less.

We have learned in a previous post that there is a finest relative value in the created world. Translating that into other terms, it means that there is a final last stress in the human nervous system to be dissolved before Enlightenment dawns.

That last stress may dissolve at any time. For some people it may occur during sleep or while reading. Perhaps the last stress goes while we are on a walk or eating ice cream. If the phase transition occurs and we emerge into Enlightenment while eating ice cream, then we may be inclined to sing the praises of a new technique called the “ice cream meditation.” After all, isn’t that how we became Enlightened?

But more seriously, phase transitions are common in nature and in human beings.

Phase Transition

When a famous teacher was asked, “What should we do immediately after becoming enlightened, retire to the cave and meditate more?” The teacher replied, “Get up and run a 10K marathon. What you need now is activity to stabilize the experience.”

Before we leave Star Trek here is some pertinent advice from the colorful character in the TV series, Mr. Spock:

“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”
–Spock in ‘Amok Time’

“Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans.”
–Spock in ‘I, Mudd’

Phase transitions are an integral part of natures design. The ultimate value of matter may be force fields emanating from the vacuum state, but many pearls of knowledge need to be discovered and understood before we can say that with any certainty. Let’s leave that mystery for our children and future generations to resolve.

But here right now, we can open our eyes to the possibilities that meditation offers. A few minutes a day with eyes closed can expand our vision and propel us toward new vistas.

meditation and spiritual growth

Some spiritual teachers claim that the path to enlightenment is long, arduous, and challenging. It requires great personal sacrifice.

Others claim that no path is necessary at all. That’s because you are already there. They reiterate that only a slight shift in awareness to the “ever present now” is all that is needed.

So which viewpoint is correct? Does enlightenment require years of meditation practice and tapas (penance, physical austerities), or none at all?

Let’s explore this a bit further …

§§

Minutes after I was born my father gave me the name Nizhoni, which means beautiful. It is an appropriate name for a young Navajo girl like me.

Although outsiders know us as the Navajo, we refer to ourselves as the Dine, or Children of the Holy People. Other Indian tribes consider our home in this rocky desert to be too demanding, but we have flourished here for hundreds of years. When I look at the surrounding majestic rock canyons, the mountains and buttes, I’m in awe at the grandeur of this landscape and give thanks to the Great Spirit.

At a young age I worked with my Mother on daily chores to help keep the family feed and clothed. Our major staple is corn (naadaa) but we supplement that with wild plants and game. When the Spanish explores arrived here 100 summers ago they introduced us to sheep; so mutton is now also a part of our diet.

I grew up like most girls in our village, except for the fact that my grandfather was the tribe Shaman. He often wanted to teach me such things but I was never interested. Instead, I prefer the wind in my hair and the warm sun on my face in this real world.

At age 18 I was married to Toh Yah. He is a strong man with a good hunting eye for game. He learned tracking skills at an early age and often accompanied the elders on extended period hunts. When I was near him he smelled masculine. He always made me feel safe. Later when we had children he took keen interest in our three sons and always gave due notice to our daughter.

I love a gentle caress from my husband, and seeing my children at play.

In this harsh desert climate it’s hard to keep your hair looking good, but I try my best. I often spend time making nice clothes and gathering eucalyptus to use as a perfume. Although my ancestors wore deerskin, hip-leggings and moccasins, today we also wear woven cloth and colorful small blankets laced together – but leaving room for our hands (i.e., like a poncho).

As the years passed I watched my children grow and have families of their own. We didn’t stray very far from the canyon lands where I lived. We traded with other tribes and the Mexicans from the South. After Toh Yah passed I am ready to follow.

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In 1850 my family moved from Ireland to Chicago to escape the great famine. For some unknown reason one of our main food staples, the potato, was savaged by the blight. People were starving to death by the hundreds of thousands.

I was born in the Windy City in 1870, and joined my clan of four other brothers and three sisters. My name is Jason. My parents raised us as Protestant, and following that strict work ethic I found my first job at the mill when I was but 14 years old.

When I was eighteen I placed our King James Version of the bible on the kitchen table, along with two other versions. I read the same verse in all three. The words conveyed somewhat different meanings.

Is this why people point to the Bible in support of their own personal opinion? Do we interpret verses to suit our own needs and justifications?

After comparing many other verses I started to question the authenticity of the Protestant text. Was this truly the word of God, or a human manuscripted interpretation?

Is there such a thing as “the word of God?”

I did some research at the library and learned that the Bible as we know it today was largely put together at the Council of Nicea, in 325 AD. Books such as the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene were left out. Many other stories about Jesus were omitted. Some say that during his missing years (age 12 – 30) Jesus traveled in the East. I guess that today’s Christianity was sculptured more by the apostle Paul, than anyone else.

In 553 AD the Roman Emperor Justinian convened the Second Synod to remove the many references to reincarnation espoused in the Bible. That’s because his wife was an ex-prostitute and concerned that if reincarnation were true, she would have to atone for her actions in many future lifetimes.

So I was a Protestant by birth, but left the religion when I reached the age of reason.

In September of 1893, when I was 23 years old, my true spiritual education and quest began. That month spiritual luminaries from around the world gathered in Chicago for the World’s Parliament of Religions.

Worlds Parliament of Religions – Chicago 1893

I heard many speakers but the words of Swami Vivekananda struck a resounding chord in my soul (https://meditationandspiritualgrowth.com/?p=1529). By some stroke of luck (or was it my karma) I heard that the Swami was staying with a family near the outskirts of town. I went to the house and was invited in. The Swami was in the living room speaking to other people. I sat down to listen and asked some questions. His eyes were alive and a heightened sense of serenity pervaded the room. That evening he initiated me into meditation. I have been practicing meditation ever since.

The following year I visited the Swami in New York City, around the time that he established the Vedanta Society. In June of 1895 I sat at his feet as a disciple for two months, at the Thousand Island Park in New York. When he traveled back to Sri Lanka in 1897 I was but one of many followers who accompanied him. When I learned of his passing in July 1902, my heart was broken, but I vowed to continue on in my quest.

In all, I was able to practice meditation for over 40-years before lying on my death bed. I was disappointed that I had not reached the exalted state of enlightenment, but looking back I marveled at the progress I had made. My mind was now blissfully silent and no longer mired in random thoughts. Peace and serenity was upon my face.

§§

My name is Isabella and I remember taking lovely summer vacation trips with my family to Playa de Las Canteras, and the other Spanish beaches. As a young girl I also enjoyed the sun, sand, and my friends.

I am the first child of four, and therefore my parents had high expectations for me. At the very young age of five I was enrolled in Suzuki violin school. I studied hard and gave several performances, but I was not going to be a virtuoso. That was not part of my DNA.

When I was eight years old my elementary school teacher called my parents for a conference. Mrs. Pérez told them that I was an extremely bright student, kind, and loved by my fellow classmates, but that I seemed to be engaged excessively in day dreaming during class. Mrs. Pérez said this was a problem that needed to be addressed. So she gave my father the name of a psychiatrist for me to visit.

I told them all that I would get lost, while spontaneously experiencing inner silence. It was as if my senses had shut down and there was no input from the outer world. My mind was awake inside and I felt that time was suspended. Then I would snap out of it and hear Mrs. Pérez talking at the front of the class.

The doctors didn’t know what to do. They told my parents not to worry because I would outgrow it.

At the age of twelve I started playing soccer with our middle school team. My father was an avid player himself when he was younger, so he accompanied me to all my games. He liked to also serve as an assistant coach, always eager to give me pointers to help my game. Since all four of us kids turned out to be daughters, I guess that I was the son he never had. Although I didn’t like the idea that there had to be a winner and a looser, rough and tumble sports were OK with me.

During the summer of 1961 we traveled overseas for the very first time to the Big Apple, New York City. We visited Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and Radio City Music Hall. When we took a walk at the Thousand Island Park, I suddenly felt very strange. While strolling down Garden Avenue I realized that I had been here before. A left turn on Rainbow Street, all the way down to the end where it intersects the junction between Prospect Avenue, Sunset and Coast; and then forward to Grenell. Later on Eden Street I found the house of silence and peace.

My parents were not avid Church goers, but we made our rounds during the Christmas holiday anyway. They did not believe in that kind of stuff, but they showed up more as an insurance policy. Just in case there was some truth to it, they wanted to be certain that they had good credentials to get thru the pearly gates. As for me, I don’t know if the Good Book and its stories are true or not, but in any event I believe in helping everyone out and sharing love whenever possible. We are all connected to each other. The words “conflict” and “hate” were never in my vocabulary.

At night during sleep I seemed to dream a lot more that my sisters. They could hardly remember anything. But for me, I seemed to remember dreaming most every night.

I often dreamt about flying like a bird over the majestic countryside. Below me were rolling hills covered in lush verdure and tall trees. Small cities and large cities would past under my sight. And occasionally I would fly up high and see the Moon under my wings.

Once I was a soldier fighting the Moors who invaded my country. Once I lived in England and was an attendant to a Duke and Dutchess. I was a farmer, and a mountain man. I was a blacksmith’s daughters, and a gypsy girl. I was an Indian girl named Nizhoni living with my family in the American Southwest. I often dreamt of different people and different places. It was all soothing and peaceful.

I quickly learned that life often gives you the exam before the training lesson. We may call that learning by trial and error, or just gaining experience and becoming wiser over time. But either way, it seemed to me that a better way was needed. We do need to stand up after we fall down. But is this the school of hard knocks, or is there a better way?

I graduated from college and started my newfound career in marketing. It was exciting to work in the big city and I made many new friends at the office.

For lunch I often went outside to site on the bench in the sun. But something startling happened one day. I was lost again in that inner silence, but when I came out of it the world was unlike anything I had experienced before. Although my eyes were open and I saw people walking and I heard the sounds of car traffic, that inner silence did not go away. Now I was that silence, looking out at the world, at my own body and mind, as a spectator.

The experience is oh so blissful. I’m wide awake and witnessing activity along with silence. What is this? How did this happen? What does this all mean?

I spent the next few months enjoying my newfound freedom and trying to understand what had happened. I went to the library and found some interesting books by someone call Swami Vivekananda. I liked his books so I read everything that I could. So this is what enlightenment is, I thought.

Well here I am now sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to Pretoria, South Africa. I left my marketing job and I’m working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Once in Pretoria I’ll meet up with the Foundation’s HIV team and spend my days working to prevent the spread of aids.

§§

Conclusion …

Although everyone is searching for happiness and the meaning of life, virtually no one recognizes that the pursuit of enlightenment is germane to that end. Clouded by the enslavement of the five senses, deluded by cravings and wants, we live life after life is search of riches; as cattle remaining in their stalls.

The story of Nizhoni is one of spiritual awakening, taking place in the year 1620, in the American Southwest.

The story of Jason is one of purpose driven spiritual development; meditation, sacrifice, and a life of virtuous progress toward enlightenment.

The story of Isabella is one of innocents and goodness, spontaneously wakening into the timeless reality of enlightenment.

For Jason the path to enlightenment is long, arduous, and challenging. For Isabella it is a pathless path. Both prescriptions for attaining enlightenment (path or pathless) are correct. What you are faced with depends upon your viewpoint of life, and your current state of consciousness.

There is nothing to be acquired or gained. Referring to enlightenment as “self realization” highlights that only the fog of ignorance (not knowing) needs to be dispelled.

It’s not the divine that must be found, but rather that which deludes you that must be released.

I am neither created nor uncreated, for I have always been here. I am neither deluded nor undeluded, for I have always been here. I am neither of light nor of darkness, for I have always been here. I am the Bliss, I am the Truth, I am the Boundless Sky.

(Avadhuta Gita)

The eternal absolute bliss consciousness is not in the realm of what can be acquired, or not acquired. IT is not in the jurisdiction of time, space, or causation. IT is beyond the arena of mind, concept and thought.

We are all connected to the universe which celebrates life. Today was given to you as a gift. Happiness is inherent to man. Retrace your steps and return to yourself. Slay the false notion of I and mine (ego) and awaken.

meditation and spiritual growth

They say that man is mighty, He governs land and sea; He wields a mighty scepter

On lower powers than he,

But mightier power & stronger Man from his throne has hurled, For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world

From time immemorial human civilization seems to have been led by men. The predominant religions of the world were established by men, and men are the authors of religious scripture.

Hinduism: Established by – the Hindus people of India

Major Scriptures – Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva), Upavedas, Upanishads, Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Buddhism: Established by – Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha

Major Scriptures –Pali Canon, Sarvastivada and Dharmaguptaka texts, Taisho Tripitaka, Kangyur, Pratimoksha, Dhammapada, Udana, Sutta Nipata and others.

Christianity: Established by – Jesus Christ

Major Scriptures – the Jewish scriptures in addition to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

Judaism: Established by – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Aaron

Major Scriptures – the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) which consists of the Torah, Nevi’im (the Prophets, eight books), Talmud, and Ketuvim (eleven books).

Islam: Established by – Muhammad

Major Scriptures – Qur’an, Hadith, and Sufi Texts.

Spiritual growth and Enlightenment is everyone’s birthright; regardless of age, race, social status, gender, or sexual orientation.

As human beings we have a nervous system which is capable of experiencing the unbounded eternal reality of life. We can all ask and comprehend the lofty questions concerning who we are, and what is our purpose in life.

. The human race will not achieve its rightful stature until women are honored in society, given equal rights, full opportunity, and adored as the mother of all created beings.

.

§§

When the Catholic College of Cardinals contains an equal number of women and men, and a woman is elected Pope, humanity will know abundant life.

When Islam amends Sharia Law to give women true equal rights; abolish child, temporary and polygamous marriage; and end honor killings, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Jewish women rabbis are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Hindu women priests are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Buddhist women lamas are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When all governments honor and enforce equal protection for women, humanity will know abundant life.

When Mother Earth is honored, cherished and protected, humanity will know abundant life.

§§

We all come into this world through our Mothers. She exemplifies undying love, untiring sacrifice, and an unfailing faith in us. She nurtures, teaches, and inspires by example.

There are far too many enlightened and saintly women to list in one post, but here are some stirring examples of human divinity.

Akkha Mahadevi:
Living in the 12 century in the south of India, she was a major personality in the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement and contributed 430 Vachanas (Kannada poetry).

She says …

“The arrow that is shot should penetrate so deeply that even the feathers do not show. Hug the body of the Lord so tightly that the bones must be crushed to crumble.

Weld to the divine until the very welding disappears.”

Mother Teresa:
Born (1910) in Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and attained admiration and recognition for her life dedicated to serving the poor and destitute.

Mother Teresa

She says …

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

The Mother:
Born in Paris, France, as Mirra Alfassa on the 21st of February, 1878. By the age of twenty she had attained enlightenment.

Sri Aurobindo considered Alfassa to be an Avatar (incarnation) of the Supreme Shakti.

He wrote;
The One whom we adore as the Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.

Meerabai:
Born in 1498 and known as Meera, she composed a multitude of songs devoted to Lord Krishna.

She sings …

That dark dweller in Braj Is my only refuge. O my companion, worldly comfort is an illusion, As soon you get it, it goes. I have chosen the indestructible for my refuge, Him whom the snake of death will not devour. My beloved dwells in my heart all day, I have actually seen that abode of joy. Meera’s lord is Hari, the indestructible.

My lord, I have taken refuge with you, your maidservant

Sarada Devi:
Born in Jayrambati she was the wife of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Later in life she attained nirvikalpa samadhi and began her role as guru.

Sri Sarada Devi

Sri Anandamayi Ma:
Born in Kheora (Bangladesh) Nirmala Sundari Devi was enlightened at a very early age.

She says …

“People have various visions of gods and goddesses (in me) according to their own predilections. What I was before, I am now, and shall be hereafter. I am also whatever you or anybody may think I am……… why don’t you look at it this way: the yearnings (of seekers after Truth) have brought about this body. All of you have wanted it and so you have found it. That is all you need to know.”

“Always bear this in mind: Everything is in God’s hands, and you are His tool to be used by Him as He pleases. Try to grasp the significance of ‘all is His’. and you will immediately feel free from all burdens. What will be the result of your surrender to Him? None will seem alien, all will be your very own Self.”

“All creation is that. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.”

“God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God’s Play and God’s Creation.”

St Teresa of Avila:
Born as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada on March 28, 1515, in Avila, Spain, she was a Spanish sage and Carmelite nun in the Roman Catholic order.

She says …

“All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.”

“It is here, my daughters that love is to be found – not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.”

“Pain is never permanent.”

“Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things”

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

“To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

Bernadette Soubirous:
Born in 1844, Bernadette is known for her visions (starting at age 14) of the Blessed Lady (Virgin Mary) in a grotto in the outskirts of Lourdes.

Bernadette Soubirous

When asked, “Was she beautiful?”

Bernadette replied, “Oh! Oh! Yes indeed! And even more than that! So lovely that, when you have seen her once, you would willingly die to see her again!”

When asked, “How do you know if it’s really the Blessed Virgin who appeared to you, that it’s not an illusion, a trick of the devil?”

Bernadette replied, “Oh, no! I threw some holy water at her and the apparition made the sign of the cross. She told me. “I am the Immaculate Conception.” and said the rosary with me.”

Noor Inayat Khan:
Raised in mystical Sufi tradition, Noor led a life of self sacrifice and worked for the cause of freedom. Born in Russia in 1914, during World War II she served as British special agent and was executed at the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1944.

Jeanne D’Arc:
Saint Joan of Arc (born 1412) had visions of God that charged to recover France from the English occupation.

She says …

“I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

§§

To promote women’s rights the United Nations drafted the CEDAW document, which has been ratified by almost every nation in the World.

Summary: The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Preamble: Notes that the U.N. Charter “reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women” and that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “affirms the principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex.”
Also takes note of the many resolutions, declarations, and recommendations adopted by UN bodies that promote equal rights for men and women, yet expresses concern that “extensive discrimination against women continues to exist.”

Article 1: Defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Article 2: Instructs States Parties to condemn discrimination against women in all forms and pursue its elimination by all appropriate means, including changing national constitutions and enacting legislation.

Article 3: Mandates that States Parties take all appropriate measures in all fields to “ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them [equal rights].”

Article 4: Allows States Parties to adopt “temporary special measures” to promote equality for women.

Article 5: Requires that States Parties take all appropriate measures to modify social and cultural patterns of behavior to eliminate prejudices, practices and customs based on the inequality of, or prejudices against, either of the sexes and to ensure that family education provides a proper description of the social function of motherhood and the “common responsibility” of both men and women in child rearing and development.

Article 6: Mandates States Parties to prevent trafficking in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

Article 7: Instructs States Parties to end discrimination against women in political and public life, including providing women the right to vote in all elections, to run for public office and to participate in nongovernmental organizations and associations.

Article 8: Obligates States Parties to provide women, on equal status with men, the opportunity to represent their country at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.

Article 9: Declares that States Parties must provide women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality and that of their children.

Article 10: Mandates States Parties grant women equal rights with men in all aspects of the field of education.

Article 11: Requires States Parties to prevent discrimination against women in all aspects of employment, including employment opportunities, hiring criteria, promotion, job security, benefits, remuneration, working conditions, and to protect these rights in the event of marriage or maternity.

Article 12: Instructs States Parties to provide women equal rights with men in all aspects of health care.

Article 13: Declares that States Parties shall eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of economic and social life, including family benefits, financial transactions such as loans and mortgages, and recreational and sporting activities.

Article 14: Highlights the particular problems and contributions of rural women and instructs States Parties to ensure the provisions of the present Convention are applied to them.

Article 15: Mandates that States Parties provide women equal status with men before the law, including with respect to contracts, the administration of property, the movement of persons, and choice of residence.

Article 16: Instructs States Parties to eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of marriage and family relations, including providing equal rights with men to enter into marriage, to choose a spouse, to dissolve a marriage, in matters of child rearing, in the number and spacing of children, in personal matters such as choosing a family name and profession, and for property ownership and management.

Article 17: Establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to evaluate, and make recommendations to further States Parties’ progress in implementing the provisions of this treaty.

Article 18: Instructs States Parties to report to the Committee on their progress within one year of becoming a party to the Convention and at least every four years thereafter, including when the Committee so requests.

Article 19: States the Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure and elect officers for two-year terms.

Article 20: Declares the Committee shall meet at U.N. Headquarters each year for no more than two weeks.

Article 21: Mandates that the Committee report annually on its activities to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, and may make “suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of reports and information received from the States Parties.”

Article 22: Allows for relevant U.N. specialized agencies to be represented at meetings of the Committee and authorizes the Committee to invite them to “submit reports on the implementation of the Convention.”

Article 23: States that nothing in the present Convention will “affect any provisions that are more conducive to the achievement of equality between men and women” that may be contained in a State Party’s legislation or in any other international treaty.

Article 24: Requires States Parties to “adopt all necessary measures at the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Convention.”

Article 25: Declares that CEDAW will be open for signature, ratification and accession by all states.

Article 26: Allows for any State Party to request a revision of the Convention at any time and states that the General Assembly “shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.”

Article 27: Declares that the Convention will enter into force thirty days after the twentieth ratification has been deposited and for countries ratifying thereafter, it will be thirty days before the treaty enters into force.

Article 28: Establishes procedures for reservations made by countries at the time of ratification or accession.

Article 29: Allows for disputes between States Parties to be submitted to arbitration.

Article 30: Instructs the Convention to be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Womens rights around the world

§§

Enlightenment is the birthright of every man, women, and child. It is equally attainable by all.

The human spirit is neither male nor female. As consciousness develops and matures men take on more feminine attributes, and women take on more masculine attributes. The human heart and disposition become more balanced.

When maya (illusion of our true nature) predominates in the awareness of people, societies are fashioned after ‘survival of the fittest” and “might makes right.” That is where we are today, and that is why societies are male dominated.

As human consciousness grows the heart is softened and everyone becomes held in the highest esteem. The fasted way to expand human awareness is through the practice of meditation. It is a royal path.

Close your eyes, begin your meditation practice, and bask in the light of eternal bliss – to promote equal rights for all.

meditation and spiritual growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sparrowhawk

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

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

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

• excretion (output)

An Elephant Family

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

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

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

Hb +  O2 = HbO2

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

Glucose + Oxygen = Carbon dioxide + Water + Energy

C6H12O6 + 6O2 =  6CO2 + H2O + Energy

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

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

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

Types of Physical energy:
• Chemical • Elastic • Electrical • Electrochemical • Electromagnetic Radiant Energy (light) • Gravitational • Kinetic – by virtue of the fact that it’s in motion relative to the ground • Magnetic

• Mass (E=MC2)

• Mechanical • Nuclear • Potential – based upon it state or relationship • Solar energy • Sound

• Thermal, or heat

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

Work = Force * Distance

Dolphins at play

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

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

The five fold natures of Prana are …

Prana: upward energy Apana: downward energy Samana: inward energy Udana: outward energy

Vyana: expansion in all directions, all-encompassing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Apana is centered below the navel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Gallbladder

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

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

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

§§

Jumping for Joy

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

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

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

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

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

meditation and spiritual growth

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?

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

meditation and spiritual growth

Dear friends,

When it comes to learning meditation I strongly recommend that you get training from a qualified teacher.

One on one personal instruction guarantees that you learn a practice correctly, and that you have a support group of other like minded individuals to associate with. Keeping the company of fellow meditators who share your same goal and aspiration will add encourage to your practice.

Learning meditation from a book, YouTube video or even from a blog will not provide you with the correct and full experience.

Although many meditation techniques are easy to do, proper instruction is needed. Look for a meditation tradition that has roots and a long proven history.

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Buddhist, Zen and Tibetan meditation …

Short list of meditation types: • Vipassana (Insight) • Samatha Bhavana (Tranquility) • Metta Bhavana (Loving-Kindness) • Anapanasati • Chod • Dhammakaya • Dzogchen • Kammatthana • Koan • Mahamudra • Mahasati • Mandala • Mindfulness • Ngondro • Phowa • Seon • Shikantaza • Suizen • Tantra • Tonglen • Walking

• Zazen

Meditation centers……………………………….

Aryaloka Buddhist Center
http://www.aryaloka.org/

Aryaloka Buddhist Center world wide contact listing …

http://www.aryaloka.org/contact/worldwide_fwbo.html

Chapin Mill Zen Buddhist meditation center in Rochester, New York, USA
http://www.rzc.org/chapin-mill/

Dharma Drum Retreat Center – Ch’an/Zen Buddhist meditation center in Pine Bush, New York, USA
http://www.dharmadrumretreat.org/

Dzogchen Center | Awakening the Buddha Within – Lama Surya …
http://www.dzogchen.org

Kadampa Meditation Centers Texas
http://meditationintexas.org/about-us/kadampa-school

Kagyu Samye Ling – Tibetan Buddhist Centre – Meditation Courses …
www.samyeling.org

Retreat Centers of the Unified Buddhist Church by Thich Nhat Hanh

http://www.parallax.org/about_centers.html

Saddhamma Foundation – Supporting Vipassana Meditation and Traditional Buddhist Teachings
http://www.saddhamma.org/html/resources-meditation-centers.shtml

Vajrayana Kadampa Buddhist Center
http://www.vajrabc.org

Blogs for knowledge and inspiration ………….

http://www.tricycle.com/meditation-buddhist-practices
http://www.buddhanet.net
http://www.dalailama.com
http://tinybuddha.com

Buddhist eLibrary ………………………………..

http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/library/browse.php?atpath=2

Note – Be sure to also check your Home Town and surrounding area for more Buddhist information.

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Kabbalah meditation

Short list of meditation types: • Mantra meditation • Contemplation • Visualization • Nothingness • Holy Letters

• Divine Names

Meditation centers……………………………….

Kabbalah OnLine
http://www.kabbalaonline.org/

Kabbalah Society
http://www.kabbalahsociety.org/

The Kabbalah Center
http://www.kabbalah.com/

Blogs for knowledge and inspiration ………….
http://laitman.com/
http://www.kabbalahblog.info/

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Kriya Yoga Meditation …

The practice of Kriya Yoga comes from a long lineage of teachers …

The ancient masters, Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rajarsi Janakananda, and Shri Mrinalini Mata.

First published in 1946, and revised later, the book “Autobiography of a Yogi” recounts the many journeys and spiritual awakenings in the life of Paramahansa Yogananda.  It is a wonderful read for everyone on the spiritual path.

Kriya Yoga as taught by the Self-Realization Fellowship consists of first taking the 1-year mail order course, “SRF Lessons for Home Study.”  This provides spiritual knowledge and instruction on some meditation and energizing techniques.  Lessons are mailed to your house about every week.

After completion of the course you will be invited to take initiation (to learn) Kriya Yoga.

Short list of meditation types:
• Self guided • Yoga asanas (body postures) • Energizing techniques • Pranayama (breath) • Hong-Sau

• Kriya Yoga

Meditation centers……………………………….

Self-Realization Fellowship
http://www.yogananda-srf.org/

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Kundalini Meditation …

Short list of meditation types: • Self Guided • Kundalini Maha Yoga • Sahaja Yoga • Siddha Yoga • Shaktipat (Kundalini Awakening)

• Kundalini

Meditation centers……………………………….

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Sahaja Yoga Meditation All programs are free and open to the public.

http://www.sahajayoga.org
http://www.sahajayoga.org/worldwidecontacts

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, disciple of Swami Muktananda Shaktipat initiation

http://www.siddhayoga.org

Shri Anandi Ma Dhyanyoga Centers Kundalini Maha Yoga

Home

Blogs for knowledge and inspiration ………….

http://kundaliniguide.blogspot.com
http://kundalinisplendor.blogspot.com

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Taoist meditation

Short list of movement meditation types:
• Qigong
• T’ai chi ch’uan

Meditation centers……………………………….

The Chi Center Wisdom Healing Qigong
http://www.chicenter.com/Chi/Home/index.cfm

Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi
http://www.instituteofintegralqigongandtaichi.org/

The Qigong Institute
http://www.qigonginstitute.org/

Blogs for knowledge and inspiration ………….

http://www.modernqigong.com/blog/
http://qigongarts.com/blog/
http://www.womensqigong.com/blog/

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Transcendental Meditation …

Learning the practice of Transcendental Meditation involves attending and completing 7 steps:

  1. Introductory Lecture – Presentation on the benefits of TM; to enhance mental potential, personal health, social relationships, overall well being, and World Peace.
  2. Preparatory Lecture – Presentation on the TM tradition, the mechanics on how it works, and how effortless it is.
  3. Personal interview – Meet with your teacher.
  4. Personal instruction – This is where you learn TM.
  5. First Day of Checking – Held in a group setting with the other students who just learned TM, you will verify the correctness of your practice, the do’s and don’ts on how to meditate, and receive further instruction.
  6. Second Day of Checking – In the group meeting you will learn more about the mechanics of TM based on your personal meditation experience.
  7. Third Day of Checking – In the group meeting you will learn more about a vision of possibilities through continued practice, higher states of consciousness, other TM programs, and World Peace.

Short list of meditation types: • Transcendental Meditation (TM) • TM advanced techniques

• TM Sidhi program

Meditation centers………………………………. The Transcendental Meditation Program Learn more about TM and find a local teacher

http://www.tm.org/

Blogs for knowledge and inspiration ………….
http://www.tm.org/blog/

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