Sunday, May 22, 2005

Light Posted by Hello

The Challenge of Practice

After the initial challenge of developing insight into ones consciousness and seeing a little of the Light for the first time, the next requirement is discipline to maintain that insight. This means the use of whatever practices helped one develop the insight in the first place, prayer, meditation, ritual, silence etc. After some time there is an apparent dulling of the bliss that accompanies the first experience of connectedness and this thereafter may result in eventual disconnectedness and a regression back to the state of prior unconsciousness and day to day unmindful existence. This is where the imperativeness of disciplined practice is paramount. Many factors can present themselves to obstruct the flow of practice and impair this discipline. Steadfastness to the goal is so important. Wariness to the pull of the material world with its motivations is vital. The practice must go on to avoid this.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Honeysuckle  Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Rite of Spring

Ahh! Spring is finally here. So I have this beautifully twisted dogwood outside my large second floor windows that I have seen stark in a cold fall drizzle and outlined in fluffs of wet snow. But one fine day this week, I woke to find it full of tiny pink buds and then a rush of full, delicate pink-sienna blossoms. Its like a perfect Japanese painting except that it is real and very alive. The beauty of it makes me stand there every morning with my mouth agape. The tree has withstood all forms of elements with the same equanmity. There is obviously immense beauty in complete surrender. The trees know it even though we don't.

Monday, April 11, 2005

"Thou art That"

The translation of an old sanskrit, Vedic teaching about the essence of Self and how it relates to the Divine. It seems almost blasphemous but demands true understanding. The aphorism attempts to convey that the human self is of divine nature and that the search for the Divine can be turned inwards just as outward (the two are actually the same, for later discussion). That is something that can only be vouched for by experiencing it. The essense of God is the godliness in all. "The kingdom of God is within not without." It is knowledge that is even present in Christian scripture. The problem lay in the incomplete way in which it was understood and preached. The introspection required of this teaching is only possible with the demise of the ego and that is why in many traditions it is said that you have to die in this world before you understand the next. Physical death is not what is being talked about here but only (only!) a egotistic one. The silence or stillness required to experience the "Kingdom of God" only comes when that "death" has happened. The mystics in all traditions talk about this extensively. In St Francis of Assisi's beloved prayer too, this idea is mentioned, "It is in dying that we are born to eternal life." So the more we develop the ego and its varied wants with our materialistic view, the more difficult it is to experience the Presence within ourselves. This confusion is also what drives even more fundamentalistic interpretations of various dogmas in an attempt to connect with something of the Divine or on the flipside with a cavalier, embittered, here and now defensive agnosticism about the meaning of life. The latter is the version more seen in the West. Both are similar in that they strengthen the ego even more and make it almost impossible for there to be silence within to foster a spiritual experience. The dissolution of the ego is a vital yet extremely difficult task that is required of individuals today. This shall have consequences for society and the world we live in.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Stillness Posted by Hello

Why do we need so much "stuff"??

So little is really so much, if it is the truth. When that little that matters is actually experienced, everything else changes and ones interactions with life and its occupants change irrevocably. The challenge after that experience is to keep oneself disciplined so as not to regress back into the machinations of the mind and its many needs, that keep one chained to all the rest of the "stuff". But experiencing a little bit of the truth is oh so challenging! In that it is so entirely simple, that it becomes truely difficult. Paradoxical but there is no other way to really explain it intellectually. To paraphrase, an experience of the truth is worth a thousand thoughts. What is paradoxical is that you can't have that experience while you are still having those thoughts. To quote and paraphrase an esteemed source: "Be still and know that I am God"......"Be still and know"....."Be still"......"Be"
That put very simply yet elloquently (by a friend) is the essence to experiencing the truth.

Conservation Posted by Hello

What is "secular culture"?

Secular often hear that phrase in regards to change in society. It has been especially visible these days in light of the media coverage of the Pontiff's death. They talk about how western societies are losing their uniqueness (read religion) by becoming "secularized". This is particularly referred to Western Europe that has seen a dramatic drop in church attendance with people not identifying so much with their erstwhile faith. So what exactly is this? In my opinion, it is really the realization at a deeper level that the current interpretation of the Judeo-Christian theology does not resonate with most reasonably cognisant individuals. The inconsistencies and corruptions have made it a phantom faith that probably does not provide the sustenance that people are looking for. This is also a reflection of the materialistic flavor of these societies (which incidentally the Church was/is (?) a part of for hundreds of years) that in some ways people are trying to come to terms with as they see how it is eroding their culture and way of life. The real spiritual truths that would have helped humans deal with rapid modernization and not lose perspective were not espoused by the fathers of the Church, either because their "message" was lost on them or because they were methodically discouraged as irrelevant to most peoples' lives. The secularization is in a way an attempt by society to find what it is looking for and is not obtaining in its traditional faith-based practices. I personally do not think it is something to fear, only to encourage as it will likely force the western faiths to really dig deep and find true spiritual wisdom that is buried deep in their scripture and bring it to fore. That will have enormous impact on the way society moves ahead in the future.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Simplicity Posted by Hello

If it feels good do it. N'est pas?

The ode to the 60's that became the basis for societal evolution in the West and now seems to be becoming a universal mantra to personal fulfillment. Is it all good and wholesomely innocent or is there a sinister trap in that mentality. On one hand it can be very liberating but on the other mandative of narcissistic excess and lack of impulse control. This is no doubt making societies more "open" but also making them less inclined to be responsible for what they do or take from the land. For centuries the world was taught to take as little as possible from the earth and to give back as much as you take and more. Now the reverse is the norm. Is it always right to follow sensation as the yard stick to measure veracity? On the other hand should sensations be shunned as a trap and we all turn into nihlistic zombies? I believe that as in all things the answer probably lies in between. The trap is not in the enjoyment of what feels good but in being attached to the need to feel that way. This need then becomes closely intertwined to the identity that is created for a person or a group or society and can be the drive behind a lot of what happens in that society. This is how a collective identity and collective conditioning are formed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Does everything happen for a reason?

Well, that is a tough one. I do believe that the Universe conspires to create situations that test us and teach us what we need to learn at a particular time in our lives. Also it is uncanny but our conditioning and the way we react to circumstances could determine how long it takes us to get something and life often continues to provides us with similar situations time and time again till we finally "get it". On the other hand it is tough to justify that bad things happen for a reason but if we take the narcissim out of a situation it often comes to light that even bad things (especially bad things) teach us a lot once we are able to stop looking at the hurt or pain as a personal tragedy. This canbe taken to a much vaster scale and be applied to the world as a whole given the fact that we all possibly share some karma and have to collectively learn some lessons as a people. Thus I like to believe that each historical tragedy led to something good. I realize that I am treading on some unstable ground here but will venture to say that if viewed from a very impersonal and unbiased lens most of history is full of intense suffering of peoples that is followed by some thing positive that would not have come about if it hadnt been for the negativity that preceeded it. I like to believe that our current place in history will be another example of this. We shall crest the pinnacle of our current unconscious existence that will result in tumult but will be followed by (hopefully) a positive change in our collective perspective.
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