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.
+
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?
+
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?
+
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.”
+
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?
:
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’.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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?
:
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.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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.
+
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’.
+
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
+
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.
+
These are treacherous times as we exit the previous civilisation and move forward into the glorious unfolding one.
+
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
+
Tilopa 2.0

 

Yoga -Unknowing the People We Know

We hold each other prisoners of the past, accidentally bypassing the fact that nothing stays the same. We do know that people grow through experience, but it seems difficult to forget what we ‘know’ about those who have been a part of our lives.  There is a petty holding on to the past, this ‘placing people where we think they belong’ could be considered our enemy or a major hurdle to jump over in our lives. Most of our enemies are inside us, the human species has a tendency to be a slave to his/her thoughts, regurgitating the ‘story’ of what and who we believe others to be, and even more serious, who we believe ourselves to be.
:
Community of Humanity
Buddhists have a word called Sangha,  I like this word, it is often interpreted as ‘community of monks’, there are other similar meanings where it implies to other kindred souls on the Buddhist path. There is a broader way of looking at it, in the big picture view I would define it as ALL BEINGS, purely because we are all in this together, all with our own challenges and distractions.  If I look at it from another perspective I could define it as a tribe or people of like mind; whether these definitions are true is not overly important but it is useful for me to get an idea across.
:
Impressionable Beings
We have all seen the situation where a person may not be a smoker or drinker, but if they hang around regularly with people who have these habits, they could easily take these things on as part of their lifestyle. As children we were warned about the company we keep, stay away from the ‘bad kid’ or we may end up the same. We are impressionable beings. I usually try and hang out with brilliant people and those with a gentle spirit.  If we are sensitive people when we go into a hotel where it’s rowdy and rough, we may find it very uncomfortable to be in that environment, to others it’s a ‘what’s wrong with you, get over it’. I will state that I don’t think being ‘sensitive’ is important at all, I say this as a sensitive person, there are very wise people who have the sensitivity of a sledgehammer. When we go to a place of meditation or an environment where good works are done, we often get an uplifting feeling, this is no accident, we feel the world around us.
:
Network of Thought
There is a grid of thought that surrounds us, this is one of the reasons why cities are chaotic, it’s not just the noise, the pollution, the traffic, men in dark suits, the hustle and bustle with no rustle of leaves and the absence bright colours of spring or the shades of autumn, we have unconsciously created a network of thought that wraps around everything; we extend way beyond our bodies.  There are clusters of thought pollution, I could call it ‘psychic smog’ and also there are some islands of refuge, empty churches with their spacious reverb, gardens or big old trees to lie under. When we go to the country, in the open spaces we feel better because we are not getting battered by the floating ‘debri’ thought particles from others that invades our thinking.
:
When we are away for long periods of time from our families or people we have spent large portions of our lives with, we no doubt change.  What life serves up brings about wisdom, we transform into different people, we may also develop new personas or patterns of behaviour, neurosis, or even drop things from our lives that were part of our shadow, we may gradually overcome those things that were not the best part of our personalities.
:
A New World
However, it is an aspect of human nature to place people exactly in the same space where we knew them, even if years have passed.  The whole world is caught in the past.  I have noticed that when people come to a new country they can ‘reinvent’ themselves, it obviously does depend on the environment they move to, and the amount of personal power and energy, they often succeed in a new world; personally I think it is because they have the opportunity to reconstruct their world view and can detach from the opinions that others have of them. Our loved ones can stunt our growth and ‘hold’ us in the position where we have always been; regardless of their unquestionable love, it can suffocate our unborn future.  It is critical to those around us to see them as a creative-process-in-motion and allow and trust that they have enough insight to be able to carve out a pathway forward unhindered by our opinion of who and what we believe them to be.  I think there is a need for us to see the good in others, regardless of their habits they have that may be destructive; if possible we can try to hold them safely for a while and say ‘you have endless potential’.  People we love have a deep trust in our opinions at a subconscious level, if we can’t see the success and potential in them, we will ultimately undermine them.
:
Constant Change
People often don’t feel safe when someone they love changes, they are comfortable with the ‘old someone’, the new version requires a shift in the eye of the beholder. When a husband or wife takes on new habits or friends, if the partner is insecure they often object and undermine their loved one.  In a way relationships can be like letting out a kite string, allowing someone to fly but keeping a gentle hold on the ‘attachment’ string.
:
Letting Others Be
If there is a secret to life, and yes there are many, I think it is to be able to undo the story we have about others, to understand change does happen, regardless that some habits and patterns are deeply engraved.  We need to trust in the unfolding process that is a part of nature and allow others to have enough space without our opinions about who we believe them to be and holding them back.  It is strangers who usually see the brilliance in those around us, their eyes are fresh, uncoloured by history, it is their ‘unknowing’ that permits them to experience the beauty and genius of our loved ones that we can so easily miss.

by 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.
:
Keeping the Community Clueless
Here is one dictionary’s definition of ‘weeds’: a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.  The word ‘valueless’ is something that catches my eye here; the reference to ‘valueless’ clearly defines the culture we are a part of, it’s a Biblical ‘wheat and chaff’ attitude.  Anyone who has traveled in the 3rd world will notice the way that objects are recycled and reused in the most extraordinarily inventive ways.  The 3rd world to me means,  ‘countries rich in resources and ancient culture which are being robbed by multinationals where the residents are being tricked into thinking and acting like Europeans’. Weeds are possibly one of the best kept secrets in the world,  in a way it’s a bit like all those people who run around everywhere looking under rocks for God, missing the obvious.
:
One of the major factors that defines the supposedly intelligent human species is discrimination,  our ability to reason and make what sometimes are described as informed decisions.   However, when we dig into things we may find that our ‘informed-ness’ comes from a long line of programming, what we ‘know’, we take things for granted, we have curiosity but are entangled in numerous quests for wealth, position in the community, to look right, to fit into an insane world, to be our best version of ordinary; if people are too unusual they are treated like weeds, discarded and given the chop.   I am reminded once again about the sage Ramakrishna, he was a great man, his student Vivekananda helped bring an awareness about Vedanta to the West.  Ramakrishna was curious about a church in India, he tried to peep through the door, because he looked like a beggar, ‘a weed’, he was chased away.  The Catholic faith apart from being a Jesus worshiping institution that self righteously places its clergy between God and man, has many persons they hold in high regard, Saints and Sages, some real, some charlatans, some pedophiles, and here at the doors of the place of worship in India they chased a great sage away; they missed their moment.  It is easy to forget what is important and waste away our days with trivialities; filling our minds with violent movies,  petty dramas, useless bling; life is rich but we often seek what has little value, we stuff our beings with lifeless food. Food has become a form of entertainment to many of us instead of being something that ‘makes us’.
:
Isolated in the World 
We live in bubbles now, the buildings around us are almost like incubators that protect fragile newborns. Air conditioned spaces; we’ve poisoned the air outside, the ocean, the earth is littered with our throw-outs, and there is also space junk. There would be plans to ship our waste to other planets ASAP if it currently didn’t cost $22k per kilo to complete the process. Here back on planet Terra, we have the disharmonious noise of the city; people yelling to get above the poorly designed acoustic cafe spaces, environments are usually only designed to look swank or hipster;  the sound of musicians who can almost play their instruments adequately, oozes  out of the HiFi system at an uncomfortable volume, it all reminds me how far we have moved from nature.  Mother nature the majestic Being who holds us; we build structures to protect ourselves from her, we isolate ourselves and keep at a slightly uncomfortable distance; we have disinfected the area around us to the point where nothing wants to live near us, the microbes say ‘we are outta here’. We wonder why there are hyperactive children, the youth are addicted to agitation, energy drinks  supply regular doses of legal speed, and sugar fries the brain.  Our feet don’t touch the earth, we live with stress and anxiety as a ‘normal’ and crave silence, nature’ s abundance and are magnetized to the wheel of ‘life as we know it’, slaves to a story of ‘how we believe things must be’, entrapped in systems.
:
Transient Trance Life
We have evolved into a species who are hypnotised into living out our days as if we had no other choice.  A version of other peoples lives is streamed to us live through the electronic social media grid, we eat the info that comes to us as if it is more important than our lives, our experiences, we ruminate over it, it dominates our consciousness.  To say we “have lost our way” seems fair, if not obvious.
:
There is a need to ‘come back to ourselves’, to become educated about the world around us, to understand how ‘thought’ sidetracks us; to see the value of weeds and waste-able stuff.  We may have to just slip off in another direction when no-one is looking while the world is building empires and gathering fools gold; and  leave the world where people know ‘a lot about nothing’, where trivia and bling steal the limelight, to seek what truly has value.
:
Tilopa 2.0

 

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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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’?
:
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.
:
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.
:
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

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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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”.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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).
:
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.
:
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.
:
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?
:
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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
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.
:
The Enigma of Being Human
The original question was ‘What isn’t God?’, we can ponder this deeply and the response will change shape from time to time, the unfolding process is like a tree that spreads out, old leaves and flowers fall off there is new growth; the roots of experience go deep into the ground and the trunk of our understanding becomes firmer.  There is an old Zen Koan which asks, “Does a Dog have Buddha Nature?”, this is also a very, very good question, it moves the focus of puzzle away from the individual, it nullifies our sense of ‘I’, the imaginary part of us which is what we believe ourselves to be; and like all Zen riddles, it is answered with our whole being, it is resolved in our transformation.  I will ask another pertinent question and it’s one we may ask ourselves each day as the sun rises, or for those of us who prefer to be up later starting the day with coffee and chocolate, “What does it take to be a human being who can add beauty the world, to be somebody who embraces both the religious man and the atheist, someone who has an open heart and leaves a trail of kindness wherever we travel?

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

The Yoga of Addiction

I think addictions can be a good thing. Being distracted by, absorbed in something and a sense of regularity has its benefits. All great musicians and artists are addicted, Einstein, Newton and Buddha were all engulfed by a deep passion of wanting to ‘know’ and to reach an end, even if that end was temporary, they sought a resolve. It seems obvious when it comes to addictions that our flavour, our choice of ‘poison’ is what makes the difference. We can ask one simple question, “Does it weaken us, or strengthen us?” …. said in a deep radio announcer Shakespearean tone ‘that is the question’.
:
Gimme the Lot
We can be reckless beings, the feeling of being infallible, the arrogance and bravado of youth, thinking we are invincible… gimme more, just keep loading up the bong till paranoia seems like the norm. Which tablet? Give me the lot; sucking down buckets of alcohol till even our dearest friends don’t want to know us. And we go back for more next week; ultimately in time we end up on an island of isolation, we no longer function well enough to navigate the changing fortunes that emerge on our screen of life; and do more of the same thing that got us to that point.
:
The Loneliest Moment
I have very strong views on drugs and alcohol, I am not frightened to say them, they undermine our sense of community, an epidemic of destruction, they destroy the beauty of life. The window I look through comes from one ‘still frame’ moment just before my oldest boys funeral; the hearse pulled up, I walked over and just stood alone beside it, not knowing where to look, seeing the coffin, how long to stay? Why is no-one else here? Where is my family? Where are my friends? …. the preciousness of life was defined then and there, standing at the doorway to eternity. And the loneliest moment in the history of the universe had just invited me in. In a way, that moment defined the man I wanted to become, or the one who could have died with my son.
:
Doughnuts are Better than Cocaine
What leads a person to the place where my son lay can be many things, life is challenging, we can be frail and keep throwing layer after layer over us until we disappear. But regardless of specifics, I do know it is about addiction, or more specifically, what we align ourselves with.  Addiction to me does not mean alcohol, heroin, ice or any other thing used by the hidden bankers to undermine the threads of the fabric of the community we live in. It means the way that we get stuck on a thought, what we think and hook into becomes bigger than us. A silly example would be:

I see doughnut (yum) >  My memory recalls sensation of bliss (mouth waters) > I devour doughnut (or half dozen) > Doughnut tickles my being (sugar dancing in mouth) >
Goes about its secret business (digests, turns into a little bit more fat than i was hoping for) >
Ultimately impacts in ways that make me feel worthless ( i think I am fat, or don’t like my pimples)…..
It really depends on how many times we run the loop, it all comes back to thought. And i am not saying don’t eat fun stuff, I am talking about doughnut addicts.
:
Making Friends With the Enemy 
If we are smart, self-loving, alert, tender with ourselves, we will develop a sense of ‘well-being, problem is that’self care and love’ is the wisdom fruit of life’s experiences. So let’s short track this.
:
In the same way that a clear pond way up in the hills, in the wooded valleys has fresh water coming in; we need to refresh our thoughts, to keep new information coming in so we don’t stagnate. Personally, I go for science and technology, quantum physics and break-through’s, I ponder the stars and dream a lot, question religious texts and try and get inside them, study and explore different aspects music.  I do this because I UNDERSTAND ADDICTION and the plasticity of the brain.  If I freeze and become addicted to things that undermine me, I would lose my sparkle for life. I have an obligation to those who I love, those who have left the world already, those who have taken the time to offer me the knowledge they had; so I seek joy in the depth of experience. My nature is addictive, I was very aware of that at a young age and in a stroke of genius turned it into my friend. I have learned to use it to my advantage; to choose things that are good, not just those that feel good temporarily.
:
And it’s that simple.

Home Future Yogis

 Yoga of Self-Awareness

Thought provoking Article by guest writer – Arizona

“Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life – perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody.  That is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority.  When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy – if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.

So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing of birds or looking at the face of your wife or child.”

  • Krishnamurti, 1979
“Can you teach me meditation?” Um, no. I can create a space where you are sitting quietly, calmly. I can ask you to observe yourself. This is all I can do for you.
How does one watch oneself? Self-awareness is a key distinction between people, a distinguisher of people. One who is self-aware has great power. That person has the power to change.
:
The Angst of Self-consciousness
Self-consciousness is an interesting term. It first emerges in the teenage years, as a name for that awkward feeling when you think people are looking at you all the time. The post-pubescent paranoia that is part of growing in to a new body and exploring a mind newly shaped by those funny molecules that trigger all sorts of primal and reactive behaviours far beyond the impulsiveness of a child who cannot think past the present moment to future consequences. So much confusion about the ‘why’ of other people’s behaviour and reactions that obscures any ability to question or understand one’s own behaviour, and limited availability of a reference point or baseline in the changing landscape. Embodying. Embo-dying. I wonder what the prefix ‘embo’ means. The -dying part seems apparent.
:
It seems a long path to self-consciousness from there, of being aware of, conscious of, the true nature of the self. The path is self-awareness. Awareness of one’s own behaviour, reactions, patterns. One needs a perspective to view this from, which is where the detachment part comes in, as well as embodiment. These seem contradictory but are in fact complementary.
:
The Proper Order of Detachment
I see many who are not aware of their bodies. I think this often comes from abuse, which takes many many forms. So many people are their own abusers, in addition to those who have been subjected to violence of any kind at the hand of another. Detachment-abuse-detachment cycle. A denial that something hurts, a denial that there are consequences for self or other. Denial-detachment, instead of complete awareness-detachment. Detachment needs careful definition, and careful ordering. Care and love totally. But do not be attached to outcome and reactions. If detachment arises from not caring about self or any other, a natural detachment to outcome will arise but there will be little awareness of reactions; self-awareness is not forthcoming. If total care and love are present, but also attachment to outcome, again the reactions come, and fear of the future.
:
Embodiment through Asana
This is where a yoga asana (asana = a posture adopted in performing yoga) path has such value to those who are disembodied and not-caring-detached. If one is not aware of where, in space, one’s arms are, or one’s head, how can one be truly aware of oneself? By gently revealing to a person how to feel into a body, how to use every muscle to locate limbs, torso, neck and toes, this awareness forms a solid foundation for more introspective observation. Further revelation of what causes physical discomfort in the body, where one’s limits of range of motion are, and discovering the link between thought, belief and physical movement is the next piece of the puzzle. It is a gentle empowerment, realising that thoughts can be chosen, that thoughts impact on the body, and that the body can and does change. The desire to harm oneself or perpetuate self-abuse falls away as the body becomes fully inhabited with awareness of sensation and proprioception.
:
Self-awareness
Self-awareness arises through observing the impact of external factors on the state of the body, and therefore the mind. The more engrossed in asana a person is, the more that person will notice the effects of external factors such as a heavy meal, a cup of coffee, or a heated conversation on their asana practice. Life is a constant experiment in understanding this link between the external environment and the body. Eventually the penny drops – these external factors affect the mind which in turn affects the body. The asana focuses the mind on caring for the body by being aware of what impacts negatively upon it, be it external factors or from within the mind. It is this crucial first step of caring for self that allows total care and love to radiate outwards into the world. Awareness is therefore necessary in order to allow the external factors to be perceived and their impacts upon the body/mind to be appropriately filtered or managed. This sharpened awareness, concentrating fully upon each thing that is encountered, is the meditation that Krishnamurti speaks of. From there, one has the possibility of becoming aware of the impact of one’s own behaviour upon this external environment.
:
Who is in control?
It is a natural progression from there to begin to observe the mind. Through the asana, it becomes apparent that the mind impacts on the body, and that the body is under the control of the mind. But who is in control of the mind?
:
Oh that’s quite a question.
:
 by Arizona

India, Death and Love

Life in the Senses
The smell of the bakery surprised me today, the one I have never seen, hidden away just down the street from where I have lived for a few years, maybe it’s in a back lane, it fires up just in time so I can wander by and taste its goodies in my thoughts.  The corner flower shop, it’s colors, bundles of heaven in soft fragile shapes making me think it’s spring in autumn, and there’s sun, yesterday the winds were distressing, almost a hundred miles an hour,  if it wasn’t for my coffee non-addiction pleasure and a need to break out of cabin fever, I would have stayed in, hidden under my sheets.  The beauty of the morning got me thinking, ‘why do we run?’

Death is Stalking
I grew up with death stalking me, it has taken years for me to settle into life.  I don’t know if other people have this ‘running from death thing’ but my life has been shaped around it.  India, seems to ‘do’ death better than anywhere else.  I have had a deep love affair with India; when my plane landed in the far south at Trichy over thirty years ago, I wept..  I am not what you would call a Indiaphile, a traveler, a passport stamp collector; my  experience is different.  Oddly enough I have always been more Indian than western, my only genetic connection is one I heard about recently from my Irish American based second cousin, she informed me our DNA traces us to Pakistan.  I saw a picture of India at about eight  and as a child said to myself, ‘I must go there,  my real fascination with the land of Bharat started at fifteen when I saw a newspaper cutout and the heading was ‘Jesus Lived in India’. Regardless what the facts may be, it was truth to me. This was a cue of how the future would be shaped.   India, death and who I imagine myself to be, are intertwined.

India on Our Doorstep
It is a great tragedy to the world, in the West, historians, intellectuals and academics have written the story of the world according to certain criteria based on a particular set of values and opinions.  Thank heavens for food and its secret hidden powers, fortunately Indian cuisine is desirable to many people.  We have a lot to thank the global chefs for, they have brought the flavors into our mouths; they are ambassadors who unify humanity, they do what politicians and mainstream religions can’t.   In the spaces where we go to eat these mouth-watering delicacies, on the walls hang pictures of Krishna, Elephants,people wrapped in cloth, the Moguls and while sitting knockin’ back a dosa or spiced tea, floating around the eating space is the sound of the sitar, the sarod, sarangi, tampura, tabla and musical notes that our ears have now become accustomed to; a scent of incense floating. India creeps up on us. In my case I dived in deep at a young age because death was chasing me, so I thought. Really death was my teacher tapping me on the shoulder and India was the classroom, its wisdom and very existence my textbooks.

Opposites Unpack
Each moment we are faced with two entangled opposites, mortality and immortality, being present and detaching.   When there is the ‘passing’ of a loved one, these two mysterious things knock loudly on our door and come in to sit for a while with us.  It’s uncomfortable for us, the fragility of it all; often we just click back into to ‘normal’ with a BIG piece missing, sometimes broken, or maybe philosophical. We can, if we have enough personal power use this time to ‘see’, (‘personal power’ means a type of stability, to be able hold steady against all odds, something that has been developed throughout our lives through extracting the wisdom from experiences, and ‘seeing’ means to use the totality of ourselves to gaze into something without prejudice or a limited opinion).  At the time of the passing of someone dear to us, we are at our most alert, on the edge of two worlds and if we can harness the waves of grief, use them as a type of fuel for transformation, a change will come about at a core level, even if we return to everyday life when the exterior is not much different; we will never be the same again.

The Beauty and Insanity of India
Death has been my teacher;  India and death seem to be intertwined; the world of Gods beyond the human form, their visits to the world, the rushing Ganges, a symbol of the flow of life, the passing show, the billions born into human existence, rolling through space-time. The insanity of a country with so many paradoxes, where the Dharma is at its heart; the Dharma, the endless unfolding natural law that sustains all, with it’s innate tendency towards supporting virtue, and I don’t mean the morality of the small minded religious zealots.   India with some of its hideous customs towards devaluing woman, and it’s not that it doesn’t happen elsewhere;  where is the respect for Sita, isn’t she in every woman?  India where the Ramayana was born, the epic tale of Rama, outlining the roles of all members of the community can play their roles to bring about a harmonious society. India she gave us the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God expressed so potently, the arrival of the Avatar Krishna to save a bumbling humanity from itself, the prayers of the Saints and Sages heard, the Divine manifesting to its full potential in the world of the five elements. Krishna riding the chariot into battle with Arjuna standing on his shoulders, pulling on the reins of the five horses, helping those who support the Dharma in the battle of Kurukshetra, family members and friends against each other; reminding us it is our heart that is the battlefield, to overcome the part of ourselves that stands in the way of where we would be best to go.

Love Revealed
The giant orange tennis ball in the sky, suspended in space over the western plains, ladies in saris in the fields, their backs bent, natural yogis, like phantoms on the stage of life.  The sound of Bhajans, Kirtan, music for the Gods, little cymbals, drums and the drone of an harmonium moves across my thoughts. The words of Bhagavatam deeply ingrained in my thoughts.  When I set out to write this a few days ago, I was thinking about an article about how all the things of India do not represent Spirituality, how they get in the way of the view of the formless absolute and how they are just passing forms in the show. I was thinking how anything that presents itself in the world of shadows and light is an obstacle to self-transformation…..and here I sit entangled; I solved death years ago, but India still enchants me; her mystery, her beauty…. I often wonder why I was born in the West, maybe it’s a love affair from a distance. the deepest longing that makes me appreciate her more, like the master musician who waits for the perfect note to emerge from the Silence.

The Yoga of Being Gentle on Ourselves

It’s a Crazy Mixed Up World of Men
There is madness in the world of men; economic growth, a push for getting from point A to B at a faster rate; okay, so what to do when we get there?  Making more money by giving less to the community; buying houses for babies so they will be ‘set up’ for the future, but forgetting the people around us are homeless…. what if the children become gypsies, nomads with invisible camels, wanderers and wayfarers, roaming Buddhas?   There are guys in suits, and stern looking power dressing women who model themselves on the worst of men, they struggle to get ahead in an insensitive arena of male mini tyrants; the cold stark air conditioned buildings with plastic plants, people shuffling papers and balancing numbers, lots of ‘doing’; children in daycare with strangers while their parents micro empires rise, and so often it falls in chaos as the family members don’t get to experience each other, overworked and too busy to appreciate the extraordinary meeting place called intimacy.

AS A SPECIES, WE MAY HAVE LOST OUR WAY.

The Spin dryer of Thought
Yesterday I hit the edge of despair.  This is not really a big  problem for me as my ‘Future Yogi’ (the part of me that lives outside time) looks at the experience and reminds me to change my point of perception, to stop and watch the play of life.  What was troubling me was, I am under pressure to deliver the fine details in a written testimony to my solicitor regarding crimes against humanity that happened to me as a child.  As I need to enter the memory of the experience so the legal team can proceed with my case, I got the wobbles, for a brief moment I was lost in the space-time tunnel.  It felt like I was in the spin dryer, trying to stop the emotions from jumping out and flying across the room.  My son was beautiful at this moment, and I understand why we chose each other as parent and child, he just said, ‘dad, is there anything I can do to help?’,  I said, ‘no, just saying that is enough’.  And I know from experience, I can usually sort things myself, nobody needs to do anything, it is knowing there is someone there that really counts.  So I decided to be gentle on myself.

The Warriors of Thought
I was too serious to do my usual therapy, the fine art of holding up my left arm and tickling my underarm with my right hand; this often works.  But these things I am dealing with are crimes against humanity, abuses of human rights that I have experienced.  For most people the heavy artillery would need to be called in, psychiatrists, meds, medical teams, guys in white coats with expressions of concern embedded into their wrinkled foreheads . Being the ninja that I am, I understand that there is always a point that holds everything in balance, there is a centre point at the heart of things.  If we can locate and manipulate that very fine whatever-thing that everything depends on,  the most powerful enemy can be defeated with a minimum of ease.   I know the greatest enemy of man is ‘thought’, knowing this gives me a starting point, I have an advantage, all enemies are already defeated.  If my problem is thought, there is no need go into battle and create more turmoil, things will just get broken.  A true warrior brings about peace with the least harm possible.   The dull, the bold, the buffoons will destroy the landscape, there will be carnage, collateral damage, everything gets stuffed over…. a wise warrior enters and leaves without anyone even knowing, while the villagers are sleeping, we come and go adjusting things to bring harmony, I took this path as there is no other one worth contemplating. And here is that path…..

The Ever Changing and Emerging Unborn
I love learning; the new, the fresh, the potential unborn, that’s where all the possibilities are. I am a musician and was gifted with the greatest teachers, masters of their craft.  One thing that these brilliant beings reminded me of was, we can always go into new territory, even if the terrain looks familiar we can take it out further, there is something we can extract and use.  I decided to learn a simple raga and play it on one of my beautiful guitars, (a raga is the underlying foundation of classical Indian music tunes), the guitar was in an irregular tuning, this requires additional thought and focus, and I was also playing in a different key, another set of notes than the original.  What this meant was I had to translate everything I was doing.  Although what I mentioned may sound irrelevant , or out of context, the underlying idea was to keep my mind active, to distract and create some new neural pathways instead of digging deeper into the ones that no longer serve me, those old ones were hurting, they were smothering me with emotions.  These ‘new pathways’ is where we can disable some things, ward off those arrows of life that seem like they will destroy us. If we want change and healing, we must take charge of the process, else we will always be a slave to things that no longer exist.  Things happened, true, they are in our past, they will have an affect…WE DO NOT HAVE TO LET THEM DEFINE US, to derail us and steal the joy from our life.

Healing is an Inbuilt Thing
I am confident that healing can come about naturally, this may be contrary to the ideas of many health practitioners, honestly I am not sure how others feel about this. From experience I know to ‘back myself’ to trust what works for me, regardless if someone says it’s impossible.  As musicians we get to play with many different people of various skill levels, and lots of things are not said at times.  I will use the example of everyone in a band being told before a music session starts that a piece of music has been changed, except one person was not informed.   The tune starts,  everybody else ‘in the know’ starts playing; the musician who hasn’t been informed looks momentarily puzzled, he has a number of choices: get upset and walk out, play the wrong music just to be annoying, or just listen and feel what is going on and call on the skills in the musical toolbox and adapt. Life is a lot like this; if every time something happens, we respond in a manner that is against the flow of what is going on, we will always be running, missing life; if we decide to struggle against what is going on and do something that is ‘never going to work’, we will suffer.  But if we are sensitive enough and trust the inbuilt wisdom we have developed in our lives, it will be less painful, we can navigate safely, slay the paper tigers and imaginary dragons who roam around in our thoughts.
:
I say what I say from experience. I have learnt to be gentle on myself, to face what in many cases probably should have broken me, but I treasure my life, an adventure not to be missed or treated with disrespect.  We are creative beings, the past is gone, never to return.  By ever seeking the new, the past recedes in the rear-view mirror of life.
:
When I struggle, all I need to do is to think ‘be gentle on myself’, the world around me softens.
:
Tilopa 2.0

Silent Love, Meditative Bliss

Thoughts on what keeps us connected, yet keeps us from connection; experiencing love in silence and in the silence, as the goal, focus or locus of meditation.

Silent Love, Meditative Bliss is a very thought provoking article by a guest writer

“A meditative mind is silent. It is not the silence which thought can conceive of; it is not the silence of a still evening; it is the silence when thought – with all its images, its words and perceptions – has entirely ceased. This meditative mind is the religious mind – the religion that is not touched by the church, the temples or by chants.
“The religious mind is the explosion of love. It is this love that knows no separation. To it, far is near. It is not the one or the many, but rather that state of love in which all division ceased. Like beauty, it is not of the measure of words. From this silence alone the meditative mind acts.”
– Meditations, 1979
 :
Meditation is love
At that point, two worlds collided. Bliss as the love goal, silence as the meditation goal. I had not connected meditation to love, as love, connectedness, silence. If there is no separation, there is no need to speak – to whom are you speaking? In moments of bliss, there is no need to speak – what needs to be said? In moments of connectedness, the mind is still – what more do you seek? When the mind is still, there is no need to speak – what words can form in stillness? In moments of bliss, there is connectedness.
:
The Obstacle of Disconnection
The many tools of meditation are a menu for the individual to choose from, flip through them until one resonates and you make a little progress, see a glimpse of what is possible or frighten yourself and move on or retreat. Some days might be days to count your breath, others might be days where the ringing sound is so loud that you can’t not focus on it. What I’ve seen is the obstacle to many people to exploring meditation or even stillness is the thought of being alone in it. It’s the prospect of realising that we are each ultimately utterly alone in this world, endlessly separated by the fact of being the only inhabitant of one’s assigned human body. Many people cannot bear silence, cannot sit still without fidgeting, cannot be comfortable with the thought of not having their comfort-phone-of-connection in their hand. Stimuli simulates connectedness, and we’re all addicts.
:
Love as Silence
But in this thought – the explosion of love as silence, no separation and meditation – is a precious key. It’s utterly motivational – who doesn’t want to feel connected? And if, in that connectedness, stillness of the mind is possible, the rest for the mind can arrive, the brainwaves relax which is so healing for the whole being. Who doesn’t want to experience healing? And if, through that healing, more experience of connection in possible and love arises, or perhaps the experience of love that is essential human nature is revealed to you. Who doesn’t want love?
:
The Obstacle of Possession
Love is often misunderstood, mistaken as possession which is not love, opposite to it perhaps. A bad experience or two with this unfortunate impostor and many swear off love forever, closing the heart. And thus arises the obstacle to connectedness. It hurts to think about being connected, because the pathway to love requires each obstacle to be examined and gently placed aside as irrelevant. The prospect of sitting still and examining each obstacle is frightening, particularly if one believes that the goal of stillness, of meditation, is an endpoint in which we are each utterly alone. The motivation for such thinkers is to retain each and every obstacle because the perception is that these obstacles are the safe walls that keep us close to our experience of what we thought was love, the experiences wherein the hurt arose that created these obstacles. But that’s a mistaken belief. In fact the ultimate goal is love, is connectedness, to know what that truly is, and it resides on the other side of any thought that creates space or distance between you and any other.
:

Love is the goal. Love is all you need. What is keeping you from it?

By Guest Blogger – Arizona