Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spiritual Dimension of Love

Yeshua said, “Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.” ……….Saying 25 “Gospel of Thomas”

Though this is a very simple instruction, there is a cosmic implication in this very act of loving which Yeshua points out as mandatory. In the canonical Gospel we have read the same instruction;
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, Love your neighbour as yourself.”……….Luke Ch 10:27.
But the dimension of loving all human creation is amplified in the instruction of Yeshua.

The immediate thought that enters our mind on the act of loving is a plethora of emotions such as caring, compassion, concern, etc., The specific qualification of the nature of love that is needed is in a spiritual sphere. It is equated to loving one’s soul. Love of one’s soul is the undifferentiated union with the true nature of one’s soul. In spiritual love, the identity of the true nature of the object of love, becomes of primal importance. If all human creation is in the image of the Divine, there can not be any difference in love of others and in self love.
The act of loving establishes a bridge and level playing field for all the energies of life, through communication and action, to mutually empower both the subject and the object of love.

In the worldly act of loving, there is always a feedback mechanism available through the senses and emotions by which a measurement of fulfilment or gratification can be achieved.
But in spiritual love, which is of a transcendent nature, we operate in a domain where methods of knowing through the rational mind are inoperative. This is the reason that the two elements of faith and hope has to precede the act of loving. This is beautifully captured by Tau Malachi in his commentary on this verse when he says;

“Faith is an intuition of an experience not yet had, hope the active aspiration to attainment of that spiritual experience and love, the active power in the human spirit that allows the Divine spirit to freely act”

Self preservation through self love can not be isolated from the preservation of the species, which can only be achieved through unconditional love of every element of the species. This importance is emphasised through equating the preservation of one’s pupil from any harm. For clear sight, the pupil of the eye, which is the physical portal to the world, plays the most vital role. In the spiritual dimension, the entire physical manifestation becomes equivalent to the pupil of the eye as every human creation is a Divine portal to the undivided Divine consciousness.

In spiritual writing and sayings; the eye is equated to ‘understanding’. Hence when Yeshua talks about the ‘pupil of the eye’, he is referring to the portal of understanding which is the human mind. We are called upon to perform an empowering role of enriching minds of our fellow beings. Protecting is not a passive role but a proactive role of empowerment so that the minds of our brethren are enriched to well integrate in the ambience of evolving consciousness to become co-creators and instruments of the Divine.

Love is the surrender and the true meaning of the “two shall become one”. Love is the portal of unification of all human creation. This unification is the ‘Omega Point’ of which Teilhard de Chardin talks when defining the process of human evolution. When ‘many are gathered in my name’ also means 'this unity of consciousness' and not some physical gathering, at which point the second messianic coming will take place.

Love to you all.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Love for Love’s Sake

“It is good to love God for hope of reward, but it is better to love God for love's sake; and the prayer goes: O Lord, I do not want wealth nor, children nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth to birth. But grant me this, that I may love thee without the hope of reward--'love'' unselfishly for love's sake.”………………….. Swami Vivekananda

This saying of Swami Vivekananda has tremendous meaning and puts in simpler terms the deeper esoteric content in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which expounds the philosophy of Sage Yajnavalkya.
Swami Krishnananda, explaining the role of Sage Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, explains:

“Idam brahma, idam kshatram, ime lokah, ime devah, imani bhutani, idam sarvam yad ayam atma.” meaning “This Source of knowledge; this source of power; all these worlds; all these gods; all these beings – All this is just the Self.”

This proclamation is like a Brahma Astra1 that Sage Yajnavalkya is discharging against every kind of attachment one can conceive in this world. It is somewhat easy to accept that God is everywhere. It becomes easy because we always externalise the location of God, however much we may try to universalise Him. The idea of location in space does not leave us so easily. God is everywhere, this is what we generally believe. The everywhereness of God implies that there is space, and inasmuch as our mind is wedded completely to the concept of spatial expansion, we feel a little bit comforted when we are told that God is everywhere.”

The true import of the saying of Swami Vivekananda is that in understanding the love of God all derivatives of emotions, expectations and any other type of attachment must be overcome. All dualities must be eradicated. This is not a mental exercise. As you can read in the note appended below, the way these dualities can be annihilated is only through a single-minded intuitive journey with absolute focus on merging oneself with all manifest and unmanifest universal consciousness. But the moment we assign a space-time aspect to this entity, we are defeated in our attempt.

The prayer suggested by the Swami summarizes the absolute detachment, not only in this life but in all the birthing that we will experience. This is the continuous seeking of the soul or Atman for ultimate union with the Paramatma.

Unselfish love is the one that is devoid of possession. All desires including spiritual ones are two different aspects of one internal mental action. In the explanation of the great Swiss depth Psychologist, Carl Jung, every object outside is taken into the psyche as an interject with which the subject interacts. The interject itself is the product of conditioned consciousness and can not be have an absolute nature. Hence we are really dealing with a tainted image of the self in all our attachments and desires.

Love for love’s sake is the simple form of perceiving everything beyond the name and form with which our conditioned mind is familiar. To develop this process of perception is a journey, wherein a force far stronger than the downward pull of the conditioned consciousness has to act, is a continued vigil of unwavering focus.

Let us begin this journey without the reward of heaven nor the threat of hell in our minds.

Love to you all.
1(note-The Brahmastra, the weapon of Brahma, never missed its mark and had to be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target would face complete annihilation. It was believed to be obtained by meditating on the Creator in Vedic mythology, Lord Brahma; it could only be used once in a lifetime. The inner meaning of this that this is the means of destroying the duality that separates creation from the creator. Once this weapon is deployed the ego self if completely annihilated)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Circular progression

Guy Finley is great author in the tradition of spiritual empowerment.
In his book ( “Let Go and Live in the Now”, by Guy Finley - Published by Red Wheel / Weiser, 2004), he wrote the following regarding Spiritual growth.

"Our real spiritual development is under invisible laws: To grow, we must learn. To learn, we must teach. To teach we must lead. To lead, we must make mistakes."

A friend who visits my blog asked what I understand by these words.
Now let me put forward my understanding of this particular part of his writing. This applies to common folks and may not apply fully to advanced spiritual practitioners such ascetics and mystics ( who are in advanced intuitive spiritual journey)

Every unfolding in the universe follows what are known as a set of physical laws. For example, heat always flows from a hot body to a cold body and time is not reversible and the arrow of time always points to the future, etc.,
But when we come to spiritual unfolding which is the basic purpose of our life, the laws that govern this unfolding are imperceptible and beyond rational comprehension. There can not be a set of laws which can define spiritual unfolding. It is highly tailor made for individual consciousness. Only a broad set of guidelines can be given. These in themselves can not guarantee spiritual progress.
This is the vital principle why social laws and religious stipulations can not be fully identified with the rules of engagement for spiritual development. This was the reason for Christ to go beyond the letters of the law into its moral and ethical dimension. (Sabbath, ritual cleansing, Circumcision, etc.,)

It is only through the contextual and continuous learning and adapting to increased awareness, which the unfolding of the cosmos brings into contention, that one has to grow in the spiritual path.

To learn we must teach means that our spiritual advancement can not progress in isolation. Teaching here really means sharing what we have learned and experienced. This can be in the intellectual or in the social realm. In the Christian tradition good examples are Thomas Aquinas (intellectual) and Mother Theresa (service to humanity).

In sharing we must lead. Leading here means that one should be lamp that is on the hill top. It is only through a high spiritual visibility in the community either through selfless service or imparting spiritual knowledge one transcends to higher levels of spiritual attainment. This is a propelling energy that we intake from the milieu. This is the operating vehicle of the Holy Spirit.

It is inevitable that we will make mistakes. Mistakes are nothing but experiences outside the norms we set ourselves or which have been set for us in a specific spiritual discipline. As long as we learn from these mistakes and do course correction, there can not be progress. I use the example of an autopilot in the modern aircraft. The intended course is set by the onboard cruise computer but various atmospheric disturbances and other parameters can deviate the aircraft from its intended course. The autopilot detects these changes and corrects the course.

Take a close look at the sequence of the progression and reverse the order. What do we get?

“Make mistakes so that we can correct and become leaders. By leading we teach and for teaching we must learn and to learn we must grow out of our fixated and outmoded laws.”

This is the natural and circular progression of our spiritual and physical lives. This is the universal law of Cybernetics which governs a closed loop system. Our physical growth is also determined by this progression but we do not stop to think about it. If the cells in our body get locked into a singular operating code then there can be no growth and the organism must die. At various periods in our lives, our cells learn to bring into operation sections of the gene that were dormant. Mistakes are made and are corrected leading to beneficent change. Imagine the orchestrated operation of 100 trillion cells in a human body, What law can define it and yet it is most well defined manifestation.

Love to you all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mindfulness of Breathing

“Mindful, he breathes in, and mindful, he breathes out. He, thinking, 'I breathe in long,' he understands when he is breathing in long; or thinking, 'I breathe out long,' he understands when he is breathing out long; or thinking, 'I breathe in short,' he understands when he is breathing in short; or thinking, 'I breathe out short,' he understands when he is breathing out short.

Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself.”

The above saying Buddha is taken from the “Maha satipatthana Sutta” meaning “The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness” is one of the most important and widely studied discourses in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.
The meaning is very self explanatory at the out set. But to know what is the process that is taking place during this practice is very important.

it is also important to understand the concept of "mindfulness." Mindfulness is a state of present awareness. A relaxed state of mind, in which we are conscious of our experience, including sensations, thoughts and feelings, breathing, and surroundings, all with an attitude of non-resistance, peace and acceptance. This does not imply passivity or lack of emotion. Mindfulness engenders faith in the perfection of the moment, and allows each new experience to be felt fully, without the reactive, self-critical, controlling mind.

Breathing is something we do involuntarily at every living moment in our lives. The air we breath is the vital ingredient that carries the energy that is generated through the food and water we intake or the solar energy we transform through our skin. Most of us have very little body awareness. It is the intersection of the body process and the state of mind which is responsible for a well balance energy transference to every living cell in the organs of our body.

During this discourse, the Buddha brings out the example of a well trained ‘turner’ who is operating a mechanical lathe driven by a pulley and wheel. The skilful turner needs a deft feel for the rate of rotation and the mechanical pressure of the tool to carve out the exact shape of the artefact which he is making. Similarly, by the process of mindful breathing, the duration of breathing in and breathing out controls the distribution of energy and expelling of the after-wash from every organ.

The intension of observance is very important ingredient in this process. The mind is the result of our individual consciousness and it is in the same consciousness field the functioning of the organs and cell of the body are rooted. The unbalance in the operation of our body happens when the mind is separated either as being the by-product of the brain, which is another body part, or as an agent of pure thinking which lies outside the realm of body function. This duality destroys the inter-migratory nature of the integral mind-body construct.

Through the mindful breathing the vital life energy can be directed to every cell in the body. This directing is done by the mind through intention. This requires constant training, but in reality is being achieved by the great Tibetan Lamas. They can control their body temperature to the required standard value of 98.4 o Fahrenheit, even when their bare bodies are exposed to severe winter temperatures. This is not our intension as common folks but we can experience glowing health and unrestricted flow of energy through our body as a result of our constant practice of mindful breathing.

The next level of awakening will be the disappearance of the mind-body duality and the transference of the self to the pure mind state. This is an essential step in our spiritual exercise.

Love to you all