The result of my life is contained in but three words:
I was unripe, I ripened and I was consumed
January 27, 2011
The result of my life is contained in but three words:
I was unripe, I ripened and I was consumed
February 6, 2009
“Moshe’s anger was not a good sign,” Sidney said. “Moshe later taught there is no anger that doesn’t emanate from pride. At the root of all anger is the question, “How could it happen to me?”
“The battle in Moshe’s life was not over a few thousand dollars and a clause in a contract. It was between the rabbi and the Rabbi.
“That contract had been written for a Rabbi.”
–Mitchell Chefitz (The Seventh Telling)
Our Father and Mother God,
you are within us all,
and you make all things holy and united,
as you are holy and united, one God living and true.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
which is love to all that lives in the heavens and on the earth.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and let us give our daily bread to those who have none;
and heal our broken spirits,
as we heal and forgive others.
And lead us, through the darkness of your mystical love,
to the light of the pleroma,
Good is the Good to the good, and They set their nature upon those who love their name.
We will seek and find, and will pray and be heard.
We have sought and found, we prayed and were heard in thy presence,
my Lord Yeshu and Maryam d-Hiya, Lords of Healings.
January 19, 2009
“Love is the creed I hold: wherever turns His camels,
Love is still my creed and faith.”
A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief ; I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper ; that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.
God’s absolute perfection, as described from our limited human perspective, has two facets: static perfection (being perfect) and dynamic perfection (becoming perfect). Through you and me, God fulfills His desire to express and participate in a challenging and adventurous process of becoming perfect.
When you realize that you are part of God’s life and God is part of your life, you will discover your holiness, your ultimate meaning and significance. When you realize that you exist within the Endless Light of God, you will discover that God’s Endless Light is also inside of you. You will understand that an aspect of God’s absolute perfection—the dynamic perfection—is expressed through you. Your divine privilege is to be a human being who serves as a vehicle for God. When you serve the ultimate, then you’re part of the ultimate. When you realize that you’re part of the ultimate, then you experience the perfection of every moment.
Here’s the menu put simply: God is living His secret life through you.
Take a moment to contemplate, feel, and taste this delicious truth. Take a lifetime to live it and celebrate it.”
— David Aaron (The Secret Life of God: Discovering the Divine within You)
I asked him if there was anything that could be done to give people a more balanced understanding of the glow of awareness.
“Nothing,” he said. “At least, there is nothing that seers can do. Seers aim to be free, to be unbiased witnesses incapable of passing judgment; otherwise they would have to assume the responsibility for bringing about a more adjusted cycle. No one can do that. The new cycle, if it is to come, must come of itself.”
–Carlos Castaneda (Fire from Within)
“If you ardently long to attain the wondrous divine illumination
of our Savior Jesus Christ; to experience in your heart the
supercelestial fire and to be consciously reconciled with God;
to dispose yourself of the worldly things in order to find and posses
the treasure hidden in the field of your heart; to enkindle
here and now your soul’s flame and to renounce all that is only
here and now; and spiritually to know and experience the kingdom
of heaven within you: then I will impart to you the science of
eternal or heavenly life, rather, a method that will lead you, if
you apply it”
–Nikiphoros the Monk, “On Watchfullness and The Guarding of the
Heart”, Philokalia, Vol IV.
January 15, 2009
Never think you have lost your way
Or when you stumble think the day
Holds no light for you. I myself
Am lost in you — but glad to stay.
–Labyrinth (Rafael Alejandro Jara)
Reason teaches us that nothing is difficult for the high gods: they are able to achieve any effect at will, in any place and upon any created thing, for without reason they are rightly called omnipotent. Perhaps you will sometimes be greatly astonished at the marvelous, stupendous, and indeed divine works that you will hear me relate. For art does all it can to imitate natural things, but divine things are certainly impossible for any created genius and intellect to copy or emulate without divine help and inspiration. For this very reason none should let himself be swayed by doubt, but should calmly take note in his mind that things unknown to us are possible to the higher ones, as I saw for myself.
In our society, we are great believers in education. We believe that knowledge makes a cultured person civilized. Civilization, however, polishes the person superficially. Subject our noble and sophisticated gentleman to stresses of war or economic collapse, and see what happens. It is one thing to obey the law because you know the penalties and fear the consequences. It is something else entirely to obey the law because you have cleansed yourself from the greed that would make you steal and the hatred that would make you kill.
Throw a stone into a stream. The running water would smooth the surface, but the inner part remains unchanged. Take that same stone and place it in the intense fires of a forge, and the whole stone changes inside and outside. It all melts. Civilization changes man on the outside.
Meditation softens him within, through and through. Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant you can be. The greater your understanding, the more compassionate you can be.
You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher.
You are ready to forgive and forget.
You feel love towards others because you understand them.
And you understand others because you have understood yourself.
Sidney said, “We’ll begin our learning for the day with a text.
“When Moshe left the Temple, his first project was to expand his sermon on the Maimonidean diet into a book. He began by translating the diet from the Hebrew. The text is from that translation.
“The way you learn a text is much the way you tell a story. You need a partner. One speaks. The other listens. Back and forth. But a text you question and challenge. The questions are more important than the answers,
“This is a good one to begin with. There will be a lot more before the day is done.”
Sidney distributed the text.
“No,” he said when the partners fell into comfortable pairs. “As much as possible, learn with someone new.” The two young couples split and paired with each other, the man in shorts with one of the long skirts, the remaining long skirts with each of the executives.
Good pairings, Stephanie thought. Enough variety, enough challenge to keep a text alive.
Since a body must be healthy in order to follow the proper path, since it is impossible to divine any understanding of the Creator if you are ill, it is therefore necessary to remove yourself as far as possible from those things which damage the body and to conduct yourself in such a way as to remain healthy, and this is the proper way. You should never eat unless you are hungry and never drink unless you are thirsty and should never delay going to the bathroom; rather, when the need arises, you should go to the bathroom at once.
You should never eat to the point that your stomach is completely full. Rather, you should stop one-fourth short of being full. You should never drink water during the course of a meal except for small amounts, and wine should be diluted. After the meal begins to digest in your intestines, then you can drink whatever is necessary, but you should not drink too much water even after the food has begun to digest. You should not begin eating unless you examine yourself carefully; perhaps it is necessary to go to the bathroom. You should not eat until after you have had some exercise, until after your body has begun to heat up a little bit, or until after you have done some work or exercise. Here is the rule: you should exercise every morning until you warm up, then you should rest a while and settle down and then eat. If you should wash in a hot bath after exercise, that is good. Afterward, rest a while and then eat.
If you choose to eat chicken and beef together, eat the chicken first. So it is with eggs and chicken, eat the eggs first; and for lean meat and fat meat, eat the lean meat first. This is the rule: always eat first what is easy to digest and save what is difficult to digest for later.
Sidney allowed the students ten minutes to read and discuss. Then he said, “It took Moshe maybe two hours to translate the entire diet. The entire diet, not just what you have here. For the next two weeks he tried to write the commentary. He wrote and erased, typed and deleted. After two weeks the translation still stood naked. He couldn’t add anything to it. He gave up writing the book.
“In the Temple he had given a sermon and taught a class. If you remember, no one lost any weight. Why not? Because the students were learning a diet without the motivation for the diet. The whole diet is in the opening lines. The reason a person is to keep his or her body healthy is to follow the proper path and gain some understanding of the Creator. The purpose of the diet is to intensify one’s relationship with the Divine, not to lose weight. When Moshe taught the diet in the Temple, he said that he had lost forty pounds in twenty weeks. He had. But that had been a by-product of his learning, not the purpose of it. When he came to teach Maimonides, he taught the diet. The relationship with God was secondary. With Maimonides, God is never secondary.
“After two weeks, there was no commentary. Moshe was depressed. The Rabbi can leave the Temple, just like that.” Sidney snapped his fingers. “But the Temple doesn’t leave the Rabbi that quickly.
“There is no story associated with the diet, at least not from that time. Later I heard Moshe teach that text. He had learned how. But then, after two weeks. the story was a blank piece of paper.”
–Mitchell Chefitz (The Seventh Telling)
“To find life we must die to life as we know it. To find meaning we must die to meaning as we know it. The sun rises every morning and we are used to it, and because we know the sun will rise we have come to act as if it rose because we wanted it to. Suppose the sun should
choose not to rise? Some of our mornings would then be ‘absurd’–or, to put it mildly, they would not meet our expectations.”
December 17, 2008
I never did anything out of the blue, woh-o-oh
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know major toms a junkie
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low
My mother said to get things done
You’d better not mess with major tom
“When we seriously practice any authentic spiritual exercise, we sooner or later come to the recognition that we are not individuals seeking some exalted goal for ourselves, but are sparks of Oneness, the Only Being, aspects of the total embodiment of the Spirit of Guidance that leads all of creation back to the Source, the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty. In our motivation to attain the highest levels of awareness, we eventually release our personal identification and become completely connected with an inner guide, a metamagnetic urge that prods us at all times to let go into the Oneness.”
— David A. Cooper (Invoking Angels forBlessings, Protection and Healing)
Striving to be absolutely right is a very common attitude among humans. When we are trying to prove to an adversary that he is totally wrong, we fantasize about a moment when the Heavens, the forces of the cosmos itself, will come to our aid. Like small children, we imagine being able to set fire to the blackboard, to call attention to an injustice on the playground. To our disappointment, the blackboard does not catch fire –or, even if it does, the reaction defies our expectations.
The reality of dissension is that when it is based on and legitimated by human experience, it is not built on right/wrong or hero/villain dichotomies. To be able to overcome it or continue in the name of Heaven, we must understand that Heaven has no power to resolve discord. This is because the dynamic of such discord is to produce something unknown to and not invented by the Heavens.
We are like children who wish that their parents would come to school one day to teach everyone, for once and for all, who we are. It is painful, but we know this is impossible. Communication can truly take place only within the reality of the school, its playground rules, its etiquette, and its own conventions. A parent’s presence in school breaks communication and prevents us from being our true selves.
It is very difficult to deal with the expectation that justice will be done. Justice does express itself, as the sages say, but in its own time. And even though time seems ungrateful, leaving many situations unresolved, these will persist for as long as they are issues for the sake of Heaven. We will always have the comfort of knowing they won’t see closure until they are resolved.
Discord that is not for the sake of Heaven will not last, and the energy spent proving who is right is wasteful, not at all constructive. Knowing when to invest in discord and when to avoid it is a question of economy and intelligence.
–Rabbi Nilton Bonder (The Kabbalah of Envy)
“Monkey,” the Bodhisattva said, “do you know who I am?” The Great Sage opened wide his fiery eyes with their golden pupils, nodded his head and shouted at the top of his voice, “Of course I recognize you. You, thank goodness, are the All−Compassionate. All−Merciful Deliverer from Suffering, the Bodhisattva Guanyin from Potaraka Island in the Southern Sea. You’re a very welcome visitor. Every day here seems like a year, and nobody I know has ever come to see me. Where have you come from?”
“I have received a mandate from the Buddha to go to the East and find the man who will fetch the scriptures,”
she replied, “and as I was passing this way I decided to come over and see you.”
“The Buddha fooled me and crushed me under this mountain−−I haven’t been able to stretch myself for five
hundred years. I desperately hope that you will be obliging enough to rescue me, Bodhisattva.”
“You wretch,” she replied, “you have such an appalling criminal record that I’m afraid you’d only make more
trouble if I got you out.”
“I have already repented,” he said, “and hope that you will show me the road I should follow. I want to
cultivate my conduct.” Indeed:
When an idea is born in a man’s mind
It is known throughout Heaven and Earth.
If good and evil are not rewarded and punished
The world is bound to go to the bad.
The Bodhisattva was delighted to hear what he had to say.
“The sacred scriptures say,” she replied, ‘”If one’s words are good, they will meet with a response from even a
thousand miles away; if they are bad, they will be opposed from the same distance.’ If this is your state of
mind, then wait while I go to the East to find the man who will fetch the scriptures; I’ll tell him to rescue you.
You can be his disciple, observe and uphold the faith, enter our Buddha’s religion, and cultivate good
retribution for yourself in the future. What do you say to that?”
“I’ll go, I’ll go,” the Great Sage repeated over and over again.
“As you have reformed,” she said, “I’ll give you a Buddhist name.”
“I’ve already got a name. It’s Sun Wukong.” The Bodhisattva, very pleased, said, “I made two converts earlier,
and their names both contained Wu (‘Awakened’). There’s no need to give you any further instructions, so I’ll
be off.” The Great Sage, now aware of his own Buddha−nature, was converted to the Buddha’s religion; and
the Bodhisattva devotedly continued her search for a saintly monk.
The problem in my country is war and malnutrition. My parents and my brothers were killed in the war. I joined the forces when I was twelve because I was told I would have food and should take revenge on the death of my parents. Please don’t be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore. I am just a child. And what I want to say is that people fight because they think they can take revenge. But there is no revenge. You kill and you kill, but it will never stop. There is no such thing as revenge.
December 4, 2008
All things in existence have such a relationship with God:
What, do they desire another debt than God’s
And to Him has made peace whoso is in the heavens
And the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him
They shall be returned?
Once there lived a housewife named Vedehika who had a reputation for gentleness, modesty, and courtesy. She had a housemaid named Kali who was efficient and industrious and who managed her work well. Then it occured to Kali the housemaid, “My mistress has a very good reputation; I wonder whether she is good by nature, or is good because my work, being well-managed, makes her surroundings pleasant. What if I were to test my mistress?”
The following morning Kali got up late. Then Vedehika shouted at her maid, “Hey, Kali!” “Yes, madam?” “Hey, what makes you get up late?” “Nothing in particular, madam.” “Nothing in particular, eh, naughty maid, and you get up late?” And being angry and offended, she frowned.
Then it occured to Kali, “Apparently, my mistress does have a temper inwardly, though she does not show it because my work is well-managed. What if I were to test her further?” Then she got up later. Thereupon Vedehika shouted at her maid, “Hey, Kali, why do you get up late?” “No particular reason, madam.” “No particular reason, eh, and you are up late?” she angrily hurled at her words of indignation.
Then it occured to Kali, “Apparently, my mistress does have a temper inwardly, though she does not show it because my work is well-managed. What if I were to test her still further?” She got up still later. Thereupon Vedehika shouted at her, “Hey, Kali, why do you get up late?” and she angrily took up the bolt of the door-bar and hit her on the head, cutting it. Thereupon Kali, with cut head and blood trickling down, denounced her mistress before the neighbors, saying, “Madam, look at the work of the gentle lady, madam, look at the action of the modest lady, madam, look at the action of the quiet lady. Why must she get angry and offended because I got up late and hit me, her only maid, cutting me on the head?” Thus the housewife lost her good reputation.
Analogously, brethren, a person here happens to be very gentle, very humble, and very quiet as long as unpleasant things do not touch him. It is only when unpleasant things happen to a person that it is known whether he is truly gentle, humble, and quiet.
“It is very quiet now in the vault where I pause in my work on the City of God. I am supposed to be doing a preface for Random House. The work feeds me, strengthens me, knits my powers together in peace and tranquility. The light of God shines to me more serenely through the wide open windows of Augustine than through any other theologian. Augustine is the calmest and clearest light.”
The biblical tales are only the Torah’s outer garments, and woe to him who regards these as being the Torah itself!
November 22, 2008
The paradox of the human condition is that nothing is so contrary to us as the requirement to transcend ourselves,
and nothing so fundamentally ourselves as the essence of this requirement , or perhaps,
the fruit of this transcendence
–Frithjof Schuon, Echoes of Perennial wisdom
October 10, 2008
“To unify your life unify your desires.
To spiritualize your life, spiritualize your desires.
To spiritualize your desires, desire to be without desire.”
–Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude, p56)
“In the Jewish mystical discussion of Creation, the Creator’s act of tzimtzum—making space in the All-God Presence for the existential possibility of Other—was followed by shevirat hakelim, or the shattering of the vessels (the big bang?). As the God-Will to create filled the space formed by the vacuum of stepping back, of tzimtzum, the resulting universe became a vessel that was capable solely of receiving but not of giving. And so it became filled with so much God-Light that it exploded, and in so doing became a vessel capable of receiving as well as yielding, of containing as well as pouring forth. It is in that universe that our world was conceived. A world of give and take, of inhaling and exhaling, of to and fro, of back and forth, a universe in which there could be dance, where life could be dynamic rather than static. In such a universe there is room for receiving only when there is also the capacity to give, of feeling loved only when there is also the capacity to love.
Shevirat hakelim is experienced by the average person at least some of the time. When you are the recipient of potent dosages of loving from someone and it is coming from a place of authenticity and altruism, you may experience an ‘explosion,’ a bursting-forth transformation in your heart that leaves in its wake amoebic stages of evolving love for the Other, the very beginnings of a wholesome partzuf (countenance) process.”
- Gershon Winkler (The Place Where You Are Standing is Holy)
Tat: But now tell me this; how are the castigations of darkness, which are twelve in number, driven out by ten forces? How does this come about, Trismegistus?
Hermes : The tent dwelling which we have left, is composed from the circle of the zodiac which, in turn, consists of twelve elements; one nature, but manifold of conception, in keeping with man’s erring thoughts. Among these castigations, my son, there are some that act in combination. For instance, undue haste and thoughtlessness cannot be separated from anger. They cannot even be distinguished. That it is understandable and logical that they will disappear together when they are driven away by the ten forces. It is these ten forces, my son, that give birth to the Soul. Life and light are united. And so the number of unity is born out of the Spirit. Likewise, according to reason, the unity contains the number ten and the number ten again contains unity.
Tat: Father, I perceive both the entire All and myself in the Spirit-Soul.That is rebirth, my son – one cannot form any three dimensional concept of it. You know and experience it now thanks to this Discourse on Rebirth, which I have put in writing solely for your benefit, since we would not divulge all this to the multitude, but exclusively to those whom God has chosen.
It’s not just enough to change the players. We’ve gotta change the game.
“Lord, those are Your best servants who wish to shape their life on Your answers rather than shape your answers on their wishes.”
–St Augustine (Confessions 10, 26)
May 23, 2008
At Nantai I sit quietly with an incense burning,
One day of rapture, all things are forgotten,
Not that mind is stopped and thoughts are put away,
But that there is really nothing to disturb my serenity.
–Shuan (Zen poetry)
The world is the unquiet city of those who live for themselves and therefore divided against one another in a struggle that cannot end, for it will go on eternally in hell. It is the city of those who are fighting for possession of limited things and for the monopoly of goods and pleasures that cannot be shared by all.
But if you try to escape from this world merely by leaving the city and hiding yourself in solitude, you will only take the city with you into solitude. For the flight from the world is nothing else but the flight from self-concern. And the man who locks himself up in private with his own selfishness has put himself into a position where the evil within him will either possess him like a devil or drive him out of his head.
That is why it is dangerous to go into solitude merely because you like to be alone.
May 21, 2008
It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
Anyone can meditate in a silent place. Where it is calm, restful and relaxing, often people seek meditation. This is however a falsehood. Like taking a special place outside the world, when really outside the world is still the world. In Gnosticism we embrace this idea wholly. Often many seek to “escape” or remove themselves from the world. No matter where you turn to you are in the world. This is a Gnostic truth.
Many see Gnosticism as a spiritual “escape hood”. The same could largely be said for Buddhism. However as opposed to escaping the world, Gnosticism in its “escape” actually embraces. For example in some forms of Gnosticism there are 7 false “heavens” run by “evil” forces called Archons. Archons can be thought of in many ways. One simple way is the inner forces in a person that holds us back; anger, greed, sloth, envy, lust… These “forces” are seen in Gnosticism to hold the individual and the universe “down” or “keep everyone asleep.” This battle or inner struggle is often seen as the greatest battle a seeker must face.
Often we are tempted to speak up, for others, for ourselves, our voices need to be heard:
“First they came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me.”
– Martin Niemöller
Speaking up is often thought to be the best way to approach life. It is for a seeker just the reverse. The more we speak, the less we say. In Gnosticism we know that the more silent we are, the closer to the “mark” we are. This silence is beyond simply speaking or not speaking, it is a silence of transcendence, when two become one and they reach beyond the sum of their parts. Thus this silence as Merton mentions is a special one…Often this is mentioned in spiritual texts as having “left” or “escaped” the world. If we penetrate below the surface though we find it is not escaping at all, it is embracing the world at a heightened state.
So where as often people seek calm and silence to meditate , true silence is not found in silence at all; as I hope I have explained, this is a false silence, one that really does not exist, as there is no escaping the world. Thus to truly find silence, one seeks noise. When one can find silence in a cacophony, in an argument, in a turmoil, in LIFE!, then one is truly on the road. Thus a seeker seeks no the easy road of calmness, but seeks the hurricane, and seeks to be calm within the eye of the storm, knowing the loudest sounds are also the quietest. Just some thoughts…
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
–Rachel Naomi Remen