Sunday, March 19, 2017

Longing Creates the World

“To be or not to be – that is the question” is the very famous line from the play Hamlet. Hamlet is contemplating suicide, and this phrase, according to philosopher Schopenhauer “is, in condensed form, that our state is so wretched that complete non-existence would be decidedly preferable to it.”
Nagarjuna, the proponent of the concept of “Sunyata”  refuted all logical combination of ‘being’ and ‘non-being’. His reasoning was that the two states are the result of concepts from a rational mind and true reality has to have a ground state beyond the mind.
In a recent talk the great Vietnam Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, clarified that the origin of the classification of the state of being and non- being as purely related to human existence. He said:
“If we are caught in the notion of being we will also be caught in the notion of non-being. From the perspective of life span, we think we start to exist at the point of time we call birth; and we think we continue to exist until the point of time we call death, after which we think we cease to exist. Thus the notions of birth and death form the basis of the notions of being and non-being.”
From a cosmological perspective, in his famous book “A Brief History of Time”, Stephen Hawking argues that quantum mechanics shows us that the classical picture of a “well-defined spacetime arises as a limiting case of the quantum perspective.” Time is less fundamental than space and, as a consequence, spacetime cannot have a singular, initial boundary. There is no singularity, no initial boundary at all; the universe has no beginning! Even though unbounded, the universe is finite. Here is how Hawking sets forth his view:
“The quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility, in which there would be no boundary to space-time and so there would be no need to specify the behaviour at the boundary. One could say: ‘The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.’ The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.”
Hence the concept of being is intimately correlated with time and hence our post Big Bang dualistic concept of Being and Non-being.
But embedded within the fundamental substrate of all creation is the first principle or cause which is time independent and hence eternal from a temporal perspective and all manifested realm is spatial-temporal and hence have a very limited reality. This principle which is the cause is hence eternal but the effect is temporal. To the human mind the definition of this first principle is called ‘desire’ or ‘longing’.
In the macrostructure we can relate this cause and effect through an allegory to the great ocean which has great tranquillity and extended existence but the moment it meets a boundary, which we can equate to the Big Bang spatial boundary, waves, estuaries and shorelines are created, The essence of the ocean by its innate nature is to spread to find equilibrium but this desire is realized at the boundary condition as a different manifestation.
From a western mystical tradition, the German Cobbler mystic, Jacob Boehme said:
“the basis of the world is nonbeing... because the beginning [of the world] is desire, longing, and only an absolute vacuum can have longing. A vacuum, nonbeing, can by longing draw or attract into itself.. something exceedingly positive because it creates the world.” ……C.G. Jung, Visions, Vol.1, p.524-5
Vacuum Boehme refers to is perhaps akin to the Lurianic Kabbalist notion of ‘tzimtzum’: contraction that proceeds emanation. Again resorting to the ocean analogy, when there is a great pressure generated deep within the ocean floor due to an earthquake, the innate pressure tries to find expression as a propagating sub-surface pressure differential. When this pressure differential reaches near the shore, first there is a great contraction of the shoreline and then a very huge tsunami wave created. The creation of our universe is very similar. We are in the forefront of this travelling wave which due its rapid expansion (cosmological theory of inflation) will dissipate all its energy and return to the equilibrium. This in Vedic philosophy is called Pralaya.
Our understanding of Tzimtzum can be clarified through an analogy from the world of mathematics. An infinite perfect mind sees immediately that the arithmetical expressions (21/3), (126/18), (6.72 + .28), etc., etc., are all equivalents of the number 7: it is only from the point of view of a limited intellect that these expressions appear to represent different mathematical ideas. Indeed, as the mathematical philosophers Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead painstakingly demonstrated, all of mathematics is predicated on a very small number of logical axioms, and an infinite mind would in an instant intuit the entire world of higher mathematical construct as an amplification of the simplest of ideas. So it is with the world. It is a multifarious manifestation of unique singular principle which only the Divine intellect can comprehend.
We are a small effect of the Divine cause which pervades all creation and all universes. Let us enjoy this ride with the assurance that one day we will transcend this temporal manifestation and merge with the Divine reality.

Love to you all

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Alchemy as a Transcendent Function

"The secret of alchemy was in fact the transcendent function, the transformation of personality through the blending and fusion of the noble with the base components, of the differentiated with the inferior functions, of the conscious with the unconscious. No one who has undergone the process of assimilating the unconscious will deny that it gripped his very vitals and changed him.. [moving the centre of awareness to the Middle Plane between the inner and outer worlds] where the centre of the total personality no longer coincides with the ego, but with a point midway between the conscious & the unconscious. This would be the point of new equilibrium.. which ensures.. a new & more solid foundation." …………………………….C,G, Jung, Two Essays, para.365
Traditionally, alchemy was understood as a chemical process where a base material is converted into a noble metal such as Gold. The esoteric interpretation of alchemy as a process of inner transformation is being dealt with in the above quote from the writings of Carl Jung.
In the Bible, we find some events of radical changes in the consciousness of people: there is the "thief on the cross" at Golgotha who realizes the spiritual nature of Christ and was promised by Jesus that he would be with him in paradise the next day as a reward for his transformation; and the chief of a gang of robbers who was converted by Francis of Assisi and became a monk. Cases like these have always moved the hearts of the religious-minded and have raised the question how such changes could be possible. Angulimala's story might give an answer to these questions.
In the Buddhist story of Angulimala, though warned of the notorious bandit Angulimala, who wore a garland of the fingers of his victims – ( "necklace of fingers" in Pali is Angulimala) hence his name, Buddha, unflinchingly went into the forest infested by this bandit. The bandit gave chase but could never catch up with the holy one, though Buddha was walking at a normal pace. Then this conversation took place: The murderer said "Stop, monk! Stop, monk!". Buddha replied "I have stopped, Angulimala. Do you stop, too."
Then the bandit Angulimala thought: "These monks, followers of the Sakya scion, speak truth, assert truth; but though this monk is walking, yet he says 'I have stopped, Angulimala; do you stop, too.' Suppose I question the monk?" Then he addressed the Blessed One thus:
"While you are walking monk, you tell me you have stopped; But now, when I have stopped, you say I have not stopped. I ask you now, O monk what is the meaning of it; How is it you have stopped and I have not?" The Blessed One replied: "Angulimala, I have stopped for ever, Forswearing violence to every living being; But you have no restraint towards things that breathe; So that is why I have stopped and you have not."
The above events pointed out are to emphasise the spiritual alchemy that is at work when lower order consciousness is instantly transformed to higher level consciousness.
I would like to point out another event in the life of Christ where we witness a transitory alchemical process. In the Bible the symbol of a higher consciousness revelation is always the mountain top or the peak experience. It was on Mount Sinai that Moses is revealed the Divine presence, it was in Mount Horeb that Elijah found Divine presence and it was on Mount Tabor that Christ reveals his higher consciousness nature through a radiant transfiguration as witnessed by his chosen apostles. Finally it is on the mount Golgotha that he undertakes his journey to his final transcendent nature of a physical death and a spiritual resurrection
Let me conclude with a classical story of transformation:
A great warrior samurai once went to see a little holy monk.
“Monk!” He barked, in a voice accustomed to evoking instant obedience.
“Teach me about heaven and hell!”
The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,
“Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn’t teach you about anything. You’re dumb. You’re dirty. You’re a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can’t stand you.”
The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.
Looking straight into the samurai’s eyes, the monk said softly, “That’s hell.”
The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.
The monk said softly, “And that’s heaven.”
This instantaneous transformation in the Samurai is an alchemical process where a base nature is instantly transformed into a nobler nature.
May we all realize our true higher nature and undertake this life journey to eradicate our ego dominated lower nature

Love to you all.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Process of Spiritual Awakening

"Christ is the western formulation of what the East calls the Self, Atman, the Purusha or Buddha. If one may interpret him as a symbol, he symbolizes the Self. The dogma claims that Christ was God who became man. In psychological language this means that the Self approached the consciousness of man.. And indeed in a very peculiar form, the Self approached from outside autonomously, not as a human realization." ………………..C.G. Jung,

In the first part of this article, I intend to bring out the bestowing nature of Divine consciousness and in the second part the needed preparation of the individual consciousness to accept this great gift.
There are two specific elements of the Self that we need to understand when reading Jung’s take on the autonomous nature of the Self.
The first element which distinguishes the Self is its purely independent nature and when we say independent it means that the Self cannot be defined through perceptual or physical spatiotemporal boundaries and qualities. It is beyond the grasp of the human mind. Hence all adjectives that we use such as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient are inadequate. Language struggles with definition and hence calls it Self, Atman, Purusha or Buddha or Christ.
The second element which differentiates Self is its relation to all forms of manifested consciousness. Hence when we talk of Christ being God, it is the ingress of untainted consciousness into the human frame in the virgin birth of Yeshua or Jesus (Yeshua is the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Joshua.” Iesous is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Jesus.”). Hence it is in the virgin birth that Yeshua becomes Christos or Christ. Gautama becomes Buddha.
As Jung says it is not through human realization but through a Divine or cosmic gift that the Self bestows itself on the individual. While an individual, deeply desirous of knowing one’s true nature, seeks incessantly to realize the Divine within, the moment of realization and the state of a realized individual is a bestowed gift.
In Zen Buddhism, it is called Satori. Satori refers to a mystical experience of kenshō, "seeing into one's true nature". Ken means "seeing," shō means "nature" or "essence." This is commonly translated as enlightenment, a word that is also used to define the state of Bodhi, Prajna and Buddhahood. It is an insight that is more or less deep and thorough, but an insight none-the-less. It could be temporary. Rare few are gifted the state where one ceases to be a human experiencing it's true nature, and instead one becomes a true nature experiencing being a human. At that point one no longer has an existence in duality but is fully conscious of one’s true nature.
What are the hurdles we face in this transformative process as well as the only tool that can leverage the state of the individual soul to reach this higher state of enlightenment, are again pointed out by Jung in the following quote.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ……………….C.G. Jung
At all cost the conditioned consciousness fights tooth and nail to evade its own annihilation. The dross sticks to the inner being and it is only through a conscious and painful scrubbing the receptacle of the inner being can be brought to readiness to accept the Self.
What Jung means by saying “………making the darkness conscious” is that in our lives we are constantly engaged in using the ‘light of the world’ in constructing false perceptions through the inputs we receive from our senses. But these false perceptions can be eradicated only be utilizing the hidden potential of the darkness, here signifying non sensory potential, to become the conscious organizer of our perception of our true reality.
Matt Licata, a psychotherapist, spiritual counsellor, and teacher, from the Preface of his book, “It’s Okay to Be Broken: Embracing the Joy and Heartbreak of Spiritual Awakening.” Says:
“Much is being said these days about spiritual awakening, and the causeless joy, clarity, and peace that are inevitable milestones of the inner journey. Not all that much is mentioned, however, about the disappointment of awakening, or of the ways it can break our hearts, cracking us open to the reality of the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the transfiguration we are likely to encounter along the way. In the full embrace of life—right inside the yucky, messy, shadowy nether regions of the heart—we are invited to meet the wholeness of what we are, which includes the dark and the light, the movement of separation and union, and the entirety of what it means to be an embodied human being.
As Carl Jung so poignantly reminds us, we do not become enlightened by “imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” He went on to say that the integral journey of the dark and the light is one that is often “disagreeable” and thus would never be popular. I believe Jung is offering very important guidance for us and the voyage of the heart in contemporary times.”
Let me close this article with a real experience of mine.
When I was in college there was a drama staged which had the main character, a man who wanted to know the mind of a woman and used a concoction like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to transform himself into a woman. In the pre digital age in 1960s, we had to use light and darkness with some amount of smoke to effect this transformation on stage with a live audience. The main actor was standing as he took the magic potion and there was smoke and then darkness. Quickly we introduce a second actor dressed as a woman and made him lie down on the stage while the main actor stood perpendicular to the second actor. A sheet glass was introduced at 45 degrees and two lights were use one on the main actor and the second on the lady. At first the light on the main actor was in full brightness and the light on figure lying down was switched off. There was smoke drifting and then the light on the main actor started dimming and at the same time the light on the female figure started to increase. The effect was magical as the male figure through the glass vanished the female reflection became prominent and ‘voila’ the transformation was complete.
Indeed the darkness brought into the conscious is great in achieving a radical transformation.

Love to you all

Monday, February 20, 2017

True Flight from the World

“There is only one true flight from the world; it is not an escape from conflict, anguish, and suffering, but the flight from disunity and separation, to unity and peace in the love of other men. When we give power to suffering and to the cause of suffering, we lose touch with the inner self that knows we are one with the Divine. The inner being knows that this sacred union can never be dissolved although it may be obscured. By trusting the illusion of suffering, we forget, and our spiritual wings are clipped. We are unable to lift off much less soar to the heights of ecstatic union with the Divine. To release ourselves from the bond of this illusion and the forgetfulness it causes, we must see suffering not as a destructive power but as a transcendent gift from the Divine. This shift in understanding releases us from disunity and separateness.” ………………..Thomas Merton
I thought I will write this short article on this subject because we tend to associate moving away from the world in a spiritual exercise as an escape from the living reality. Thomas Merton is very clear on this in his opening sentence in the quoted saying. Conflict, anguish and suffering are inherent to life and results from the ego self. The ego cannot be completely dispensed with as it is first level of personal identity. The role we allow ego to play is vital. A good example is salt in our food. Salt cannot be totally eliminated as it is vital not only for taste but also as an essential ingredient for good health as Sodium enables the transmission of nerve impulses around the body. It is an electrolyte, like Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium; it regulates the electrical charges moving in and out of the cells in the body.
All negative emotional reactions such as anger, conflict and hatred results when the ego stubbornly refuses to be expunged from the system as excess salt in the body has to be removed through the kidney for maintaining good health.
Human suffering, in this context, is not that which is caused by physical harm. This suffering which Thomas Merton is referring is the mental suffering due to our inability to detach ourselves from the promptings of the ego.
It is unfortunate that in Christianity the spiritual exercise of suffering is rooted in the physical modelled after the suffering of Christ on the cross. Mortification as a spiritual exercise is seen as causing discomfort or pain in the physical dimension of the individual. Early Christians took it to the extreme level of martyrdom or physical death.
The understanding of St. Paul regarding suffering is of great help to us. Paul says:
“Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” ……………….Philippians 3:8-11
We must note that Paul talks of “suffering through loss of all things”. This is the deeper meaning and resonates with the Buddhist concept of “Dukkha” or suffering as a result of attachment. Every suffering is our stubborn adherence to the dictates of the ego and this must be eliminated, which is metaphorically identified with death, and must be followed by the resurrection of the spirit.
Another vital dimension of Paul’s take on the meaning of suffering is his deeper understanding of suffering as a means for sanctification, keeping the ego at a minimum and trust in God at a maximum. He says:
“And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak then I am strong” …….2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
Thomas Merton provides the methodology through which we can undertake this difficult task of detachment. When our understanding of our true nature transcends from disunity and separation to one of non-duality, we eradicate the very foundation on which the ego has placed its throne. Our true inner nature is elevated to its higher potential giving flight to ascend to an ecstatic union with the Divine.

Love to you all

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Self is Beyond Reason

“The true knowledge of the self is not a knowledge. It is not something that you find by searching, by looking everywhere. It is not to be found in space and time. Knowledge is but a memory, a pattern of thought, a mental habit. All these are motivated by pleasure and pain. It is because you are goaded by pleasure and pain that you are in search of knowledge. Being oneself is completely beyond all motivation. You cannot be yourself for some reason. You are yourself and no reason is needed.” ………………………….Nisargadatta Maharaj
“The Self is like a powerful magnet within us. It draws us gradually to Itself, though we imagine we are going to It of our own accord: when we are near enough, It puts an end to our activities, makes us still, and then swallows up our personal current, thus killing our wrong personality. It overwhelms the intellect and overfloods the whole being. We think we are meditating upon It and developing towards It, whereas the truth is that we are iron filings and It is the Atman-magnet that is pulling us towards Itself. Thus the process of finding the Self is a form of Divine magnetism.” ………..Ramana Maharishi
When I read the above two sayings, I was suddenly drawn to a thought and a picture emerged in my mind wherein I was observing the reflection of the full moon in the ocean. It was probably because the day I started writing this short article was a full moon day. In this mental image, I was standing on the shore of the ocean and the waves were coming one after the other in a specific rhythm. I could hardly see the reflection of the moon in the water. The moon was fragmented and dispersed over an immensely big area due to the reflection coming from many different surfaces generated by the waves.
A thought struck me at that very moment. If we compare the moon in the firmament as the Self and the ocean as the individual self or consciousness, which in its true nature should be the embodiment of the Self or Paramatma. But to the observing consciousness of the individual, the Self becomes disfigured while its true nature is constant and unchanging. The more the travails of life and life concerns, represented here by the waves of the ocean, the true Self lies beyond comprehension. Even if we travel in a small boat to the middle of the ocean where there are no waves, the mild breeze or even the passage of the boat disturbs the surface creating ripples which distorts the nature of true reality.
This goes to point out that using the mind and reason, which is represented by the surface of the ocean, the grasp of true nature of the self is beyond our reach. Even if we dive deep into very clear waters of the ocean the surface which here represents the conditioned mind or the self (with small letter s) always is subject to hindering our access to the true nature of the Self.
Just as the true reality of the moon, which is always whole and never waxes and wanes, can be accessed when we go beyond to its true space of being, the access to the Self needs a consciousness unconditioned by the limitations of mental conditioning. Hence the ultimate reality lies beyond the reasoning mind.
Ramana Maharishi uses a very apt comparison of the Self being a magnet. It is common knowledge that it is the magnet that attracts the iron filings and not the other way around. There are two main hindrances to this attraction; they are distance and a medium. If we have distanced ourselves from the Self through our conscious choice of being attached our physical and material nature, we are far from the never changing influence of the magnet or the Self. As long as the medium is empty space representing a state of mind tranquilized only through meditation and devotion through Karma or Bhakti, the irresistible pull of the Self will be overpowering and provide the needed potential to elevate ourselves to a merger with the Self. If we have any medium like a sheet of glass which gives the false perception of being the goal, the iron filing form the pattern of lines of force of magnetic attraction on the  sheet of glass but these iron filings are far from their true goal.
In our lives, the only supplication in our prayers should be to be filled with Divine grace which is the lines of force that attracts us towards the Self. When this prayer is empowered through spiritual practices such as; austerity, compassion, meditation, focused worship and performance of tasks without expectations (nishkamakarma), our true goal can be achieved.
Let me close this short reflection on the need for Divine Grace with a quote from a great Christian mystic:
“O God, teach me to be satisfied with my own helplessness in the spiritual life. Teach me to be content with Your grace that comes to me in darkness and that works things I cannot see. Teach me to be happy that I can depend on You. To depend on You should be enough for an eternity of joy. To depend on You by itself ought to be infinitely greater than any joy which my own intellectual appetite could desire.” …………….Thomas Merton

Love to you all

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Buddhiyoga –Anchoring in the Divine

“I am the source of all. From Me everything emanates. Thinking thus, the wise worship Me, absorbed in ecstatic contemplation.   With their consciousness centred upon Me, with their vital energies drawn into Me, enlightening each other, constantly conversing about Me, they feel contented and revel in delight.   To those who are constantly yoked; and worship Me with love, I confer that intuitive understanding (buddhiyoga) by which they approach Me. Out of pure compassion for them, dwelling in their inmost self, I destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the brilliant lamp of wisdom.”  ……..Bhagavad Gītā 10: 8-11
There are clearly two dimensions addressed in this saying. They are the attributes of the object of devotion and the categories of devotee.
First dimension is that all the content of what is manifest and what is hidden from our senses, as the sum total of the object of devotion and the content of all these emanates from the Divine plenum which is symbolized as an embodiment in the person of Lord Krishna. The recipient of this message must have the knowledge to comprehend both the manifest and the unmanifest. While the manifest could be comprehended through our senses and our conditioned consciousness, the unmanifest can only be grasped through a new tool of perception which can only be dispensed through Divine grace. To illustrate this mystery at the objective level, Arjuna asks the Lord to exhibit his universal form in chapter 11 Bhagavad Gita which immediately follows the chapter in which the above verse appears and the Lord obliges by bestowing his a special sight.
“But you cannot see my cosmic form with these physical eyes of yours. Therefore, I grant you divine vision. Behold my majestic opulence!” …………..……..Bhagavad Gītā 11: 8
Second dimension is the category of devotee. Here again there are two clear categories of devotees and these categories result from the individual’s karmic status of the individual atma. The first is the wise and the second are those who are yoked to earthly toil. These are very clearly spiritual categories.
The wise are those who have attained a status of elevated consciousness through realization of one’s true self through repeated karmic cleansing. They are able to integrate their consciousness with the Divine through deep ecstatic contemplation or meditative practice. When their vital energies are fully focused on the Self, which is the pramatma, the individual atma loses its ego coverings and transcends to the deeper plenum. It is the well of infinite energy from which the individual wisdom gains strength in its journey, or human destiny, which is the ultimate merger with the Divine.
The second category of devotees are those who are still in the infancy of their karmic journey. This category is defined in chapter 9 of Bhagavad Gita and in no less pronouncement, the Lord declares:
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination. He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes. O son of Pthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaiśyas (merchants) as well as śūdras (workers)—can attain the supreme destination. How much more this is so of the righteous brāhmaas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me. Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisance to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” ………………Bhagavad Gītā 9: 30-34
A clear example is provided in the Puranas.
The biography of Valmiki, the author of the great epic Ramayana, is a vivid case of spiritual transformation. Valmiki was not always a saint. He was born Ratnakara, and became an infamous bandit who killed many people by the time he reached his adulthood. One day, he was touched by an act of love between two cranes in a clear river where he was about to bathe. One of the cranes was killed by a hunter’s arrow and the mate cried out in anguish. This event transformed his personality drastically. One day, he met the great sage Narada who questioned him of his duty. Moved by Narada's words, he began to perform penance and chanted the word "Mara" which meant "kill". As he performed his penance for several years, the word became "Rama", the name of Lord Vishnu.  Narada declared Ratnakara to be a great Sage and Brahmin, a member of the high caste. This whole episode signifies the transformation of a sinner into a sage in one life time through constant attachment to the Divine.
It is worth noting how the chant used in meditation “Mara” meaning kill is transformed into “Rama”. This is a symbolic significance of how even the worst of criminals can become spiritually elevated.
Before the eye of the Divine there are no categories. It is only our willingness to elevate our priorities above the mundane and a constant seeking of the higher potential which resides within us. This is what is mandated by the verse quoted at the beginning of this article.

Love to you all

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Apocalypse Versus Apokatastasis

"You may remember that passage in St. Paul about the apokatastasis (Apokatastasis is reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition), which is the same idea that the whole of nature, all creatures, are expecting the revelation.
As we are expecting the manifestation as the children of God, a revelation of the Holy Ghost within us, so all creation, even the animals and the plants, are waiting for it too; that spiritual miracle of redemption or completion which happens in man means the crowning of all nature at the same time. So everything that has been fettered will be released with the liberation of the children of God.
The idea is that man is the representative of the whole of creation, and whatever happens to him happens in a magic way to the whole world. It is an exceedingly mystical idea. And as Paul thought, so the unconscious still thinks." …………….. C.G. Jung, Visions Seminars, Vol. 1
Jung reflects the thoughts of theologians like Origen in the third century AD and St. Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century AD.
It was Origen who gave meaning to Universality of the Redemption and the Final Restoration. His interpretation of St. Paul’s letter1 Corinthians 15:25-28, seem to extend to all rational beings the benefit of the Redemption, and Origen allows himself to be led a philosophical positioning that the end is always like the beginning: "We think that the goodness of God, through the mediation of Christ, will bring all creatures to one and the same end" (De Principiis I.6.1-3). The universal restoration (apokatastasis) follows necessarily from these principles.
St. Gregory of Nyssa who explicitly taught this doctrine.
“It first occurs in his "De animâ et resurrectione" (P.G., XLVI, cols. 100, 101) where, in speaking of the punishment by fire assigned to souls after death, he compares it to the process whereby gold is refined in a furnace, through being separated from the dross with which it is alloyed. The punishment by fire is not, therefore, an end in itself, but is ameliorative; the very reason of its infliction is to separate the good from the evil in the soul. The process, moreover, is a painful one; the sharpness and duration of the pain are in proportion to the evil of which each soul is guilty; the flame lasts so long as there is any evil left to destroy.” …………..New Advent
The language used by Gregory of Nyssa can be mapped to the theory of reincarnation and karmic purification in Vedic and Buddhist philosophies. The process of reincarnation or Sasāra is the continuous cleansing process of the individual soul till it reaches a stage of absolute purity or the original state from which it descended into the material realm.
This doctrinal theology of Apokatastasis has been recast in the twentieth century by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man. He conceived the vitalist idea of the Omega Point (a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving). As seen with Gregory of Nyssa, Teilhard’s cosmic theology is largely predicated on his interpretation of Pauline scripture, particularly Colossians 1:15-17 (especially verse 1:17b) and 1 Corinthians 15:28. He drew on the ‘Christ consciousness centrism’ of these two Pauline passages to construct a cosmic theology which recognizes the absolute primacy of Divine consciousness. He understood creation to be "a teleological process where individual consciousness evolves towards union with the Godhead or Divine consciousness, effected through the symbolism of incarnation and redemption of Christ. He further posited that creation would not be complete until each "participated being is totally united with God through Christ in the Pleroma, when God will be 'all in all' (1Cor. 15:28)
As the consciousness of humanity evolved over the two million years towards Homo Sapiens, our perception of reality has also evolved to grasp the interconnectedness of all manifestations. Jung’s words that the idea of man as a representative of the whole of creation stems from this heightened awareness. It is through individual and collective human consciousness that we give birth and meaning to the existence of this universe and the concept of the multiverse.
The chronological thought process from St. Paul to Origen to Gregory of Nyssa and then to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the exponential ramping up of our current understanding of the world around us as nothing but our own personal observation in which all possibilities are collapsed to a single identity, we are in a position to have a greater vision of the process of our human journey.

Enjoy the ride and love to you all.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Suspended Between the Opposites

A suspension between the opposites, (i.e., an ego in the banal world who does not know he is also an eternal being), followed by a breaking of the blockage, the stasis, through a transforming dialogue of the Ego with the Self, allowing movement and flow, and leading to the living birth of an unanticipated created third :
"The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing, not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle ‘tertium non datur’ [law of the excluded middle], but a movement out of the suspension between opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation." ……………………C.G. Jung, The Transcendent Function
Perhaps the best visualization of the above theme is the painting by Salvador Dali “Christus Hypercubus”. Dali utilizes a traditional Christian motif of Christ’s crucifixion being surreally revealed  upon as in a mystical revelation, yet the cross is formed by an unfolding octahedral hypercube (a four-dimensional cube). The artist’s metaphysical, transcendent cubism is based on the emergent art form of cubism
In this painting there is an emergence of Christ from the cross into a new dimension. The entire crucifixion theme is loaded with the theme of being suspended  between polar opposites. Christ being crucified between the two thieves of whom one is good and another bad, reflects this theme. We lose the greater significance when we are rooted only in the physical image of the event.
What Jung calls “…..a living birth that leads to a new level of being” is a stage of evolution in the human to a new level of consciousness. The purpose of crucifixion is to unite the two dimensions of the ego personality of the individual in the horizontal dimension and the cosmic or Divine level in the vertical dimension. This is why the Roman cross, an instrument of execution, which had only a horizontal bar is shown in the teaching of Christianity with a vertical extension bringing forth the esoteric meaning hidden in this event.
This theme figures in the science fiction novel “Factoring Humanity” by  Robert J. Sawyer. In this novel, the author brings out the initiation of transcendence of the Homo Sapience to the next evolutionary level by a stream of signal which is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for nearly ten years and it is left to Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto, psychology department, to devote her career to deciphering the message. Once it is deciphered it reveals a technology that can rip the very fabric of space time. This means that access consciousness can instantaneously connect on a Galactic scale beyond the limitation of four dimensional solar consciousness. This leads humans to evolve to the next stage of their being. What is important and what this novel brings out is that the moment we are able to transcend our limitation of consciousness in the four dimensions of spacetime, we can actualize our innate potential to transcend beyond our ego dominated nature.
“To be receptive to the highest truth, and to live therein, a man must needs be without before and after, untrammelled by all his acts or by any images he ever perceived, empty and free, receiving the divine gift in the eternal Now, and bearing it back unhindered in the light of the same with praise and thanksgiving in our Lord Jesus Christ.” …………Meister Eckhart
The highest truth cannot be availed if one is rooted in the past or the future. The very nature of being struck to the past denies the evolutionary potential in man to become operative and trying to look for truth in the future is futile exercise as the complexity of the evolutionary process makes any perception in the future dimension a mere illusion which will be rooted in ignorance. If we understand our Divine and cosmic nature and the capacity of our consciousness to transcend our current nature, which is the aggregate of our fossilized perceptions, then we reside in the fertile moment of here and now. A state of emptiness which has infinite potential of manifesting to the fullness of the highest truth.
“The teaching of the Eastern philosophies and of Jung are that all of our stories of right and wrong are but reflections of the yet unreconciled polarities that make up our ego’s. To ‘free’ ourselves from our constricting beliefs and make peace with ourselves and the world, we have to learn to embrace and bear apparent paradox (more on this in my next post). Jung, thus, compared individuation, the process of becoming whole, to incarnation, for to the extent that we claim our wholeness we allow ‘God’ to incarnate in this world.” …………’Truthless Truth Blog’
If we want to transcend towards the higher truth then every moment of our lives has to be a reincarnation or a new birth and this birth has to happen by painfully extracting ourselves from the existing dimensions of conditioned consciousness into a new realm of being.

Love to you all

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Need for Parables and Puranas

“The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” …………Matthew 13: 10-15
“The unconscious is the dark being within that hears what our conscious ears do not hear, & sees what our conscious eyes do not perceive. It allows those unnoticed impressions to grow & moulds them into itself. We only become aware of this unheard hearing, this unseen seeing, when the unconscious sends us these forgotten images in dreams & visions.” ………………C.G. Jung
Today we commemorate the feast of Epiphany in the Catholic calendar. You may be wondering why I have chosen to post an article on the importance of parables and puranas in spiritual empowerment on this festive occasion which in the early stages of Christianity had a greater importance than Christmas. In the eastern Christian tradition there was a fourfold significance of the feast of Epiphany. They were the; Divine manifestation, Royal kingship, Advent of light and the Royal nuptial. The common mystical theme underlying these fourfold celebration is the revelation of Divine consciousness in each person.
The three wise men from the east represent the three dimensional manifestation of humanity which is the physical being and therein is hidden the fourth dimension of timeless Divine light or consciousness represented by the star of Christ. It is only Mary and Joseph, the humble shepherds, the three wise men who are granted the vision of the manifestation of Divine consciousness taking the human form in Christ. The birth of God as Man is nothing but the mystical manifestation of Divine light which was hidden during Advent of one’s seeking soul revealed to the discerning individuals representing the Bhakti, Karma and the Jnana paths through which one can attain Divine consciousness. The implicit faith and devotion of Mary and Joseph in this mystical birth represents the Bhakti marga or path, the shepherd toiling in the cold night represent the Karma marga and the three wise men represent the Jnana marga which is tortuous journey and which is purely guided by their own Divine light brought to the forefront as a guide to transcendence.
Now examine the quote from the Gospel of Matthew. The need for mythological path through telling of parables and Purana are for those whose inner realms of consciousness is blanketed by ignorance and has to be awakened through metaphorical inputs to their sensory domain through which a key would provide to unlock the deeper chamber wherein the secrets of the Divine Kingdom are stored.  When one is open to this process the very inner domain would provide the needed tools to further expand one’s consciousness to attain the higher status of consciousness. The saying “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand………..” points not to the wakeful state of consciousness but to spiritual slumber which is a state of blindness and deafness to the deeper reality of human existence.
Now the significance of Jung’s saying can bear its fuller meaning. It is almost in identical words that Jung talks of the two possible states of human existence. These are the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious state is corrupt due to constant erosion by false perceptions of reality but the power of the unconscious which is untainted has immense potential in this revelatory process. When Jung says: “We only become aware of this unheard hearing, this unseen seeing, when the unconscious sends us these forgotten images in dreams & visions.”, what he means is that the forgotten images in dreams and visions are those inputs that take root in a waking consciousness through mythological narrations and powerful stories that nudges us towards reality that lies beyond the wakeful state.
The events of the visitation of the three wise themselves evoke metaphorical significance of a very spiritual nature. I would like to take one event in particular which I feel is of great importance to us individually. The disappearance of the star of the Divine child when the three wise men are in the region of Herod’s kingdom. The kingdom of Herod represents the power corrupted consciousness and its influence to obliterate the guiding Divine light and the moment they leave his domain the star reappears.
Let this festival of Epiphany prompt us to seek the Divine light in each one of us beyond the darkness of illusion.

Love to you all 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Heart Centred Prayer

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him………” …………………Matthew 6:5-8
"When the energy field is too scattered then by default you fall back on the only program that you can run, which is mental-egoic, divide-and-conquer, separate-to-see ~ it’s the kind of program that the West has been running for 2500 years. So it’s only the kind of crazy mystics that model for us what undivided perception feels like.
Centring Prayer artlessly and innocently without realization that this is what it was doing was laying the physiological groundwork for a developed capacity for non-dual awareness. The heart has been seen as central to the physiological underpinning of non-dual consciousness and non-dual selfhood." ………….Cynthia Bourgeault
I would like to open the first post of 2017 with what I feel is the urgent need of the hour. The importance prayer has almost disappeared from the world of the youth and it is fossilized in empty words and often repeated obligatory ritual in which the mere recitation is given any importance. It is quantity rather than quality.
We live in a world that is seeing an exponential increase in noise pollution and this pollution is not restricted to the auditory nature only but has also, through technological evolution, invaded the private mental space of the human being. The increasing influence of the virtual media especially among the youth today has shut out the route to inner reflection and the silence of the senses which is so very essential to reach down to the inner dwelling of the Divine.
It is in this context that the words of Christ uttered 2000 years ago begins to assume a great significance. The prayers of the hypocrites and the public prayers of proclamation in the places of worship of all religions cannot provide the much needed communication with the Divine. The intention of public prayers in places of worship was to create a homogeneous intention energy field in the universal unconsciousness so that this increased and multi-fold energy field can be tapped by the devotee through his or her own positive intentional resonance. But by default, in a public sphere of prayer, we tend to descend into the realm of the ego mentality and become self-centred both in our attitude as well as in our intentions. Before we look at the mode of individual heart centred prayer, I would like to dwell upon what the effect of group resonance can have on a global scale when there is a  silent intention of a small group.
“In 1974 an experimental study observed three different gatherings of over 7,000 people meditating each morning and evening for three consecutive weeks.  The study took place in Fairfield, Iowa (December 17, 1983-January 6, 1984), The Hague, Holland (December 21, 1984-January 13, 1985) and Washington, DC (July 1-July 10, 1985).  The results were astounding.  According to the Rand Corporation, a think-tank based in California, “acts of global terrorism resulting in fatalities and injuries were reduced by 72%.”  Time series analysis was used in this study to rule out possibilities that the reduction in global terrorism was caused by pre-existing trends, drifts in data or cycles.
Scientists believe this is due to a coherent resonance being created in the Unified Quantum Field by those meditating.
The 7,000 people meditating created a Field Effect of harmonious coherence that spread throughout the collective–which in turn helped to reduce acts of terrorism (incoherent, disruptive energy).
This effect, which has also been called the “Maharishi Effect,” has had over 600 scientific studies conducted in 33 countries and in over 250 independent research institutions. The evidence overwhelmingly correlates synchronized group prayer and meditation having extremely positive social, political and economic benefits to the world.  Positive correlations for numerous health benefits to the individual were also observed and confirmed.”
This study is continuously conducted by the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) under its “Global Consciousness Project (GCP)”
This phenomenal effect has to start at the individual level and the laser sharp non-dual awareness is the fundamental requirement. It is only when we can lose our self-identity at the ego level and see ourselves as an inseparable part of the universe we can truly move into the realm of a heart centred prayer. The Anahata or heart chakra is the meeting point of the ascending, earning, supplicating, terrestrial energy of the human manifestation  and the descending, universal non-dual consciousness energy of the Divine. In prayer we seek this union and the place of union is heart.
All mystics had a deep understanding of this Divine truth.
The Qur'an continuously mentions focusing on the heart:
"Bring to God a sound heart, a heart that can respond."
There's a direct revelation from God to Prophet Muhammad  called  Hadith Qudsi where God says:
I cannot be contained in the space of the earth,
I cannot be contained in the space of the heavens,
But I can be contained in the space of the pure loving heart.

Let me close this appeal to all my readers that in the New Year, in what so ever religion we seek the Divine, we will move to a heart centred prayer in our lives. As Rumi says:

“Close down speech's door and open up the heart's window!
The moon will only kiss you through the window.”

Wish you all a blessed and peaceful New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Inseparability of God from the Self

“If the ego does not exist as a separate entity, then the god image does not really exist either. God is a consequence of consciousness, it is born in the human soul parallel to the nativity of Christ. That God requires conscious man in order to come into existence was first stated clearly by Meister Eckhart. He was a depth psychologist manqué.” ……………….Edward Edinger, Commentary to Aion
“The individual ego is the stable in which the Christ child is born” …........Carl Jung, Psychology & Religion
Usually at Christmas time I post about some unique dimension of the meaning behind the nativity of Christ. It Is unfortunate that even those who have been given the mind to deeply reflect simply conform to the age old practice of a celebration rooted to the material plane thus loosing the all important spiritual content which this commemoration is meant to evoke.
Hence it is good to listen to a great Catholic mystic, such as Meister Eckhart, on his take on nativity of Christ. Every event portrayed in the life of Christ has a personal dimension to the individual spiritual self. God is a consequence of individual ego consciousness without which we do not have either the powerful subjective experience of the Divine nor the ritualist objective symbolism to reach deep down into one’s soul for a subjective experience of God. This is the reason why both Meister Eckhart and Carl Jung placed the birth of Christ in the individual ego consciousness.
In the celebration of the Holy Mass, the ritual of communion is to evoke the transformation of the human nature of an individual’s soul through its many trappings into its unpolluted Divine nature through the ritual of consuming the consecrated host.
A colossus in the understanding and interpretation of mythology writes:
“This is an essential experience of any mystical realization. You die to your flesh and are born into your spirit. You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. You die to the vehicle and become identified in your consciousness with that of which the vehicle is but the carrier. That is the God ... Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things." ……………. Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”
The essential metaphor here is "You die..." Here this means, metaphorically, that you experience in a subjective mode a transformation in conscious awareness that completely relocates and transcends all previous awareness. Misinterpreting this metaphor literally, that this is speaking of life after death, and hence the Divine access only after death, is the fundamental mistake that many religions make and which Joseph Campbell and depth psychologist like Carl Jung tried all their life to address. Yes, this deeper interpretation is the essence of the standard Catholic doctrine, and it is common to many spiritual and mystic traditions, but its literal interpretation is a mistake, and misses the whole point.
This has raised some valid points as to “Is not the body which is vehicle of the Divine, is itself a manifestation of the Divine” I do not refute this claim that the body is the glorious manifestation of the Divine.
But when we say that the body is the vehicle, it is a metaphor and in no way demeans the manifested radiance of God's creation. But this understanding is often downgraded due to our over indulgence in the material nature of our existence and a new level of conscious awareness is needed to bring forth the Divine within from its material trappings.
This is the reason that in Bhagavad Gita, the body is compared to the chariot, the mind to the horses, Lord Krishna, the Divine, is the charioteer but it is the individual ego of Arjuna which directs the course of battle. The whole of Bhagavad Gita is God prompting words of wisdom to the individual ego of Arjuna.
The mind, body and soul (or consciousness) cannot be segregated in their true subjective nature, this is reason for Joseph Campbell saying “……..Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things."  but are only objectively segregated at the individual ego consciousness level.
The whole human is Godliness and this is reflected in Teilhard de Chardin's saying: "We are spiritual beings having human experience, not human beings having spiritual experience"
To go back to this realization we need a metaphorical death of the physical.

Wish you all a renewed birth of Christ consciousness and a blessed new year.