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Science and Spirituality. The Potential of Human Consciousness.

The other day, I was drinking my tea in my friends garden and as tea is wont to do, had the thought. This, this is incredible, if you don’t think so, you should have been paying attention.

This life thing, breath, earth, its pretty damn cool, and pretty psychedelic, indeed, quite possibly the definition of the term. If you don’t get it, its time you took the red pill.

take the red pill...

Perhaps when we are born, someone should be waiting at reception with a sign,,, welcome to wonderland, youve been here a hell of a long time.

Forget the extravagant excesses of the new age movement, co-opting metaphors from theoretical physics, for fantasmagorical philosophies, In the most physical, down to earth, concrete sense, as the patterns of interconnectedness weaving together all apparent phenomenon, the universe, reality as we know and experience it, is fundamental unity, not just in the sense of fractal aesthetics, mathematical abstraction, or poetics, but in all the most simple, concrete, absolute sense. Foundational, fractal, operationally, essentially, one tapestry of shared destiny. All that exists, One. Bound as space and time, functionality arising from interdependence. Space and time, energy and matter, life.

No matter how compelling or useful it is to subscribe our lives to the concept of individuality, separateness, and while such concepts have their place as a partial observation of perceptual reality, a useful tool, the perception of subject/object  duality, does not accord with the foundations of our apparent would, the subatomic world,  a world science describes as in reality propensity and relationship. Although separateness is real at the scale of the apparent senses, our deeper understandings describes discrete objects, as (in a sense, (very real) optical illusion of subjective awareness, as events, not eternal elements, but effects, created by the behavior of essentially non-physical systems that metaphors based on observable phenomenon are poorly equipped to describe, nothing more, and nothing less.

Our body is a study in unity, an element in the planetary ecology, created by the stars and poised between heaven and earth the complex dance of  100+ trillion communicating cells, contingent on functioning together, bound by physics, chemical change, electromagnetism and life into the seat of human awareness, an unbelievably complex ecological system of human and non-“human” cells and critters, governed by the geometry and axioms of space and time, the miracle of interdependent life. Each cell in turn a complex dance of perhaps 100+ trillion atoms, geometrically relating,  and each atom in turn, infinite space, a complex sea of energy the age of the universe, behaving in the most wonderful ways, moving at the speed of light. This is the accurate assessment of any object of awareness, you are the universe, becoming aware.  This, is what you are, no joke, and is as relevant to your life as you can discover it to be.

In numerically comparative terms, we represent one expression of one level in a trans-magnitude system of galaxies. A galaxy of energy, within a galaxy of particles, within a galaxy of cells, within a galaxy of life, within a galaxy of planets and stars, within a galaxy of galaxies. The ultimate in intelligence, and I don’t mean our thinking.

Isolated by scale, bound by contingency and composition and destined by the geometry, the nature of space and time, to our shared journey, life. This gestalt? human individuality? Poetically, and literally, you are an expression of beginningless,  an expression of this universe, of this galaxy, of the living community of this planet, life itself, one with the planet, one with all life across time and space, one with all matter, one with all energy, the age of the universe, entangled across space and time, crystallized into patterns of great complexity, trans-magnitude leaps of coherence and interrelation between systems through the history of the universe and the lives of our ancestors to generate the illusion of a separate person inside an environment, over billions of years. A separate person, an environment, that is, in truth, unity, insanely complex patterns of energy like waves in an ocean, ripples on the surface of space and time. This is the nature of it, of these words, of this moment. Incredible.

The axioms of time and space that led inextricably to this moment, that created life on this planet, just as it is, and which bind it together, are one. A shared destiny and origin, one in kind, spirit and flavor. That is to say, all reality, the universe, (by definition) is one. One with our bodies, with consciousness, complex beyond description. For the planet is an intelligent super-organism, within which we function as cells, as elements governed by the geometry of atomic and celestial timing, the passage of light 150 million kilometers from our sun, symphony, melody and rhythm, planet and person one in destiny and origin, one in fact in concrete actuality, a living tapestry woven over the ages from the dust of galaxy formation, life, complex systems and self-replicating chains, strung together from the crystalline specks of indivisible radiance born as remnants of the hearts of stars. In ageless eons, our thoroughbred particle family marking each stellar generation, birth and death, by evolution in the crucible at the heart of each incomprehensible supernova, the birth and death of the stars.

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This is reality, as it is, deeper and wider, sacred, incredible, profound,  mysterious, more than any story, any movie, any religion, any philosophy or any string of words could ever possibly grasp. Eternally, infinitely radiant, vast beyond comprehension, pure beyond belief, powerful beyond measure. Yet, all of which we dream, mere tip of the iceberg of the infinite, reminding us everywhere we look, that, as will all life, we will become what we dream and do, spirit and soul, it matters to us, and all we touch, that we dream and live well.

Truthfully, our lives, despite the pronoun, can only in the most mundane sense be said to be “our own”, although “individuals” by description and in some sense, experience, more accurately we are all an emergent epi-property of the whole, and belong to it. Biology shaping culture, and shaped by it, genetically, physically, consciously. Using brains said to have more connections between their cells than stars in the known universe, we now know that each and every cell in our body sings the same chemical language, peptides, molecules of awareness and of emotion mediating consciousness as an organism via ecology and electrodynamics. Following this deep language, this multidimensional responsiveness, science shows that life, conscious experience, programs and activates the atomic codes, proteins, cells and structural biology, of each and every person, emotion and awareness, sustaining living cultures, mediators of human awareness. The roots of developmental continua, longitudinally interdependent, self-reinforcing, psychological, social, cognitive, cultural, biological. One gestalt of stunning complexity.

All that we are, all of us, this expression of the universe, this personalized experience, experiential “individuality” and its subsequent “programming of the self” extracting and constructing identity from experience, whilst hypnotically compelling, arise literally from interdependence. It is not nature vs nurture, by the complex flows and eddies of a vast common-unity. We may believe consciously and subconsciously in the importance of our own individuality, but life is not like that, indeed life remains and only ever can be fundamentally a palimpsest, written upon synergies of networked and ordered dependencies, from the subatomic to the cosmic, the sociological to the ecological, the linguistic to the bodily, encompassing in one nexus, the tangible and intangible, a palimpsest located by the dynamic interrelationships of the fundamental structures and relationships in the most literal sense necessary for human consciousness. For evolving, conscious life, an epi-product, qualitatively distinct from the sum of the parts.

That is to say, despite our shared penchant for individualizing ego-absorption,  for these hypnotic illusory states engendered by perception and memory, if we honestly, truthfully, explore the ontological essence of the human conscious experience, via rigorously discriminating experiential introspection, we  discover no identifiably discrete essence, and rather, the sub-strata of our activity, the ineffable/inexpressible/unknowable/experiential quality, the “consciousness” of the mystics, traditional world religions and of traditional meditation practices, awareness as it is. In practical reality, the source and meaning of our experience, life, and programmer of character and actions, into biology and habit.

While conscious life, with its self-perpetuating and complex webs of delicately poised, finely tuned self-reinforcing longitudinal  relationships both inter and intra, can be subjected to empirical methods, conscious human life transcends mere atomism, and as per ranting, represents the exquisite complexity we observe, an irreducible systems phenomenon, incomprehensibly fine and of incredible beauty, a gestalt, emerging in coherence with innately self-organizing patterns of interconnection, structured by scale, complexity, space and time. A true, almost inherently pre-encoded flowering of the universe, and planet earth. Sounds new age, but get a grip. Its how it is, what you and I are, we are not capable of owning the earth, it owns us.

To discuss conscious life, goes far beyond the domain of the sciences, science has great power, but with consciousness we deal with our own existence, with life itself, with the human condition, the human journey the billions of us Homo sapiens walk and have walked before us, over many millions of years. This is far more than just intellect, its our spirituality, and the root of all myth, all story, all reasoning, of language itself, with what it is to be human. Understanding this, if we are to engage meaningfully with the idea of conscious life via our heritage, human cultures, like the sciences, we must pragmatically acknowledge our childlike place in the universe, and with respect discover the intelligence, wisdom and insights of our ancestors. From birth or conception, self-aware life is beset with the question, What is this? Why does it exist at all? What are we to do? All culture, religion, history, myth, story, art, are artifacts of this journey, the existential questions that will define our future.

Placed here by the past, literally we walk the shores of the infinite oceans of space, we live and breathe the living light of an almost incomprehensibly vast galaxy, child of a unknowably vast universe, product of the infinite and eternal. We are all this, and yet so much more, perhaps the most profound accident ever, if that’s how you see it, in a seemingly infinite and mysterious universe. In the words of Shakespeare; “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  Though limited beings, we are children of the infinite, to surrender our imagination, heart, intellect and lives to less, or to ignore our humanity, our heart, love and tears, our finite nature, belittles the fleeting life of the living, and the surety of our death.

Our zeitgeist collectively as a race, family, sees our dialogue of truth answering to the sciences, the method through which logic tells us, experimental inquiry may discern veracity. Incredible and immensely powerful, in reality a written history, world view and culture, recording and shaping the innately human adoptions of inquiry processes, genius, resources, time and effort, which, through sacrifices, inspiration, intuitions, devotion, passion, intelligence, the maturity, work and toil of countless human lives, offers to profoundly alter and refine our intellectual experience of the human condition, of all phenomenon, equipping us with the power to amplify our own ignorance and arrogance in drastic and often tragic ways, and leading us on an intellectual adventure, millennium long, towards discernment and new vistas of discovery. While knowledge without wisdom has become our curse, for wisdom, science has become the source of  much inspiration a blessing we must protect.

However, far more critically, Science does not provide that which is good, nor produce common sense. The good we do depends on values, character, intellect and wisdom. Science clarifies facts, not wisdom, and wisdom is not a matter of fact, but a matter of meaning. In some ways science; Reductive, empirical, analytical, quantitative, experimental, belies the innate holism and complexity that entail meaning, isolated facts alone do not provide meaning, meaning is the facility that awareness of greater wholes brings to facts, to phenomenon, to experience, it is the product of individuality, of the heart, and the understanding of complex systems.

As scientists today freely, heuristically, discuss,  understanding systems constructs meaning. It makes no sense to talk about our biology, without understanding the contextualizing macro-system, our family, the planet’s ecological system across all magnitudes, as a whole. It makes no sense to talk about biology, without understanding the contextualizing micro-system, the ecology and biology of the cell. It makes no sense to  talk about cells, ecology, or biology, without reference to chemical and in-turn atomic composition, without contextualizing the ideas of cells, ecology and biology, as nested nexus’ of inter-magnitude, and trans-magnitude forces and elements, demonstrations in material form of the axiomatic ordering and entropy that contextualize and generates the universe, life, and ultimately our lives. A mind that understands these inter-relationships, coupled with a healthy human heart connects conceptual maps of reality, with human lives, creating meaning.

The integration of understanding, with human values, that’s meaning, the compass for our decisions. Without heart, science means nothing to us, because while science does count, its life that really matters. For the whole, and for each of us.

Science is no substitute for a life lived; When you look at nature do you see and feel abstraction, or our family? How is the story we are telling ourselves shaping our experience of life, our civilization, families, and our heart? Are we dead to the natural world, or enchanted by its majesty and mystery? Does our race live in conscious common-unity? intelligently? wholeheartedly? Are we wise? What do you feel when you look up at the stars, our galaxy? What does psychology, literally; “the study of the human soul” mean to you? How do these stories serve to construct our experiences of the visible universe, earth the natural world, our galaxy, and all those beyond, let alone the invisible, the human mind and soul.

How do these stories effect our relationships with the universe? Are we a spiritually alive people? Do we cultivate a spiritually healthy civilization? How does our personal view of human nature, the human soul, enrich, uplift, inspire and nourish, purify us? How mature is it? Does our dialogue of the self lead us to the creation of a just and uplifting, meaningful civilization? Or thriving, healthy, pure, self-actualized and deeply fulfilled lives? How could things be better? and why aren’t they?

When we talk human consciousness, we are catapulted beyond our sentimental, aesthetic and personal lives, and into the study of the domain foundational to the human condition and experience, our perception of consciousness, the most fundamental characteristic of our experience. The story that we believe about consciousness, determines to a great extent the values and sensibilities we bring to making meaning in and of our spiritual, cultural, psychological and material lives. At the foundation of all we do, the way we spend our time, our civilization, our history, the human story, lie certain assumptions about the nature of human life and the universe, examined or unexamined, these assumptions and the inherent critiques of our civilization and our behaviors are the most powerful forces in our lives and that of all our societies. Our story of consciousness, our deepest identifiable nature, is one of them.

What meaning then can we find?

Despite the profound depth, complexity and ongoing growth of academic knowledge, fields like quantum and classical physics, chemistry, biology and the neurosciences, the leap from biology to consciousness remains opaque to science, not least for the difficulty of translating between subjective and objective domains. Whilst neuroscience has made radical advancements in the understanding of brain sciences, it’s yet unclear if consciousness is best explained by biological “epiphenomenalism”, or rather, a-priori, as an intrinsic virtue of reality as we know it, a physical property inherent in the universe.  The question seems rhetorical, but has linguistic significance. Either we assign a degree of a consciousness to all that exists, differing only in expression and degree, or we consider consciousness a meaningless optical illusion of biology, a happy mistake seized upon by biological evolution.

For me, it seems strange that an object as complex as the human brain could have come about by accident, unless consciousness, or rather awareness, can be said in principle, to exist in and exert an effect on “natural selection”, from extremely primitive forms up. If we say that consciousness is the activity that emerges from natural laws, like chemistry and electromagnetism, refined in the biological relationships that explore and exploit these axioms, in essence at some level, (quantum (plank scale) or atomic), from the geometry of space and time, then are we right to describe the universe as innately consciousness, by definition? Traditional spirituality, as inherited from the billions that went before us, suggest that this may be the case, inviting us to redefine our relationships with the world out there, as well as that “in here”.

Whilst its likely that, given time, we may discover the essential nature of consciousness, and of awareness, and while the journey is sure to inspire the growth of wisdom, awe, humanity and compassion in our collective views of life, the universe and our human family, we do well to remember the pragmatic significance of science to the ongoing formation of our character, our soul and conceptual universe. Within the realms of intellectual integrity, co-exists our humanity, our poetry, the optional and optimal lenses of our intellectual abstractions. We may live our fragile life and treat consciousness and the universe, as infinitely deep, sacred, profound, immanent, enchantment itself, or as abstraction, lacking significance.

In the words of Gordon Allport (1964) “By their own theories of human nature, psychologists have the power of elevating or degrading that same nature. Debasing assumptions debase human beings; generous assumptions exalt them.” likewise, the lyrical and metaphorical tools and attitudes of our science dialogues can serve our spiritual, intellectual and psychological evolution, or debase it. As (google told me) Albert Einstein said; “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  or in the (co-opted) words of C.S. Lewis; “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

Earth

Yes science has descriptive and explanatory power, and speculation can fuel our imagination, yet no matter how we choose to perceive the universe, it is our human awareness, human self, our linguistic tools, cultural schema, and life experience, that provide the dimension of our personal meaning, and in turn our motivations, after all, why do we look at all?  How genuine, and wholehearted are we? Further, if the universe has an ontological purpose, a meaning to it, then it stands to reason that no matter how unknowable this purpose may be, that this moment, just as it is, is it. Nothing can be deeper than reality. In essence, no answers are “out there”, no truth can be found. The question is more, what is this? and can such a question even be usefully answered, without recourse to the known as inadequate metaphors for the unknowable? Perhaps, and we can try. That is the purpose of myth, the purpose of story, the implicit background, consciously chosen, or unconsciously programmed, in all we do.

Does it matter? Is it enough to glimpse dimly this profundity? Knowable/unknowable, meaningful/meaningless,…it is pragmatism and personal meaning that remain primary in understanding and living life, is not this gestalt, this humanity, inherently one and the same with this unknowable universe?  Pragmatically, existentially, it’s not science that matters despite its critical place in our global cultural and intellectual evolution, after all, would it benefit you to gain the whole world, but lose your soul? Science merely describes that which we are and experience, it represents truth, while we are the ones who live it, we are the phenomenon we hope to describe.

Lets have a look at it then, this human experience, with all its suffering and unique wonder. What does it mean? and what should it mean to us? If we look at the world around us, the macro context, the context of our human story, unblinking, what is it we see? and how should we respond? what role does science, intelligence, human history, have to play?

How do we respond?

We were born to so much, the darkest hells, and the deepest heights, places where stars are born, and the places the soul goes at night, compassion, love, art that moves the heart, mind and soul, and red flowers, red from soil wet still with human blood,  supplied by towers of human skulls, thousands high, and deeper, victims of kidnapping, torture, hatred, fear, slavery, mutilation, war, darkness. Within and without, heaven and hell are utterly real. A fact that’s hard to comprehend, and impossible to forget.

On this planet, your home, there are places sacred since before time, beautiful beyond belief, and places desecrated, desolate, radioactive, toxic, where nothing large will live, or thrive, for ages to come, tortured by suffering and loss. There are cities, housing the billions, built from tin, shit, piss, and mud, where the heaving masses of the poor are born, die and sleep. Where disease and starvation are the order of the day, and yet murder is the biggest cause of death for those under 12 years old. And there are cities of thought, edifices of language, built from mathematics and powered by the death of a planet, where half the developed world satisfy the addiction for distraction amongst the evanescent flickers of their computer’s screen refresh rate and the backlit neon of a power switch.

Outside our walls, there are deserts across half the planet, where once stood forests, rainforest, jungle and savannah, there are seas of plastics, where once there were oceans of fish, and there are the poisons, in all the land, in all the airs, and in all the waters. A flood of molecular discord, magnetized to living things, and of which (with inventories into the thousands) we each of us carry a half pound. Of what was once here, the tapestry of life, more is gone than we will ever understand, and from what remains, our cities grow.

This is not what we desire, and it matters, to us, two-thirds of my generation give to charity for this reason. Not only to assuage a conscience we value, but for the love in our hearts. For those of us awake, in some degree, hip to the situation.

What can we make of this? How can we learn to sleep? Of our collective memory of genocide, warfare, ecocide, soul-destroying and meaningless tragedies beyond comprehension. Damming indictments of our race. How do we relate with our collective dreams, prosperity, happiness, peace, our visions of paradise, our glimpses of salvation, heaven, beauty, love. Where do we fit in this picture? How do we take personally take the spurs of mortality? ecological Armageddon, with its waves of global extinctions? and of our love? of suffering? and of our death? How about our shared human destiny, taking our family, life, mind and body from us as it if was nothing, leveling all that lives as one, equal under the eternal winds.

The places we fit within this world is not to be found outside, but within as our nature, as what we are. Despite appearances to the contrary, we humans are inherently wise, intelligence itself, kind, compassionate, creative, brave, good. These are the things that make us human, define our lives, and make us divine. No small gifts, but the true heritage from our ancestors, from life, from our race, billions of years of evolution, lifetimes beyond count, cultural and genetic, heroism, life and death, condensed into the wonder that is our human heart, our spirit and our soul. This is what it is to be human, to actually live up to it, with heart, well that’s what it means to grow into a man, or woman.

Healthy growth brings health and fulfillment of an organism, like our mystics, science tells us that by following our biology and cultural ideals, and transcending the ancient quest, “what about me?”, to enter as in time,”what about you?”, we discover the ecstasy of self-transcendence, peace, love, joy, fundamental to our humanity; biologically, culturally and psychologically.  The realization we yearn to become. After all, mature or immature, the circuitry of love, of attachment, and of sexual attraction are deep, foundational, innate, significant in every life, and related to albeit culturally mediated, with and through, throughout.

Ultimately, our entire biology, culturally and practically, historically and today, invites and desires the attainment and integration of higher states of consciousness, the integrative principle embodied as love into human life, human culture. The quest to become a real man, a real woman, an awake soul. How large are our hearts? How pure are our spirits? What meaning do we bring to our lives? “No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” (Donne 1624)

hiroshima

Hiroshima Bell Tower

All of this, science, metaphor and poetry, while just words, concepts, remain potent, it’s what we know, beyond fact, its science, no debate needed. What’s needed, inescapably, is the maturity, the choice, to orient our heart, imagination and thoughts to the most meaningful understandings of the truths our race has discovered. The awakening of serious and mature compassion. The important questions, about life, death, science, genocide,  are not intellectual, but of our character, and the questions that actually matter are the ones we feel, not the ones we think. Scientific concepts may reflect truth, but do we feel it? Do we know ourselves to be a sea of energy, one with the universe, one with all we perceive? what do we feel? what do we see in the eye of our mind? Not what story does science have for us, but how does this story, our human story, effect me and my life. Do I come away from it enriched, touched, changed? inspired?  To what degree do we condone and live inanity? And to what degree do we condone and live meaning? How do our views of life effect the beauty of our life, and our relationships with ourselves, our family and the world.

Can intellectual, even poetic knowledge of truth, of existential reality, of science, of evil, of the universe, of life provide more that just technological potency, or academic masturbation? can it truly touch us, deepening our heart, quickening our soul?  Can sincere engagement, emotionally and intellectually, with the facts of life, the vision of science and our own character, give us emotional awakenings pursuant to the facts of life, science, mortality? Probably, maybe, maybe not, possibly much relies on our own sincerity, maturity and persistence. Either way, reality is as it is, our beliefs or lack of them change nothing, our sole choice as individuals remains how genuinely and intelligently we approach the truth, approach living, life and death. How much ignorance, denial, disinterest and apathy rule our heart, lives and death, or perhaps, how much wisdom and love.

This choice will shape our destiny, our brief human life. Our character, feelings and beliefs, can be pursuant to reality, or not, to which degree, and in turn, how directly and intelligently our lives, character, feelings and beliefs reflect meaning, reflect the wisdom, values and accurate knowledge we inherit from human history and living cultures really does matter. That is to say, it is our choice for our life, and in turn our society, culture, civilization can be based in meaning, or emptiness. Utopia, or dystopia, in our lives, yours and mine, it’s up to us. Are you interested in something else? You haven’t been paying attention, something hasn’t sunk in. You only get one chance, with no way of knowing how short it may be, this is it, and its that precious. Don’t get me wrong, in not saying become a fanatic, what I’m saying is choose life.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage… If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” – The Dammapada.

Each choice, each thought, each feeling, each act, crime or kindness, each experience, inane or profound, once realized, shares our journey, life, forever, and many believe, beyond. We become what we live, these choices, our life, effects most deeply ourselves, and all those we love and meet, along with so many sentient beings we may never know. Life is spiritual reality, we construct our soul, carrying the past like a tattoo upon our heart, mind, body, life.  True spirituality, saint or sinner, our lives paint the portrait of Dorian Grey. Nothing is inconsequential. The true human, who spends life awake, not lost in addiction or idiocy, has the strength to choose right and dies free of regret, shaping the future with wisdom, insight, humanity, humility and love, knowing that at the door of death many realize too late,  addiction, not benefit, leads men to gain the world, but lose their soul, to follow the cultures of men, but neglect the truth. Normal is not necessarily natural, healthy or holy, and often morally sick and spiritually degrading.

What does our global family have to teach about our journey? What is our heritage of wisdom, the inheritance we are offered by our ancestors, our race. What has the sacrifice of billions bought us? Where is our compassion?

In my cultural heritage, western Juedo-Christianity, a heritage that has spanned the globe today, the greatest religious observations, in theory the greatest instructions for our race, are recorded thus;

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” -Luke 10: 25

 I don’t live thousands of years ago, and Jesus didn’t speak English, so lets substitute the words true-“reality” for god, and all “life” for neighbor(especially human life), so I hear, and lo, the profound radical nature of this invitation is revealed. An invitation echoed amongst all of the world’s great wisdom traditions, despite the historically antithetical relationship humanity have enjoyed with them. These are the words of our ancestors, and those that they deemed transcendentally wise. Paraphrased by my world view thus;
 Care with your whole heart about the only thing that matters, reality, and care for all life, as if it was yourself. In effect, Love with all your heart, mind, body and soul,, because this really is it, reality is as good as it gets, better if you look closely, and if we were sane and wise, and saw things clearly we would seek happiness, as it is, the mature, non-conceptual uninhibited releasing our chemical and electrical master cascade, the biological, biochemical and electromagnetic phenomenon known as love. Right here and now, within. Conscious or unconscious, beneath all the psychology and other things done, thought and felt, humanity seeks love, joy, bliss, the resonant radiance and bliss of a consciously opened heart. So focus and inform your thinking, motivations and efforts, so that your own bliss addicts you to the mystery, consciousness,  reality itself. Because there is something to find there, a relationship aliveness, and the eternal, and if we care about life, that is what we must seek. Otherwise, we make up one day to find a world with a god shaped hole in all our hearts, a civilization bereft of meaning.
How serious is this demand?  It is the critical element that lies at the heart of the traditions that have shaped the lives, societies and cultures of all humans on this planet. The records of man’s relationship with the sacred and with divinity, and with our internal and external insanity. In literal fact “its the great and first commandment, and the second one” for one major world faith, and you’d be hard pressed to find a religion that did not in principle and in relative terms agree. Today these traditions are dear to billions, well over half the population of our planet, so you could say it’s still pretty serious. Perhaps even in the existential sense? does a spiritual reality exist that transcends and informs in importance the human world? If so, what else could possibly matter one iota; “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” –Ecclesiates 1:2  All else, must by definition be vanity, lesser distraction.
In terms of human life, for our wisdom traditions, at the most literal level, all is vanity, all except the most direct relationships with the sacred world, the numinous, as the goal, path and fruit of human life.
This is the purpose for which religions are said to exist. And all of human life, all of our culture, our stuff, our jobs and world, is vain. Looking ever outwards for that which is only within.
But what does that even look like? What does it even mean? And how do we cross the line between belief and insight?
Human history is littered sparingly with many thousands of examples of those who have gone before us who are said to have demonstrated this direct realization of the sacred in their lives.
They are not considered great athletes, great scientists, great businessmen, or even great parents, they are instead considered great beings. By virtue of the uninhibited love and wisdom with which they lived their lives, and died.
Often it is from these lives that many of the pivotal positive and uplifting influences on human history have emerged, saints, mystics, prophets. Many spring to mind.
It is the assertion of those who have had these experiences, the indication from our sciences, and the consideration of this blog that these states, the flowering of human consciousness, are critical for the ongoing evolution of our spiritual lives and ultimately, our civilization.  I’m not saying go out and look for more, here and now, this is what we are describing, what I’m saying is that the qualities of our experience of reality define our relationship with the world, with our hearts, with the suffering of others, and are the depth to which life can satisfy us and guide our spiritual evolution. I’m saying that the story of consciousness that our civilization uses to define good and bad, life and death, prioritizing and assigning value to systems of reasoning, will always produce death, and meaninglessness, so long as it remains a story of the intellect alone, and not a living story.
If we take the biographies and autobiographies of these individuals and subject them to content analysis, unifying characteristics emerge that define the path of direct relationship, as opposed to the path of the mundane life.
Primary amongst these characteristics are the non-ordinary nature of the individual’s internal and external experience of life.
Whilst the external experiences, the miraculous, are perhaps the subject for another blog(rather than spiral this one) the internal are simple enough to understand in principle.
As anyone who has ever had a mystical experience or has taken mind altering substances knows, (i.e. most of us), there are classes of states of consciousness that are available to every human being that are non-ordinary, not mundane, and can profoundly impact and change those who experience them, these states of consciousness are associated with the direct relationship or experience, or realization of the super-mundane or reality as it is, which like with our sciences, is indicated by these testaments to be somewhat radically different to the every-day, deep within these potentialities, in the natural and unmodified we find the most extraordinary, the state colloquially said by many traditions to be the meaning of life. Super-consciousness, self-realization, awakening, god-realization, liberation, full consciousness, enlightenment, absorption. etc. etc. All else pales into irrelevance, dim reflection of the eternal, lost to time.
“things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise” Dammapada
Life is a living participatory journey in consciousness, we are not the passive receptacles of human potential, but the active participants in its realization.
Mundane day-to-day human consciousness, endless distraction and the illusion of subject-object duality, has not and potentially can not bring about the world we desire, nor provide true satisfaction, purpose, meaning.
These states are to some extent well documented in the academic literature, as well as in the core and commentary literature of religious traditions, represented in tens of thousands of published scientific studies that document the efficacy of meditation practices for example. This literature is truly extraordinary, undeniably fascinating. I’ve blogged on meditation before, and wont revisit it here. Suffice to say;
“The father spoke one word for all eternity, and he spoke it in silence, and it is in silence that we hear it. “
-st john of the cross
Science says something very very interesting is going on, no faith needed, religions, the faith of billions, suggest that its time we learn to listen. Compassion and intelligence, the nature of your heart, beg us to begin, then continue.
The choice, for our lives and soul, is up to us.
:)imagesCAS8PA9B

 

Brain Science and Spirituality, musings from the field

and just for fun-

Paradise, science and the purpose of human life on this planet today.

Why are we here? Whats it all about?

It’s a good question, and it really depends on who you ask. One thing is for sure, its human nature to love.

When we look around us today we see a world in the midst of tremendous crisis, over two thousand million people, mainly children, live in slums. Rusted metal, mud and excrement that stretch as far as the eye can see. And these are growing day by day, slum by slum. These people are predominantly starving, disease is rampant, but the greatest cause of death for the under ten years of age, is murder.

We see today that to provide the needs and desires of the people of the world, using the understandings and technologies we employ, that the world is becoming a desert, both ocean and land. Where there were once vast seas teeming with life there are toxic puddles, antithetical to it. Where once vast forests, communities of great complexity and beauty, small saplings remain, acidifying soil. Continents are denuded, oceans exhausted.

Today the human population grows at an ever accelerating pace. A pace only projected to slow through the horizon of tremendous suffering, death, disease, starvation, and war that such growth, already into such vast numbers entails.

The vast majority of biodiversity of this planet, is already gone, the rest, often already sparse, is seen as a resource, when it is in fact our family. If this is the effect our population has today, pause, imagine in fifty years. Incomprehensible.

The human race has become a society of miners, hell-bent on creating poisons for money, we dig up all the poisons we can find, our crops mine the earth, our machines; the oceans and the sky. We take all we can, from anywhere we can find it, and turn it into a toxic form, poisoning the earth, the waters and the air. Today the average person carries the equivalent of a pound of plastic dissolved in their bodies, often thousands of chemicals that never existed in the genetic history of our cells. Many rivers do not have fish that are safe to eat, many places cannot grow safe food, even the air carries poison.

The world is more peaceful than in recorded history, and the population grows daily, despite the incomprehensible billions lost to violence and war in this century, it grows eclipsing all expectations, driven by our technology and the ever depleting top-soils and groundwater that petrochemicals have allowed us to so efficiently exploit. And, as our material possessions multiply, so do mental illness, neurological problems,- today effecting hundreds of millions, and the sense of disconnection and apathy. An ironically first-world problem.

As David Suzuki said: “we are driving a huge car towards a brick wall, and everyone aboard is arguing about where they should sit.”

Science does not speak of human values, it does not speak of the things of the heart or of the character that makes a man, woman or child, and makes a life worthwhile. But what science does tell us is that all life is one family, and that life seeks to adapt to challenges, to overcome adversity, to multiply in complication and diversity, to work together as one system to allow all life to thrive. Perhaps not with conscious intent, but certainly by effect of its very nature.

Each element in the system of life, provides for the needs of another, or of many others. Fungus, the great recycler, provides nutrients for plants, helps dissolve rocks, freeing minerals, holds moisture to create soil, communicates between plants in a forest to maintain health, and provides many essential and important needs allowing life to thrive. Destroy all fungi and the forest dies. Important relationships, fundamental to the tapestry of life, exist between each strand, each thread, and all those each effects and are effected by each other. It is one family, one system, one whole.

Trees and all photo-synthesisers help create energy, they use sunlight in the visible spectrum, to string together different molecular elements into forms that can support the great diversity of life on this planet, they take the energy of nuclear fusion inside our star, made possible by the quantum physics principle of neutron-tunneling, and use it to generate the energy and building blocks needed for the life present on this planet to take on the bio-mass, diversity and complexity it has.

These expressions of life, based on the chlorophyll from magnesium, theoretically help mediate the global temperature by helping affect the concentration of different gases in the atmosphere, after all the forests are made primarily of air. They are not individuals, but communities, composed of all life, supported by the super-structure of the biggest, the tree.

Aerobic life, life that uses oxygen to generate energy, (like us), based on the hemoglobin from iron, helps in many ways as an inherent part of this community, and like that based on magnesium instead of iron, mediates the atmosphere, stopping oxygen concentrations from getting too high, an event which would be toxic to all life, and inherent to its structure and function, possesses the power of movement,  spreading spores and seeds. You could say in a sense that Aerobic life exists to keep life safe, the atmosphere balanced, and to provide opportunities for life to move and spread effectively.

Humans are in no sense separate from nature, we are nature, our bodies speak the same chemical language, our cells possess the same ancestors, our atoms the same birthplace and destiny. The uniquely human notion of separation, pure delusion, we are all eating and being eaten by many different beings, both macroscopically and microscopically, inside and outside, from the smallest cell to the planet as a whole, we are all a system, a part, not the whole, and not sufficient in and of ourselves for life. The human form is less a being, and more a process, a part of the whole, the holo-movement.

Whilst safe-guarding and bringing life, humans also end it. At our best, historically human intelligence and capacity’s maintained homeostasis of ecological systems, preserving through wisdom, management and action, diversity, beauty and abundance, made important to us personally through the aesthetic, emotional and spiritual communication human awareness has with life; with mushrooms and plants and critters, indeed, all nature and all life. Along with the very practical importance ecological stability and abundance play in sustaining our own life, as a part of the whole. This personal emotion and meaning, shaping our future actions, and in turn geo-atmospheric-hydrological-bio system, and closer to home the biological characteristics of our children, through in-vitro (and after) tinkering with the potential offered by the raw templates of dna, via life experience of the ancestors and mother.

At our worst, we have killed all that lay before us, vaporised all life, and exterminated many branches of our ecological family, engineered vast mono-cultures of new organisms, carrying code poisonous to the language of life,  where there were once complex communities, and continents of floating plastic and dioxins, where there were once concentrations of fertility and abundance.

Today we are faced with a crisis, how do we acknowledge morally, ethically and intelligently.. realistically, these fundamental facts, in a world that sustains us but that cannot be sustained today, let alone with a growing population to which there is no simple and obvious solution, or at least not one we would wish upon ourselves or our children.

Many believe that the solution to these problems lies in our technology, in the transition from coal to pebble-bed nuclear, in the transition from petroleum driven cars to electric, and in the increasing power of high-end technology to generate engineering solutions to agricultural and hydrological problems. Not to mention the transition to an information based economy to create jobs for the billions.

These remain and only can be a transition solution, and are the agenda primarily driven by our leaders, by our corporations, and by science. This agenda seeks greater scientific progress, greater levels of education and technical proficiency, new kinds of economic systems and careful management of existing resources. But, as any child can tell you, we cannot fix the problems created by this paradigm, by adhering too closely to a path designed to maintain it, and increase its complexity.

More schooling does not fix the problems introduced by schooling,

More capitalism the problems of capitalism.

More war the problem of war.

Logically attractive as it is, this solution, using the paradigm alone, will currently only allow us to expand the carrying capacity of our artificial life-support systems, supporting and encourage further population ballooning,  which, within the current economic, social, political, military, industrial and academic infrastructure, in turn if unaddressed, will dictate ongoing ecological collapse, tremendous inherent inefficiencies, and mass human suffering, as well as the implicit  and the steady acceleration of the tremendous psychological, biological, neurological and spiritual alterations that this paradigm forces unexamined upon all children born into it. This transition solution, to maintain and expand the status quo,  only serves to perpetuate the fundamental issue, the structurally inherent lack of a cohesive determined higher purpose, an articulated higher vision or end aim, other than reliance on mechanisms of trade, which really, is not good enough. Humans need purpose, meaning, direction,.. the higher and nobler the better. Afterall, who wants a meaningless, aimless civilization.

We have changed our world, with no knowing what effect that would have on our souls. We are chasing paradise, but whose version? Can our existing power structures, economic paradigm and current path, ever hope to realise the destination we would hope for if we were free to dream? of are they in fact as many think, the fundamental source of many of our problems, effecting our awareness, motivations, emotions and meaning, in turn determining our actions,  including all those that are fundamentally incompatible with the ideal.

Perhaps instead of looking at the larger, the fundamental structural problems of our paradigm that appear to be impossible to address using more of the same, we need to examine the ideas of meaning and emotion, to articulate what are the deepest motivations of humans, to talk seriously about how humans find the deepest fulfilment. After all its all well and good to have a paradigm, but what about having a consciously chosen direction for it.

Fulfillment means many things to many people, and is central to all we do. One of, if not for all intents, our primary motivator. There is the fulfilment that we get based upon our experience of what we think will fulfil us, for example achieving a desire. There is the fulfillment that we get based upon our experience of our natural and biological inclinations, for example caring for others, having a child, falling in love, feeling safe and appreciated. There is the fulfillment inherent in our biology towards higher states of functioning, for example, the performance of a mastered skill, the experience of inspiration, and the expression of trans-personal and so-called spiritual states of awareness.

Essentially, stripped of all pretense, fulfillment is about emotion, and emotion is of two kinds, that generated by thinking and belief, and that arising spontaneously from biological triggers. Both of these, our beliefs, and our inherent mechanisms, we can understand and cultivate, in order to directly be fulfilled, instead of via the round-about, ass-backwards route.

It is our sense of meaning that gives the achievement of our desires the ability to provide fulfilment, and our wisdom and meaning that decide what we allow to fulfil us. It is love, expressed as the experience of connectedness and of the desire to participate in the growth, sustaining and creation of life that entail our natural urges, as determined by our biological triggers, and the tangible experience of love, utterly internal and unrelated to whatever trigger we have chosen, a chemical cascade within, that is the fulfilment our experience provides. And, ultimately, finally, it is the biological nature of the brain to seek out higher states of functioning, trans-personal states, spiritual states. We are hardwired to be addicted to and seek out these states. In essence, there is a “god-shaped” hole in our lives.

Our calling, biologically, is to seek meaning, to seek participation in the growth, sustenance and creation of life, and to seek trans-personal experiences and higher states. Our calling spiritually, as recorded by the greatest sages and mystics of every land and race, is to cultivate wisdom, to liberate our hearts from fear, into causeless, ceaseless love, and to still our mind from thought, for infinite radiant peace. Pure intelligence, not just intellect. Knowing, not just thinking. Living Soul.

Meaning is situative, and all situations are fundamentally gestalt, its impossible to remove the observer. The bigger, deeper and more complex our situative awareness, the bigger deeper and more complex our sense of self, and the bigger, deeper and more complex our sense of meaning, and thus fulfilment. To seek meaning through desire most intelligently, we must seek deeper, bigger and more complex life meanings and understandings, so that our desires stem from a deeper, bigger and more complex sense of self, and in turn provide bigger, deeper and more complex fulfilment. This requires that we each develop mature, down-to-earth and authentic relationships with all the complexity, breadth and depth of life and the world, a step which requires a wholehearted intelligence and wise compassion, after all, any relationship that lacks intelligent thought and mature emotion, authentic interaction, communication, action and the active experience, well, lacks all those things, and probably isn’t much of a relationship

The world includes many things that matter immensely, sexuality, spirituality, death, suffering, life, love, work, play, others, self, the universe, religion, poetry, mind-altering experiences, and so forth, so this process involves coming to terms maturely via genuine emotional and personal significance, with religion, with genocide, with economic paradigms, with ecological collapse, with beauty, suffering, death, and with love. In this sense, to be mature involves thinking and feeling for yourself, not allowing anyone else to do that for you, and not accepting apathy or ignorance as an appropriate response to the short, fleeting life we all share as one, intelligence is above all about aesthetics, and aesthetics are emotional and intuitive.

To participate in the growth, sustenance and creation of life, involves commitment, it involves mature feelings, and it involves an open heart. This requires us to choose to care about the things that need care, to choose to feel about the things that require feeling, to choose to participate in the world, to choose wisdom and compassion, passion and intelligence, to become truly human, and embrace what it is to be truly yourself, just as you are, not a thought. Whilst loosing that individual illusion in the service of the whole, of your child, of your community, of life.

To participate in opening the heart, and to committing, brings about changes in the brain and endocrinology that invite the trans-personal into our lives, and fundamentally alter our psychology and consciousness, in essence liberating us from the small stories about me, with its petty concerns, and revealing the altruistic will as an indomitable force of nature.

It is whole-hearted people, and whole-hearted people alone, who possess a deep and real sense of meaning, and who choose to participate in the growth sustenance and creation of life, and so possess the single-minded immersion, the access concentration, needed for the realisation of higher states of consciousness and functioning to arise in a human life, (that is, if without external or artificial support). These peak experiences are possible with the help of another, with technology, with the use of substances and through the practice of a skill to experience altered and trans-personal states, but it is only through whole-hearted single-minded immersion arising from deep personal meaning and connectedness, that the higher and trans-personal states of consciousness and functioning are realised as sober liberation from limitation and conditioning, without hesitation.

There are many things that can interfere with our ability to develop deep meaning, our desire to participate in the growth, sustenance and creation of life, and in our ability to achieve higher states of functioning. Not least our schooling systems, the poisons in our body, the effects of our media and culture, and the decisions we make in life, our beliefs and motivations, fears and addictions etc. However if we wish to pass beyond excuses, and accept responsibility for our lives and fulfilment, we must take these biological callings and approach them within the setting of our essential biological nature. As it is now, present within our current global and local paradigm. In life there is no way out, only a way in.

These experiences, higher and transcendent states, the development of meaning, the pursuit of desire, and fulfillment via participation in life with love and desire for life, are all evolutionary mechanisms installed to ensure the survival of our body, our family, our species, and inherently of the ecosystem, they are the means by which we surrender conditioning that does not serve the whole, and become truly human, whole-hearted, wise, uninhibited by fear and thus fulfilled by love, our essential addictive and moorish nature. In essence, meaning, participation for life, and transcendent experiences, fundamentally encourage humans to move beyond the ego-centric, and towards the other-centric, to be free of the suffering inherent in having to live in a world divided by the analytical conceptual mind employed in the service of an insubstantial idea of the self, and instead find fulfilment in compassion, truth, and free will, existence itself, and the neurobiological evolution, and the potential of human experience, as it is. Itself the product of billions of years of the evolution of matter inside stars and supernova, ecology and human history. Our actual condition and nature.

We are here to protect, cultivate, destroy, and begin life. To realise the universe in ourselves, and to protect its ongoing differentiation into sustainable complexity, as one family.

Since the beginning of time this has been the destiny of all life our shared journey, thus today we have a heritage, both genetic and cultural to draw upon. We are a part of the process, not charged with reinventing the wheel, but rather rediscovering our own identity as members of one family and as the child of our ancestors. As humans today, lost in the vagaries of post-modern apathy, we must ask ourselves seriously, what is this heritage? How can we best realise this destiny on this planet together? Both for our own fulfillment, and for the health of our souls, families and race.

Today, our heritage is this;

We have our stories, our mytho-poetics, the foundation of the imagination of the self and world, of morality, ethics, character. The spiritual imagination, for we are the imagination of ourselves.

Second, we have our languages, the encoders of our culture and paradigms, the method by which we enchant and spell-bind our consciousness, the source of magic, and the ability to communicate for peace, knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and love.

Third, we have our wisdom traditions, our religions and mystical writings, our ancient oral histories, the practices and insights by which we have come to understand and relate with our calling, historically cultivated and understood within different cultural contexts, different eras and different languages, different ecologies and different economies.

Forth we have our sciences and technologies, the priceless ability to think critically and clearly, to move understanding forward together as one in our understandings, incrementally like the systematic growth of a crystal, revealing at each stage more clearly the true colours of the light the universe is made from, and our true relationship with it. Along with all the power, accuracy in wisdom, and material physical capacity this allows. Science is utterly profound, and changes our world and perceptions afresh every day thanks to the inheritance science has gathered from so many lives, work, failures and minds.

Fifth we have our intuition, the faculty of knowing in other ways, our super-conscious and sub-conscious minds, the vast oceans of human intellectual, spiritual and physical potential, preempting mental activity, untapped in many lives, but central to all. The root of genius, prodigy, savant, mystic, saint, mother, father, child. Hard to study, impossible to deny.

Sixth we have our calling, the desire to experience deep fulfillment and happiness, the desire for a life and a world that feels good, that feels right. The natural love and compassion that we are biologically hardwired for and the world our intelligence suggests we should desire. Our addiction or invitation to choose; bliss, peace, love, grace, joy, laughter, friendship, sexuality, wisdom, health, kindness, and above all justice, to choose what is right.

Seventh we have our family, life, and all the relationships and interrelationships we have developed over our eons together. Life is relationship, it is the mirror of the soul and the one thing that matters most. Our family are our mother and father, brothers and sisters, children and the man or woman of our heart. Our family is also every living thing that moves or grows or dies. We share one ancestor, we have the same source, the energy the universe is composed of. The substrata, reality itself.

And finally we have our infrastructure and numbers, employed by radically different worldviews to any that can ever be sustained, and often structurally inherently destructive, but nevertheless a heritage to which we must attend.

We are here to realise and evolve all of this, it is all one. We do not need to discover more, create more, we have more tools and gifts that we could ever need, what we need is to fundamentally and forever alter our relationships with all life, as a race. To change our story, today.

We must stop surrendering our children to the state, that ideology and infrastructure,  focused on creating workers, consumers, voters, soldiers and society, or indeed to any ideology. We must end schooling, and bring back education. Stop teaching children to serve the economy, and start shaping our activities to serve life. For apart from that fundamental inescapable fact, we have already everything we need today already to end inequality, genocide, war, famine, environmental destruction, and mass human suffering, today, not in the future, not as a period of stabilisation after a collapse of all we know and hold dear, but as a sober recognition that the apocalypse is already upon us, we do not need to wait. The moral imperative we are faced with today, this very moment in every breath, overwhelms all other considerations.

Today it is no longer possible for us to live as hunters and gatherers, and no longer sensible for us to practice toxic mono-culture, if it ever was, the risks and dangers are simply too great. Genetically modified organisms are postulated as a solution to acidifying soils, desertification, and plagues, but will and can only intensify them. The more simple solution is to revisit our ancient history, and rediscover our true heritage, our historic partnerships with life.

From this heritage we can eco-engineer a new world, preserving the old with the aid our partner cultigens creating and maintaining an ecological system on which we can thrive, forever, in peace. We simply cannot keep mining the soil and oceans, we have to start giving something back, each personally. Personally care for the water, care for the air, care for the land and soil, and care for all life that depends on our sanity for its survival. Which means, we must start practicing our role in life, as members of the community of life. Today we have killed too much, allowing others to commit horrors we never see in our name, so we may purchase poisonous sludge our ancestors would not recognise as food from flourescent boxes, packaged in toxic waste, built on the ashes of a dying world, the blood of children and the labour of an enslaved race. Enough is enough, it is time for us to individually start bringing life instead of supporting death. Choose what is right, instead of venal apathy.

Our ancestors on every continent knew vast amounts, much lost today, about the ecological systems they lived in, they knew about the medicinal and nutritional values of plants, animals and fungi, and cultivated on every continent those that they knew to be most suited for the conditions and their needs, eating hundreds if not thousands of foods. Today instead of restricting our food supply to a shrinking handful for the sake of the profits of those that enslave us by controlling the food supply, we must embrace this diversity and expand it to encompass instead the greatest foods ever grown as gifted to us by thousands  and thousands of years of breeding and cultivation by ancient human society and civilizations, the living heritage of the people’s that made the great ancient monuments dotting sacred sites around the world, as well as those that left less physical trace. For the sake of health, longevity, happiness, fulfilment and life, ours, and all that in our care, for all life.

Instead of living year by year, mining the soil, we must start looking for the many generations to come, think globally and cultivate locally, and return the world to an old-growth garden paradise, an ecological system that can sustain life forever, after all paradise means a walled garden. Perhaps though, its time to end the walls, it is unethical and anti-life to restrict the fundamental necessities of life by commodifying them, there is not today and never has been the need for starvation and the brutalities that personal poverty the artificial construct, money, has wrought on the lives of billions. Nor for the economic slavery we have been forced to accept under the life-support systems that we are born into. We are living, but without radical self-reliance, as communities, thriving as our local environment, is it truly life?

Our gardening, our lives, and the planting of trees should be the plan for thousands of years, not one. Through intelligence, wisdom, respect and our choices, we can begin a new story, not for what we may achieve, but simply because there is no ethical alternative. Either we create and sustain life, beauty, health, or we allow death for billions, and extinction for many and the end of hopes for freedom from tyranny for our race.

We can end the population growth by scarcity, collapse, war, disease, poverty, genocide and suffering, or we can end it by education, abundance, wisdom, and a change in the dialogue of our religious and spiritual traditions and experiences.

Its our choice. No one elses. There is no one to blame, no they, only we. We are responsible, I would not be any friend to say otherwise.

I pray that in a thousand years, our descendents will walk in an old-growth forest again, live in housing that does not separate them from the life-force of the earth, interact consciously with ecological diversity into the tens of thousands, supported by trees as wide as cars, ancient and established, gardened, maintained, living tapestries, alive with all the diversity and beauty that imagination can create, liberated by the genius inherent in all humanity, our own superconsciousness, our own internet, not that of technological advances that hold the potential for dehumanization, and the elevation of the intellect over the real.

I pray that we will see the stars at night, our cosmic home, rather than pollution, and will be free and equipped to explore inner and outer space, forever, with wisdom, in peace. For this moment, just as it is, is precious beyond our ability to comprehend. It is itself, the deepest meaning and purpose there is, the root of all that will come, and the fruit of all that has been.

Some say not to worry, that human suffering is an illusion, that if we drive ourselves extinct the planet will survive. These ideas are both in a sense true, but the practical human and spiritual reality is this, suffering is real for everyone that suffers, and everyone suffers, deny this and embrace idiocy and destroy compassion. And though, despite humanity and its insanity, the planet will survive us. Mass extinctions that reduce bio-diversity at tens of thousands of times the natural rate, mean that the destiny of the planet is altered forever. Earth will outlive us all, but it, like the sun itself, will not live forever, its time is limited, each moment, and the richness we sustain, is the point from which the future of this planet emerges. It all really does matter.

That which passes away, is a loss the future can never recover. That which comes into being, is the heritage we leave behind as we pass through eternity, the reflection of our soul, the beauty of the spirit of the earth and of humankind and the fruit of each of our lives.

 

:)

.

life is beautiful, and all life dies.

we are life, we are alive, we will die.

our bodies will become less than the memory of dust.

it will be as if they never were.

.

life is beautiful, a limited number of heartbeats

a limited number of days, of moments, of feelings

in the end, thoughts, words and events, only once, never again

we get one chance, no more.

.

we are born watching our family die, grandparents, parents, elders

we live while our generation ages, lovers, wives, husbands, siblings, friends

we never see our children’s’ lives, our grandchildren, our friends

we live and die for love, all of us seeking happiness, fulfillment, peace.

.

we live while billions starve, we eat while wars rage, we sleep as forests burn

rivers of blood, oceans of suffering, beyond comprehension

billions of tortured corpses, families destroyed, ecologies lost, generation after generation,

accelerating.

poisoned earth, acid oceans, raped earth, drained rivers, dead seas.

.

life is the jewel beyond comprehension, a flower of infinite beauty, a moment that holds eternity.

tapestries of crystallised star-dust, melting space, ecstatic bliss made physical as light incarnate

into which our bodies will return to dust, in only so many breaths. and from which we are born anew each second

.

earth, the garden of our ancestors, blood, bone, rot and decay, mushrooms recycling mineral and holding rain, light drawing clouds into matter

our culture is the pile of their bodies, broken by love, tortured by history, exalted by life, consciousness woven into words

for us to live, billions have died, life requires wholeheartedness

life, our creator, calls to us,

live as if you will never die, love as if you will die tomorrow

cultivate your spirit, heart and mind

.

 

Relationshipping out..

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched … but are felt in the heart. ~ Helen Keller

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What do you do when your relationship with someone doesn’t make sense in broad daylight? but you normally meet up in the dark?

As I get older, and start to grow up a bit, ive started to begrudgingly admit that science works, and how cool that really is, how profound. So my question is, what does the statistical science of psychology have to say about relationships?

I’m interested in exploring positive psychology’s contributions to this, after all relationships affects us all profoundly.

But first a bit of background, as I was told, the term positive psychology originates with Abraham Maslow (1954), and the contemporary movement of humanistic psychologists in and around the decade that followed, it was a reaction to psychology’s history, studying humanity through the lens of mental illness, and was new orientation based on the belief that “a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families, and communities.” Positive psychologists seek “to find and nurture genius and talent”, and “to make normal life more fulfilling”  (Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1998)

Positive psychology is a science built upon models of wellness, not of illness. It includes trans-personal states and higher functioning in its repertoire of curiosities and presents statistically based science originally inspired by our ancient religious and philosophical heritage, while based firmly in reality, rather than notions of how we should be, arrived at via our global varied heritages of philosophy, mythopoeic and religious cultures and dialogues.

Science doesn’t have all the answers, but intelligently, objectively and scientifically studying human nature based on positive models of human nature that exalt our spirit, is perhaps far more useful to us, than struggling with notions of how we should be or what is wrong with us, as traditional psychology and spiritual teachings often offer.

As such positive psychology looks at relationships, not in terms of relationship dysfunction, and not in terms of its absence, but rather in terms of relationships that are truly flourishing,  not just happiness, but growth, resilience and intimacy, which facilitates the balance between that intimate relationship and other social engagements.

According to research, flourishing adult relationships are based on secure attachment, expectations that guide behavior, and characterized by low attachment-related avoidance and anxiety. This context; safe, secure attachment, allows individuals to pursue higher states of functioning and flourishing, both individually and together.

Love according to our cultural history and the science of psychology, is the foundation of depth and meaning in human relationships, expanding perceptions of self and the world. It is also central to our very humanity, humans have a desire to belong and love, satisfied within intimate relationships that involve sexual, loving, romantic attraction and feelings, along with interdependent emotional and personal support. As the Tibetan saying goes; to cut yourself off from all worldly pleasure, is to court the deepest of hells.

World famous psychologist, Strenberg, believes that the highest and most durable intimate relationships are  founded upon three elements (a) passion and physical attraction; (b) intimacy and emotional closeness; and (c) commitment to initiate/sustain the relationship.  Commitment predicts satisfaction in the long-term, while intimacy/passion, marital satisfaction.

Despite the contributions of positive psychology to our understanding of intimate relationships, much of the motivation for the study and education of adult relationships, stems from decades of research demonstrating that elevated rates of relationship breakdown, were themselves associated with profound effects on dependent children, including significantly higher rates of unemployment, education-drop-out, drug abuse, addiction, suicide, homicide, incarceration and domestic abuse.-(along with associated mental illness)

Relationships can experience strain from time to time resulting in sub-optimal functioning which may produce maladaptive self-reinforcing patterns of interaction. Many factors can cause this to occur, including but not limited to; jealousy, greed, anger, poor communication, poor problem solving, insecure attachment, third parties, low commitment, financial strain, loss of health. These cycles and interactions are nearly always influenced reciprocally, both partners must create and also manage problems.

Through structured, collaborative, open discussion, self-directed  or facilitated by a psychologist or counsellor, partners in a relationship can work to develop self-awareness and critically engage with their perceptions and emotions, to examine the unexamined and reorient perceptions and emotions away from the maladaptive and towards healing and flourishing. This allows core values to come to the fore, for change, comprehension and respect. Allowing both partners equal responsibility for their contribution to patterns of maladaption, and beginning the process of deep change in thinking and feeling to bring about a better future, together.

This process, the foundation of much theraputic practice, requires conscious and ongoing evolution, growing and utilizing awareness of the structure and conceptualization of the relationship.

Relationships are never static, but constantly evolving, and so the need to balance between intimacy, essential for satisfaction, and autonomy, essential for stability, arises. This flow is the foundation of maturity, and in the family unit, of the inescapable needs of children.

It is through the lens of relationships, that we begin to truly understand ourselves and truly live, as J Krishnamutri said:

“Do what you will, withdraw to the mountains, sit in a forest, you cannot live in isolation. You can live only in relationship, and as long as relationship is not understood, there can be no right action. Right action comes in understanding relationship, which reveals the process of oneself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, it is a field of affection, warmth, and love, therefore a field rich with flowers.”

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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand. ~ Mother Teresa

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu

may all the beings in all the worlds seek peace

 

 

the metaphorical use of; “shit.”

There’s a lot of different beliefs people use to navigate their relationship with the planet, a few minutes ago I was thinking about these, so, for entertainment, im going to use the metaphor of shit to suss it out.

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“In the middle of a village, in the middle of the path, is a pile of excrement. It stinks, is stopping the women getting to the village well, and if left causes disease and a horrific death for all….

Heres how our global community responds…..”:

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The village elders;  “Hey cool, shit, lets use that to grow stuff, then we can eat.”

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Local men;  “Women…  move that shit.”

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Local women; “Bloody men, we’d better move that shit or we’ll get beaten.”

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Kids; “ewwwwww.”

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Young people;  “Shut up, watching TV”

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Local dictator; “Complain about that shit and ill kill you, if you grow anything its mine. My eighth child now owns your village.”

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Local warlord; “Give me your children.”

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 America;-(corporate) “They have shit, lets invade then get them to pay us to rebuild the village. Quick before China does… look… weapons of mass destruction, terrorists, we have no choice.”

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America;-(some) “Shiiiittt…… you mean there’s another country?”

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America;(idealists) “Oh my god! this is shit! we must go there and fix it… mobilise to change our government!”

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American Media; “Here, here’s American Idol. In other news… be scared of everything… buy a gun/liposuction/car/insurance/makeup/alcohol/political party/subscription/medication, FEAR!!

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China; “They have shit, lets build a road there, give the leaders a few yuan to stabilise the village, then colonise permanently and mine, before America does.

Lock those dissidents up before they cause some shit.”

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Europe; “They have shit, we’re busy, lets send a little money and talk about this. Investment anyone?”

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Africa; “It’s dwende, well look out for each other, it’s all we’ve got, those fuckers are trying to kill us.”

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Australia; “Quick, I’ve one house, lets dig more holes in our country so we can buy beer and go to Bali… Someone get rid of those refugees.”

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Modernism; “This is why we must industrialize.”

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Post Modernism; “It’s impossible to tell if there’s shit there or not, let’s get funding and talk about it.”

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Christianity; “Jesus loves you, lets pray for that shit to go away.”

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Islam; “Biadh Allah, (It’s in the hands of God) I tithe anyway.

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Buddhism; “Don’t be attached to that shit, im so compassionate im detached.”

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Hindu; “It’s your karma to die shittily, I’ve no compassion. If it gets in my way, i’ll get an untouchable to move it.”

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Judaism; “Stop being anti-Semitic, we’re in a shit situation here.”

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Modern Western Shamanism; “Anyone seen the mushrooms? hang on mushrooms grow from shit, those people must be spiritually enlightened.”

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New Age Belief; “That shit isn’t part of my world, if you die in agony, you manifested it for yourself and I have no interest because im manifesting abundance for myself, die quietly, you’re so negative. Anyone seen my organic fair trade latte? I have a drumming workshop to attend.”

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Doctors wives; “I sent money, its terrible whats happening.”

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UN; “Stop that shit, or we’ll draft a resolution, vote about it, file it, and pay soldiers millions to sit off to the side somewhere.”

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UNESCO; “Give us your children, it’s for the best.”

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McDonalds; “Try the new McHappy meal, with bonus McToy.”

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World Bank;  “Have a loan to shift that shit, we own you now. Start diggin up your shit for us, thats first on our agenda.”

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Hippies; “Whoo hoo ive got this new pair of glasses, lets fly to a party! I’m going to have an open relationship with the first person I meet because traditional cultures are stupid and know nothing about life.”

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Mainstream Music; “Tits, Ass, Money, I’m the shit be like me, Tits, Ass, Money, I’m the shit be like me, Tits, Ass, Money, I’m the shit be like me.”

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Alternative music; “Idolize me, im the shit! Im amazing because I say things scientists said fifty years ago.”

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Comedy; “Isn’t it funny how there’s a pile of shit there… and not here.”

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Everyday People; “I care, its shit, but I have kids, sorry.”

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Environmentalists; “The apocalypse has been and gone, now we wait, please for gods sake stop them mining Uranium.”

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Scientists and Academics; “Here’s how it all works and here’s what we should do. Peers;,”let’s do more research on this shit. -(all in obscure journal)”

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Politicians; “It’s the other party’s fault, elect us.”

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Political Activists; “It’s the politicians fault. (poli= of the people, tics=blood sucking parasites)”

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Sociologists: “It’s structural.”

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Psychologists: “Your all ill.”

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Positive Psychologists: “You can thrive on shit.”

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Indigenous Peoples; “This shit? it’s in prophecy, please open your heart and listen.”

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Other Indigenous Peoples: “Come here and we will eat you or spear you.”

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Kids of indigenous people; “Like my Nike’s? they’re the shit.”

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Global Corporations; “We give .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of our profits to support this shit, and .0000001%  to promote the fact that we do.

No.. No…. we didn’t dump that shit there, if you say we did again, you will hear from our lawyers.”

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Youth of the world; “This is shit, let’s go earn money so we can have a life of consumerism.”

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Idealistic youth of the world; “You fuckers!! You stole our future, and left us in a big pile of shit we can’t fix, hurry up and die so we can take over.”

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Rednecks; “Fucking (insert racial slur) hope they die from that shit.”

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Milleniumists; “Don’t worry about them or the shit they are in, 2012 is coming we are all going to a) die b) become spiritually enlightened c) be manipulated by the media into remaining docile while genocide occurs. Some guy completely off his face on drugs said it… and referenced an obscure comment in an ancient tile from a six hundred year old toilet from Thailand, it must be true.”

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Facebook; “What do you mean we were created and funded by the US government? don’t you know it was that kid, in that movie? Here fill out this form, it’s the best way to contact us, honestly it doesn’t go straight to trash.

So how exactly did you know that person? Where did you study? Here, join a group about legalizing dope, we don’t keep records of all your emails and comments.”

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Inventors; “Here’s a way we can fix this shit!” Rich folks;  “cool!! patented… now we own that, send someone to kill him/her.”

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Monsanto: “You need to spray with poison, try some ddt, it goes well with pcb’s. Oh, and grow this plant/bacteria/jellyfish/virus corn, it’s totally safe for us for you to eat it.”

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Quantum physicists: “No you bloody hippy, that metaphor isn’t how it is, we just use it because we havent got a clue what we are looking at and its a useful way to talk about the maths were using.  Not only that, you’re talking about a completely different subject altogether.”

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Dawkins: “I hate religions, they caused all this shit.”

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Religions; “Shit, bloody atheists.”

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Teachers; “Sit up straight and look at the board (little shits)”

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Heres what our mytho-poetics have to say:

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Extraterrestrials; “What the! Shit, these people are fucking crazy.”

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Planet Earth; “Silly children.”

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Father sun; “Meh…”

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Dante; “The darkest circles of hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

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as I’m living in Australia…

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My local Aboriginal landowners; “If you want to be happy and you want to fulfil the spiritual laws, it’s all about what you give back.”

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Nice Quote hanging on my wall;

“We are visitors on this planet.  We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most.  During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives.  If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”

 

beautiful, ancient prayers

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Oh Lord,
I seek more of You than to name Your Name…
We are the flute: our music is all Yours.
The light of the soul sets not and has no yesterday.
Love is the astrolabe of your secrets.
If the light that illuminates the world were to draw near,
The world would be consumed.

God you have chosen me to be Your house.
If I take annoyance at every rub
How wilt I become a polished mirror?
O God, show us all things in this house of deception:
Show them as they really are.
Through love the stake becomes a throne
Through love the king becomes a slave.

Our Soul, the breath of our praise, steals away
Little by little from the prison of this world…
Our breaths soar with the choice of words, as a gift from us
To the abode of everlastingness.
Then comes to us the recompense of our praise,
A recompense manifold from God the merciful.
Then You cause us to seek more good words, so that
Your servant may win more of Your mercy.
Verily the source of our delight in prayer
Is the divine Love which without rest
Draws the soul home.

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Rumi

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Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
and by our understanding love give peace and joy.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
Amen.

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    Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, delivered to the UN by Mother Teresa 1985

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May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

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Scottish Benediction

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Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

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   Ancient Celtic Runes

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O great spirit,

help me to always speak the truth quietly,

to listen with an open mind when others speak

and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.

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Native American Prayer

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May the stars carry your sadness away,

may the flowers fill your heart with beauty,

may hope forever wipe away your tears,

and, above all,

may silence make you strong.

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Chief Dan George

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Oh, Great Spirit

Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

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.(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
published in Native American Prayers – by the Episcopal Church.

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May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

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Tibetan Prayer, Brahma Viharas

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May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms,
And the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicine be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.

For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.

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   Shantidevi

 

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Aboriginal Land Management, Lessons for Modern Australia

There is a certain difficulty writing about Australian Aboriginal nations land management practices as a white Australian.

How can anyone speak adequately on behalf of a paradigm and culture, from within the modern context descended from the very same genocidal, ecocidal, destructive, eurocentric, technocratic, imperialistic culture and society that have so affected global land care and the lives of Australian Aboriginal people?

The intellectual blinkers and dialogues that have historically prevented the modern nation of Australia (ceira 1788AD) from understanding and positively interacting with the Australian ecology and the oldest continuing cultures and nations on earth, still exist in Australian society, dialogues and cultures.

The Aboriginal people of Australia represent the oldest continuing human cultures of this planet. On a scale dwarfing into irrelevance the so-called ancient civilizations of the world, continuity demonstrated in oral histories and traditions, demonstrably accurate to the archaeological, paleontological, geological, and climatological record in excess of 60,000 years.

Imagine talking to a man who could describe to you from the personal experience within his family, the kinds of animals, weather, landscape, and historical events that happened in Egypt, forty thousand years before the pyramids were built.

Over such vast periods of time, unique in all cultures of the world, the nations of Australia demonstrated across an entire continent, practices that eventually placed them among the most environmentally sustainable and stable human civilizations ever seen, enjoying a society with greater levels of egalitarian peace, security, personal longevity and affluence than known contemporary societies around the world during that time.

Thanks to this paleolithic continuity of land management, eco-engineering, and culture. Life for Australians prior to 1788, was, as a general rule, easy, beautiful, long and safe, at least in comparison to most of the planet. Archaeological evidence today depicts Australians living well into their seventies, while in Europe 30 was a good innings.  A higher average than today.

Land management practices refined and adapted over the millenia created sophisticated endemic micro-ecologies of great beauty and abundance. Every inch of country subject to law, culture, caring for and adapting country. While the intensity of land management varied, early settlement writing and landscape artists, depict a continent of vast cultivated plains, a mosaiced landscapes that generated stability, abundance, resilience and fertility through land cultivation and management, intensive aquaculture, and water management and capture on the large-scale. A continent transformed into a state finer than a  European “nobleman’s estate”. Emphasising through law the interdependence of life, with humanity as the mechanism that sustained and maintained biodiversity, abundance and the ecological health of the continent

This, as intended, provided the best possible food security over time, utilizing what we would now think of today as a massive array of ‘super-foods’.

European settlers made fortunes and a nation from this heritage, stealing cultivated  land, cleared for roo and Australian fauna, and introducing the sheep and cattle that  transformed the Australian inheritance into obscene wealth, a ready-made farm, tens of thousands of years of work, ready for cattle and sheep, full of animals, birds and fish. The sky and rivers were dark with them, the plains and forests thick. The mosaically located life of Australia, from plain and pasture, with water for kangaroo, or the dense forest needed by koala, through the scientific and traditional practice of fire and land management, abundance was crafted, localized and insured against drought, fire, plagues and disease.

With the food supply of the peoples of a continent guaranteed by an ecosystem,-(despite ancient soils) religious law and spiritual ownership, culture and heritage. The uncertainty of life that left longevity so low throughout much of the rest of the world, simply did not exist. Over vast periods of time, through culture, worldview, spirituality and law, aboriginal Australian nations maintained one of the most peaceful cultures in the history of the world. Working on average two hours a day, with the remainder  taken up by family, friends, fun and religion. By all accounts at 1788, life, and the attitude to life in Australia was relaxed and happy.

The clash of cultures that occurred in Australia from 1788 onward are in many ways a depiction of the differences in values and practice of each. Early written records show that Aboriginal Australian people often saw the Invaders as: dirty and smelly, unhygienic, violent, barbaric, crazy and spiritually unwell.

Simultaneously, the Eurocentric dialogue of colonization often chose to depict Aboriginal culture and lifestyle as primitive, sub-human, while in many ways nothing could have been further from the truth. Just as Aboriginal people and cultures were marginalized in the narrative of Australian settlement, so too was 60,000 years of knowledge and wisdom.

As a result, within two hundred and something years, the indigenous people’s and cultures of Australia were subjected to what could be charitably described as sustained genocide, the soil and water were stripped, raped and degraded, more species than we would like to admit existed disappeared forever. Victim to ignorance and greed. Endemic Ecosystems dependent upon human management were drastically altered and damaged by invasive species, changed fire regimes, indiscriminate clearing, water depletion, damage and flow alteration, and the wholesale destruction, literal ripping and burning of old growth forest and ancient aboriginal lands.

Today, continent-wide, Australian soils are rapidly acidifying where farmed, and drastically altered “wilderness” is now wild. Due to human intervention much of the continent suffers from chronic water shortage, and increasingly fragmented ecology. What remains, is seriously threatened by introduced diseases such as die-back, pests (such as the cane toad), and human activity, including but not limited to urban sprawl, tourism, fire regimes,-(or lack thereof), mining, agriculture, dams and forestry. While fragmented concentrations of globally significant, highly endemic biodiversity and ecology remain vulnerable to these and other challenges potentially compounded by any climactic changes we may see in the centuries ahead.

One of the agriculturally defining characteristics of the ecosystems of Australia, is the overall and species specific response to fire.

Fire alters ecosystems, all life responds in different ways to fire, and the whole as gestalt, a fact not as well understood or relevant to the life of Europeans as it was to the indigenous people of Australia. In Europe as a general rule fire kills plants and fire kills plants in Australia too, but in Australia successive waves of colonization after fire are essential for the ecological succession and cycles. Different ecosystems in Australia require different fire regimes. Through understanding ecological functioning Australia was mosaic-ed with the ecological Australian equivalent of an old-growth garden paradise.

Despite the classification by the British empire as flora and fauna, The aboriginal peoples of Australia practiced high cultures and extensively cultivated the land. The land was cropped, seed were stored, seeds were ground, at least some twenty thousand years archaeologically before the next people on earth learned about flour and trading tracks that crossed the continent transported seeds, culture, objects and goods.

Rivers were dammed for aquaculture and farming along vast lengths with weirs and canals made and inland, while and tidal flats made into low water ponds, wells cracked through rock and dug through earth, irrigation dug, and sophisticated aquaculture practiced on the large-scale.  While Aboriginal people near the oceans hunted with dolphin as partners, ate seal and whale, fish and turtle, along with the huge variety of vegetables and other foods of the ocean.

The land, each count was traveled through cyclically as a spiritual pilgrimage by its people, seasonally following the rain, climate and land, every piece of the country was burned, intelligently and cyclically with traditional variation passed down seasonally and geographically and religiously, therefore houses generally very temporary unless staying in one place, for several months or yearly, when more elaborate houses of varied local design and materials were maintained.

Aboriginal Australian People were more than competent builders with wood and stone, but due to, culture, lifestyle, religion and cultural values were sedentary for only parts of the year.

Thus fire, along with water storage, was central to Aboriginal animal husbandry.

Farming Fauna in Australia did not require fences, religious and culture values and practices would make burning another’s land or even killing on another’s country unlikely or unimportant, and due to the lack of higher order and larger predators, along with the variation. The ecology stayed put.

Oral history discusses predators and megafauna extinct thirty odd thousand years before the “neolithic” hit Europe. Perhaps with the demise of these predators, for whatever reason,-(human ecocide is often postulated) and the subsequent lack of mammalian higher order predators in Australia, besides the thylacine, devil and later, dingo, combined with the spiritual, religious, culture and law, ensured that fences were not needed in Australia to ensure the health of animals.

Kangaroo for example likes rich green grass and open space, so if you create those conditions with some trees nearby for shade, you can guarantee that kangaroos will like it and remain there for the readily available food and comfort. Likewise letting undergrowth and fallen trees and branches from passageways across the forest are optimum conditions for smaller tree dwellers, who make noise when they come to earth and are then easy for predators like the thylacine to find.

Many food plants and fungi for animals and humans regrow with more vigor after fire, many benefit from the chemicals and begin to seed or grow, some die, some retreat into the earth and then regrow, and with each different response and each different plant or fungi, regimes of scientifically applied fire can shape the nature of the ecology and fertility of the area along lines as controlled as the cultivator who starts it desires.

Fire judiciously utilized creates richer food and conditions for Animals, locates them and supports them. Enriching the most fertile land, an alluvial valley and river system cleared from the forests for grass perhaps. Unfortunately for Australian people prior to 1788, the conditions preferred by European animals also.

Eating seasonally from an ecosystem crafted and sustained by law, culture and practice, provided the greatest possible stability and protection for human life. Having some few hundred foods available, is very nice and good for health, happiness and quality of life, while ecosystems survive, plagues, disease, climatic changes, fire, drought, and adversity better that single crops. Although population control was practiced by Aboriginal Australians prudently rather than reactively, there is no historical record of them ever experiencing starvation prior to the advent of white colonialism in Australia. The carefully managed land was simply too abundant. Culture and community too strong.

Today the ecology of much of Australia is drastically different, different species and ecologies are dominant, a great deal of the abundance and diversity has disappeared, while the culture and community vibrancy of much of modern Australia is renowned among migrants for its non-existence and largely disconnected from land and ecological management.

To give an indication of the sophistication of culture, even today in many small areas within many countries around Australia there are several thousand species of plants on the land alone, concentrated, endemic, the majority flowering. let alone the ecology in its entirety. Aboriginal Australians understood the impact of different fires on different plants and indeed ecosystems at different times in different ways and as a whole, managing the tapestry of life in Australia.

Australia is lucky, with sophisticated and deep knowledge of each living thing and place the ecological systems could be maximised and protected by its people to enhance  the longevity, fertility, beauty, diversity, endemic concentration and food productivity of every sphere of life present.  as a whole a sophisticated landscaped garden paradise, or so it was described by early settlers and landscape artists. the land was intelligently taking into account a wide range of different principles and knowledge, fire was sacred and there was a great deal of knowledge in many levels about its application in country.

Water and waterways were even more carefully managed and often more carefully built for. Extensive continent-wide aquaculture was super abundant, enormous surplus’ generated. Forests, jungle, alpine, woodlands, grasslands, deserts, bush, scrub, salt land, wetlands, floodplains, rain-forest. of trees covered in nuts suitable for any use including flours and hundreds if not thousands of different nutrient rich and tasty foods. Let along the knowledge and management of ocean and river people.

Many early records of settlement record aboriginal people working no more than two hours a day, which includes cooking and food preparation, even in the most physically demanding regions of the country. While white people saw this as a lazy, aboriginal people could not understand why white culture did not want more time for family, fun, life, spirituality and instead wanted so many concerns.

Aboriginal Australians did not create the technologic behemoth that has laid waste to the planet, but on the upside they lived in paradise without walls, sustainably, -(since the extinction of the mega-fauna) for over 40,000 years, traveled widely, and had long beautiful happy lives involving a great deal of time with family and friends, other people and having fun.

 

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Sacred Geometry, The Secret Language.

Sacred geometry is very beautiful and very powerful.

A quick google search will reveal an overwhelming variety of articles, blogs and websites discussing sacred geometry, from the most groovy hippified pseudo-spirituality, to the most mundane religious commentary and mythopoeic understandings, to advanced mathematicians of the cosmos, biology and life and the integral translations of the profound extensive and truly ancient scriptural commentary that these designs accumulate and stem from. However, while much of the worlds heritage of Sacred Geometry is known to the public, it’s called the secret language for a reason.

This geometry, is found implicitly in the construction of all great ancient spiritual buildings, religious or otherwise, and is the language of life, time, and of the perfection that transcends it.

As a brief commentary, mathematics,, geometry, probability and ratio are the language through which the fundamental nature of reality is communicated as the gestalt of inherent perfection, evolution and harmony. It transcends perception, belief and mental identification, the purity of the transcendent and immanent infinite manifest in form. Understanding this and its relationships to consciousness and life takes wisdom, experience and thoughtful, sensitive exploration, there is a tremendous depth to every well-known tradition and form of sacred geometry, and it is better to learn by discovery, practice, and personal experience in consciousness, than have me state. These things are kept secret for a reason, to not be profaned.

Any road, far be it from me to discuss something we are all better off experiencing and learning for ourselves. There are tomes and tomes written on every detail of the interlinking -(actual reality at each quantum of sophistication through scale-symmetry fractal relations) nature of practically every representation of sacred geometry. If you want to go deep, knock yourself out, in the meantime, here’s a little something I prepared earlier. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And only a fraction of communication, is in words or is rationally understood.

As Nobel laureate P Anderson stated; “it is only slightly overstating the case to say that physics is the study of symmetry”

Now, this may be a little boring at the start, but work your way through, I assure you it gets more interesting. Just remember, although two-dimensional representations, these depictions refer the three-dimensional world and its other more subtle dimensions. Now, Lets get old school. 😉

The Circle Forms the Basis of all Sacred Geometry. But, the term, sacred geometry implies that even if it is only circles we are looking at, there is more going on than just circles…

The vast majority of sacred art, sacred music, sacred architecture, sacred geometry and indeed all of life itself contains within it the mathematical ratio or progression known as Phi, the golden ratio. We perceive this as beauty and experience it as love. It is the spiral of the growth and unfolding of life.

eg.

 This set of interlinking circles, is an ancient symbol, found associated with spiritual contexts in many civilizations and continents, is a relative newcomer archaeologically, the oldest known conclusively dated example is believed to date from roughly 570BC, perhaps however,  it is much older. Called by modern new-age explorers of sacred Geometry, ‘the flower of life’, it is believed to contain within it the geometric relationships from which many other forms of sacred geometrical representation spring.

For example, the ‘seed of life’, a basic form displays the construction of the “flower”

The Kabbalistic(mystical Judaic), “tree of life”,  a design used to describe the cosmology of certain schools Mystical Jewish Belief, the creation of the Universe and Humanity, and The Path of return to the divine. The design represents the manner in which Sefirot-(manifestations of the divine understood through psychological forms) manifest both light and vessels from the Ohr Ein Sof, light of the infinite source. How old is the Kabbalah? good question.

And finally,  Metatron’s Cube, Metatron is Believed in Judao-Christian apocryphal texts to be an Angelic Being second only to the Creator in the spiritual hierarchy, the highest of Angles and the Divine Scribe. textually Metatron’s cube was derived from the ‘tree of life’, and is in effect knowledge that mankind was excluded from  possessing, due to the ‘fall’.

In the more physical sense, Metatron’s cube depicts a wide variety of mathematical structures and relationships, including the five Platonic solids, basic three-dimensional geometric solids, the geometry of which is fundamental to modern science’s description of many small-scale interactions of energy, subatomic and atomic particles.

 The six fold symmetry and sacred geometry associated with these shapes, are possibly best known to much of the global public through the current flag of the state known as Israel, an ancient design known biblically as ‘King Solomons Seal’, in effect a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional shape known as the Star Tetrahedron, along with the esoteric schools of thought related to it.

The star tetrahedron is interesting for a number of reasons, not least because when rotated in space, it becomes apparent that it demonstates both the symetry of the six pointed star, as well as that of the square. A very interesting thing to understand when all the myths and stories about various sacred geometries are considered.

The basic design of ‘king Solomons seal’, is also known in India, where it is used instead to represent the spiritual-energetic heart centre, known as the Anahata chakra.

The Sanskrit word, Anahata means unstruck, or unbeaten, for example Anahata Nad means unstruck sound, the sound of the celestial realm. The Anahata Chakra is a subject for many books in and of itself. And its probably my favourite subject.

In a more European bent, one famous example of Sacred Geometry and Ratio in the history of western mysticism and art, is the famous image known as the Vitruvian Man, a picture drawn by hand by Polymath Genius Leonardo DaVinci. The Vitruvian man “squares the circle” a profound mathematical feat. Keep that in mind for later…

“The outstretched arms and legs of a man form a square and a circle: the square symbolizes the solid physical world and the circle the spiritual and eternal. Man bridges the gap between these two worlds.” -Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘The Magical Proportions of Man’

One of the most Famous and Ancient examples of sacred geometrical art, the Sri Yantra, is believed to have come from India many many thousands of years ago, Sri Yantra represents the meeting point between the unmanifest world and the manifest, known to Hindu thought as the Goddess, its interlocking triangles represent the union of the divine feminine and the divine masculine principles. As such the Sri yantra is a Map of our Universe, Consciousness and the deeper reality beyond form and time.

A famous example of Sacred art from Tibetan Buddhist thought is found in the Kalachakra Mandala, literally translated this Tibetan term means “the wheel of time”. In Kalachakra philosophy the inner, outer; cosmic, biological, spiritual and psychological worlds are one, and are considered to reflect, synchronise and correspond to one another. Kalachakra is literally Time, and, the interwoven cycles of the universe, from the movements of planets and plants, to the breathing of the human body and the movements of subtle energy, other beings in other worlds, and the awakening of meditative absorbtion and bliss.

Through understanding these processes and states, both inner and outer, and the potential for practice of specific and related yogas of meditative and spiritual practice, the Kalachakra Tantra aims to help in the realisation of conjoined nature of temporality and atemporality, to bring about spiritual awakening and the realisation of enlightenment in human form.

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Now, more to the point, Enjoy 🙂

Thought I might add some music,  and as were on the esoteric bent…

 

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A little (true) story.

Several years ago I was living in a small back room outside an old wooden house in a suburb full of beautiful gardens and friendly people. My room was long and thin, with wooden floorboards and windows all down one side, glass french doors that opened up outside the house, onto an old back veranda and garden, overhung with star Jasmine that dropped flowers everywhere and left me perpetually relaxed. -(Jasmine oil stimulates the production and release of the nueropeptide GABA) I always slept with the doors and windows open, it was so beautiful in the rain and mornings!

On monday evenings I would finish my studies for the day at around four, and head down to the local community garden centre to help my friends cook (a by donation) dinner for the local community. This monday I was feeling a bit anxious for some reason, so after helping cook -(I made a mulberry salad with three different kinds of mulberry!!) sat down by myself inside and tried to avoid conversation. Eventually, as was always the case back then, I was drawn into one, it was a hot summer night, warm air and very still, so it was agreed that a group of us would head down the beach after dinner had worn off, and have a good long swim. Seemed like a good idea to me as it was very warm, and my mind was unusually anxious.

An old friend of mine was in town and had come down to have dinner at the garden, having not seen each other for a long time we decided to head out into the town to have a game of pool, it was the first time I had set foot in a pub for many years, and a bit surreal to be there, hippified as I was at that time. Nonetheless we had a great time, caught up properly after many years, and had some really deep and meaningful manly conversations about life.

Time flew by, and the next thing I knew I was making my excuses and heading off, it took me quite a while to get to the beach from where I was, being on foot, and of course by this time anyone who had gone down earlier had left to get some sleep like any sensible person would.

I wanted to swim, but it was getting late and cold, so I sat on the beach, looking out over the ocean and meditated for an hour or so, in case anyone came and to calm down the rather novel and unexpected sense of anxiety I had been feeling that evening. After an hour or so, I managed to separate my legs, and as the sensation returned to them, stood, did a little yoga, and began to head for home. Being a strange boy, (hehe) I decided to take a run rather than walk, hoping that burning excess energy would be the panacea for my mind, and so I ran and ran and ran, the streets and trees disappearing behind me, body settling into rhythm climbing up hills and through gateways, down small streets and past roses. It was a beautiful run, cold night air, peacefully settled into the grace of motion and freedom, euphoria.

At the top of the first hill I came to on my way home is a beautiful tree that I very occasionally visited to sit under at night, and on that night, being a little warm and puffed from my run up the hill, I luxuriated under its branches, and rested in meditation. wonderful peace,, silence and stillness. Gentle breeze from the distant ocean, night stars. Bliss.

This tree you see, is in fact a very wonderful tree. A very cosmicy tree.

Its story is as follows, the place where this tree grows is a beautiful (and at that time residential) spiritual centre, a Yoga Ashram-(place of hard work). It was founded by a very wonderful, very awakened Hindu, a Yogi, a man who lived a wonderful inspiring and very spiritualised life and who in that time was a recognised spiritual leader within the Vedanta tradition of India. When he came to Australia, many years ago, he planted this tree and another at the Ashram, one died, the other, the one I was sitting under that evening is still alive.

This story of this tree, as told to me by my friend who a few years previously had been living at the Ashram, is not very well or widely known by anyone in that town, but is very beautiful, and is as follows.

Roughly 2539 years ago in a place called Bodh Gaya, in Nepal, a man called Siddhārtha Gautama, or often the Buddha(awake one) sat down under a tree known today as the Bodhi Tree, a member of a family of fig, the Ficus Religiosia, the story is that this man was so profoundly moved by the suffering of the world, that he had given up his life of luxury and security to life as a homeless beggar for many years, seeking answers and medicine for suffering in spirituality, the story is that at this part of his journey, he had tried many things and having not found the answers he sought, determined with complete dedication to sit, under the bodhi tree, resolved to not leave until he found the enlightenment he sought.

The story is that after passing through eight Jhanas, successive stages of meditative awakening, and after many trails, Siddhartha awoke fully to the nature of reality and stood up from under the bodhi tree, to continue with life, teaching others about the insights he had gained and teaching all he met the path and techniques awaken, as he had experienced.  However, before he left, he paused to look with gratitude at the Bodhi tree, without blinking, for one week. And then spent another walking back and forth from the Bodhi Tree, codifying his teachings.

There are many other stories that explore the mythological and spiritual significance of this tree and of these states of awareness so far beyond awakening, but there is not point sharing them, needless to say, it’s a wonderful tree.

The story is that due to its significance, and that of ancient traditions far predating Siddhārtha, a cutting was taken from this trees first child, and planted 2299 years ago at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, by members of the buddhas retinue and the royal family of Sri Lanka.

The story is, that the original Bodhi tree, at Bodh Gaya, was destroyed during a holy war between Hindu and Muslim armies, however, although dead, the bodhi tree had a child, and a cutting taken as related above.

The story is, as I heard it, that a small number of other cuttings were taken from the Bodhi growing in Sri Lanka, and that these cuttings were planted at different monastic and ashram locations around India. And finally the story is that two cuttings were taken from one of these trees, and planted at the ashram I sat in that evening, by the Yogi who helped found it. Being a species of tree sacred to Jain, Hindu and Buddhist alike.

This is very beautiful, this tree is the genetically identical tree to this ancient one, literally the same organism. However unlike the varied other places in the world that may grow, here it is possible to sit under it at night alone and in peace, and there are no other pilgrims.

That evening, meditating under the bodhi tree, with a little rabbit hopping around keeping me company, I opened my eyes to a light breeze and stars, and saw an amazing sight, a leaf from the bodhi  tree was dancing above the ground perhaps a meter away from where I sat, after a while my mind re-engaged and I realised that this was perhaps a little strange, upon closer examination I observed that the leaf was suspended above the ground, only inches away from it, by a single fine silk thread. It has disengaged from the tree itself, but by virtue of a spider had not fallen completely to the ground. It was literally, hanging on by a thread!

I held the leaf in my hand, and it fell away from the thread. A very strange and beautiful thing had happened, I had caught a leaf that had fallen from the Bodhi Tree.

There is another ancient story that if you catch a leaf that falls from the Bodhi tree, not a Ficus Religiosa, but the actual Bodhi Tree, then you get to make a wish, and that in turn, the wish that is made will come true.

It was a special moment, for that to happen so many different things had to occur throughout so many lives, on different continents at different times.

And really it was all thanks to a spider. So I thought very carefully and slowly about what wish to make, the chance of this happening again was so astronomically small that for it to even happen once, for me to know the story, to know the tree, to be alive at all, to be there at the right time. On top of a hill in Australia, one summer night, where a yogi from India had planted an ancient sacred tree many years ago.

In the end I wished for peace and for full spiritual awakening and liberation for all beings in all worlds.

So, rest easy, the world has in fact been saved 🙂 we can all get on with just being, and, I have the leaf to prove it. -(although in hindsight, specifying a date may have helped)

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The Synthetic World. Our Boxes and our Poisons.

If we look around us today, with honesty, it is apparent that the pinnacle of the yard stick we measure as our success, our human civilization, is little more than an artificial world constructed by thought, of boxes and poisons. While it keeps us alive, in the absolute sense, the sense of reality beyond the creation of humanity, in many ways it acts to keep us from life. The burning fire within every cell, every particle, the agni.

As the dawn of a new era of globalisation through technology dawns, and ancient traditions and cultures and ecologies fall away under the weight of the behemoth of industrialisation, population, consumerism and materialism that we have created, human civilization increasingly draws closer to the generic, and through that funnel, new avenues of diversity.

Here in the ‘first-world’, we drive around in our little boxes, burning the fossilised bodies of algae within chambers of steel, to carry hundreds if not thousands of substances, chemicals, plastics, minerals, liquids and glass onwards, we drive on square roads, directed by square signs, held aloft on rectangular posts, between boxes that house yet more boxes with which we interact. Traversing quickly over the earth we no longer touch, are touched by, recognise or relate with.

We sleep at night in little boxes, on little soft boxes, separated by rectangular doors, and sit down at our little rectangles in the morning to peel of our rectangular slices of baked wheat, and pour streams of dead baked grains impregnated with preservatives and sugar into (for once) little round bowls, that we buy in boxes.

These boxes we sleep in, if we are lucky enough to have one, the storage space of each man each woman, are conceptually ‘set in stone’ with square letters on square bits of paper stored in boxes that we use to create the communal mental boxes that allow us to partition the earth, to feel separate, powerful, and as if we own it, and not it us.

Increasingly in the world of the computer shaped boxes, we spend many hours staring at our square screen, running our eyes over lines of increasingly cubical script, boxing and re-boxing our mental processes through the cognition our vocabulary and dialogue offers, and watching as we box the world into them vs us, this vs that.

We leave our little box and travel to another little box where we purchase with our little square card or paper different little boxes full of things that were once living and natural, processed beyond recognition. And each day, for most of us, we travel to a box where we spend our lives manipulating some part of the physical world we have ripped from the earth,  some human world our institutions tell us to shape, or some intellectual world, we have created from time.

Back home at night again, we sleep, secure in our little box, separate and protected from the stars. In going home we put on the blinkers, turn on the box and no longer see at night our real home.

Our boxed world is one of poisons, each of us, even those living in the amazon basin, carry the equivalent of half a pound of dissolved plastics in their body. We put poisons in the water we wash with, which are absorbed through the skin, we spray poisons on the food we eat, on the plants in our garden, we wash our clothes with poisons, we rub our teeth with poisons, clean our skin with poisons, the water we drink is full of poisons, we wash the things we eat off with poisons, we spray poisons that we think smell nice on our houses, rooms, bodies, forgetting that when we smell it, it has entered the bloodstream, and thus the brain.

Long ago we poisoned the air, earth and water, with atoms created in reactors, chemicals made in laboratories, and poisons dug from the earth. Poisons that accumulate in the fish, the animals and the soil. Poisons that persist.

We add poisons to the food we process and heat, freeze and transport, we add poisons to the materials we process to make clothing, we add poisons to our children’s body and blood, we clean our classrooms with poisons, the institution where the state takes away our children, we package our food with poisons and our drink with poisons that leak poisons, we carpet our houses with poisons and print poisons on paper taken from ancient trees processed with poisons.

Each single truckload of  things sold to assuage our desires, takes maybe sixteen truckloads of poisons to produce, and while these are thrown away, somewhere we don’t see, ultimately there is no away.

Years ago our demand for oil would have outstripped our production, if it were not for the tar sands of Canada, need I say more.

And to make all this, these poisons and boxes, we clearfell vast amounts of life every day, perhaps 16 million plus hectares a year, of an ever dwindling family we think of as a resource.

We carefully process these poisons and the thousands of substances we rip from the earth and using slaves form them into complex patterns that allow us to transmit signals and information between boxes. Allowing us to distort and in a sense poison the electromagnetic environment we exist within, and not just the chemical.

Our houses are wired with lights that cause stress level release of cortisol and adch in our brains, carrying mercury into our homes, our electricity transmission causes field generation that effect our biology and our mobile phones and computers profoundly effect and entrain our state of consciousness interacting directly with the brain and body. And, secure in our own delusions of enlightenment, a generation of humanity have lost touch with the natural world, in search of the answers to their desires within the electronic. A world of thought, and artificial fields of energy that interfere with the brain and body.  A world of addictive distractions and shallow expanded community, lost in reality to humanity through the conceptual and physical boxes of the physical society we live within.

We have found the height of human sophistication our paradigm can create, but lost sight of the stars at night, we have made our lives comfortable, but lost contact with the earth. We have found endless distractions, but not met mortality. We have practices to improve ourselves, new ways to experience the world, but we have not found time to help each other, we have nice places to sleep and interesting things to learn, but we no longer walk barefoot on the earth and sleep under the stars.

The paradigm of boxes and poisons is a powerful one, it has allowed us to expand our population to seven billion, to concentrate this growth in centers of concrete, steel, boxes and poisons, it has allowed us to extend the period of time a body can live for, it has allowed us to develop sophisticated egos and interconnected ideas of life. It has allowed us to share and commune with people in many nations. But the yardstick by which we measure its effects on our life and our planet come from the same paradigm, one that wishs to see its own continuity.

A small dose of neurotoxins, like that we spray on crops, will not cause measurable damage. A small dose of radiation from our phone, will not generally have a persistent measurable effect, but cumulatively, over time, and in this moment the pound of poisons we carry, the complex soup of fields we live in, and the boxing of our minds and hearts by conditioning, inescapably profoundly affects the function and integrity of our organism and our experience of awareness and life.

And, not only through interference with a theoretical vacuum optimum functioning state. But rather entrainment to another.

Even when we change the codes of physical life in laboratories, and alter the fields that help mediate consciousness with phones and computers, human creation cannot not reach the sophistication of that which already existed, nor its mathematics. For while the body is already life,  the journey our mind has taken into technology comes at the price of our lived experience of reality, out there, and of the vast multitude species that have become extinct and ecosystems that have disappeared , and which are dying as we speak, at the rate of five or more species an hour, ten thousand times the average, this a high price to pay. We profess our love for the earth, but sit by.

Without a spiritual understanding of the interconnectedness of living things, of consciousness and the complex mathematical relationships found in the forms and electrical and electromagnetic properties of the natural world, of the spiritual, physical and psychological importance of the connection we share with life, ecosystems and the earth. It is hard to understand any argument against this paradigm. To the mind occupied with the human life, many things are more interesting, many paradigms more important. Life, the conscious sentient dust congealed from the vast explosions trailing across interstellar space,  our family of the crystalline geometrically condensed light that lives and breathes light, is simply not interesting enough to a mind obsessed with becoming more.

We have begun to understand as a civilization through our sciences, the conceptual realms of psychology, biology, spiritual experience, physics, chemistry and sociology, but despite what they teach us, we forget how intimately connected and fragile our bodies are, and how easily alterable the cellular functioning and states of consciousness are. If our thoughts and those of people around us can easily change our functioning and experience of awareness, how susceptible are we to the cumulative effects of our poisons and boxes, fields and programs? How potentially important is the natural world and our physical connection to it for the growth of our spirit, functional awareness and organism.

This may sound a little hippie, but regardless of the delicacy and intelligence with which the body responds to life, its capacity to adapt and survive in so many conditions does not mean that holding an I-phone to your head, is supporting its optimum conditions, and it does not mean that the intellectual and psychological fulfillment we find on the internet, or through the world of boxes and poisons and the states the force us to assume, are any substitute for, or will even help us live as the internet that consciousness already is.

Several years ago I sat in a theatre and listened to the world-renowned Primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall talk about life, about her decisions and her experiences and about the vast ecological and human crisis facing the planet, the mother of all of us. The story she told about her work with chimpanzees began in her childhood dreams, and ended with her living alone in the forests of Africa for long period of time. During this time,  alone in the forest, her personality, its rigidity and barriers began to fall away, lost in the silence. Through the forest and the lack of poisons and boxes, she began to experience classical mystical states of awareness. With the awakening of this bliss within, she gave up the forest, in order to come back and talk to people around the planet about what she had learned about life, and our need to act now, or rather then, to protect it.

after all,

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

—Norman Cousins

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“The Rainbow Body Phenomenon” with Father Francis Tiso

(Sixteenth Karmapa, the first reincarnate lama in tibetan buddhist tradition.)

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Throughout the ages many mystics, primarily born from religious contexts, have displayed a variety of extraordinary physical phenomenon accompanying death, phenomenon commonly associated in tradition with great sanctity, sacredness and saintliness. Developments in awareness, often not openly displayed during life. One of these phenomenon, is known colloquially as the rainbow body, the dematerialization of the body upon death.

These phenomenon are a remainder that the true potential of human consciousness, of human life, and of sacred living, is calling.

Fr Francis Tsio, a highly qualified Theologian, Priest and Academic delivered this lecture in 2002, discussing his then ongoing research into this phenomenon.

(Click Blue Hyperlink Bellow)

“The Rainbow Body Phenomenon” with Father Francis Tiso | IONS Library | Institute of Noetic Sciences.

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Mantra

This is a lovely 🙂

I want to share a little story, close to my heart. Many years ago, when I first moved to the city from the country to live in the nearby hills, I went down to the city to meet a world famous saint from India who was visiting Australia. To remember her visit and carry the inspiration forwards into my day to day life, I bought a Mala, a set of prayer beads to wear and with which to pray. The beads came from a tree, which through its ancestors had been growing in the grounds of one of the oldest monasteries in India for many thousands of years, a pretty special thing.

The specific type of beads are known as the Rudraksha. There are several different mythological basis to the story of the Rudraksha seed, but the basic one is as follows, a long long long time ago, god, incarnated as Shiva, was meditating on the suffering of humanity, to find a solution to a great evil in the world and for the wellbeing of living beings, after many many years, some stories say many thousands of years, Shiva opened his eyes and tears fell upon the earth. These tears became the Rudraksha, the tears of God.

The Rudraksha is a seed pod, found inside a fruit of a brilliant blue color, the pod is divided into varied numbers of sections, and is scripturally and physically varied in its interactions with human consciousness, depending on the number of sections. This number of divisions is basis of the methodology used to categorise each pod and its properties. For the common mala, the number of sections, or mukti, is five.

The Rudraksha, due to their religious significance, have been studied by a number of famous scientists and there is extensive evidence in the literature to show that Rudraksha either mediate or cause some profoundly interesting and beneficial effects in the biology and consciousness of the wearer or user. Because of this tradition and physical reality, they have been used historically, by buddhist, sikh and hindu monastics, amongst others, for use with prayer, meditation, and sanctity.

I used and wore these beads for many years, and undertook a number of different Mantra practices, on at least a daily basis. If not for several hours each day. I found that the practice of these ancient traditions of  prayer, brought healing and growth, both subtle and deep, to myself and to several others I spent time with.

What is mantra? A mantra is a prayer, written (according to tradition), by individuals who were so spiritually awakened and aware that they physically saw reality in terms of energy, and used words and sounds that directly correlated to this awareness. In effect mantra is seen as the primordial ancient language of light, given human form by those who read it. An ancient and sacred practice for purifying the mind, spirit and heart.

These prayers, mantra, work on multiple levels to transform the subtle energy, heart, mind and physical body, in order to bring about the spiritual growth and sanctity requested in each prayer. There is so much I could write about this! To go any further into this concept would take many books, as I’m sure have already been written. Suffice to say, like all spiritual practice, the practice of mantras begin with faith and love and the desire to purify ones thoughts, the calling of god. And ends as a powerful transformative practice, that helps allow the grace of the divine source of life into your heart, mind and life, as well as the consciousness of people you sit with and places you sit.

One of the mantras most special to me is known as the Gayatri Mantra, this is one of the most ancient prayers known to humanity, it is found on the first page of one of the oldest spiritual books in existence, and one of the few things that all the varied traditions of hindu thought can agree on. It is an ancient prayer that has never ceased, never ended, and which continues to this day, for thousands of years chanted in the silence of the heart, and today aloud by many, for the uplifting of humanity and of all life. This ancient tradition is a heritage we can all benefit from, if it calls to us.

The Gayatri Mantra is Sanskrit and in Devangari is as follows:

ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः॒ ।तत्स॑वितुर्वरे॑ण्यम् ।भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि। ।धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त्॥ ।

in Phonetic English its constituent sounds (as words) are;

Om Bhoor Buvah Svah Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Diyo Yo Nah Pratchodayat

My translation of the Gayatri, (found online)

Throughout the experience of life, That essential nature, illuminating existence, is the adorable one. May all beings perceive through the subtle and meditative intellect, the brilliance of enlightened awareness.

Spiritual practices, like prayer, meditation, mantra, are not necessarily fast in conscious effect, not immediate, and much of the time may appear pointless to the spiritually unaware, (and those put off from religion), but through genuine faith, sober spirituality and devoted practice, changes occur, as if drip by drip, each thought of love and devotion, each sacred word, each communion, each meditation, is cleansing the doors of the mind and heart so one can begin to see out in peace.

In time, with practice, familiarity and devotion, the power of our practice increases, until prayer, meditation and mantra(and indeed all practices) are both fast, immediate and powerful. Through practice, we can become of great use in the awakening of consciousness in ourselves and others. When  you chant a prayer, or pray with great devotion, you invite sacredness into your life, mind and heart, a state that can profoundly effect those near to you who are not themselves at peace. Planting subtle seeds for later.

Sometimes it is the simplest and most non-rational things, the most heartfelt, that can be the greatest gifts in life.

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spiritual purity, love, life and true spiritual growth.

Deep within, at the base of each life, we yearn for the purity that we deny in our day to day, the world of enlightenment we are afraid to believe could exist and the innate spirituality that is not about experiences of higher consciousness or of healing, but rather about the simple purity of heart and spirit. What we all need, more than spiritual states of awareness, is a way of life that truly is an expression of our highest and deepest conscience, of the wisdom that transcends and predates our rational mind.

For this alone as we well know, can bring us peace and realise in us the heights of our potential, as spirit having a physical experience.

This struggle, the human condition of guilt, justification, egocentricism and deviation from the ideals we inherently have in our deepest essence, along with those culturally defined, forms the backdrop of our lives and civilization. It is this struggle within ourselves we must address if we wish to find peace in our lives. And if we wish for our spirituality to be more than just for show.

A notion found in all the great navel gazing traditions of the world, for example,  in the book,  the Quran, narrated by the Archangel Gabriel is written; the true religion with Allah is Islam, for this is the original nature according to which Allah fashioned mankind, this is the true religion, but most do not know.

But, what does this mean? Allah is a word for God-(itself a very nebulous and misunderstood concept), but like all words not born in English, it contains nuances that do not translate well, but which are nonetheless critical for understanding its meaning, these nuances are; oneness, unity.

Islam likewise has nuances, literally it means peace, but its nuance is to surrender.

Therefore we could translate this sentence as; The true religion with (god/unity/oneness) is (peace/surrender), this is the original nature according to which mankind was fashioned, this is the true religion, but most do not know.

The self-same statement is found echoed in the Tao Te Ching, written by the immortal, Lao Tzu, we find that; the way to the Tao is through the Te, Te resides in the natural.

Or in a vague English approximation, the way to the supreme Nature of the Universe is through Virtue, Virtue resides in the natural. “therefore shedding all things that bind and envelop you, attain the state of completeness before birth”

and, as another example, speaking for the Logos, Jeremiah 31:33, “I will write my law on their hearts.” And Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this-(human created) world.”

While it is far beyond my understanding to debate and critique the thousands of varied theological and spiritual philosophies on life and spirituality that have germinated around the planet, simply because I do not know either the truth or the philosophy, suffice to say that there is found throughout these traditions, dialogues and discussions a few universal concepts and, while religion as a general rule is completely useless, if not dangerous to spirituality, one of the persistent themes is the idea -(and examples) of spiritual purity, of saintliness.

What is saintliness? Spiritual purity? and how do these relate to human life?

In life there are two kinds of purity, the inherent purity of reality just as it is. And the second, the purity of our relationship to reality. Often mediated and purified, (when it comes to the impressionable human mind) by ritual, geometry, ceremony, singing, contemplation, or meditation.

The first kind of purity is the kind of purity spoken about by the mystics, the ever-present purity of reality. The radiant, ecstatic inner-most beingness of consciousness,  both within and without, as the very so-called particles that compose our apparently exterior experience of life, and the eternal, infinite purity of the fundamental nature of space itself, of life itself, and ultimately, more importantly, of that beyond forms, unchanging, beyond concept, beyond alteration. The divine dance of the timeless source of reality and the manifest world of the living earth.

If we chose, for one second to perceive reality as it is directly, instead of through the lens of boredom, or familiarity, the profundity, the sacredness, the brilliance of it’s every motion, deeper than the deep, more present than the presence, would change our lives forever, there is after all, a reason why the Buddha statues are always smiling. There is no need to discover something extra, what is most profound is closest to us.

It is an eternal and nearly incomprehensible shame that humanity has become more interested in what their culture, schooling, parents and television told them was real, the jobs, the things people make, the interactions of ego, and all the nonsense they confuse for life, than they are in the direct realisation of the fundamental nature of life, of consciousness and of the immense profundity and sacredness of it all, the universe, reality as it is before thoughts kill it. Not psychically, not entheogenically, not intellectually, but directly, simply as that choice.

It is so simple that it is missed, so challenging it is not attempted and so gateless it is not a gate, if you wish for truth, withdraw the energy of your awareness from your senses from the experiences of your awareness, and place it on your awareness itself alone, right here, right now. Be disinterested in thoughts, and have a heart and mind only for awareness itself, remain in this state without alteration, without the slightest distraction, without waver, with full concentration. Desiring only to know the truth, once and for all, but desireless. For, when you thus truly choose to look within, not analytically, not conceptually, not guided by belief, ego or experience. But within the actual being itself, with sustained attention and awareness liberated from forms, thoughts and deviation into experience, if you are not distracted, do not become attached to the states of awareness that unfold, as they will, but rather allow them to be, to progress naturally, you will perceive by default your cosmic nature.

In layman’s terms, (such as myself), there is no other way to see other than look.

All beings, no matter their state of grace can be aided in this, and by many agencies, not just as is most common, humans. But regardless of our experiences in life, mundane or so-called not, there is no other way of self-mastery than choice, experiences only exist to stimulate our heart and mind towards the numinous so that we may choose more wisely in our day to day. For no other thing we can ever do, matters one iota in comparison. All else, and even this, is but a dream within a dream.

The second kind of purity, is the purity of the heart. The relationship of the life, the human life, with the innate virtue. This is the purity which allows the direct experience of reality, as described by the mystics to be lived. Liberation comes when there is equal purity between vitality and indweller. This is why spiritual experiences inspire and teach, so that we may cross this divide into oneness.

This purity is more important than the mystic states, because this purity is our creation, our responsibility, our relationships and our lives. This purity alone is what transforms our lives and our world, and this purity is our humanness, our innermost heart, and the inheritance we bequeath to ourselves.

We have inherent in our nature, inherent in our humanity, certain scientific axioms, for while in the nature of the absolute, of the real beyond the real, there is only eternal purity, in the world of the relative, of the individual, of the self, there is a chain of cause and effect based upon these axioms that connects all things. And so, relative purity exists. For us, the human part of that chain, is our hearts.

Religion could be seen -(if charitably inclined) as one of mankind’s attempts to deal with the human part of that chain, by directing our remembrance, our thinking and feeling, towards the divine. For, while it is my experience and that of many others, through meditation, that the journey of reality and of my soul, from the beginning of time all the way through this moment and forwards to the end of time, is divinely ordained, all as it is meant to be, all known down to the position of every speck of dust, every moment, every life, every star, an incredible orchestra, music of deep sacredness and wonderment that culminates every moment in greater heights of ecstasy and newness, heading for the climax of our cosmic ride, the universal festival. It is my experience, of being human, that allows this. And of the two, it is my humanity that demands my attention, the other, is merely its basis and home.

There is an absolute truth and a relative truth, and both are important. To deny free will in its absolute profundity and eternal implications, is to deny any relevance that spirituality may bring to bear on life at all.

While it may be true in an absolute and philosophical sense, that the greatest evils of the history, present and future of our life together, the wars, the rapes, the genocides, the species-icides are in the greater and deeper context, somehow meant to be, it is not the case that such rationalizing of suffering and evil in the world can truly find rest in our heart with such ease. Some things, while demanding compassion, are just fundamentally wrong.

From the perspective of our natural mind, the mind of love, empathy and compassion, that the sciences have shown to exist a-priori in all humanity, (and no doubt in all life) concerned with the well being of another, with harmony and wellbeing. To say that rape, genocide, torture, was meant to be, is a deep distortion of our humanity. This tension, the relationship between our subconscious mind and super-conscious minds, can not be resolved by rationalisation, nor by experiences of heightened states, but only by a life lived in denial of fear and in the service of our innate humanity,-(unrestricted by fear and judgements) and by the choices of awareness.

Unformed awareness may be a powerful liberator of identified patterns of behaviour and response, (if we choose to hold them in our awareness and allow them to become free) but as Jiddi Krishnamutri said; “In our relationship with children and young people, we are not dealing with mechanical devices that can be quickly repaired, but with living beings who are impressionable, volatile, sensitive, afraid, affectionate; and to deal with them we have to have great understanding, the strength of patience and love.” all beings are children, and this is our humanity, the desire of our heart for peace, harmony, justice, wisdom and love, our invitation to take responsibility for how we are and what we do, to live well.

There is a great movement in the western spirituality, driven by the influx of shamanistic and eastern thought into the dialogue of the western semi-secular, semi-religious spirituality we are born into, that has been growing in the western world for the last hundred years, to see now, the present moment, as the panacea for all spiritual ills. This is a dangerous position to take mindlessly, for its logic is flawless, and in a sense it contains within it the key to understanding many spiritual paths, and misunderstood can thus belittle other deep and ancient wisdom’s.

In the present moment, there is only what is real, the rest, the personal demons that plague us, a construct of the thinking that cannot exist there. But it is not enough to merely rest in what is real, to deconstruct, (or avoid deconstructing) by resting our own insanity, we must also construct, act, create, live.

Ultimately the position of believing that now is all that matters, that of absolute truth, fails to highlight the relative, the human. And thus the key to any spirituality, our hearts. Love, and compassion, awe, creativity, kindness, imagination, active participation in life, in relationships and the acceptance of our own humanity, compassionately, with all its delusions.

Avoiding our relationships, our delusions, our fear, our anger, our pain, our love, our joy, our bliss, our attraction, to escape into the present moment, is avoiding the present moment. Real surrender is an embrace of our humanity, just as it is. Without judgement, without needing to change our patterns, but with grace allowing it to be changed into one of love. This is the true power of the present, and the liberation of the formless intelligence of awareness. Real alignment with our hearts does not come about by repressing our emotions, by feeling less, but rather by feeling more, by being open to being hurt, by being open to love, and by not discriminating against our inner world, by allowing peace and love to direct our lives.

It is our responsibility, the exercise of our will and the freeing of our innate desire to love unconditionally, actively, that can set us free, not just using the conceptual tool of remembering to bring awareness to bear, in order to find the freedom from reaction and identification we sometimes need in order to breath and to remember what is important.

Now is all there is, it is impossible to be anywhere else, it is impossible to be anything else. Therefore the attempt to “be here now” is in actual fact the use of a structure of thought, words used to stimulate the cognitive remembrance to let go of the content of awareness, and return to that awareness itself, intelligence. To allow formless awareness to dis-identify the practice of a story, a past, identification.

While to travel extremely deeply into the space described as now, is meditation, meditation is not living, its psychological and spiritual enlightenment, and even the enlightened must live.

Spiritual purity begins and ends in our hearts, in how well we allow love to be the driver of our life. Not in the absolute, but in our own lives. In the simplicity of the pain that has hurt us, the fears we live with and the suffering we see around us and within.

Religion recognised this, but in sharing this message, has too often repressed people further, to deal with the feelings of guilt that are experienced when we are honest about the difference between our super-conscious calling to our nature and our subconscious interpretation of our life as lived by our reactive mind and it stories. At the level of the conscious mind we may justify and conceptualize our lives with lower mundane wisdom, to the extent we can live without hesitation. But at the level of the unconscious intelligence that knows all, there are certain scientific facts that cannot be denied.

For example, cruelty does not make the world better, or you happier. Like all transgressions against our soul, in leaves darkness in your heart and soul, darkness that you then run from and hide from by searching for personal happiness. The more we transgress against our own nature, the more guilt we feel in our subconscious substratum and the more fear we have of turning that pattern around by owning it. Eventually the unconsciousness is so deep, we are often not even willing to admit to ourselves that it is there. There is so much pain, so many lies, so much avoidance of deeply caring for others, that we start to feel as if only us and our story that matters to us. A simple biological and spiritual impossibility, but nonetheless quite possible with a limited conscious awareness.

Even ‘spirituality’, our new shiny schema of life, can become a way to rationalise away pain, and through our thinking and our certainties about life, to avoid feeling the compassion that could set us free. This is the great sadness of life, that we are offered heaven, if we are willing to choose it, but would rather chose our story of guilt, of pain, of blame, of self-importance, each day again and again, rather than through maturity and responsibility, the gentleness and honesty of freedom.

Spiritual purity is more than just a word, more than an experience, more than a practice, it is our acknowledgement of the indelible record of every thought, every action, every emotion that we will ever feel and have ever felt. It is the calling we feel to live as saints, and the recognition of egoic identification and confusion that makes us feel that our happiness is better served by denying this. The degree to which purity is important and possible is so far beyond how most experience life, that it is impossible to express.

At the beginning spiritual purity is the call to live with a great conscience, and with the knowledge that every thought and action, every perspective and word, matters, and exists for eternity, bringing implications and consequences we cannot escape. As they ripple inwards and outwards through the tapestry of life.

Even great spiritual teachers, masters of present moment awareness, meditation and wisdom like Siddhartha Buddha, could not escape the fruits of his own past actions, his karma.

In the middle, spiritual purity is the call to live with great spirituality, as a power of compassion, of love, of kindness, of presence, of healing and of wisdom. It is a conscious choice. An allowing of our truest heart essence, behind all stories, utterly present.

And in the end, spiritual purity is the calling to live with great conscience, compassion, and freedom from fear.

This is the real Jihad, the war waged within for the prize, peace with and surrender to our soul.

This world however is more than what it appears to be, it is more real and more spiritual than we like to admit or are ready to acknowledge, our minds see it as fallible, dreamlike, concrete, meaningless, an endless loss of the past into a future that never arrives, letting us live with the falseness we choose in the illusion that it disappears. In reality, nothing is ever lost, it is the depth of relationship to our past that will bring us to spiritual enlightenment and grace, and the ability that this and this alone gives us to relate to the present that will bring us peace and true integrity.

There is a repetitive dialogue occurring in the world of “new-age belief” that speaks of us manifesting the things we desire in life, as if the human mind had within it the secrets to making the world give us what we egoically desire, however, while the mind and our worlds are intrinsically connected at the deepest level, perhaps the real secret is how we think and feel can affect how we experience what happens in our experience of life.

What do you think is more important? the external or internal and transient world of forms, or the internal world of the eternal soul. Will we attract the experience of bad and good things in life, according to our ego, by virtue of our own thinking? Perhaps it is more likely that this belief is yet another illusion conjured up by the ego to support its own existence, its own importance. Yet another form of egocentricism.

As the famous Tibetan saint, Jetsun Milrepa said

Though grief in the Ocean of Samsara
Is preached, and its renunciation is urged,
Few people are really convinced
And renounce it with determination.
Though knowing that life will ever turn to death,
Few feel uneasy, or think that it will end.
Though their life is blessed with good prospects,
Few can practice abstention for a day.
Though the Bliss of Liberation is expounded
And Samsara’s pains are stressed,
Few can really enter the Dharma Gate.
Though the profound Pith-Instructions
Of the Whispered Lineage are given without stint, few
Without fail can practice them.
Though the teaching of Mahamudra is expounded
And the Pointing-out demonstration is exercised,
Few can really understand the Essence of Mind.
To the hermit’s life and the Guru’s wish
One can always aspire, but few
Can put them into practice.
The perfect, skillful path of Naropa
May be shown, without concealment,
But those who can really follow it
Are very few. My dear lad,
You should follow in my footsteps
If in this life you want to do
Something that is worthwhile.

Life is already occurring, already in flow,and while our actions and thoughts and feelings can affect how we interact with it, life has its own cycles which it will complete. Our alignment to the numinous, in thought, word and deed, can integrate states of sacredness into our living, states that can affect those around us, and the place in which we live, but not the fundamental nature of the interconnected, interdependent and complex world in which we live. The mind, the ego, and the life-force are a tremendous impostor that has come upon the nature of who we are, not the reverse.

The calling we have to sacredness, each second of each day, is as fundamental to reality as well, reality itself. It is not half-hearted, half enough, or a path to walk down, or become, but rather an inner song that replies to consciousness. And all it requires is for us to allow its functioning in our heart. Ignorance, habitual interest in the mundane, or stories about reality that lack, deny or direct us away from this calling are no excuse, and will not bring about the fulfilment of answering that calling. Practices, healing and paths are not required, all that is required is purity of heart, or the acceptance of spiritual maturity.

As Jesus Christ said(without mincing his words), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

The ultimate point is this, while we can transform all states and all events into the deepening of consciousness and the purity of spiritual bliss, and through that alchemical process deepen our own awakening, it is only through practicing purity of thought, word and deed, as a human, that we truly answer the call and can ever begin to realise the true potential of a human being, far beyond our imagination, each second of each day of our very short and fragile lives. And both of these, require our full surrender to truth.

 

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our home

our home is amazing… and we are it

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Gordon Allport (1964) “By their own theories of human nature, psychologists have the power of elevating or degrading that same nature. Debasing assumptions debase human beings; generous assumptions exalt them.”

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Meaning and Purpose in Life. -(and a collection of famous quotes)

In my early twenties, I had the blessing of being able to meet with and talk a little with a wonderful spiritual teacher who had spent some years in silent retreat and had experienced many profound things, at that stage in my life I was a little confused as to where I wanted to be going, what was my job?-(a word that means hatred) or more correctly, what my calling for life was.

I had never asked another for the answers to my questions before, I believed that to become self-reliant in answering my own questions would be beneficial for developing my own wisdom and intuition, whereas to rely on another agency might undermine it.

I asked her something very much like this: “Im a little confused about life in general, about what I should be doing with my life, I want to know, what is a worthwhile thing to be doing? what is a good thing to do in life?”

She looked at me and laughed; “I can’t tell you the answer to your question” she said “only you can answer that. But, what matters most is not what you do, but why and how you do it. Do what you do with and for love. It doesn’t matter if you go off and meditate in a cave, feed the starving, work for the environment, protect children, what matters is that you do it with and for love, and the important thing is that you begin, that you become a part of a process, a part of this flow of life, because from that place, it is much easier to recognise what it is you are to do.” She suggested I examine my gifts to discover what it was I could give, and said that she thought that it was a beautiful question.

As Rumi-(did I mention he was my favourite poet) wrote-

“These spiritual window-shoppers, who idly ask, ‘How much is that?’ Oh, I’m just looking. They handle a hundred items and put them down, shadows with no capital.
What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop, and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment, in that shop.
Where did you go? ‘Nowhere’. What did you have to eat? ‘Nothing much’.
Even if you don’t know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.
Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah.
It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.”

While not exactly a spiritual luminary,-(far from it) and having led a less than inspiring life, I have realised that there is a vast importance to be found in participating in the world, as a physical being. After all as Goethe wrote; “the darkest circles of hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

I have at times in my life acted in harmony with this higher calling, during those times I was fulfilled, and full of energy and life, able to literally read many thousands of papers, talk to many thousands of people on behalf of causes I believed in, and speak my mind in public forums without the nervousness and anxiety I can experience when speaking for myself.

While this has not always been true, despite my obvious failings in my relationships and life the facts of our lives in the physical world as one planet have always been in my mind, how might I best fit in the world? While this has made my life unconventional, it has been a tremendous blessing for me as well, it has meant that at times I have thought of myself more in terms of how I might be useful to others, or to the world, and less in terms of how the world, or others, might be useful to me. In itself a potent spiritual practice that has brought me happiness and peace and non- judgementalism. As Albert Einstein said; “A person starts to live, when they can live outside themselves”

As a part of this process of conceptual meditation, or adjusting my values from egocentric to othercentric, I have in the past, often contemplated and discussed subjects that others have found “a bit depressing”, for example our various planetary crisis, fair enough my life is not for everyone, but ill defend my insensitivity by confessing my childlike enthusiasm, I don’t find this depressing, to me it is like the elephant in the room, the great unspoken backdrop to our humanity. Without acknowledging and coming to terms with the overwhelmingly huge suffering and evil that has been and is at work in the world, the billions that have been brutally murdered, the hundreds of thousands of acres of forest we see clear-felled every day, the ongoing  greatest mass extinction in earths history, and the two billion humans now living in slums and dying like flies. It is hard to see how any life or any spirituality can be really thought of as mature. We do not grow by avoiding the truth, but rather through facing it.

If we do not orient our life and our thinking in  terms of these things, how can we ever live a fulfilling life? How can you ever really summon the passion to value spirituality? To love with all  your heart, to think with all your mind, and to work with all your strength for what is right. Our global situation, and our history, are overwhelmingly huge things to come to terms with, to embrace, to accept and to feel. But in doing so, and with the remembrance that within each being there is the divine spark, the divine bliss and consciousness, within each being there is love, kindness and memory of a mother, and also that when we speak of the forests, we are talking about our mother, our body, that the oceans are our spirit, our blood, that the earth is our food, our home. And from this, looking this suffering, this horror, this unapologetic Satanism at work in the world, the response within us becomes not a hiding from, but a wider consciousness, a compassion and a purpose that can transcend the petty internal dialogue of the ego, and bring us into a meaningful and purposeful life where we do not shelter from our obligation to justice.

The simple truth is that just because we have been conditioned to believe in learned helplessness, through schooling and media, our conditioning does not make it so, we are not helpless.

The only problem with humanity is quite simply, that we do not have enough feelings about the things that matter, good people, are lukewarm and do not choose to act. We do not feel enough for the lives of our ancestors, or for our global family today, we do not feel enough for the genocides and ongoing environmental apocalypse, the economic slavery, the stupidity, the cruelty, the egoism, the separated little lives each absorbed in its own self-importance and little stories. We are lukewarm, interested only in our own mild pleasure, while mortality and spirituality calls us to more.

There is nothing my ego can ever generate, that can ever be as important to the function of my will as the suffering of billions, the incessant warfare of humanity and the mass extinction of life. This is a call to find the deepest peace within, to live the greatest love and to forget the self in the service of others, from this place we can walk for a hundred kilometers and not be effected, sleep on the bare ground and not feel it, read a thousand books and not learn enough, speak to a thousand people and not have spoken enough, plant a thousand gardens, and not have planted enough, feed a thousand homeless people, and not have fed enough and all without fanaticism, but with passion, intelligence and love.

We are all one, and to each of us our blessings and our curses, we must by the will of our mind, cause our blessings to direct the course of our lives, with gentleness and understanding, for all life is one. And our debt and our calling is enormous.

As Albert Einstein wrote in his Credo (1932);

“Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore.
In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own.
I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them.”

The integrity, the honesty and the respect for all beings, for our family, our friends, for all life, that this demands, is immense.

And as the famous spiritual teacher and philosopher Jiddhi Krishnamutri said:

“If you are not at all concerned with the world but only with your personal salvation, following certain beliefs and superstitions, following gurus, then I am afraid it will be impossible for you and the speaker to communicate with each other. We are not concerned at all with private personal salvation but we are concerned, earnestly, seriously, with what the human mind has become, what humanity is facing. We are concerned at looking at this world and what a human being living in this world has to do, what is his role?”

If the heart is open, and there is compassion in the heart, then personal salvation becomes abhorrent in the face of suffering and injustice. Perhaps one answer to this question is to transform our own consciousness, but do we take that calling with the earnestness it deserves in the face of a crisis of this magnitude? And will this transformation result in us living a life that participates in the fate of those who most need us now? As Gandhi said; “Before you do anything, stop and recall the face of the poorest most helpless destitute person you have seen and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to do going to help him?”

Esoteric solutions will not provide food for the starving, protection for the forests, education for the violent, or support for the homeless we drive past on our way to the temple of our choice to pray for help.

In my experience it is honestly so much easier and fulfilling to live for compassion, each in our own way, in our prayers and lives, than it is to ignore it and harden our hearts. Not with arrogance, not with self-righteousness or surety, but with humility, gentleness, wisdom and faith, for as Feynman said;  “I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degree of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean.  I might think about it a little bit, but if I can’t figure it out, then I go on to something else.” even when we can say something about something as big as the world, it’s normally true that many different apparently contradictory perspectives can be valid and useful at each relative level of our conceptual understanding, and all at the same time.

In the words of G.B. Shaw- “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

In each life, to live a life of purpose, and not of minor wishes, but to have a legitimate and useful purpose and dedicate yourself unreservedly to it, to have a purpose that is worthwhile and to live it, is one of the great secrets to feeling that your life is worth living. And of all purposes, one of the greatest is to serve children, for every being alive is just a baby-(a bundle of love and joy) that grew slightly older and started believing it was not.

What then has my purpose been? what is my vision for the world?

I envisage a world where institutions no longer take children away from their parents to give them to an institution that has been designed by a state that wishes to create more workers to service its vast infrastructure. I see a world within which children are conceived with love, not lust, and not pain, and raised by two partners.

I see a world, without the genital mutilation of children.

I see a world without rape, violence or drug abuse.

I see a world where mankind don’t poison mind and heart with media that transmit a meaningless world view that locks the thinking acting and relating of its audience into set patterns of behaviour and reaction. I see a world where children are not exposed to a hundred thousand simulated murders by the time they became adults. But instead something more akin to a hundred million physical hugs.

I see a world where the earth is not ripped up, where poisons are left in the ground and not created, because when they spread them away, there is no away. It is one tapestry of life, and it all ends up back in our bodies and in our children and it all has an effect.

I see a world where the billions of children born tomorrow have a hope and a future, not cities made of mud and violence and starvation.

I see a world, that is covered with old growth permaculture forest, maintained by humanity, local and integral to its harmony, with mango trees four stories high, and avocados the same size. and all sorts of wonderful things growing everywhere. I see a world where people have a diet of thousands of foods, rather than thirty, and where the food is alive when its eaten.

I see a world where the concrete and poisons and shells of radiation, the phones and computers, the boxes they drive to work in and live in, and sleep in and think in, and buy in and die in, are left behind and instead all the lights go out and the stars our cosmic home are visible as they once were.

I see a world where every child ever born is loved and feels safe to love in return.

I see a world where every child ever born hears the true stories of humanity, and has its gifts nurtured. Where joyousness of the soul, more than refinement of the intellect, become the aim of our society. Where love for one another, before competition and judgementalism, are the yardstick by which we measure happiness.

I see a world where children are introduced to the numinous, to the sacred places of the earth, to the behaviours of the animals and birds and fish, the deep places of the forests, and the hidden caves of the mountains. And I see a world where the theories of human nature we shared and nurtured were ones that exalted the human spirit, and not debased it.

Most of all, I see a world built on purpose. Where all humanity are touched by the power of their soul, and choose each second of each day to love as if they were going to die, and life as if they will never leave.

 

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The Meditation of sleep.

Many years ago, I had a series of very interesting dreams, and then one night, I awoke, asleep, to the experience of nothing, it was as if the clearest light, the purest radiance was shining in the void, and the moment I perceived it, it disintegrated and became again an experience, I later understood that I had been gifted with a brief glimpse of a very profound state of meditation, one enjoyed in every moment by the greatest masters of meditation that have lived.

According to the ancient wisdom traditions of the world, life itself while the purpose and meaning of reality, this moment just as it is, is also a very serious business. Because you see, life is preparation for dying, and death comes to all.

Our relationship with and understanding of this fact is critical to our lives, because if we were to realise with absolute certainty, the certainty that our death is, not with a sideways remark, not with a denigrating nod to religion, not with a sudden switch to another channel of tv, another conversation, a new-age pleasantry, a religious affirmation, another partner, another drug, another practice, another day, another job, another fear, another dream, another thought, another experience, or indeed all the inane and pointless stimulation our minds endlessly chase. It could change us forever, after all if you knew you would die tomorrow, your today may be lived somewhat differently.

If we truly realised this fact and this alone, not intellectually, but emotionally, not childishly, but maturely, not in rationality, but fully, it would be sufficient to give us the mental, emotional and psychological strength to take life with the seriousness it requires, each moment of each day. To forgive and live for others and not ourselves, to love and speak for others and not ourselves, and to die and sleep for others, and not ourself. So contemplate mortality say the ancient traditions.

Our lives may end at any time, and we never know when that end may come, this day may be your last, contemplate mortality.

The ancient traditions say that this world we experience, is a reality that our minds cannot comprehend, and that therefore, it is best to think of it as a dream. In this dream, living from our inherent identification with the egoic identity, relating in this way to perceptions of the dream, and the perceptions we form and take to be the others around us, we live unconscious. Immersed in the constant stream of experience, of thought, of identification, of perception, reacting in thought, word and deed to all that arises as if in actual fact, it were real. As if all the stories our culture and society say are real even matter at all, or mean anything, in the face of the infinite and eternal.

The ancient traditions say that this samsara, this hashgacha, this karma, this stream of awareness, is  by its nature suffering, and that this suffering is not good for our planet, is not good for our souls and is not good for our children. That instead of suffering we desire to live from love, and that through spiritual practice we can learn to do just that. They say that a powerful way to do this is to learn meditation, for through meditation and meditation alone we find ourselves and can learn to live as that, rather than as an identity, a story.

For, when you sit peacefully, without violence, and confront the mind, with all its insanity, all its stories, all its fears, all its dreams, its attachments, its aversions, and allow it all to be, it calms down, and through peace and kindness and the power of will generated via the expanded light of love and compassion, it will sit in its own self-luminous being, and in the ecstatic self-potentialising gestalt of its own psychic self intensification, realise its own essential nature beyond labels and thought, as the deeper nature of reality itself, or god. In all the majesty, sacredness, and profundity that entails, beyond comprehension as reality itself.

The wisdom traditions of the world say that the waking life however, is only half of life, the other half, we sleep, and if you are unaware in sleep for half your life, how can you ever awaken? Sleep then, becomes an important spiritual practice, a continuation of our internal moment to moment life. What spiritual path are you on, if when you sleep it ends?

The wisdom traditions say that when we sleep sometimes our psychic organs awaken and dreams come about, and that dreams are the psychic perceptions of the mind, either of real worlds we visit or manifestations of our subconscious mind, it doesn’t matter, for both are just as much the illusion as the waking world. The traditions say that in dream, as in life, we take the phenomenon to be real, and interact with it as we do in life, from identification, from the idea of a self. And that as in life, this means we remain unconscious, reactive and captive to the dream.

The wisdom traditions say that if we can become aware in meditation and no longer captive and reactive to the mind, we can become aware in life, and that if we can become aware in life, no longer captive and reactive to our perception and fear, we can become aware in dream and no longer react, captive to it, and through becoming aware in dream, dissolve the dream, the energy our awareness uses to create it, into the generation of the light of pure awareness, and  into undifferentiated sleep.

The wisdom traditions say that in sleep there is no body, no space, no time, no identity, and in the deepest sleep, no perceiver or perception.

The wisdom traditions say that at the moment of death, there is a space where this same light arises, the deepest non-dual consciousness through which the rest of our lives and experiences, our spirituality and our insanity, and any phenomenon that may arise, physical or psychic, has its home, the Orh Ein Sof, infinite source, infinite light. They say that if you can learn to be aware in this, the deepest of stillness, you can learn to be aware at the moment of death, and through that, free yourself from identification, and from unconscious reactive relating, to whatever further phenomenon may arise.

The ancient wisdom traditions, from all continents and all religions, say that if you do not realise this, in life, and liberate yourself from becoming attached to what arises at the moment of death, the ultimate in psychedelic and psychic trips, identifying instead with the deep substratum of reality from which it all emerges,  then you eventually cause yourself to be reborn to experience the beliefs subconsciously held that created the life you lived, the experiences you had, and the awareness you generated, and will have to learn of this principle again if you wish to become free, and if you are lucky enough to do so.

This is what those who have gone before us have said. But like all discussions of technique and of reality, it is not something you need to believe, but instead, something you can discover for yourself.

 

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The Older Brother, the Labyrinth, and the Esoteric Secrets of the Ages.

Ten years ago, sitting on my bed, upstairs in a small room in an old 17th  century vicarage in Cardiff, Wales. I begun as an adult, to explore the esoteric world of crystals. I had been given my first large quartz crystal at around the age of six, and loved it very much, carrying it around with me and sleeping with in my hands at night for several years.

A lifetime later, living in Cardiff, I had sleeping with me in my tiny room, not much larger than my bed, a “world class collection” of  extremely unusual crystal formations, rare and exotic, unique pieces that I have not seen the like of which anywhere before or since, it was an amazing time for me, exploring flowers, crystals, and ancient medicinal and esoteric traditions. I woke, worked and slept drifting between states of higher consciousness and intense visionary states, living in a world of rarefied energy fields and deep sensitivity to the subtle world. Having grown up surrounded by nature, it was all that kept me sane, trapped in the concrete, electrically overwhelming jungle of a modern city. While leaving the city, or walking in parks at every opportunity, to walk the forests, visit ancient sacred sites, stone circles and hilltops, rivers and dales, and sloping hills of oak forest, rich with the decaying humus, bluebells and wild deer. initiated into the experience of the states and extra-dimensional beings of higher consciousness at night. However as Patanjali said,

“When invited by invisible beings one should be neither flattered nor satisfied, for there is yet a possibility of ignorance rising up.”

I may have been dwelling and entering into states of significantly higher consciousness and perception, but this too is of the world, its subtlety, regardless of how our culture may see it, does not make it any less nor more than mundane.

When dealing directly with the perception of the world of subtle energy, with the alteration into higher states, its embedded intelligence, its awakening power and knowledge of the higher and deeper worlds that form the history and herstory of our world, it is easy to fall into the trap of egoism, to believe that this new perception of reality, is the I that the ego has been looking for, that these experiences, states of consciousness, spiritual gifts and perceptions, are more real, more central to reality. It is easy to become identified with the glowing luminous light that surrounds and interpenetrates our bodies, holding our consciousness and interfacing it with the super-luminal reality and the world of perception, instead of realising that this too is only the manifestation of consciousness itself. It is changeable, and so not it. It may hold the story of our soul, but our soul is not a story.

Crystals are fascinating, revered by all spiritual traditions of mankind since antiquity, from the amethyst rings of bishops, the breastplate of the ancient keepers of the ark, to crystals embedded in the flesh trans-generationally of the wise ones of Australia, and the stones set amougst the crowns of pharaohs and kings. But like reality itself, there is so much more to them than altered states, feelings of wellbeing and frequencies of electromagnetic energy. To the consciousness that is able to perceive, is willing to look directly instead of assuming limitation or distracting itself with stories and theories, there is so much more within this dimension of consciousness than vague fields of light, theories of grounded fields, time-space interaction, destiny and cellular functioning.

To explore the world of crystals and their interactions with human awareness adequately is not something I’m willing to attempt in a blog, it would take the discipline and work of several PhD studies, there is a veritable plethora of physics, chemistry, theoretical physics, and biology, and to enter into it in a short blog would be no more than the spouting of poetic pseudoscience, akin to new age claims that all is energy. Very real, at one level of understanding, but very useless to discuss without a conceptual context based in a scientifically coherent theory of consciousness and reality.

One day humanity will be able to discuss this maturely, but until then its all new-age tripe, speculation, or at the best poetic descriptions of life experience. And is it not said, that in a world where distinctions of subject and object disappear, poetry is the purest language.

My personal experiences however, are another matter. One of the interesting experience I’ve had I will relate. One night, sitting with a new crystal that had come into my life, or perhaps I into it, after all time and space are relative, what is it that really moves? Instead of travelling with it internally or clairvoyantly, I began to look more physically closely at the Auric field surrounding my body and that of the crystal, the room was filled with the luminous condensed energy plasma-(for want of a better (purely) descriptive word) of my concentration, ancient patterns of luminous consciousness embedding themselves into the moment.

To deal with this world, the world of the spiritual, the body has built into it certain biological and neurological reflexes that allow the perception of the numinous more truly, one important one is that reflex, when you focus not on the vagaries but rather the specifics of an Auric field, and your eyes enter a physical muscular vibration, allowing them to defocus from their attention on the physical and refocus on the subtle. Really it is not as if anything is ever hidden, it is that people do not physically look.

The aura around the tip of the crystal in particular was specific and clear, in slightly less than a millimeter variations of vivid bands of colour that radiated from the tip down the crystal perhaps two centimeters along its edges in seven layers concrete layers. Where the edges came together to form the tip a beam of energy, akin to all crystals, emerged, it cut through the energetic plasma like a laser, along this laser letters in a script of writing I did not recognise were moving, down the beam away from the crystal, I experimented with pointing this crystal at various other objects, other stones mainly. Where the beam struck them a spiralling pattern began to emerge, starting at about five millimeters wide, and ending at roughly three centimeters, this spiralling vortex, for want of a better word continued to spin until it resolved itself into an image of a labyrinth.

(There is an image in the Mahabharata, that appears to depict this process of transformation half way completed, the Padmavyuha.)

In actual fact, this exact labyrinth (see above), an interesting image to perceive considering the one above is a distinctively European rendition, perhaps a copy of an earlier in-situ design some 4500 years old, and that the crystal itself was dug from the sand in Brazil. In reality though, this image, is found in many ancient civilizations of the world, it is a part of the primordial tradition, not that constructed by man.

I explored this for sometime, going deeper and deeper into the absorption of my attention on this phenomenon, until my tongue started to roll back into my throat in spontaneous Khecarī Mudrā, at the time I was unfamiliar with this spiritually significant biological response, or spiritual practice, despite its meditative roots forming the basis of my most profound realisations, so despite the spiritual intensity of the experience I was having and the states of awakened awareness that were wanting to be realised, decided to leave it there, rather than surrender.

Despite my prevention of this awakening, this image stayed with me for many years, I wanted to understand what it meant, In the perhaps fragmented western traditions the labyrinth represents two things, firstly the path of life according to destiny, in western traditions it is believed that each individual has free will, but also a path that is set before them by divine decree and that at moments of heightened awareness, we may sometimes perceive our feet upon the path. When it appears in your life, it is a sign to pay attention for your destiny is unfolding and you must leap without fear into the states and experiences that you are offfered, and so live wisely.

We have no choice but to walk this path, and see it best when it is physically manifest before our eyes upon the earth, but due to our free will it is also possible to stray from it, to miss important life lessons, important opportunities for growth. Life is a pilgrimage we must walk, but our walking is not always sacred, and not always on the path we may have wished for at birth. So often our growth is stunted by our own fears. The labyrinth reminds us of this destiny, of the sacredness of life, and of the personal choices we make as humans. It is as Rumi said

“It is as if a king had sent you to a country to carry out one special, specific task.  You go to the country and you perform a hundred other tasks, but if you have not performed the task you were sent for, it is as if you have done nothing at all.  So people have come into the world for particular tasks, and that is our purpose.  If we don’t perform it, we will have done nothing.”

The labyrinth is an inner and outer journey into and from the centre of life. For all life is a mirror in which the soul meets its own face, or avoids it.

The second is that the labyrinth, symbolically represents the journey into the other world and the return – a death of one state and rebirth into another.

In the ancient Hopi traditions, the labyrinth represents the home of the creator of reality, known as the older brother, it is he who set in place the spiritual codes we must live by in life, or to say it another way, our original nature, the image of the divine. This labyrinth is the floor plan to his house, the map of life, and when you reach the centre, you get the chance to look back over your life from a higher perception, seeing things as they truely were and not as they were imagined to be, before travelling on, into the next world.

He made this labyrinth, this life, so so that when people went to look for him, they would get confused and could not find him and turn back, rather than press on.

The great esoteric secret of the ages is that of the labyrinth.

 

 

 

Love, Kindness and Compassion.

 

 

Since Huxleys books and the sixties the western and in some ways gloabl youth zietgiest has been to associate mystical experiences with spirituality, however as the old traditions say much as spiritual experiences can transform you, and spiritual practice can soften your heart, open your mind and purify your soul. Spirituality is actually life itself, in all its humanity. It is one thing to sit in blissful states, have your life healed and remade by love, explore higher states of awareness, or explore other worlds, but it is another to live the thing.

And of the two, the latter is the one that matters, though of course they go hand in hand.

Spirituality is not escapism into new experiences, not altered states of higher planes, but rather acceptance of our pain and woundings, our shortcomings and guilt, our stupidity and our mistakes. It is taking our broken heart into the peace and grace of the universe, and allowing it to heal. So that something new from the depths of our souls desire for peace, love and light in our living can be born through our lives and death, into eternity.

In life, there is no way out, only a way in.

For many people in the west, or around the world today, exploring spirituality as a personal path, an identity, a community, a lifestyle, we often forget this, and living for beauty, purity and peace, is often waylaid or run away from, in the relationships we have that truly matter as Jiddi Krishnamutri said;

“Only in relationship can you know yourself, not in abstraction and certainly not in isolation. The movement of behavior is the sure guide to yourself. It’s the mirror of your consciousness: this mirror will reveal its content, the images, the attachments, the fears, the loneliness, the joys and sorrow. Poverty lies in running away from this, either in its sublimations or its identities.”

It is easy to be “spiritual” when our relationships and life are easy, it is hard when it is harder, but, what is easy is what we are automatically doing unconsciously and in that there is no growth in consciousness.

It is through what is hard, where we display unconsciousness, fear, where we meet our stories and our unconsciousness that we are gifted the opportunity to truly grow.

The medicine, is the most powerful force in all of existence, kindness.

Kindness is the pinnacle of the evolution of humanity, it is the highest of intelligence and it is the aligning of our hearts and minds with the intelligence that the universe is.

When we practice spirituality for ourselves we lock ourselves into our identity, with its need for more and avoidance of change, we seek comfort, pleasure, happiness, before truth, growth and evolution. This is simply because our identity, our ego, is afraid, it is afraid of real love, of bliss, of happiness and of suffering. It is a scared child, yearning for the love it constantly seeks to deny itself by affirming its stories and its existence.

When we practice spirituality for others, we free ourselves from this trap, every thought, every fear, every egoic identification asks the question, what about me? when we change that to, what about you? we instantly unravel the entire structure with all its insanity, its need for growth and for healing. This simple and immensely powerful fact is the spiritual medicine known as compassion, the most powerful of spiritual practices of the mind and the heart, for compassion is wisdom.

Humanity are by nature an integral communal being, our natural state and our natural mind is forever asking, what about you? are you ok? and,,, I love you.

When we look around with a clear mind and clear heart, if we see suffering, or need be it human or animal, we are moved to act, to care, this movement within us is the movement of the higher intelligence that is the universe at that we experience as love. When we allow this movement we are free, when we block it we develop emotion, the resistance of fear to the intelligence known as love. The further this instinct, our basic humanity, is repressed in humans, the more problems we all have and the more individual, lost and ultimately unfulfilled, or samsaric we become.

As Albert Einstein wrote;

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

When we no longer see ourselves as the actor, as the mind and all its patterns that has convinced us-(at least often me) that we are it, we can take this innate kindness, this innate compassion and turn it to the service of the mind with all its insanity, all its crazy unconscious patterns and fears and through introducing this higher intelligence find forgiveness and evolve into a new way of life.

Sometimes, it is only through treading through the darkness, facing it and taking responsibility for it, that we can learn to deeply understand ourselves, life and our relationship to it, and from understanding comes forgiveness and love, and then automatically things change. Sometimes all it takes for healing to come, is understanding.

While love is the force of life itself, the electricity of consciousness effecting the physical world, compassion is the manifestation of this as intelligence and kindness is the manifestation of this intelligence as life.

Kindness is more powerful than a nuclear bomb, more intelligent than the greatest mind, more spiritual than the highest states, and more healing than the greatest of experiences.

Kindness is the intelligence that created the universe being allowed to act through the oceans between two souls, to bring peace and harmony within.

Kindness is the ultimate medicine, the greatest of gifts and the truest spiritual path. for while love purifys the heart, compassion frees the mind, and kindness frees the soul.

When we love we state our commitment to free ourselves from fear, from hatred and anger and to embody the bliss we were born to be, when we are compassionate we free ourselves from our ego and its games and begin on the spiritual path, and when we are kind, we allow that freedom to act through us and into the world, we defy fear and unconsciousness in real life, and live the truth our hearts call us to.

In following my mind I have experienced a lot of confusion in my life, in following my heart, some, and in following kindness, none at all. It is only when the actions of my life, come out of alignment with kindness that my heart breaks, and my mind becomes dark and impervious to the soul.

May all beings in all the worlds seek kindness. And may all beings know that at the deepest level we are one.

In the words of Mother Teresa, sharing her rendition of the peace prayer of stigmatic and mystic St Francis of Assisi.

“Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,

who live and die in poverty and hunger.

Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread

and by our understanding love give peace and joy.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.

That where there is hatred I may bring love,

That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,

That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,

That where there is error I may bring truth,

That where there is doubt I may bring faith,

That where there is despair I may bring hope,

That where there are shadows I may bring light,

That where there is sadness I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,

To understand than to be understood,

To love than to be loved.

For it is by forgetting self that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,

it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Amen.”

 

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Aboriginal Australia, (the real mutant message from down under)

Respects to the ancestral spirits, elders and law keepers, the traditional custodians of this land.

Through life I have become the experience of numerous ‘spiritual’ events, some related to Aboriginal Australia.

Parallel and woven in and through the loom of this world, or perhaps it is the other way around, there is a second more subtle world. It is ecological in nature, a vast ecosystem of life, far more subtle and energetic and consciously responsive than the material universe is to the normal states of consciousness. It breathes and lives through life, through the crystalline stardust that has become life, the plants, rocks, sand, animals, and humans. It is what people of the world refer to as the spiritual world. And within that world, the events of this world have a vast significance. While the powers of that world hold vast power in ours.

The events of our lives, our motions, movements, thoughts, feelings and states of awareness, dna and actions, pattern the fragments of stardust, creating holographic interference patterns that store patterns of consciousness in the earth, as we simultaneously receive them. As a Holographic universe, in which time and space are relative to the observer, there is no movement, only holomovement.

Growing up in Australia, a theoretically Christian nation, though realistically dominated by a secular atheistic western capitalist media, education system and cultural dialogue, I believe my specific introduction to the nature of the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia, was that “they possessed a primitive culture”.

A valid assessment, if you consider our culture the yardstick of sophistication and cultural evolution, however not so valid, if your metaphysical assumptions about physical reality are somewhat different, based on different values. In a likewise manner the Aboriginal Australians who first contacted White Settlers in their land, considered them to be somewhat barbaric, unconscious and uncivilized.

It would be as foolish to consider the Aboriginal Peoples of any country to be “spiritually enlightened noble savages”, just as it would be to consider the denizens of the so called first world nations to be so, indeed the many of the indigenous traditions revered by the plethora today of modern “spiritual westerners” dissatisfied with their cultural heritage, often in reality stemmed from brutal lives lead within cultural contexts that would shock western sensitivities and call into question any of their so called spiritual insights or merits. Across many nations of the Americas, Asia, and Africa, slavery, cannibalism, incessant warfare, mass human sacrifice, rape and incest were often common practice.

To speak on behalf of Aboriginal Australia is likewise a misnomer, as prior to settlement several hundred languages existed in Australia, each group living with integrated but diverse spiritual responsibilities and heritages.

What we can say with complete assurance is that the Aboriginal Nations of Australia represent, by far, the oldest continuing cultures in the planet, with oral histories that are demonstrably geologically and ecologically accurate over periods of time that dwarf the ancientness of the worlds oldest traditions,  ancient civilisations all of which crumbled to dust in this time, and even the inhabitation of some continents.

The significance of this is Akin to finding a man from Egypt who can accurately describe to you events that took place many tens of thousands of years before the pyramids were built and from then to the present day. This phenomenon of high culture is one of the greatest living heritages of humanity.

The nations of Australia lived in a manner that, when compared to the rest of the planet, demonstrated sustainable peaceful, harmonious and sustainable co and ecological existence. The result of advanced systems of law, culture, knowledge, tradition and a sophisticated understandings of the natural environment.

And, over the vast eons of its continued evolution these nations came to understand(if they didn’t already know) a thing or two about spirituality. Some of which, some men and women are willing to share today, if the world can learn to listen, or learn to understand its value and power.

This, like all of life and spirituality, is not something you can learn from a book, it requires your heart and it requires your respect, and it requires reconnecting with the natural world, with the living growing material that is life, and earth, glowing patterns of the stuff of the universe, the geometrically interacting energy fields and spins that crystalized inside the death of successive generations of stars to create the so called particles that our physical world is apparently constructed from.

My experiences of Aboriginal Australian spirituality  have been varied, but the one that calls me to share it is as follows.

Some years ago on a warm summer evening I was camping with friends outside a small town on the edge of the outback, many hundreds of kilometres from the city, feeling uncomfortable in the car, I left it and  I walked a few steps away from where we were to enjoy the night air, an overwhelming power overtook me, rippling through my body, mind and heart like electricity, and looking around, I realised that although very dark, I could see several hundred meters around me, into the pitch black of the distant bush, the plants and trees that were so solid during the day, were constructed of ecstatically burning transparent crystalline blue light, transparent, glowing and radiant like fire, and from this place, a group of Aboriginal Men stood before me, and spoke.

They communicated not in English, but telepathically, a holism of awareness, emotion and being-ness. In only seconds my mind was opened to vast and integrated understandings, perceiving the power, culture, spirituality, and personal feelings they were an wished to share. While not angry with my presence, in terms of the ancient laws, they were angry and deeply wounded.

They were angry about what had happened to country, to life itself, about what was happening to country, the bush, the plants, orchids, for the land is sacred, every tree, every rock. To strip it bare and replace it all with crops and concrete destroys more than we can ever discover with rational eyes. For in clearing the forests, we are clearing a community, not just trees. And this community, is not just a physical community, when we destroy a rock, or an old tree, or a place, we lose forever something we can never replace. Both the individual complexity of the tapestry of life itself, and of the interwoven other world that inhabits that place.

The Elders were angry, they were angry about what had happened and was happening to their descendents, for the land and the people and the ancestors are one.

And in this nation, as in the world, the people have experienced tremendous suffering, emotionally, spiritually, physically and psychologically, both self inflicted and by the invading forces that have destroyed the land, and attempted to destroy the culture.

The power of this experience was unlike any spiritual experience I had ever had before, while it was not so emotionally enrapturing as mystical states, it was as if my body had been physically transported into the other world. It was not as if I was the one being visited, it was as if I was the visitor. The power of the experience was scary. It was not at all like a visionary experience, it was instead as if I physically entered another dimension, and the so called physical world was left behind. Appearing as a superimposed image upon the field of ancestral and ultimate consciousness.

While this kind of experience may sound a little outside the experience of many people or even the schema many would use to categorise reality, I assure you, that it was an extremely real and extremely powerful experience. And not one that is Alien to Aboriginal Australia, nor of course to this world.

Since that particular awakening, I have through experiencing culture, begun to understand, although beyond articulation, the profound significance of the difference that exists between men and women in keeping and upholding the ancient law, for although I did not see any women, I was able to have a telepathic understanding of them.

Men have given unto them the responsibility for truth, for fighting for what is right, for stating what is right, for upholding and living the law. This is a sacred duty that they must fulfil. Men are only men when they get angry about injustice and defend what is right in the physical world.

Women have responsibility for wisdom, for healing, for the emotional, spiritual and psychological healing of the people and the land. This is their sacred task, that they are called to live.

Between these two actions, healing can and will come to our planet and to this land I call home.

If we truly care for the health of our planet and for the health of our race, spiritually and physically, and indeed for all the spectacular life that we hold within our care, we must live this, we must take responsibility, not in any airy fairy way, not in our own lives, but in that of our community. For there is no they, only we.

The western world that has united the world again, moving like a fire across its surface, of earth, air and water, and each and every human being that is a part of that, and that is ready to evolve beyond the way of being that we now all share destroying our world, must stop living for themselves as the western path has taught us, and start living for the higher intelligence in our hearts, that instead directs us to fight for justice, care and healing for all life.

It is physical actions, in community and in country, for the highest good of all, that result in our own nurturing and awakening, and these actions, not spiritual ones for ourselves, are the only way to bring about the changes that our world needs now. This way of life is the essence of the spiritual path.

In the western view, life has become a means to an end, and thus dealing with the spiritual world is about fear, power, personal gain, personal improvement. Self absorption and laziness, hedonism and identity.

In reality dealing with the spiritual world is the same as dealing with any other being, it is not about our imaginary self we create through our interpretation of our experience, but instead about coming from the heart with the intelligence we share, and is most truly about respect, acknowledgement and caring with wisdom and with love.

We do not have to seek to be a part of the other world, for it is not always appropriate for us to be so, yet to acknowledge that we live our life within it, and to remain connected to our roots in the fabric of this earth, is important for any true definition of health. The world of the ancestral spirits, of the conscious subtle worlds, is one of many worlds we are born within, and, just as we respect our mothers and fathers, so too should we respect our visible and invisible companions and all those who live within and care most deeply for the mother, earth we all call home.

As children and family, distant of close, we must all when called to do so, speak for and care for the country we hold dear, for what is right, and for each other. This is the way of the heart, wisdom.

 

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True Religion.

As someone who I slowly realised that I love with the depths of my soul, was fond of saying, Religion is from the Latin, to bind, but what is being bound? And what is religion really? Speakers of Latin might disagree saying it is instead from the Latin “re-ligare”, to reconnect.

Perhaps to truly understand religion we need to explore its central statements, its art and beauty, as well as its obvious stupidities and horrors, after all when we look at the world, there is only one, there is no us vs. them, we are one family of life, there is no they, only us, and our journey through the ages, stars shifting across the skies. Religion is no more than a culture, expressing this journey, for some it may bind, for some it may liberates, but essentially it is no more than that, signposts to meaning, that became culture and influenced the destiny of billions.

To look upon religion with maturity, and not just disdain, to see it in all its glory and stupidity, all its wonder and brilliance as well as its anguish and ignorance, is to acknowledge our own human inheritance, to honour and respect the hearts and lives of billions of our human brothers and sisters and to open our minds and hearts to unexpected genius and magic, after all, reality, god, all, is one.

Religion may be the story of oppression, of disconnection, and of unspeakable horrors, but it is also the story of saints who disappeared into the air rather than die, of bodies that have not decayed for many hundreds of years and of pilgrims who turned into light before their companions eyes. It is the story of the darkest and the brightest lights of human history, and in  turn of herstory, that of earth.

It is the story of the poetry of love, written by wanderers that moved the destiny of nations, and melted the hearts of warriors, it is the story of the search for the divine throughout the centuries that keeps the contemplation of divinity in the consciousness of billions, and of the ancient teachings of love and surrender that elevate the spiritual values, like; selflessness, charity, compassion, love, forgiveness, passion, wisdom, and truth, in the dialogues and thoughts of cultures and of men.

Our history is often written as one of war, of disease, of destruction, of inhumanity, of devastation and of suffering, and truly it is, it is all that could possibly be in the twisted insanities of the human mind, the most appalling torturous inhumane devastation has been wrought on billions and billions of lives, from the fields where soil was made mud by blood, and the raped and mutilated, the enslaved and tortured, the genocides, insanity and suicidal extinction of life and species, driving before the capricious whim of the human system with all its conflicted insanity and satanic manifestations, but in all the incomprehensible horror, we often forget to acknowledge that far more importantly it is also a story of the most heroic love, the most beautiful moments of silence, the quietest of human beauty, of orchids growing in the rocks, of eagles and dolphin, of birds and plants, of the love of mothers and fathers for each other and for children, of the romance of this infinite ocean of silence lost above in our galactic plane, shifting stars watching civilizations disappear into the dust of their vanity, while new life, from the cradle of the love we are and live, is born fresh.

It is the story above all of the heart, of love making, of caring, of kindness, of wisdom, of passion, of joy, of intelligence, of the soul. And this is the true power in the world. This is the true intelligence, and that dichotomy, with all its insanity and all its genius, all its power, and all its ecstasy.

Throughout the ages many have awoken to this, through this, from the dreams of the mind, its thoughts and reflections, and into a passion and a fire that burned brighter than a billion suns, that illuminated reality from within, that penetrated to the heart of the minds eye and awakened the soul into the consciousnesses of its infinite past and infinite future, from this ecstasy and from the deep compassion of love, of the unconditional bliss that spiritual wakefulness is, in response to this world, this world the ultimate lsd trip, with its infinite spiritual worlds, its endless dramas, its profound beyond profound pathways and pools of glowing crystallised star dust manifest through geometry into the tapestry of life and of the soul, as one.

And these beings, they wrote poetry, they made art, they said things that were beautiful, did things that were beautiful, and came to remind others, love all, and that it was only a dream, that they could awaken from, they told others, that if you wait, and if you love enough and care enough you can stop the mind, and see the truth, and it is bigger and more satisfying and more beautiful and more important than any path you will ever walk down, any truth you will ever find, and practice you will ever take up, any life you will ever live, for this moment just as it is in all its magnificence and beauty, this is the purpose of all of existence, and you are that. And all of it, is happening right now.

And humanity, dreaming humanity, in mans quiet way, his emotional way, her beautiful way, her hidden way, they listened. and in listening began to hear the voice of the soul, crying out, if ever they had forgotten, saying do not be afraid, for there is a great god shaped whole in your heart, you cannot fill it with the world or the things of the world, but it is only the world and nothing else that will ever fill it, for things are not as they appear to be, nor are they any different.

Deeper than the deep, greater than the great, smaller than the small, creation is hidden in the hearts of all creatures, within and beyond the mind, if it chooses stillness. This is the kingdom of god.

These lives and this love, became the wisdom teachings of humanity, beautiful stories and passions, directions for our minds and hearts towards the divine source of creation within and around us, wisdom told us we were nothing, love told us we were everything, and together, between these two all life flows.

This was the binding that religion is meant to be, the binding of wisdom with love.

For love without wisdom can destroy, and wisdom without love is no wisdom at all.

But the life of humanity is never that simple, or else where would the Maya, the illusion the Lila, the dance of consciousness of god as all of reality, every speck of your body, truly be?

Life force and mind are operating, tempting all who witness to believe that it is they who act, that they are the mind, the life force. In fact no such thing is happening, while this combination has come upon our original essence, we are not that.

This confusion, this confusion between the absolute and absolutely profound free will enjoyed by the original essence, and the absolute and undeniable lack of free will, that is the nature or existence, is the ground in which this religion, this binding grows.

As such every culture, every belief, every lifestyle, every tribe, is a cult and is a religion, be it the religions of old, or of science, or of spirituality, or of now.

As the story goes, many eons ago god sent man into the world, but so that he would not forget where he came from god left a little door so he could come and go at will.

At first man just peeked through the door, safe with god, and then he saw pretty things and stepped through the door to explore.

To begin with he would go home often, then journey back through the door again to explore the world that had been created.

Eventually he began to spend most of his time there, absorbed in shiny things, in ideas, in the growing sense of self that was generated by understanding so many different things. But from time to time he would still pop back through the door, and remember that understandings, well were understandings and were not reality.

At last the things in the world became so important to this growing sense of self, and its development, that he spent longer and longer away, until one day amongst the women and men of the world, the door became just a story, an artefact that men and women would gather to look at, and to remember the time that was, before so many things were understood.

Eventually through understanding so many things and having such a developed sense of self and doing so many things the world itself started to have problems, it became very confused, and started to fragment into lonely little parts that conflicted with each others desires, understandings and directions. This caused all manner of problems.

At last some of the wisest amongst them, faced with these problems, remembered the ancient stories, the stories of the door and of what lay on the other side. And so gathered humanity before the door, each person ready and eager to pass through, but after so long, with all the understandings they had gathered, none knew how anymore.

Some said that to pass through they must first heal them-selves, and began to look within and without for remedies for their understandings and sense of self. Some said that certain rituals or foods were the key, or shiny rocks that made them feel high, or more earthed, and performed long elaborate rites designed to open the door, taking turns in shifts.

Others sang songs, performed offerings, did good works, took entheogens, made love to one another, and explored all manner of groovy and soulful lifestyles and paths, some said that it was all within anyway and started wearing weird clothes and fancy hairstyles. Thinking lovely thoughts and chasing lovely dreams. Living lovely lives, having lovely spiritual awakenings, even glimpses through the door sometimes, and having lovely children. Some went a bit whacky though and took a bit too far and started eating each other or sacrificing each other on top of big pyramids in the rainforests or mountains.

Occasionally some figured it out, and when no one was looking would pop through, while it was hard to convince the others to come along, as everyone was really a bit scared of what was on the other side, from time to time close friends would be convinced, and were often never seen again.

And some thought that this was all very silly this hippy nonsense, and took to killing the beings that they thought did not take the door seriously enough, stringing up the ones that thought that entheogens were a good idea especially, and burning them.

Eventually a great number of people got bored, and sat around waiting, or went back to their living in the world and only visited the door occasionally, some decided it was not yet time and left the door well alone to gather together in distant places to accumulate ancient texts and study them to try and find a logical explanation for the problem of the door.

Yet others, realising that the door was becoming an obsession for many decided to claim they knew the method of its opening and began to attract people away from the door and towards their vision of what they should be doing in the world and what kind of sense of self everyone should have.

After a long while people started to believe they were being duped, some of the ideas these people had didn’t make much sense and weren’t very nice, even the old stories didn’t connect very well with what was really going on, they decided that in fact the door was just a made up story and ran off to play with more stuff, or to come up with more functional ideas of what to do and how to be, and fall further and further into fragmentation.

All in all, everyone had either a really good time and grew old and happy and wise and spiritual or a really bad time and got a bit sad and weird and twisted, depending on how they chose to see and live their process of getting through the door.

Finally years later, a young child was playing near the door with his father and mother, seeing some strangely dressed people wandering around reading books, sipping potions, singing lovely songs, and contorting their bodies into strange shapes, she asked her parents what was going on, they explained the story of the door, the child in some bemusement walked up and turned the handle, the door swung open, and there was silence.

As the great sage, Ramana Maharishi said; “You take up this or that spiritual practice to transcend the non-­existent limitations. But if your spiritual practice itself assumes the existence of the limitations, how can it help you to transcend them?

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Fear and Love, (meditation continued).

A few days ago I decided to head off on a different journey, one that I’ve been avoiding for a while, but know now is time, and because of this, will no longer be blogging, or using the net again, fun though its been. I’ve decided though, that before I go, I will finish up articulating a few of my life realisations in a few last blogs here, after all communication with words is a good skill to embed in your consciousness for later on. I have until the weekend, so have allotted a couple of hours after work each day to write, I’m also fasting so if it seems a little incoherent, my apologies.

So here goes, Love and Fear.

One of my favorite (if not the) quotations from the King James Bible is approximately this; “for there is no fear in love for fear hath torment, and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

This quote sums up beautifully and more powerfully than any other my experience of being physical and of being human.

Six or seven years ago I spent some time living with my parents, around nine months, for some of that time I was unemployed, for much of it I was working full time, but close enough to home that I had plenty of time to myself, my parents live in a beautiful location some distance from a small country town, and have sixteen acres of land they garden and relax within, at the top corner of the block, which forms the floor of a small valley, at the most elevated point there is a spreading pine tree that carpets the ground with needles. I spent many hours underneath that tree, playing in its branches, climbing right to the top, listening to birds and loving the evening micro-bats that would fly around me, protecting me from mosquitoes.

Due to my interest in all things spiritual I also spent a great deal of time there practicing martial arts, Qi gong, playing around with crystals and attempting to meditate. For the nine month period, and during many other years for days or weeks at a time, I would spend at least two or three and sometimes eight hours there a day, half in martial arts and yoga, half in meditation. It had a beautiful view down towards the river, across the backs of trees that shimmered in the afternoon sun, with needles that rained and danced down from above around me in the afternoon breeze.

I loved sitting there in the early morning, walking through the dew up the hill and then in the evening, as the sunset made me glow inside.

Having experience profound states of expanded consciousness and meditation before in my life, I was aware that my attempts at meditation were not scratching the surface of true meditation, regardless of the often profoundly altered higher states of deep presence I enjoyed.

It was a good time for me to meditate, I had been single for two years, did not socialise, had a fairly hermetic existence, rain water to drink, a simple outside job working with the earth in the sunlight, great health, healthful foods and access to a wide range of vibrational medicines, practices, and medicinal herbs.

However, again, even with this subconscious content, it was only at times that the requisite energy of the mind grew sufficient that the stilling of the mind that facilitates the ecstatic intensification of psychic energy necessary for true meditation to begin would come about. The deeper I went the more subtle it became, thoughts half forming, and then becoming merely half formed patterns of energy, each small wave on the surface of the mind preventing it from stabilizing.

Like ripples on a pond, preventing the deep stillness needed for an image of the heavens to form.

as Krishna and Anjura conversed in the Bhagavad-Gita, the song of god;

“But, due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind.-(the start of meditation) Because the mind is unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I feel restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind.”

“Undoubtedly, Arjuna, the mind is restless, and difficult to restrain, but subdue it you must, through persistence, And indifference.”

Even after nine months of practicing many hours a day in this setting, with many years of far less regular practice behind me, it was apparent that to become a true mediator was a life’s work, there was after all a reason that the great wisdom traditions of the world send seekers off to awaken in silent retreat in caves for many years.

However experiences and growth aside, (and there were some beautiful ones, best not spoken), there was one deep lesson I understood from my experience of that time, and that I have taken away for my life, and it is this,

The true question is, why is meditation difficult?

The simple answer, as it says in the bible is this; “for there is no fear in love, for fear hath t0rment and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

What then do we fear? the easy answer to this question is that we fear suffering. But, there is a deeper one.

Our entire civilization and society is built solely on this fear.

In our actions, our thoughts, words and deeds we chase the experiences, situations, lifestyles and possessions that we feel will fulfill us, bring us more meaning, more joy, more happiness. Which is not to say they don’t, sometimes they do, and as the Tibetan Buddhist saying goes, “to cut yourself from all worldly pleasure is to court the deepest of hells” , yet, every person alive knows to some degree of self awareness, that happiness is within, its an emotional state, not the perception we have of the experience we attempt to chase.

The irony of it all is, as the Sakayamuni Buddha said, this samsara is suffering, clinging and craving are the root of suffering, or more correctly, dhukka, dissatisfaction with life.

It is easy to see how powerfully this fear controls our lives, in our interactions we defend and develop our self generated egos incessantly, completely sold on all its stories, this self identity in our own mind, welded together with stories, ideas, concepts, built by language. What freedom is there in this? A life unconscious, lived for craving and fear to defend an identity that is only that, a complex of thoughts and identified as self and linked to emotional responses.

Even the greatest of loves can result in tremendous emotional violence when this fear is involved. Reactive and captive we truly are. And according to the mystics, not just in one life, again in the words of Sakayamuni Buddha-

“Vainly I sought the builder of my house Through countless lives. I could not find him…
How hard it is to tread life after life! “But now I see you, O builder! And never again shall you build my house. I have snapped the rafters, Split the ridge-pole And beaten out desire. And now my mind is free.”

Perhaps there is a reason why great loves generate great pain. And perhaps it is the same reason why meditation is difficult.

Let me make a differentiation here to establish exactly what I am discussing, if the universe is a energy field, full of patterns of consciousness, I am not talking about patterns, I am not talking about psychic experiences, spiritual experiences, visions, or phenomenon relative to time, I am talking about the energy itself, the physical or spiritual matter which does not differentiate, and from which all these phenomenon arise, as much maya the illusion, lila the dance of consciousness in form and samsara, the stream of experience, desires attachments, and aversions as is the physical world.

In the traditional view of meditation, all phenomenon that arise are merely distractions, manifestations of the same energy of the mind trying to make waves to attach the perception in order to attach the mind and prevent the unfolding of higher states of complexity, unity and bliss, within the flow of the intellect/heart.

So if our fear is suffering, what has that got to do with true meditation? which is described as the highest happiness possible for the spiritual or human form.

Perhaps there is something older, more primal going on, something which in the temporal sense, spiritually and physically predates the creation of the unfolding complexity that is the egoic identification that lives through us.

Without exploring the idea of a spiritual source to this-(after all thats just a distraction, real or not) lets use the brain as the metaphor for the idea, regardless of the limited scientific merits of the conceptual model, lets divide our brain systems up into three separate domains, the instinctual, the emotional, and the intellectual.

The domain of the instinctual, which has often been called the reptilian brain, as a nod to its theoretical early evolution in life on this planet relative to the other two domains of the human brain, is responsible for the unconscious processes that maintain homeostasis in the body, it is responsible for keeping you alive, and as such maintains mechanisms such as the flight and fight response, mechanisms that are quite obviously powerfully associated with, if not, fear itself.

The emotional, which has often been called the mammalian brain, (as a nod to its perceived emphasis in mammals brains and association with mammalian traits) is responsible for motivation and emotion involved in feeding, reproductive behavior, and parental behavior. Mechanisms that are obviously quite powerfully associated with, pleasure, love and fulfillment.

The intellectual which is often associated with humans and higher order brain structures, creates or profoundly heightens the capacity for language, abstraction, planning, and perception.

Now the thing about instinctual side and even emotional side to all of us is that while they are supercomputers in complexity compared to the tip of the iceberg of the intellectual mind that we experience in the day to day, they are not particularly rational, while involved in many very real things they do not differentiate between what is real in essence and what the intellectual and emotional minds tell them is real. For example the ego is just a complex of interrelated images in the mind that has been identified with as the self, and the instinctual side of us will act upon the body-mind to protect that image, just as immediately and just as powerfully as it will to protect the body.

For a great example of this watch two people get into a heated argument, emotions flare. Unconsciousness sets in, judgement about each other are made. All over the sake of sounds identified as words stimulating identified patters that are taken to be important somehow to the maintenance of a convincing self image that satisfies our personal emotional -(chemical) addictions.

This in effect, is the fear of suffering and the pursuit of pleasure that dominates our civilization, lived out to varied cultures and varied yardsticks, employing varied ideas. Each superior in the eyes of its user, each equally pointless.

In essence this identification or a self, the them vs. us, regardless of its beauty or sophistication, is suffering.

Not only in the relative sense, of the day to day captive and reactive mind being blown hither and thither in the infinite oceans and plains of samsara. But also in the absolute sense, in that the constant activity of the mind needed to generate this identification, prevents meditation from occurring, the realisation of consciousness through living form, known as supreme bliss, super-consciousness or spiritual enlightenment. Not only does the ongoing maintenance of the egoic identification bring about cyclic and reactive unconsciousness generating dhukka or dissatisfaction, but it also prevents the experience of states of consciousness and bliss quantum levels beyond anything it can possibly ever generate.

Perhaps this simple fact is the key to the whole question of the difficulty of meditation.

While there is a very significant difference between the state of consciousness that exists before birth and as a young baby, and that of an adult human who has generated egoic identification and then dissolved that into the enlightened states of awareness. There are some obvious parallels.

For example, imagine that human consciousness is not in fact separate in any way sense of form from physical reality, that physical reality and consciousness is in effect one unified inter-dimensional field of consciousness, however, when this field of consciousness is exposed to a body, it is as if a nodal point in an otherwise perfectly equal field has arisen, of course no such thing has occurred, but like the space-time continuum it is all relative to the observer. From the biological perspective of the physical object, in the experiential sense, the complexity and immediacy of this energy field is apparent and emphasised by the emotional response in the body, that of bliss, and, while in the ecstatic intensity of awakened awareness this experience is able to fully realise itself to the nth degree due to the natural intensification of psychic energy nodally within the gestalt, in a young child, and before birth the field is still relatively unbroken and as such results in a variety of relatively blissful states.

To explain, as is written in the yoga sutras of Patanjali, in reference to the human energy field,-(see V.Hunt, Persinger etc.)

“its sevenfold layers hold supreme knowledge of human consciousness.”

Today, the human being and consciousness is well established by the western sciences to be more than just an epiphenomenon in the brain, it is commonly explored as a synthesis of energy fields and biology that, in actual fact, in the ‘energetic’ sense is an inter-dimensional representation of the biology, environment-(macro and micro) and awareness of the individual, quite probably best interpreted through the understandings of conceptual approaches to theoretical physics such as Bohms holographic universe.

This energy field and its associated relative intensities and localized temporal modulations, both mediates conscious states and patterns of awareness, and from my direct experience, understanding of science and of the historical teachings of the planet’s wisdom traditions, has a profound affect on the state of consciousness and physical well-being of the body-mind. For example -(of the multitude of examples that is reality), to sit with a profound mediator has the effect of tuning your body mind into that state of awareness, a process that could be both blissful and immensely confronting.

The reason it is confronting to sit with someone like this is simple, and is in essence the answer to my questions about fear-love, the pain we experience in deep love, and the difficulty of meditation, and is as follows; when the initial perception of the field occurs it is experienced by the body-mind the brain structures we discussed earlier, to the emotional mind, it is bliss, to the instinctual it is the optimum functioning of the body-mind, to the intellect it is the awakening of intelligence, knowing without thinking but instead through direct perception of reality as it is. Including the subtle fields of information mediated and generated by past experiences-(memory) and those of the race-(collective consciousness) etc.

As the mind experiences this it begins to ‘understand’ it, in a Biblical sense humanity eats of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, of direct experience, of good and evil, for the cognising mind operates conceptually and analytically, it relates varied sense perceptions to mental perceptions or schema, then identifies relationships between schema, using dialectic, right or wrong, yes or no, either or. It does this automatically and at a level far more subtle than the generally experienced consciousness of most people.

This process of thinking absorbs the awareness and transforms the modulated fields created by the body mind, in turn altering the chemical messengers created therin, resulting in a reduction of the felt experience of bliss.

As such all thoughts, all perceptions are either rejected or embraced, two sides to the same coin, an ironic fact that when you consider that in fact it is not a sense perception that is realistically rejected but rather our field of awareness itself. This ongoing rejection of awareness, establishes the egoic structures power, by limiting the capacity of our non-conceptual awareness to merely be and by definition accept fully, the sense perceptions we identify as events. Every thought that thus becomes an object of awareness, generates its own body-mind patterns and requires in effect that the awareness itself unmodified is not the object of awareness.

This reduction in the felt experience of bliss can be rationalized quite easily by the intellect, all you need do is feel blissed out and then think about something else, or experience the prolonged complete stillness of the mind lost in awareness, and then think and the phenomenon is obvious. But as I mentioned earlier, the emotional and especially instinctual minds are not overly rational. From the perspective of the instinctual mind, when this experience occurs, the integrity of the body-(its optimum functioning state mediating cellular and macro biological activity through the thus modulated varied neurotransmitter and bio-energetic activity associated with ecstatic states) is under threat.

The link is very simple, the cognitive experience of ecstatic states result in the reduction of the felt experience of the blissful emotions instinctively understood to be the optimum healthful functioning of the body mind.

In effect, experiencing ecstasy=threat.

The response is, to think, thinking is safe, it has evolved to keep the organism safe, and its process prevents the experience of ecstasy from occurring, thus preventing the loss of higher integrity-(that the ecstatic states are), it is a way in which some of the emotions of bliss can be explored “safely”, modulated through varied avenues of identification and biological emotional intelligence.

Ironically the very brain structures that allow the heightened sense of perception that results in the ecstatic experience in the first place-(the intellectual structures) are simultaneously then responsible for the heightened thinking processes that result in its diminished and constant enslavement, under the direction of the instinctual mind. Fighting an ongoing battle with the emotional mind, over the simultaneous drawing of the human spirit towards its natural state and desperate attempts to discover it through identification with the identity.

In effect, if love is the natural mind, the supreme intelligence in a sense that gives birth to the physical form, the natural order of the universe according to which the material world became manifest from its creation, fear is humanities instinctual response to this bliss. It is the non-rational fear of love, of bliss and not fear of suffering that makes the mind keep on thinking, desperate to avoid the present moment as thoroughly as possible, it is the deeper and instinctual fear that results in the construction of the egoic structures that later employ fear of what they relate to as suffering in order to sustain and propagate their existence.

This is why meditation is hard, and is in my opinion quite possibly one of the most important things we can ever understand.

The results of this fear can be quite violent, it is not always blissful to sit with someone who has a powerful field, sometimes it can be intensely confronting and throw us into deep unconsciousness and pain, as we seek to satisfy our need to protect ourselves from the primal fear of dissolution into the stillness. Of dis-identification with our identity, of fluidity in our beliefs and surrender of our perceptions.

This fear has resulted in a race of beings who live and die only glimpsing the potential that they truly already are and believing that somehow they need to heal, to work to attain it, instead of just looking with a clear unaltered mind, free of all modification and psychic engagement, into that deepest of places- the source of reality.

As Ramana Maharishi said;

All metaphysical discussion is profitless unless it causes us to seek within the Self for the true reality. All controversies about creation, the nature of the universe, evolution, the purpose of God, etc., are useless. They are not conducive to our true happiness. People try to find out about things which are outside of them before they try to find out “Who am I?” Only by the latter means can happiness be gained.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-method-to-measure-consciousness-discovered/

 

 

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Dr Livingstone I Persume? Music with Epic VJ -(Abakus and Asura)

These are  false colour-(but accurately coloured) images of real things, it is inside these epic phenomenon that the physical matter that creates life was generated. So awesome, must have a rant about this one day.

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Alternative Education, Giftedness and Schooling.

Recently I had the privilege of spending some time in beautiful kindergarten environment, based in the Reggio Emilio philosophy of education. I was working as an educator without specific direction or curriculum aims, with a child who is so bright he does not fit on the scales available, and who demonstrates profound oppositional defiant behaviours-(perhaps because he is made to sit still and perform inane exercises).

As a five year old-(his current age) he was able to calculate the length of time it would take Pluto to circle the sun, and discuss with a fair degree of understanding, basic plasma physics, life cycles of bugs, and the growth of crystals. This level of intellect/age, is far less common than one in a million.

To top it off, the elementary school also had responsibility two children on the Autism spectrum who displayed savant like abilities, along with several other children on the spectrum who were somewhere around highly to profoundly gifted. All in all, a unusual collection of children, and incredible to be find them in one place.

Spending time with this child, and watching as the divergent desires of the parties invested in this system interact with his life and emotions I could not help but reflect on the words of Maria Montessori, that “We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child’s spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life”

This time, alone in this environment with this child, was a very special time for me in my life.

As a so called precocious child, and as a far more boring adult, one of the great struggles of my life to date, has been how to establish (and perhaps re-establish) a healthy relationship with education and schooling.

Due to my current career direction, it has become an issue I must resolve and cannot simply lay to rest, I am a final year teaching student at university, who has had a unique path to this point in my life, characterized by many years of what I would term as a dysfunctional relationship with schooling, I know that my school era friends upon learning of my studies, found it rather amusing and for some, uplifting, to hear of my choice.

Strangely, my kindergarten teacher-(at a Montessori school) remembers me telling her I would become a teacher, perhaps I had an unusual degree of precognition, because at no time could I have imagined myself entertaining such a choice, until I finally did.

So, how did I end up at this point? where is my thinking going? and what can I possibly offer to children as an educator?

My background, as a young child, was strongly influenced by the ideals and beauty of classical western education. Although born in Australia, my parents were both of upper-middle class English extraction, one a Cambridge graduate, the other Oxford. Both valued education (in the fullest sense of the word) along with many other values. My mother, a teacher herself, tutored gifted students for over sixteen years, taught year seven at one of the worlds most prestigious schools and founded her own Montessori based primary-(elementary) school which continues to this day.

While my cultural heritage was strangely de-contextualised by this experience of growing up in a foreign land, creating some degree of cognitive dissonance, the values of wealth and consumerism that seem to have absorbed my generation, were never values that my family entertained, although they valued success and self-reliance. I grew up without so much as entertaining the thought of earning money, or wanting things, and not because of any degree of relative monetary wealth, I was never given many things, it was simply because the focus of my thoughts and feelings, was on what I found emotionally important, my relationships, my spirituality and my thinking about life with its existential and social obligations.

As a child, I was never one for specifics, linear thinking, or narrow minded selfishness, although I was easily absorbed in my interests to the exclusion of all distractions. I preferring to find happiness through meaning, and meaning through what I would now call systems thinking approaches to understanding life, views that see all human thought as relative and interconnected. As such, the aspects of life that ended up being important to me were those highlighted by questions of meaning… such as purpose, morality and fulfillment, which I associated with schema of a globalized human and ecological citizenship, personal relationships, and spirituality.

My life within the schooling system was not a happy one, I was a highly gifted student, and do not remember learning anything at school unless it was something I had forgotten, until after many years of atrophy it was introduced to my classmates. As result I came to view my schooling experience as a form of imprisonment,  an imprisonment that at that time I lacked the deeper emotional and life intelligence to comprehend or deal with maturely. This experience resulted in the development of oppositional defiant and passive resistant behaviours, such as daydreaming, refusing to do any work I conceived of as bellow my capacity-(read as, just about all work), along with a not an inconsiderable degree of learned helplessness and occasionally, depressive feelings about life in general. At that age, so much of my life was taken up by this experience that I felt appeared so real, and seemed so impossible for me to change or liberate myself from.

After my first year of schooling, as a six year old, my classroom teacher told my parents that she thought I might have a developmental delay, that I had not interacted with or talked to her or the other student all year, or picked up a pencil, and that I might be at serious educational risk. My parents explained to her that I did not want to read “the cat sat on the mat” because at home I was reading the Lord of the Rings, that I didn’t want to count to ten, because I was perfectly capable with algebra. And while they talked, I doubled numbers (starting with one) with chalk behind her on the board until I was in the high millions, eventually she turned around.

My main memory from those years of the days dragging by, sitting mutely up the back, in mind numbing boredom and frustration.

By the time I began my first year of schooling, aside from the hand-eye coordination needed to write, and the experience of practice, I would have been perfectly capable in a cognitive sense, of finishing at least my seventh year. A long and personally damaging process of tuning out, underachievement, and boredom was about to begin.

Had the content alone not been bad enough, the vast majority of the schooling we engaged with was merely meaningless repetition, teaching the elements of each so called discrete discipline via stupefying inanity, abstract and removed from the true context, life itself,  dissociated from meaning, disallowing meaningful experiences of reality and real life. Not exactly the best psychological conditioning for any children who are expected to live.

Despite this dulling abuse, I did well in terms of the relative competition that is the schooling process in primary school. By the time I was mid way through my schooling, I was selected for specialist advancement classes for arts and music, along with extensive in class and out. academic extension. When tested, by the nationwide and state tests, I always performed in the top or higher percentiles they were capable of showing across disciples, perhaps because I was reading prolifically outside of school.  A form of escapism I desperately needed, thanks to that time, today I can read a page of writing full of complex ideas in a matter of seconds.

While escapism was great, I could not help realising that regardless of any academic performance or hoop I hopped through at school,-(with the bare minimum of effort) that I was achieving quantum levels bellow my capacity, and only very rarely felt challenged, and even less frequently inspired. While when I was able, it was nice to be able to choose to participate, repetition or tasks dissociated from meaning, learning or life is not meaningful or challenging. I secretly hoped to find something to challenge me one day, and surrendered my childhood to stupidity.

Sometimes bullied, sometimes popular, I had few friendships in primary school, although good ones and always outside, simultaneously at the same time, as a seven year old, I was discussing the difference between classical Buddhist and Hindu concepts of reincarnation , learning about theoretical physics, dna, sustainability and ecology and trying to learn meditation, interests concepts and conversation that school and my peers were unable to provide understand, or discuss. A rather alienating state to be in at that age.

My transition to high-school was characterized by sub-minimal effort and emotional engagement with education, despite being placed in advanced classes. For the next five years I essentially dropped out, and with peers I took to smoking cannabis at every opportunity, before, during and after school. Honestly, I have no recollection of ever doing any homework in high school, (nor in primary school for that matter), and less than the minimum in class, so ended up being expelled from my first high-school, essentially for my underachieving mix of passive and active non-compliance.

With a certain amount of irony, a few weeks later I was awarded a scholarship for another theoretically “superior” school, after scoring close to 100% on the Australia wide scholastic aptitude test. It didn’t last long, I was summarily dismissed some nine months later as “the school” believed that I had been manipulating the security system, computers, teacher and student files, server and school website across the school’s network of Macintosh’s.

The next high school offered greater opportunities for mindless stupidity and mind altering behavior, “they” determined quickly that “they” wanted to ask me to leave,  but when the time came to inform my parents, “the school” decided to justify their laziness and incompetence by interviewing my teachers in order to demonstrate the “issues” with my so called academic performance and behavior-(compliance). The first teacher interviewed was my chemistry teacher, he was never very impressed by self-satisfied bureaucratic mindlessness and told “the school” that although I had not opened my textbook so far this year -(nor did I have one, far too stoned) I had managed to top the class for my exams. As a result I was allowed to stay at the school for the rest of my course, and finally left of my own volition a week or two before my final exams, after finally coming to the epiphany that I needed to actually live my beliefs, and not just get high from them.

Four years of working and travelling ensured, until one day I finally decided that I would go to university to study primary school teaching,

A surprising decision considering my experience, so I will contextualise this decision,,, my reasoning and the core ideas that led me to this are as follows… firstly when George Bush said “no child left behind” I experienced that as a call to free them from the prison that I experienced in school, and perhaps equally importantly at the time, my existential beliefs. Coming from a religious background-(Anglican) at the age of six or seven or so I was confronted with nutting out the relevance that these religious beliefs would play in my life, the simple inescapable fact is, that if you entertain a concept such as ‘god’ and you choose to believe in such a concept-(nebulous though it is when undefined), then it stands to reason that this ‘higher’, ‘deeper’, or more substantial meta-reality that is in effect, reality itself, must be placed as the central concern of life and reasoning, if you wish to build a logically coherent world view and personal morality.

As it says in the King James Bible, you cannot serve Mamon and God.

Whether it was naive I will never know, but I chose to believe in the meta-reality, as it was the only rational choice based on my experience at that time. From my own experiences of non-ordinary experiences and states of awareness, from the overheard discussions of truly inexplicable and miraculous phenomenon that had touched the lives of friends and family, and from the deep symmetry between the core messages of  the varied spiritual and religious traditions I had been exposed to, it seemed far more intellectually and emotionally satisfying to consider that there was, in the words of Aldous Huxley, a “perennial philosophy” that seemed to indicate the ultimate reality of well, this so called ultimate reality.

Choosing to accept this concept as the core tenant of my thinking processes throughout life, has had and continues to exert a profound effect on my living. For many years I was a seeker after this truth, attempting meditation, prayer, and study to experience the sense of fulfillment and purpose it gave me to grow and learn in this, as such this tenant became the staple by which I chose to analyse and synthesise and internalise my thoughts and critiques of human activity, institutions and thinking.

When I was fifteen this searching culminated in a long series of classical mystical experiences, including deeply meaningful meditative experiences of “inverted awareness”-(for want of a better term) an experience that left me permanently changed, assured of my understandings, and no longer looking. Through my direct experiences, both subjective and objective, and the ongoing experience of life it had become apparent to me beyond a doubt that there was more to reality of consciousness and the universe, than my current understanding of western atheistic scientific reductionism could explain.

While many of these experiences in consciousness could perhaps be explained away as a fascinating epiphenomenon of the brain, the extreme bliss, deeply meaningful emotional states and heightened aesthetic and intellectual acuity were so deeply satiating and fulfilling that it seemed and seems still, difficult for me to imagine how any other states or life experiences could possibly ever do anything other than pale into insignificance in comparison, and that is without applying religious interpretations to these experiences.

It seemed apparent to me that if human life revolved around our search for a fulfilling and beautiful life, society, culture, community and relationship to others, nature and the universe, that only the so called mystical states of awareness could be considered the true developmental fulfillment of our desires and implicit focus, which looking around at what I saw and had read of as our historical and current environmental cultural and human apocalypses, seemed to have become not just a personal calling to each of us, but a racial survival and evolutionary imperative.

At the start of this particular blog is a photograph, of the engraving on the floor outside the reading room of the British Empire,  found inside the British Museum, the repository of many of the greatest archaeological and cultural treasures of the nations of the world. By Tennyson it states; “And let they feet millenniums hence, be set in the midst of knowledge.” The question I was forced to ask, was can we truly understand the knowledge we acquire through thinking and sciences, without contextualizing experience in the reality of consciousness, as the Hindu sage, Ramana Maharishi, stated, there are radically different ways of learning and knowing; “When the mind, one pointed and fully focused, knows the supreme silence in the heart, this is true learning.”

These spiritualising experiences and contemplation left me disinterested in ‘mamon’, my primary conversation was spirituality, and my life goal was to understand and deepen my experience of these states, ideally through becoming a monk in order to have the freedom to pursue them to the depth that such a worldview logically and emotionally demands.

Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, I may never know, my mother and father are Christian-(Anglican) and that aside, would most definitely like some grandchildren from more than one child. Had I become a monk, (bearing in mind I would have chosen at the time a meditative tradition stemming from Buddhist or Hindu thought) it would have resulted in my mother spending the rest of her life praying for the salvation of my soul, and in her words, feeling very upset.

The question became instead, if I have to participate in life and society, what could be the most productive and useful thing for me to become for humanity and the planet as a whole. The obvious answer was to become a teacher, and to by that to try and influence the dialogue surrounding education, to liberate children and the soul. A rather naive but well meaning and genuine desire.

My rationale was this, any so called problem or suffering in the world is a result of the states of awareness, understandings and thoughts that are employed, these in turn are a result of the physical, emotional and intellectual infrastructure, systems and culture that we exist within. I cannot myself change these structures, but I can change my emotional and intellectual relationship to them, and that experience can allow me to transmit that shift to others.

Education can be, (and it is tempting to see it this way) a panacea for a wide spectrum of social, human and environmental ills, it transmits ways of thinking, feeling, knowing, living, knowledge, understandings, along with providing a vast proportion of the psychological conditioning that forms the backdrop to our lives and the functioning of our society. The skills and knowledge it more ostentatiously aims to deliver are perhaps equally important, but perhaps secondary.

The grave danger of this view of education, is that through this appeal, it becomes a battleground of competing ideologies, each vying for the power to influence the souls and minds of our children. It is in effect, The One Ring, from the Lord of the Rings.

Education, or schooling at least, must be contextualised to be understood, it is a system that shapes society, and in turn is shaped by society, a gestalt that reflects the meta-context of the structural environment, economically, and institutionally that our culture exists through and is determined by.

As such, it serves the dominant ideology and academic dialogue that exists within that content, and at least to the populist eye, is essentially a tool to propagate the economic system, and by association the academic and ideological dialogue in vogue.

As such, the purposes of modern education can be summed up in the following categories (Alexander Inglis, 1918)

Adaptive- (to establish habits of reaction and behaviour.) Integrating- (make children alike and conform). Diagnostic, (to determine each students “proper social role”) Differentiation- (make children become this social role, and not one iota more) Selective -(to stratify society) Propaedeutic- (a small proportion are taught how to manage the masses)

During my studies, I have read the equivalent of completing multiple Phds, in academic papers, and books. Something quite unusual I can assume for a prospective primary school teacher. Appropriate to its function (As discussed above, (1918)) my course provides the materials and activities that demonstrate that the prospective teacher meets the criteria for competency in the key areas identified as useful for effective teaching, and not one iota more, and unfortunately. It seems evident from my observations over four years of shared study, that the capacity and inclination for critical thinking and meta-cognition will be lacking in yet another generation of standardised teachers, at least in my state.

Regardless, after a not inconsiderable time and commitment , due to my personal reading and university granted access to the academic journal databases, I can with great assurance state that extensive evidence exists to demonstrates that the schooling system has been in fact immensely damaging to the development of the human being’s true potential, and in turn to the formation of a truly democratic, educated and just society, and the values that we would hold for our children to develop, were we to articulate them freed of the economic imperatives that enslave so much of our thinking.

Worse things exist, but, life could become considerably better for children and for our race.

This fact is well established, it has been explored extensively be famous educational theorists who critiqued our schooling practices and systems from a wide range of ideological and sociological viewpoints. Some of these, like Paulo Fiere, were nominated for the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately this seemingly pertinent fact, does not form a part of the university studies my colleagues and I undertake.

To a significant extent the ongoing dialogues of the educational critics has influenced mainstream education, the philosophies and teaching methodologies of critics such as Maria Montessori, have largely been incorporated into the tertiary transmitted theory of mainstream teaching practice,  as a rule with a renamed providence, a practice that has enabled the acquisition of funding for many academic careers and by default, the marginalisation and stagnation of alternative educational systems and educational critics in the minds of each new generation of standardised teachers mass-produced in the educational factory of university.

Perhaps the problem is one of unquestioned assumptions. When studying a system as irreducibly complex as the schooling system, not only does the meta-context continue to direct its practice and aims, regardless of our acknowledging it -(or not), and due to this overarching information, any research into effective teaching practice-(at least publishable research), nearly always results from the inherent unexamined and silently assumed metaphysical philosophical superiority. As such, any attempt to test students to understand if a particular experience allows them to perform better on one measure, such as efficacy with numbers, does not reveal any data about the irreducible complexity of each child, the planet, or the system, and the long-term effects of that experience on any number of other interconnected and inter-effected measures.

For example, while the child’s work with numbers may improve in one study, there are a variety of other learning taking place simultaneously and contextually. The varied Social, Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, (and other) dimensions of that child and of that society are being shaped, and when studied in the unexamined and un-critiqued meta-context of this now globalised world of forced standardised schooling, it seems apparent that studies performed cannot hope to identify a truly relevant control group, and cannot hope to significantly acknowledge the longitudinally self-reinforcing contextual and evolving holism of a child.

As a result, even when studying purely academic measures, a reductionist analytical quantitative research methodology, as per western science traditions, is increasingly recognised in educational research as unable to provide significant and important data, such as that is needed to understand, contextualise and gain insight into the practice of teachers and learners in schools, and, while qualitative research can to some extent provide those insights, it still carries with it the generally unexamined meta-context that shapes and determines research, discussion, and interpretation. Not to mention the accumulated burden of the accepted wisdom and immense longevity of established practice methods, and the associated intellectual weight of the many hundreds of thousands of highly intelligent minds who collectively researched, comprehensively and systematically, to build the system and practice of schooling and education into a science and art, through millions of pieces of honestly excellent work that create this truly impressive, extensive, compelling and vast academic dialogue.

This meta-context with its ideological power and educational aims, turns schooling into a means to an end, and as such disallows a wide range of alternative worldviews and values from taking root in our dialogue and examination of schooling systems.

This is in my opinion a significant and inherent flaw, one that flies in the face of cutting edge research into human psychological states and neurological research, both of which demonstrate without doubt that non-ordinary and profound states of awareness and functioning that school does not address exist. States that all human beings are theoretically capable of accessing, developing and establishing, states that provide vastly deeper levels of competency, expertise, intelligence, fulfillment and emotion than contemporary schooling seems capable of nurturing, and states of vast historical significance to the cultural, intellectual and scientific progress of the human race, as embodied by our greatest luminaries. (Indeed, that there is not inconsiderable evidence that contemporary schooling may inhibit the development of these states.)

If we are going to require so much of a child’s life, and that of their family, at such a young age. We need to seriously reconsider merely turning their life into a means to an ideological end, and instead discover if the experiences our community can offer our children will result in them becoming empowered and deeply fulfilled human beings that are capable of understanding and developing their innate potentials and if not, seek other alternatives for our race.

If I have learned anything useful through University and School it is this, any relatively unusual intellectual capacities any child may demonstrate, are both, (but less) the product of inherited traits, and more importantly the product of circumstances and environment, I truly believe that schooling as I knew it, it is as potentially irrelevant and multi-nefariously damaging to all students as it was to me. -(If the possibility exists for children to be given the appropriate circumstances and environment for real learning to take place.) And furthermore, that students who are lucky enough to naturally possess circumstances and environment which will allow unusual precociousness to develop, will be greatly damaged by schooling.

This is very important for all of us and for life on this planet as a whole, while human society, culture and even science, has been shaped in large part by the effects of seemingly nebulous concepts such as genius, intuition, insight and mysticism, these central influences upon our history, are aims that are missing from our educational provision for our children. Perhaps because we have little agreed understanding of what they are, and even less of how to nurture them.

This is challenging, but beautiful, the frameworks we could use to understand and integrate them have been historically often been religious and as such carry with them the accumulated cultural baggage that has historically have cumulatively resulted in the oppression and deaths of billions. It is tempting to turn to other theories, however while so called alternative education does perform significantly better on the psychological markers and cognitive traits we have associated with the development of these aptitudes, they do not demonstrate comprehensively the capacity or comprehension to truly develop the human potential inherent in every child ever born, at least not as we understand that potential today.

Perhaps the problem is deeper. In education we turn life into a means to an end, an end that does not define meaningful answers to mysteries, or include any model of the cutting edge understandings of the development of the human being, as an independent entity separate from the dominant ideology of economic rationalism. In light of this, alternative approaches to schooling are not really very alternative. Just as it would be hard to understand true diversity in individuals, in a society where all people have been exposed to extended periods of forced standardised schooling throughout childhood, so too is it be hard to understand what true diversity in education might mean, when all schools, born within that rhetoric and worldview, must teach to achieve the same curriculum outcomes, and are born from the same cultural and economic context.

What is needed across all educational institutions is a radically different approach to thinking about life, about education and about our biological, emotional, spiritual and cultural humanity, a new schema that translates into radically different approaches to providing childhood to children.

My experience of university has been both disturbing and informing, to begin with I have benefited by being exposed to an educational environment again, this time as an adult and this time with the self-awareness and understandings to be able to examine and hopefully to some degree re-establish my relationship to schools, and by that I mean, to have the opportunity to take responsibility for and evolve my unconscious response to these environments, and thus come to terms with the personally damaging effect it and the unconscious choices and behaviors that I acted out as a child have had on the development of my personality, values, and life.

It has been frustrating to see how much has changed, how much is and was known, and how much has stayed the same, and liberating to grow to an age, within this context, where I can see a bigger picture and without loosing any passion, no longer feel the need to free all children from the prison like experience school was for me, in effect robbing twelve years of my life, and more, through the enduring influence of my maladjustment to my life. Perhaps I am burned out, perhaps I have come to understand the power of giving up.

Historically, I have been quite vitriolic towards the so called education system and all involved in it, spouting quotes such as “it is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”-(J Krishnamurti), however despite my cynicsm, through the direct testimony of others I have learned that for some people in some situations, school has been whatever they conceive of as a tremendously positive experience. This holds true regardless of the purely philosophical comparison that any situation may have to what could have been any theoretical optimum childhood.

I have also realised that I was immensely naive in thinking I might have something significant to add to educational dialogue, I have discovered to my delight and disappointment that a wide range of people far more intelligent and qualified than I am, have already researched and critiqued education with great acuity and depth over the generations. And that every insight I had into the flaws and benefits of schooling, while at school or while studying it as a student, was already known long before I was the victim or student of it.

Regardless of the disappointments of my course, and my dawning realisation that within the structure and content of current schools I will find it incredibly difficult to live up to my ideals for education, I am excited to finish and finally begin teaching, I’ve been where I am long enough and learned enough for now, its time to return to prison and free myself, I’m hoping that as I read, grow and deepen, that simultaneously I will be able to complete future studies and hopefully a Phd looking at other ways of knowing, exceptional learning and performance through flow states, because it all seems awfully interesting.

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Meditation, Super-Consciousness and ‘Enlightened states’ of Awareness

What is meditation? According to the most ancient wisdom traditions of the world, meditation is the purpose of life.

Not my purpose of life, not someone’s purpose of life, but the true ontological raison de entre, the reason for existence, true existence itself.

The very real and only important purpose for your and my short life and existence here on earth. Not philosophically, not theologically, but as a realised experience.

However, meditation today has come to be seen as a mild therapy, a form of self-growth, or a practice for euphoria, a somewhat different understanding than the historical and stunningly powerful descriptions of meditation that direct humanity towards the state of ‘self-realisation’ often referred to as ‘superconsciousness’ ‘cosmic awakening’ or ‘supreme bliss’.

As the famous Hindu Saint of the 19th centaury, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa stated “God-consciousness is 10 million times more blissful than sexual experience.” quite a striking contrast to an understanding of meditation as stress reduction.

This experience, the evolutionary unfolding of the human organism, is well documented in the lives of thousands and thousands of saints throughout the world and throughout history, and although often-(but not always) preceded by multiple meditative and mystic experiences, is not gradual but rather always described as a sudden and illuminating realisation of reality, a heightened state of consciousness that directly perceives the reality of consciousness, both internal and that known as the external universe, suddenly and profoundly, beyond words imagination and concept.

Omniscience of the soul, as the soul, beyond the limitations of a mind constrained by thought, of the universe as it truly is and not as a belief, a state symptomatically accompanied by profound psychic awakening and inconceivable bliss.

Not imagination, but perception, not questioned or doubted but overwhelmingly transformative.

It is described as the realisation of the nature that each human being already is, as if an inverted and limited experience of life and of reality suddenly gives way to the all encompassing experience of the world as it truly is, the deeper and universally encompassing reality described by mystics, poets and saints throughout the ages from all races and all religions. And for the first time, suddenly, the words of religions and of the mystics, are comprehendible.

It is as if all psychic and all mental faculties, all emotional faculties, all potential experiences give way into the true depth and nature of the reality of the soul and its relationship to reality itself. An eternal and inconceivably ancient dance of consciousness and divinity in form and time. An experience so powerful, so life changing and awakening, that nothing in your life can ever been experienced in the same way again, and not a single day can pass without the true nature of reality working subtly to transform your mind and heart back to their natural state. That of this tangible and overwhelmingly powerful experience of the only real truth, reality beyond, behind and encompassing thoughts. As Krishna says in the song of god-

“One feels infinite bliss, That is perceivable only through the intellect, And is beyond the reach of the senses. After realizing Brahman, One is never separated from absolute reality.”

This is meditation.

No matter what we may do in life, what personal growth we may achieve, what wounds we may heal, what events we may experience, what beliefs we may adopt and allow to pass away, our mortality demands our attention to this deeper reality, and invites our experience of it.

Even if we were to do and achieve all other things, but not ever experience meditation for ourselves, and by experience I don’t mean in words or feelings, visions or sensations, practice or learning, but with the whole being that we are, as it truly is. It will be as if we had achieved nothing, did nothing and died without ever understanding who we really are, and what life really is.

The concept of meditation, it its original context, is a long way from self help movements and the new age philosophies. Nor is it as simple as the term, self awareness, as the Catholic Church would say ‘quid putas eius’, its not what you think.

Over the last seventy odd years there have been extensive research publications and debate, within the scientific community regarding the physiology and biology of meditative and mystical states of awareness, encompassing many traditions of so called meditative practice and finding stunning neurological and biological correlates to the subjectively related experiences of the individuals studied.

While this produced a range of deeply fascinating findings and can teach us a lot about the physical, sociological and psychological benefits inherent in the process of learning to meditate and of different meditative practices, they also tell us much more. They inform us succinctly, comprehensively and without waver, that although many different meditative practices can bring wonderful and beneficial results for our health and psychological/spiritual wellbeing and adjustment. That there is a vast difference between the practice of a meditative tradition, and the experience of the mystic state of awareness.

Why is the mystic state important?

It is important to our individual happiness, because our entire psychological structure, and corresponding life experience and interactions is based upon our avoidance of it -(a subject for another blog) therefore no matter what work or experiences we may have that allow us to experience greater happiness in life, greater fulfilment, greater adjustment in life, without the release and transformation that occurs through surrendering this fear into the unconditional bliss of the direct experience of reality as it is, there will never be acquired freedom, deep down, there will always be a degree of dissatisfaction and a need for more. We may intellectually understand how it is we wish to be, but habits and deep seated traits with persist. Our deep subconscious processes based on fear will rule our lives.

At the level of our spiritual life, indeed reality and life is in essence, by definition, spiritual beyond profound, and according to those who have experienced the mystic state of awareness, this state is the only important desire in life, and critical to live if we truly care about our personal spiritual wellbeing and journey through and after life. All the so called ‘real world’ created by human culture and intellectual and physical infrastructure is, is a powerful and dangerous illusion that sustains our physical existence and keeps us trapped in cyclic behaviours that lead nowhere. At best it can afford us the freedom to truly experience life, at worst it can confuse us into believing that what it offers us, is life.

We may have glimpses of freedom and mystic states, through religion, through entheogens, love, compassion, family life, child birth, work, activity and meditative practice, and it is clear these will and do bring about a deepening of our openness to spirituality, to life. But without choosing from a sober place, to surrender life the to the mystic state, even these can become a way to engage with phenomenon, with experiences, with growth, with change and to by definition, miss dealing with the root cause of our dissatisfaction, our fear of the natural uncaused bliss true meditation in the sense discussed exposes us to. As Ramana Maharishi stated; “when the mind, one pointed and fully focused, knows the supreme silence in the heart, this is true learning. ”

This state and our desire for it, is important for humanity because to have peace in the world we need peace within our communities and to have peace within our communities we need peace within, and ultimately all peace except this peace is relative and not absolute. Because all peace except this peace is tainted by the fear of  this peace, a fear which underlies and informs all other experiences and psychological processes.

This is important because billions of human beings have been brutally murdered, tortured and raped in the last hundred years, it is important because without this reorientation, this deep peace, empathy and compassion are limited to the states of consciousness and awareness we employ as our lenz and limitation, and without resting our fear and our failings into this peace, we are left with only an insatiable need for growth, for connection, for healing, for achievement, for recognition, a drive that decoupled from compassion and empathy, and channeled by the wrong view, allows and dictates that 1.6 billion humans will starve and live in slums, tin sheds and mud that stretch from horizon to horizon right now, it is important because we have deforested the planet and created the biggest known mass extinction of species in the history of this planet, an event that is accelerating as I write. And the solution for these events is not to sing happy songs and consume.

Meditation will not automatically bring about a solution to this problem, the problem of the human heart and mind expressed as this insanity, but the psychological and intellectual reorientation of the relationship of the self to reality that comes about from the experience of meditation as described above, does develop our capacity for intelligence, empathy, compassion, love, kindness, wisdom and the peace it brings can strengthen and increase the degree of conscious freedom from conditioning the body-mind complex employs.

We have the capacity and understanding today, through our sciences and industries, our infrastructure and institutions to comprehensively transform our civilization and our personal and communal existence into a form far more ethical, moral, sustainable, fulfilling, uplifting and beautiful, however our lack of real emotional engagement with life, with its mud and dirt and piss and blood, our lack of empathy and passion, forms our only real collective obstacle. It ensures that the very real obstacles presented by our highly intelligent thinking and powerful institutions and systems, remain real.

The mystic state not only address’s our deepest fears, it directly transforms our perception of our conscious awareness and of the fundamental nature of reality, the shift in world view that this implies and the psychological freedom it allows can combine with the cultural heritage we possess for interpreting these experiences, to bring about a radical change in our consciousness, in our motivations and experience of life, and in turn in the relation we bring to bear and to our living global systems and family.

This is real meditation. As a monk once said to me, everyone is always meditating, the trick is to stop.

 

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NLP for Environmentalism.

After compiling a list of a few of the most awesome, stunningly beautiful medicinal and health promoting plants and fungi ever discovered, both these little clips seemed kinda apt. 🙂 , listening to the indian man talk reminded me of speaking with my friend who I began this blog with, hence the title (nlp). Often it is not what we say, its how we say it that matters, what we say communicates facts, and how we say it communicates ways of feeling and seeing and thinking that are far more powerful.

 

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A Different Style of Gardening/ Worlds Best Superfoods. -(please introduce me to more cool plants)

 I’ve been around Gardening my whole life, and if I’m honest and observant, my life has been immeasurably enriched by it aesthetically, nutritionally, psychologically, spiritually and emotionally. However for most of my childhood and adolescence, It was my parents, especially my father, who gardened. I just (literally and metaphorically) enjoyed the fruits.

 In more recent years, watching friends pay to study permaculture, bio-dynamics, or just straight up organic gardening, I realised I’ve learned a lot about gardening, either by osmosis or observation, helping old men or listening to old women, and without realising it, its become an important part of my life. Whoever would have thought I would like compost so much!

 Perhaps having to live in a city heightens my innate need to be around living things. I’m not sure, but either way the last six years at least have involved various tinkerings with gardening,, along with life in general. And during that time my gardening style has altered significantly. I’ve come to appreciate a wider range of plants and trees, and really enjoy their historical roots -(pun intended).

 Its inspiring to know that we have at our fingertips as gardeners, the results of the history of life on this planet and through that incredible heritage, many thousands of years of  lived human wisdom across civilizations and cultures from every continent of earth. Our culture, our spirituality and our history are intrinsically linked with the life we have used to sustain our own, and in turn have changed the course of that life forever. Creating new organisms that in turn brought about tremendous change in our lives.

 Here’s the pick of my current favorites,-( Helping construct my dream garden) I’m hoping to expand this list over time, and new suggestions for awesome plants and trees would be much appreciated. I hope that one day we live in worldwide ‘old growth’ forest garden, again.

 Only two or three of these plants are not powerfully bioactive, most are known to contain powerful medicinal compounds. I’ll get back and update one day, please send me candidates.

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Plants-

Allium Sativum (Garlic, Heirlooms)

Angelica Keiskei, (Ashitaba)

Anthemis Nobilis,(Camomile)

Aristotelia Chilensis (Maquai)

Astragalus Propinquus-(Astragalus)

Brassica Oleracea (Self Explanatory-(heirlooms var.)

Bunium Persicum, (Black Cumin)

Calendula Officinalis, (Calendula)

Caralluma, (Qahr Al-Luhum)

Centella Asiatica, (Gota Kola)

Chenopodium Quinoa, (Quinoa)

Cissus Quadrangularis, (Veldt Grape)

Cistanche Deserticola, (Cistanche)

Corydalis Ambigua- (Yanhusuo)

Echinacea Angustifolia (Echinacea)

Ginseng (Panax and Eleutherococcus Senticosus)

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis, (Chinese Liquorice)

Hemerocallis Fulva, (Tiger Daylily)

Malva Verticillata, (Chinese Mallow)

Matricaria Recutita, (German Chamomile)

Oenothera Biennis, (Evening Primrose)

Physalis Peruviana, (Golden Berry)

Piper Methysticum, (Kava)

Rheum X Hybridum, (and Officinale) (Rhubarb)

Rhuem Palatum, (Chinese Rhubarb)

Rauvolifia Serpentina- (Sarpagandha)

Saccharum, (Sugar Cane specifically)

Salvia Miltiorrhiza, (Danshen)

Saussurea Costus, (Costus)

Symphytum X Uplandicum, (Comfrey)

Silybum Marianum, (Marian Thistle)

Tetragonia Tetragonioides, (Warrigal Greens)

Trachyspermum Ammi (Bishops Weed)

Viola Odorata (Common Violet)

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Root Vegetables

Dioscorea Opposita, (Korean Yam)

Ipomoea Batatas, (Sweet Potatoe)

Ipomoea Costata, (Bush Potatoe)

Lepidium Meyenii, (Maca)

Oxalis Tuberosa, (Oka)

Smallanthus Sonchifolius, (Yacón)

Tropaeolum Tuberosum, (Mashua)

Ullucus Tuberosus, (Ulluco)

Zingiber Officinale, (Ginger)

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Mushrooms-

Agaricus Subrufescens, (Gods Mushroom)

Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma Tsugae, (Reishi)

Grifola Frondosa, (Signorina)

Hericium Erinaceous, (Satyr’s Beard)

Inonotus Obliquus, (Chaga)

Laccocephalum Mylittae, (Blackfellows Bread)

Laricifomes Officinalis, (Agarikon)

Wolfiporia Extensa, (Tuckahoe)

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Herbs-

Amaranthus, (Amaranth)

Anethum Graveolens, (Dill)

Bacopa Monnieri, (Water Hyssop)

Hypericum Perforatum, (St Johns Wort)

Mimosa Pudica, (Touch Me Not)

Ocimum Tenuiflorum, (Tulsai)

Peperomia Pellucida (Silverbush)

Phyllanthus Niruri, (Chanca Piedra)

Pogostemon Cablin, (Patchouli)

Polygala Tenuifolia, (Yuan Zhi)

Prunella, (Grandiflora, Laciniata, Vulgaris), (Allheal)

Salvia Hispanica and Salvia Columbariae (Chia, 2)

Schizonepeta Tenuifolia, (Japanese Catnip)

Trigonella Foenum-Graecum, (Fenugreek)

Urtica Dioica, (Stinging Nettle)

Valeriana Officinalis, (Valerian)

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Vines and Creepers

Actinidia Arguta, (Hardy Kiwi)

Apios Americana (Groundnut)

Cyclanthera Pedata, (Caigua)

Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (Jiaogulan)

Jasminum, (Jasmine, also shrubs)

Momordica Cochinchinensis, (Gac)

Morinda Citrifolia (Noni, and technically a tree)

Passiflora, (Passionfruit)

Piper Longum, (Long Pepper)

Piper Nigrum, (Common Pepper)

Schisandra Chinensis, (Five Flavor Berry)

Siraitia Grosvenorii, (Monk Fruit, 1)

Uncaria Tomentose, (Cats Claw)

Vanilla Planifolia, (Vanilla)

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Bushes and Shrubs

Asparagus Racemosus, (Shatavari)

Cassia Alata, (Candle Bush)

Cinchona, (Quina)

Ephedra Sineca (Ephedra)

Hippophae Rhamnoides, (Sea Buckthorn)

Lavandula Angustifolia, (English Lavender)

Leptospermum Scoparium, (Manuka)

Mucuna Pruriens, (Velvet Bean)

Punica Granatum, (Pomegranate)

Salvia Apiana, (White Sage)

Salvia Mellifera, (Black Sage)

Tanacetum parthenium (Fever Few)

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Aquatic and Wetland

Acorus Calamus, (Calamus)

Chlorella, (Chlorella)

Eleocharis Dulcis, (Water Chestnut)

Euryale Ferox-(Makhana)

Nelumbo Nucifera, (Sacred Lotus)

Nymphaea, (Water Lily)

Spirulina, (Spirulina)

Typha, (Cumbungi)

Zizania Aquatica, (Wild Rice)

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Cactus and Succlents

Agave Americana (Blue), (Agave)

Aloe Vera, (Aloe Vera)

Carpobrotus Rossii, (Pig Face)

Lophophora Williamsii, (Peyote)

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Trees

Acer Palmatum, (Japanese Maple)

Adansonia Gregorii, (Australian Boab)

Aegle Marmelos, (Stone Apple)

Azadirachta Indica, (Neem Tree)

Boswellia Sacra, (Frankincense, 2, 3)

Bursera Graveolens, (Palo Santo)

Bulnesia Sarmientoi, (Palo Santo)

Cananga Odorata, (Ylang Ylang)

Cedar Deodra, (Himalayan Ceder)

Cinnamomum, (Especially Cassia), (Cinammon)

Citrus Maxima, (Pomelo)

Citrus Glauca, (Bush Lime)

Commiphora, (Myrrh)

Cordyline Fruticosa, (, La’i)

Crataegus Monogyna,(Glastonbury Thorn, Hawthorn)

Davidsonia, (Ooray Rain Plum)

Dimocarpus Longan, (Longan)

Elaeocarpus Ganitrus, (Rudraksha)

Eucommia Ulmoides, (Chinese Rubber Tree)

Ficus Religiosa, (Bodhi Tree)

Garcinia Mangostana, (Mangosteen)

Ginko Biloba, (Ginko)

Ilex Paraguariensis, (Yerbe Mate)

Juglans, (Walnuts)

Jujube, (Jujube)

Mangifera, (Mango)

Moringa Oleifera, (Moringa)

Myrciaria Dubia, (Camu Camu)

Phyllanthus Emblica, (Indian Gooseberry)

Pinus Sylvestris, (Scots Pine)

Pouteria Lucuma, (Lúcuma)-

Santalum, (Album and Spicatum), (Sandlewood)

Tabebuia, (Specifically Pau D’Arco)

Theobroma Cacao, (Cacao)

Thuja Occidentalis, (Northern Whitecedar)

Terminalia ferdinandiana, (Kakadu Plum)

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Second Posting :) , Cognitive Bias and GaiaTheory

I was trying to think what to blog about, being new to the blogging thing… I’ve decided I may as well start off where I started in my first post.

I met my now deceased friend some years ago at a psychedelic-trance party, at a rose farm.

It was to say the least somewhat of a blissful event, listening to the morning set,  wandering, misted by light reticulation among the roses…

Without doubt our conversation was among the best of my life, it was therapeutic in unexpected ways, nlp if you will. Although the content was interesting, content was irrelevant, the nature of the interaction style transmitted a deep state of spiritual contentedness and ecological consciousness.

A different mode of conversation and way of being, thinking, feeling. I went away thinking ‘man that is one of the coolest people I have ever met’,  new to psytrance I acquired a naive expectation that the global psytrance culture was full of people like him.

By a technical definition of IQ,  my friend was a genius, with deep ecological awareness.

He had spent time as a forest blockader, protecting old growth ecologies, had grown up in an amazing ecosystem, and had a natural passion for ecology, local and global.

He knew most local life by sight, knew of special places in the forests, rivers and oceans, respected indigenous cultures, and had spent enough time in the forests to be able to observe and relate the amazing behaviors and personalities of many different critters. This was not academic knowledge, but a deep, mature compassion, a sense of personal love, and personal importance.

I experienced him as very spiritually aware person, there seemed to be a side to him that functioned at a deeper or higher level of consciousness than day to day ordinary states of awareness.  If you were on the same level he loved it, but if you were caught up in the mundane, the egoistic, the zeitgeist story, his habit was to create dissonance, not connecting and being uncomfortable for people to be around. Unless or until you then chose to raise your level of awareness, into a deeper, more present state.

Gaia theory, the idea of the planet as a vast self regulatory system, with us as cells, in much the same way our body is composed of discrete entities (cells) is something I have begun to understand in a spiritual sense, from my own experiences of interactions with life at certain places in non-ordinary states of awareness, however like indigenous peoples and some ancient religious have stated, the planet is more than just a self-regulating system, the ecosystem seems to be conscious.

Gaia, Alex Grey 1989 oil on linen 96 x 144in

In this sense, the mystical/religious sense, our consciousness and the universe are part of an interactive system, both inextricably linked, reliant on each other for function and meaning, irreducibly one.

One body.

When my friend died there were a number of unusual natural phenomenon that occurred, the week after his death there were a large number of extraordinarily beautiful spiders, moths, crickets, that came through his home and were seen or landed on many of his closest friends, none of us had ever seen any of these before, nor since.

We scattered his ashes at the mouth of an inlet system that led to the ocean where he had spent a lot of time surfing, fishing, and hanging out. On the way out there we saw a sea eagle sitting in a tree, we saw two dolphins in the place where the ashes were scattered, the moment the ashes hit the water the water developed deep rips and the tide started ripping it out into the ocean, on the way back, the sea eagle was carting a fish.

These phenomenon in and of themselves are not extraordinary, perhaps our observation of them as unusual and auspicious is nothing more than cognitive bias, or perhaps they were an expression of a higher principle of consciousness, arising from the spiritual life of my friend.

While it’s a fairly palatable hypothesis that the planet might function as a self-regulating organism, it’s quite a leap from that to the hypothesis of the planet as conscious.

What scientific evidence might there be for that hypothesis?

What is consciousness? and how can we demonstrate that the planet does or does not possess it?

Consciousness is considered in many current western debates to be nothing more than an epiphenomenon of the brain, mediated by chemical signalling and inherently electrical in nature.

What evidence is there for phenomenon resembling this in nature?

All life is chemical, all life interacts chemically with its environment, all life possesses and mediates electrical potential.

All life is subject to and generates electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields, depending on their nature, can stimulate magnetic, electrical, and chemical activity. Both in the brain, and in any cellular or inanimate material. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-method-to-measure-consciousness-discovered/  (update)

Many scientists see consciousness as resulting from an interaction between these fields and the so-called material substance of the brain and body. An idea that is not new, as Patanjali. the founder of yoga stated -(in reference to the human bioenergy field); “its seven fold layers hold supreme knowledge of consciousness”.

While this is a nice potential starting point for the exploration of the planet as a conscious entity, it does not demonstrate the kinds of conscious response that we would expect from self-regulating sentient systems. Nor does it directly demonstrate the kinds of immediacy or interconnected sentience of individual composite systems(entities) that generate a super-conscious Gaia as discussed by indigenous Peoples. Indeed it is generally assumed that most life lacks sentience.

Is this true? And is there any evidence that information can be transmitted, chemically, electromagnetically, or by means as yet unknown in order to effect our conscious volition or sentience?

Perhaps, after all, with a question this interesting, there is no shortage of scientists willing to explore, if they can acquire funding.

While it would be insanely boring to turn this blog into a literature review discussing all of the varied science and scientists who have explored these ideas, ill have a quick look on youtube and find something worth watching.

The short media presented bellow is from a documentary about plants, if you like it, have a look for and watch the rest! –

From the materialist, reductionist, secular, atheistic perspective that dominates much of our cultural dialogue,  the idea of sentience or consciousness beyond that expected of a mere material epiphenomenon,  is not considered to be “scientific”.

This is an interesting assumption if we consider the relative abundance of well respected scientists in senior positions at major academic or research facilities, who have published phd or phd equivalent studies into the varied aspects of human consciousness that decry this assertion.

The following is an extended lecture by senior scientist Dean Radin, who discusses this exact phenomenon, and provides a brief overview of a handful of peer-replicated experiments that provide empirical evidence for psi phenomenon.

These are very cool very interesting science experiments, but are they more than just intellectual amusement? how can or should these findings effect our personal perspectives, emotions, thinking, living and experience of life? Are these just amusing, or can they be impactful? How can these new perspectives change our lives?

 

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First Posting Ever.

Recently I was asked to read through the diary of a very dear friend of mine that had killed himself, to find something to read out at his funeral. It was a really hard thing to do. He was a man of great intelligence and spirit, and his poems were beautiful. His sentiments very special.

I stood in front of a crowd of hundreds, many whom I had never met, his mother, housemates, partner, friends, many people that adored and loved him deeply, mainly because he adored and loved them so much.

I read a poem he had written about love, love of all, nature, life, each person, mother nature it was exquisite, a beautiful prayer, it was so hard to read, words got caught in my throat, but I pushed through, when I finished I stood looking in horror at the faces of those who had gathered to celebrate his life, out of love. And then the horror really struck home, I returned to my seat, in shock and sadness. The experience etched into me forever.

One of the many sentiments expressed through the diary, was his sense of gratefulness for having been convinced to begin dairying by a friend.

In the sense of that sentiment Ive decided to make a foray into blogging, I have absolutely no idea how it works, but over time Ill share my musings,  and cool stuff I find online, with the electronic ethers, and perhaps one day enrich your electronic experience

🙂

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