Getting Rid of the Buddha

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

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

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

One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.”

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

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

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

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

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

Tilopa 2.0

Third Noble Truth

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

When Our Hearts Cracks Open

We’ve all been there, the dream dissolves.  Suddenly there’s a doorway in life, it appears from nowhere and we unwillingly step through it and are left feeling bewildered and question whether the period of our life we were in was a fantasy.  The familiar things around us, the places, the impressions in our thoughts that in a flash take us into a moment we treasured. The transience of life is something that won’t go away, it’s seems like when we are born we have a sticker slapped on our bum that says “change is the only constant embrace it or suffer.”
All pain comes from attachment so say He the Great Buddha, his words were probs a little different but the essence the same.  My dearest friend and teacher once told me, “wherever there is pain there is clinging.”  At times it seems that wise words when we are in the state of suffering are almost offensive, insensitive, inhumane and lack in empathy.  But I know from experience the Sages who are our dearest of kin have placed them there within the scope of our consciousness so we can reach up to them when we are ready.
The Seasons
The loss of a loved one, whether it be through death, or the changing fortunes on the screenplay of life are always challenging but are critical and are a natural process.   I do know well that transformation or what I would call the alchemy of going from raw material to gold is a usual process and also when I look at nature that we are part of, without the changing seasons there is no growth, no flowering of the tree of life; there can be no symphony without each musician playing his or her part perfectly in time with the composer’s intention, if we decide to go off in another direction and attempt to play something of our own, there will be chaos.  And I am not saying we are puppets in the hands of the Divine, it’s more like we need to fine tune our instrument, listen carefully and be in harmony with ourselves and this harmony joins the Totality.
Being Vulnerable
Contrary to normal opinion, When the Heart Breaks Open it is safe, yes feelings arise that we may not like, there is an uncomfortable-ness about it. Being uncomfortable is not our favourite place as humans, we are standing on new ground or more precisely falling through an unknown area of space. The feeling of insecurity is usually perceived by people as an enemy.  If we have the ability to sit with it, to hold until the wayward thoughts and emotions subside we will see and experience something extraordinary.  If we become a slave to our thoughts and stay ‘in them’, suffering is a long experience, some people never recover.  If we are very gentle on ourselves, inquisitive and LOOK at the rise and fall of the sensations rolling towards us, we may notice that the perceived bee sting is not really there, it is the fear of the sting that we had, there will be sweet honey when its time.
Embracing Eternity
I am grateful for life, for love, for the experiences that have and will shape me. In my life which has had its more than normal quota of trauma and loss, there are days when I have begged for it to all go away, to just rest in the Eternal Silence that underlies all things.  But then I remind myself that the Eternal Silence is ever present, it’s closer than a breath away, I can go there at any moment, it encases all the Universes.  The mystery of life is too precious to run from and based on what I am seeing now my intuition tells me where I am headed is beyond my wildest dreams.
With a sense of curiosity I will say yes and give thanks to all that has been, is and what is to come.

Tilopa 2.0

God Doesn’t Have Problems

We live in a world that seems to have an endless stream of  chaos, mad governments, injustices, violence, suicides, social imbalance, the rich get more toys, the poor crave basics, really bad coffee and many people see no end to the suffering.
I live on a busy Melbourne street, the other morning a guy was doing somersaults on the road, oddly enough hardly anyone noticed.  I wasn’t sure whether to report the event to help keep the guy safe from himself but when I thought it through, logic told me the fellow survived this long without my intervention, so I just let it roll.  (‘Scuse the pun)
The Wise Ones
We are very fortunate in our lives, wise people come and go.  Sometimes we miss them; if we are alert they become part of our transformation, they leave us gems to ponder, it may be years before their wisdom unpacks.  I had a very great teacher.  Some people want the sparkly-eyed guru or master in Indian or Japanese pyjamas or dressing gown, to each their own.  But I know from experience,  often the truly wise pass us by without a fuss, no exhibition of spirituality or devotion, they can touch our lives very deeply.  My greatest teacher acted and looked quite normal, it wasn’t obvious, he was understated … when I had a conversation with him about the Dharma or consciousness, I found the mat was pulled out from underneath me whenever I sat chatting with him.  Transformation is about our known world dissolving, it has an uncomfortableness about it.  Many of us eventually come to the conclusion that our story of the world is not exactly correct, this can be troublesome to say the least, we hold ourselves together because we assume coming apart is a problem. But coming apart is the doorway to transformation.
Dialogue with the Wise
During a conversation with my dear friend he once said to me, “God doesn’t have problems.”  Oh okay, yeah right… Embedded in this simple one liner was a healing balm. Obviously if someone doesn’t have ANY concept of a God it won’t mean much and will be bypassed.  My childhood God died years ago, the bloke with the white beard and floating entourage keeping a sense of order and handing out door passes into heaven to the good guys and go straight to jail cards, do not collect a hundred dollars and get ready for an experience of hot coals for the others.  Fear of God or a negative outcome keeps a lot of people in check.   I guess even without a God watching out for any misdemeanours or serious breaches, people would probably still realise that being a dumb-ass wont get them too far in the long run and a sense of natural order will come about.   But my viewpoint of God is different, not better, I said different.
My friend said, “God doesn’t have problems.”  So do I make him an authority on God?  We know from experience many Gods have come and gone, civilisations sunken under the oceans and they buried their deities with them, wars fought over different religious ideologies, crimes committed against humanity while forcing a religious elitist agenda.  So God doesn’t have problems?
Religious – Maybe, Maybe Not
I guess I will have to step out of the land of the Gods and come back to myself and attempt to do the impossible, rethink what God might be, temporarily place the mystery into a box and deal with the ‘doesn’t have problems’.  We do know religions at times can be a problem and we also know there are many good kind happy religious people; and also there are people without religions who have problems and where as others live beautiful abundant lives as atheists.  A healthy minded atheist will ask the right questions, an annoying one has a cult mentality.
I had always in the past referred to myself a religious man; and mind you one who is at odds with all religions, the arrogance of the clergy, their crimes against children, the exhibitions of devotion and flaws within their twisted-to-suit-them scriptures, the holy elitism and superiority complex they have in relation to non believers and outsiders.   I will maintain that loosely I am a religious man so I can sort the issue and explain why the gem of wisdom has been so critical in my life.
Lighting up the Shadows
When we have a traumatic or negative experience we generally look at the shadow and this is a very reasonable normal human response.  Losing ones wallet, or breaking a leg is never really a fun experience, an emotional reaction is not unexpected.  As a rule we don’t question a normal emotional response to an experience unless we are one of those people working on ‘mindfulness’ or some other Buddhist technique.  There are people who have had the experience of missing their plane flight and later found out  the plane crashed. Or in other situations somebody’s new heart-throb date didn’t turn up but by coincidence they met there future partner instead.  There are numerous ‘follow on’ events that come out of what we may originally perceive as negative events.  I am not saying we do not need to feel the emotional response to experiences;  however, if we see them as transitional and things to ponder or doorways to other experiences we will have much happier lives. Developing a type of thinking that can maintain a sense of balance is definitely a worthwhile quest.
My Response to Trauma
When my oldest boy died, like every loving parent and balanced human being I was broken, confused and also I felt betrayed by my God.  How could MY God do this to me? It was a moment when I totally forgot that there was a natural order to human existence and my sense of feeling safe with my imaginary or real God disintegrated.  But thinking more broadly life does its thing with or without me and it doesn’t take a University degree to know full well that people come and go from planet earth every minute.  If we look from above and I am not saying God is above, if we step away from the small window we look through, lift the whole roof off and see the open sky, our perspective changes.  When I look at the passing of a human being it is quite normal to see it as tragic, there is a sense of loss, we hurt, we bang walls, yell, feel abandoned, the ache in the chest is unbearable, we seem crazy, everything is fragile, we are vulnerable.  But then if I look through the other eyes from the totality of beings there is not such a problem, nature which we are part of has a way of regenerating, the seasons and people come and go.  Look at the pavements or between the stones and rocks, grass and weeds gradually start to appear after a while; when there is stagnant water the rains eventually come and a sense of harmony returns, the clouds pass at will and the beauty of their aloofness is natures poetry.
The Way Out
We often get stuck in a world view that is bordering on self-obsession, attachment to the way we assume things should be, we push against the river of life and tread water.  The Tao Te Ching reminds us that the Tao (Way) is inexhaustible.  Our exhaustion comes from thinking, when we sort the thinking the actions will come into harmony.  We have removed ourselves so far from nature, there are layers protecting us from life; we require a constant body temperature, walls to shield us from the outside, many of us like a tepid world – not too hot not to cold, we quickly run to safe zones when we feel we are out of our depth.  And yes there are adventurers who push the boundaries.
Those words “God doesn’t have problems” for me was an invitation to think outside the box that holds the human drama in place, a reminder that even in suffering there is more than that moment going on, the totality requires change for life to unfold, the rising and falling of events on the screen of life are the natural order; and I am not one of these people who believe that we are puppets on a string that some giant God manipulates for his pleasure, that is something I cannot subscribe to, I do not see ourselves as slaves, we are creators.  However, there is an underlying TOTALITY that does have a loose unfolding destiny that is not written but it feels its way into forever-ness; as constellations arise and dissolve over eons, the various species of beings adapt to the unending journey of love.
Although my emotional responses are real, valid, very human, the wisdom of “God not have problems” allows me to relax a little, to trust in something that I cannot define but feel in the depth of Silence, and what I see in the stars that scatter the sky like drops of paint on a living canvas…I can step away from the ‘imaginary me’ with its story, its tragedies and feelings of lack and hard done by-ness and when I feel ready, jump out of the prison-house of the known.
Other People’s Gods
And if I changed hats and said there was a God that many others have, one who shapes the destiny of people and engraves it into the palm of the hand and follow His Will, well then I would know still know that I was safe, there was a sense of order that I can’t quite understand or see yet and trust that time will reveal its wisdom.  However, I am not that person, that is not my worldview or vision, I will come back to myself and recognise I have choices, there are options in the way I live my life and respond to the passing fortunes and events that emerge out of Emptiness that sometimes surprise me and at other times leave me feeling fragile, inquisitive, joyous and curios.
May all beings in all worlds be happy
May all people live in love
May all suffering fall away 
May all beings be free from the agendas of others who lack in compassion

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Yoga of Edible Weeds

I remember reading a short parable in a Zen book years ago, it went something like “To Weeds, Flowers are Weeds.”  We humans like to discriminate, we go to the fruit market to buy fruits and vegetables, most of us are unaware that around us, many of the weeds that we pass by are edible, they haven’t made it to the great hipster worshiping status that kale has, but they are just as nutritious.  And yes the ‘disclaimer’, we need to know the difference between the munch-able  ones and  those that will put us in a hospitable bed.
Keeping the Community Clueless
Here is one dictionary’s definition of ‘weeds’: a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.  The word ‘valueless’ is something that catches my eye here; the reference to ‘valueless’ clearly defines the culture we are a part of, it’s a Biblical ‘wheat and chaff’ attitude.  Anyone who has traveled in the 3rd world will notice the way that objects are recycled and reused in the most extraordinarily inventive ways.  The 3rd world to me means,  ‘countries rich in resources and ancient culture which are being robbed by multinationals where the residents are being tricked into thinking and acting like Europeans’. Weeds are possibly one of the best kept secrets in the world,  in a way it’s a bit like all those people who run around everywhere looking under rocks for God, missing the obvious.
One of the major factors that defines the supposedly intelligent human species is discrimination,  our ability to reason and make what sometimes are described as informed decisions.   However, when we dig into things we may find that our ‘informed-ness’ comes from a long line of programming, what we ‘know’, we take things for granted, we have curiosity but are entangled in numerous quests for wealth, position in the community, to look right, to fit into an insane world, to be our best version of ordinary; if people are too unusual they are treated like weeds, discarded and given the chop.   I am reminded once again about the sage Ramakrishna, he was a great man, his student Vivekananda helped bring an awareness about Vedanta to the West.  Ramakrishna was curious about a church in India, he tried to peep through the door, because he looked like a beggar, ‘a weed’, he was chased away.  The Catholic faith apart from being a Jesus worshiping institution that self righteously places its clergy between God and man, has many persons they hold in high regard, Saints and Sages, some real, some charlatans, some pedophiles, and here at the doors of the place of worship in India they chased a great sage away; they missed their moment.  It is easy to forget what is important and waste away our days with trivialities; filling our minds with violent movies,  petty dramas, useless bling; life is rich but we often seek what has little value, we stuff our beings with lifeless food. Food has become a form of entertainment to many of us instead of being something that ‘makes us’.
Isolated in the World 
We live in bubbles now, the buildings around us are almost like incubators that protect fragile newborns. Air conditioned spaces; we’ve poisoned the air outside, the ocean, the earth is littered with our throw-outs, and there is also space junk. There would be plans to ship our waste to other planets ASAP if it currently didn’t cost $22k per kilo to complete the process. Here back on planet Terra, we have the disharmonious noise of the city; people yelling to get above the poorly designed acoustic cafe spaces, environments are usually only designed to look swank or hipster;  the sound of musicians who can almost play their instruments adequately, oozes  out of the HiFi system at an uncomfortable volume, it all reminds me how far we have moved from nature.  Mother nature the majestic Being who holds us; we build structures to protect ourselves from her, we isolate ourselves and keep at a slightly uncomfortable distance; we have disinfected the area around us to the point where nothing wants to live near us, the microbes say ‘we are outta here’. We wonder why there are hyperactive children, the youth are addicted to agitation, energy drinks  supply regular doses of legal speed, and sugar fries the brain.  Our feet don’t touch the earth, we live with stress and anxiety as a ‘normal’ and crave silence, nature’ s abundance and are magnetized to the wheel of ‘life as we know it’, slaves to a story of ‘how we believe things must be’, entrapped in systems.
Transient Trance Life
We have evolved into a species who are hypnotised into living out our days as if we had no other choice.  A version of other peoples lives is streamed to us live through the electronic social media grid, we eat the info that comes to us as if it is more important than our lives, our experiences, we ruminate over it, it dominates our consciousness.  To say we “have lost our way” seems fair, if not obvious.
There is a need to ‘come back to ourselves’, to become educated about the world around us, to understand how ‘thought’ sidetracks us; to see the value of weeds and waste-able stuff.  We may have to just slip off in another direction when no-one is looking while the world is building empires and gathering fools gold; and  leave the world where people know ‘a lot about nothing’, where trivia and bling steal the limelight, to seek what truly has value.
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.
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

The Wisdom and Freedom of the Wind


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

The Yoga of Navigating a Mad World

I wonder why we hold back tears, the shame of showing emotions?

The world of ‘hold it together’, don’t let ‘them’ see your brokenness; men are expected to be strong, don’t be a wimp, all that stuff written by buffoons, those people who value worthless things. It may be that tenderness is sacred, and is something that needs to be treated with the utmost respect, in our private cave of transformation.
Weakness is something that is misinterpreted; the big, the bold, the haughty, the emotionless types, they often go for places of power; they can have them, by raising themselves up high, their foundations get weaker, their fall from (a lack of) grace is too common to mention. History only remembers the tyrants, and the wise men and women, each one of them brings a feeling of ‘who they were’ into the present and future. In them is a teaching on how to live our lives with dignity, to leave something sublime for our descendants, to add something of value to the kaleidoscope of humanity.
Out of Time with the Hustle and Bustlers
About two years ago, I was walking down a busy street in Melbourne. My version of walking, generally involves an invisible path about two metres wide, and the propulsion of my body in a forward direction oscillates plus or minus 27% from whatever I set as the average tempo. This sort of meandering I will admit can be annoying to others, particularly those who are in a hurry at peak hour. A guy flew past me, I think he had an invisible ute, a dog in the back, tonight’s grog in his work bag, a half eaten corned beef samich with tomata-sauce and a bit of yesterdays dinner on his shirt. Among the expletives were the words “surely it’s not too hard, can’t you walk straight.” A bit slow in my response, I will answer that now. “Well, NO?” It is virtually impossible, in the same way that a child or a puppy heads off in all directions, it is not one of my superpowers, I am busy with life, I am a dreamer, a wanderer of the stars in my head.  Musicians may hold a solid tempo in a song, but it’s the relationship to the beat that gives it the beauty; a poet may create pictures in the mind-space by placing ice-cream in the sky instead of clouds, an artist may omit lines but still be able to tell the story. If I become an android, please someone give me a heart transplant, my life needs feeling, swing, glitches and twitches, asymmetry, bumps and mysterious flavours. My clothes need wrinkles, my face the odd whisker that the razor missed, and sand in my bed is a necessity after I go for swim in the ocean, I love the salt stinging my skin; my tribe of monks dress in non uniform colours.
Lao Tsu, My Invisible Friend
The old sage Lao Tzu says, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard.” I like this guy Lao, I walk through the busy city streets with him, no one ever knocks him over, he is too alert. I have invisible friends.
The constant straightening of the world around us may make the journey faster, the excavating of the rolling hills to run a ‘quick track’ through for the hordes to get to and from the cities, we lose the beauty of the curves of nature, we create a backdrop to move in, it resembles anorexic models who are showpieces of a form of still-framed beauty for those who suffer from extreme narcism who are hypnotised by an illusory image of self; flattening out what is enticingly voluptuous in nature, to rush to and from a designer box full of gadgets, to work places where many spend their days on automatic, watching the clock for any exit moments.
Comfortable Uncomfortable
The creating of a ‘contrived’ world and our addiction to its ingredients is deeply related to our failure to feel, to avoid a sense of realness and honesty. And the creation of a ‘spiritual fabricated Utopia’ is just a ‘virtual’ extension of this mania or dis-ease that hypnotises humanity. It is all about ‘running’, being ‘away’. And I am not confusing ’emotional indulgence’ with feeling, the former is an addiction, being caught in a loop of wanting a hit of the same ‘feeling drug’ because it’s comfortable.  Getting a little uncomfortable is what this is about; when we are in that vulnerable space, we allow what needs to arise release itself, those things that are calling for our attention. On the screen of life, the scenarios take centre stage and present themselves; our choice is always to face them when we are ready or have them arrive at some other time, maybe with more potency and baggage.
The Blessing
May there always be wiggles, may there always be women with curves and some naturally without, may there always be rolling hills, waterways shaped by nature without man orchestrating their pathway, may the wind blow our hair and there be little bits of leftover food on our face, the smell of a wood-fire stove cross our pathway, cracks in the pavement with weeds growing through. May we weep for what has gone before and move graciously detached into forever.

Tilopa 2.0

I found this article among my hundreds of articles and not sure if I have posted before, I am currently working on two longish articles, “will the Revolution Be Televised?”, and Music 

God is Not Catholic or Pastafarian

Not so long ago there was a guy in Melbourne who wanted to get an Australian drivers licence, he fronted up to the Motor Registry Office to get his obligatory licence photo and to the bewilderment of the staff, he put a colander on his head, he claimed to be a Pastafarian.  Originally his wearing of the strainer-hat was rejected by the counter staff at the office, but ultimately he won out and the licence mug shot was given the green light.

Spaghetti Worms 
What prompted me to write this post is because a friend of mine is suing the Catholic Church for crimes against humanity, he did a simple post on a social network that caught my eye.  The post had a gorgeous sunrise over a beach and there was text heading that said ‘God is Not Catholic’.  This uncomplicated and rather eloquent post, opened the can of Pastafarian spaghetti worms.  Many of us who experienced abuse by the Catholic clergy as children have very strong views on where God isn’t; in my case I have spent my whole life since I was ten trying to make sense of the crimes, and more accurately ‘what is or isn’t God’.  Although I am clear that I am standing at the gateway, staring into forever at the undefinable and trying to fit the ocean into the bucket; every time I attempt to say ‘this is IT’, ‘IT’ moves, ‘IT’ gets bigger or infinitely minute, ‘IT’ becomes more mysterious and I resemble a physicist trying to resolve the millions of issues relating to atoms. This God thing is not conceivable by the human-mind, I know this for sure.   It is easy without too much questioning, no-blinking, quite logically say what God isn’t, this is a no-brainer.

Exhibitions of Devotion
I think most of us have seen the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of Bishops and Cardinals dressed up like they would be far more suited to an out-take scene from Alice in Wonderland or the Beatles Magical Mystery tour (sorry John and George); long gowns, staff in hand, ridiculous head-wear, self-important expressions, the nonsensical bowing and waving of arms, the haughtiness, hideous opulence, wasting of flowers, smokey myrrh and frankincense odors… it is beyond my comprehension how any community would tolerate this nonsense and not twig that something was not right. The story of the Emperors New Clothes always comes to mind. “Houston, Apollo here, come in Houston”, we have a very serious problem back on Earth.  And it’s not that I don’t like dress ups, I always try to look my best, it’s just that when your dress-ups have an agenda and are placing you in a position between God and men, we are heading for strife. I wiil say with great confidence, “everybody is hypnotised”

Men in Dresses
The global community is unaware of the scope of Catholic abuse, there are snippets regularly in the news, it may seem incomprehensible, but if you want to get a clear understanding of it all, multiply by thousands what you hear on the news about the issues and you will start to see how BIG the problem is; and I say this because I would be one of the more informed people in the country about it this topic.  I would like to be able to see the good side of the ‘being uninformed about the magnitude of the issue’, maybe there’s a way to frame it in a manner and to follow the line of thought of ‘see the good in everything’, or ‘ignorance is extremely blissful’.  But considering the impact on the individuals, the suicides,  those who have destroyed their lives with intoxicants, the mental health issues and the way it affects the families of those of us who have experienced the crimes, I struggle to see the light in this darkness, and not for want of trying; this dilemma has taken up a large percentage of my life.

Dropping the Robes in the Sand
From my perspective, beyond doubt, I can clearly say it chased me away from the church, at fifteen I said to myself ‘God’s not in there’, but intuitively due to the inquisitive nature we humans have, I felt ‘something is doing I don’t know what’, and was confident there is a bigger intelligence, a totality that resonated through things, in people, all creatures and across the skies.  The idea that the care-taking of such a sublime thing is in the hands of a bunch of guys in dresses who have alienated themselves from the community, many of who think it is their privilege to have sex with boys and then pray to God for forgiveness and then do it again, is absolutely absurd, unreasonable and so small minded that it seems incomprehensible that so many people can be duped into believing their version of the story of Jesus; it’s just not sound. And the excuse that “it’s only a small number of clergy who commit these crimes”, is an uninformed totally uneducated view. From my readings, it is clear to me that a great human being passed through the world, but the idea that the guys in dresses are the caretakers and are responsible for our destiny, is questionable, particularly when you look at the formation of the church, it’s choices and the hideous crimes committed; if the God these people speak of is represented by the values exhibited by Jesus or any great Sage, He/She/It would not select a group such as those in the church. The ‘we have all sinned’ rhetoric does not work for me at all; the small misgivings of the man on the street does not generally include the slaughter of humans because of a religious agenda, and most of us well balanced emotionally intelligent people, have much clearer and respectful boundaries with children.

Time Out 
Solitude that may be found in a monastery or church can be important, yes.  I will say from my personal experience that ‘time out’ of the world of madmen is critical. Being out of the loop of madmen is good,  it’s similar to how it’s not until a junkie stops using and stands back and looks at the big picture of the impact of drugs, the condition of the people around him and sees the tragedy of it all, it becomes clear. Following that line of thought, when we are immersed in the ‘play of life’ we can really only see a small perspective, it’s easy to miss what is going on over the fence, the lens is too small, everything is too familiar and there is little breathing space.  Time in solitude is a healthy thing for most of us, and it is in this ‘space’ that we can begin to unravel the world of men, to see what we do to each other, we can come face to face with our dark side and say, “i am never going back to that place”, then we take full control of our life instead of being kicked around by our thoughts, and following them in the opposite direction for what is good for us.

Redefining the Foreverness of God
Standing on the beach on clear moonlit night, it’s there that we can see the shooting stars, a hint of the enormity and beauty of it all; the men in dresses lose their power here, God – whatever that be, does not know them; they are strangers in His/Her/Its house, their mad ramblings about being guilty, repent, fear of the Lord, gloom and doom,  on the third day the faithful will be rising from the grave; the hundred and forty four thousand chosen ones; when we put that stuff under the microscope we can see it for what it is. When we feel the sun on our skin, sand between our toes, hold the hand of someone dear to us, or dive into Emptiness and ‘lose’ the world, that’s closer to what those on bended knee and joined palms are seeking.

Letting Someone Else Think for Us
There are a number of reasons why men and women hand over their thinking about what God is and leave it to others.  Simply put ‘it’s easy’.  By taking on a story of how things are, knowing there is a God and IF we get enough points together, one day we get to heaven, we can go about our business, then when the body runs out of fuel we can pick up the certificate as we go through the Pearly Gates.  Game, Set, Match, too easy. Really?  We can go through the motions, be a nice person, say all the right prayers, pull God out of the pocket in times of great trouble; for me that does not have enough depth.  A sense of order about God seems good; we know Jesus supposedly lived two K years ago, we believe this to be true because the “Bible tells me so”….. But hey, any thinking person  who has explored the structure of the churches, the history of the texts, the crimes, the abuse of power; even simple things like the missing years of Jesus….. will tell you something is drastically wrong.  I am not saying Jesus did not exist or there is no God, it is just that there are so many things that just aren’t right, blind faith does not suffice for any man who is prepared to ask a few basic questions.

Changing Outfits and Going Nowhere
So what can we do?  Do we become a Buddhist instead?  No maybe not, do we need another somebody to tell us what IT is?  But maybe we ought not discard the ‘Buddha perspective’ completely, the Dhamapada (collection of Buddhist sayings) is sensible; Tibetan Buddhism (a loose term for the Vajrayana teachings) has magnificent material on keeping the mind in check and an emphasis on compassion, whereas other religions focus on faith, or relationship between God and individual, the techniques and approach when we push aside the statues, pictures, beads and outfits, can help move aside the ‘nonsense’;  Taosim helps us normalise the chaos and come into harmony; and then we have the Ramayana, the tale of Rama with guidelines on being noble, how to play each role in the community to its best-est, with Hanuman the wise monkey ever faithful as a model; and the Bhagavad Gita, the Sing of God describing the battle for the hearts and minds of men, the book that many people erroneously think belongs to Isckon (the Hari Krishna movement).  As we know, there are numerous other approaches East and West, some do have substance. The idea of taking a bit from each and creating a personalised version is fair, but not really sound, it may put the mind at rest, go about our business and we can throw God or whatever IT may be into the back pocket, but all we have is a collection of ideas, concepts.

Wherever I Lay My Hat
So if we ‘leave the monastery’, the church, the safe zone, what’s going to happen? There is a natural tendency for many people to religion hop, to jump from one spiritual group to another to change from orange outfit to maroon, a bit like those bods who are collectors of stamps in their passports, they usually say they have ‘done Cambodia, are going to do Uzbekistan’, running from one destination to another, not really feeling or getting inside a culture.  I always liked Alan Watts, his best work was the Wisdom of Insecurity, a magnificent book, the title may be misleading.  The book covers the very thing I am talking about.  If you leave the monastery, church or whatever be your flavour, the ‘space’ does not need to be filled with something else, no new philosophy required to cling to; there is great freedom in Emptiness, this IS the wisdom of insecurity, not stacking up more info or religious, spiritual stories to fill the void; no story to ‘protect us’.  An important point to get to is understanding that ‘questioning does not betray God’, the God most people have is a creation of their thoughts, and I am not saying there is no God; it is our ‘picture of what God supposedly is’ that needs addressing, it’s a fantasy, a story.

Getting Rid of the Middle Man
And this is the problem with organised religion, it tells you what God is, and then sits itself between that vision and you; there is a potential for abuse of power.  And nobody does it as good as, or it is better to say worse than the Catholic Church, and I don’t say this out of spite, nor do I have a ‘bee in my bonnet’, as an experiencer of Catholic crimes I made it my business to find out the extent of the breaches of power, the crimes against humanity.  And I will say it quite openly, without blinking, without malice, the general populace has absolutely no idea of the scope of what has gone on.

  • God is not Hindu, but there is something in Hinduism to explore; great men and woman have come and gone in the land of Bharat (India), they have spent thousands of years mastering the craft of answering the important questions.
  • God is not Christianity, but Jesus showed us how to live with empathy and compassion to be selfless.
  • God is not Rastafarian, but if God needed a musical groove, singing about Jah would definitely be in the front runners.
  • God is not Taoism, but we can bring our lives into harmony with small-nature and the rest of the omniverse .
  • God is not Buddhist, but we can learn to understand suffering and manage it.
  • God may be the Beloved to some, seen and felt in all of the creation and in the foreverness.
  • God is definitely not Pastafarian, when it rains your head will get wet.

    Tilopa 2.0 – with love