Monday, September 21, 2009

In The Shadows as Well as in the Light

One dog barks at a shadow and a thousand dogs take it for reality.

That’s an ancient Chinese proverb. We don't know what a dog's reality is but it's safe to say that they focus on things we don't focus on.

We do associate human behavior with some dog behavior. We bark at shadows all the time. One group of humans may bark one way and other groups join in without understanding why they are barking. One group may believe that religion is worth fighting over, and millions of people go to war to defend that belief. We call it our truth and defend it at all costs.

Politics seems to work the same way. One individual calls himself the right wing of government, and another calls herself the left wing, and millions of people defend their position even when they don't totally agree with the doctrine set in motion by the original bark. There are hundreds of things we bark at because someone else is barking, but we really don’t know why we barked in the first place. Conformity rules in our society, so we bark to help create our reality.

There are countless realities so consciousness by nature is non-conforming. When inner consciousness freely flows through physical experiences, it changes the pitch of our bark. Politics, religion, and war are all beliefs that cast large shadows. Light is truth, but it is shadowed by our beliefs, influences and associations.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Manifestations Of Consciousness

At the age of thirty-nine Hui-neng left his home in the mountains and decided to go out and experience the world. He came to the Fa-hsing Temple in the province of Kuang, where he saw some monks arguing on the fluttering pennant; one of them said, ‘The pennant is an inanimate object and it is the wind that makes it flap.’

Against this it was remarked by another monk that ‘Both wind and pennant are inanimate things, and the flapping is an impossibility.’ A third one protested, ‘The flapping is due to a certain combination of cause and condition’; while a fourth one proposed a theory, saying, ‘After all there is no flapping pennant, but it is the wind that is moving by itself.’

The discussion grew quite animated when Hui-neng interrupted with the remark, ‘It is neither wind nor pennant but your own mind that flaps.’ This at once put a stop to the heated argument.

D.T. Suzuki tells that story in his 1927 book, Essays in Zen Buddhism. Hui-neng, the sixth and last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism was born in China in 638. He is considered the founder of the Southern school of Buddhism. Most of us don’t have the time or the inclination to pay attention to how a pennant flaps in the wind. We don't even pay attention to a pennant unless someone or something motivates that action. Our lives are filled with similar occurrences. We are more concerned with matters that attract our interest, especially when it comes to personal and material growth. The simple things that manifest around us are useless and immaterial in a material wealth world that's filled with rational rules and material confinements.

We conform to a system of beliefs that makes it difficult to understand that we create what we notice and then experience. Our beliefs tell us that the world around us is created by an unknown entity that grants wishes based on performance. We transfer our responsibility and power to an external force when we believe that a higher power is controlling our experiences. Separation is avoidance. It’s much easier to avoid or fight than it is to unite and accept.

The monk’s in Suzuki’s story probably would have continued arguing about the pennant, but he introduced information that was known, but forgotten. He instigated thought and their level of awareness changed. He reminded them that the wind and the pennant were not separate inanimate objects, they were manifestations of consciousness set in action by our limited belief system.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Looking At the Stars While the Sun is Out

A naked man jumps in the river, hornets swarming
Above him. The water is the Zikr, remembering,
There is no reality but God. There is only God.

The hornets are his sexual remembering, this woman,
that woman. Or if a woman, this man, that.
The head comes up. They sting.

Breathe water. Become river head to foot.
Hornets leave you alone then. Even if you’re far
From the river, they pay no attention.

No one looks for stars when the sun’s out.
A person blended into God does not disappear. He or she,
Is just completely soaked in God’s qualities.
Do you need a quote from the Qur’an?
All shall be brought into our presence.

If a light goes out in one house, that doesn’t affect
the next house. This is the story of the animal soul,
Not the divine soul. The sun shines on every house.
When it goes down, all houses get dark.

Light is the image of your teacher. Your enemies
Love the dark. A spider weaves a web over a light,
Out of himself, or herself, makes a veil.

Don’t try to control a wild horse by grabbing its leg.
Take hold the neck. Use a bridle. Be sensible.
Then ride! There is a need for self-denial.

Don’t be contemptuous of old obediences. They help.

Rumi wrote that story over 700 years ago. He wrote it so people could identify with their beliefs. He wrote about God using the religious tools that were familiar to the Turks that followed Islamic beliefs. A Zikr is a meeting place where the name of God is chanted rhythmically to induce a state of oneness with the self and to connect to a power that exists, but is not manifested physically. The Our’an is a text that is similar to the Christian bible. It is also considered the word of God to those that believe in its messages. Rumi used these tools to explain consciousness and how beliefs can change experiences.

This great poet is artfully expressing the consciousness we call God. That consciousness manifests physically through our choices and experiences. All probabilities from our choices become experiences in some reality. No one does it for us and we don’t do it for anyone else. The sunshine of consciousness is always illuminated, although the intensity of the light is orchestrated by our beliefs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Body Is A Living Sculpture

In my opinion, a doctor who treats the human body must first be a philosopher. In the past, the doctor was the community shaman or priest, exhorting people to follow the laws of nature, live their lives correctly and make use of the healing powers found in nature.

If doctors were to treat not only the sick parts of the body but also the human consciousness, then I think we would see a great reduction in the need for doctors and hospitals. People with ailments would go to their nearby philosopher, for help understanding the mistakes they have made and then go home determined to live a better life. It may well be that physicians of the future will be more like counselors than the doctors we have today.

Masaru Emoto wrote the 2001 best selling book, Hidden Messages in Water. Emoto discovered that consciousness exists within a molecule of water. He touched millions of people with his research projects on the nature of water, and how closely connected humans are to this manifestation of consciousness. Emoto believes that negative and position experiences are rooted in beliefs, and those beliefs are constantly changing as humans become more aware of the nature of their essence.

Illness and disease change the focus of the universal consciousness almost as fast as natural disasters. We create and change our body using our personal belief system. The more we focus on negativity the more we find it in our experiences. Fighting against an enemy in any form keeps that enemy in our thoughts, and we experience the negative energy that is created by those thoughts.

We have the ability to cure the body, once we take responsibility for the power we have within us. Our body is our own living sculpture. Our life is a precious work of art. Emotions are a form of energy that vibrates and alters the cells and molecules in the body. Repressed emotions change our molecular structure. Believing that we have the power to change our body using our own innate energy is the first step in healing.

Doctors will always be an essential tool in healing because we believe in them. Believing in the power we have within us is a prescription without side effects.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Core Of The Rose

Rose, you throning one, to them of ancient times

You were a chalice with a simple rim.

But for us you are the full. The countless flower,

The inexhaustible object.

In your richness you seem like raiment on raiment

About the body of nothing but light;

But your single leaf is at once the shunning

And the denial of all attire.

For centuries your fragrance has been calling

In sweetest names across to us;

Suddenly it lies in the air like fame.

Even so, we don’t know what to call it, we guess. . .

And memory goes over to it

That we have asked from hours we could call.

Rilke is considered one of the 20th century’s most prolific poets. His work is read around the globe, and in the German speaking world, Rilke has no peers. His poem about the rose is from his 1923 work, Sonnets to Orpheus. Rilke treats all consciousness with respect and admiration and captures the personality of each aspect of nature with a gentle snare. The rose like our physical presence is constantly changing. Our similarities are fruitfully divine. But, our intentions create expressions that tend to manifest a plethora of insidious experiences to experience. Our essence never violates us; it waters us from the well of consciousness.

The rose has no beliefs to entangle it in its thorns. It lives in harmony with its diversity, and uses color to communicate its inexhaustible essence. It asks no questions, so the inconsistent and illogical atoms in the rose create meaningful probabilities that define its attitude toward time. For centuries the rose has expressed its fragrant energy in realities filled with distorted perceptions. Yet it continues to create and attract sweetness from the widening awareness of its own consciousness. The rose has its own type of perception, and its conscious memory explodes in the petals.

Rilke explains the Core of the Rose this way:

What is to this inner
An outer? On what ache
Do they lay such linen?
And what heavens are mirrored within it,
In the sheltered lake
Of these open roses
Carefree ones; understand
How they loosely lie in the looseness
As if never a hand, trembling might spill them.
They all but fail in dwelling
Firm in themselves, and many arose
Let itself be overfilled; and welling
Over with inner space, these stream
Into days that, swelling
More and more wealth enclose,
Till all of summer grows
Into a room, a room in a drea

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rightful Leftness


I’m a billion removes
From myself: the fire,
Though red is cold.

I’m a steel-petaled
Flower, root and all.
Through white, the water’s solid.

I’m burnt out, corroded,
And yet transparent.
My woman’s like an orange.

The poetry of Shinkichi Takahashi does stretch rationality to its limits. The energy created by his words and images spills into another reality where there are no limits. Takahashi writes about other aspects of self. He feels the separation, which creates the contrast we experience in life. Focused life for him is a group of realities, which vibrate in and out physical sight with the blink of an eyelash. His world is a mixture of dynamic mental awareness and foamy expressions that merge into different qualities of consciousness. The action of his frothiness stimulates thoughts and expands perceptions. Nothing is consolidated into transparent forms and expands to shape other universes.

Identifying other aspects of self and the realities they create is not taught nor does it need to be taught in any rational institution. The innate knowledge of our own multiplicity sits on the edge of awareness. It dangles its feet in our ego consciousness. In the burst of a sudden impulse our world changes and we become another version of the self. That self wanders through the corridors of mental images and experiences. These images are unfettered and freakishly sane.

Dripping through the cracks of our own creations we find the burnt out and corroded elements of unused thoughts and they are manifesting in other worlds. We move from female to male, apple to orange, left to right in these worlds. We are a group of selves that stroke the glowing fire of our inner consciousness.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Wave of Life

Most Westerners associate Zen and poetic art. I would caution against assuming that the connection is absolute. There’s nothing intrinsically Zen in any art, inspite of the way some seem to reflect Zen principles. It is man who brings Zen to the art he practices.

Roshi Gempo Nakamura is a 20th century Chinese philosopher, and an expert in Chinese literature, especially Zen poetry. Zen is a popular word today. It is used to express thoughts that are not perceived as rational. Westerners find Zen in gardens, art, homes and offices. Zen is not a reflection, it is action. It is the action of consciousness expanding in its own awareness. Zen is irrational. Zen is the action of consciousness without logical thoughts.

Zen is not found in the illustrations or images of it. It is action without assertion. It is void, but always filled with energy. Zen is never captured; it is only experienced. When there is not time to build thoughts or recall memories there is Zen, but as we put these images in words Zen disappears. Meaning and reasoning represent something other than themselves; they are the echo of Zen not the action of Zen. Zen poets through the centuries use words and phrase that are illogical and void of reason in order to grasp the act itself, not the words.

Our Zen nature rests in a babbling brook, a singing bird, or a blossoming flower.

Another Chinese Zen master explains Zen this way:

"How were things before the appearance of Zen in the world?” The Chinese master answers by raising his cane. “How were things after the appearance of Zen?” The Chinese master again answers by raising the same cane.

The master’s cane defines the action and the truth of Zen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Harmonic Blend

Free-will is a general cosmological theory of promise, just like the Absolute, God, Spirit or Design. Taken abstractly, no one of these terms has any inner content, none of them gives us any picture, and no one of them would retain the least pragmatic value in a world whose character was obviously perfect from the start. Elation at mere existence, pure cosmic emotion and delight, would, it seem to me, quench all interest in those speculations, if the world were nothing but a lubber land of happiness already.

Our interest in religious metaphysics arises in the fact that our empirical future feels to us unsafe and needs some higher guarantee. If the past and present were purely good, who could wish that the future might possibly not resemble them? Who could desire free-will? Who would not say “let me be wound up every day like a watch, to go right fatally and I ask no better freedom.” ‘Freedom’ in a world already perfect could only mean freedom to be worse and who could be so insane as to wish that? To be necessarily what it is, to be impossibly aught else, would put the last touch of perfection upon optimisms universe.

William James wrote those thoughts in 1906. He does have a point. All the words we use to express free will are meaningless in a perfect world, but perfect is not a fixed condition. Perfect continues to expand as we expand in awareness. Our ego consciousness is gifted with free will, so we can form beliefs that create physical choices and experiences. Free will allows us the opportunity to create good and evil, right and wrong as specific qualities in our reality.

We identify these qualities in order to track the growth of the self. Free will is the ability to accept what we create regardless of the quality label we assign to those creations.