Amazing Grace

With this song, I have always imagined an old woman living in a cabin tucked away in the woods of the Appalachian mountains, among the oldest mountains in the world. Everything maps… parallels… limitless levels of awakening. She attained full enlightenment in these mountains and wrote this song expressing her love and describing her experience. That is what I imagine with this song.

Grace is the nature of Oneness, of the Transcendent, in other words, of God. Awakening to That is so sweet. Regardless of what has occurred in life, That is always there, eternally sweet within the depth of your soul. Through all of life’s toils, That is present, underlying all that is… supporting us and guiding us Home.

The moment of first awakening to that is so precious, so tender, so profound. In that moment, one truly believes… because one then knows.

After that ultimate awakening, it never leaves. Even after ten thousand years, even for eternity, that Grace is felt and Known and praised… in eternal wonder, awe, devotion, and adoration… just as it first was Known.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Amazing grace, oh amazing grace
That saved a wretch like me
Oh amazing grace, amazing grace

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Robert Frost

I was originally just sending the following to a friend, but now feel like it is a nice blog also.

To be completely honest, I was not all that impressed with this poem… until I read the last line. I learned from it. I believe it will make me a better writer. So much said in just one line…

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

 

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

“How to Be Nice and Not Be Mean”

When my daughter was just a little girl, I asked her if she knew what I taught in my classes. She responded, “How to be nice and not be mean.” That was so sweet, and in a very profound sense, so right.

What’s on the inside shows up on the outside. If deep inside we are peaceful and wise, then on the outside that ‘goodness’ shines through. If on the inside, we hold anger, resentment, etc., then that is what emerges on the surface.

Decades ago, it was just considered good manners to express one’s self politely and with dignity. These days, it seems vogue to do the opposite. Some say social media is partially responsible. Accusers no longer face the accused. Social media keeps people at a distance, free to lash out and vent at will.

Some say the drug and hippie wave from the 60s and 70s inspired people to act poorly, letting whatever was inside to be openly expressed. Manners and decorum were rejected. Indignant behavior was considered being true to one’s self. I say that is not being true to oneself. That is being true to one’s issues, inner demons, and inner distortions born of unresolved emotional wounds. Negativity, judgement, anger, and rage are the result of tired darkness within the human soul. We can learn how to express ourselves, but do so constructively with dignity, honor, and respect.

In this regard, being ‘nice’ means having a healthy soul unencumbered by inner emotional wounds. As the soul heals, we spontaneously express ourselves in a positive, not negative, manner. We behave constructively, not destructively. Character assassination of those we judge gives way to wise and reflective speech and behavior. We learn “how to be nice and not be mean”.

To do this properly lies far beyond the realm of suppression of our impulses. Rather it is a matter of purification of our hearts, of our souls, of our minds. That is called by various names: human evolution, psychological health, spiritual growth, etc.

Certainly, there are times when anger may be an appropriate response. But in this world, there is far too much of it rooted, not in wisdom, but in unresolved emotional issues. Certainly, it is normal and natural to have moments of anger. However, there is a problem when life-damaging bias and negativity do not soon quiesce into helpful, positive, useful, kind wisdom, communion, and understanding—what my daughter called: “how to be nice and not be mean”.

Feeling and even expressing anger is natural at times. However, if it is used to verbally attack, offend, ridicule, gossip, degrade, or condemn another, then it has crossed the line into simply being mean. To be nice is not to suppress one’s self, but rather to constructively articulate and express oneself with supportive and loving kindness, sincerity, wisdom, and understanding. Which is to say, to be in a state of oneness with all that is—in other words, the highest meaning of the word “love”—what my daughter called: “be nice and not be mean”.

Expressed in the words of an innocent young child, “how to be nice and not be mean” is the ultimate accomplishment of human evolution.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

Facts, Wisdom, Truth, and the Dots

Facts matter little. It is your relationship with those facts that makes all the difference. If you doubt that, just watch the evening news… everything from the extreme left to the extreme right, even split decisions in our Supreme Court. One may wonder why, if the court is truly supreme, the justices usually disagree. Now it is easy enough to come to conclusions about that, but just generalize this principle and then take a look at how we humans function.

Back when I was a kitchen director in the ashram, I had a standard rule: No quotes of the Master allowed in the kitchen! Why? Because people would take an isolated quote to justify their perspective on just about everything: how to prep veggies, how to behave in the kitchen, what to eat, etc., etc. So one might ask, “What’s wrong with that?” The answer: For every quote, there is an equally valid, yet contradictory quote. That is why the field of relativity is called “relativity.” It is all relative. And relative to what? Relative to your relationship with the facts.

Facts are like dots on a page. Connect the dots one way, and you get one perspective. Connect the dots another way, and you get another perspective. Like dots on a page, connect them one way and you see the face of Buddha. Connect them another way, and you see Attila the Hun.

So how do people usually connect the dots? It is generally based more on their conditioning; psychological makeup; biases; life experiences; indoctrination; provincial, social, and subcultural orientation; rather than their wisdom. This even permeates the field of spirituality. People may read and memorize the same scripture, but they connect the dots all different ways. Sadly, if a person has memorized enough spiritual facts or quotes, they may conclude they are a spiritual scholar, Master, Guru, etc. They may then conclude that they have wisdom! But that is not wisdom.

So how do we cultivate wisdom? Certainly, learning what facts and principles we can helps. But what it really amounts to is what lies deeper than the facts and principles. It is about cultivation of the depth, the fiber, the fabric of our being. That is what evolution is all about. That is what proper meditation cultivates. There are deeply spiritual people that know few spiritual facts, yet are wise and therefore truly spiritual. There are those who know many, many spiritual facts, yet are not really very wise or spiritual.

When everything is going well and everyone likes everyone else, it is easy to be ‘spiritual.’ We find out just how spiritual a person really is when things get difficult. How we connect the dots is the best indicator of how spiritual we truly are. Yet we judge how spiritual another is by the barometer of our own level of understanding, our own level of spirituality. Basically, how we, ourselves, connect the dots. We then project our world view upon others. When wisdom is most needed, it is most often abandoned, as people revert to their conditioned responses, their conditioned ways of connecting the dots.

So the wheel of life spins ’round and ’round. As Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” That is to say, you know that which lies deeper than ‘things,’ deeper than facts. After all, the Transcendent, Ishwara, lies deeper than the dots. It is being established in that deeper place that enables one to wisely connect dots.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

The Nature of Life in a Nutshell

Consciousness equals ‘Is-ness.’ There is only one Consciousness. It is called pure being, the unified field, Ishwara, etc. Every person, every being, is rooted in that Consciousness uniquely, which births individuality—Jiva.

That one Consciousness is eternal. On the deepest level of our individuality, we too are eternal. That is what eternal life means. On that very deep level… everything is one—unified. On the surface, everything is perceived as separate… the field of relativity—the field of Karma. When the surface overwhelms the depth, it is called ignorance—ignore-ance: ignoring life’s fundamental nature by being so overwhelmed by the surface, by Karma.

Just as every drop of rain gravitates back to the ocean of oneness, the natural tendancy for every individual is to gravitate back to oneness, away from ignorance and back to one’s own true nature. That tendancy is the fundamental force of the universe. It is experienced as the most profound quality of love.

When one no longer ignores, but rather is awake to the depth, one lives in a state of eternal oneness—eternal love. Such individuals live ‘in the world’, but are no longer ‘of it’. This is not an attitude, religion, or philosophy. It is the normal, natural, state of physiology—the result of evolution, gravitation back to one’s own true nature.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.