The Astral Body...

The "Astral Body" (to give it the popular occult term) is a sort of psychic or spirit body, which is the body one exists in during the "Out of Body Experience" (OBE) or "Astral travelling". This body can thus separate from the lower bodies and journey to other worlds and realms, taking the consciousness with it. After death and separation from the physical body, the personality continues to exist for a period of time in the astral body.

The Astral body corresponds to the Egyptian Ba, which is the principle able to leave the body and the tomb and also return to it at will, and the Tibetan Bardo body.

As well as the imaginal world (corresponding to the world of Asiyah according to Hayyim Vital, and the Ishraki Barzakh or "Interworld"), the astral body can attain to the more material heavens, but the higher spiritual realms are beyond its reach. For that it is necessary to move to a more subtle "vehicle of consciousness"

I would point out though that in using terms like "astral body", I have endeavoured to retain the already established occult jargon, even when such terms are not etymologically appropriate. The word "astral", as in "astral plane" and "astral body", is actually misleadingly, because there is nothing particularily "starry" ("Astral") about the subtle body or the occult plane of this name. The term itself came about due to Theosophical use of Renaissance and other old occult and esoteric material, the cosmology of which identifies astrological influences with the psychic worlds. Contemporary Theosophical and popular esotericism lacks this astrological cosmology, but justifies the term "astral (star) body" on the very dubious claim that this subtle body appears to clairvoyant vision to be scintillating and full of sparks. From there the word unfortunately entered the English language with this meaning (hence "astral travelling", etc).

Alternative terms have been used, such as "desire body" (from Blavatsky's Sanskrit neologism kama-rupa ("desire form"), which is quite valid, as occultly speaking one could say that this body is made up of that psychic stratum which we experience subjectively as physical and emotional desires and selfish needs. But it would be perhaps best to stick with the established word, no matter how inappropiate it may be, rather than create more confusion in this already very confusing subject by introducing more jargon than is absolutely necessary. So for the present, the popular term "astral" will be retained.

If we look at the Psychic being, but stepped up one level of transcendence beyond the Subtle Physical, just as the Subtle Physical is one level of transcendence beyond the Material-Physical. This takes us to the pure psychic plane, the "astral plane" of occultism, and the astral or spirit-double that pertains to this plane.

The doctrine of a spirit-form that is a sort of double of the physical body, and may survive the death of the latter, is an extremely widespread one. In addition to the idea of the shadow or spirit-double in many so-called primitive peoples, there is the Egyptian Ba, the Greek eidolon, the Theosophical kama-rupa ("desire-form"), and the "astral body" of popular occultism.

During life, this principle represents an over-riding but spiritually inferior psychic faculty: the Irrational Soul of Neoplatonism, the p'o soul of Chinese psychology, the nafs ammara or the soul "which commands evil, the passionate, sensual lower ego" of Sufism, the nefesh behemis or "animal soul" of Kabbalah, the id of Freud, the "Undersoul" of Ann Ree Colton, the "Vital" of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's teachings, and the Subconscious or Unconscious of popular psychology (or to be more precise, the Middle Unconscious.

The Ideal...

He who can live up to his ideal is the king of life; he who cannot live up to it
is life's slave.

Bowl of Saki, February 28, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

The ideal life is at least to try to live up to one's ideal. But in order to
have an ideal one must first awaken to an ideal. Not everyone possesses an
ideal; many people do not know of it. It is no exaggeration to say that the wars
and disasters we have gone through, the unrest that all feel, and the
disagreement among the people which is sometimes seen and sometimes not seen,
are all caused by one thing and that is the lack of an ideal.

Is it power which is the object of the spiritual person, or is it inspiration
after which he seeks? It is in fact neither of these things which he pursues,
but all such things as power and inspiration follow him as he proceeds on his
path towards the spiritual goal. The goal of the spiritual person is
self-realization, and his journey is towards the depth of his own being, his
God, his ideal.

God is the ideal that raises mankind to the utmost reach of perfection. ...
There is no ideal that can raise the moral standard higher than the God-ideal,
although love is the root of all and God is the fruit of this. Love's expansion
and love's culmination and love's progress all depend upon the God-ideal.

That which makes us esteem those whom we esteem is their ideal. That which
raises man from earth to heaven is his ideal. And that which pulls man down from
the heavens to the earth is also his ideal. When he does not live up to his
ideal, he falls to earth. And when he raises his ideal he goes from earth to
heaven. He can rise to any height, according to the stature of his ideal.

After Death...

At Death We Are Still Encased in the Astral and Causal Bodies

When you die, your physical body of 16 elements disintegrates, but the 19 elements of your astral body remain intact. Where, then, are all those souls who have left this earth? They are roaming in the ether. "That is impossible," you say. So let us make a comparison. If a primitive tribesman came here and I told him that music is audible in the ether, he would laugh at me, or perhaps become frightened; but if I then brought a radio and tuned in a station where music was playing, he would no longer be able to deny the truth of my statement. I could similarly show you right now that astral beings are roaming in the ether, and you couldn't deny it. The astral world is right here, just behind the gross vibration of the physical cosmos.

If you were to behold the multitude of astral beings in the ether around you at this moment, many of you would be afraid; and some of you would try to seek among them your departed loved ones. If you concentrate deeply at the spiritual eye you can view with inner vision that luminous world in which are living all the souls who have gone on to the astral plane. In human beings the heart acts as a receiving instrument and the spiritual eye as a broadcasting station. Even if you cannot see
your lost beloved ones, if you can calmly concentrate your feeling on the heart, you can become aware of the reassuring presence of those dear to you who are now in astral form, enjoying their freedom from flesh thralldom.

I see many astral beings who have left the material plane, but they cannot see me. I don't make myself visible to them, but I can behold them if I so desire.~



Therefore, we are not fully released at death when we depart from the physical form. Our souls are still encased in the subtle astral and ideational bodies. It is only when man dons a physical form that he becomes a visible being in this world. After the death of his physical body, he remains in the astral form as a "ghost": an intelligent, invisible being, with essen-tially the same mentality and characteristics he had on earth. Inhabitants of the astral realms can of course see one another in their luminous bodies. But astral beings are not ordinarily visible to us on earth unless we know how to perceive the as-tral world through the spiritual eye. When souls shed the astral body and go into a mental form in the causal world they are not nonentities, but they do become truly invisible, even as ideas are invisible. (When souls are free from physical desires, they need no longer reincarnate on earth. Such souls then migrate between the astral world and the causal "heaven," reincarnating in the astral until spiritual freedom is attained from that state also. When all causal desires are overcome, one becomes a liberated or free soul.)

Jesus said, "Destroy this [body] temple and in three days I will raise it up." He meant that he had to divest himself of the physical, astral, and mental bodies (by casting out all vestiges of attachment to a form) to become one with Spirit. It took three distinct efforts to do this.

If a departed soul has unfinished desires created while on the earth plane, it continues to feel in the astral those desires and the wish to express itself through a material body. And so that soul in its astral vehicle is drawn again into a united sperm and ovum cell and is once more in a physical form.

The Intelligence in Prana Creates the Physical Body

The prana that permeates the physical body is intelligent life force ("lifetrons"). The electricity that illuminates the light bulb does not create the bulb1 but the electricity or life force in the united human sperm and ovum cells guides the embryonic and subsequent development of the entire human body. Manifesting as the aforementioned five life forces of the astral body, it is an intelligent or consciously directed force.

It is unwise to ascribe to yourself permanently any defect of your body. Suppose you have lost an arm in this life, and the thought of that loss becomes so impinged on your consciousness that you think you can never again have the use of that arm. When you are reborn the next time, you bring with you that consciousness of a missing arm; and if that negative thought is strong enough it may inhibit the creative action of the intelligent life force that grows the arms of your new body. You should therefore never identify yourself with the flaws of your physical form. They do not belong to you, for you are the pure, perfect image of God-the soul.

So you see, before you took on this physical form you were a ghost, and when you die you will become a ghost again. We are also ghosts when we sleep, for in sleep we are not aware of ourselves as a physical body at all. Since you are a ghost when you are asleep, and you will be one after death, why be afraid of ghosts? That is what you were and that is what you are going to be. The only difference is that when you enter the astral world at death you cannot create at will a physical body like the one you now have. Only great masters who have attained oneness with the Divine Creator can do so. Spiritually advanced souls can condense the subtle vibrations of the astral vehicle into a tangible body.



Extract from Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda (ISBN 0-87612- 232-2) Available from Barnes & Noble.

Believe Nothing...

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
......... Gautama the Buddha

Freedom...

Freedom and Joy of Nonduality
Meher Baba

Limitation comes into existence owing to ego-centered desires and self-will.
Possessiveness in all its forms leads to a life of limitation. For example,
if one covets the love of someone but instead of winning the love of that
person loses it to another, there ensues a narrowing down and strangling of
the free life of the spirit -- and one has an acute consciousness of
limitation. This is the origin of the pain of suffocating jealousy. But if
one looks at the situation with a heart purged of longing, the love that is
received by the other will be seen in its natural beauty. In the clarity of
perception that comes through nonpossessiveness, one will not only taste the
freedom of nonduality, but also its joy. When someone else receives that
love, it is like oneself receiving it -- since no longer does one insist
upon the claims of a single form, having identified oneself with life in all
its forms.

In nonduality there is freedom from limitation, as well as the knowledge and
appreciation of things as they are. In nonduality alone is there the
realization of the true spiritual infinity that secures abiding and unfading
bliss. The limitation of jealousy is like all other limitations, such as
anger, hate and cravings; they are all of one's own creation. All finitehood
and limitations are subjective and self-created. With the surrenderance of
self-will and ego-centered imagination, there arises a true perception of
the infinite worth of that which IS.

"me"...

The same Consciousness prevails at rest as the Absolute and in motion as duality. When the sense of "me" disappears completely, duality vanishes in ecstasy.....


Ramesh Balsekar

I Have Learned So Much...

I

Have

Learned

So much from God

That I can no longer

Call

Myself



A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,

a Buddhist, a Jew.



The Truth has shared so much of Itself

With me



That I can no longer call myself

A man, a woman, an angel,

Or even a pure

Soul.



Love has

Befriended Hafiz so completely

It has turned to ash

And freed

Me



Of every concept and image

my mind has ever known.



From: 'The Gift'

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
School of Truth



O fool, do something, so you won't just stand there looking dumb.

If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?



In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.

So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!



All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;

By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.



Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,

I promise you'll shine brighter than a dozen suns.



And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;

To be Love's alchemist, you should be working with gold.



Don't sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God's sea.

Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.



For those who see only God, their vision

Is pure, and not a doubt remains.



Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,

If you are doubtless, you won't lose a thing.



O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,

Be the dust at the Wise One's door, and speak!



From: 'Drunk On the Wind of the Beloved'

Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe
I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again



I've said it before and I'll say it again:

It's not my fault that with a broken heart, I've gone this way.



In front of a mirror they have put me like a parrot,

And behind the mirror the Teacher tells me what to say.



Whether I am perceived as a thorn or a rose, it's

The Gardener who has fed and nourished me day to day.



O friends, don't blame me for this broken heart;

Inside me there is a great jewel and it's to the Jeweler's shop I go.



Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,

Don't judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away.



All that laughing and weeping of lovers must be coming from some other place;

Here, all night I sing with my winecup and then moan for You all day.



If someone were to ask Hafiz, "Why do you spend all your time sitting in

The Winehouse door?," to this man I would say, "From there, standing,

I can see both the Path and the Way.



From: Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved

Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe
Tired of Speaking Sweetly



Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,

Break all our teacup talk of God.



If you had the courage and

Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,

He would just drag you around the room

By your hair,

Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world

That bring you no joy.



Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly

And wants to rip to shreds

All your erroneous notions of truth



That make you fight within yourself, dear one,

And with others,



Causing the world to weep

On too many fine days.



God wants to manhandle us,

Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself

And practice His dropkick.



The Beloved sometimes wants

To do us a great favor:



Hold us upside down

And shake all the nonsense out.



But when we hear

He is in such a "playful drunken mood"

Most everyone I know

Quickly packs their bags and hightails it

Out of town.



From: 'The Gift'

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
We Might Have To

Medicate You



Resist your temptation to lie

By speaking of separation from God,



Otherwise,

We might have to medicate

You.



In the ocean

A lot goes on beneath your eyes.



Listen,

They have clinics there too

For the insane

Who persist in saying things like:



"I am independent from the

Sea,



God is not always around



Gently

Pressing against

My body."



From: 'The Gift'

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
A Potted Plant



I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.



And at night I let my pet the moon

Run freely into the sky meadow.



If I whistled,

She would turn her head and look at me.



If I then waved my arms,

She would come back wagging a marvelous tail

Of stars.



There are always a few men like me

In this world



Who are house-sitting for God.

We share His royal duties:



I water each day a favorite potted plant

Of His--

This earth.



Ask the Friend for love.

Ask Him again.



For I have learned that every heart will get

What it prays for

Most.



From: 'The Subject Tonight Is Love'

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
No More Leaving



At

Some point

Your relationship

With God

Will

Become like this:



Next time you meet Him in the forest

Or on a crowded city street



There won't be anymore



"Leaving."



That is,



God will climb into

Your pocket.



You will simply just take



Yourself



Along!



From: 'The Gift'

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Hafiz...

Biography of Hafiz

Hafiz is one of the world’s most beloved poets, he is affectionately known as the “Tongue of the Invisible” and the great Poet-Seer Ralph Waldo Emerson himself remarked that “Hafiz is a poet for poets.”

The poems of Hafiz have a beautiful and musical quality, which also embody a great spontaneity. In a myriad of poetic ways, Hafiz expresses the spiritual experiences of a mystic, in love with his Beloved. Yet he achieves this in a playful and enchanting way, like other Sufi poets, Hafiz weaves themes of ambiguity into his poems. Often he will use secular images such as wine, drunkenness and human love, however these are just symbols for the divine experiences which Hafiz is alluding to.

"That Beloved has gone completely Wild - He has poured Himself into me!
I am Blissful and Drunk and Overflowing."

- From: The Great Secret



Hafiz was born in the beautiful city of Shiraz in Persia (now Iran ). As a young child he was called Shams –ud-din Mohammed. Hafiz proved to have a prodigious talent for literature. At an early age he successfully memorized the Qu’ran, and this is why he took the pen name of “Hafiz” – Hafiz means one who has memorized the entire Qu’ran by heart. As well as studying the Qu’ran Hafiz was also introduced to the other great Sufi poets such as Rumi, Farid –ud-din Attar and Saadi, these Sufi poets would later have some influence on the poetry of Hafiz.

A famous story about Hafiz tells how he fell in love with a beautiful woman. He saw her in his local area whilst delivering bread. He became so enchanted with love for this woman that he could think of nothing else. Hafiz started to write love poems dedicated to his sweetheart, and these became famous throughout Shiraz. Unable to live without his beloved, Hafiz resolved to undertake a 40 night vigil at the tomb of Baba Kuhi'. Babu Kuhi was a famous poet who promised to fulfil 3 desires of anyone who could stay awake for 40 nights at his tomb.



On the first night Hafiz had a vision of the Angel Gabriel. He was so enchanted with her beauty, he resolved to seek only God who would by nature be infinitely more beautiful than any human form. Gabriel then revealed to him where he could find a spiritual master who would be able to lead him towards God. This master was Muhammed Attar, who lived a humble life in Shiraz.

From this point Hafiz became a prodigious poet producing hundreds of poems which expressed a seekers longing for union with the divine. His poetry made Hafiz famous and he gained the respect and love of many local inhabitants. However his ecstatic and unorthodox poetry gained him the displeasure of the ruling Muslim orthodoxy. Because of this Hafiz twice had to flea the city of Shiraz, on many occasions he was only saved by his sharp wit.

At the age of about 60, his Master Attar, finally granted Hafiz his life long desire - union with God. From this point Hafiz’s poems reflected a new consciousness, no longer was there any sense of separateness from God.

Hafiz wrote about 5,000 poems, although unfortunately these were never written down and therefore there is some scholarly dispute about the authenticity of some poems. In the West Hafiz has only become famous in the last century. One of the most important early translations was by Gertrude Bell in 1897. Recently there have been new translations and versions by authors such as Daniel Ladinsky. These have helped Hafiz become a well renowned poet in the West. The poetry of Hafiz has a universal attraction. It is said Hafiz once stated,

“No one could ever paint a too wonderful picture
of my heart or God.”

-Biography by Richard

Hafiz Links

Hafiz Poems by Gertrude Bell (1897)
The Gift by Daniel Ladinsky
I Heard God Laughing by Daniel Ladinsky
The Subject Tonight is Love by Daniel Ladinsky
In Wineseller's Street by Thomas Crowe
Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved by Thomas Crowe
Hafiz Ghazals by Shariar Shariar

Bhagavad Gita...

Chapter 8, Verse 10.
One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Drama...

Drama is the energy of ego.. Drama is the separation of consciousness.. Drama is the source of conflict.. Drama is the heart of "soap operas'".. Drama declares "i", Love declares "I".. The ego lives from the energy of opposition, the duality of thought.. Drama is the reason for killing within the world.. Drama is Pain.. and yet, most humans find an insatiable desire for conflict... Examine the movies and television progams that most watch.. this perpetuates the desire for more conflict.. Does anyone really win, when conflict has a victor?... We travel on within this world of conflict with the energy of negativity that is only negated by the Energy of Unconditional Love.. but, Love without selfishness is rare...........namaste, thomas

Awareness and Consciousness...

By its very nature, the mind is outward turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves; to be told to look for the source within, is, in a way, the beginning of a new life. Awareness takes the place of consciousness; in consciousness there is the "I", who is conscious, while awareness is undivided; awareness is aware of itself. The "I am" is a thought, while awareness is not a thought; there is no "I am aware" in awareness. Consciousness is an attribute while awareness is not; one can be aware of being conscious, but not conscious of awareness. God is the totality of consciousness, but awareness is beyond all - being as well as not-being.......... Nisargadatta Maharaj

The Waking Dream...

Not seeing the Reality or forgetting the Self is sleep.
Seeing the Reality or visualizing the Self is waking.
In this sense, the present waking state is sleep or a dream.
To be really awake is not to be awake with sense organs or mind, but with Consciousness.
Give up the waking dream and be awake to the real Self.......


Shri Atmananda from Spiritual Discourses

Describe God - "One-The Movie" b

The Great Way...

This is from 'The Spirit of Tao'
Trans/edited by Thomas Cleary
The Great Way

The Great Way is very difficult to express in words. Because it
is hard to speak of, just look into beginninglessness, the
beginningless beginning. When you reach the point where there
is not even any beginninglessness, and not even any nonexistence
of beginninglessness, this is the primordial. The primordial Way
cannot be assessed; there is nothing in it that can be assessed.
What verbal explanation is there for it? We cannot explain it,
yet we do explain it-where does the explanation come from?
The Way that can be explained is only in doing. What is doing?
It is attained by nondoing. This nondoing begins in doing.

Everything...

"Everything
just as it is,
as it is,
as is.
Flowers in bloom.
Nothing to add."

- Robert Aitken Roshi

The Four Margas or Paths of Yoga...

Theory
According to advaita vedanta, the goal of life is to discover our true nature. It is usually called self realization or God realization.

Although this goal, our final destination, is one, there are many ways to reach it. People have different temperaments and accordingly, there are different techniques, yogas, to help them find the truth.

The truth is one but the paths are many.
Swami Vishnu-devanandaAnalogy of the Summit
To better understand the concept you can picture a mountain with a summit. The peak of the mountain represents the spiritual goal, moksha. Now imagine there are four people standing on each side of the mountain. To reach the summit, the same destination, each person has to walk a different direction. Likewise, each of us symbolically stands at a different space, spiritually speaking, according to our temperament and personality, so each of us needs to take a customized path to the top.



Four Margas or Paths
From the explanation above, it is easily understood that, truly, there are as many paths as there are people. Practically though, there are a few hundreds of yogas, or practices which are categorized into the four main paths. These paths are:

Jnana Yoga
The path of wisdom and knowledge. The jnani uses his will and power of discrimination to cut through the veil of ignorance and attain the truth.

For the jnani, the goal is absolute Truth.

Jnana Yoga appeals to the philosophical and intellectual temperament.

Bhakti Yoga
The path of love and devotion. The bhakta uses the combined energies of all emotions and transmutes them, sublimates them into the highest of all emotions: prem.

Prem is pure, conditionless, divine love. For the bhakta, or devotee, the goal is pure love.

Bhakti Yoga appeals to the emotional temperament.

Raja Yoga
The path of self control and self mastery. The raja yogi controls his mind until it becomes perfectly still at which time there is no more wall between himself and his own divine nature.

The main practice in Raja Yoga is meditation. For the raja yogi, the goal is perfect mind control.

Raja Yoga appeals to the mystical and scientific temperament.

Karma Yoga
The path of selfless service. For the karma yogi, the main problem is our inherent selfishness which is based on spiritual ignorance, avidya. The key is to practice selfless actions without any selfish expectations, and thereby opening one's heart and seeing God in all beings.

For the karma yogi, the goal is complete selflessness.

Karma Yoga appeals to the active temperament.

Two More for Good Measure
Among the additional hundred yogas out there, two more stand out as particulary important:

Kundalini Yoga
Derived from the tantric tradition this yoga aims at purifying the physical and psychic systems, and then awakening the cosmic power residing in the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine.

Upon awakening and raising of this spiritual power it unites with the consciousness center in the crown of the head and thereby grants liberation to the spiritual aspirant and practitoner of Kundalini Yoga .

Hatha Yoga
Sometimes called the physical aspect of yoga it works mostly on the psychic level. Besides its innumerable medical benefits, hatha yoga is essential support to both raja yoga and kundalini yoga.

from yoga108.org

Zen Meditation...

Zen meditation is very similar to all other forms of meditation.. the idea of
all meditation is to move beyond ego and Realize Reality which is
Enlightenment.. meditation can occur for a few minutes or a hour..depending on
your level of Consciousness.. this action of meditation is to enhanse your daily
life and definately not to deminish your daily activities or chores.. while you
live your normal life, your mind sees more that the other souls around you.. you
see the reasons of actions.. you see the beauty that is within all.. you see the
cause of pain and ignorance, you see the method of dissolving this pain and
ego.. You See.. You See.. You See............namaste, thomas

Seeker...

seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

~ e. e. cummings ~


(Complete Poems 1904-1962)

God is an Experience...

God is not a person, it is an experience. The vision, the experience one has of the universe, of existence, after the dissolution of the ego-center.... When the "I" disappears, what remains is love. When the walls surrounding ego crumble, what remains is love. And that itself is also "God." Hence one cannot know God but one can become God.......
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

"The Cause of Suffering" Adyashanti

Rest as Consciousness...

It is so easy for everyone to just simply rest as consciousness in
that same true way of being. All it requires is untainted surrender
to what you honestly know is true, and all it will cost is your
personal wants and needs. All it will cost is just your personal
dream... your illusion. Then, as you continue to let in Truth to
the point where it has replaced everything in you that is untrue,
then you come into true form. You come to know your real self,
and you come to realize and live the reality you were in when you
were very, very young. You begin to grow as a real human being,
a beloved servant of Truth, instead of as a human "wannabe," a
slave of your own illusion......
~John de Ruiter

IF...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!


By Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).

Fully Living...

You cannot fully live until you treat everyday as though it were your last..
this proves that life is precious.. because, you do not know the second that you
will pass from the body, you will treat every second with respect.. and every
second is the present moment.. you speak of zest.. if you knew that life is
short, you would pull every ounce of zest from every second.. to think of death
is to be prepared instead of shocked.. death is only an illusion that is feared
by those still believing in the illusion.. death is an illusion and life is an
illusion.........namaste, thomas

Is Reincarnation Real?...

An excerpt from "The Paradox of Reincarnation"
in Easy Death (pp. 181 - 82)

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Reincarnation . . . describes the connectedness between lifetimes that establishes conscious existence as continuous rather than episodic (or appearing only when a body arises and disappearing when a body dies). Reincarnation is a subject of very sophisticated knowledge, something you are capable of understanding only in an advanced state of consciousness.

Thus, there is no reason for ordinary people to walk around with beliefs about reincarnation. You cannot really verify such ideas anyway, until you enjoy a state of consciousness in which they are obviously true.

In general, religious people feel obliged to believe all kinds of nonsense to which they have no real connection. Most such ideas are just traditional lore — stories and conceptions created to console fearful people with superficial beliefs.

Perhaps, at some time in the natural course of evolution, human beings (in general) will achieve such a state of conscious awareness that reincarnation will again be a subject of ordinary presumption, based on self-verifying experience in the lives of most people. Then it will again be maintained as a cultural presumption — not just a curious artifact from ancient days, when people were involved in the processes by which reincarnation became obvious to them.

From the "Point of View" of Consciousness Itself, however, there is no sense of identity with a personality that is limited by a body. Rather, the individual consciousness (or apparently separate being) is Realized to be a transparent (or merely apparent), and un-necessary, and inherently non-binding modification of Divine Being Itself. . . .

To examine past lifetimes from the "Point of View" of Divinely Enlightened mind, one would have to presume that one was incarnate as every other being that had ever existed! If one's Very State of Being and Consciousness is Realized to be the Very State of Being and Consciousness of all other beings, then how can one presume a model of reincarnation based on a single body and its past relations?

That process would be (at most) a kind of superficial dimension of one's existence — but not the Truth of one's existence. The real fact of one's existence is not that one is a reincarnated individual, but that one is Identical to everything and everyone altogether. There Is Only the Divine Reality. That Is the Truth.

Present Nature...

"Q: I am suddenly aware of how disappointed we all are in
each other. Why don't we simply choose to be nice, instead
of disappointing?

A: Your confusion stems from assuming that a man could behave
differently if only he chose to do so. He cannot. An unawakened
man has no more choice of behavior than a cat can help acting like
a cat. He is _compelled_ to act out his present nature. To behave
differently, he must wake up."

The Power of your Supermind, p. 155..... Vernon Howard

WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF SPEECH? ...

It is different at different stages:
1. In the case of a child, words speak.
2. In the case of an adult, ideas speak.
3. In the case of the Sage, Truth speaks.
You become so familiar with certain ideas that they form part of the integral ‘I’-
principle for all practical purposes. These ideas sometimes come out like a flash,
surprising even you. Ideas come out as though by instinct, as your hands come out to
protect your head or eyes in the face of sudden danger.
In the case of the Sage, when a question is put, there being no ego present, the
Truth comes out spontaneously and the talk that follows is not really eloquent, but is
eloquence itself........


Shri Atmananda from Spiritual Discourses

Surrender...

Surrender is to surrender your concept of
separateness, your ego. Surrender is to
submit your stupidness, your wickedness,
to the will of Existence. That's all. You
must surrender like a river discharging
into the Ocean. Surrender is to discharge
your river of separateness into the Ocean
of Being, losing your limitations, and
allowing to happen what happens.

- Papaji

Nafs...

There is a false ego in man, which the Sufis call
nafs, and this ego feeds on weakness. This ego
feels vain when one says, "I cannot bear it, I do
not like it," it feeds the ego, the vanity. It thinks,
"I am better than others," and thereby this ego
becomes strong. But the one who can discriminate,
distinguish, choose, while at the same time having
everything under control, and who although enjoying
sweet things can yet drink a bowl of something
bitter, that person has reached mastery.

-Hazrat Inayat Khan

Khalil Gibran "The Prophet"

Death is a Gift...

We all have a terrible fear of death and a great desire to live as many years as possible.. often, we use the mental argument that we wish to live a long life to experience the lives of our children and grandchildren, but, the deeper truth is that Fear is the main motivator of human existence.. We see ourselves as the body and cannot relish the notion that it will dissolve back into the illusion.. We push back the pain of material existence with the thought that pain is better than the unknown.. This is why "Knowing" is so important, Knowing the Truth of Reality.. With Knowledge of the Unknown, Fear is dissolved.. This is the Path of the Mystic.. The Mystic seeks to "Know" through Direct Experience of the Unknown.. Therefore, becoming the "Known".. The "Known" is that You are beyond Death.. You are beyond Life.. You are beyond Fear.. "YOU" are beyond "you".........namaste, thomas

The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse...

The Oxford Book Of English Mystical Verse - INTRODUCTION - IN the early days of English mysticism the first translation of Dionysius Mystical Theology was so readily welcomed that it is said, in a quaintly expressive phrase, to have run across England like deere. Since that time the fortunes of mysticism in these islands have been various, but, despite all the chances of repute and disrepute which it has undergone, there has been a continual undercurrent of thought by which it has been not only tolerated but welcomed. There have been, of course, heights of enthusiasm as well as profound depths of apathy in regard to it, but even if the limitations of the greatest enthusiasm have always been evident, so also has been the continuing readiness of some portion of the religious consciousness of the people to respond to what has been most vital in it. It is, in fact, the hypothesis of mysticism that it is not utterly without its witness in any age, even though the voice of that witness be lost in the turmoil of surrounding things. And now it appears-it has in fact been appearing for some years-that the fortunes of mysticism are mending. It has emerged from the morass of apathy which characterized the eighteenth and the greater part of the nineteenth century it is reawakening to the value of its own peculiar treasure of thought and word on all sides there are signs that it is on the verge of entering into a kingdom of such breadth and fertility as it has perhaps never known. It is as though the world were undergoing a spiritual revitalization, spurring it on to experience-even through destruction and death-a further measure of Reality and Truth. At such a time it is of interest to look backover the past and discover something of what has been already accomplished in the way of poetic expression of mystical themes and feelings. The most essential part of mysticism cannot, of course, ever pass into expression, inasmuch as it consists in an experience which is in the most literal sense ineffable. The secret of the inmost sanctuary is not in danger of profanation, since none but those who penetrate into that sanctuary can understand it, and those even who penetrate find, on passing out again, that their lips are sealed by the sheer insufficiency of language as a medium for conveying the sense of their supreme adventure. The speech of every day has no terms for what they have seen and known, and least of all can they hope for adequate expression through the phrases and apparatus of logical reasoning. In despair of moulding the stubborn stuff of prose into a form that will even approximate to their need, many of them turn, therefore, to poetry as the medium which will convey least inadequately some hint of their experience. By the rhythm and the glamour of their verse, by its peculiar quality of suggesting infinitely more than it ever says directly, by its very elasticity, they struggle to give what hints they may of the Reality that is eternally underlying all things. And it is precisely through that rhythm and that glamour and the high enchantment of their writing that some rays gleam from the Light which is supernal. The ways in which mystical experience will translate itself into such measure of expression as is possible must evidently vary, both in kind and degree, with the experience itself.........D.H.S. Nicholson

Thoughts...

"Thoughts are not necessarily a distraction. Nor is the body. Thoughts are arising in this present awareness and dissolving back into it. The silence remains untouched, unstained, immaculate. Thoughts are only a problem if you are preoccupied with them, giving them all your attention, believing in the entity of "me" around which the thoughts swirl. But thoughts in and of themselves are not some kind of enemy. Thoughts can be very useful, functional, and even entertaining. They are allowed in this vast clearing. No problem"

Catherine Ingram

Look Within...

Just don't seek from another
Or you'll be far estranged from self.
I now go on alone
Meeting it everywhere
It now is just what I am
I now am not it.
You must comprehend in this way
To merge with thusness.

- Dongshan (771-853)

The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah ...

O Son of Spirit!
My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.

O Son of Man!
Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee: therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion.

Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not, wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished, why dost thou dread extinction? Thou art My glory and My glory fadeth not; thou art My robe and My robe shall never be outworn. Abide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory.

O Son of Spirit!
Noble I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

O Son of Man!
Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me.

O Son of Being!
Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning: for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.

O Son of the Supreme!
I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?

O Children of Men!
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

- Inspirations via the heart of Baha'u'llah, may God be well pleased with him. This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue.

Freedom...

Freedom means letting go. People just do not care to let go of everything. They do not know that the finite is the price of the infinite, as death is the price of immortality. Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything. The giving up is the final step. But the real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own. It is like deep sleep - you do not give up your bed when you fall asleep - you just forget it.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, from I Am That

Avatar

Rebirth...

Rev. Joseph Murphy, Ph.D.
Excerpt from:
THIS IS IT: The Art of Metaphysical Demonstration
Church of Divine Science
Los Angeles, 3rd ed., 1948 Revised

It is often asked, “Why do we have dictators, despots and tyrants in the world?” These are extensions in space of the dictator complex present in the hearts and minds of all human beings. Instead of trying to force our opinions on others, we must learn how to change ourselves and we will change the world.

What is the world? The world is ourselves in agregation. Napoleon still lives, Ghenghis Khan still lives, as do Caesar and all others. They live in the consciousness of the race. Our boys and girls learn about them at their mother’s knees, at school and in college. They burn with resentment and rage at the apparent wrongs committed by these men. They read avidly of the crimes, atrocities, and acts of violence. These states are impressed on their subconscious minds. All of these moods, feelings and thoughts which are entertained become objectified as living realities. Moreover, these boys and girls suffer from nightmares, hysteria and various complexes because these moods of fear, hate, anger and resentment become the ghosts that walk the gloomy galleries of their minds.

Living in these states of mind--dwelling on dictators and tyrants, realizing that whatever is impressed in consciousness must be expressed in the world--man should not be surprised when these tyrants of the past are reborn into our society, because we actually call them forth. It is true in a sense, therefore, that Ghenghis Khan is reborn or reincarnated. He is an embodiment of the state of consciousness of the people, nation, race or world, whatever the case may be. The reader will see, that it is not a man who lived a thousand or two thousand years ago who is being reborn. It is a state of consciousness that is born again.

When a mother places a child on her knee; whispers in his ear that he is God walking the earth and tells him that he can do all that Jesus did, she is seeing her boy as God had planned. If the mother believes her statements, her belief will be automatically transferred to the child’s subjective consciousness, and he will become her ideal. “I was young, now I am old, yet never have I seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed beg bread.” If parents live the Law, if teachers teach the Law of life--the Truth of Being to the young; then their seed shall never beg bread. This means these children shall never become the beggars, outcasts, thieves and tyrants of the world. No, they shall fulfill the ideals of the parents. They must fulfill the prayer of the parents because true prayer is always answered.

If parents will impress their subjective minds with wonderful dreams for their boys and girls, then according to their belief, “will it be done unto them.” By changing our opinions, beliefs, ideas and ideals by teaching the youth of the nation who they really are, by showing them the way, the truth and the light, we can build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; then we will prevent the rebirth of dictators, despots--former undesirable states of consciousness--which are perpetuated by prejudices, racial hatreds and fear of the unknown.

Let us teach children of the great accomplishments of the poets, artists, engineers, chemists, physicists, astronomers and others. Let them emulate these great men. There is so much for a child to learn about the great writers of the world and the giants of world literature, that the beautiful works of man cannot be exhausted in what is ordinarily called “a lifetime.” After he is taught good, the child will emulate good.

In reality we are all dreaming; when man fully awakens he knows that planets are thoughts, suns and moons are thoughts, and his own consciousness is the space which sustains them all. He begins to realize that the whole world is a thought. For example, he becomes aware of the fact that the body is not real, but it is a thought or idea held in consciousness. The body has no life apart from consciousness. He realizes that there is absolutely no reality to matter or the body of man; it is a group of ideas and opinions. Man gives life to ideas and opinions as long as he believes them. When he disbelieves the errors, these ideas have no life in them.

Man was never born and he will never die. There is no death. Death is an idea that exists in the minds of men. As long as man believes in death, he must witness and experience it. Man has no beginning and no end; he always was, just as God always was, is and shall be. “God and man are one.” “I am my Father are one.”

The man who is always quoting so-called authorities to prove the modern theories of reincarnation is himself without authority. He is still crying in the wilderness and calling other men masters and adepts. Call no man master. “Salute no man on the highway.” Salute the God within. The Kingdom of God is within, and if someone tells you it is “Lo here; lo there,” believe him not. The Kingdom of Heaven is within man.

Where is the Truth? It is within yourself. “Look within--search the Scriptures,” said Jesus. This means that all has been written in your subjective mind “from the foundation.” All knowledge is within; all wisdom is within; all beings that ever lived are within you now. You can project the likeness of any living being, past or present; for all men are states of consciousness--qualities of mind expressed. All moods, tones, qualities and vibrations are within you, because God is within and He cannot be divided--all is contained in the part. Christ cannot be divided, and Christ means consciousness. The subjective Self of man--the Christos or Christ-man, the so-called Jesus Christ or God-man knows all men are within himself. He knows that, objectively speaking, all beings are projections in space of himself--the One Man.

Are there not thousands of cases over the world of men who have completely lost their former identity and personality; assumed new lives; entered different professions, and in many cases even remarried? These men were victims of amnesia, or loss of memory concerning their former selves. They could not remember their former wives or children. They had no recollection of their former professions or occupations. They assumed a new role in life. They were changed men entirely, because they had changed their consciousness. There is only consciousness!

Let us stop quoting authorities on spiritual subjects. As long as we quote authorities, we cease to be THE authority. All power is given to us in Heaven and on earth. Let us use it. In the spiritual sense we are all victims of amnesia. We have forgotten who we really are, and we tell ourselves that we are worms of the dust.

Take, for example, a man who goes to sleep and when he awakens he has completely forgotten who he is, and gravitates to the slums. His social world becomes the slums. His friends, knowing what has happened, try to coax him back to his former status. Because of amnesia his former way of life is entirely blotted from his memory. He believes his place is in the slums; he only smiles at these old acquaintances whom he no longer knows. He accepts as true the role he now plays.

The day comes when his memory is restored and he awakens to his rightful status. With certainty and promptness he returns to the environment consonant with the dignity of his upbringing. He wonders why he is in the slums. What has transpired is all a dream, a dream of the unreality. “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph. 5:14). Let us awake to the Real and return to our Father’s house. “Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Is. 55:1)

Man does not have to become a victim of amnesia in order to change his consciousness. He can read the 10th Chapter of Samuel, book I, and learn how he can be turned into another man. This is accomplished through prayer. Take the story of the boy born of lowly parents, in a manger, having all the handicaps socially and financially that any child could have at that period in history. It was said, “Can there anything good come out of Nazareth?” (St.John 1:46). The word “Nazareth” symbolizes to sprout or grow, and man should be ever watchful not to despise the day of small beginnings.

This boy Jesus walked the earth and imagined himself to be the perfect man, capable of seeing only perfection in everything. He felt the reality of the wish within him and it became a conviction. Having imagined the state he wished, and having felt the reality of the state imagined, all the necessary qualities for the fulfillment of that state came from within himself. They were always there, but they had to be recognized before they became manifest in the world of man. This boy did as Samuel said man should do, which was, “Go up into the Hill of God--thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place playing music, and thou shalt prophesy with them,--and shalt be turned into another man.” (Sa. 10:5)

The Hill is a high state of consciousness; the other prophets represent the eternal trinity employed in the creation of all things--consciousness, idea and the joyous feeling or conviction that it is done. The “feeling” is the conviction that unites consciousness desiring with the thing desired. The joy of answered prayer is the music of the three prophets. It is the inner silent knowing of the soul. Therefore, any man can turn his back completely on the past;--forget all the old beliefs and foolish ideas of the race mind; enter into the joyous thrill of being Jesus (saving consciousness) and do his work. If he remains faithful to this mood and sustains it, he will automatically develop all the qualities necessary to do “even greater work.”

The story of Jesus is a portrayal of what all men should be. It is a complete refutation of all age-old beliefs regarding man’s handicaps of race, national origin, environment and circumstance. All these things are as naught when man discovers who he really is; so let us keep our eyes on God. It is there, where man sees no obstacle. When he takes his eyes off God, or his good, he sees his limitations and obstacles. NOW is the day of salvation; let us see the light now; for God is the Eternal Now--since time is an illusion of the senses. The awakening takes place now.

We know that everything exists in the Infinite. There is nothing that any man can think of, no matter how fantastic, that does not already subsist in the Infinite. It may be said to exist when we acknowledge it or witness it. Nothing is made; nothing becomes; all is and all is God. We are wedded to the belief in time, so we conceive of ourselves conditioned by time. Yet the Bible tells us, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Ps. 90:4)

If time is a belief, which it really is, the common belief of reincarnation cannot be true. The theory tastes good and looks good, but let our prayer be: “lead us not into temptation.” God tempts no man, but our conscious mind and five senses are tempted to believe this false doctrine. It becomes a panacea assuaging our wounded pride or feeling of inferiority. Moreover, it causes us to turn back or tempts us to eat of it. “But in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” because we are eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree means world belief, power in other gods hence the breaking of the first Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”

We must eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, which is man’s consciousness--God dwelling within him giving all power to Him. We “eat” of Him by taking part in a psychological feast of being a noble, dignified and Christ-like person. We must see the Christ in all men, sermons in stones and good in everything. When we do this, all other things shall be added unto us. Man’s life on this plane is like the several stanzas of a poem or the scenes of a play, because it really is the One Being dramatizing Himself as the many. Common sense is the most uncommon sense, because it is God’s or good sense. Wisdom or common sense teaches that illumination or the great awakening to our Godhead can happen here and now. “If it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all.”

In order to elucidate this point, take a solid, metallic substance and heat it. The temperature rises, but for a while it looks as if no change were taking place. However, the moment that degree of heat is reached, which denotes its melting point, it begins to liquify, thus changing its shape and seemingly its nature also. Likewise, water can be turned into steam which is invisible--pure steam cannot be seen. Water also becomes snow, ice and hail--all different rates of vibration of the one substance. When a liquid is changed into a gas, these changes are brought about by an increase in the rapidity of vibration of the constituent particles whether they are solid or liquid. The same applies to man. What is true on one plane is true on another, for God changes not. The rebirth comes to that man here and now--not in the after life. There is no transforming power in death. Man raises his rate of vibration by lifting himself up to a high state of awareness, by entering into the thrill of being that which he longs to be, and by feeling the joy of accomplishment.

Man is a porous being, plastic and pliable, capable of being moulded into any state he can imagine. He is nothing but “liquid light.” In the meditative mood he stills the mind, thereby immobilizing the senses by focussing his attention exclusively on the one ideal--only one. He suggests sleep to himself by feeling sleepy, being careful not to fall asleep, however; the mystic in meditation must always keep control. In this mood he knows, feels and sees himself as being bathed in a sea of liquid light. A flame or lights appear all around him and he knows that in this floating liquid state he can mould, fashion and shape all that he longs to be, to do and to possess.

In this state he contemplates the joy of the answered prayer. The feeling of accomplishment fills him, and he dwells on the reality of his desire for perhaps five minutes, two minutes or ten minutes. By constantly praying in this manner, there is an expansion of consciousness--it is like the heat that melts the solid. The day comes when man melts away all inhibitions, fears and doubts, and becomes the God man here and now. To such a man, physical laws and time disappear. This change may come in the twinkling of an eye like the volatilization of a liquid into a gas.

The reason the modern theory of reincarnation is popular is because man, using his five senses only, is like the five foolish virgins--he has no oil or wisdom in his lamps. He finds that this explanation gives him solace and tells him what he wants to hear. At the same time it seems to unfold many unexplained phenomena. Such acceptance retards spiritual progress, checks the awakening process and is a destructive, superstitious belief. The modern accepted belief in reincarnation is very old; as is the belief in purgatory, hell and the devil.

The Bible mentions reincarnation several times and some of these references are explained in this book. The Scripture informs us that Herod believed in reincarnation. Herod represents the world or the five-sense man, the man ignorant of spiritual laws who subscribes to tradition and family beliefs. A man who believes that John, Elias, or some prophet long since dead, is risen from the dead, is symbolized by Herod. What this type of man fails to see is that it is always God coming forth as a quality, tone, or mood of man himself.
. . . . .
The worldly-minded man called Herod in the Bible, believes in a physical reincarnation, and he desires to see Jesus, or the Truth as told in the ninth chapter of Luke. However, the Truth student will readily see that such a man cannot see him, “as no man hath seen the Father.” The latter is always a subjective perception or feeling within man. Man awakens by degrees, slowly or quickly. On arising from bed in the morning, he rarely awakens all at once. It takes him a minute or so. The thermometer, however, does not skip any degrees. Before man fully awakens from his dream no necessary step in unfoldment will be omitted. All limitations and inhibitions will be dissolved.

The following article about the violinist Zimbalist appeared in “The New Yorker” some years ago: “Nobody told Zimbalist he was supposed to play the piano, too; during the final examinations in his eighteenth year, they handed him a Beethoven Sonata to be read at sight in the presence of the whole faculty. He had never touched a piano except to get his ‘A’. He sat down, however, got his breath and played. When he finished he was told to close the book and repeat the whole Sonata from memory. He did so. After a moment of silence the room broke unanimously into applause--an unheard-of demonstration.

The man of the world would not conceive of this as being possible. The power within man is capable of setting at naught all human beliefs and man-made laws. We must begin to take our attention away from the limited, human concept of ourselves; then we shall, like Mozart, compose music at six, statues at seven, and at the age of twelve we will confound the wise men of the world. Many cases are reported where cripples invalided for years leap and run in the presence of fires. In emergencies mothers lift automobiles to extricate their children. Where is this power? It is within themselves. Fires and emergencies are not needed to stir the gift within. Man can do this in the quiet of his own soul. We create in “silence.”

* * * * *
Joseph Murphy

Karma, Reincarnation, Nonduality and Spirit...

By Remez Sasson

Karma is the concept that the individual's actions determine his fate, whether in this or in a future life, and that every action has to be balanced in some way. By doing certain actions, certain energies are set in motion, which bring certain effects. It is a way to restore balance in the Universe, and is not punishment for one's actins.

Reincarnation is the rebirth of the soul in a new body, while Karma affects the new body and determines the circumstances into which it is born. Both of them can explain a lot of things in each one's life. A life of comfort and success means that the person performed good deeds in a previous life, and a life of difficulties, failure and adversities is a retribution for negative past actions.

According to Eastern philosophies there are three kinds of karma. The first is the karma that one is going through now, in this life, and which is payment for past deeds. The second kind is that which is waiting in store, and will manifest in a future life. The third is that which a person is creating right now, with his present actions.

The question is, do you, the real you, reincarnate and is affected by karma?
Who are you? Are you your thoughts and feelings, and do they reincarnate? Thoughts and feelings are passing visitors. One moment certain thoughts and feelings pass through your mind, and the next moment you are aware of other thoughts and feelings. This means that you are neither of them, and are only their host for a little while.


It is said that it is the soul that reincarnates, but what is the soul? This is an ambiguous term. If someone says, "my soul reincarnates" or "my soul is eternal", he is actually saying that there are two different entities. There is he, and there is his soul, which means that he is not the soul. Forgive me for the comparison, but it is like saying, "I have a pair of shoes", "I have a car" and "I have a soul". It is regarded as a possession. This means that it is possible to be "with a soul" and "without a soul". Does this sound reasonable to you?

If a soul is a "possession", then who is the owner? This owner must be more important then the soul!

I would like to introduce you to a perspective that comes from the Eastern nonduality tradition. It says that there is just one kind of energy, power or spirit filling the whole Universe. This power "playfully" expresses itself through myriads of forms, which it has "created" from itself. Each form erroneously considers itself as a separate entity, and passes through various experiences. It is one and indivisible power seeing the world through the eyes of the many forms it has created.

Each entity feels that it is living a unique life with past present and future, and has its own mind and feelings. If we accept the nonduality philosophy, we have to accept that there is just One Spirit, not many, and that this Spirit never actually reincarnates, and the karma it undergoes is illusory. Then who is it that goes through karma and reincarnation?

The practical conclusion is that though people encounter different situations and live in different circumstances, deep within all are indivisible part of the same One Spirit. This Spirit is not touched or affected by situations or circumstances. It means that from the viewpoint of the Spirit, karma and reincarnation are illusory. When one is able to realize this understanding on a deep level, one goes beyond karma and reincarnation.

When the Consciousness of the Spirit is "awakened", through concentration and meditation, one realizes that he is an integral part of the eternal and undivided Spirit. He experiences a Spiritual Awakening, and then both reincarnation and karma lose their meaning, power and reality.

The Great Scroll...

THE GREAT SCROLL: THE UNION OF SPIRIT AND FLESH

(read this entire synopsis, and be transformed)



"The union of spirit and flesh is the 'one thing' spoken of by Hermes Trismegistus, who was also known as Mercurius, in his Emerald Tablet; it is the aqua vitae and quintessence of Alchemy; it is the Qi of Chinese Qigong; it is the Tao of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu; it is the Mysterious Female and tenuous matter of mystic Taoism; in Hinduism it is represented by Ardhanarisvara, who is the union of Shiva and Shakti, of being and non-being; it is the Great Way into Zen stillness, the Mother Luminosity or Rainbow Body of Dzogchen Buddhism, and the enlightened body of Buddha; it is the Tree of Life, linking Heaven and Earth; it is the transfiguration of the canononical Gospels, and the 'rapture' of Revelation; it is "of movement, and of rest", as declared by Christ in the Gospel of Thomas, and "The Word become flesh", of the Gospel of John; it is the ascension to unity spoken of in the New Age movement, and it is the eternal OM of the Goddess Lakshmi; it is the foundation of the Kabbalah; it is the unified wave structure of matter, of the new physics, and dark matter of astrophysics; it is the body electric of Walt Whitman, and the body divine. In short, the union of spirit and flesh is the essential component of all progressive cosmologies, for it is the true enlightenment. Historically this 'oneness' has be called advaita (non-dual). However, the non-dualists of history seem to have overlooked the flesh as being part of that oneness, and continually declared that the body, and all matter, were merely illusion. Fortunately humanity is at a point in its evolution where the flesh can be known to be divine, and a new advaita in which emptiness and fullness are one can come into being. For some people there must be a healing of the pain caused by division in order for them to return to the original harmony of the cosmos. The use of Tibetan singing bowls and Crystal singing bowls can assist in the re-union of our harmonic oneness. This eternal unity is well documented by Masaru Emoto, and Helena Blavatsky. One of the key players in this re-union is the Green Man. In traditional Buddhist spirituality this profound unification is known as Maitreya. In Hindu lore this new vibration is known as Kalki. In Taoism this union is practiced by the circulation of the light. Ken Wilber calls it the one taste, which in Tibetan Buddhism is known as Yab-yum. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother spoke of the divine body. It is through this new, and absolute, unity and oneness that the true ascension of Sophia, our cosmic being, occurs. This is when the vibration of flesh is raised into the vibration of spirit, and the vibration of spirit descends into harmony with the flesh. Within this new and holy oneness, nothing shall be alien: matter is mind, will is consciousness, and flesh is now holy ground! A truly Pagan event: the divination of matter has occurred. This unification is the actual intent behind the Christian Eucharist and the Catholic communion; the word 'catholic' means 'universality'- or, that which is without limits. Communion is thus the integration of the body (flesh) and the blood (spirit), of Heaven and Earth, of form and formlessness, of Creator and Created, and of He and She. The Aquarian Age is upon us, and Love is the one and only Law. And, as in the Jeweled Web of Indra- in which the entire cosmos is made of hollow gems, each filled with nothing but the reflection of all other gems- we must now know and feel that separateness is an illusion and we are all actually an interdependent, multidimensional, infinite oneness. Each of us is everything. A great silence. A new vibration. An holistic ascension. This is the Aquarian Awakening into the Cosmic Christ."

Blessings on your journey.



Consciousness is matter. Body is mind. Spirit is flesh.

Everything is everything. Everything is the same thing.

Everything is the same one thing. One. Flesh is now holy

Mentalism...

The common objections to mentalism may be summarized in three forms: (1) A thing does not cease to exist when we cease to think about it; thus, Australia is still to be found on the map even when we are not thinking about Australia. (2) The fact that we do not think of a thing does not prevent such a thing coming into existence. (3) Our awareness of things is largely quite involuntary; we do not choose to think them into existence--they just are there. The answer which mentalism makes to these objections, and to all others which may arise, is a simple one. It is this: consider your life as a dream! All possible objections will then have no ground on which to stand. They appear true while we are under the illusion of dreaming, but they are seen to be false as soon as we awake from the dream itself.

— Notebooks Category 21: Mentalism > Chapter 3: The Individual and World Mind > # 25
..........Paul Brunton

What is Happiness?...

There are two kinds of happiness.

There is the pleasure connected to the intensity of the human experience. There are the delight and pleasure connected to wanting and to finally having what one desires. The fact of desiring makes us feel alive. And the fact of possessing, of having, makes us feel like someone who has value in his or her own eyes as well as in the view of others. This happiness belongs to the field of the pleasure of the senses and of perception: taking joy in life’s pleasures and profit from the beauties of this planet, of this material world. “I take joy and feel alive when I eat, when I listen, when I smell, when I touch, when I look… When something takes place which fills my senses. When I see that I can do the things that I like to do and when I know that others may admire me because I have access to these things.” These pleasures are intense, but often also sources of attachment and dissatisfaction.

Then there is the peace and the profound satisfaction of needing nothing in particular to be happy, of being in a more permanent state of wellbeing more independent of causes.

This happiness is realised knowing that unhappiness is nothing but a momentary and delimited experience which is in fact related to the whole of human experience. And knowing that these difficulties are caused by constraining and restrictive beliefs which give us a distorted and erroneous vision of reality: beliefs that make the human experience intense and tragic.

This second kind of happiness is also related to the fact of knowing that with our new knowledge about the nature of things, we can continue to play the game of the human experience and to live a series of fascinating stories, but this time, in a state of detachment. We become less attached to what surrounds us, being conscious that the world’s manifestations are changeable and impermanent, but born out of that which is permanent, i.e. Absolute Consciousness, the Source or the Whole. Knowing the momentary nature of this experience, we give life a less serious, less tragic and a lighter character. We are no longer trapped in the survival of this experiencing, knowing that this human experience is only a momentary aspect of who we really are.

So I am happy when I no longer believe that I am the ego (i.e. identification with the body, with its survival, and with all the difficult experiences which are attached to these facts) and when I know that this human experience is merely passing and temporary. When I profit from this marvellous journey while still being conscious of these facts. When I am calm and at peace, in the present moment.

I am happy when I leave that stream of thoughts which distances me from who I am (Presence-Consciousness); when I leave thoughts which take all my attention and which cause me to forget who I am. When I leave the darkness and the pain created by my own fears and I turn again towards the light of consciousness. And when I move closer to who I really am: the Source, but expressed in a particular form, the Whole appearing as an identity and an entity: as a human being.


.......Alain Colpron

Suffering...

A primary cause of suffering is delusion: our inability, because of a subtly willful blindness, to see things the way they truly are but instead in a distorted way. The world is in fact a seamless and dynamic unity: a single living organism that is constantly undergoing change. our minds, however, chop it up into separate, static bits and pieces, which we then try mentally and physically to manipulate. One of the mind's most dear creations is the idea of the person and, closest to home, of a very special person which each one of us calls "I": a separate, enduring ego or self. In a moment, then, the seamless universe is cut in two. There is "I" -- and there is all the rest. That means conflict -- and pain, for "I" cannot control that fathomless vastness against which it is set. It will try, of course, as a flea might pit itself against an elephant, but it is a vain enterprise.

John Snelling

Unhappiness...

“Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9% of everything you think
And of everything you do
Is for yourself –
And there isn’t one.”

- Wei Wu Wei

How to meditate

Time to Laugh...

They're Back - Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
--------------------------
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
--------------------------
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
--------------------------
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
--------------------------
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
--------------------------
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
--------------------------
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
--------------------------
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
--------------------------
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
--------------------------
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
--------------------------
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
--------------------------
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
--------------------------
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
--------------------------
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
--------------------------
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
--------------------------
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
--------------------------
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
--------------------------
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
--------------------------
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
--------------------------
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
--------------------------
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
--------------------------
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
--------------------------
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
--------------------------
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.

Nisargadatta from I Am That...

Questioner: People come to you for advice. How do you know
what to answer?
Maharaj: As I hear the question, so do I hear the answer.
Q: And how do you know that your answer is right?
M: Once I know the true source of the answers, I need not
doubt them. From a pure source only pure water will flow. I am
not concerned with people’s desires and fears. I am in tune with
facts, not with opinions. Man takes his name and shape to be
himself, while I take nothing to be myself. Were I to think myself
to be a body known by its name, I would not have been able to
answer your questions. Were I to take you to be a mere body,
there would be no benefit to you from my answers. No true
teacher indulges in opinions. He sees things as they are and
shows them as they are. If you take people to be what they think
themselves to be, you will only hurt them, as they hurt them-
selves so grievously all the time. But if you see them as they are
in reality, it will do them enormous good. If they ask you what to
do, what practices to adopt, which way of life to follow, answer:
‘Do nothing, just be. In being all happens naturally.’


From Chapter 49 Mind Causes Insecurity

The Tao Te Ching...

The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels
and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

- Lao-tzu

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `


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

Consciousness-in-Itself...

The knowledge that no two human beings are alike refers to their bodies and minds. But this leaves out the part of their nature which is spiritual, which is found and experienced in deep meditation. In that, the deepest part of their conscious being, the personal self vanishes; only consciousness-in-itself, thought-free, world-free, remains. This is the source of the "I" feeling, and it is exactly alike in the experience of all other human beings. This is the part which never dies, "where God and man may mingle."

— Notebooks Category 22: Inspiration and the Overself > Chapter 3: The Overself's Presence > # 380 ...Paul Brunton

SKY CHAKRAS ...

In the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth chakras development becomes transpersonal. We explore increasingly subtle domains.


Stepping beyond death was the attribute of the sixth chakra; mastery of time was the attribute of the seventh; invisibility the attribute of the eighth; and the ability to keep a secret was the attribute of the ninth.


THE SIXTH CHAKRA


The sixth chakra, or third eye, is located in the middle of the forehead. In the Hindu traditions it is thought to be the third eye of Shiva, who grants knowledge of perfect truth and non-duality. We express the divine within ourselves, and we see the divine in others. You realize that you are an eternal being inhabiting a temporal body.


When the sixth chakra is malfunctioning, the individual confuses information with knowledge. He feels he has attained great spiritual truths, when all he has is a collection of facts. Shamans know how to make it rain without being able to explain that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Spiritual materialism is an endemic dysfunction of the third-eye chakra.


An awakened third eye allows the shaman to know who he is. It gives him knowledge of the past and future and allows him to envision alternative destinies.


THE SEVENTH CHAKRA


The crown chakra at the very top of the head is our portal to the Heavens, in the same way that the first chakra is the portal to the Earth. Luminous threads from this center reach up to the stars and to our destinies. The Earth protects us and nurtures us with her life force, and the Heavens propel us toward our becoming.


The lesson of the seventh chakra is mastery of time. When we break free of linear, causal time, we are no longer in the tyrannical grip of the past. Today is no longer the result of an earlier incident, and we experience freedom from cause and effect. Whereas in the sixth chakra, the healer acquires knowledge of past and future events, when she awakens the gifts of the seventh chakra she is able to influence those events.


The negative expression of the seventh chakra is spiritual regression masquerading as enlightenment.


In our culture of instant gratification, spiritual seekers often want to leapfrog over the work of the lower chakras.


Those who have mastered the seventh chakra attain unusual powers including remembering ancient memories belonging to the collective consciousness of humanity.







THE EIGHTH CHAKRA


The eighth chakra is the Wiraqu’ocha, or “source of the sacred.” This chakra resides a few inches above the head, and when awakened shines like a radiant sun inside the Luminous Energy Field.


The information fields in the eighth chakra act as the template to create the physical body. This chakra is like a carpenter who builds a chair (the physical body) and later burns it in his fireplace. The carpenter feels no loss, as he knows that he can simply build another out of new wood. The eighth chakra is unaffected by the death of the body. If an imprint of disease exists in this chakra, it is like a design flaw that is replicated with each new chair.


The negative expression of this chakra is cosmic horror, such as is experienced by those caught between the worlds of spirit and matter.


The attribute of the eighth chakra is invisibility. In this center we become aware of the Beholder (known in Buddhism as the Witness)-a self that has been present from the beginning of our spiritual journey. Now disengaged from the mind, it is able to behold the mind with all of its dramas without subscribing to them. The Beholder witnesses our life unfolding, and understands that all of the stories we use to describe ourselves are only stories. Beholder perceives everything but cannot itself be perceived, because it cannot be turned into an object of perception. The Beholder is invisible because it cannot be beheld.


Eventually, the Beholder will begin to reveal its own source, which is Spirit, or the ninth chakra.


The eighth chakra resides within the Luminous Energy Field. It hovers above the head like a spinning sun. It is our connection with the Great Spirit, the place where God dwells within us.


We see this chakra illustrated as the light surrounding Christ and as the fire that descended upon the apostles at Pentecost, when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we die, the eighth chakra expands into a luminous globe and envelops the other seven chakras in a vessel of light. After a period of atonement and purification, the eighth chakra manufactures another body, as it has done again and again over so many lifetimes. It leads us to our biological parents, and to the best life (not the easiest!) to acquire the experience we need to grow spiritually. The charged traumatic memories of our previous incarnation are transfused into our next body as imprints in our Luminous Energy Field.


The eighth chakra’s source is the ninth chakra, Spirit. The ninth chakra resides outside the Luminous Energy Field and extends throughout the cosmos. It is the heart of the universe, at one with the Great Spirit. The eighth chakra is where God dwells within us, and the ninth chakra, the part of us that dwells within the Creator.


The eighth chakra corresponds to the Christian concept of the soul, which is personal and finite. The ninth chakra corresponds to Spirit, which is impersonal and infinite.


THE NINTH CHAKRA



The ninth chakra resides at the heart of the Universe, It is outside time and space; it extends through the vastness of space and connects to the eighth chakra by a luminous cord.


The ninth chakra is the Self that has never been born and will never die. This Self is prior to time, and it never enters the river through which time flows. It is prior to space and existed before the Universe manifested. This is the self that never left the Garden of Eden.
........from earthkeeperway.com

Peace...

“Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing:God alone suffices.”.....
St. Teresa of Avila

God Mind...

What consort with Angels our neighbors shall experience by our right view of them.

~ Emma Curtis Hopkins

"Relationship With Thought" Adyashanti

Constant Integrated Awareness...

Once Sri Ramakrishna asked the boy Narendra (Swami Vivekananda), "If you were a fly and there was a pot overflowing with nectar, how would you drink it?"

Narendra replied, “Why? I would sit on the edge of the opening and slowly sip bit by bit and enjoy it to my heart’s content.”

To this Sri Ramakrishna replied - “You are a fool! You should dive deep into the pot and become one with the nectar!”

This is true Advaitha or non-dualism. It is here that the person who experiences, the act of experiencing and the object of experience become One. This is the state which often Swami refers to as “Constant Integrated Awareness”.

......from radiosai.com

Seeing as God Sees...

Seeing as God sees, our eyes soften, judgment falls away, and we see ourselves and others through the eyes of love, joy, and compassion. How beautiful everyone and everything is from this vantage point. We truly are experiencing heaven on earth.
~ Gregory Toole

My ego...

Who is the "my".. Is "my" the body, the mind or Divine Consciousness.. why does
"my" possess anything.. If God is the "Possessor" of All, then we must be
speaking of Divine Consciousness.. but, our minds do not see this.. our minds
see that the mind is the possessor.... although, we Know that we are not the
mind...Therefore, we have no "my", but, We do Possess
Everything...........namaste, thomas

St. Francis and the Sufis'...

Even though you tie a hundred knots
-the string remains one (Rumi).

“The atmosphere and setting of the Franciscan Order is closer to a dervish organization than anything else.”
Most people know that St. Francis of Assisi was a lighthearted troubadour of Italy who experienced a religious conversion and became a saint with an uncanny influence over animals and birds. It is on record that the troubadours were a relic of Saracenic musicians and poets. It is often agreed that the rise and development of the monkish Orders in the middle ages was greatly influenced by the penetration of Moslem dervish organization in the West. Studying St. Francis from this point of view, certain interesting discoveries become possible.

Francis was born in 1182, the son of Pietro Bernardone, a merchant of fine stuffs, and his wife, Madonna Pica. He was originally named Giovanni, but his father was so attached to France (where he spent much of his commercial life) that “for love of the land he had just quitted” he renamed the child Francesco.

Although considered an Italian, Francis spoke Provenal, the language used by the troubadours. There is little doubt that he felt in the spirit of the troubadours a glimpse of some thing deeper than appeared on the surface. His own poetry so strongly resembles in places that of the love poet Rumi that one is tempted to look for any report which might connect Francis with the Sufi order of the Whirling Dervishes. At this point we come across the first of a number of tales considered inexplicable by Western biographers.

The Whirling Dervishes can attain intuitive knowledge partly by a peculiar form of spinning, presided over by an instructor. Rumi’s school of Whirling Dervishes was in full operation in Asia Minor, and its founder was still alive, during the lifetime of St. Francis.

Here is the puzzling “spinning” tale:

Francis was walking through Tuscany with a disciple, Brother Masseo. They arrived at a fork in the road. One path led to Florence, another to Arezzo, a third to Siena.

Masseo asked which branch they should take.

“The road which God wills.”

“And which is that?”

“We will know by a sign. I command you, by your path of obedience, turn round and round as children do, until I tell you to stop.”

So poor Masseo twirled and twirled, till he fell down from giddiness. Then he got up and looked beseechingly at the saint; but the saint said nothing, and Masseo, remembering his vow of obedience, began again to twirl his best. He continued to twirl and to fall for some time, till he seemed to have spent all his life in twirling, when, at last, he heard the welcome words: “Stop, and tell me whither your face is turned.”

“To Siena,” gasped Masseo, who felt the earth rock round him.

“Then to Siena we must go,” said Francis, and to Siena they went.

That Francis felt the source of his troubadour inspiration to lie in the East, and that he was connected with the Sufis, seems clear from much evidence. When he went to the Pope, trying to have his Order accepted, he used a parable which shows that he must have been thinking in terms of the orphaning of a tradition and the need to reestablish its reality. The phrases which he uses in the parable are of Arabia, and the terminology, of a King and his court, of a woman and her sons in the desert, is not Christian but Saracen.

“Francis,” says Bonaventura, recording an audience with Pope Innocent, “came armed with a parable.

“There was, “he said, “a rich and mighty king who took to wife a poor but very beautiful woman, who lived in a desert, in whom he greatly delighted and by whom he had children who bore his image. When her sons were grown their mother said to them, “My sons, be not ashamed; ye are the children of a King.” And she sent them to the court, having supplied them with all necessaries. When they came to the King, he admired their beauty; and seeing in them some resemblance to himself, he asked them, “Whose sons are ye?” When they replied that they were the sons of a poor woman dwelling in the desert, the King, filled with much joy, said, “Fear not, ye are my sons, and if I nourish strangers at my table, how much more you, who are my legitimate children.”

The tradition that the Sufis are the esoteric Christians out of the desert, and that they are the children of a poor woman (Hagar, wife of Abraham, because of their Arab descent) fits completely with the probability that Francis had tried to explain to the Pope that the Sufi stream represented Christianity in a continuing form.

At his first meeting with the Pope, we are told, Francis did not make much impression, and he was sent away. Immediately afterward, however, the Pope had a strange dream. He saw “a palm tree gradually grow up at his feet until it grew a goodly stature, and as he gazed upon it wondering what the vision might mean, a divine illumination impressed on the mind of the Vicar of Christ that this palm tree signified the poor man whom he had that day driven from his presence.”

The palm tree is the symbol used by the Sufis, and this dream is probably the consequence of Francis using it as an analogy during his audience.

In the early part of the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent III, convinced of the validity of the saint’s mission, granted permission for the foundation of the Minor Brothers, or Franciscans. The “Lesser Brethren,” considered to be a title assumed from pious humility, might lead one to ask whether there was any Order known as the “Greater Brethren.” If so, what might the connection be?

The only people known in this way who were contemporary with St. Francis were the Greater Brothers, an appellation of the Sufi Order founded by Najmuddin Kubra,, “the Greater.” The connection is interesting. One of the major characteristics about this great Sufi teacher was that he had an uncanny influence over animals. Pictures of him show him surrounded by birds. He tamed a fierce dog merely by looking at it — just as St. Francis is said to have cowed the wolf in a well-known tale. Najmuddin’s miracles were well known throughout the East sixty years before St. Francis was born.

When St. Francis was praised by anyone, it is reported, he replied with this phrase: “What every one is in the eyes of God, that he is no more.”

It is related that the dictum of Najmuddin the Greater was: El Haqq Fahim ahsan el-Haqiqa—”The Truth it is which knows what is True.”

In or about 1224, the most important and characteristic of all of St. Francis’ songs was composed: the Cantico del Sole —Song of the Sun. Jalaluddin Rumi, the Whirling Dervish chief and greatest poet of Persia, wrote numerous poems dedicated to the Sun, the Sun of Tabriz. He even called a collection of his poems the Collection of the Sun of Tabriz. In this poetry the word “sun” is used again and again.

If it were true that St. Francis was trying to establish contact with the sources of his troubadour poetry, we would expect him to visit, or try to visit, the East. We would also expect him to be well received by the Saracens if he reached them. Further, he would be expected to produce Sufic poetry as a result of his Eastern travels. Now we can see whether these facts accord with history, and whether they were understood by his contemporaries.

When he was thirty, Francis decided to try to reach the East, and specifically Syria, which abutted upon the area of Asia Minor where the Whirling Dervishes were established. Prevented by financial troubles, he returned to Italy. Then he started out again, this time toward Morocco. He set off with a companion and traversed the whole kingdom of Aragon in Spain, though nobody can say why he did this, and some biographers are actually puzzled. Spain was very much penetrated with Sufi ideas and schools.

He did not actually reach Morocco, being driven back by illness, In the spring of 1214 he returned home. Now he set out for the Crusades, where the siege of Damietta was in progress. Sultan Malik el-Kamil was encamped across the Nile—and Francis went to see him. He was well received, and the theory is that he went there to try to convert the Sultan to Christianity. “The Sultan,” says a chronicler, “not only dismissed Francis in peace, with wonder and admiration for the man’s unusual qualities, but received him fully into his favor, gave him a safe-conduct by which he might go and come, with full permission to preach to his subjects, and an entreaty that he would frequently return to visit him.”

This visit to the Saracens is assumed by biographers to be prompted by a desire to convert the Sultan. And yet it is said of him that “These two aimless journeys break in somewhat strangely upon the current of his life.” They would be strange if they were not those of a troubadour looking for his roots. His desire to get to Morocco is dismissed in terms such as these: “It is impossible to tell what incident in his unrelated story may have suggested this new idea to the mind of Francis.”

The Saracenic armies and the courts of their princes were at that time foci of Sufi activity. There can be hardly any doubt that it was here that Francis found what he was looking for. Far from having converted anyone in the Moslem camp, his first action upon re crossing the Nile was to try to dissuade the Christians from attacking the enemy. By the usual process of hindsight this is explained by historians as being due to the saint’s having had a vision of the forthcoming calamity to Christian arms. “His warning was received with contempt, as he had foreseen; but in the month of November following was fully verified when the Crusaders were driven back with great loss from the walls of Damietta. The sympathies of Francis under such circumstances must have been divided, for it is impossible that he could have been without some personal feeling toward the tolerant and friendly prince who had received him with such kindness.”

The “Song of the Sun,” hailed as the first-ever Italian poem, was composed after the saint’s journey to the East, although because of his troubadour background it is impossible for his usual biographers to believe that he was not composing similar poetry before this:

It is impossible to suppose that during all these years [before 1224, when he wrote the "Song"] Francis, who was the leader of the young troubadours of Assisi in his early days, and who went through the woods and fields, after his conversion, singing to himself, still in French, songs which could not surely be the same songs he had sung through the streets among his joyous companions—the days of war and love—it is impossible, we say, to suppose that it was for the first time at this late date that he had woven together canticles to the glory of God; but we are assured that these quaint and unskilled rhymes were the first beginning of vernacular poetry in Italy.

The atmosphere and setting of the Franciscan Order is closer to a dervish organization than anything else. Apart from the tales about St. Francis which are held in common with Sufi teachers, all kinds of points coincide. The special methodology of what Francis calls “holy prayer” indicates an affinity with the dervish “remembering,” quite apart from the whirling. The dress of the Order, with its hooded cloak and wide sleeves, is that of the dervishes of Morocco and Spain. Like the Sufi teacher Attar, Francis exchanged his garb with a mendicant. He saw a seraph with six wings, an allegory used by Sufis to convey the formula of the bismillah. He threw away spiked crosses which were worn for purposes of self-mortification by many of his monks. This action may or may not have been exactly as it is reported. It may resemble the dervish practice of ceremonially rejecting a cross with the words, “You may have the Cross, but we have the meaning of the Cross,” which is still in use. This, incidentally, could be the origin of the Templar habit, alleged by witnesses, that the Knights “trod on the Cross.”

Francis refused to become a priest. Like the Sufis, he enrolled into his teaching laymen, and again like the Sufis but unlike the Church, he sought to spread the movement among all the people, in some form of affiliation. This was “the first reappearance in the Church, since its full hierarchical establishment, of the democratic element—the Christian people, as distinguished from the simple sheep to be fed, and souls to be ruled.”

The striking thing about the rules laid down by Francis was that, like the Sufis and unlike the ordinary Christians, his followers were not to think first of their own salvation. This principle is stressed again and again among the Sufis, who consider regard for personal salvation to be an expression of vanity.

He “began his preaching everywhere with the salutation which God, he said, had revealed to him—”The peace of God be with you.” This is, of course, an Arab salutation.
In addition to Sufi ideas, legends and practices, St Francis retained many Christian aspects in the Order. The consequence of this amalgam was to produce an organization which did not fully mature. A nineteenth century commentator sums up the inevitable development

“We who, with all the enlightenment of six additional centuries, can look back and see the Inquisition grimly shadowing from under the robes of the Spanish priest, and see hordes of mendicant friars, privileged and impudent beggars, appearing behind the genial countenance of Francis, may perceive how much of evil mixed with the good, and how the enemy of all truth had cunningly mixed the seed of the tares with that of the wheat.”

.......Idries Shah