Saturday, April 29, 2006

Human-Centricity and Nature

To consider that the world has no meaning or
purpose is merely to say
that the world is not
centered on humanity. Without his ideals and

motivations, an individual is frightened of being
a nothing in the nothingness of a purposeless

In actuality, man's ideals of "purpose" as the
basis of life
and nature are nothing but his own
conditioned concepts. Nature
cannot be seen in
terms of human thought, logic or language. What

appears cruel and unjust in nature seems so
only when the matter is
considered from view
point of a separated and estranged individual

human. But the rest of nature is totally
unconcerned because the rest
of nature is not

Ramesh S. Balsekar

"The mind that projects the world,

colors it its own way. When you meet a man,
he is a stranger. When you marry him, he
becomes your own self.
When you quarrel,
he becomes your enemy. It is your mind's
that determines what he is to you."

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Friday, April 28, 2006

Teach us, and show us the Way

We call upon the earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring
heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and together we ask that it

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the mountains, the Cascades and the Olympics, the high green
valleys and meadows filled with wild flowers, the snows that never melt, the
summits of intense silence, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our
rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the land which grows our food, the nurturing soil, the fertile fields,
the abundant gardens and orchards, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the forests, the great trees reaching strongly to the sky with earth in
their roots and the heavens in their branches, the fir and the pine and the
cedar, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the creatures of the fields and forests and the seas, our brothers and
sisters the wolves and deer, the eagle and dove, the great whales and the dolphin,
the beautiful Orca and salmon who share our Northwest home, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon all those who have lived on this earth, our ancestors and our friends,
who dreamed the best for future generations, and upon whose lives our lives are
built, and with thanksgiving, we call upon them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

And lastly, we call upon all that we hold most sacred, the presence and power of
the Great Spirit of love and truth which flows through all the Universe, to be with
us to

Teach us, and show us the Way

Anonymous - Chinook
(18th Century)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Worship with your conscience,

Receive grace with humility. Guide with awareness, Lead with modesty.

The altar is a tool. If we kneel before it an say we have done wrong, we
are really telling that to ourselves.
If we give thanks for our good fortune, we are expressing our modest appreciation for good luck. There is no outside force listening
to us. There is no divine retribution for our wickedness. The altar is merely symbolic. Those who follow Tao use it to focus their self-awareness.

When we step away from the altar, we should not lose
self-awareness. We should not take the fact that worship
is symbolic to behave in immoral ways. Instead, we still
have to act with a conscience and lead others without
manipulating them or taking advantage of them.

It takes maturity to grasp that there are no gods and yet
still behave as if there were. It takes insight to know that
you must be your own disciplinarian. Only the wisest can
lay down their own “divine laws” and find guidance as if
they were truly heaven’s word.

by Deng Ming-Dao
from the book
365 Tao Daily Meditations

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Silencing The Chatter

It's been called the monkey mind - the endless chattering in your head as you jump in your mind from thought to thought while you daydream, analyze your relationships, or worry over the future. Eventually, you start to feel like your thoughts are spinning in circles and you're left totally confused.

One way to tame this wild creature in your head is through meditation - although the paradox is that when you clear your mind for meditation you actually invite the monkey in your mind to play. This is when you are given the opportunity to tame this mental beast by moving beyond thought - to become aware of a thought rather than thinking a thought. The difference is subtle, but significant. When you are aware of your thoughts, you can let your thoughts rise and float away without letting them pull you in different directions. Being able to concentrate is one of the tools that allows you to slow down your thought process and focus on observing your thoughts.

To develop your concentration, you may want to start by focusing on the breath while you meditate. Whenever your monkey mind starts acting up, observe your thoughts and then return your focus to your breath. Some breathing meditations call on you to focus on the rise and fall of the breath through the abdomen, while others have you concentrate on the sound of the breath. Fire can also be mesmerizing, and focusing on a candle flame is another useful tool for harnessing the mind. Keep the gaze soft and unfocused while observing the color, shape, and movement of the flame, and try not to blink. Close your eyes when you feel the need and continue watching the flame in your head. Chanting, devotional singing, and mantras also still the mind. However you choose to tame the monkey mind, do so with firm kindness. The next time the chattering arises, notice it and then allow it to go away. With practice, your monkey mind will become quiet and so will you.

Freedom From Thoughts

In my experience, it is not someone
outside us who is trying to propel
and recycle our thoughts! Thoughts are
propelled, created and recycled by us!
Though, much of this might happen
'indirectly', unconsciously and there
might be some delay between... 'what we
do now' and the thoughts that appear
reedom from thoughts looks
impossible until you become free of
them! Even the desires to be 'free of
them' looks just like another thought
which in turn seem to only start more
- When you find yourself submerged in
thoughts, only thing that does work
is... surrender! That is giving up all
'efforts', giving up all 'desires',
giving up all 'care', giving up all...
'doing'! That is... __Playing Dead__!
Imagine... what responses, what efforts
would occur... if you were dead just
this very Moment! Make only those
efforts that someone dead can make
i.e. make No Effort! In my experience,
this does work!
... surrender is not that'I have
given myself to God and I know only
*good* will happen'!... surrender
is 'I am not making any effort now and
I don't care what happens'!
Once you reach the state of 'no thought'...
you see the *ground* on which
thoughts *grow*! This is the SPACE
where you have power to truly see,
observe, select and cultivate thoughts!
This SPACE is also known as Pure
Awareness, Consciousness... it is also
known as Peace! Until we reach that
SPACE... our effort is best directed
only to reach this space rather than
trying to stop thoughts! Surrender is a
great way to reach that Space!

As long as we remain in *touch* with
this Space, we have Power! [Inner Peace
is our Power!]! Once we lose touch with
this Space, we are powerless again and
we tend to become increasingly more
submerged [in thoughts] and
increasingly more powerless! Surrender
['no effort'] is again the way that can
get us *in touch* with Inner Peace!

- When we remain *rooted* in Peace, we
remain __At Home__, we remain in the
position of our Power and the things,
events lose their heaviness! They lose
their heaviness because we realize that
we *already* have that which matters
Most... we have Peace!

Adithya K

~Power of Now

Sleep is comfortable, but awakening is interesting.

There are some who are content with a belief taught at home or in church. They are contented, and they may just as well rest in that stage of realization where they are contented until another impulse is born in their hearts to rise higher. The Sufi does not force his belief or his thoughts upon such souls. In the East, there is a saying that it is a great sin to awaken anyone who is fast asleep. This saying can be symbolically understood. There are many in this world who work and do things and are yet asleep; they seem awake externally, but inwardly, they are asleep. The Sufi considers it a crime to awaken them, for some sleep is good for their health. The work of the Sufi is to give a helping hand to those who have had sufficient sleep and who now begin to stir in their sleep, to turn over. And it is that kind of help which is the real initiation.

The awakened soul sees all of the doings of adults as the doings of the children of one father. He looks upon them as the Father would look upon all human beings on the earth, without thinking that they are German or English or French. They are all equally dear to him. He looks upon all full of forgiveness, not only upon those who deserve it, but also upon the others, for he understands the reason behind it all. By seeing good in everybody and in everything, he begins to develop that divine light that expands itself, illuminating the greater part of life and revealing it as a scene of divine sublimity.

The mystic develops a wider outlook on life, and this wider outlook changes his actions. He develops a point of view that may be called a divine point of view. Then he rises to the state in which he feels that all that is done to him comes from God, and when he himself does right or wrong, he feels that he does right or wrong to God. To arrive at such a stage is true religion. There can be no better religion than this, the true religion of God on earth. This is the point of view that makes a person God-like and divine. He is resigned when badly treated, but for his own shortcomings, he will take himself to task, for all his actions are directed towards God.

A person whose soul has awakened becomes awake to everything he sees and hears. Compared to that person everyone else seems to be with open eyes and yet not to see, to be with open ears and yet not to hear. There are many with open ears, but there is rarely one who hears, and there are many with open eyes, but there is hardly one who sees. ... The moment the soul has awakened, music makes an appeal to it, poetry touches it, words move it, art has an influence upon it. It no longer is a sleeping soul, it is awake and it begins to enjoy life to a fuller extent. It is this awakening of the soul which is mentioned in the Bible, 'Unless the soul is born again it will not enter the kingdom of heaven'. Being born again means that the soul is awakened after having come on earth, and entering the kingdom of heaven means that this world, the same kingdom in which we are standing just now, turns into heaven as soon as the point of view has changed.

Is it not interesting and most wonderful to think that the same earth we walk on is earth to one person and heaven to another? And it is still more interesting to notice that it is we who change it; we change it from earth into heaven, or we change it otherwise. This change comes not by study, nor by anything else, but only by the changing of our point of view

Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

Thoughts and Worlds

How we create the worlds that we live in.

A student writes:
"Although I feel that I have taken in some of the contents of the course books in the sense that I have gained some objectivity regarding anger and attachment, so far I have not taken on a satisfying meditation and daily life practice.
I have established a habit of daily meditation of twenty minutes in the morning and the evening. This is a short period considering the free time I have available. Moreover, I do it as a habit or an obligation rather than in terms of awareness development.
At best it seems to be a respite from emotional pressures of a disturbingly vacuous life. But mainly it's noisy with disconnected thoughts, sometimes stories and even music."

Lama Shenpen:
Have you looked at the new meditation booklet that I think is now available on Sanghaspace? I think you might benefit from having a new contact person to talk to you more on a regular basis about the meditation practice. If you would like that contact the office about it and tell them that I suggested it.

"The teachings on internet however, are very helpful giving the feeling of contact which I really appreciate.
But my life still centers around my obsessive attachment which seems to me more real than anything I've ever experienced. I feel in a way that I'm on another course learning about myself, about another person, about love and about this country I live in.
But I'm aware of the connection with the concepts of openness, clarity and sensitivity which enabled me to embark on this relationship. There is this split between what I can't help thinking of as the real world, actually the world of illusion of course, and the Buddhist path which still seems unreal emotionally. As I continue in the course, I hope that the intellectual and emotional understanding of reality will coincide."

Lama Shenpen:
I hope so too, that is what it aims to do.
I think you describe here very well what amazes us all - how what is unreal is so absorbing and how hard we find it to stay focused on the real. As you say it is an emotional problem, we invest so much emotion in the unreal world which is amazing really.
I often find myself thinking that if it were not for the emotions involved in it, then my life and everyone's life would be meaningless. The movements of thoughts are so subtle they would hardly count for anything, they seem less significant than the spinning of an electron around an atom, yet they create the whole world.
There would only be background radiation and tiny movements of subatomic particles but none of it would mean anything unless there were beings thinking and believing (emotionally investing) in the worlds that are made up of those things.
I think of the planet earth and how from far away it is so tiny it seems totally insignificant but for me it’s the whole drama of my life. Then I think of how it would be if nobody anywhere were having a life like this - then there would be no world anywhere! And if that seems depressing - as if we could simply do without being, we could just stop thinking and creating worlds like this - I realise it is not possible.
Whether I like it or not worlds are going to keep appearing to me and I am going to find myself living in them as if they were real. When I think this I am tremendously motivated to practice Dharma so that I can choose the kind of world I am going to find myself in!
It helps me start to experience the thought worlds as more real than the so called physical world and that makes liberation seem much more real as an option - I wonder if this makes sense to you?

Buddhism Connect

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Constant Consciousness

"That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real." -Ramana Maharshi

Sitting here on the porch, watching the sun go down. Except there is no watcher, just the sun, setting, setting. From purest Emptiness, brilliant clarity shines forth. The sound of the birds, over there. Clouds, a few, right up there. But there is no "up," no "down," no "over," and no "there"-because there is no "me" or "I" for which these directions make sense. There is just this. Simple, clear, easy, effortless, ever-present this.
I became extremely serious about meditation practice when I read the following line from the illustrious Sri Ramana Maharshi: "That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real."
That is a shocking statement, because basically there is nothing-literally nothing-in the deep dreamless state. That was his point. Ultimate reality (or Spirit), Ramana said, cannot be something that pops into consciousness and then pops out. It must be something that is constant, permanent, or, more technically, something that, being timeless, is fully present at every point in time. Therefore, ultimate reality must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep, and anything that is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not ultimate reality.
This profoundly disturbed me, because I had had several kensho or satori-like experiences (glimpses of One Taste), but they were all confined to the waking state. Moreover, most of the things I cared for existed in the waking state. And yet clearly the waking state is not permanent. It comes and goes every twenty-four hours. And yet, according to the great sages, there is something in us that is always conscious-that is, literally conscious or aware at all times and through all states, waking, dreaming, sleeping. And that ever-present awareness is Spirit in us. That underlying current of constant consciousness (or nondual awareness) is a direct and unbroken ray of pure Spirit itself. It is our connection with the Goddess, our pipeline straight to God.
Thus, if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit, we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness, and follow it through all changes of state-waking, dreaming, sleeping. This will: 1) strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body, the mind, the ego, or the soul); and 2) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant-or timeless-through all of those states, namely, Consciousness as Such, by any other name, timeless Spirit.
I had been meditating fairly intensely for around twenty years when I came across that line from Ramana. I had studied Zen with Katigiri and Maezumi; Vajrayana with Kalu and Trungpa; Dzogchen with Pema Norbu and Chagdud; plus Vedanta, TM, Kashmir Shaivism, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Daism, Sufism... well, it's a long list. When I ran across Ramana's statement, I was on an intensive Dzogchen retreat with my primary Dzogchen teacher, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche also stressed the importance of carrying the mirror-mind into the dream and deep sleep states. I began having flashes of this constant nondual awareness, through all states, which Rinpoche confirmed. But it wasn't until a few years later, during a very intense eleven-day period-in which the separate-self seemed to radically, deeply, thoroughly die-that it all seemed to come to fruition. I slept not at all during those eleven days; or rather, I was conscious for eleven days; or rather, I was conscious for eleven days and nights, even as the body and mind went through waking, dreaming and sleeping. I was unmoved in the midst of changes; there was no I to be moved; there was only unwavering empty consciousness, the luminous mirror-mind, the witness that was one with everything witnessed. I simply reverted to what I am, and it has been so, more or less, ever since.
The moment this constant nondual consciousness is obvious in your case, a new destiny will awaken in the midst of the manifest world. You will have discovered your own Buddha Mind, you own Godhead, your own formless, spaceless, timeless, infinite Emptiness, your own Atman that is Brahman, your Keter, Christ consciousness, radiant shekinah-in so many words, One Taste. It is unmistakably so. And just that is your true identity-pure Emptiness or pure unqualifiable Consciousness as Such-and thus you are released from the terror and the torment that necessarily arise when you identify with a little subject in a world of little objects.
Once you find your formless identity as Buddha-mind, as Atman, as pure Spirit or Godhead, you will take that constant, non-dual, ever present consciousness and re-enter the lesser states, subtle mind and gross body, and re-animate them with radiance. You will not remain merely Formless and Empty. You will empty yourself of Emptiness: you will pour yourself out into the mind and world, and create them in the process, and enter them all equally, but especially and particularly that specific mind and body that is called you (that is called, in my case, Ken Wilber): this lesser self will become the vehicle of the Spirit that you are.
And then all things, including your own little mind and body and feelings and thoughts, will arise in the vast Emptiness that you are, and they will self-liberate into their own true nature just as they arise, precisely because you no longer identify with any of them, but rather let them play, let them all arise, in the Emptiness and Openness that you now are. You then will awaken as radical Freedom, and sing those songs of radiant release, beam an infinity too obvious to see, and drink an ocean of delight. You will look at the moon as part of your body and bow to the sun as part of your heart, and all of it is just so. For eternally and always, eternally and always, there is only this.

Material in this column appears in One Taste: The Journals of Ken Wilber, from Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston. Copyright Ken Wilber, 1998.
Constant Consciousness, Ken Wilber, Shambhala Sun, January 1999.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Who" Wants Awakening?

The joke is that it is the ego, the "me," that wants enlightenment,
and enlightenment cannot come until the "me" is demolished.
Ramesh S. Balsekar

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Self or mind is always hiding things from itself.
That's the only way it can exist.
The fact that it doesn't exist is the biggest
secret it keeps from itself.

~ Robin Dale
from Noticing What You Already Know

Friday, April 14, 2006

"In the land of Enlightenment, your learning is of as little use as
clubs are in modern warfare. What is needed here is awareness,"
said the Master.

And he followed that statement up with the story of a disciple
who hired a Lapp refuge as a housemaid, then found to her
dismay that the young woman couldn't run a vacuum cleaner,
operate a mixer, or cope with a washing machine.

"What can you do?" the disciple asked.

The young woman smiled in quiet pride, "I can milk a

Anthony de Mello, S.J.
"When you have understood that all existence,
in separation and
limitation, is painful, and when
you are willing and able to live
integrally, in
oneness with all life, as pure being, you have gone

beyond all need of help. You can help another by
precept and example
and, above all, by your being.
You cannot give what you do not have
and you don't
have what you are not. You can only give what you
and of that you can give limitlessly."

~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness
will protect you from the greatest fear.

Those who follow this path, resolving deep within
themselves to seek Me alone, attain singleness of
purpose. For those who lack resolution, the decisions
of life are many-branched and endless.

-Bhagavad Gita 2:40-41

Before, this mind went wandering

however it pleased,
wherever it wanted,
by whatever way that it liked.
Today I will hold it aptly in check--
as one wielding a goad, an elephant in rut.

-Dhammapada, 23,
translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What is the Path?

Part three of a 6 part interview with Andrew Cohen

Q: What is the path to evolutionary enlightenment and what are the obstacles to it?

A: There is only one obstacle to enlightenment: ego. If we want to be free, if we want to be enlightened, we have to pay the price, and that price is the same as it was five thousand years ago—ego death. In evolutionary enlightenment it is no different: if evolution is actually going to unfold through us, then our attachment to ego has to be transcended. And that is what the path is all about.

Q: Can you explain what you mean by ego?

A: The word “ego” is defined in different ways. In the psychological definition, ego is the self-organizing principle in the psyche. And obviously, this is not the ego we want to transcend, or we're going to be in big trouble! But in the spiritual sense, ego can be simply defined as narcissism, a deeply compulsive fascination with one's own image and sense of oneself as a unique individual. This translates into an unwholesome emotional and psychological enslavement to a profoundly self-centered relationship to life. Narcissism is the postmodern disease, and as long as we are lost in it we will be unavailable, unable to truly respond to the spiritual impulse and its imperative to evolve. Indeed, we are so concerned with the image that we have of ourselves in the mirror of our own awareness that it makes it difficult to have any authentic relationship with the vast and extraordinary life-process we all are a part of. Because of this, too many of us end up spending most of our lives just treading water, not evolving at all. So you see, in this vast context, ego is seen in a very different light than it usually appears: as literally an anti-evolutionary force. And if we have recognized how important our own liberated participation in this whole process is, then we see how essential it is to wrestle this part of our self to the ground and keep it very much under our own control. Why? So that it won't in any way inhibit our availability to participate wholeheartedly in the evolutionary process.

Q: What is the self beyond ego?

A: Well, there are different levels of who you are, of what the self is. The deepest part of you is the self absolute, which abides in and as the unmanifest realm beyond time and form. It can be consciously experienced in meditation and in moments of spontaneous peace and ecstasy. When you experience the self absolute, you experience the part of yourself that has never been born and will never die. It is the ground of being itself, the empty void out of which this whole evolving mass of energy, matter, and consciousness emerged. But this ground, while it is the source of ultimate peace, bliss, and fullness, is not involved in the life process, because it has never become anything, including you.

Then there is what I call the authentic self, which abides between the ground of being and the ego. The Authentic Self is the manifestation and expression of the first cause, or the creative principle, in the awakening human. It is the part of your manifest self that is already free from ego. It's the most wholesome, life-embracing dimension of who you are as an incarnated human being.

More Here . . .