Friday, November 25, 2011
Many people are saying that a "great awakening" is currently taking place in our world, and some are even saying that the "Great Spiritual Awakening of Mankind" is beginning. I do not know what is happening, but with all the protests and uprisings and revolutions that have been happening since the beginning of this year, and now with all the Occupy Wall Street protests and the 99% movement taking place, not just here in America, but around the globe, it's getting kind of hard to deny that something certainly seems to be "going on". But are the sleeping masses truly beginning to awaken -- is the sleeping giant finally rousing from its long slumber -- or is all this just more devious shenanigans and a machiavellian rearranging of the "Grand Chess Board" for the 21st Century?
Some of the more politically minded and/or conspiracy oriented people out there are saying that the Powers-That-Be are just stirring all this up in order to get better control of the planet, while the more more spiritually/mystically oriented types believe (or suspect) that we are going through a "Great Awakening" and that positive, but sometimes painful, transformations are taking place and will continue to take place. Perhaps, it is a little bit of both, and more besides. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions, but, clearly, something is going on, or as the Master of Deduction might put it, "something is afoot!" And with so many people, from every part of the planet, seeming to awaken (at least in a political/social sense) all at the same time, and with everything else that's going on in the world, at the moment, I don't see how all of this could possibly "engineered". Maybe some, but not all of it.
As far as "2012" and all that goes, back in the late 80's and early 90's, when I first started hearing and reading a little something about it, I thought there might be something to it. But as the 90's wore on, I decided that 2012 would probably just come and go like all the other "doomsday prophecies". But starting sometime last year, with certain synchronicities and personal experiences, moving into this year with the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, and all the other uprisings in the Arab world and in other parts of the globe, and then the triple whammy devastation of Japan with an Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster (which is still ongoing, by the way), and all the other thousands of 5 and 6.0+ Earthquakes that have been happening around the world in the last few years, and especially this year, Japan alone has had over 1600 earthquakes (still ongoing), most of them 5.0+, since the "big one" on March 11, and now we've recently had an earthquake, centered in Virginia, that shook New York City and pretty much the whole northeastern U.S., and more recently, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma and a bunch of other places, including Turkey, have been getting in on the action. And, of course, let's not forget Sumatra, Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, etc. Add to all this, the poles shifting, the ice caps melting, dead birds falling from the sky, dead fish washing up everywhere, mass extinctions and all the other ecological and environmental catastrophes, and the fact that most, if not all, of the ancient cultures, from every part of the planet, not just the Mayans, have prophesied or predicted major changes and upheavals and new beginnings for this general time period in history. All of this together, and now, for the first time in known human history, people from all parts of the globe are beginning to wake up and unite as one and rise up against The-Powers-That-Be --- again, it is getting harder and harder to deny that something certainly seems to be going on.
Is "The Great Awakening" finally upon us? Honestly, I do not know, and I admit I have my doubts, but all the signs seem to indicate that this might be so. And again, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about all this. I have provided some videos, in separate posts, underneath this post, that deal with these subjects, and you can take from them what you will. But whatever the realities or hallucinations about the "Occupy" movement or "2012", it is always a good idea to prepare one's soul for whatever may come.
Peace and Love be with you.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Many attempts have been made to describe the feeling of salvation which the Buddhists call Nirvana and the Hindus call Moksha. Where these descriptions are in the form of doctrines we notice that among such doctrines there is a wide variety of differences whereby students of religion are often misled. If the doctrines of Christianity are different from those of Hinduism, it does not necessarily follow that the religions are different, for more than one doctrine may describe a single state of mind, and without this state of mind the religion , as a mere collection of doctrines, has no meaning whatever; it is just as if it were a babble of unintelligent words. But doctrines differ because people have different mental backgrounds and traditions; an English person and a Chinese person may have the same feeling but they will speak of it in different ways because they are relating it to different mental contexts. It is therefore most unwise to study religion from the standpoint of doctrine as doctrine, for this is the purest superficiality. Doctrines and conceptual ideas vary as languages vary, but one and the same meaning may be conveyed by both English and French. Christians believe in a personal God and Buddhists do not, but as regards the true essentials of religion this difference is as superficial as the fact that in French every noun has a gender, whereas this is not so in English.
Therefore to extract the true meaning of a religious doctrine we must ask, "What does this doctrine mean in terms of a state of mind? What sort of feeling towards life and the universe would have caused a person to think in this way?" For religious experience is like the experience of beauty; indeed, it is akin to felling beauty in the whole of life instead of in a single picture, scene, image, or melody. Beethoven and Stravinsky may both arouse the sense of beauty, and they are quite as different in their own way as Christianity and Buddhism. The important thing, however, is that they arouse that sense; we may discuss and argue over their respective "merits" till we are blue without coming to any conclusion. It would be more profitable, however, if we could take one who feels beauty in Beethoven and one who feels beauty in Stravinsky, and then consider the varying degrees of profundity in their respective feelings. But here we should be dealing with intangible and imponderable factors that ordinary methods of criticism and discussion would be useless, and we could only judge by intuition. The same principle applies in religion, for the feeling of beauty in art or music is here the feeling of salvation. By this I do not mean freedom of moral conscience nor even the certainty of an everlasting life of bliss after death, although such things may be attained by any number of different religious systems. These elementary forms of "salvation" have much the same relation to the deeper forms as mere sensuous thrill has to the perception of beauty.
What, then, is a truly deep feeling of salvation? Insofar as this question can be answered at all, perhaps it is best to consider one of the greatest doctrines in all religion in terms of a state of mind. For this purpose the best choice is probably the Hindu or Vedanta conception of Brahman, because this is at once the simplest and the most subtle of doctrines -- subtle just because it is so simple. The same doctrine is found in other systems, but Vedanta gives it the best philosophical expression. It is that all possible things, events, thoughts, and qualities are aspects of a single Reality which is sometimes called the Self of the universe. In themselves these many aspects have no reality; they are real only in that each one of them is a manifestation of Brahman or the Self. To put it another way, the true self of any given thing is Brahman and not something that belongs exclusively to the thing in question. Each individual is therefore an aspect of Brahman, and no two aspects are the same. But man's self is much more than what he considers to be his ego, his personality called John Smith or William Jones. The ego is a device or trick (maya) employed so that Brahman may manifest itself, and man's innermost self is therefore identical with the Self of all things. Thus if anyone wants to know what Brahman is he just has to look around, to think, to act, to be aware, to live, for all that is known by the senses, thought in the mind or felt in the heart is Brahman.
In other systems of thought Brahman has many other names -- "Tao" in Chinese, and mystics the world over find similar meanings in the words "God", "Allah", "Infinite Life", "Elan Vital", "the Absolute", or whatever other term may be used. In fact, the intuition of the One Reality is the essence of all mystical religion, but few people understand clearly what it is to feel this intuition in oneself. We are perhaps more apt to think of this idea just as a metaphysical speculation, a more or less reasonable theory about the fundamental structure of life. Someday, we think, it might be possible for us to delve down into the deepest recesses of our soul, lay our fingers on this mysterious universal essence and avail ourselves of its tremendous powers. This, however, does not seem quite the right way to look at it. For one thing, it is not to be found only "in the deepest recesses of our souls", and for another, the word "essence" makes it sound as if it were a highly refined, somewhat gaseous or electric and wholly formless potency that somehow dwells "inside" things. But in relation to Brahman there is neither inside nor outside; sometimes it is called the principle of "nonduality" nothing else exists beside it and nothing is excluded from it. It is to be found on the surface as much as in the depths and in the finite as much as in the infinite, for it has been wisely said that "there is nothing infinite apart from finite things". Thus it can neither be lost nor found and you cannot avail yourself of its powers any more than you can dispense with them, for all these conceptions of having and not having, of gain and loss, finite and infinite, belong to the principle of duality. Every dualism is exclusive; it is this and not that, that and not this. But Brahman as the One Reality is all-inclusive, for the Upanishads say:
"It is made of consciousness and mind: It is made of life and vision. It is made
of the earth and the waters: It is made of air and space. It is made of light and
darkness: It is made of desire and peace. It is made of anger and love: It is
made of virtue and vice. It is made of all that is near: It is made of all that is
far. It is made of all."
What, then, is nonduality in terms of a state of mind? How does the mystic who has realized his identity with the One Reality think and feel? Does his consciousness expand from out of his body and enter into all all other things, so that he sees with others' eyes, and thinks with others' brains? Only figuratively, for the Self which is in him and in all others does not necessarily communicate to the physical brain of John Smith, mystic, what is seen by the eyes of Pei-wang, construction worker, on the other side of the earth. I do not believe that spiritual illumination needs to be understood in quite this sensational way. We shall answer the question sufficiently if we can discover what is a nondualistic state of mind. Does it mean a mind in so intense a state of concentration that it contains only one thought? Strictly speaking, the mind never contains more than one thought at a time; such is the nature of thinking. But if spirituality means thinking only and always of one particular thing, then other things are excluded and this is still duality. Does it mean, then, a mind which is thinking of everything at once? Even if this were possible, it would exclude the convenient faculty of thinking of one thing at a time and would still be dualistic. Clearly these two interpretations are absurd, but there is another way of approach.
Spiritual illumination is often described as absolute freedom of the soul, and we have seen that the One Reality is all-inclusive. Is the mind of the mystic singularly free and all-inclusive? If so, it would seem that his spirituality does not depend on thinking any special kinds of thoughts, on having a particular feeling ever in the background of his soul. He is free to think of anything and nothing, to love and to fear, to be joyful or sad, to set his mind on philosophy or on the trivial concerns of the world; he is free to be both a sage and a fool, to feel both compassion and anger, to experience both bliss and agony.
And in all this he never breaks his identity with the One Reality -- God, "whose service is perfect freedom".
From ~ Become What You Are, pgs. 64-69
By ~ Alan Watts
"You are something the whole Universe is doing in the same way that a wave is something that the whole Ocean is doing." ~ Alan Watts ~
If there is one cliche that has been constantly drummed into our ears by countless religious leaders, it is the claim that "we are all one". We hear this so often that we take it no more seriously than a soft-drink commercial. And why should we take it seriously? There is nothing in the world we see to indicate even remotely that it might be true. All over we see people jockeying for position, trying to surpass each other in money, status, comfort. One person's success means another's failure. At any given time, two different people cannot be elected president or win the Academy Award for best actress or be the richest person in the world. One man gets the girl, and the other does not. The verdict of appearances is obvious: we are not all one. Our name is Legion.
This is why, in order to understand the statement that we are one and to see if it makes any sense whatsoever, we have to go past the evidence of the senses and the world we see. To do this, we need to look into ourselves and see what we are made of -- not in terms of proteins and chemicals, but of how we experience ourselves.....
If you look into your own experience, you will soon see that it comes in two basic forms, one might almost say "flavors". There is the world of physical experience, of the outer world of the five senses, which is to a great degree public; we can discuss it and compare it with others. There is also the world of inner experience: thoughts, images, feelings, associations, dreams. This is more or less private (the dream I had last night is practically certain to be different from everyone else's). These two worlds have been given various names in different esoteric traditions. The Kabbalah calls the first world Assiyah, or "doing": the world of physical manifestation. The second is Yetzirah, or "formation": the world of images, forms, concepts. Esoteric Christianity refers to these as the body (or the "flesh") and the "soul" or "psyche", respectively. (The word in the Greek New Testament translated as "soul" is psyche).
There, it would seem, we have the totality of experience: body and soul, inner and outer worlds. In fact, modern Christianity speaks of human beings as made up of body and soul. Ancient Christianity, however, said that we are composed of three entities: body, soul and spirit. "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23). Soul and spirit are two different things: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit" (Hebrews 4:12). What's the difference between the two? If you consult even the most learned authorities in contemporary theology, you'll probably conclude that they don't know. This is a crucial distinction that has been lost in Christianity, and Christianity has never been right since.
To go back to our own experience, we can see that although experience can be comparatively easily divided between inner and outer, between soul and body, what is left out is that which experiences. If there is an "I" that can witness even its own most private thoughts and desires from a remove, this "I" must be distinct from them. This is a very subtle but very profound point. It's not terribly difficult to grasp (although it will probably be easiest for those with a certain amount of meditative experience), but it is often forgotten. This witness is always that which sees, so of course it can never be seen. "What you are looking for is what is looking", said Francis of Assisi. The Hindu Upanishads say, "You could not see the seer of seeing. You could not hear the hearer of hearing. You could not think the thinker of thinking. You could not understand the understander of understanding". Hindu philosophy identifies this witness with the Atman, usually translated as "Self". As I said in Chapter Four, the Gospels refer to it as "the spirit", "the kingdom of heaven", the "kingdom of God", and "I am". Some esoteric Christian texts, especially those of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, call it the nous or "consciousness". If one grasps this point, suddenly an extraordinary amount of what was baffling and cryptic in mystical literature of all types becomes remarkably clear.
This consciousness is not limited to humans or even to living beings but subsists in everything, no matter how apparently inanimate. Thomas Edison once said, "I do not believe that matter is inert, acted upon by an outside force. To me it seems that every atom is possessed by a certain amount of primitive intelligence. Look at the thousands of ways in which atoms of hydrogen combine with those of other elements, forming the most diverse substances. Do you mean to say that they do this without intelligence?" Sir William Crookes, a renowned British physicist of the late nineteenth century, said, "Every atom has sensation and power of movement". This does not mean that a hydrogen atom has a conscious ego like ours or even of the sort that we observe in the most primitive life forms. But under certain circumstances, the atom "knows" how to recognize an oxygen atom and "knows" how to react with it to produce certain chemical combinations such as water. From our perspective, this is mind at a very rudimentary level, but it is mind nonetheless.
We can take the matter a step further and say that this universal, all-pervasive mind is God in his immanent aspect: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being", as Paul told the philosophically sophisticated Athenians (Acts 17:28). Esoterically, this immanent aspect of God is called the "Son". The Jews of the first century A.D., influenced by Hellenistic philosophy, called it the Logos, usually translated as "Word" but meaning something more like "reason" or even "mind" -- particularly mind in its structuring and organizing aspect. Because it's also known as "I am", Christ, speaking in the person of this Logos, can say in the Gospel of Thomas, "Split the wood and I am there": what in us says "I am" is also present in everything. Christ, again speaking in the person of the Logos, also says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). This "I am" is the gateway to universal consciousness and beyond it to the experience of the transcendental Father who is the ground of all being. Such an interpretation transforms this verse from a narrow sectarian claim into a profound insight into metaphysical reality. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "If you have heard [and understood] not me but the Logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one".
Heraclitus also said, "The Logos is common to all, but most people live as if they had minds of their own". Although the Logos, mind, subsists in all things, in day-to-day experience the "I" can be, and usually is, fixed in a stance of opposition against the rest of the world. It is frozen in egotism and isolation. Vladimir Solovyov observes:
"This abnormal attitude toward everything else -- this exclusive self-assertion, or egoism,
all-powerful in our practical life even though we deny it in theory, this opposition of the
self to all other selves -- constitutes the radical evil of our nature. It is characteristic of
everything that lives, since every natural entity, every beast, insect, and blade of grass,
separates itself in its own peculiar being from everything else and strives to be every-
thing for itself, swallowing up or repelling what is other (whence arises external,
material being). Therefore, evil is a property common to all of nature."
As Solovyov stresses, "radical evil" is not limited to humans. It is a universal force, which far outstrips the petty sins of a single species on earth. This is why Paul can say that "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now" (Romans 8:22). We do not, probably cannot, know how this drama plays out in the lives of different species, on this planet and possibly on others, or in the dynamics of the universe itself. The twentieth-century French alchemist Henri Coton-Alvart daringly suggests that matter itself is constituted of the resistance of this radical evil to the light of God: "The regions whose extent is of the order of magnitude that we attribute to the atom or the neutron, or even smaller, are.... places void of light, in which nothingness, the spirit of negation, exclusively prevails".
In any event, what Solovyov calls "this abnormal attitude toward everything else" is not something that arose once in a primordial past. It occurs on a moment-to-moment basis. In humans it is largely perpetuated by the mind's own identification with its contents. There is a world of difference between having a thought and remembering that you and the thought are not the same thing. Most of what passes for waking life is in fact a kind of sleep, a half-conscious identification with the thoughts and emotions, which inevitably imply a "me" and "mine" set off in opposition to the rest of the world. (The emotions in particular are, in the esoteric Christian tradition, usually called "passions", a significant choice of words in that it emphasizes the passivity of consciousness in regards to its own contents.) As many spiritual teachers have emphasized, it is necessary to detach the consciousness, the true "I", from its contents in order for liberation to occur. This is arguably what the text from Hebrews means when it speaks of the "cleaving asunder of soul and spirit". It does not refer to death but to liberation of the consciousness ("spirit") from enslavement to its own experience ("soul" or psyche). This is why practically all esoteric traditions put such emphasis on meditation, which is the day-to-day process that makes liberation possible.
As the fixity of ordinary identification begins to dissolve, the psyche is increasingly experienced as a kind of flowing -- the "stream of consciousness" made famous by twentieth-century literature. The "I" becomes able to watch its own experience as a film unfolding before it. But then questions arise: If all of what passes for "my" experience is in itself a sort of other -- a film that I can watch from a distance -- who or what is this mind that is doing the looking? And where is the dividing line between my mind and someone else's?
That is precisely the crux of the matter. As the mind begins to dissolve its attachments to its "own" experience, it begins to regard itself not as an isolated thing but as part of a larger mind. There is no real border between this "I" and the collective "I" in which we all participate. This is sometimes known as "the I that is we".
Such, of course, is not our day-to-day experience, which is all too easily cut up into conceptual categories. Esoteric Christianity depicts the broken shards of the androgynous primordial human, huddled in coats of flesh, in the figure of Adam. The Self or true "I", the part of the mind that is capable of transcending this isolation and restoring Adam to his pristine unity, is known as Christ. "For in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:22). This theme goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, for example, in the epistles of Paul: "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Romans 12:5). "There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all..... For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all members of that body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ..... Now are they many members, yet but one body" (I Corinthians 12:6, 12, 20).
Christ in this sense does not refer to the historical Jesus, but to the Great Work of the restoration of this cosmic unity, in which each of us has a part, whether we know it or not. To quote Solovyov again:
"This body of Christ, which made its embryonic appearance in the form of a tiny
community of the first Christians, is growing and developing little by little.
At the end of time it will encompass all humankind and all nature in one
universal divine-human organism, because the rest of nature is, in the words of
the Apostle, awaiting with hope "the manifestation of the sons of God."
Whatever connection we may make between this body of Christ and the historical Jesus, it is clear that the two cannot be equated in any simplistic sense. And while "the tiny community of the first Christians" may also have played a crucial role, it is hardly likely that they initiated the process, which in all likelihood has been going on since the beginning of time itself.
The theme is in fact older than Christianity. We have already looked at the Zoroastrian myth of Gayomart. The Hindu Rig Veda (dated from 1200 to 900 B.C. or sometimes earlier) describes the generation of the universe in very similar terms. The universe comes about through the sacrifice and dismemberment of Purusha, which is portrayed in the Vedas as Man, the cosmic human, but which -- even more profoundly -- means consciousness, "the seer of the seeing", or as defined by the scholar of Indian religion Heinrich Zimmer, "the living entity behind and within all the metamorphoses of our life in bondage". The Vedic hymn says:
"The Man has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He pervaded the
earth on all sides and extended beyond it as far as ten fingers.
It is the Man who is all this, whatever has been and whatever is to be. He is the
ruler of immortality.
Such is his greatness, and the Man is yet more than that. All creatures are a
quarter of him; three quarters of him are what is immortal in heaven."
What is most radically the Self, the "I", Purusha, is nothing other than this transcendent principle known as the Christ, an idea we also find in Paul: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). Indeed, Paul's entire theology is incomprehensible without reference to this truth. Without it, one might, for example, find oneself trapped in the endless controversy about whether one is saved by faith or by works. For Paul, it is neither faith nor works that saves us but union with this cosmic Christ by realizing that the "I" that lives is the Christ that "liveth in me". What it saves us from is not the banal hell of popular imagination but the true hell of isolation from the common Life that pulses throughout the universe. In this light, we can see how Christianity may be rescued from the specious theological debates that have reduced it to a faith of scribes and Pharisees.
From ~ Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity, pgs. 134-45
By ~ Richard Smoley
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Universe is an Expression of Love
Many believe that this is an impersonal material universe, a universe that is more darkness than light, more cold than warmth, more vacuum than substance. Furthermore, many people feel that the random, isolated consciousness at the heart of each human life is endangered by vast forces that do not recognize its fragile existence.
For those with spiritual vision, however, we are living within an infinite heart. This whole universe is a manifestation of cosmic love. This whole universe was created from just a spark of love. In the Sufi tradition these words are attributed to the Creator, the Source of our being:
"I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known,
so I created both worlds, the visible and the invisible,
in order that My hidden treasure
of generosity and lovingkindness would be known."
~ Hadith Qudsi ~
This universe is an expression of love. We live in an ocean of Love, but because it is so near to us, we sometimes need to be shocked or hurt, or experience some loss, in order to be aware of the nearness and importance of love. A little fish was told that without water it could not live, and it became very afraid. It swam to its mother and, trembling, told her about the need for water. The mother said, "Water, my darling, is what we're swimming in."
I have known people to go through exactly this experience through their contact with the Way of Love. One person expressed it to me this way: "I used to believe that compassion was something within myself and other human beings, but I was not convinced that this compassion existed outside of ourselves. Our work together has made it clear that compassion is outside of ourselves and that is why we also find it within. We are living in it!"
Every being and thing is set in motion by Love
The Planets revolve around the sun, and the sun radiates its energy to the planets. Atoms are held in a delicate but immensely powerful balance by love. Every species has its own form of love or desire that motivates it. Every human being has its own unique form of love through which it approaches life. Everything is seeking union with the object of its desire. And all of these desires are the derivatives of one Love.
Perhaps this morning you wanted some Ceylon tea and fresh bread. Later you had a hunger for some soup and salad. In the evening you had stir-fried vegetables over rice, with blueberries and cream for desert. The motivation behind all of these was the hunger of the body. In the same way, Love is the motivation behind every yearning.
We believe that we love this or that, but the fundamental Love is the pure experience of Being. This Being, this isness, is the fundamental energy and substance of the universe. When we are in a state of presence, fully awake and alive, we are open to this isness, to Being, and since the essence of this Being is the Love that created existence, our experience of Being is Love.
In all of life Love is seeking to discover itself. We come into this world, and we experience a profound forgetfulness; we are asleep. Everything that happens from then on is the process of waking up to the fact that Love brought us here, that we are loved by a Beneficent Unseen Reality, and that the core of our being is Love. The whole purpose and meaning of creation is to discover the secret of Love.
The experience of love is the most fulfilling and important experience we can have, the highest of all values. We can't compare love to anything. It is its own meaning and criteria. Since everything is explained by something subtler than what is being explained, nothing can explain love because love itself is the subtlest of all things we can experience.
Love is seeking us. Love brought us here, whether we know it or not. Love nudges us to make plans, to seek relationship, to create the possibility of a meeting of hearts. It puts the pen to paper; it puts a word on the tongue. Love is not the goal of anything; it is the cause of everything.
"See how the hand is invisible while the pen is writing;
the horse careening, yet the rider is unseen;
the arrow flying, but the bow out of sight;
individual souls existing,
while the Soul of souls is hidden."
~ Rumi, M, 1303-1304 ~
The Sufis know that Love is the most active, the most powerful force in the universe. Love is always acting on us. We think we are the creators and directors of our lives, but our actions may be just the slightest visible signs of a process that is vast and invisible. We know only a fragment of what can be seen; of the unseen we know very little. Like children we are unconscious of all the forces and factors that sustain us, care for us, and guide our life and our world.
The spiritual life requires a reversal of our usual egoistic thinking and wanting. We believe that we are seeking, but what if it is Love itself that is the seeker? Rumi says:
"Abundance is seeking the beggars and the poor,
just as beauty seeks a mirror.....
Beggars, then, are the mirrors of God's abundance,
and they who are with God
are united with absolute abundance."
~ Rumi, M, I, 2745, 2750 ~
The idea that we live in Love's Universe may seem a sentimental and naive proposition to some people. Why then do we live in a world of such injustices and horrors?
Life brings us very real suffering, and this suffering can be the cause of some doubt about the beneficence of life. Often, when we are in the midst of our suffering, we cannot see a purpose in it. We may lose our trust in the meaning of life. The soul faces a critical choice at this point: whether to be embittered by reality or allow the pain of life to reorient us to a deeper truth, to help us form a connection to a reality beyond space, time, and even beyond our individual selves.
The idea that we live in a universe created by love is anything but sentimental and naive, because it does not deny the pain of life but embraces this complex reality with all its contradictions. We see that we are turned from one feeling to another and taught by means of opposites and contrasts.
"He alone has the right to break,
for he alone has the power to mend.
He that knows how to sew together
knows how to tear apart:
whatever He sells,
He buys something better in exchange.
He lays the house in ruins;
then in a moment He makes it more livable than before."
~ Rumi, M, I, 3882 ~
Sometimes we need to be shocked out of our complacency and indifference in order to know the reality of love. We need to find a way to restore the proper perspective. We need to be reminded of the centrality of love.
Without becoming passive, we can stop resisting and submit to Love. We begin to see the infinite power of love as the greatest cause in the universe, and little by little we begin to serve it. Eventually, we begin to see that even a bitter drink is sweet when it is from the Beloved.
Knowing that Love is the master of the universe helps us to accept and learn from every experience. Knowing that there is an eternal dimension residing here in intimate association with material existence will begin to free us from fears. When we are less governed by negative thoughts about God's creation, we will be freed from many fears.
The human being is God's beloved
The human being is the macrocosm, not just the microcosm, of the universe. While in outward form a human being is the microcosm, a miniature universe, in truth, according to the masters and prophets, humanity is the macrocosm, the cause of the existing universe.
This subject is being debated today in cosmological physics. It appears to those who have done the necessary calculations on the formation of the universe that if you were to change any one of the physical laws one iota, there would not be a universe that could support the human being -- nor would there be a universe at all. It appears to those who have looked carefully that the universe was virtually designed to create the human being.
Maybe this is what Mevlana Rumi means when he says the fruit is the cause of the tree, not the other way around. In the simplest terms, the gardener planted the tree in order for it to bear fruit. How many fruits are on a tree? How many trees are within the fruit?
God says: "I created the whole universe for you and you for Myself" (Hadith Qudsi).
Every human being is the creation of love and a beloved child of the universe. And every human is free to turn his or her back on love.
"Water says to the dirty, "Come here."
The dirty one says, "But I am so ashamed."
Water says, "How will you be made clean without me?"
~ Rumi, M, I, 1366-67 ~
The more we live in our individual sense of isolation, loneliness, alienation, in our envy, resentment, pride, and shame, the more we allow this love to be obscured.
If we attempt to go this way alone, we will find only our own ego. God loves us to be together. God is us-with-us and doesn't like loneliness. Trying to attain truth through books alone is like trying to fall in love with a picture. We cannot at first fall in love with something we don't see. But if we meet the divine love in others who have melted in that love, if we stay close to those who have understood this love, then we begin to sense the Love behind all the forms of love. We enter spiritual work and spiritual community so that love might be more revealed and known, less obscure.
Something has brought us together, established the relationships of our lives, and there is a reason for this and a reason behind the reason. Among other things it is our purpose to discover the reason and explore what connects us. An infinite Intelligence has arranged our situation, and that infinite Intelligence is certainly not you or I, although it operates through you and me. We are here to be in communication with one another and to explore the mystery of Love. It is Love that has arranged all this. It is Love that brought us here. We are here to open a space that Love can enter and be more known, more apparent, more understood. if we can keep this intention in mind -- opening a space for Love -- it will help us stay aligned with its power.
From ~ The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation, pgs.40-45
By ~ Kabir Helminski
To read the whole chapter, go here: http://sufism.org/articles/loves-universe-by-kabir-helminski-2
Gamble everything for Love,
if you're a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn't reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.
Don't wait any longer. Dive into the ocean, leave and let the sea be you. Silent, absent,
walking an empty road, all praise.
~ Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi ~
[* I am re-posting this slightly revised piece in honor of Rolling Stone's wisdom in naming Jimi Hendrix "Best Guitarist in History". Congratulations, Jimi, on the honor you most assuredly deserve. But I must strongly disagree with their choice for #2; it should have been Jimmy Page, not Eric Clapton, or such is my opinion. And for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Hendrix's music and message is just as relevant today, if not more-so, than it was when it was first written over 40 years ago. So, wherever you are Jimi, thanks for everything and Godspeed.]
"I had heard the music of the Gnostics in all sorts of unexpected places. I had heard
strains in Romantic poetry, I had heard it in Rimbaud, I had heard it in the music of
Debussy. I felt the presence of a 'golden string' which I followed through the occult
philosophies of the Renaissance, and among the Cathars of the twelfth century -- I
had seen it in the visionary paintings and engravings of William Blake, in the music
and sayings of John Lennon, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix -- so many scattered
sounds and voices resonating through the centuries. Searching for Gnosis was like
searching for myself. I knew this melody from somewhere far away."
From the Introduction to, The Gnostics
By ~ Tobias Churton
The 1960's saw the rise to prominence of two popular musicians, both of whom can be identified as being part of the Gnostic stream -- among others, of course -- whether as neo-troubadours or as Gnostic visionaries. In searching to the heart of the poetic life, these men (though not by any means alone) uncovered and expressed classical Gnostic archetypes. Insofar as their vision coincided with the yearnings of a new generation, they became leaders and, in the sense of the Hebrew term nabu (one who overflows), prophets. This was often to their dislike -- no true prophet desires this appalling mantle. Their ecstasies and despairs became a light for a lost generation, a generation drowning amid the welter of new money and materialistic grasping that they intuitively sensed aimed to overwhelm them with false promises of a better life.
These men were young. Their names were John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix. Their lyrics and music continue to exercise a great fascination on the minds of musicians and listeners across Europe and America. I could fill the following paragraphs with quotations from the works and interviews of these men to justify their place in this story. But I am convinced that those who know will know and those who do not may seek for themselves.......
John Lennon's interest in spirituality and, in later life, the Gnostics, whom he regarded as the true Christians, is now well known, if rarely reported.......
[ In his brilliantly funny surrealistic collection, Skywriting by Word of Mouth (published in 1968), he wrote a chapter entitled The Mysterious Smell of Roses:
"It's the same with the Christians (so called). They're so busy condemning themselves
and others, or preaching at people, or worse, still killing for Christ. None of them
understanding, or trying in the least, to behave like a Christ. It seems to me that the
only true Christians were (are?) the Gnostics, who believed in self-knowledge, i.e.,
becoming Christ themselves, reaching the Christ within. The Light is the Truth. All
any of us are trying to do is precisely that: Turn on the Light. All the better to see
you with, my dear."
From, The Gnostics, pg. 162 ]
Dave Henderson's droll book about Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), 'Scuse Me Wile I Kiss the Sky (1978), revealed the depths of Hendrix's spirituality. It is the signal quality that prevents so many other guitar virtuosos from equaling or surpassing his musical achievements. His intuitive Gnosis, reinforced by a number of spiritually minded friends and contacts, led him to a sense of his own visionary role:
"We're in our little cement beehives in this society. People let a lot of old-time laws
rule them. The establishment has set up the Ten Commandments for us saying don't,
don't, don't. Once you say "don't" you've made two points against yourself.
Then all of a sudden kids come along with a different set of brain cells and the
establishment doesn't know what to do. The walls are crumbling and the establishment
doesn't want to let go. We're trying to save the kids, to create a buffer zone between
young and old. Our music is shock therapy to help them realize a little more of what
their goals should be.
The soul must rule, not money or drugs. If you can do your own thing, just do it
properly. A guy can dig ditches and enjoy it. You should rule yourself and give
God a chance..... Definitely I'm trying to change the world. I'd love to..... My goal
is to erase all boundaries from the world.
We're making our music into electric church music -- a new kind of Bible, not like
in a hotel, but a Bible you carry in your hearts, one that will give you a physical
feeling. We try to make our music so loose and hard-hitting so that it hits your soul
hard enough to make it open. Rock is like a young dragon until the establishment
gets a hold of it and turns it into a cabaret act with the patent-leather shoes and the
Jimi Hendrix's "establishment" clearly fulfills the exact psychological role of the Gnostic archons, the grim rulers who are afraid of the bright-light spirit of free humans. Hendrix, above all the rock giants, was an intuitive, relying very little on learned or book culture. His rebellion has something almost angelic about it:
"There's no telling how many lives your spirit will go through -- die and be reborn. Like
my mind will be back in the days when I was a flying horse. Before I can remember
anything, I can remember music and stars and planets. I could go to sleep and write
fifteen symphonies. I had a very strange feeling that I was here for something and
I was going to get a chance to be heard. I got the guitar together 'cause that's all
I had. I used to be really lonely.
A musician, if he's a messenger, is like a child who hasn't been handled too many
times by man, hasn't had too many fingerprints across his brain. That's why music is
so much heavier than anything you've ever felt."
Hendrix, like his predecessor the poet Blake, felt that everyone ought to be able to hear the spiritual voice, but the little flashes were constantly switched off by negativity -- a negativity encouraged by the fraudulent and dominating materialism he discerned all around him. He looked to the cosmos for fraternity. At moments like that, he would become almost prophetic, as during an interview with the poet Jim Brodey for the Los Angeles Free Press, wherein he declared he was trying to move "toward a spiritual level through music":
"There really are other people in the solar system you know, and they have the same
feelings too, not necessarily bad feelings, but, see, it upsets their way of living for
instance, and they are a whole lot heavier than we are. And it's no war game because
they all keep their place. But like the solar system is going through a change soon
and it's going to affect the earth in about thirty years, you know.
There's no whole lot of religions. Just one link because there's only a few chosen
people that are supposedly to get this across; the chosen people, in the process, are
now being distracted and they are drowning themselves...... In order to properly save
them, they've got to take a break from people."
Hendrix was talking about himself. He did not favor violence:
"Like someone is going to have to go back to his childhood and think about what
they really felt, what they really wanted before the fingerprints of their fathers and
mothers got ahold of them, or before the smudges of school and progress...... Most
of them are sheep. Which isn't a bad idea. This is the truth, isn't it? That's why we
have the form of Black Panthers and some sheep under the Ku Klux Klan. They are
all sheep and in the beginning they were following a certain path."
Hendrix believed that the solution to our problems lay in getting back to a consciousness of our spiritual origins.
Thus spoke the "wild man of pop" who lived so long ago.
From ~ Gnostic Philosophy: From Ancient Persia to Modern Times, pgs. 398-401
By ~ Tobias Churton
"It's not as though you're hearing a man playing a guitar with his hands; you feel as though you're hearing a man's soul, period, not even attached to an instrument."
~ Lenny Kravitz speaking about Hendrix ~
Message to Love
By ~ Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys)
I travel at the speed of a reborn man.
I got a lot of Love to give
from the mirrors in my hand.
I've got a message of Love, don't you run away.
Look in your heart, baby, come on along with me, today.
Well I am what I am, Thank God.
Some people just don't understand.
Well help them God!
Find yourself first,
and then your tool.
Find yourself first,
don't you be no fool.
Here come's a woman wrapped up in chains.
Messin' with that fool, baby,
your life is pain.
If you wanna be free, come on along with me.
Don't mess with the Man,
he'll never understand.
I said, find yourself first,
and then your talent.
Work hard in your mind,
and then come alive.
You better prove to the Man
you're as strong as him,
'cause in the eyes of God,
you're both children to him.
Everybody come alive.
Everybody live alive.
Everybody love alive.
Everybody hear my message.
Power to Love (Power of Soul)
By ~ Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys)
Shoot down some of those airplanes you've been driving,
especially the ones that fly too low.
Shoot down some of those airplanes you've been driving,
especially the ones that fly you too low.
Come on back down to Earth, my friend,
come on back'up with me.
We've all been through the nite time, babe,
now let's reap the waves of reality.
With the power of soul, anything is possible.
With the power of soul, anything is possible.
Playing too much with one toy
tends to lead into the foggy.
It's so groovy to float around sometimes,
even a jellyfish will tell you that.
I said, floatation is groovy and easy,
even a jellyfish will agree to that.
Yeah, but old jelly's been floatin' so long and so slack,
Lord, ain't no kinda bone in his jelly back.
Floatin' every day and every night is a risk,
sometimes the wind ain't right.
By ~ Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys)
tearin' my body all apart.
tearin' my body all apart.
Evil man make me kill you.
Evil man make you kill me.
Evil man make me kill you,
even though we're only families apart
Well, I pick up my axe and fight like a father, now.
(You know what I mean)
Hey, and your bullets keep knockin' me down.
Hey, I pick up my axe and fight like a father, now.
Yeah, and you still blast me down to the ground.
The same way you shoot me down, baby,
you'll be goin' just the same,
three times the pain,
and your own self to blame.
Hey, machine gun.
I ain't afraid of your mess no more, babe.
I ain't afraid no more.
After a while, your cheap talk don't even cause me pain.
So let your bullets fly like rain.
'Cause I know all the time you're wrong, baby,
and you'll be goin' just the same.
Yeah, machine gun.
Tearin' my family apart.
Yeah, tearin' my family apart.
(My apologies for the above video having 3 min. cut off at the end, but it's the only live footage of this song and this performance that I could find. I had a full length version with better sound and visual quality in my original post, but, like the 2 videos above this one, "someone" made the user remove them from YouTube and I had to replace them.)
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) / In From the Storm
By ~ Jimi Hendrix
Hey, baby, where are you comin' from?
Well, she looked at me and smiled, and looked into space,
and said, "I'm comin' from the land of the New Rising Sun."
Then I said, "Hey, baby, where you tryin' to go to?"
Then she says, "I'm gonna spin and spread around peace of mind,
and a whole lotta love to you and you.
Hey girl, I'd like to come along!
Yes, I'd like to come along!
"Would you like to come along?", she asked me.
Yes, take me along right now!
Hey, baby, can I step into your world for a while?
"Yes, you can", she said,
"come on back with me for a while,
we're gonna go across the Jupiter sand
and see all your people one by one.
We gotta help the people out, right now,
that's what I'm doin' here, what I'm all about.
Hey! Yeah! May I come along?
May I come along?
May I come along?
Please take me!
In From the Storm
Well I, I just came back today.....
I just came back from the storm.
I said, I just came back, baby,
I just came back from the storm.
Yeah, from the storm.
Well, I didn't know it then,
but I was sufferin'
for my love to keep me warm.
It was so cold and lonely, baby,
The wind and cryin' blue rain were tearin' me up.
Oh, tearin' me up.
I wanna thank you, pretty baby,
for diggin' in the grave and pickin' me up.
Thank you so much!
It was a terrible rain that was burnin' my eyes'
It was you, my love, who brought me in.
I love you so much,
I'll never stray from you again.
I just came back, baby,
I just came back to get my baby on her way.
This planet is, to put the matter baldly, populated and largely controlled by domesticated primates who are not in all respects reasonable men and women. Voltaire may have been exaggerating when he said that to understand the mathematical meaning of infinity, consider the extent of human stupidity; but the situation is almost that bad. Millions have been murdered by stupid leaders or stupid mobs, for stupid reasons, in every century; and the bizarre (accidentally imprinted) reality-tunnels which make this possible continue to rule and robotize us.
Nor is stupidity the exclusive possession of one group or another, you do not need a "vocation" for it as you do the priesthood. It seems to be a contagious socio-semantic disturbance which afflicts all of us at one time or another. Notorious examples can be found in the lives of all the great. As we have already mentioned, an exact measurement of the extent of human stupidity among the learned is provided by the fact that every scientific revolution takes one generation. Elderly scientists hardly ever accept a new theory, however good it is, and the revolution is only completed when a second generation, free of the old imprints, with vulnerable neurons, imprints the new reality-map.
But if science, "the paradigm of rationality", is infested with enough stupidity to cause this general one-generation time-lag, what can we say of politics, economics and religion? Time-lags of thousands of years seems to be "normal" in these areas. Indeed, it was through contemplation of religious history that Voltaire was led to his conclusion that human stupidity approximates to the infinite. The study of politics is hardly more inspiring. Let us just summarize the matter by saying that stupidity has murdered and imprisoned more geniuses (and more ordinary people), burned more books, slaughtered more populations, and blocked progress more effectively than any other force in history.
It may be no exaggeration to say that stupidity has killed more people than all the diseases known to medicine and psychiatry.
Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point. Bigotry, ideologies etc. block the ability to receive; robotic reality-tunnels block the ability to decode or integrate new signals; censorship blocks transmission.
If intelligence could be increased, obviously solutions could be found more quickly to the various Doomsday scenarios threatening us.
If each scientist working on the energy-resources problem could double or triple his or her intelligence, work that would require 20 years might be done in six.
If human stupidity in general decreased, there would be less opposition to original thinking and new approaches to our old problems, less censorship and less bigotry.
If stupidity decreased, less money would be wasted on vast imbecilities such as the Arms Race, and more would be available for life enhancing projects.
There is nothing rationally desirable that cannot be achieved sooner if rationality itself increases. This is virtually a tautology, but consider the corollary:
Work to achieve Intelligence Intensification is work to achieve all our other sane and worthwhile goals.
Maurice Nicoll, physician, psychiatrist, student of Jung, Gurdjieff and Esoteric Christianity, wrote that "the only purpose in work on consciousness is to decrease the amount of violence in the world". This is Public Health Problem Number One in the nuclear age, the age of overkill.
We are not talking about a mere increase in linear I.Q. -- third circuit semantic cleverness. We are talking of also the kinds of right-brain intelligence that Nicoll acquired from Jungian neurogenetic research and Gurdjieff's metaprogramming techniques. We are talking of say, Beethoven's intelligence, which so disturbed Lenin, who could not bear to listen to the Appassionata (Sonata 23) because it made him want to weep "and pat people on the head, and we musn't pat them on the head, we must hit them on the head, hit them hard, and make them obey". More of Beethoven's intelligence is needed, desperately, to create a signal that the current Lenins cannot ignore, that will make them weep and stop hitting heads.
We need more mentations, less munitions. The second-circuit mammalian political games are a million years obsolete.
In summary, Intelligence Intensification is desirable, because there is not a single problem confronting humanity that is not either caused or considerably worsened by the prevailing stupidity (insensitivity) of the species: badly wired robots bumping into and maiming and killing each other.
Intelligence Intensification is attainable, because modern advances in neuroscience are showing us how to alter any imprinted, conditioned or learned reflex, that previously restricted.
Intelligence Intensification is hedonic, because the more freedom and consciousness you achieve, the more you want; the less willing are you to slip back into dumb, blind, mechanistic circuits.
Intelligence Intensification can accelerate our progress toward abolition of war and poverty; find cures for cancer and schizophrenia; achieve space migration and life extension (giving us space enough and time enough to achieve even more cosmic levels of awareness); or accomplish any other worthwhile goals.
Like death and poverty, stupidity has been around so long that people cannot imagine life without it, but it is rapidly becoming obsolete. However many special interests groups (intelligence agencies so-called, advertisers, tyrants, clergy, etc.) may profit from stupidity, humanity as a whole will profit more from its abolition.
From ~ Prometheus Rising, pgs. 253-257
By ~ Robert Anton Wilson
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The real power of the faculty of attention, unknown to modern science, is one of the indispensable and most central measures of humanness -- of the being of a man or woman -- and has been so understood, in many forms and symbols, at the heart of all the great spiritual teachings of the world. The effects of advancing technology, for all the material promise they offer the world (along with the dangers, of course) is but the most recent wave in a civilization that, without recognizing what it was doing, has placed the satisfaction of desire above the cultivation of being. The deep meaning of many rules of conduct and moral principles of the past -- so many of which have been abandoned without our understanding their real roots in human nature -- involved the cultivation and development of the uniquely human power of attention, its action in the body, heart and mind of man. To be present, truly present, is to have conscious attention. This capacity is the key to what it means to be human.
It is not, therefore, the rapidity of change as such that is the source of our problem of time. It is the metaphysical fact that the being of man is diminishing. In the world, as in oneself, time is vanishing because we have lost the practice of consciously inhabiting our life, the practice of bringing conscious attention to ourselves as we go about our lives. All the cliches about "be here, now" aside, the fundamental fact is that, in ways we cannot imagine, the key to living the values we prize -- freedom, moral will, compassion, common sense and far-seeing wisdom -- depend on the exercise and development of the uniquely human capacity to free our attention from its "capture" by the impulses of the body and the imaginings and automatisms of the mind and emotions. In the world as in oneself, everything depends on the presence of humanness -- in oneself it depends on the presence, even if only to a relative degree, of the Self, the real I am -- and in the life of the world it depends on the presence of people who have and can manifest this capacity to be, or even only who wish for it and who come together to learn from each other and to help each other for that purpose.
Where are the people?
To ask where are the people is to ask where is the soul of the whole of humanity? Where are the men and women of being and genuine honor? The metaphysical fact -- and such facts exist; they are properly called cosmic laws -- is that the vanishing of time in our lives is the result of the progressive diminishing of the inner life of people, not only our individual inner lives, but the inner life of humankind as a whole. Where are the people? That is, in the whole of contemporary life, where are the men and women who understand how to search for what is objectively good and true and who understand how to call the rest of us to that search and that way of life? Just as I am not present in my body and my life, so authentic humanness seems to be disappearing from the body and the life of humankind as a whole. Where are the people?
Some years ago I was walking in downtown San Fransisco -- in the financial district -- with a great friend, a learned Tibetan scholar who was helping me translate one of the most beloved sacred texts of Tibetan Buddhism, The Life of Milarepa. My friend had lived a long time in North America and was a frequent visitor to the United States. He was a layman, married and a father; he did not hold religious office and was not materially supported by a religious community. He had to make his way in the same world as the rest of us; he wore neither the robes nor the social "armor" of a lama or a guru. One sensed in him the depth of Asian wisdom uniquely joined to the raw experience of the conditions of modern, Western culture with all its shocks and temptations, all its psychological, social and financial pressures, its tempo, its brilliance and its darkness. He was outwardly and inwardly a man who lived in and between two worlds -- one an ancient, spiritually determined society and the other our own culture with its progressively diminishing understanding of the being of man.
We were discussing the Buddhist idea of what it means to be a human. One of the most compelling expressions of the Buddhist notion of humanness concerns the rarity of the event of being born into the world of human form, in contrast to the other forms of existence that Buddhism recognizes: animals, plants, denizens of hell, "gods", "goddesses", "angels" and "demons" of all kinds. In the symbolic realism of the Tibetan tradition human beings occupy a uniquely center place in the whole cosmic scheme, precisely intermediate between the "gods" (who themselves are victims of "higher" illusions) and the ghosts and denizens of the lower worlds. In this central cosmic place, containing within himself all the impulses and forces of all the worlds, man alone has the possibility of working to escape from samsara, theendlessly turning cycle of illusion and suffering.
I was asking my friend about one of the most striking ways that the Tibetans express the uniqueness of the human condition. Imagine, they say, that deep in the vast ocean there swims a great and ancient turtle who surfaces for air only once every hundred years. Imagine further that floating somewhere in the ocean is a single ox-yoke carried here and there by the random waves and currents. What are the chances that when the turtle surfaces, his head will happen to emerge precisely through the center of the ox-yoke? That is how rare it is to be born as a human being!
In the middle of our conversation, I pointed to the crowds of men and women rushing by on the street and I gestured in a way to indicate not only them, but all the thousands and millions of people rushing around in the world. "Tell me, Lobsang," I said, "if it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?"
My friend slowed his pace and then stopped. He waited for a moment, taking in my question. I remember suddenly being able to hear, as though for the first time, the loud and frenetic traffic all around us. He looked at me and very quietly replied, "How many human beings do you see?"
In a flash, I understood the meaning of the story and the idea. Most of the people I was seeing, in the inner state they were in at the moment, were not really people at all. Most were what the Tibetans call "hungry ghosts". They did not really exist. They were not really there. They were busy, they were in a hurry. They -- like all of us -- were obsessed with doing things right away. But right away is the opposite of now -- the opposite of the lived present moment in which the passing of time no longer tyrannizes us. The hungry ghosts are starved for "more" time; but the more time we hungry ghosts get, the more time we "save", the hungrier we become, the less we actually live. And I understood that it is not exactly more time, more days and years, that we are starved for, it is the present moment. Through our increasing absorption in busyness, we have lost the present moment. "Right away" is not now. What a toxic illusion!
It is clear that there is less and less in our culture to help us remember what it means to be a human self, to have being in our presence -- inwardly to allow another, immeasurably finer sensitivity, another Self to "arrive" within and behind our thoughts, feelings and actions. To ask where are the people is to ask where are the influences, the reminders that can call us back to what we are meant to be inwardly -- to remind us that without inner presence our life in time will pass us by as though we never existed. Where are the ideas, the art, the literature, the science, the religion that can call meaningful time back into our lives? Above all, where are the people who can carry to us such ideas, such art, literature, science and religion, people who show us by the quality of their own lives, by their actions and "emanations", that it is possible to live a fully human life within the life we are obliged to live in this era with all its demands and constant change? Where are the people who demonstrate the metaphysical meaning of virtue and honor and love -- that is to say, their roots in the level of our being, rather than only in words and purported rules of conduct?
From the Introduction to, Time and the Soul: Where Has All the Meaningful Time Gone --
and Can We Get It Back?, pgs. 6-11
By ~ Jacob Needleman, PH.D., Foreword by John Cleese (yes, THE John Cleese)