Friday, March 30, 2012

Meekness and Inheritance

A friend of mine on Facebook asked this question and instead of replying to him individually (I am sure he would not mind) I thought of sharing my take on this, the third beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, through a Blog post.

“I was reading the other day about the concept of Karma, and I struck a parallel (not sure why yet) with "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
Have you come across the original language text of "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"? I wonder if meek is not the correct English word. Same goes for the phrase "inherit the earth".”

It is natural when one looks at the words and relate to the compensatory attribute of karma that whatever virtue that we practice in this life time would have a beneficent effect in the next life. Hence being meek and subservient leads to dominion over an earthly kingdom. The transformation from being a physical slave to becoming the master and inheritor of a kingdom.

Neil Douglas-Klotz commenting on this verse says that the original ‘L’makikhe’ could be translated as ‘the Meek’ as it was done from the Greek. But the Aramaic would say humble or gentle. Behind this is the deeper root of a process of softening or one who is yielding.
This is a mental process of opening up to more holistic realities.
Similarly the word ‘nertun’ can mean ‘inherit’ or in a broader sense ‘receiving’. In a broader interpretation, from a spiritual perspective, it means receiving from the source.
The immediate source which people can relate to is the Earth of which we are part of in our temporal existence. But in the cosmological dimension it is the gift of receiving from the very source of all creation.

The deeper meaning of this verse is that those of us who can remove our mental rigidities conditioned through socio-political-religious belief systems and open our intellect to receive the sustaining energies from the source field of which we are part of, would inherit the very universal attributes of the Cosmos.

The best example is that of a sea sponge. The inherent attribute of the sponge is to naturally allow the nutrient rich sea water to enter the very core of the sponge thus enriching its life. Sponges do not have nervous, digestive or circulatory systems. Instead, most rely on maintaining a constant water flow through their bodies to obtain food, oxygen and remove wastes. The sponge does not go and get the nutrients, it allows the nutrients to come in due its physical open and pervasive structure.

Similarly the lowering of potential in any electrical system allows energy from a higher potential to naturally flow. Humility is the hallmark of the wise. Humility is associated with a wilful lowering of one’s potentials and talents. This is prerequisite for learning.

The process of achieving the meekness or humility and inheriting the plenitude invested through cosmic consciousness is well brought out in the “Eight Verses for Training the Mind” by Geshe Sonam Rinchen.

“One of the main obstacles is our pride. This pride is an inflated state of mind (rigidity) and relies on our false view of the transitory collection, which focuses on the existent self, attributed to our body and mind, and distorts it. When we are on top of a very high mountain, we look down on all the lower peaks. Similarly, when we are full of pride, everyone else appears lower. We are the best and everyone else is inferior. This pride is associated with our self-preoccupation and makes us act inappropriately and disrespectfully towards others, thereby bringing us face to face with all kinds of unpleasant and unwanted experiences. As long as we feel and act as through we are the centre of the universe, we will never develop real concern for others. To counteract this attitude we train ourselves always to think of them as supremely important by considering their good qualities and by reviewing our own faults and weaknesses.”

Love to you all

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Opaqueness and Illumination

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!”………Hamlet Act I scene 4

The dilemma of Hamlet is a reflection of the bard’s deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
We live in the world of perceptions and phenomenon formulated through concepts and imagery deep rooted in our psyche. Just as Hamlet in his frustration in trying to understand the nature of the apparition feeds attributes which are self negating and finally seek an answer from the apparition itself, we also externalize our perceptions, without realizing that such perceptions and resulting imagery are none other than projections of our tortured mind operating in a Cartesian mode.
Reality that appears to us in our phenomenal world are never absolute.
The ground of reality is in our inner most being which can not be grasped by our rational mind.

To reflect this my thoughts took the form of a poetry.

From the moss encrusted abode, my icy dungeon,
I exit the one creaking door that held me captive,
A burdensome chore lifting the heavy metal latch,
To a gloomy terrain of alien hue and distorted contour,
The rolling fog by some mysterious and devious design,
Hangs low, creating an image of a personal cocoon,
As I tread the ground, an intimate connection lost,
An ethereal feel of floating buoyed and directed,
By my thoughts which distort like the swirling eddies,
Leaving a wake of perturbation in this dynamic field.

The caressing of my senses through sweet scented breath,
Cacophony of the never ceasing orchestration of thoughts,
The tingling touch of the illusion with a quality of a lover,
Deter my intended progress and induce an oblivious stupor,
A comfort zone dulling my mind in a temporal domain,
I pull away from the numbed feel wishing for revelation,
Of the intended path guiding my steps in this darkness,
Night persists no illuminating ray ever pierces this space,
Deflected by the swelling ignorance of the logical mind,
Many a birth and death pass as my soul labours on.

Utterly my ego deflated I fall to the ground in prostration,
The reality then is revealed as I make intimate contact,
With the ground of being, the Divine light that illumines,
Shines not from the cosmos but at in state of total void,
Beyond the savouring senses and the roving restless mind,
A billion sparks of miniscule dimension hidden deep,
Penetrates my being and every pore in my body,
I see the shores of the ocean of pure light within,
Now I know the source from which I came and
To which eternal I will return.

Love to you all

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crucifixion – Unifying Divine Mercy

“The month before Easter had been our usual preparation, with extra vigils and prayers. It was spring and I decided to let go and surrender myself to them as I never had before. I spent hours contemplating the mystery of Christ on the Cross. And then Easter was over and we had gone through the joy of resurrection, and the whole community felt so opened by it all. One evening about a week later I was in my room looking at the modern crucifix, which was all we had on our walls. Then I was overcome by sadness and pain. My body began to ache, and l lay on my bed in agony. I felt as if l was dying, it felt so real. I was taken over and began to weep for Jesus on the Cross, for His suffering and death. Then I was Mary holding her crucified child and I knew that the crucifixion wasn't over. I was all the mothers who have lost their beloved children in war, accident, or disease, who even today cannot feed their hungry children. I was the mother trapped in an earthquake In Armenia, struggling desperately unable to save her child. I was the young men, all the soldiers in the senseless battles, I was the cows and pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse, I was the modern generals and the Roman soldiers, the welfare mothers and the slumlord, the victims and the perpetrators, all who would die, all who are in pain. I lay there, watched over by the pain of the world-so much pain. I couldn't bear it. My heart simply wept. Then Jesus was there in my body and we were holding it together, the suffering of the world. And I could see that to hold it in mercy was divine. It broke open my heart. It became the holy pain that opens the heart. This is God's purpose for our sorrows, to connect all our hearts. There is so much mercy. Mercy within mercy.” …………Anonymous Catholic nun, quoted by Jack Kornfield in "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry"

We are in the midst of the Lenten season and I read the above passage in Jack’s book, which I consider as a very practical aid to spiritual living, the beauty of the living presence of Jesus became more transparent.

Pain is a common character which defines the world of human being. Every second of this world’s existence there is pain somewhere in this vast arena. It is well captured in the experience of the devote nun and the process of integration she goes through by intuiting the subtle connection that we all share.

Consider the hurricane, the earth's way of releasing pent-up heat and energy. Heat from the hotter tropical region has to move towards the colder region so that a thermal equilibrium can be established in any specific region of the earth. When that happens, it causes a violent wind to blow. That wind, in turn, stirs up huge waves when it passes over the ocean. The hurricane is not meant to cause suffering, but it is our perception and experience at a subjective level where we feel the impact that leads to suffering and pain.

These winds of equalization also rage in the consciousness of man, both in this life as well as in the karmic imprints that we carry in our present incarnation. Any equalization of negative imprint involves a process of removal. The more strongly we are attached to our negativity the more the suffering and pain in this process of eradication.

When we say that the suffering of Christ provided the universal redemption of the sins of humanity, it is not an act of wiping the slate clean in individual consciousness. It is a change of perception or mind set as to our true nature. Metanoia, is the Greek word used in the Bible for repentance but its true meaning is a “change of mind”. Christ embraced humanity as a single undifferentiated whole thus validating the pure nature of Divine consciousness in every creation, every human being is connected through the vertical and horizontal limbs of the cross in his or her Divine and human nature. What this devote nun experienced is this undifferentiated wholeness of all that is around us.

Hence in this season, let us be reminded of this great truth.

Love to you all.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Teachings of Mother Earth

“A sober person, even when harassed by other living beings, should understand that his aggressors are acting helplessly under the control of God, and thus he should never be distracted from progress on his own path. This rule I have learned from the earth.” ……….. SB: 11.7.37

This Sloka, from Srimad Bhgavatam, is the first of the gurus and their role as explained to King Yadu by the brāhmaṇa in his spiritual life. The first guru is Prithvi or Earth. This is similar to our first guru or teacher is our mother from whom we are born. So also the earth begets all the creatures inhabiting it and she is the first guru.

The earth bears all the abuses we heap on her. During the evolution of all species, the earth has been exploited by the species to its survival. An uncomplaining Earth bore all the burdens and scarring and continued its role as the bearer of earthly creation and sustainer.

Bahá'u'lláh describes the spiritual path that the seeker must travel to reach the nearness of God. In the “Universal Peace Shield of Truths, Rainbow Eagle”, Seventh Fire Peace Shield Teacher writes that the seven feathers on the peace shield is the symbol of seven sources of learning and the first feather represents the teachings of Mother Earth.

“God's creatures are all connected to Mother Earth and all are birthed and nurtured here. Mother Earth forces her children to respect her but nurtures all with unconditional love. She is also true to her own spiritual path and is continually renewing, purifying and evolving. She actively participates in the Creator's divine plan and gives herself completely to the Creator. Mother Earth also holds mysteries and truths planted within her for all to see and to learn from.” (pp. 56 -58, Peace Shield)

The rock carries the wisdom of the ages and in ancient wisdom tradition they called it, "Grandfather". From the rock we learn inner strength and faith. The rock is slow to move yet when the rock moves, the whole world pays attention.

The tree teaches us honesty just as the sap moves from the root to the furthest branches, we must learn to allow truth to move through us. For each disposition of the human there is a tree. If you are weighed down by worries and anxiety, the bent and crooked tree symbolizes your attitude. Some trees appear tall, majestic and grand, yet that same tree may be rotten on the inside just as pompous and self-righteous people.

Although we trample upon the grass, it keeps coming back. As humans we do that to one another, yet even when we get "walked upon" we must show kindness to ourselves and others and be ready to give more. A blade of grass has two sides to it just as we, as humans have a smooth side and a rough side. We must recognize this and use our genial nature to accumulate the dew of love and blessings by channelling it to our very roots. Our rough side must be kept under cover so that we can have a smooth relation with our neighbours.

The plants give us their bounty, season after season. They share their wealth with us and nurture us to health and vitality. Many plants give every part of their being for the service of the human and animal kingdom. But the most important function they perform is that of purification. The plant leaves convert the polluting carbon dioxide into life giving Oxygen.

As humans we need to learn to share with one another and give thanks for the gifts of life shared with us. In nature, there is a Divine purpose in all creation and an attribute of equal value must be assigned for harmonious co-existence.

The four teachings of faith, honesty, caring and sharing which come with the rock, the tree, the grasses and the plants keep us connected with our Mother Earth.

Love to you all