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Showing posts from July, 2015

INTO THE KNOWER

“Holy sir, what is that by which all else is known?” (Mundaka Upanishad) This interesting question, which occupied the lives of ancient mystics and still enraptures the eminent thinkers of today, is as confounding in the 21st century after Christ as it was as many centuries before his birth. Scientists are hunkered in their laboratories and lecture halls in a strenuous attempt to come up with a theory of everything, a scientific principle that promises to explain the whole of the cosmos at both the level of quantum physics and the level of general relativity. But in their endeavor to fathom the universe by the objects in it, in their preoccupation with knowing and with things known, we often lose sight of what is most important: the knower. Without the one who thinks and understands, who questions and experiences, who witnesses the phenomena that science attempts to “know,” nothing can be known. Imagine trying to study the movement of ants pitch dark. It is in the light of Awareness th…

ON APPLES AND ORANGUTANS

I recently read in some periodical that experts are debating the purpose of consciousness. It exists, they say, but we don’t know why. The happenings of the world could take place just as easily without “someone” doing them, in fact more easily, as this would take out the element of human choice, and error, doubts, second thoughts, confusion, all the stuff that makes daily life so complicated. And maybe also interesting.

But imagine a world in which there wasn’t a thinker to dread getting out of bed in the morning. It would be a much easier world to live in. We’d all be up at the crack at dawn, maybe getting an easy 10 miles in before a breakfast of wheat grass and Metamucil. In short, living robots, always doing the right thing. Because when we don’t, who’s to blame but the doubter, and what’s the doubter if not the mind, and why is the mind so often mistaken for consciousness anyway?
Imagine a world without heartache, but for it there are such lovely songs as this. I may be overthinki…

THE WHEEL

Samsara is a Sanskrit term for the continuous cycle of birth, life and death we humans are said to trudge through for all eternity. Which is why it is often represented by a wheel, which spins round and round and comes back to the beginning. Literally meaning "a wandering through," this belief is common to several major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. Even the Bible hints at the notion of reincarnation, a concept which the Fathers of the Church almost included among the tenets of Christianity. Too bad, otherwise we’d all be united. Fox's world-religion, in which all are guided by an Inner Light, may not be a pipe dream. After all the Christian's Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, is shared by the Hindus who have their Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer). So we’re getting there.
But what is this wheel of perpetual becoming, this endless cycle of birth and death which the individual wanders through as though blin…

SAGE OR SINNER, DO THEY DIFFER?

All major religions, at least in their more esoteric forms, place great emphasis on becoming liberated while in the body. Realizing the God that dwells within lies in transcending the individualized personality with its greedy, grasping, self-serving nature and merging with the higher Self, pure Awareness, changeless, deathless, ever free.

But if the end result for the worldly individual and the realized master, of the sinner and the sage, is the same - namely, the death of body and the individual consciousness merging like a drop of water back into the ocean of pure Awareness, then why go through the trouble of being holy? The lonely path to pure consciousness is so difficult it has been compared to the razor's edge, and the strenuous solitude it requires can endure for years. Men have lived in caves, served gurus, begged for food, mortified their flesh, abandoned the security of home, all in the name of finding God. This while their contemporaries are raising a family, living …

DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT

I remember the time my brother Justin procured some LSD, one tab each for himself, me and our younger brother George. And so it was that one Friday night during the spring of my second year at college we three elected to "drop it" as the saying goes. Justin's friend Omar happened to be over that night. Omar said he'd taken acid before and would happily guide us through our experience, or "trip" as they call it, so we wouldn't trip out. He would be the sober one. I didn't feel comfortable with Omar as my guide for anything. For starters, he was younger than I, who was 20 at the time, and therefore still a teenager. The phrase responsible teen is so ludicrous it makes me laugh. Furthermore, Omar was just as crazy as my brother, his best friend, and Justin was as wild as it got. Also I think he may have had a criminal record.

Therefore I would not be dropping acid that night, no sir. But when the time came - the hour was around 10 - I pretended to ing…

WHO'S MOONIN' WHO

One afternoon while idling at a stoplight I happened to look over my shoulder at the local fire station. On the front lawn was a group of children, ages ranging from 5 to 7 or thereabouts. They were playing while their mothers or teachers were around the corner with the crew. It was before the age of helicopter parenting. "Must be on a field trip to meet the chief," I said inwardly, remembering how when I was young my mother took me and my brothers on just such a trip. We got to ride in a truck, even looked up the name of a distant relative of ours, my mother's uncle I think it was, who had been a firefighter and died in the line of duty.

As my eyes wandered over the kids running along the grass, I gave a nostalgic sigh, then looked more closely at what they were doing. I saw one of them at the center. A girl, a bit taller than the other girls, skin bronzed by the sun, eyes bright and defiant. The ringleader of the bunch. They were all watching her, and she was putting…

THE SCRIPTURE OF THE SOUL

Hindu Vedanta means in Sanskrit the conclusion of the Vedas and applies to the Upanishads, together with the Brahma-Sutras and Bhagavad Gita. Vedanta was promulgated by 8th century philosopher Adi Shankara. The Vedic period began in 2000 BCE and includes the mantras or hymns of poets,;the brahmanas, or elaborate ritualistic treatises which are the works of priests; and the Upanishads, the secret teachings, which are the revelations of mystics.

These Himalayan treatises form the sources of all the later streams of Hindu thought, and their relation to the Vedic mantras is similar to the relation of the New Testament of the Bible to the Old, as expert D.S. Sharma has pointed out in his Hinduism Through the Ages. The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of the Vedas, and the Brahma-Sutras the thread which strings their flowers together.

The Upanishads date from as early as 1200 BCE, the earliest of which were formulated prior to the rise of Buddhism. Even the religion of Buddha, who was a staunch …

THE BEST SHOW ON EARTH

Thought watching is my new hobby. Actually I've been doing it for years but each day is so fresh it feels like the first time. This is because the thoughts running through my head like water in an endless stream or clouds in a limitless sky are always new and usually products of whatever I saw, heard or (egad!) thought about in the several hours leading up to the practice. Which is probably why the masters of mind control say to keep sensory stimulation to a minimum.

The brain is like a digestive organ. Its food is information. Unlike the roots and tubers our ancestors fed on, which nourished and satisfied, much of the information we obtain these days from our environment, be it from tabloid mags, news feeds, gossiping coworkers, preposterous contemporaries, radio commercials and TV, does not nourish or delight. It does not satisfy. It is junk, only it doesn't even taste all that great going down. It is tasteless junk. Cardboard. Yes we are forever bombarded and endlessly assa…