About Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach and coach mainly about 21stC 'interfaith as inter-spirituality' - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

Mirroring Oneness in Baha’i Teachings

Mirroring Oneness in Baha’i Teachings

Photo credit Nick Harris on WikiPedia

-0-

Who would you like to be with for eternity in the next world? A spouse, partner or friends – or Rumi perhaps?

“This is how I would die / into the love I have for you: /

As pieces of cloud / dissolve in sunlight.” – Rumi

Or perhaps Socrates, Shakespeare or another person – a grand-mother perhaps, who taught you about being truth, goodness, beauty-creating and justice?

At the heart-centre of all of our longings is the longing for ‘at-one-ment’, i.e. atonement.

Happiness and fulfilment rest in ‘being at-one’. It is the summit.

The deep mystical reality, is to be at-one with the unknowable Mystery of the Whole. For some God is Ultimate Being and the ‘ground of all being’. For others God is a personal God.

The summit of at-one-ment strengthens our ability to be at-one with closer levels of relationship such as with our partner or friends.

Each of the first six papers in the first stage of this series suggested that mirroring exists within and between the great Traditions Sufism, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity. I chose three ‘religions’ from each of the two lines of prophets – the Semitic and the Aryan. Others are equally valid but the 6 more suffices in my teaching work – enveloped by my own community’s Baha’i teachings.

Inter-spiritually mirroring exists as a self-appraisal as well as between the Founders as Perfect Mirrors of the great Traditions.

Oneness is the summit. There are many paths to realizing Oneness.

All of the paths below are experiential ways that can take us there. The steps are sequenced differently depending on the make-up and personal history of each individual.

Spirit flows unless temporarily blocked. We witness spirit forming and transforming – in ‘the world’, in others and most importantly in ourselves. The human spirit I take to be the reality behind human consciousness.

1 Good parents and teachers strive to enable us to raise up our consciousness. Such consciousness is not just the absence of concussion or a coma!

2 In the great religions the true, real, mystical heart-centre teachings overwhelmingly One. Baha’u’llah of His own religion said, ‘This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.’. – (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas)

When we have self-knowledge we recognise those teachings as our own heart-centre.

3 To counterbalance the experiential, and avoid the diseases of exclusivity and fundamentalism, we need at least a ‘Nutshell theology’. Mine’s very simple. ‘There is One God, One Holy Spirit, there’s just one human family and an unending series of Prophet-founders, aka Messengers or Manifestations.’

The Manifestations of God are perfect Mirrors – mirroring the Love and Light of God.

4 Through our life-experiences we suddenly, or gradually, realize the ‘dual-Nondual worldview’ – two realms. The first is the contingent realm, including the material world. The second is the realm of spirit – a step out of self and into the Presence of God in God’s creational form. Ultimately the two are one.

5 We realize, that we have a passport as Citizens of the two realms – that ultimately are One – the dual and Nondual.

As we learn appropriate practices, meditation, prayer, study and service to others we learn to step out of the time-bound world into the eternal ‘now’. The simplest, successful meditation is HERE – Apps iPhoneAndroid keep smiling!

The eternal realm of ‘now’ is spaceless and mass-less as well as timeless.

6 We realize that broadly there are two Kinds of knowing. First there is the theoretical – book-learning.

Secondly there is what is called gnostic knowing – the gifts (not to be demanded) of God.

Gnosis signifies a spiritual knowledge or insight into humanity’s real nature as divine.

In Baha’i teachings ‘Irfan’ is a Persian-Arabic word referring to mystical, theological, and spiritual knowledge

In Islamic teachings ma’rifa is the mystical intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth reached through ecstatic experiences, rather than revealed or rationally acquired.

Metaphorically we each have our island of knowledge – a speck in an infinite ocean. On the island we cultivate such knowledge that enables us to survive and function in the dual world. On the shoreline facing out to the sea, the Infinite Ocean, we, as Heschel says, are where “only the sense of the ineffable can glide

We realize capabilities of truth-testing. ‘Triangulation’ is one tool for truth-testing – comparing a teaching on insights with two other sources. Another is consultation.

7 The continuous and pre-eminent search for Self-knowledge ends in sudden or gradual realization – or failure. Wisdom comes with age for some.

8 Maturation feels like healing – its the sound of a door closing, as we let go of attachments and addictions, and learn to mirror the mirroring, the Love and Light of God from the Divine Mirrors – the Manifestations of God.

9 Along the way, suddenly or gradually we realize All is God. God is Ultimate being and reality, but some prefer a personal God.

There are 7,800,000,000 people on earth (as of March 2020,) In one sense that’s also the number of ‘gods’. The sense of each having a different experience is clear from the story of the blind people who came across an elephant. Transcending our limited vision is a vital challenge for all individuals!

We learn to read, suddenly or gradually, the mystical metaphors used by great teachers over the last few thousand years or example the Hindu ‘Two birds on the self-same tree’ – one ego-centred and ego transcended. They are, of course, two sides of our own inner heart-mind consciousness – and as they ‘heal’ they become one mature, integrated Self. That is God, seen more clearly.

We can learn to read the ‘way’ as in the Tao Te Ching, the prototype of the mystical heart-core – ‘The tao that can be told / is not the eternal Tao….

Or we learn to ‘read the book of his own self’ as in the Seven ValleysBaha’u’llah‘s greatest mystical composition.

As a combination of the above paths carries us forward we return to our spiritual practices with increasing certitude and joy;

Prayer, our talking to God, and expressing the joy of gratitude.

Meditation, in stillness and silence is listening – to hear God talking to us.

Our study aided by a clear sense of our identity and purpose.

and service which is the way to keep us grounded, as well as being empathic responses to our fellow humans.

We realize that all great religions of the past have outstanding, saintly individuals striving to rescue dis-orded religions. In Christianity this is often called rescuing Christianity from Churchianity.

These then are ways to the summit of Oneness.

But has anyone ventured into even higher realms or stages?

Perhaps Cynthia Bourgeault in her book ‘Eye of the Heart; a spiritual journey into the Imaginal Realm’ which she defines as ‘a meeting ground, a place of active exchange between two bandwidths of reality’ – for example between this world and the world hereafter. Other definitions are HERE

Another essay by Golgonooza (pen name of Brian Keeble?) reveals HERE more about the imaginal realm; ‘The rational path of philosophers and theologians needs to be complemented by the mystical intuition of the Sufis, the “unveiling” (kashf) that allows for imaginal—not “imaginary”—vision. The heart, which in itself is unitary consciousness, must become attuned to its own fluctuation, at one beat seeing God’s incomparability with the eye of reason, at the next seeing his similarity with the eye of imagination. Its two visions are prefigured in the two primary names of the Scripture, al-qur’ân, “that which brings together”, and al-furqân, “that which differentiates”.’

Does it mean that I accept everything that Cynthia says? No.

You can catch a glimpse of Cythia’s soaring in the spiritual realm from the talk HERE to the Ibn Arabi Society at Oxford by the Baha’i Professor Todd Lawson. With the YouTube video I suggest you start at 50mins.

Intuitively I feel that all that Cynthia Bourgeault is discovering is in the Baha’i Revelation, and probably in other Revelations as well – but we are still seeing through a glass darkly.

SHARK Stereogram cf Magic Eye.png

As with ‘reading’ autostereograms. Success, by God’s grace, enables us to see into our own heart-mind.

In the old days electricity was metered. You put a coin into the meter and the lights came on. Metaphorically when the ‘penny drops, we see for the first time the image in the auto-stereogram.

Don’t worry if you can’t see the creature in the above Wikipedia auto-stereogram picture.

If it works for you we can say there are two stages. Firstly just a fog of dots. Secondly we see the creature in 3-D. If it doesn’t work for you there are other pictures or metaphors.

The stereogram links us back to higher-level meditation which should be objectless – Thomas Mc Farlane article HERE. Videos Bourgeault HERE, and here Spira

Gradually all will come more into focus. And then instead of saying we are seeing ‘through a glass darkly’ we will instead say;

“We can see more clearly now,

and now, and now,

as we oscillate between the two worlds.

Oneness in the mirroring of the Christian Mystical Renewal

Oneness in the mirroring of the Christian Mystical Renewal

Picture source is the Integral Church

-0-

Are you tuning in? “Into what should I be tuning? My answer is into the spirit of this age.

We are so fortunate to be living in this time, despite the pandemic of negatives.

For Baha’is Baha’u’llah ushered in a new age and a fulfillment of prophecies:

To ‘Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints”; to Christendom Christ returned “in the glory of the Father,” to Shí’ah Islám the return of the Imám Husayn; to Sunní Islám the descent of the “Spirit of God” (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Sháh-Bahrám; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.’

With the appearance of Baha’u’llah as Christ come ‘in the glory of the Father’ re-formations are rising in other Traditions. Outstanding people are inspired, usually unknowingly, to ‘clean out their stables’ in their religion and to restore the Christianity out of its ‘churchianity’. For them it was and remains a wake up call.

Essential in each of these blessed souls is that their lives mirror the light in response to the ‘Word’.

In the Bible the ‘word’, ’ is, according to Alan Watts, sound not words. Mystical being is closer to reverberance or resonance than to perpetually disgorging words

Einstein, also one of our great mystics, is relevant. There is the view that Energy and Matter are the Same or mass–energy equivalence.

When ordinary souls do tune in to the forces released by the most recent Manifestation, (aka as High prophet or Messenger), they receive, and can be creative with, the great positive energies that always flow into this world from the most recent Manifestation. We need to tune ourselves to filter out negative interference and enable the good energies to flow through us.

The simplest statement of pan-religious theology that I can present is; all is One, All is God, there is only one God, there is only one Holy Spirit.

That Holy Spirit is reflected preeminently by the perfect Mirrors of the Manifestations. Such Messengers have appeared approximately every 500 to 1000 years.

At the heart-centre of their Teachings is the mystical;

“We liken God to the Sun, which gives us all our life. So the Spirit of God reaches us through the Souls of the Manifestations. We must learn to commune with Their Souls, and this is what the Martyrs seemed to have done, and what brought them such ecstasy of joy that life became nothing. This is the true mysticism, and the secret, inner meaning of life which humanity has at present, drifted so far from.”

If you want a single book of all the major mystical teachings in the Baha’i Revelation go to The Call of the Divine Beloved – Selected Mystical Works of Bahá’u’lláh

Interestingly in Christian the theologian Karl Rahner said; “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.”

All of us, in some measure, are affected by the re-newal, or re-flowering within the other great religions. The energy and potential can be felt and used by all of us as individuals as well as by groups; "a rising tide lifts all boats”

Science also undergoes a re-formation. Islam at its height brought astonishing progress in the scientific and technological world that outshone the western dark ages and eventually led to our renaissance and to the mixed blessing of the Enlightenment.

All the negatives then and now can be attributed to the same lacking in individuals and institutions – the failure to realize the Oneness of God, the Holy Spirit and the Manifestation, the Perfect Mirrors and that humankind is one family.

Our true, real, mystical self needs to be prepared to say with Socrates "I know that I know nothing" is the key to diminishing destructive egotism via humility. He also of course said "The unexamined life is not worth living.

That Socratic principle is strengthened whenever we can celebrate the oneness of all paths through reverence for the unknown and unknowable Mystery of the Infinite God, instead of asserting exclusivity over some theology. “Theologians of the world may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”

Mysticism can be understood as maintaining the stillness and silence of not knowing!

The Institute for Mystical Experience Research & Education, IMERE, lists more than eighty examples of people who have given their stories of mystical experiences. These include; the living at the height of their influence such as Cynthia Bourgeault; the ‘recently’ deceased, such as Father Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton; poets such W B Yeats; 19thC figures such as Walt Whitman and so on.

I’m inspired by Matthew Fox best known for Creation Spirituality. He points to the “ground of being” as a vital turning point in theology for all people – Christians and those of other traditions.

Fox has taught a lot about Thomas Merton, a much-loved and revered Christian who extended his heart and mind into dialogues with people of many traditions. HERE

I take delight, with Fox, that the great Vietnamese zen master Thich Naht Hanh says the ‘ground of being’ is his favorite name for God. He was a close friend of Merton.

In his essay “Buddhism and the Modern World,” published in Mystics & Zen Masters in 1961, Merton applauds Zen scholar D. T. Suzuki who taught that the “True Self” is the formless, original mind. Merton explicitly compared this concept to that of the Godhead in Meister Eckhart.

He explains Suzuki’s use of the word ‘mind’ in Zen as not meaning;

. . . the intellectual faculty as such but rather what the Rhenish mystics [including Eckhart] called the ‘ground’ of our soul or of our being, a ‘ground’ which is . . . enlightened and aware, because it is in immediate contact with God.

Merton credits Suzuki with “obviously thinking of Eckhart” when Suzuki talks of the light of Prajna penetrating “the ground nature of consciousness” and illuminating things inside and outside.

. . . metaphysical intuition of Being . . . an intuition of a ground of openness, indeed of a kind of ontological openness and an infinite generosity which communicates itself to everything that is.

‘The good is diffusive of itself,’ or ‘God is love.’ Openness is not something to be acquired, but a radical gift. In other words grace.

In contrast to God as object, and the idols that result from that consciousness, Merton saw another option:

Another, metaphysical, consciousness is still available to modern man and woman. It starts not from the thinking and self-aware subject [that is, not from anthropocentrism] but from Being, ontologically seen to be beyond and prior to the subject-object division.

Underlying the subjective experience of the individual self, there is an immediate experience of Being. This is totally different from an experience of self-consciousness. It is completely non objective. It has in it none of the split and alienation that occurs when the subject becomes aware of itself as a quasi-object. The consciousness of being (whether considered positively or negatively and apophatically as in Buddhism) is an immediate experience that goes beyond reflexive awareness. It is not ‘consciousness of’ but pure consciousness, in which the subject as such ‘disappears.’

Matthew Fox’s videos on his YouTube channel are HERE. Some Merton books are available online HERE

Have you had a ‘Ground of Being’ experience of immediate contact with God, and immediate experience of Being? If so, how did it transform your view of the world and your place in it? You can report such experiences anonymously on IMERE HERE

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true teachers across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium – HERE.

The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion.

"All these studies," wrote Merton, "are united by one central concern: to understand various ways in which men of different traditions have conceived the meaning and method of the ‘way’ which leads to the highest levels of religious or of metaphysical awareness." See his message

Cynthia Bourgeault is possibly the greatest spiritual teacher of this time. She is a modern-day mystic, Episcopal priest, and theologian. She has evolved her teaching through a long series of books culminating in Eye of the Heart i

In Eye of the Heart, Cynthia Bourgeault investigates the imaginal realm – an energetic realm well known to the mystical traditions but often forgotten in our own times – it’s the most challenging and exhilarating multi-sphere set teachings I have engaged with, outside of Baha’i.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” In Lakota language cante ista means “the eye of the heart.”

Whether we are from a Christian background or some other background the benefits are legion if we tune in to the positive reformations within major faith communities.

-0-

Oneness mirrored in Zen Buddhism


Oneness mirrored in Zen Buddhism

It’s a joy. Do you love music and have a diverse taste? My wife and I watch ‘Playing for Change’ on YouTube. We love these guys for what they are doing to make people happier. ‘Playing for Change’ helps with music projects in many places around the world.

Playing for Change like all music can be a benign refuge from the pain that life brings.

Many people try to take refuge in becoming rich, in alcohol, drugs, inapproriate sex, or violence. But all these have major disadvantages as places of refuge. Such attachments or addictions can be a way for some to answer the question “Who am I.” For some one of these ‘negatives’ is to get a better life.

We don’t have a life. We are life. The life-force, through us flows.

It flows unless the egotistic self creates a blockage. Sometimes we have an intimation about the Awakened state which is all the Buddha claimed for Himself. Nourish the spark.

Awakening can be incremental or a satori flash;

8TPoCfCpzfusv5KqNGc5Yi8HlgCFLykOwp6NnP-I7fgPS15tLZUrNYciXL--mbjYUE11qbpJzIGS8hWj37KnQSS4Lxg0wn2_Ao6q7EWlaJPAaJM6tUMs_wQHjWxoJsHcroMEP01U

A lightning flash:

between the forest trees

I have seen water.

Shiki Masaoka

(1867-1902)

Awakening is a temporary experience of Awareness which is reality and our true self. Buddha-hood is maintaining that state of being (almost) permanently!

The story of the Samurai Warrior and the Zen Master

The warrior was large and strong and had won many battles. The Zen Master was a rather small old man, and was well-known far and wide as being one of the wisest and kindest men in the land.

One day, the Samurai warrior went to the Zen master for instruction. “Please,” the huge man asked, “teach me about heaven and hell.”

The master scowled, then broke into mocking laughter. “Me, teach you about heaven and hell? I wouldn’t waste a moment trying to instruct the brain of an overweight ignoramus like you! How dare you ask me for such a lofty insight?”

Well, upon hearing these words, the Samurai grew furious. His face flushed, he drew his sword to chop off the teacher’s head.

Just as he was about to strike, the master raised his hand and calmly said, “That, sir, is hell.”

Upon hearing this, the samurai suddenly realized the profound lesson the master had just taught him – that we make our own hell by indulging in anger and resentment.

The warrior was so grateful for this teaching that he dropped his sword and fell to his knees in front of the Master, bowing in humility and gratitude.

When he looked up, the old man was smiling.“And that, sir,” the teacher said, “is Heaven”.

I suspect that the Awareness generated by the awakening lasted.

In Zen terms such successful teaching brings satori, awakening, or even Nirvana. Nirvana literally means "blown out", as in an oil lamp but means salvation, the release from egotistic self.

Every time we are tested and found wanting we are shown a challenge, a state of being that we need to transcend. We need to abandon the ‘wanting mind’ , says Bryan Thompson – “Nothing lasts – nothing but awareness.”

Buddhists take refuge in three different expressions of awakened mind: buddha, dharma, and sangha – the teacher, the teachings and the community. Each of these is a precious and necessary element of the Buddhist path, and so they are called the three jewels of Buddhism.

Buddhism’s focus is to help us to get the right relationship with change. Why? It’s because in this earthly, dual, contingent world shift happens. The only certainty is change.

Buddhism offers the tools for deeper self-understanding. Here are insights from four versions of a famous ancient Zen Buddhist teaching, which the great Master Dogen taught;

The first version I discovered says:

To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things. … To be enlightened by the 10,000 things is to recognize the unity of the self and the 10,000 things.

When all things point to their source, ‘no-thing’, there is no duality. It is similar in teaching about yin and yang. The yin and yang ‘model’ indicates polar, but complementary, opposites. However as Alan Watts points out, were there no opposites there would be no knowing on our part.

Stated more strongly we would have no way to raise our level of consciousness if the dual, contingent world was not binary. That is if it was not made up of opposites; hot and cold, tall and short, smooth and rough we would not be conscious – and God would not be the Creator whose creation is continuously unfolding and evolving.

The second version;

From the teachings of Taizan Maezumi Roshi we learn that;

‘Awak­ening is the very core of the Buddha’s teaching, but if we are thinking about awakening we are separating ourselves from it.

So how do we practise with­out being dualistic? That’s what Dogen Zenji talks about in the famous passage from the Genjokoan:

To study Buddhism is to study the self.

To study the self is to forget the self.

To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas.

When you really become one with yourself, you forget the self. And when the self is forgotten, the Buddha Dharma, in an instant, reveals itself as the whole of life — the life of each of us. So in studying the self, in practising zazen, put yourself completely into it and be zazen itself. In following the breath, just be the breath; in working on a koan, be the koan; if you do shikantaza, com­pletely be shikantaza – zazen or silent meditation. Practicing in this way, the subject-object dichotomy will fall away and you will have a glimpse of your true nature. But this is not all. Dogen Zenji goes on to say:

To be enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas

Is to free one’s body and mind and those of others.

No trace of enlightenment remains,

And this traceless enlightenment is continued forever.

Having seen your own true nature, that awareness then expands to include everything, and the Buddha Dharma func­tions without hindrance as one self and others. Going still further, beyond any trace of enlightenment and non-enlightenment, being completely ordinary, traceless enlighten­ment continues accomplishing itself endlessly.’

The third version;

To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.

When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. But dharma is already correctly transmitted; you are immediately your original self. When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.

The fourth version:

“To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by ten thousand things. When enlightened by ten thousand things, the body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away.”

Here on the ASOKA site there are 16 lessons about the Genjo Koan – each version adds something to practice and realization.

In Baha’i teachings, from a prayer, we find; O compassionate God! Thanks be to Thee for Thou hast awakened and made me conscious. Thou hast given me a seeing eye and favored me with a hearing ear, hast led me to Thy kingdom and guided me to Thy path……..

O Thou the Compassionate God. Bestow upon me a heart which, like unto glass, may be illumined with the light of Thy love, and confer upon me thoughts which may change this world into a rose garden …… – Abdu’l-Bahá

The mystical poet William Blake said, “He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

In a beautiful talk Abdu’l-Baha teaches ‘Joy gives us wings.’

Let’s fly

and be in such a way that we help

others awake to their Awareness –

and be free to serve others more deeply.

-0-

Oneness Mirrored in The Taoist Way

Oneness Mirrored in The Taoist Way

Bn0KIReJVNzjHm9bHRmo0cd7GY33JZ2qZLrPOe0UDV78p_E21a2uH-fmbv8qSNtfgU7IYMB7M5V1mw2UqI9tvPJX78vlrVpYadlDQulkJvaNvHUoE3G7_ol6gfxPQ7tQ2Se_IvtH

Zhang Lu 張路 -Laotzu riding an ox SOURCE – Picture SOURCE Wikipedia

-0-

“How spiritually hungry are you? To dive deep in the spiritual Ocean is to apply a key truth. That truth is the difference between spiritual experience and writing about spiritual experience.

The former is real, the latter is just signs, words, concepts. You can’t quench your thirst with the word water, nor can you take a bath in the word bath. Watch the face of a child if she wants an ice-cream and then you give her a picture of one!

Real life is in the now, and it is experiential. Right now do you have the tools, attitudes and qualities to live life so fully?

‘Deep spiritual experience’ is just another name for mystical experience. It’s any experience that takes you out of your ‘self’ – a child’s smile, a landscape, a work of art.

Words alone won’t satisfy the longing for deep spirituality. Unfocused Comparative Religion is useless to help us on our spiritual quest toward self-knowledge. That would cause us to get lost in a sealed maze of what Taoism and Zen calls the 10,000 things. Unless they’re illuminated by sufficiently deep nondual experience.

Taoism is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with ‘theWay’.

Taoism might best be seen as a prototype of the mystical heart of the religions that have followed. It is the way of en-light-en-ment – it brings light to the path we tread. Baha’i author Professor Roland Faber has written a challenging paper entitled Laozi: A Lost Prophet?

Taoism’s main text is The Tao Te Ching – translated more than 250 times.

It has been called – the way of integrity and the way to let go of the compulsive need to answer unanswerable questions!

Tao.svg

Tao, a Chinese word signifying "way", "path", "route", "road" or sometimes more loosely "doctrine".

The first chapter of the Tao Te Ching as translated by Stephen Mitchell says;

The tao that can be told / is not the eternal Tao / The name that can be named / is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real./

Naming is the origin /of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery. / Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations / arise from the same source.

/ This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness. /

The gateway to all understanding – 53 words 8 sentences

Ron Hogan’s helpful everyday language version starts with; “If you can talk about it, / it ain’t Tao.

We need to live life with a permanent connection to the nondual realm.

That connection can, in this dual, material world transform the myriad ‘ten thousand things’ as we begin to see them as ‘pointers to the ineffable’ (unspeak-able) Non-dual realm – like fingers pointing to the moon.

Then we can say, “Now I see this dual world more clearly”. Without the Nondual connection this everyday world is wrongly called the ‘real’ world. As Baha’i teachings say – this world is;

……. like the vapor in a desert,

which the thirsty dreameth to be water and striveth after it with all his might, until when he cometh unto it, he findeth it to be mere illusion. It may, moreover, be likened unto the lifeless image of the beloved whom the lover hath sought and found, in the end, after long search and to his utmost regret, to be such as cannot “fatten nor appease his hunger.”

That which is ineffable, that is un-speak-able, is the eternally real. When we start to name things we are making differences, distinctions, dualities, comparisons, judgements. We bring focus to particular things to show them against their background or context. The ultimate context from which things arise is no-thing also called ‘darkness’, i.e. the Non-dual or God manifest in Creation.

The Desire for things is the challenge we have in the dual world. It prevents many people from awakening to the Awareness that is their true Self. The more we are free from desire the more we can tune in to the Nondual.

Trapped in desire we can become slaves to material things or to cosmetic versions of the ‘I’ in ‘I-Am’. This is to fail in the quest for deep spirituality. It needs us to let go book-learning and worldly knowledge’

The Darkness within darkness is the No-thing that is the source of all things. It is the source to gnostic or Irfan-ic knowledge. This we receive by the Grace of God.

Of course there is much wisdom in the other 80 chapters but these 83 words are the golden thread of Oneness that appears in all religions since Taoism.

Taoist ethics vary in general tend to emphasize wu wei (action without intention), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity and the Three Treasures: 慈, "compassion", 儉, "frugality" and 不敢為天下先, "humility".

The roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. “In any age the keys are always right here now for those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

Go deep into your heart to find the deep essentials including the ‘dual-Non-dual’ reality of our earthly lives.

In spirituality, Non-duality, means "not two" or "one undivided without a second". It primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is "transcended", and awareness is described as "centerless" and "without dichotomies".

While the term Non-duality is derived from Advaita Vedanta, descriptions of nondual consciousness can be found within all major Traditions, though often neglected. Nonduality in Taoism is seen as ‘one unified whole that originates all the elements of the Universe’.

Currently since The Age of Enlightenment scientific materialism rules – but mystical truth has a much longer pedigree than scientific truth.

Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328), and Rumi and others, agree that ‘theologians may quarrel but the mystics of the world agree’.

CQ0be9c8yogeNXd6VjEAEul_PmbL0GaRwTfjN7yYsfhJE68HPn0UZUho3B3knUJhMoWL9JMTk8qw1aqgBh1k-ceEQ1u05bbAVcvHaQOFFkWuwQxYZCYz4iVN8FPjXdUslChEz9ZY

With Non-dual experience what enables the penny to drop and the light to come on? With a quietened egotistic self, deep spiritual experiences generate insights – into ‘the world and into the self.

Always forms of practice precede what many describe as an experience by ‘the Grace of God’. Practices help keep us in a state of readiness and sensitivity and deepen our sensibility. We can’t demand such experiences.

Might it be that our enlightenment hangs on a hyphen? – Non-duality is more easily entered if we read ‘nothing’ as ‘no-thing’. In the teachings of spiritual teachers, ancient or modern we find the admission, “I know that I know nothing”.

What is the essential difference between; “I know that I know nothing,” and “I know that I know no-thing.”? The latter makes clear a relationship with the infinite Mystery, the unknowable Godhead.

The hyphen is also a reminder of the mark on our gravestone – the dash between our birth-date and our death-date.

Why is the Tao te Ching so important? As one writer contentiously puts it in lauding the Tao Te Ching; ‘This book has held up under the test of time in a way few other works can ever hope to do. Deeper than Heraclites, far more coherent than the Bible, far less dogmatic than the Buddhist Sutras, this is the cat’s meow of philosophy books, today or then.’

In this Oneness series we laterally weave four themes:

Firstly Perennial wisdom’, or what the Baha’i teachings call “the changeless faith of God.”

Secondly Realizing the mystical dimension of being human – mystical experience is an everyday occurrence.

Thirdly, deepening our integrated maturity via our self-knowledge, is the transformation that enables us to progressively gain freedom from the egoistic.

Fourthly Realizing that in all great spiritual traditions we are citizens of two realms – the material and the spiritual.

However Reality is that the two ultimately are One, just as yin and yang are complementary within a single boundary. Opposites dissolve when placed in sufficiently wider or deeper contexts.

OIe-hcK9NIJdyBUw4Z4ZxXac1EFx5FZwqoIoZGTOEZGjCeax0Shsw3fKCDdoO96UfFExZtcN-FedSw6pDmDudpGaomts5G7xJirMqIpRu21F2SuY5qkjwzilfbB9G9mcFnGbopaT

For me watching, on Youtube, the The Tao Te Ching is endlessly inspiring – don’t miss Jacob Needleman’s brilliant commentary at 1 hr, 04 minutes and 59 secs

My experience is that it is worth doing relevant practices to realize more deeply who we really are, and what is meant by “I AM”.

You too can add the Tao Te Ching as a guide to your deeper experience – to gain sufficient self-knowledge to become your true Self;

The tao that can be told

is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named

is not the eternal Name…….

-0-

Oneness mirrored in Judaism

Oneness mirrored in Judaism

Elekes Andor – Own work – Mirror statue. Győr, Hungary. Saturday, 31st of October, 2015 – Wikipedia

-0-

I walk every day. He was drunk. It was a few minutes after 7AM. The supermarket opens at 7am. The bottle of wine was half-empty. I was turning into the street where I live – walking with trekking poles. He asked me about my ‘walking sticks’. I explained that I use them because I have an achilles heel injury. His face was round and shone with subdued alcohol-radiance. In his alcoholism he was still curious – a good sign perhaps? An image of him as a Buddhist monk flashed in my imagination.

We can take one of two attitudes to fellow humans. Firstly there is ‘othering’ – in which we view or treat a person or group of people as alien to ourself.

Alternatively we can instead see the face of God in everyone.

Guess which one is really challenging!

Perhaps I passed muster on that one encounter. Often I fail, but life is about connecting. That includes connecting with religions other than our own. Such connections are vital. Why? Such vital connections help us to reduce our othering, and help lessen the grip of our egotistic self.

That grip step by step lessens the covering up of our True and Real Self that is there all the time. Lessen the grip and light breaks through. Then we can say, “I can see more clearly now!”

In addition to connections with fellow humans we need a gateway to other religions. To get that we need a key teacher, and a key teaching that together reveal the underlying Oneness. That’s what I look for, to have a gateway into the heart of other Traditions.

Why are we setting out to create that connection? We all will have our own reasons. As a Baha’i I am commanded by Baha’u’llah to see all Messengers as One. After more than half a century of practice and study I have two guiding views.

The first is that elites tell me that the mystical is the prerogative of only special people – whereas I see it as part of being human – like loving and philosophising.

The second view is that mysticism shows the true heart of a religion – or of an individual human being.

How do we set out to create that connection? Constant prayer and meditation might reduce the time required to study. Having said that, it has taken me more than half a century!

What do we actually do to set out to create that connection? We need to seek out what is the same at the heart-centre of the religions. This is a spiritual quest not a collection of information. Superficial surface facts are ‘true’ but irrelevant to deeper, mystical, experience and the knowing that comes with it.

When should we set out to create that connection? The answer is ‘If not now, when’?

With Whom shall we seek to set out to create that connection?

Firstly choose carefully those with whom to walk the talk – that’s essential.

Secondly I have found that triangulating helps. What’s that? If three major religions say that same thing about, for example ‘duality and Nonduality’ or ‘God is love’ or the ‘ineffable and inscrutable’, then that is a strong pointer. To what? To their being in touch with truth, beauty, goodness or justice and with Reality and our true Self. But we must always start with our felt experience.

Thirdly on my walks, I walk in the company of outstanding spiritual teachers – in addition to Baha’i teachers. How? – by listening to recordings of their teachings.

What are the benefits to our selves, and to others, if we have such gateway relationships?

Firstly we are less in danger of becoming exclusivists or fundamentalists about our own faith community and its teachings.

Secondly we benefit from reading one text in the light of another. It develops sensitivity, sensibility and humiity.

It is always important to take insights out of their normal context. The context of a prayer might enable an experience, even an experience of the ineffable nondual. Insights might also enable us to deal better with the dual, contingent world.

If we are on a spiritual quest we are in some measure entering on the Hero’s Journey – as in The Lion King and many other Hero’s Journey films. We all need heros.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) for me is a hero. He walked the talk – literally as well as metaphorically. He marched on the Selma protest alongside MLK. Heschel said, "When I march in Selma, my feet are praying."

h8EnqGjTtUm_q3G81vQM54dqHPssKTJGE_za-NA9UG68zl8OkUZbkFQbhfT-Vp7p_GI_E9HqpnojgOinORqqOPLAzqkHRjFqdMHCeQmdK-7lIoRGBxTB71liBfmwmD_FDvun-w__

Photo credit – Wikipedia Abraham Joshua Heschel

Heschel is not just a great Rabbi for Jews,he was a gift to the whole of humankind.

In his masterpiece Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion, he, exquisitely describes, a range of key teachings including, a cosmology, the two worlds or realms in which we have dual citizenship, what it is to be fully human, pointings from the dual to the Non-dual.

He does that in a passage of eight sentences. I have read this passage many times and always I return with more insights.

‘The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide.

It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions.

We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.’

Heschel’s passage reminds me of a passage by Abdu’l-Baha that was an ‘aha’ moment for me about;

THE SINGLENESS OF SOUL, MIND & SPIRIT

it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.

Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.

When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.

And when it soars, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit. – Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190.

Heschel’s piece also led me in another direction. The European ‘En-light-en-ment’ was just as much an ‘en-dark-en-ment’. Reason became a god. Women supposedly weren’t so good at reasoning. Other ways of knowing were discounted including the heart-centred and the feminine.

It’s all delightfully satirised in Charles Dickens novel Hard Times – read the first few chapters HERE

Reason is limited. Why? because it starts somewhere – and starts with a set of (hidden) assumptions.

‘The immense expanse beyond’ is beyond the tools of reasoning, and it’s infinity points to God and the unknowableness of God.

Our sense of the ineffable takes on a journey – soaring into the atmosphere of God as Abdu’l-Baha says.

The beloved Rabbi Heschel has also emphasized deep, mystical spirituality as opposed to concept swapping; “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” – p.88

Heschel also says; “In information we are alone; in appreciation we are with all things.”

“We may doubt anything, except that we are struck with amazement. When in doubt, we raise questions; when in wonder, we do not even know how to ask a question.

Doubts may be resolved, radical amazement can never be erased. There is no answer in the world to [our] radical wonder. Under the running sea of our theories and scientific explanations lies the aboriginal abyss of radical amazement.”

(Man Is Not Alone, p. 13)

Insights to be gleaned from Heschel also include –

On the ineffable and inscrutable – “To become aware of the ineffable is to part company with words … the tangent to the curve of human experience lies beyond the limits of language. The world of things we perceive is but a veil. Its flutter is music, its ornament science, but what it conceals is inscrutable.”

On Radical amazement Heschel says; "Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed."

Watch Heschel on PBS with a transcribed interview.

There-is-no-other. There-is-no-Other.

END

Oneness mirrored in Hindu Advaita Vedanta


Oneness mirrored in Hindu Advaita Vedanta

The swan is an important motif in Advaita. The swan symbolises the ability to discern Satya (Real, Eternal) from Mithya (Unreal, Changing), just like the mythical swan Paramahamsa discerns milk from water. – Wikipedia
-0-

Does just ‘being’ alive make you feel good? Does just being alive expand your consciousness and sometimes tip you into bliss? Don’t just wake up and smell the coffee. We need the change of waking up more deeply?

We must wake up to the perfume of all the Prophet-Founders, such as Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Christ, Mohammad and Baha’u’llah. They teach us how to deal with life’s challenges of change to focus on that which is of eternal value.

What is the key passage in Hindu teachings that offers core Hindu spiritual insights? Perhaps it’s this;

‘Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad.

But when he recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more.’

Baha’u’llah in His ‘Book of Certitude’, revealed in two days and two nights in 1862, explains; ‘It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, …… If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all ….. soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith….’ Should any of them say; “I am the return of all the Prophets,” He verily speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact …..’

We are united, if we will it, by the reality of One God, One Holy Spirit, a series of Messengers, and our One human family.

But there are also the teachers who receive love and light from the Revelations of the Prophet-Founder’s Revelations and go on, in turn, to reflect that love and light in their lives. They walk the talk. That’s you and me if we will it.

In the desert of materialism there are many wells of sweet water – from both the Messengers, and their true reflectors, who can quench our spiritual thirst.

That sweet water is now more accessible than ever before in history; “Peerless is this Day, for it is as the eye to past ages and centuries, and as a light unto the darkness of the times.”

Why is it that the vast majority of discoveries and inventions have appeared since the middle of the 19thC? Might it be because of the energies released by the most recent Messenger – Baha’u’llah?

Take a look at the 1970 book Future Shock by American futurist Alvin Toffler and Adelaide Farrell. They defined Future Shock as "too much change in too short a period of time" – information overload.

The overload now is not just such things as evermore technologies such carbon dating, DNA, genomic analysis and myriad other developments. It is because our human and spiritual side hasn’t equaled our technical capabilities. We are lopsided, not balanced.

We now can gain insights and inspiration as never before.

Here we cherish, in particular, inspiration from the Hindu Advaita Vedanta teachings. We also ask if there are co-responding teachings in Baha’i teachings – including in Baha’u’llah’s The Hidden Words.

The Hindu teachings, as with all of the great religions help us transform into our best and true self. Mantras, or similar practices, can pave the way to transformative insights.

The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit in India. They are at least 3500 years old. The word ॐ (Aum, Om) serves as a mantra. It is believed that aum was the first sound on earth and chanting Aum creates a reverberation in the body which helps the body and mind to be calm. In more sophisticated forms, mantras are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as a human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and action. Some mantras without literal meaning are musically uplifting and spiritually moving.

Below are two symbols. On the left, is from the Hindu teachings and the right-hand one is from the Baha’i Revelation;

16KeJLZ3FdhaGnNmHf9FHlj-aUJlsQ_VgOzTO96gKcwpbu4KMtSDO5XHfvRBKP6DvOzy_UxiMNTAAP-gKnvx4QH_XNlSyDQxpJfvO3lvs3zIDpSHFzwjw_L7xu_Em0NaKuvaTQ6E

Oneness mirrored ​​i​n Rumi Teachings

Oneness mirrored in Rumi Teachings

Roger Prentice – Revised – ver 2 2nd Aug 2021

Rumi – the 13th century Sufi mystic and poet – is a good place to start a spiritual journey, while asking the profound question, “How deep does our shared oneness go?” This Rumi video and re-presentation poem explains:

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,

not Hindu, Buddhist, sufi, or zen.

Not any religion or cultural system.

I am not from the East

or the West,

not out of the ocean

or up from the ground,

not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all.

I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve

or any origin story.

My place is the placeless,

a trace of the traceless.

Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved,

have seen the two worlds as one

and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.

In this YouTube video Rumi’s poem “Only Breath” is re-presented by poet and translator Coleman Barks, taking us deeper into what and who we truly are.

Interestingly, throughout the Baha’i writings Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha quote Rumi many times. The author Arjen Bolhuis has so far found more than thirty examples here.

Rumi wrote from a Sufi perspective, but parallel teachings from many other traditions also nurture our realization in inter-spiritually derived oneness. As the Baha’i teachings affirm, there is one God, One Holy Spirit, and one unending series of prophets and messengers to guide humanity.

All of those spiritual teachers teach similar core themes.

We are citizens of two realms – the material and the spiritual. Spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer enable self-knowledge. We are fed by wisdom from “the changeless faith of God.” When we absorb that wisdom and translate it into action, gradually egotistic tendencies diminish. Our mystic heart expands with more moments of ineffable union in this world and the non-dual worlds. Eventually the two become one.

From the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, we read:

The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise.

Baha’u’llah’s son and successor Abdu’l-Baha said that “… all parts of the creational world are of one whole,” but also “God contains all …. The whole is greater than its parts …” On change and changelessness, Abdu’l-Baha said:

Time changes conditions, and laws change to suit conditions. We must remember that these changing laws are not the essentials; they are the accidentals of religion.

The essential ordinances established by a Manifestation of God are spiritual; they concern moralities, the ethical development of man and faith in God. They are ideal and necessarily permanent – expressions of the one foundation and not amenable to change or transformation.

Every major Faith includes these mystical elements. Taoism, for example, sums up the most important themes from the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching:

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.

The Hindu teachings offer similar spiritual insights, as in this translation of a Vedantic hymn by Swami Prabhavananda:

Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more.

In his book Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion, the great Jewish teacher and activist Rebbe Abraham Joshua Heschel described these two worlds exquisitely:

The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another. Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.

This ancient Zen Buddhist teaching, which the great Zen master Dogen taught, proclaims:

To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things. … To be enlightened by the 10,000 things is to recognize the unity of the self and the 10,000 things.

RELATED: The Mystery of Progressive Revelation

The work of Christian author and scholar Tim Redfern, in particular his article “That God may be all in all: Christianity and Nonduality” informs us about these core themes and their primacy in Christianity:

The basis for these claims about “nondual Christianity” lies in the New Testament, salvation is frequently displayed as a process of unification and becoming One.

In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus prays “that they may all be one, as thou, Father, art one in me, and I in You, that they may be one in Us” [John 17:21].

In his Second Epistle, Peter writes that through the promises of Christ we will become “partakers of the divine nature” [1 Peter 1:4], a passage usually cited as the basis for the doctrine of deification.

John, in his First Epistle, writes “when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” [1 John 3:2], and when this happens…

Paul tells us, “we will all, beholding the glory of the Lord, be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory” [2 Cor 3:18] and God will be “all in all” [1 Cor 15:28].

According to Paul, “as many of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female: for all are one in Christ Jesus” [Gal 3:27–28].

In this vision, individual identities seem to fall away; as elsewhere, incorporation into Christ is depicted as a unifying process that transforms the creature into ‘part’ of the Creator: “you are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” [1 Cor 12:27].

There is clearly a strong current within Christian theology that views union with God as the ultimate spiritual destination…. and the priority of unio mystica in contemplative mysticism — literally “oneing,” as Julian of Norwich (1343–1416) called it.

So How Deep Does Our Oneness Go?

The teachings shared here all show the true heart of the core themes of religion. We can find a short version of those insights in this striking definition of Namaste, the traditional Hindu greeting which loosely means “salutations to the divine child in your heart:”

“I honor the place in you

in which the entire Universe dwells.

I honor the place in you which is of Love,

of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace.

When you are in that place in you,

and I am in that place in me,

we are One.”

Baha’u’llah wrote; “Meditate on what the poet hath written, “Wonder not, if my Best-Beloved be closer to me than mine own self.”

When we ponder that single line, we address the most mystical depths of our Selves.

-0-END-0-

One of my favourite chants Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

One of my favourite chants

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra – Sacred Sound Choir – Ancient Chant For Healing & Peace

YouTube Notes from Lok3

This mantra in ancient Sanskrit, is a call for enlightenment and is practiced for purifying karma of the soul at a very deep level. It is said to be very beneficial for emotional and physical health. Mrityunjaya Mantra, also known as “Rudra mantra” is found in “Rig veda VII.59.12”, “Yajur Veda III.60″, Atharva Veda XIV.1.17”, “Shiva Purana” among others.

According to the legend Mantra was given by Lord Shiva himself to sage Sukracharya. ==Oṁ houm om joom saha Boorbhuvassuaha== Tryambakaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭi-vardhanam ǀ Urvārukam-iva bandhanātmṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt ==Boorbhuvassuvarom joom saha houm om ǁitiǁ== Meaning of Lyrics in English

We worship the Three-eyed Lord who is fragrant and who nourishes and nurtures all beings. (1)

As is the ripened cucumber (with the intervention of the gardener) is freed from its bondage (to the creeper), may he liberate us from death for the sake of immortality. (2)

Word by word Meaning of Lyrics

ॐ = oṁ = is a sacred/mystical syllable in Sanatan Dharma or hindu religions, i.e. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism (symbol of ultimate reality). त्र्यम्बकम् = tryambakam, त्रि (Try=Three)+ अम्बकम् (Ambakam=Eyes)= “one who has three eyes” referring to Rudra or Siva who share the same attributes. (1) Firstly, in His ‘vishwaroopa’ or universal form, the three eyes symbolically signify the sun, moon and fire. Sunlight during the day, moon at night and fire in their absence signify illumination. (2) Secondly, the pair of eyes give sight to the material world and its experiences.

The third eye is symbolic of ‘atma-jnana’ or knowledge of the Self through which one sees the higher reality. Kamadeva or Manmatha is the God of Desire perennially churning the mind and causing restlessness. यजामहे=yajāmahe = We worship, adore, honour, revere you सुगन्धिम् = sugandhim = sweet smelling, the fragrant (spiritual Essence).

The fragrance The word in the mantra does not refer to physical fragrance, ie perfume but fragrance of character. Perfume emanates from a source and spreads to a reasonable distance. As such noble character spreads with warmth. पुष्टि = puṣṭi = A well-nourished condition, thriving, prosperous, fullness of life. वर्धनम् vardhanam = is one who nourishes, strengthens or restores (in health, wealth, well-being); a good gardener. उर्वारुकमिव urvārukamiva: उर्वारु, (Urvaaru=Cucumber) इव (Iva=Like, In the same manner)= like the cucumber, here ‘urva’ means ‘vishal’ or big, powerful or deadly. ‘Arukam’ means disease.

Thus ‘urvarukam means deadly and overpowering diseases. The pumpkin or cucumber interpretation is given to show detachment. The diseases are those caused by the negative effects of the three gunas and therefore (a) ‘avidya’ – ignorance or falsehood and (b) ‘sadripu’ – a constraint of the physical body. बन्धनात् (bandhanāt)=means bound down, Bondage [of Samsara or
Worldly Life]’I am bound down just like a cucumber (to a vine)’. मृत्यु (mrtyu) = Death मुक्षीय (mukṣīya) = Liberation मृत्योर्मुक्षीय mṛtyormukṣīya = Free, Liberate us from the fear of Death मामृतात् (Maa-Amrtaat): Liberate us from the death (for the sake of Immortality); मा (Maa) = Not, अमृत (Amrta) = Immortal

The benefits of letting go of our fear of death – Cynthia Bourgeault

Listen as Cynthia Bourgeault, modern-day mystic, Episcopal priest, and Center for Action and Contemplation faculty member, names a fear of death as the true source of the scapegoating, hoarding, and other destructive human forces stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. We must seek out the courage and wisdom to adjust to global change or the planet will do it for us.

To watch the video go HERE –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2gBJOCyxG4&t=55s

Photo Unsplash Joshua Earle@joshuaearle

Abdu’l-Baha and Rumi on on the real world and the illusory dream world – how we are existent and non-existent

This place is a dream.

Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief………

……..

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,

rumi inner wakefulness

and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.

~~ Rumi To read the full Rumi article go to StillnessSpeaks HERE

-0-

Abdu’l-Baha one of our great spiritual teachers says;

Certain sophists think that existence is an illusion, that each being is an absolute illusion which has no existence—in other words, that the existence of beings is like a mirage, or like the reflection of an image in water or in a mirror, which is only an appearance having in itself no principle, foundation or reality.

This theory is erroneous; for though the existence of beings in relation to the existence of God is an illusion, nevertheless, in the condition of being it has a real and certain existence. It is futile to deny this. For example, the existence of the mineral in comparison with that of man is nonexistence, for when man is apparently annihilated, his body becomes mineral; but the mineral has existence in the mineral world. Therefore, it is evident that earth, in relation to the existence of man, is nonexistent, and its existence is illusory; but in relation to the mineral it exists.

In the same manner the existence of beings in comparison with the existence of God is but illusion and nothingness; it is an appearance, like the image reflected in a mirror. But though an image which is seen in a mirror is an illusion, the source and the reality of that illusory image is the person reflected, whose face appears in the mirror. Briefly, the reflection in relation to the person reflected is an illusion.

Then it is evident that although beings in relation to the existence of God have no existence, but are like the mirage or the reflections in the mirror, yet in their own degree they exist.

That is why those who were heedless and denied God were said by Christ to be dead, although they were apparently living; in relation to the people of faith they were dead, blind, deaf and dumb. This is what Christ meant when He said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” 1

1. Matt. 8:22.

Abdu’l-Baha (Some Answered Questions, pp 278-279)

SOURCE

When sublime gifts come to us

Q. How sublime it is when gifts come to us that show the mystic oneness that is the only way Unity will come – is it not the case?

"Beware of confining yourself to a particular belief and denying all else, for much good would elude you – indeed, the knowledge of reality would elude you.

Be in yourself a matter of all forms of belief, for God is too vast and tremendous to be restricted to one belief rather than another.

The ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its darkness; nor does the knowledgeable one see his own knowledge, for he basks in its light.

I am in love with no other than myself and my very separation is my union…I am my beloved and my lover; I am my knight and my maiden."

~ Ibn Arabi

-0-

A modern application is here;

https://en.qantara.de/content/interview-with-james-morris-ibn-arabis-vision-for-a-fully-human-global-civilisation?nopaging=1

Keats and Abdu’l-Baha and kirtan singer Krishna Das

Joy gives us wings

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The English poet John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) says in a long poem

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

-0-

1 A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 109

2 Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 109

3 Joy is the best cure for your illness. Joy is better than a hundred thousand medicines for a sick person. If there is a sick person and one wishes to cure him, let one cause joy and happiness in his heart. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 417

4 When a man has found the joy of life in one place, he returns to that same spot to find more joy. When a man has found gold in a mine, he returns again to that mine to dig for more gold. This shows the internal force and natural instinct which God has given to man, and the power of vital energy which is born in him. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 33

Kirtan Singer Krishna Das https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc8X37oJBE

Helping the penny drop about Now-ness

Thanks to WP

I love how great spiritual teachers say the same thing in slightly different ways.

Leonard Jacobson says;

“The journey is from here to here and the only time you can arrive is Now.”

Rupert Spira says;

There is no separate entity present that gets into the ‘nowness’ of Consciousness. Consciousness is always ‘now,’ that is, it is ever-present. So ‘now’ is not a moment in time nor even a present moment. There is no present moment. There is the ‘nowness,’ the timeless, ever-presence of Consciousness, IN WHICH the idea of time appears ‘from time to time.’


Each has special virtues. Both are brilliant.

Inter-faith Fireside No1. Love, finding God, and revealing your true Self

WP

LOVE: What has love got to do with it?

Many people accept the idea that God is Love. Here is an extraordinary Baha’i teaching by Abdu’l-Baha about love. Below there are some relevant teachings by Ken Wilber.

1 Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings.

2 Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.

3 Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things.

4 Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next.

5 Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul.

6 Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the diverse elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms.

7 Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. (Abdu’l-Baha – from Baha’i writings) -0- https://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAB/sab-13.html

Q. Where do we find go to find God?
Divinity has one ultimate secret, which it will also whisper in your ear if your mind becomes quieter than the fog at sunset: the God of this world is found within, and you know it is found within: in those hushed silent times when the mind becomes still, the body relaxes into infinity, the senses expand to become one with the world- in those glistening times, a subtle luminosity, a serene radiance, a brilliantly transparent clarity shimmers as the true nature of all manifestation, erupting every now and then in a compassionate Radiance before whom all idols retreat, a love so fierce it adoringly embraces both light and dark, both good and evil, both pleasure and pain equally…. – Ken Wilber

Q. What is our true Self?
The Self doesn’t live forever in time, it lives in the timeless present prior to time, prior to history, change, succession. The Self is present as Pure Presence, not as everlasting duration, a rather horrible notion. – Ken Wilber

Q. What insights can you see having these three teachings set together?

“every time I enter creation I withdraw from God”

Because of the plague the creation spiritual vision of such people as Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Meister Eckhart over the previous 150 years was practically abandoned in favor of Thomas a Kempis (“every time I enter creation I withdraw from God”) and other more introverted thinkers. Julian clearly represents the last and the best of this lineage of creation spirituality mystics—even though she lived through a harrowing time of pandemic.

Enjor Matthew Fox’s brilliant daily Creation Spirituality bloghttps://dailymeditationswithmatthewfox.org/2020/05/01/contextualizing-julian-of-norwichs-spiritual-genius/

THINKING MATTERS – OR IS IT OVERRATED?


The Thinker by Rodin (1840–1917), in the garden of the Musée Rodin

This week for the Inter-faith Fireside-Dialogue I’m lucky enough to talk with Prof Stephen Quinn who for a long time has been a journalist and writer and is a Professor of MOJO at Scandinavian university.

You no doubt will want me to ask what a MOJO specialist does – I will!

We both wonder what place ‘thinking’ has in our spiritual lives. In thinking do we have a ‘chattering monkey’ or ‘the greatest gift’ life has given us?

Do Take a look at the 1 min 48 secs Youtube video about thinking and the chattering monkey mind by Buddhist monk Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche – HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PkrhH-bkpk

We also take a look at what is meant by Non-duality and how thinking fits in – or doesn’t.

Hope you can be with us🙏😊

The brilliance of spiritual teacher Leonard Jacobson’s 2-step path of awakening

WP

Leonard Jacobson honed his teaching over decades and now teaches a very simple two step path of awakening;

The first step involves is to learn the art of being present. The second involves becoming a master of your mind and ego.

Both steps are necessary for true awakening.

-0-

Two of my favourite quotations are;

You want to know God, you will
have to give up your belief in God – p102 of his ‘Words from Silence.’

and

To awaken from mind to Being
is your responsibility.
No one can do it for you.
It is not difficult.
It can be done, provided you know the way.
I can show you the way.
But I cannot walk the path for you.
If you are sincere, honest, authentic,
and act with integrity,
and if you are total in your commitment,
you will awaken from mind to Being.
It is your birthright.
It is your destiny.
And you will be fulfilled completely,
in this lifetime.
But to awaken from the level of Being
to the Eternal is another matter.
This you cannot do.
The Eternal descends.
It is a question of grace.
A benediction.
You cannot hold onto it.
It will come and go.
It is not up to you.
All you can do is be an invitation.”

― Leonard Jacobson, Words from Silence: An Invitation to Spiritual Awakening

‘Loneliness, aloneness and at-one-ness’ – defining loneliness

An article named Milk Shake by Mary Ruefle begins
I am never lonely and never bored. Except when I bore myself, which is my definition of loneliness—to bore oneself. ……. – from The Paris Review ISSUE 216, SPRING 2016

I wish I’d had that definition when I was teaching children!

The strange case of St Francis of Assisi & the Quaker Friends

A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is discord, union;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light; and

where there is sadness, joy.

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." Amen.

Interesting note from – https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_prayer_of_St._Francis_of_Assisi

Although commonly attributed to Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226 A.D.), the prayer itself cannot be traced back later than 1912 when it appeared in a French magazine entitled, La Clochette (The Little Bell). Further arguing against its Franciscan authenticity is the fact that it does not appear anywhere in the Omnibus of Sources, an extensive compilation of the writings of Francis and his companions.

The earliest English translation, reproduced below, was printed anonymously in the Quaker periodical Friends’ Intelligencer [1] (1927).

-0-

MY PREFERRED DEFINITION OF NAMASTE:
“I honor the place in you
in which the entire Universe dwells.
I honor the place in you which is of Love,
of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
we are One.”

Our true self is Awareness

…..

PHOTO SOURCE – https://unsplash.com/@ishrak_sunny

A disciple once complained to a Zen master that he was unsettled in his mind. The master said: ‘All right, give me your mind and I will settle it for you.’ The disciple’s helplessness to pick up his mind and hand it over to somebody else gave him some idea of the nature of his ‘problems.’ ……” – Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)

Art via hot air balloons – I loved it!

The YouTube notes include’

Sky Orchestra, the brainchild of acclaimed artist Luke Jerram, saw seven hot air balloons take off across the city at 6.30am, each attached with its own sound system to create a unique soundscape for residents below and spectacular aerial views of the city. This was all part of Music City!

Music and Meditation

Very Interesting article on music and meditation by Andrew Glencross, associate art director, Lion’s Roar magazine. Check out Lion’s Roar magazine it’s great.

02.21.2020
MUSICAL MEDITATIONS
I happen to be a musician in my spare time, so take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt. But of all art forms, there’s something especially sacred — even Buddhist — to me about music.

It’s got something to do with the way music manipulates time, each note highlighting the present moment as it moves steadily through the environment of past and future. Electronic composer Éliane Radigue compares that environment to a river, through which her slowly evolving tones meander, always different, always the same.

Immersion in an awareness of that river can lead to a loss of ego, because ego is built on past and future narratives. Jazz legend John Coltrane believed that in seeing through those false narratives, musicians can give “the best of what we are.” On A Love Supreme, his watershed reimagining of modal jazz, he managed to achieve that aspiration for 33 minutes and 2 seconds.

A particular kind of music, often called “minimalism,” seeks to disrupt our normal way of listening, intentionally producing these transcendent moments. Though it’s debatable whether Coltrane could be lumped under that umbrella, Philip Glass is essentially a spokesperson for the genre. I remember being excited as a teenager by this sentence from his own liner notes to Music in 12 Parts:

“[W]hen it becomes apparent that nothing ‘happens’ in the usual sense… [listeners] can perhaps discover another mode of listening — one in which neither memory nor anticipation… have a place in sustaining the texture, quality, or reality of the musical experience.”

That sounds a lot like what Laurie Anderson has jokingly called “difficult listening.” And in fact, Glass admits that this kind of music can be more of a challenge to its audience than to its performers. But make no mistake, this music is made for an audience, as he himself argues.

All three of the musicians featured here consider(ed) themselves deliverers of liberation from ego, transmitting dharma/grace/awareness received directly, through their very performance, to any audience brave enough to listen. In that way, they are all bodhisattvas.

-0-

Stillness and Focus – an inter-spiritual perspective

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few. – Shunruyu Suzuki Roshi.

nP1kQb5NE4EM6YrE4vZ02YvCFTtnXq-WmaiTp6oWqIboMg3ZXlpeJvRWq7IQMJigqTOkJV-B4zxnipLceXUXZgiDCvFKZuj_0etZcyu9tmGTAg5vOFLiV_iOJacW0ezDcErVwKA-

So long as the thoughts of an individual are scattered he will achieve no results, but if his thinking be concentrated on a single point wonderful will be the fruits thereof. One cannot obtain the full force of the sunlight when it is cast on a flat mirror, but once the sun shineth upon a concave mirror, or on a lens that is convex, all its heat will be concentrated on a single point, and that one point will burn the hottest. Thus is it necessary to focus one’s thinking on a single point so that it will become an effective force. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections From the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 111. -0-

xVy_S3T2pOJiUoo24Zz2leIg_ih09DVIvvNjCUfiwSGx0UwLlfN94IdhpAtG_rB5x_YYKzEZAGyx5dgvSAkWzqtW5CIKSDzowPfVOOtxU8Ij2GySJ_jNxX14HnAvWpDSEVAnxRv1

-0-

Abdul-Baha’s brief definition of ‘faith “By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.”

Jaroslav Pelikan on types of faith, – (A) scholar of religion, Jaroslav Pelikan, has enumerated some of the ways that faith is a response to the transcendent. He offers the following: 1) faith as faithfulness, that is, as loyalty and devotion to someone or something; 2) faith as obedience, either in terms of carrying out moral law or in terms of following correct ritual action; 3) faith as works, that is, faith must be expressed in goodly deeds, otherwise such faith is "dead" (New Testament, James 2:20); 4) faith as trust; 5) faith as dependence and submission, that is, faith as a response to the recognition that one is dependent on an all-powerful and sovereign God; 6) faith as experience of the Divine; 7) faith as involvement in the community; 8 ) faith expressed as prayer and worship; 9) faith expressed in adherence to credos (statements of faith); 10) faith expressed in creative adoption and adaptation of the religious tradition; 11) faith as a way of knowing truth. – From ‘Faith & Belief’ by Robert Stockman – https://bahai-library.com/stockman_faith_belief

‘One Garden’ Winter-into-Spring – going deeper, deeper, deeper & arriving back home here Now

If you only have the time to watch one movie before Thursday please watch ‘Blue’ – see below.

Hi Everyone

Thanks to everyone who helped make 2019 such a One Garden success!

Marion and I would like to wish everyone that is face to face members of One Garden and those who connect up in the Garden of Oneness via the virtual world. I will be communicating via … so please click the ‘follow’ button so that you can comment

It’s impossible to describe the treasury of treasuries that has sprung up before me over the few days since our final One Garden session of 2019.

On 2nd Jan 2020 we will weave the first tapestry – 10AM please and RSVP email or text. For winter-into-spring I have the working title of Plato’s Cave & ‘Skin, Flesh, Bones & Marrow’

SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UPCOMING TEXTS?

TEXT 1 At present you can see the filmic masterpiece Three Colours Blue, White & Red on MUBI. You can join MUBI here – https://mubi.com/ – free for one month or buy a copy on Amazon or elsewhere.

To read a bit about the trilogy here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Colours_trilogy

The films are about Liberté, fraternité, égalité, – In the trilogy, "Blue" is the anti-tragedy, "White" is the anti-comedy, and "Red" is the anti-romance. All three films hook us with immediate narrative interest. They are metaphysical through example, not theory: Kieslowski tells the parable but doesn’t preach the lesson. – From the great film critic Roger Ebert’s review – https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-three-colors-trilogy-blue-white-red

NB I have the film script of ‘Blue’ which I will send you once you’ve watched the film.

TEXT 2: The Essential Dogen book here

TEXT 3: John Henry Newman – quote John Henry Newman – quotes – “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. – https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/24706.John_Henry_Newman

TEXT 4: Plato’s Cave Allegory: 3 min video The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay

TEXT 5: The last two handouts from 2019.

TEXT 5: The Two Popes – free if you have Netflix – a masterpiece including with brilliant witty writing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ut9ZAIggas

See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGHjcHilc1A

It’s a salve to the disease that is destroying us.

When terrible things happen I go back to the eternal truth-tellers – Jewish, Buddhist, Sufi, Hindu, Christian, Baha’i, Taoist

When terrible things happen I go back to the eternal truth-tellers that matter most in the long run.

PHOTO is from Unsplash (Can’t find photographer’s name)

1 FROM JEWISH TEACHINGS: The great Jewish poet, philosopher & activist Rebbe Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the two worlds exquisitely ;

“The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another. Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion.

A simpler way of presenting the key idea is to be found in this metaphor: “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of mystery.” Notice that even reason stops at the shoreline of mystery. The key is this – to realize Nondual Reality we have to surrender to the impossibility that language, words, concepts, even mind and reason can play a part. We either feel the Nondual whole or we don’t. But the good news is that we can clear away the inner clutter that comes with the ‘dual world’ and find that our true Self is there all the time. This is Awareness, but Awareness is us only when we have stopped ‘selfing’. Then, relatively, we sense that God is closer to us than our life-vein as in We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Qur’an 50:16). As in the one set of footsteps in the sand God carries us, even when we are not fulfilling our covenantal obligation. To transcend we have to get our false egoic self sufficiently surrendered to allow our true Self to be reflected from our heart.

2 FROM BUDDHIST TEACHINGS: – The two realms are pointed to in this ancient Zen teaching telling us that the great Master Dogen taught, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”……… To be enlightened by the 10,000 things is to recognize the unity of the self and the 10,000 things. Elsewhere it is said with the greatest brevity, ”No self – no problem.”

3 FROM SUFI ISLAMIC TEACHINGS: Rumi in one of his poems says; “Not Christian or Jew or Muslim. Not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the east or the west. Not out of the ocean or up from the ground. Not natural or ethereal. Not composed of elements at all. I do not exist. Am not an entity in this world or the next. Did not descend from Adam & Eve or any origin story. My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless – neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one & that one call to & know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath, breathing, human, being.” – Rumi – 13thC Sufi mystic – (C Barks).

4 FROM HINDU TEACHINGS:

“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the

individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the

self same tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree;

the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.

“The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the

divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he

recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his

glory, he grieves no more.” -0- SOURCE This trans. is in ‘The Upanishads, Breath of the Eternal’, by Swami Prabhavananda.

5 FROM CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS:

Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” The Gospel of Thomas HERE

Fr. Richard Rohr comments; “Western Judeo-Christians are often uncomfortable with the word “nonduality.” They often associate it (negatively) with Eastern religions. I am convinced, however, that Jesus was the first nondual religious teacher of the West, and one reason we have failed to understand so much of his teaching, much less follow it, is because we tried to understand it with a dualistic mind.” – Fr. Richard Rohr, in The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.

6 FROM BAHA’I TEACHINGS: “The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise, and of which the loftiest mansions of heaven are but a symbol.” – Bahá’u’lláh – Gleanings XXIX

The goal for the individual is to become free of ‘egoic-self’; “Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.” – Bahá’u’lláh – Persian Hidden Word No 40

7 FROM TAOIST TEACHINGS: The first chapter of the Tao Te Ching says;

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery & manifestations arise from the same source…..

-0-

Two meditations for Tomorrow’s ‘One Garden’ session

NB Please sign up to https://sunwalked.wordpress.com/ to stay in touch.

Tomorrow we will be doing Meditation Part 3

TEXT 1:
Thich Nhat Hanh

“Bhikkhus, the teaching is merely a vehicle to describe the truth. Don’t mistake it for the truth itself. A finger pointing at the moon is not
the moon. The finger is needed to know where to look for the moon, but if you mistake the finger for the moon itself, you will never know
the real moon.
The teaching is like a raft that carries you to the other shore. The raft is needed, but the raft is not the other shore. An intelligent person
would not carry the raft around on his head after making it across to the other shore. Bhikkhus, my teaching is the raft which can help you
cross to the other shore beyond birth and death. Use the raft to cross to the other shore, but don’t hang onto it as your property. Do not
become caught in the teaching. You must be able to let it go. – Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

Greg Rakozy @grakozy

TEXT 1 We should discipline ourselves in the realization and patient acceptance of the truths of the emptiness, un-bornness, no self-natureness, and the nonduality of all things. This teaching is found in all the sutras of all the Buddhas and is presented to meet the varied dispositions of all beings, but it is not the Truth itself.

These teachings are only a finger pointing toward Noble Wisdom. They are like a mirage with its springs of water which the deer take to be real and chase after. So with the teachings in all the sutras: They are intended for the consideration and guidance of the discriminating minds of all people, but they are not the Truth itself, which can only be self-realized within one’s deepest consciousness. – The Lankavatara Sutra, (milieu Ve siècle), Buddhism, Mahayana SOURCE ‘One Little Angel’.