meditation and spiritual growth

The starting lineup for today’s baseball game was only slightly changed from last Monday. Akira would occupy the mound as pitcher, and Roka as catcher. Jiro, Makoto, Sachio and Torio would be in the infield with gloves waiting, and Yuki, Rei and Yoshiro would protect the outfield. The Tokyo Bears were about to start the last game of the Little League season.

Akira had been working hard to develop his curve ball. At first it had very little hop or curve to it, but after more advice from the coach and a lot more practice, it seems to be performing much better. Makoto’s batting was coming around, and Yuki’s in fielding improved considerably as he was now able to scoop up those fast ground balls and get it over to first base before the speedy batter. Rei figured out how to keep the sun out of his eyes when looking for a popup fly ball, and Yoshiro mastered catching the ball over his shoulders while on the run.

The day was sunny and filled with excitement. The boys had been together all year and became good friends. Today Rei would host the team for ice cream after the game, as it was now his turn. They looked forward to the game and reflected on the hard work that they had all put in.

Akira stepped out onto the pitchers mound and held his cap as the Japanese National Anthem was played. The umpire then shouted, “play ball,” and the crowd of spectators (mostly parents) all shouted for joy. As far as Akira and his team mates were concerned, regardless of win or lose, they were already winners, since they had given the game their all.

To some people winning is the only thing that matters. Standing with authority above others, or defending family and religious honor are deemed worthy of fighting for. But trying to place yourself above others provides only fleeting joy, reinforces the illusion of ego (self), and may be quickly replaced by jealousy as someone else better qualified comes onto the scene.

Meditation brings us ever closer to the “silent present”. In that thoughtless state of awareness we transcend the field of ignorance (Maya) and delight in every breath we take in pursuit of excellence in action. You are a winner as long as you are trying your best.


ABBA is a vibrant and wonderfully creative Swedish pop music group (formed in Stockholm 1972). They have many top of the chart hits.

A collection of their works is presented in the movie “Mamma Mia,” released in 2008 by Universal Pictures featuring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, and other great talents.

Here are a few lines of lyrics from one of their hit songs that we can use for today’s discussion:

I don’t wanna talk About the things we’ve gone through Though it’s hurting me Now it’s history I’ve played all my cards And that’s what you’ve done too Nothing more to say

No more ace to play

The winner takes it all The loser standing small Beside the victory That’s her destiny … The gods may throw a dice Their minds as cold as ice And someone way down here Loses someone dear The winner takes it all The loser has to fall It’s simple and it’s plain Why should I complain.

…… and the song (The Winner Takes It All) continues.

Does the winner really take it all?

The world that we live in seems to be dominated by Young souls, and their egocentric view of life. A great emphasis is placed on immediate gratification, and the willingness to do almost anything to get ahead (be the winner). Having the most money, becoming the most famous, and being first in class are paramount. Viewing the competition as “weak” and sweeping them aside is accepted behavior.

But this type of conduct only leads to more suffering and a deeper entrenchment in the relativistic illusion of life.

Instead, the steps of progress are anchored in a growing awareness of the absolute and its integration into daily life. Moving onward toward Enlightenment our experience of inner silence becomes more profound. We can categorize that experience as four levels of Savikalpa Samadhi (non-permanent):

Infant soul – Focuses on eliminating the competition so that their own status is not contested.
Samadhi negligible

Baby soul – Winning by almost any means is acceptable.
Samadhi negligible

Young soul – Takes pride, identifies with the rich and famous, and works hard to be on top.
Vitsaranugat Samadhi – experience degrees of inner silence

Mature soul – Is always a winner, even before a contest starts, and does not need to get to the finish line first. Believes in honesty, is self actualized, and has a loving attitude. Vitarkanugat Samadhi – experience deep silence

Anandanugat Samadhi – experience greater degrees of bliss and happiness

Old soul – Is indifferent to win or a loss; residing mostly in the field of the absolute.
Atmikanugat Samadhi – experience the sense “I am” pure consciousness

The nature of bliss cannot be expressed or described. It does not share in the duality of happiness and unhappiness. It is absolute in nature, eternal and ever joyful. It is there to be experienced by everyone, and is an all time reality in Enlightenment.

Eternal silent awareness is ever present, established outside the realm of past and future.

Our meditation practice (Sadhana) establishes these timeless values of life in our awareness.

We gain knowledge by leveraging critical thinking along with sensory perception. We utilize the Scientific Method to help unfold the truths of our world. But perception is not the total basis of knowledge because it depends upon our level of alertness (consciousness). The field of silent awareness (absolute) is the “home of all knowledge,” as consciousness itself is the fabric of reality.

The Scientific Method: » Are techniques for investigating the world and acquiring new knowledge » Is based on gathering observable, empirical, and measurable evidence (data) » Subjects the evidence to reason and critical thought » Formulates hypotheses along with verification/rejection based on the evidence

» Produces objectively verifiable results by anyone

The Sioux Chief Black Elk, referring to the Great Spirit says, “I am blind and cannot see the things of this earth But when the light shines from above it lights my heart

And I know that the eye of the heart sees everything.”

The Self is always the Self; it is never non-Self; but somehow (via Maya) it became identified with the body and with the whole objective field of life. So the ‘I’ got mixed up with ‘mine’; and when the ‘I’ awakens fully to its own identity, human life is experienced in fullness.

We are all winners. The paradigm has changed. The yardstick for measuring who is a winner has now expanded to include everyone, as long as they give life their all. Men, women and children can function in the clear rays of light and rejoice in the play of creation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, “Within us is the soul of the whole; the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One. When it breaks through our intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through our will, it is virtue, when it flows through our affections, it is love”

Meditation is a key for unlocking our full potential. Spend a few minutes each day to open awareness to the timeless. Neglecting this opportunity in life is like “selling a diamond for the price of spinach.”