Heaven is Now

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I recall utterly cherishing vacations as a child. Getting away from home and “normal life” was the most wonderful feeling! Even now, the sense of “leaving it all behind” for a few days — even a few hours — can be as much of a high as it ever was.

At one point I began to wonder why this was? I reasoned within myself:

  • When I am on vacation, I am free of obligations and everyday pressure
  • I am under no obligation to worry about the immediate future, or concern myself with past events
  • I am free of the everyday stresses and expectations, free of the tedious and mundane
  • Indeed, when away from the “norm,” I am also typically away from physical indicators and reminders of the past or future
  • I am left with only the task of enjoying the present
  • In short, when away from normal life and work and obligations, I feel free to be…free.

When I came to this understanding, I realized I had to somehow live life as if I was “on vacation,” even in the midst of the everyday stresses and obligations; at that point, however, I just could not see how that could be possible!

This calls to mind the Buddha’s Four Types of Clinging:

  • Attachment to sensuality– “the fundamental desire for gratification, pleasure and stimulation. The sensual hit that seems to make life worth living… the belief…that seeking gratification is better than doing nothing.”
  • Attachment to views– “the tendency of the mind to seek out a viewpoint or opinion where everything is clear… Now everything is safe and comfortable for me… The Buddha is pointing to our tendency to seek security, peace, well-being and happiness in our views and perspectives.”
  • Attachment to “to rules and vows, to precepts and practices that one assumes will lead to purity.”– “The idea of ‘I’m doing the practice’ gets in the way of being attentive to what’s happening in the heart and mind.When we are attentive, we can actually do the practice and enjoy it, delight in it and benefit from the results.”
  • Attachment to self– “The self has a function, but we get caught up believing in the story or even the doctrine of it, which then creates havoc. It’s important to recognize how the sense of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ insinuates itself all the time — craving and clinging around the feelings of ‘”I” need to have this, it has to be this way for “me”.'”

The Ego is a storyteller… Recall Einstein’s quote, regarding our Optical Delusion.

So, when we are attached and our mind runs to these clinging tendencies, we find ourselves invariably tangled up in the cares and woes and activity that all come with the engaging of our thoughts in these things. Not only that, but we then have no choice but to view our circumstance through the eyes of a mind that is running madly to and fro, from past to future, from excessive planning to obsessive reminiscence… Our Ego begins to tell us just how it is. And we naturally take its side of the tale, and begin to act upon it.

A Parable for you (a second story of shoes!):

There was once a young man who grew up running. He was born to run and ran everywhere he needed to go. One day, a fellow on the way took pity on the Runner’s rough, calloused feet and offered him a spare pair of shoes he had with him. The young Runner thanked him and put shoes on for the first time.

He was impressed by how well the shoes protected his running feet from the sharp rocks and stones that typically cut up his soles. But, after only a short time, he found his feet hurting because of the smallness of the shoes’ size. At last our Runner could not stand wearing them any longer. But, having experienced now the wondrous protection that shoes offered to his lifestyle, he began to actively seek out a pair that would fit his feet perfectly.

It took some doing, and more running, but he eventually found a pair that fit. And so he ran, continuing on his way. However, as he ran, it occurred to him that he could surely find an even better pair of shoes than these, possibly ones that felt softer and gave more cushioning. And so he ran in search for a better, more comfortable pair.

At last, he found a most comfortable pair of shoes, and he enjoyed running his merry way in them. But within a short time, as he observed the folk of the villages and along the roads he passed, he thought to himself, Surely, his shoes were not on par with the elegance and artistry of the shoes worn by his fellows! And so he ran, in search of a pair of shoes that were the epitome of fashion and comfort.

At last, his search and endless running was rewarded, and he found a pair of beautiful, well-constructed, comfortable shoes that fit his feet. He was very happy and proud in his running! As he continued to run, however, he began to consider and plan for any unfortunate events that should come his way and cross his path. He decided, I must find another pair of shoes equal to mine, should these shoes wear out and he be left wanting.

He finally found a second pair equal to the perfection of the shoes he currently wore and was satisfied to carry them with him on his Running. But as he ran, he began to worry and fret, for what if some renegades should see his lovely pairs of shoes and attack him and steal them from him?
…..
And for all this, it never occurred to the young man that he could simply stop running…

Now, envision the Running Man in our parable as our Mind, and I think you’ll see the connection.

There is a similarly fascinating tale in the Gnostic Scriptures, from the Exegesis on the Soul, depicting the Soul as a woman who leaves her Father and goes whoring, only to later repent and desire to be with her Father again….

What does “the sons of Egypt, well-endowed men” mean if not the realm of the flesh and the senses and the things of the earth by which the soul is defiled in this world? She receives from them bread, wine, oil, clothing, and the other external stuff surrounding the body, the things she thinks she needs… They were speaking not just of the prostitution of the body but especially that of the soul. (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg 229)

When the soul — or the personality of our minds — goes running after the things of this life, we are attached and living in both the Future and the Past, instead of the Now.

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Have you ever inadvertently tried this experiment? While driving on a long stretch of road, focus your peripheral attention wholly on either the clouds above…
…or on the mountains surrounding you…
…or on the stretch of empty landscape on all sides…
…or, better yet, glanced at the black pavement directly at your side?…

What happens emotionally when studying such areas around us that appear to be practically stationary in relation to the vehicles speeding down a highway? For me, I immediately gain a sense of connection and smallness… A realization that the clouds, the mountains, the landscape all exist in the Now regardless of the crazed happenings and speeding about below…

Gazing at the pavement directly beside me, rather than on the busy-ness ahead of me, grants a very real and tangible contrast to the experience of living in the Now versus in the Future… (Not that I’m suggesting you should drive poorly!!) 🙂

Do we worry about what’s up ahead, fill our minds with the anticipations and constant planning for all What-If scenarios we can possibly concoct, so that we feel prepared and ready for anything that may come our way? Or do we center our minds on the Now, apart from clingings to the past or anxieties for the future? After all, how many times have we “planned ahead” for the most minute and mundane possible future happenings, based upon faulty assumptions and storytelling from our Ego? Take, for example, the girl who falls in love with a boy at first sight and imagines their whole life together from first date to marriage and children, all in the imagination prior to even speaking her first word to him and finding out anything about him! She has built a truth upon which she will likely base her actions, from the stories of her Ego.

(Keep in mind, “this is not a moral or ethical statement. We Westerners may add the belief: It’s a bad thing, I’m a bad person for doing that. But the Buddha is just pointing for us to look at the result. If happiness and freedom is what one is looking for, does clinging to sensuality bring about the desired result?” –quote source found here— Keep yourself from judgements, and only observe…)

Thinking about the clouds floating above chaos, I am reminded of what is called the Witness State, or as I liked to sometimes think of it, the viewpoint of the Observer. The Observer is our higher consciousness simply observing the thoughts passing through our minds, the feelings rushing through us and tousling us about, and it only takes note of it without emotion or judgement… As it is said, the rain is sent on the just and the unjust… The clouds likewise “roll ever on,” remaining passively and pleasantly aloof to the speeding of the cars on the highway below, the inflamed traffic jams, the emotions, the noise, the clutter…. Still they look down from above and observe, and roll ever on… They are in the Now….

  • In the Now, we can see clearly…
  • …we can see apart from the judgments and the erroneous storytelling of the Ego…
  • …we can tap into the knowledge and wisdom of the unconscious and the All-Consciousness
  • …we actually seem to gain time (a funny little thing about Relativity and Time)…. Remember how time felt like forever as a child? And now with all the responsibilities of adulthood it seems to slip past us…
  • …in fact, often when dwelling in a complete sense of the Now, time seems to have stopped: for there is no past or future, only Now; and when the mind lives and exists solely in the Now, it is no longer hampered with fears and anxieties, nor even simply the sheer activity of engaging itself in multiple “planes of time” at once! It is free to take in and comprehend freely and without preconceptions or prepared, anticipatory judgements all that exists Now…
  • All of these factors add up to bring us better decision-making time and resources, and thus greater peace overall…

Heaven is peace… Heaven is eternity… Heaven is timelessness….

Heaven is Now… …and the Now is Heaven.

The Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious – so far as we can say anything about it at all – appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious… We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. (From The Structure of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 325.)
–found here.

I am simply enthralled with the notion of the collective conscious and/or unconscious…
That at our core of all personal believing, faith, religion, etc… lies the human experience in All-Consciousness. That we all basically experience the same thing, albeit at different stages of our learning according to our own capacities, and we can only label this experience according to the myths and stories and traditions of our cultures, and otherwise in any way possible we can hope to describe this amazing and thrilling phenomena!

Think of it this way:
The “Divine Beloved” is the part of our personal unconscious that emerges in a form that we can relate to, fall in love with, have a relationship with; in essence, it gives us a chance to understand and relate to our deeper understandings. Our unconscious mind is connected to the Collective Unconscious; therefore, God/dess, in this sense then, is not only my unconscious but indeed it is all of us — the collected, inherited, perhaps even universally psychical, accumulation of knowledge during the universe’s existence and our relationship to it. No wonder we say that God is All-Knowing!

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Whether this is entirely a biological phenomenon ingrained and passed down through our DNA, or whether it is truly on another plane of existence, we cannot perhaps say with utmost certainty. Jung himself seems to have changed his mind later on in life. But I posit — does it ultimately really matter?

When the labels we create to describe our experiences of the unconscious turn into dogma and we fail to realize the Myth as Allegory nature of past writings of our forefathers exploring the very same experiences, then, I believe, we can easily get ourselves into trouble! We are bound by fear, and wind up binding others by it. But if we can take what we’ve learned and explore the myths of others as congruous with our own, then the whole Universe is open to us — and it is thrilling!

One last thought to leave you with… There may in fact be some scientific basis to the theory of an actual shared, universal conscious! I’ll share more after I explore these writings…. You can find them here, too, and see what you find!

A Story of Shoes

Once upon a time, there was a Queen who ruled over an ancient kingdom. One day, she walked about her kingdom barefoot (as was common in those days) and stubbed her toe on a stone. In pain and frustration, the Queen called her noblemen and wise advisors together and made her declaration:

Take a sheet of soft leather and carpet the whole of my kingdom with it, that all may be protected henceforth from stubbing their toes against the stones of the ground.

One of her wise advisors ventured to speak, however, and offered an alternative solution:

Let us rather take sheets of leather and carpet the soles of everyone’s feet with it.

And thus was the birth of Shoes.

The moral of the story…

Where our feet come in contact with this earth is the Point of Contact whereby we meet our existence.

It is far more challenging, indeed impossible!, to protect ourselves from harm and hurt and distress by way of forcing this entire planet, universe, and everyone’s existence in it to conform to the way in which we walk through it.

Especially, when one considers that to attempt to do so will most assuredly violate the boundaries of another’s free will and individuality! Such are the seeds of power games and the resultant struggle of two power chakras over life energy; or, we can say, the tug-of-war between egos. (Read this wonderful article on the Power Chakra!) It is certainly a breeding ground for karma — fear-based intentions of the ego…

Instead, if we pay heed to the way in which our “feet” touch this existence in our own experience of it — if we adjust our own relationship with our experience and thereby change the experience of our Point of Contact with it — then not only are we “protected” and able to respond rightly to our world, but the world will also respond rightly to us. This is at the heart of conscious awareness, of existing in the Now and simply opening our eyes to what is already there.

So, put on your shoes today and be mindful of your steps. You’ll soon find your relationship with your existence transforming, and existence, too, will transform in its relationship to you in response.

A Word of Wisdom

Where I live, I am surrounded very closely by a large, beautiful mountain range. The mountains, of course, are looming and plainly visible every day, even in adverse weather. However, isn’t it interesting?– How easily my mind can run in daily distractions to the point where I don’t even perceive the grandiose shape of the mountains in front and all around me!

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In the same manner Truth (in all it’s multifaceted beauty and complexity) is looming all around us; indeed it is inside me. Truth is in my heart; it is my Heart Voice; it is me, ever near me, in front of my nose at all times!

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27

The heart chakra–the Heart Voice; God or Goddess or Spirit–is connected (woven into the very fabric) of The All. The Truth and all it speaks, is inside of us.

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
–John 17:20-21

But, like the grandiose and clearly evident truth of the visible mountains, we must quiet our minds from the everyday distractions that run it around that we might take notice. Too, one cannot force the truth to appear. We cannot through extreme study and effort on our part force to appear what is already there “in front of our noses.” Rather, we simply clear our own vision to see clearly what is there, and only then can we be in a position to look and study and get to know it better.

Listen deeply, listen inward, and your eyes will be opened to what you seek. It is already there; quiet your mind, live in the Now, and you’ll see it.

What is up with The All?

The Father is singular while being many. For he is first and he is unique, though without being solitary. How else could he be a father?…That singular one who is the only Father is in fact like a tree that has a trunk, branches, and fruit…The only Father and God in the true sense, therefore, is the one who has been born by no one, but who, on the contrary, has given birth to the All and has brought it into being. (from The Tripartate Tractate, Part One; The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg.62.)

According to one angle of my multifaceted and ever-growing understanding of the Gnostic myths of creation and the nature of our universe, the Father is the All; all is the Father.

…the aeons existed eternally in the Father’s Thought, and he was like a thought and a place for them…he is a spring that is not diminished by the water flowing from it. (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg.65.)

The Aeons, being “like a drop from a spring, like a blossom from a vine” (Ibid. pg 66) are, in this sense, parts of the Father. Another gnostic text reads that the Father procreated with Forethought (Pronoia) to give birth to the aeons. Likewise, does it not state in the book of Proverbs chapter 8:22-31, Wisdom says:

Adonai made me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works. 23 I was appointed before the world, before the start, before the earth’s beginnings… 27 When he established the heavens, I was there. When he drew the horizon’s circle on the deep, 28 when he set the skies above in place… 30 I was with him as someone he could trust. For me, every day was pure delight, as I played in his presence all the time, 31 playing everywhere on his earth, and delighting to be with humankind.

The Aeons are, in this sense then, as if they are fragments of the entirety of the Father. Alone, they are only a portion of the whole being; but, together, they are Entire. And, in all this, the Father is not diminished in himself, and always has more of himself to give.

The Aeons, therefore, are also able to procreate and, in a sense, “fragment” themselves — the Tripartate Tractate (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg. 67) describes it thusly: “…just as the marvels of silence are eternal births–births of mind–so also the faculties of the word are spiritual emissions…in the same manner that the Father exists, so do those who have issued from him also bring forth all that they wish…by mutual help, for they have been helping one another in the same way as those unborn.”

Now, without going into too much further detail (for the Nag Hammadi texts seem to explore the events of creation in increasing complexity as they unfold), essentially, it is by the “youngest aeon’s” attempt to procreate while in deficiency in regard to her knowledge of the existence and fullness of the Father that gave birth to an aeon or being without soul — as an “aborted fetus” (as texts such as On the Origin of the World, Ibid pg. 199, describe this being). This deficient aeon, then, presumed that none existed before him — that he alone simply popped into being! — and proceeded to procreate (as was ingrained in his very nature) and create a material system or universe after the nature of his own deficiency. And thereby darkness, jealousy, fear, and the like were woven into the very fabric of what we see.

This all can seem very mystical and magical!

But, what can one take from these concepts? If the nature of Myth as Allegory is to paint the greater picture of what we are and where we belong (and so forth), then what do these notions passed down to us from our ancient forefathers tell us about ourselves?

For me:

  • The Universe (whether physically or metaphorically speaking, it doesn’t really matter), is of a nature that procreates according to its very fabric of being.
  • The Aeons are all reflections of the Father, and we (being offspring of the Aeons’ thought) are also reflections of the Father.
  • We are all a part of The All.
  • We are all a part of each other.
  • We are all different, see the world differently from each other, yet we are all facets and parts and fragments of the All.
  • Therefore, we are all important to each other, and interconnected one to another.
  • Spiritually, psychologically, we can derive strength from this view. The All is in us, and we are in it. When we meditate and ground ourselves, we connect with this All-Consciousness. We are not alone, and we are not lost or blind when we are connected.

Let us walk with mutual respect, open-mindedness, and trust in this All-Consciousness to guide and brighten our paths!

Encountering Human Nature

As you move through your day today, you will undoubtedly encounter fellow human beings. And how will you feel, respond, react… when fellow humans interact with you, especially if the encounter is negative?

Remember:
Responsible = Able to Respond.
React = Re – Acting (acting out, mimicking) what you see and/or hear from the other person.

You alone are responsible for your feelings and how you choose to act upon them. But don’t fret– this is, in fact, good news! Because, through practice, observance, patience, and meditation, you can decide and shape your inner conditions, to make way for peace in your life!

So, today, will you simply mimic and blindly throw back what the other person is confronting you with? Or will you pause, get grounded, and take Responsibility?

Make it a beautiful day! You have all the resources and power you need within you to make it so.

Get Grounded

One of the most important and most enjoyable experiences I’ve encountered (and have been practicing regularly now for nearly the past week) is that of the Grounding Meditation as described and taught by the wonderfully in-depth and knowledgeable author at Kundalini-teacher.com.

The challenge set forth is to practice this meditation eight times a day for 45 days, as this will build the process and constant awareness of grounding into a habit. I have taken an immense interest and joy in maintaining this challenge successfully now for almost the past week. I have found a beautiful sense of balance, awareness, peace, well-being, acceptance, and more dwelling and arising within me.

Some notions I have become conscious of during the course of my meditation-experience:

  • that I am connected and intertwined intricately with the forces of this planet and universe (it puts Carl Sagan’s statement that “We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself” in a very real light!)
  • therefore, we have “all that it takes” within us, as we exist as a part of the All (more on these thoughts to come, promise…)
  • I feed the energy of the All as it also feeds my energy
  • I am never alone and I am always loved unconditionally
  • I have learned to discern and hear my Heart Voice
  • I have begun to just scratch the surface of understanding the beautiful complexity that is me (and by nature, all of us); that my Heart Voice is in actuality, Me; but it is the true me, my spirit, my unconscious…and who else would know me better than, well, me?
  • I’ve begun to note and take a curiosity in how the myths and religions of so many cultures seem to speak of this very thing, this Heart Voice, this Unconscious Self that is connected to All… giving it names we can relate to, such as God, Inner Guru, Allah, Ra, etc…. but in terms and parables relevant to its ability to comprehend such intimate complexity (plenty more on this to come in the future, too…Lots more details and examples I can think of…)

And this is all only after a week of getting to know myself a little better. 😉

Will you take the challenge? Read through the article, give grounding a chance and see what it can do to improve your perception of the world and your place in it!

Myth as Allegory

What if…

…the cultures of the past and their ancient myths — stories of G/god(s), Goddesses, man, creation, spirit… some familiar, others not as familiar to some of us — are all saying essentially the same thing? Speaking to us from afar, as it were?

What if the ancients were far wiser than that for which we modern-folk tend to give them credit; what if, by way of painting the grander picture of things unseen yet intimately known — through the vehicle of Myth — our ancient forefathers explained to the best of their ability the nature of Us, our duality of body/mind vs. spirit, the non-duality of our consciousness, and the workings of the Universe? And what if we were not meant to take these stories as literal truths, but to ponder them and learn from them as analogous to our deeper nature?

As John Lennon states very effectively in his beloved song, Imagine there’s no heaven… no hell below us…

Our Optical Delusion

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest: a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

–Albert Einstein

very wise words…