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 opportunityto 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!
A friend in India emailed me saying that there is a movement in India, saying, “a new concept is fast moving here, that is one earth one religion.”
I responded by saying that religions are 1/2 spiritual and 1/2 cultural. The idea of ONE religion is not correct. There is one central God, worshipped differently in different cultures. Even polytheistic religions recognize that all the Gods are aspects of the One. However, whitewashing the world is not correct. Multinational corporations tried to do that decades ago. It was a huge failure.
Cultural integrity is a good thing. Yet, racism is cultural integrity gone insane. As humanity evolves, religions will honor and respect one another. They will live in harmony and mutual support, not opposition or friction. It will be the laws of Mother Nature that determine which religion flourishes in which part of the world… not the laws of men. The laws of nature differ in different regions of the world. The laws of nature, for example, differ on mountain tops versus desserts. Cultures culture the lives of the people to live in harmony with nature. Mother Nature cultures each culture. When we live in foreign lands, we honor the culture of that land, while maintaining the integrity of our personal lives.
I was born and raised Christian. Yet, I have learned of the tremendous value of Vedic wisdom, knowledge, and technology. All humanity can benefit from those Vedic principles. Similarly, all humanity can benefit from science. But it is not right thinking to believe we must abandon our cultural integrity to benefit from things Vedic or scientific.
There will, and should always be, differing affinities and faiths throughout the world. That is natural and good. Peace, love, and harmony will only arise from Unity in the midst of diversity. We must learn to live together in harmony on all levels of life: family, neighborhood, community, society, nation, continent, and world.
This started out as a private personal letter to a friend, but I decided to offer it in an open blog:
You asked the other day if I was still experiencing kundalini changes as the Jyotishis predicted would happen this autumn. When I told you ‘no,’ I was being honest in the sense that it is not like in times past when kundalini energy flared up and was moving through my body, etc. However these recent nights have indeed been eventful.
You, of course, know how it feels to meditate. It is a state of being. Well, to try to explain what is happening to me, I would say that it is as if that state is sourced in a place beyond all that is… pulling me to it. It is not that I am afraid to go. Rather, it feels that if I let myself fully go there, I would not return. I would no longer be part of the world we share. Instead, I would go to another place that was not connected with, not a part of, not integrated with, had nothing to do with, this world. It has been said that the Krishna value is the highest value that has anything to do with the relative. I believe that is true. This world is such a tiny virtual window in the diamond of all that is.
This world we share is just a dance of illusory perspectives. There is no Truth here. Only contradictory perspectives poking, pushing, and pulling at one another. Only hollow perspective identities seeking space, recognition, validation, commonality and communion with others. It seems so futile, yet at the same time, so precious, so beautiful, and so much in need of peace and harmony, that currently, it feels necessary for me to stay here. However, at the same time, we know it will only be Shanta Durga who, in time, takes Hari and Hara by their hands to bring peace and harmony to this world. Yet, to put it frankly, in spite of that pull I feel at night, I know I still have something I am to do here. That feels as inevitable and as right as rain.
The night time pull of that place inside feels almost overwhelming, yet in the mornings and during the days, I feel more normal. Yet, still, that place deep inside that calls me feels like where I belong. It is just not time to go there yet. Maharishi once told a group of us that he will take us deep into Kaivalya. Feels like now, all these decades later, I have a better understanding of what he meant. There is no end to how deep Kaivalya goes.
If all happens according to plan, when my time comes, I believe it will be because I finally know I have done what I came here to do and it is time to just let it go.
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.
In a recent poll, nearly half of college students said they would like “In God We Trust” taken off of our currency. This, to me, screams out one thing more than any other: The popular understanding of “God” from the past no longer works for the current mentality.
A couple hundred years ago, for most people, spirituality and religion were all about faith. In today’s world, “faith” implies “blind faith.” Today, things need to be based upon logic. If something does not make sense, if something cannot be justified rationally and scientifically, then it is rejected.
With the advent of modern physics, we can make sense of spirituality: There is a unified field—one thing out of which all things emerged—one thing that is the essence of everything. Vedic Knowledge goes deeply into not only the subjective, but also that objective, understanding of spirituality. That is why so many modern physicists (Oppenheimer, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, etc.) all honored and studied Vedic science.
In my classes and writings, I include the rational basis of spirituality. It is not a refutation of devotion and heartfelt Bhakti, but rather (particularly in the world today) an essential component of Bhakti. If we want our youth to honor “In God We Trust”, then we need to offer the rational understanding first. Only then will they have a spiritual foundation they can accept.
Of course, the rational component also deepens our understanding and purges spirituality of much superstition and confusion. Spirituality must have two feet to stand upon—Bhakti and Gyan (heart and mind). Each supports, deepens, and moves the other forward.
If college youths compel us to bring out rational spiritual knowledge more clearly and fully, then in the end, they will have done spirituality and the motto “In God We Trust” a great service.
Thanks to Mary for submitting the following link in response to the Toothpaste, Diatoms, and World Peace blog. Evidently, a bacterium that consumes plastics in the ocean is already in the works! Next will be mercury and air pollution. Rather ironic, isn’t it, that bacteria and viruses may go a long way in the healing of our planet.
With all the mountain rain run-off and underground mountain streams, I had to put a water retention pond in my backyard. This year, I decided to clear up the algae in the pond water. I learned (and am continuing to learn) a lot. Bottom line: A pond is a delicate multivariable ecosystem world. To be healthy, it must be cultured as such.
Twenty percent of our world’s oxygen comes from diatoms, which are a particular type of algae with a clear, silica, glass-like cell wall. When the pond is considered as a whole and is balanced, healthy diatoms outcompete unhealthy algae. The water becomes clear and healthy. A minuscule amount of a balancing and culturing approach can quickly transform unhealthy into healthy.
Revitin is a new toothpaste that all but eliminates tarter by introducing a balanced ecosystem in the mouth. Simple, with dramatic results!
Similarly, a healthy world is a delicate balance of limitless variables. For health, for world peace, the wholeness value of the ecosystem must be addressed as the central theme. The whole is more than the sum of the parts. The world will not be healed by isolating parts without focus on the wholeness value.
As with diatoms and a backyard pond, with a proper approach, pollution of the planet and hearts and minds of its people can be transformed, as if magically. Diatom-like substances will then be developed that will, in minuscule amounts, clear the sky of pollution and clear the oceans of plastics and mercury. When done wisely, a seemingly minuscule introduction of a balancing influence can transform a turbulent world into a world of peace and harmony. However, the health is rooted in the source of wholeness, the Transcendent, Ishwara. Mount Soma is dedicated to the introduction of that culturing and balancing influence as prescribed through Vedic technology.
An interesting point: In the transformation process of a pond, the period of time can occur when the pond’s appearance becomes worse—cloudier. Similarly, when a whole-istic healing influence is introduced in the world, it can trigger confusion, anger, and resistance in the hearts and minds of people. Everything maps. We can learn a lot about the attainment of world peace from diatoms and toothpaste.
It is said that humans think only one thought at a time (though admittedly, often jumping from one to the next in rapid succession), while God thinks a limitless number of thoughts all at the same time.
Initially, that might not seem so easy to even begin to comprehend… at least it wasn’t for me. But think about it.
We (billions of us, not to mention birds, all animals, and even plants in their own way) are all one with God.
We all have our own thoughts (even contradictory thoughts… billions of us, as well as cats, dogs, birds, all animals, and even plants in their own way) all the time.
Limitless thoughts, all the time, and all unified… each finding its source in the Divine Breath of The One (Prana) which then interacts with relative existence (Karma) to create individual ‘minds’. Prana plus Karma equals mind. All our infinite number of simultaneous thoughts originate with the Divine—with God, and are then modulated by our Karma, to create our individual minds.
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.