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

§§

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

Hello,

I am John Kirszenberg, a fellow traveler on this earth through the current passage of time.   As a long time practitioner and teacher of mediation I have started this blog to share some thoughts that I hope will be beneficial to you while on your own spiritual journey.

Personal works …

Spiritual: Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati, study and meditation Transcendental Meditation teacher (1975) Advanced Mediation technique personal instruction from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1975) TM Siddhi training course (1978) TM Advanced techniques (1978) TM Advanced techniques (1992) Buddhist Vipassana meditation Buddhist mindfulness meditation Sahaja Kundalini Meditation

Self Realization Fellowship Meditation

Academic: Cleveland Heights High School, Science Club President Cleveland Natural History Museum, Planetarium and Observatory speaker (1968-1973) BA in Astronomy Case Western Reserve University A New Variable Star in Serpens, SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) discovery/publication Environmental Sciences Services Association (ESSA), Solar Astronomer (summer 1970 & 1971) Akron Physics Club officer

Cleveland Astronomical Society, Board of Directors member

Professional:
Independent IBM AS/400, iSeries Computer Consultant

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

John Kirszenberg, High School Science Club President

Juan Manuel Cajigal Observatory Caracas Venezuela – transit telescope 1971

Juan Manuel Cajigal Observatory Caracas Venezuela – John Kirszenberg at the transit telescope 1971

meditation and spiritual growth

Dear friends,

Here are listed all the posts (132) that can be found on this site.

I sincerely hope that you have found the articles on this blog to be inspirational as well as informative. My goal is to provide valuable insight and knowledge on meditation and spiritual practices. We are all on this beautiful planet searching for happiness and self realization. Whether you have never meditated, or have just started, or are a seasoned practitioner, I hope that these articles inspire you to continue your practice, learn more about our enchanted world, and help to more quickly usher in the day of YOUR full Self Realization.

A Caribbean dive, bubbles and the source of thought ………. part 1

A Caribbean dive, bubbles and the source of thought ………. part 2

A Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae may bring Enlightenment your way

A matter of perspective

A Mature Ego is an essential part of the Spiritual Equation

A seaside morning meditation (Kabbalah)

A short history of flowers

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

A wave on the ocean

Advice from the Lord of Death, on how best to live (Katha Upanishad)

An Atheist’s perspective on meditation

An iceberg on the ocean, two aspects of the same reality

Ancient Greek Philosophy; as relevant today as it was centuries past

Blue skies and rainy days

Breath and thought; two paths for discovery of your true Self

Buddha’s Wheel of Life

Buddha’s words of wisdom, the Dhammapada

Can a leopard change his spots?

Capture the fort

Changing attitudes, rap music, and the constitution of mind

Dancing Feather and the Inipi (Sweat Lodge) Ceremony

Describing the indescribable, within the limitations of language

Different views on the afterlife

Do less and accomplish more

Don’t put the cart before the Horse

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), American Clergyman, Civil Rights Leader and advocate for Non-Violent change

Emptying out the Sea

Enlightenment is everyone’s birthright

Establish the foundation for peace ………. part 1

Establish the foundation for peace ………. part 2

Every cloud has a silver lining

Every day is a Holiday

Expanding human perception

Finding and living your Dharma

Fire up your imagination

Free will and how choice opens the door of opportunity

Good night dear children, and sweet dreams

Honoring Fallen Heroes

Hop, skip, sing and dance

How full is your glass?

Human birth is rare, so spend your time wisely

In search of perpetual motion, universe after universe

In Tibet the Masters teach Dzogchen Meditation

Inner silence is the seed of creation

Is it a wave or a particle?

It’s time to change your destiny

Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273) Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.

Kong Qiu (551 BC – 479 BC) known as Confucius, the Chinese social philosopher, and his teachings on morality, social relationship, justice and sincerity

Let the light shine in

Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World

Living life’s full potential

Love is the fabric of life

Loving Kindness (Metta) is beneficial to all life

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1917 – 2008), Transcendental Meditation, and the Spiritual Regeneration Movement

Mandalas – spiritual symbol, meditation aid, and subtle energy of the cosmos

Margaret Fuller (1810 – 1850) words of wisdom

Meher Baba (1894-1969) Sufi Master, Mystic, and Avatar of our Age

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948), writer, humanitarian, political and spiritual leader

Native American words to live by

Nepal photo album

Nurturing the artist and scientist within

On the Earth, what goes up usually comes down

Our mother, our world (Part 1, aspects of humanity)

Out of body experiences, a distraction along the path

Outgrowing fear

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), Kriya Yoga, and the Self Realization Fellowship

Passing beyond the field of change

Phase transitions are not just for Star Trek fans

Poverty and today’s need for the unfoldment of greater consciousness

Prana, the Foundation of Life and Catalyst for Spiritual Unfoldment

Rendezvous with Ceres

Rest is the basis of activity

Restoring Human Rights

Rite of passage

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (1870 – 1953) Reestablished Vedic Wisdom in Northern India

Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) Spiritual Luminary

Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950), advocate of Non-dualism, Advaita Vedanta, and Jnana yoga

Stellar evolution, our Sun’s life in the Milky Way

Stories of creation, mythology or fact ………. part 1

Stories of creation, mythology or fact ………. part 2

Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati (1916-1993), Vedanta Scholar and founder of the International Chinmaya Mission

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), Bringing the East and West together

Tales of avarice, deceit, and courage

Tenzin Gyatso (born July 6, 1935) is the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism monk, spiritual leader, teacher, author, poet and peace activist

Thanks for the memories

The Absent Minded Professor, flubber, and superfluids

The absolute and the relative, two aspects of life

The art of contemplation (dhyana)

The breath of life

The brotherhood of the sea

The character of ignorance, and how it can be overcome

The Christian mystic meets Patanjali

The enlightenment of Lau Tzu, and his impact on the world

The Escape velocity of thought is zero

The fisherman at Taravao Point

The Hatfields and the McCoys, a lesson in forgiveness ………. part 1

The Hatfields and the McCoys, a lesson in forgiveness ………. part 2

The Magna Carta, a turning point for Western Civilization

The nature of spirituality; religious ritual verses essence

The One, through a veil of illusion, becomes the many

The Poems of Kabir

The rich girl and the waiter

The Right Brain hemisphere is your highway to the Eternal Transcendent

The Seven States of Consciousness

The Tao, taking advantage of nature’s duality to create computers

The Tree of Knowledge

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals

The value of human life

The Wandering stones of Racetrack Playa

The winner takes it all……or not?

The wisdom of Kabbala

The Wise Woman

The Zen Koan

Thich Nhat Hanh, (born October 11, 1926) is a Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist

Three lessons from the Buddha

Time and Space

Timeless words of wisdom

To be, or not to be, that is the question …

Transcending the World of Duality

Up into the sky

Vedanta Philosophy 101

Virtual Reality, Surrogates, and the Matrix

Water the root to enjoy the fruit

Well begun is half done

What a beautiful sight

What day is it anyway?

What if?

What you do today may change what happened yesterday

You can’t be free if you judge people

Your best behavior

Zen as an art for family cohesion

Zen Wisdom

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.

§§

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 (http://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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire is energy in all its forms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Kundalini Shakti energy is a form of subtle fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kind regards

meditation and spiritual growth

During the early period of the Greek empire Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 – 475 BCE) made significant contributions to emerging philosophical thought. Although his predecessors focused on the unchanging nature of the universe (the essence of matter) Heraclitus brought to light its ever changing aspect.

Heraclitus believed that change was a fundamental part to the universe. He had said, “You cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.” And no doubt some of his views were born from his early childhood realization that he to would die one day, “in sixty years or less.”

To Heraclitus the universe was in constant motion, as in “The Music of the Spheres.” He was a naturalist and believed that all things were administrated via logic. In another time and place he could have easily been labeled a teacher of Taoist beliefs (re: creation & destruction).

Heraclitus of Ephesus

I hope that you will enjoy the following translation (by I. Bywater) of some of his thoughts and ideas…

It is wise to hearken, not to me, but to my Word, and to confess that all things are one.

Though this Word is true evermore, yet men are as unable to understand it when they hear it for the first time as before they have heard it at all. For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Word, men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it truly is. But other men know not what they are doing when awake, even as they forget what they do in sleep.

Fools when they do hear are like the deaf: of them does the saying bear witness that they are absent when present.

Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men if they have souls that understand not their language.

The many do not take heed of such things as those they meet with, nor do they mark them when they are taught, though they think they do.

Knowing not how to listen nor how to speak.

If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult.

Those who seek for gold dig up much earth and find a little.

Nature loves to hide.

The lord whose is the oracle at Delphoi neither utters nor hides his meaning, but shows it by a sign.

The things that can be seen, heard, and learned are what I prize the most.

The eyes are more exact witnesses than the ears.

Pythagoras, son of Mnesarchos, practised scientific inquiry beyond all other men, and making a selection of these writings, claimed for his own wisdom what was but a knowledge of many things and an imposture.

Of all whose discourses I have heard, there is not one who attains to understanding that wisdom is apart from all.

Wisdom is one thing. It is to know the thought by which all things are steered through all things.

This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.

The transformations of Fire are, first of all, sea; and half of the sea is earth, half whirlwind.

All things are an exchange for Fire, and Fire for all things, even as wares for gold and gold for wares.

Lunar craters Heraclitus and Licetus

( Heraclitus & Licetus A pair of craters located in the southern highlands region of the Moon. Heraclitus is 55 miles across, has a central crest and large crater (Heraclitus D) near the top of this image giving it the appearence of a ladybug. Licetus, located below Heraclitus is 45 miles in diameter.)

How can one hide from that which never sets?

If there were no sun it would be night, for all the other stars could do.

The sun is new every day.

God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger; but he takes various shapes, just as fire, hen it is mingled with spices, is named according to the savour of each.

If all things were turned to smoke, the nostrils would distinguish them.

Cold things become warm, and what is warm cools; what is wet dries, and the parched is moistened.

It scatters and it gathers; it advances and retires.

You cannot step twice into the same rivers; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.

War is the father of all and the king of all; and some he has made gods and some men, some bond and some free.

Men do not know how what is at variance agrees with itself. It is an attunement of opposite tensions, like that of the bow and the lyre.

It is the opposite which is good for us.

The hidden attunement is better than the open.

Let us not conjecture at random about the greatest things.

Men that love wisdom must be acquainted with very many things indeed.

The straight and the crooked path of the fuller’s comb is one and the same.

Asses would rather have straw than gold.

Oxen are happy when they find bitter vetches to eat.

The sea is the purest and the impurest water. Fish can drink it, and it is good for them; to men it is undrinkable and destructive.

Swine wash in the mire, and barnyard fowls in dust.

Good and ill are one.

Couples are things whole and things not whole, what is drawn together and what is drawn asunder, the harmonious and the discordant. The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one.

Men would not have known the name of justice if these things were not.

To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right.

We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice, and that all things come into being and pass away (?) through strife.

All the things we see when awake are death, even as all we see in slumber are sleep.

The wise is one only. It is unwilling and willing to be called by the name of Zeus.

The bow is called life but its work is death.

Mortals are immortals and immortals are mortals, the one living the others’ death and dying the others’ life.

For it is death to souls to become water, and death to water to become earth. But water comes from earth; and from water, soul

The way up and the way down is one and the same.

In the circumference of a circle the beginning and end are common.

You will not find the boundaries of soul by travelling in any direction, so deep is the measure of it.

Man kindles a light for himself in the night-time, when he has died but is alive. The sleeper, whose vision has been put out, lights up from the dead; he that is awake lights up from the sleeping.

And it is the same thing in us that is quick and dead, awake and asleep, young and old; the former are shifted and become the latter, and the latter in turn are shifted and become the former.

Time is a child playing draughts, the kingly power is a child’s.

I have sought for myself.

We step and do not step into the same rivers; we are and are not.

It is a weariness to labour for the same masters and be ruled by them.

It rests by changing.

When they are born, they wish to live and to meet with their dooms—or rather to rest—and they leave children behind them to meet with their dooms in turn.

A man may be a grandfather in thirty years.

Those who are asleep are fellow-workers (in what goes on in the world).

Thought is common to all.

Those who speak with understanding must hold fast to what is common to all as a city holds fast to its law, and even more strongly. For all human laws are fed by the one divine law. It prevails as much as it will, and suffices for all things with something to spare.

So we must follow the common, yet though my Word is common, the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own.

The waking have one common world, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own.

The way of man has no wisdom, but that of God has.

Man is called a baby by God, even as a child by a man.

Wantonness needs putting out, even more than a house on fire.

It is not good for men to get all they wish to get. It is sickness that makes health pleasant; evil, good; hunger, plenty; weariness, rest.

It is hard to fight with one’s heart’s desire. Whatever it wishes to get, it purchases at the cost of soul.

It is best to hide folly; but it is hard in times of relaxation, over our cups.

Dogs bark at every one they do not know.

The wise man is not known because of men’s want of belief.

The fool is fluttered at every word.

The most esteemed of them knows but fancies, and holds fast to them, yet of a truth justice shall overtake the artificers of lies and the false witnesses.

One day is like any other.

Man’s character is his fate.

There awaits men when they die such things as they look not for nor dream of.

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Meditation develops both the analytical and philosophical qualities of mind.  Spend a few minutes each day with eyes closed delving into the source of thought, absolute bliss consciousness.

meditation and spiritual growth

Dear friends,

Here is a short collection of works that I hope will bring you joy and wonder…

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender,

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant;

they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater

and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble,

it’s a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals,

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,

it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,

keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

(Written between 1906 & 1920 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945))

Believe In Yourself

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren’t the way you had hoped they would be, ….that’s when you have to tell yourself that things will get better.

There are times when people disappoint you and let you down,
but those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of.

There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them.

Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are, So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities,
remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be, because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

Keep believing in yourself.

(Author Unknown)

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Relationships

Relationships – of all kinds – are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely with an open hand,

the sand remains where it is.

The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers.

You may hold on to some of it, but most will be spilled.

A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively,

and the relationship slips away and is lost.

(Author Unknown)

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The most satisfying work … Helping Others The most endangered species … Dedicated Leaders The greatest natural resource … Our Youth The greatest shot in the arm … Encouragement The greatest problem to overcome … Fear The most effective sleeping pill … Peace of Mind The most crippling failure disease … Excuses The most powerful force in life … Love The worlds most incredible computer … The Brain The worst thing to be without … Hope The most powerful relationship tool … The Tongue The two most power-filled words … “I Can” The most powerful communication … Prayer The greatest asset … Faith The most worthless emotion … Self-pity The most prized possession … Self-esteem The most contagious spirit … Enthusiasm

The most beautiful attire … Smile

(Author Unknown)

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Native American wisdom …

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

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

Always touch your shoulder.

*

Native American Prayer

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

hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes. So when life fades, as the fading sunset,

my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)

*

Lakota Instructions for Living

Friend do it this way – that is, whatever you do in life, do the very best you can

with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way, the Power Of The Universe will come to your assistance,

if your heart and mind are in Unity.

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

And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.

If you do it that way – that is, if you truly join your heart and mind as One – whatever you ask for,

that’s the Way It’s Going To Be.

*

Earth, Teach Me

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

Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

(Ute Prayer)

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A human being is a part of a whole, called by us a universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest … a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein

Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.
— Albert Einstein

*

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.

Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”

(Albert Einstein – part of “The World As I See It”)

Bertrand Russell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
— Bertrand Russell

The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.
— Wallace Stevens

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
—Jean Paul Sartre

Before you talk, listen Before you react, think Before you spend, earn Before you criticize, wait Before you pray, forgive Before you quit, try

—Ernest Hemingway

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Buddhist teaching …

On life’s journey Faith is nourishment, Virtuous deeds are a shelter, Wisdom is the light by day and Right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him;

If he has conquered greed nothing can limit his freedom.

(Buddha)

*

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion

(The Dalai Lama)

*

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make our world.

(Buddha)

*

The Four Reliance’s

First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,
not on the words;

Second, rely on the teachings,
not on the personality of the teacher;

Third, rely on real wisdom,
not superficial interpretation;

And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,
not on judgmental perceptions.

(Traditional Buddhist teaching)

Lama Surya Das

Pray Meditate Be aware/Stay awake Bow Practice yoga Feel Chant and sing Breathe and smile Relax/Enjoy/Laugh/Play Create/Envision Let Go/Forgive/Accept Walk/Exercise/Move Work/Serve/Contribute Listen/Learn/Enquire Consider/Reflect Cultivate oneself/Enhance competencies Cultivate contentment Cultivate flexibility Cultivate friendship and collaboration Lighten up Celebrate and appreciate Dream Give thanks Evolve Love Share/Give/Receive Walk softly/Live gently Expand/Radiate/Dissolve Simplify Surrender/Trust

Be born anew

(from Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das)

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Contemplate these timeless words of wisdom. Use them as a guide and inspiration for life. Close the eyes, meditate, and bask in the realm of timeless peace.

meditation and spiritual growth

While attended freshman physics class (1970) the world that I thought I knew became radically skewed.  It turns out that every day events that can easily be explained by the laws of classical physics, fall down when trying to understand our atomic and sub-atomic world.

We’re all familiar with Newton’s laws of motion and the principle of gravity.  How the story of a falling apple inspired his imagination and led to the discovery of gravity and even deeper truths.  Newton invented the mathematics of calculus to help prove his theory.  That same knowledge helped us to successfully put men on the moon in 1969.

Galileo tried to measure the speed of light but was unsuccessful.  However, his genius led to a multitude of other discoveries that also shook our world view.  When Galileo observed (using the first real telescope) four satellites revolving around Jupiter in apparent orbit, the concept that the earth was the center of the universe suddenly dissolved.

With the discovery of the subatomic electron by J. J. Thompson, the introduction of Quantum Mechanics (as coined by Max Born in 1924) and the revolutionary work of Albert Einstein (and others), our understanding of the laws of nature took a giant leap.

Particle Discovery Comment
Electron 1897 by JJ Thompson Subatomic particle with an electric charge of -1
It is 1/1836 the mass of a proton.
Proton 1919 by Ernest Rutherford Subatomic particle with an electric charge of +1
Composed of two up-quarks and one down quark
Neutron 1932 by James Chadwick Subatomic particle with no net charge. 
Mass slightly larger than that of a proton.

Think of the surprise in Thomas Young’s mind when in (1801-1805) he discovered that by passing a beam of light over a thin object (slip of card, or hair) a wave diffraction pattern was created.  Light appeared to have wave properties, but …  

… at the screen the light is always found to be absorbed, as though it were made of discrete particles, which we have later come to call photons.

So we can say that light exhibits particle/wave duality.  The empirical properties of light can best be explained only if we think of light as being both a wave and a particle. 

Are you confounded yet? 

But most eye opening of all (in my humble opinion) is the paradox presented to us by Quantum Mechanics.  Here are some examples of how this science has rocked our view:

* We have the enigma posed by Schrodinger’s cat.  In this thought experiment (not real) a cat is put into a box that has equipment to release poisonous gas when electrons are detected.  After an hour we don’t know if the cat is dead or alive.  We can only know this for sure if we look inside the box.  But according to quantum theory, it is better to say the cat is half dead or half alive, until we check on it.  That’s because the answer is based on probability, rather than on actual fact.  Quantum mechanics teaches that events are best described as probabilities, rather than certainties.  

Schrodinger’s Cat

* Energy seems to come in bundles which we call quanta, or small packets (re: photo electric effect).  The Planck–Einstein equation for the energy of a photon is E = hv, planks constant * frequency (v).

* Physical matter has a wavelength (inversely proportional to the momentum of a particle and the frequency is directly proportional to the particle’s kinetic energy) as demonstrated by Louis de Broglie in 1924. 

Louis de Broglie

* Moving objects don’t have a well defined position. We can just graphically represent the probability of the existence of that object with respect to time.

* The more precisely the energy of an object is known, the less certain its position in time/space is known.  And the more precisely an objects position in time/space is known, the less certain its momentum is known.  The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is derived from three elements: the wave-particle duality, the indivisibility of energy and momentum transfers, and the lack of complete determinism.  The rest mass energy of a particle is E = mc2, mass times the speed of light squared.

* Two quantum particles can interact at a distance on each other, in a way that seems almost telepathic.  This non-locality aspect of quantum mechanics has been demonstrated; objects that are far apart in space have connections and can affect each other. This does not violate the “faster than light” edict of Special Relativity.

* Even in the complete vacuum of empty space, there is still a vast amount of energy bubbling into and out of existence.

In a more modern version of the same experiment (Thomas Young’s as described above) light is passed through a double slit.  The wave nature of light causes the light waves passing through both slits to interfere, creating an interference pattern of bright and dark bands on the screen.  In 1961 the same experiment was performed with electrons, and in 1974 using one electron at a time; each demonstrating the electron’s particle/wave duality. 

Quantum mechanics demonstrates that we cannot observe the wave of the electron; we can only observe the probability to find the electron.  The electron is a wave, wave length (momentum) and frequency (energy).

Quantum mechanics explains why the machinery of the universe isn’t perfectly predictable, even in theory. 

Is this nature’s way of giving rise to “free will?” 

Has physics encountered consciousness?  Putting your attention on an event influences its outcome.  This has prompted us to reevaluate the concepts of particles, waves, location, and movement in space/time from one place to another.

Einstein showed that Energy and matter are two aspects (views) of the same thing.  Matter can be considered solidified/ localized /potential energy.     

Just as physical matter (atoms) is an expression of energy which interacts with the vacuum state (absolute), so to the human body (composed of atoms) is an expression of energy (prana, ethric, thought/mind forms) anchored in the absolute (bliss consciousness).

Meditation is that key which unfolds bliss consciousness in our personal awareness.

Over time a whole soup of other particles have been discovered, with many more theoretically predicted …

Bubble Chamber – scattered subatomic particles

Leptons  Bosons  Quarks Hypothetical particles
Electron  Photon  Up Neutralino – a leading candidate for dark matter
Electron neutrino W boson Down Photino
Muon Z boson Charm  
Muon neutrino Gluon Strange  
Tau Higgs boson
existence unconfirmed
Top Higgsino
Tau neutrino Graviton
existence unconfirmed
Bottom Gravitino
       
       

The Higgs boson is postulated by electroweak theory primarily to explain the origin of particle masses.  Research into finding (or not) this elusive particle is one of the primary endeavors taking place at The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva (Switzerland).  

What is the nature of energy and physical matter?  We can sit on a chair, but it is mostly empty space, so how is it that we do not fall through? 

The world is not as it seems.  Before enlightenment dawns in our awareness perception/evaluation of the world is extremely limited.  Our personal faculties are vastly underdeveloped.  Through continued practice of meditation our true identity comes into clear view – we are timeless and absolute, and the world is an expression of our SELF.  The play of creativity sprouts from the absolute (vacuum state) as waves of consciousness – which solidify as energy and matter.  The time/space continuum comes into being because the absolute (inherently) wants to experience itself.  The play of consciousness upon the stage of relative existence is for the expansion of happiness, and for life.

Meditate every day to better illuminate the purpose of life, and our central place in that scheme.

meditation and spiritual growth

From the silence within thoughts are born, may be acted upon, and then put to rest. Stars are also born, live an active life, and are then put to rest.

After the Big Bang and start of nucleosynthesis about 13.7 billion years ago stellar nurseries began to form. The initial transition from energy to material (E = mc2, mass times the speed of light squared) took place relatively quickly and resulted in the formation of hydrogen gas. Under the influence of gravity the gas formed vortices and areas of greater density, which in turn condensed to form the first proto stars and galaxy clusters.

The first proto stars burned (thermonuclear fusion) hydrogen, under high density and temperature, and thusly created helium with copious amounts of energy. When a stars’ hydrogen supply is depleted it will then start to burn Helium, and after that start burning even heavier elements.

Hydrogen (deuterium & tritium) = Helium-4, freeing a neutron and 17.59 MeV (million electron volts)

Virtually none of the chemical elements that we use today existed back when the universe was born. In fact, the entire repertoire of the periodic table consisted only of hydrogen, helium, deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and lithium. Not much there to make a soup with.

Stellar Nursery

Stars come in all sizes, but all are mostly big and bigger. Super Giants like Deneb (20 solar masses), Beteljiuce and Antares; and giant stars Acturus and Polux. Some stars like VY Canis Majoris are 2,000 times the size (radius) of our Sun. Eta Carinae may be 300 times as massive as our Sun.

When a star exhausts all of its fuel it will die. If it originally was large enough (about 1.5 times the mass of our sun) it is destined to explode as a nova (or supernova) before becoming dim and cold. Stars less massive will not explode but will go out with a whimper. But in every case the new material synthesized during a stars life time will be spewed out into space, seeding the environment with the new elements that it created.

Successive generations of stars fill the universe with even heavier elements.

All in all, stellar interiors produced all of the different chemical atoms that we have today. It is sometimes said, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” More accurately, we can say that all of the chemical elements that exist in the human body today were indeed created by stars.

Your body is made from star stuff.

The chemical composition of the human body shows what stellar interiors created. 65%…..Oxygen 18%…..Carbon 10%…..Hydrogen 03%…..Nitrogen

04%…..Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Chlorine, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, Cobalt, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium and Fluorine

These chemicals are in the form of water, protein, fats (lipids), carbohydrates, DNA, dissolved organics, gases, and other molecules.

In 1910 astronomers Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell made a major discovery that enabled us to better understand for the first time how stars evolve. They charted a large number of stars on a graph, cataloging them by luminosity (intrinsic brightness) and temperature (color).

HR Diagram

Hertzsprung and Russell (HR Diagram) found that most stars fell onto a curve which they named the “main sequence.” During that stage stars are fusing hydrogen in their cores. After stars are born they migrate into the main sequence, remain there for most of their lifetime, and then migrate away from the main sequence when they transform and eventually die.

The more massive a star, the shorter their lives span. It simply burns its available fuel quicker. A massive star may shine for only 10 million years. A star like our Sun will burn for about 12 billion years. Since our Sun is already 4.5 billion years old, this leaves us all enough time left over (7.5 billion years) to really enjoy ourselves.

Some stars die in a massive explosion (supernova), which in turn could collapse and become neutron stars, pulsars, or black holes. There is a massive black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

In about 4.5 billion years our Sun will become a Red Giant star. Its atmosphere will grow so large that the orbit of the Earth will be inside of it.

Also in about 4.5 billion years we will undergo a “sweet embrace” with the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearby sister. Our Milky Way will “collide” with the Andromeda galaxy. But since most of a galaxy is empty space, we’ll be pretty much spared.

The chemical composition of the sun: 91%…..Hydrogen 08%…..Helium

01%…..Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Silicon, Magnesium, Neon, Iron and Sulfur.

The point is, the constituents of our physical bodies were all made in stellar interiors. All elements in the universe recycle themselves.

We are intimately connected to each other and the Universe. A single action for good can profoundly affect the world.

Our bodies are constructed from star stuff, but our spirit resides in a realm beyond the influence of matter.

Andromeda Galaxy

Being has been described in the Bhagavad Gita …

He is declared to be unmanifest, unthinkable, unchangeable, therefore knowing him as such you should not

grieve.

From creation to dissolution, we act and play on the illusory stage of life.

From William Shakespeare’s, As You Like It, …

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

(Infancy, childhood, lover, soldier, justice, old age, and dementia followed by death).

The curtain has opened for your performance. What are you doing? Hopefully, you are practicing meditation every day to reach the depth of inner silence, to unfold your full infinite potential for the sake of all mankind.