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Much more by Leonard Jacobson HERE

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Within the One Garden model of ‘interfaith as inter-spiritual living’ we see the core teachings of the world’s great traditions very simply as; Awaken more, Detach from ego more, and Serve others better. Awaken is the realization of awareness Ono excellent contemporary spiritual teacher is Rupert Spira. In this video he answers the question; “What is awareness?’

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‘ONE GARDEN – Masters of Wisdom’ – Session 5 – 5th Feb 2013 Cafe Coho 10am – updated

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Two juxtaposed passages today, one from Hinduism, one from Baha’i – plus links to other great sources. I consider myself a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Christian, a Moslem and a Baha’i – and a Humanist and sometimes even an a-theist! See my One Garden videos course on a page – HERE

In Sufism, or Islam generally, or Hinduism or Buddhism – in fact in all of the great faiths there are descriptions of the stages of spiritual development. These are the way-stations on our spiritual journey. For the true, sincere & committed seeker these describe the challenges through which the seeker can achieve her or his desire to reflect the name, attributes and qualities of God.

*HINDUISM – The Bhagavad Gita is one such piece of scripture – text & chanting in English HERE My favourite passage from the Bhagavad Gita as many of you know is 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.”

It’s my favourite because it encapsulates a complete answer to the question that I laboured so long to answer, “What is it to be fully & positively human?” My 80,000 answer, a doctoral dissertation, is HERE (Ahhh the joys of brevity!) It also answers the question, “What is reality?” AND provides the heart of The Perennial Philosophy/the mystical core of all of the great faiths traditions.

BUDDHISM – I suspect that 8 and four etc are more the stages in Buddhism – but what joy there is in the pure forms of its teachings – see HERE on mindfulness.

JEWISH – with Abraham Joshua Heschel as the ‘gate provider’ – see HERE

SUFI – For a fascinating way into a Sufi presentation of 7 stages see HERE

CHRISTIAN – Haven’t yet found a really good co-equivalent from within Christianity – but I suggest you explore this fascinating site – HERE

*BAHA”I – SUMMARY OF THE SEVEN VALLEYS

1 The Valley of Search The valley of search is described as the first step that a seeker must take in his path. Bahá’u’lláh states that the seeker must cleanse his heart, and not follow the paths of his forefathers. It is explained that ardour, and patience are required to traverse this valley.

2 The Valley of Love – The next valley is the “Valley of Love” and in this valley the seeker is compared to a moth who has found a flame. Bahá’u’lláh writes that the heart of the seeker is touched, and the seeker has fallen in love with God.

3 The Valley of Knowledge – The knowledge referred to in this valley is the knowledge of God, and not one based on learning; it is explained that pride in one’s knowledge and accomplishments often disallows one to reach true understanding, which is the knowledge of God. It is explained that the seeker, when in this valley, begins to understand the mysteries contained within God’s revelation, and finds wisdom in all things including when faced with pain and hardship, which he understands to be God’s mercy and blessing. This valley is called the last limited valley.

4 The Valley of Unity

The next stage is the valley of unity, and it is explained that the seeker now sees creation not by its limitations, but sees the attributes of God in all created things. The seeker, it is written, is detached from earthly things, is not concerned with his own self and has no ego; instead he praises God for all of creation.

5 The Valley of Contentment

The next valley for the seeker is the valley of contentment, where it is explained, that the seeker becomes independent from all things, and even though he may look poor or is subjected to suffering, he will be endowed with wealth and power from the spiritual worlds and will inwardly be happy. Happiness is explained to be the attribute of the true believer, and it cannot be achieved by obtaining material things, since material things are transitory.

6 The Valley of Wonderment

In the valley of wonderment the seeker, it is written, is struck dumb by the beauty of God; the seeker becomes conscious of the vastness and glory of creation, and discovers the inner mysteries of God’s revelation. Being led from one mystery of creation to the next, it is explained that the seeker continues to be astonished by the works of God.

7 The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness

The final valley is the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness and it is the furthermost state that the mystic can reach. The seeker, it is explained is poor of all material things, and is rich in spiritual attributes. It is explained that it is the state of annihilation of self in God, but not an existential union: the essences of God’s self and the mystic’s self remain distinct, in contrast to what appears to be a complete union in other traditions.

The sentence underlined is the Baha’i argument – the finite cannot apprehend the infinite.This is the best overall plain language model I’ve found so far. If you find others let me know! NB The above summary is to be found on WikiPedia

FULL TEXT of THE SEVEN VALLEYS (+ The Four Valleys) –

the above is only a ‘cold’ summary – read the real thing online –

full text HERE

NB The introduction is long – I suggest you go straight down to the ‘Valley of Search’

* PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION including Fowler’s Stages of Faith

Faith is seen as a holistic orientation, and is concerned with the individual’s relatedness to the universal. Fowler defines faith as an activity of trusting, committing and relating to the world based on a set of assumptions of how one is related to others and the world.

  • Stage 0“Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurture is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
  • Stage 1“Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious.
  • Stage 2“Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic.
  • Stage 3“Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to religious authority and the development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
  • Stage 4“Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.
  • Stage 5“Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.
  • Stage 6“Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment“. The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.

CONCLUSION: Whether the stages are 7 or 8, or any number, the stages go through Awakening: Detachment from ego & Service – & the final stage is always ‘no-self’. There are many paths to the top of the mountain but reality at the summit is One.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS

Have you found what you are looking for?

How do you know? – what are your criteria to know that you have found what you are looking for?

Do you recognise any stages in your journey so far?

Do you recognize your journey in any of the models you have so far seen?

How far and it what ways do you need to a) have a satisfactory notion of what it is to be human, b)

Please add any other questions you feel the group should discuss?

Namaste – Roger

TABS: spirit, spiritual, spiritual progress, personal development, Sufi, sufism, Islam, Baha’i, perennial philosophy, search, love, knowledge, unity, contentment, wonderment, true, poverty, absolute nothingness, no-self, the void, spirit and form, formlessness, mysticism, mystical oneness, oneness, One Garden, One summit, reality, ultimate reality, awe, wonder, wonderment, happiness, joy, God, truth, beauty, goodness, service, attachment, detachment, awaken, awake, awakening, awakened, heart, journey, seeking, changeless faith of God, the mystic, mystical bond, infinite, finite, infinite God, Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Sufi (Islam),

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ECKHART TOLLE – THE PAIN BODY – A TRANSCRIPTION FROM HERE
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It goes deeper than that and we are not running away from the fact that in you there lives a field of residue of past Human pain.

On a personal level, pain from childhood that leaves residues, Energetic residues….different things painful things have happened to you in your childhood and of course far beyond that in time. But lets just talk from the level of your present existence in this form.

The pain that is carried over from your childhood and beyond and leaves residues …doesn’t go away completely, it leaves residues of pain, Energy fields, everything is Energy. And then those Energy Fields get together, because they feel, they vibrate at the same frequency. So emotional pain gathers into one mass of pain, contracted Energy, that is not flowing freely. An energy that I call the “Pain Body”, that humans carry inside them.

An energy field of pain.
And if you don’t recognize that, no matter how much Spiritual Practice you do and even what we are doing here if you do not see, if you do not recognize how the Pain Body operates, it will trick every time and you will lose consciousness through it.

First we realize “there is an Energy Field of pain in me”, that may manifest either as turbulence, anger, heaviness, depression, tightness, fear. Whatever way it manifests its not pleasant its painful its past pain but very much alive still.

You carry it inside. But you are not always conscious of it and I talk about it briefly in one Chapter of the book, so we go a little bit more deeply now, and now that the added Energy of Presence that we take into the Pain Body.

The Pain Body is sometimes dormant and sometimes active. It becomes active when you suddenly feel it very strongly, when it needs to feed on further experience of pain. As it always has to do regularly like, it’s a little entity almost, it needs Feeding, temporarily on the experience of further pain, and you will know this has happened when a relatively insignificant trigger produces an Incredible outburst, reaction of Pain. A minor thing goes wrong or somebody say something, or your partner says something or does something and there is suddenly a deep or even a thought come in, and suddenly it serves as a trigger for an immense, the arising of deep emotional pain.

At that moment the Pain Body this Energy Field has come up out of its dormant state, it is ready to feed on more Pain.

I haven’t put it that clearly in the First Book I will explain it in the next book (Laughter)

There are two ways in which it feeds, because that is all it can feed on .Pain Body consists of that energy of pain its needs (ET says) “please where can I get more Pain”.

It feed on your thoughts, when it’s ready to rise up, it will control your thinking, it rises into the mind and your mind, which is your thought activity, because with the Pain Body every thought you think is destructive and painful.

And the Pain Body loves it!!! It gobbles up the Energy of every thought that you think every destructive and deeply negative thought, it eats it up, so to speak, (ET makes chomping sounds while all laugh) And it’s having a Good Time! It’s feeding and, at that moment, one way of putting it is, one could say “the addictive quality of Human Pain”. Addictive because it loves it’s pain.

When the Pain Body has taken you over and has succeeded in pretending that that’s ‘Who you are‘, all your thinking is completely aligned with it. And it’s feeding on it. At that very moment the last thing you want is to be free of pain. At that moment pain IS what you want because at that moment, You are the Pain Body.

And if I came into your life at that moment and gave you this message, “that Life free from Pain IS possible” You would hit me over the Head!!! (Laughter). Because the Pain Body would be there and I would be talking to the Pain Body and the Pain Body would be talking back at me.

So the pain body needs to come in periodically and we all have experienced it with partners now the pain body will use you thinking, it will feed on you negative and destructive thinking.

How long the feeding time lasts of any particular pain body varies greatly from person to person, I could be a brief one, it could be an hour or two; some pain bodies have a feeding time of several weeks, even months. That is the extreme and in very extreme cases there are some pain bodies that have virtually no dormant stage that are continuously feeding and active.

But that’s more rare but you sometimes meet people and the pain body is looking at you through their eyes and they are waiting for an excuse to have more. They want you to give them a painful reaction. They want you to be angry with them; they want you to attack them. That’s people totally possessed by the Pain Body.

So Level One: the pain body feeds on your thinking. Level Two: The pain body feeds on the feedback of the emotional pain from other people

So it might not only use your own thinking it might even predominantly use somebody else’s reactions. So the Pain Body feeds on thinking. The Pain Body feeding on others reactions. Now I mentioned last night the “unhappy me” a mind pattern that people are identified with an unhappy sense of self. This mind pattern, when the pain is active it becomes amplified, the Energy of the Unhappy me when the Pain Body moves into that mind pattern that already is telling you “your life has not been good enough” and so on and you may not make it, “life has passed me by”, and so on.

Now the Pain Body moves into that mind pattern and its Energy gets amplified, 10 times, 20 times, 50 times, 100 times in other words the “unhappy me”; the Pain Body arises, it flows into that mind structure, the emotion flows into that mind structure, the Unhappy sense of me becomes dreadfully Unhappy and Loves it’s Unhappiness because that’s what it consists of.

Now it is not a foreign body, which lives in you. There is nothing that is not Life Energy.

Even your pain body is life Energy except it is not flowing freely. It’s got stuck somewhere.

And when Energy gets stuck and cannot flow freely pain arise like a river. If a river cannot flow the water accumulates and pressure accumulates. But really it’s beautiful Life Energy.

The water is still beautiful there is pressure accumulating, inside. That’s what the pain body is.
Now, as we bright Presence, this consciousness in o the Pain Body, it can no longer fool you into completely identifying with it.

The presence, as the pain arises, from now on, and many of you are already practicing that. The Pain body comes up and at that moment you will recognize it as the Pain Body. That is the Beginning of Freedom from it. The recognition, when it comes, slight trigger, provocation, even a thought, deep Pain arises, in whatever form, in some people it is a very active pain, active aggressive pain, in other persons it is a Passive form of Pain, “poor little me” victim pain, does not matter which, pain bodies have different qualities in different people.

It maybe turbulence or tightness or constriction, it does not matter what it is. As it arises you will know there is a witnessing presence, and you watch.

Where is the pain body and where do you feel the energy field of it?

In your body.

You can feel it in the solar plexus or stomach area, as a dreadful sense of heaviness.

Some people perceive it as a big hole, a gaping hole inside.  Or intense anger.

But whatever it is you watch it, this is why it is so helpful, you sitting here witnessing, is witnessing Presence which is part of this new state of consciousness. It gets so much strengthened by sitting in this Energy Field.

So the Watcher will be there watching the pain so the pain can not use your mind anymore it can not feed on your thinking because you are watching it directly it cannot creep into your mind and then become an “unhappy me”.

All that’s left of the pain is an energy field of turbulence, or a heavy feeling inside you.

But the pain has not become an “unhappy me” a sense of self, of who you are. That’s the beginning of the end of the pain. But our practice is allowing “what is” to be. And that also applies as long as the Pain Body it there in you allowing the Pain that is there in you Also to be. That is a very powerful practice.

So I am not saying, we are not fighting the pain we are not even trying to get rid of it. You bring the consciousness, which is a very compassionate state of allowing “what is”. It is a very powerful state it implies you are Present. As the one who is able to allow.

You are the one who is able to allow the pain to be. You know you are not creating this pain at this moment because you are practicing accepting “what is”. So it is not pain you are creating, it is old pain.
You bring the “acceptance” to the old pain.

TAGS: eckhart tolle, consciousness, liberation, freedom, awakening, pain body, you are not your thoughts, healing, energy, spirit, 

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Suggested key practice

to re-balance our tendency to ‘live in our heads’ and bring us back to

now

and to wholeness –

mindfully:

Many of us long for the happiness of at-one-ment .

We also long to reduce the pull of the lower self. How?

By staying ‘awake’ more. How? Through mindfulness.

How? a) Creating short periods of stillness and silence

b) staying conscious of the breath, c) as thoughts and feelings arise acknowledge them but don’t fight or chase them – say “Hello – thank-you – goodbye.”

If things stop or get interrupted just go back to stillness and the conscious breathing.

“Breathing in I know that I’m breathing in.” “Breathing out

I know that I’m breathing out.”

“Smile: Breathe: Go slowly.”

– Zen master – Thich Nhat Hanh


RECOMMENDED BOOKS & VIDEOS:
Books non-religious 1) One Moment Meditation – stillness for people on the go by Martin Boroson, Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world (INCLUDES A CD) by Mark Williams & Danny Penman.
VIDEOS: Buddhist – just put ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’ into YouTube!

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MEDITATION – Vipassana – Professor Shrader’s teaching plus two suggestions from RP

Below is the couple of sections in which is the form of meditation that Prof, Shrader teachers his university students – in the time it takes to change classes!

TWO NOTES from RP
i) I would say do what he says but start with Breathing in I know that I’m breathing in, Breathing out I know that I’m breathing out – ….. Tolle says several short sessions during the day, minutes or even seconds are better than one long one – especially if you tend to fall asleep!

ii) I also remember a teaching, and use it. When a thought or feeling arises say. “Hello – thank you – and goodbye!”

Prof Shrader’s instruction is as follows:

Sit up straight. Rest your hands lightly in your lap or on your knees. Do not close your eyes entirely, but let your lids relax so that the eyes become half-closed/half-open.

Without moving your head, lower your gaze to approximately 30˚ below the horizon.

Do not look at anything in particular. Do not think about anything in particular. Do not worry about anything in particular.

As thought come to your mind, as they surely will, simply acknowledge them and let them pass. Do not follow them. Do not try to suppress them so as to have a blank mind. Simply observe and let them pass. So too with feelings or emotions. Acknowledge them for what they are. Accept their presence. Do not try to suppress them, but do not follow them. Let them pass.

We sit silently for five minutes. For some students, it seems like an eternity. They shift nervously in their seats, occasionally opening their eyes a bit wider or turning their head to see if anyone is looking at them. At the end of the allotted time, I instruct them to slowly open their eyes and gradually return to a consciousness of the room in which we sit. I ask:

So how do you feel? Rested? Relaxed? Calm? Energized? Centered? Focused? Do things look and feel a little differently than they did five minutes ago? Do you find yourself becoming acutely aware of details in this room that had heretofore escaped your attention? Are you perhaps more aware of – do you perhaps even feel more connected to – the people who occupy a space adjacent to your own? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have caught a glimpse of the power of vipassana.

In its simplest form, vipassana cries “timeout” to the stream of cognition and concern that

constantly berates our being.

In the quiet space that remains, one finds – not unconsciousness as some might suspect – but rather an inexplicably virginal – untapped, unused, unassuming, and unspoiled – abiding awareness.

“How can this be?” a student will sometimes ask. “I thought I knew my mind, but now I

find the mind I thought I knew may not be mine at all. The self I thought I knew – the me

identified with thoughts and feelings that float across a canvas of mind much like

shadows across the wall of Plato’s cave – this self may not be real at all. More pointedly,

this self (even if real) – which I took to be me – is not me.”

VIPASSANA – In Mahayana Buddhism contexts, it entails insight into what is variously described as sunyatadharmata, the inseparability of appearance and emptiness, clarity and emptiness, or bliss and emptiness.

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TAGS: spiritual practice, mindfulness, spiritual development, breath, breath-work, wholeness, holistic, health, healing, meditation, InSpirit, happiness, atonement, religious experience, interfaith, inter-spirituality, meditation books, key practice, awakening, detachment, serving others, stillness, silence, self, lower self, Self, conscious breathing, breath meditation, breath-mantras, Thich Nhat Hanh, balance, Vipassana,

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