On the devastating effects of…

On the devastating effects of the extremes of wealth and poverty and low levels of social justice

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“I grew up thinking that it was a good thing to rob the white man. Everyone fought injustice in their own way. But in my neighborhood, we opposed the government by breaking into houses and robbing people. But in 1994 we were told: ‘Democracy is coming. Apartheid is ending. It’s time to learn a trade.’ So I listened. I did everything I was supposed to do. I’ve worked in construction for the past twenty-five years. I started my own company. I followed all the procedures. But nothing has come of it. The government always talks about empowerment. They make a big show of letting small businesses compete for contracts. But the jobs always get awarded to the same few people. If the government gave me work, it would empower me. Then I could empower other people. I could hire employees and teach them plumbing, and carpentry, and cabinets. I could purchase a brick making machine, and hire women to mix cement. But right now I can’t even afford a printer for my office. Everything is hand to mouth. I had high hopes when apartheid ended. But I’ve been building houses for twenty-five years, and I’m still living in a shack.” (Johannesburg, South Africa)

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How does your mind work?

and

How does your mind work? I stumbled across an Arabic poem by Al-Mutanabbi from the 10thC and it made me think of the poem “Digging’ by Seamus Heaney.

The Arabic poem;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=69&v=1C68vc8plVI

Seamus Heaney’s poem ;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNRkPU1LSUg

Which poem most illumines the other?

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More of Mutanabbi’s poems are here https://www.poemhunter.com/abu-at-tayyib-al-mutanabbi/

In Christianity ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’ is Presence which is the Nondual state (until you talk or think about it)

“the peace that surpasses all human understanding.”

It is sometimes called nondual awareness. This is just another term for union with God. It is the experience of mystics in the Christian tradition, and it is echoed in other spiritual traditions. It is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is Jesus Christ.

Photo is by brilliant young photographer Doug Mountford – double exposures on Flickr – see here
https://www.flickr.com/photos/danmountford/

I used to think that…

I used to think that paradoxes were unwelcome guests, but now I know that they contain the lesson that all is not knowable and that part of gaining wisdom is to remain content with the mystery of things and the Mystery of No-thing.

All we are is all we see
I used to think that paradoxes were unwelcome guests, but now I know that they contain the lesson that all is not knowable and that part of gaining wisdom is to remain content with the mystery of things and the Mystery of No-thing.

I especially love; “We are on a journey of becoming that which we already are. That is the impossible paradox of our lives.” – by Leonard Jacobson

AVAAZ has 47 million members…

AVAAZ has 47 million members globally. I posted this to AVAAZ this morning in response to their request which I have copied below;
This is the darkest time since the Second World War. Truth itself has been undermined, exploitation of the many by the few has been normalized, democracy has been reduced to grotesque fakery, and the peoples of many countries are being persecuted and murdered by states who are in effect playing ‘war games’ on them.

However, springtime is visible in the extraordinary efforts of organizations such as AVAAZ and outstanding individuals such as Dr. Gabor Mate and many others.

As in gut health, the battle is battle between the toxicity of bad bacteria and the healing that comes with healthy bacteria, except the bacteria, are the healing ‘kindnesses, the truth, beauty & justice’ that restore health to the body politic as well as to individuals. Dr Gabor Mate’s life’s work is a brilliant model for us all.

As an organization, the Baha’i community has a brilliant model developed over recent decades. The good can prevail if we can find the ways and means of bringing people everywhere into a ‘healthy immune system’ that will transform the toxins that are currently causing so much havoc and suffering.
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The Avaaz request included the following;

Dear Avaazers,

Powerful forces are moving in our world. It feels like much is waiting to be born, both great and terrible.

Will the world turn towards fear and darkness, or love and hope this year? And what is Avaaz and each of us meant to do, and be, in rising to these times?

I’ve been listening for the answer to that question, and here’s what I’ve gotten back:

We’ve won beautiful and powerful victories together — important ones that will serve humanity. But we haven’t yet realized the full potential of our greatest power — the magic of human connection. Love.

The nearly 50 million of us receiving this message come from every corner of the world, every walk of life, every part of the human family. But a common spirit of care and service, of light and love, has connected us. In many ways, Avaaz embodies the spirit of humanity, the idea that we are one people, and stewards of each other and all life.

The world needs this spirit more than ever. Because we will only survive the challenges we are facing, together.

So this is what it feels like we in Avaaz are meant to be and do: form a great fellowship of humanity, spread the truth of our connection, and work to build the world that is waiting to be born not from fear and anger at the ‘other’, but from hope and love of us all.

If this calling feels right to you, let the Avaaz team know by clicking below:

Yes, this feels right, I’m in.

This path might lead us to move beyond just emails and campaigns to build spaces online and offline where we can see and hear each other. To campaign not just on policies and the powerful, but on inspiring people to a culture of humanity that knits us together. To add to our defense of what we love with a proactive vision for the way forward for all of us.

If this feels right, let’s begin this new year and new chapter with an act of connection. It might be reaching out to a loved one, or a stranger, or someone we disagree with politically, or any act of love, kindness, or gratitude.

Click below to choose this journey together, and share your story of connection. Let’s begin our fellowship, and our year, by spreading the spirit of humanity, the magic of connection, and the power of love:

Yes, this feels right, I’m in.

With deep gratitude for each and every person in this movement,

Ricken, with the whole Avaaz team.

PS — as a first step to a movement where we hear and see each other, I share the first picture ever of me in the 12 years I’ve been sending you emails :). This is me with my baby son, Ren. I am so moved at how every step of his emergence as a person has been weaved and ushered on by love. Love truly is the force that makes a person. And it can save us too.
Me and my son, Ren
PPS — speaking of being made by love, the Avaaz team shares an incredibly beautiful fellowship that has nurtured me as a person, while also being a kickass crew of save-the-worlders. So, also for the first time in an Avaaz email, here they are! I’m excited for you to meet more of them personally on the journey we are beginning…

The Avaaz team

Ravi Shankar was a devotee of Sri Anandamayi Ma

The YouTube video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifQplLp1Tgg tells us that;

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar was a devotee of Sri Anandamayi Ma. He used to visit her frequently and performed for her on various occasions.

In Ravi’s own words:

“Varanasi is the eternal abode of Lord Shiva, and one of my favorite temples is that of Lord Hanuman, the monkey god. The city is also where one of the miracles that have happened in my life took place: I met Ma Anandamayi, a great spiritual soul. Seeing the beauty of her face and mind, I became her ardent devotee.

Sitting at home now in Encinitas, in Southern California, at the age of 88, surrounded by the beautiful greens, multi-colored flowers, blue sky, clean air, and the Pacific Ocean, I often reminisce about all the wonderful places I have seen in the world. I cherish the memories of Paris, New York, and a few other places. Bur Varanasi seems to be etched in my heart!”

Source: My Favorite Place on Earth: Celebrated People Share Their Travel Discoveries By Jerry Camarillo Dunn

The quote can be viewed online here: https://books.google.com/books?id=lXE

View on Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_Sh…

Photo of Ma holding sitar: http://cliffordshackforum.blogspot.co…

May Ravi’s soul rest in peace, bound in eternal union with his beloved “Ma.”

Music from the album,”Chants of India.”

Lyrics:
Prabhuji daya karo. Mana mein an baso.
Tum bina lage suna. Khali ghut may prem bharo.
Tantra Mantra Puja nahi jaanu. Mein to kavel thumko hee manu.
Sare jug may dhundha thumko. Ab to aker banh dharo.

Translation:
Divine being, have mercy on me. Come, reside in my heart.
Without you, I feel an emptiness. Fill up my hollow entity with love.
I don’t know the rituals, chants, and prayers. I just know that I believe in you.
I searched the whole world for you. Now, please come, take my hand and lead me.

The Hindu teaching ‘atman is Brahman’ consider c.f The Baha’i Hidden Word 13

cropped-image.pngIn relation to the Hindu teaching ‘atman is Brahman’ consider

ATMAN:

  1. the personal soul or self; the thinking principle as manifested in consciousness

2. Brahman considered as the Universal Soul, the great Self or Person that dwells in the entire created order

Word origin of ‘atman’ – from Sanskrit ātman breath; compare Old High German ātum breath – Collins dictionary

Brahman – In schools that equate Brahman with Atman,Brahman is the sole, ultimate reality. The predominant teaching in the Upanishads is the spiritual identity of soul within each human being, with the soul of every other human being and living being, as well as with the supreme, ultimate reality Brahman. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

C.f.

  1. O SON OF SPIRIT!

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.   

Rumi’s poem ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing’  plus my preferred definition of ‘namaste’:-  a very simple juxtaposition for a One Garden session

Rumi’s poem Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

 

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

 

mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century poet and spiritual teacher

 

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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.”

 

Self-knowledge – as gnosis or ma’rifa’

alhambra-reflections-2.jpg

In Holistic Education I have suggested HERE that the three ways we come to know are Creativity, Criticality, and Caring. These three correspond to Arts, Sciences and Humanities and in our expression to I, WE and IT voices. In each of the three we can reflect the spiritual or not. Each of the three ways can be to the good or it’s opposite. In other words all ways can lead the individual to the spiritual or to the opposite. Each can be a portal to or from the spiritual if we have the sensibility and at-one-ness.

Spiritual knowing is called Gnosis in Christianity or ma’rifa, or irfan, in Sufism.

Gnosis signifies a knowledge or insight into man’s real nature as Divine, leading to the deliverance of the Divine spark within man from the constraints of earthly existence.

This reasonably well sums up the spiritual life, or mysticism, or spirituality in our ‘One Garden: interfaith as interspiritual living’ groups.

IRFAN Definition of Sufism by William C Chittick gnosis

‘One of the terms used in the classical texts to designate what I call “Sufism” is ma’rifa (or irfan), a term that literally means ‘knowledge’ or ‘recognition’.  

However, the term connotes a special, deeper knowledge of things that can only be achieved by personal transformation, and hence it is often translated as ‘gnosis’.  The goal and fruit of this type of knowledge is commonly explained by citing the Prophet’s saying, “He who knows (arifa) himself knows his Lord”

As the hadith suggests this sort of knowledge demands a simultaneous acquisition of both self-knowledge and God-knowledge.  The text tell us repeatedly that it cannot be found in books.  

Rather, it is already present in the heart, but it is hidden deep beneath the dross of ignorance, forgetfulness, outwardly oriented activity, and rational articulation.  Access to this knowledge comes only by following the path that leads to human perfection.’  

p39  ‘Sufism’ William C Chittick.  

To learn more about Chittick and his writings see HERE

sistine-chapel-745px-adam_na_restauratie

Pointer – Is awareness (only) personal, or is it our eternal soul?

SOURCE of picture

Dr. Peter Adamson  writes HERE about Avicenna that the most famous of his thought experiments;  is the so-called ‘flying man’ thought experiment, devised by the most influential philosopher of the Islamic world, Avicenna (in Arabic, Ibn Sīnā, who lived from 980 to 1037 CE). Imagine, he says, that a person is created by God in mid-air, in good condition but with his sight veiled and his limbs outstretched so that he is touching nothing, not even his own body. This person has no memories, having only just been created. Will his mind be a blank, devoid as it is of past or present sensory experience? No, says Avicenna. He will be aware of his own existence…….

….is Avicenna right that the ‘flying man’ would be self-aware? Well, it’s important to realise that Avicenna does not attempt to argue that the flying man would know that he exists. Rather, he takes it as obvious. In one version, he even tells readers that we should imagine ourselves being so created. If we put ourselves in the flying man’s dangling shoes, we should just see that we would be self-aware. Indeed, this turns out to be a fundamental idea in Avicenna’s philosophy. He thinks that we are all always self-aware, even when we’re asleep or focusing hard on something other than ourselves. Paradoxically, we’re often not aware of being self-aware: it is the non-interruptive background music of human psychology, something we notice only when our attention is called to it, a pre-reflective awareness of self. The flying man thought experiment is itself one way to call attention to this self-awareness: Avicenna calls it a tanbīh, meaning a ‘pointer’ to something. -0-

My, Roger’s, sense is that our personal awareness is limited but ceases to be limited proportionate to how far we lose our egoic self and come to rest as Awareness which, since it is not composed cannot de-compose, must therefore be eternal. As Nondual teachings including Advaita Vedanta teach take away everything, arms legs, status, personality, qualities etc what is left of you or me? Answer = Awareness.

See Prof Deikman’s ‘I = Awareness HERE http://www.deikman.com/awareness.html

 

 

 

 

 

AWARENESS – Ken Wilber’s view

 

alhambra-reflections-2.jpg

AWARENESS – Ken Wilber’s view

Enjoy 3 breaths after each section and frequently through your week

POINTER INSIGHT: There is only awareness.  We are aware even when we say we aren’t aware.

COMMENTARY: Many spiritual teachers use the term Awareness quite often as a synonym for consciousness. I reserve consciousness to mean ‘not in a coma’.  Ken Wilber plumps for awareness where he says; The one thing that we always are already aware of is….awareness itself.  We already have basic awareness in the form of the capacity to witness whatever arises.  As an old Zen master used to say, “you hear the birds?  You see the sun?  Who is not enlightened?  None of us can even imagine a state where basic awareness is not because we would still be aware of the imagining.  Even in dreams we are aware.  Moreover, these traditions maintain, there are not two different types of awareness, enlightened versus ignorant.  There is only awareness.  And this awareness, exactly and precisely as it is, without correction or modification at all, is itself Spirit, since there is nowhere that Spirit is not.  – One Taste: p. 130

KEN RELAYS THE INSTRUCTIONS: recognize awareness, recognize the Witness, recognize the Self, and abide as that.  

Any attempt to get awareness is totally beside the point.  “But I still don’t see the Spirit!”  “You are aware of your not seeing Spirit, and that awareness is itself Spirit!”   You can practice mindfulness, because there is forgetfulness; but you cannot practice awareness, because there is only awareness. -0- One Taste: p. 130

Enjoy 3 breaths

PRACTICE/s FOR THE WEEK: Smile more, take time out for three conscious breaths, give a helping hand.  

BREATH-MANTRA: In-breath; “Awareness” –  Outbreath; “No boundaries.”

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IF YOU DO WANT TO  READ MORE: Read the June chapter in Ken Wilber’s One Taste: Daily Reflections on Integral Spirituality .

Have you ever been so moved by a spiritual teacher that you smelled the perfume of humility?

YouTube Notes

A clip from the documentary work-in-progress “Praying With My Legs,” about the life, thought and transformative legacy of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Here three monks recall an extraordinary meeting they’d had with Heschel some 40 years earlier.

For more info, please see the film’s website: http://www.prayingwithmylegs.com, where you can sign up for the film’s mailing list for updates.

You can also become a fan of the film’s Facebook Page. Just go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Praying… and click on “Like.”

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the film, you can do so at: https://www.nyfa.org/ArtistDirectory/…
Thanks!

 

It’s a big day when you realize I = Awareness

1280px-clouds_over_the_atlantic_ocean

It’s a Big Day when you realize I = Awareness

“You are primal awareness. Life is only primal awareness. Between two thoughts or two perceptions you are. You know moments in your life when a thought completely disappears into silence, but still you are.” (The Ease of Being, 13) – http://www.nonduality.com/klein.htm

Jean Klein was Francis Lucille’s teacher who was Rupert Spira‘s teacher.

Compare to Professor Deikman’s article ‘I = Awareness’ which is HERE 

Arthur J. Deikman, 1 Department of Psychiatry, University of California.

Rumi’s poem ‘That breath breathing – human being.’ & Shankara’s ‘Tree of Life’ – Advaita Vedanta summary

I can think of no poem or teaching that presents better our reality as Nondual and our citizenship of two realms than this beautiful poem by Rumi.

Poem starts at 1.min 6 seconds in;

http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/not_christian_or_jew_or.html

‘That breath breathing – human being.’

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.

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Rumi 13th Century – as re-presented by Coleman Barks c. 1995
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 VIDEO:  https://youtu.be/GaNgsh1Ei6o
Tree of Knowledge – 8th century mystic Adi Shankara

A: I am unattached, I am

unattached, ever free from

attachment of any kind;

I am of the nature of Existence- Consciousness – Bliss.

I am the very Self, inexhaustible

and changeless.

 

B: I am eternal, pure (free from

maya), liberated, formless,

indestructible and changeless.

I am of the nature of infinite bliss. I am the very Self,

inexhaustible and changeless.

 

C: I am pure consciousness by

nature, delighting in Self alone,

I am the nature of indivisible

bliss. I am the very Self,

inexhaustible and changeless.

 

D: I am the indwelling

consciousness, I am peace

beyond the universe, I am

eternal bliss by nature, I am the

very Self, inexhaustible and

changeless.

 

E: I am the supreme Self beyond

all matter, the supreme Shiva

beyond all cosmic appearance, I am the

very Self, inexhaustible and

changeless.

 

F: I am beyond all shapes

and forms. I am of the nature of

pure consciousness, never

subject to decline. I am of the

nature of contentment. I am

the very Self, inexhaustible and

changeless.

 

G: I am by nature the inner Ruler,

changeless, all pervading. I am

by nature the witness of

everything. I am

the very Self, inexhaustible and

changeless.

 

H: I am by nature without support

and yet I support all things. I

am by nature the fulfilment of

desires. I am the very Self,

inexhaustible and changeless.

 

I: I am beyond all mental states,

beyond all body changes. I am

the witness of all states. I am

the very Self inexhaustible and

changeless.  

 

J: I am unattached, I am

unattached, ever free of

the nature of Existence –

Consciousness – Bliss. I am the

very Self, inexhaustible and

changeless.

 

 

A ‘One Minute daily meditation’- for work, home or when you’re out and about

Take a 60  second time – out of the day’s hustle and hassle.

For use at work or home or out and about – take a copy with you.

Whenever in the night or day you need to be mindful:-

“BEGIN

Breath consciously.

Light is light for us all whatever the source.

.

Enjoy three conscious breaths.

BREATHING IN:I know that I’m breathing in….BREATHING OUT: I know that I’m breathing out….

.

Let your breath breathe you – bringing you back home to Wholeness and anchoring you in the now.

Let whatever thoughts or feelings emerge arise to the surface.

.

As you breathe see your mind as a movie-theatre.

Witness each thought or feeling that arises

entering onto your inner movie screen, left or right, up or down.

Don’t resist or chase any thought or feeling just witness them.

Say to each thought or feeling that arises

Hello.  Welcome.  Thank-you.  Goodbye.

Then see the thought-feeling exit left, or right, from the movie-theatre.

Smile.

Breathe the breathing.

Let the breathing Breath breathe you.

Sense the Whole to which we all belong.

.

Invite the quietness.

Be still.

Smile.

Breathe into your stillness.

.

Give thanks.

.

Return slowly to the here-and-now.”

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SHORT COMMENTARY FOR WHEN YOU HAVE ANOTHER MINUTE OR TWO

On returning to our world of dualities we find concepts –

“Concepts are delicious snacks with which

we try to alleviate our amazement.”

( A J Heschel)

As a whole we should fly with two wings – the nonduality of ‘oneness via unitive meditation‘ and the duality of ‘me and my concepts & things‘.

Both wings are needed.

When meditatively, we are in amazement/awe/wonderment we are at-one, nondual, ego-less or ego-quietened.  We rest as Awareness.  I = no-self Awareness.

When we return to thought as in thought-forms ‘I-me’, ‘I-IT’, ‘I-we’, ‘I-thou’.’ In thought-forms – we always have duality, subject and object, twoness.

.

Neither is bad, together they are wings though which to fly spiritually.

Work only one wing and we are crippled – flapping on the ground going round and round in circles.

.

Nonduality is where we let go and instead let be the Universe, the Source, the Whole, Ultimate Reality, God (choose your preferred term). We rest as Awareness.  “I = no-self Awareness.”

Duality is where we chop wood, carry water, do the laundry, feed the kids, earn a living………………….

.

Hooray for our two wings of being!

We are a being with Being.

The core of all Traditions is One.

There are many paths upward but only One Summit.

“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.” – Meister Eckhart

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Updated 6/06/2017

.

‘Getting free of self to let the Divine shine through us’ – for Crawley Interfaith

From wordlessness to words to wordlessness – the gift of Transcendence as the ultimate context of our faith

Presentation for Crawley Interfaith Network – by Roger – Dr Roger E Prentice

“Like the bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions.” attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

INTRODUCTION:   We begin with Rumi, the 13thC Sufi mystic poet; “Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”  I’m told someone once said to Rumi, “If you believe in silence, why have you done nothing but talk and talk, and write and sing and dance?”  He laughed and said, ”The radiant one inside me has never said a word.”  Father Thomas Keating added. ….”In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God.  Perhaps learning to rest in God is resting in Awareness?

Spirituality & ReligionSpirituality  is what we ultimately are.  It is the life-force that through us flows. It is our capacity to reflect virtues, and the Names and Attributes and Qualities of God – in our acts as well as in our being.  We are a being within Being. For all of us our message to the world is what we actually do. Religion is the institutionalization of the spirituality that fountains from the Revelations of the Messengers of God – or, if you are a very modern theologian, around and from Ultimate Reality. Spirituality exists everywhere, including outside of religions.  Some parts of some religions, some of the time, show very little of the sweet water of spirituality that was the intention of the Messengers or High Prophets that founded those great Traditions.

Outline of this presentation – Realizing Oneness is the means to peace. We are enriched if we look for sameness in other Traditions – The Oneness is best illustrated by the great seers; Lao Tzu to Socrates and Heraclitus, from Plotinus and al-Hallaj to Meister Eckhart and St. John of the Cross and up to and including contemporary spiritual teachers such as Rupert Spira and Reza Shah-Kazemi.

They teach us to let go our egoic self and sense the presence of God – through the Messengers of God.  The Messengers enable four things.  Firstly they repeat the eternal spiritual truths. Secondly they give a set of social teachings. Thirdly they act as ‘Transformers’ of God’s Infinite power into ‘potential and manifest capabilities’ – for us humans. Fourthly they act as Perfect Mirrors, or exemplars, so that we learn to reflect in the mirrors of our hearts their perfect reflection of the qualities of God.

Because of the constraints of time I focus on how in all great Traditions we are challenged to realize the Oneness behind the great traditions as evidenced by teachings from the seers and other outstanding teachers. In particular I present teachings concerning the two realms – the dual and the Nondual.

What is  Nonduality in a nutshell? – ‘Nonduality is, when we stop ‘self-ing’ enough, to be surrendered within the Whole, out of which the ‘I’ appears.  Then we shall see that ‘I = Awareness’

The Interspiritual Way is the same as e.g. the Taoist Way except inspiration is drawn primarily from seven Traditions.  Nonduality is the ‘center pole’ or ‘backbone’ of the One Garden interspiritual reading of self & life. From the teachings of the various Traditions I hope we come to see that we are all set the same challenge in life.  The briefest description of that challenge that I’ve ever seen is from a Zen Master, “No self; no problem.”  Now let’s see what the seven Traditions say about Nonduality & duality. Each Tradition points to the insight of the two realms but provides a different aspect on the subject;

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 that to realize Nondual Reality we have to surrender to the impossibility that language, words, concepts, even mind and reason  can play no 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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.” – Bahá’u’lláh – Gleanings XXIX

The goal for the individual is to; “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

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…..  

This speaks of the two realms & of the ‘Way’ as being beyond what we take as being the normal or real world. The (Nondual) Way cannot be described in words or concepts.  With mind you always end up with your own limitations. The key, whether you’re a sage or a Mr or Mrs J Bloggs, is to overcome or transcend ‘self’. Why? Because self as an autonomous, self-subsisting entity is an illusion & as our Buddhist teachers show us is the source of all of our self-created suffering. Only God is Self-subsisting.

  1. This all sounds very deep – is there a simpler way to understand Nonduality? Some beauty or goodness or truth, or breath meditation, or art, ‘takes us out of our ‘egoic-self’.  We all have had some experiences such as this – as captured by the 8thC Chinese poet known as Li Po;

“The birds have vanished from the sky, / & now the last clouds slip away. / We sit alone, the mountain and I, / until only the mountain remains.”  

Yes we kick ourself when we realize how simple Reality is . What is your true self?  It’s what we already are –  if we only we can get our egoic self out of our way – & out of The Way.  

FROM CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUAL TEACHERS WE HAVE:  “Every thought in consciousness has been born into form, a temporary form and then it dies and goes onto another form……..the whole world is consciousness having taken birth as form, manifesting as form temporarily, and then dying which means dissolving as form. What always remains is the “essence” of all that exists – consciousness Itself.” – Eckhart Tolle.  We must avoid exclusivism & making the ‘other’ the enemy.  Self is the only enemy.

What then is The Interspiritual Way?  instead of drawing on just one great Tradition, the One Garden worldview draws, primarily, upon 7 Traditions. At the heart centre of them all is the magnetic force of love – love makes of us, & every ‘thing’ the Transcendent Whole. Love makes a group of people into a family. The Interspiritual Way is the same as the Taoist Way but draws in the transcendent heart-centre of the other Traditions.  Love is what enables us to transcend our egoistic self and ascend to the heaven of our true self. Our sole theology = “All in God; God in all.” ( panENtheism). Each of us a being within Being.

Our true Self is love, & our place to be is the One Garden. Love is the spirit, the energy, the life-force, the ‘chi’ – the river of life that through us flows. You don’t ‘get a life’ – you are life. Love is the magnet of compassion that unites, makes of parts wholes. It is peace & the bringer of peace. We need the spirit of love but we also need forms through which love may flow. Love is the reality, the hub, the mystic heart around which all can centre. As Ibn ‘Arabi says; “I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take, that is my religion & my faith.”  From Rumi there is an ocean of inspiration concerning love & gardens.

‘One Garden’ for us is the ‘state of being’ in which we realize Oneness behind all Traditions, & it is also the chosen name of our face-to-face groups. Other metaphors include many pathways but one summit, many rivers; one Ocean. Intellect & the ‘word’ are God’s gift. However as Rumi says “Silence is God’s first language,” so all our words are merely ‘pointers’ that might gift us insights with which to transform & see the Nondual, the light of heaven, Nirvana or bliss. There’s no need to change our ‘faith community’ to realize the Oneness behind all. It’s there in all great Traditions.

 

Being interspiritual I suggest is to walk the path of life Awakening, Detaching & Serving others better …. the perennial framework, also taught by all great Teachers – and it is our spiritual legacy, ancient but perpetually new.  With love as the’ river ‘& ‘perennial wisdom’ as the ‘river-bank’ of structure we have another metaphor for the Inter-spiritual Way.

Our primary purpose as people on the spiritual path, & members of various faith traditions, is to live in the presence of God, or Nowness i.e.in Nonduality – as sages & mystics have taught as a golden thread down through the ages. In so being we can become agents of unity, & crafts-people for peace-building.  The ‘key’ lies in resisting any claims of ‘exclusivity’ instead we can ‘centre on the Oneness at the heart of all great traditions’. When a religion loses its mystic heart The Interspiritual Way & interspiritual living, engender “recovery of ‘the shared mystic heart’, beating in (us & in) the centre of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions”Rabbi Shapiro.

You are what you seek- You cannot possess awareness because awareness is not a thing. Awareness is not an object. You cannot become aware or develop awareness because you already are awareness. The only thing that is required of you is to stop identifying who you are with the many forms that awareness takes. As soon as you stop identifying with form, which is the “content” of awareness, then all that is left is pure awareness. YOU.

Awareness is open, transparent, and always aware of itself. Awareness is absolute spaciousness, and this spaciousness includes everything, keeps everything within its embrace, and lovingly lets all things exist in whatever way they choose. What happens in this space does not corrupt or debase it. Everything in existence emerges from and falls back into this pure, immaculate, and incorruptible space; be it emotions like pain and anger, battles and armed conflicts, despotic dictators, all manifestations of weather including rain, wind, snow, and the clouds that float across the sky, as well as the people in our lives whom we cherish the most. The “you” that you think you are also arises in this space that you are.

Close your eyes and take a moment to simply be aware of the vast space that is immediately within and before you and which surrounds you. It has no beginning or end, yet it always has, always is, and always will, exist as this changeless, eternal, still, and immediately available ground of beingness.

There is an aspect of you that has accompanied you through all of your life experiences as your very nature. Can you identify what this is that is perpetually unmoving and always present? Wise men and women from time immemorial have talked about an “all-embracing ultimate reality,” which is none other than your very own ordinary present awareness. Try not to stray from this profound simplicity.

Just be aware of a sense of presence that is always here. Now, don’t think about what you have just read. Simply notice the presence that is seeing the world through your eyes now and is always seeing the world through your eyes. This seeing is timeless and never leaves you. What is looking, the watcher in you, is this pure awareness, this ultimate presence. The truth of who you are is that actual awareness, which has always been free. You are that freedom.    -0-

IN SUMMARY: All the great traditions teach the same core truths.  At the deepest level our life-journey takes us from ‘apparent reality’ to ‘true Reality’.

We realize our true Self as shown by Rumi and all of the great Sages and Teachers. How? We find that we are citizens of two realms that in the final analysis are One.  “God in all; all in God.” This is the paradox that Reality, God, is wholly Immanent and wholly Transcendent.  Ultimately we need to transcend our lower selves in order to be faithful to our Tradition, and to attract God’s good pleasure.

From the dual realm we need to realize as Albert Einstein did that, “Reality is merely an illusion,’ However he added, “albeit a very persistent one.”

In the Nondual realm we have to realize as Rumi did that no words suffice for what is ineffable

Our unity, and therefore the peace of the world, and the longing in all peoples for justice as well as truth, beauty & goodness, depends on the transcendence of realizing the Oneness behind our Traditions

Rumi and all of the other great teachers are teaching us that ‘Nonduality is, when we stop ‘self-ing’ enough, to be surrendered within the Whole, out of which the ‘I’ appears.  Then we shall see that ‘I = Awareness’

Realizing Oneness is the means to peace.  Inner peace is the way to national and international peace.

Rumi by the way teaches us to transcend.  One way he does this is by ending many of his poems by pointing us back to silence i.e back to the Nondual – as in;

“Be silent now…………                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let yourself become living poetry.”       from ‘Rumi – Bridge to the Soul’

 

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Meditation is simple – with conscious breathing – quieten the monkey mind

I love the care, compassion, simplicity and humour of this teaching;

YouTube Note

Published on 14 Jul 2016

We keep hearing how meditation is good for body and spirit (if you have not already heard, raises immunity and brain function, relieves depression and problems with blood pressure, reduces the negative impact of stress, helps in the fight against addiction, relieves PMS, prolongs life …) but when you think of the daily half-hour (or more) spent in an uncomfortable position, while trying to clear the head of all thoughts and concentrate can be a little difficult. The truth is that meditation does not to be like that! Listen to the Buddhist monk and how easy it is to tame his “monkey mind” and how you can all add this in to your day to day life

Focus renewed

In the hope of making our focus clearer I have changed the sub-title or strap-line to:

For lovers and teachers of ‘interfaith via walking the Interspiritual Way’.  A continuous stream of interspiritual and Nondual resources for realizing the happiness of finding your way home to our true Self – through ‘realizing Oneness’, via ‘the changeless faith’ & perennial wisdom.

I hope it is an improvement for at least some people!

Are you aware of your Awareness – great teaching from Ken Wilber

Many spiritual teachers use the term Awareness as a synonym for consciousness. I reserve consciousness to mean ‘not in a coma’.

Ken Wilber plumps for awareness where he says;

“The one thing that we always are already aware of is….awareness itself. We already have basic awareness in the form of the capacity to witness whatever arises. As an old Zen master used to say, “you hear the birds? You see the sun? Who is not enlightened?

None of us can even imagine a state where basic awareness is not because we would still be aware of the imagining. Even in dreams we are aware. ……. there are not two different types of awareness, enlightened versus ignorant. There is only awareness.

And this awareness, exactly and precisely as it is, without correction or modification at all, is itself Spirit, since there is nowhere that Spirit is not”. – One Taste: p. 130