30 December 2009

YES in the face of change

As we approach the end of another calendar year, and in fact the beginning of a new decade, our thoughts may turn to the inevitability of change. When we embrace change and the challenges of a new year in our own lives, we find that our transformation is accelerated. Resistance to change does not alter its inevitability. On the path, only a continual "YES" to the processes of change moves us forward in a substantial way.

24 December 2009

Aurobindo on inconscience

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil with its sweet and bitter fruits is secretly rooted in the very nature of the Inconscience from which our being has emerged and on which it still stands as a nether soil and basis of our physical existence; it has grown visibly on the surface in the manifold branchings of the Ignorance which is still the main bulk and condition of our consciousness in its difficult evolution towards a supreme consciousness and an integral awareness. As long as there is this soil with the unfound roots in it and this nourishing air and climate of Ignorance, the tree will grow and flourish and put forth its dual blossoms and its fruit of mixed nature. It would follow that there can be no final solution until we have turned our inconscience into the greater consciousness, made the truth of self and spirit our life-basis and transformed our ignorance into a higher knowledge.

-- Aurobindo, from The Life Divine, p. 627

21 December 2009

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2

The wise say that the truth of reality is known as Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan -- the highest, unmanifest cosmic Consciousness. Sages who with wisdom and non-attachment delve deeply into this will see within themselves and this conciousness in pure devotion what they have read in the scriptures. For all types of human, regardless of station, the highest form of practice is found in devotion to God. With this devotion as a focal point for the mind, the Lord within is unveiled to one.

-- Srimad Bhagavatam Canto I Ch. 2, vv. 11-14.

10 December 2009

Petros class: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Petros will be giving a one-hour class introducing the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali on Friday, 11 December 2009 at Alpha Books (4532 N. 7th St. Phoenix).

The Yoga Sutras may be read at: http://home.earthlink.net/~xristos/patanjali.htm.

30 November 2009

Truth is Truth (Kay)

Only by starting with who and what I am is the problem precluded; all fear is removed; and then one may do the right thing, if there is 'doing' to be done. He or she beholds that Spirit is the sole self, that is 'I,' and this leaves no need for evolvement, cross-bearing, or crown-wearing; and already truth is truth.

-- Kay, 1994 Atlanta Awareness Center, tape 5N

29 November 2009

Experience of No-Self (B. Roberts)

It was only by investing no value in an experience that I was able to find out its truth or falsity. What is false never lasts; it falls away of its own accord, while what is true remains, because truth does not come and go -- it is always there. So long as our experiences come and go and we are investing in them our own values, thoughts and emotions, we'll never find out if there is any truth in them, for truth is what remains when there are no experiences left.

-- Bernadette Roberts, from The Experience of No-Self

25 November 2009

Meditation shown to lower blood pressure

A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension has shown that meditative practice can have a measurably positive influence on lowering high blood pressure and improving overall cardiovascular health. The study involved nearly 300 individuals, about half of whom meditated regularly. Preliminary results suggest that the meditators' group was able to substantially lower blood pressure and evidence other positive effects in comparison to the control group.

http://tinyurl.com/yzbsq62

http://tinyurl.com/ykacmkn

10 November 2009

Origins of life may lie in electrochemical processes

A few bioscientists in recent years have been rethinking the origin of life in the light of some new ideas. They think the most counter-intuitive trait of life is one of the best clues to its origin. As a result, they have come up with a radically different picture of what the earliest life was like and where it evolved. It's a picture for which there is growing evidence. Life, the new idea argues, is powered not by the kind of chemistry that goes on in a test tube but by a kind of electricity.

http://tinyurl.com/yj3nx55

25 October 2009

Begin with oneself (Buber)

Just the perspective, in which a man sees himself only as an individual contrasted with other individuals, and not as a genuine person whose transformation helps towards the transformation of the world, contains the fundamental error which hasidic teaching denounces. The essential thing is to begin with oneself, and at this moment a man has nothing in the world to care about other than this beginning. Any other attitude would distract him from what he is about to begin, weaken his initiative, and thus frustrate the entire bold undertaking.

-- Martin Buber, from The Way of Man According to the Teaching of Hasidism.

23 October 2009

How the brain creates "time"

Perhaps the most fundamental question neuroscientists are investigating is whether our perception of the world is continuous or a series of discrete snapshots like frames on a film strip. Understand this, and maybe we can explain how the healthy brain works out the chronological order of the myriad events bombarding our senses, and how this can become warped to alter our perception of time.

It seems that each separate neural process that governs our perception might be recorded in its own stream of discrete frames. But how might all these streams fit together to give us a consistent picture of the world? Ernst Pöppel, a neuroscientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, suggests all of the separate snapshots from the senses may feed into blocks of information in a higher processing stream. He calls these the "building blocks of consciousness" and reckons they underlie our perception of time

"Perception cannot be continuous because of [the limits of] neural processing," says Pöppel. "A space of 30 to 50 milliseconds is necessary to bring together in one time-window the distributed activity in the neural system."

-- from New Scientist magazine (http://tinyurl.com/yh8ebs9)

19 October 2009

02 October 2009

Easy as ABCDE

Enlightenment is as simple as ABCDE: Always Being Conscious Divine Energy.

26 September 2009

Humans Glow in Visible Light

Scientists in Japan using special high-sensitivity cameras have found that the human body emits a tiny quantity of visible light which varies throughout the day. Unlike the body's usual infrared (heat) radiation which is already well known, this visible light is believed to be a product of various biochemical reactions in the body which can fluctuate based upon changes in the body's metabolism. Future research may investigate the effect that the mind or meditation could have on controlling this light output.

(LiveScience.com, 22 Jul 2009)

20 September 2009

Action of the whole (Buber)

An action of the whole being must approach passivity, for it does away with all partial actions, and thus with any sense of action, which always depends on limited exertions.

-- Martin Buber, from I and You (trans. Kaufmann)

12 September 2009

Approaches to Infinity (Escher)

When one dives into endlessness, in both time and space, farther and farther without stopping, one needs fixed points or milestones past which one speeds. Without these, one’s movement does not differ from standing still. There must be stars along which one shoots, beacons from which one can measure the road covered. One must divide one’s universe in distances of a specific length, in compartments that repeat themselves in endless series. At every border crossing between one compartment and the next, one’s clock ticks. . . . When one is finished, however, and looks at what he has done, then one sees something that is static and timeless. In his representation, no clock ticks. Only a flat, motionless expanse is revealed.

There is something breathtaking in such laws. They are not inventions or creations of the human mind, but “are” or “exist” independently of us. During a moment of clarity one can at the most discover their existence or become aware of them.

– M.C. Escher (1898-1972) , from “Approaches to Infinity”

05 September 2009

Three sorts of being

"Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you who you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and some, I'm told, into God. So there must be three sorts of men."

-- Kazantzakis, from Zorba the Greek

29 August 2009

Birthday Message 2009 (Kazantzakis)

I believe in the innumerable, the ephemeral masks which God has assumed throughout the centuries, and behind his ceaseless flux I discern an indestructable unity.

I believe in his sleepless and violent struggle which tames and fructifies the earth as the life-giving fountain of plants, animals and men.

Blessed be all those who hear and rush to free you, Lord, and who say, "Only you and I exist."

Blessed be all those who free you and become united with you, Lord, and who say, "You and I are one."

And thrice blessed be those who bear on their shoulders and do not buckle under this great, sublime, and terrifying secret: That even this one does not exist!

We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.

-- Nikos Kazantzakis, from The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises (1927)

23 August 2009

No other shore (J. Krishnamurti)

There is no way to the other shore. There is no action, no prescription, no behavior that will open the door to the other. It is not an evolutionary process; it is not the end of a discipline; it cannot be bought or given or invited. If this is clear, if the mind has forgotten itself and no longer says 'the other bank' or 'this bank,' if the mind has stopped groping and searching, if there is total emptiness and space within the mind itself, then and only then is it there.

-- J. Krishnamurti, from Freedom, Love and Action

18 August 2009

Creation over life (H. Miller)

From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were the most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They had no illusions about duty, or about the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and in truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity – creation. Nobody could command their services because they had of their own pledged themselves to give all. They gave gratuitously, because that is the only way to give.

-- Henry Miller, from Sexus

01 August 2009

The spirituality of Harry Potter

There are still religious proponents who insist that the Potter tales are about witchcraft and should be banned. Yet those of us who have journeyed with the characters through the pages of these books know that the Harry Potter series is not really about the wizarding world. It is about the struggle of good versus evil, the power of friendship and growing into adult roles and responsibilities in serious times.

There is a saying, “Religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell; spirituality is for those who have already been there.” In an earlier volume, Luna advises Harry as to why they can see the beasts that lead the carriages taking Hogwarts students to school. Both Luna and Harry have seen death, and only those who have done so can see the beasts. The Harry Potter series is not a religious pageant, as some have described the long-running comic Peanuts. Harry is growing up in a world where the stakes are high, the dangers are many, the losses are great and friendship is the greatest asset that anyone could have in any challenge.

-- Cindy Bowman, Portland Spiritual Living Examiner

Rest of article at link:
http://tinyurl.com/n77fmr

19 July 2009

Recession boosts ashram attendance

A New York Times story recently described how yoga retreats and meditation programs across the United States are experiencing, in some cases, greatly increased numbers of short and long term visitors who come seeking refuge from the troubled economy or who have found that signing up for a work-exchange program is a cost effective way to spend some time between jobs while also building up their spiritual energies.

Full story at link.
http://tinyurl.com/koz7z2

Photo: Devotees join in kirtan signing at New Vrindaban ashram in Pennsylvania.

13 July 2009

Open-eye meditation

Based on 3D technology, open-eye meditation (OEM) does not require the meditator to close his eyes, nor is it time-consuming. According to meditation consultant Ramesh Kamath, "You need to look at a chart printed using 3-D techniques. After a few seconds, a hidden religious symbol will appear on the chart. Your meditation is complete and you will be relieved by just seeing the symbol for five minutes a day." Aura meter technology is used to assess the intensity and kind of problems a person faces, he added. The medium can be used to deal with anxiety, stress-related problems and depression.

http://tinyurl.com/m2qn8w

09 July 2009

eWakenTube update

Check out our YouTube channel, eWakenTube. Just updated with a bold, new look.

http://www.youtube.com/user/eWakenTube

05 July 2009

Ancient Sikh martial art comes to the West

Ancient but deadly: the return of Shastar Vidiya
(from the Independent UK)

Shastar Vidiya is a once-popular but today little-known fighting technique from north India that was forced to go underground when banned by the British in the 19th century, to be replaced by the mostly ceremonial "gatka" style seen at Sikh festivals. Though the art itself had been practiced prior to the emergence of Sikhism, it was the Punjabi Sikh tribes -- in particular the blue-turbaned Akhali Nihangs, the elite among Sikh warriors -- who honed it to its highest pitch of perfection and uniqueness.

Indian monks were the first to export Buddha's new teachings across the Himalayas and legend has it that it was the great Indian monk and zen pioneer Bodhidharma who first introduced martial arts to the Shaolin Temple in AD 600. Bodhidharma himself is thought to have come from south India where another indigenous fighting style known as Kalaripayattu has also undergone a recent renaissance.

However, Shastar Vidiya is more than simply a fighting style. Practitioners are expected to live up to strict religious principles and honor martial codes, demonstrating the unity of body, mind and spirit that is the real essence of ancient martial arts.

Today, a handful of British Sikhs have begun teaching this art to the public in an attempt to revive it for the 21st century world. More on this story at the link.

http://tinyurl.com/dxoc6o

02 July 2009

Why great minds can't grasp consciousness

By Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer

It wasn't that long ago that the study of consciousness was considered to be too abstract, too subjective or too difficult to study scientifically. But in recent years, it has emerged as one of the hottest new fields in biology, similar to string theory in physics or the search for extraterrestrial life in astronomy.

No longer the sole purview of philosophers and mystics, consciousness is now attracting the attention of scientists from across a variety of different fields, each, it seems, with their own theories about what consciousness is and how it arises from the brain.

Instead of trying to reduce consciousness to something else, some scientists suggest that consciousness should simply be taken for granted, the way that space and time and mass are in physics. But other researchers find this view unhelpful and suggest that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, similar to the 'wetness' of water or the 'transparency' of glass, both of which are properties that are the result of the actions of individual molecules.

http://tinyurl.com/5we3xq

30 June 2009

Kazakhstan to host 3rd triennial Interfaith Conference

The two-day Congress of World and Traditional Religions is scheduled to open this week in the new Kazakhstan capital of Astana. It will be the third such congress to be hosted by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev after previous meetings in 2003 and 2006. The conference represents part of a wider effort by Kazakh leaders to position their nation as a meeting ground for the discussion of religious differences.

In attendance will be a Roman Catholic cardinal responsible for interfaith dialogue at the Vatican, the grand imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque of Cairo, various Protestant representatives, and Israel's chief rabbi, among others.

The impressive spectrum expected at the gathering is precisely what Nazarbayev has sought to create: an effort to make Kazakhstan's unique religious openness a lever for influencing the region.

Photo on upper left: The Pyramid of Peace, constructed in 2006 in Astana to represent various different religions. It is conceived as a global center for religious understanding. Here delegates from around the world meet for the trienniel Interfaith Congress. The center also includes a research library and national cultural museum.

http://tinyurl.com/neh4pr

28 June 2009

Brain scans reveal hypnosis in action

A brain researcher in Switzerland recently published the results of a study which showed that the brains of a group of hypnotized volunteers reacted to the hypnosis by changing the way different brain regions interacted to movement initiation stimuli. The research is further evidence of the scientific basis for hypnosis and related brain technologies such as meditation, and how these ancient techniques actually work in the brain.

http://tinyurl.com/m86orf

17 June 2009

Somali Sufis fight back against shrine desecration

Since they began to capture large swathes of southern Somalia, radical Islamists have been undertaking a programme of destroying mosques and the graves of revered religious leaders from the Sufi branch of Islam. The destruction of non-approved religious sites started last year when they began to knock down an old colonial era church in the town of Kismayo.

Most Somalis are Sufi Muslims, who do not share the strict Saudi Arabian-inspired Wahhabi interpretation of Islam with the hardline al-Shabab group. They embrace music, dancing and meditation and are appalled at the desecration of the graves.

But al-Shabab sees things differently. The group's spokesman in the town of Kismayo, Sheikh Hassan Yaquub, told the BBC Somali Service that his movement considered that the memorials were being worshipped and that this was idolatry - banned by Islam.

Grave are being desecrated wherever al-Shabab is in control. But there is evidence that the anger generated by such actions is stirring the usually peaceful Sufis to take up arms and fight back against al-Shabab. The umbrella group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama (Sufi Sects in Somalia) has condemned the actions of what they call the ideology of modern Wahhabism and the desecrations of graves. They see Wahhabism as foreign and ultimately un-Islamic.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8077725.stm

14 June 2009

Inner space: The power of solitude

(From the Independent, 15 June 2009)

It's no coincidence that in the West even something such as psychoanalysis, which shelters under the official umbrella of being a science, has historically always been more strongly linked to continental Europe and America than the UK. But this isn't psychoanalysis; this is Vipassana. Meaning "to see things as they really are", it's the technique the Buddha himself practised – so before Buddhism itself even existed. Passed on from generation to generation by a chain of devoted teachers, it's thanks to one of these teachers – a Burmese industrialist called S. N. Goenka – that it's now taught in centres all over the world.

Set amongst 22 acres of rolling countryside, the centre (called Dhamma Dipa – "island of dhamma", dhamma being "the way to liberation") is based around an old farmyard. More recently used as a riding school for children, it was bought and converted in 1991. Although Vipassana courses are also held in East Anglia, London and Sussex, Dhamma Dipa is the only dedicated centre in Britain. In the early days it ran courses for 50 students who sat in a drafty barn rather than in the modern hall they do today; and now it can take 130 of them. More than 30 courses are run each year at the centre, most of which last for the standard 10 days – although there are shorter and longer courses for children and students who have been before. In 2008 around 1,300 people completed courses here; in the 18 years since Dhamma Dipa opened, approximately 15,000 people, from all walks of life, have passed through its doors. Perhaps most remarkably, all the courses are completely free.

Read the full story, including a personal memoir of a meditation retreat undergone by the writer, at:

http://tinyurl.com/mdklmg

08 June 2009

The Sorcerer's Freedom

A sorcerer is in the hands of power and his only freedom is to choose an impeccable life.

-- Carlos Castaneda

18 May 2009

Sensation and urbanism (Jung)

Rationalism and boredom are essentially products of the over-indulged craving for stimulation so characteristic of urban populations. The city-dweller seeks artificial sensations to escape his boredom; the hermit does not seek them but is plagued by them against his will.

-- C.J. Jung, from Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky

10 May 2009

Character of God (Smith)

It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.

-- from The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

28 April 2009

Americans not losing their religion, just changing it

More than half of American adults have changed religion in their lives, a huge new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found. And there is no discernible pattern to the change, just "a free for all," according to one of the lead researchers in the study, who attributes these shifting loyalties as simply "the free market at work."

The number of people who have changed religion is much higher than previously thought, the new report suggests. A study released last year concluded that just over one in four Americans had switched. Even that lower number was considered "striking," the Pew Forum said, and the latest research suggests it was a serious underestimate.

More than four in 10 American adults are no longer members of the religion they were brought up in, while about one in 10 changed religion, then went back to the one they left, the study found. Just under half have never changed religious affiliation.

Some have switched more than once, and a small number have changed three times or more, according to the study.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/27/changing.religion.study/index.html

13 April 2009

Mental Revolution (Halal)

Just as the Industrial Revolution was powered by the need to overcome poverty, and the Information Technology Revolution is crucial for managing complexity, the world is today in the throes of a 'mental revolution' to resolve the global crisis of maturity.

-- William Halal, from Technology's Promise

31 March 2009

Affinity of Spirits (Kardec)

It is a mistake to suppose that a man must be a medium in order to attract to himself the beings of the invisible world. Space is peopled with spirits; they are always around us, always beside us; they see us and watch us; they mingle in our meetings, and follow or avoid us, according as we attract or repel them. The medianimic faculty has no influence in this respect; for that faculty is only a means of communication. After what we have said respecting the causes of sympathy and antipathy in spirits, it will be easily understood that we are surrounded by those who are in affinity with us, whether our state be one of elevation or of degradation.

-- Allan Kardec, from The Mediums' Book (point 223)

25 March 2009

Attainment of the Supreme (Gita)

Physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that Lord represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being. Whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

-- Gita 8.4-5 (trans. Prabhupada)

16 March 2009

Pre-existence of the spirit (B. Young)

I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father, or the great Eloheim. You are well acquainted with him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in His house and dwelt with Him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with Him, when the fact is you have merely forgotten what you did know.

-- Brigham Young, from the Journal of Discourses

10 March 2009

Spirit influence (Kardec)

"The transformation of the human race has been predicted from the most ancient times, and you are now approaching the period when it is destined to take place. All those among you who are laboring to advance the progress of mankind are helping to hasten this transformation, which will be effected through the incarnation, in your earth, of spirits of higher degree, who will constitute a new population, of greater moral advancement than the human races they will gradually have replaced."

-- Allan Kardec, from The Spirits Book (IV.8)

05 March 2009

Importance of the human stage (E.J. Gold)

The act of being human is a necessary and important stage in the evolution of a planet and more importantly to you, in the personal evolution of the being. It allows us to actively participate in self-evolution by fusing the intellectual, emotional and physical centers into a single unified presence through the process of intentional suffering; to perfect ourselves through conscious labors; and to attain crystallization of the soul through the process of the collection and transformation of higher substances.

-- E.J. Gold, from Autobiography of a Sufi

01 March 2009

Shobogenzo (Dogen)

To carry yourself forward experiencing myriad things is delusion. The fact that myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.

-- Dogen, from Shobogenzo, part 1: Genjo Koan (Actualizing the Fundamental Point)

27 February 2009

Rays of consciousness (Ouspensky)

If the world is a Great Something, possessing the consciousness of itself, so we are rays of that consciousness which is conscious of itself, but unconcious of the whole.

-- P.D. Ouspensky, from Tertium Organum

24 February 2009

Direct perception (E.J. Gold)

The disintegration of ordinary perception in favor of direct perception is the chemistry of symbolic reality exploding inside the psyche.

-- E.J. Gold, from Autobiography of a Sufi

20 February 2009

The whole and the fraction (DFJ)

Only a fraction of the Whole can pass away in any moment, since only a fraction of the Whole appears in any moment.

-- Da Free John, from The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace

03 February 2009

Projecting the universe (Rudhyar)

Man projects upon the outer universe what he potentially is, yet does not know he is, in order to discover and actualize his innate potential of being. Man collectively "creates" the universe he needs, simply because he needs it in order to operate with maximum efficiency.

-- Dane Rudhyar, from The Sun is Also a Star: The Galactic Dimension of Astrology

25 January 2009

Being and Time (Heidegger)

"Being" cannot be derived from higher concepts by definition, nor can it be presented through lower ones. But does this imply that "Being" no longer offers a problem? Not at all. We can infer only that "Being" cannot have the character of an entity. Thus we cannot apply to "Being" the concept of definition as presented in traditional logic, which itself has its foundation in ancient ontology and which, within certain limits, provides a quite justifiable way of defining "entities." The indefinability of "Being" does not eliminate the question of its meaning; it demands that we look that question in the face.

-- Heidegger, from Being and Time

19 January 2009

Selfhood and Realization (Osho)

If you realize, you know that there is no self. If you do not realize, then there is a self. Selfhood is nonrealization and realization is non-selfhood.

-- Osho

12 January 2009

Enlightenment linked to brain function

According to a new study by the University of Missouri, spiritual feelings may actually be the result of a lower-functioning right parietal lobe, the area of the brain that defines one's egoic sense. The study monitored the brain activity of monks and nuns as well as non-religious subjects who had experienced recent brain damage. Results showed that more religious subjects had lower electrical activity in the right parietal lobe, a region of the brain related to egoic individuation.

http://tinyurl.com/8zzp3o

08 January 2009

Universe B (Grant)

Primitive man intuited the existence of that unknown Universe B on the other side of the Tree, with the Abyss (Choronzon) as its copula. This supreme dread was inspired by the metaphysical certainty (the original gnosis) that the phenomenal world is but the manifestation of subjectivity or non-manifestation, and that the physiological formula of the female somehow adumbrated the mechanics of an awful mystery that was unknowable by the mind in its normal state. The 'fall' consisted in accepting the delusion at its face value. The initiates, the gnostics, knew (perhaps intuitively) that reality lay somewhere beyond or behind the total negation of this glamour.

-- from Nightside of Eden (Kenneth Grant)