Leaving the Guru or Cult

There would barely be a man or woman alive who hadn’t at some time suffered the heartache of leaving a relationship, feeling let down, cheated on or have had the light-bulb moment when you say to yourself “this ain’t gonna work.”
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The Cyclone Path of Cults
Over many years I have seen the (supposed) Spiritual path littered with casualties; sometimes it’s because we have grown and the ‘teachings’ no longer serve us.  At other times we may realise that everyone around us is just crackers, clones walking around parrot fashioning words that are not based in their personal experience, borrowed from books and senior cult members.  Sometimes there is the very common story of the rumor that you don’t want to believe, the guru is sleeping with your friend or what you thought was a sacred Tantric experience between you and the guru turned out to be a situation where you were part of his harem.  If I hadn’t seen so much of it over many years I might be a little more reserved or polite in the way I talk about those issues.
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Not all gurus are fakes, I have a short list of heroes.  But there are many who are delusional; then there are those who had some type of Satori (awakening) and decided it was their duty to serve mankind and set up shop, they were well intentioned due to some profound breakthrough but didn’t realise they were just in the kindergarten stage. This heading out into the world to teach at an early stage is fraught with danger. Regardless of whether the time to move on is because of heartache, bewilderment,  or whether it’s because the Indian pajamas got too tight, there is generally a deep emotional response.
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Handing Over
One of the big problems we have with being part of a group, cult, sect or religious congregation is in many situations we forget to think for ourselves and the group mentality reinforces ideas, there is a strength in numbers and seems to confirm something even though it may be untruth. The ‘it’s all His Will’, ‘I am just the servant’, ‘This is what God wants me to do’, ‘I got a message from the Master’; although I could write some logical thoughtful dialogue to put forward an argument to support each of those statements, in essence they are all about handing over, total submission and in that is as always the potential for abuses of power.  And no doubt someone would say ‘yes I am handing over to God’. Regardless if it is fact or fiction, truth or it may be a heap of garbage, there comes a time when people say ‘I’m grabbing my rucksack and I’m out of here’
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The Strings of Attachment
Standing at the gate heading out, the fellow initiates, disciples have a deep sadness in their eyes at your parting. A lost soul heading out, a few would mumble in agreement “he/she will be back”.
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Transition time, leaving the nest is always challenging, by nature many of us are scared of the unknown, we like to feel safe in the familiar, even if it hurts.  Some people like an unknown adventure and do extreme sports, personally I feel that extreme sports are more about the flash of lightning in the brain, the rush, not so much about the unknown. When a young person finishes his or her studies or if things become too difficult in the home environment, unsettling, some just say good riddance  but finding ones way in the world can be scary.  Not all people who join Spiritual groups and Religions do so for spiritual reasons and i am not saying that people aren’t seeking a philosophical resolve, many join because of a need for community and belonging, the teachings make some sort of sense and may reflect good values, so it seems reasonable to become part of something that makes one feel good or is far better than the pain that is attached to us or our loneliness.  It seems natural that people want to BELONG, have a sense of family, to find refuge.  If we are familiar with Buddhism,  we would be aware of the three Gems, take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha (the assembly /community); there is a sensible reason for this because good company makes a less troublesome journey through life.  We know from experience that some people seem to bring with them a whirlwind of chaos.  Joining a community is reasonable but we also know they can be prison houses.
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Dragging Stuff with Us
Wherever there is more than one person there is the potential for differences, in fact just being with oneself is enough for conflict to arise 🙂  When the cult or community no longer fits and we exit, we take a piece of it with us as we go out the door.  The underlying principle of attachment is really about placing things in our subconscious mind, if we have had years of indoctrination it will go deep into us. We may keep the beads, the statues, the pictures, the prayers or even part of the designer language, it’s all legacy stuff we drag with us through life.  I know hundreds of people who have belonged to the Hare Krishna community (Iskcon) and they vary in attitudes about their relationship to their former community, some are no longer interested in Krishna in any way, many of the others still behave as if they are part of the community even though they went through the out-door years back.  We see similarities in behavour with those who have been Buddhist monks or nuns.
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It is extremely difficult to disentangle, people fall very deeply into religious groups and they associate God with the group, where a major problem arises is the joint relationship with cult and God creates the feeling that leaving the cult implies at some level that they are leaving God, the Buddha, Krishna, Christ or whoever the form or formless God may be.  There is no shortage of people who will emerge out of nowhere when going through the out-door to remind a person that the journey out into the wilderness away from the cult is a betrayal of God, you are going to be crossed off the list of God’s elect and damnation is heading your way. Depending on how brainwashed the group or the individual believers are, the harder they will push to keep you in the fold.
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It can be subtle, it will play on our thoughts, when we have been in a group for a long time we start to think the behaviors and religious practices are truly what God or the Buddha wants, when we stop doing the rituals, the prayers, the mantras, the headstands 🙂 or other crazy stuff there is a feeling that God will be disappointed.  What usually happens is people do a bit of a spring clean,  out goes the white or ochre robes, but the beads might stay hidden from view.  The picture of the guru gets burned in the backyard but the name he gave you ‘Chiiti-Chitti-Bang Bang’ stays as it’s too hard to undo the world relationships around you, after going through the complex process of changing from Johnno to Chiiti Chitti, the thought of having to give an explanation of how come “Johnno’s back’ seems too exhausting.  The mantras get adjusted to something more universal, no more saying “Guru Joe Blogs”, it becomes “Krishna Ram Krishna Ram”  The vegetarian diet sticks but you hide the eggs when your ‘spiritual’ friends come around. The saris get cut up and are turned into other pieces of clothing or cushion covers. Okay let’s get serious.
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Digging In
One of the most problematic issues in life for people is trying to understand God, to make sense of how the experiencer of life relates to something bigger or possibly invisible.  It would sound offensive, even blasphemous to some people if I were to say “men create Gods”.  Is this statement true?  Maybe, maybe not, for this article it doesn’t need to be answered but the question can bring out a number of things that we could easily miss if we don’t explore it.
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We get caught in a maze of of black and whites, yos and nos, goods and bads, spiritual and material.  This divisiveness is where many problems arise.  We can become so righteous that it is obnoxious and elitist; if we call a young child bad when they are learning and feeling their way through the world we will be teaching them an odd set of values to carry through life, simple things become their enemy and they begin to live in fear of a big stick or an oppressive God.  When religious people start saying that sex is bad, we end up with a very twisted version of reality where intimacy seems unnatural.
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I remember a woman who used to hit her kid because he’d forget to make offerings to the deities, he became a very disturbed boy.  When we create or borrow a set of rules about ‘What God Wants’ we can easily create a prison for ourselves.  I think there is s healthier way to live and it is not bound by religious thought, it is simple, just ask where will this action lead? Does something help make us kinder, compassionate? Does it create turmoil? How do i feel after doing something? This type of approach doesn’t need a judgmental God waiting to swoop on our misdoings, a God with a big stick is a tyrant and is no friend of mine.   When we are overburdened with indoctrination or spiritual teachings we can lose our naturalness, intuitiveness and sense of self discrimination. Religious and spiritual groups can come from a linage of rules and guidelines or they may have a petty tyrant who everyone is scared of.  EVERY cult has enforcers of various types, there are the bullies and also the ones who float around as if they are an embodiment of virtue and consider themselves as the model that all others need to aspire to, their farts don’t stink.
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The Unknown Future
In leaving the cult or guru there is great freedom, it is a milestone in growing up.  By saying this I am not saying that all religious or spiritual practices ought to be avoided, I am saying that in moving on we claim back a part of ourselves, we no longer need the rule book; if there is something useful we can take it with us, if it works we can implement it.  If we look at Buddha, Jesus and some of the other sages we will notice in many cases they traveled through various schools of thoughts (when I reference Jesus here I mean his time with the Essenes and his journeys through Asia that are avoided by mainstream Christians) , they knew when it was time to leave.  Sometimes the sages got booted out of monasteries because their behavior and thinking no longer suited the sect they belonged to and they were considered a threat.  Here I am not encouraging disruptive behavior but I think it is more than acceptable to ask questions of cults when you go out the door.  The way a cult responds to questioning is a very good way to help decide just how bad the cult is, when there is a closing down and ostracizing of individuals you can rest assured that it is not only a dangerous place for oneself but also others.
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Into Foreverness
Going out the door of the world of limited thought is a glorious thing. The reason why people don’t is because they are scared, worried about offending God, losing the community, feeling like they will be ostracized, that it may be a mistake and they are betraying the Divine.
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There is a Super-Consciousness that has emerged out of the Deep Silence, it has self awareness, it does not judge, it is extremely forgiving of the journey that got us to now.

May no man enslave you
May you understand that the spark inside you is same as in the great Gods
May your true nature reveal itself
May your endless potential unfold
May no God be greater than you
May you claim back your power from the petty tyrants of limited thought
May wherever you go, there be a trail littered with love, compassion and empathy as you pass by
May you rest safely in Emptiness knowing that from it emerges everything

Tilopa 2.0

The Selfie and Self Realisation

We live in a time where many of us freeze-frame ourselves wherever we go. This is me at the Opera House, I’m now standing in front of the Taj Mahal, behind me is 100 mile beach, me eating a gluten free sandwich with Tibetan parsley, me with a coffee cup in the back streets of Kathmandu, me standing next to Jim Morrison’s grave smoking a doobie.  So many opportunities for us to place ourselves in sacred spaces and hide the view, we trivialise life and turn the magnificent into something about ‘us’.
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Feeding the Problem
I was walking down a trendy Melbourne street in my normal fashion of not being able to go forward in a straight line for more than two metres when I noticed a young mother with a child of about three or four years old. They were taking a selfie outside a shop, no big deal really, after the ‘shoot’ the mum showed the daughter the pic on her phone and the child smiled with natural excitement.  It’s normal to take photos of our kids, nice mementos for future dialogue when kids are older.  However it got me thinking.
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Who the Fudge Am I?
When we look at the human dilemma of ‘who am i?’ and all the other questions about the mystery of life, it would be reasonable to start to question how we arrive at conclusions of who we are.  For starters, at birth when the stork drops us off at the hospital, natural birth centre or cabbage patch, we arrive and immediately there’s a lot of hoohah about the new kid on the block, it’s a boy, it’s got too much hair, it’s beautiful, it looks like a monkey, it’s a Buddha, it wont stop crying, what do I do with this thing? omg I’ve got a baby.  This little person thing gradually gets defined by those around it as it moves along the arrow of time; from the very beginning the flow of external data writes to the subconscious memory bank and the kid learns who and what it is.
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I’m Not Just a Bunch of Banana Sundaes
I like to think  a little broader than the skin that holds all the bits in. For example I know the water running through my being has arrived from the outside, the clouds, the rain, glug glug down the hatch, what was once falling from the endless heavens is now in my being. The food that grew in Mother Earth transformed inside my body and is now reflected in the texture of my skin; the sun, the air, the whole of nature has allowed me to be here, wherever here may be, this body-being that I use as a vehicle to move through life’s experiences is not out on its own, it is part of a series of processes of living nature (not rocket science).
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Not Sure Who I Am
Many people in my family have changed their names, this has always amused me; I guess it was only fitting that my parents would give me a name at birth but never use it, they called me something else from day dot, I have never used the name on my birth certificate apart from when I’m startled into an ‘oh that’s me’ when it gets called at the doctors;  and then by a weird series of events I ended up with yet another name ‘Tilopa 2.0’ that I use now.  For me, I think this name change thing is not by chance, it has been a critical aspect on my journey of understanding the mysteries of life. It got me thinking ‘who the fudge am I? We humans love to name things, the concern with naming is as soon as something is named it is filed away in the memory banks, we humans assume we know lots of things but often we just know the names and very little information about things, it’s not until we enter into something that we really know it, the rest is just a story. We are a panel of experts who know about things that we have never experienced.
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Getting Out of the Way
Transformation comes about by undoing.  In education there is a filling up; and I am not knocking the gathering of information or the development of skills, I am a teacher and also love learning new things. The process of experiencing deeper Awareness works in reverse to education, a different set of rules applies; this is why academics and intellectuals have so much trouble with consciousness and out of the ordinary things, they don’t have a column in their database to include ‘other stuff’.  And this does not mean that a sharp intellect is a problem, personally I find it useful for analysis and discrimination; in my case a sharp intellect is extremely beneficial for me to compile the extraordinary into something that vaguely makes sense.  A bit like a cup full of sea water gives an example of the texture of the ocean, it won’t tell us much else but it hints that the salty water exists.
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A Montage Called Me
As we move through selfie-moments and stream them live in real-time to the social cyber-world, a chorus of onlookers joins in to the story of ‘who we believe ourselves to be’. That sentence may seem a little odd or over the top but when we come back to the core principles of Buddhism or Jnana Yoga  or knowledge of Self, (a simple definition of Self =something more expansive than the body and its environs) we know that Emptiness is at our core, as we move through life, in our thoughts we are defining who we are such as ‘i am a doctor, an idiot, a genius, i’m fat, ugly, a nice guy’, all sorts of labels.  When we look very very closely and give it a lot of thought, we see there is nothing solid that defines us apart from the body we drag through the 3D space of the world, the ‘me’ is constantly in motion, the molecules are churning, dancing in space.  It is space, the ‘field’ of creation that is consistent and also our ‘intention’ that projects into space. A selfie temporarily defines us, when we give them too much focus and stream them endlessly to the world, we are falling deeper into the abyss of  mis-identification and move further away from what we are.
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The Age of Not Me
The time we live in is an age of self-obsession and there needs to be a certain amount of awareness that we are ‘not what we imagine ourselves to be’, the image that we are creating and reinforcing plunges us further and further away from our core nature, the Emptiness.  This word Emptiness is not what it seems, it is living, it is at the heart of all creative potential, the blank canvas of life, the Silence that the Universe sits on or in and we need to get out of its way.

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Tilopa 2.0 on his balcony

Jnana Yoga – Unthinking Ramana

The great Sage Ramana Maharshi was always advising his visitors and students to ‘come back to ones deeper self’, these were not his words but this is partially the essence of what he discussed. He reminded us to stop running into the world and getting caught in the trap of things that sparkle and shine and turn the attention to the awareness of what is behind the experiencer of the world/s, to escape the mousetrap, the room full of mirrors with distorted images.  Often Spiritual aspirants and philosophers translate Ramana’s perspective of what some would erroneously define as reality into what they think he is saying.  As we are attempting to discuss something that is outside our normal way of thinking, it does seem obvious that it would be easy for there to be misinterpretations, or more specifically there are many misassumptions made.
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Digging into Ramana’s Words
I was looking at some  text which is an extract from the book ‘Who Am I?’ and am  once again reminded how if we are not alert, we can place a beard on the Mona Lisa, by this I mean add something that is not really there, we end up walking away with an impression in our thoughts that wasn’t said by the one who spoke the original words.  The mind (or more precisely the part of us that creates our understanding of the world) interprets it and adds something of it’s own, it goes into the subconscious and we end up with yet another program that runs in the background and undermines us and blocks the view.

What is called ‘the world’ is only thoughts.

When the world disappears, that is,
When there are no thoughts, the mind experiences bliss;
When the world appears it experiences suffering … Ramana Maharshi

Any Sage who is worth his weight in pure honey straight from the honeybee will always tell you the world is only a network of thought, this for many people is easy to reflect on and go “yes, yes, sure thing”, there is a feeling that we have resolved an aspect of the mystery of life, in support of this we may even reference Particle Physics concepts and say things like “it’s all just atoms in motion and nothing is static”, we feel there is a resolve because an idea has come to rest and assume we don’t have to think any more about it.
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The Great Void of Existence
Where we often get into trouble is with the line ‘When the world disappears’. I am in agreement with bliss emerging when the mind disappears, this is a no brainer for a long time deep meditator.  When we enter the Silence, the Great Void, the Emptiness, we take nothing with us, there is a dissolving.  The human being, well at least what it is generally perceived to be a human being, has limited parameters, a series of senses and if we reach in a little deeper we will see we have what I will for this article define as ‘super-senses’.  Regardless of these extra-normal super-senses they also have a finiteness about them, they have boundaries and they also don’t have a gate-pass into the Silence.  It seems to be common to some Indian Spirituality (and this is not a criticism but an observation) to always want to transcend the world, to go beyond it, always running, getting out, it’s as if life is poison that must not be drunk, the beauty around us is our enemy, the world is an enchantress who has to be denied and turned into a widow if we are to find freedom.  Although my foundation is in Jnana Yoga, I do not prescribe to this limited view, this is the Mona Lisa’s mustache added by others. Jnana Yoga although is perceived by many great yogis to be ultimate state, this is not so.
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Putting an End to the War Within
If we have the attitude that the world needs to be denied, that what is Spiritual is beyond, we end up being at war with the world around us.  We need to rethink this, to arrive at something that allows us to taste the pure water of the mountain stream, to feel the wind against our face, watch the birds twist around in the vast blue space, to be moved into ecstasy at the sound of master musicians, to embrace the beating heart of another being, to gaze at the gaps in the trees as breeze moves them, to be enchanted by the colours of spring. Human life is a blessing and the bitterness and misunderstandings of the yogis who are running ‘inside’ should not be our guiding light, they have not reached the heart sanctuary, they are caught in a limbo and do not fully understand the role of the human species. Beyond question, it is necessary to drop into the great Void inside, however we need a reminder that everything emerges out of this and the future of man is in the creative potential and the secret of dissolution is in constantly abandoning oneself into it and spiraling out again . Partial truths are an entrapment and just because it sounds good and people can use the words of (supposedly) Sacred texts to back up their world view, does not mean they have an understanding of the very words they quote. Experience is greater than philosophy.
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Thought, it’s All Thought
At the core of our problem is thought, and it is a universal problem; this is undeniable but that is where the road splits. Although most of the yogis will agree that thought is the problem, we are not necessarily speaking the same language; and i am NOT comfortable with “there are many paths and they all lead to same place” this is nonsense, it is a flippant statement used by people to close down dialogue.  I am confident there are two paths, and I am hesitant to use the word paths, because it implies going somewhere.  There are two perspectives.  One is a ‘going somewhere’, trying to Become something, and the other is Being.  The first is a movement away from the self, it is an endless journey of looking under rocks for the treasure; unknowingly it is enforcing a hidden mantra of ” I lack”, it is an attitude of I am not worthy, I will one day be better if I try, if I do a lot of Sadhana (Spiritual practice) then one day I will reach the goal.  A wise man or woman would refer to this as the Path of Endless Becoming,  and this path is what religions and half-baked-yogis thrive off.  ‘One day God will save you or find you worthy’, can you see the problem with this?  I was saying thought is the problem.  All the seeking, beckoning for help is in essence running away, it increases a sense of ‘I’ , the ‘I’ has no substance, it is purely a conglomeration of thought, joined together it creates an imaginary being, this being is in constant flux, the idea of making the being better is seriously flawed.  It is just thought.  So we need to look at thought more closely.  The word Ego is given too much attention, by trying to get rid of it, it strengthens its imaginary existence. It’s like a man who goes to a shonky doctor, and he tells the man he has a disease, the man runs hither and thither for a remedy, but he can never find one because the disease is not real, he spends his time and money attempting to fix the unfixable.
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Rethinking it All
What I struggled with in the translation of Ramana’s text was ‘When the world appears it experiences suffering’. This is incorrect and it stems from the misunderstanding of the relationship between suffering and attachment.  Where there is clinging there is pain.  The world with all its beauty, its endless unfolding and cascading is an expression of the Underlying Super-Consciousness expressing itself; our eyes and those of other beings, our senses and our super senses are the only thing that will experience this externally, how can this be suffering? A form that emerges will experience it on the inside, that part of consciousness has a right to exist.  It is the obsessiveness and morishness that is common to the human species that creates the problem.  The mind is an empty canvas like the sky, sprinkled with thought-possibilities, but if it holds it too long, if it surpasses the use-by date of the relationship, then the suffering begins.  Life itself is not suffering, it is the endless holding onto things, like a dog biting a leg that brings about pain.  This is where the half-baked Yogis and I have a fork in the road.  Yes thought is the problem, but in the same way that a fine surgeon or master wood craftsman uses their tools, beauty can emerge;  in the hands of a buffoon, tools are dangerous.

” When the world appears, embrace its beauty
Then like the setting sun, let it fall back into space
Be empty like the sky,
As clouds pass by watch with wonder as they bid farewell”

Tilopa 2.0

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

Real Yoga and the End of Maya

In a way we have all been fooled.  If we think back to when people were in agreement that the world was flat and they imagined it went off in all directions further than anyone could walk and they might fall off, only the dreamers would have imagined anything else, some would have looked at the moon and noticed at a period of time there was something up there that would change shape and from the pondering there would be numerous wondrous stories.  Others would have kept silent their dreams for fear of not fitting in to the community and being ostracised for thinking differently.
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A Kaleidoscopic of Tribes 
Anyone who has lived in isolation would have no idea what’s going on over the hill, each tribe in their own jungle has a special way of doing things, a specific language and what’s happening elsewhere would be incomprehensible.  Even today a percentage of the community does not realise that many of the concepts relating to classical physics have been replaced by the challenging and quirkiness of quantum physics, things have become a little more frisky, the familiar world is not so solid any more; things are named when we look at them, but everything quickly moves to another spot.  In one fast swoop and brush of the hand, this new perspective and understanding manages to disintegrate the world we knew, and unless someone is a dreamer it can make people feel a little uncomfortable, the ‘bird has flown’ when it comes to what we once knew or believed true.  Meanwhile religious dogmatists continue their rhetoric and stand their ground regardless.

It’s on the Internet, it Must Be True 🙂
With the emergence of technologies that have stemmed from quantum physics, we have a tsunami of information available that varies in quality, some life changing, other info may be trivial and ‘wannabe’, also there is monolith of material that is not even questionable but is straight out lies…or better I could say, “is from tribes from another jungle.”

When it comes to religion and spirituality, we also have quite a number of dishes at the smorgasbord, many of us are born into a familiar style of cuisine that is so normal to us that it seems so appetising, we feel satiated, so why eat elsewhere?

The World is Only Temporarily Solid
Contrary to popular opinion, the world is not what we think it is. ‘Thought’ plays a major part, and our inherited habit of ‘naming’ things is where we need to look if we want to make greater sense of what may be going on; we unknowingly have tricked ourselves, and everyone around us is part of the game, not intentionally; and not in a ‘paranoid’ sense, it’s the old story of actors in a play who get so carried way with the story, they forget their other normal daily existence.  A good point of reference to go to is Lao Tsu, he supposedly said, “The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth.  The Named is the Mother of myriad things.”  This may not seem overly important at first glance, it’s easy to flit past the endless feel good and philosophical thoughts that populate the cyber universe and bookshelves, but it’s critical to stop for a moment and ponder words by men and woman who are giants, they don’t speak flippantly, their dialogue is designed to destroy the known world, and to take us into new territory.  When wise men and women speak, what they say is something to dig into.  Lao Tsu said, “The named is the mother of all things.” If we go a fraction West to the Indian subcontinent and roll out the Vedic texts, we find the word ‘Maya’, a word often twisted by spiritual and religious zealots.  The relationship between Maya and the Named cannot be overstated.  Maya is interpreted in many ways and is often referred to as meaning ‘illusion’,  I will take the liberty of saying if you call it an ‘illusion’, it is misleading and is slightly incorrect.

Twisted Philosophy
The problem with defining the world we move in as ‘Maya’ is, if we follow that line of thought and our viewpoint or philosophy is in some way extreme, we will have a tendency to ‘run’ from life. Running will in some cases lead us away from obligations, things such as family, developing our skills, and if are not cautious we may minimise what requires our attention.  From my experience I have noticed some people who get caught up in the idea of Maya, are inclined to use phrases like “the world is material”, “it’s all God” as petty excuses to look away from life’s issues.  Many years later a person may find themselves in a situation where ‘regret’ kicks in, when the Maya philosophy bubble bursts, there are often casualties.

Maya, what it really is about is a ‘trick of the mind’, our thoughts have a natural tendency to create stories; this is inbuilt in human nature.  When we look at a tree, we name it, we don’t see the many facets of it, the colours, nor do we think about its relationship with the rest of the world, the eco system it is part of, and because it is ‘familiar’ in the sense that we KNOW what a tree is, it slips past us; we have a story of what a tree is, and don’t ‘second thought’ it.  But when we stop for a moment and look more closely and think it through, that tree that we see is just temporarily a ‘tree’, it will never be the same again, we subconsciously create parameters where the tree starts and stops.  What an awareness of Maya will tell us is we automatically ‘name’ everything, and with it comes a story, we miss what is underneath, we can be so distracted by the sparkle and glitter that emerges constantly in the world around us, we end up looking away from what is at the core of all things, and more importantly what is within ourselves.

Humanity’s Spiritual quest will have a series of milestones; I will simply of say there are markers at various points, and this is not something i would overthink or have as a rigid truth. I have often heard it said that there is a ‘different path for everyone’, this I see as a partial truth pointing to the individual having a unique experience as the kaleidoscope around changes, but at the core, ‘awareness’ hasn’t gone anywhere.  However, I am comfortable to say there is NO PATH.  What this means is there is a labyrinth, the labyrinth is constructed of thought, it goes in a circular motion; the parameters and boundaries are created by the limited view we have; the more way say “that’s not possible”, the tighter the restrictions will be. BUT if we are more detached from opinions about everything, the looser the chains will become.  Thought is the prison house and MAYA is nought but the relationship between the sparklies in the field of life and the way we lose ourselves in it.

So What on Earth Can We Do
From my experience I am comfortable in saying ‘Don’t do anything’; this is a difficult thing for many people because it requires an ‘undoing’ of the way we function.  We are generally goal driven.  The normal order of things is: do this, this and this and you will get ‘that’ at the end.  We are used to being ‘rated’ for what we do and often fall short, always ‘not good enough’,  forever we are away from the destination, or at the other extreme, there are those who are so self obsessed they consider their shower water is fine wine.

Coming Back to Me
By not doing anything we come back to our ‘awareness’, the experiencer, to something that is sensing the rise and fall of the play of life.  This way of doing things is hard for people, education is about striving, so there is habit and an assumption that this way of doing things would also be consistent in relation to the Spirit.  And in defense of the other way of doing things, there are numerous scriptures to quote; there are many words to reference that keep the world hypnotised.  Everyone is in a hurry to BE SOMETHING, but this is Maya at it’s best. NOTHING will always be at odds with Maya, they will never meet.

Maya has NO SUBSTANCE in the sense that EVERYTHING IS IN MOTION, but the centre, the ‘imaginary canvas’ is still, it is THOUGHT that is the SLAYER of the REAL.  And the REAL is the EMPTINESS, the AWARENESS at the centre of all.

A Prayer for Humanity
As the shadows and light move across the stage of life
May we always let them go when they must leave.
May we always treat others in the way we wish for ourselves
May our hearts soften to embrace diversity
May all Beings live in Harmony
May each new generation rise in love

Tilopa 2.0

Earth Changes – A Common Sense Approach

Most of my life I have been preparing to ‘go’, not in a normal ‘death’ sense where a person has that sensation of ‘giving up’ and wanting to escape pain, to evade life’s suffering because it seemed too much; it’s something very different. It would be easy to say that maybe I read too much Bible doomy and gloomy as a kid and inherited the attitude of ‘anyone who loves his life will lose it’, a quote from a very poorly translated Christian scripture that makes people feel extremely paranoid and scared of life it’s not that. However it would be easy if there was no further investigation to be dismissive about anything relating to the subject of Earth Changes.
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Let’s look at our world
Generally the broader community is very uninformed or is looking away. Our history books and news media gives us a paint-by-numbers view of the world and bypasses a lot of the quality stuff, this keeps a lid on new knowledge that challenges the story of the world as we know it.  Many people don’t even realise that classical physics has been updated by quantum physics. If you are interested in Archaeology you’d have an idea that there are new finds on a regular basis that don’t make it into the mainstream media, remains of mysterious civilisations every so often are popping their heads up from under the earth.  If you are science or tech savvy, or watch TED you may know that Satellite Remote-Sensing Infrared is now being used to map the subtle changes on the surface of the earth, it seeks out irregularities that would be missed by the eye with the more traditional methods of research and excavation, it puts a few brakes on the endless intrusive digging that is both time consuming and unnecessarily potentially destructive.  There are long lost cities, relics and civilisations under the ocean off the coast of Japan, India, the Bahamas and other places, complete with an equal amount of fantasy and plenty of debunking.  Regardless of who was here in the past, what they achieved and the stories about them, real or imaginary, it would be unreasonable to say there had not been any well developed communities  who left a trail in the sand, there are things that ‘just wont blow away’, these time capsule things remind us of their existence, our temporariness and it creates a challenge for us to update our history books and also maybe we could even reconsider the myths and legends of what was previously perceived as backward cultures. Many of these ‘backward’ cultures did a great job of fitting transparently and comfortably into the Eco-systems for thousands of years; some mysteriously disappeared… well it is a mystery to us when we try and make sense of them now.
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Possible Futures
We keep hearing dooms-dayers talking about things such as the world is going to shift its axis, movement of the magnetic polls, tsunamis, we could get hit by a comet, some say we’ll fry, others say Northern Europe will freeze over, if that’s not enough to fill senior nappies then what is?  Are these people total nut-jobs?  Why can’t they just enjoy life like everyone else?  And then there are the conspiracy theorists, we better throw them into the mix.  Some say the ‘elite’ are building spacecraft to vacate the planet and the worlds financial resources have been stolen and channeled into their projects because they know what’s coming and there are underground cities. Stargate people say the elite will be stepping into other worlds without us and then there are an endless array of Jesus possibilities. He’s arriving in the clouds, grabbing those who did the right thing and then heading off to somewhere else, the chosen ones near their Beloved while everyone else eats hay.  So what can we make of this?
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Lots of Ways to Die
We don’t have to think back too far to see there is instability. I am reminded of years ago when I was in Nepal a women said to me, “these tourists are crazy, they don’t realise there is a jungle out there, they think just because there are a few tourist restaurants and shops they can wander off anywhere and be they’ll be OK.  It’s not safe, there are tigers out there”.  Strangely enough, that was an eyeopener, it pointed out to me that just because we can ‘frame’ things a certain way, doesn’t mean that we have control over nature, we are in many ways vulnerable.  In 2004 we had the big tsunami, there were three hundred thousand deaths. In 2005 there was Hurricane Katrina, it wasn’t way off somewhere in a remote desert, it hit New Orleans a city with 370 thousand people.  Then we had the earthquake that triggered the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, it polluted the oceans, killed people, created devastation, a combination of nature and man-made problems kicking our asses, we know the impact and flow on will affect us for centuries.  And yes there is a shift in the magnetic poles, apparentl this is a normal thing for this planet we live on, I don’t think we need to develop pole paranoia, but when we do a little looking around, we can conclude it’s not too far fetched that a magnetic pole shift could disturb a lot of things.  The coastlines are moving, some people invested their money in building mansions overlooking the sea, they never considered that their palaces would one day be uninhabitable.  We can look back to the Chernobyl accident which was a human stuff up and while on catastrophe I may as well mention the devastation in Syria, in 2013 it was estimated there were at least four million homeless. There is also the whittling away of the Amazon Rain Forest and let’s throw in the Greek Austerity Package and the economic chaos, I won’t even start to point the finger at who and why, this would be a totally different discussion but it is  yet another example of the mad fragile world we are in.
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What’s Your Salvation Package Flavor?
Often when people talk about Earth Changes there’s usually some type of religious or spiritual banter that goes with it. Some reckon a God Being is going to save the day or in other people’s versions of the ‘truth’ the ‘Chosen Ones’ are going to magically ascend into another state of consciousness, while those left behind will suffer the fate similar to Lot’s wife (a character from the Bible, her hubby told not to look back, else she would turn into a pile of non-Pink-Himalayan Rock Salt … and curiosity got the better of her).  In this frail world it’s easy for people to get caught up in fear and to create a ‘redemption pathway’, a feeling of hope for the future-life and trust in what they believe to be God’s promise, in their thinking they become ‘one of the elect’ who will survive the tribulations, fire and brimstone.  Some are so confident they are not concerned about the world around them because it’s going to be totally trashed soon anyway, so what’s the point? And of course there are the millions who are comfortably uncomfortable and confident that Global Warming will impact on multiple aspects of life on the planet, their bottom line is if we don’t take a left turn or if there’s no intervention we and many of our animal cousins are going to be part of Planet Earth’s history, not future, so it seems.
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What to Do? 
So what do we do with the predicament we are in? Whether we are scientific about it, devoutly religious or one of those who are arrogant enough to refer to themselves as ‘the faithful’, not even realising it implies that members of other faiths are not perceived as faithful, a disciple in a pyjama wearing whacky cult, a New Ager waiting for some type of transformative redemption or we may just be an average social network user being bombarded daily with pictures of polar bears sitting on large ice blocks in the Arctic or a subscriber to the alternative news site that covers crimes against humanity happening from one side of the globe to the other and end up confused because at times it is impossible to work out who on earth are the good guys and have become so cynical we assume that everything on the mainstream news is propaganda with an ulterior agenda and maybe there are alien lizards ready to gobble us.  Regardless what ‘take’ is on it all. it’s not looking pretty out there. How can we live?  Do we just dumb ourselves down with drugs, alcohol, lose ourselves in a maze of objects, chasing sensation after sensation, stuffing more exotic food in and fill our worlds with digital bling?
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So what happens if there is a break down in society, what happens if the electronic grid goes down, communications networks fail?  Have you ever been locked out of an apartment because someone has vandalised the electronic security of the building? That gets annoyingly difficult, particularly if you live on the sixth floor like I do.  Our fire alarm gets triggered every so many days and dozens of people end up on the street in their night gowns, people holding babies looking confused.  Have you ever been in a situation where the transport network suddenly gets interrupted and stops, you’re stranded?  People get feisty, really irritable very fast. Or have you ever been in a bush fire or flood? The shelves on the supermarket empty out rather fast, baked bean share price peaks overnight, people suddenly become rather self centred, it’s every man for himself until the calm sets in and the community works together in a school hall and acts of kindness start filtering in from those outside.  Have you ever lived somewhere where the water has become undrinkable or the power goes out and everything starts to freeze over, when the cold starts to hurt your bones?  Or if you lose your ID and can’t do anything because the ‘system’ won’t let you, you don’t exist.  Or have you been alienated, an outsider where it’s impossible to do basic things? This all sounds a little depressing, but most people who have been on the planet a while and traveled would have found themselves in crisis states of various levels resembling some of the things mentioned here.
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Let’s Look Ahead
We know from experience that people can be a little difficult in times of crisis; it brings out the crazies, and we also are well aware there are kind people on the planet who carry out phenomenal acts of bravery, they may even lose their lives trying to help others.  And also we have all had religious people shoving pamphlets in our faces or knocking on the front door attempting to save our souls because it is their understanding of ‘truth’ and like the Blues Brothers they are on a ‘mission from God’.  In times of a great Earth Change calamity (pick your disaster here, we have a few options) these people are going to come into their own; “we told you, we warned you, the Lord, He’s-a-coming” ; there would be great chaos and this would be seen as the final window of opportunity to ‘do the Lord’s work’. With fire and brimstone at the doorstep (or other option), if that’s not convincing, what is?  Temporarily it’s a fair argument in moments when the world we know around us is destabilised.
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The World Ends Today … Nahh it Doesn’t
I think this last minute evangelising needs a little consideration, I see it as a given, it’s definitely going to happen one day somewhere; I consider there to be some serious problems with that attitude. A religious or spiritual man and I use the word religious here as meaning ‘someone who follows a set of principles that are virtuous’ (I will exclude the word ‘morality’ as it has other connotations and changes from sect to sect) is not rooted in fear. Fear is natural part of human nature but having it as the foundation for a relationship with a God is something I would seriously question. From my window, my understanding of the Underlying Principle that sustains the Universe is, it is benevolent, nurturing, not something to cringe from, but I best not get caught up on detail and personal preferences and flavours. Real religion or spirituality or however you care to define it is about NOW not just about the ‘future life’; I see that evangelism may have a weak argument for last minute recruits but if we look closely, there is some substance missing.
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Finding Integrity and Humility
When we attempt to live with integrity, with empathy, with compassion, we leave a trail of beauty throughout space-time; it reaches into the depth of our being, spreads to the world around us, back through our past and way out into the unborn future; it is constant, it may fluctuate but it has a solidness about it.  What I would define as a religious or spiritual man (woman or other) is somebody who dips into the well of the wisdom of life, seeks it out and attempts to perceive it in those around him and extracts the ‘juice’ from the experiences he passes through. Exclusive religion and spirituality has a bad odour about it, it has a temporary hypnotic euphoric feeling but it is insular and separative.  To be in a crisis, in a serious Earth Change moment of some type and not find our humility, to not understand and embrace a suffering humanity and instead, to consider oneself as God’s spokesperson, someone to correct the behaviour of others is extremely arrogant; I do understand that a religious fundamentalist would disagree. People have the whole of their lives to develop a deep understanding and live with integrity; the idea of at the last minute attempting to convert people and save their souls is totally missing the point and is elitist.
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Caught in the Mouse Trap
In a time of Earth Change of any type, there would be those who are incapable of doing anything else apart from complaining, surrendering to fear and grief, this is understandable considering the lifestyles we all lead, we’ve dumbed down our relationship with the ‘living being we are a part of and move in’. Our micro-worlds are often controlled by remotes; some of us eat food ‘nuked’ in the microwave, devoid of nutrition; mechanical automated objects do everything for us, we are ‘away’ from nature, the earth and we move in a fabricated world. City people as a rule fit the model a touch more closely than country folk.  For many, everything is push button and there is movement from one air-conditioned space to the next, we eat out because it’s convenient, forgetting that what goes into us creates the ‘future us’ and we imbibe the feelings of others and whatever chemicals and garbage may be in the food.  Cities are full of people shuffling numbers and papers throughout the day, it’s the information age, so many of us are dealing with virtual objects, things that aren’t real or solid; lifestyle is based around consumer culture where money gets us what we want, “just keep it comin’ baby the old one’s not good enough”; even those with limited funds buy cheap pre-made food and accumulate piles of useless junk (says he with a dozen guitars); the world of objects is bulging at the seams. Is it any wonder that the living being Mother Earth would object?  Of course, if and when the ‘compost hits the Earth Change fan’ a person would seem overcome and bewildered, things would suddenly be ‘TURNED OFF’. Our dependencies would be screaming at us saying ‘feed me, gimme gimme gimme’. EVERYTHING would collapse.  Am I paranoid? Straight ‘no’, I am quite grounded. Whether a person be a scientist, a religious zealot, a doomsdayer or an off-the grider-bunker-hippy, we are in serious strife.
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What to Do?
Based on the various sources, some true and others that may be a fantasy, if we see or can assume what may be coming to the world around us, how do we prepare?  Do we need to go ‘full bunker-man’ with Elma Fudd complete with shotgun in hand? Do we just lie down? Do we really need to do anything?  Will signing up with a religious group and hoping we get it right be enough?  Will the spaceships come and take us to inner-earth, then to outer space and other dimensions?  Or if there were another Ark, with so many pairs of species who might eat each other, will there be room for us, will we be on the list?  Is there enough space for us?  Or shall we just let things be?  Or is it better to go full native? Are we chosen? Have we done enough for a God to say, “yep take that one, hop in the right queue”?
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Losing Control
Have we lost control of our lives?  If we look around at the lifestyles and dependencies we have, in most cases, the straight answer is ‘yes’, this is undeniable in many cases. There are attitudes of ‘if it is coming, why bother anyway?’, and ‘I just want live my life and not worry about the future.’  Although the approaches can’t do anything so why bother? and live in the ‘NOW‘, are both reasonable responses, of the two the attitude of live in the ‘Now’ has the foundation of something worth exploring if we are sensible about it. I consider ‘can’t do anything‘ to come from a dull mind, and in a way represents how a person already lives, it lacks the wonder of life. Life’s experiences lead us to wisdom; if we were to scale things back and have ‘gratitude’ for anything, maybe it’s ‘life’ itself that we need to give thanks for, there is a wonder in our very existence, and incredible potential in the hidden unborn future.  What if older civilisations that lived on just said, “I’m finished, I give up?” As I have had serious trauma in my life, I know that at the other side of it, beyond despair there is a place  we get to when the grief subsides, it is glorious.  And that is why I consider it important to not have an attitude of ‘lie down’ and give up.  Trauma and grief leads us to a place to readdress everything, how we live, what is important, how to ‘drop’ things, how to extract the flavor of life when it seems hopelessly empty and dry.
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Rethinking Living Now
The ‘Living Now’ idea has a lot of flippy-floppy New Age connotations; if a person doesn’t dig into understanding this phrase from the pseudo-New-Age dictionary properly, it can turn into something that a person pulls out of his or her pocket when needed and may not have a lot of substance; much in the way that people say “it’s all God”, or “it’s about Love”.  ‘Now’, does not mean no future, to have no creative destiny; in ‘Now’ is gratitude, respecting the present,  and I don’t mean just staring at flowers and over-checking out the details.  It is deeply entwined with letting distraction subside, embracing what is possible and disregarding and accepting what is happening that we cannot change.  An example of something we cannot change would be, if our loved one moves on and doesn’t include us as part of his or her life, there is no need for us to dream what will never be; we can do our natural grieving but still allow life to unfold as it will and develop ways to keep our thinking in check; nor is there a need to keep running back into the memories because we are unknowingly addicted to suffering.  Living with an attitude of ‘Now’ eradicates the unnecessary meanderings in thought and in the clarity and space that is created by not being a slave to our wandering thoughts, creative possibilities come about in our future when we detach from the unnecessary things filling up our thought-space . The nature of thought is activity and its fruit is the ‘world we move into and through’, a useful underlying life-principle is to redirect the thinking so that what we do have control over takes shape in a manner that is beneficial; if we don’t address what I would refer to as ‘unnecessary thinking’, what we create in our future comes from our old repetitive subconscious thinking patterns.
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Dumbing Down and Giving Up
Where the ‘dull mind’ is at fault is it cannot see a positive future, it sits in the ‘known’, wallows in it and uses what it knows, what I call its ‘Story of the World’ as a benchmark for all experience.  I am always fascinated and inspired by those people who can see a business opportunity in anything, they see hope where others miss the potential.  The (late) comedian George Carlin once did a skit about ‘nail two things together that have never been nailed together before, and someone will buy it’.  If you ask two electricians who have different personalities, ‘is there much work on at the moment?’, one will say, “it’s coming out my ears”, another will despondently respond, “nothing doing” and proceed to tell you everything that is wrong in the universe and it will probs include a list of health problems, a bit on politics and how stuffed the world is.  This in itself tells me that the experiencer in some way has a lot to do with what unfolds in the world around us that we move in.
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Getting Off the Grid
Do we need to go ‘off the grid’, to get out and not be a slave to the system that locks us in?
What do we really need, what are the essentials? Clean water, food, shelter, warmth and a few sticks to rub together to keep us warm and yes companionship and chocolate, coffee and plenty of guitar strings. Someone said to me “if you set up something, surely someone is going to turn up with a gun and take it from you”, maybe, but my mentality is not centred around Mad Max and Hollywood. When I walk out my door I don’t expect to get run over by a car, but I know that it does happen.   Personally I see a potential in the future even if Earth Changes (what ever version) were to arrive.

The world we know is changing, we need to consider this seriously if we value ourselves, our loved ones, where this will lead us, OUR future yogi already knows, being a slave to fear is not what we need here, it is our creativity and sense of brilliance that needs to kick in.

More Future Yogis Articles

What isn’t God?

The Dyslexic Dog…
I have started this article by asking “What isn’t God?” Normally people may ask, “What is God?”  I thought a good point to come from might be to ask the opposite, to flip the question. When a dyslexic looks at the words,”What is God?”, he or she may see something that has a totally different meaning, it may read ‘What is Dog?’ Thinking it through, all humanity is just as confused as your average dyslexic in trying to understand either question; God is the greatest enigma. The brilliance of dyslexics (if they do not feel overly disadvantaged by not having the world of words sorted) will be in their ability to function comfortably in the world and solve problems in creative ways by looking at situations and finding a solution in a manner where they can wander unnoticed in the world of men and ‘things’ without a fuss.  The issue of being able to address / make sense of  God properly, is very similar to the dyslexics who, out of necessity have to learn to navigate the world differently; the more we explore the notions of God, it seems like the less capable we are of getting God to fit into a logical view, the crazier it gets.
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The Problem with Academics
We could study hard, gather all get all the academics of the world together to write papers on the subject, and still be confused.  When I glance across to the Indian Subcontinent to try to make sense of the issue and look for some of the wise men who have lived there, I find that in the not too distant past there was a sage called Ramakrishna, a simple man. Although he and I have very different perspectives, I find him to be of great interest. Often, whenever somebody asked Ramakrishna a question on spirituality, he would say ‘go ask Vivekananda’.  Vivekananda was his student, and a scholar, a key figure in introducing some of the Indian Philosophies to the West. Ramakrishna was an experiencer of something sublime and wasn’t overly interested in the intellectual side of things, there was no need for him to be.  This scenario gives me a hint, confirms what I already understood, or it is better if I say ‘assumed’ that it is probable that the intellect is not the right lens to look through to see or experience God.  Although it is only one man’s perspective; something I have heard over and over again, the analogy of trying to fit the ocean into the bucket is a perfect description of the dilemma we have.
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The Hopelessness of Zen
Anyone who has seriously explored the Zen Koan approach to self-transformation would have a deep understanding of not only why the system exists, but the (if I may say so) futility of the quest and trying to resolve the un-resolvable.  For those who are unfamiliar with Zen Koans, traditionally in some schools of Buddhism, a teacher would give a disciple (disciple = an horrendous and misleading description) /student a puzzle such as, “Why is a mouse when it spins?”,  another example would be,”What is the sound of one hand clapping, out of time?”  🙂 or some other, what would seem nonsensical puzzle to sort. Generally but not always, the teacher or Master would regularly check on the progress of the student (the word Master here means ‘one who has mastered him or herself’, in the same way as Jesus said to Peter, ” I am not your Master” when Peter addressed Him as Master”).  My reason for saying that the Master Teacher will not always check the progress is because most students would be out of there (the dojo/monastery) pretty fast, when they started to get a deeper understanding and an inkling of what was going on, that is unless it was natural for them to stay. Someone with half understanding would continue, and half-understanding is not knowledge, it is opinions, suppositions; awareness is not about opinions, it is about perception, the perceiver or experience; although anything is possible it would be seem a rare event for someone who had gone through the transformation process to stay in the environment, unless they were in some way incapacitated, very old, or were the future teacher who would take over the role as the Master, only fools wish to be Master.  As I see it, a Master emerges out of the depth of consciousness and has no agenda .  Many spiritual aspirants delight in showing how advanced they are spiritually, which in itself tells the world where they are really at. Monasteries and Dojos are for teachers and students, not for free men and women. Religious outfits represent what ones ‘limitation’ is or what one has aligned their thinking with, and is generally not about depth of experience, it expresses the tools that one is clinging to. They are halfway houses.
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Believers and Faithers
In the last two paragraphs I have stated that the intellect is not the tool for getting an understanding of what I will refer to as the Sublime Consciousness.  Neither by studying the scriptures intensely, nor by the use of reason to unravel an enigma given by a teacher can we arrive at God; this is a strong statement, I don’t mind if you disagree, but it needs consideration, this is serious stuff.  So, what can we do? If it is true what I say that logic or attempting through contemplation of ‘a great Teacher’s puzzle’ to resolve what the dyslexic Dog is, is not going to work; maybe we ought to look at faith for a solution.  Faith is a fascinating thing, it differs from belief, in some cases it may crossover into being the same, this is a individual thing.  But, faith and belief are very, very different.  Belief we could get by default from our family, our ancestors, they stamp our bums at birth; we may have fear of damnation and grab on to what we think is the best choice available; or convinced by a good God salesman; we may be even tricked with smoke and mirrors and end up following a shonky guru because his story of the universe sounded fantastic and appealed to our emotions.  Faith seems to have a bit more street-cred (credibility), a person could have had some type of deep experience and from it, he or she is convinced and then uses the response to the experience as fuel for motivation. People of faith can come in all sorts of packets, some are zealots, extremists, and others will be the kindest most compassionate being you will ever met, and there are many flavours in between. Believers are different, and a lot of them don’t think too deeply, if they researched the crimes committed by the hierarchies of their religions, they would never go back, their conscious would eat away at them.  The thing with faith is it gives us a reminder that ‘something is doing I don’t know what’, a hint that there may be something beneath the surface of every day life.  And I am not saying that ‘believers’ don’t have character, there are lots of variations, but I will quite clearly say (and it will sound arrogant) believers are on the surface of religion.  They are attached to the ‘story’ of the founders of their religion/Faith,  and I am quite comfortable saying “it’s not IT”.
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One Word, a Million Meanings
I have added belief to my list; I will be cautious about Faith, and this is because I consider ‘faith’ to be built on something else, it requires a little more thought.  But we need to be careful, interpretation is something that needs to be addressed.  When we say the word ‘Love’, we all have a different story about it, it may mean something tender to one person, to someone else it could include a mortgage, a white dress, couple of kids, whereas if you discuss it with Shams the teacher of Rumi, or Jiddu Krishnamurthi,  you may find yourself in unknown territory, you could easily be entering the doorway of transformation of your whole being.  Take the word Jazz for example, what comes to mind to someone may be oompah paaah, to others they may envisage old people eating lunch to the sound of overplayed instrumental musical standards resembling piped elevator music, and there are the hipsters who consider it to be blowing (improvising) over chord changes in a bar where you’d expect Miles lookalikes to sneak down the stairs at any moment. Interpretation is in the limitations of the brain capacity and awareness of the beholder. When we bring something to mind, there is always a ‘story, a history, often we come to a resolve that hasn’t had much exploration.  This is the problem with God.
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Looking in Another Direction
I like the idea of looking at the questioner, turning it around on oneself.  In India, there is a great tradition of Self Inquiry, looking at oneself.  The problem we have with traditions is they come with a story, it may be true, it may be false; even if it’s true, something else arises, it’s not ours.  It may give us a goal post to aim at but in a world of charlatans where there is is self-interest and self-indulgence, half truths and personal agendas, it is a minefield; as we move down this ‘imaginary’ road, we need to step carefully.  We know from experience that even if something looks good, sounds good and is packaged well, it may not be what we think it is.  The spiritual road is scattered with refugees, casualties and those who have given their whole being, only to find out they have been duped.
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Sorting the Questions
Although the questioner may ask questions, they are endless; it’s not unlike a child who wants to know everything, “Mummy, daddy, what’s that, what are you doing, where are we going?”, there are many valid questions, an anxious fearful mind can find a never-ending stream of them.  The mind (or more specifically it is better I say “that which creates thought”) is always pulling up things, stories and ideas,  that’s its nature; although the mind-space is essentially empty, there is something in that space, a part of us that loves movement, is always seeking, always reaching outwards, and continues to bring some kind of logical order to things.  Let’s look at a way of possibly resolving the questioning in some way, we can break it down to bring the ‘agitated thinker within’ to rest.  If we can create some peace and harmony within ourselves, our thinking, it will be easier to deal with the underlying issues and bypass the unnecessary nonsense.
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So firstly: Who is the questioner?
Let’s address the age old question of, ‘who am I?’ A cave man, if he was asked, would have answered simply with a few grunts, then gone about his business, club in hand, chasing a bison around a big rock or running from wild beasts of the field who consider caveman a delicacy.  He would have been too busy to be distracted and comes into his moment of ‘what is essential’. It would be easy to say the caveman is dumb, he hadn’t developed his brain like modern man, that’s fair, but his intelligence helped him survive; if we turn of the power and communication grid, who will survive now?  Tens of thousands of years later we are stuck with the same enigma that billions have pondered over; some have made claims of solving it, some have even said they were God; heretics or Godmen?  Yes, humanity has evolved in some ways but many of those belonging to our species are still violent, outrageously self-centred and disrespectful to the world around us.  I am also reminded that the old Zen or Chan Masters may have also responded to the question in a similar way , “What is Buddha?” with a reply of “Go eat your rice?’ When we look to both those scenarios, of cave-person and Zen Teacher, the common thread is to ‘Bring back our awareness to where we are.’ Without over complicating it, this for me is a bit of a give away of where the answer may lie.  I could roll out a series of quotes from scriptural texts that address the issue but there is really no need to.  In essence, we are a point of Awareness,  maybe how we name it is not so important.  A face is a face whether it has a beard or is wearing make-up, a mask or a helmet, the perceiver at the heart of experience is what is critical.
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When we see ourselves as ‘a point of perception’ it allows many possibilities to emerge; the changing worlds may take on numerous shapes or colours, but underneath it, the perceiver sits in silence and the show passes, it rises and falls.  The canvas of the Universes are in motion, but we, the ‘supposed me’ or us, is both ‘still’, ’empty’ and also I might use the expression for you to ponder, ‘an ACTIVE observer’ of the show (by this I mean we step into the puppet show of life).  This articulation of being dual in nature ‘still and something that changes’, is at the core of all experiences; for me when I dig in, the contrast is defined by Buddha’s teaching of Emptiness and Krishna’s elaborate / beautiful form as perceived by the Gopi’s,  or in a way is defined by the life of Jesus as he moved through the world and was a stream of compassion in action.
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Secondly -Do we need a religion or a God ?
I love this question and lookin through my window it is easy to answer; my response is not necessarily one that would suit many people, it’s not really a concern, one’s God or no-God is a personal thing. I will be bold and say, “Most Gods are false Gods”; OK maybe I will be softer in my language, “Most Gods are temporary”, or if I say it another way, “I consider most Gods are like trainer wheels on a bicycle”… and that probably gets me back into deep water, it may sound arrogant, but the idea of gradually ‘deepening’ our understanding is fair, as is a quantum leap in consciousness; or better still the combination of the two. The Gods people have are generally small.  On such an important issue, maybe we shouldn’t mess around, it’s not a problem if people disagree about God, it is the way we treat each other when we disagree that is important.  If God were real, why would God be offended by a questioning humanity?  I find it critical to explore and question, we do not need to come to the same conclusions or worldviews; we can ‘deepen’ by getting an understanding of others.  I am a Jnana Yogi, but I hang out with Bhaktas (This means I have a perception that we all move in God, whereas my friendly pilgrim neighbours are seeking God).
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Will the Real Jesus Stand Up Please

When I look at Jesus, from my window I see the greatest of men, some may call him God or a God, some may say his life was a a lie, a fabrication of the church to control the populace, and others will even say he traveled in Asia in the missing years between thirteen and twenty nine, married Mary Magdalene (who was not a prostitute and was the wisest of the disciples) .  When I keep looking, I see an institution that has grown around the name of Jesus, one with many different variations.  When I look further into history, I see anomalies, serious flaws, not with the person Jesus, but with what has happened over the last 2000 years.  The average man on the street does not know the history of the churches, the crimes against humanity, or where the scriptures came from, nor how they were chosen and complied.  If we are honest and look closely at religions and their Gods, the gurus and supposed Masters, we often see that there is a lot of hidden things going on that do not represent the values and ideals of the wise men that the sects have grown from; we are all aware of religious hypocrisy.  So what do we do, do we become atheists, skeptics, do we dump God?  The question asked earlier was ‘do I need a religion or a God?’ I could say quite confidently, “I don’t need religion, but I do need an inquisitive mind.  Answering about God, I will just say, “assuming that God were real, He/She/It will still exist without me, whether I am a believer or not”.  This thinking is leading me to a particular point, a resolve, and other questions arise, “If God is real, how do I experience God?”, although worship is important for some, is worship critical? It is not relevant to me, and I am not an atheist . I am not interested in the ‘story’ of God, it is ‘experience’ that is required.
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Religion Without God
We know that although Buddhism is a religion, and we often see statues of deity’s and forms of Buddhas, Buddhism is not about God.  When you strip it back, its essence is about the Four Noble Truths, these are at the core of the Buddha’s teachings. They are:
the truth of suffering,
the truth of the cause of suffering,
the truth of the end of suffering,
and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
We see clearly when we look into Buddhism that God is not necessary, and I am not saying there is no God, some type of core primal consciousness. The more I dig around in Buddhism I see it is about how we live my lives which is critical.  And although all religions are about ‘how we live our lives’, the focus changes within each religious institution.  I will also state that ‘truth’ is something to be cautious of, I see it as a temporary thing and a variable.
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Thirdly – What do I need to do to live a Spiritual Life?
We know from experience that people do all sorts of rituals, mysterious types of worship, dunking themselves in rivers, splashing babies with water and making them cry, rolling on the ground with coconuts, hanging from ropes with hooks through their skin, covering themselves in dirt, almost starving themselves, over eating because they call it Prasad, carrying crosses, kneeling for hours, burying themselves in the ground, overheating themselves in hot-houses, going on pilgrimages, wearing ridiculous outfits…. numerous ways of trying to grab God’s attention and showing their worthiness, sometimes even exaggerating their worthlessness to make themselves more appealing, the inverted-ego at its best, a twisted form of wannabe humility.  And there are methods which seem more practical such as prayer, meditation, mindful walking and contemplation, various methods for bringing the thoughts to a restful place. There is a smorgasbord to choose from, so how do we choose? What has substance and what is spiritual bling? What’s exhibitionism and what is transformative?  So what makes someone ‘spiritual’, supposedly Holy?  Is that a worthwhile question?
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Fourthly – What Supposedly Makes Someone Spiritual?
I have a problem, no not really, it is better that I say the world of men has a problem. Religion is divisive, spirituality can be incredibly arrogant, elitist; if we are not cautious it can fragment the community.  Religious people are often separating the human species into the ‘wheat and the chaff’, the holy and the profane, the saved and the lost; if they are are not doing it out loud, they are doing this in their thoughts, ‘us and them’ mentailty.
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If I come back to a basic concept that underlies many religions, there is one God, or even if there is no God mentioned, there is unity at the core.  I won’t even blink when I say this but, “if a religion divides the human community into us and them, those congregations need to rethink their values”. When we look at the civilisations that have come and gone, there are numerous gods who have been the centre focus for worship or religious practice;  we know the game of ‘MY GOD is better than your god‘, there are many people willing to argue this point, personally I wouldn’t bother, my response is going to be ‘get informed’, get an education about the various approaches to God and come back in twenty years.  The deeper we go into a faith or spiritual practice, the more we notice that the water comes from the same source, the wells are different, but water is the same… we are digging for pure water without the coloring’s or artificial flavors.
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What Really Matters?
I was asking ‘what makes someone Holy or spiritual?’  I think it would be better to ask “what makes a glorious human being?”,  “What makes our life worthwhile?”, “If there is a God, what would God value?” Or even if there wasn’t a God, “what is it best for us to value?”  I remember watching a television series about the Mahabharata; the Mahabharata relates to Hinduism. I am not a Hindu but there was a defining moment when Krishna spoke to eldest brothers of the two warring clans, one was a Pandava (good guy), the other a Kaurava (bad guy).  Krishna looked at them both and spoke the words, “although I love you both” and then he turned to the Pandava and said, “I must support you.”  For me, most of what I need to know is in that response.  I will take the liberty of saying,”if God were to choose something, someone, He/She/It would lean towards that which nurtures, that which brings harmony.”  We do know that the worlds we move in are a play of ‘rise and fall’, creation and dissolution, a contrast of light and dark, form moving on formless.
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What Are We?
We are feeling beings; this feeling-ness is something that goes way beyond ‘tingles’. Although we can get what I would call ‘false-flag-emotions’, things that seem like something with substance but are really just surface experiences; we have a part of ourselves that echoes wisdom from another place; the feelings, these deep emotions speak to us on how to live, what really has value, and what counts, what has substance.   I know from the experiences gathered through my life; empathy, compassion, kindness, detachment, a clear conscience, flexibility, forbearance, honesty are some of the fruits most worth nurturing. If someone asked me how to decide whether their religion or spirituality was working, personally I think they could measure the success of their faith or practice by the growth in these values and whether they are embracing more of a diverse of humanity or if their religion has separated them out as a ‘chosen ones’. When people are tender, vulnerable, at the ‘edge’, that is the time when ‘equality of being’ needs to come to the fore; no-one above or below; our sense of humanity can peep through and it is best we leave our designer Gods at the door; we are in this together, one species moving through space evolving.
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The Enigma of Being Human
The original question was ‘What isn’t God?’, we can ponder this deeply and the response will change shape from time to time, the unfolding process is like a tree that spreads out, old leaves and flowers fall off there is new growth; the roots of experience go deep into the ground and the trunk of our understanding becomes firmer.  There is an old Zen Koan which asks, “Does a Dog have Buddha Nature?”, this is also a very, very good question, it moves the focus of puzzle away from the individual, it nullifies our sense of ‘I’, the imaginary part of us which is what we believe ourselves to be; and like all Zen riddles, it is answered with our whole being, it is resolved in our transformation.  I will ask another pertinent question and it’s one we may ask ourselves each day as the sun rises, or for those of us who prefer to be up later starting the day with coffee and chocolate, “What does it take to be a human being who can add beauty the world, to be somebody who embraces both the religious man and the atheist, someone who has an open heart and leaves a trail of kindness wherever we travel?

Home Future Yogis for other interesting articles on consciousness and the mystery of Being

The Day My God Died

Some of us do ‘broken’ better than others; some fracture from the inside out and they don’t recover, they find an uncomfortable peace in addictions, destructive distractions; others go about their business and leave it till later in life to deal with, they wear it in their skin, illness, even bitterness, a thud instead of a spring in their step, listlessness in place of a sparkle; some have a dependence on being ‘broken’ and prefer to loop it ’round and ’round, unknowingly recreating a set of experiences that give a similar ‘feeling’ to the previous one and live it out again and again in another scenario.
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Softening Our Heart

It would seem sensible for us as a community to learn to ‘hold’ each better, to recognise frailty, to be sensitive in what seems to be an outrageously unkind self-indulgent world, to go that extra bit with ‘unnecessary acts of kindness’, to be that big bellied Buddha wandering with a bag of goodies, spreading joy because ‘that’s the way we roll’, to maybe drop some of our differences of opinions at times and let people feel comfortable with what they have arrived at, to ditch our ‘king of the castle attitude’ – ‘right at all costs’ approach, to allow others to be, and do it without splintering our boundaries, by that I mean by not allowing breaches and crossing the line of what is acceptable behavior, some people take more than their share.
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I have never met anyone who hasn’t hit a crisis point, and by that i mean found themselves in a situation where everything seems bigger than them; the passing of a loved one, having to let go of something precious, dealing with abuse, or being in a situation of ‘impossible love’, where the heart says one thing but the stars don’t align, they shine and then bash into each other, the beloved’s course seems to be heading off into some other galaxy without them; there are numerous scenarios and situations that bring us to our knees.
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Finding an Ally in Things
Sometimes it is not people who hold us, we can feel too vulnerable to let people in, exposed, we don’t want to seem-needy, or can’t take that step to say ‘ouch f*cking ooooch’ for whadever sane or absurd reason, there is often a tendency to remain silent. Having an emergency crew (of things) ready with their ladders, fire extinguishers, life-buoys and gaffer tape is a good idea, every now and then we can be caught off guard. I don’t mean being hyper-vigilant either and having a SWAT team racing in with all their protective gear every time we cut our pinky…….. Me, I like chocolate, goooood coffee, the feeling of the sun on my skin, the gentle movement of the leaves in the wind, the shades of green – those brush strokes of the hidden master artist, an hypnotic melody that brings to memory something beautiful from my past, an inquisitive mind, seeing and feeling the future before it happens, the mystic poets, a silly sense of humor and something newish to learn, dissolving myself into music, singing mantras or dancing in my bedroom in the dark – occasionally bumping into things.  Things can hold us, particularly if we are people who are used to doing things solo.
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Untangling
I think it is important to be able to live in a manner as if everything were taken from us, our loved ones, our dearest possessions (the RING, Lord of the Rings comes to mind, that type of obsession permeates the community in subtle ways, we don’t want to be like that do we? Being a slave to objects), maybe we need to be stripped bare of the lot to find ourselves, or should I say to detach from the ‘known us’; and even if we are at 180 degrees from EVERYBODY else, to still know how to dig for and experience joy.  And this does not mean giving up everything, it is about our attachment to them, the power of the control people and things have over us, dependencies that we are slaves to. Some people might say, “well why would I want to live if I lose the lot?”  I reckon that’s the right question, and a very fair one.
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False Gods
When my son died, so did my false God. It took me a while to realise I had a number of ‘hidden’ Gods. I was born with the idea that God lived in everything, this in Indian culture-speak would be called Jnana Yoga, a non-dual approach, the One manifesting as many; when you break it down it’s not rocket science, don’t need to look too far, just join the dots… same water, same air, same species, same sun, same doughnuts, there are too many hints that it is quite astounding that we humans miss the obvious.  As I grew up, I was indoctrinated into false Gods, the supposed God of the Christians, and a Father God. A tradition had grown out of the life of an extraordinary being who lived two thousand years ago, in time the churches and men of low wisdom and in many cases men of minimal integrity who were seeking control and power, superimposed a God over everyone, this God was supposedly pulling the puppet strings of humanity, judging and dooming, sitting on the shoulders of every man, woman and child, like an annoying parrot who won’t shut up, monotonous information in the subconscious being fed into everyone that we all become immune to.  And I am NOT implying ‘there is no God’, but rethinking what God may be is the beginning of transformation.
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The Shattered World
It’s quite normal that we go about our business in a a semi-conscious state not overly questioning anything until our world explodes.  Experiences can break us, in fact let’s be clear here, traumatic experiences WILL break us, it’s WHAT emerges out of the ‘seed-pod’ embedded in the experience that we need to look at, explore, play with, and if we are serious, turn it inside out.  If I may, I will make an assumption that ‘grief, loss, despair’, the whole gamut of emotions which emerge from it are similar for most people, there may be slight variables in the intensity but they would be the same categories; it is the WAY we respond that makes the difference. So what do we do? Our world is shattered, we are so broken that we can barely move, everything hurts, the feeling in our chest is a throb, our every particle stings…
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Taking Control of Ourselves
I did something extraordinary when my so passed over, I asked everyone to go away, not to talk to me about it, I changed the language, I said ‘he passed over’, I avoided ‘he died’.  We all have moments of ingeniousness in our lives and this was probably mine.  My idea of Bonsai Gum trees for Japanese tourists would be way down my list from this spark of wisdom.   I’ve done some far-out things but this probably is the one wise thing that eclipsed everything else, I really have no idea what motivated me to tell everyone to ‘mind their own business’; I guess this was because I was on the precipice and something deep inside, the ‘future me’ spoke.  We are social creatures and in times of great trauma it seems natural to get the people close to us to gather around and ‘hold us’.  So what was it that was going on in the deeper part of me thinking?  I went 180 degrees… this for me is usually where the wisdom lies.
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The Past, the Present and the Future Now
I have something that I have always done, it’s a type of time-travel, not the H G Well’s jump in a machine and arrive ahead or back in time version of time-travel, it’s more  related to  my thinking. For a number of years now, I have gone back through my life from the present moment and visited the younger me and also gone to the future unborn me; this may not seem overly important and slightly absurd, but I would say, of all the ‘hey, what’s your secrets?’, this would be the one thing that if someone could bottle it, financially they would instantly be in the top 1% of wealthy bods.  It’s not just in my thought I do this, I imagine my whole being travelling back and forwards and out into the cosmos.  There is a close relationship between my ‘unborn me’, with the ‘go away’ technique I used when my son passed over.  If I jump around a little in ‘who I am’, or to be more specific, what this means “if I consider myself to be more than, or to have OTHER points of awareness apart from the ‘known’ everyday nine to five , three score and ten (75 years life expectancy) “, what I would also describe as the ‘I am a body with five senses limited being’, other possibilities for solving complex problems emerge.  It was Einstein who said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” Einstein was known as a physicist, but when I look at him, to me he is a visionary; without the inquisitiveness to understand the nature of things, we may as well just measure objects and archive the info; but when we have a deep passion for understanding, a desire to expand human consciousness, whether it be through science or mysticism, the spin-offs and benefits will open new vistas and humanity evolves.   The enemy of the ‘elite’ is an evolving humanity.
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Rethinking Death
Death was my problem, or better still ‘my reality’, my son passed over and I was at the cemetery standing next to his coffin all alone, how do we as ‘feeling’ people deal with this? This is not just MY problem, it is everybody’s issue, it’s going to slam everyone, our beloveds will leave here and eventually according to most logic, people say we must take this journey ourselves, we may have concepts of Gods, Saints or Holy Men/Women guiding us, but let’s keep it simple, we are going solo.  In life, we can have short term bliss, lovers, objects, sunsets, holidays, all sorts of passing moments, but when the pain is in our chest, when our heart is broken, what can we do?  We can’t run, even if we try, the shadow of death follows us, its sting seems to have no remedy, at this time when our dear ones pass over, we are on the edge of madness, some never recover.  So what do we do? Each of us has a ‘genius’ that casts a light over our world of shadows, at this time of despair my genii woke up, he said to everyone “f*ck off”, nothing personal, just “go way please, you are in my way”; I did not want other peoples half-assed stories of reality, either true or untrue.  Some may consider it to be one of those moments when we close down our emotions and become numb; in a way, in all honesty there was a hint of that, but at some other level beneath the surface, there was something different going on, something more powerful and sublime.  I will call it the future-me, my Future Yogi came into my present. This Yogi, Yoda-type lives outside the five senses, this is where the possibilities lie, this is where I went.
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The Power of Contrast
When we are in a dark room, there will generally be a tiny gap of light that shines through somewhere, obviously it would be missed in daylight in the same way that when we go about our everyday business, everything is ‘leveled’ over and the subtleties are bypassed; the stark contrast of a few small glowing particles of light against the blackness gives a lot of power to the brightness; suddenly what may have seemed meaningless, missed or insignificant at other times becomes greater.  In the darkness of trauma, there are small glimmers of luminosity; it takes a bit of courage to stride across a dark room and peep into the source of the light, but that’s the thing with grief and despair, it’s almost ‘do or die’, not death of the body but death of our feeling for life; people can continue to live but are numb,they  run on automatic and then lose themselves inside the ‘layers’ of the world; these layers consist of the ‘things that keep us busy, preoccupied ‘ to avoid feeling and questioning.
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The Future Now
The future is both unborn and already present,  that statement would resemble nonsense to some people and without clarification would almost sound a little ‘Zoolander’ (movie comedy about fashion models) the “essence of water is wetness.”  🙂  However, coming from someone who has risen above or should I say stepped outside, through or past trauma, I suggest that the statement ought not to be disregarded too quickly, it requires consideration. Some people wear trauma in a way that it ‘defines them’, this is understandable, but trauma can be approached in a way that it is trans-formative. We as a rule live in what most of us call the ‘present’; we could take a type of Buddhist stance and say ‘well our thoughts are over active and we are always off somewhere else, come back to the moment’ but keeping it simple, I will say the present means ‘look at clock > check time > that time is now’,  we will just try an easy definition without any new age interpretations.  But here’s where the brain explodes 🙂  and I could without too much trouble make this sound like a stoned rave, but as I am not a drug taker, it’s not.  ‘Now’ is constant along the timeline of life, we are always in ‘now’. this NOW, has an entrance and exit point EVERYWHERE.
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The Meeting Point of the Rivers
So how does the death of God fit into this? How does it all come together? What is the connection between time, trauma and God that I have mentioned?  For me the glue is in the ‘experiencer’, the point of perception at the heart of these three things mentioned.  The experiencer in his or her thought is stuck in time because of an over-identification with the body, this body-thing that we lug around is a bit of a trickster; if there is too much focus on it, we live in fear, we become unnecessarily preoccupied with how we look and create a world of objects to lose ourselves in, this over-indulgence takes the attention away from the ‘perceiver’, although he/she always knows that it is more than the body, there is a type of forgetfulness that we naturally drop into.  With trauma, the focus goes on the experience that the experiencer has gone through, a story emerges that defines the world of the experiencer and the story usually  ALWAYS ‘gets in the way’ of new emerging life.  This ‘God thing’ (without sounding disrespectful) also diverts the attention of the perceiver/experiencer away from itself, it is looking outward, seeking, God is often in the distance, by this I mean at some time in the future there may be a meeting or coming together with God, or in a way ‘God is looking down’ or watching over.  This understanding of God, although it may feel nurturing  to us and creates a feeling of safety, may possibly only be conceptual, a hope a dream.
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Coming Back
My God, my imaginary one died with my son Joshua.  For quite some time I had assumed God had betrayed me, and this was a serious dilemma, my life had always been about God since I was born.  However, as my beautiful life unfolded, I came to realise that this God was not real, it was a ‘learned God’, a false God.  The passing of my son led me back to something more sublime, something I had to find myself, something I was born with that was hidden from me for sometime by things that belonged to the world of men and false prophets. I am grateful for what I was given, and although it was at times a painful journey, I found my way home, back to myself.

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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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