First Noble Truth Reconsidered

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

God Doesn’t Have Problems

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

Tilopa 2.0

 

To Love or Not to Love

Out of Emptiness emerged something extraordinary, a sense of awareness of being.  Wise men, fools, dreamers, the religiously arrogant, philosophers, liars, poets, mystics and sages have written much between that (imaginary) first moment way outside time when the awareness said, “something is doing something.”  We shall let all beings have their story, leave them be and attempt to come into our present state of awareness.
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An Uncluttered Present
This present, the supposed NOW that some people speak of is colored by the past. The experiencer has a history, deep in the subconscious and expressing on the screen of life as we know it is a story of who we are, concepts about the way the world works, the possibles and impossibles.  If we are clear that generally the NOW that many people talk about has baggage, there will be a slight shift in awareness, a deepening, we will be more inclined to stop for a brief moment and not just scroll past it like we do with social media posts.  If we robotically say Be Here Now and make assumptions and think that we have it sorted, it is possible that the flippant attitude that we apply to many of the other things in our lives will once again prevent us from digging in.  Constantly abandoning the past is something that can be done, it may be gradual, for some it may come as a quantum leap, there may be a light-bulb moment, it’s then that the work begins.
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That Elixir
By nature or better I say by habit, we are continuously calling up what we know, all those things that have impacted on us emotionally and also our understandings / conjectures about the reality / the world space we move in.   As humans, due to the cultures we are born into we have subtle prejudices. These ‘knowns’ are what stand in the way of LOVE.
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Love, that old word that has more definitions than a caterpillar has legs; love, that thing that people seek changing partners like an evening at a square dance in a country hall; love, that elixir that brings fierce looking grown men to their knees to weep buckets of tears; love, that wondrous misinterpreted something that is elusive as the quest for what God may or may not be.
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About ten years ago in brief a moment of ecstatic-ness I wrote on a blog post:

“LOVE, has no boundaries or judgements. It embraces the totally of all things born and still unborn. It waits patiently for us to take her hand and follow her to our greatest potential, it forgives our shortcomings and speaks quietly to us when we need her most. Love creeps through our life often unnoticed but catches us as we fall. Love is our only true friend, our faithful companion that walks with us from age to age, beyond the graves.” 
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Also the great sage Shams teacher of the Mystic poet Rumi tells us:
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The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advises “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never falls down, while love hurts itself, falls into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.
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In those words there is plenty to ponder.  Indulgent romantics will focus on the ‘broken heart’ always licking their wounds as if the world owes them something.  A Buddhist will remind us that attachment is our enemy.  Alan Watts, a great carrier of Zen to the West will echo the words ‘let yourself go’.  Shams wakes us up to the fact that the world of the mind and that of love are in contradiction.  Great men and woman know that we can only be a slave to one.  Take your pick, the mind or love.
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The Unknowing Mind
The mind likes to think it knows everything, it prides itself on information.  Love knows nothing.  Love dives in boots and all, it takes chances, it always stands on the threshold, right on the edge of the precipice.  Some people say love and hate are opposites, it is not hate that is the opposite of love, it is fear.  Fear is the gateway to love.  Fear must fall, it has no place in the world of love apart from being that which dissolves itself when love ultimately flowers.
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Love is Grand
When love becomes ‘personal’ it has a wondrous place but let’s move away from here, not because it has no value, self-indulgence only holds a small spot in the universe, we need to think big in the same way that the beings on this planet are only a dot compared to the other intelligent civilizations in the cosmos.   As confusing and as misconstrued as the word ‘God’, love has its interpreters and impostors.  The holier-than-thou religious babble nonsense about love, meantime looking down on their brothers and sisters, out-casting them with their hideous doom and gloom prophecies, and there are those New Agers who delight in ‘one day karma will get them back’, fully forgetting their own minds are filled with hatred and spiritual elitism.  Their version of love is poisonous, it has conditions, “be like me” and we can add to it “if you don’t, my God will get you you evil wretch”.  They fully forget the journey that got them to their present.
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The Alchemy called Life
On the journey into and through love there is accountability but it is not revengeful, it is self-perpetuating.  The great Gods, the word God here translates as those Beings who have journeyed out of original consciousness ions ago and learnt through experience, climbed out of the states of slumber and forgetfulness and become wondrous creative Beings with understandings that are incomprehensible to human intelligence, these great Gods do not have judgement.  They have patience, the virtue of acceptance of the diversity, they know that to get to be the extraordinary Gods that they are is not instantaneous, it is a trial by fire, it is alchemy, removing the gross metal to reveal the gold.
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Returning to Ourself
If we come back to ourselves and ask the right questions.  Who do I hate? What makes me feel better than others? What behaviors of others do I despise? Who do I look down upon? Why is my tribe, caste or social class better than others?  Why is my spirituality more pure and enlightened than others?  Do we see others as a lost cause and trailer trash? We will start to see how much love we have, when we hold the mirror up we will see our shadow and start to see that our love is selective. We can quote scriptures, speak in a manner that sounds pleasing to others, eat the ‘right’ foods, be part of animal liberation movements and do a lot of things that put us into the nice guy category but it’s an incomplete model of love.  Love is much deeper than this.
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Love is there in tenderness with our beloved, sure; it is in our empathy when something wells up inside us and we go past our normal limitations to help others; yes we have it for our families and pets.  But it is more.  Love is in acceptance of what we don’t like, learning not to despise the wickedness of human nature, and that doesn’t mean to delight in it, it is in understanding that the consciousness that underlies the totality manifests in ways that are incomprehensible to us.  We are quick to judge, often forgetting the path that leads us to now, not remembering that we have a story, that we were at some point whether in this life or way back in time in some other place we expressed in ways that were not kind, we betrayed, we hurt, we put ourselves first, we have added to suffering of others.  Love allows other things to be and that does not mean we have no boundaries in our lives and have a form of idiot-compassion that makes us say yes when the best solution is no.  It’s not just in our actions, it’s about our thoughts, do we vilify others just because they are different, because their wisdom is a dormant seed in their consciousness, that due to the experiences in their lives closed themselves down which lead them to actions that reflect a lack of self care or anger and animosity to others.  Is our ‘I am better-ness’ arrogant?  Are we at times the thing that we hate?
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Love arrives in a very strange way; it is common to hear the words “we cannot truly love until we love ourselves fully’; maybe not fully, that type of thinking leads to a feeling of worthlessness, never good enough, it creates an inverted ego.  Neither the ego or its upside down I-hate-me inverted twin have substance.  There is an open secret that we know but forget, every moment is new and this is an opportunity for new growth, the past season is over and although the winter may have been bitter, the autumn of our lives had a mix of joy and misfortune, the spring of new potential constantly remerges and there are new beginnings.  We can abandon our past and extract the wisdom of experience and wander with dignity into foreverness, touching everything on the way with kindness, creating a trail that brings joy to others where possible, being gentle on the world around us.
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I awake to a new day
Although the unborn is unseen out of view
I trust in the benevolence of the Universe
I am gentle, in this is my strength
I can bend and adapt to the changing fortunes that emerge
I am an embodiment of everything I have ever dreamed to be
I walk with dignity into foreverness

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 

 

Leaving the Guru or Cult

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

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

Tilopa 2.0

That Elusive Ego Thing – Yoga Thoughts

In New Age circles we get to see a lot of nonsense about ‘how to get rid of the ego’.  There also are numerous gurus who will for a fee (either monetary or your sovereignty) will sign you up to their club to save you from yourself.  The word ‘ego’ gets splashed around like color at a Holi Festival; therapists, philosophers, counselors and back yard rubber bodied yogis and yoginis all telling you that you need to fix this evil enemy; cut it down before it swallows you or you’ll wallow in delusion for many incarnations.  Whether it be via the sledgehammer method of austerity and abnegation or sitting in groups of peaceful looking meditators with noisy heads surrounded by the odors of sweet smelling incense made from cow poo, you will eventually realise there are a million and one remedies and forms of self punishment to fix the problem that someone has convinced you exists.
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The Playfulness of Life
If for a moment we can agree there might be a God, (and a reminder that the G word has more baggage than an obsessive compulsive on their first trip overseas), I could comfortably say that God is a practical joker.  For example, I  remember going to the zoo years ago and a Tapir was lazing around on a sunny day minding its own business and a bevy of Otters were taking it in turns in swimming along a circular canal, hopping out of the water and slapping the Tapir on its behind region,  it was so bizarre, when the scenario first caught my eye, I asked the people with me to confirm what I was seeing. And to further my argument that the God thing has a sense of humor, just look at the Meerkats (“ok guys, eyes right”).  With the idea in mind that nature is hilarious, although life at times can be outrageously painful, and it may feel some days that we are in a suit that is two or three sizes too small and lined with prickles, the joke is also experienced by humanity first hand.
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In Hinduism we find a concept that there is something called Lila, without getting into fine detail, it could rather loosely be described as play, the Divine pantomime where the underlying super-consciousness plays out experiences in the various worlds. I am not evangelizing for Hinduism here, it is just a useful perspective to bring together the ideas I wish to get across about God and the practical joke. According to some wise men and also the wannabe’s, there is a view that in the Great Pretence of God, the super-Consciousness intentionally forgets who it is and wanders through the maze of the Cosmos looking for itself.  The God Being plays tricks by breaking itself in multiple parts and looks out from each window, seeks the answer to what is life and jumps in and out of bodies through various wormholes acquiring wisdom.  Whether it is true, in the scheme of this article I wont attempt unpack the supposed truth of the matter. But I do know and will state beyond doubt that everything is just ‘thought manifesting experiences through the senses’ and there is a liquidness to the environments we find ourselves in.  And with this in mind we can take a challenge to the charlatans who fill the book shops, ashrams and monasteries with information about the ‘ego’ that they really know little about.  Their work seems to send people away from where they want to be and only strengthens the old arch enemy of ego.
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The Invisible Enemy
Many people have seen the martial art of Aikido, there is a beauty in this approach.  To keep it simple, what is happening is the attacker ultimately defeats themselves, the one who is defending comes into harmony with the movements of the attacker and there is a type of invisibility or Emptiness that emerges in the defender, as there is no-one to attack, the confrontation dissolves without too much fuss.  If we take this approach or apply this type logic to this ‘ego thing’ that disturbs so many spiritual aspirants, we can quite comfortably dismantle the supposed problem and never suffer from the great lie again.
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Nothing is Static
We can, if we also follow the line of thinking that everything is just thought, the ‘supposed’ ego begins to loses its solidity, it is on unsafe ground.  If we look at contemporary Physics we will see that some physicists are in agreement on certain issues, one such thing is the world around us is not overly solid, when we dig into it with Nanotechnology we see there are a lot of particles in constant motion. We can also conclude that change is inevitable, if we gaze at nature, we see that everything seems to be in a state of rising (birth and growth) or sinking (decay), some processes happen faster than others but there is an ever constant in and an out shoot.
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Fooled by the Senses
An over identification with the body is at the core of the problem, by that I mean the five common senses of touch, hearing, smell, sight, and taste.  These are the ‘hooks’ that catches the human-fish most of the time.  There is a story built up in our thinking, we believe the information that the senses tell us; from this and the stories of others in the world around us, we build a profile of who we are. The impressions are deeply ingrained, we gather all the data and conclude ‘oh that’s me’, and those around us only enforce the idea with dialogue like ‘oh gee you are getting fat’, ‘what have you done to your hair?’, ‘you always loved donuts’, ‘i wish I had your brains’ ‘OMG you are such a dickhead’. Depending on our ability to accept or deflect the information we are bombarded with, we strengthen the idea of ‘me’ or the ‘inverted despondent me’.  There are also the numerous grayscale shades in-between that are neither positive or negative, they fill part of our mind-space with a mental picture of the ‘something identity’ who experiences the passing pantomime on the world stage.
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Something Amiss
When we start digging in, and by that I mean self questioning and exploring our thoughts, we find that this supposed identity is a little frisky and elusive to grab. There’s an old Zen Koan (thought and thoughtless provoking Parable) that comes to mind. A Zen master asks, “Show me your Original Face, the face you had before your parents were born.”  I don’t want to go too far down the Zen questioning track which has been turned into a nonsensical witty circus by many but this type of puzzle hints at a number of things.
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1) There is a possibly a false picture of who we are.
2) There is something that sits behind the experiencer and is aware in some way that the experiencer is either a charlatan or is caught in a maze.
3) Something is drastically amiss in the world of mice and men.
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The real issue with this elusive thing called ego is it has no substance and we have placed its mental meanderings in the forefront of our consciousness.  The experiencer gathers together what it knows or believes to be true and runs a program in the subconscious and makes minor adjustments as it moves through life’s experiences.  The idea of ‘getting rid of the ego’ is nothing but a concept. If we go back to basics and we are clear that there is a false association with the body and an unquestioned social belief system that the ‘thinker’ part of us is trapped inside the body, when we address this basic understanding and see ourselves as something that inhabits a much broader space and the body is INSIDE us and is purely the meeting point that relates to and perceives through the five senses and is formed by all the elements of nature we move in, then the ‘loosening’, the dismantling process begins, and it is not the dismantling of the ego, but the thoughts that obscure the view.  When we also remind ourselves and deeply contemplate that the world is in constant flux and is reforming itself moment to moment based on the ‘story of the world’ and is a projection of our consciousness,  it becomes clear that the the ‘ego’ is nothing but the intertwined fabric of thought.
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The Other Direction
The sage Krishnamurthi once stood in the Sydney Town Hall and during his discourse he said, ‘you are all going the wrong way’.  These words are a reminder that social consciousness is the prison-house and it is worthwhile to consider questioning everything that we believe to be true, have been told or assume is knowledge.   With the state of confusion and fear that runs rampant in the world, I am comfortable with going the other way.

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

 

The Yoga of Contemporary Nomads

The world is not so solid, pondering this could easily bring about a change to the way we live, it may impact how we feel about things, we can loosen the strings that tie us down and head off on a new journey.  It’s an unborn future in every direction, our destiny is the horizon which moves away as we step closer to where we think it is, the Universe unfolds as we move through it.
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Wanderers Wayfarers
In a way, many of us have become nomads; family structures have broken down, we don’t all have the ‘traditional’ home to go to, the village where we may have grown up has become part of the urban sprawl, where we used to play there is a supermarket and other blingy shops full of slightly useful objects; the stream morphed into a drain and graffiti reminds us that peoples thoughts are screaming to get out, even if it looks like gibberish, humans  struggle with the noise in their heads, it’s city-stress-syndrome.
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Many religious people are very challenged now, they try to fit the world around us into models that they are comfortable with, however it’s like the bottom of a bucket dropping out; family units are shattered; the dog, the couple of kids and a picket fence are no longer the standard; single mums and dads, mix and match families; gay couples; introverts living out ‘alone’ lives in the city, homeless wear their experiences engraved in the lines on their faces, strangers live  next door, people die and no-one notices, they just slip into other parts of the bureau of statistics database, life moves on.
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Flipping it Over Concept
One trick I have mastered in my life is the ability to turn what looks like disaster into something that is fruitful, nurturing and abundant. This is not something that happens instantaneously, it comes later after the chaos settles.  When we are in crisis the waves crash down on us, we hold on for dear life; but I am reminded that there is always a calm ‘centre’ even if thoughts are wild, even if despair is about to break us, something looks out at the show of life and almost mockingly says “is that so?”  Pema Chodron the western Buddhist nun  has an expression, “learning to STAY”, one way this translates is the ability to ‘hold’ oneself, not to act, to ride it through, to trust that in some way things will sort themselves out.  Once we are past our dark night of the soul, we can recycle our experiences, extract what is of value and head into new territory.  It is quite normal to feel deep emotions and feelings in response to structures coming apart, but we have a choice on whether we make it a problem or not.  I choose the latter.
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Beyond Chaos Theory
What may look like chaos to us, if we dig into it we can find something glorious. This breakdown of the community around us can lead us somewhere quite unexpected, if we can get past the feeling of ‘everything is broken’, life becomes interesting; a dull mind won’t be comfortable with change, sharpening our thinking and attitudes is something worth pursuing.  From the view of a Jnana Yogi (simply put: non dualistic perspective that everything has a glue joining it at the middle) the world is held together by thought, this idea is in conflict with what most people think; there is no way I would push it as a philosophy, to me philosophy doesn’t mean much, changing the way we view things is where wisdom lies.  Unlike some other yogis of the past, I am hesitant to say ‘the world is a mirage’, there is a lot of baggage and misunderstandings with that phrase, it’s not quite right.  It would be slightly more correct to say “every molecule is in motion and it’s only there when we look at it, or name it” it has a sense of ‘there-ness’. Things are named for convenience, we have a common language that allows us to reference moments on a timeline; but really EVERYTHING is in TRANSIT; and this is where freedom lies.
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Freedom is the ability to detach from our story of the world, to dissolve what has gone before and allow the ‘new’ to emerge.  With the breaking down of traditional family structures there will be turmoil, great confusion, questioning arises,  the ground beneath us fractures and if we are alert there will be a type of seeking, a search for meaning, and without giving the game away, that does not necessarily mean there is meaning, but the need for stability and understanding takes over if we have a certain amount of personal power and don’t indulge in our brokenness. When we indulge too much in ‘thinking about our response to a problem’, our thinking processes freeze up. Communities, the human civilisation we are part of is hypnotised by belief and self imposed limitations; the breakdown of the traditional structures although painful is the very thing that may bring about the change needed in the world. And saying this I am not opposed to community whether it be old or new, it has taken me a lifetime to learn to value ‘community’, and community is not necessarily what we assume it is.

Urban Gypsies
We are a community of nomads, wanderers; some say we are on a journey from ‘self to SELF’, from unknowing to KNOWing, personally I wouldn’t want to complicate things with philosophical fantasies, it’s a sidetrack and moves us away from ourselves.  Most religion and Spiritual practice moves us ‘away’, we chase ourselves.  The idea of reaching a goal in the future is part of the great play of life, the labyrinth of ‘becoming’ is endless.
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The beauty in the world fracturing is it is like an egg cracking, if the bird laments the loss of the egg, it may forget the baby chick.  New birth comes from change and ALL our suffering comes from failure to embrace change, to want things to be as they were or the way we want them to be. The less solid the world is in our thoughts, the greater potential there is for going past the limited known.  When the world we know breaks down, we are forced to either die, whittle away or look for other ways of doing things.
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What on Earth can we do?
So how do we approach the world we live in when it breaks? How can we find that thing, a sense of belonging, the NEW community we need that will nurture us?  Although the answer may be different for each one of us, there is one commonality,  that very thing is by saying ‘yes I accept you as this’, ‘I embrace you regardless of our differences’.  It is deeply programmed into human nature to not like.  It is okay to feel uncomfortable with what is outside what we accept at this moment.  However, it is important that our hearts crack open a little more each day, and we move at our own pace.  People come and go in our lives, each moment is precious.
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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

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