Refining Our Radar for Truth or Deception

In the crazy maze of human existence on the stage of the world we live and move in we often enter into states of doubt, fear of not knowing who the good guys really are, who might be deceiving us and we are unsure who to trust. During these days where there are numerous private and other hidden agendas it does seem difficult to wade through information and arrive at conclusions about who are humanity’s allies and who are the foes masquerading as friends or even saviors.
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The Fallibility of the Known
We can use logic to resolve many things, it is a most useful tool that the human species has been gifted with; we may hear words oozing out of the mouth of politicians and those in positions of great trust but we know from experience that words and the follow-on actions often differ, betrayal is only recognised at a later date.  We can do our research and ‘follow the money’ or look at who is aligned with particular corporations, boards of directors, mega-bankers and various others, however we do also know that misinformation is streamed out through the mainstream media to create a particular feeling or ‘normal’ to later implement an agenda, also the ‘secret’ in-the-know conspiracy websites or publications feed the world a mix of truth and misinformation, the misinformation is proved a lie and the associated truth makes a gurgle sound as it goes down the sink.  Both logic and research are great tools but we can easily be misled and we find ourselves in our desperation to make the world a better place unknowingly supporting agendas that are not in our best interests but are down right dangerous.  So do we just rollover, dumb ourselves down with alcohol, recreational poisons, food, sport, piles of objects and bling, obsessions with diseases and fitness or shall we just look the other way?
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Fragility of the Civilisation
We live in a time when the world is fragile, on the precipice of great change, when madmen (if they really had the power and were permitted to do it) could annihilate the world we move in with a push of a button, when scientists in their curiosity could trigger an event that would not only impact on this planet but also those as far off as we can dream and maybe in an instant destroy unknown civilisations, when liberties are being eroded to implement hideous agendas for the covert and also publicly arrogant elite.  With all this doom, gloom and darkness of mankind bearing down on man, what on earth do we do?
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The Beauty of the World
We live on a glorious planet, nature with its wondrous living breathing ecosystems unique to itself, the glorious rising of the sun that we have for a period of time until this timeline runs out of juice and a new one starts, the colors of the birds.  The playfulness of animals, the gentle of touch of our loved ones, the tasty fruits, the dew on the grass, the ability to laugh, the sweetness of melody. When we move away from the madness of men and their games of power and self-obsession, underlying it is something that a visitor from other worlds would perceive as heaven.  We need to be reminded regularly where we ‘sit’ or more specifically where we live in the Cosmos. Earth is a living being unto itself, the Mother that she is supports us, she holds and nurtures us, if we are gentle with her she responds, if in the case of what has happened and we are reckless, she will ‘shake’ and in that ‘shakiness’ what is not aligned with her sense of being will find a new destiny to live on.  I started by writing about the crazy world and living in a time of mistrust and at this point it looks as if the focus may be hinting at environmental issues, it is intricately related but this is not about climate change, polar bears or bees.  Without undermining the need for conscious change and action on how we live and treat the environment we live and move in, I am confident that Mother Earth will take care of her Being and that doesn’t mean I don’t think we should care for the world, quite the opposite, I am a man who refused to pick flowers for most of much of my life in case I hurt them. Caring for the world around us is the same as taking care of ourselves, the way we treat ourselves is usually the way we treat those around us and the tiny field of space we move in.  As for climate change all I will say is that transparency regarding where every dollar goes ought to be a concern, else we may find that while people are sleeping, someone is taking the milk from the cow to feed their ugly monster. My prayer is “may there always be noble people in positions of power and trust.”
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Questioning Everything
When we look at anything, regardless what it is, our ‘filters’ come into play. What we have experienced, learnt or been indoctrinated with writes to our subconscious, we have subtle and overt preferences on how people should look, talk, what is the correct opinion or way to view the world.  These learned or inherited perspectives are useful but at the same time I am confident that they cannot always be trusted, it is only a small part of what I will refer to as our Being. So far I have said we can’t rely on logic, the words of others and now I am adding to the list we can’t always trust our own experience, if we take this approach to an extreme a psychologist could comfortably say there is a form of paranoia going on here.  However if we think carefully and are cautious and address these three things properly it will remind us not to be naive and believe everything we assume to be logical and unquestionable, what we are told and what our way of experiencing the world is telling us.  It is critical that we are aware of the ‘sleight of hand’ that happens around us. So what to do?
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Rethinking Sensitivity
Some people are more sensitive than others.  Although I am sensitive to the point where it becomes annoying, I am not a person who thinks sensitivity is the be all and end all of experience and that anyone who is not is ‘less enlightened’, that is straight out elitist garbage, and I will ‘call’ that delusion out.  Sometimes over sensitive people lack the ability to act, to stand up when needed because they indulge in their sensitivity.  Sensitivity is a tool for life, not something that needs to cripple us and make us over emotional.  Having said that, there is a type of sensitivity that I think holds the key to discriminating about things, people, events and courses of action.  It doesn’t matter whether someone feels like they are a being encased in something like a polar bear suit with thick layers and a pair of over-sized gumboots or they are a someone who sees purple winged unicorns (real or imaginary), the playing field is equal when it comes to our ‘radar for real feeling’.
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A Tingle up the Spine
We all have had that feeling when someone enters the room, sometimes we get a cold shiver. Or at the other extreme when we go into a meditative space like a Buddhist (or choose your flavor) temple we feel a subtle change in mood.  In the case of the person entering the room who was at the source of cold shiver in us, we may know nothing about them, their clothes could be neat clean, even impeccable, they may be well spoken, have average looking features and nothing externally that would be a give-away that would give reason for concern.  In the situation of the meditative-space it may be reasonably empty and uncluttered, very plain and have nothing that represents a world of religiosity or be in any way overtly ‘spiritual’or have anything aesthetically pleasing but still there is an inexplicable subtle change.
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The Field We Move In
Each being, in fact every living thing has a field around it, there are visual parameters but the space around a person or object has an area which is populated by what I will refer to as ‘solidified thought’, this field contains what the being is aligned with, in the same way that storage media for computers and other devices hold information, there is a grid/web/network that holds the past, the present and the tendencies for the future. When a ‘sensitive’ or what is more commonly referred to as a psychic comes into contact with an individual and does a reading, they are usually tapping in and pulling out data from this space, it holds the past, present and their known and associated potentials.  Many of the psychics will have no idea how they do it, they may have a story that is true or false on the method they use but the underlying idea is that somehow they get their result and trust it.  Occasionally we encounter a seer who works outside the common methodology used, however for continuities sake I will not enter the other possibilities of ‘reading’ what is out of sight.
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When we are in the meditation-space, what has happened is over period of time as each individual has come into the environment they have gradually emptied the field in that space.  This works in reverse to a busy day at the beach, when people go home from a sunny day rolling in the waves and getting their butt tanned you will see litter scarring the natural beach environment and it has a dirtied, cluttered sensation about it.  When meditators  attempt to go into a meditative state, the process is about detaching from thought, letting it rise or fall; this action works like a thought-vacuum-cleaner.  In the room where meditation has happened, at a subtle level there is a deep change invisible to the eye, it is ‘touched’ and experienced at a deeper level of consciousness.
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Buying Into the Story
If I come back a little closer to the original idea of this article, I was discussing discrimination and how to make sense in a crazy world, how to be able to tell whether someone is truthful and whether they have an agenda that is detrimental to us, humanity or the world around us.  At a surface level we have emotional reactions to things, we may see an image and suddenly be outraged, if it has a story with it, whether it be true or false, in an emotional state we may become further outraged, if we have a story already imprinted which comes from our personal history or cultural upbringing, the image and the story will mix with that bias and then we not only may get emotional, we may act in a particular manner in response to it. If we are crackers we could blow up someones letter box or graffiti their car.  Much of what we see in the media and advertising is emotive based ‘baiting’, whether a news article or what is being advertised is genuine or not isn’t the issue, what is relevant here is that our emotions can easily stand in the way of feeling the world or the truth of a matter properly.  Human beings are very easily swayed.
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Droid Mentality
REAL intuition grabs its data from outside our logical world and is not limited to the ‘known’.  I am reminded of the limitation of droids in some of the Sci Fi movies and Spock the Vulcan from Star Trek. People need a way to discriminate between surface ‘touchy feely’ intuition which relates to the emotions, and the way of feeling the world, beings and environment.  To someone who has not developed a deep-feeling-sense they would look the same, the world would be divided into two:

(1)  Stuff we know because it is believed to be true and is confirmed by our education (and that’s a variable) and from the zone of Classic Physics (read as: Old World Thought) that has many truths but limitations.

(2) The stuff that relates to dreamers, Tarot readers, fantasizers and people who have too much time on their hands or those who have smoked a lot of weed. (This is not a criticism, I am just creating a polarity of two extremes).

Both those angles have their place in the world of mice and  men but there is option (3) and that’s where we bypass option (1) and (2).  Option (3) is the one that I find myself living by most of the time.

Option (1) is best used for most tasks like when crossing the street it would be insane to close our eyes and feel our way between the cars, or when driving under a low bridge we’d be best to do a basic spatial calculation that the truck is going to fit else it won’t be pretty.

Option (2) is useful because imagination and meandering thought is quite a beautiful thing but I do know from experience, if we get caught in fantasy and emotions they blur our vision and we lose our groundedness.
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Option (3) is something that is based in Emptiness, the same Empty state we encounter in real or deep meditation, there may also be thought present but there is no attachment to or over-interest in thought, instead we are absorbed in the space, in the same way that sky doesn’t grasp a cloud and lets it rise, fall and dance without a fuss.  As soon as we allow thought to arise from the subconscious with its history and partial-knowing, what we end up with is a filter sitting between deep-intuition and whatever truth may be.  Truth has a sensation about it and I am not talking about any supposed Spiritual Truth or great answer to the Universes questions, I mean passing truths that the politicians may be lying.  Often it is easy to research and find out if people in power are lying but based on my observation, many people are supporting agendas that look good on the surface but underneath they totalitarian. In the same way that a religious text can be altered to suit an agenda, people end up unwittingly and naively handing over their allegiance to false Gods and Cults because their intuition never RANG loud enough to warn them, so how to sort this and develop deep-intuition?
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Deep Intuition
EMPTINESS
I have already stated or implied that we need a relationship with Emptiness. This is easy to develop regardless of what cultural or religious background we come from or associate with.  Buddhism has had a focus on transformation of the mind, whereas mainstream Christianity is rooted in faith.  If we do a little exploration we will see there are subcultures of Christianity who explore deep contemplation, there is no practical reason that a person couldn’t meditate on the name of Jesus if that was their flavour.  When it comes to meditation, we do not need to dress up and pretend we are Indians and use Hindi Mantras as many people do, yes beyond doubt they are potent, nor do we need to wear white or head straight to the crystal shop and fill the house with bling.   If someone is not from a religious background there are many tools in the public domain for relaxation, we can leave Spirituality out of the mix. All that is required is a simple method without a whole lot of baggage and a practical regular commitment to taking time out.  If we are always ‘inside’ the world it’s difficult to see what is going on, our story, bias and preferences are too strong. Deep or even shallow meditation will ‘extract us’ a little.
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GRATITUDE
Fortunately gratitude has become popular and feels better than some of the other fashionable things such as eating kale or oil swishing.  In an age of self-obsession the emergence of developing a relationship with something bigger than our imaginary sense of I and understanding we are part of something that shares its abundance freely with us is in itself humbling.  Everything is alive and giving thanks seems the least we can do.
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HATERS
If we have a hate for those who are different to us in thought, appearance and action or even those who harm us with their political agendas, their violence and their hideous actions that enslave us in some way, we end up becoming part of their network of power, we become subservient to them, the underlying negative agenda empowers itself by our response.  I consider recognising this issue as a critical element in self-transformation.  “Turning the other cheek” is a seed idea that needs to be unpacked and contemplated.  It does not mean that we should not act, not create boundaries, or speak up when necessary, it is about our thinking. Our thoughts affect the world and if we add to the ocean of hate it creates additional psychic smog around the planet.   The smog of hate impacts on everyone and all of nature.  If we rise in a state of love then hate has no enemy.  The opposite of love is fear not hate.  It is fear that needs addressing.  If hate has no enemy it turns on itself in the same manner the opponent of an Aikido Master defeats himself in battle through his own self importance, stupidity and violent tendencies.
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FEELING
As we know, there is a surface emotional feeling sense we have that sabotages our deeper sensitivity, it is reasonably simple to explain and even easier if I create a visual example. If I was to break it down a little we can visualise a molecule and picture it as a a bubble. Imagine that each molecule of our being has a ‘stability point’ a sense of equilibrium that maintains its shape and state of balance, like calm water on a sunny day, it has a relaxed gentle sense of movement.  Under normal circumstances in life, the field-shape within the molecule will tilt a little as it goes about its everyday business, when our moods change a little, it reacts like the way water gets a little ripple in it if something light is dropped in it.  If we are traumatised, the particles inside the molecule may bounce off the walls and be pushed way out of shape resembling a damaged pin pong ball, the combination of trillions of these in our being make us feel unstable and at times we find that the instability completely overcomes us, the expression “off the rails” is a good analogy. We become so engulfed by the sensation of internal chaos that our attention is moved out of our natural stillness and equilibrium, our central point of awareness becomes unfocused and foggy.  When we are angry we are in a state of agitation, it is impossible to think clearly, we lose our sensitivity completely, the molecule ping pong balls within are bashing against each other. When we are very emotional and in a state of deep sorrow we become numb, drowned. In a state of joy, the ripples in our being overcome us, regardless of the wonder of the feeling which impacts on our health in a positive way, our vision can also blurred, the molecules are dancing out of control.
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The sensations of joy and sorrow come and go, depending on our ability to recover as we move along the timeline of our life, they all impact in different ways, they can empower us or we may get lost in the endless maze.

If we have developed a type of mindfulness to allow us to extract ourselves a little from the passing show of emotions we will have an advantage in being able to discriminate between natural feeling responses generated from every day existence plus our compiled ocean of experiences and then our intuition will come from outside time and the ‘already known’.
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When we look clearly at the events in the world we move in, we will see that things and events are being translated by and agreed upon by the greater community to be a certain way, this common agreement that is arrived at will at one extreme create a language for basic communication and at the other end a slave-mentality that places parameters about what is or isn’t true, this slave-mentality turns deep thinkers and visionaries into outsiders, nutters and in some cases people are considered to be a threat. An example of what can happen is the Vatican’s assassination of Giordano Bruno
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Truth has a ring to it and it is unmistakable; falsity has a doubt about it, it brings with it a type of confusion and slightly unsettling feeling, and it may even have a sense of self-righteousness and a mission.  Alertness is required, if we are not discerning we may find ourselves supporting agendas that are treacherous, destabilising to ourselves and others, we may end up undermining good men and women and see them as our enemies all because the radar deep inside us is covered over by emotions and a fabricated story being fed and sustained by the greater community’s enslaved limited social consciousness.
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These are treacherous times as we exit the previous civilisation and move forward into the glorious unfolding one.
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May we always be kind to ourselves and those we encounter
May we always be understanding of others
May the part of us that seeks truth and wisdom cut through the fog of misinformation
May we seek unity in diversity
May all beings be happy and uninhibited to follow their dreams
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Tilopa 2.0

 

Rearranging Time and Healing the Past and Future

All of humanity suffers.  We can ask the experts like Buddha, phone a friend as people do in a TV quiz show or better still, we don’t need to think too hard to recall our own experiences of doom and gloom. If we need a reminder to really confirm the idea we could go to the slums, visit the homeless to see and feel their world. We can if it is appropriate for us serve the community to help pad the suffering of others a little and at the same time by serving others it will take the focus away from ourselves and this will also warm our hearts.  We know there are many great healers out there, some work within the field of Western medicine, others take different natural or left field approaches. From my experience although the body goes ouch and requires maintenance, bringing our thoughts into a sense of order, taming the ‘bull’ of the mind is critical.  I found something that works for me and I will never go back into the dark night of the soul.  I will attempt to explain it as simply as possible.
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Reconsidering What is Normal
As a general rule, human beings have a view of time which is linear, it comes from a number of sources:

From our natural conditioning
The education we receive from those around us in the environment we are born into.
What we have in our subconsciousness in our DNA inherited from our ancestors.
The agreed upon human consciousness.
The database of experiences from our journey through the corridors of the Cosmos.

The normal view of time that we experience is start at A travel to Z and in-between there is a splattering of events in a sequential order. It would seem fair not to question this sense of order and accept this agreed upon version of time, that is unless you had explored quantum physics, suddenly things go a little skewiff and the world that we know will start to shatter.  There is plenty of material to study on the subject if needed but I would like to keep this simple.
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The A to Z of limited time
As it goes, if we are a healthy person we will be reasonably comfortable with our dreams of the future, we go about our everyday life, maybe work a job and seek some sort of greater position in the hierarchy of the world, we may study for a University degree of some sort or if we are a musician or artist we could strive to eventually be a master of our instrument or art-form. This is an acceptable way to live, we seek success and and make efforts to become more than what we imagine ourselves to be at different points of our lives and go on to greater things.  If life slaps us we may not be able to meet the outcomes of our dreams and could stumble through our days with an overwhelming sense of failure, feeling totally unfulfilled, we end up pushing up daisies and further down the known timeline eventually become food for other creatures.  Whether we meet our life’s goals or not, the time sequence A to Z is the dominating foundation that most of mankind uses to measure events. Contrary to popular opinion as bizarre as it may sound, I am confident from my own experience the A to Z timeline is not the only option and a number of other people I have met are also feeling that the fine old Swiss timepieces are out of sync or at times meaningless.
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Dream Fixing
I will sidetrack for a moment.  Some years ago I had a recurring dream that was very disturbing, no matter what I did it would come back and scare me.  Fortunately I have a friend who is very wise, he has worked as a Psychologist for years so I ran the problem past him.  He advised me to use a simple technique of imagining I was in the nightmare and suggested I take a trusted imaginary friend/Buddha/Jesus/or other option with me into a conscious recalled version of the dream.  I did this a few times and have never had that dream again.  This simple method of dream-changing got me thinking about rewiring my brain or at least the ‘body of thought’, and this has opened up the gateway to deep change in my life.  In summary, all I needed to do was go back into the dream in my imagination, recall the details and observe the situation I was in while in the presence of someone I felt safe with.
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The World of Smoke and Mirrors
Intuitively I realised regardless of the simplicity of the technique how potent it was and began to consider how else I could use it to ‘fix things’. I started to look at the trauma I had experienced in my life and started to dig back through my memories.
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One thing that we are all familiar with is how our memories can differ, when we ask a number of people about ‘what happened’, they will all tell a slightly different story. When I saw my first UFO from the outside, I was with three other people, none of us saw the same thing but we all saw something, the variations were fascinating.  We also know when people give a description to police after a crime event, chances are some will be adamant about what they saw regardless that all others have a differing opinion, the solution they usually take is to go with the general consensus and let the case rest. Often what happens in the case of trauma and abuse is people have a still-frame version of events and in order to put their thoughts at rest, they will fill in the gaps; people know something happened but the detail may be corrupted by the imagination but there will be enough written to the memory to cause enough damage, the emotions get in the way and derail the experiencer of abuse and it becomes difficult to function.
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Rewiring the Past
What emerged from this simple one-off dream healing technique is something that changed me forever, I dont say this lightly.  Like many people I have had a series of traumas in my life, the type of things that people often don’t recover from.  I had a brainwave and thought I’d give an idea a try.  I remembered two critical events in my life as a child and teenager.  These were situations where someone turned up at the events I was concerned about and NOBODY would know what was going on, without going into detail in both cases I was in serious danger, these events scarred me emotionally for many years after.  Being a person who is prepared to go outside the square, I felt I could find a solution to what troubled me.

The Accidental Time Traveller
Each night I started lying quietly in a semi meditative state and going back through my life and taking my older wiser self to visit the events that had disturbed me.  The process was rather simple:

I removed all distractions such as phone, made sure the stove was off and told the world to go away 🙂
Lay on bed, made sure I felt safe and comfortable
Called up an overview of the event to my memory
Called imaginary friend-helper (in my case it was my future wiser self)
Focused on the event
Whenever I felt a little uncomfortable I looked to my friend for support
Consciously walked through what I could recall and watched my younger self in the experience
If I felt too uncomfortable I would close the session
Over a period of days I kept going back until I felt I didn’t need to enter that particular experience any more

I found that I became a lot lighter in my every day waking life and not so troubled by my past.
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Making Sense of the Nonsensical
Some of the following may sound reasonable but other concepts would seem illogical to a number of people. My logic here was:
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Events of the past write information to the subconscious
The world is not as solid as we think it is but is constantly reconstructing itself moment to moment
We are co-creators of the environments we move in and the idea that God is pulling the strings undermines our well-being and dis-empowers us
We can update and rewrite the information stored in our memory by visiting our past
Rewiring our ‘relationships with past events’ opens up new experiences that we would have missed and changes the attitudes we have about the present
The past events work like a filter that allows us to only see a small percentage of what is happening around us
The present state of our subconscious thoughts creates the emerging future
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With the above in mind here’s what I consider happens and although it may not make sense would seem incredulous, a person does not need to believe what I am about to say. Regardless of my explanation it is reasonable to assume ‘something worked’. In two of the traumatic experiences as a child and teenager a man turned up who I now recognise as the present/future ‘me’.  He stepped in and stopped the events which were going on.  In one case I was being severely harassed by some people and NOBODY apart from my girlfriend at the time knew anything about what was going on and there was no possible way she could have organised someone to help me. During this event which impacted for days I was terrified, out of balance,  a man arrived went to visit the people and requested the harassment to stop, it ceased immediately.  In the other case I was in a serious abusive situation as a child and who I refer as the ‘future me’ came into the room, created great havoc and chased the men out.  This may in some way sound like an imaginary misunderstanding of events but without going into detail about the circumstances there is no way anyone else from the normal waking every day 3D world we are in could have been my rescuer.  I am confident beyond a doubt that the future me went back in time and interrupted the flow of events exactly as I envisaged it, even though it may seem absurd.  However, regardless of who it was, here is how it works.
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The Tree of Time
If we see ourselves as a garden it will be easy to articulate the process.  We, like any garden will have numerous trees and plants growing, in this case we can assume it to be a jungle and is survival of the fittest.  Each one of the major experiences in our lives is a seed of a future tree.  If we experience loving events it will impact on us and soften our heart, from this will grow tree with good fruit in the future, if we have a traumatic stressful moment it will generate a plant that is in some way poisonous at a future time. If our ‘garden’ gets too cluttered with poisonous plants, everything that is tasty, nutritious or for our benefit will be strangled and the joy of life will be lost.
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When we consider that the seeds and roots are in the past and grow into the future, by carefully going back to the major events of our lives with some type of imaginary beloved who we feel safe with, we can tell our younger selves that we will be okay in the future and that we are going to make it and live a beautiful life of wondrous experiences.  We can also go back to the more joyous or loving events and feel the sensation that they give off.  This feeling the sensation will strengthen the ‘trunk’ that goes into the future present, by doing this we can restore the balance of harmony within ourselves.
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Rewiring the Future
Although the future is unborn, the seeds and roots of it are in the present.  As we can go into the past to change our ‘relationship’ with it, we can also create still-frames in our consciousness to move into in the future.  It works like a blue print and creates a definite ‘something’ to manifest, even though it is nebulous it will solidify if we don’t try and control the events between where we are and what is in the template; if we feel the joy of it and this doesn’t need to be a real joy, it can be joy like the equivalent of a forced-smile; the part of us that creates uses the emotional sensations as food for what will appear in the future. I learnt some time back that when you get out of bed of a morning it is good to stretch and smile regardless how you may feel.  The brain sends the message through the body that it’s a good day emerging.  Also as soon as waking, we can turn our first couple of thoughts around to positive, it will help structure our day, if we don’t do this, we will be playing catch-ups trying to re-balance from niggling negative thought.
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Keeping it Simple
This is a simple version of what I know works.  If I went into detail about moving along our life’s timeline and/or jumping off it, or more specifically if I discussed how it sits inside our Greater Mind, it would probably not sound credible; or if I discussed the numerous events and shifting or manipulating our timeline or being on multiple timelines it would probably sound absurd.  We are an unfolding consciousness and the process is like a flower opening.
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A wise person once said, “Be careful what you ask for.” I will add to it, “but if you are gentle and loving to yourself, if you FEEL worthy of good fortune, the genies lamp will be found.”

May All Beings Be HappyNOW!

Tilopa 2.0 

 

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 Time

If we momentarily jump off planet Earth and leave behind our addictions to food, emotions, petty dramas and desires, then move out into forever-ness, way beyond the Van Halen Belt, under the moon, over the stars into deep space, suddenly we have a dilemma.  The one that most travelers are concerned about, ‘What time is breakfast?’
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The Dilemma
This question although trivial to anyone who is curious about ‘the meaning of life, what’s out there? what happens when we die?’ is more important than we may at first realise. Sure, if we’re hungry we need to eat, but when?….  STOP…. suddenly there is no sunset to remind us when it is normal to be hungry and to fire up the wood stove, no beauteous sunrise that we promised to greet on so many occasions but missed because our pillow and blankets were too cosy, that expanse of colour is gone, someone stole our horizon which included the setting sun that we are so familiar with and take for granted.  On our journey as we passed through vast areas of space, our devices bummed out,  we have no yardstick to know when lunch is arriving either, our methods of measuring are all gone.
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It’s Time 
Time is defined as the fourth dimension by some, not all scientists agree on this. How it is defined may or not be an issue, but if we explore time, we can get a deeper understanding on how we fit into the cosmos, or possibly how ‘we’ may not.  We strike a problem as soon as we are out of the ‘zone’, when our sun becomes just a sparkle in the heavens, lost among the millions of others, our reference point is gone, it’s a game-changer.
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The Annoying Sound of the Clock
Life is humdrum for many, tick-tock, tick-tock, there is the attitude of ‘we are born and we die’ and often develop a type of an anxiety to do a lot of things between the starting gun and finishing line to get us to the point where we are eventually in a position to do nothing, or should I say as little as possible, to sit back and enjoy life.   And when we get there, we are far too old and wrinkly to do anything, we are dull, tired and want cushy-ness. Near the ‘end of the life stream’ people almost demand comfortable lives as a right, the reward for hard work…. but TIME, time is ticking away. Time can become the enemy.
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Nothing is Important
One thing that appealed to me a long time ago was the idea of dropping into a meditative space as much as possible, not as an addiction but a little like craving chocolate biscuits.  I like this word ‘dropping’, if we get it right, everything else stays up and out of our way; thought may do its thing, chatter chatter, nonsense, gibberish, serious stuff, all those problems spinning around but we are oblivious to its movement. The option of getting away from it is a great relief; we know that a-lone-ness can be beautiful, this is not to be confused with loneliness.  Loneliness is about feeling disconnected from the world we move in, but a-lone-ness relates to oneness,  to feel the presence around us, to find a place in it and we at ease with the spaciousness, a completeness without over thinking.
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A-Lone-Ness
When we are in a state of a-loneness, time is not relevant. The old enemy of man is gone. Maybe it is worth considering the importance of a-lone-ness, it is not bound by the restrictions of time, the points A to Z and all the intervals in between are no longer master over us.  If something troubles us, we may be its slave; it would seem fair to say we are a slave to time, human beings have a use-by date, only so many minutes, hours,  days, months, years, tick….tock….tick …. tock…..going…going…gone, pushing up daisies, violets and edible weeds.
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Lost in Space
One thing in our busy-ness that we forget is where our planet is.  We do know there are relationships between the sun, and various other objects in our region of Deep Space that follow a particular pattern.  Our planet is bound by a set of rules, mathematicians, astronomers and physicists try and describe them.  However, when we stare out into forever-ness at the wonder, we can feel a little insignificant, suddenly the ocean that so often made us feel quite micro compared to its macro-ness, shrinks in comparison, this giant floating rock with its seven billion human inhabitants resembles a kids marble.  When we look at the big picture, the enormity of it is humbling. Humility is a good thing, it is not about cow-toeing to some bigger more important thing, humility reminds us that everything is part of the greater whole, it shows us our inter-dependence, this is real humility, when we say ‘ I love and need you all’.
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Meditation can mean a lot of different things to people; some people build business and empires based on it, they dress in white or saffron and create their own designer Spiritual culture; others go quietly about their business, a religious extremist may say, “it’s the work of the devil” and head off into the land of Biblical quotations from Daniel or Revelation;  there are a lot of flavours, some tasty and others poison. Maybe it’s good to discuss meditation and try to bring about some type of common sense.
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The Universe is in Meditation
The relationship between meditation and ‘no-time’ is important.  If I were to say the whole cosmos ‘sits ON or is IN meditation’ I would be getting a lot closer to defining the ‘nature’ at the core  of what I could refer to as ‘our Being’, also I am implying it is what’s at the heart of EVERYTHING.  Man is pompous and often considers himself as the pinnacle of all creation, man has endless untapped potential but instead is violent, selfish, arrogant, haughty, wasteful, insensitive and in many cases lacks in empathy and compassion. Leaving those thoughts aside and coming back, we can dis-empower time and look death in the eye, this is a critical quest.  I can comfortably say that one of the goals of life is to ‘take the sting out of death’, to dis-empower it, the doorway is time-less-ness.  Some of the real yogis say, “the moment of death is like a thorny rose bush being pulled through our bodies from toe to head.” OUCH!  When we sort time, death will no longer be an ogre, it can be put in its place, instead of death putting us to rest, we turn it around and put death to rest.  We are fearful, everybody is running and hiding from death, it is chasing us, we dodge it every day, Don Juan Mateus told Carlos “it’s always there 18 inches behind your left shoulder, stalking you”, we do all sorts of things to distract ourselves, in an effort to guarantee things will be okay and put the wayward thoughts to rest we create religious philosophies or find ones to agree with, temporary solutions to shut the thoughts up.  It is the unknowing that scares us; most people want the promise of a ‘future me’, something similar, maybe better, we want assurance that we are not insignificant, all is not in vain. In truth, we are scared of ‘nothing’ and want to be something, we want to fill the space with ‘me’ to feel RELEVANT. If we sort this we are on new ground, the dragon is slayed.
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The Everything and the Nothing
It is Silence, Emptiness, Timelessness and being comfortable with the ‘space’that makes a difference.  Many people are uncomfortable with quietness, they feel safer with ‘head-noise’, even if it’s a little disturbing, it’s familiar.  When we are in deep meditation there is no time; anyone who has been there will understand that five minutes could seem like an hour, or two hours could be perceived as a few minutes. Time dies in meditation, we die in meditation, our bodies and the world around us are constantly being remade, the molecules reshuffle into what we believe ourselves to be.  Religions have made a mockery of wise men with their nonsensical rhetoric about what God is.  St Paul said “I no longer live, every day I die in Christ”, this is not frivolous biblical jargon. Religious people, particularly the scholars make all sorts of commentaries on this, many are just emotional Christian fantasies; but Paul and I are talking about the same thing.  Among Paul’s writings which were twisted and used by the church to make the masses subservient, there are some gems. The Ocean of Consciousness has many names, it is not going away, eons will pass, civilisations will come and go throughout the endless living cosmos but Emptiness is constant, as is the spark of life which I would simply call Consciousness. Understanding  or better said contemplating, ‘Emptiness and Consciousness can put a lot of our philosophical problems to rest, the search ends here and life begins.’  The quest is over when we stop running, time is about ‘running’, even if it is following a zig-zag pattern, all motion is moving away from our centre, and our centre is outside time.  Time is INSIDE us.
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In the uncomfortable-ness, many people run because they are faced with themselves, it means having to come back and deal with the problems, the fear of not-knowing, the frailty of life, the vulnerability, the petty problems that when we are faced with death have no substance,  but outside time in Silence there is resolve, the show of life rises and falls and a part of us just says, ‘is that so’.
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Tilopa 2.0

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.
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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.
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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’.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Tilopa 2.0

 

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

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 

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

Not This – Neti Neti

The Endless Unfolding
The Ocean of Consciousness unpacks itself and rolls across the Multiverse, in the same way a painter splashes paint on a canvas, flicking the brush around in a detached, almost uninterested manner.  There are numerous forms coming and going on the screen of existence, most may never be seen and their presence will be felt from within themselves, only known by the internal pulsing, like a heartbeat we hear when we sit in our silence. No-one there to ‘name’ what presents itself or to add a ‘story’ or give any type of meaning or understanding to the ‘what is’.

Self Questioning
“Neti Neti” is a form of Vedic Inquiry, it is used by those exploring the Yoga of the Self to negate anything that presents itself in consciousness. The loose translation of it would be ‘Not this, not this’.  A simple example would be if a phantom appeared in the mind-space of a meditator, a God, a Master a great Yogi,  enticing him or her into an experience of some sort, the experiencer would use the phrase “neti, neti” to detach from the passing phantoms.  It would be done in a manner without a struggle, gently pulling ones attention back into the underlying emptiness.

Misunderstandings
This ‘detachment’ is at the core of Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Knowing, or in truth would be better to be called the Yoga of Unknowing. There are many misunderstandings regarding Jnana Yoga.  In the same way that if you give a musical instrument, a hand made lute to someone who doesn’t understand how to play it, they would make strange sounds that don’t really resemble music, such is the fate of Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Being at this point by the populace in space-time.  When people interpret Jnana Yoga who  come from other forms and traditions of yoga such as Bhakti  (the Yoga of Devotion), Karma Yoga (the Yoga of doing good stuff to sweat off all the supposed bad deeds and balance the account)  or those who come from any other practice,  all these others look through a window that has their own set of rules, visions and understandings.  To be quite clear, I will say it’s the wrong set of eyes.  And also there are those who are exploring Jnana Yoga who start to intellectualise the process and create a philosophy instead of being able to speak from a depth of experience, it all goes skewiff.

Making Sense
One of the very common pitfalls and misunderstandings of Jnana Yoga is there is a tendency to ‘run’, to attempt to transcend life, to turn things into an ‘us and them’, a ‘spiritual and a material’, as if spirituality was an island and everything outside of it is evil, ‘it’s gonna come and steal your fruit and veges or eat your porridge, it’s coming after you’; and if ‘life’ grabs you, you will be lost in the tunnels of time forever, a slave to delusion.  If we are serious about spirituality, we need to stop this nonsense and bring some sort of order and practicalness to it all; claim it back, do ‘our thing’ whatever that may be, and leave Jnana to its rightful owners instead of everybody having their tuppence worth about something that is outside their comprehension and field of experience, in the same way that a brain surgeon knows his or her area of expertise and stays out of dentistry, and does not attempt to use those annoying sounding drills on their friends and family.  Christians need to take back Jesus from the church, in fact all the faiths need to get their statues and baggage out of the way, it only interferes with the transformation process of the individual; without moving things out of the way, it will just reinforce the walls between ‘supposed self’ which is just thought, and Self… and i use the term Self with great caution, a word which has a lot of erroneous interpretations.

Not This, well What Then
Firstly and maybe mostly, the Universe is not our enemy,  I think this really needs to be addressed.  I have grown up around and in a number of so called spiritual communities; the division between ‘material’ and ‘spiritual’ seems to be a ‘constant’ that presents itself far too often.  In Buddhism (and I must state I am not a Buddhist), there is a leaning towards a middle-way, something that has a self discipline that allows life to mingle with practice, this is healthy. Having said that, any ‘ism’ will have zealots, we will always be able to identify them because they fit closest to the ‘ad’ and tick all the right boxes.

Misunderstanding ‘Not This’
When we take ‘not this’ to the extreme, we may find that we put ourselves in the situation of trying to walk on water, to live a life with a fear of water, as if we will drown if one drop gets on our skin.  It’s a bit like being chased by a dog across the heavens, avoiding its bite, not realising that it’s a tame puppy, or a shadow puppet. When we stop and look at the beauty around us, and give thanks to the rising sun, the chubby smiling faces of kids, savor the chocolate, or the kiss of someone tender to us, when we watch the colors of spring and autumn, feel the joy of someone overcoming something against all odds, watch a shooting star or an otter playing around…. when we stop to feel these things, then we have come home, heaven and earth are in balance. If we continue on ‘running’, separating heaven and earth, we will lose our spark, a withered vine, no grapes, a barren vineyard will be what we move in, tasteless, barely alive.

Dumping the Gods
Where we get into strife is ‘clinging’ to something; wherever we go, bringing the past with us, like a bag lady with her bags stacked on a shopping trolley; dragging our ‘story’ that we have left behind with us; swallowed and a slave to our acquisitions.  If we want life, the bitter and judgemental Gods need to be put out with the garbage, buried as landfill.  False Gods and their hypnotised followers are often life haters, they create a vision of how they think the world ought to be and pollute it with their ‘unnaturalness’, they push against the flow of the river, they train people in fearing life and pass it on generation to generation.  We do not need these people telling the world what is wrong with it and offering salvation and liberation.  With an alert questioning mind it is easy to resolve most things, to bypass what is not needed; most morality is ugly, it is not virtue, it is not integrity, it is fear and control based. Virtue unfolds in acts of natural kindness, tenderness to the world around us, by softening and trying to understand ‘our’ differences with others, constantly ‘giving in’ without submission to selfish agendas, by looking outside our square and attempting to make sense of the pain and needs of others and allowing them to be.

The Art of Neti Neti
Neti neti,to me is the ‘practice of constantly abandoning’, of letting things rise and fall in our consciousness with an attitude of ‘is that so?’; it’s a way of arriving at a form of constant unfolding peace.  Trying to define the ineffable is the job of madmen, not the Divine Madmen, the other ones, the ones who miss life and try and package the universes into a bucket, it just ain’t gonna fit, we don’t need their help.  The poets can point in the right direction, the quantum physicists can write formulas to imply the nature of ‘things’ to help break down traditional thinking that imprisons much of humanity. The lovers smile and the poets dream, the musician pulls the strings that touch the heart of the listener, children laugh, and the camel spits…. ahhh the beauty of life.  It is “not this, not this”, but if we allow it to have it’s moment on the blank canvas of the universe, to do its thing then take a bow and move on, then we are not bound.  Heaven and Earth are in order, and I am grateful.

Tilopa 2.0