What is Enlightenment?

sunEveryone senses it within… people, animals, even insects… Some may simply call it the instinct for self preservation.

It has many names… the soul, the self, inner divinity, the unified field, Oneness, God… call it what you will.

Through evolution, the sense of it becomes clearer and clearer… Along the way, there are many awakenings… glimpses, hints, faint whispers of what is to come…

As water cools, it comes to know the nature of ice more and more fully… Yet, at one point it crystalizes… it becomes ice… and everything changes…

Everything in creation gravitates back to the Oneness out of which it came. It is that Oneness that you are sensing deep inside… that you are being drawn toward… like a moth around a candle flame… like a plant reaching to the Sun… like a mountain stream to the ocean… until that moment when it all comes together… it crystalizes… that moment is called enlightenment…

It is not that anything goes away…
The full range of thoughts and emotions remain… The you that was… remains… But the real YOU emerges in full splendor… like a backdrop to all of creation… And in that moment, your relationship with everything changes… forever… You realize that nothing is really happening… that relative existence is a beautiful, glorious, magnificent mirage… a virtual image… like a reflection in the mirror, lightly etched on the face of Being… your Being… the only thing that really IS… Shiva… You and God are One…

The Self that you sensed deep inside, overtakes the universe…

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

It Doesn’t Matter

moonCertainly, there is a place for political correctness.  But why is there so much focus upon it today?

We live in ‘The Era of Things’.  There are endless incredible things to capture your attention… computer gadgets, amazing cars, beautiful homes, and even limitless perspectives… social views… political stances and dogmas.

Awaken to the level of Vedanta… where no ‘things’ exist… where no ‘things’ matter. Matter is of the relative.  Awaken to that which dwells beyond matter.

Do not lose yourself to things.  Your relationship with things… with all things… defines the quality of your life.  Resting into your Self is the gateway to a healthy relationship with all that is.  Fulfillment with anything starts from inside of you. Attitude matters.  But more significant than attitude is the state of your being. Culture your self.  Proper meditation is the engine that best propels you.  Proper discernment provides the wings upon which you fly.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Time Stands Still

chair~

~

Everyone has those moments.

Imagine a warm, quiet, summer’s Sunday afternoon. Perhaps you decide to take a moment… a moment to rest… to lie on your bed as a gentle breeze moves through the window’s sheer curtains.

Once settled in you notice… a robin’s song echoes from a backyard tree… the faint hum of a neighbor’s lawn mower… the distant murmur of children at play. Then it happens – a subtle, but palpable, shift in your being and in the space all around you.

Time stands still. An eternal quiet holds you. The moment is exquisite.

When will it next be noticed?

Perhaps while you sit under a favorite tree; or while lounging on the porch with a morning cup of tea; or while taking an evening stroll through the neighborhood…

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Respect

People have many diverse motivations in life. Some strive to make money. Others are devoted to mastering a musical instrument. Some aspire to higher and higher levels of education. Some are dedicated to certain principles, that is to say their beliefs regarding being in the right as much as possible. Still others focus on accomplishing whatever task may be at hand.

But after it is all said and done, there is one thing that brings more fulfillment regarding how you live your life than anything else. That, quite simply, is how other people feel about you. Do they respect you as a person?

The odd thing about all this is that that most fulfilling aspect of your life is very simple to attain… yes indeed, very, very simple. The only problem is that people do not have their attention there. They focus more on motivations such as the ones listed above. That is done at the expense of gaining the respect, love, and good feelings of others. Simply making a habit of keeping your finger on the pulse of how others are feeling about you is the simple yet profound key to it all. And even more amazing is that you do not have to always do it perfectly. Mistakes in this regard are not really a problem. You have only to do your best to correct the mistake and move forward. And the correction need not be a dramatic act. A simple acknowledgement is usually quite enough. That in fact, will gain you more respect than if the mistake was never made in the first place. You may think the acknowledgement is a swallowing of your pride or and undermining of your stature, but in truth, it is exactly the opposite.

I encourage you to just try it. Go ahead and focus on whatever task is at hand, but keep your finger on the pulse of how your actions are compelling people to feel about you as a person and do your best to make that a very positive feeling. You will find that in doing so, whatever the task at hand may be, you will be more successful in the accomplishment of it. At the same time, over and above the accomplishment of the task, you will find greater fulfillment in life.

It is really all so simple. Just do the Surya Ram Meditation as instructed and keep you finger on that pulse of respect. Respecting others is the key to attaining their respect and love, is the key to success in whatever task you may embark upon, and is the key to fulfillment in a life well lived.

One final point:  It is not so much about how you behave when everything is wonderful and everybody is getting along that gains the respect of others.  It is more about how you behave during conflicts or disagreements.  Do you just try to prove your point, make yourself right, or make the other wrong?  Do you stonewall any perspective or feeling other than your own?  Or are you working with the relationship in a manner that will gain the respect and appreciation of others.  Never forget that this is how you gain your own self-respect and appreciation.  Never forget that you have not won over a person, just because you have silenced them.

Real conflict resolution, and I mean resolution within your own heart and mind, comes not from winning an argument, but instead it comes from winning the respect of others.

museum

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

The Art of Life

pianoLike all children learning to play a musical instrument, my daughter gets frustrated when she has to play the scales.  At such times, with frustration, she decides she doesn’t want to play piano anymore.

Playing piano is an art.  It is learned through practice.  Even if you are enlightened, it doesn’t mean you are a good pianist.  It requires practice.

Perhaps the most challenging art in all of life is dealing with people.  It takes practice. Frustration is part of that process.  Like children with music, adults often feel inclined to give up on learning the art of dealing with people.  They would prefer to live in a bubble, isolated from the world.  This is just like the ostrich burying his head in the sand.  The ostrich may think that makes him safe, but in truth, it makes the ostrich more susceptible to danger.

The simple truth is that life is all about people.  Your ability to deal with people directly affects the degree to which you are successful in life.  Success in this regard is measured on all levels: personal fulfillment, financial success, happiness, the list goes on.  The sooner you accept that and dedicate yourself to cultivating the art of dealing with people, the better off you will be.  As with playing the scales, you will become frustrated.  You will hit the wrong note many times, but practice makes perfect.

I offer many tools to assist you in the process.  It takes time to learn those tools, but learning them is just the beginning.  You must practice their application over and over again.  You are not just learning to play a musical instrument here.  You are embarking upon the greatest challenge of life, second only to the attainment of enlightenment.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

The Law of Subtraction

snowmanAs opposed to adding, take away.  Continue doing so until all that is left is essence, truth.  Neti, neti, neti… not that, not that, not that… until the only thing left is no-thing-ness… pure ‘is-ness’… pure consciousness…pure Being… the source of pure Knowledge… the home of all Knowledge.  Thereby, you come to know the One… who and what it is you truly are… Divine.  Thereby, you come to know what is useful and what is not.

When asked what I teach, tell them, “The Law of Subtraction.”

The world of spirituality has been shrouded in a garb of mysticism, dogma, laws, rules, and pomp.  No wonder so many today are rejecting it.  The wheat has been lost to the chaff.  The Truth of who and what you are has been buried beneath the indoctrination of lifetimes… conditioning, programming, samskara.  Information must be used to free you, not to overtake you.  How unfortunate: However well intended, so much beautiful spiritual knowledge has been distorted and misused to overtake people instead of emancipating them.  After all, it is called spiritual emancipation for a reason!

Truth is not attained.  It is revealed… uncovered.  It is already there within you.  Nothing need be added.  It need only be found within.  You merely subtract away this and that and that until your own inner wisdom is uncovered.  This is the real purpose of spiritual doctrines and teachings… to awaken you to what is already there within you.  I use spiritual texts to reveal what lies beyond all texts.  When asked what I teach, tell them the Law of Subtraction. I take away, I unencumber, I free, until you are left with essence, the grandeur of your own being… the Divine, the Truth.  This is called true spiritual teaching… the Law of Subtraction.  It is an art.  It is a science.  The diamond is perfected by chipping away and polishing.  Nothing is added.  There is only to be taken away.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

The World’s Strongest Addiction?

IMG_0191Another thing I like about the fitness world in general, and about my trainer in particular, is the strong results orientation.  Do what works!  If it doesn’t work, stop doing it!  This makes his following declaration quite interesting. “Do not associate with negative people.  Stay away from them.  Get them out of your life!”  That is easy to understand on a philosophical level, but in the real, results-oriented world of fitness, it is more compelling.  It works!

When I was in the ashram, we always favored positivity.  Note, that is different from oblivion.  Eyes can be wide open while you favor a positive approach.  It is important to know, not believe but know, there is always a solution.  If you think there is not, your world is too small… you are not thinking broadly or patiently enough.

The world today is addicted to negativity.  The news broadcasts are not really the news.  They are all skewed toward negativity.  Even worse, most people live their lives in that way – one crisis after another, interrupted by periods of worry as they await the next crisis to erupt.  That is no way to live; yet it is a pandemic addiction. Know that an addiction is not just to something you like. In fact this addiction to what you do not like, crisis, is perhaps the strongest and most common addiction of all.  Addiction is habit.

I remember when I was a kid.  Everything was fine.  Life went on day to day and stability was taken for granted.  Imagine living your life that way.  Imagine viewing your life as a stream of one joy on to the next, with periods of calm contentment between them.  Because you are no longer a child, you are not oblivious.  You plan and act wisely and responsibly, but the state of your mind is not negative or in crisis mode.  You are positive.  You understand that life is fine… things work out.

Life is a bell curve.  Yes, there is the rare instance of the guy who was, for example, sleeping in his bed when a sinkhole erupted taking him away never to be seen again.  But such things are way, way far out to the edges of the bell curve of life. Worrying, worrying, worrying, in anticipation of the next crisis is life destroying in and of itself.  Yet ‘the news’ bombards us daily with reports of the sinkholes of the day.

Some are taught to take nothing for granted.  However, there is one thing you can and should take for granted: Nature supports.  Your nature and Mother Nature are supportive to your life. Life has a way of working out.  Free yourself from the addiction to crisis. Appreciate yourself.  You are a resourceful and capable being.  That is your greatest asset, certainly greater than some money in the bank.  Somewhere along the line people stopped believing in themselves.  Then they turned to God and spirituality as a crutch to lean on.  No!  It is not a crutch, it is your greatness… It is the greatness of life, of humanity, of nature, of YOU.

Positivity breeds the positive in your life.  Everything is fine.  You are fine.  Life is good.  When challenges arise, they are challenges, nothing more.  You will be quite capable of dealing with them.  Find contentment within and act from THAT place within you.  That is your home base.  That is your touchstone.  That is the true nature of life.  When everything is quiet, you naturally and spontaneously settle into the silence of contentment… peace… shanti.  When you put your head on your pillow at night, know that everything is fine.  Life is positive.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Staying on Course

house

I am continuing to have a great deal of fun (fascination) with physical fitness. It serves as a wonderful mini-model for life, certainly including spiritual growth. The proper routines and diet are of course more tangible than in the spiritual arena where things are so profoundly illusive (the razors edge), yet they are subtle enough to draw some beautiful analogies.

My fitness journey has served as a reminder of how such principles apply to spiritual growth. How easy it is to drift off course without even knowing it… that is a fine example. You have a program. You know what to do. But if you take the time to reflect, it may shock you to realize how far you may have drifted without even knowing it. This is true with your meditation routine as well as with the Knowledge. The Knowledge is so delicate, so subtle. As Adi Shankara said, it must be re-enlivened and purified, generation after generation. This is so very true from day to day, month to month, and year to year for every individual.  It is very easy for little compromises to creep in here or there.

This is one of the major roles of a teacher… to keep people on course. I have been struck through the years at how easily the teaching slips away from people, all the while still believing that they have it.

Stay focused. Go 110% for your enlightenment. Listen, ponder, and listen again. This is indeed the final frontier for every individual. It is the ultimate journey, the ultimate quest. Keep a steady hand on the rudder and continue to check and recheck the course you are on. Re-affirm your commitment again and again. Your reward will be the universe and beyond!

Success means never losing your enthusiasm.  I have a fitness coach/trainer. I read his blogs regularly. They serve as great inspiration. I hope my blogs are doing the same for you.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Neti, Neti, Neti

wise manI have been working with a fitness coach/trainer for a while now.  It has been a lot of fun.  He is excellent.  I have noticed that I am quite sensitive to how he responds to me.  I sometimes wonder how he feels about a question I have… if he feels like he has already answered it or it is silly, etc.  I recall, years ago, feeling similarly with my spiritual teach, professors, etc.  The image of me that they held was important to me.

These recollections and current experiences with my coach/trainer have been good.  It has brought to light (again) the sensitivity I am sure a number of you have with respect to your interactions with me.  I think this is particularly true in the spiritual area when the path is often viewed as one of Neti, Neti, Neti… not that, not that, not that.  It could feel like everything you say is wrong.  I know that such a response, even from my coach/trainer would be difficult for me.

I want to make it very clear to you all, that the path to enlightenment leaves one with nothing, NO-THING, to cling to.  The transcendent is an abstraction, not a concrete concept or ‘thing’.  Though infinitely solid and stable, it is also infinitely boundless and without edge or handle to cling to.  Any ‘thing’ is not it… not that… neti, neti, neti.  You rest into it, rest upon it, like a sort of cosmic cushion.  It lies beyond relativity.  So it is out of my love and devotion for you, that I keep pointing you in the direction of that which lies beyond all relativity.  I love all your questions.  I never judge you for them.  I am your devoted helper.

Remember that every point has a counter point.  Every notion has an equally valid yet contradictory notion.  My job is to free you.  Anything you cling to is Not That.  Please do not forget, that my corrections or introduction of contradictory points to what you may be holding on to is not a judgment of you.  Please do not feel that I have made you wrong.  It is only to keep you moving forward… to keep your vision looking beyond the horizon and not locked on to a fixed notion, position, or principle.  You are the transcendent, the divine, the absolute.  My purpose is to awaken you to that.  Enlightenment is not about adding anything, it is only about taking away reliance upon that which is Neti, Neti, Neti.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

The Guru

“So long as you have faith in your Guru, nothing will be able to obstruct your way.” — Vivekananda, 1896

lightThis quote (that Marty provided) is one of the most beautiful things I have recently seen. It immediately made me think of my teacher. Through his presence and his words, he touched a place within me. It is as if he somehow lit a candle deep within me that once lit, could never go out. The guru lights the way. It has struck me over the years to see people who have read and studied Vedic knowledge without the influence of a true, real, and living guru. It underscores for me the understanding that real spiritual knowledge can not be attained from books. It is too subtle. Such knowledge succumbs to the ‘I get it syndrome’. People think they ‘get it’, but they do not. The words may be there, but the understanding is not. As it is said, knowledge exists in the gaps between the words. It is the guru that clarifies the knowledge.

The spiritual tragedy of our time is that so many think of themselves as spiritually knowledgeable, when they are not. Then many of them go out and teach, leading so many well intended people astray.

Finding a real guru is far more challenging and precious than many understand. All too often people are swayed by the drama or presentation: flowing robes, an appealing accent, a trip abroad, an awe inspiring moment and they are convinced they found a real living guru. Real gurus are far rarer than most spiritual seekers can even imagine.

The truth is, finding a real guru has more to do with the depth of their being and knowledge than any superficial criterion you may be holding on to. And depth of knowledge does not mean volume of facts memorized. More is not better. Better is better.

Now why would Vivekananda say ‘so long as you have faith in your Guru…?” Isn’t faith in your guru a given? Well, not always. I have seen people walk away from a real teacher for the most ridiculous reasons. Maybe they projected on to the guru that he did not like them. Maybe the guru’s correction of the person’s behavior or thinking pushed the ego too much. Some people cannot tolerate the idea that they were wrong or behaved in a not ideal manner. When you are too vested in the ego, it can seem intolerable at times to even have a guru.

Once someone said to my guru, “I love you so much, but what if you asked me to go jump off a cliff? Should I do it?” My guru responded with a shaking of his head “no”, as he said, “You know me by my teachings.” Faith in the guru means knowing him by his teachings… knowing him by what he touches deep within you through those teachings. There will be times when a glance or action of the guru may not sit completely right with you. That may be more about you than him. He is a being that is acting in this world… a world of imperfection. To live better, you must look deeper. By all means, be discerning. Any real guru would insist upon that. But be clear on who and what he really is and do not judge him by inane criterion that you have, in reality, come to him to help you overcome.

More than a few times throughout the years I have been told I live in accord with my teachings and never contradict myself or those teachings. My teacher was that way. It resonated with the divinity within me and has guided my life all these years. Divinity is within you. It IS you. The guru just more fully awakens you to it. Stay with that and “nothing will be able to obstruct your way.”

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


Michael Mamas welcomes you to share this blog...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone