Getting Rid of the Buddha

“The Void needs no reliance; Mahamudra rests on naught.
Without making an effort, but remaining natural,
One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.

If one looks for naught when staring into space;
If with the mind one then observes the mind;
One destroys distinctions and reaches Buddhahood.
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About Mahamudra
Above is a small excerpt from the Song of Mahamudra by Tilopa. In the West people are familiar with the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada and a handful of other texts from the East that inspire them to step into foreverness.  Unless someone has a strong relationship with Buddhism, in particular the Kagyu linage they may not have heard of the Song of Mahamudra and the name Tilopa would be meaningless. There are numerous stories about Tilopa that vaguely outline his life but as usual like with most Teachers or Sages the details are sometimes not overly relevant, scholars could argue for years about ‘information correctness’.  If we are serious about Spirituality we will be interested in transformation. That is what Tilopa’s goal is about, what lives on is a loose map of his experience to create a doorway for others to step into. His student Naropa is a much more familiar name to many and then there was Milarepa .
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Tilopa
Generally if I was to discuss Tilopa and his work I could make it very brief and say one short statement from his Song of Mahamudra that would clearly define his perspective, “Naropa, although it cannot be said, I will say it for you.”  This is my loose translation but it embodies the essence, the indefinable is outside the ‘ known’ and the framework of thought.  I will dig in and unpack more of his often misunderstood approach that is hidden within dogma and wisdom.  In truth Tilopa was a Jnani, the word Jnana is often translated as knowledge, this translation is incorrect in this context, Jnana is more about
experience than information.
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Tilopa was Indian not Tibetan, although he was an advanced Buddhist scholar in his earlier years in Bengal his understandings and depth of experience were way outside what would these days would be considered mainstream Buddhist thought. Although it is not referred to in texts about his work because of his relationship to Buddhism, he was what we would call a non dualist, his perspective was closer to Advaita than anything else, his experience and understanding of Emptiness and the Void eclipses what is presented in mainstream Buddhism. This is in no way a criticism of Buddhism or implying there is a limitation, what I am doing here is breaking the ‘box’ open and going past the surface.  Some may disagree, this is not a concern for me as I know this subject from the ‘inside’ and I don’t have a problem saying that some people are slaves to dogma and it gets in the way as they try and squeeze everything into their belief system.  Tilopa was not about dogma, that came later after he passed over/through; he was interested in removing the dogma that surrounds Advaita and creating a doorway for others to pass through, the fact that it comes under Buddhism is incidental. I will also clarify and this will be in contradiction to some pundits, Advaita is not about philosophy, it is about experience.
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Let’s Go There
The wonderful Sage Jiddu Krishnamurthi once said, ‘you must become nothing‘.  These words are nestled in one of his lectures.  And this is where the Maha Siddha Tilopa and Krishnamurthi meet. A core aspect of Krishnamurti’s work was about undoing dogma, tradition and social conditioning.
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Emptiness is something we often hear about in Buddhism, this Emptiness in certain cases equates with what some of us call the Void, the Silence or Nothingness. Currently, we live in a world where things are valued, if we wanted to name the age we live in it could quite comfortably be called the Age of Obsession, as well as Self Obsession or to coin a new phrase the Age of Attachment to Stuff… let’s dig in and explore a little .
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The World Around
The chaos of life rings and hums all around us, music that resembles ‘filler’, something which often is a product that has very little meaning, it is really just a distraction to make people absent, it adds extra noise to what’s going.  Lots of objects taking up SPACE, information about nothing in particular, academics theorising, philosophers looking smart but really just throwing their opinion into the mix, pride in their words and loving their mirror reflection.  The world we move in is a maze, a mousetrap, a labyrinth, that’s not a problem and although many people on the Spiritual path think we need to escape, I am not in a hurry to run, we can become its slave or master.  Instead of running I will let everything around rise and fall, the relation to space is something that needs attention.
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Fleeting Moments
The world is not solid.  People assume it is, the evidence is if we run head on straight into a bus stop pole, we may cause serious damage; we could call up numerous examples that confirm the world is solid. The world has rules, nature has guidelines that objects generally adhere to… but when we look closely, things come and go, they appear on the stage temporarily, some for thousands of years, they are not permanent. By observing  and understanding the depth of and importance of impermanence comes freedom.  Objects and that includes the bodies people inhabit are constantly being recreated, there is a ‘molecule shuffle’ going on, a refresh every moment. Emptiness is the constant, like a canvas or the silence that allows music notes to breath.
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Buddha and the Mousetrap
Although it may be an uncomfortable thought, it is worth considering going past the Buddha, by saying this I am not being disrespectful.  The Buddha and the teachings in the end are a noose, they are a comfortable place to be in for a period of time, it’s like stopping and pitching a tent as you pass through the desert to seek shelter for the night, a resting place for your camel.  But if you stay too long, nothing changes and you become caught in a maze, it might be a beautiful and enchanting and SAFE but it’s the Buddhist maze and the observer/experiencer of the dream is much bigger than that.
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Mahamudra although it is a word that has been given numerous meanings, it is something that encompasses and includes ‘totality of things’ it is really ‘that which perceives’.  If I was to say it is a WAY of SEEING, it would be partially correct but could be misinterpreted, if I were to define it as a process, Mahamudra is more about the moving of ones awareness.  The real issue is thought, thought is the problem, thought is like a fabric that wraps around things and hides what’s outside it or inside it, thought works like weeds wrapping around a tree that eventually strangles it, thought is a network that imprisons man.

Tilopa tells us
“Without making an effort, but remaining natural,

One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.”

This snippet of brilliance is contradictory to most teachings.  People want to do something and think they have to, there is an understanding that they need to go through a series of steps to reach the goal.  People are educated to achieve, to be more, to score a lot of points and be acceptable to God, it is a classroom mentality.  However, Wisdom comes by extraction, experience leads to Wisdom; there is an over obsession on being good, religious people can be very ugly with their guilt and judgement of others.  Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching reminds humanity to be natural, to see what polarity does. Tilopa is closer to Lao Tse.

What people don’t understand is LIBERATION is the BEGINNING not the end.

The eye of wisdom pierces the veil of Maya
“Don’t do anything” says Tilopa

Taking the wriggles out of nature brings ugliness
Adding to oneself creates a sense of loss and unnecessary seeking

Lao Tse prefers to live by the River
Buddha is long gone, his people are attached to ending suffering
The Void remains the same, Emptiness is full to the brim

Tilopa 2.0

The Fourth Noble Truth

At the core of Buddhist Teachings there are some tenets that are called the Four Noble Truths. Although it may seem an unusual perception to some Buddhists, I see each one of the Noble Truths as complete within themselves and a doorway to transformation.

* I have written on the first three already and will add a link at the bottom of this article.
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According to most Buddhists the Fourth Noble Truth relates to the PATH.  For this article I have borrowed some Buddhist text that seems to clearly define the modern understanding of the Fourth Noble Truth reasonably well.  In this article I will dig in and explore whether it is a great Truth, a real guideline for transformation or a control program used by those who wish to enslave humanity and add members to their club and dress them in their religious uniforms with a few added bangles, beads and statues.  If we don’t rip the Teachings apart and put them under the microscope we could end up wasting our lives and become a slave to dogma, renounce our family and friends thinking that ‘we know’ and they are ignorant and don’t understand.
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Overview of the Fourth Noble Truth
“This path leads to the end of all suffering, if we avoid harming all other living beings, if we sharpen and focus our mind, and if we gain wisdom, each of us can reach perfect happiness, the end of all misery. The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path namely:
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Right Understanding, Right Thought
, Right Speech
, Right Action
, Right Livelihood, Right Effort
, Right Mindfulness
, Right Concentration”

Looking at the above that includes the Noble Eightfold Path, it seems reasonable at a glance, well intentioned, practical and useable in life.  However, I’ll jump straight out of the box and flip it around and bypass the End of Suffering for now. I have an inbuilt program that always says if there is something happening at the end, better check out the starting point, so let’s go to the BEGINNING of Suffering.  What causes this thing that we are all so scared of? It cripples us, people do the most outrageous things due to suffering? We know from experience that when it all becomes too unbearable people my harm themselves or even exit the planet.
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Where Does Suffering Come From
If we look at all suffering, if it’s not physical pain we are feeling then it obviously relates to the mind.
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When I look at the nature of the mind, the mind is essentially Empty, an empty canvas but it is populated at regular intervals by visitors, when I say visitors I mean ‘thoughts’, they come and go and by nature we cling to some of them.
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When I poke around a little further I see that it is not just thought, thought by itself is like words in a book in a library waiting to be read.  This issue is our relationship with thought.
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When I dig further I see it is the way that I or we get caught in thought that is the problem, we attach to it.  Attachment to is a word we will often see when commentators discuss Buddhism, the wise and also the slaves of dogma use it. This is quite simple really, if attachment to thought is the problem, we need to find ways of disentangling from it.
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Thought rises and falls.  A very wise man once said to me, “where there is pain there is clinging”.  This is as bright as the full moon on clear starry night.  This is our quest, to work out a way to detach from thought as it rises in the mind-space.
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Harming Others Harms Us
The Fourth Noble Truth reminds us not to harm others, I like this, all reasonably sane would people love and respect this attitude. We are interconnected, our air, our water, the sun, the fabric that holds the Universes in form is joined together, we move on and in it and we are bound Mother Earth, she shares her fruits with us, we can be part of her beauty or if we live carelessly, in time she will shake her garment and we will experience her very uncomfortable response to it.
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Clarity
“If we sharpen and focus our mind”, I like this, when I read it I know I am on my home turf, safe ground and am not being led into a delusional concept, the underlying idea is for my awareness to look clearly at what is going on.  Many people are lazy in their thinking, garbage from the world around pours in from television sand movies, ads, screens, low quality food, intoxicants, people talking nonsense, examples of hedonism around us that create a sense of what is normal behaviour, intoxicants, just keep shoving it all in to the point where the mind-space is like a windscreen covered in mud, can’t see out and all you have to work with is what’s in the automobile, you can’t see out and have no idea where you are headed, chances are it’s going to be a wreck sooner or later.
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The ‘W’- word 
“If we gain Wisdom”, that makes me giggle, I will withhold the belly-laugh as a courtesy.  Wisdom is something that does not come cheaply.  No book will give it to you, if you are fortunate you may get a hint from someone who has ‘walked-through’ into forever, you can’t get it from prayers … they may help bring life into order and a sense of positive trust may arise. There are a lot of gurus, monks and teachers who will always SAY they could deliver for you, but that’s not real, it’s not YOUIRS, there is a price to pay, your time, your money and even your freedom.  Wisdom arrives from experiencing life, this is no great revelation, the non-religious will know it better than the Sadhaks (spiritual aspirants).  Sadhaks have the ‘elephant in the room’ in the way, the very things they are doing or believe are the things that obstruct the view and are what prevents transformation.  I am not saying that Spiritual practice is useless, I am inferring that eventually it must go, beyond any doubt the elephant of Spirituality blocks the view.
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The impression in the mind of ‘what it is’, ‘what’s on the other side’, ‘what the goal is’ is in essence the problem, what humanity is seeking is not graspable by thought; how can I state this any more clearly?  This IS the PROBLEM. Wisdom comes from doing the hard yards, digging in, facing life’s challenges and using THEM as the doorway.  And I am not using the Christian ‘pick up your cross and follow me’ approach when I say ‘hard yards’; I am saying people need to get uncomfortable, be pushed beyond the limits, BREAK,  go outside the safety zone; if someone doesn’t they will just be a slave to social consciousness.  Social consciousness and freedom are polar opposites, well not really opposites, they hate each other (joke). Freedom is in emptiness, non-clinging, whereas social Consciousness is about the ‘story of the world’.  The story of the world does not allow the unknown, the impossible, it holds everyone prisoner and says, “you are bound by my rules”.  Wisdom comes to those who dare to step out of the world.
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Slaves of the world always say, “I will never know”, they create their own thought prison and limitations.  They assume because they see the unknown as a challenge and unknowable, that nobody else is capable of making Known the Unknown. Wisdom is not static, it unfolds moment to moment, like a flower; it moves like a kaleidoscope it responds and makes decisions on the fly, it is a living intelligence. It is not a bundle of ‘truths’, information or practices, it’s alive.
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“Each of us can reach perfect happiness”, sounds good, people have a sigh of relief, hope for the hopeless, water for the thirsty.  Let’s turn this on its head.  If we are not vigilant we will lie down.  Not all but many of the Sages were great warriors, both in the world and they also fought the battle within. When people get a PROMISE of FUTURE HAPPINESS, it’s really a warning, sure you might get happiness but it must be NOW.  Freedom is NOW. Reaching, reaching, always seeking fulfilment at some stage Utopia, Valhalla, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Mystical Promised Land.  Any desire for it IS the obstacle.  It creates the separateness, a sense of unworthiness, the concept of imperfection. I’m not making this up.  This is true.
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And End the of All Misery
They tell us, “The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path namely:
Right Understanding, Right Thought
, Right Speech
, Right Action
, Right Livelihood, Right Effort
, Right Mindfulness
, Right Concentration.”

And there at a glance seems to lie the solution and as many of us know within a solution there possibly also is the problem.   When there are a lot of ‘rights’, suddenly with it comes the ‘wrongs’, if we are not cautious we can end up living unnaturally.  What I do like about Buddhism is it is often referred to as the Middle Way.  It implies moderation, keeping a balance between indulgence and abstinence;  like people on a Macrobiotic Food Diet, eating from the middle of the food range, a stable diet MAY lead to a balanced mind-space, clearer thinking and by this I mean not getting pushed around too much by the ups and downs of life, I do not imply not having feelings. And I am NOT confusing feelings with emotions.
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Too Tight Too Loose
There is an old expression about a string needing to be the right tension, if it’s too loose its an issue, if it’s too tight it will snap. The tightness and the RIGHT-NESS is where the power mongers come in, this is where they enslave.  Traditionally nearly all communities hold people prisoner, it’s not intentional it’s just the way societies work, ‘what’s normal’ is a subconscious program. When kids are born, immediately the world takes shape, their opinion is being formed.  The real issue is in most cultures there are power-monsters, religions are in bed with governments, sometimes literally.  Those who dominate politics have their hands in the pockets of the money men and the three way relationship is completed by the religious ‘elite’.  Not always, there are great Buddhists, humble, sincere, kind, they live their teachings, are they free? In most cases NO, don’t kid yourself. It comes down to whether you want to be educated by good religious men or free men and women.  This is a question any sincere Spiritual aspirant needs to ask. A good religious or spiritual person may help you live a wholesome life, tell you the story of what God is or isn’t, give you a set of tools, give you hope that in the future there is freedom, but IT’s NOT IT!
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The decision is already made regarding whether an aspirant wants to be led or controlled by a religious tyrant, this answer is easy for most.  However there are people who are naive and have difficulty discriminating, good members of the community need to keep an eye out that these people are safe. We can’t think or make choices for others but we can ‘flag’ problems. Tyrants are always seeking the vulnerable and strange as it seems the vulnerable are at a deep subconscious level seeking the controller; supply and demand.
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What the broader community doesn’t realise is that every Sage, Buddha, experiencer of Christ Consciousness, Siddha or Mystic does the work until the last moment of their ‘imaginary’ incarnation.  Although extraordinary things happen around them, the game, the dream continues until the last breath.
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What mankind calls Suffering is nearly always there, it’s a persons relationship to it that makes the difference. Any idea of a Path implies ‘movement away from what one is, which in truth is the Buddha itself.’
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Tilopa 2.0
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Further reading

First Noble Truth
Second Noble Truth 
Third Noble Truth

Third Noble Truth

To those who are unfamiliar with Buddhist teachings, there is something called the Four Noble Truths.  In my case I write on the subject from a very different perspective than traditional Buddhists and this is because my commentaries come from experience and not from a religious perspective. Those of us who comfortably move in and out of the transcendental at will have the ability to look at doctrines, teachings and scriptural texts and ‘see’ through them, then articulate what is written into a language that is ‘living’ and transformative.  To many Buddhists the common understanding of the Third Noble Truth is the “Knowledge of the Cessation of Suffering”.  The first Noble Truth is the Truth of Suffering and the second is to do with the Cause of Suffering, I have written about these already but this commentary on the Third Noble Truth is not dependant on the other two. Traditionally people consider that the Noble Truths may be sequential but when it comes to wisdom we can enter at any point and it will unfold its mystery.
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Not Feeling the Pain
There is a type of irony right now within this moment.  I am sitting here, my belly full like a chubby smiley Buddha, I feel warm, the food odours waft by, the sweet smells seem to get my salivary glands going a little more.  Being a vegetarian for most of my life I am very fussy and ridiculously over-sensitive, this place I am in has a comfy slightly hipster Eastern contemporary feel about it, around me people are laughing and chatting, everything is cruisey not so bluesy.  Out on the street it’s a little chilly, I’m sitting in a cafe on a popular street in the inner city, lots of bars open with people spilling out onto the pavement. It’s Friday night, everyone seems rather joyous after downing a drink or two, no-one is obnoxious or has drowned in their alcohol … yet.  I can’t see or feel the Suffering right now that my Buddhist brothers and sisters fuss about or speak of.
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Human Nature
There is something that visitors from other worlds must wonder about and although some of us know that a lot of our alien friends have super-minds and present as if they are emotionally dry and wouldn’t crack a smile in a million years (literally). But there are others humanity will encounter who do have a sense of humour, they no doubt would fall off their super-sonic chairs in their shuttle-craft in disbelief watching the antics of humans. Humanity is a very mysterious species, an enigma to the star people from Inner and Outer Space who gaze on in amazement and monitor everything.  The human being is such that if you tell him or her that something is missing, sure enough they won’t be able to help themselves and will head off in all directions to find out what it just might be.
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Rethinking the S-Word
Suffering is our friend.  Strange as it may seem. We do live in an odd world, we interpret things in a particular way but it is so familiar everything seems okay. Our genes carry the opinions of the past civilisations and our ancestors.  We need to reconsider the role of suffering in order to be free. The Noble Truths are about freedom, they are not about acquiring information and adding it to our bundle of supposed wisdom.
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Let’s go there, get personal, realie and feely.  There are people who we have adored, then in an instant a strange shadow emerges out of Emptiness.  In a moment what we perceived as love dissolves right before our eyes, that’s a part of life on planet Earth; friendships and love-ships can change so quickly.  I don’t really have enemies, I try to resolve everything, it’s not always possible but this attitude is healthy, otherwise my days are poisoned. My real enemies are the things I need to change within myself.  Mankind does have an enemy, there is an abomination that wishes to enslave it, it takes the form of various tyrants who run the world, the creators of the systems that dominate the communities we move in.  But suffering, BELOVED SUFFERING is our friend.  It IS the ache in our heart that points us in the direction of DEEP change, it leads us gently or drags us unwillingly into transformation, it is the harbinger of a new season of experiences emerging. It is NOT some tool of a hateful god who seeks vengeance and accountability for our supposed misdeeds or inflicts us with ‘our karma’, if you want to believe that stuff your life may always feel like misery or you will have a dull ache and shadow following you around, ahhh the tragedy of enslaved thinking.
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OUCH!
Like many other people I don’t ‘DO’ or overly like pain, particularly things that physically hurt. Am I soft? NO I am gentle, there is a difference. I like to feel nice, it’s my birthright to be happy and the Western Christian concept of guilt, despair, and repent sinner are control programs. As a child and young teenager I did play Rugby Union and Rugby League; like most teens when all the natural chemicals kicked in I quite enjoyed getting smashed around, struttin’ my stuff, the harder you hit meant the higher in the hierarchy of the Lion Kingdom you were or more specifically Planet of the Human Apes. But as years passed I have loosened up, as a musician I care for my hands and after a large dose of hippiedom in my late teens, acoustic guitars and a lot of brown rice I changed and the artiste within took control of the reins of my being.  I am not one of those unfilfulled artists who carries on like the world owes them something, I do stuff that I love and within this is fulfilment.
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Suffering is something extraordinary.  I know the feelings well that fall under that heading and I don’t run from them, would I like to? Absolutely.  I peep out from under my blankets and say, “gotta get out of here, see ya later alligator” but after a short period of time my Sage within wraps his arms around me, holds me gently and says “you’ll be okay, just wait, we are in this together, there is a new day coming, you are loved and blessed,” my eyes fill up with tears and I stay.  Like many men and women my beloved left, I loved her so dearly, I am not ashamed to say I loved but I am not a victim of love lost, I am a feeling being who has the intelligence to embrace change, to seek understanding, to accept the patterns of the changing kaleidoscope of life and allow others to follow their dreams.  So how on earth do I tell the man that I am who is hurting that ‘suffering is a friend’? If I said this to another fragile person who had a grieving heart, that friend would walk away, they would tell me that I lacked empathy and they would consider me as somebody who was insensitive and although I had written many things over the years that expressed wisdom, in my actions I had proven beyond any doubt that I was all talk with no walk.
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Looking at Noble Truth Number 3
I am writing about the Cessation of Suffering, the Third Noble Truth.  If the teachings of Buddha that are passed down are true, then there is hope that the cessation will come. However we do know that those who run the religions create lies to control, to imprison man and to have power in the strength in numbers by getting their communities to believe in their truths.  So maybe it’s best to bypass the great Gautama Buddha and attempt to come to a point of rest without dogma, scriptures or tradition, to ‘arrive’ by seeing from personal experience.
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So let’s go back to the problem or at least a real scenario and dig in, when we are in it, it bites, we’ve all been there.  Our loved one has just left us high and dry, the pain is unbearable, can’t sleep, everything and everyone reminds us of him or her, it feels like a dark shadow we can’t shake, tears emerge at the strangest times, you think you’re over it then whammo someone says something and you melt like an ice-block in the desert sun, or feel the bitterness of winter and it seems to have no end, your bones hurt from the cold even though it’s a hot sunny day.  Sound familiar?
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What’s Normal?
When resolving things I always like to start from the point where I make a decision of whether it is normal or not; to have an aching heart when someone we love exits the arena of our life is a very natural and healthy response, even though we can say this is not unusual, there will be no consolation when I say, “Hey this is normal”, it won’t pacify the pain nor dry the tears.  If we didn’t feel something it really be would be a concern; we know the Cosmos is in order, it’s uncomfortable yes true; life consists of a number of seasons, things form, grow, sort of stabilise then there is decay, change is constant.  Humans are feeling beings and that is such a beauteous thing about the species; without feelings life becomes just a set of menial tasks, rather drone-esque and robotish.  And if that’s all that life is, best we close down the Universe immediately.
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Feelings
From my experience I know that wisdom comes from experience, experiences unpack feelings. Feelings are important but we need to be cautious that they don’t become our master.  There are days when I don’t want wisdom, I’d rather be a dumb-ass in love, to feel the loving arms I miss, to see her eyes, to feel her being beside me. So here I am with my deepest feelings on the surface, totally unashamedly vulnerable. HOWEVER, this is where I walk through the doorway to freedom each moment, this is what separates the Gods from the Philosophers, the Sadhaks (aspirants) from the Siddhas (the free men/women); freedom is not in the future, it is unfolding each moment, people have been duped by books and false teachers.
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Through this doorway that I peer stands forever, endless possibilities, unknown worlds, changes cascading, glorious Benevolent beings… if I wallow in the state of ‘what isn’t’, in dreams of how I think things should be, clinging to the past and imaginary futures, suffering is my booty, I am its slave.
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The Third Noble Truth as I said was, ” the Cessation of Suffering”.  Suffering at this point and phase of humanity’s evolution is always there, we have a choice whether we enter it, cling to it, allow it to be the driving force behind what we do.  Or we can step off the dance floor of life, take a breather, see it for what it is, just another dance step in the passing show, tripping over our toes …we restore our balance and glide across the floor.
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Freedom is now, not in the imaginary future, it is HERE NOW.  The real issue is people have no idea what it looks or feels like.
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Tilopa 2.0

Going Past the Second Noble Truth

The Great Buddha has been revered by millions of people over the centuries, that wondrous hero gave up what many men desire; fame, fortune, royalty, beautiful wife, beloved child, an exquisite garden he roamed in … he had everything that so many crave.  He walked away from it all off into foreverness to resolve some of the mysteries of life and by his actions not just words said ‘here’s how you do it’.
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End of an Era
The age that the Buddha lived in that we are a part of is just closing its window now, the sun of this era is setting.  Even though it has been spoken of for decades, unbeknown to many people a new world is unfolding just out of view in the background hidden behind the curtain of the ‘stage of life’. We still see the remnants of the outgoing civilisation, regardless of over two thousand years of mankind trying to get it right, the state of the world is even more chaotic, polluted, on the edge of destruction, in the lands where the Buddha roamed there is immense poverty and unbearable pain, hatred, cultural divisions, cruelty to animals, all those things that make us feel a little uncomfortable, many of us try  not to look, at times it’s all too much.
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Two Buddhas
When I was I teenager I loved seeing the statues of the Laughing Buddha, I imagined that chubby wandering wayfarer spreading joy wherever he roamed, sack of goodies over his shoulder, he IS owned by nothing and a slave to no man or imaginary Ghost.  Maybe we could all pick up a sack and follow him across the Universe spreading happiness and bliss; there is great confusion in the world now, I wonder if in the chaos if we all ‘walked out’ the world would settle into a sense of order.  Buddha Gautama was skinnier and less obvious but his story more potent and far reaching across the globe and into future times, he escaped the palace, he bolted.  Hidden forces helped him over the fence to get out of the enchanted worldly-prison. Mankind is guided and nurtured by people from the stars, here I am not joking and I will emphatically state they are alien beings, there is also the great Vedic civilisation that is hidden within the Earth. Many Buddhists wouldn’t know this and would bypass the idea, see it as fantasy.  Buddha didn’t work alone he was sent in to lay a foundation to guide humanity to train the global community in a methodology of how to behave with dignity, to teach people how to live lives with integrity and get out of the thought prison. All humanity is in enslaved and the clean up is done by those who seeded the planet and have overseen its growth.  Many Buddhists generally may not want hear to those sort of things because it is outside their dogma and it would be considered heresy, mere speculation; however the Cosmos does not belong to Buddhists alone and that is a no-brainer; this is about the great escape and as the Buddha may have said, “a chain is a chain even if it’s a gold chain”. Wise men are not bound by religion, dogma or philosophy.
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Understanding Nobility
When we look at the second Noble Truth and frame it as a question, ‘What is the Noble Truth of the origin of suffering?’ It is easy to respond with cliches, let’s not waste our time with that, we can dig deeper and be bigger than that. Nobility is something we need to think about here.  Noble beings have an ability to see through the limitations that mice and men are stuck in.  Being a slave to time and desire are symptoms of the disease that humanity is suffering from.  I have brought time into the picture here because Noble men and women are very forgiving or I will say more specifically they have an understanding that eventually over a long period of time all beings COME back and rest in the Source, I don’t mean oblivion, I am saying that there is a journey OUT through the Cosmos and once a Being is totally awakened to its nature, he, she or it will merge into and reemerge at will to and from the Emptiness; rise and fall, in and out, unfolding into new possibilities. Thus the Nobles understand that a moment in time is just a speck in the grand scheme of things. We have forever and in there lies the compassion of understanding.
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People speak of Truth, Truth depends on what point one is looking from, the idea of Absolute Truth is conceptual, if you would like to believe in an Absolute Truth you can easily find one, hold fast to it, enslave yourself and others; I would not waste my time in debating if there is an Absolute Truth, I am aware of the underlying nature of things but I will not philosophise about it, unless something is experienced first hand it is just an opinion.  However, here in this instance we are looking from the point of Noble-Truth.  We need to BE the Buddha in order to understand what a Noble-Truth may be, if we stay human with the normal parameters that imprison man we will always get it wrong. A Noble Truth in this case is something that will jailbreak a being out of limited thought into foreverness.
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Origin
We are looking at the Origin of Suffering, most of us probably have all heard the words attachment and desire used in relation to the cause of suffering.  The pattern is much like:  Cat sitting in garden sunning itself, mouse scoots by, cat gets sparkly eyes, cat chases mouse, cat eats mouse, yum…savours the after taste.  Cats memory gets loaded up with the yummy sensation. Next day, cat waits in the same spot and hopes one of the mouse’s buddy will pass by, he can sense the flavour in his taste buds… “What do I want?”  Mouse, “When do I want it ?” Now.  This is the pattern that we humans understand all too well, choose your designer addiction if you please.
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The Buddha Eyes 
Like other awake men and women I have looked out my Buddha window many times, I see the problems that arise from wanting to keep things longer than their use-by date or those moments when I see something scrumptious before me, I know too well what banana and strawberry cake with cream tastes like; based on a lifetime of experience I am aware of the size of my mouth and stomach, I am clear that one slice is usually enough but by the third helping my eyes are almost rolling, the sugar is kicking in and feelin’ a little edgy, the stomach is screaming “bad idea, baaaad idea, don’t do it, you’ve had enough”… due to the flavours overriding my common sense I give in.  Next day I pass the cake shop and just can’t resist a visit.
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It’s More Than a Question
Okay let’s look at this. We are trying find the Origin of Suffering.  Maybe we can go a step further and instead of just getting a superficial intellectual understanding of it, we can take ourselves into a state of being where suffering ceases.  Being hypothetical and answering a question may suit a lot of people, put the thoughts at rest; they can get a good understanding and possibly some day in the future they could get to the point where MAYBE suffering ceases.  I’m not big on promises of good times in the future, it’s not that I don’t want a happy future it’s just that if I seek the doughnut on the string I am fully aware that as the world spins through space the doughnut is constantly moving away into the distance ahead of me.  I may unfortunately due to a wayward comet hitting Earth have my lifespan shortened or in a bizarre unheard of comical scenario that would be a real social media hit, suffer the fate of bumping heads with a dolphin in the surf, get knocked unconscious and swallow too much water, alas! And so was the fate of Tilopa 2.0 forever etched in digital form to be shared at will by those seeking a little laugh.
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Being There Now
Let’s do this now, break the sense of order, bypass the third and fourth Noble Truths, get rid of dogma and mental slavery forever. There is nothing that says we can’t.  Let’s claim back our power, destroy those who keep humanity prisoner with there limited religious thought; I will have no mercy nor respect here, we need to disempower the petty tyrants who use their faith to control humanity with ritual and hollow practices.
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Dreaming
We have heard in passing that life is a dream, this could be scary for some, absolutely terrifying, whereas others may say, “thank heavens what a relief ” and there will be those who think this to be meaningless nonsense. Regardless of whether we perceive that to be true, at times we do notice a certain amount of translucence to the world we move in, we often find ourselves in-between worlds just as we wake up or go off to sleep.  We see an old friend by accident on the street, we question “is that really you?” We fall in and out of love, people pass from our lives and nothing seems solid; we look back through our years and it seems lifetimes ago, beloved people leave the stage of the world, we weep and long for them, they are just a thought memory.
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In this passing show of bouncing molecules readjusting themselves into new forms is where we can understand where freedom lies and then take action…or more precisely should I say take no action. In perceiving the transience of the world is freedom. When we know that there is a mistiness and impermanence of EVERYTHING that comes into our field of experience and also that even WE have no real substance to us that is solid, transformation of the mind-space emerges.  It may cut like a knife through a birthday cake, it may slay you for a while, it could gently wrap itself around you like a blanket and warm your being, you may weep tears in longing for what you think you have lost.  The phantoms of the world come and go, we greet them, we love them, we do our best to accept them… we move off into foreverness into the mystery, we travel into the stars and beyond the deep midnight blue.
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The Dance
We have a choice every moment and this is great wisdom if you want it regarding the second Noble Truth, “what is the origin of suffering?” Simply put, YOU ARE.  So what do you do with this, you may say, “I don’t feel any different”.  As everything emerges on the screen of life, the awareness that experiences your life has an option to enter it or be a witness to the passing show, to allow it to be what it is, show its face.  We look at it and see it as a facet of the Divine doing its dance, it turns and looks at us and says, “Do you accept me as this?” We gaze into it with a loving acceptance, embrace it and say YES”.  It dissolves back into Emptiness, we throw our sack over our shoulder like the Laughing Buddha and wander on our way through life with gratitude, with kindness and a deep understanding of the nature of things.

Tilopa 2.0

Dogs Teaching Humans How to Stay

stay

It’s one of those days when I want to run, things feel mysteriously empty, not in a Buddhist way, there’s a gentle ache in my Being.  I could hurriedly say I don’t like this feeling, instead I will attempt to sit with it after I have distracted myself for a few hours with coffee, chocolate, food, writing articles and a few meaningless things that I will give importance to in an effort to make me feel like I am doing something of substance.  Like many people, for years of my life I have struggled with saying what needed to be said and often in most cases I just walked away feeling disempowered and disappointed that I wasn’t heard or have been misunderstood or mistreated.  I am not into power, I find it hideous; the power I am interested in is the Power of Creation, to bring new things into being.  In the world of mice and men I have a tendency to walk away like a puppy and lick my paws after the scraps in life.
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Dogz
I only ever had one puppy, he was a black and white Cocker Spaniel, a gorgeous being who got taken out by a milk truck driver when I was about four years old. I am not a dog person these days but watching my son train his beloved best friend teaches me a lot; how to soften up and also toughen up, not be so uptight, dirt and poo is not as bad as I thought it was, and most of all how to develop discipline.
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The D Word
The word discipline is one that every teenager, gypsy, anarchist, rebel, vagabond and village Bohemian gives the finger to.  When I eventually realised that SELF Discipline has no relationship to the big-stick-discipline I headed off on a new journey of discovery; I was reminded that practicing guitar for ten hours a day was a definition of the friendly-D-word. It is obvious that there really is no relationship between the two D words but like anything, until we know it in the totality of our being, (read as: understand it and do it first hand) there is always going to be someone with a big stick standing over us correcting our ways and in response our thoughts will be saying, “stuff you.”
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Learning Dog Tricks
Life is meditation with a few thoughts in between, well maybe more than a few, it’s closer to a snow storm or rainy day, they just keep falling into our space, we capture some, others go back into Emptiness. Learning to stay is something that dogs do well, waiting, sitting, focusing, no distractions, what ever goes by don’t follow; we learn to watch the rise and fall of moments and events, knowing that in time all things must pass.
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Just Being
Sometimes I am the master of thought, wisdom is easy for me but today I will sit, feel what is in my being, embrace the uncomfortableness, wait  with a slight sense of timidness and wonder instead of giving into fear, I will not fantasise that by speaking up for myself it will bring about turmoil and if it does so be it.  There is a time to step up and a time to retreat and be silent.  For me peace is important, to be understood has always been a critical thing but due to the diversity of human nature this is never guaranteed and is a little fanciful, unrealistic at times but sometimes possible.
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The Caravan of Life
I sit and look in the invisible rear-vision mirror and see my past dissolving, before me there are new experiences unfolding and cascading, new people and things, moments I never dreamed of or had even considered.  I seek love, empathy and compassion.

As the SAGE Rumi says,
“Come Come whoever you are,
Wanderer, wayfarer, lover of leaving,
Even if you have broken your vows thousands of times,
Come, ours is not a Caravan of Despair”

I will tie my camel and stay in my tent until the storm passes.

Tilopa 2.0

(image is the property of the wonderful cartoonist Maria Scrivan and is used for educational purposes so we humans can learn from dogs) 

First Noble Truth Reconsidered

The world we move in has always been gifted with great Teachers. They arrive open hearted to lay a foundation for future generations to be able to put in place a set of principles so humanity can protect itself from itself.  Hedonism, decadence, over consumption, excessiveness, imbalanced life, narcism always seems to naturally run rampant, humanity at times is like a car rolling along without breaks and is in danger off self destruction, when we add science to the mix we end up with Weapons of Self Destruction in the hands of madmen.
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After the Main Guy Leaves
It is not uncommon to see the situation where once a great Teacher has left, after a short period of time things get a little bit twisted, okay let’s be clear, it’s really a BIG little.  It’s easy to follow dogmas, they are comfortable – feel good, dangle some beads around the neck, set up an altar and a few statues, grab the prayer book, learn the designer lingo, and then bond with a ‘sense’ of community who are all going the same way … regardless which way, doing it together feels safe.  Spiritual aspirants usually call themselves the ‘black sheep of the family’ but always join another flock all wearing the same fleece.  It is easy to be told or fed someone else’s wisdom, to accept and believe what it may mean when you are told it by a more senior member of the community or someone you feel is ‘in the know.’ Those in the know are powerful, it is not uncommon that they sometimes misuse that power; obviously not always as there are well intentioned people everywhere.
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HOWEVER it is critical to question everything, if not we may unwittingly become a slave to a concept.  It’s easy for the Spiritual bling to creep in, it can take over our lives and we can assume that these things make us closer to God or the goal, when really it’s often just wallpaper, delusion, Maya at its finest. Spiritual adornments are just laying extra layers over the top and block the view. The Universes/ Prakriti is the playground, there is form and the formless.  Out of Emptiness emerges all things, they rise and fall in consciousness. When freedom is what a person is seeking, imprisonment just doesn’t cut it…run…run fast…get out of there ASAP, in a moment we can cut through the delusion and if we linger it does lead to immense suffering. The baby and the bath water doesn’t cut it… run…run…run…back to yourSelf. Each moment we have the opportunity to abandon EVERYTHING, there is no obligation to the past or what we have committed too when it comes to real freedom.
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The Buddha
Great minds don’t think alike, they go where no-one has dreamed.  They bring in the unknown, something extraordinary that creates a new pathway for humanity; these people make others feel a little uncomfortable, people run away. Uncomfortableness is good, it’ll make you a little itchy, restless, give you sleepless nights; these will say what you are NEVER ready to hear.
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Buddha Gautama was one of many throughout the history of the endless Dance of the Cosmos who emerged out of the Infinite Silence to uplift humanity. He arrived and like other great Sages his very presence transformed those he encountered, even if they didn’t know it, the mixing of His field with theirs was enough to totally destroy them, I say destroy because in freedom everything we believe to be true gets annihilated, Buddha planted the seed as He wandered, even those who hated him benefited by encountering Him. Those who follow later, the people who form groups that ultimately morph into structured spiritual or religious organisations, cults and sects, they will interpret the words and experiences to suit their limited perceptions and understanding and create dogmas.
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Is it Noble? Is it True?
Although I am very familiar with Buddhist texts, the other day my eye was caught and I froze when I read a reasonably common translation of the First Noble Truth. ‘All Life is Suffering’, this is one translation, one of many, I won’t address other ones that may be wiser but this is a springboard for removing something that has filtered through those that are both in and outside the Buddhist faith.  I felt a little unsettled when I was reminded of this way of thinking, it knocked on my being so I decided to explore it.  I could see clearly that it had the potential for undermining the wellbeing of the well intentioned Spiritual aspirants. I do know that if we dig in and run with it we will probably find something transformative. If we are not cautious we can easily bind ourselves to a self-imposed dogma, there’s always a type of subtle programming that can undermine our joy.
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Lights Action  – Take Two
Let’s start over.  What I write here is not about being correct and attempting to be wiser than others. These are living teachings not historical.  I am interested in transformation, creating a bridge to cross over; we need to be prepared to abandon what we assume to be true.  Humility is reflected in our ability to be wrong, to throw EVERYTHING out the window.  Without this attitude there is no hope, we can become prisoners of doctrines and our misunderstandings.  Philosophy is about opinions, people looking at an object and telling us about it, that is only mind games, speculation.  I have learnt from experience that much that I considered to be true, even EXPERIENCED based things were totally wrong, the experiences were real but in time I discovered it was my interpretation of them that was upside down.  I recommend being open because if we are not, when it COLLAPSES and we see into what is really going on, it will be a shock to ANYONE, I know this first hand.
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Our Nature and Birth Rite
Happiness is not just a goal for the future, although if we are generally unhappy now it is reasonable to have desire for it to emerge at some point downstream in our lives, this is normal but really, happiness is for NOW. If we are always running to find happiness in future times, living with a hope that one day it will be okay, unknowngly our life will flit away, the wrinkles gradually arrive, the signs of ageing creep in, the sparkle in the eye dissolves like salt in water, the essence of electrical current in our being whittles down to zero; but the doughnut on the string will still be out of reach even when the angel of death passes over and knocks on the door and welcomes us in.  If we are addicted to our past and are hypnotised by all the blissful moments that flowed under the bridge, we may find ourself always trying to recapture them; that first kiss, travel in new country, a breakthrough in art or music where we discovered we could compose a song or said “hey I really am going to be an artist”.  We do need to embrace our worthiness but find ways not cling to things, to see events like petals on a flower in our garden of existence, an ever changing lush landscape with seasons.
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We need to be cautious of what drives us. By this I mean there is something deep down hidden in the subconscious that impacts on the way we feel the world and create our lives.  The first Noble Truth about suffering requires a lot of thought, clarity needs to be there, our insight must deepen.  If we stay on the surface and take on the concept ‘all life is suffering’ we will be in serious strife. We may get caught as if we as humans are in debt to suffering and continue the narrative.
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Beauty 
I grew up by the beach, as a child the rolling waves were inviting but scary, the gritty sand in my toes, kids using sieves to find coins, playful waves on the shore, the gentle swish noise of the water moving backwards and forwards at the edge of the great blue expanse, the rock pool with baby tiger sharks wiggling, fish, starfish, jellyfish, the sunrise, all those wondrous lifeforms reminded me there was more than the television, the milkshakes, girls in bikinis strutting their stuff, the smell of coconut oil. There is no need for me to seek suffering there; only a madman does that.
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On a hot day I can still taste the ice creams and paddle pops I ate as a child, feel the sun against my skin, sense myself diving under the waves, swallowing a little too much salt water, dumped on the sandbank.  I rarely eat ice-cream now, my body finds it too cold as it heads down my insides but I honour its existence, some glorious being breathed it into being.  I am not addicted to my past experiences, if I cling too much to the joys and keep pulling them into the ‘screen in my frontal lobe’ I will find myself lacking, they are gone, have moved back into Emptiness.  And if I am a slave to the joys of my past I will have to embrace its twin, the sadness, despair and tragedies that slayed me at moments.
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I found it
I see the clouds changing shape, they take new forms just like the molecules in the world around me. I know that I have found love, not just in the arms of those wondrous women beings who passed through my life and left a piece of their beauty in me, those wondrous beings who helped shape the man I am for better or for worse, I embrace love in the passing play of life, not clinging but in learning how to accept the diversity of all things, the aridness of the desert, the biting cold, the gentleness of meek people, acceptance of those who are naive, the loud and bold also have their story, and the sound of a child singing strange noises.
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I will leave suffering to those that need it to guide them.  I will walk another way, an uncharted path and be my own Buddha.

The Yoga of Being Kind

We are born into societies where we are educated to ‘fit in’ and also stand out, to be seen a little bit above the rest; ambition is supposedly a virtue to some and something to drive us onward to a wondrous destination and do the clan proud.
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The Stupidity of Being Better Than Others
In our quest to rise up, we often find ourselves accidentally casting our shadows over others; life sometimes resembles two ‘suits’ fighting it out to win points in a legal case. Earth man has a tendency to adapt the ‘survival of the fittest’ attitude. When we go to school, once all basics are sorted, we find ourselves in the situation where we are taught how to do things, to retain information and then deliver something back to the teacher, our work is graded and compared to the other children.  All smiles for those who ‘got it right’ and a feeling of lack gradually develops in those who just can’t make sense of it.  In the middle a lot of others make up the numbers.
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When we move out onto the sporting field, ‘faster’ is better, ‘slower’ means you need to try harder, be a better version of your current fastest,  meanwhile the Road Runner flies by while you pant for breath, your legs that are possibly 1/6 shorter than you’d like them to be, the appendages resemble helicopter blades going in any way but the direction you want them to. The ‘sporty person’ finds a senior position in the pecking order and scores points on the subconscious ‘way we evaluate people’ table.
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The King of Nothing Syndrome
It may start at a young age but we begin to see ‘the survival’ techniques kicking in, thugs bumble and push their way through the micro-community they are part of, some day the victims of their thugi-ness may find their way to senior positions of government and live out their revenge on an unsuspecting community.
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Others have the knack of acquisition, they take the hunter-gather thing to new heights, drones do the gathering and hunting for them, the accumulation of ‘too many things’ becomes a yardstick on how THEY value themselves in the society they are part of, and other poor innocent bods believe that because someones empire is bigger than their own, it must be a better way to exist, so then they chase an empire of objects and in their failings, develop a feeling of worthlessness with an attitude of ‘life is not fair’ and suffer emotionally…… let’s go another way.
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Getting Off the Wheel of Life
The clouds overhead look ominous to some; the gardener within was hoping for rain today, the sun had scorched the garden bed, the wind had blasted and bashed the budding plants around, I was thinking ‘sprinkles from the heavens would be a bit of a blessing’.  We can learn a lot of nature, that’s a very old common adage; Alan Watts gave us a reminder ‘there are no straight lines in nature’, I will add ‘apart from the horizon, if we look from the sky we would see it’s curved’.  Many of us would remember school assemblies,  kids standing in line, every so often one would faint, or a fart may break the silence and great chaos cuts loose.  I am thinking that the tighter the school environment, the more a person becomes a slave to the system, some push ahead with tenacity to be the leaders in our social structure, but they are still insiders, it takes a lot of work to undo our programming. Communities don’t usually like outsiders, they are a threat.
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Getting Outta Here
Lao Tsu, Buddha, Jesus, Chang Zhu all rewrote the destiny of man, although people build religious cults around their words, they changed humanity from the inside.   They did not compete, they walked in the opposite direction to the rest of humanity, this in itself is a great teaching.  They broke through into new areas of thought, or more specifically ‘thought-less-ness’.  There is a tendency for the followers to focus on their words instead of the way they lived, Emptiness is at the core of these great men, it is easily missed. When we look at humanity, people prefer ‘fullness’, even if it’s a big bucket of crap, they are more comfortable with the pain and familiarity of the known than the potential of an unborn future, the unknown does not seem safe, it requires courage and trust.
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Win at All Costs

By inherited nature, humans compete all the time, being aware of what is healthy competition and what is debstabilising for others and what ‘weakens’ us is critical, i didn’t say damaging I said ‘critical’. When we are unnaturally competitive our values can go out the window and we make excuses for our actions, any excuse will do.  To have some kind of peace we justify things and point the finger away from ourselves and target others. When we take the time to think about how we treat others we can gradually over a period of time bring about some type of transformation in ourselves that will help us relax a little; relaxing doesn’t mean being ‘sloppy’.  All the mantras, wisdom, teachings are meaningless if we lack empathy and kindness, a softened heart is the fruit of all Spiritual practice and explorations into Emotional Intelligence.
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Every Moment Zen
Every day, every interaction we have with others puts us in a situation where we have choices.  Often the smarter we are, the greater the expert, the bigger the empire and the higher we are in a hierarchy, the more chance there is to be disrespectful to others, flippant, dismissive and lacking in understanding, our value systems can get skewed, and of course there are wonderful people at all places in the community but the quest for success can cloud our thoughts and we close down a little.
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As a musician I am constantly in the situation of having to leave my opinions out of things relating to music.  After many decades of honing my craft I am inclined to be critical to the point of annoying and wanting to ‘fix’ the music around me. We all have parts of ourselves that require work if we want to live happy lives, I am aware of where much of my work lies. Where this article was always going was to point out one simple thing, and it’s an ongoing process that constantly arises, ‘it’s better to be kind than right’, we know if we are well informed about things, and whether we have a great skill, we don’t need to prove anything, it is our actions and the way we treat others that counts. I think the process of softening takes our whole life, till the moment we pass into another part of foreverness.

On Your Mark Get Set…Stop

There is an old story that comes from the Indian subcontinent, it seems to define human nature, the craziness of the thoughts that fluctuate with intensity in our mind-spaces.  It is said that if you give a monkey a ladder it will run up and down all day; this analogy is often used in explaining how a Mantra works in controlling thoughts; whenever the mind wanders, step back on the ladder. Without going into detail, as most people would know, a Mantra is a word or phrase repeated in meditation to keep oneself busy.
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The nature of thought is to hop, skip and wobble; each thought particle is a bit like a piece of driftwood travelling from one side of the ocean to the other, going nowhere in particular, encountering mammoth waves, getting dunked, resurfacing, floating calm for a while, only to be lashed against the rocks and maybe end up on an empty beach.
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The Boat Into Eternity
My father made a driftwood boat when he was a young man, it sat on a sideboard and sometimes on a table in our house as a child, it always intrigued me, how something that nature ‘threw out’ into the vast world would end up as an ‘artifact’ far from where it began, it was my teacher.  It had a dryness about it, with only a small cut of a saw and some mild reshaping it became something of curiosity for me, it taught me how to dream, how to see through the solidness of the world around me and to find value in what people may discard. It showed me beauty is in our imagination, and how ‘what is left out’ can give something its shape, in the same way that a great musician  understands it’s the silence, the space that gives the beauty to sound; it is the backdrop of the heavens that allow us to dream of the distant stars as they dangle on the backdrop of forever-ness.
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Mooring the Boat
Coming to rest seems like the goal of many people. This is a reasonable quest. There is much confusion going on in the Spiritual circus of the world.  There is the idea of seeking a peaceful mind, a restful place either here or beyond is perceived as the goal, and although there is a partial correctness in this, it’s just a piece in the larger picture of the cosmic game.  It is true, the need to tame the raging bull of the mind , without giving some attention to all the wayward thought, it is difficult to function.  However, if we use the analogy of the boat, it is something that takes us to our destination, and when it comes to the Spirit, the port of arrival is always ourselves.  So where to from here?  Is that it? So what we were seeking was ‘stillness’?
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The Uncarved Block
Where we are going is forever-ness; our dreams shape the un-carved block.  The idea that our destination is written in the palm of our hand, that God has work for us, is rather spiritually pubescent when it comes to the big picture.  I am not denying the existence of an Underlying Consciousness that drives the Cosmos, I am just claiming it back from the doctrine-smiths, the religious zealots, those control freaks who dis-empower humanity by using the lives of great men and woman as a foundation for belief systems and ‘story’ of the world, they then enslave humanity with their religious concepts.
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Coming Home 
When the boat comes into port, then we are in a new country, one where we can begin a different dream, we leave behind what we knew, let the past sink like Atlantis in the depths of the ocean or hidden under the ice in Antarctica.
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We are always running on automatic, forgetting to question many things, we fill in the endings of the story by habit.  On your mark, get set…. stop.  Let’s go the other way. When we look at the chaos of the world it becomes reasonably clear that what has been going on just doesn’t work.  There is great potential in things that we discard if we just look at them differently.  Like my father’s driftwood boat.  I will give thanks for what others have forgotten and find beauty elsewhere.  This is the essence Yoga.

Tilopa 2.0

The Wisdom and Freedom of the Wind

 

Most of us would have dreamed that we could fly, craving the freedom of not being bound. We are ‘supposedly’ stuck in a body and have a love hate relationship with our senses, we enjoy the tingles, textures and flavors, then in those moments of pain and sickness we crave an escape; man fears death, and understandably so, the ‘unknowing’ for most is more frightening than the known.
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The Wisdom in Nature
The Wind does things differently to most humans, it embodies much of what I think we need to know. How to live with detachment is in the Wind Being’s teaching, how to not cling, to be loose and flexible; it has a way of making adjustments, it side-steps objects, dances with pieces of paper… floats colorful leaves, leans trees over and stretches their spine, reshapes hairstyles, bounces clouds and gives birds something to push against or use as a power booster.
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If we can escape our thoughts from daily troubles, trivia and distraction, get ourselves out of the limited chaos of the play of life, we can
be the wind, develop many of the same attributes. The wind is on a backdrop of the endless sky, and the sky is a part of the Greater Mind that encases everything; the endless forever is inside and outside of us.
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Eternity Now
In the magnificent book Tales of Power by Carlos Castenada, the follow up to masterpiece Journey to Ixtlan, Don Juan says to Carlos,
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“I’m going to utter perhaps the greatest piece of knowledge anyone can voice. Let me see what you can do with it. Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity? And do you know that you can use that eternity, if you so desire?
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There! Eternity is there! (Don Juan pointed) All around! Do you know that you can extend yourself forever in any of the directions I have pointed to? Do you know that one moment can be eternity? This is not a riddle; it’s a fact, but only if you mount that moment and use it to take the totality of yourself forever in any direction.
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You didn’t have this knowledge before, now you do. I have revealed it to you, but it doesn’t make a bit of difference, because you don’t have enough personal power to utilize my revelation. Yet if you did have enough power, my words alone would serve as the means for you to round up the totality of yourself and to get the crucial part of it out of the boundaries in which it is contained.
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Your body is the boundary I’m talking about. One can get out of it. We are a feeling, an awareness encased here. We are luminous beings and for a luminous being only personal power matters.”
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On reading this text of Don Juan, our thoughts and or logical way of processing information could easily head off into a story about whether he and Carlos Castaneda’s teacher Don Genaro were fictitious, some may even ask “does one’s guru say something similar”, or whether our understanding of God and scriptures confirm such a view. We love distraction, ‘away-ness”, when we encounter wisdom, often there is a tendency to make excuses, to look for fault in it; the false sense of ‘I’ is challenged, the false sense of ‘I’ has no substance, it is just thought, and always wants to remain centre stage, all posers do this. People talk about there being an ‘ego’, from my perspective this idea of an ‘ego’ is questionable and is not so important; it is easy to sort if we look at the first line of the Dhamapada (the sayings of Gautama Buddha), if we are astute and look closely at it, without a fuss the text annihilates the concept of the ‘ego having real substance’ in one swoop. Although there are many translations of the Buddhist text, the one I prefer says, “All you are is all you have thought”, it takes care of that ‘ego’ thing, it dis-empowers the false notion in one swoop, leaves us empty and can remove much of our pain and self-obsession, once we know this truth there is nothing to hold on to. And it’s ok, we won’t collapse, we are the experiencer and in a similar way to if we were sitting on the beach watching the tides slowly rise and fall, knowing there is an order in nature, we can trust that the ‘thoughts’ that are on our screen of life which construct the sense of ‘I’ do not hold us together, we can function quite nicely without them. Really, the image of who we believe ourselves to be is just a story, a very convincing one because it’s familiar, it’s uncomfortably comfortable, it’s like a permanent set of clothes that is glued on and wrapped around us and creates limitation.
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Detach Detach Detach
There is a great similarity between the fluidness and elasticity of the wind, and a person who does not cling to thought; although the idea of detachment is often associated with Buddhism or Taoism, it’s not, it’s universal in nature. The idea of ‘not sticking’ to things is a core principle that belongs to our inbuilt intelligence and does not require a religious philosophy for it to flower. Both Buddha and Lao Tsu (Taoism) obviously moved with this fluidity and have tapped into this type of intelligence, the ‘isms’ came later and there are numerous wise people historically who have managed to see clearly the affects of ‘attachment’; nature is our teacher and it is not rocket science nor does not require any great intellect to see such a basic thing as the trouble of being ‘overly attached’. If we can quiet our thinking a little and look clearly without too much judgement, a gradual transformation will come about, and I guess when the penny drops for some, it may be a quantum leap for some.
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Someone who continuously detaches from what presents itself in their thoughts and has the flexibility to move around obstacles, to have a type of adaptability that resembles the wind will be open to new experiences and not bogged down with old limited worn-out thought. A lightness of being is something worth aspiring to. It can be complex for some of us because information is ‘hard-wired’ into us and we are addicted to ‘what’s wrong with the world’, chasing rainbows, how to be ‘a better person’, how to fit in, not offending people, how not to be ‘hurt by people’; there are so many hooks that prevent us experiencing the wonders of life, and when we look at them we will see they are mainly ‘thought constructions’. And that is why coming back to and contemplating“all you are is all you have thought”, it will loosen the glue a little and help us to disentangle from destructive thought.
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The Beauty of Emptiness
What we can do is practice ’emptying ourselves’, lying down, no we do not need to sit like a Buddha statue. Emptiness is about annihilation, getting rid of all concepts and abandoning the known. The problem with the ‘known’ is it is most probably wrong, it’s just a story, look at the trouble it has got us into. When we lie down and empty ourselves there are no boundaries, there is no tomorrow, no past and I will go one more level than the new-age-flippy-floppers and say ‘there is no Now’. Now implies that there is a central point holding itself together; we need the bottom to drop out of the bucket, the water to run everywhere. When we routinely practice ’emptying’ it gradually creeps through our being and we begin to realise that the body is ‘inside us’ it is not outside, the stars, the galaxies are inside us. The body is a container we use to experience the world around us, it is only a small part of us, we need to care for it and treat it with respect but ultimately our nature is closer to that of the wind; then when the storm blows in our lives, we can find a type of invisibility, we will have the flexibility to move through it because we understand as the wind does that ‘everything is in constant motion’, that we have the knack of getting through or around whatever presents itself.
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There is not only beauty in nature but wisdom, nature can become our guru.

The Trap of Karma

As the mystical East has gradually seeped into Western culture, it has given us many gifts, ways of managing thought through meditation, numerous yogic systems that cover all areas of our being from the inside to our most exterior visual particles; Sacred texts from outside time with their tales of entities in their flying machines from other worlds and planets, well sculptured wisdom,  the accumulation of trillions of hours contemplation on our core nature, and the ‘Nature of Being’ in general.  Such glorious things full of truths and a very fertile field of misconception.
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The Upside of Karma
In the West we have ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ deeply ingrained in our subconscious, even my atheist friends would give that a social-media ‘like’.  But when we imbibed ‘Karma’ into our vocabulary, we obtained a new tool for not only putting our thinking and feeling of vengeance at rest, we also ended up with a little guy who sits on our shoulder and says, “Yeah, nah, yeah, better not do that”.  We acquired another filter, a brake for the wayward thoughts, and to keep the ‘wild horses of the senses’ in order, to add a little restraint by thinking ‘nah, it’s going to hit me hard on the rebound’.  Karma is useful for keeping the community in check.  We don’t need to dig around too much to see it is a core principle of Hinduism and Buddhism; it’s likable at best, but it does feel like a tsunami when it ‘hits ya’.
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Karma Sucks

Oddly enough I am not big on Karma, and I don’t mean that I don’t wish to experience the affect of karma slapping me with its backwash for my supposed ‘misdoings’.  It’s not that at all; getting paid a fair price for your work or for the avocado crop is reasonable in any mans language, and if you stomp on someone’s tulips, the idea of a ‘fair is fair’, an equal response is OK.  There is something else, and I call it the ‘Karma Trap’, and will attempt to articulate the hidden issues.  If we don’t address it at some point, we will be stuck on the wheel of life forever.  As we know at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching is ‘what causes suffering, how to get rid of it, and getting off the wheel of life’, there are  other tenets but these things are the main focus points. There are many interpretations of these core ideas, and I think it is good to see diversity, even if the meaning of them is somehow misconstrued, at least people are thinking, and so long as it doesn’t delude a lot of others, thinking for ourselves is better than blind faith; sometimes concepts are just markers in someones evolution, by eventually seeing the flaws in them, they become a lighthouse for others. Blind faith only strengthens untruths or partial truths; blind faith may carry us for a while along particular pathways of our lives, but ultimately things need addressing eventually.
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Going ‘Round and ‘Round
Does it ever stop? This karma thing, it does seem like an endless audio or video loop; same, same then back to repeat from the start again?  If we read the scriptures,  the ones from the supposedly mystical East, we will find references to the ‘Guru’ taking away our karma; other texts will say, “if we do enough Karma Yoga (service to the world around us) it will dissolve”, or “if we do Japa (repetition of the Holy Names of God) , eventually things will be OK, rest assured you are going to make it”.  Then there is Jesus, if we look at His life, some people will say from their perspective, he absorbed the ‘sins of the world’. One of the translations of what Buddha said, goes something like, “All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states”.  We don’t have to look far for attitudes, wisdom and PARTIAL truths about karma.
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The Limitations of the Questioner
Recently I watched a very good question and answer live-stream session online, it was facilitated by a man from America with plenty of experience with ‘things of the Spirit’ from the Indian tradition, and from life in general; his answers to the questions were all sensible, suitable to the level of understanding of the questioners.  But “here’s the rub”, a questioner will always bring to the table their story of Spirituality.  A question is often but not always, being asked according to a limited understanding, it’s like a child saying “mama, how come you are so big”, we know from experience that the mother may not be tall, everything is relative to our individual perception, from the lens we look through. Usually, unless it’s J.Krishnamurthi,  Nisagadatta, or someone with an extraordinary depth of experience, the (supposed) Guru will say something that will put the thoughts of the questioner at ease.  After the question is answered, the questioner may walk away with something to work with or may even have their problem resolved, their thoughts will come to rest for a time.  Personally, if I were given the answerer’s-seat, the questioner would not be let off so easily, things of the Spirit are serious stuff, it is not ‘cafe society chat’, or like going to a doctor who looks into the eyes of a patient with a feigned sense of caring, and gives a bottle of  colored aspirin; we could die any day, it may be someones last day on earth.  If we start to dig into the questions, in most cases there will always be sensible answers for them, but the parameters of the questions will be confined to a limited view, a story of what that person ‘believes God to be’, or is based in linear-thought, this means “if I do this, this and this, eventually my result will be ‘whatever'(you fill in the gap there)”. The world spins around, sunrise – sunset, repeat; and the ‘arrow’ of time goes from A to Z, with milestones on the way.  There is another way, and this is closer or in line with  what the great Jnana Yogis would say. We will look at karma through this window and not through the one people are familiar with, the ‘user-friendly’ version that they like to hear, are attached to or have built their lives around; we are going elsewhere, if not, it is a waste of time writing on this subject; adding to the ‘old story’ is meaningless.
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Question Everything
So how do we put an end to karma? Is it possible? Is it true what the Sages and great scriptures say? Is it absurd to doubt what people say is Truth?  I think we need to stop and think a little, put a limiter on the ‘yes, yes, true, true I believe it, the great ones have said it, so I must follow’ and absorb it into my thinking because it sort of fits with ‘what I know’. That type of thinking is fair, it shows dedication and devotion, but it is dangerous. We don’t need to take it on; and no we are not betraying God by questioning the validity of things.  Any God worth anything would love the honest-seeker.  When a child asks the mother, “Why mummy, why?” , the mother is patient,very  understanding and is delighted the child has an inquisitive mind, it’s a healthy sign of growth.  If we just keep gathering information and stacking it up as a belief system, we become secondhand human beings, dullards…. great minds come out of questioning, by saying, ‘I want to be sure, I will test it myself, I have doubts, I don’t believe you, I am not a slave to limited social consciousness.” We need vibrant minds.
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Do we as individuals who are not deeply entrenched in Eastern traditions have the right to question it all? It is Sacred to some.  And also, those who are born into those cultures, do they have the audacity to challenge those who have gone before, their forefathers, the elders, the very core of their traditions ?  Absolutely! We do not need to play ignorant and hand over to others, this is not necessary; we are far greater and wiser than we think, we just need to move aside what is in the way .
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The World is Flat to Some People
We as a species, the greater community are what I call Flat-Earthers, we get stuck in social consciousness, we stay there for a long time and it takes a lot to change the ‘normal’. There are a number of people who are back in pre Pythagorean thinking who still consider the earth is flat, or have recently, due to viewing a very unscientific youtube video, altered their understanding about this beautiful rock spinning in space and assume that we have been duped and the planet is really flat; we will let these people be.  ‘Flat-Earthing’ is also applicable to ‘karma’, there are various things that people assume to be so; things, opinions become part of communal-thinking and are often not questioned, this can be a problem.
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When we look at ‘karma’ closely, we will see a number of things.  By ‘learned nature’, we are very judgmental people, the biblical ‘eye for an eye’ revengeful god is often waiting to raise its hideous head; in the minds of some people,’karma’ can very easily become one of the ugly god’s arms, or cerebral tools for ‘smiting’ the evil doer.   Humans as a rule, love to see the bad-guy get belted, Hollywood has built its fortunes on this type of thinking, the movie empire-monster in its quest for trillions of dollars and to control / influence the thought of the common-man, has quite regularly made villains out of good people, glorious cultural groups have been vilified into being the enemy of white America. ‘Karma mentality’ for many is running in the background like a software program, when someone stuffs ‘him/her/other over’, the software kicks in and says “karma gonna get you asshole’, then they go about their business, a slight throb from the pain of the experience but there is a moving-on because ‘karma will fix it’. There are many aspects to the subconscious karma software; it is used as a moderator in our lives, this is good, yeah nah yeah, maybe sometimes, but when we grow up, or better I say ‘forward into the future’ we see something else. Having the ‘karma brake’, we are more inclined to think, “mmm bad idea, if I do that, the tsunami will get me if it’s real bad, or if it’s a moderate misdeed, the ‘dumper’ on the shoreline may knock me over and the salt water and sand will get in my bathers and not be overly pleasurable’.  I did previously say ‘forward to the future’,  the ‘us’ that matures and is wiser, does not require the karma software to moderate our behavior.
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Jumping out of Linear Time

We are bound in space-time, and this is the problem; we naturally have a linear mentality… doctor spanks us when we are born; when we pass-over, our loved ones bring flowers and see the good in us that they often missed as we became over-familiar and our sparkle was hidden by the mundane of what the insensitive call ‘everyday life’.   Just on the other side of death, some believe is that moment when life’s experiences get tallied, and a direction is decided upon…  one guy at the gates of Valhalla talking to his buddy says, “what we gonna do with this one?”, his co-gatekeeper replies, “It’s borderline, send him back to planet earth to sort stuff out”, it’s a very good playground for transformation, there’s plenty to do around here.  Is it true? It doesn’t really matter to me in the scheme of things; let’s look closely at this.
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Instant Karma

We were talking about karma, the thing mentioned in John Lennon’s “Instant Karma gonna get you” song, and in numerous Buddhist and Hindu texts, we know it has a lot of baggage, as we also have; and many of us feel it is probably true; the logic is, there would need to be a sense of order to maintain balance in the Omniverse we move in, observe and experience, it seems fair from a limited view.  I started this article challenging the idea of karma.
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Here’s the issue, and I will go straight to Buddha, he’s always moderate and sensible.  As mentioned already, the core of His teaching is about what causes suffering, how to stop it and how get off the wheel of endless rebirth.  If we solve that, then karma takes care of itself.  The Jnanis (the yogis of seeing the unity in the diversity, those who see the roots of the tree growing into everything, and the ground it sits on) will always remind us that ‘movement’ is movement away from ourselves,  a ‘going away’ from what we are.  Buddha was a Jnani, the Buddhists may disagree, if they are busy being Buddhists they will; Jesus was the greatest of Jnanis, the Christians will disagree, they are busy wanting Him to save them and are caught in the crucifixion instead of rolling away the stone and letting Him go free; the resolve to all problems is Jnana.  Some translate it as ‘knowledge’, that’s a misleading interpretation.
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Karma is Going Nowhere 
Karma implies movement.  With the karma viewpoint, the world is seen as a flat-line of experience, it goes in an order that may suit an accountant, a statistician, it may even be close to the thinking of the world of classic-physics, or in a way resemble an ordered database a little . With a ‘karma view’ we are always measuring, always wanting or chasing something in the future that is better than what we already have or is equal to the ‘accumulation of our goodness’.  Living our lives like little kids, be a good kid and mummy or daddy will give us a lolly.  This is so childish and has zero to do with spirituality and is indoctrination.  We end up turning God into a big parent, someone or something that is waiting or wanting to adjudicate on our every action; it is fear based.  This God is nowhere to be found apart from in our heads; I am not trying to kill God. This ‘God thing’ will exist without my opinion.  I remember a great Sage saying to a friend of mine ‘God is very big’, he repeated it a number of times to my friend.  When we have a small view of what God is, we put limitations not only on God but also on ourselves, our potential and we associate with small, safe beliefs.  If we are always ‘adding up points’ , we will always be in strife; when are there enough points? When will we be good enough?  I won’t even blink when I say this, but the answer is “never”; God in this case becomes deeply ingrained with our feeling of self-worth.
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Getting off the Main Highway
Even if the the flat-line jumps in and out of bodies from lifetime to lifetime, it is still a small view.  What’s happening is a person is extending the ‘womb resident-baby-child-teen-middle age-getting wrinkly,  put me in a box stages’ beyond the parameters of the body and making a longer string into other time spaces.  The worlds we move in are not linear, they are imaginarily linear, we make it linear because it is easy to manage, it fits into our story of the the world, the tale of man is written by idiots and very few question it. The question when it is asked is often answered with somebody else’s story of God.  It must be thrown out the window, we need to be insecure, shaking, fragile, unknowing, unhindered by the thoughts of others, until then we are attached to belief systems; attachment is the great obstacle.
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For Every Action There is an Equal Thought
Confusing the idea of ‘for every action there’s got to be an equal reaction’ equals ‘karma’, is small minded, this is the major problem.  We are bigger, much larger than the body, sublime, wondrous; and we are not bound by the body, it is ‘thought’ that binds us.  Knowing that the problem is ‘thought’, takes us into other areas, it leads us into understanding consciousness, and a quest for seeing the construction of the world clearly. The world is in constant motion, it is not static, it is only still when we look at it, then it’s off again.  Seeing this reordering, is the beginning of the  end of the limited thought. Everything rests in Emptiness, it all comes out of the living Silence and is always present.
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By stepping out of the world of ‘karma’ does not mean ‘do what we like’, there is a responsibility,  knowledge brings about obligation, but not in a forced way, it is common sense.  When we see that everything is from the same tree, we don’t poison the tree, we nourish it.
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To Be or Not to Be
We have a choice, we can stay with karma, the path of endless becoming, always seeking, never being good enough because we don’t have enough points to get the golden handshake of God…or we can let go right now, this takes courage, this means that everything we have ever believed to be true must be sacrificed.  This is the crucifixion of the self.
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Tilopa 2.0

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