God is love – inspiration & structure for One Garden groups

The ONE GARDEN– Meditation & Dialogue celebrating the Oneness behind diverse traditions via

exquisite inspiring interspiritual beauty,truth & goodness – for justice & peace. God is love!

JUDAISM: Blessed are the men and women who are planted on your earth, in your garden,

who grow as your trees and flowers grow, who transform their darkness to light.

Their roots plunge into darkness; their faces turn toward the light. All those who

love you are beautiful; they overflow with your presence so that they can do

nothing but good. There is infinite space in your garden; all men, all women

are welcome here; all they need do is enter.

SOURCE – The Odes & Psalms of Solomon – http://onetruename.com/solomon.htm

HINDUISM: For those who set their hearts on me/ And worship me with unfailing devotion and faith,/ The way of love leads sure and swift to me. Krishna – Bhagavad Gita – SOURCE

CHRISTIAN: God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.            –                                                                                                                  SOURCE 1 John 4:16

SUFI/ISLAM: O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.

My heart has become capable of every form:

it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,

and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,

and the tablets of the Torah and the book of the Quran.

I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,

that is my religion and my faith.

Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi: The Treasure of Compassion ‘Tarjuman al-Ashwaq’ Theosoph Pub House 1911.Poem XI

RUMI: I profess the religion of love,

Love is my religion and my faith.

My mother is love

My father is love

My prophet is love

My God is love

I am a child of love

I have come only to speak of love

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe.

Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization …. SOURCE

TODAY’S BUDDHISM:“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

NB Below: our Meditation & Dialogue framework- it is a way of life, a mission, a vision, a curriculum

‘One Garden groups’– our focus = practicing healing Wholeness via perennial wisdom

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”Sipping the healing perfume, nectar & wisdom from various spiritual flowers!”

The ‘One Garden’ goal = living in balance – 2 wings i) realizing mystical connection to the whole & ii) dialogue-ing Perennial Wisdom/Philosophy. Together their concern = Awakening:Detaching:Serving

‘One Garden’ groups are about having a supportive ‘family’ to inspire living in the interspiritual way.

We are a sacred space for practice & dialogue – using eternal wisdom sources. Why? – for greater happiness & peace, both as individuals & for the wider community, the planet’s global family.

OUR 3 SPIRITUAL CHALLENGES – awakening; detaching; serving.

Awakening is primarily learning to stay mindful in our connection with the Whole (God if you prefer), conscious breathing is for many the No 1 re-minder.

Detachment is learning to reduce the average level of ‘radio’ interference (ego) as we serve others within consciousness of the Whole.

Service is action dedicated to the well being of others – starting with a our friends, family & workmates – through to planetary concerns.

INTERSPIRITUALITY (21stC inter-faith) = “…the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions.” – see Teasdale’s The Mystic Heart & Tolle’s The Power of Now etc.

They teach the 2 ‘wings of spirituality’ – A) Connection with the Whole + B) perennial wisdom & dialogue for 1) Awakening: 2) Detaching: 3) Serving.

1) to AWAKEN – “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” T N Hanh SL p504

A) • There’s a reality beyond the material world & its life force: • Which is uncreated. • It pervades everything, • but remains (as a Whole) beyond the reach of human knowledge & understanding.

2) to DETACH – “A (wo) man is a slave to anything s/he cannot part with that is less than her/himself” – George MacDonald –

“Mindfulness allows us to spend more time in eternity! ” (RP)

B) • You approach that reality by: • Distinguishing ego from true self • Understanding the nature of desire • Becoming unattached • Forgetting about preferences • Not working for personal gain • Letting go of thoughts • Redirecting your attention • Being devoted • Being humble • Invoking that reality • Surrendering etc.

C) • That reality approaches you through: • Grace • The ‘way’ or the teacher seems to appear whenever we need to move on up through the next stage.

D) • You’re transformed – enlightened – so that you embody or reflect that reality by:

• ‘Dying’ and ‘being reborn’ (i.e transformed & living more via the true higher non-egoistic Self).

3) to SERVE – “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer

E) .You then find (even better) ways to serve – realizing that all work done in the spirit of service can be ranked as worship. NB the 3 Awake:Detach:Serve work synergistically – we can start anywhere.

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OUR PURPOSE & our PRACTICE

Our One Garden a) PURPOSE =Awaken:Detach:Serve b) PRACTICE = Smile:Breathe:go mindfully

CONTACT: Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) onesummit AT gmail DOT com

CUTTINGS – the Newsletter of the One Garden Groups 10th Dec 2013

Hi Everyone – welcome to CUTTINGS – the Newsletter of the One Garden Groups 10th Dec 2013

Our two wings of spiritual development in the One Garden groups are unitive meditation and dialogue for as the beloved Heschel says;
“The worship of reason is arrogance and betrays a lack of intelligence. The rejection of reason is cowardice and betrays a lack of faith.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel

ON WED: On Wednesday, (tomorrow)
we will be looking at the three ‘voices’ – in which we all communicate with each other – as part of our spiritual development. This is inspired by Ken Wilber’s work, especially in his The Marriage of Sense and Soul – see video below –

 

FRIDAY: On Friday we are studying the 4th section of Abraham Joshua’s Heschel’s ‘Who is Man’ .

“The world presents itself in two ways to me. The world as a thing I own, the world as a mystery I face. What I own is a trifle, what I face is sublime. I am careful not to waste what I own; I must learn not to miss what I face.
We manipulate what is available on the surface of the world; we must also stand in awe before the mystery of the world. We objectify Being but we also are present at Being in wonder, in radical amazement.
All we have is a sense of awe and radical amazement in the face of a mystery that staggers our ability to sense it.”
– From Who is Man Ch. 5

Do come along – you will be made welcome – Wednesdays and Fridays we meet at 9.45AM – at the Friends Meeting House.

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Photo source

Poster source

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NEW EVENING COURSE: Please tell your friends that at last we can offer an evening, after-work, course – 5.45PM at the Friends Meeting House starting Thursday 2nd Jan 2014.

Seeing beauty, truth & goodness in the ten thousand things

Ikkyu – see HERE

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I was so happy that my friends at A Circle of Friends an Interspirituality site – HERE– sent out this quotation;

“Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.

A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.

Dusk, rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds.

Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.”

~Ikkyu~

to put alongside this;

The great Master Dogen said,

“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 ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things.

and this;

“Tao gives birth to one,

One gives birth to two,

Two gives birth to three,

Three gives birth to ten thousand beings.

Ten thousand beings carry yin on their backs and embrace yang in their front,

Blending these two vital breaths to attain harmony.”

along with this;

 

“Every being in the universe

is an expression of the Tao.

It springs into existence,

unconscious, perfect, free,

takes on a physical body,

lets circumstances complete it.

That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.

 

“The Tao gives birth to all beings,

nourishes them, maintains them,

cares for them, comforts them, protects them,

takes them back to itself,

creating without possessing, acting without expecting,

guiding without interfering.

 That is why love of the Tao is in the very nature of things.”  


(Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation of chapter 51 or the Tao Te Ching talks of the ongoing relationship between Tao and

the ten thousand things – SOURCE )

 

‘Cuttings’ the newsletter of the ‘One Garden’ groups Edition 21st July 2013

Please forward to your friends who might be interested

‘Cuttings’

– the newsletter of the ‘One Garden’ groups

Edition 21st July 2013

Quote of the week:

‘Sanctity/holiness is realizing how much we are being conditioned by the ego’ – Bede Griffiths quoted by Wayne Teasdale

Teasdale goes on to say that once we have this perspective we have a tool to transcend it (the ego)! – POW!

Wilber comes back with ‘spirit is that ever-present noticing’ – DOUBLE-POW! See Video 7 HERE

NEW RESOURCES UPDATE – the latest, or updated, sets of resources – as promised recently to group members is below – if I have forgotten any please email me.

1 Interspirituality is ‘…the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions.’

Wayne Teasdale in The Mystic Heart p26

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2 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.” – Namaste!

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3 THE WHOLE & THE PARTS: “Behind every moment, behind every particular, is the enveloping Whole. Two wings; connection to the Whole, delight in every particular.” (RP)

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4 PLEASE SIGN UP TO i) SoulNeeds & ii) the One Garden WordPress sites

5 The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley – HERE online

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6 Ken Wilber & Wayne Teasdale videos HERE

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7 Key article on Vipassana meditation and MindfulnessHERE

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8 The ‘Spirituality & Practice site – film reviews, book reviews etc – HERE

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9 SACRED MUSIC sublime examples of sacred music and chanting:-

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra chanted by Hein Braat – HERE

The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum – HERE

Music in a public place – HERE

Thich Nhat Hanh – HERE

Exquisite Baha’i chant for the departed – HERE

A Maronite Chant to Mary – HERE

PS I would like these included in my funeral!

10 Mission Statement & summary of the One Garden ‘curriculum’HERE

Photo source WP HERE

Shambhala Sun – Life is Tough: Six Ways to Deal With It (March 2013)

Shambhala Sun – Life is Tough: Six Ways to Deal With It (March 2013).

Life Is Tough: Six Ways to Deal With It

An ancient set of Buddhist slogans offers us six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher NORMAN FISCHER guides us through them.

There’s an old Zen saying: the whole world’s upside down. In other words, the way the world looks from the ordinary or conventional point of view is pretty much the opposite of the way the world actually is. There’s a story that illustrates this.

Once there was a Zen master who was called Bird’s Nest Roshi because he meditated in an eagle’s nest at the top of a tree. He became quite famous for this precarious practice. The Song Dynasty poet Su Shih (who was also a government official) once came to visit him and, standing on the ground far below the meditating master, asked what possessed him to live in such a dangerous manner. The roshi answered, “You call this dangerous? What you are doing is far more dangerous!” Living normally in the world, ignoring death, impermanence, and loss and suffering, as we all routinely do, as if this were a normal and a safe way to live, is actually much more dangerous than going out on a limb to meditate.

While trying to avoid difficulty may be natural and understandable, it actually doesn’t work. We think it makes sense to protect ourselves from pain, but our self-protection ends up causing us deeper pain. We think we have to hold on to what we have, but our very holding on causes us to lose what we have. We’re attached to what we like and try to avoid what we don’t like, but we can’t keep the attractive object and we can’t avoid the unwanted object. So, counterintuitive though it may be, avoiding life’s difficulties is actually not the path of least resistance; it is a dangerous way to live. If you want to have a full and happy life, in good times and bad, you have to get used to the idea that facing misfortune squarely is better than trying to escape from it.

This is not a matter of grimly focusing on life’s difficulties. It is simply the smoothest possible approach to happiness. Of course, when we can prevent difficulty, we do it. The world may be upside down, but we still have to live in this upside-down world, and we have to be practical on its terms. The teaching on transforming bad circumstances into the path doesn’t deny that. What it addresses is the underlying attitude of anxiety, fear, and narrow-mindedness that makes our lives unhappy, fearful, and small.

Transforming bad circumstances into the path is associated with the practice of patience. There are six mind-training (lojong) slogans connected with this:

Turn all mishaps into the path.
Drive all blames into one.
Be grateful to everyone.
See confusion as buddha and practice emptiness.
Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.
Whatever you meet is the path.

Stages or levels of progress in spiritual development

‘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),