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?
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”.
What Participants are Saying:
“… I am experiencing corners of the universe and of my own physiology that I was not aware of. Magnificent!”
“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…”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
Duality breeds duality. Or, as the ancient Chinese put it, “yin creates yang.” Duality is the mentality of humanity. It permeates all our thinking. Our politics are all about which perspective is good and which is bad. Our legal system is all about who is right and who is wrong. Humanity even took the concept of Oneness in God to the dualistic perspective of God and devil—good and evil. For goodness sake, even our computers are based upon the binary system, the x’s and o’s of ‘yes’ and ’no.’
We all say we want peace. We all want love and harmony. But the very foundation of how we have been trained to think propagates separation, the polarization called duality. Along the lines of what Victor Davis Hanson said, we instinctively define people, countries, etc. not in terms of their majority of positive traits, but rather in terms of whatever shortcomings may exist in their history. If anybody or anything has to be perfect in order to be good, or if a country’s history has to be perfect for the country to be good, then nothing, nobody, and no country is good.
Yet, the dualistic mentality is not so easy to get past. Even what has been said here sets up the polarization of duality versus unity. This world is the world of duality (relativity). However, the root, the essence, the foundation is unity. Not just theologians, but also modern physicists tell us that. Unity can be experienced from deep within our being; not as a concept or emotional longing for love and light, but as a physiological reality.
For thousands of years, it has been called “enlightenment.” However, the dualistic hype around the word has rendered it more meaningless than meaningful, more misleading that enlightening. Suffice it to say that unity at the very depth of our being is not so easily lived day to day, moment to moment. Being in the world of duality but not of it is not understood or even perceived from the perspective of duality.
Our holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, and those of religion in general) are meant to enliven our sense of unity. Every Sunday, in fact, is about Sun-day—the Sun being the One, central, unifying core that the world of duality revolves around.
Family, community, patriotism, team spirit, etc. are all principles that revive the unification, the glue thatupholds, feeds, harmonizes and strengthens all of life. Without unity, there is no peace and no love. After all, it is our sense of oneness with another that is called “love.”
The 4th of July is meant to feed the harmonizing unity of patriotism. Have a happy and harmonizing holiday everyone!
Relative existence is born of and constructed in perspective. For each soul, each Atman, there is a unique perspective: a unique relationship with all that is.
Life can be viewed as the pursuit of Truth. The Cosmic Joke can be then stated as: There is no Truth in the relative. The relative is the field of imperfection.
Yet, reaching for the perspective that is Truth is the way of the world. Clinging to one’s current perspective as truth is the theme that attempts to navigate the waters of life.
To understand is to see beyond the field of perspectives. To understand is to transcend relativity. Live in the world with perspectives, but not be of it… not be lost to it—not be lost to perspective, not even your own. That is the path of Wisdom. Your true Self is the Transcendental depth of your being, freed from perspective.
The Law of Karma seems straight forward enough. It is simple cause and effect. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. It’s just elementary, Newtonian physics. We live in a cause and effect world—a world of Karma. However, when we enter the domain of justice, things become quite obscure.
It is interesting to look up the word “justice” in dictionaries. The definitions are rather circular, using words like “righteous,” “moral,” “just,” “divine law,” “moral law,” etc. Merriam Webster suggests moral be described as: “perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect.”
I recall a man on the news proclaiming moral justice when a hurricane struck a gay community in south Florida. I recall a woman being mocked on the news when she even suggested that nature delivers moral Karma through acts or events of nature in the physical world. We are all quite aware of ‘justice’ being delivered by the courts in outrageous ‘legal’ ways, from the Salem witch trials to the nightly news.
Is justice really nothing more than, as Miriam Webster suggests, a psychological or perceptual, subjective judgement call? Do facts and reason come in at a distant second place to emotional gut reactions that vary wildly from one generation, one era, one cultural group, one country, and one state to the next? Dare we call that justice?
Can we really say there is Divine justice when we see small children suffer, aircrafts crash with over a hundred on board, and cities demolished by the random assault of a tornado? Can what actually IS be so radically divergent from what we base our lives upon and what we adamantly cling to with our convictions and perspectives?
Is there a direct correlation, a connection, between the physical cause and effect world and the delivery of moral justice? If so, can we even begin to fathom such a principle, and decide for ourselves when justice was served and why?
I dare not presume that I can sway the course of human behavior with my opinion on this matter. Yet, I do believe we can all gain by taking a step back and reflecting on this subject with an ever-broadening vision. As we do so, the mechanics of creation seamlessly merge the complexities of life, both physical and moral, into a very simple, yet profound, principle. Everything is seen to be infinitely integrated, correlated, and coherent. All the pieces of the puzzle do, ultimately, come together.
There is, as theologians and modern physicist alike have claimed, one thing that is the source of everything. All things emerge from and return to that. I liken the principle to water from the ocean becoming rain on the mountain top, and returning via a long tumbling journey down a mountain stream to that ocean. All follow the path of karmic events as we do our best to navigate the waters of life. As our vision broadens, we become ever increasingly free from the clutches that Karma has upon the very nature of our thoughts and emotions.
As we come to understand the nature of life more and more fully, our relationship with life becomes wiser: our behavior becomes less arrogant and more innocent; our convictions become more humble; our perspectives become less adamantly adhered to; our gut instincts become more reflective and tempered; and our will, actions, and reactions become more and more aligned with the nature of life. The nature of life is the nature of Mother Nature, is the nature of Oneness, the nature of God. We simply do our best to navigate the waters of the unfathomable flow of life.
Emancipation means freedom from the clutches of narrowness of vision—living in the world of Karma, but not being lost to it— awakening to that which lies just beyond the horizon of the world of Karma. In that place, beyond the horizon, beyond the narrowness of human conviction, beyond the world of cause and effect, all things unify. People sing its praises in church on Sundays. All people long for it. It dwells within us all, yet is hidden behind the curtain of Karma. We need only to see past that curtain.
Through the toils and tribulations of life, we struggle with relativity until the clouds of Karma often can part, and we see beyond relativity—we gain emancipation. Yet, even the emancipated deal with relativity and injustice when they function in this world of Karma, this world of relative justice and injustice.
Even when a divine incarnation enters into this world of imperfection, they are dealing with imperfection. Even when a divine being, Lord Rama as an example, entered the world of relativity, his interactions were in this world of imperfection. In spite of our idealized notions, there is no True Justice in the field of relativity. That is what relativity means. It’s all relative.
Everyone, it seems, loves wise quotes. When we hear wisdom, it touches a place deep within us that is one with the Divine, that is eternally wise. Though that inner wisdom calls to us, so few are able to live wisely. People are behaving foolishly and lashing out everywhere. Let’s consider why this is so.
Though deep inside we are eternally one with the Divine, there are many psychological, intellectual, and emotional distortions on the more superficial levels of our being. When we are calm, settled, and reflective, those more superficial levels are still. So, at those times, the wisdom within shines forth and permeates all levels of our lives. At those times, wise quotes resonate with our depth and well up through our being. To experience this is to experience Bliss, Divinity.
However, when in life we are disturbed, that deeper wisdom level of life is overshadowed. At those times, when we need wisdom most, we are unable to embrace it. We act instead from the superficial distortions. Sadly then, all too often, it is the superficial distortions that determine the course we follow as we navigate the waters of life.
This can be likened to the ocean. In the depth of the ocean, everything is still, quiet, and serene. Nothing is agitated. Yet on the surface of the ocean, storms rage. As we navigate those waters, we take on water, tip, churn, and perhaps even crash upon the rocks off-shore. Yet, when we are anchored to the depth, we weather the storms.
As we meditate, we become more and more fully anchored to the depth, the wisdom within us. Through proper meditation, the spiritual, mental, emotional, energetic, and physical levels of life are purified, as the distortions are healed. We more and more live in harmony with the Divinity and wisdom that eternally dwells at the depth of our being.
But do take note: Living in harmony with the Divine does not look the way we may think it should look! People identify with their distortions, mistake them for the Truth, and thereby judge the wise as unwise or worse. History tells us that quite clearly. After all, they crucified Jesus. Some hated Lord Krishna (by which it is said some attained liberation because all they thought about was the Lord!). But I digress.
Contemplation, inner reflection, is also a valuable tool along the path to living wisely. That has a purifying value. However, it is a highly elusive path. You can justify anything with the intellect, and people do. Often, our reflections can simply be justifications of poor behavior: rationalizations. Few are willing to contemplate their behavior, other than to seek a way to justify it. So, we do well to be humble in our reflections. Humility is the flip side of wisdom. With the loss of humility comes the loss of wisdom.
When the waters on the ocean of life are undisturbed, people generally behave quite honorably, quite wisely. But only the truly wise behave honorably when the daily disturbances of life arise. So, we do well to pick our friends based upon how they behave in troubled times, not how they behave when everything is calm and serene. But, after all, we are all human. As illustrated in the Ramayana, even the wise may behave improperly from time to it. Yet, it is the wise who are able to acknowledge their imperfect behavior to themselves and to others. Only the wise can acknowledge, regain their balance, and move forward wisely. We will all act out from time to time. How we deal with that makes all the difference.
So, please do more than relish wise quotes in your quiet moments. Look beyond the mountains of judgement and negativity that consume you and your world. Look beyond that mountainous horizon to the light of the Sun, to the Divine. Meditate. Reflect and ponder. Strive to live a life of wisdom.
Recently, I asked the Pandit here at Mount Soma’s temple if he knew the one thing that was the sole problem with the world today. Sensing that I had something specific in mind, he looked at me inquisitively. I told him, “The imbalance between the Transcendent and the relative.” From what felt to me like the depth of his soul, he nodded in agreement.
The relative world is seductive. It pulls at you. It demands attention. It compels you to turn your back on the depth of your being (the Transcendent) and look to the surface, the relative. Even to the degree that you can even have a hard time sitting to meditate, you are compelled to turn your back on your true grandeur, your wisdom, the root of life, the anchor, the Transcendental depth of your being. That unbalancing, overwhelming compulsion toward the relative is, in and of itself, the problem with not only individual life, but also with global consciousness.
The relative calls you away from your wisdom. It compels you to cling to a paradigm, a perspective. It forces you to keep loading your plate with relative obsessions until the plate spills over and overtakes your being.
Do not allow that to happen. Regular meditation brings balance to your life and to the world. The rest is polarizing, relative identity. The foundation of balanced living is the Transcendent. It is the root that brings fulfillment to relative life.
You can afford to believe in yourself. I mean really, really believe in who you are, deep inside. And, you can learn to come from that place within you. All too often people do not do that. There is an underlying doubt that undermines people’s confidence in themselves.
If the underlying doubt is there, it will manifest and compromise your life in every arena. Life will reflect that doubt back to you as a confirmation, a validation, that such doubt is the truth. Of course, we all have doubts. The trick is to not allow it to overcome the deeper reality, which is that you can believe in yourself. Sure, you will make mistakes. Sure, you will have failures. But those things do not say who you are. Who and what your are is much deeper and more exquisite. It is only when you give in to the doubt that you compromise your life. Believing in, and coming from, that deeper place of inner knowing, that deep inside you are more than just okay, more than just good, is a key to life. Mistakes and failures do not determine who you are. Do not lose yourself to the doubts those things try to tell you about who you are. That deeper place inside is who you are. Stay loyal to it. Believe in it. Maintain your allegiance to it.
I am not speaking of denial here. Lack of self-confidence is often shrouded under the cloak of arrogance and ego. That is just denial. People do not want to admit to their lack of self-confidence, and put on a facade of arrogance. They pretend to be smart, tough, wise, or powerful in an attempt to convince not only others, but also themselves.
Confidence has no need for that sort of denial. Confidence in one’s self has no fear of weakness, foolish mistakes, etc. Confidence knows full well that those things are superficial and can be surmounted by coming from a deeper place inside. Now, for some practical examples:
Some overweight people feel that they can simply not lose weight. Some people feel they can simply not gain muscle. Some people feel they cannot succeed in school or in business. They convince themselves that there is something wrong with their physiology or psyche… or perhaps resign to the idea that it is just ‘their Karma’. More often than not, the problem is lack of confidence. With confidence, we find a way. We do not accept that we are failures. We just realize that we may have failed at something, but it does not define us. We find a way. It is self-confidence that leads. Believe in yourself. Again, that is not denial in the form of arrogance. It is, in fact, a humble commitment to finding a way that is true to and consistent with the Divinity within. That lies far deeper than petty ego. It is not faith either. It is an inner knowing of the nature of life, your life, and all life. Deep inside we are all Divine. Stay loyal to that goodness within. You rest into that place when you do the Surya Ram Meditation. As you awaken to it, you live it more and more.
This does not mean that anyone can succeed at anything. True self-confidence is not that limited. True self-confidence knows that you do not need to succeed at everything to be great. True self-confidence keeps on going until one finds their greatness, and lives it.
To find your greatness, overcome arrogance, overcome petty ego, know that greatness is who you really are, and remain committed to that. It is an exquisite reality of existence that everyone, in their essence, is great, Divine. Regardless of what may occur in life, regardless of what may be reflected back to you through life experiences, stay loyal to that greatness, to that Divinity within. That, in and of itself, is the key to greatness.
As times change, people change—the way we think and process information changes. We now live in a rational age. Things need to make sense. That was not so much the case in the past when people took so much on faith.
I heard some say that Christianity is dead. That would be a shame. Religion upholds moral fiber and integrity that permeates all aspects of a culture. It is only the understanding of any religion, all religions, that must evolve over time to interface with the mentality of the times. That is not the death, but rather the rebirth, of the religion. To my experience, even Christian leaders who I have spoken with thirst for that deeper understanding. Like all religions, throughout time the understanding must be reborn.
Perhaps that is a deeper meaning of Easter: the resurrection of Christ, of Christianity, to be renewed every year.