Thursday, January 30, 2014

Number One Hundred and Four

From the first day of life there is one plan for us -- to learn.  We learn from breaking; from feeling lost, untethered to the "whole."

The dark comes, early or late.  We learn from walking in it, knowing the morning will not come again in this life.  The plan was to learn by breaking -- the pain held, carried this long way by some ferocious miracle.

Number One Hundred and Three

Hell was invented by priests to earn power over the flock.  The devil is no more real than dragons or gargoyles.  Yet while Dante's mythical inferno was scaring Christians back to church, the spiritual disease that makes hell on earth was a runaway plague in Europe.  That disease is the belief in good and evil.  It is the dense and heavy fabric of judgment, separating souls from each other.  And locking them in a prison of anger, contempt, and violence.  Judgment dehumanizes; strips souls of beauty and worth.  Right-wrong, worthy-unworthy -- each judgment is a brick in the walls of our own self-made Hades.

Number One Hundred and Two

Accessing deep wisdom, gathered over many lifetimes, is a spiritual skill.  It involves listening to atman -- the part of our soul that remains in the spirit world during each incarnation.  Each choice -- even early in life -- is made either by listening or not listening.

Listening starts with waiting, and not acting.  Waiting for the impulse -- whatever it is -- to pass.  Waiting to see what lies behind each drive -- the fear or the desire.  At the moment of impulse, we access atman by entering the quiet place, the wise place.  Letting the feeling rise and fall.  Listening for the whisper of what we have always known.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Number One Hundred and One

Aloneness has a Janus character. One face seems grounded and content; the other full of fear, watching the specter of an empty universe. Being alone -- strong and content -- depends on being able to hear the oceanic connection to "the whole."  When we hear only silence, or the thrumming of an inchoate world, the aloneness is empty and frightening.

It's as if we were out to sea, trying to catch the sounds of a ship-to-shore radio.  At times voices can be heard, and we know we are somehow connected.  Then we get nothing but squeals and static.  In truth we choose what we listen to.

Number One Hundred

There are three kinds of desire: Authentic desire is any wish or seeking that is in alignment with spiritual values -- particularly connectedness and universal consciousness. Authentic desire leads the soul toward the work it came here to do.

Venial desire is the pursuit of simple pleasures -- without significant negative consequences.  It's enjoyment for the sake of enjoyment, a sweet indulgence in what our senses give us.

Compensatory desire seeks experiences that mask, numb, suppress, or control pain.  It often takes the form of addiction or compulsion.  Its role in suppression makes it reinforcing and hard to give up.  This desire seeks without concern for outcomes.-- the damage to body, spirit, and relationships.

Identifying the type of desire is critical to mindful decision making.

Number Ninety Nine

A personal god is a concept, a human invention. Consciousness is god. All of it. Consciousness creates  conditions to provide for its own learning and growth. It creates each universe so that universe can, in turn, shape and advance consciousness.

Number Ninety Eight

The highest spiritual purpose is not insight, not letting go of the body or things of this world.  It is not piercing the amnesia inherent in each return to physical life.  It is, rather, the awareness of the spiritual choices built into each moment.  The choice to listen, to have compassion, to attend, to be open, to know and feel the pain, to do what connects, to say the deepest truth, to do good. Mindfulness, at the most practical level, is about paying attention to now so the spiritual choice can be recognized, and sometimes taken.