Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words by Brian D. McLaren (Author) [updated Oct 17, 2017]

Christianity is in crisis. Many sincere Christians feel their traditional Christian practices are in danger of becoming irrelevant, empty rituals. In his previous book A New Kind of Christianity, Brian D. McLaren offered new biblical models for how we understand the central ideas of a faith that provides hope for restoring and reinvigorating the power of the gospels to transform us and our communities.

In Naked Spirituality, McLaren takes his prophetic work a step further by confronting how the lack of a simple, doable, durable spirituality undermines the very transformation God is calling us to undergo. As a result, our religious structures become tools to maintain the status quo and not catalysts for personal and social change. McLaren presents a four-stage framework for understanding the spiritual life, and he unfolds spiritual practices appropriate to each stage. Each practice is rooted in a simple word: here, thanks, O, sorry, help, please, when, no, why, behold, yes, and silence.

 Naked Spirituality offers accessible, practical wisdom for living a truly spiritual life. Staying true to Jesus’s core message while engaging faithfully with our postmodern world, McLaren presents a proven spiritual program for engaging in and sustaining a meaningful relationship with God.


Brian D. McLaren, hailed as one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals by Time magazine, is a speaker, social justice activist, pastor, and the author of A John Lockley is a traditionally trained African Shaman known as a Sangoma from Nelson Mandela’s tribe, the Xhosa nation. He also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a student of the late Zen Master Su Bong from South Korea. He holds an honors degree in Clinical Psychology and specialised in health psychology with an interest in trauma and how people recover from life threatening illnesses like cancer. For the last 10 years, he has been running ‘Ubuntu’ (humanity) retreats worldwide helping people to reconnect to their essential humanity; their bones (ancestors), dreams, and ultimately, life purpose. His mission in the Western world could be summed up in the Xhosa word ‘Masiyembo’ – involving a profound remembering of the human spirit. As John says, “when people can remember their dreams and connect to their life purpose, then their true vocation surfaces; namely being in service and acting as guardians to our planet”. Book: Leopard Warrior – A Journey into the African Teachings of Ancestry, Instinct, and Dreams Audio: The Way of the Leopard – Meditations and Shamanic Practices from the Heart of Africa New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, A New Kind of Christian, and The Secret Message of Jesus. McLaren has appeared on Nightline and Larry King Live, and his work has been covered in The Washington Post, the New York Times, Christianity Today, and many other publications. McLaren and his wife, Grace, live in Florida and have four adult children.

Are You Ready to be Spiritually Naked? Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren

Church leader Brian McLaren reinvigorates our approach to spiritual fulfillment in Naked Spirituality—by tearing down the old dogmatic practices that hamper our spiritual sensitivity, and leading us toward the meaningful spiritual practices that can help transform our lives.

Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words
http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Na…
By Brian D. McLaren

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Global Oneness Day Preview with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Duane Elgin


Barbara Marx Hubbard & Duane Elgin will both be speakers on Global Oneness Day 2017: Oneness – Living into the Unity of all Life. The Oneness Movement is growing; more and more people are waking up to the Ultimate Reality of the Oneness of all Life. It takes more however than waking up to bring an end to all the devastation that we are witnessing in the world around us. Life revolves around a continuing process of opening up, cleaning up, growing up and showing up. All of this governed by the eternal universal principles of functionality, adaptability and sustainability of life; of living into the Unity of all Life, that are hidden by our mental constructions that are expressed through our social conventions, customs and practices as they are created through our views around morality, justice, and ownership.

Go to https://globalonenesssummit.org for more information.

John Lockley – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

John Lockley is a traditionally trained African Shaman known as a Sangoma from Nelson Mandela’s tribe, the Xhosa nation. He also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a student of the late Zen Master Su Bong from South Korea. 

He holds an honors degree in Clinical Psychology and specialised in health psychology with an interest in trauma and how people recover from life threatening illnesses like cancer. For the last 10 years, he has been running ‘Ubuntu’ (humanity) retreats worldwide helping people to reconnect to their essential humanity; their bones (ancestors), dreams, and ultimately, life purpose.

 His mission in the Western world could be summed up in the Xhosa word ‘Masiyembo’ – involving a profound remembering of the human spirit. As John says, “when people can remember their dreams and connect to their life purpose, then their true vocation surfaces; namely being in service and acting as guardians to our planet”. 

Book: Leopard Warrior – A Journey into the African Teachings of Ancestry, Instinct, and Dreams 

Audio: The Way of the Leopard – Meditations and Shamanic Practices from the Heart of Africa

Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson Part II – Opening Into God Consciousness


Donna Quesada:
Leonard, is it necessary to have a spiritual teacher?

Some people are naturally like that, but what about those who want to wake up? Is it possible to self direct?

Leonard Jacobson: Well, I had my first awakening without any spiritual teacher. Of course, without any preparation for what happened to me. And what was interesting for me was, after I had this very powerful awakening that lasted for weeks in a completely altered state…I wasn’t prepared for it and I didn’t know what it really was, so in a way, my journey began after my first awakening.

DONNA: Could you share something of your journey with us? Would you be willing to?

LEONARD: I will briefly, but I just want to complete what I’m saying right now, which is in a way…I wanted to know what happened to me because it was so amazing. It was so wonderful. But I didn’t know what it was. So, then I began reading books by spiritual teachers. I visited a few different teachers…a few different masters to try and discover what had happened. And slowly, slowly it became clear. I was able to open up to that level again in a more gentle way. If you want to know about my first awakening…just very,very briefly…it’s just my story. It’s just another story. But back in 1989, I was attending a retreat. I didn’t know the teacher. I didn’t know any one there. I thought I’d just have a nice vacation. Something to do. And during this experience, I went through some very powerful emotional healings and I noticed I was becoming more and more present throughout these seven days of the retreat. But I didn’t know what it was. But I could see auras around trees, I could see auras around people. There were all sorts of mysterious things that happened. And then at the end of this retreat I had a significant opening which I won’t go into details about. But I was completely and utterly intoxicated with love. Very much like I imagine Francis of Asissi must have been. I was in the company of saints and saviors. I was being taken through a healing of my own childhood, my own past. All sorts of revelations were coming through about what had happened to me and how I’d gone astray. And then, it sort of generalized into what has happened to all of us. How the world had gone astray. And then all of a sudden the whole thing morphed and changed into…suddenly, I was in the presence of God. Don’t ask me how I knew that. But before this moment I was somewhere between atheist and agnostic. And then suddenly, in an instant, I was in the presence of God and all sorts of amazing things happened.

And that awakening lasted for maybe three or four weeks. I couldn’t function normally and had to be taken care of. I was in this completely altered state. And then it slowly settled down and I actually began teaching at that point and sharing what had happened with me. Three years later, I had a second awakening. More powerful than the first and then three years after that I had another awakening, more powerful than the first three. The first two…if I was to describe them…upon reflection because I didn’t know what they were at the time…I would say the first one was a massive opening into enlightenment…an opening of the heart. Because it was so characterized by intense, overwhelming love and oneness and God.

The second was an opening into Christ consciousness…because I experienced all these revelations about Christ and Christ on the cross and what really happened on the cross. And the third awakening, again, was totally over the top. I didn’t invite them. I didn’t want them. And I didn’t hold on to them. But they did last quite a while.

The third one was an extraordinary opening into God Consciousness. There is no way I can describe that to you. It was like a journey in one instant, from the beginning to the end and the end to the beginning. Everything just opening up. All these ascended masters somehow in my presence. I don’t know how that all works but it was life altering. I’ve never been the same since. It’s a little difficult for me to remember who I used to be.

DONNA: Thank you for sharing that. And you know…it’s interesting. You mentioned that you felt a kinship or a closeness to Jesus and his experience during one of your own experiences. And there is an expression I like, that “all rivers lead to the sea.” And as a seeker and someone who loves all of these wisdom traditions, I love it because it reminds us that all these traditions or religious paths are not antagonistic to one another. But rather, behind them there is a similarity…there is a pearl…there is a jewel that is the same. And truth that stands regardless of the facade. Would you speak to that?

LEONARD: First of all, I agree with you. And at the very core of all spiritual traditions…the very core of all religions is a very deep truth that is being revealed by the founders of that religion. Whether it’s Buddha, whether it’s Jesus, whether it’s Krishna, whatever. Or Mohammed. There is a core of essential truth there. But the founders of those paths, traditions or religions, experienced directly and tried to share as best they could. And these truths were emerging from the center of their beings. So, it wasn’t coming from the mind. Expressions from the truth, from presence, from God, from oneness, from mystery. The problem is when you take those truths that are expressed from presence, from God, from the mystery and you’re not in that state of consciousness yourself…but you take those truths and try to practice those truths.

DONNA: Or preach, themselves…

LEONARD: Or preach them. Now you have religion. Religion is attempt by those who are not aware to practice the truth of those that were aware. And it cannot work and it just creates more separation and more division and then you have the Jews wanting to kill these ones. And the Muslims wanting to kill these ones. It’s all insane. The Truth is, there is only one God. And if these three religions could recognize that…realize they are complementary to each other. Then we’d have a different world we live in. But because they are separate where they are, it’s creating a tremendous energy of separation and it’s thrown duality out of balance. And now we are all rust…in that state of imbalance and duality. And our politics are reflecting that. How out of balance we are, in the world. The whole of humanity is out of balance.

DONNA: If I can jump into the process now…if you’ll allow me. You spoke of a two step process of Awakening. I’m interested to know more about that and also the ego’s role as an obstructer. Why does the ego dislike presence so much? And how does that fit into your two step process, if you would?

LEONARD: First, I’ll talk about the process and then I’ll talk about the ego, as well. And I’ll make it very, very brief. The briefer it is, the more simple it is. When you’re in the mind or in the story or in the dream, you’re somewhere in the past or future. That’s a simple statement of truth. All thought takes you into that world of the past or future…because all thought is past or future. And if you believe in those thoughts, or opinions, beliefs… then you get locked in prison within the world of the mind. There is really no way out. So that’s the situation the whole of humanity finds itself in—in prison…of the world of the mind not knowing the way out. In order for you and any of your viewers to come out of the world of the mind…out of the past and future…it’s so simple: You just bring yourself present with something that is already here in the moment with you. It’s of the present moment, which you can see. It’s of the present moment. If you can hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, smell it…it’s of the present moment. It’s really here. You’re not imagining it. You’re not remembering it. It’s really here.

DONNA: So that is the first step? To get into something here that the senses can perceive?

LEONARD: Exactly. The moment you adjust your focus and tune them into something that is here, rather than going wherever the mind is taking you…in a way, you correct that and bring yourself back without any struggle. No practice. No trying. It’s very gentle. You just bring yourself present with something that is here in the moment. Now, you could close your eyes. And because your body is breathing…because your body can only breathe in the present moment…you could be present with something you hear. This moment. I could say, “who is hearing a sound in this moment?” I am. “Who is present…aware of the body breathing in this moment?” I am. “Who is looking out through the eyes…looking with me in this moment?” I am.

It is the I am that is the awakened you. It’s the true master. Now here is the irony. Everyone on the planet is already a fully awakened being. Always has been. Always will be. It’s already here. Always has been. But to the extent that you become absorbed into the world of the mind…which we all have…then you disconnect from the truth that is ever present within you. So, awakening is not about creating something that is not here—it’s about finding your way out of the world of illusion, into the simplicity and truth revealed through this moment. You are the revealer of truth. You are the redeemer of oneness. You are the revealer of heaven on Earth. That’s who you really are. And I can say that to everyone on the planet. That’s who you really are. Have you forgotten who you are? And the truth is, yes, we’ve all forgotten. We’ve all become disconnected as we’ve become more and more absorbed into this story, this dream…this world of the mind. And then we stay there, not realizing that we are further and further from the truth.

DONNA: So are there degrees of unplugging from the center of I am? Are some people further lost than others?

LEONARD: Oh, absolutely. The further you are lost in the mind, the more insane you are. And I think that’s been demonstrated over and over again in our world. I won’t mention any names.

DONNA: So presence would be the first step then?

LEONARD The first step in the two parts to the path of Awakening. Mastering the art of being present. And it’s as simple as…you notice when you are thinking. That’s okay. You’re not going to hell. Because you are already there. So you just notice you are thinking, without any resistance to the thought. You just bring yourself back and bring yourself present with the moment. Even if it only lasts three seconds. The thoughts come back again. That’s okay. “Thinking”… and then back you come to presence. It could be something you see in the moment. It could be movement. There are so many ways to be present. We can be present washing the dishes. What I say to people is, when there is no need to be thinking, be present. When it’s appropriate to be thinking, then think clearly and well. But don’t get lost in that world of thought.

DONNA: Is that the same as being mindful? That’s become a buzzword these days. Is that mindfulness?

LEONARD: I’ve never really gone into that. For me, it’s not the same. But I can’t speak with great authority. Mindfulness experts talk about that. But my sense of it is, presence is deeper than mindfulness because if you’re being mindful than I have to ask, “who is being mindful?” Who is aware of what is arising within the mind? So the question you ask, “who is mindful?” Brings us back to, “I am.” So really, the I am presence is the awakened you. Now, I’m not sure that mindfulness will take you to the I am presence that you are. That’s for others to determine. But in this teaching, the goal is not to be mindful, the goal is to awaken into the truth of who you are. And then, of course, you are mindful which means, I’m present…when a thought arises, I am witness to that. I’m not for it, not against it. So, who is present? “I am.” It’s becoming grounded in the I am presence. Now, if you were to ask me, “who is present?” “I am.” There is nothing beyond that. Or, shall I say, there is nothing or nothingness beyond that. This point here…I am trying to show you with my hands. At the very deepest level, who you are is pure consciousness…beyond form and beyond contact. You can’t think about that. But that is who you are at the very deepest level. For me, the non-dualists take it too far and dismiss what I call Heaven on Earth, and say it’s not real.

DONNA: I see how it takes you deeper than what is usually referred to as mindfulness. It reminds me of something I heard once…let’s see if I get it right…that mindfulness is not concentration; it’s the awareness of when you’ve lost concentration. So, it’s almost like a lighter level of watching and awareness. But you want to bring us deeper than that.

LEONARD: Who is watching? This is all still the first step. It’s all about what it feels like to be present and what it’s like to be present. You see, most people who are seeking enlightenment…they are looking for bliss or ecstasy. Or some kind of liberation from the pain that’s in their story. As far as I’m concerned, that’s me, me, me…the ego involved. What’s in it for me? I want bliss. That is still what’s in it for me.

DONNA: What is your idea of bliss?

LEONARD: It’s very likely bliss will arise when you are present, but that is not what it’s about. If you are feeling bliss, I say “who’s feeling bliss?” “I am.” What is beyond the bliss? Perfect, infinite, eternal, silence. Perfect, infinite, eternal, peace. Acceptance…compassion. Now…I’m describing God. Now…I’m describing when you come into oneness with God. That very, very deep level of Awakened Presence. You see, what I say is, “God is real…God is here, now.” But we are not. We are lost in the past and future world of the mind. If you want to experience the living presence of God and all things present, you have to come to where God is…which is in the present moment. God is the Present moment, revealed. Do you have to call it “God?” No. But, I don’t know what else to call it. Whenever I call it “God,” it seems to open it up even more.

DONNA: I like the word.

LEONARD: Most people have to go through the process of decontaminating that word before they can experience the word God in it’s pure form. Contamination is put upon us by all kinds of religions.

DONNA: I like that! “Decontaminating it.”

LEONARD: What I say is that, believing in God is for those who don’t know God.

DONNA: That’s beautiful. I read that in your book.

LEONARD: And you can know God directly if you become present enough. Then you come into God’s world. I call it God’s world…the world of here and now…compared with the world of the mind.

DONNA: And so…Step Two.

Leonard: Step Two is all about coming out of the present and the future. Out of the mind and into presence. Because we are so habituated to living within the mind. We’re so addicted to thinking. It’s usually a very short time before they pull back into the story…into the dream…into the mind…back to that limited level of consciousness. Step Two involves bringing awareness into how that happens—witnessing how you are pulled out of presence and taking responsibility for that. How does it happen that you are pulled out of presence involuntarily? What is still unhealed within you that keeps you in the story? For example, judgment. Are you still caught up in judgment?…because that will keep you in the separation. So, Step Two really leads to mastery of the mind and ego. It’s not enough to be present. That’s enough for the cow or the donkey. But we humans have to master another fundamental step, which is…Yes, I’m present, but I’m also a master of my mind and ego.

So, I can no longer be involuntarily pulled out. So, that is Step Two. I’ve made Step Two very, very easy and simple…just four things to watch out for.

Continued in Part III

Source: AWAKEN

What Happens to Awareness after Death?

A discussion exploring Awareness after death and the notion of reincarnation.

Eckhart Tolle (Oct 14, 2017) – I’ll tell you what I know

How do you define consciousness as a Buddhist Scientist? Allan Wallace

This video is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Allan Wallace. He has been a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, and has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford.
http://www.alanwallace.org/

Eternity Is Ever-Present Now

Published on Oct 13, 2017

A 13-year-old boy asks if awareness has always existed. The presumption that time exists, inherent in his question, is then explored. 

The Eternal Paradox of Free Will and Predestination By Drs. Frans Langenkamp Ph.D.

Free will is the greatest gift of God to man,’ says Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (Bh.G. 1.39). ‘Man has freedom of action; thereby he can adopt any channel, good or bad, through which he wants the course of his life to flow’ (Bh.G. 2.27). We know that freedom is very fulfilling, we all want more and more freedom. Freedom equates with happiness, independence and sovereignty. And indeed, man seems to be more free than any other life form.

Intuitively we may feel free – aren’t we free to think, speak and act as we like? However, certain kinds of behaviors are regarded as more wise than other kinds of behaviors. Actions do call forth reactions. Actions do have consequences. All of us are acquainted with the Law of Nature that requires that the reaction is equal and opposite to the action. Or, as the ancient saying goes:

‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’
This is universal village knowledge, as Maharishi once put it. We can do as we please, only we should be ready to bear the consequences of our actions.

Is this the whole story of free will and predestination? Certainly not, since we can ask ourselves the very important question: Why do I act the way I act? Why do I speak the way I speak? Why do I think the way I think? Why do I desire what I desire? One person goes for art, another for science. Some go for philosophy, others for religion. The one likes silence, the other is fond of action. We all have different tastes and likings. We all have different natures.

Where do all these differences come from? The nature of one person predisposes one for a certain profession, the nature of the other predisposes this one for a completely different profession. All of us act more or less on the basis of our free choice. But our free choice definitely seems to be based on the structure of our personality, our nature. Is it not our nature that inclines us to do certain things, and avoid other things? There is an saying in Dutch: The character and the fate of a person relate to each other like the key to the lock. Obviously, free will is somehow based upon our nature.
Let us examine our own experience a bit closer. In the ordinary waking state, we feel somehow that we are pretty free, but not completely. On the other hand, we intuitively feel that something is predetermined for us, in other words, we feel that, to some extent, we are destined to have certain experiences in life, but we are not able to determine exactly what.

It is only natural, that sooner or later we ask ourselves the question: How far does the freedom go? What exactly is its nature? And similarly: how far does the predestination go? What is its nature?
In the normal waking state, we shall not able to sort out the answers to these metaphysical questions. Throughout the ages, philosophers and wise men have tried to define the range of our freedom and the nature of predestination. But because perception in the waking state of consciousness is very much limited, hardly anyone has hit the mark. Let us take up some of the generally expressed viewpoints in this matter.

Dog on a Line
Some say our situation in life is like that of a dog, who is taken out by its master, and is attached to a leash. The dog is allowed to frolic around somewhat, ease its nature, and – if it is lucky in life – its master is lenient enough to take notice of its wishes, and allows the dog to lead him on somewhat. Especially recently, the freedom of dogs is rather great, since the invention of leashes that can be extended up to 10 meters or so. Like this, we human beings are free to some extent, but simultaneously bound to some extent.

Fish in a river
Others compare our situation with a fish in the river. The river is flowing downstream, and carries the fish automatically to a certain destination.
‘Certain things are meant to be, as rivers surely flow into the sea.’
The fish can choose to swim left or right or in the middle, etc. Some fish can even exert will to work themselves upstream.

Game of cards
Others are fond of saying that life can be likened to a game of cards. Destiny allots a set of cards to each of us, containing some good, some medium, and some bad cards. Then it is up to each of us to use our Creative Intelligence to make something out of that hand of cards. Either we focus ourselves on winning, and use all the alertness that is in our command, or we do not exert ourselves very much and leave many opportunities unused.

Dark labyrinth
Others say that our situation on earth is like that of many persons trying to find their way in a dark labyrinth. The structure of the labyrinth is so complex that hardly anyone finds the way out and is finally liberated. The majority grope in darkness, not possessed of a comprehensive map of the place, and are destined to die before finding the way out.

Airport
Some say that the free will of today is the determinism of tomorrow. This viewpoint is illustrated in the following analogy: At an airport, we are faced with hundreds of options of where to go. But once we have bought a ticket for Chicago, and entered the plane, we are bound to end up in Chicago. We must be ready to accept the consequences of this free choice.

Experiences in the waking state of consciousness
When we take a close look at these different analogies, however, we will find that they do not provide the ultimate answer regarding the nature of free will, nor do they define the ultimate nature of predestination. It is clear that these analogies relate to the experiences that we have in the waking state of consciousness, and it is for this reason that they do not tell the whole story. They leave many things unexplained.

For instance, regarding the analogy of the dog, we can ask, why did the master at a certain point in time buy such a modern extending line by which the freedom of the dog was increased?

Regarding the fish analogy, we can ask ourselves why it is that one fish is so headstrong that he swims upstream while another takes it easy and lets himself be carried on by the river. Regarding the game of cards, we can ask the relevant question: ‘What did I do to deserve such a lucky set of cards? If you say it is coincidence, then what happened to that universal village knowledge: ‘as you sow so shall you reap’? Is it suddenly not applicable anymore? Regarding the labyrinth we could ask: ‘Why is the world experienced as a labyrinth?’ or ‘How did we end up in this labyrinth anyway?’ Regarding the airport analogy the valid question would be: ‘Why did I prefer Chicago to San Francisco?’
Every philosophy is simply the expression of a certain level of experiences in life. The Science of Creative Intelligence explains that knowledge is structured in consciousness, and that knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.

The reason for the existence of so many different philosophies is the fact that we each experience life from our own individual viewpoint.
The waking state of consciousness covers an infinite range of experiences, but they all have one thing in common: They do not touch the ultimate truth of life. The waking state of consciousness is like a house with a few windows here and there. Dwelling in the house, we are not able to see the entire range of our environment. When something passes in front of our window, we can see it clearly, but we are not aware of where it came from, nor are we able to determine where it goes to. This tempts us to believe that we are living in a world full of coincidences. Moreover, this restricted perception of the waking state poses an open invitation for us to indulge in speculation.

Cosmic consciousness, mentioned earlier, is like a house made of glass. We are able to see 360 degree of our environment. To the farthest horizon, we can see certain events coming up and taking shape, before they pass by and merge once again with the horizon. Cosmic consciousness is characterized by 360° openness of awareness. This makes for good scientists, and for good artists as well. From this platform of unbounded awareness , now we are able to distinguish both subtle causes as well as the subtle mechanics that structure our life.

Furthermore, in this state of cosmic consciousness, we gain clear insight into the nature of ourselves – we are possessed of self-knowledge. We bring true fulfillment to the ancient Greek teaching:
‘Gnothi Seauton’ – ‘Know Thyself’, the central advice of both Socrates and Plato. We experience the absolute, unbounded and eternal nature of our Self; we have discovered our true identity.
From this unbounded and, therefore, unbiased viewpoint, we are capable now to appreciate that all actions of persons, including ourselves, are based upon their own very nature.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:
‘Sadrisham cheshtate svasyah
prakriter gyanavanapi prakritim yanti bhutani’

‘Creatures follow their own nature. Even the enlightened man acts according to his own nature’ (Bh.G. 3.33).

This expression is based upon a deep appreciation of the unique nature of every single individual. It is clear that the free will that we as individuals exercise is determined by our very nature.

Herein lies an answer to the question why certain fishes swim upstream, while others are happy to be carried on by the river. It suggests that the more self-knowledge we develop, the more insight we gain into our deepest motivations, and desires. But this is not yet the ultimate resolution of the paradox of free will and predetermination. For instance, what about the influence that creatures exert on other creatures, and what of environmental influences?

In order to provide answers to these deepest questions that life poses to us, the wise, throughout the ages have advised us to meditate – to transcend our thoughts and feelings, our memories, desires, worries and plans – in order to obtain a complete, and all comprehensive insight into the mechanics of life, the mechanics of creation. In the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to transcend all phases of relative experience, and just be:

‘Nistraigunyo bhavarjuna
nirdvandvo nityasattvastho
niryogakshema atmavan’

‘Be without the three Gunas, O Arjuna,
freed from duality, ever firm in purity of awareness,
possessed of the Self.’ (Bh.G. 2.45)

Be without the three Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the three qualities of nature that are responsible for conducting all processes of change, all transformations, and all processes of evolution in the universe. Transcend them, Arjuna. Just be yourself, be established in your simplest form of awareness, get out of the field of change, and experience pure being, the source of all change.

That is to say, establish your awareness in the state of unity, beyond diversity, beyond thoughts and feelings. In that state, the mind is freed from boundaries. When the mind has transcended itself, and has identified itself with pure, unbounded consciousness, it is absolutely free. Thus we see that pure consciousness, transcendental consciousness, is the state of real freedom. To put it even more clearly: freedom is a quality of pure consciousness. The more our consciousness is pure, the more we experience freedom in daily life.

Absolute freedom
The freedom that we experience in the waking state is just the reflection of the absolute freedom which is inherent the nature of pure consciousness. Thus it is a universal experience that we only experience real freedom when our mind has identified itself with pure awareness, pure consciousness, pure being. We are not the mind, we are not the body, we have a mind and we have a body. Mind and body are the instruments through with we are able to express our Self.

Having established ourselves in the state of being, the singularity of pure consciousness – we feel subjectively free. This freedom is of an absolute nature, because now we have identified ourselves with the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature, the intrinsic quality of which is absolute freedom. This experience – which is now easily available through the technique of Transcendental Meditation – is traditionally described as ‘liberation’, or ‘moksha’, in the language of Vedic Science.

Having established our awareness in a state of absolute freedom, does this mean that our thinking, speech, and behaviour becomes lawless, or anarchistic? Rather the opposite is true. Once we have established ourselves on the level of transcendental consciousness, all stresses in our nervous system which impeded and disturbed the natural and efficient functioning of our mind-body system are dissolved. In Transcendental Meditation, this occurs simultaneously with the expansion of consciousness. The growth of purity in our mind-body system automatically leads to more balanced functioning of both the physiology and the psychology, which makes behavior more natural and more balanced. In other words, we begin to act more and more in accord with all the Laws of Nature.

The Uninvolved Witness
Thus, we make the paradoxical discovery that the more we experience real freedom the more we become open to the fact that all our thoughts, speech and actions are conducted by the eternally fixed Laws of Nature. What is crucial in the context of the mechanics of creation – the mechanics of our consciousness – is that, when we have taken our stand in our real Self, in the purity of our consciousness, we start to be a witness, an uninvolved witness to all the activity that goes on in our mind, body, environment and the universe at large. This witnessing aspect of our consciousness is called ‘saakshi’ in Vedic Science.

This witnessing quality of consciousness is inherent in the very nature of consciousness. In a sense, all that consciousness ever does is witness. When our awareness becomes grounded in Self-awareness, we simply become more and more aware of this witnessing role that our consciousness has always been playing. We no longer identify ourselves exclusively with our mind-body system. In cosmic consciousness, we experience our real Self as pure awareness, and we are aware that the mind-body system is simply a part of the whole of nature which performs its actions spontaneously and automatically.

Cosmic Consciousness
Cosmic consciousness is the concrete experience when pure consciousness, gained first in meditation, has become an established feature of our being – pure consciousness, as the witness, is spontaneously and naturally maintained during all activities of the waking, dreaming and sleeping states of consciousness. In this state of all comprehensive awareness, or cosmic consciousness, we find the resolution of the eternal paradox of free will and predestination: Subjectively we are absolutely free, but objectively speaking, all our activities are carried out by all the Laws of Nature. From this cosmic perspective, we are able to see the truth about both the subjective and the objective sides of our existence. Subjectively, we know we are part of the eternal and absolute silent value of consciousness; and objectively, we know that we are part of the eternally dynamic value of existence.

In cosmic consciousness, we directly experience that our subjectivity belongs to absolute silence, and that our objectivity belongs to the eternal dynamism of the ‘automatic production line’ of creation. When we no longer identify ourselves with the mind or the body, we know we are just the silent witness of all that is, was, and will be. Or, as the Bhagavad Gita puts it,

‘Naiva kincit karomiti yukto manyeta tattvavit’
‘He whose awareness is united and knows the truth,
he will maintain “I do not act at all”.’ (Bh.G. 5.8)

Not that the mind-body system stops being active after having gained a higher state of consciousness – we simply become aware of the fact that we are not acting, and that in the past we have never been acting, and that in the future our true Self will never be acting!
What is it then that makes our mind, body, intellect, and senses act? It is nature, nothing but nature, as Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:

‘Prakrityai va cha karmani kriyamanani sarvashah,
yah pashyati tathatmanam akartaram sa pashyati’
‘He verily sees, who sees that all actions are done by nature alone, and that the Self is actionless.’ (Bh.G. 13.29).

The Yoga Vasishtha confirms this experience, which is the characteristic of cosmic consciousness:
‘When thus one realizes the supreme, which is the only essence of truth beyond this ocean of Samsara, one realizes “I am not the doer, but cosmic Creative Intelligence alone is the doer, not even in the past did I do anything”.’ (Y.V. 6.1. 32)

The more our awareness is anchored in eternal silence and absolute freedom, the more we become aware that it is the cosmic Creative Intelligence that conducts all activities of mind, body, behavior, and environment. These mechanics of creation are also revealed by a verse of Rik Veda:

‘Yatinam brahma bhavati sarathih’
‘For him, whose awareness is withdrawn from the field of change, whose awareness is established in its own unbounded nature, the cosmic Creative Intelligence become the charioteer of all actions.’ (Rik Veda 1.158.6)

The more that we are consciously identified with our essential nature as pure consciousness, the more we become aware of the perfect and orderly development that characterizes the ‘automatic production line’ of the universe.

Absolute Freedom and Absolute Predestination
The more self-referral we are, the more we realize the mechanics of nature’s functioning. In this experience of higher states of consciousness, we resolve the paradox of free will and predetermination. In one and the same process of establishing our awareness in transcendental consciousness, we have discovered the truth about freedom, and we have discovered the truth about predestination! From the perspective of cosmic consciousness, we are able to see that these two fields of life exist side by side. Both are 100% in their own right.

In cosmic consciousness, we experience absolute, eternal freedom as the essential quality of our own consciousness, and on that basis, from that transcendental viewpoint, we see the truth about activity – namely that it is conducted by the Laws of Nature, by almighty Nature itself, which moves according to a cosmic plan, outlined in the ‘instruction manual of creation’, the Veda.

However new and perhaps unbelievable this may sound to people in the world, it is exactly the experience in cosmic consciousness. Not that the freedom becomes 100% available in cosmic consciousness, we only become aware of the freedom that has always been there. Likewise, not that predestination becomes 100% operable in cosmic consciousness, we only become aware of the predestination that was eternally there. Vedic Science is not a religion. Nobody is asked to believe anything of this description of life. Vedic Science can verify that it is so! And this is exactly the job that Jyotish performs for us.

In Chapter Three, we mentioned the Vimshottari Dasha system, which allots different Grahas to different periods of our life. With the help of this timetable, we have an overview over the entire ‘production process’ of our life. When we combine this system with the study of the actual position of the Grahas at any given time (the so-called Gochar or transit system), we are in a position to gauge the actual mechanics of our life on a day to day basis!
Having performed this experiment hundreds of times, we have become absolutely convinced that everything develops according to the cosmic plan. All processes of thinking, speaking and acting are the expression of the cosmic mechanics of creation. Having observed this to be true, over and over again, we develop an intuition, a feeling for the perfect and orderly set up of creation – even when our subjective experience is still limited to the waking state of consciousness.

In this way, the study of Jyotish is helpful in expanding our consciousness into cosmic dimensions. In the event that we are meditating, the study of Jyotish becomes supportive to the development of our consciousness that results from regular experience of the absolute level of awareness in meditation. Maharishi emphasizes that knowledge and experience always go hand in hand. Combining the intellectual study of Jyotish with the experiential development brought about by the regular practice of TM, we soon begin to experience glimpses of the cosmic reality, and, in due time, this most natural, blissful, and most exalted state of consciousness becomes a permanent feature of our daily life.

Mere coincidence?
Having secured our subjective existence in absolute bliss consciousness, we begin to recognize that everything big or small, important or non-important is organized by the Creative Intelligence of nature. We start to cognize that all actions and all events are products of the Laws of Nature. In the normal waking state, we were not able to figure out reasons for many events in our lives, and, indeed for many events that were happening in the world at large. But now, when the comprehension of the mind has reached a cosmic perspective, everything begins to make sense to us.

Wise men throughout the ages have had insight in the perfect, just and mathematically precise functioning of Nature. In his Essay on Man, dated 1774, Alexander Pope in England wrote:

‘All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
all chance, direction which thou canst not see;
all discord, harmony, not understood;
all partial evil, universal good;
all chaos, reason which thou canst not see;
One truth we know there is – whatever is, is right’.

These poetical expressions do not come from what we can call the ‘normal’ waking state. These enlightening words come from an experience of a higher state of consciousness, where an intimate unity is experienced with Nature. This experience enabled him to see that ‘all is well and wisely put’ as another great poet once said. The Laws of Nature operate with absolute precision. There is no ‘mere coincidence’ in creation. Every single event, big or small, important or unimportant, good or bad, perfect or imperfect, future or past, is part of an all-embracing, cosmic evolutionary process, in which consciousness is manifesting itself.

God is Not Playing Dice
Is ‘normal’ waking state, we may not comprehend the truth, but that does not mean that it isn’t there. Experiencing the enriched, enlightened state of consciousness, wise men have always tried to awaken us to this cosmic truth. For instance, there is a popular song in India, that says:

‘Dane dane pe lika hai, khane wale ka naam.’
‘On every grain (of rice), the name of the eater is written.’

Here we are also reminded of the great Albert Einstein, who is known to have said:
‘God does not play dice.’
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Einstein of consciousness, once said:
‘Everything is fixed, all the transformations are fixed..
The exact moment of gaining enlightenment is forever fixed.’

Fatalism?
Must these expressions of wise and enlightened men lead the mentality of the world to a kind of fatalism? No, not at all. This would be a wrong conclusion, drawn from perfect knowledge. Admittedly, these wrong conclusions do exist, and they form part of the wide-spread misunderstanding in which the world is today engulfed. But of course, these misunderstandings also form part of the cosmic plan. They must serve some purpose. But the fact that all processes are fixed, does not mean that we are forced to accept the situation as it is, without trying to do something about it. The tendency to help fellowmen who are in distress is just natural.

To give food to the hungry is just human. To give shelter and affection to the needy is just an expression of human nature. To help others to enlightenment, and to experience freedom and success in life, is only natural. To strive for happiness, health, wealth and enlightenment is just natural, embedded in the structure of life itself.

Two Sides of the Same Coin
Brahman, the wholeness of consciousness, the wholeness of all that exists – contains all: knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness, birth and death, freedom and predestination, creation and destruction, good and evil, positive and negative, yin and yang, past and future, perfection and imperfection. To say that everything is ordained and organized by nature should not bewilder the wise. To say that everything is fixed does not mean that we cannot improve anything. To say that everything is fixed does note mean that we are not absolutely free! Our freedom is absolutely fixed. We are all destined to be free. We have the total freedom to create our destiny. Freedom and predestination are two sides of the same coin, the coin of life. Maharishi once said: ‘Life is a composite of a 100% freedom within a 100% determinism.

Master of Our Own Creation
Miraculously, all of us are essentially and totally one with cosmic intelligence, which makes each one of us our own predestinator, whether we are aware of this fact or not. Man is born to be the master of his destiny – we have heard this saying many times. It means that all of us are bound to realize that we are essentially one with the cosmic Creative Intelligence. The more our life evolves in the direction of this realization, the more intelligent and creative our thinking, speaking and acting will be.
Once we start to experience that we are the masters of our own creation, we automatically start to behave in a more and more evolutionary way. We no longer obstruct – as it were – the cosmic force of evolution working in each and every one of us. In this way we start to make use of our full mental potential.

The only reason that we are not making full use of our Creative Intelligence is because of certain stresses that are inhibiting the normal and natural flow of energy and intelligence in our mind-body system. Stress gives rise to frustration, and even to destructive behavior. Crime is the natural expression of stress. It is stress that restricts our awareness and makes us feel bound, makes us feel forced to a certain type of negative behavior. When the stresses are gone, we feel free and unrestricted, and automatically we start to think, speak and act more in accord with the evolutionary Laws of Nature; we feel more supported by the almighty forces of evolution. This results in more positivity, and in health, wealth and wisdom in life.
It is in this light that Maharishi once said:
‘Human life is all divine.’

We are all the creators of our destiny – whether we know it or not! Our mind, the human mind is so infinitely powerful that it creates whatever it contemplates – whether we know what is going on in our mind or not! When the nervous system is free from stress, we have a clear mind, and we naturally create a life that is pleasant for all of us. When stress no longer obstructs our mind-body system – as is the case in cosmic consciousness – we are more and more aware of our infinite free choice in life. Naturally, we choose for progress and happiness. In the state of enlightenment, we naturally desire ‘all good to everyone, and non-good to no-one’.

Becoming enlightened just means that we claim our birthright, and that we start to make use of our inborn potential, which, according to Vedic Science, is unlimited in its scope and power.

When we become dedicated to the idea of creating a heaven on earth, it is bound to happen. And in fact, the study of Jyotish is an excellent aid to that: we study the wonderful orderliness and harmony of the celestial mechanics, and apply this knowledge here on earth. This is the whole purpose of Jyotish and, in fact, the whole purpose of each and every branch of Vedic Science. Each of those branches of ‘Brahma vidya’ – knowledge of the totality – gives a complete insight, each from its own vantage point, into the mechanics of creation. Each branch of Vedic Science offers the potential to raise life to its full dignity – enlightenment to the individual and a disease-free, problem-free society for every nation.

As It Should Be
The whole truth about life – the whole truth about freedom and predestination – is summarized in a little interaction of Maharishi. A few years ago Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was interviewed by a French journalist, who asked: ‘Maharishi, how does the world look like in the highest state of consciousness?’ Then Maharishi said:

‘Then you see that everything is exactly as it should be’.
The man, not realizing the depth of this expression, asked: ‘But why then, are you working so hard to improve the situation?’ Whereupon Maharishi smilingly answered: ‘Because that is exactly as it should be’.

In this little anecdote, the whole wisdom of the Vedas and the Vedic literature is contained. Thus, it forms a beautiful summary of the solution to the riddle of free Will and Predestination!

Copyright © Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Author’s Bio:
Frans Langenkamp is Vedic Astrologer and Vedanta Expert. His specialties are Life Purpose Readings and Cosmic Coaching.

Eckhart Tolle (Oct 11, 2017) – Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness there is Peace

Embodying the Feminine by Chameli Ardagh (Author)

Progress is only possible through longing. And as the path of progress is infinite, there should be infinite longing. Thus longing becomes itself a form of the infinite, to be desired for its own sake. This is why the mystics idealize longing. The other name for longing is love.
Irina Tweedie

What a wild ride this human life is. Every moment is an opportunity to show up fully as who we are, an opportunity to create and to be created. The choice is always between turning our back to the moment or turning our vulnerable, open heart and belly toward the moment.

The divine feminine is radical in the way she guides us into a territory way beyond the confined limits of our thinking. Although our minds love to reach conclusions, to achieve goals, to me—at least—this life doesn’t seem to have any goal outside the meaningfulness inherent in this unfolding, this evolution, this play of life itself. While your ambitious mind may desire to reach an ultimate state of enlightenment, your wild heart is fully involved in a never-ending enlightening process.

In the territory of feminine embodiment, we are guided by different rules than just the linear, the logic and rationale. And isn’t this what we long for, to have these golden moments of rest from our chattering minds, where we just are? Where we are immersed in a current bigger, wilder, and wiser than us?

The feminine embodiment practices are processes of remembering. You will remember, not old dusty dogmas or tidy models of reality, but rather the capacity to stay awake, present and in the body, at the very edge of each moment. It is here at this edge that evolution is happening. It is here—right here in this breath—that you become a co-creator of your future. You will remember how thrillingly alive you feel when you are fully here, fully present. You will remember not mental theories, but life itself, lived in its most awake expression. You remember love.

We dive into the intimate process of embodying our awakening and from here our relationship to our spirituality fundamentally changes. We will no longer seek to “transcend” or get rid of our humanness, but to open ourselves to a multi-dimensional life right here in the midst of it all.

In this directly experienced spirituality, we learn to see through our habits of dividing the “mundane” from the “spiritual”, every dimension of life is experienced as part of the same whole. We sense the suffering intrinsic to any kind of duality, and we start to breathe awareness down into our bodies, welcoming human life as an opportunity to awaken, to learn and to contribute. Our spiritual concepts transform into a tangible, embodied love.


Chameli Ardagh
Founder of Awakening Women Institute

Chameli is a leading pioneer in contemporary feminine spirituality, and she has inspired thousands of women around the world with her breakthrough methods for living and embodying feminine awakening. She is especially appreciated for her love of mythology and storytelling as a method for illuminating our hidden strength and beauty.

As a teen Chameli embarked on her journey as a spiritual explorer, which, at the age of twenty, led her to India, which she has returned to more than fifteen times. She has studied with many remarkable mentors and undergone thousands of hours of intense practice of meditation and spiritual studies. The last 15 years she has been a student of ShantiMayi, a wisdom teacher based in India and France.

The Goddess Durga & the real source of Feminine Power ~ Chameli Ardagh

Chameli Ardagh, Founder of Awakeningwomen.com speaks about the Goddess Durga and a vision on a new feminine source of power

Tara Talks: Not Enough Time – with Tara Brach

Published on Oct 10, 2017

Tara Talks: Not Enough Time – with Tara Brach

The more stressed we are, the more likely it is that we’ll mistake the needs of someone we care about for “an interruption.”

Aside

Gangaji: Here to Love One Another

Imitation Of Christ! Part-3: How To Transcend Suffering? ~Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (Oct 10, 2017) – The whole Universe brings about everything which happens with you

The Age Of Spiritual Awakening Has Really Begun – New Research Confirms

We live in the age of awakening. More and more people are concerned about this: Who or what am I? I’m just the sum of my personal life story, memories, experiences, thoughts and sufferings? Or is therein me a hidden dimension of a mysterious consciousness, which is superimposed by the noise of my personal life stories?

The spiritual awakening means for the person the ability “to clearly see that what I perceive, experience, think or feel, is after all not the same as what I am.” As soon as a person recognizes who he or she is not, immediately comes the recognition of who he or she actually is: “The light of consciousness, in which perceptions, experiences, thoughts and emotions come and go. This consciousness in the background, is the deeper, real self.”

The Presence thus created (conscious alertness) brings about the sense of tranquility and internal peace. The sustained conscious attention launches the spiritual process of transubstantiation that leads the individual to conscious alertness, new perspective and new ways of observing. This process, by transforming the consciousness of the person, changes the entire personality of the individual.

The transformation of the conscience, the beginning of spiritual consciousness, is when the person experiences that he or she is the consciousness that perceives the operation of Ego. In Tolle’s opinion, when a person is aware that he/she is thinking, the consciousness that experiences this is not part of the person’s thinking. This is another dimension of consciousness.

Eckhart Tolle believes that this conscious alertness has already appeared at a small, but rapidly increasing part of mankind.

Following the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Frank M Wanderer created the Conscious Alertness Scale and carried out its statistical analysis. The purpose has been developing a new measuring instrument for the recognition of spiritual consciousness. An attempt has been made to find out whether this new consciousness exists at all and to what extent it is present in the population concerned (college students).

The measuring instrument thus created was used to seek an answer to the question as to whether the Conscious Alertness was present among college students, and whether there was any difference between the two genders in this respect. Eight hundred and fifty-four students were involved in the survey.

Frank research has verified his research hypothesis, that is, Conscious Alertness is present among college students.

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The Conscious Alertness Scale revealed three dimensions of the Presence:

1. Reduction in the functions of Ego
2.Transcending the functions of Ego
3.Alert consciousness in the present

Among college students, the Alert Consciousness in the Present dimension of the Conscious Alertness had the highest prevalence.

Within that dimension, the sense of an “inner body” (an internal vividness behind the external body) was the most common. Of the students, 14,4% experience this feeling several times a day and 13,1% of them at least once a day. An individual is only able to experience this emotion if he or she is consciously experiencing the current moment. Of the college students, 9,8% experiences an emotion several times a day and 9,1% does so once a day that the surrounding world is the reflection of the universal existence. Of the students, 8,5% see themselves in moments of clear conscience several times a day and 4,6% of them experiences this at least once a day. Of the students, 5,9% experience the sense of peace and happiness without any particular reason every day, and 3,3% of them are visited by this feeling several times a day.

The second most common dimension of Conscious Alertness was Reduction in the Functions of Ego. Within that, the reduction of the desire to possess things was particularly conspicuous.

Of the students, 9,8% rarely and 3,3% of them never or almost never experienced the longing for something more. Being offended and nursing, sustaining the sense of being offended as the strategies of reinforcing the Ego also had a diminishing tendency among many of the college students (rarely: 6,5%, never or almost never 2,6%; nursing the sense of being offended: rarely 5,2%, never or almost never 2,6%). The prevalence of experiencing the sense of “I am right” as a strategy of sustaining and reinforcing the Ego also diminished considerably among college students. Of those college students, 5,2% of them rarely and 3,3% of them never or almost never experience this emotion. Of the college students, 7,8% rarely experience the recklessness and dissatisfaction rooted in dissatisfied want and desires, and 1,3% of them almost never do. The withdrawal of the Ego was the least spectacular at complaining (rarely 2,6%, never or almost never 1,3% of them complain) and boasting (2,1% boast rarely, 0,7% never or almost never do so).

The prevalence of Transcending the Functions of Ego was the least common among the components of the Conscious Alertness.

Within that dimension, transcending thinking and emotions were the most frequent patterns of behavior. 3,3% of the students experience this impression daily and 2% several times a day. Of the students, 2,6% have the impression that their thoughts and emotions constitute only a small fragment of their real personalities, and 0,7% of them encounter this feeling several times a day. In the frequency of occurrence, this was followed by the detachment from external things, which was experienced by 3,2% of the students every day and 0,7% of them several times a day. Students appeared to be least capable of transcending the perpetual operation of thinking; only 1,4% of them experienced that the stream of their was aimless and repetitive.

Eckhart Tolle argues that the emergence of the Conscious Alertness is relatively independent of gender; it appears in men as well as in women.

Frank research findings underpin this opinion, as we were unable to reveal any considerable difference between the genders in any of the dimensions of Conscious Alertness.

~ Frank M. Wanderer

Vedic Astrology – Jyotish – as based on the Rik Veda By Drs. Frans Langenkamp Ph.D.

We have now seen that Jyotish is one of the limbs (Angas) of Rik Veda. In fact, Jyotish is considered the most important of all the six Vedangas. Just as Vedanta, the most important of the six Upangas, contains within its fold all the knowledge and principles enumerated in the other five Upangas, so Jyotish forms both the synopsis as well as the culmination of the other five Vedangas.

The term Jyotish consists of two words namely “Jyoti” and “sha.” “Jyoti” means “light” while “sha” means “the best, the most excellent, eternal.” Thus, Jyotish refers to the most excellent of all lights. What actually is the best of all lights? Is there any eternal light? All the Upanishads are there to declare that the light of the Self, the light of the consciousness of man is the light of all lights, the source of all visible lights. It is identified with the eternal light of Brahman, the essence of the entire creation.

Yajnavalkya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares that when all visible lights have gone, the inner light of the Self still remains, guiding man in all his thoughts, speech and actions (See Br. Up. 4.3.6.). Thus, Jyotish refers to the light of all lights, the light of pure consciousness, the Self of all beings. Jyotish is therefore really a limb of the Veda, since the Veda is nothing but, if not the encyclopaedia of the structuring dynamics of consciousness, which are responsible for the creation and evolution of all that exists in the universe.

Traditionally, Jyotish has been regarded as the eyes of the Veda, the eyes of pure knowledge, by which the structure of the Veda itself can be known and understood – indeed, by which the entire creation can be known and understood. Because Jyotish is such an important limb of the body of Rik Veda, we should be able to locate the basic ingredients of Jyotish in Rik Veda. Let us, therefore take a closer look at the structure of the Veda, as revealed by Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bhasya. The Apaurusheya Bhasya on Rik Veda

The Rik Veda consists of ten Chapters called mandalas. Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bhasya (uncreated commentary) on the Rik Veda has made clear that all the knowledge of the ten mandalas of Rik Veda is concentratedly available in the first mandala, consisting of 192 suktas (hymns).

Furthermore, the commentary indicates that all knowledge of the first mandala is contained in the first sukta, consisting of nine richas (verses). And that all knowledge of the first sukta is contained in the first richa, consisting of nine words. And that all the knowledge contained in the first richa is contained in the first pada (a group of eight syllables). And that the knowledge contained in first pada is contained in the first word. And that the knowledge of the first word is contained in the first syllable “Ak.” And that the knowledge of the first syllable is contained in the first letter “A.”
Maharishi is the first commentator of the Rik Veda throughout the long corridor of time, who is aware of this perfect orderly and sequential structure of Rik Veda. Furthermore, Maharishi is the first commentator to give importance to the gaps between the syllables, words, padas, richas, suktas, and mandalas.

The 9 grahas associated with the 9 words of Rik Veda
We have seen earlier that the nine grahas are the point values of the nine basic universal Laws of Nature, which are responsible for creating, maintaining and dissolving the entire universe. Please note that the grahas are not identical with the Laws of Nature; they are the physical representation of the Laws of Nature. (In the case of Rahu and Ketu, they are just mathematical points, invisible but calculable as the intersection of the Moon’s orbital plane with the ecliptic.) The nine grahas taken together represent all the forces of nature, responsible for the creation and evolution of everything in the universe. This being the case, as is taught to us by the ancient Maharshi’s, all qualities and characteristics of the nine planets must be considered part and parcel of the whole text of Rik Veda.

Thanks to Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bhasya, we know that the entire Veda is contained in all its levels of elaboration. If the Veda is the expression of all the Laws of Nature, and if the nine grahas represent all the Laws of Nature, then certainly the knowledge of the nine grahas must be contained in all levels of expression of Rik Veda. As we learned earlier, the entire knowledge of the Veda is in compact form available in the first letter, the first syllable, the first word, first pada, first sukta and first mandala.

It should be possible to demonstrate that the knowledge of the nine grahas is completely available on each of these levels of elaboration of the Vedic text. Preliminary research has shown that this is indeed very well possible. We are in the happy circumstance that we are in the possession of Maharishi’s written commentary on one of these levels of elaboration, i.e., the first richa of Rik Veda.

Is it a coincidence that this first richa of Rik Veda, comprising the totality of Rik Veda, consists of nine words? Jyotish informs us that their are no coincidences in this universe. Could it be that there exists a correspondence between these nine words and the nine grahas?

Maharishi’s written translation and commentary on this first richa of Rik Veda can be found in a publication, issued in 1976, under the title Creating an Ideal Society – a Global Undertaking. In this book, Maharishi elaborates on the inherent meaning of each of the first nine words of Rik Veda, in the context of describing the 16 versions of the Constitution of the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment. The first richa of Rik Veda reads as follows: “Agnim ile purohitam yagyasya devam ritvijam hotaram ratna dhatamam.” (Rik Veda 1.1.1)

Let us take up Maharishi’s in-depth descriptions of these first nine words of Rik Veda, and see whether they can be related to the basic qualities, the essential nature of each of the nine grahas. The definition of each of the nine words, given below between quotation marks, has been taken beginning with page 128 of this publication.

Agnim
“…contains within its structure, in seed form, the full knowledge of all Laws of Nature, all evolutionary processes, and all forms and actions in the universe. A such it represents the whole value of Supreme intelligence…”

Clearly this relates to Surya, the Sun, who in Jyotish represents pure consciousness, Creative Intelligence, the Self, the source of all knowledge and action. The superficial word meaning of Agni is “fire,” and the Sun is the only graha that consists of fire and is illuminating with its light all the other grahas of the solar system. Just as Agni is the source of the whole Veda and the Vedic Literature, the Sun can be seen as the source of all activity and life forms in the solar system.

Ile
“…displays the Mechanics of Creation, contained within the word Agnim. … It expresses the first awakening of the Laws of Nature as they initiate activity within the field of consciousness.” This relates to Chandra, the Moon, because in Jyotish the Moon represents the mind, which is just another expression for “activity within the field of consciousness.”

“By virtue of being awareness, transparent to itself, consciousness emerges from within its pure potentiality (Agnim) and, curving back on to itself (Ile) establishes an “observer-observed” relationship within its own structure.” It is activity in consciousness that structures the subject-object relationship within the indivisible wholeness of consciousness. Here, we have the description of how the mind relates to pure consciousness, or in terms of Jyotish how the Moon interacts with the Sun and further how it reflects the values of the Sun. “Ile,”

Maharishi states, “is the first sprouting of the supreme intelligence to become the first expression of Creative Intelligence.” This passage describes how the mind arises out of pure consciousness. Maharishi has stated that Ile means “to repeat over and over again” – in terms of Jyotish, this mainly refers to the Moon, since the Moon represents anything of a cyclical nature. During the process of Transcendental Meditation, the mind “curves back onto the self,” like the Moon is merging into Sun every month again. This illustrates the fact that Ile relates to the qualities and characteristics of the Moon as described by Jyotish.

Purohitam
“…is pure potentiality in motion … it is the wholeness of consciousness enlivened by self-knowledge and capable of initiating action within its own unmanifest structure… the silent initiator and inner controller of all action, the fountainhead of all authority, law and power…”
In Jyotish, Mangala (Mars) is described as the army general, the initiator of action, the archetype of power and authority. Maharishi emphasises that the power and authority exhibited by Purohitam, is derived from Agnim – this is precisely the case with Mangala, the army general, whose power and authority are based upon the strength of the king Surya (the Sun).
These points establish the fact that Purohitam relates to Mangala.

Yagyasya
“…expresses the code of action by which any desired goal can be achieved. The mechanics of achievement are that consciousness, simply by following its own nature, puts its infinite potential to use in the field of action.”
Consciousness expresses its nature through desiring. Desiring is the ultimate means of achieving anything. This principle relates perfectly to Rahu (the Northern lunar moon node), since its very nature is to desire, and to achieve one goal after another.

Rahu is the locomotive of life, the locomotive of desire, by which creatures follow their own nature. It is interesting to note that the Shrimad Bhagavatam, one of the two Mahapuranas, makes mention of a boar incarnation of God. This boar is the embodiment of all Yagyas. Yagyas are subtle technologies of Vedic engineering, by which any desired goal can be achieved.

In the Second Chapter of the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Parashara enumerates the ten incarnations of God, and classifies them with reference to a certain graha. In this classification the boar incarnation relates to Rahu.. From these points it is evident that there is a cosmic correspondence between yagyasya and the qualities of Rahu.

Devam
“…is the impulse of Creative Intelligence that spontaneously leads all activity in an evolutionary direction.”

Clearly, this is the function of Guru (Jupiter), who is the guide, the teacher, the spiritual preceptor of the Devas, (impulses of Creative Intelligence, personified as gods). Of all the grahas it is mainly the quality of Guru that makes us go for evolution, expansion, enlightenment, etc. Guru shows us the way toward the realization of evolutionary goals and aspirations. From this consideration it is clear that devam is an exact expression of the Guru principle.

Ritvijam
“…is the absolute, non-active value of Creative Intelligence. The supreme intelligence is so unlimited that it can function without functioning – its very presence regulates activity so that it is spontaneously right” … it is … “the element which maintains wholeness of consciousness and witnesses all activity.”
These attributes of consciousness [remember: we are speaking of different qualities of one and the same consciousness] remind us of the characteristics of Shani (Saturn). Shani represents the Absolute, the silence, meditation, introspection, the state of yoga, the witnessing aspect of our consciousness, the gate to perfection in life. It represents our conscience, the inner guiding light for all our thought, speech and action. Thus it is clear that ritvijam represents the essence of the Shani principle.

Hotaram
“…is Creative Intelligence in action. Whereas ritvijam faces himself, Hotaram faces activity”… by which … “the whole range of activity can be endowed with the infinite potential of Creative Intelligence, so that every action yields the greatest results. Its goal is lively fulfilment in the waves of living.”
This description clearly relates to the Budha principle represented by the graha Budha (Mercury), who is the fast moving graha of Creative Intelligence in action. Budha infuses intelligence, creativity, liveliness and joy into all phases of our daily life and even in our professional sphere.

On the level of the superficial meaning of this first richa of Rik Veda, hotaram refers to the actual performer of a yagya (Vedic performance) – the person who is reciting the appropriate mantras of the Vedas, while dextrously pouring prescribed oblations into the fire. This is exactly the characteristic of Budha, who in Jyotish parlance, is said to know all the four Vedas by heart, and is the dextrous, skilled performer of intelligent actions. All these points clearly establish a connection between hotaram and Budha.

Ratna
“…the pure brilliance of Creative Intelligence shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, Absolute and relative”… it is “the grace of life in its highest form, the culmination of all processes of evolution.”

Clearly, this description can only relate to Ketu (the Southern lunar node), since Ketu is known as the “mokshakaraka” the bestower of moksha, liberation, which Vedic Science declares to be the culmination of all processes of evolution. Ketu stands for total knowledge, total enlightenment, which is shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, between Absolute and relative. Consciousness is found in the gap between all opposite values. Ketu, as such, is nothing – it is only a mathematical point, defined by the interaction between the Sun and the Moon – between the Absolute (the Sun) and the relative (the Moon), between silence and dynamism. Ketu in Jyotish symbology is related to the Sun, as the pure brilliance of Creative Intelligence.

It is interesting to note that Rahu relates to the Moon, which in Jyotish symbology represents the mind. According to Vedic psychology, every activity of the mind is intrinsically an expression of desire, thus relating the Rahu principle both to the Moon as well as to the performance of yagyas as we have seen earlier.
On the superficial level of the word-meaning, ratna means “jewel”, and, as such, it also relates to Ketu, since Ketu stands for brilliance, sparks of fire, and any unusual or striking phenomenon catching the attention. In the description of the next word “dhatamam,” Maharishi refers back to ratna, as symbolising enlightened people. All these points establish a relationship between ratna and the Ketu principle.

Dhatamam
“…shows consciousness as having grown to such a degree of concentrated fullness and purity that it overflows to radiate its value in the environment.” In dhatamam, Maharishi writes, “consciousness is shown as the giver of the supreme value of life, as bestowing enlightenment and making it universally available.”

On the level of the word-meaning “dhatamam” means giver. Giving is an expression of love. Giving is the spontaneous result of the overflowing of the fullness of consciousness. The values represented by “dhatamam”, can therefore be related to the nature of Shukra (Venus), who stands for the principle of love and sharing, spontaneously radiating its value to the environment.

Maharishi implies that the value of overflowing, contained in dhatamam, is the spontaneous result of the concentrated fullness and purity of consciousness. It is interesting to note that the word-meaning of Shukra is “pure.” The love that Shukra stands for in Jyotish parlance is the spontaneous result of the fullness of consciousness. Only when the Self is experienced in all its purity and fullness then love can then spontaneously emanate from this experience of Self-awareness. All these points confirm that dhatamam is related to the essence of the Shukra principle, the principle of love and sharing.

Copyright © 1998. Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Author’s Bio:
Frans Langenkamp is Vedic Astrologer and Vedanta Expert. He lives and teaches in the Netherlands and in Germany

Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson – What It Means To Awaken

Posted on October 8, 2017

Donna Quesada: Well, Leonard it’s really nice to meet you. David gave me your book a few weeks ago and I sure have enjoyed it and I was just delighted to know.

I would be talking with you today. So on a personal level thank you and thank you for sharing your time with Awaken.

Leonard Jacobson: Well, thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here with you.

DONNA: Thank you very much. I spent some time in Sydney. Many years ago, though. One day I’ll make it back. Well, as you know the web site is called Awaken.com, so we have a little tradition…so, if you’ll indulge us, we like to start with the question of what it means to awaken. So, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your thoughts on that?

LEONARD: Ok. Well, for me, it’s very very simple. We have to ask the question, “what are we awakening from?” And, “what are we Awakening to?” What we are awakening from is the world of the human thinking mind. The mind that never stops thinking. And whenever we think, we take ourselves into this world of the mind and it’s really the world of the remembered past and the imagined future. Sometimes I call it “the world of the mind.” Sometimes I call it “your story.” Everything outside of this moment is your story. It’s based in the past or imagining into the future. So, sometimes I call it “your dream.” It’s a world of illusion because it’s made up of memory, imagining, concepts, ideas, beliefs. And it’s also a world of separation because we’ve actually separated ourselves from the truth in life and the truth of who we are. The truth of love, the truth of God. So it’s a very limited level of consciousness when we’re functioning within the world of the mind. And we are actually governed by the ego. It’s almost like the ego is the custodian in that world of the mind…in the story…within the dream. And it has a very specific role that it plays within that limited level of consciousness.

When we are in the mind…that part of ourselves speaking, goes all the way back to our childhood. In fact, it goes all the way beyond that. It goes into past lives, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with that for now. But it goes all the way back to childhood, so when you are living with the mind, you are living with all those limited beliefs that form in the mind when you are a child. For example, limiting beliefs like, I’m all alone…there’s no one here for me…I’m not good enough…I can’t do it…there must be something wrong with me…I’m not loved. All of those sorts of limiting beliefs that affect our experience of life and affect our experience of ourselves.

We also live with all of the repressed emotions that have accumulated within us since childhood and they are still with us. These repressed emotions play havoc with our lives. So, that’s what we are awakening from. A world of illusion and separation. Filled with all the limiting beliefs and repressed feelings and false concepts and beliefs. What do we Awaken to?

We Awaken into the world of Now. The real truth. The present moment. And as we awaken into the world of now, into the present moment, we begin to experience ourselves in a completely different way. Almost like we are experiencing a new dimension of ourselves. A new dimension of life. And our experience of life is dramatically changed. So, that’s what I mean by awakening. Awakening into the world of now and then we’ll experience the truth on many, many levels.

DONNA: You know, it’s an interesting thing. You were saying how we are either swinging like a pendulum into the past, or otherwise into the fantasies of the future, but this is something that I’ve thought about before…too much thinking is exactly the problem. But, even when we are in the present, it seems like the mind is still in its fantasies because we are busy judging and we are only judging what we see, which is part of the story. So, we are sabotaged even when we are here. Is that the work of the mind as well?

LEONARD: What’s happening is that you’re not really present. You think you’re present but at the level where you are free of all this. So, you really need to be able to distinguish. When you are truly present and awake in the present moment and when you are in the mind, it is very subtle. We need to be able to distinguish those two dimensions, so we can never be mistaken again. And I have a very clear test, a very simple test that distinguishes whether we are truly present or whether we are in the mind. It’s very similar to that test we did at school, the litmus test. Red, Blue or Orange. Whether it’s acid or alkaline. It’s simple and it’s clear and as non-negotiable as that test. So, the test of presence is very simple. It is the test of science. If you are truly present in this moment, your mind is silent, which means there are no thoughts. You’re not trying to stop thoughts, but you are so present that thoughts stop all by themselves because you are present.

You see, thoughts are always past, future. There is no possibility of thinking within the present moment. It’s impossible. You have to leave the present moment to think about it. So, all our thoughts take us into the past or future. So, that’s the real test. How do you be truly present? You feel like you are truly here and nowhere else and your mind is silent. Even if it’s just for 10 seconds. That’s actually okay. Because slowly, slowly, the space between thoughts will get wider and wider. A huge gap is possible until you wake up one morning and you find that your mind is essentially silent. And you are essentially present. Now, you can still think, of course. You can still think, but now you are thinking consciously. It’s not that stream of uninvited, unconscious thoughts.

DONNA: This is a great subtlety…because I’ve heard it said that you can not stop thoughts—that the mind just generates thoughts. I remember one Zen Master called them “secretions.” And so, the idea is not to stop them, but rather, to not be attached or engaged or busy with them…attending to them.

LEONARD: Well, you know, that is true. And what you are saying is absolutely true. If you have any intention whatsoever, to try and stop thoughts. Well, that is a judgment of thoughts, therefore it will strengthen the thought. So really, we could say that the thought is really not your business! You just focus on being present and if you reach a certain level of presence you’re really here and nowhere else. The thoughts will stop by themselves, without you trying to stop them. I’m not saying they will stop forever. I’m saying they will stop in this moment. And as long as you are truly present the way I’m describing, then the thoughts will remain silent. Your mind will remain silent until you again get caught up in that thinking process.

You see the truth is that we are all very, very hopelessly addicted to thinking. It’s the strongest addiction. It’s stronger than the addiction to heroin…gambling…sex. Anything else you can think of. We humans are completely addicted to thinking. And we are habituated to living within the world of the mind, which is a very low level of consciousness. And there is a significant obstacle to us coming out of the world of the mind. And that obstacle is the resistance of the ego. The ego wants you to be spiritual. It would love you to be enlightened, but it doesn’t know anything about being present. And so, when you find yourself present and your mind is silent…the ego doesn’t like that. It’s open to enlightenment, not silence. It was looking for the big bang, not silence. And so, it’s very skilled at pulling you out of the present moment. So. in order for us to remain fundamentally present, we have a certain process to go through, which I describe in my teaching as Step Two of the Two Step Path to Awakening.

DONNA: I’m going to be asking you about those two steps. But I love what you said, that “the thoughts are none of our business.” I love that.

LEONARD: We notice them when they are arriving, but don’t get involved. Don’t try and stop them.

DONNA: You mentioned the ‘E’ word. “Enlightenment.” So is there such a thing as enlightenment? Or, is it a step by step moment kind of affair?

LEONARD: The problem is, when you read about people’s enlightenment. It will describe what it is like to be enlightened. What they are really talking about is enlightenment experiences. I’ve had very profound enlightenment experiences. As much as anyone you’d ever read about…ever. In terms of experiences. But all experiences pass. And what doesn’t pass is the one experiencing…so who is experiencing the enlightenment? I am.

You see, many people become identified with the experience itself and then they get caught again into the story, thinking they are enlightened. If somebody says to me “I am enlightened.” The first thing I’ll say to them is “Who is enlightened?” The only answer is…the truth is, “I am.” So, it is the I am that you are. I am presence, which is that dimension of you that is of this moment and only of this moment. This is the Awakened you. I much prefer the word “Awakened” to “Enlightened.” Because everyone has an idea and a concept of Enlightenment, which is just a concept. It doesn’t really mean anything. So if I was going to give you a definition of enlightenment, I would say you are now so fundamentally established in presence that you never get caught up or lost in your story. You might still have a story, you still play in the world of time but you never get lost anymore. You know where the truth is. It is you, fully present in this moment. Present with what is here.

Now you’re open to the mystery. You’re opening into the oneness at the deeper levels of presence. That is where it becomes very, very interesting and engaging because at the deeper levels of presence, the illusion of separation that we live with within the mind is gone. And now, you open into oneness. And at the deepest levels of presence, we literally can experience the living presence of God in all things. In other words, God has Omnipresence. At the very deepest levels, awakened presence is quite a point that heaven on Earth will be revealed for you. It wont be revealed for everyone. It will be revealed to those that are totally present…the past and future is no longer projecting onto the present moment. We are experiencing the present moment in its very pure state. We are experiencing what is really here, free of projections, your opinions, your past experiences, your judgments. All of that is just gone.

DONNA: Before I get to the process of how to get there, I want to get a little heavy for a moment. Many spiritual teachers talk about the “Dark Night of the Soul.” Tolle refers to it as “limit situations.” And one of my teachers, who is one of David’s teachers, shares his experience of having a near death experience, which sort of propelled him, or served as the impetus for his own spiritual path. Do you think a person needs to have a “crisis” in order to open to the desire to awaken?

LEONARD: Well, I’ll tell you how it works from my perspective, which is…almost everyone on this planet is living almost exclusively within the story…within the dream. Let’s call it “the story” for now. Now, who wants to wake up out of that happy story? The answer is, no one! Very few people will be motivated to wake up out of a happy story. But if our story becomes more and more full of suffering, maybe we’ll get to a point where we will spontaneously awaken out of that story full of suffering.

I’ll give you two examples of who went through that. Number one: Eckhart Tolle. He describes it very clearly that he was so down, so depressed…his story was so painful. He was just sitting on a bench somewhere and suddenly he awakened out of his story. It can happen quite spontaneously like that. The story becomes so difficult, so full of pain and suffering that we have a spontaneous awakening out of it. Another example is Buddha. He tried everything…followed every path…every condition…everything. He finally realized he couldn’t get there. So he gave up and in that giving up, of course, it opened up.

DONNA: Surrender.

LEONARD: Yes, It’s a surrender. I give up, I surrender. I can’t do this. And it’s in that moment of relaxation that the truth is revealed for him. I think Jesus had a similar experience when he was baptized in the water by John the Baptist. Symbolically anyway, it washed away his past. His personality was momentarily washed away. Now here’s the real problem though. If you ask yourself who is behind the suffering in our stories…my answer is very simple. It’s God. God is increasing our suffering because what God wants of any of us is to awaken out of our suffering, our story. But no one will wake up out of a happy story, so God keeps making our story incrementally more difficult and painful. The problem is, nobody wakes up out of a…very few wake up out of the story. They stay in the story…trying to make it better. And that’s the trap. It’s easier to wake up out of the dream, than try and fix the dream. Everyone is lost in the dream trying to make it better and the more you try to make it better, the more you get lost in the dream.

DONNA: So would you say to the people, the happily deluded people…is there any need to wake up at all?

LEONARD: No, Maybe it’s not their turn. Not their lifetime. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Some people are just sort of naturally awake and that’s why their lives are flowing so well. And there still is a happy story. And other people…maybe it’s not their time. It doesn’t really matter. Each individual has to find their way to this path and usually it’s the soul that drives us to this path to awakening, even though we’re not aware of it.

Continued in Part II…

Source: AWAKEN

Is Enlightenment a Myth?

Shinzen Young answers the question: Is Enlightenment a Myth?

This short-video clip is from an upcoming full length feature film on a conversation between Shinzen Young and Chris Hebard about mindfulness and more.

This clip and the upcoming film is a Stillness Speaks production (https://www.stillnessspeaks.com). It is produced by Chris Hebard (Pruett Media : http://www.pruettmedia.com/). Filmographer (including video editing) is Jonathan Mugford (jonathan.mugford@gmail.com).

Video clip copyright holder is Stillness Speaks & Pruett Media LLC.

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