Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transformation through Silence

“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.” .........Thomas Merton, The Climate of Monastic Prayer

"In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence." ..............Mother Teresa

In today’s article, a basic and universal concept of prayer with its deep spiritual dimension is being studied. I have quoted from Thomas Merton, a Benedictine monk, whose deep understanding of contemplative mode of prayer and communion with the Divine has become the tool for many spiritual adepts. The methodology of emptying oneself at the mental level is stressed by him as at the moment the mind is involved the expectations are degraded to symbols and imagery which had been already generated by a process of cognitive perceptions. To truly transform our ignorance into illumining Divine light, all expectations are to be done away with. There cannot be any seeking of transformation as any seeking naturally entails a predefined qualification and the sought after descends into an objective classification. Any objective classification is rooted in duality and hence cannot be the ultimate reality.

The process of how the transformation takes place is also defined as something beyond words but being in silence. Silence is the absence of any predefined auditory input. In silence it is the heart that listens and not the mind through the sensory organ. A heart in contemplation is in perfect balance between the lower temporal energies and the higher, Divine energies. It is the perfectly balanced Anahatha chakra, which is symbolised by the two intersecting inverted triangles, the Star of David. It is through this perfect balance that an emptying takes place.

This process is further endorsed by Mother Theresa. It is only in the emptiness of all the attributes of the fallen human nature that one can be prepared to ascend to the higher level of consciousness; it is the re-entry into the Garden of Eden.

According to Zen, existence is found in the silence of the mind (no-mind), beyond the chatter of our incessant internal dialog. Existence, from the Zen perspective is something that is only happening spontaneously, and it is not just our thoughts. All of life that we perceive is constantly in a state of change. Every atom in the universe is somewhere different every millionth of a second. It is the residing in the unchanging domain of the space between all manifestations that one can truly meet and experience the higher level of consciousness or the God experience.

When Thomas Merton and Mother Theresa speak of silence it is this space of no-change and it is a dimension beyond the mind, where in one can have a transformative experience of an existence of absolute peace and joy. This is the only intention of our prayer or communication with God; that is to merge with the Divine.

Love to you all

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eradicating of Consciousness Corruption

"yogaś citta-vrtti-nirodah" ..... Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1. 2

"Yoga occurs when the machinations, vacillations, perturbations, whirlings, spinning, and agitations (vrtti) of the mind-field (citta) dissolve, cease, and become still (nirodha)"

"Our intelligence entangled in the senses
Finds itself in very deep waters.
But inside our consciousness is a deeper Consciousness,
which the Supreme Grace stimulates." .......Thirumanthiram, verse: 119

The reason why I chose the verse 119 of Thirumullar's Thirumanthiram is that the Sanskrit text of Patanjali and the Tamil text of Thirumullar reflect the same basic reason why we are to embark on a path of removing all sensory modifications to the mind in order to purify the consciousness which in its pure nature is the manifestation of the Divine, The Samadhi Pada of Yoga Sutras, in its very introduction, primarily addresses this as the aim of Ashtanga Yoga.

The corruption of consciousness can take many shapes and forms. Dynamically, the modification's wavelike operations, because mental thought process is an incessant flow, form patterns and vortices of manifold modifications, fluctuations, movements, oscillations, agitations, disturbances, perturbations, spins, disruption, revolving, swirling, or mental turmoil which are at the root of our anxieties, bio-psychic and spiritual tensions, conflicts, stress, afflictions (kleshas), distortions of reality, and confusion.

If we have noticed a smooth flowing stream hitting a rock in the river bed, then we observe that the flow in the downstream has eddies, turbulence and whirlpools. If the flow takes place inside a closed conduit, any sudden turbulence can cause irreparable damage to the system, this we call water hammering.

Vrtti can be described as a corruptible agency or fractious unsteady condition that attaches itself to the citta (pure consciousness) and thence obscures the individual's mind-field. This is the state of ordinary dualistic fragmented and afflicted consciousness (the ordinary mind called manas), where corruptible influences such as spin, bias, taint, kleshas, vasanas, samskaras, karma, and ignorance have become dominant and taken their toll in samsaric (fragmented dualistic existence) as dukha (suffering). All that is necessary is to still the vrtti.

Though the Augustinian theological concept of 'Original Sin' relates to the fall of Adam and Eve, the esoteric meaning of original sin can be traced to the predominance of the thinking mind, which differentiates in its dualistic mode of operation, the nature of polar opposites such as good and evil. Man's primal Eden nature consciousness has been subject to Vrtti due to sensory modifications and needs to be born again of the Spirit to be united with the Heavenly Father, the untainted primal consciousness.

"Water, if you don’t stir it,
will become clear;
the mind, left unaltered,
will find it own natural peace.” 
..........Sogyal Rinpoché, Tibetan Dzogchen lama of the Nyingma tradition

Though a practice is outlined in the Yoga Sutras to achieve the goal of individual consciousness purification it is a 'many life time' process for most of us. Let us make a humble beginning through an understanding of the nature of Yoga. I shall be giving, in future articles, my understanding of these evergreen techniques through current knowledge. The evolutionary nature of consciousness has to be understood and if we fail to appreciate the possibility of renewed interpretation of the basic tenets in ancient scriptures we also will tend become spiritual fossils in the dynamic vistas of Divine action.

Love to you all. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Restraining Our Bestial Nature

Yeshua said, "One can't enter a strong person's house and take it by force without tying his hands. Then one can loot his house." ............Gospel of Thomas, saying 35

When Yeshua talks of a strong man's house, He is talking of the spiritual abode of the soul.

Paul says, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
................1 Corinthians 3:16.

This spiritual abode is the consciousness from which our minds operate. Hence a strong person's house is the consciousness which is nurtured in purity through the control of the free will so that we do not allow our bestial nature to take control. There are two visitors to the house of the spirit; one is the Holy Spirit with its empowering council and the second is our fallen nature, to which we refer to as Satan which prompts us to live in the world of good and evil or the duality of corrupted nature.

This is the real meaning and reason why God made a declaration in the Garden of Eden to Adam "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." ........Genesis 1:26. In the hierarchy of consciousness, man is at the apex and all other creations on this earth; the fish, birds, animals are all in the lower evolutionary order as compared to man. It is only the human beings who are endowed with a six layer neo-cortex which, in resonance with our consciousness, generates the human mind. It is only through the neo-cortex that we reason and make choice.

The Temple of Solomon had its architecture imbued with spiritual symbolism. The Inner Court represents the conscious part of a man's soul (psyche) and the Outer Court represents a believer's body (soma), which is the vehicle by which we express our life (soul). our willpower; namely, our volition or our resolve, is the most important area of all our internal makeup because what we choose, moment by moment, determines whose life will be lived in our souls, either our pre-fall nature or in our fallen state.
Just as the Temple Porch had two parts to it, the Golden Vestibule and the Bronze Pillars, so our human existence also has two distinct parts to it; We have God's supernatural Will and Power, given to us as a part of our Divine nature, where the Holy Spirit counsels us as to what is Divine will, and then gives us the supernatural strength (strong man in his house) to perform it in our lives (this is the Golden Vestibule). And, we have our own free choice. The twin pillars of Jachin and Boaz that are frequently represented with globes at their very top, said to represent the heavens and the earth. It is the free choice to either follow what God has shown us as His Will and trust in His Power to perform it in our life (heavenly nature); or, to follow our own will or bestial nature (earthly nature) and trust in our own power to be looted of the Divine riches which has been bestowed in our Eden state.

The pure primal state is again evident in the symbolism used in the construction of the Temple of Solomon. "And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." ......... 1 Kings 6:7

This strong abode has been prefabricated as a fit for purpose  residence of the Divine Spirit without any in situ modifications. This impeccable residence cannot be broken into unless we permit it through our own choice which is symbolized by the tying of one's hands.

Let this deeper understanding stand in good stead to empower us towards our true purpose of life.

Love to you all.