Saturday, February 16, 2013

Three Soul Truths

“There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech. 

  • The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit. 
  • The principle which gives life dwells in us and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception. 
  • Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment. 
These truths, which are as great as life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them.”……….. “The Idyll of the White Lotus”, A Mystical Novel, Mabel Collins.

The misery of humankind emanates from his fragmented mind. This fragmented mind employs attributes such as hate, longing and anxiety when confronted with a subject, object relationship. As created beings we come into this world a conditioned consciousness which is rooted in the ego. All that we perceive are treated as objects external to ourselves and a judgmental process sets in when we need to relate to this external world.

Today being the twenty fifth death anniversary of Richard Feynman, the great 20th century physicist, I would like to quote him as to how he understood his relation to a simple object such as a flower of beauty:

“I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimetre; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colours in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.”

When one is able to descend to the very depth of the microcosm, with the mind’s eye and through one’s own knowledge and wisdom then the vista of interconnectedness and encompassing qualities, that are not readily apparent at the macro scale, unfolds to reveal to the fading boundaries of duality.

The soul of creation is immortal and limitless, it is the life force of all creation and is the supreme Self. These are the three truths which Mabel Collins writes about in her mystical novel. This is the realm in which most natural philosophers such as Feynman dwelt when trying to unravel the reality around them. This intuitive and integral approach, through a deeper understanding of one’s own soul, that path breaking discoveries were made by scientists.

Let us also, in our own capacity, discern the commonality of the spirit of all manifestation from the very same source and hence appreciate the independent and mutually supportive purpose of all creation.

Love to you all.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Grasping the Clear Mind

“A clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. The clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don't worry about the clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is the clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes, You must not be attached to the coming or the going.” …………..Zen Master Seung Sahn

Seung Sahn is a Korean Zen master who had many controversies attached to him both in personal life and in the conduct of teaching. But his teaching have a practical touch and that is what appeals to me. There is no use of high metaphysical positioning if a master can not communicate a concept of spirituality and its practice in simple easy to understand terms.

The example given by Seung Sahn in explaining the clear mind is simple to understand. Like the moon that lies beyond the realm of the clouds, a clear mind is the basic nature of the human mind but in the observation from a domain which lies below the clouds, the changeless moon appears to disappear once it is covered by the clouds so also the mind appears to be tainted to the ego controlled observer mind. This can further be amplified as the observation of the moon from above the clouds is the area of the Ego-less Self and in this observation there is only the clear mind but in the arena below the clouds, it is the Ego consciousness which makes the observation that is tainted by limitation.

It is not possible for one to be capable of making a switch between these two planes of observation as one requires a mode of transportation and this vehicle is the transcendence of consciousness, which requires many spiritual practices.

As long as we live in this life, we have to exist in our ego mind and employ the self same ego mind towards the intended transcendence. This does not mean that we can escape to the higher realm of consciousness and permanently take residence there. That state of enlightenment is nirvana or moksha or Samadhi. In this state the individual observing mind ceases to exist which is when the physical body is discarded.

This two way transit from objective ego mind or consciousness to the Supreme consciousness and the world of physical manifestation is beautifully captured by the great German Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, On this very subject he says:

“The union of the soul with God is far more inward than that of the soul and body…. Now, I might ask, how stands it with the soul that is lost in God? Does the soul find herself or not? To this I will answer as it appears to me, that the soul finds in the point where every rational being understands itself with itself. Although it sinks in the eternity of divine essence, yet it can never reach the ground. Therefore God has left a little point wherein the soul turns back upon itself to be a creature.”

This is the reason that Walpola Rahula, in his book “The Buddha and The Christ – Reciprocal Views” writes about faith:

“Almost all religions are built on faith – rather ‘blind’ faith it would seem. But in Buddhism emphasis is laid on ‘seeing’, knowing, understanding, and not on faith, or belief. In Buddhist texts there is a word ‘saddha’ (Sanskrit word shraddha), which is usually translated as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’. But saddha is not ‘faith’ as such, but rather ‘confidence’ born out of conviction”

Confidence and convictions are processes which are rooted in the Ego mind. This is the start of the journey of ascendance and if we make a incorrect start we can not reach our destination. Confidence and convictions are generated through a process of experience, an experience which results in a state of true well-being  Every incremental stage of true state of well-being leads to further strengthening of our start on our return journey. This is the reason that great mystics and spiritual masters could reach the stage of enlightenment in an instant and return to the world without much effort.

Love to you all.