Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Qigong master projecting his chi energy



I have begun taking a Qigong class to bring more health to my body and immediately felt positive changes especially with my rotator cuff. Yesterday when I was doing an expansion and contraction of the chi ball or energy ball it became so fun as my arms would expand without any effort and the compression was like pushing on a pillow. It is meditation in motion.

Angelic Human Race

Johnny Cash - God's Gonna Cut You Down

Little Drummer Boy



I cannot listen to this song without crying in joy. Just like Krishna or Shiva, Jesus takes whatever we give with devotion and returns it a thousand fold.

Tuvan Throat Singers - Huun Huur Tu



Years ago when the Tuvan singers first came to the States I had the pleasure of seeing them. The music felt so familiar to me. Mind blowing!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

*Quantum Physics* The Reality As You Know It Does Not Exist



What is real? I love how quantum physics really takes us to a place of not knowing more about the world we live in, but to the realization that we cannot truly know anything. Ramana Maharshi extolled his students to hold onto what one can only be certain about, and that is that there is a sense of existence or I-ness. And to do that one follows a self-inquiry of: who am I? Then one watches from whence the thoughts arise, until one is established in the Silence of the origin and destination of every thought. The mind finally shuts up in its habitual screaming that it knows what is really going on. All is Great Mystery.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine



This is perhaps my favorite Christmas song. I first heard it many years ago when I was living in Australia. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Playing with Krishna


This morning I played Frisbee with Krishna. Well, not exactly Frisbee, but with his chakra. In the dream I was having some difficulty accommodating one of our teenagers (no surprise there!), who was naturally rebelling. While I was going through this, a thought came to me from Krishna (in dreams you just know) that it was all right that my child was doing this because there needs to be separation from the parents so they can find their own path. But then there was a kind of gentle warning that whatever we give to Krishna he will throw it back, with perhaps a little more zing to improve our skill. And that was when I saw these thoughts take form into Krisna throwing his disc. And the thought came that since everyone is Krishna then whatever we throw at anyone, whether thoughts, words or deeds, all will come back to us in perfect reflection. And then my wife woke me up to go to church.

In reflecting upon this dream I feel that the message was that no matter what we need to do to find our path, no matter how challenging it might be to others who want to keep us the way they want us to be, we must do it, but with the remembrance of doing it as gently as possible. For after all, he will throw it right back at us. In the book Siddartha, Siddartha complains to his friend, Vasudeva, about his son leaving him; and his companion reminds him that he has no right to stop his son from choosing his path, and, anyway, Siddartha had done the same to his father.

Another important message of the dream was it was another reminder how powerful is the chanting of mantras. Yesterday, I was composing a simple Hare Krishna song on the guitar, and a few days before that I was telling a story at a storytelling swap about a time when I was chanting Hare Krishna when I was rescuing a man from his assailant, where I was enclosed in a bubble of protection (another story). I have had many dreams where I was saying the mantra (more than any other mantra or divine name) and powerful events would occur.

Hare Krisna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna
Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama
Hare Hare

May you recite the sweetness of God’s many Names upon your journey.

JANAKA'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER--DECEMBER


Where?

Where to find truth
in this world gone mad?
Where to find refuge
from the crushing of the wheel?
Where to find peace
in this whirlpool of frenzied activity?
Where to find happiness
in this place of beckoning phantom forms?

It is in the Silence
amidst the relentless screams.
It is in the center
of the spinning wheel.
It is in the eye
of the raging hurricane.
It is in the I
of the Eternal Self.



Hello friends, family and associates,

While much of America begins preparing for Christmas and the holidays by waiting in lines on Black Friday and surfing the web on Cyber Monday, there is another way of making ready to receive the darkest part of the year. And it is Nature herself that gently calls for us to follow her. As the leaves continue to fall and reveal the skeletons of trees, and the garden plants withdraw back into the soil, the bare foundations of the Earth is revealed. It is her way of disrobing to allow us to glimpse her naked glory, her contours, her foundations.

Yet we are not separate from her. She is our self calling for us to do the same. While the shouts of the world want us to wrap ourselves up in the throes of shopping, pushing through the crowds of garish malls, to drive around the blocks in quest of parking spaces (taxing our parking angels to their limit), she calls us to the silence and hush of snow-clad fields. And to gaze into the long-growing crystalline nights and see the celestial images looking down. No matter what faith one has, or doesn’t have, there is a magic at this time when one goes into this inevitable darkness, willingly, to come to that virgin silence that awaits everyone. When one touches that Silence one changes, because the ever-birthing Consciousness, the I AM, can look out of one’s eyes, and with blossoming heart, look out onto the world.

Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a great story of the descent into the darkness, descending past his fearful habits of his separated ego, and emerging from his heart and finding his true place on the earth, realizing that his happiness lies in the whole and not by constricting his actions to only himself.

May everyone have a joyful holiday, however you spend it, and give yourself a few precious moments to find the Infinite Child within you.

As Tiny Tim says: God bless us, everyone.

Janaka

EVENTS

A couple of weeks ago and old friend from the Bodhi Tree days and storyteller, Michael McCarty, came up to Santa Rosa to tell tales at the a Tellebration event. It was great to hear his stories and to meet the storytelling community up here. There is a storytelling swap the first Tuesday of the month where the public is invited to attend and tell a tale (see my website for details). There you will find me. I just landed a storytelling gig and will be telling "Tales from Around the World" at the Santa Rosa Central Library on March 12. I am on the lookout for more storytelling venues--birthdays, spiritual gatherings, libraries, etc. My storytelling repertoire and resume can be seen here.

I have started A Course in Miracles study group that will meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. For those of you who do not know this amazing work, it is a non-dualistic course about forgiveness and remembering your eternal divine nature. The meat of the course is a workbook of 365 lessons to help one change one's perception of reality: from that of individual bodies that are born, age and eventually rot, to seeing that all of creation is moving upon the unified foundation of Love. Over 20 years ago I began this course and I experienced the Grace that was promised, and still do. It is a very practical curriculum. The group is open, so if you would like to learn more about it let me know.

ARTWORK

More artwork has been posted at my Janaka's Art Studio at http://www.janakasart.artfire.com/. I would love to hear your input about my work. And remember that I have found a good source for making affordable good-quality prints, for those who cannot afford the originals. Remember the holidays and support the arts. With every original painting you get one of my books of your choice.

Attached are images of the three most-viewed works of my studio. Thanks to my brother I have a new camera for which to shoot my finished current work, soon to be posted when I get some sunny days to shoot the pieces. This past month I have done some portraits, one of which is one of Johnny Cash. I saw a great photo of him and had to do my impression of it. His music is a family favorite here, especially Aiden's (my 5-year-old boy). I actually let him add some color to the work as he is becoming very deliberate in his artistic endeavors.

WRITINGS

If you would like to see some of my writings visit my blog, Triliving: Celebrating Truth, Beauty and Goodness (http://www.janakastagnaro.blogspot.com/). And if you do visit, do leave a comment please. While I can see that people are viewing it from all over the world, very few people take the time to leave a comment. At this point I would almost welcome the inane commentary that one typically sees posted under Yahoo articles...well, maybe not. I have a lot of great videos posted on it, many are thanks to sharings by Facebook friends. Also, if anyone would like to read my manuscript of The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death I would love your opinion. I want to get that book published; it has been in cyber gestation for too long. If you are interested I will send an attachment.

Please give me your feedback on this newsletter. Anything else you would you like me to cover? And if you want off the list just press Reply and message No Thanks. And if you like this newsletter and my work, please pass this on. Your support is invaluable.

Peace

Offering to the Community:
Fine Art; Tarot Readings, Meditation and Spiritual Guidance; Inspirational Books; Storytelling

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cyber War and the Need for True Communication


Cyber war wages across the internet as hacker supporters of WikiLeaks attack prosecutors of Julian Assange. To the hackers it is a battle of keeping the internet free of government control, although now I am afraid the FTC will use this as an excuse of needing more control. As one who uses the internet to disseminate my views out into the world I certainly want freedom of expression, with no one telling me what is appropriate or not. After all, I know there are many who would find what I said as wrong. But when I stand with founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow, and say that attacking anyone for their views goes contrary to freedom of expression, I hope I am not attacked by these freedom hacksters.

My stand with WikiLeaks is this: I agree there needs to be independent outlets, free of government or big-business media, where whistle blowers can go to. Otherwise the shadows of government, corporations and powerful individuals will not be brought to the light. However, just as there is Right Speech, which is: Is what I am about to say kind, true and helpful; so there should be right speech on the internet. To release all information is like someone just telling it like it is, no matter what the consequences. Yet a lot of harm can be done with that manner of expression. There are needed secrets at times in all businesses, agencies, and with families. Otherwise things may be revealed too soon, taken out of context; something might have been said when the person was out of balance, in depression, in anger, and in balance the same person may have regrets over it. Why should they be held in a noose over it? Who has not said anything they later regretted?

It will be interesting to see how this war turns out. Like most wars, opposing sides will not see things as they really are, but will see acts, statements and such as symbols, rallying points to justify continued attack. In war all perspectives become polarized of us versus them. In this conflict it is the battle between freedom and form, the individual versus government. Yet both sides have their perspective that is legitimate. It is like the left brain fighting against the right brain. We need both to be a balanced humanity.

I hope peace will be remembered. And to have peace one must stand in the shoes of the other to see from their perspective. Hell, this is really all about communication. What is communication? It is communion. It is coming together in union. That is how we form community. And the community I want for my family and for all the world is community where all viewpoints are acceptable, that there be diversity and not my way or the highway.

Peace,

Janaka Stagnaro

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Lord's Prayer and Commentary


The other day I was attending, for the first time, the Episcopal Church around the corner from where I live and we began to recite the Lord’s Prayer. And as I was reciting this famous, holy prayer, thoughts about the non-dualistic aspect of it began to race through my head; however, I had no time to actually reflect on each word but to take it in as a gestalt, to be latter reflected upon. So here it is. Is this the right interpretation? Of course not. It is just another perspective of how one reaches Awareness of God, or All That Is, or Whatever you want to call That which is the Source and Administrator of Creation and is beyond and unaffected by Its Creation. The God I speak of is beyond all words or attempts of the created mind to define the Indefinable.


Our Father, Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy Kingdom come
Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
And deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever
Amen

Our Father, Who art in Heaven

The use of Father dates back to the post matriarchal time, where the male impulse on the planet held sway, for whatever evolutionary needs humanity needed at the time. Today, there is the need for the male and female impulse to be equally honored and thus utilized, in both humanity as a whole and with each individual. I prefer, instead of the appellation Father, Mother/Father God in honor of Unity. Regardless, using a paternal name is in recognition that all of us are created by the Creator. In the Hindu tradition there are many aspects of the Divine that one can focus on: some will focus on the Mother, some on the Father, others on the Friend, the Child, the King or Lord. Yet by keeping the Father aspect as the Point of Reference, there is an important reason why it is wise to do so. The masculine aspect has the propensity to be able to be emotionally uninvolved or become one-step-backward in a situation. Just go to a playground and you will see a different reaction by parents when their child becomes hurt. In a generalization, the mother races over and holds the child to her bosom, while the father looks dispassionately to see if the child is really hurt or not. To reach Heaven there is a dispassion that is needed. If one takes everything personally one is simply entertaining the egoic mind, which is the little mind of separation. He did this to me and made me unhappy. This happened to me and now I am happy. Both of these attitudes are the same, for both have outside circumstances affecting how one feels. Now traditionally, worshippers of God the Father have seen Him as a deity in some faraway place called Heaven. However, from a non-dualistic perspective Heaven is a state of Unity Consciousness. It is not anywhere “out there” but “in here”; and since it is found inwardly, then, consequently, it is found out there. You have to go inside to the place of happiness that is untouched by any external circumstance. When that happens then everything is Heavenly because God is everywhere. If you look for God somewhere first, then God cannot be found, because God cannot be confined by anything corruptible, by anything that is being altered by time. “Seek thee first the Kingdom and everything will be added onto you,” the Master said.

So in a nutshell the first line says:

Rest in your Heart, where God resides, and look not outside yourself.

Hallowed be Thy Name.

In the beginning the Word was with God and was God. There are many ancient traditions that recognize the power of speaking God’s Name. In the Hebrew tradition, the Name of God is seen as so sacred that the true name cannot be uttered. Yet in other traditions uttering God’s name either aloud or inwardly is seen as invoking God’s Presence, and to keep a focus on God’s Holy Name is a way of keeping the mind anchored on the Infinite instead of the temporal. That is why one should not call God’s name in vain because then God’s Name is dissipated in a sense as to its special significance. But does it really affect the power of God’s Name and thus, subsequently, God? Not in the least, for nothing of the temporal can affect the Infinite, no more can a drop of water stop the tides of the ocean. I was initiated by a Holy Mother, Sri Karunamayi, with the Saraswati Mantra, where the Divine Name was written with honey upon my tongue, as a reminder that the tongue was created to speak sweetly of Divine things.

Speak God’s Name with reverence.

Thy Kingdom come

What comes must go, Ramana Maharshi reminded those who came to him speaking of visions and states of Consciousness. In other words, do not fixate on anything that is temporary but only on That which has always been and always will be. Yet in our linear way of looking at reality, with past and future, we have a tendency to look forward to things to come, that salvation awaits us at some distant time. But if Heaven is our salvation or freedom from suffering, the only place and time that is true and not fleeting is the Present, in the Here and Now. In the Hindu tradition Heaven, or swarga, is simply a level of consciousness where gods/angels and saints reside, but is seen as something that is not to aim for. It is simply a place where one’s merits are rewarded. It is not freedom, which entails residing in Awareness of the Permanent. I had a dream where Jesus told me that not only must I renounce hell but Heaven as well. In other words, abide in the Eternal that is beyond all levels. And didn’t Jesus tell his disciples and anyone who would listen to hear the good news, for the kingdom of God was at hand? Heaven was already there, it was just there awaiting those with eyes to see.

However, we live in a time where a level of Consciousness is rising, when we are beginning to see that our needs are found in the other, where a new paradigm is being created where the past paradigm, where survival of the fittest held sway, is passing away. It is a wondrous vision to hold onto and to invoke into matter, for that is the type of world that I would like my children to grow up in. Yet again, when my eye is single and I look into the world, then this Kingdom is not a future state but is already here, for everything and everyone shines in a holy light. That holiness is always here, for God’s holiness is true and cannot become truer. It is or it isn’t. And since we are all created by God, and God can only create like Himself, then we are all the same Essence of God, for Father and Son are One.

May you see Heaven here and now.

Thy Will be done

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is very clear about this, that God’s will cannot be denied, and what God Wills is that His Son be as He is. God wills that His Son be happy, powerful and one with all of creation. It is done. It has been accomplished the moment the Son was created in the likeness of the Father. And there is no power that can usurp what God wills for there is nothing outside of God who is All That Is. What is outside of God is not real or true, for only God the permanent is True. What is outside of truth is nothing but a shadow and cannot affect God’s Son or Creation. That is why the voice of the ego, or Satan, which is nothing more than the thought of separation from God, a thought of believing one is only a body that is born to rot away, was told by Jesus to “get thee behind.” One does not follow a shadow because then one is not moving to the sun of Truth. Walking to the Light one’s shadow lies behind. When one is facing the sun, is one concerned with the shadow, those petty whisperings of a delusional mind? Know the Truth of your nature and be done with the falsehood of the ego.

Trust that God wants you to be happy.

On Earth as it is in Heaven

God is everywhere. There are no gaps of the omnipresent Lord, or God is not omnipresent. Just like when I play with my 5-year-old and I put on my “impenetrable force shield,” no matter what super weapon his mind conjures, since my force shield is impenetrable than nothing can penetrate it. The power of logic! My first teacher cast me out to the “outer rim of darkness” when I would not surrender to him—he who claimed to be THE Son of God. I was very distraught at the time and felt like Cain cast out from the Holy of Holies. But then God had different ideas and sent a little old lady to my side with an invitation to her home in Canberra, Australia, where she held ACIM study group. It was then that I was reminded that I am as God created me and can never get outside of Him, for I eternally dwell in Him, and He in me. I went back and confronted the teacher and told him that he had no power over me. I have also come to realize that the earthly pleasures and sufferings have no power over who I really am. At first upon my Spiritual journey I tried to fight against the worldly ways to become more holy. But the Earth has no power over Spirit and when one is united in awareness with God then all of Earth has God in it. Just as Quantum physics is revealing to our modern minds that there is nothing that is solid, that all is energy, and there is no separation between the observer and observed. We are not separated from the Earth, but we are separate in our awareness holding onto the idea that there is a world out there where we can become happier or miserable. So God’s will is for all of us to awaken to the fact that God is already here. This is the good news. We do not have to wait until we die to reach Heaven. And by being aware of God’s Presence then we create a Heavenly realm of co-creation.

Let joyous creation flow through you.

Give us this day our daily bread

Why bread and not our dream house or car or whatever it might be? We don’t need much, no matter what the commercials tell us. The American dream is nothing but a nightmare if that is your goal, your focus. It will only be emptiness in the end. If you look at the American culture where we work and work and work, both parents toiling away from home, the children being cared for by institutions, where is there time for quiet reflection, for listening to the presence of God who whispers: “How Holy is my Child.”? But we are so busy we do not hear and so we live meaningless lives. Look at St. Francis and how he took up the ways of the Master and lived so simply and brought our attention to God’s creatures whose needs God provides without exception. It is not holier to live a simple life, but it is easier to maintain. A Buddhist rule is to not have more than you can manage with a peace of mind. Some people are more adept at juggling many things—I am not. So I live pretty simply. I have tried to teach my children the very hard lesson that needing is not the same as wanting.

All that you need God will provide.

And forgive us our trespasses

We don’t need forgiveness from God for God sees only Himself—sees only the Truth. The separated mind of the ego believes that we can somehow usurp our divine inheritance in time and diminish the Eternal. How nonsensical. We are forgiven for we have been given our divine eternal Essence. “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Of course they knew not what they did, for they thought they could actually kill the Son of God. But believing that they were bodies killing another body it reinforced the idea of body identification. Guilt is a great veil that covers the lamp of Love within us. It cannot extinguish it; only hide it from our Awareness. The Holy Spirit, according to ACIM, is the voice of forgiveness, reminding us that we are not bodies and that we are forever in God.

Know that God sees you as innocent, as you are created by Him.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

The Holy Spirit gently blows a cool breeze upon our brothers when we ask to see past the temporal event that has seemed to have caused us pain, and seek to see the Christ in the other. What we give, so we receive. If we give the gift of forgiveness, not against a wrong, but for our misperception of not seeing the Beloved in our brother, then we receive the Awareness of Christ within. The Eternal cannot be touched by a little piece of time. Forgiveness is the bridge to Truth. Real forgiveness is not seeing someone who has done wrong to you and you magnanimously relieve them of their guilt. To see in such a way says what happens in time is real and can affect Spirit. To be born into Spirit is to know that nothing of the world can touch you. When Francis forsook his rich father and all his inheritance he said to him that he was born again into Spirit and had only one Father. The Great Spirit.

May you see the Christ in your brother.

And lead us not into temptation

What is temptation but believing that something out there can cause my Eternal Spirit, that is forever united with my eternal happiness, to be either less and more than it is. Temptation of focusing my attention on the temporal, instead of the infinite, just causes me to lose my Awareness of the truth. In a dream I watch dream characters do their thing, whether good or bad. There is usually a character I identify as me in the dream, but there is always a watcher of the dream, like one watching a movie. The watcher is never bothered by the activities of the dream characters, for it knows it is but a dream. Sometimes the me in the dream becomes the watcher and knows it is but a dream, and then the dream becomes a wonderful experience and can be altered to reflect the joy of that discovery. Temptation is just believing that our lives are what we are. And that in itself causes great mental suffering. Because believing in this body-dream death cuts us down like lambs to the slaughter. When the Watcher enters our Awareness, death is no more.

So should we just act in anyway we want to? No. There are actions that reinforce the idea of separation from our brother and from God. All religions give us guidelines how to act to help us come back to that Awareness. The only problem with some of these guidelines is that they become gods in themselves and people worship them instead of the Spirit behind them, and are used to justifiably judge one’s neighbor as well as oneself. There is really one simple rule, and the simpler the better—act in love. Be kind. Be filled with gratitude. See your brother’s need as yours. That is Love.

Let Love guide you in all your actions.

And deliver us from evil.

There certainly seems like there is evil in the world. Just look at the news every night. And your mind will certainly whisper constantly that something bad most likely is going to happen, for look how the world has been. The future follows the roots of the past. But when the mind is present and abides in God and hears the reminders of the Holy Spirit, evil does not exist. ACIM talks about the revelation. And the revelation is just that: The world is innocent. When you look upon the world, when that light of grace shines from your eyes, you will see that nothing has ever happened to the son of God, to you, to anyone. It is the most freeing experience in all the world, for it comes from beyond the world. Evil is just believing in what the senses tell you. Victor Frankl describes his revelation on a march when he was a prisoner in Auschwitz and he saw the clear glowing image of his wife: “Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, ‘The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory....’” Victor was delivered from evil, although he still suffered under the hands of his captors. But he became free.

May you see all actions with the eyes of Christ.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen

I guess there is some controversy as to this last line as it is said that originally it was only the power and the glory. I do not want to go there. What this says to me, regardless, is for us to recognize that God is the only Power in our lives and the more we recognize and have gratitude for God then we are able to manifest it in our lives in a glorified way. God dwells in our Hearts most and when we follow the urgings of our heart we give God glory. This power, being free of the world, can do anything. There are no laws but God’s, is a lesson in ACIM. There is no disease that cannot be cured, there is no dream that cannot be lived, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. ACIM talks about the true Creation, or the true kingdom of God, that is being manifested now and forever. You may think of this true creation as being in another dimension, a higher frequency to the one that we generally exist in with our dense judgment-oriented existence. Yet it is a dimension that we can glimpse in exalted states of mind.

May you express God’s power in all you do, in creating a beautiful world.

********



The Holy Spirit’s Prayer

Rest in your Heart, where God resides,
And look not outside yourself.
Speak God’s Name with reverence.
And may you see Heaven here and now.
Trust that God wants you to be happy.
Let joyous creation flow through you,
And all that you need God will provide.
Know that God sees you as innocent,
As you are created by Him.
May you see the Christ in your brother.
Let Love guide you in all your actions;
And see all actions with the eyes of Christ.
May you express God’s power in all you do,
In creating a beautiful world.

Amen. OM.


--Janaka Stagnaro


Matisyahu Performs "One Day"



I love how in America you can have an Hasidic Rastafarian. Matisyahu grew stronger in his Jewish roots by listening to Reggae. Go figure. May One day may there be no more war!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mindfulness and Meditation Work for Depression


The following is an article I read on Yahoo today. It is refreshing and encouraging to see more and more of the Western health community recognize the importance of meditation and mindfulness. From a spiritual perspective, depression is simply too much of 'me' or ego. Focus becomes so much on one's self--a self that is seen as separate from All That Is--with the mind blasting away with reinforcing thoughts, that it creates a hopeless, fearful state. A pressed down heaviness. When one centers more on one's breath, for example, or upon a mantra or affirmation, then one will be able climb out of the worri-so-me vortex.


Therapy Works for Depression

by Amanda Chan, My Health News Daily Staff Writer LiveScience.com


Meditating daily and being mindful of life events that make you happy or sad may be as effective as taking medication to prevent a relapse of depression, a new study suggests.


By undergoing what is called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, people can learn how to meditate and pay attention to emotional triggers, said study researcher Zindel V. Segal, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada.


"When you do that, you gain better control over cognitive emotions that can trigger relapse without you being aware of it," Segal told MyHealthNewsDaily.


Antidepressants provide chemicals that impact brain regions involved in depression. Research shows that only about 40 percent of people in remission for depression adhere to their medication regimen, Segal said.


The new finding suggests that mindfulness therapy could be used as a substitute for or addition to medication, Segal said. However, "if someone is on an antidepressant, coming off needs to be decision made with a health care professional," he said.


The study was published in the December issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.


Effects of reflection


Researchers studied 84 people ages 18 to 65 who had taken medication to treat their depression over an eight-month period, and were in remission. The researchers divided them into three groups: one continued taking medication, one underwent mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and one had their medication slowly replaced by a placebo.


"All of these patients received treatment through a hospital, so this is something that was conducted with mental health professionals keeping track of them continuously to detect possible relapse," Segal said.


After 18 months, 38 percent of people who'd learned to meditate had relapsed, according to the study. Forty-six percent of people in the medication group relapsed, and 60 percent in the placebo group relapsed.


Because of the way the results were analyzed statistically, researchers could not conclude whether the difference between the meditation and the medication groups was due to chance, Segal said. But they could show the improvements in both of those groups over those taking the placebo was not due to chance.


The mindfulness therapy consisted of eight weeks of group training sessions, during which patients learned how to monitor their thinking patterns. They were taught to change their automatic reactions to triggers for sadness, and instead use those times as an opportunity to reflect on their feelings, Segal said. They were also taught to come up with an action plan with strategies for coping with early signs of relapse.


After the training sessions, the patients were required to set aside about 40 minutes a day for meditation and mindfulness exercises, he said.


"If you had depression triggers," Segal said, you might turn your attention instead to the fact that "you enjoy eating your food, and that you walk outside and it's a bright sunny day."


Seeing results


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be a good alternative to medication for multiple reasons, Segal said. Although the therapy sessions cost money, the maintenance after those sessions - daily meditation and being mindful of depression triggers - doesn't cost a dime, he said. Maintenance medication, on the other hand, is an ongoing expense.


Pregnant women and people who don't like the side effects or don't want to constantly be on medication may also want an alternative to maintenance antidepressants, said Elizabeth Robinson, an assistant psychiatry professor at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study.


By teaching someone a new skill, they have something they can carry over with them, "whether they continue taking medication or not," she said. Robinson teaches mindfulness-based cognitive therapy classes in Michigan and sees results in her students first-hand.


"What you see with people is they take a different look, their perspective on their personal experience shifts," she said.


Beyond dealing with depression, meditation can help people find different ways of navigating relationships, Robinson said.


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is only available in large cities or places with large medical presences. Segal is researching ways to make the therapy available to people in remote communities, possibly over the Internet.


Pass it on: Health care providers could provide information about meditation as an option to their patients who don't want to continue taking antidepressants to prevent relapse, a new study suggests.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gregg Braden on Curing Cancer using our own Technology of Emotion



Gregg talks about this hospital in China that uses no medicine! They have practioners who are basically witnesses of the patient, feeling in their hearts as if the woman is already healed. This is very similar to Science of mind treatments as well as what A Course in Miracles ask us to do. It is not focusing on the ailment, but on the healing that has occured. The power of the unified field of Love.

First Contact - Barack Obama (Galactic Federation of Light Annoucement i...



While this is happening, this invitation to expand our humanity past our planet, there is still the xenophobia that is very prevalent and fostered by such fear-mongering movies like Skyline, which not only tells us to be very afraid of the ETs but also to fear the Light. Ultimately, we all need to hold the Light in our hearts and expand to help one another and see no one as an alien but view all as brothers and sisters, whether of this world or beyond. There is only One.

Creative Meditation - God, The Fountain Of Happiness And I, The Soul, Da...



A beautiful creation of music and art.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!


A great counterbalance to the madness of the malls. How powerful is sacred music!

Christmas Time


The following is an excert from my book, "Footprints Along the Shore of an Incoming Tide." I wrote it years ago when I was living in the wild swirling energy of Los Angeles. When I returned from my work with the Peace Corps in Cameroon and subsequent travels around the world, I arrived in America just around Christmas time. The culture shock I experienced, as I watched my fellow Americans run around in the frenzy of buying, was overwhelming. And I left again and went traveling some more in search of a sane place. Of course I never found a sane place until I found the sanity within me, the realization that happiness only comes from within our Divine Nature. Still there are some places on this planet where the simplicity of living is perhaps more conducive to that realization of inner happiness.
So while the pull here in America is to buy, buy, buy and rush around in traffic and add to the stress of completing the shopping list, give yourself some moments of quiet, away from everyone, and just listen to the Silence that awaits in the darkness of this time. And be Present.


Christmas Time

Outside in this city of images of Los Angeles, the world swirls about in madness in this time of celebrating the birth of Spirit and inner Peace. All of Nature, in this time of the longest night, reminds the humans to quiet one’s life and look inside, to make room for contemplation. But in this city, and all the cities of this land, the bright lights of advertisement signs pull us away from traveling upon our breath into the cradle of our souls. And to the malls we run.


O fools, run you hither and tither
To buy things that will only fade away.
With smiles and bright packages
You give gifts that will last
As long as a thought.

You scurry around
Like rats on a warehouse floor,
Cursing and fighting each other
Over crumbs you plan to give with love.

Review your gifts
And see what you wish to get.

What promotion might you receive?
What appeasement of a familial should?

What does the Master give
At this time of celebrating
The birth of the Master?

Nothing more important
Than the blessing of a smile.

Why does the Master smile?
For he sees things as they really are.

He smiles at himself.

Under the heavy foot of time,
As gifts break
Or are torn asunder
Or crumple into tangled shapes,
The smile of the Master never fades.

Why should it fade
When the Master is safe from time?

Smile.

Smile with the knowing of who you are
In the Peace of the Spirit
Of this day.

Go into the quietude
Of the cavern of the Self
And know the Truth.

There is no one to give a gift to;
No one from whom to receive.

Be your Self.
Free from the rampage of time.

And smile.

Smile upon your Self.
And thus smile upon the world.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Greg Goode – Nondualism in Western Philosophy (Part 1)


The following is an excellent article by Greg Goode. The original article can found at http://nondualityamerica.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/nondualism-in-western-philosophy/.

This is a series of pointers to how the Western approach can assist with one’s self-inquiry. It is less a historical survey, and more a collection of Western views that might serve as tools for inquiry, along with suggestions on how these tools might be used. The conclusion consists of a practical, forward-looking dialogue. I haven’t included every philosopher in the Western tradition to have written something that might be considered nondual. Instead, my choices are pragmatic. I’ve chosen the writers I have found most helpful in skillfully deconstructing the classic dualisms that seem to block people doing nondual inquiry.


So for example, the well known Heidegger and Nietzsche are not covered, though they wrote several things that can be helpful. Yet the lesser known writers Brand Blanshard and Colin M. Turbayne are covered, as I find that readers may regard their approaches as helpful.

Nondualism


Nondualism is an experience, a mode of existence of the self and world, and a metaphysical view about reality. As an experience, it is a sweet, nonobjective sense of presence, of borderlessness, and lack of separation. As a mode of existence of the self and world, it is said to be a matter of fact. As a metaphysical view, nondualism holds that reality is not composed of a multiplicity of things. This seems vague, and it is because beyond this point, the varieties of nondualism disagree. If reality is not a multiplicity of things, is it then just one thing? Or less? Just what is reality? Some nondualists say that reality is awareness. Some say it is voidness. Some say it is a net of jewels, where each jewel is composed of the reflections from all the other jewels. And some nondualists say that the nature of reality is that it has no nature.

What’s Wrong with Dualism Anyway?


So why is nondualism a goal? Does it feel better? Is it more true?


Most of the philosophers who write on nondualism argue that dualism falsely claims to be an accurate picture of our experience. They also argue that it causes suffering. These are two slightly different approaches.


Nondualism’s “false claim” argument challenges dualism’s claim to correctly represent reality. Dualism claims to be a view about how things really are, but when the view and its presuppositions are looked into, they are found not to be in accord with our experience. Our experience, say nondualists, is truly without borders, edges or separation. Therefore, the notion that the world is made up of divisions between self and other, good and bad, here and there, past and future, does not make sense. We only seem to experience these divisions. These divisions do not really exist, so we do not really experience them. Nondualism, it is argued, can correct the misinterpretation of our experience and restore our original wholeness.


Nondualism’s “argument from suffering” has to do with dualism’s effects – dualism leads to suffering and misery. Nondualists feel that a dualistic and divided experience of the world results in feeling separated (separated from what we take to be external objects, other people, the world, etc.). Feeling separated leads to feeling finite and vulnerable. It leads to suffering. This can be alleviated: a deep intuitive understanding of our nondual, unbroken experience is the end of the experience of separation. Therefore it is tantamount to the end of suffering.

Nondualism East and West


Eastern and Western approaches to nonduality reflect the more general differences between Eastern and Western approaches to philosophy. Eastern philosophy is most often pursued within the context of the Eastern spiritual traditions. Western philosophy can occasionally be found within Western spiritual traditions, but it is much more active outside them.


Eastern philosophy has very strong nondual traditions, which include Taoism, several forms of Buddhism, and Advaita Vedanta (the nondual extension of Hinduism). These traditions are also explicitly “soteriological.” That is, their purpose is to resolve the big questions of life and death, and to alleviate suffering. The experiential resolution of these matters is regarded as liberation or enlightenment. And the philosophies themselves are illustrated by hundreds of stories in which teachers assist students on their quest.


Western philosophy was originally practiced in a very similar way. “Know thyself” was inscribed on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in ancient Greece. Practiced famously by Socrates, philosophy was engaged as a sort of care of the self, or an investigation into the way the self and world exist. The philosophies of the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Skeptics, and Boethius were avowedly therapeutic. But after the 18th century, philosophy became more and more academicized; it was removed from practical, personal and transformational use. Western philosophy’s goal became to discover the grounds of scientific truth and the limits of mans’ ability to know it.


Western philosophy became more a scientific than a salvific enterprise. These days, there is not a generally accepted goal in Western philosophy corresponding to liberation or enlightenment. Whereas Eastern philosophy is practiced in temples and ashrams, Western philosophy is studied in libraries and academies. The West has most often left its life-and-death questions to the churches, cathedrals, synagogues and hospitals.

Western Mysticism . . .

To continue go to  http://nondualityamerica.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/nondualism-in-western-philosophy/.


Greg Goode has been a philosophical counselor since 1996 and has extensive experience with online consultation. As a philosophical counselor, Greg is nationally certified by the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, trained by Prof. Lou Marinoff, author of the well-known Plato Not Prozac! and by California State University, Fullerton’s J. Michael Russell —a true pioneer in the philosophical consultation movement.


Greg is a well-known innovator for having combined the ancient “direct-path” method of self-inquiry with modern electronic media. Nondual inquiry includes the powerful teachings of Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana Buddhism. Greg studied Advaita Vedanta through the Chinmaya Mission, Sri Atmananda, Jean Klein, and Francis Lucille. He studied the Mahayana teachings of Pure Land Buddhism through Jodo-Shinshu, and studied Chinese Middle-Way Buddhism through the lineage of the pre-eminent scholar of Chinese Buddhism, Master Yin-Shun of Taiwan, P.R.C., author of The Way to Buddhahood.


All text herein copyright Greg Goode, 2007. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this monograph may be reproduced in any manner without prior permission from the author.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ramana Maharshi - When The Mind, Turning Inward

Self Inquiry is the most powerful method of going to the Source of One's Nature that I have found upon my journey. It is a practice that can be done anywhere, anytime. I AM THAT I AM. Nothing else needs to be discovered.

Sanskrit Chant - Gayatri Mantra

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Caravan of Souls--


Last night I attended a “Caravan of Souls: From Jerusalem to Cordoba” presented by Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe. If you ever get a chance to hear the sublime music of these devout and exceptional musicians, do so. Her voice sent me back to the great cathedrals, to the call to prayer, and to the chanting at the temple. The true beauty of their program was going to the Unity behind the three great religions of Jerusalem through poetry and music. With such wings the cutting sword of the intellect of scholars and fundamentalists are sheathed in devotion. Here are two prayers sung by Catherine.

My heart welcomes all forms:
It is a meadow for gazelles, a monastery for monks,
A temple for idols, the Kaaba of Mecca, and the tablets of the Torah.
My religion is love,
Wherever love’s caravans go, I follow.

There is no God but God.
--Ibn Arabi

In Te Sum

When you are in my vision, I am in the light
When you are in my heart, I am virtue
Your clarity, your witness, your incarnation in me.
When you are in the body, I am without limit
When you are in the soul, I am like a child
Your mercy, your patience
Your simplicity in me.

Your wisdom, your universality
Your omnipotence, in me
In you I am, only in you.

Give what I cannot give
Do what I cannot do
Love what I cannot love
Sing what I cannot sing

In you, I am…

The evening took place at the Numina Center at the Incarnation Church in Santa Rosa. What I really enjoyed about last night was that the music was swathed in silence. It was prayer. The music and the verses arose out of silence and fell gently back in. It was only at the end when there was a standing ovation for Catherine and Joseph.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Day Before Disclosure (Part 1/7) FULL [HQ]

This is one of the best movies about this phenomenon of UFOs. The basic message is that we are moving into a new paradigm of becoming aware of a cosmic consciousness. We are on the threshold of a staring face to face with a great mystery and science can move a great step forward by taking this subject seriously. Here in America especially UFOs are seen as something just out of Hollywood. The media gives little attention to it at all. However there are so many credible witnesses, military, police, intelligence, scientists and others that are coming forward now that perhaps we are near full disclosure by the U.S. government. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Julian Treasure: Shh! Sound health in 8 steps

A great talk on the importance of sound. Since we are basically sound, as everthing created is vibrating and thus making sound, chanting and reciting mantras is such a powerful tool. I have experiened in the dream state the direct effects of mantras, such as flying while uttering sacred names or finding protection against dark entities. And, of course, there is Silence. Julian states that the Elizabetheans see music as embellished silence. Nice. And lets get out of "Schizophonia," isolated from each other by the walls of headphones, and I would ad cellphones, as well.

Everything Is Energy

Cosmic Consciousness :: Above and Beyond :: Indonesia

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moby - Natural blues Live & Lyrics

Elections without the Ego


Hi, This week Americans will elect hundreds of legislators for both houses of their Congress. In the American press there has been much interest in whether President Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, will be stopped by the opposing party in Congress. And the media has further commented on the enormous amounts of money being spent on attack ads, which do not inform voters but simply slander the other candidate.Some Americans have been asking, "What does this have to do with me and my standard of living?" For those of us on a spiritual path, a more important question is, "What is this doing for my state of consciousness and what does this have to do with the Present Moment?"In a word, the problem is the ego, for the ego always stands by its intractable position, "The Present Moment? I'm against it." The real party of "no" in American life is not the Republicans, but the ego with its incessant rejection, criticism, self-absorption and non-cooperation. Doesn't that describe the tone and intent of this campaign season?What can we do to improve the quality of our consciousness when the news media is showing us people from opposite sides shouting at each other? It doesn't matter if it's Republicans and Democrats in America or protestors on the streets of Paris criticizing changes in the French retirement age. All of it comes from ego, who's mantra is: "I'm against it. What ever it is, good, bad or otherwise,... I'm against it."If we are to build a better world representative of the Power of Now, we must realize that that world is created moment-to-moment in the Now. The Now has no agenda, the Now has no opinions, the Now is direct access to Truth and the evolutionary impulse of the universe. If we want true representation in our governments, we must first embody those qualities which build consensus, cooperation and progress.As long as we're "against this" or "against that", we are doomed to the suffering of the ego as expressed in the Pain Body of attachment to the past and idealizing the future.Inside the infinity of the present moment lies infinite possibility. Let us all help each other from the inside out to create nation states of consciousness that resolve the dualism of opposing forces.Let us celebrate and seek repose in what is inside the power of silence that dwells in each conscious being. That still, quiet voice has all the answers, including how to govern.We will change our nations, our governments and the world for the better by a slow but steady process. The agent of this change is consciousness itself. Your consciousness.Improving the quality of your consciousness, by living more and more in the present moment, is the most powerful act of social activism you can offer to your community, your country, to humanity.On election day, and every day, be a beacon of Presence. It will make a difference, not only within you, but around you.~ Eckhart Tolle http://www.opraheckhart.com/

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Alex Grey - WorldSpirit (Art Only - 1/6)

Alex Grey is one of our greatest mystical artists. His work both shocks our vision and reveals the dynamic colorful energies of our Essence.

HALLOWMAS



Hallowmas

earth-dried bones--
roots begin to speak;
barren trees like fingers bent,
ground-ward pointed;
gnarled oak women spent.

footfalls silent on leafy paths;
tombstone names forgotten
beckon from the past;
dust bowl of eyes descend, unseen,
molded into owl’s dreaded mask.

drums echo to composted beats
while brooms sweep hidden piles;
skulls drop primeval clues;
from hinge-less doors, whispering--
ancestors stomp into view.


Happy Halloween Everyone

Today is the day that the ancestors say is the thinnest between the two worlds, the world of the spirit and the world of the living in a dense body. It is a time of honoring those who went before us, who we no longer see but dwell in the memories of our hearts. It is a day that can be a powerful reminder to leave our lives to its fullest, to live our dreams before we become an ancestor; instead of a day of celebrating Hollywood and pop culture and children gathering all the high corn fructose they can get. So light a candle to our friends and family in remembrance, and let this day be a day of holiness (hallow-ness) and not one of horror.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

First Communion


For the past month or so my family and I have been attending our neighborhood Episcopalian church called the Incarnation. My wife was raised Catholic but has not attended mass for years as she has had too many irreconcilable differences with the Church being as she is a most independent woman. I have had little relationship with organized churches except for the church of Religious Science by Ernest Holmes, and that was due to the church in Pacific Grove, Pacific Coast Church, having a strong connection to the teachings of the East, which I am most familiar and comfortable with. We started attending this church as a need for a spiritual community, a sangha, especially for my boy to have. I have found that this church, with its emphasis on inclusion and acceptance of the fact that everyone has their own unique relationship with God, where questioning is encouraged, allows us to feel right at home. At first, we had wrongly assumed that one had to be an Episcopalian to come up and take the Eucharist, but we found out that Communion here was an open table, that all were invited, even, as I am, not baptized.
So this past Sunday my wife and I walked up to the altar to take the Host. I invoked my friend, St. Francis, to walk beside me, who has been my bridge to Jesus the Christ (along with the teachings of A Course in Miracles). It has been a long time since I have participated in such a Christian ritual; in fact, I have shied away from churches all of this life. So in a sense, I was walking up there as an act of forgiveness to the church (all churches) for all the suffering that has been done by them in the name of Jesus and God, so I can see past such egoic, fearful actions and see the Christ that resides in all bodies, whether in an individual or in a group. Father Matt, the rector of Incarnation, told me that everyone is free to approach the Eucharist with any belief. So I took the communion as literally having the Divine descend upon my tongue, just as years before a holy woman from India, Karunamayi, wrote the Saraswati mantra upon my tongue with honey. To have the Godhead upon one’s tongue is something not to take in vain. The Buddha called for Right Speaking. To speak rightly is to speak truth, yet only if it is helpful, needed and or kind. It is also to speak consciously. When one speaks consciously one speaks less. So that was what I invoked and affirmed for me to do, to speak rightly.

So that was my first taste of Communion. And though I do not need any ritual to remind me of my infinite connection with All That Is, I am looking forward to the next time I kneel before the altar and hold out my empty hands.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oneism - Oneness fundamentals of Oneism and Noetic Science at Oneism.org



Well done! Yes we are all energy, and thus cannot be destroyed, only moving from various forms. Hold onto that thought and be free!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Desert Spring

The following is one of my parables from my book, Silent Ripples: Parables for the Soul. It was one of the stories I read the other night at a book signing at the Luminata Bookstore in Monterey. I hope you enjoy it. May we always remember the Eternal Spring.

THE DESERT SPRING
In the midst of the Great Desert lived two tribes of people. Both were nomadic in nature and continuously traveled across the arid landscape, from oasis to oasis.

Although each tribe considered themselves nomads, it was in truth not by choice. For you see, each oasis was very fragile because the waters in each were limited. Thus, instead of living at an oasis until it ran dry, thus destroying it as a place of shelter for the future, in their wisdom they would move on.

Yet, it was forever the quest of each tribe to find an oasis that could sustain them over many years, without the threat that the waters would run dry.

Then one day the tribe that claimed to be the oldest, the first, came upon an oasis large enough to hold a thousand tribes, full of tall fruit-bearing trees, where colored birds sang sweetly in their boughs, and beasts lay quietly in their shade.

And there in the middle flowed a deep spring of crystalline waters.
When the sultan of the tribe beheld this jewel of the desert he knew it must be the oasis spoken of in their legends.
When his people had set camp the sultan went to the Spring and gave it an offering in thanksgiving.
And a voice came from the Spring and said:

“You are welcome, man, and all of your people. This place is for your people and all people, as well as for every living thing, to find refuge from the anger of the heat, to drink deeply the peace of my waters.

“And whether it is but one mouth or the mouths of every living thing upon this earth, never fear for the loss of these waters; for my Source is eternal.

“Remember always this promise and be forever generous with what I offer.”

When the voice of the Spring became silent, the sultan went to his people and told them of the promise, and the people were in great cheer. Then the sultan sent messengers out into the desert to invite the other tribe to share in the waters and the shade.

When the other tribe arrived both tribes joined in celebration, and the two leaders drank from the same chalice the waters of the Spring.

The years passed and the two peoples multiplied. Both leaders had mixed their bodies’ ashes with the desert’s sand upon the wind, and new leaders had taken their place.

And although more came to drink from the Spring, not once did its waters appear to diminish. And all continued to drink deeply the water’s peace.

However, there came an afternoon when the prince and his companion rode in from the hot angry desert and into the camp of the first tribe.

The prince went to his father, the new sultan, and told of the discovery of another tribe, still very far away in the desert, but coming their way.

The sultan said that that would be fine, for he still remembered his father’s recounting of the Spring’s promise.

But the prince replied that the old sultan had been long in the sun when he had claimed to hear a spring speak. Could they risk the future of their people on what was possible delirium of a man? And assuredly, if the Spring was not eternal, and if both tribes continued to multiply, much sooner than later the waters would run dry.

Now, with the approach of another tribe, if they foolishly shared this source of life, its depletion would be that much faster.

After the prince had spoken he took his father to a nearby dune, and under the intense sun they looked out over the vast, empty desert. He pleaded with his father not to forsake his people and send them back into this misery.

And like water poured in desert sand, the words of the prince seeped into the mind of the sultan, and he feared their past of wandering in the desert would be their tomorrow.

Then, brought down by the weight of that fear, he gathered his soldiers and had them strike at the other tribe who shared the oasis. Much blood mingled into the sand before the other tribe was forced from the oasis, and away from the Spring.

Out into the merciless desert they fled, vowing to return, to wrest the oasis from their betrayers.

When the new tribe came upon the oasis and asked for refuge from the sun, they too were fallen upon, and driven back into the desert.

But the first tribe stayed not long under the cool shadows because the other two tribes, in their hate, bounded together. And after more blood they drove out the first tribe.

Yet not long did these two stay as one in the oasis. For being that they came together in hatred, they were still in its bind. And remembering how they were betrayed, the second tribe feared the same of the third. Thus, before the other would attack they drove the third tribe out, as well.

Henceforth, year to year, decade to decade, century to century, so it has been: One tribe defending the oasis against the others exiled in the desert. While those exiled would plot and hate under the sun.

While all this time, as the blood of the people vanished into the sand, and their screams of anguish were carried upon the wind, the cool waters of the Spring not once ceased to flow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A True Miracle

I had a dream last night. In this dream I was with a friend. He was troubled. He asked me about A Course in Miracles and what miracles were. I told him that the miracles the course talked about was not walking on water or other displays of powers. A real miracle is seeing God everywhere. And as I said that I was filled with an immense love for I was not the one saying it….
Powers are nothing in themselves. They come from the mind which has the power of God in it. Yet the mind can be an instrument of healing, which is leading one back to wholeness, back to unity, or the mind can be used to create more of the illusion of separateness or specialness. I have had the fortune of meeting several teachers early on upon my spiritual journey who had special powers and I watched how those powers cut them off from Source. They had become special and distinctively divine. We see people in our lives and on the screen and in our books who have special talents, special attributes given to them and developed by them. People may be brilliant intellectually, be a creative genius, have beauty, possess great athletic prowess, speak charismatically, etc. All these are of the mind, even the more physical if one sees that all physical manifestation is of the mind (which is another topic). Psychic or supernatural (or abilities that are not possessed by the majority of people) are neither right nor wrong to have. Like all the former abilities if they are used to bring one back to awareness of the Godhead then they are positive; if they lead to the opposite they just cause more separation as the wielder will unwisely identify with those powers. These powers, all the aforementioned, come and go. They are not permanent. If one identifies with her beauty, when old age comes where is her happiness? If one thinks that he is brilliant and the mind weakens where is his happiness? None of these abilities are worth our divine inheritance. Walking through a wall or levitating is not a miracle; it is simply an event in time.

The miracles that the course talks about are still an event in time but they are bridges to the Eternal. The true miracle is seeing the world with the eyes of the Holy Spirit and seeing the Christ in all beings and all things. It is looking upon the world with the gentle eyes of forgiveness. I met a client who shared her story of being raped in her apartment by a stranger. As she was being assaulted the grace of the Holy Spirit descended upon her and she saw not an assailant but her brother needing help. She told him that he was so loved and that he did not need to be doing what he was doing. He stopped. He told her how sorry he was, and with tears flowing down he left into the night. But he did not leave with a curse upon him but only with a blessing. That is a miracle. When we can see those events that one would normally condemn as wrong and see them with the loving eyes of spirit that knows that nothing that is real can be threatened, that all such acts are calls for love, then we actually become the miracle, the bridge of heaven appearing on earth. Then we see that every moment is and has always been a miracle beckoning us to cross into the Christ we are.

Do you want to see a miracle? Go look in the mirror and ask to see yourself with the eyes of spirit. And rejoice. For you are Divine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finding Your Self

Dear Beloved,
Relish not those who ‘have found themselves,’
For they are shod in iron shoes
Walking over the bog of time.

They find themselves in their jobs,
As doctors, lawyers, and teachers
Nurses, writers and artists,
Accountants, politicians and beggars.

They find themselves in their roles
As husbands and wives,
Lovers and ex’s,
Friends and foes,
Sons and daughters,
Mothers and fathers.

They find themselves in their beliefs,
As Buddhists and Hindus,
Christians and Muslims,
New Agers and Jews,
Pagans and Bohemians,
Philosophers and Scientists.

They find themselves in the land of their births:
New Yorkers and Chicagoans,
Texans and Californians,
Americans and Russians,
Earthlings and Aliens.

They find themselves in what they do for fun,
In what they hate,
In what they possess and do not own.

In fact, they find themselves
In every minute of every day.
And sink deeper moment by moment.

Only until you can smell the stench of the mud
And taste the sickness
Will you stop and say:

‘I do not know who the hell I am.’

When that moment comes
The iron shoes will slip off
And you will slowly begin to rise.

When you begin to see
That all such notions,
All such identities
Are nothing but lies.

Then beloved,
Over this world you will skip
Asking the question:

Who am I?’

Beware, dear friend, for the world is slick
with many alluring going on's,
And lush places
Will continue to grab at you
And suck you down in motion by saying:
'Now you know.’

Janaka skipped.
Skipped for a long while
Across the world with mouth gaping;
And in between soft breasts with mouth wet,
Doing this and doing that,
Trying to find out who the hell he was.

And just for a moment or two
Even his skipping stopped.
Not because of any person
Or thing,
Or event.
Not even for an idea.

He just stopped
And he knew.

Now, when some beautiful eyes flutter,
Or when someone dear disappears,
And he forgets to stop
And sinks up to his big mouth--
A mouth that shouts to the world:
‘I know what this is all about!’

Even the mud tastes sweet.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Namaskarartha Mantra

THE TEACHINGS OF YAMA: A NEW LIGHT ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

The following originally appeared in six parts starting in the Summer Edition 2005 of Pathways Within.

*****

The sound of waves crashing became louder as we walked through the sparse coastal woods. Then we broke free of the trees and found ourselves walking by the steep cliffs. Thousands of sea birds jostled and squawked on the nearby rocky islands. Yama and I sat down on a bench and watched in silence awhile.

DISCIPLE: Yama

YAMA: Yes?

DISCIPLE: Why do you walk with me?

YAMA: I walk with everyone; it’s just that most people don’t want to remember that. They are hoping I am far away. Because of your meditation practice of cutting away all that is transitory you have found the wisdom to face the fact of your body’s mortality.

I kept silent and watched an otter smash an urchin with a stone and gobble up the meat inside.

DISCIPLE: You have talked about the need for us to become human, that just because we have a human body there is still a lot of work to do. For most of us we struggle between following our instincts, which consists of basic survival needs or chasing after the pleasing and running from the painful, and this inner urge to find ultimate freedom where we are not caged by time and space, or more importantly, caught in the snares of identifying one’s Self with the body or mind.

YAMA: Yes?

DISCIPLE: Well, I was just reading the Bible and came across the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses, as well as the manifold rules the Israelites were commanded to observe. I see nothing freeing in such edicts; in fact, I find them suffocating. I would rather die than live under such restrictions. Jails, for goodness sake, offer more freedom!

Yama laughed.

YAMA: Talking like that in times past would have given you a great collection of stones!

General rules can be very tricky, for everybody has their own path in the end. However, in the beginning, just as in school, groups of souls will have general lessons to learn and master before moving to the next grade. Then there is graduation and all the members of the group go their separate ways, with Life giving each an abundance of lessons unique to their own learning needs.

The Ten Commandments were such a group lesson plan, helping to mold a race of people for specific reasons for the body of humanity. However, there exist different levels of understanding as well, from gross to subtle. Just as the poet may sing about becoming drunk with the wine of love, some will take that as the partaking in the sensual pleasures of the body, while another will see it as a call for drinking in the sweetness of devotion for God.

DISCIPLE: Please elaborate. I seek to understand the subtlest form of truth.

YAMA: Then listen with your heart, and feel it as a breeze of knowing.
What is the First Commandment?

DISCIPLE: You shall have no God other than me. Now, I have statues of Shiva and Ganesh and chant names of gods of many traditions. Would this be considered a sin?

YAMA: If you see God as a force outside of you then there will be conflict. But if you see God, the I AM THAT I AM, which is the Holy Name of Jehovah, as both within and without, that everything is included in God, and that God moves through all things, whether the gross things of the world or through the subtle worlds and their denizens, including the gods, then everything becomes an expression of God, with none able to represent the ineffable quality of God. For instance, Shiva is an expression of God to remind us to not be attached to any form, to go deep into the Infinite Self, or the I AM THAT I AM; Vishnu is that form of expression to uphold the good and the beautiful, and to inspire devotion; and Brahma is that aspect that shows the creative dynamic quality of the Divine. Yet all of them are simply one of the million faces of Brahman, the formless, the changeless.

In other words, if you think that any form of God is the true form than that is ignorance. There is no separation between you and God since God is everywhere, including yourself. Even though sometimes even I have a hard time believing my last statement is true.

He smiled.

YAMA: Next.

DISCIPLE: Well the next one states that we should not make any images of anything created, whether in heaven or on earth. And if there are any images created then there shall be no worshipping of these images because God is a jealous god. Well I am guilty of this in a big way, as are most artists, not to mention a whole host of religions. From what you said about not seeing God as outside my Self, then I can understand that I should not worship any image outside of me. Yet, what of the first part of the rule?

YAMA: This was an edict specific for the followers of Moses to counter the traditions of the other religions in the region who worshiped images of gods, and who even sacrificed to them. These idol worshipers actually believed that these gods were separate from themselves and not an aspect of the one Mind of Consciousness. Buddhists, for instance, use statues of the Buddha, or of various deities, not to propitiate but to meditate upon to bring such qualities through them. They are viewed as qualities of Mind. To see the stillness of the statue of a Buddha reminds one to find the calmness within. Another point is that no matter how one paints the world one can never show the truth of what anything is. To place an image of a man on the cross can only convey a small fraction of who Jesus is or what he did. But if someone says that one must worship that image to worship Jesus, than that is just ignorance. The Navaho and Tibetan Buddhists will create sand paintings, spending a long time with each piece. And when it is done either they wipe it away with a stroke of the hand as with the latter, or let the wind blow it away. In this way there is no grasping of the image as real, but only as a means of focus. Nothing more than a beautiful thought.

The Truth is jealous. You can only worship the Infinite or the finite. If you focus on one the other goes to the background. If you worship the Infinite than all the finite is naturally included. God or mammon.

DISCIPLE: Thank you. The third I recall is about not saying God’s name in vain. Please elaborate.

YAMA: Your scientists are slowly discovering that everything vibrates. Sounds create forms. In the Bible Joshua destroyed the walls of Jericho through the power of sound. The walls of ignorance can equally be knocked down by the Name of God.

DISCIPLE: Well what is the true Name of God?

YAMA: Just as you are called by many names so too is God. Now your wife can call you one thing and your son another. You will answer to both. The problem comes when others might hear one of them calling you and see you answer. Then they run off to their people and say that your name is Honey Dear. But others who had heard your son address you will go to their camp and say you are called Pops. Debates ensue. Passions get heated. Wars begin. Saying a Name of God as the one Name is vanity and will not bring the desired effects of knocking down the walls of the ego because it is the ego which is now manipulating the use to create confusion and division. You can rest assured that when the mind shouts: I know the Answer. I know the Truth. It is nothing but ego. Truth is very humble.

DISCIPLE: Then how should one speak a holy Name?

YAMA: With reverence, because not only are you reminding yourself that there exists a Power way beyond the little thing you believe you are, but one is actually affecting both subtle and physical matter. Today scientists can show actual forms created by various sounds. Or even by thought, which is a more subtle form of sound. Quantum physics shows that the viewer affects the subjects viewed through preconceived ideas. Sound and thought are condensed ideas. Chanting Holy Names and mantras vibrate one’s self and the world (which is only natural if you know that there is only the One). This is why one’s speech and thoughts are so important and one must be vigilant of every word and thought, since these are what are vibrating one’s world.

We returned to the silence as I wanted to take in what my guide had said before continuing. The waves crashed amongst the cliffs below in thunderous claps. It seemed the whole earth rattled with each wave, just as a lover shivers with the touch of his beloved. The silence and the waves, the bench and my body--the boundaries disappeared.

                                                                           *******

Yama and I left the crashing of the waves of the coastal sanctuary and made our way to the nearby mission. No one else sat amongst the pews of the chapel on this week day; thus were we safe from the tourists who buzzed about in groups listening to the one-sided historical views of tour guides and how the Native peoples were given a better life by the coming of the Spaniards. In contrast to the heat outside, the air in the chapel felt cool to my body and soul.

DISCIPLE: Yama, you have elaborated on three of the Ten Commandments. You have said that there exists different levels of understanding to all teachings and that these commandments are no different. As I said before when I take the commandments literally I find them restrictive to the expansiveness of my soul; yet hearing your words I am beginning to find in them much wisdom. Please continue with my lesson.

YAMA: Remember that every moment and every place has lessons with many levels. Behold this place where both the blood of those enslaved by fellow human beings was spilt and the blood of the Great Master was taken that gave many a peace beyond the physical conditions. No matter what the historical views one might have they are only selective by what is deemed believable, that is why historical debates will always be pointless in the end. However, if one just sits with a still mind, existing between breaths, one will come to the Truth behind all actions.

With that said, tell me of the Fourth Commandment.

DISCIPLE: To remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. God took a day off after creating for six days so we should as well, including our servants and animals which toil for us. Now I know there are many interpretations of what resting means and what day of the week is the Sabbath. So what is the truth?

YAMA: Just as holidays, or Holy Days, are created to remind people that there is more to life than just going about and doing things, or providing for one’s family and increasing one’s profit, so too must time be sit aside for quiet reflection. Take for example those passing through these grounds today. They are busy listening to someone telling them their interpretation about the truth of this place, hearing a bunch of facts, and seeing objects wrapped in stories. It does not matter that they may be on vacation from their daily work; their minds are still working, weaving together a limited picture of their experience here. Their minds goad them on to find out more, to become educated about the history of this mission, driving them onward and keeping them from discovering this inner chapel. For here the mind is threatened. For here the mind confronts the Silence that it cannot understand.

If one is doing work that keeps the mind active and does not engage the heart then time is needed to be set aside to go to the Silence beyond the mind, where the Holiest of Holies resides, the I AM THAT I AM. This is the condition of most humans who work to survive or to better the condition of themselves and their families. And each day their Awareness of their infinite nature becomes more veiled.

However, for those who keep their mind trained to reside in the Silence, to keep it focused on God, who do work that allows for the expression of the heart and helps to uplift their fellow human beings and to make this world a better place without the concept of “I am doing this or that,” then every day and every moment is holy and thus the Sabbath is kept continually.

DISCIPLE: So setting time aside each day you would consider as keeping with this injunction, yes?

YAMA: Absolutely, the society in which you live in needs much help in setting quiet time aside from all the business. And this does not include entertainment. While entertainment is a rest of sorts and has its place for relaxation, it can still be a distraction for the mind to further engage in. It is to reside in the Silence that makes any moment holy.

DISCIPLE: What about engaging in the arts, whether listening to music or going to a museum, or doing artistic activities, as well as reading sacred works, would these constitute rest?

YAMA: On one level all said activities can lift one out of the daily toil of doing, or they may not. If the mind is spinning on any of these activities, thinking about this or that one instant and thinking about something else the next, not being focused on what is at hand, then it is more toiling. And if there is a sense of I am doing this or reading that, which maintains the ego’s view that the Self is the body and not the timeless Self that we really are, which includes but is untouched by the actions of the body, then it is nothing but more ignorance. And being of ignorance then where is Truth? And if Truth is missing then so is God.

DISCIPLE: How can one tell if one is acting without thinking one is acting?

YAMA: If you are at rest. The body at the end of the day or week may be exhausted if there has been physical labor, or the mind may be tired if mental activities have been prevalent, but none of that fatigue touches the sense of I. In a person who remembers one’s Self stress will not be present. For the Self is the power behind the activities of the mind and the body, just as the sun is untouched by all actions on the earth, although without it, life could not exist.

The Fifth Commandment?

DISCIPLE: Honor thy father and thy mother so that one’s days are long upon the earth.

YAMA: There are two levels I will speak upon. The first is the material level that is a reminder that without your mother and father you would not be here; at least in the form that you find yourself in. Your parents have not only given you a portal in which to come into this world, both of them have colored you by each of their hereditary lines or the spirits of their ancestors.

DISCIPLE: I am not sure if that is a good thing when you look at some of my ancestors.

YAMA: It is neither good nor bad. It simply is. Whether you like it or not the actions of your ancestors have had an influence on you.

DISCIPLE: How?

YAMA: Your great grandfather, for example, had a very cold, removed personality who gave corporeal punishment as a way to mold the behavior of his son, your grandfather. This manner of expression your great grandfather passed on to his son and he passed it on to his—your father. You grew up in such conditions.

DISCIPLE: Yeah, but I do not have to pass it on.

YAMA: Only if you honor your father.

DISCIPLE: Why should I honor him? He doesn’t even speak to me.

YAMA: Honoring does not mean to like what the person does, but to see them in high regard.

DISCIPLE: How can I see him or anyone in high regard if their actions do not warrant it? That’s ridiculous.

Yama smiled and pointed to the crucifix on the wall, where Jesus has hung in agony for hundreds of years.

YAMA: Do you think Jesus liked what his people did?

DISCIPLE: No.

YAMA: Do you doubt that he not only honored the people who put him upon the cross but his Father by whose Will caused the crucifixion to occur as well?

DISCIPLE: No.

YAMA: So it is with your earthly father. Without him you would not have learned many of the lessons you have learned nor be the person you are today. To honor thy father and mother it is to look beyond their actions to the Eternal Father/Mother where we all arise and reside within. Can you find any positive traits that your father has manifested?

I nodded my head.

DISCIPLE: Many.

YAMA: If you can focus on those traits you will honor your father and those positive traits, which are seeds, will continue to grow and manifest in you. And those traits that have been as a poison to you, thank him for showing you what not to do and to give you a challenge to overcome. For without a challenge one’s soul does not grow. Believe me, if you had found yourself in the household that you think you should have been brought up in you would have grown weak in many ways.

This holds true with your mother as well. One cannot honor one parent and dishonor the other if one wants to live fully on this earth. Both the masculine and the feminine must be equally embraced or one will not go forward, but will go in a circle, like a cart with one wheel not working. Everyone has their parents living in them.

DISCIPLE: I hear you Yama about honoring the gifts of my parents, both the pleasant and the bitter ones. However, what about when one begins to be an adult and your parents tell you to do one thing but your heart tells you to do what they are forbidding you to do. To whom does one listen?

YAMA: To listen to your heart, is to listen to me as Dharma, reminding you that your time on earth is coming to a close and thus you must act accordingly. Will you have regrets for what you did not do when I come as Death? And for that matter, for what you did do? With that in mind, who holds more weight in the scheme of things: your parents or Dharma?

DISCIPLE: Dharma, of course. For Dharma is Eternal. Even the gods must follow Dharma.

YAMA: Then that is your answer. In truth, by following your Dharma you honor your parents, although they most likely will not tell you so. Yet there comes a time when a parent’s role is that of the guardian of the threshold. They are a test, telling you that you must go the other way while their soul wants you to pass through them.

DISCIPLE: Is that why Jesus said that we must say goodbye to our families if we were to follow him?

YAMA: Yes, for he was speaking as the Living Truth, and not as a personality. With each moment one must think of following Truth and not the dictates of the material needs of survival. If one lives by survival needs then one believes he is a body and surely death will come soon enough. But if one follows the quest for Truth in each moment there exists only the Eternal.

DISCIPLE: Well I have a family to feed. By going to work and providing for my family, am I then not following Dharma?

YAMA: As long as the work is such that when you die and you watch the movie of your experiences on earth you are not going to wince and cover your eyes. In other words you will have no regrets about your actions.

I was about ready to raise another question when Yama motioned me to silence. He reached over and tapped my chest.

YAMA: Here is the place, beyond all the ranting of thoughts, that calls for your mind to come and rest within.

A vibration filled my being. I felt like my body was a buzz of atoms spinning around and keeping a tentative form, like an oscillating cloud of gnats. My eyes fell shut. My thoughts disappeared. Even the thought of searching for thoughts I could not create. I looked for the source of me but I could not find any specific place. Only an Awareness existed and I was That…

                                                                         *******

Yama and I sat in the cemetery overlooking the ocean, a golf course on three sides. On this sunny, cool day the links were filled with people hitting little balls into holes, no doubt ignoring the mortality reminders a chip away, while the murder of crows in the cypress trees that provided shade for the graves, cawed for the golfers’ attention.

DISCIPLE: It has been a long time since our last discussion about the more non-dualistic interpretation of the Ten Commandments.

YAMA: Has it? Do not your dreams jump from scene to scene, with what seems like much time between them, all of which happens within a few breaths of “real” time?

DISCIPLE: Yes, that’s true.

YAMA: So it is with me. Our last conversation was just a moment ago, since I am not bound by time, and thus do not use it as a reference of who I am. My reference point is with the Eternal so I am not defined by what I do, even though my role is Death.

DISCIPLE: Well that brings us to the Sixth Commandment: Thou shall not kill. As Death, are you not the greatest offender of this rule?

YAMA: I guess I am; but then so must God be, for my power comes from Him. However, can God kill anything since all things abide in God and God in all things? Right here is the whole rub because when we get to the Essential, which is God, that there is only One. Yet it takes two to have the play of killer and slain.

This is what Krishna said to the warrior Arjuna who didn’t want to fight his kinsmen. Krishna reminded him that the Eternal Self cannot kill or be slain, and that everybody is just passing phenomena being consumed by time under the control of God.

Really the commandment should say: Thou cannot kill.

DISCIPLE: Ok, what you say I understand to mean that finite occurrences do not affect the Infinite Source, no more than my throwing a pebble in the ocean can disturb the depths.

YAMA: Well put.

DISCIPLE: Yet it does say, ‘shall not kill,’ as an injunction for right living in accord with God’s will. What does it mean? Surely it doesn’t mean that humans should not kill one another because immediately after giving the commandments to Moses, Jehovah has Moses put to death thousands of idol worshipers.

I am confused.

YAMA: Such is the problem when one lives according to the words of another, because everyone comes to words with subjective interpretations. All teachings will appear to have contradictions because no matter how holy they are they basically are nothing more than ripples on the ocean. Words are expressed in time and Truth is Eternal and the two can never meet.

Some will say it means to kill no human being, that one should prefer to die than to kill. Others might say it means to kill nothing at all, if at all possible—which I assure you it is not. Others talk about just wars, and say it is legitimate to kill when defending ones home or country. And then there is the eye for an eye permission.

Which interpretation is right? Which one wrong? When one realizes that there is no other, no thing or person out there to be feared, that the Self is only One, one will act in harmony with the Whole. In such a case, then one may be the instrument of helping a finite form change as it inevitably will, just as the surgeon removes a tumor or the general defeats the invaders, the butcher prepares the cow for a feast. Some may even feel that by self immolation they can kill the flames of war.

DISCIPLE: So you are saying that there really is no absolute to this rule?

YAMA: Yes, except only that you can’t kill. Jesus knew this very well when he asked God’s forgiveness for those who knew not what they were doing, because their ignorance saw them killing Jesus. But how can the Eternal Son of God be killed? Of course God forgave them because His Son never died.

DISCIPLE: Here we sit in a graveyard. Is there any point to such a place if nobody dies?

YAMA: Such memorials are at best good reminders that bodies eventually drop away, to help people wake up to their nature and to remind them not to become attached to anything or anyone, for all things pass away. They can indeed be a good place to meditate for those reasons. However, as a place to dwell on the memories of those who passed, it can keep people’s minds stuck in time. Really, people should have memorials for clothes they can no longer fit into, it makes about as much sense, for the body is but a garment. Besides, people put too much emphasis on memories, thinking that they are what makes them who they are. Memories are simply thoughts, and one’s Self rests quietly beyond them.

With that last thought in mind we watched the crows silently before closing my eyes, eliminating everything that I call mine from me: my family, my things, my work, my body, my personality, my feelings, my thoughts…until no thing was left. And only Silence remained.

                                                                        *******

Yama and I sat on a park bench overlooking the bay of Monterey, right next to the bike path where scantily clad women ran under a sun long hidden. Often my eyes would stray down the path instead of watching the otters or the seals down below.

DISCIPLE: Yama, I am a married man, and very happily so; yet my eyes wander over the beauty of the female form, and if I am not vigilant my mind will conjure up some wanton fantasies in the blink of an eye. The Seventh Commandment is: Thou shall not commit adultery. Am I committing adultery with my thoughts? And what is the highest teaching of this commandment?

YAMA: Adultery by definition is the sexual union of a married man or woman with another person outside of marriage. While God does not care one whit what you do in time as God sees only the Eternal and sees no other; however, as a discipline for one who seeks to know God or one’s own true nature, then one needs to cull the panting after forms—however beautiful they may seem to be. After all, what are these forms anyway but decaying flesh, one moment youthful and beautiful, the next withering and decrepit. Or if one explores these bodies further by looking at them at the minutest level they are nothing but particles of energy with no solidity at all.

Running after a body for a moment of pleasure is like jumping into the desert sand after believing you saw water. Bodies can no more give you happiness than mirages can quench your thirst.

DISCIPLE: But what about thinking about it? It’s not quite as bad, is it?

YAMA: Finding yourself in bed with some woman other than your wife would have been perpetuated by your thinking; it is not the body that wants to be with another body. When your consciousness leaves your body it becomes inert such as in deep sleep. The body is neutral, but it is filled with mental tendencies. If you have a habit of wanting to enjoy every pretty body then a subconscious tendency had been created by the belief that such actions would bring fulfillment. And each time that tendency is acted upon it reinforces that notion. Therefore the mind is the one that needs to be controlled by not letting it wander after the temporal. This is where discrimination is so important.

DISCIPLE: Please elaborate about discrimination.

YAMA: Does a wise man choose to pursue something that holds it value throughout time or something that has a value that will last only a day?

DISCIPLE: Obviously only the former. Only a fool would spend time and resources chasing something that is only valuable for a day.

YAMA: So discrimination is choosing between what is truly valuable and what is not. That which is Eternal has everlasting value. Anything temporal is really valueless. And the mind only focuses on what one believes is valuable. A business man will focus on profit, a drunk on his booze, a doctor on her patients, a holy man on God.

DISCIPLE: Is therefore my marriage valueless? And if it is, why not go after any women I wanted?

YAMA: It is valueless if you think your wife will complete your life for you and if you see her as a body. A marriage is only valuable in the true sense that it offers an opportunity of expressing unconditional love towards someone you see on a daily basis—someone whom you can see every shortcoming and then look beyond to her radiant perfect Self. Marriage is a powerful tool to discover unlimited joy in a limiting framework; which is no different than anything else on this planet.

And like everything else on this planet marriage is simply a mirror. If you see your wife as a body floundering in time and space then that is what you will see yourself as. It you behold her as the Christ, so shall you see yourself.

In other words, the only worthy undertaking is to find the Eternal in the finite.

DISCIPLE: In truth then, adultery does not just entail not lusting after someone else for sexual pleasures, but may encompass other areas as well.

YAMA: Certainly. There are many ways for one to want to escape the lessons of marriage, whether it is through one’s work, socializing, watching television, reading, etc.

DISCIPLE: Well, I do all those things from time to time. So am I escaping my marriage through them?

YAMA: You can tell if you are having an affair with anything if your mind fixates on having them when you are in another activity. If you are walking with your wife and your mind dwells on the book you are reading, or if your are doing the dishes and you want to be out with your buddies, then you are not present.

Remember this teaching: that one is to be married not to a human being but to the Eternal Now, to God, and when one’s mind is focused on anywhere else other than where one is at the time, this is adultery.

DISCIPLE: Thank you for giving me your commentary on adultery. I realize now that one does not have to be married to commit adultery. And my wandering eye is simply the mind wanting me to not be content with where I am and with whom I live.

We sat still awhile, this time I was completely focused on the harbor seals lying motionless sunbathing on the rocks, these marine creatures being very hard to distinguish from the stone they lay upon.

DISCIPLE: “Thou shall not steal” is the next commandment. It seems simple enough. Anything to add?

YAMA: Why would anyone steal?

DISCIPLE: Because they want something bad enough to take the risk of being caught but fear they lack the means of purchasing it; or perhaps for the thrill of the adventure; or maybe even revenge and they feel justified. Perhaps survival.

YAMA: Delusion. One steals because they feel they lack something they need and that there is another to steal from. If they would come to the truth of their nature they would know that there is no need and that there is no other. Each person is but a member of the body of humanity, and the body of humanity is but a member of the body of the world where other species serve as other members. To steal from another is the same as the right hand taking from the left. However, due to the fear of being a little separated thing among so many other things one steals.

DISCIPLE: What about a mother taking fruit from a vendor to feed her hungry child, is that wrong?

YAMA: This is nothing about right and wrong. It is all a matter of attitude. No one owns anything after all. It is all God’s. Does not the Creator have the rights to His creations?

DISCIPLE: Of course.

YAMA: There are some cultures that have no sense of personal property. They use whatever they might need for the time needed and then let it go for someone else to use. The idea of stealing to such people makes as much sense as feeling guilty when plucking an apple from a tree they happen upon. To such a people who have no sense of ownership there exists an inherent trust that the world will provide their simple needs.

DISCIPLE: So it’s ok to take whatever one wants since nothing belongs to anyone anyway?

YAMA: Careful, the mind can argue from any direction and never touch the truth. Any teaching, any words, can be used to lead one deeper into illusion and misery.

Any fearful action will create fearful events. Cause and effect. If one acts in the state of peace then that is what one creates. To find God who is always waiting and watching, one must develop trust. To take what has not been given generally implies lack of trust. Acting out of desperation to preserve the body is falling into the illusion of being a body instead of the Eternal Spirit that has no needs.

To eat your food, or to don your clothes, or to take your child to school without giving thanks to the Creator is stealing. Remember, there is nothing that you own. Give up the sense of ownership and surrender to the One who owns it all. In this way your mind will not steal away from the awareness that everything is God’s and is God. Gratitude, instead of self-righteous pride of earning what one has acquired, will be fostered, and the Giver can then be remembered and is invited to be recognized with every action.

Then everything becomes a gift. When one sees everything as a gift then one acts accordingly.

DISCIPLE: How does one know when one has stolen the moment?

YAMA: Generally when one becomes angry. Anger is a sign of not being united with the present circumstance and feeling thwarted from acquiring what one wants or expects. Anger cannot be present when gratitude prevails.

DISCIPLE: I guess when you really get down to the essential there is no difference between the two commandments because they are both about being in love with the moment.

YAMA: Exactly

I bowed to Yama and left him on the bench. I walked home, smiling. Whatever I gazed upon I saw with gratitude: whatever shape of a body, flowers, weeds, cigarette butts, clouds, it did not matter. And with each breath I gave thanks. When I reached home I touched my wife’s hair and lifted my giggling child into my arms, and I thanked God for this moment of Eternity God had gifted me.

                                                                                 *******

Upon a bench Yama and I sat quietly watching the coy swimming in the man-made pond. An ankh and a purple sphere overlooked the small waterfall trickling into the pool. We were sitting in a sanctuary dedicated to Isis, a temple to the Egyptian goddess stood behind us.

DISCIPLE: Yama, I find it ironic that we have come here to talk about the Commandments Moses was given after escaping Egypt.

YAMA: What applies to outside Egypt applies as well to inside. Sometimes it takes one to get out of civilization, to go into the wilderness, to come to right understanding.

DISCIPLE: True. However, what I was referring to specifically was the vehemence that Moses had had towards the goddess. After all, he did come down the mountain and soon ordered thousands of her worshippers slaughtered!

YAMA: I was indeed busy guiding away souls then. Yet be careful, nothing is ever as it seems to our senses. Great forces were present there, stirring up pools of energy that had become stagnant. Just as this pond here that we sit next to would quickly become covered with scum, choking the fish within eventually, if the waterfall ceased; so too does this happen to civilizations, religions, movements and individuals when new impulses are not allowed to stream in. When this stifling occurs it sometimes takes an unleashing of a dam that can appear very violent.

I looked at the waters trickling in the pond and visualized the stream stopping and the growing of the algae, and the sad plight of the fish. And while the algae is as much part of life as the fish, for this time and in this place, the living slime was a symbol of stagnation and decay while the fish and their potency was the symbol of dynamic life; and that is was right action to destroy the algae by whatever action to save the fish.

My being shuddered at the truth of this vision, for how many megalomaniacs with their armies would love to claim that they were doing God’s Will as they slaughtered millions.


For a while we sat in the joyful tinkling of the waterfall, until two workers on the grounds began yelling at each other. My immediate thought was one of judgment—for should they not be following the Ideals of Ma’at, to keep their emotions balanced?

YAMA: So, what is the Ninth Commandment, for I believe that is where we’re at?

DISCIPLE: Thou shall not falsely accuse thy neighbor.

YAMA: Are you not falsely accusing your neighbors right now?

I blushed.

DISCIPLE: I am accusing them of falling short of the precepts of their order. However, am I really falsely accusing them?

YAMA: Do you even know that they are of this order or are you assuming?

DISCIPLE: I must admit that I am assuming.

YAMA: With that accusation, that assumption, you have cut your mind off from God. You were sitting here in the Peace of Existence until your mind took charge and wielding its sword of condemnation, you turned into these people’s finger-wagging parents.

And what happened to your peace?

DISCIPLE: I lost awareness of it.

YAMA: The same goes with your accusation of Moses committing genocide that is based on only what the senses experience and then the mind extrapolating a moral judgment. This, like with most accusations, does not constitute right understanding.

DISCIPLE: Surely there exist proper accusations against those who are dong ill to others, such as with tyrannical leaders or criminals to name only a few. Without accusation many of our social reforms, such as women’s rights or the civil rights movement, would never have come to pass.

YAMA: Indeed there is proper action to stand up against harmful actions and stagnant energy; but to judge your neighbor by those actions brings only suffering to you and your neighbor. You can never know all the reasons, the circumstances that have led any person to act as heinously as they do. Priests and psychoanalysts may give some reason or two as to the cause, but do they really have that all-knowing wisdom? Only those with utmost arrogance could claim so. To see the whys of the way of people one would have to see with purest of eyes, unblemished by any faults. That is why Jesus challenged anyone to cast the first stone at the prostitute if they were free of error. And what human has not erred?

Most people accuse because they are desperately trying to end their own suffering by finding causes of suffering out there, by finding fault with others instead of seeing their own. By making the world free of those bad people out there, by the eradication of all the world’s wrongs, then peace and happiness will come.

But it can never happen that way. The cause of suffering and happiness both lie within. Thus, accusing your neighbor, finding fault in him, keeps you from the Truth of seeing the Whole picture, and thus keeps your awareness from God.

If you really want to help your neighbor and make your world an amazing neighborhood, love him as he is, seeing beyond all his frail actions; so you and him can stand in the Truth of your Infinite Being where I cannot touch you as death.

And like the waterfall pouring oxygenated waters into the pond, so too did Yama’s words fill my soul. I sent the two arguing people the thought that they were perfect as they were and that they were loved. And with that thought I felt again the Oneness I was part of and was; and did not notice when the argument had stopped.

                                                                           *******

Yama and I sat on the banks of the Russian River. A short way upriver teens and adults whooped and hollered as they frolicked on their various floating devices. The river brought them closer to disturb our solitude.

YAMA: Can they really disturb our solitude?

DISCIPLE: What do you mean? Here we are imbibing the silence of Nature and here they come popping their beers and completely disregarding the sanctity of the place.

YAMA: And what does that have to do with you?

DISCIPLE: It has everything to do with me!

I watched in horror as another flotilla of noise turned the bend.

I teach all week and have children at home who fight for my attention—All I want is a little piece and quiet.

YAMA: Like the old days when you were free and single, able to go anywhere as you pleased?

DISCIPLE: Well now that you mention it, I do at times miss those wandering days. It comes up at times, I must admit, when my brother, who has all this new freedom after becoming recently divorced, talks about his travels to exotic places.

YAMA: Are you to say then that you are envious of your brother?

I hesitated; then admitted that I was.

YAMA: What was the reason you asked me here today?

DISCIPLE: For you to speak about the final Commandment.

YAMA: And what is the final Commandment that Moses brought down from the mountain?

DISCIPLE: “You shall not envy your neighbor, nor desire to have his house, his wife, his servants, his animals, nor anything that is his.”

YAMA: Who is your neighbor but the one who lives next to you. Who is the one who lives next to you—your brother (and I do not just mean your blood brother) who walks beside you.

Why do you think God asks us not to envy?

DISCIPLE: Because when I look at my envy of the wealth and freedom my brother has—or for that matter, envy of times when I sat by this river where no noisy revelers came to disturb me—I feel resentment.

YAMA: Good. Now you are speaking with some wisdom.

DISCIPLE: Maybe; but it is hard not to be envious at times. Just the other day I begged my friend to buy a painting because we are financially in need. Being a successful attorney he had no problem helping me out. Sometimes I am full of doubt about whether I chose the right road in careers when we have to move into a little place while he lives in an expensive home and drives a car that doesn’t break down like mine just did on the freeway the other day. Yes, I am envious!

I stood up, my face red with anger, and threw a stone into the river.

YAMA: Is your friend happy with his work? Are you aware of what he goes through everyday to make his cash?

DISCIPLE: No to both questions. I know that at an early age he had a mild heart attack due to stress from his work.

YAMA: Do you envy that stress?

DISCIPLE: No, can’t say that I do.

YAMA: So you just want the good stuff, but not the pain that walks as its shadow. People tend to look with envious eyes to their neighbors all around, whether the bigger house, the younger wife (or no wife, as the case may be), the nicer car, having/not having children, a different job, better education, nicer clothes, etc. Yet never do they even bother to consider what is going on with those they envy; such as, at what cost did it take to acquire that object of desire, or the cost of maintaining it? Or, getting right down to it, is the person even satisfied with what they have?

Your society and the capitalism that guides most of you is based on envy. It fosters envy with its ads that says that whatever you have is not good enough—there is something that is better. And this includes even body parts, for which you can get breast implants (though in your case I wouldn’t recommend it) or get a penis enlargement (hmm…now maybe you could use…)

DISCIPLE: Ha, ha. Very funny!

YAMA: Would you trade your life for your brother or your friend’s?

DISCIPLE: No, of course not.

YAMA: Each person is given whatever they need at any point in their lives. Some require more, some less. Their needs come as persons, things, actions, events. Some are pleasant while others the opposite.

People look at others riding high and sigh with longing, ignoring the pain that preceded the high and not willing to see the pain that will inevitably come as the Wheel of Life turns.

The instant you envy your brother you trade your life away for a wish. Your life and everyone’s is as unique as a fingerprint. By being content in this moment, grateful that you even exist to be by this river, celebrating the fortunes of your friend and brother, you are free to achieve a happiness that no person, thing, or event could ever bestow upon you.

I threw another rock into the slow-moving waters. I watched as another group drifted our way. I sat down next to Yama and watched an orange and black beetle crawl up a blade of grass.

DISCIPLE: Does the beetle envy my life as a human? Do I envy the beetle and its freedom from responsibility? Would either of us trade places? No, I rather doubt it.

I let the beetle crawl onto my hand. Just then the group of rafters ran ashore just across from us, speaking loudly to each other in Portuguese.


I groaned.

YAMA: Would you trade places with someone else in a quieter place? Would you trade your life in for another condition, continuing the habit of trading one condition for another, and yet for another until finally you obtain the perfect condition?

I shook my head.

YAMA: Do you love your life as it is?

I took a deep breath.

DISCIPLE: Yes. I love my life as it is.

Yama smiled.

YAMA: Good. Now sit back and enjoy your life exactly how it’s meant to be.

I watched in horror as the Brazilians pulled out a massive radio. They hit the switch and meringue music blasted forth.


I could have cried. I could have cussed. Instead, a blissful feeling came over me and I just laughed. It was perfect! I looked over to Yama who was tapping his foot.

DISCIPLE: Hell, shall we dance?

*****

Yama is the name of the Hindu god of Death as well as a name for Dharma, which may translated as doing what one is allotted to do. It can also mean following the Still Small Voice instead of the loud urgings of the ego. Yama has said in my book (unpublished) that he comes as Death when we do not listen to him as Dharma. When we are following him as Dharma there exists no Death for we are in the Eternal Flow of Creation. Yama came to me after a dream a few years ago which inspired the fore mentioned book, The Teachings of Yama: A Conversation with Death. Yama is not a channeled entity. Yama is only a point of focus in the ocean of inspiration. I am fully conscious and there exists no separation between Yama and me.






Janaka Stagnaro 2005

www.janakastagnaro.com