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Free Your Self

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“Know that sorrow, being the means of

Convincing man of the need of inner life, is a spiritual teacher.”

(The Rosary of Gems – Tibetan text)

 

“The swiftest horse that bears us to perfection

Is suffering.”

(Meister Eckhart)

 

“Whoso bears joy and sorrow with even mind

Has spirituality.’

(Mongolian text)

 

The duality that rules the manifest universe we are all well acquainted with.  Contrast – pleasure with pain, birth with death, wellness with illness is an inescapable accompaniment to our human existence.  Do we appreciate that equally, it is part of our mental and emotional life as well? We cannot realistically, once we understand something of this reality system, expect perfection.  What would perfection look like anyway?  For most of us – a perfect life would be one of unending happiness and contentment. Perfect wellness, material abundance, love, joy, you name it.  On one level we all know, or think we do, what would make us happy.  In short, the main thing that would make us happy would be never having to experience suffering of any description, ever.

Yet, the wisdom teachings tell us, and have done for thousands of years, that this is never a possibility. Suffering is inherent in the human condition.  Pain must always accompany pleasure.

(Until that is, such time as it doesn’t.  For most of us though, such time is not yet.  Sagehood is somewhere in the future.)  On a physical level we understand easily enough that suffering protects embodied life.

If we felt no physical pain imagine how reckless we would be with our bodies. They wouldn’t last for long.  Then, we must ask, how is suffering protecting our emotional, moral life?  Plato said it was a misfortune to a man who has deserved punishment to escape from it.

 

We might refer to the ancient wisdom teachings to help understand the meaning of this.  Let’s look specifically at Karma, the universal doctrine of cause and effect, balance in all things; the bible’s as you sow, so shall you reap. (Karma is not readily obviously logical without the knowledge of repeated embodiments – or reincarnation. Without going into a discussion on the subject at this point, suffice it to say here, it is no more mysterious to be born twice as it is to be born once.)  Anyway….moving on.

Punishment, the evasion of which according to Plato is a misfortune, is nature’s way of educating us. And it occurs on a number of levels, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual –  and over vast spans of time.  Karma has a long memory, make no mistake.  The due punishment, often wearing the guise of a random, fated event coming from out of the blue, has a purpose and intent and that is to develop within the individual the ability to know right from wrong.   At a profoundly deep level, deeper than cultural and epochal variants, there is a set of fundamental truths regarding the morality of being human.

 

“Nobody likes to impose a discipline upon himself and that is why everybody has to submit to a discipline imposed by karma. Hence pain and suffering come to us principally through the operations of karma.” (P.B.)

 

Karma will not wait for future embodiments if it has an opportunity to balance the ledger within the same lifetime.  We all know this. We talk about ‘instant karma’. It is a fact.  And makes more sense instinctively – for the same personality to experience the consequences of its actions, rather than a future one.  For all that, the latter is true.  The personality vehicles we don in earlier existences may well have been responsible for our suffering in the present.  The seed atom, residing in the heart center carries within it the essence of the knowledge and experiences of the life just lived. It is carried through the ether and astral realms to each and every new embodiment. Thus we evolve.

 

We are creating karma in every moment.  It is not difficult to understand the metaphysics of this. In every waking moment we are involved in the activities of doing and thinking.  Actions, as well as thoughts, are vibratory energy. Once sent out, like oceanic ripples, they reverberate through the ethers, finding a resonant receptacle somewhere in space and time. We are literally shaping our own future with and from our current awareness. As Paul Brunton says: ‘For every moment we are shaping the history of the next moment, every month we are fashioning the form of the month which shall follow it. No day stands isolated and alone. Karma is a continuous process’

 

But! Least your heart begin to sink at the apparent hopelessness of the situation wherein, goodness knows what some personality you once were got up to – and where is that going to lead you – there is mitigation. It is called free will.  The teachings of the higher philosophy tell us that whilst we must accept that fact that there is a price to be paid for all our actions, karma does not arise randomly out of thin air but is the natural consequence of energy set in motion, it is not  true that all events are ‘unalterably fixed.’    We always have the power to improve our situation and much of this revolves around our thoughts.

 

Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  (Shakespeare)

 

Yes, we are compelled to accept and move within the circumstances we have created ourselves in the past, but it is also true that we have the freedom to modify them.  Fate belongs to the personality, the surface side of our multi-dimensional selves.  But we know we are much more than that.  In our hearts we carry our immortal, infinite selves.  This is where our innate knowing comes from, our voice of intuition, the voice of conscience.  Every action therefore, is a mixture of fate and what we choose to think (and act) – freewill in other words.

 

Which brings me back to suffering. An overwhelmingly large portion of our pain comes from our feelings, thoughts and emotions – can we accept that?  Yes physical pain obviously is a reality too.  But the everyday sufferings of anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, regret, anger, these contribute more to our overall unhappiness, our suffering. Is it possible to think our way out of this form of suffering? To thereby alter the trajectory of our karma and more importantly, bring us peace in the present?

 

The wisdom teachings tell us this is entirely possible.  They didn’t say it was easy.  The great sages and spiritual masters have known this truth – that to bear all hardships, to face the inevitability of illness, ageing and death, with equanimity and serenity, is true wisdom and the sign of a higher consciousness. That so many have for countless centuries, made a practice finding acceptance in all situations, finding peace within despite turmoil without, teaches us that this too, is our destiny.

 

“Whoso bears joy and sorrow with even mind

Has spirituality.’

(Mongolian text)

 

Translate to the here and now and mere fumbling lesser mortals.  Where do we start? How do we do it? How do we mitigate our past karma and create as little negative future karma as possible – and most importantly stop suffering now!?  Simply – the teachings tell us – by going inward.  The truth is, (and I quote here Paul Brunton):…. ‘The dark karma of sin and suffering which most of us carry is too heavy to be carried alone. For alas! We have to face the fact of what we are, not in serene essence but in bitter actuality: we are weak ignorant moody despondent creatures. We are unable to remove intellectual doubts, overcome moral temptations or solve practical difficulties. We cannot grow angel’s wings overnight…”  As he goes on to say, we need the support of something bigger than ourselves.  We need help – until such time as we can stand on our own strong feet.

Our karmic load is, we are told, often too much for us to bear alone. Even the smartest among us are not equipped to understand the deeper metaphysical reasons for our suffering. And so, we are told there is help at hand.  This is where our inward journey comes in.  Brunton calls it Grace.  Through grace, which is the descent of the Higher Self into the lower personality self, miracles can occur. A power is awakened through grace that brings insights and creates change in our mental and emotional spheres.  In other words, when we make the acquaintance of our divine self through stilling the mind in meditation, we are helped and healed.  The insights that occur have the effect of breaking through the habitual patterns of thought that keep us treading the karmic wheel, drawing to ourselves situations and feelings that perpetuate our suffering.

 

The ancient wisdom teachings console us: we do not have to attach meaning to our emotions and the thoughts our minds tell us.  When we are able to do this, to drop the stories, they naturally pass away. They lose their charge.  Dropping our investment in trying to make meaning and understand every passing thought or mood frees us up to be truly in the present. And in the present lies our power. You see it is when we are present and aware and the mind is calm, when we stop the mental agitations and let go, grace is able to descend.  Letting the story go dissolves the vibratory impact of the negative thoughts and feelings we have attached to it and as it frees our inner space it changes our subtle vibration.  This is the open invitation the divine is waiting for.  This is the power of meditation.

 

When we refuse to get hooked in to our thoughts and emotions – realizing the truth that these are all just passing phenomenon – we can train ourselves to let go before our thoughts and feelings have a chance to constellate into energetic patterns that inevitably radiate out into the cosmos and continue on into the future with a life of their own – drawing to themselves and to us, their creators, people and situations of like vibration.

 

At its heart the purpose of meditation is to find God realization. Which is, to make acquaintance with the divine that is within each and every one of us.  The journey inward, to this place of Source, necessitates the relinquishing of the little mind. The egoic-mind.  This is the mind that is the part of us responsible for every one of our negative thoughts.  Such thoughts, and their accompanying emotions do not come from our higher mind, or our divine Higher Self. We must learn to see them for what they are, and see the suffering they create for what it is:  educative!  They are educative in that they prompt us, in our despair, to turn away from the world and look for something higher. And it is there, in our inner space, that we find relief from our suffering.  “The swiftest horse that bears us to perfection is suffering.”

 

There is no imperative to grasp, to cling, to identify with the thoughts and feelings of the egoic mind. We do not need to do ‘emotional work’ in an attempt to release them. Simply experiencing the feeling of them is enough. Registering the discomfort. And then giving them over to a higher power. Feelings and emotions, thoughts, they all come and they go.  They are transient.  Once we experience them they have done what they came to do, we can release them.

 

When we sit, still the busy mind, withdraw the awareness from the external world and come into the spacious world of our inner being, our breath and our heartbeat – we realize that beneath the crazy self-absorbed suffering egoic mind is the one who is truly who we are. This one sits in silent witness. It is the voice of our knowing, our intuitive voice. It observes our suffering and our struggle.

It has infinite love for our small self, and our struggle.  With its limitless compassion, it is the source of our redemption. And it is the one and only way to free our selves.

 

Blessings of love and light

 

 

 

 

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Healing the Mind Illusion

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“……..Life is torn by the tension between what it actually is and what it feels it ought to be.  Such a tension is the inescapable consequence of its double nature.  For it is personal and finite on the one hand but universal and infinite on the other.”  (PB)

 

Many of us, at this point in the time-space construct, are feeling this tension. The New Year has already made its presence felt as floods of emotional intensity have shot through the ethers. Here is a thought:  could it be that the tension, the chaos and intensity some of us are feeling and witnessing, in our personal lives and in the state of the world, is a manifestation or consequence, of the veil thinning? The veil being that which separates the two sides of life; the personal and the universal, the finite and the infinite.  The higher philosophy, through its eloquent and ardent student and teacher, the late Paul Brunton, states that life has a double nature.  In truth, he says, this ancient dualism is an illusion of the mind.  For the enlightened man, there is no duality between spirit and matter.

 

Most of us are not so enlightened. Many eons ago we fell into an abyss. Known by many names across the world’s mythologies the fall signified our separation from the Source and the birth of the individualised ego. Through countess epochs and the rise and fall of many civilizations our souls suffered through this schism that severed us from our true, holistic nature.  The fall has caused a collective amnesia. It has created the ‘illusion of the mind’. All our suffering, according to Paul Brunton, is “due in the end to defective remembrance.” What have we failed to remember?  Simply this: we have forgotten our other half. We have forgotten that we are double in nature.

 

“It is as incomplete a vision to see the world as transitory alone without its underlying reality as it is to see the reality alone without its manifestation in the world. The two are inseparably linked and true insight sees them as such, not opposed to each other.”

 

The two to which he is referring here is the manifest world and the reality behind it, which is the ALL.  The All has been called by many names: Brahman, Allah, God, Krishna, the Source, the Absolute, the World-Mind. It is the essence of all of life. It is the seed within all of life; the divine seed. It is the pattern maker behind form, the animator, the giver of the life force.   Here, PB refers to it simply as the Reality.  We are cautioned to see reality and manifestation; manifestation and reality – or form and formless, finite and infinite.  Should we neglect one side, we find ourselves in this state, our current state – that of tension and confusion.

 

 

So back to our question. Are we living in a time where the veil between reality and manifestation is fracturing? We sense and see definite signs of an awakening occurring – could this be it? Are we in the process of healing the split? So many fascinating paradoxes are afoot – it does make you wonder.  Take the proliferation of esoteric truths being disseminated on the net for one.  Our material, technological world is sending out ancient spiritual truths. So much information, so many books, podcasts, presentations, so many telling us to turn inwards.  The ancient wisdom traditions, the perennial philosophy – they all said exactly the same thing: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is within.’   It is not out in the manufactured world, in the organized religions and the divisiveness they have created; it is not in technology; it is not in consumerism – in material stuff. It is in the realization of our own minds and hearts that God is in us.  As it is in all of the natural world. Heaven is in the knowing that we are in truth infinite consciousness – temporarily residing in a finite body.

 

The massive awakening in the natural health movement is an early chapter in the story of the endtimes of separation. As we individually wake up to the responsibility we have to nurture our bodies, to take care of them through feeding them real food and avoiding the chemicals and toxins that abound in these times – thus supporting our immune systems; and as we realize the damage we do to our bodies with our stressful lifestyles and our anxious thoughts – we are in effect breaking through to the understanding that our bodies are inseparable from our souls.  Our bodies are precious vehicles housing our souls; they are our teachers and our messengers, they are forgiving, they have tremendous self-healing powers – but they need our conscious contribution.  They are not just mechanical, material objects that we can take along to the doctor, like a car to the mechanic, when something feels wrong.  There is a massive awakening happening to the reality of the interconnectedness of our thoughts and feelings with our physiology.  Unconsciousness leads to distress and disease on all levels and as this understanding grows we will heal the split between the body and the rest of our multidimensional reality.

 

Worshipping at the altar of materialism is a dying religion. The awakening is opening our eyes to our contribution to the health and sickness of our planet. We are realizing the impact our economic system with its massive focus on materialism, is having on the ecosystem of our planet.  The esoteric wisdom tells us our planet has a soul; it is evolving as we are – and we are contributing to its evolution.  Make no mistake, our planet has thrown off many civilisations in the past that were preoccupied with material manifestation and the misuse of their power.  In their neglect of the Reality they sowed the seeds of their own demise. Our planet will do it again with our civilisation – should we fail to wake up in time.

 

And so, aside from the question of whether we will get it in time or not, we now would do well to reflect on what is happening when we experience tension, anxiety, emotional intensity and all manner of mental and bodily ills.  As mentioned, this year is off to a rip roaring start in that regard – if accounts I have received are anything to go by.  What is happening is we are being asked, demanded in some cases, by our own knowing – the voice of our Higher Self – to pause, reflect and reorient ourselves.  We simply cannot go forwards carrying the same baggage.  The complexity of the universe has reached a critical point, time is speeding up, and we do not have forever.  The reason time is appearing to speed up is because there is more in it. More is happening in our day than ever before which means the complexity is growing and gathering incrementally. All of this is happening way faster than our biology can comfortably adjust to.  Do you have any idea what the thick soup of electro-magnetic frequencies from cell phone towers for example, is doing to the frequencies of your body and brain?  This is only going to intensify.

 

Thank heavens the awakening is happening. We cannot afford to sit back now.  We must take the discomfort, the tension and use them as motivators to slow down this crazy ride.  If we can only recover our other half, as the enlightened ones through the ages have done.  Science is now proving the physical benefits of meditation. All the information is there, we have modern science demonstrably verifying the truths of the ancient wisdom. It is imperative we turn away from the world and look within.

 

So practically, how do we do this?  Well you know, I think you know the answer already.  It could be summed up in a short sentence:  Disconnect from the world so you can connect with your Self.

Turn off facebook. Turn off your mobile. Turn off TV.  Train yourself to do so more regularly. Frequently turn off from whatever you are doing and close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your heart center. Breathe in and out through this region of your body a few times and imagine, if you like, a bright white light here.  Or go for a bush or beach walk. Once a day sit down and do a longer meditation. But even five or ten minutes is good.  Read spiritual literature. Read books.

Resist the temptation to talk.  Resist listening to the chattering inner voice. Let it go when you notice it. Breathe. Deeply. Watch your breath.  Do yoga. Eat as close to natural as possible. Exercise – but not excessively.  Breathe slowly and deeply. Observe. Relax. Let go. Surrender. Enjoy.  It is safe to be alone. The world will not end. You can return when you are ready – it will still be there.  Drop your fear of missing out – there is nothing truly worthwhile out there to miss out on.  Above all, know that you are loved and you are, in truth, a divine, immortal, infinite being.

 

“Only when the consciousness displaces the predominance of the sense of being personally occupied with life does the hidden observer transform external existence from being the prosaic and materialist thing it ordinarily is into something veritably divine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are Embodied Spirit

 

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it. - Marcus Aurelius

 

 

Stuart Wilde said:  “Once you accept life without struggling against it, you can see that everything serves you in one way or another. A lousy meal helps you appreciate and remember a good meal.

A defeat strengthens you for the next victory. If you try not to quantify and judge things and accept them as part of your overall experience, you become mature.  All of a sudden that power that should have been yours from the beginning is returned to you as a calm individuality – a creative stillness that allows you to BE. Acceptance unshackles you from the restraints that you’ve created for yourself, and it allows you to explore inside your own individuality.”

 

What would it mean, how would it change things, if, this year – a new one just begun – you, me,

Anyone listening could take this advice?  Acceptance without struggle.  And awareness that everything happening that we don’t like is actually serving us in some way.  It is all in how we choose to use our thoughts.  And the life we are creating is made from our thoughts.

 

Our thoughts seemingly arise out of nowhere, capture our attention, torment us for a while if they are at the negative end of the continuum (and with the brain’s natural bias toward the negative, they often are) and then, eventually, leave us alone.   It feels we are at their mercy.  The wisdom and spiritual traditions tell us we need to let go of the egoic mind (the mind that generates thoughts) and find the calm stillness of the Higher Self behind it.  Herein lies the answer to our distress.  It is said the mind makes a wonderful master but a very poor servant.  For most of us, our minds, the monkey mind (or the lower mind in the theosophical tradition) is our master.  My proposition is this: can we decide, right now, to turn this around and make 2018 the year of change of mind? From master to servant the mind’s status can be changed.  What would it take?

 

Acceptance – according to Stuart Wilde and others. Acceptance is allowing life to unfold without imposing the ego’s preferences upon it. Michael Singer wrote the story of his life on this path, entitled “The Surrender Experiment”.  His realization that the monkey mind with its never ending chatter was just, well, weird. And why was it so? What was that about?  He set to find out and embarked on a spiritual journey that took him to a place of ongoing, every day, every moment surrender.  What occurred was remarkable.  When, through his practice, he learnt to drop his busy thinking mind, with its constant commentary, its negativity and unending worrying – he discovered that life took care of him!  He didn’t have to try to control it anymore.  And, miraculously (to us, who live in the world we think of as reality) everything worked out for his highest good.  Ultimately.  In fact, what we perceive of as incredible and miraculous is simply the outworking of the higher intelligence – Source, the God Force, the All. Call it what you will.  The intelligence that underpins this life of ours knows what is right for us.  We don’t.  We have so little control in truth.  And how desperately we cling to the idea that we have to control things, in order for everything to be okay.  The opposite, it seems is true.  It is when we let go and get out of the way, that life is able to unfold most perfectly for us.

 

“Love nothing but that which comes to you

Woven in the pattern of your destiny.

For what could more aptly fit your needs?”

(Marcus Aurelius)

 

I want to go a little deeper here.  So, we stop trying to control, we let go, we accept whatever occurs.  We learn to say yes, instead of no, to whatever life presents us with.  Big stuff.  Probably not going to happen overnight. Surrender is going to be a practice requiring some dedication and self-discipline. Meditation is key because it is at a fundamental level training in mindfulness. Or rather, mindlessness.  We must observe the nature of the mind, to understand it – then we let it go.  Meditation offers us this opportunity.  Gradually, over time and with regular practice, we learn to still the busy chattering mind with its parade of meaningless thoughts.  We find a quiet heart.  But when we arise from our meditation cushion, there are still many hours of consciousness remaining in the day.  Our habit has been to let the mind wander when our attention is not required on a particular task. Even when it is, we find our minds occupied with extraneous thought.  It is so hard to get away from our own minds! There is so little peace.  Feelings arise (why they do is subject for the next essay) and immediately our thoughts respond to the feeling state. They feed each other. Before we know it we are occupied in a lengthy conversation with ourselves.  More often than not the same little voice, the ego’s voice, is giving us reasons to feel less about ourselves.  The same voice judges and criticises others.  One moment we are feeling less than others, the next, we are feeling superior. All at the whim of an evidently unstable and unreliable aspect of our psyches. What a futile waste of energy.

 

There is much to be said about the egoic mind. But for now, let us focus on the task we have set ourselves: to make the mind our servant. OUR servant.  Who is the our, of our? It is none other than our own Higher Self: the divine spark within us.  The higher intelligence in real control of the complexities of this life, is alive in us.  We have our portion. Drops of the same ocean.

So then, going deeper as promised. What happens when we step out of our own way and decide to 1) discipline our thinking mind, and 2) accept whatever is unfolding ?  ……

 

Short answer:  We change our vibration.

 

When we refuse to listen to the little voice we find space opens up within us.  It is relief. Huge relief. Our hearts become quiet. There is peace and freedom from the tyranny of fear and anxiety that so often holds us hostage.  And when we accept whatever is occurring, with grace instead of resentment or hostility, more space opens up within us. A softening occurs. Relief again.  What we are doing with both is we have let go of our resistances.  Thoughts of the small mind are a form of resistance. They are energetic units and take up space (ie block) our meridians.   Of course we need certain thoughts (planning, learning, goal-setting) to give our lives structure so we are not throwing the baby out. We are simply reminding ourselves that the thinking mind was once viewed as another of the senses.  In other words, it is a tool to help us negotiate life in this realm – but it is not, or ought not be, the dominator, the master controller. It is to be used (the servant). It is not there to use us, to run our lives into negativity with its never-ending prattle.  Okay, so thoughts of a small nature are a form of resistance.  Non-acceptance of what is, is also resistance.  Acceptance dissolves resistance and frees up the flow of energy within. Letting go of the little voice does likewise.

 

The sum: as we dissolve resistance, allowing ourselves to simply be, free of thought, in the body, in the breath, in a quiet heart state of mind, our essential vibratory frequency shifts.  As our vibratory frequency is heightened, our lives change. I will explore this topic in more detail in an upcoming discussion.

 

For now, here is my New Year New Beginning message: Let’s change our story and change our lives.

Our story is the one the little voice keeps telling us.  It is the product of years and years of conditioning, from our loved ones and our society. It is the product of a karmic legacy that was crystallized in events of early childhood. It is the product of our ego’s primary mission – to keep us alive in a physical body: hence the vast scope of fears and what if’s that adrenalize our bodies and brains, keeping us in a state of hyper-sensitivity to any real or imagined threat.  In short, our story is the product of the dominance of our small self. I’ve had enough of it – and if you feel the same way, let’s do this.  Let’s change our vibration – from fear to surrender and trust, and from resistance to acceptance.  What have we got to lose?  Just our small selves. And behind these small selves of ours is our Higher Self. The esoteric wisdom has been telling us this for eons. Sadly, the message has become more and more obscured in this most dense material era.

 

But every beginning is a new potential.  I want to make this one, 2018 a higher one.  As we shift our personal vibration to a higher frequency, we naturally raise the collective vibration. We are all part of the same ocean, all weavers of the same web.

 

If you are keen to embark on this journey with me – please write and share your experiences. We can all lift each other up and use this world wide web for a higher purpose.   Thank you in advance and blessings galore for the incredible journey of 2018.  Oh, by the way, Saturn in Capricorn now is THE BEST TIME to make REAL our POSITIVE INTENTIONS.   No more mucking around.  Time to get real – ok? 2018, the year of the dog – steadfast, loyal, trusting, loving. We are. Ready.

 

Blessings, Love and a Quiet Heart to you…

 

Linda

 

The Loneliness of being Human

 

“No one can escape from their individuality” 

(Arthur Schopenhauer)

 

“We cannot escape from the essential loneliness of our individual nature.”

(Paul Brunton)

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We are both human and divine.  The perennial philosophy and the spiritual and ancient wisdom traditions inform us of this truth.  In our humanness we are separate individuals, with our unique egoic consciousness contained within our equally unique physicality.  In our divine nature we are multi-dimensional, spiritual beings and we are connected, at that level with everyone and all of life in fact, on our blue planet.

Our individuality and our universality exist side by side.  We ‘skin-encapsulated egos’ living in this physical world of objects and things that seem apart from us, are in actuality divine players of unfathomable spiritual depths dancing on a cosmic stage that teems with invisible forms of energy. Our bodies unknowingly (to us) react and respond to this energy. There are over 300 million actions and reactions going on in our bodies every second; an incredibly complex world lies beneath our skin. And at the same time as it coordinates the chemical activities required to keep us alive, our body’s intelligence is also monitoring the energetic fluctuations of the stars and planets.  As above, so below. Truly walking miracles we are totally unique -just like every other life form here.

We are players and we are being played.  We have free will but we are subject to natural laws over which we have no control.  We cannot escape either our individuality or our participation in the big picture, the cosmic drama that is occurring both within and without. But why is it that our individuality creates, as Paul Brunton says above, this ‘essential loneliness’.  Can we escape it?  And if we are so intricately connected (and it is apparent that we are) with the wider universe, why do we feel this way?  Is it the in-built protective mechanism called fear, designed to keep us alive as long as possible in these flesh bodies that is responsible for the pain we might call loneliness?  We know there is nothing like pain to intensify our feelings of separateness.  When struck by disaster (dis-aster = against the stars), trauma, tragedy, or we are confronted by the stark reality of our inevitable decline into old age (should we have escaped fatal accidents and illnesses) and death, it is natural to lose our sense (if we had any) of our interconnectedness; it is natural to feel fear, panic even.  Why is this so? That it is, surely, calls for a solution.

As we know from the perennial philosophy, coming down to us from the enigmatic Hermes Trismegistus  (the reincarnated Thoth of the ancient Egyptians), everything in life must find its balance. The pendulum, having swung in one direction, must swing back in the other. All of life in this realm must be balanced – whether an action, an emotion or a thought.  Our karma is as much a natural law as gravity is.  For everything we set in motion will be returned to us; everything will be balanced – whether consciously or unconsciously. Every effect is the consequence of a pre-existing cause.

 

 “Beyond all creatures on the earth man is twofold; mortal because of body, but because of the essential Man immortal.

Though deathless and possessed of sway o’er all, yet doth he suffer as a mortal doth, subject to Fate.”  (Hermes)

 

Which leads me to this: our loneliness – symptomatic of our separateness, must be balanced by the experience of its opposite. Its ‘opposite’ is of course our spirituality or in other words our interconnectedness with the One. The All. It is this we need to experience.  As Hermes informs us, we are twofold and therefore two forces dictate our fate. The force of our freewill must be called upon, if we are to ameliorate the pain of our separation.

How so? It is far easier for me to write this than for you, or me, to action it.  From far back into pre-history, fragments of the esoteric wisdom trickle down. We know that the resolution of our pain is only to be found in the quest to realize the unshakeable truth of our divinity.  Enlightenment is the goal. It is one that lies beyond this lifetime for most of us perhaps.  But I believe, even if we never arrive at that one moment where life finally appears as it really is, where the veil is lifted – just for a moment, we may still find resolution and relief from our loneliness –  in the quest itself.

Freewill then, is the conscious decision to embark on the quest. Moreover, to stay with it – to be disciplined and steadfast.  In regular meditation, in constant and conscious self-reminders to be present, to be in this moment, in the effort to keep ones’ heart open, to be loving, to be kind, to be gentle with self and others, to feel (and act on) compassion, to respect all life forms, to treat all as one. In these, we bring balance and equanimity to our personal and global chaos.   Old fashioned values maybe – yet they comprise the essence of spirituality and of religious feeling.  We must carve out time in our busy lives to simply be with ourselves. We need to journey on a daily basis, inward.  The kingdom of heaven is within, after all.  And in truth, if we hope for change in the world, we must begin with ourselves.

We suffer as mortals. Hermes was quite right and nothing has changed in thousands of years since.  Yet, in recognition of universal laws, we realize we do have the power to alleviate our suffering.  We acknowledge the pendulum has swung too far into the mortal realm when we feel the ache of grief and loneliness, the panic of fear, the dread of the future – however separation manifests at any one time.  And we decide to make a deliberate effort to swing it back the other way – back to the truth of our divine heritage – where we are never separate and alone.  We are immortal beings. We are here on this planet for a moment in time. Our lives seem long but they are a fragment.  Just as particles buzz in and out of the waveform world into the particle one – we too will disappear back out of these particles we call bodies and merge again with the All. We will reconnect.  Let us do the best we can, for the sake of our own peace of mind as much as for the wellbeing of our planet, while we are here.

God bless.

 

The man who hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself [is deathless].” (Hermes)

 

 

 

I leave you with some predictions, attributed to Hermes.  In these times in which we live, we must hope and believe the pendulum will swing and order, and nature, will be restored.

 

 

Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven ; the pious will be deemed insane, and the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good. As to the soul, and the belief that it is immortal by nature, or may hope to attain to immortality, as I have taught you, all this they will mock at, and will even persuade themselves that it is false. No word of reverence or piety, no utterance worthy of heaven and of the gods of heaven, will be heard or believed.
And so the gods will depart from mankind, a grievous thing!, and only evil angels will remain, who will mingle with men, and drive the poor wretches by main force into all manner of reckless crime, into wars, and robberies, and frauds, and all things hostile to the nature of the soul. Then will the earth no longer stand unshaken, and the sea will bear no ships; heaven will not support the stars in their orbits, nor will the stars pursue their constant course in heaven; all voices of the gods will of necessity be silenced and dumb; the fruits of the earth will rot; the soil will turn barren, and the very air will sicken in sullen stagnation. After this manner will old age come upon the world. Religion will be no more; all things will be disordered and awry; all good will disappear.
But when all this has befallen, Asclepius, then the Master and Father, God, the first before all, the maker of that god who first came into being, will look on that which has come to pass, and will stay the disorder by the counterworking of his will, which is the good. He will call back to the right path those who have gone astray; he will cleanse the world from evil, now washing it away with water-floods, now burning it out with fiercest fire, or again expelling it by war and pestilence. And thus he will bring back his world to its former aspect, so that the Kosmos will once more be deemed worthy of worship and wondering reverence, and God, the maker and restorer of the mighty fabric, will be adored by the men of that day with unceasing hymns of praise and blessing.

 

Such is the new birth of the Kosmos; it is a making again of all things good, a holy and awe-striking restoration of all nature; and it is wrought in the process of time by the eternal will of God. For Gods will has no beginning; it is ever the same, and as it now is, even so it has ever been, without beginning. For it is the very being of God to purpose good.

 

 

Image result for images yoga poses 

In my yoga asana teaching, I often talk to my class about ‘finding the balance between effort and ease’ – the wu wei of yoga.  I have been thinking (probably inspired by the energies of Libra, in whose sign the Sun now falls) that this practice is not only positive on the mat, but it is also a stress-free way to live off the mat.

In Libra, finding the balance is thematic. So here is my reminder – to self as much as you, who may be reading this, on how to find the sweet spot, the middle way, the path of least resistance perhaps, the fulcrum between effort and ease, in your life.

In yoga practice, or any physical activity, our muscles, bones, heart, blood and breath tell us when we are over-reaching ourselves, when we are going beyond the bounds of comfort and appropriate challenge into pain and possible injury. Often we neglect to listen to the wisdom of our bodies and pull back, don’t stretch quite as far, don’t run as far or fast as the ego is pushing for.  The mind, oftentimes is the dictator.  But to listen to our bodies, subtle as their messages and their promptings may be, is wisdom and cultivating it underpins the entire practice of yoga asana. The same applies to whatever physical activity you do. Whether it is running, swimming, playing tennis, even walking.  Listen to your body whenever you are doing things with it.  The body loves to move with ease. It was designed to move with ease and to be free of dis-ease.  Not only do many of us move without awareness, but we breathe, rest and eat the same way.  Our dietary choices have a huge bearing on how at ease, how dis-ease free our bodies are.  Let they food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food Hippocrates counseled many centuries ago.  His advice is perhaps even more relevant today in an increasingly toxic world. When we make the effort to educate ourselves, to understand fully exactly what our bodies need to feel nourished, energetic, rested and well – then we find we can live move and breathe, with ease.

We all know the consequences of not listening to our bodies and ended up injured. But I am sure you have had episodes of pain and injury that seemingly occurred through absolutely no fault of your own.  Perhaps.

And perhaps not.  I personally believe everything that occurs on a physical level has its origins in the metaphysical. Wrong thinking can cause injury as surely as wrong practice.  To probe for causes is, as often as not, a futile exercise.  A better use of energy, when we find ourselves injured and confused about ‘what we did’ is to work on acceptance.  Acceptance is letting go by another name.  We let go of all self-recrimination, regret, guilt, fear, frustration when we accept that it just is. The effort here is the one it takes to actively accept. Strangely, letting go and accepting is not as passive as it sounds.  It is human nature to beat ourselves us, to feel impatient and frustrated when our lifestyle alters because we have an injury.  It takes some mental and emotional effort, some discipline, to put aside all of the thoughts and feelings around the pain or injury and just go with it.  When we are able to the charge is taken out of the situation and there is a newfound feeling of ease.  The act of letting go and accepting is an act of faith. We trust the body, with its infinite intelligence will deal with our healing.  Our job is to assist it in this.  A little effort is required, but it is well worth it.

The body, mind and emotions are more intimately connected than is commonly known. (All three are intimately connected with the stars and the cosmos.  We literally embody our astrological blue print, our birth chart. Our facial features as well as our emotional temperament  are mapped in the chart).  We talked about the body, but how does the sweet spot of the middle way, the point between effort and ease apply in the world of our thoughts and feelings?  In the same way.  We consciously act (effort) to discipline ourselves to drop all self-defeating thoughts and their accompanying feelings. Remember, this whole life, everything in it, is a creation of consciousness.

And so, we create with our consciousness.  We stop using words and thoughts that weaken us.  Think about how negative our self-talk so often is.  We are not alone in this – the private little conversations we have with ourselves – justifying, judging, feeling sorry for ourselves, on and on it goes.  It becomes habitual. And then entrenched. Brain pathways form around such habits.  It can take real effort then, to change those habits. It has been said that karma is nothing more than habit. Yikes. We all like the idea of good karma coming our way in the future but meanwhile we are probably busily creating the opposite – in our endless self-condemnation, criticism (self and others), fearfulness, regret…..

And so we need to make an effort to change, to let go again. Let go of that inner critic, that inner fear-monger. And yes, you guessed it, when we do – we move along on the continuum to a place of greater ease. We come to the middle way, where we are able to take on challenges, encounter stress and through a conscious process of alchemy rise above them. In coming to ease we negate the potential for dis-ease. We move through our days with awareness and as we open up space within mind and heart we are free to choose joy, happiness and love, instead of the unconscious contractions of fear, doubt, impatience and regret.

We are all works in progress and it is not easy to live in this human form at this time in history.  Has it ever been any easier though?  This existence of ours is inherently precarious. We live in bodies designed to serve us for a while, like the new leaves I see budding forth around me (Spring – love it) whose time comes, all too soon, to fade, wither and die. All is finite. All is transient. When we can accept that with good grace, when we can accept the natural processes of transmutation of which we are a part, when we can accept all that comes to us as being in perfect accord with our destiny, while at the same time continue to do our best to honour and care for our bodies, to respect their wisdom and make the effort required to release all thoughts and emotions that do not serve – then our lives will be a sweet success.   No one is going to crack the whip for us, or force us to live this way. It is up to us, to find it ourselves – our own middle way, somewhere on the enigmatic road that runs from effort…… to ease.  But one thing is sure, when we do find it – we will know.

 

 

 

 

 

EVERY MOMENT MATTERS

 

DEATH…comes unexpectedly. Those immortal words from the film Pollyanna no less, soaked into my brain at a tender age and I find myself coming back to them time and again.  Even more so now the years are unravelling faster than they ever have and, beat around no bush, I’m well past the half way mark. But hang on……is it really a matter of the number of years we live?

 

Not it seems, according to the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor (AD 121-180).

Aurelius saw it this way:

 

 

“Even if you were destined to live three thousand years, or ten times that long, nevertheless remember that no one loses any life other than the one he lives, or lives any life other than the one he loses. It follows that the longest and the shortest lives are brought to the same state.  The present moment is equal for all; so what is passing is equal also; the loss therefore turns out to be the merest fragment of time.  No one can lose either the past or the future – how could anyone be deprived of what he does not possess?…….

 

Jolted is what I felt when I read that.  Yes!!  What brilliance I thought as I pondered the deeper truth Aurelius expressed so well.  We can only ever lose this one moment.  We have ALL lost yesterday. Or even this morning.  NONE of us have tomorrow yet. We are apportioned a tiny fragment of time, the present – and in this, we are all equal.  If we were to die today, we would lose exactly the same thing as everyone who doesn’t die today: a non-existent past and an equally immaterial future.

 

You may find yourself arguing ‘but what about the unlived life yet to come? What about the potential and promises of the future? – the children, grandchildren, the new relationship, the better job, the this and the that…  We surely lose all of that when we die.  If we die young – we must lose more of it.  More possibilities that is.  It is only when we are old and done that we don’t have anything in the future left to lose, surely – meaning it would be much better to die old.

 

It is a point, but not one of the higher philosophy.  As Aurelius says, we cannot be deprived of what we do not possess.  We do not possess those hopes and potentials. They are as insubstantial as moonlight. They are nothing. They do not exist.  Just as our past no longer exists. Everything we have experienced, achieved, enjoyed, endured, is nothing more than a collection of memories.  We probably have some stuff that denotes the achievements and acquisitions we have made alone the way. We may have children and see in them our brightest hope of any sort of legacy or continuance.  But coming back to you and your life, what of the past, of the life you have lived is really there anymore?

 

All that does exist is this sliver of a fragment of time we call the present moment.  And in this we are all equal.

 

In over five decades on the planet, have I made peace yet, I find myself asking, with the flip side of life? Do I truly live each day with awareness that death could come at any day, any moment? The philosophers tell us this awareness has the power to enhance our lives by making every moment matter. A moment can only matter when we absolutely get the fleeting nature, and therefore the preciousness of it.  If we forget to remember our moments they disappear, as moments do, in an unremarkable stream of nothingness.

 

My answer to the question is to try to make a habit of saying to myself as often as I remember, “this moment, this set of circumstances, this walk in the bush, this sky/sunset/moon rise will never ever happen, just like this, again in my life.”  Every moment is precious when you become conscious of it. Call it mindfulness. Or paying attention. Or just, noticing.  We need to notice our lives – before they have gone. Every day, give thanks for waking up to live another day. Gratitude is a neat way of bringing us into present moment awareness.  We cannot value and appreciate what we do not notice and the Buddhists tell us this life is valuable beyond measure. Strengthening this habit of present moment awareness then is my best response to idea of death coming unexpectedly. And there’s another positive; when we fully absorb the nearness of death, suddenly ageing doesn’t feel so bad. Who cares that another line has mysteriously appeared? What does it matter, when the whole shebang is going to disappear one day anyway.

 

Life, Alan Watts said, is just another word for change.  Change then is the nature of what we are doing here.  We are not living, we are changing.  Everything, from the molecules in your cells to the stars in the heavens, is in a state of flux. The momentum of change we see in the mirror and call ageing. The planet turns, season after season and in each return things have changed from the last time.  The feeling is different. We are older. Our life situation has shifted.  Nothing is as it was. Millions of the cells in our body have died. New ones have been born.

 

To live in awareness of the present is a relief, actually. It is not for no reason that our reflections on the past can give rise to nostalgia – literally, ‘pain of the past’.  We feel sad for what we have lost – for those happy-days-when-we-were-young-and-everything-seemed so-much-simpler.  A song from those times plays and instantly the feeling of the energy we knew then is evoked. We cannot capture it. It is like a passing cloud of fragrance. Here but not. And then gone. Leaving us a little more dissatisfied with where we are right now, with this moment. Grief is intensified nostalgia, longing for what was.

 

To live in awareness that every moment matters frees us too from the burden of the future.

The mind can only focus on one thing at a time generally. (Well, unless yours is like my son’s who can work at graphic design while listening to a podcast – I couldn’t).  If we immerse our consciousness in the experience of right now – there is little left over to tow us into worry and fear of what is to come.  There’s peace in that.  But how the mind loves to take us back and forwards. Past, doesn’t exist, future, doesn’t exist.  It is a ploy of the ego-mind to try to drive us crazy with fears and regrets (why it does is the topic of another essay). Ironically the ego’s very existence is dependent on the continuance of our physical selves, here and now – not in some imagined future.  And the truth is, it is only through our physical existence, right here and now, in this breath, this heartbeat, that we do truly exist.  All the rest is ephemeral, fantastical, nebulous – and other Neptunian words.

 

But, you may ask, what about the moments that suck? What about those all too frequent and unwelcome episodes of pain –  physical, mental, emotional?  We hardly want to dwell in those moments – let alone appreciate them.  My response is: we must do what we will (and need to do) in these moments.  There are times in life when we need some healthy pain relief – or escapism in whatever form to help us through our human-condition vulnerabilities.  But let us not discard our philosophy of being in the moment…….This too shall pass is a present moment awareness motto that has the power to offer comfort during in the bad times.  A higher sort might use it during the good times as well.

 

When we make every moment matter, we naturally make every encounter with our loved ones matter too.  We appreciate the fleeting nature of it all.  One day, perhaps very soon, we will lose this person from our lives. Remembering this reminds us to make every moment a kind one, a loving one.  If it is our own death that separates us, we’d like to be remembered for being kind and loving.  We’d like that to be our legacy. If our loved one goes first, we would like to know we loved them as best we could. There are then no regrets.

 

So when all is said and done, it is true, we only ever lose this one moment. Nothing else matters. The age we get to, the age another didn’t get to – is irrelevant.  We all lose the same thing – this fragment we call Now.  Let’s EnJOY it. Live it and Love it. This minute, this hour, this day, will never come again.

 

“It has been shown how the mind’s incessant movement creates the time-sense and retards one’s entry into the timeless Absolute…… Then, by overcoming this motion one should be able to overcome the tyranny of time.  The reverse of movement is stillness. The reverse of time is eternity……… One must seek therefore to cultivate the state of stillness, mental no less than physical, if one would conquer time. Consciousness as mentalized movement = time; Consciousness abiding in itself in a response as deep as that of a deep sea free from waves = eternity.”    (Paul Brunton)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 You are the awareness

There is No Normal Anymore

 

 “As soon as you’re born they make you feel small

By giving you no time instead of it all

Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school

They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool

Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules

When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years

Then they expect you to pick a career

When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV

And you think you’re so clever and classless and free

But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see

There’s room at the top they are telling you still

But first you must learn how to smile as you kill

If you want to be like the folks on the hill.”

(John Lennon – ‘Working Class Hero’)

 

 

People – what is happening out there?

The craziness has been amped one hundred-fold. It is waaay beyond the point of concern. At least it is for anyone half awake to what is going on. Those not completely doped with – whatever mind-numbing device or substance, willingly administered or not. It’s a challenge indeed to find the words to express the enormity of the derangement of the collective psyche. For what else can it be?

 

We cannot help but subscribe to the ‘us and them’ mentality. Whether at the level of religious belief, of nationhood, or of the controllers – that is the authority figures and the elite that control them – and the rest of us. Always this divide. The schisms that once were have become monumental chasms, tearing apart the fabric of our society and it seems, our very humanity.

 

Like you, I have been reading on sites all over the net, advice and suggestions on how to survive this chaos. We are told to become more spiritual, to see beyond the propaganda, to disconnect from the common grid, to eat this, drink this – or don’t eat this or drink that. We are advised to do meditation, yoga, this or that therapy. Countless spiritual sorts (myself not excluded) are offering their services in astrology, numerology, tarot – whatever – in a quest to help others and find meaningful work for themselves both. How many of us are writing columns such as this as we attempt to make sense of it all?  We are inundated with new narratives to explain what is really going on. Of course there are conspiracies. Legions of them. If you haven’t got that by now – there’s nothing I can say.

 

All the spiritual, well intentioned advice is becoming tired. I’m sorry. But it is. Actually, a better word would be exhausted. It is exhausted from over-use. And paradoxically, despite all the words, it hasn’t got us very far. Am I sounding superior? I don’t mean to be. I do not mean to glide over the fact that we are all in different places and therefore one man’s spiritual food evokes another’s gag reflex.

 

Be that as it may – it seems crystal clear – we’re all still fucking peasants. (John Lennon was clearly a truth teller as well as a visionary). Why??? Why isn’t it working?? All our searching and learning and sharing and caring. Why do we still feel SO ineffectual – when we witness the atrocities going on in the world. And on another level, why are so many still so friggin’ apathetic?? I mean, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?? ….to wake up, that is. And while in question mode, why has the ‘them and us’ mentality gone from being an insidious under-current to an unspeakably consuming, technicolour, zoomed-in global horror story?

 

Watching the TV news on RT (the only station worth watching, given the western mainstream media is such a pathetic joke – its coverage of world events being in most cases 180 degrees away from anything resembling the truth) – I notice the despair that has been a constant companion these past few years has become something far far more worrying. It feels as if it is taking on literal embodiment. It is no longer ‘just an emotion’ – compassion, empathy, heart break, fear (chemtrails and the reason for them are very very scary) – I experience and then, eventually move on from. Now, it is a swamping grey overcoat I cannot take off. It weighs down body as well as soul.

 

As an astrologer – I look to the cosmos for clues. This insanity must have some astrological reference point. And it does.

 

Today, as a matter of fact (Nov 27) as I write, Saturn is making an exact square to Neptune in the heavens. What does this signify? Saturn is about form, structure, boundaries – and borders. Neptune is the opposite of that. It is about dissolution, transcendence, unity. Saturn isolates and defines, Neptune connects and blurs. Saturn is the physical structures of the material world, the controls and authorities we live under. Neptune the amorphous, ethereal, divine. It is spirit, however it manifests in this earthly realm. The square, or 90 degree aspect between these two celestial bodies indicates the coming together of these two distinctly different energy fields will (and does) generate tremendous stress and tension. The coming together of the square aspect has been building through much of the year and now it has peaked. The result is, on an individual level and a collective level, a spiritual crisis. (The two signs involved are Sagittarius and Pisces –both ‘spiritual’ signs.)   This is what we are seeing happening in world and very probably, it is what you are feeling within yourself. The old grey overcoat weighing me down to the point it feels positively visceral is a metaphor for the pressure of this misaligned energy that I am feeling. Neptune is creating brain fog. It feels like I’m living in a dream. Some days, a bad one. Or I’m walking through a swamp. There is a feeling the structures and routines that generally define daily life have been undermined. Everything has become blurred. What once seemed clearly to be black or white, is no longer so.

 

The day before yesterday a Russian fighter jet was shot down – allegedly because it was flying in Turkish airspace – momentarily (the Russian pilots deny this). Without going into any further conversation about who actually did shoot down the Russian plane, and on whose authority – for our purposes here it is not difficult to see a blatant metaphor being played out here, of the Saturn-Neptune square. There is confusion (which is Neptune) over borders (or airspace) (which is Saturn). Elsewhere in Europe the theme of borders has been playing out as the wars in the Middle East continue to escalate, causing millions to flee for their lives into countries they believe represent safety. Lately, for so many of these desperate people, the safety of new borders (Saturn) appearing more like a long-lost dream (Neptune) than reality. The clash of the two inducing nightmarish scenarios at border crossings and evoking impassioned and polarised citizens to march in opposition – or support.

 

There is no normal anymore. Definition and dissolution are at loggerheads. We have no choice comrades, but to engage in this chaos. To escape it is not the answer – though God knows we will try. We all have our particular favourite escapist ploys – for some it is unreality TV, sports, food, for others alcohol, drugs, sex. Even meditation and spiritual practice can be a means of escape. It’s a bugger, but the cosmos wont let us out of this one so easily. We will be compelled to recognize, if not act on, the opposite polarity. And, perversely, the ultimate purpose, if there is one, of this current energy signature is to release our attachment to polarity, to duality. We do this when we are able to integrate the two distinct energies and more often than not, this requires us to initially redirect our consciousness towards the less familiar or attractive polarity. That is, if we are too rigid, too caught up in boundaries, rules, limitations, outside authorities we will need to bend, to let go, to release, to embrace a more unified perspective, to think for ourselves and to act on our own imperatives. On the other hand, if we are too removed from the harsh realities of the material world, too fond of escaping into our own dream world, too unrealistic, too idealistic, then we will need to shift. We will need to be more disciplined, practical, pro-active. The winds of change have become hurricane force – we have no option but to adapt.

 

This is a time for purification and refinement and if we do not get it now, we have two more opportunities next year, as Saturn and Neptune meet up again in June and September. Part of the equation of this energetic dynamic is a deep questioning of our worldview, our belief systems and our personal goals. I wrote this article from exactly that place. Questioning long-held beliefs about right and wrong, about the nature of reality, of spirituality, of life itself. Are you doing the same? I’m picking yes. But there is one truth I will never doubt and that is the truth we are all one. We are fundamentally, deeply interconnected. Sadly, too many people on the planet at this time – believe otherwise. There is no other explanation for the manipulations, conspiracies, connivances and contrivances of the folks on the hill.

 

We must not lose hope however. And that is all I will say. Anything else could be hypocritical, as I am struggling right now with this classic Neptune-Saturn hit on my psyche – that is, my own rapidly diminishing hope for a better world.   Ah! But I then remember this and hold on to the thought that perhaps my thinking, my conscious can create a better reality:

 

In a Native American parable, the Creator gathers all the animal and says:

‘I want to hide something from humans until they are ready for it – the realisation

That they create their own reality.’

 

‘Give it to me. I’ll fly I to the Moon,’ says the eagle.

 

‘No, one day soon they will go there and find it’

 

‘How about the bottom of the ocean?’ asks the salmon.

 

‘No, they will find it there too’

 

‘I will bury it in the great plains,’ says the buffalo.

 

‘They will soon dig and find it there.’

 

‘Put it inside them,’ says the wise grandmother mole.

 

‘Done,’ says the Creator. ‘It is the last place they will look.’

(Native American Legend)

 

 

 

Linda George, New Zealand, is an astrologer/philosopher, writer, yoga teacher and student of esotericism. Contact her at:

www.Lindageorgeastrology.com

Lindastrologer@gmail.com

 

 

 

This Precious Present

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The Buddhists tell us that ‘being born as a human is highly unusual.’ It is, they say, a tremendous privilege and a most precious gift, this human life. One of the reasons it is so precious is that within all of us lies the potential for Buddhahood – or enlightenment. That is, the unobscured awareness of the true nature of this reality and this life.

Dharma, or the Buddhist path is a practice of removing the obstacles that cloud our awareness of this true nature. Can we find this path, walk this path – if we are not Buddhist or practitioners of any particular spiritual system?

Yes, it is my understanding and belief that we can find our own Dharma, walk our own path to enlightenment – which means freedom from suffering. And the way to begin is simply to pay attention!

 

Attention – to what? To life. It sounds so simple, and of course we know it is not. It requires time and self-discipline. But time is happening anyway, so we might as well do something positive with it. Our modern life is filled with so many distractions, so much activity, confusion, information. Most of the time our minds are filled with chatter and noise. Many of us are aware of the value and importance of meditation, yet how often do we begin the practice, only to let it slip sooner rather than later. Paying attention is simpler! You can do it anywhere, anytime.  I have noticed that so many people do not look around them. I was recently on a yacht in a beautiful part of the world – a new country in fact. Everything was fresh and new. Simply sitting on deck, feeling the gentle motion of the boat, the warm tropical air, was blissful. The sky was clear, the scenery interesting – other yachts around us, activity on the shore. Yet I observed that my travelling companion spent a good deal of time looking downwards, at her feet, at the cockpit floor, rather than outward. I have observed this before, when bush walking – with friends. I am continually looking at the trees, the birds, smelling the perfume of the wet bush. My friends are more often than not looking at the ground, at where their next step is going. Possibly I run the risk of taking a misstep. So far I haven’t. There is a sense I get, from my companions, of being preoccupied with the thoughts in their head. They are oblivious to the everyday beauty around them. They are doing the opposite of paying attention.

Why is this so important? It is important because only when we still our thoughts can we be fully present. And only when we are fully present can we experience the power of this moment. And only when we experience the power of this moment can we fully experience this precious life. Everything else is mental noise and distracts us from feeling our bodies – these portals to the timeless dimension and allow the spaciousness within that alone gives us peace. When we are fully present there is a calmness – which feels like a great relief. When we are paying attention in the present moment, our minds must be here too. They cannot run off into the past or future.

It is only when we are in this place that we can truly feel gratitude.

If we are in nature, a beautiful place and we are paying attention it is easy to bring up the feeling of gratitude. We can train ourselves to do it in an instant. Feeling gratitude naturally induces a feeling of contentment and wellbeing.   If we are not in a beautiful place, if we are in a humdrum place, at our desk perhaps, this awareness of the present moment (attention), ordinary as it may be, offers us spaciousness. Inner spaciousness is the place from which we can create whatever thoughts and emotions we choose. We can work more creatively, more powerfully. And we can remind ourselves to feel gratitude from this place. The key is to pay attention, to be present. Breathe out that negative thought and take a look around you. Let go of every thought and its concomitant emotion that is not gratitude and feel simply spacious and aware. As we train ourselves to be here and now, to continually emit feelings of gratefulness – for where we are, for our health and wellbeing, for anything we can think of – we transform our lives. Try it and you will see it is true!

When gratitude is our attitude, amazing things happen. Situations that first appear tragic, shocking, disturbing, worrying, begin to lose their sting. If we can find something in these circumstances to be grateful for – the universe conspires to soothe our spirits as well as the events that are troubling us.

When we feel gratitude for the good and beautiful things in our lives, it delivers to us more of the same.

We know that this is a mental universe, that it is a mind creation. When we discipline our own minds to be present, to feel gratitude for this precious human life, we really begin to live in the flow that is the true nature of this reality. The reality is, we live within a never-ending flow of phenomena that arise, ebb and flow according to causes and conditions – all is interdependent. Everything is transient….it comes and goes. It is a dynamic stream of happenings originating at the level of mind. The world mind, and our own.

When we pay attention to this fragment of time, we invite timelessness. Timelessness frees us from the suffering of life. We become aware of time as a stream, a rising and falling of events – some of them welcome, some not – but all, constantly changing. As we remind ourselves to feel gratitude in each moment – even for something as simple and wonderful as breathing in and breathing out – we know we are impacting the trajectory of our karma. The past cannot be undone. But we are creating the upcoming events in the flow in this very minute. Mindfulness. Patience – with self. Compassion – for self and others. Attention. And above all, gratitude.

As Bill Hicks said, life is a ride. And a mystery. There is no objectivity. The best we can do is create the inner landscape of our choosing……and then trust the universe to take care of the outer one.

“Only when the consciousness displaces the predominance of the sense of being personally occupied with life does the hidden observer transform external existence from being the prosaic and materialistic thing it ordinarily is into something veritably divine.”   (P. Brunton)

 

This Enchanted Universe

“The universe is indeed an enchantment placed upon us by the World-Mind. We are all enclosed within the scene set up by it but the scene itself is a thought-created one, the power which makes us feel its reality is a mental one and even the senses so bewitched are forms of consciousness. Hence the operation of the cosmic upon the individual mind is nothing short of magic!”   (Paul Brunton)

 

We are living in a mental universe. Everything we see and experience in the world, as well as everything that passes through our awareness – is mental. It is an idea. It is a thought. Generated either by the World-Mind, (or whatever name you choose to call it – the Absolute, the Cosmic Mind, the Supreme Creator – God) or by your own Mind. Quantum physicists have been telling us for some time now that the world we see as solid matter is far from solid; rather it is a moving sea of energy. And what is this energy? It seems they don’t quite know the answer to that. The hidden teachings tell us that energy will be found to be an ‘attribute of mind’…something possessed by Mind. That is Mind with a capital – the World-Mind.   We were created in the image of the Absolute, or more accurately, we issued forth from this World-Mind and thus we too possess a spark of the attribute of mind and this alone is responsible for our consciousness, and indeed for the life force within us itself. It has been well established, as many of us are aware, that we create the world we see and experience through our consciousness. That is, the world becomes real to us when we pay attention to it. Subatomic particles are brought into manifestation, made ‘real’ by the powers of our observation. They are moulded into forms by our space-time consciousness – itself purely mental , a construct of Mind, to provide us with the experience of living in this reality system. Through our consciousness we register energetic vibrations as sensations and they are transformed into the sticks and stones that make up our world. Mind, through our consciousness and our brains, is the transformer.

Mind is behind the consciousness that takes us out of the external world and into the inner realm of our sleep and dreams. Here, the hidden teachings tell us, we are given a clue into the nature of reality and if we are sufficiently insightful, that of the World-Mind. Consciousness takes on three different modes: full consciousness, or wakefulness, semi-consciousness or the dream state and unconsciousness or deep sleep. Wakefulness we know, is where we direct our most intense attention, and therefore the ‘world’ we experiences as the most real. The dream world belongs in the semi-consciousness stage. Here, our consciousness is busy creating images, mental pictures and felt experiences – which we, the dreamer, the ‘I’, who is behind all stages of consciousness, take to be utterly ‘real’. It is only when we wake, do we realize that the dramas and adventures, the emotions we felt while we dreamt, were illusory. But they felt real at the time. Just as we feel this experience we are having in the real world is real. Both the dream world and the world we see and experience outside ourselves are products of our own ideation. The reality behind both is relative.

We are not saying here that the world we see is illusory, that it does not, as the mystics tell us, really exist. It is not an illusion. The world is real. It is real because everything in it is part of the same real essence. Spirit and matter are one and the same. Ultimately, there is no duality, there is only one single stuff. And it is the Mind. The teaching of the world being illusory was given to those at a certain stage on the spiritual path and its purpose was to disentangle these seekers from their obsession with the material world and take them inwards to the unseen reality. It is very difficult for us all to disentangle ourselves from the material world because this is where our sensory apparatus is set up for us to focus our strongest attention. There is a very definite purpose to this – which we cannot go into here.

When we fall into deep sleep, (or we are under the influence of anaesthetic ) we are completely unaware, we are unconscious. Yet, Mind is still there. And it is Mind that brings us back when we awaken. We are still who we are, the ‘self’ we believe we are, returns intact. We remember who we are, what we did the day before and what we have to do today. Where has it been, the mysterious ‘self’, the ‘I’ consciousness, that lies behind the egoic personality? It has been resting in the Void. It has withdrawn into the World-Mind – from which it sprung.

The Absolute Mind likewise withdraws into the Void. Between its outward, generative phases of expression, where universes are created, it too withdraws into itself. The in-breath and out-breath of God – as it has been called. Cosmic Mind and its agent in us, the higher self, or the real self – you might call it the soul, are knitted together in unseen union through this mysterious power of consciousness.   We are all part of the same One Mind and it is only a story of relativity that has us label some of our experiences ‘real’ and others as ‘illusion.’ There is an underlying, unbroken reality behind the world we see and the world we do not see. It is a unifying force and it is the essence present in us and in all of nature. We are at heart unified by a force whose power is pure love.

We must realize, all the chaos, the terror and fear, the manipulation of our thoughts, the poisoning of our bodies, the sadness, pain, anxiety and insecurity we know in the world today – is not the final reality. All evil sows the seeds of its own destruction. And by the universal law of karma, evil-doers in the world today will suffer themselves the pain they have inflicted on others. Heaven and hell are self-created spheres of consciousness. The unifying force of love makes null and void all evil – it is love that is our true essence. Ultimately we are infinite, beginningless and endless and united in the loving compassionate embrace of our creator. Our consciousness will be withdrawn from this experience at the end of these brief lives in the flesh – but that moment will be our entry to a different reality and new experiences. There is nothing to fear. We have nothing to lose that we cannot create again. Everyone we have loved and lost, we can reunite with. Every mistake we have made, we can make up for. Every fragment of love we have given will be given again to us. We will return here to balance the karmic ledger and here we will again be given the opportunity to know the love of and for the Great Mind – of which we are the offspring. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make that most of that opportunity this time around? So then let us feel the love in our own hearts – the focal point within the physical body for the real self – and feel that love reaching beyond the cage of our hearts, beyond the range of our small self-interest and share it around. It is Christmas after all. Love and Goodwill to you and yours ….