A Rosebud...

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I'll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of every day.
I will look to him for His guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only my Heavenly Father knows.
I'll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

- Rumi

What is Love?...

With so many Billions of Humans searching for the invisible quality called Love, you would think that they know what Love is.. But, unfortunately, they are asleep.. You must be Awake to understand Love.. You must be Awake to Feel Love.. Why do so many search for a Feeling?.. It is a Mental Feeling of Happiness, that is why so many search for this non-physical force.. Why is it Happiness?.. Because, It Is God... God Is Love.. It is that simple... We have the inner desire for God and we are too asleep to even Realize It.. Love is giving instead of taking.. Love is Forgiving instead of Revenge.. The hidden Truth that has been Taught by All Spiritual Masters is that Love is Selflessness.. What is Selflessness?.. Selflessness is Non-Ego.. Once again, It is that simple.. But, only those with eyes to see and ears to hear will understand this message.. The rest will remain Asleep.. Are You Asleep?, Will You remain Asleep?.. Free Will , will dictate your answer........namaste, thomas

"me"...

When the sense of "me" disappears completely,
duality vanishes in ecstasy.

- Ramesh S. Balsekar

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"A Net of Jewels"
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Advaita Press, 1996

Christconsciousness...

The general idea in the popular and religious circles of India is that the highest state of illumination is attained during a trance condition (samadhi). This is not the teaching in the highest philosophic circles of India. There is another condition, sahaja samadhi, which is described in a few little-known texts and which is regarded as superior. It is esteemed because no trance is necessary and because it is a continuous state. The inferior state is one which is intermittently entered and left: it cannot be retained without returning to trance. The philosophic "fourth state," by contrast, remains unbroken even when active and awake in the busy world.

— Notebooks Category 25: World-Mind in Individual Mind > Chapter 2: Enlightenment Which Stays > # 147
Paul Brunton

To Love your enemy...

Who is your enemy?.. It is the ego that does not agree with your ego.. this is
the life and activity of the ego.. do not expect it to be anything else..It is
testing us and giving us the opportunity to surpass it and rise above it.. It is
doing the job that it has been assigned.. Are we doing the job that we have been
assigned?.. Our job is to extinguish our own illusion of ego.. Do not concern
yourself with the ego of others, that is their concern.. The ego is an illusion
of non-Reality, Unselfish Love is the only Reality.. This is the teaching of All
Spiritual Masters.. Love is the Recognition of the Divine within the illusion
that we call Creation.. Are we strong enough to be Humble?.. Are we strong
enough to be Christlike?.. Strength comes from Unselfish Love, Strength comes
from God... It is your Free Will that decides what You entertain within Your
Mind.. Are the thoughts of Love or ego?.. Jesus found that Thoughts of Unselfish
Love quickly cause the ego to leave the mind and Peace and Understanding enter..
As Jesus said;" Those who have eyes to see, will see and
understand".........namaste, thomas

"Walking Through Illusion" by Betsy Otter Thompson...

This is a review of the book by Betsy Otter Thompson.. The book consists of a series of questions and answers between Betsy and Jesus..At the end of each chapter, there are a few questions for self examination and understanding of the chapter.. The characters in the book are the people that Jesus knew and the learning that they achieved by "Looking into mirrors", These mirrors are the other people within the illusion that we call "Life".. These mirrors are the actions that are received from the actions that are given, be they mental or physical.. This is really speaking of the "Law of Karma".. There are many instances of learning within the characters, but, the learning seems to concentrate upon this one premise of Karma for all problems.. The book also teaches rightly, that Love is the Answer to All Problems..As you give Love, You will receive Love and the abundance that comes from being in the "State of Love".. The "State of Love" is non-ego, as You cannot give or feel Love if you are in the "State of Ego".. The writing relates that we are not separate from Love and only selfishness(ego) keeps us from this Knowledge.. So, Betsy is really speaking of Non-Duality.. Which is why Jesus said;" I and the Father are One".. The "Mirrors of Learning" is really the mental state of "Awareness".. This is the mental state that all great spiritual teachers say, must start with "Awakeness".. Becoming Awake to the Truth that you are not Your thoughts, You are the watcher of the thoughts of Your mind.. The lessons learned by the characters within the book could more easily be accomplished by the Realization that You are not the ego, You are Consciousness.. This Divine Consciousness is called by many names, but we often use the names of "Unselfish Love" or "God" to simplify the meaning.. Once, You Realize that you are not the illusion of the ego living within the illusion of the World, the lessons are not needed, as You Realize that You are not the needy and selfish desires called ego.. This State of unselfishness called Love is our natural state and automatically sees through the illusions created by the false ego.. This is why Jesus taught this path of Knowledge,as it is the most simple manner to eliminate the illusion of ego.. The Realization of Oneness with God is accomplished when the ego is eliminated, usually by surrendering this illusion to Reality during Meditation or deep Contemplation.. Many of the occurances that happen to the people in the book, occur, because of their ability to manifest by means of thought.. although, most did not know of this ability.. Therefore, We are the Creators of this illusion and we enjoy or we suffer according to our thoughts, desires, and illusions.. A Saint was once asked:" How should we conduct our lives?", He answered," Love, and do as You Will".. These simple words exemplify the teachings within this book, but, do so in only One Breath.. I enjoyed this book and encourage all to read and learn about the famous characters,their problems and their lives, and in the process, you will learn about your own.........namaste, thomas

The Cosmic Joke...

The joke is that it is the ego, the "me," that
wants enlightenment, and enlightenment
cannot come until the "me" is demolished.

- Ramesh S. Balsekar

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"A Net of Jewels"
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Advaita Press, 1966

Jesus & the Pitcher of Water...

Jesus drank of the water of a limpid rill whose taste was more
agreeable than the dew of the rose. One of his companions filled a
pitcher from this rill, and they went on their way. Jesus, being
thirsty, took a sip of water from the pitcher, but the water was
bitter, and he stopped in astonishment and prayed: "O God, the water
of the rill and the water in the pitcher are the same. Tell me why
the one is sweeter than honey and the other so bitter?" The pitcher
then spoke, and said to Jesus: "I am very old. and I have been
fashioned over a thousand times under the firmament of the nine
cupolas--sometimes as a vase, sometimes as a pitcher and sometimes as
a ewer. Whatever form I took I have always had in me the bitterness
of death. I am so made that the water I hold will always partake of
that bitterness."

O heedless man! Try to understand the meaning of the pitcher.
Strive to discover the mystery before life is taken from you. If
while living you fail to find yourself, how will you be able to
understand the secret of your existence when you die? You
participate in the life of man yet you are only a psuedo man.

--Fariduddin Attar
from The Conference of the Birds
C. S. Nott version

Misunderstood...

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood....

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words from a Zen Master...

The Chun Chou Record of Zen Master Huang Po



Q : From all you have said, Mind is Buddha, but it is not clear as to what sort of mind is meant by this "Mind which is Buddha."



A: How many minds have you got ?



Q: But is the Buddha the ordinary mind or the Enlightened mind ?



A: Where on earth do you keep your "ordinary mind" and your "Enlightened mind" ?



Q: In the teaching of the Three Vehicles it is stated that there are both. Why do you deny it ?



A: In the teaching of the Three Vehicles it is clearly explained that the ordinary mind and the Enlightened minds are illusions. You don't understand. All this clinging to the idea of things existing is to mistake vacuity for the truth. How can such conceptions not be illusory? Being illusory, they hide Mind from you. If you would only rid yourselves of the concept of ordinary and Enlightened, you would find that there is no other Buddha than the Buddha in your own Mind. When Bodhidharma came from the West, he just pointed out that the substance of which all men are composed is Buddha. You people go on misunderstanding; you hold concepts such as "ordinary" and "Enlightened", distracting your thoughts outwards where they gallop like horses! All this amounts to declouding your own minds. So I tell you Mind is the Buddha. As soon as thought or sensation arises, you fall into dualism. Beginningless time and the present moment are the same. There is no this and no that. To understand this truth is called complete and unexcelled Enlightenment.



Q: Upon what Doctrine do you base these words?



A: Why seek a doctrine? As soon as you have a doctrine, you again fall into dualistic thought.



Q: Just now you said that beginningless past and the present are the same. What do you mean by that ?



A: It is just because of your seeking that you make a difference between them. If you were to stop seeking, how could there be any difference between them?



Q: If they are not different, why do you employ separate terms for them?



A: If you hadn't mentioned ordinary and Enlightened, who would have bothered to say such things? Just as those categories have no real existence, no Mind is not really "mind". And, as both Mind and those categories are really illusions, wherever can you hope to find anything?



Q: Illusion can hide from us our own mind, but up to now you have not taught up how to get rid of illusion.



A: The arising and elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality, it exists because of your dualistic thinking. If you would only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as "ordinary" and "Enlightened", illusion will cease of itself. And then if you still want to destroy it wherever it may be, you will find that there is not a hairsbreadth left of anything on which to lay hold. This is the meaning of: "I wil let go with both hands, for then I shall certainly discover the Buddha in my mind."



Q: If there is nothing on which to lay hold, how is the Dharma to be transmitted?



A: It is a transmission of Mind with Mind.



Q: If Mind is used for transmission, why do you say that Mind does not exist?



A: Obtaining no Dharma whatever is called Mind transmission. The understanding of this implies no Mind and no Dharma.



Q: If there is no Mind and No Dharma, what is meant by transmission?



A: You hear people speak of Mind transmission and then you talk of something to be received. So Bodhidharma said :



The nature of Mind when understood

No human speech can compass or disclose.

Enlightenment is naught to be attained,

And he that gains it does not say he knows.



If I were to make this clear to you, I doubt if you could stand it.

from Nonduality Highlights

Defining yourself...

"Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are."
— Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)

Bhagavad Gita...

“The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument.”
Bhagavad Gita

Wisdom from Lao Tzu...

Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade, and the edge will soon blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.

- Lao-tzu

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Tao Te Ching
Translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English
Vintage Books Edition, September 1972

Jesus Speaks...

A discourse by Jesus


NOTE: This teaching was given on May 9, 2006.


The most obvious example of the ego’s relativistic, dualistic way of thinking is what I prefer to call black-and-white thinking. This plot by the ego makes blatant use of the basic duality built into the mind of anti-christ. It defines two opposites that are opposites in every way, meaning that there is no overlap or potential for compromise. There is no grey zone because the opposites cannot co-exist but must cancel out each other—or so it seems. One opposite is defined as being absolutely good and the other is defined as being absolutely evil, thus setting up an inevitable, to-the-death struggle between them.

The ego makes people believe that the only way for them to please God and be saved is to take the side of good and to fight against evil. An extreme outcome of this scenario is the definition of two religions or ideologies that both claim to be the only true one, making their respective followers believe it is their duty to fight the other. The ultimate triumph of the prince of this world is to get two groups of religious people to kill each other in the name of the same God, as for example in the Crusades.

The result of this ego-manipulation is that people adopt a very simplistic view of the world. Their religion is completely true and all others are completely false. There is no room for any nuances in between, which means that people almost inevitably become extremists and fanatics. This is a very easy approach to life because it really does not require people to think for themselves. They simply accept the definitions created by the leaders of their society without making any personal attempts to discern whether their leaders are right according to the Christ standard. They believe these leaders are absolutely right and that God himself would agree with them.

The consequence of this approach to life is that once people have accepted that a particular belief system is absolutely good, they will never question it. Thus, they will blindly follow what the leaders of their religion has defined as absolutely right, and this has led to some of the worst atrocities in history. I described this scenario as follows:

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14)

Yet instead of leaving the blind leaders alone, people follow them uncritically. They never question that the black-and-white definition of life might not be in alignment with God’s truth. As a result, many people have spent one or more lifetimes engaging all of their energy and attention in this dualistic struggle between two relative opposites. Such people have defined an enemy or scapegoat and they believe they must do God’s work by destroying the enemy.

As long as people are trapped in this extreme form of black-and-white thinking, they are absolutely convinced that they are working for good and will be saved. Yet the stark reality is that everything they do to fight the self-defined enemy only serves to trap them more firmly in the dualistic state of consciousness. This obviously prevents them from putting on the wedding garment of the Christ consciousness, that is the ONLY way to enter Heaven.

It can be extremely difficult for extremists to admit that they are wrong. They cannot admit that what they have seen as a work for God has not promoted God’s cause but has only served to reinforce the dualistic struggle created by the forces of anti-christ. Such people tend to become very defensive and hostile toward anyone who questions the validity of their approach. This is why the scribes and the Pharisees wanted me dead and why some people in today’s world become fanatical in defending their “truth.”

The sad fact is that such people are unapproachable for a spiritual teacher. You see this illustrated in how the scribes and Pharisees rejected my attempts to show them the higher way of Christ. They literally used their black-and-white viewpoints to justify rejecting the Living Christ, meaning that they had put their own graven image before the Living God. They used a relative image to justify not reaching for the direct experience of God’s absolute reality—the experience I came to offer to all who were willing to lose their mortal sense of identity for my sake.

Overcoming extreme selfishness
You will remember that I earlier said that the ego creates a false path to salvation. By using black-and-white logic, the ego creates the impression that being saved is a matter of belonging to the only true religion and meeting its outer requirements. The more people identify with their egos, the more prone they are to believe this illusion. It seems so easy that instead of doing the hard work of pulling the beam from your own eye, you simply have to believe a predefined doctrine and follow a set of outer rules.

At the beginning level of the spiritual path, people are prone to accept the black-and-white approach to salvation. Thus, they become very zealous – even fanatical – in following their particular belief system – be it religious, political or scientific in nature – and they absolutely refuse to question it. That is why some people can believe that by killing the enemies of God, they will instantly be saved.

Now comes one of the subtleties that the more mature spiritual seekers need to understand. The extreme outcome of being blinded by black-and-white thinking is that people become entirely self-centered and selfish. They often believe they have a supreme right to do what they want and that anyone who opposes them – including the rest of the human race – is wrong. They start acting like predatory animals who take whatever they want and are unwilling to consider how their actions affect other people, affect themselves in the long run or compare to higher principles. In the past, humankind was at a much lower level of consciousness than today, as illustrated by the cave man society in which the law of the jungle ruled. In today’s world, you see this level of consciousness in many criminals, from leaders of organized crime to pedophiles or serial killers.

How do you take people who are completely selfish and raise them to a more spiritual level? Extreme selfishness is the ultimate outcome of the relative logic of the ego. In the Christ mind you see that all life is one, and thus when you hurt another, you are hurting yourself. When you are completely trapped in the mind of anti-christ, you think you can hurt others without hurting yourself, you even think you have the right to do whatever you want, regardless of how it affects others. You justify this by using the relative logic of the ego, which can truly make it seem like anything – including total selfishness – is justified.

How do people start rising above this level of consciousness? They do so by realizing that there is something beyond the ego’s relative logic, that there is something that is right or wrong according to a higher standard. Do you see the point here? When you are completely selfish, you see nothing beyond the relative logic of your ego and thus you think you have the right to do anything you want. To begin the process of escaping total selfishness, you must realize that there is a higher standard for evaluating your behavior, so that you choose to limit certain types of selfish behavior.

For most people who are trapped in selfishness, this realization comes only when someone “puts the fear of God in them.” In other words, these people begin to realize that there is such a thing as long-term consequences. Their souls can be affected in an afterlife by what they do in this life, and they will either be rewarded in Heaven or burn forever in hell. Thus, from a purely selfish motive, these people begin to modify their short-term egotistical behavior according to a higher standard.

Because these people are still identified with their egos, they cannot yet see the limitations of the relative logic of the ego. So they need a very simplistic, black-and-white belief system with clearly defined rules for how to avoid hell and get into Heaven. Here comes the subtle point. When people start modifying selfish behavior, they have reached a turning point from which genuine progress is possible. Yet there is a real danger that these people will be fooled by their egos to enter the blind alley of fanaticism, where they think they serve God by fighting what their belief system defines as the enemies of God. This will, of course, abort such people’s progress.

However, if people avoid going into fanaticism, it is possible to make genuine spiritual progress by following a black-and-white belief system. The reason being that when you believe certain types of behavior will send you to Hell, you gain a very strong motivation for modifying selfish behavior. This will cause a soul to make less karma, and thus the soul can gradually free itself from at least some of the downward pull of the dualistic struggle. When you are completely selfish, everything you do creates negative karma that only reinforces the sense that you are in a struggle against everyone else. When you relieve some of this pressure, you can begin to see through the more selfish beliefs, and thus you can free yourself from some of the illusions of the ego.

Judge not
My point is that even though most fundamentalist Christians will reject this website as the work of the devil, there are actually people who have made progress by following a fundamentalist belief system. The problem is that this progress will only last for a time. A black-and-white approach simply cannot take you above a certain level of the spiritual path. And because this approach is still so heavily influenced by the relative logic of the ego, it can very easily become a blind alley that begins to take you into a downward spiral of judgment and pride, which is only marginally better than the downward spiral of selfishness.

The problem is that a black-and-white belief system automatically implies a value judgment. “The members of our church are automatically good and everyone else is bad.” This inevitably causes people to judge others based on a relative standard, defined by their egos. As I said:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew, Chapter 7)

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

Judging according to appearance means that you judge based on a relative, dualistic standard created by the ego. Judging righteous judgment means that you discern absolute truth based on the vision of the Christ mind. When you judge based on the ego, you inevitably feel that you are better than other people, and this leads to spiritual pride, which binds you to the duality consciousness.

Do you see my point? The ego wants a relative standard because it allows it to build the appearance that it is better than others. It can then create the illusion that because you are better than certain other people, you are guaranteed to be saved. As I explained in a previous discourse, there is no such value judgment in the Christ mind. That which is in alignment with God’s law is real, and that which is out of alignment with God is unreal. The Christ does not use the relative terms good and bad—it does not compare things on a relative scale that leads gradually from one extreme (good) to the opposite extreme (evil). The Christ mind does not judge based on appearance but is only concerned about whether something is real or not real.

One might say that the deepest level of ego-identification is to be completely selfish. You are completely identified with the dualistic struggle, thinking that life is a battle between you and the world. As you rise above this, you stop indulging in the most extreme selfish behaviors, but this makes you feel you are better than those who are still acting in “primitive” ways. At the lower level, you might engage in religion in order to destroy all threats to your religion, thinking God will reward you for doing so. At the next stage, your motivation for being involved with religion is to prove the superiority of your religion and thus create the appearance that you are so good that God simply has to save you.

A closed circle
The problem is that as long as you think the world is black and white, you cannot grow beyond a certain point. Black-and-white thinking sets up a scale with two extremes and then makes people think they have to choose one of the two polarities. In other words, if the world is engaged in an epic struggle between God and the devil, then you must obviously choose the side of God in order to be saved. Yet when this struggle is defined in black-and-white terms, it will seem as if choosing the side of God means choosing a particular religion in this world. And once you have chosen that religion, you must uncritically accept all of its doctrines—for if you don’t, the devil will get you and take you to hell.

This line of thinking obviously leads to a fear-based approach to salvation, which gives rise to two problems. One is that you simply cannot enter the kingdom of God while there is ANY fear left in your being. That is why I said:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew, Chapter 22)

Until you overcome fear, you cannot put on the Christ consciousness. Yet how do you overcome fear? Partly by using the rational mind to reason that your fear is based on a lack of knowledge and partly by reaching for a direct experience of God’s transcendent reality, whereby you will experience the perfect love that casts out all fear. The problem here is that as long as you are trapped in a black-and-white belief system, you will be afraid of doing either.

Your belief system will strongly discourage you from thinking for yourself and questioning the beliefs that give rise to fear. And any black-and-white belief system on this planet states that you cannot experience God directly; you need the outer church and its priesthood as a mediator between you and God. That is why the black-and-white thinkers of the Jewish religion killed me after I stated that the kingdom of God is within you.

So fear itself makes a black-and-white belief system a closed circle, a trap for your mind. It creates a prison for your mind, and once the Conscious You is inside, your ego throws away the key. The Conscious You can step outside at any moment, but in order to do so, it must be willing to confront its fear and confront the fact that a black-and-white belief system is based on an illusion.

You see, the psychological effect of a black-and-white belief system is that it focuses your attention on a scale with two polarities, and then it makes it seem like truth has to be found somewhere on that scale. In other words, there is nothing beyond the relative scale. Yet any time – and I mean ANY TIME – you have a belief system with two opposites, you have a dualistic belief system. And in such a belief system BOTH OPPOSITES WILL BE DEFINED BY THE MIND OF ANTI-CHRIST.

I know this can be a startling statement considering the fact that most religions – including Christianity – define the world as an epic struggle between good and evil, between God and the devil. Yet as I have said, there is a stage on the spiritual path where people need to overcome the extreme selfish behavior by following a black-and-white belief system. However, there comes a point in your growth, when you MUST move beyond that stage in order to make further progress. And you do this ONLY by reaching for the Christ mind, which is beyond either of the two extremes defined by ANY black-and-white belief system!

Do you see my point? As I explained in previous discourses, the reality of God CANNOT be put on a relative scale and it has no opposite polarity. God’s reality has no opposite because that which is outside of God’s reality has no reality. And that which has no reality cannot be in opposition to that which has reality. Thus, in the Christ mind, there is only that which is real and that which appears to be unreal because the law of free will has allowed it to take on a temporary appearance outside God’s reality. Yet this unreality can exist only in the minds of co-creators who are trapped in duality.

It is only when you step into the mind of anti-christ that opposites become possible. In this frame of mind there seems to be two opposites, such as good and evil, true and false. These opposites cancel out each other, and because one can destroy the other, it seems like both of them have – the same – reality. This is what gives rise to fear of evil because people in a dualistic frame of mind think evil is real and has real power over them. When you attain the Christ mind and see that evil is not real and that its appearance has no power over you, you lose all fear. Yet as long as you believe evil has the same reality as good, you cannot overcome that fear. The trick is that evil DOES have the same reality as relative good. Thus, you need to use the Christ mind to see the absolute good of God.

My point here is that a black-and-white belief system makes you think that you have to move toward relative good and avoid its opposite, namely evil. It makes you think that a statement must be either true or false, meaning that you must side with what you – or your belief system – have defined as true and avoid anything that contradicts or goes beyond it.

People think that by moving toward relative good, they are moving closer to God. This is both true and untrue. If you move away from selfish behavior, you are moving away from the extreme forms of egotistical behavior. This gives you the potential – but ONLY the potential – to rise above duality—which will bring you closer to God. The big question is whether you keep moving toward a relative extreme (good as defined by the ego) – and thus inevitably become trapped in pride – or make the leap and reach for something beyond the dualistic extremes.

Christ truth cannot be forced into a dualistic belief system, and thus Christ truth can NEVER be found on a scale with two opposites! Christ truth is beyond duality and thus you can find it ONLY by reaching beyond the black-and-white belief systems of this world. As I have said, only when a soul reaches a certain maturity will it be ready to question its belief system and realize that the world is not black and white.

I could say much more about black-and-white thinking, but the most important fact you need to understand is that it becomes a trap for your mind. Once you accept any black-and-white belief system, the ego can always come up with a seemingly watertight argument for why you should not look beyond it. Many fundamentalist Christians believe Christianity is the only true religion, the Bible is the infallible word of God and their literal interpretation of the Bible is the only true one. Thus, anything beyond their present beliefs is of the devil and they should avoid thinking about it—which is why they reject this website as the fundamentalists of the Jewish religion rejected me when I walked the Earth in the flesh.

Likewise, many scientifically minded people believe there is nothing beyond the material universe. Thus, any belief system that proposes a “supernatural” cause is unscientific and the product of the subjectivity of the mind. The effect of a black-and-white approach is ALWAYS that it closes your mind to growth. As I said in a previous discourse, you settle for a description of truth – a description created through the mind of anti-christ – and you use it to justify not reaching for a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth.

Billions of people are trapped in some version of a black-and-white belief system. Yet most of the people who are open to this website have already started seeing the fallacy of this approach to religion/life/salvation. They have started seeing through the illusion that there is only one true religion and that “our side is always right and the other side is always wrong.” They have started realizing that life is not as simple as the black-and-white thinking implies and that a more sophisticated approach is needed. They have also started distancing themselves from the extremism and fanaticism – often even the value judgment and pride – that is so common for the black-and-white approach.

We might say that such people have started seeing through the black-and-white illusions of the ego. Yet although this clearly represents a higher level, it is extremely important for spiritual seekers to realize that they are still not above the relative logic of the ego. I have said that the ego has a built-in contradiction and seeks to create two opposite viewpoints in every situation. Obviously, black-and-white thinking defines such opposites, but this form of thinking also forms its own polarity. In other words, black-and-white thinking has its own opposite and when people start rising above black-and-white thinking, it is quite common that they jump into the opposite extreme. In the next discourse we will examine this extreme, and I hope I can prevent sincere seekers from being stuck in that extreme longer than necessary........Kim Michaels

"Just This"...

You will never "know" the Truth.

You can only "Be" the Truth.

There is no "knower" that's really separate from
the Truth that's being known.

The ego says that it wants to experience the
Truth, but it survives more by saying "no" to the
truth than it does by saying "yes" to it.

However, consciousness is truth, itself, and so
it needs no one present in order to validate it.

Life is just as it is.

There's nothing more than "just this."

And, quite amazingly, there's nothing else than
"just this."

- Chuck Hillig

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Seeds for the Soul
Chuck Hillig
Black Dot Publications, 2003

Earnest...

If the seeker is earnest, the light can be
given. The light is for all and always there,
but the seekers are few, and among those
few, those who are ready are very rare.
Ripeness of heart and mind is indispensable.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj

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"I Am That"
Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Acorn Press, 1973

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche...

The experience of the non-dual awareness of rigpa is quite wonderful. It is freedom from the restless striving of the samsaric mind. It is not a dull peace, but the opposite. It is pure wakefulness. It is light, open, radiant, and blissful. When we are no longer preoccupied with self-centered pursuits based on the insecurities of the illusory self and its desires and aversions, the world arises in the purity of the natural state in a vivid, pristine display of beauty. For the practitioner stable in rigpa, all experiences arise as an ornamentation of the nature of mind, rather than as a problem or delusion.

- Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, from The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, posted to DailyDharma

Truth by its very nature cannot be uttered ...

The teacher, however great, can never give his knowledge to the pupil; the pupil
must create his own knowledge.

Bowl of Saki, September 19, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

The work of a mystical teacher is not to teach, but to tune, to tune the pupil
so that he may become the instrument of God. For the mystical teacher is not the
player of the instrument; he is the tuner. When he has tuned it, he gives it
into the hands of the Player whose instrument it is to play. The duty of the
mystical teacher is his service as a tuner.

The task of the Sufi teacher is not to force a belief on a mureed, but to train
him so that he may become illuminated enough to receive revelations himself.

Truth by its very nature cannot be uttered, cannot be given. One cannot give
that which cannot be put into speech. So the teacher gives a method for finding
the truth, for unfolding it, for unlocking that which seems to be in one's
heart. ... It is clearly impossible for anyone to impart his knowledge to
another person; he can only show him how to unfold his own knowledge to himself.
Everybody possesses a kingdom, but he has to find it.

There is only one teacher, and that teacher is God Himself. No man can teach
another man. All one can do for another is to give him one's own experience in
order to help him to be successful. For instance if a person happens to know a
road, he can tell another man that it is the road which leads to the place he
wishes to find. The work of the spiritual teacher is like the work of Cupid. The
work of Cupid is to bring two souls together. And so is the work of the
spiritual teacher: to bring together the soul and God.

But what is taught to the one who seeks after truth? Nothing is taught. He is
only shown how he should learn from God. For no man can ever teach spirituality.
It is God alone who teaches it. And how is it learned? When these ears which are
open outwardly are closed to the outside world and focused upon the heart
within, then instead of hearing all that comes from the outer life one begins to
hear the words within. Thus if one were to define what meditation is, that also
is an attitude: the right attitude towards God. The attitude should first be to
seek God within. And, after seeking God within, then to see God outside.

Have You Gone Astray?...

O you who have gone astray, why are you
searching all over the world?
He is not outside you. Why search for Him?

- Rumi

Where is Heaven?...

Jesus said;" Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be your name"... Jesus also
said;" The kingdom of Heaven is Within"...Therefore, God is not outside of You,
God is Within You.. Stop looking into the sky for God, If you do, you are
calling Jesus a liar.. The next step in this Spiritual Logic is to Realize who
"YOU" Is.. Is it the body that will decay and turn to dust?..God does not decay
or turn to dust.. This "YOU" that contains both God and the Consciousness of God
(Heaven) is the only Consciousness that does exist.. The ego hides this Truth
from You and You have become asleep to Reality.. This is why all Spiritual
Knowledge says that You must First Awake, if you are going to find
Truth..........namaste, thomas

Goodness...

"A man who _is_ good does not go around _contriving_ to do
good. His own goodness does good, wherever he goes, though
few realize it. Being one with goodness, he has no separate
self-image of being a good man who can help the bad to be
good. He leaves such imaginary and ego-centered goodness
to the self-deceived. The bad man _thinks about_ goodness
with personal gain in mind, while the truly good man
impersonally _expresses_ goodness. Because a rose is
a rose, it never needs to think of itself as one."

Esoteric Mind Power, p. 42
Vernon Howard

Buddhahood...

Bodhi (Sanskrit: बोधि) is both a Pāli and Sanskrit word traditionally translated as "enlightenment", but frequently (and more accurately) translated as "awakening" or "to know". The word "buddha" means "one who has awakened." Although its most common usage is in the context of Buddhism, bodhi is also a technical term, with various usages, in other Indian philosophies and traditions.

Etymology
Bodhi is an abstract noun formed from the verbal root budh (to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand,) corresponding to the verbs bujjhati (Pāli) and bodhati or budhyate (Sanskrit).

Evolution of the concept
In early Buddhism, bodhi carried a meaning synonymous to nirvana, using only some different metaphors to describe the experience, which implied the extinction of raga (greed), dosa (hate) and moha (delusion). In the later school of Mahayana Buddhism, the status of nirvana was downgraded, coming to refer only to the extinction of greed and hate, implying that delusion was still present in one who attained nirvana, and that one needed to attain bodhi to eradicate delusion [1]. Therefore, according to Mahayana Buddhism, the arhat has attained only nirvana, thus still being subject to delusion, while the bodhisattva not only achieves nirvana but full liberation from delusion as well.[citation needed] One thus attains bodhi and becomes a buddha. In Theravada Buddhism, bodhi and nirvana carry the same meaning, that of being freed from greed, hate and delusion. It should also be noted that in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, parinirvana is equal in all respects to Bodhi and indeed is the state of perfect Buddhahood.

In Theravada Buddhism
In Buddhism, bodhi means the awakening experience attained by Gautama Buddha and his accomplished disciples and refers to the unique consciousness of a fully liberated yogi. Bodhi is sometimes described as complete and perfect sanity, or awareness of the true nature of the universe. After attainment, it is believed that one is freed from the cycle of samsāra: birth, suffering, death and rebirth (see moksha). Bodhi is most commonly translated into English as enlightenment. This word conveys the insight and understanding (wisdom) possessed by a buddha and is similarly used in Christian mysticism to convey the saint's condition of being lit by a higher power - the merging of the human and the divine in theosis. There is no image of "light" contained in the term "bodhi", however. Rather, it expresses the notion of awakening from a dream and of being aware and knowing (reality). It is thus more accurate to think of bodhi as spiritual "awake-ness" or "awakenment", rather than "enlightenment" (although it is true that imagery of light is extraordinarily prevalent in many of the Buddhist scriptures).

Bodhi is attained when the ten fetters that bind a human being to the wheel of samsara have been dissolved; when the Four Noble Truths have been fully understood and all volitional conditioning has reached cessation (nirodha), giving rise to transcendent peace (nibbana). At this moment, the psychological roots of all greed (lobha), aversion (dosa), delusion (moha), ignorance (avijjā), craving (tanha) and ego-centered consciousness (attā) are completely uprooted.

Bodhi is the ultimate goal of Buddhist life (brahmacarya). It is achieved by observing the eightfold path, the development of the paramitas (virtues) and profound wisdom into the dependently arisen nature of phenomena..........from www.answers.com

Always Present...

It is the consciousness of the God who is never absent that gives that
illumination, those riches, that strength, that calm and peace to the soul for
which the soul has taken the journey through this world of limitations.
Experiencing life through the form of man it accomplishes its purpose, and the
wish with which it started from heaven is fulfilled on earth. It is through man
that God completes His creation.

From The Teachings Of
HAZRAT INAYAT KHAN

At-One-Ment...

This is what Atonement means.. It is the Realization that We are One with God...
the name Lucifer comes from the latin word Lux,Lucis..which means Light(look it
up).. Forget about Lucifer or Satan, they are just other words for ego..You are
not the slave of ego or lucifer.. You are Divine Consciousness seeking Knowledge
through the Dream of Materiality.. It is all a dream.. It is all a Play.. It is
all Learning..It is looking into the mirror..Know Yourself as Spirit and stop
being afraid.. Love does not Fear.. Love is above Fear.. Fear is the energy of
ego and the energy of satan.. Love casts out all fear.. There is nothing but
Unselfish Love, all else is an illusion of the ego.. Contemplate upon these
words........namaste, thomas

Why are we here?...

Why are we here?.. The Christ is waiting for our answer.. The Christ is
Unselfish Love.. this is why Jesus is called "The Christ".. Our goal is to
Realize that We are the Christ.. The belief in the ego is the wall that
separates us from this Truth.. Break the wall, release the ego, Realize
Truth..The Buddha called this "Enlightenment".. You will call this Truth and
Reality.. Stop searching and begin finding.. The Truth is Within..as Jesus
said;" The Kingdom of God is Within".. " I and the Father are One".. Are you not
ready to understand these words?.. Stop the illusion .. You are too old to
remain a fool.. It is time to Grow Up and regain Freedom........namaste, thomas

Desire Good for All...

The higher your aims and vaster your desires, the
more energy you will have for their fulfillment.
Desire the good of all and the universe will work
with you. But if you want your own pleasure, you
must earn it the hard way. Before desiring, deserve.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj

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"I Am That"
Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Acorn Press, 1973

The True View...

The heart of Buddha's teaching is to see "the actual state of things,
as they are," and this is called the true View. It is a view that is
all-embracing, as the role of spiritual teachings is precisely to give
us a complete perspective on the nature of mind and reality....

Sogyal Rinpoche

Words from Manohar...

Thank you for the postings! The problem starts with the establishment of the Existent realm as Cosmic Evolution! This indeed was indicated by the insistence of the Vedic Sages for the ability of go through the Nirguna!So Vedas do contain the provision -- just as if for going through the Dark matter as well as dark energy realm!
Physics apparently has to have this option as well so they project most of existence as -- to us inexplicable -- but realistically totally open end universe as the field of existence!
This provides for open-ended Evolutionary Cosmos, -- that The late Astronomer Carl Sagan in his TV series on Public Television must have indicated some where!
May come in Cosmic Time!
Vedas do insist on Time as Evolutionarily manifest -- although Physics does deny time *because it itself is only dualistic logic!
I would be too busy with other projects for the next few days!
Humbly says,
Manohar Tilak

Being a Fool for God...

A fool is one who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it. Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don't try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, herenow, as if just born, just a babe. In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you...let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you. And each time you don't allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized..........

Osho

To Love is to Serve...

The end and the sum total of all mysticism,
philosophy, and meditation, of everything one
learns and develops, is to be a better servant
to humanity. Everything from the beginning to
the end in the spiritual path is a training to be
able to serve mankind better, and if one does
not do it with that intention, one will find in the
end that one has accomplished nothing.


-Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Hazrat Inayat Khan
Mastery Through Accomplishment
Omega Press, 1978

What was Jesus up to?...

Did He come here to teach humans that He was God and therefore, you are to Worship Him?.. Why did He teach humans to Love and Forgive each other?..The custom at the time was to avenge.. Did He sacrifice His life as was the custom to sacrifice animals to pay for sin?.. What was He up to?.. Was he teaching you something that Gautama taught five hundred years before?.. Did He ever stop being a Jewish Rabbi?.. What Deeper Truth was He trying to teach through His Parables?.. so many questions and many more answers.. What was He up to?.........namaste, thomas

The Overself...

Once the Overself is felt in the heart as a living presence, it raises the consciousness out of the grip of the egoistic-desire parts of our being, frees it from the ups and downs of mood and emotion which they involve. It provides a sense of inner satisfaction that is complete in itself and irrespective of outside circumstances.

— Notebooks Category 22: Inspiration and the Overself > Chapter 3: The Overself's Presence > # 104.......Paul Brunton

Just watch the mind's activity ...

Experience is not bound by any step or by no-step,
by any state or by no-state!
The mind must be still without carrying any person or object.
Be careful! Don't let the mind run to concepts
which will trick and disturb you, so be very careful!
Look to where the mind runs.
Do this without taking any steps.
Just watch the mind's activity: where it goes, what it wants.
Be careful, day and night, whether you are meditating
or in the marketplace.

- Papaji

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"The Truth Is"
Sri H.W.L. Poonja
Yudhishtara, 1995

Biography St Teresa Avila ...

St Teresa of Avila (Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada) was born in Avila, Spain on 15th March 1515. Her parents were both pious Catholics and in some ways inspired their daughter to take up a life of prayer. As a young child Teresa showed signs of a deeply religious nature; she would often retreat into silence for prayer and would enjoy giving alms to the poor. She was very close to her Mother, who provided a warm counterbalance, to the strictness of her father. However in her teens, Teresa’s mother passed away, leaving the young Teresa distraught at the void she felt. The young St Teresa tells of her despair and how she turned instinctively to the Virgin Mary for comfort.

"I threw myself down in despair before an image of the Mother of God. With many tears, I implored the Holy Virgin to become my mother now. Uttered with the simplicity of a child, this prayer was heard. From that hour on, I never prayed to the Virgin in vain." (1)

During her later teen years Avila lost some of her early piety and religious zeal. She recounted how she became interested in worldly matters and enjoyed the company of a wide circle of friends. She had a natural charm and found it easy to make friends. In return she enjoyed the compliments and friendships of others. However, she was not at peace, considering herself to be a miserable sinner; later she would look back in guilt at her early life. However this sense of being a “miserable sinner” was probably the result of a harsh self-judgement, encouraged by her fathers exacting religious standards. At the age of 16, her father decided to send Teresa to a convent school to be educated. This reignited in Avila an interest in following a spiritual life and after some deliberation resolved to become a nun of the Carmellite Order. At the time the convent rules were not very strict; it was probably more relaxed than living with her father. At the time the convent accepted many people into the order, often for financial reasons. The convent became overcrowded and people were often judged not on the basis of spiritual intensity but on material possessions. In this climate Teresa struggled to find time for quite reflection; although she did start teaching people on the virtues of mental prayer.

Shortly after becoming a nun, Avila experienced a severe illness (malaria), which left her in great pain for a long period. At one point it was feared that her illness was so severe that she would not be able to recover. However during this period of intense physical pain, she began to increasingly experience divine visions and an inner sense of peace. These inner experiences of joy and peace seemed to transcend the intense physical pain of the body. She describes in her own words her state of mind during these trials and tribulations

“I bore these sufferings with great composure, in fact with joy, except at first when the pain was too severe. What followed seemed to hurt less. I was completely surrendered to the will of God even if he intended to burden me like this forever..... The other sisters wondered at my God-given patience. Without him I truly could not have borne so much with so much joy.” (2)

When she was a little better she resumed her prayers with renewed vigour. However on telling others of her visions and spiritual experiences she was dissuaded from persuading them. Certain clergy felt they were just delusions of the devil. As a result, for many years Teresa lost the confidence to pursue her prayers and her spiritual life was almost put on hold. However, when Teresa was 41, she met a Priest who convinced her to go back to her prayers and implore God to come back. Initially, she had some difficulty sitting through prayers. She wryly remarked the end of the hour’s prayer couldn’t come soon enough. However, in the course of time, she became absorbed in deep contemplation in which she felt an ever growing sense of oneness with God. At times she felt overwhelmed with divine love. The experiences were so transforming, she at times felt the illumining grace of God would wash her soul away. She was so filled with divine contemplation it is said at times her body would spontaneously levitate. Teresa, however was not keen on these public displays of “miracles”. When she felt it happening she would ask other nuns to sit on her to prevent her floating away.

Teresa was not a just a quiet, placid saint. She had an endearing, natural quality; her life energy attracted and inspired many who were close. They admired her for both her outer charm and inner serenity. But at the same time her religious ecstasies also caused jealousy and suspicions. Unfortunately she was born into the period of the Spanish inquisition, during this time any deviation from the orthodox religious experience came under the strict observation and scrutiny. On one occasion Teresa complained to God about her mistreatment from so many different people. God replied to her saying “That is how I always treat my friends” with good humour St Teresa replied “That must be why you have so few friends”. St Teresa struggled because there were few who could understand or appreciate her inner ecstasies. However on the one hand she felt these experiences to be more real than ordinary events.

At the age of 43 St Teresa decided she wanted to found a new order recommitting to the values of poverty and simplicity. She wanted to move away from her present convent which made a life of prayer more difficult. Initially her aims were greeted with widespread opposition from within the town of Avila. However, with the support of some Priests, the opposition waned and she was allowed to set up her first convent. St Teresa proved to be an influential leader and founder. She guided the nuns not just through strict disciplines, but also through the power of love, and common sense. Her way was not the way of rigid asceticism and self denial. Although she underwent many tribulations herself, to others she stressed the importance of experiencing God’s love. As she herself says:

“You know, I no longer govern in the way I used to. Love does everything. I am not sure if that is because no one gives me cause to reprove her, or because I have discovered that things go better in that way." [p.657] (3)

“The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything." (1)

St Teresa devoted much of the rest of her life to travelling around Spain setting up new convents based along the ancient monastic traditions. Her travels and work were not always greeted with enthusiasm, many resented her reforms and the implied criticism of existing religious orders. She often met with criticism including the papal nuncio who used the rather descriptive phrase “a restless disobedient gadabout who has gone about teaching as though she were a professor" St Teresa also had to frequently contend with difficult living conditions and her frail health. However she never let these obstacles dissuade her from her life’s task. She eventually died on October 4 at the age of 67. A fellow sister describes the hours just before the death of St Teresa.

“She remained in this position in prayer full of deep peace and great repose. Occasionally she gave some outward sign of surprise or amazement. But everything proceeded in great repose. It seemed as if she were hearing a voice which she answered. Her facial expression was so wondrously changed that it looked like a celestial body to us. Thus immersed in prayer, happy and smiling, she went out of this world into eternal life.” (2)

St Teresa Avila was one of the great Christian mystics. Overcoming physical ailments, she became fully absorbed in her devoted to God. As Sri Chinmoy says:

“In Spain, Teresa of Avila offered to the world something profoundly mystical. Her mystical experience is the most successful culmination of the divine marriage between the aspiring soul and the liberating Christ, and it is here that man’s helpless crying will and God’s omnipotent all-fulfilling Will embrace each other.” (5)

Works of Teresa of Avila
In 1566 she wrote Camino de perfeccion (Way of perfection) in about 1566, to tell the nuns how to reach their goal;

In 1580 she wrote what is considered her greatest work; the Castillo interior/ Las moradas (Interior castle/ The mansions) this involved describing the various stages of spiritual evolution leading to full prayer; she wrote Las Fundaciones (Foundations) from 1573 to 1582, so they would remember the early history of their order.
Her ways

Poetry of St Teresa Avila
St Teresa wrote several volumes of poetry her most popular (4) [p.33]

"God alone is enough."
Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.



Biography By: Tejvan Pettinger 01/02/07

The Ego and Christ...

You will see many Preachers on Television speaking of "Living Through Christ" and having Jesus live within you.. They are using terms that the Spiritually Young can understand.. They do not yet understand and are not taught about the illusion of the ego.. The Preachers instead use the Personality of One that had conquered the illusion of the ego as a point of Consciousness to attain non-ego.. They teach you to live through Jesus but they do not teach you to Realize that You are already One with God.. So, they are taking you part of the way to Freedom.. This path of the Preachers is a good path but it is the long path.. Their path will lead you to the plane of existence called Heaven but Heaven is not Complete Freedom.. As long as you Believe that you are a separate personality even in Heaven means that you are still in bondage to the illusion of the ego.. you must Die to be Born Again.. The "you", that I am speaking of is the ego.. You are not the ego, You are the Consciousness that uses this concept of ego as a separate personality device for the material world..When you have aquired enough Courage during Intense Contemplation or Mediation to offer up your very life and all belief in ego and separation, Only then will the Door be Opened to Unity with Divine Consciousness.." Knock, and the Door shall be Opened".. This is the Mystic Experience that You Crave.. This is called Unification of Love.. This is the bonding element of the Energy that we call God.. Everything is Energy, Everything is Energy Moving called Spirit, Everything is Consciousness continuing to Evolve...........namaste, thomas

Preach...

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.,,,,,,,St. Francis of Assisi

Beyond the Ego...

Getting beyond the ego is not easy because it is so deeply entrenched. “Looking out for number one” is the mantra of the ego. Selfishness is its mission statement. Fear and greed are its motivation or driving force. It is more concerned with appearances that with actual being. Its whole existence is based on the temporal and transitory, a house built on shifting sands.

You could look at the ego as a chunk of ice, an iceberg, floating in the ocean. When it melts, it loses its individual existence and becomes the ocean. It does not see that its source was the ocean and that it is destined to be nothing but ocean again. Emerson understood this when he wrote in The Over-Soul: “We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every particle is equally related; the eternal One.”
If you were to see, with a flash of insight, that your ego was gradually losing its sense of separateness and returning to its original unlimited state, would you try holding on to your iceberg state of separateness, or would you be longing for oneness with the ocean? That is, would you want to go beyond the ego or would you have to be forced to let go of your separateness, kicking and screaming, or would you feel ever-increasing bliss as you gradually made your transition into oneness?

The former is a state of resistance and denial due to unconsciousness. Wanting to get beyond the ego is due to acceptance and longing, due to love. The former is a clinging to the false. The latter is a life of dying to the false self that is fueled by the longing to know the true self–the ocean.

Kicking and screaming doesn’t sound like much fun, but if that is our state of mind, how do we get beyond it, into a state of acceptance, or even to one of longing? It’s a one-word answer: Love. Love is the only experience, the only way to get beyond the ego, to instill the longing for union with the oneness of all life. It is the only experience that seeks oneness.

The more focused the love, the more powerful its effect. Just as a laser beam can cut through steel, focused love can cut through all the layers of ignorance that is required for getting beyond the ego, that which separates the self from the source of its self.

When we approach life holistically, we are seeking oneness and wholeness. It becomes our desire to get beyond the ego. This oneness means oneness with the consciousness that pervades the universe. When we can let down our walls and let go of everything that separates us from the rest of life, we can move towards this experience. That is the beginning of the inner path of love.

This is a principle of affirming the true self. But it is only effective as a principle if we give it our whole-hearted allegiance. Just as an alcoholic cannot recover from alcoholism if he is sober one day and drunk the next, we cannot align our consciousness with true values one day and falsehood the next and expect to get beyond the ego or make any progress on the spiritual journey. You might as well be spinning your wheels in the sand.

Imagine the ego as a surfer one day and the next day a scuba diver. The ego as a surfer lives on the surface of life and sees separateness. He sees differences in the waves of the ocean; He sees good waves and bad waves. A good wave brings excitement and happiness. Bad waves bring boredom. He’s happy when he catches a good wave. Bummed out when he doesn’t.

The next day as a scuba-diver, underneath the surface, the ego experiences oneness. The surfer’s viewpoint was from the surface but now as a diver the viewpoint is from the ocean depths. There is no longer a question of good waves and bad waves. Deep below the surface that is no longer a concern; there is only an all-pervading oneness. On the surface waves come and go. But in the depths is the Ocean’s calm. Storms on the surface are meaningless when you are deep beneath the surface.

On the surface of life things seem to alternate between good and bad, happiness and suffering. But when you can go within, and discover the depth of your being, you will experience peace. You will experience oneness with life. To experience oneness with life is to be beyond the ego.

If you long for peace, if you have had enough of the vicissitudes of life, then you will have to go within. Pray, meditate, walk in nature, journal, do yoga, go to a spiritual retreat center, give a stranger a hug. The key is to get away from the turbulence of the mind, to make space in your consciousness for your heart. Listen to it.

I’ll leave you with the words of one who went beyond the ego — Rumi. Translation by Coleman Barks:

Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloud cover thick. I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I’m already under
and living within the ocean.

.........Gregory Allen Butler

Quotes from Henry David Thoreau...

“Do what nobody else can do for you. Omit to do anything else.”

“The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.”

“Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.”

“Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”

“Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

“There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.”

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

“Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.”

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.”

Surrendering Ego...

There are two different ways to realization: (a) The path of yoga meditation whose goal is nirvikalpa samadhi. (b) Gnana whose goal is sahaja samadhi. This looks on the world as being only a picture, unreal. Both seek and reach the same Brahman, the world disappearing for both.

— Notebooks Category 25: World-Mind in Individual Mind > Chapter 2: Enlightenment Which Stays > # 130........Paul Brunton

Bathe in Spirit...

Be active in silence
Strong in peace
Keep thy strength in gentleness
Rest with the song of wings about thee
Fill the inner reaches with love
Bathe in Spirit
For It is sweetness to thy bones, flesh and health.
Keep in this holy estate and listening~ obey!


~ from Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood.

Now...

Present-moment awareness creates a gap not
only in the stream of mind but also in the past-
future continuum. Nothing truly new and creative
can come into this world except through that gap,
that clear space of infinite possibility.

- Eckhart Tolle

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"The Power of Now"
Eckhart Tolle
New World Library, 1999

Anger and ego...

The ego is Pain.. You still feel the Pains of ego because You still identify yourself as ego, even though you Know the Truth of the Illusion of the ego.. Everyone around you identifies themselves as the ego and therefore, It is very difficult not to fall into the same hypnosis.. This is why the Teachings of Vernon Howard are so important not only to understand but to become the Knowledge.. You are taking the mental and spiritual journey from the Conscious Mind to the Sub-Conscious Mind.. Knowling the Knowledge is the Consciousness Mind, Becoming the Knowledge is the Sub-Conscious Mind(soul).. Awareness is the Answer to your Question and Problems.. Become Aware of your pain and Realize that it is not Your Pain.. It is the False Pain of the False self(ego).. Once you Realize and Understand that these pains of ego belong to an illusion and are not YOU, you will eventually conquer the pains of ego and then find yourself amazed that you once felt pain and also become amazed when you see others around you still feeling pain.. It all comes down to Awareness of your Thoughts............namaste, thomas

Love and Compassion on the Mystical Path...

Love and compassion are crucial on the mystical path. Regardless of any other achievements, without love and compassion, one does not deserve to be called a mystic, simply because one has excluded oneself from the most important mystical process of all.

And this process is also the crucial difference between the Path of Light and the "Dark Path".* On the Path of Light, we open ourselves to what may be termed the unitive state. This is a state where we experience a sense of oneness with the all, a sense of nonseparation, and is generally a state of profound bliss and compassion. We must understand that, just like love, there are many levels of unitive experience. The highest level is perhaps what a number of Western mystics have termed the "union with God". Those who deny the practice of love and compassion have automatically excluded themselves from the process of inner transformation whereby higher and higher levels of this unitive state may be attained. This is because love and compassion is an inherent and necessary part of the process.

And this process is far more important than any control or mastery of any specific mundane situation we may find ourselves in. The inner transformation of our being is the true mastery of life. Actually, in characterizing the mystical path, it is preferable to call it a path of surrender, rather than one of trying to take control. For it is through the process of surrender, at higher and higher levels, that we attain deeper and deeper levels of the unitive experience.

There are many thresholds we have to cross on the spiritual path, and the main ones are all in the form of a surrender of some kind. One of the early thresholds is to relinquish the notion that we can become master of our world, in the sense of being able to manipulate our world to suit us. We have to surrender this desire and, in the words of the OMCE, learn "not to take, but to receive".

The next major threshold we have to cross is to surrender all our striving for the mundane goals in life, and to focus purely on the spiritual path. After that, we will have to cross the threshold of surrendering the sense of a separate self. Then, on the following threshold, we will have to attain the willingness to endure suffering for the sake of others. And, on the higher threshold after that, we will have to relinquish all trace of our self-cherishing completely, so that all our motivation is based purely on the welfare of others.

All this may sound extremely daunting, but there is help at hand to enable us to keep going. For, on crossing each threshold successfully, we will attain to a higher level of the unitive state. This is a state of profound bliss and compassion, which is more and more intense at each higher level. And it is a state of bliss greater than anything one can imagine in the mundane world. Even a small glimpse of this state will transform one's life, for there is nothing in the mundane world that can match it.

The way to build a better world will then also become evident. We have to learn the path by taking it ourselves, in order that we may then guide others onto it. There is no other solution to the fundamental problems of our unenlightened existence. We have to get beyond the vicious cycle of karma that is binding us in our deluded state of separation. And no amount of controlling the mundane external circumstances of our existence is going to get us out of this. If we understand this, our choice is clear. We have to practice love and compassion, and we have to take the Path of Light. There is simply no other way.

Of course, all this is a long arduous struggle, and we may falter many times. However, if we gain even a temporary experience of the unitive state, we will also have learned never to give up. And this occurs simply because we will then know there is really nothing else in this world worth doing that can compare with it.

(*Footnote: There are two types of paths that explore the esoteric world: the Path of Light and the Dark Path. The Dark Path is based on the assumption that the human will has the power to control everything. This is a path of separation, and does pose a real danger of inflating our own egos. It is thus best avoided. The Path of Light, on the other hand, is based on the understanding that we are an integral part of the whole, and that there is a higher principle beyond that of our individual intellect and will. And on this path, we cannot succeed without love and compassion............ By Kenneth Chan

Hostile Thought...

Flesh and blood are not the enemy; the enemy is
the hostile thought within you; to chase away the
enemy you only have to chase away the thought
through thanksgiving.

- Rumi

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Muriel Maufroy
"Breathing Truth - Quotations from Jalaluddin Rumi"
Sanyar Press - London, 1997

Holy Silence...

"I was a learned fool.
My flawed mind knew nothing
till I came to dwell with Him
whose glance filled my heart
with the light of awareness.
Dwelling in that gracious state of peace,
whose nature is holy silence,
so hard to gain and know,
I entered into union
with the deathless state of the knowledge of reality."
--Muruganar--

Words from Manohar...

Sent: Monday, September 06, 2010 11:17 AM
Subject: Sent to the University of Chicago September 6th 2010, also is conformation The Quantum Gravitational spiritual manifold being operational in cosmos says. Manohar Tilak


Starting from singularity of the so called spirit (or even the Black hole = physical singularity -- which denies anything other than itself exists and sort of refuses to communicate with it; there are exactly 8 information systems that are in the colored chart of the 1998 book: "Infinities to Eternities",
humbly says,
Manohar Tilak proponent of the *factual Evoluon Theory of Cosmic Evolution Evolution".
Evoluon = Universe itself beyond man and the Avatars of Vishnu as the Evolutionary Cosmic Being are exactly 10 also is an ACTUAL confirmation of a kind!

Jon Stewart's Conversation With Jesus - A Very Worthwhile Read...

I woke up last night to the sound of laughing and realized I'd fallen
asleep with the TV on. It was 3 AM and I knew it was Jon Stewart but I
had to fumble around for my glasses to see who his guest was.
Unbelievable! It was Jesus, in his robe and all. His nose was bigger
than I thought, his skin a lot darker, but his eyes were more piercing
than I'd ever imagined. It was like light came out instead of going
into them.

John was making some joke about both of them being Jews and Jesus,
after laughing harder than I thought he would, said quite seriously to
Jon, "Yeah, that's one of the weirdest things, isn't it? How could they
forget that?"

Jon was all over him with questions from the daily news. What was his
take on the whole Mosque/Ground Zero fiasco? Jesus said he'd seen some
newscasts on the story and couldn't believe the drama and fear it was
bringing up. "They want to build a public building for prayer,
education and community gathering. That's a good thing. A better thing
perhaps, would be the construction of an interfaith building, There's
room for everyone, and it's these distinctions between religions that's
causing all the problems in the first place."

Jon looked incredulous. "An interfaith building??"

"Yes, a multi-tasking mosque, with a synagogue, chapel and meditation
hall in it. A building where people of different faiths come together
to make a better world together. That's the point of religion right?
It's not about doctrine. It's a plan for action, an opportunity to be a
bigger force for good. Religion is just the map. Faith is the real
adventure."

"I don't know...." said Stewart, making one of those funny mouth
movements he does after hearing a strange idea.

Jesus pipes in, "What could be better in that spot than a building that
represents, by its very structure, a coming together, a new vision that
goes beyond religious borders? It's like taking a good idea and making
it great. The real prophets of the day know this. Where are their
voices? Why aren't you interviewing them?"

"Hmm, I thought I was," says Stewart, tapping his pencil on the desk.

"You know why you have border issues here? Because you believe the
borders are real, like they MEAN something. Muslin against Christian,
Mexican against American, Republican against Democrat-all those borders
are made up. You put up walls to defend your ideas-and not even your
OWN, but ideas passed down to you from someone else-and then you make
other people look like demons. It's no wonder this country is in a
state of collapse. You don't even get it how connected you are. You're
like five fingers on a hand who think they're separate and make up
reasons why not to get along."

Jon sat there with his mouth open.

"You're like children playing war games. You spend all your time, all
your energy attacking the "other side" instead of realizing you need to
bridge the two sides in order to get across to a higher level of
thinking. Even news shows are at war. Look at how you make fun of FOX.
What light does that add to the world? All the time you could be giving
to real visionaries, all the ways you could be role-modeling good
behavior, showing the audience how it really WORKS to bring great and
opposing minds together, and you sit there poking fun at another
station. That's really enlightened, isn't it?"

This was the first time I'd ever seen Jon Stewart speechless. He looked
like an embarrassed 6th grader. No pencil tapping now. More like a
puppy with his tail between his legs.

"What in the world are you people doing? The ones who call themselves
"religious" are often the most immature, the most judgmental and
intolerant. What is THAT about? That's exactly the opposite of what
every religion teaches. And I mean EVERY religion,"
Jesus said, as he looked away from Stewart and spoke right to the
camera.

"All the religions say two basic things," he said, holding up his
fingers in a peace sign.
"First, there is no distance between you and this one you call God. God
is the creative force behind all things. It's invisible, but you are
the manifestation of it. I'm telling you, the Sistine Chapel should
have been a mirror."

The audience laughs, but Stewart stares into those deep eyes of the
Nazarene.

He goes on, " You are the eyes, the hands, the feet of that creative
force. That energy is in you. It's called your breath." He holds up his
index finger and taps on it a few times. "That's the first thing. Don't
think there's some man out there pulling strings. Grow up. This
civilization-if you can call it that-is YOUR creation. This earth, it
is not a bunch of resources to be exploited. It is not to be owned. It
is your mother, the womb that you sprang from. You are its
consciousness, its neural cells. The whole earth is the organism that
you belong to. You did not come down to earth, you came up from earth,
as I did. Its well-being is in your hands. Can you be proud of what
you're doing? Are you going to be the ones who kill it off, after all
that talk about pro-life?"

Jesus was getting a little worked up, like that day he stormed through
the temple turning over the merchants' tables. Jon cut to a commercial,
"And we'll be right back to hear the 2nd basic thing from our guest
tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth.
Stay tuned..."

They were laughing about something when they returned from the
commercial, Jesus stretched out in his chair with his long lanky legs
covered by his tunic, his sandaled feet hidden under the desk.

"OK," Jon says, "You were saying there were two things. Let me see if I
got this right. There's no bearded guy up there on a cloud. That God we
talk about and fight over is the creative force inside us and around
us? It's invisible and we're like....(a long pause) its shadow?"

"Not exactly," says Jesus. We're like the physical form of the same
energy. The ice cube version of water or steam. Same elements,
different form. The sea and the iceberg. You're all icebergs in the Sea
of God," he said, half-laughing at his own quaint metaphor. "But the
problem is you don't realize that underneath it all, you're all
connected. There's just one big iceberg with a lot of tips. The truth
is, you're Creation continuing the co-creation of Itself."

"Oh my," says Stewart. "Let's leave that discussion to Bill Moyers,
What about number two? What's the number two thing we're supposed to
know?"

Jesus holds up his two fingers again, tapping the tip of his middle
finger. The camera zoomed in so closely on him I could see a scar on
his forehead. "It's not so much what you need to know-that's part of
the problem, all these peoples' belief systems. That's what gets you in
trouble. No one has to believe in me to get to heaven. A...there is no
heaven to get to and B, it's not what you believe but how you act that
matters. If anyone learned anything from reading that Bible they should
have picked up that one. There's 3000 references to helping the poor in
there. But let me get back..."

"Yes," says Stewart. "The second thing.."

"The second thing is this: forget everything you ever learned in any
holy book and just treat everyone like a brother and a sister. I mean
that literally. If it were your brother coming across the border...your
sister with cancer and no health care....your child unable to get an
education....your mother with no food in her house. And even further,
your brother who was gay or hated gays, your sister who was a corrupt
politician, your brother who bombed an abortion clinic, your sister who
got an abortion. What does it look like to love unconditionally? To
bridge differences, to come together over what we can agree on? Can you
get through one day without thinking you're better or less than
another? That's the thing to strive for. That is living faithfully."

"But...but..." says Stewart. "What about the Tea Partyers, the
terrorists, what about Fox News and hate crimes?"

"If you think they are so different from you, be the opposite of what
you think they are and enact that powerfully in the world. Don't focus
on who's wrong. Just be a greater force for good."

"Not focus on who's wrong? How could I do my show?"

"Exactly. Remember what Gandhi said? Be the change you want to see in
the world?"

"Sure. I have that quotation on my refrigerator."

"Well, it's time to take it further. You're evolving as a people.
You've come through the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance,
the wrongly named Period of Enlightenment. You're now in the
Information Age. You are growing your consciousness. In the physical
world, you have Olympic marathon trainers who run 10 miles or more a
day. They spend every waking hour in training, eating the right foods,
researching the right clothing and equipment, working out, following a
discipline. And in the metaphysical world, the spiritual world, you
have people doing the same-they are your mystics and prophets-engaging
in spiritual practice, accelerating their wisdom, expanding their
consciousness, transcending judgment and radiating love into the world.
You might be in that category.,."

Stewart does one of his choking, ahem things, putting his hand over his
mouth. "Out of the question," he says frankly. "I thrive on judgment."

"Good to know yourself. You're all evolving at different rates. In the
fall, when you look at a maple tree, you see leaves that are green,
yellow, orange and red. They don't all change at the same time. And
that's what makes life exciting. You all know different things. That's
why you need each other. Like that guy Ken Wilbur said, "You're all
right, only partly so."

Stewart nods his head in agreement, tapping his pencil on the table
again.

"But back to Gandhi. I agree with what he said, but I'll say it a
different way, just to shake things up a bit, which I love to do. By
the way, it'd make a great bumper sticker:
Be the God you want to see in the world."

"Oh-oh, sounds blasphemous to me," says Stewart.

"You know as well as I do, every good idea starts out as a blasphemy."

"OK, great, we're out of time," says Stewart, as the camera swings over
for a shot of the audience. They're all standing, some crying and
laughing at the same time, the most incredible look of collective awe
I've ever seen. And Jesus walks over like Jay Leno and starts shaking
hands with them. What a night!"

From: http://www.janphillips.com/
Jan Phillips - September 3, 2010 -May happiness prevail...

The Fruits of Your Labor...

The good fruit of your labor is the attaining or actually the regaining of the
state of Unselfish Love.. Unselfish Love is the Fruit of non-self.. If you stay
Aware of your thoughts and actions, you will notice that the feeling of Love is
only felt when you are thinking of others and not your self(ego).. This feeling
of Love brings your mind into the state of Joy and Happiness.. This is why All
Humans seek Happiness and Love, even if they are normally selfish and
evil.................namaste, thomas

Is Faith Enough?...

It is written, "Faith without Works is Dead".. Therefore, Faith is not enough..
you can believe in God and still be evil.. an example being satan.. so, what are
the works needed?.. The works are the work of dissolving the self(ego), as the
self is anti-Love and separation from God.. As this dissolving is occuring, you
will Realize your Real Self emerging.. This is the Kingdom of Heaven
within..........namaste, thomas

What Can We Learn from the Mystics?...

To think that that mystics are engaged in a series of private, transcendent encounters with God betrays a superficial understanding, says Bernard McGinn. Christian mystics, in particular, are not breakaway contemplatives who find their own way to God. They are bearers and interpreters of a common tradition built upon a concrete revelation: God became human so that humans might become God. Christian mystics do not dabble in altered states. They seek radically altered lives.

McGinn is widely considered the preeminent scholar of mysticism in the Western Christian tradition and a leading authority on the theology of the 14th-century mystic Meister Eckhart. He has also written extensively on Jewish mysticism. He is the author, most recently, of The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart: The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing (Crossroad), and he has co-edited and translated two volumes of Eckhart’s sermons, treatises and instructions for the Classics of Western Spirituality Series (Paulist Press). In 1991, McGinn published the first title in a projected five-volume work, The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism (Crossroad), the first comprehensive history of Western mysticism in English. Three volumes have appeared to date. He has just completed work on a smaller project co-written with his wife, Patricia, a psychotherapist, titled Makers of Mysticism, an introductory guide to a dozen mystics.

I spoke with him at his office at the University of Chicago Divinity School about the nature of mysticism and about the contemporary interest in mystics and in spirituality.

In The Presence of God, you describe some of the great shifts that occurred in the ways people looked for God. In early Judaism, for example, God was traditionally found in the Temple, but in the Second Temple period a literature emerged in which God is sought in the unassailable heavens. And in Christianity during the Middle Ages, groups like the Beguines and the followers of Francis showed that the spiritual life need not be confined to the monastery and the cloister but could be lived in the world. Do you think we are in a new position today in the search for God?

I think we are. The spiritual traditions of the world are in conversation with one another in a way they never were before, and that is bound to create a dramatically different situation. There’s a worldwide ecumenism now, in which we try to understand other traditions because they’re no longer "out there," far away.

We’ve also seen a return within the various traditions to an emphasis upon the spiritual and mystical. Two generations ago Jewish mysticism, especially the Kabbalah, was thought of as kind of bizarre, kooky stuff. The work of people like Gershom Scholem and others has shown increasingly that mysticism is really essential to the Jewish tradition.

When I grew up in Roman Catholicism in the 1950s, mystics were out there -- Teresa and John of the Cross, for example -- but you weren’t supposed to read them because this was very strange, dangerous stuff. That’s changed dramatically in 50 years’ time. And "spirituality," which was a kind of technical Roman Catholic term then, has become not only generally used by all Christians but used by other traditions as well.

Why do you think there is this renewed interest in spirituality?

In describing religion I often use the model created by Baron von Hügel in his book The Mystical Elements of Religion, written in the early 20th century. He says that religion has three elements: the Petrine element, which is both authority and organization; the Pauline element, which is the intellectual side; and the mystical element, which he identified with the apostle John and which has to do with some kind of consciousness or experience of God. For von Hügel all of those elements need to be in balance if religion is going to be healthy.

One of the things that developed in the 20th century was an imbalance -- authority and sometimes intellect became more important than the heart. That’s why I think a lot of people are now finding tremendous resources in spiritual and mystical texts.

Mysticism is sometimes thought of as a dangerous pursuit because of the potential for self-deception or self-delusion. Is it any more risky than Christianity itself?

I don’t think so. One of the things that most spiritual traditions insist upon, though, is that at some stage a spiritual guide is very important. Sometimes that guidance takes places within a communal framework or in a mentor relationship. This is true in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

The figure of the solitary sage on the mountaintop is really the exception. Even St. Anthony, who lived in the desert for 20 years, returned to form a community. And in the desert the notion of the father teaching the younger disciple is very important. So it’s rare, actually, that mystics are very isolated figures.

Reading through the Presence volumes, I couldn’t help seeing the mystics as distinct personalities. Do you see them that way?

Very much so. Each of them is very distinct. Of course, there are a number of themes that most Christian mystics will touch upon, like the role of love, the relation of love and intellect and of action and contemplation, the role of Christ, the understanding of mystical union, the trinitarian life and ascetical practice. But how the mystics understand and relate to these themes is going to differ.

The great Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose works are deeply imbued with his knowledge of the mystics, talks about truth as symphonic, and I think that’s a good way of looking at mysticism too. There’s a tremendous symphony of voices.

One of the things that really was unfortunate in the previous study of mysticism in Catholicism and elsewhere was that one or two mystics were taken as paradigmatic cases. If a mystical text didn’t agree with Teresa and John, it was like a theologian not agreeing with Thomas Aquinas! We’ve come to see in the past half century that no matter how great Thomas Aquinas was, he’s one theologian among others. And no matter how great Teresa was, she’s one mystic among others. It’s much more creative and attractive to look at the full symphony. We have all these different kind of instruments -- maybe playing together somewhere in eternity!

But the mystics are also playing within a tradition. We can look at these figures as individuals, but we will discover more about them if we look at them as part of a tradition in Christianity dating back to Origen in the third century, at least, and building upon scripture and enriching itself for almost 2,000 years.

When you get to the 13th century in The Flowering of Mysticism, the mystical encounter seems to take on a decidedly charismatic expression in which the individual is somehow visibly touched by the divine -- Francis being perhaps the prime example of the believer who so puts on Christ that he bears Christ’s wounds. What is the difference between the mystical encounter and what we think of today as charismatic experiences -- if in fact they are distinct? Is one an inward experience, the other an outward sign?

Well, I think that would be one way to put it, but charisms as described by Paul in First Corinthians, which is really the foundational text, can involve a whole range of things, from speaking in tongues, to prophesying, to being given gifts of wisdom, and so on. So it’s a very diffuse term. Sometimes the experience can be accompanied by a kind of inner, transformative consciousness of God, but not necessarily.

Some people use the terms visionary and mystical interchangeably, so that every kind of vision is a mystical vision, and I really don’t think that is the case. A good example would be Birgitte of Sweden in the 14th century, who has all sorts of connections with God but whose message -- 99.9 percent of the tune -- is a reformist and prophetic message, not a mystical message. I see her as a prophet of reform rather than a mystic.

The special kinds of experiences that we would call ecstatic experiences and visions and the like can be mystical, but they need not be. For long periods in Christian history, particularly in the Patristic period and the early Middle Ages, there was a kind of suspicion of these special charisms. With what I call the "new mysticism" that begins around the year 1200 there’s a return to these experiences in a wide variety of figures, and often the experiences do involve what I would call mysticism -- that is, the charism is transformative of the individual and puts them in the status of spiritual teacher.

It’s interesting that Francis never talks about his own experiences, not even the stigmata. But Francis’s hagiographers talk about him as an ecstatic, as a visionary. And of course a lot of the women in the 13th and 14th centuries also speak at great length about what we would call charismatic experiences, but so do some male mystics.

You’ve edited and translated a number of collections and editions of Meister Eckhart’s sermons and theological writings over the years, and you’ve just written a full-length study of him. Why is he important to you and perhaps to anyone seeking a deeper spirituality today?

He certainly is very important for me. He’s fascinating historically because he was a very prominent scholastic and Dominican administrator who was charged with heresy and condemned posthumously. So he has this whiff of danger about him. Of course, I think the condemnation was incorrect in every possible way. Even the Dominican order has petitioned the pope to revoke this judgment.

We think of the medieval people as very simple -- many of them were illiterate and so on. But Eckhart preached very difficult sermons to general audiences, not just to clergy. And even today, despite the complex nature of his preaching, he has a powerful impact on people. In fact, the Eckhart Society, which began in England in the 1980s, was founded by an Anglican man and Catholic woman who previously had been very attracted to Buddhism. Their spiritual director, a famous Buddhist scholar, told them not to become Buddhists but to go read Eckhart! And so they remained Anglican and Catholic and were able to find in Eckhart what they had been missing in some forms of Christianity.

That arresting subtitle, The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing, suggests that Eckhart had an elevated kind of insight or status.

That phrase is actually from a contemporary description of Eckhart, and one of the reasons I used it is that it’s profoundly ironic and paradoxical. It seems to single him out, but if you put it in Eckhart’s framework of thinking about God, it shows his commonality, because God hides his nothingness from all of us. We’re all essentially in flue same boat. And of course the mystical life, the mystical search, is the search for the God who is nothing. It’s the realization that God is a hidden god.

You say in The Presence of God that mysticism is an original, essential element of Christianity -- is this because of the "hiddenness" of God?

I think the fact that God is a hidden God puts mysticism at the center of Christianity, but what I emphasize is that mysticism is one element of religion. I’m profoundly dissatisfied with the notion that mysticism is a kind of true religion, or the hidden core of the true religion, while institutions and teachings occupy some kind of periphery. I think it’s much better to see religion as a complex of beliefs and practices in which mysticism plays an essential role. Mysticism doesn’t float free of religion -- with the exception of the past hundred years, when the dissatisfaction with organized religion has led some people to turn to mysticism as a kind of private religion.

The idea that mysticism floats free is something that Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religions would react against because their mystical teachings are a part of the complex of being a Christian, Jew or Muslim, and they coexist with practices, beliefs, institutions and so forth. Even Eckhart’s notion of inwardness and detachment didn’t lead him outside the framework of medieval Christianity. That’s why he’s so terribly upset when he’s accused of being a heretic. I cannot be a heretic, he says, because being a heretic is a matter of the will, of wanting to persist in an incorrect view. I can be mistaken intellectually -- show me where I’ve made a mistake and I’ll retract it.

Despite Eckhart’s emphasis on detachment from the self and the will, his account of the soul’s pursuit of God makes the soul seem decidedly willful and forceful -- it’s the soul that compels God, that calls the shots, that conquers. Eckhart even says of God, "He cannot shut me out."

Eckhart does talk about compelling God, but you compel God by your emptiness and by getting rid of all your selfishness and by total detachment. Eckhart and his followers often use what we would call a gravitational model -- that is, water has to flow downhill, but it can only flow into what’s empty. So it’s in the process of emptying yourself of your self-will that you compel God, because God can’t come in if there’s something else there, meaning yourself.

And the self here means the selfish self. Eckhart and his disciples are always preaching to get rid of the self that’s concerned with its own desires, wishes, characteristics, success, fulfillment -- everything that centers on us. That’s what they’re talking about when they talk of detachment, which is the cutting off, or of a "releasement." Eckhart uses both those terms.

Other mystics talk about reaching God through purification, or an attitude of humility. Are detachment and releasement just different terms for these traditional notions or are they new concepts?

Here’s the way I would summarize Eckhart and his followers’ preaching: People think they know what humility is -- acting humble. People think they know what purity is -- avoiding this, avoiding that. But those are practices, whereas detachment and releasement is something much, much deeper. It is ultimate humility and total purification. It involves a much deeper annihilation of the self. And then, paradoxically, if you can do that, the self returns to you, but it’s no longer the selfish self. It’s the purely spontaneous good self.

This is the notion of Eckhart and some other 13th-century mystics of living "without a why." "Living without a why" means that you don’t ask, What’s in it for me? or Why am I doing this? You just do the good spontaneously, the way that God acts. God doesn’t act because of the why or for any interest of his own.

Many of the mystics start with small practices, like prayer, or ascetic habits, or meditation on a passage of scripture, and gradually work their way up to a transcendent state or a God-consciousness. With Eckhart it appears to go the other way. Is that correct?

There are not a lot of concrete things that you do in Eckhart’s form of mysticism. What Eckhart is most concerned with is this change of attitude, which he says can happen instantaneously if you can just get into the frame of mind in which you give up the self. Eckhart is in some ways pretty impractical, and that’s evident in his constant speech about how if you’re using ways to find God you’re finding ways and not God.

To some people, of course, this sounds extremely challenging -- and it is, in a way. But Eckhart was not a radical. He lived as a group monk, prayed his office and practiced penance, and did all the things he was supposed to do. But his point would be that these things in themselves mean absolutely nothing. They have meaning only if the attitude in which you do them is the attitude of detachment.

In his treatment of the Martha and Mary text (Luke 10:38-42), Eckhart defends Martha’s focus on the tasks of hospitality. Is that a striking departure from the traditional understanding?

Yes, Eckhart is the first commentator to elevate Martha above Mary. The earlier commentators tried to show that both Martha and Mary were necessary, though Mary’s approach is higher. Eckhart says that Mary is the one who’s still learning, whereas Martha is the one who has learned perfectly because she combines contemplation and action -- though Eckhart doesn’t use those words -- in an unselfish, detached way She can now operate as the soul "without a why" and be effective spontaneously without losing that contact with God. Mary’s just on the way to that. She needs to learn life.

I get the feeling that living spontaneously in God, or living without a why, is a lot like living the Christian life generally. At some point it becomes second nature, and goodness and holiness seem effortless. But getting to that point is the hard part.

Eckhart’s radical formulations are sometimes found to be impossible. But he very deliberately tried to wake people up out of a kind of moral and dogmatic slumber, to wake them up to the possibilities of recognizing that the union with God already exists in the soul -- and recognizing it in order to live it out. When you reach that realization, the things that seemed impossible, paradoxical and outrageous somehow take on a new light. I think Eckhart felt that the kind of shock therapy of his preaching was the only way to wake people up to that message, because it was so easy to get lost in the ordinary round of pious activity and to think that through this activity we are pleasing God. That’s why we get those famous phrases of his like, "Well, if you think you’re finding God better in the church than in the stable, you’re wrapping God in a towel and stuffing him under a bench!" The point is not that God isn’t in church, but that he’s also out in the stable -- if you learn to live in the proper way.

Eckhart’s preaching style seems to have a lot in common with that of Jesus in the New Testament, who appears contradictory and paradoxical.

Who challenges, yes. Eckhart’s preaching is deeply scriptural in that sense, and in fact he says at the end of his Commentary on John that you have to speak excessively when you preach or talk about scripture because scripture speaks excessively -- that’s the nature of speaking about God. God is always beyond anything that we can understand or say so excessive speech both in scripture and in the scriptural preacher should be the norm. Of course, the mystery is hidden underneath this tremendous rhetorical flourish.

How do you answer the charge that Eckhart’s theology of mystical union, in which the soul achieves "indistinction" and becomes one with God, is really a form of self-deification?

I think that’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope. I would put it the other way and say that God deifies himself in us when we become perfectly detached, and that’s the nature of God’s creation of humanity as the image and likeness of God -- imago Dei. I think Eckhart would say no, we don’t deify ourselves, but if we totally negate ourselves, then God deifies himself in us........by Sara Miller