Friday, May 30, 2014

Riding Your Donkey

“Since love has spoken in your soul, reject
The self, that whirlpool where our lives are wrecked;
As Jesus rode his donkey, ride on it;
Your stubborn self must bear you and submit -
Then burn this self and purify your soul;
Let Jesus' spotless spirit be your goal.” ..............Farid al-Din Attar

A very deep understanding of the meaning of the symbolism of the donkey in the Christian scriptures expounded by the twelfth century Persian mystical poet Farid al-Din Attar, is the topic of today's article.
The donkey or mule is endowed with the character of stubbornness. The ego of man which is the embodiment of the "senses identified" self is also notorious for its stubbornness. The ego wants to possess the object of its desire at all cost. This raises the question then why was man invested with this morally and spiritually debilitating ego. There is a reason and this reason is survival or self preservation. This is a natural evolutionary trait which made possible the propagation of the species.
The ego is invested with the subtle elements of perception of danger but the mind is the rider which overrules these subtle promptings and leads the self in its own path.

The story of Balaam in the Bible is a clear example of this inner meaning. Balaam's donkey sees the angel of the Lord blocking the road with a sword in hand and tries three times to stop on its tracks but Balaam beats the donkey. The donkey is then endowed with speech and says:

"............, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" "No," he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown." .......Book of Numbers 22:30-31

When we are dominated by our ego we are blind to subtler realities. The angel of the Lord is sent to block Balaam from his reckless path. The whole episode is an allegorical event where the players play out the inner process or struggle between the subtle perception of the ego and the dominant nature of the mind controlled only by sense perceptions.

Farid al-Din Attar says "As Jesus rode his donkey, ride on it; Your stubborn self must bear you and submit......" Let us refer to this event in the Gospel of John.

"Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word." .........John 12:14-17

The event in the life of Jesus also points to Christ consciousness, which is the full realization of the Divine nature of the Self, rides the ego into an entry into glory. We must carefully look at the reason why John talks of the disciples not grasping this triumphant entry riding the donkey but those people who witnessed the rising of Lazarus were able to understand the significance.
The story is very similar to Balaam's encounter who realized his recklessness only after the glorified vision of the angel was presented to his senses and Jesus disciples understood the significance only after he was glorified in his resurrection and he appears to them to be visually grasp his Divine nature by the senses.
This mystical poem of Farid al-Din Attar and the passages from the scriptures, point to a deeper truth of the relation between the subtler nature of the ego and how sense perceptions tend to be dominated by the dictates of the conditioned mind. This knowledge should empower us to listen closely to our inner voice.

Ego which is essential for physical survival also has another dimension which is its guidance for spiritual elevation. For this to take place we must ride the Ego mind. Or in the words of great spiritual guru, Ram Dass:

"Ours is a journey toward simplicity, toward quietness, toward a kind of joy that is not in time. In this journey out of time to “Now-Here,” we are leaving behind every model we have had of who we thought we were.
This journey involves a transformation of our being so that our thinking mind becomes our servant rather than our master. It’s a journey that takes us from primary identification with our psyche to identification with our souls, then to identification with God, and ultimately beyond any identification at all." ........Ram Dass


Love to you all

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Perception of Suffering

“When someone beats a rug,
the blows are not against the rug,
but against the dust in it.” ...........Rumi

“When you see the Beloved all around you, everyone is family and everywhere is love.” We are all affecting the world every moment – our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another." ...........Swamy Ram Dass

Rumi, in his elegant poetry brings out a great truth. Let us assume I have a very expensive Persian carpet and before the days of vacuum cleaners, with highly advanced settings, if I had gone about beating the hell out of this expensive carpet, to any observer, I would appear to be mad trying to destroy this expensive carpet. But if the carpet accumulates dust and grime over a period of time, then the damage to the carpet would be far worse than that caused by the occasional beating it receives to get rid of the dust.

If the carpet were to have pain sensation, which results from unbalanced and unwanted energy application in living organisms, the very fibres and the interconnecting threads of the carpet go through a similar stressful period during the beating but it is the knowledge that all unwanted attachments are dislodged in the process which leads to healthier existence and a renewed perception of the process.

This is very true in life. When we have a perception of suffering in life either at a subjective or objective level, either we become insensitive, at the objective level due to our social and materialistic conditioning, or become depressed and blameful when suffering at the subjective level.

The story of the Buddha and his father King is a good example. The Buddha’s father created a castle which was a protected environment to keep the Buddha, the young Gautama, from seeing suffering. Because the father knew that if the son saw the suffering, he wouldn’t become the next king. The son would have been reflecting on how to end suffering – which is what happened.

Had Gautama been brought up in an ordinary social environment, without the isolation provided by his father, he would have perhaps been conditioned by the insensitive perception and attitude towards suffering at the objective level and his deep enquiry into the nature of suffering and its root cause would have escaped his fundamental search.

Had he not experienced the lack of all the comforts of the palace, separation from his wife and son, physical pain and extreme hunger during his ascetic wandering, he would not have had the understanding of suffering at the subjective level.

The two primary attributes that are required to have a deeper understanding of the nature of suffering and become alleviators of suffering are Compassion and Detachment.

Detachment at the subjective level and compassion at the objective level. This applies to all beings with consciousness.

The false perception also must be visited at this time and it is as Swami Ram Dass says:
“If I open to their suffering I won’t be happy.” And the truth is, if you don’t open to their suffering you definitely won’t be happy. And there may be a way to open to suffering and still be happy."

Why is it that if you don’t open to their suffering you definitely won’t be happy, because every living thing is connected in this cosmic web of existence. If we are insensitive to this interconnectedness it leads to extreme ego inflation which leads to a very high level of attachment.

Let us then try to live with compassion towards all and detachment from our ego self.

Love to you all.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Nakedness and Higher Revelation

His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"
Yeshua  said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid." ..........Saying 37, Gospel of Thomas.

There are a number of events told in the Bible which leads us to understanding this statement of Christ.
The first event was the realization of Adam and Eve that they were naked after eating of the tree of knowledge. Prior to this event they were totally insensitive to their physical nature. As Genesis states;  "........The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." .......Genesis 2:25
In this state of Adam Kadmon, the soul is fully immerse in Divine consciousness, it is in the integral knowledge that the body being an unqualified vehicle of the Divine, it is invested and infused with a status of the pure spirit. The body, mind and soul distinction disappears.
The separate identity of the body, mind and soul becomes manifest only in the lower status of consciousness. Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge gives rise to the ego mind where there is an apparent knowledge that one is different from the Divine and has to become Divine through a process of acquiring an external resource to condition the mind. This is the juncture when duality sets in. The acquisition of this external resource corrupts the mind and lowers the consciousness from its pristine primary state and hence the banishment out of Eden.

Two other references from the wisdom texts of the Apocrypha refer to the state of nakedness as casting away the old and entering a new level of consciousness;

"The living water is a body. It is fitting that we put on the living person. For this reason, when one is about to go down to the water, one strips so that one may put on that one (that is, the living person)." ........... Gospel of Philip 75:21-25

Cyril of Jerusalem states: "So then, once you entered, you took off your garment, and this was an image of taking off the old person with its deeds. Having taken this off, you were naked. . . . How marvellous! You were naked in the sight of all and were not ashamed. For truly you were bearing a copy of the first-formed Adam, who in paradise was naked and not ashamed." ........ Mystagogical Catechesis 2.2

In Job and Ecclesiastes, we read;
"....... "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart......" .....Job 1:21
"..........Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labour that he can carry in his hand." ........ Ecclesiastes 5:15

Human creation is in the image of the Divine but in our birth we come with a qualified consciousness resident in mind-body matrix. Due to its presence within the mind-body matrix, which has karmic attributes, the individual becomes highly aware of his corporeal status.

Christ points to the act of trampling one's garments under feet like little children, we need to consider sayings in Matthew Gospel on the spiritual qualification of children as told by Christ.

" At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."....Matthew 11:25
" And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." ... Matthew 18:3

Self awareness is not a cognitive tool in small children only after they are 2-3 years old. This is the stage at which "me and the other" perception takes root. This is an archaic consciousness where there is an integral approach to all perceptions and hence this is the Divine level at which consciousness exists at an undivided level.

Through a deeper level of absorption, let us move towards this pure state of living.

Love to you all.