Sunday, February 7, 2016

Aren't You Already Enlightened? Sudden Enlightenment Practics

While you live out the illusion of going through the world as an imperfect human being, with fears, with concerns, with a thousand things to do, behind the scene your true self is enlightened, resting perfectly in the Absolute God, and you don't need to try to do anything about it. At least, this is the teaching of many mystics. Julian of Norwich believed that while there is a part of the soul that has fallen into sin, there is also a part of the soul (which is really your truest soul) that is resting perfectly in God, sinless. From a somewhat similar angle, Mahayana Buddhists have a teaching, "you are already enlightened." And then there are countless New Age offshoot lessons, from A Course In Miracles to Eckhart Tolle, that talk about a higher self already immortal, unbreakable, infinite. The only problem is you don't realize that THAT IS YOU, you don't realize that YOU ARE HERE ALREADY ENLIGHTENED.
It seemed like a strange teaching to me at first. So the real truth is that I'm in my higher self right now resting in the infinite, I thought, but I just have chosen to believe something false so that it almost becomes true by virtue of the power I give it? Well, kind of, but trying to reason out logical frameworks in the realm of meditation and mysticism often does more harm than good. So to try out this teaching, I decided to test the waters, sitting in dark candlelight listening to Gregorian chant. I simply returned my attention and my mind to the fact that regardless of what I thought, I was perfectly enlightened already in the room. My higher self was there --why didn't I join it? Why didn't I just cave in to the higher self that loomed behind me, watching it all, as an all-seeing eye? And WHOOSH. For awhile it's like I was lifting up and out in every direction, my energy swirling in the back of my spinal column up my neck through the pituitary gland and WHOOSH! I simply got too alarmed because this teaching worked too well too fast. I still don't understand it completely, and I generally prefer the slow, gradual way to enlightenment and illumination rather than these sudden enlightenment shifts. But if you dare, try it. That is, if you know exactly what you're trying, oh curious fellow seeker.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Karma Yoga: Definition And Description

Non-attached action: An American Paradox?

Here in the USA, we like to win. We like to play to win. And why not? Despite our mistakes and bad economy, we're still a relatively stable place compared to most of the world. But this pre-occupation with results might also be causing us to have a high rate of stress, heart-disease, obesity, and any numbers of maladies. Moreover, paradoxically, the desire to get certain results often prevents those results from coming, and just focusing on your role and letting go of any attachment to particular outcomes often proves to bring in a stream of positivity.
The ancient Hindus called this principle non-attached action, Karma Yoga. It was a way to transcendence for spiritual seekers and holy men. More recently, in one of his breakthrough books, Deepak Chopra mentioned that one of the laws of success was that in order to get ANYTHING really good you had to be detached from getting it. The law of detachment necessitated doing your best but not have to desperately need a certain result or craving it so much that your happiness always rested in the future. What would happen if you didn't get what you want? Everything would be awful and you're reason for living would go down the drain, just because one possibility out of infinite possibilities didn't work out? There are always options. And the key here is that one can always do a more sincere, thorough job at anything if they are focused on the task itself, not the result.
It seems like insanity to some. But even ruthless capitalists, at least the successful ones, usually remain aware of the map of possibilities, that if something goes wrong, there's an option B, C, or even the option Z --the pleasant surprise that you couldn't have predicted beforehand.
Regardless, practicing Karma Yoga increases peace of mind, health, and general happiness. You may or may not win the battle, but if you don't care about the battle, you'll win the war of internal fulfillment. You'll get that eventually and you'll even get it quicker the less you are dependent on outcomes. At least, that's the thinking behind this concept: to release control of any expectations and judgments. Space opens for the fresh air of newness and gratitude to enter. But it's easier said than done.
Some gurus might talk about focusing your intent, to direct your energy and your life, towards certain goals. But the wise ones realize that intent towards goals goes hand in hand with the ability to accept everything as it is. As humanistic psychologist Karl Rogers once said, "when I completely accept myself and everything exactly as it is, then I can change."
Walk on, friends.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Episode 2: Choicelessness As TAO

Episode 2 of the show, a brief discussion of choicelessness, the biblical Fall, and the nature of self.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Episode 1: The Crossroads and The Sacred Heart

Continuing our discussion, we just aired our first episode (of this incarnation) on blogtalkradio.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

When God Is Ugly, part 3 of 3

  The Sacred Heart of Jesus became an official devotion of the Catholic Church in the late 19th century, probably springing from medieval and early Church mystics that viewed the passion and suffering of Christ as a model for the individual's path to transcendence and divine union.  Part of the litany of the Sacred Heart designates the Sacred Heart of Jesus as "the king and center of all hearts," and it's this line that best describes my personal view and connection with the sacred heart.
Early in my twenties, I realized that fully feeling one's emotions, to every extent, from every corner of the past and repressed memories would get your complete heart on the table.  Added up, each component of emotion and memory and sensation ---added up altogether would equal Perfect Love.  That is, negative emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, were ultimately just fuel that would be burned into love through the fire of actualized feelings.  It was the psychoanalytic mantra, making the unconscious conscious, bring darkness to light.  But in the emotional sense.  And the journey and integration of apotheosis is an emotional one, in my experience.  At least, the emotional part is the hardest part.    I can make conscious intellectual sense of the ideas  (light and dark, self and other, existence and non-existence, etc) being reconciled to each other, but until I've kinesthetically experienced the fusion of opposites as a physical sensation in my body, I am only doing an academic exercise. 
   The Crossroads is a favorite theme on the Graveyard Cowboy Show.  The story we tell is a shady one, in fact, it's the legend of blues musician Robert Johenson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads.  The devil made him a great guitar player, made him a legend.  Some tell this story as if it was The Devil, evil personified, and others tell it as it's more of a trickster character, like Bob Dylan's Jokerman.  It's more the latter in Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, where the hero upon first leaving his homeland and being called to adventure encounters a shadow presence on the outskirts of town.  Depending on this interaction, the character is either an enemy to be defeated or an awesome force to be appeased or conciliated.  But the Crossroads can have more than one meaning and can occur at more than one stage of the journey.  As an apotheosis and enlightenment experience, it can be the intersection of all seemingly contradictory dualities, as the literal meaning implies: four roads converging in a cross.  And there we are: the cross, where the Sacred Heart of Jesus was both fully destroyed and redeemed, and where all hearts on the journey are both wounded and healed, erased and resurrected, the center of all hearts and the center of the journey, the end point where we " arrive where we started and know the place for the first time" as T.S. Eliot put it. 
  The Sacred Heart is also a way to serve as the crossroads of all religions, like a meeting point where Shiva and Allah meet with Diana and Buddha.   Not to imply that other religions are lost and should find their way back to Christianity (although some churches preach that), but rather, I use the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the center because that's where I personally started.  And the purpose of these posts has been primarily to reach those who also started inside the Christian church but left to pursue their spiritual needs elsewhere.  The various paths on the mountain can and will intersect from time to time, and until we make peace with the different religious aspects of our own psyche we cannot have peace between the world's religions at large.