God’s Will

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

We are but tiny ships navigating the winds and waves of Karma on the ocean of existence.
The Law of Karma is the law that determines for every action, there is an equal, but opposite, reaction. What goes around comes around. As you sow, so shall ye reap. 
Most believe their Karma is acting upon them from outside. 
Most fancy their thoughts and emotions to be their own.
Yet most of people’s Karma is between their ears and in their hearts, setting their sails in whatever direction it does.

Facts are just dots on a page.
How people’s hearts and minds connect those dots determines their image of others—of the world.
Anything can be and is justified with the intellect.
Anything can be and is justified with the emotions.
Karma weaves the webs people call life.
Karma weaves the webs people call truth.
Karma weaves the webs people call justice.
Though Karma is God’s Will, Karma is only half of God’s Will.

The other half is accessible to the extent that people’s hearts and minds are free from Karma. 
Some call it the Divine Spark within.
Some call it the Transcendent.
Some call it the Kingdom of Heaven. 

It is not enough to think you are free.
It is not enough to feel you are free.
It is usually just people’s Karma that makes them think and feel they are free. 

To find that place of Divine and True Freedom is to transcend this world of Karma.
Divinity lies beyond thoughts and emotions.
Yet, Divinity is the source of thoughts and emotions that emerge unaltered or altered by the winds and waves of Karma.

Projections of inner negativity (conviction, anger, judgement, fear, etc.) are the waves and winds of karmic currents that direct and twist the fate of people’s thoughts and emotions. 

Divinity and Karma are the two aspects of God’s Will which entwine to form the world… through people and by people, and therein act upon people.

Jyotish charts are the complex maps of Karma.
The world’s karmic map has, of late, shown severe winds and churning waves.
But the time is coming when people will live from a place within, beyond the touch of Karma.
The time is coming when people can walk through the world of Karma, but not lose Themselves to Karma.
The time is coming when people will be established in the silent Divine Depth of the ocean of existence.
True peace, harmony, love, and freedom lie beyond the choppy waves of karmic existence that most call life. 
Looking to the surface to find the Divine, though common and understandable, is an emotional fantasy. Divinity, though permeating the surface, dwells deeper.
Thoughts and emotions are, at best, echoes of Truth which, held too tightly, hold Truth at bay.

It is up to the individual to transcend:
     to access the depth within.  
     to be “without the three Gunas”, called karmic life, and “take the mind to infinity” as Krishna declared in the Bhagavad Gita.
     to no longer lose one’s self to the maze of karmic thoughts and emotions.
     to no longer behave as dictated by Karma’s polarizing convictions of good and bad.
     to stop reaching to emotional images of God as a substitute for the true Divinity of God.
The time is coming to know thy true Self.

It is called wisdom.  
It is called maturity.
It is called Divine.
It is called Good Will toward all.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Chanting

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

It is so very uplifting and beautiful when the temple is filled with people chanting. It permeates the temple and cultures the heart with an exquisite feeling of sublime spirituality and devotion to God. It is nice that some of the Mount Soma residents have been exploring and enjoying chanting. Like many things, whether or not one chooses to chant is certainly a personal choice, but if done wisely it can be beneficial. Like everything, it boils down to ‘healthy relationship with’. I recently discussed chanting with Pandit Prasad and we offer the following:

The healing benefits of chanting can be particularly enjoyed if there are psychological, energetic, or emotional blocks. Clearing such blocks through chanting can, of course, be highly beneficial and open the physiology and energy system with numerous benefits possible. Some find such benefits through other pathways… for example, dance, singing, various forms of yoga or healing, personal relationships, etc.  

When people are meditating regularly for a long period of time, impurities can get stirred up as they clear out of the physiology. Things like chanting, exercise, etc. can help clear them and the resultant experiences can then be quite desirable, even dramatic. Of course, that is an individual matter. Some will take to and derive benefit from one thing. Others will take to another based upon physiological needs and personal affinities. 

At times, the result of adding exercise, chanting, or diet change can be truly dramatic. We just need to keep them in the context of the nature and structure of life and existence, such as we have discussed in the school. In our enthusiasm, when we start a new practice, it is best to not go overboard. Of course, such enthusiasm is understandable, though it is always best when we come back into balance.  

As with all new practices, there are certain guidelines we do well to note:  

Chanting for some can result in excess emotional indulgence which can turn a person into what is often called a “bliss ninny.” Then they begin to judge another person’s level of enlightenment based upon “bliss ninny” standards. This is common in many religions and social groups. Those who behave in a certain manner are considered more ‘spiritually evolved.’ Of course, we know that another person’s level of consciousness cannot be judged based upon the surface or upon our own personal affinities.  

When the heart is overly enlivened (as described in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine), it can distort perception.  When blocks are cleared and emotions are excessively indulged, people can blur emotions with enlightenment. That can become an obstacle to true spiritual growth. Getting emotional about union with God can be confused with deeper union which transcends emotions. In such a case, chanting (like other things) can become a distraction that pulls people away from a deeper spiritual path. Discernment can be compromised. 

We also do well to remember the elevator analogy: when you have been meditating and evolving rapidly, it is like climbing high in an elevator. If you take a moment to look at the view from that height, it is spectacular. So the inclination can be to stay with that level, be distracted by it, and hesitate to go back to what got you to that level in the first place. As a result, you can cease to continue climbing in the elevator to even higher levels.  

It is as if for many years we have been cultivating a beautiful garden with fruit trees, etc. Then, if we pick a fruit and enjoy it, we may think it is the fruit that gave the gift. Actually, of course, the real gift is the cultivation that bore the fruit, not the picking of the fruit. Years of meditation and study make many fruits available, and the physiology of meditators becomes like ripe fruit. Various practices you then employ can pick the wonderful fruits we have been cultivating. 

Excess chanting can even create a hypnotic state of euphoria. For that reason, some temples in India do not allow certain groups of people following such a path to even enter the temple. As stated earlier, those hypnotic states can lead a person to believe they are getting enlightened, when actually they are being misled. After spending time in India, many people become acutely aware of all sorts of practices done in the name of spiritual growth, that are more truly forms of mind manipulation. They could be forms of chanting, healing, or various spiritual practices. That is why I like to recommend: “Safety first!” 

Bottom line: Like everything else, it is a matter of ‘relationship with’. Better to have a good relationship with a bad thing (i.e., staying away from it), than a bad relationship with a good thing (for example, excessive indulgence in it or emphasis upon it).  

Remember that the deepest level of Bhakti transcends emotions. Bhakti is rooted in the transcendental depth of your being. Personally, I most cherish the experience of Bhakti I enjoy in deep meditation. However, I also love listening to, and being swept away by, the feeling evoked when the visitors chant at temple gatherings. When Pandits gather and chant together, it is exquisite.

So, if you enjoy chanting, do so wisely and be sure the Mantras you use, and the amount and ways you use them is done properly. If you are at Mount Soma, it is wise to take advantage of the opportunity to have it monitored. Panditji and I are asking that you allow us to do so. If you would like to chant, please let us know what you would like to do, so Panditji and I can confer with one another and offer our assistance. Then, with our blessings, if you like chanting and feel you are getting benefit from it, ENJOY!

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

The Web that has No Weaver

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

Decades ago, I consumed the knowledge in a book about Chinese Medicine called, The Web that has No Weaver. Now, I recall only bits and pieces. The title is as enchanting now as it was then, as it applies to all of life. Where do our thoughts and attitudes come from? It seems as if they have no origin. Instead, they are part of a weaverless web we call “the world.” That web is ‘oh so delicate’ and, like a spider web, entraps the inattentive, yet well intended, prey.

For example, the other day after speaking with a couple of people, we thought it would be good to ask another to join in the conversation. Their participation and perspective would be valuable. However, I had just seen that person and knew they were very busy so I suggested we only ask if now would be a good time. I imagined it was not a good time. When one of us then approached the person… Well, whatever one of us said, that person heard it (we will never know how the web got woven and the people got entangled) as a command: “You will meet with us now!” Of course, and understandably, the person got upset. Somehow, the simple message became twisted in the web we call “life.”

Now, take that little example and apply it to everything that happens. Understand that it applies, not just to little issues, but to major themes that determine the “warp and woof” of our lives. Truth is: It is a wonder that we can even communicate. I guess the deeper truth is: We can never really, at least not totally, communicate.

Bottom line is: Life is a delicate finesse as we traverse the fine fabric of the web that has no weaver. We will get entangled from time to time, though we wish we never would. The key then: Do your best to find a way to artfully get unentangled, lest more and more entangled life becomes. More often than not, giving the entanglement time and space to unravel is essential.

I once wrote a business article about Being, Merging, Knowing, and Doing that applies to this web. Funny enough, it used as an example the time when I helped my daughter unravel the web of her ball of yarn that was all tangled.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Refining the Physiology Question

I was recently asked the following question:

I saw “What is Genius? – Bruce Lee #1” again, and there you said like Bruce Lee refined his physiology through Martial Arts, and there are many different ways to do it. Last time I didn’t even notice that when I saw it, but I always felt there were more ways to grow.

There is one poet they say, and he himself says, it was his breath, his life, his therapy to create poetry and rhymes.

So things like art, sports, etc, can evolve you in a major way, like Bruce Lee did for himself?

To which I respond:

Every field of pursuit can be a path to enlightenment.  However rapid evolution through some is more likely than through others.  Yet the approach to any field can be constructive or destructive.  That of course includes the field of spirituality.

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges
© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Thoughts Evolve

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

We live in a world of hues, shades, curves, and contours.  Everything is a multivariable equation.  How do we proceed in such a world?  How do we go about making responsible decisions? 

It is unfortunate that so many make a statement and thereby feel they must take a stand accordingly.  Otherwise they feel they made a mistake or are ‘waffling’, weak, or unstable.  To change one’s mind is then considered an assault on one’s ego, and admission of a flaw in one’s nature… a sign of weakness.   

Yet we can benefit so much by ‘floating an idea’, sharing our thoughts, and reflecting upon those notions together.  By doing so, thoughts evolve.  New perspectives are shared.  New information is gathered.  We then work together to wisely move forward in life.  We allow ourselves the freedom to put something out, see what happens, and adjust accordingly. 

Your thoughts do not define you.  Thoughts are cheap. They are not and should not be etched in stone.  Evolving them is precious.  Evolution of thought is not a sign of weakness, but rather, the nature of flexibility and inner strength.  A strong solid ego is flexible.  A person with a healthy ego is open to freely evolving their thinking.  By sharing our thoughts, we help one and other evolve our thoughts and our lives.  But when we take offense at another perspective or new information we freeze our growth.  When we judge others as weak when we see them shift, then we compromise our joint movement forward.  Admitting to an error is not a sign of a weakness or a flaw, but rather a sign of inner strength, of not being so vested in superficiality.  It is an indication of wisdom, an understanding and embracing of the nature of life with all its variables and changing hues, shades, curves, and contours.  It opens the door to the discovery of new information and facts. 

You are not defined by your thoughts or your current perspectives.  But if we must define one and other, then let us be defined by our willingness (or lack of willingness) to move forward and evolve our thinking and our perspectives.  People should be more willing to apologize without shame or embarrassment, but rather with, if anything, pride.  We can and should be proud of our flexibility!  

Like a sailboat tacking this way and that to reach the destination, we tack through life.  To do so, we need to tack with our thinking.  By floating our ideas, our thoughts, we can assist one and other to tack and evolve our thoughts, to then reach the distant shore.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Phase 3 and the Kingdom Within

Around the full moon in July this summer (Guru Purnima), I taught Phase 3, the last phase of the Advanced Technique Course series. Participants gave some wonderful feedback on their experiences, including profound shifts both in their meditation and in their being (see below photo).

This led me to reflect on the experience of going through the door to what lies within, and the many new experiences that unfold from there, forever. What can one really say about that? How can one explain it?

The “Kingdom Within” is so distinctly different or seemingly separate from the world of daily hustle and bustle that consumes people. As the inner cobwebs clear, everything is different. But what to do with it is, at first, not fathomed. Certainly not fully understood, as life continues to fly by, with all the distractions, mindsets, wantings, longings, passions, and emotions that dominate people. It takes time to assimilate and integrate all the levels of life, ranging from the transcendental depth to the surface. That assimilation and integration is “the hero’s journey”.

Yet, in quiet moments, inner knowledge is all available, all right there: “The Kingdom of Heaven Dwells Within”.

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

What Participants are Saying:

“… I am experiencing corners of the universe and of my own physiology that I was not aware of. Magnificent!”

– M.P.

“I have been opened up in the most natural way to allow the experience of all the Advanced Techniques, culminating with the Phase 3 techniques. The Phase 3 Techniques create a phase transition in thinking and experiencing and I liken them to the grand finale of what was built for us in the prior phases. Inside myself there is more space, more clarity, more freedom. It’s an incredible and priceless gift…”

– M.B.

“Phase 3 is really different from Phase 1 and Phase 2.  Phase 1 and Phase 2 were like building blocks on which Phase 3 was added. It feels like there are some major transformations taking place.”

– A.N.

“The Phase 3 Advanced Technique Course is amazing. Phase 1 and 2 laid the groundwork, culminating in a whole new experience of meditation in Phase 3. I suspect a whole new set of results will ensue over the coming days and feel a quantum leap forward is imminent.”

– D. D.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

‘If’ Does Not Exist

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges

Nick Kyrgios is a natural athlete and great tennis player. He is edgy, hot headed, not so disciplined, rebellious, and does not practice as much as he should. In a recent interview, the great Rafael Nadal was asked what if Kyrgios could control his temperament and practice more. Nadal responded, “If, if, if does not exist.” What a fabulous response! What exists is what is. As has been said, it’s not what you can do. It’s what you actually do. The rest is a dream. But then again, you can take the first step of living your dream anytime you choose.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

What We Do Not Know About the Spiritual Path

Adi Shankara said it so beautifully when he said that the spiritual path is the path of discernment. So much contained in so few words! The words “spirituality” and “discernment” both have a limitless array of essential aspects. In particular, let’s take a look at “discernment” as it applies to our relationship with what we do not know.

The discerning want to know what they do not know. Otherwise, the door is closed. Inquiry is halted. Learning stops. The path is no longer a path, but is rather a fixed and stagnant point. This does not mean that we do not have beliefs, perspectives, and opinions. Life is made up of such things. However, the discerning are open to new insights, revelations, perspectives, paradigms, information and understandings. Of course, most everyone believes that they want to learn more. However, the true art of discernment slips through the fingers of most people.

Here, it is important to note that spirituality is not one small facet of life. Rather, spirituality is the vessel that holds all aspects of life. Spirituality (the path of discernment), then, entails a discerning mindset in all aspects of our lives: our relationships with friends and family, our relationship with our community, our relationship with politics, health, religion, philosophy, and anything else we can imagine.

It has been said that the most dangerous person in the room is the person who doesn’t know what they do not know. I can understand and appreciate that, but I would suggest that the most dangerous person is the person who doesn’t want to know what they do not know.

Not only is that dangerous, but it is also epidemic. It permeates all levels of life. People thereby form their opinions and relationships with every person, every situation, their religion, philosophy, and every aspect of life. That is called “dogmatic” or “small minded”, the antithesis of wisdom. Discernment is thereby lost, be it in the form of religious fanaticism, judgement, bias, limited thinking, narrow vision, paradigm identity, etc.

Granted, we cannot know everything about everything. However, discernment entails the quest to know what matters and not burying our heads in the sand to what we don’t know. Discernment is wisdom.

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges
© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Natural Law

There are laws of nature inherent to our world. Different animal species have their natural behaviors. Plants, the movement of planets, the changing of season—all things have their nature. We humans are part of nature. We have our nature. Living life in accord with our nature is what it means to live in harmony with natural law. The idea is that we have certain inalienable rights determined by nature, by natural law. It is considered the responsibility of government to uphold those rights, as is referred to in our Declaration of Independence.

Photo by Abha Singh

However, there is an opposing philosophy. The idea is that we humans can, and must, overcome our nature. We can think and use our intellect to thereby know better than what our own nature dictates. Katharine Hepburn said to Humphrey Bogart in the movie, The African Queen, something like, “Your nature, sir, is what you are on this earth to overcome.” Sadly, it is considered then, the responsibility of government to overcome our nature, determine what human behavior should be, and to enforce that behavior.

I believe that in a stressed out, unhealthy world, people confuse their nature with their distorted perspectives. When the stresses and strains in the psychophysiology are released, people behave in harmony with their true nature spontaneously. The intellect and government would thereby naturally and spontaneously support living in harmony with nature. Yet, we must keep in mind that we can justify anything with the intellect and do. Until the hearts and minds of the people are free from stress and strain, our beliefs are not consistent with our true nature. At this time, what we feel and think is our nature is really just stress and strain dictating what we believe.

It is not hard to see that we live in a time when judgement, anger, and polarization seem to be in our nature. Peace and harmony is a shared ideal, but it is not what rules. Our world, our nations, our communities, and our associations are plagued with such distortions. We view others through the colored glasses we look through to see the world. That is what we believe. Thus, that is what we create.

I, for one, dedicate my life to creating a world where we live in peace and harmony with nature… our true nature… Mother Nature. In spite of judgement, suspicion, and blame, may we all come together to bring forth such a world for all humanity. It is achievable, but we must look beyond the horizon… beyond the toil and turbulence that dominates so many. Yes, the path to a better world can be painful and challenging. Yet, if we keep a steady hand on the rudder, it is attainable.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Emotional Balance

Life could be so simple… just keep your balance. Yet, from time to time, we all lose our emotional balance. The real problem is that when people lose their emotional balance, they do not think they have lost their balance. They think they are right, and live by the code that dictates. Only deeper inside, where few are able or willing to go, do they know the truth of it.

Upon occasion, when the wise lose their balance, they strive to regain it as quickly and honorably as possible. A balanced apology or simple acknowledgement makes a monumental difference.

When a strong wind blows, even the mightiest of tree branches bend, but the tree does not crumble. Upon losing balance, there is no need for a gushing, self-deprecating apology… an honest, heartfelt acknowledgement or balanced apology counts for more… and the sooner, the better. Thereby, when one loses balance, they do not lose respect, but gain it.

Photo by Joy Anna Hodges
© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.