SPIRITUAL ESSENCE:

Focusing on the essence of spirituality from all times, places, cultures…and beyond. Serving and cultivating the innate, inherent spiritual nature contained within all: the religious, the non-religious, the spiritual but not religious, the atheist, the agnostic, the mystic; whatever one does or does not consider oneself. We are beings at many different levels with many different aspects: physical, energy/life force, mind, intellect, emotion; but at our deepest common core, we are all spiritual beings. We all yearn to love and be loved, to nurture and be nurtured, to express and serve and realize each of our unique destinies. We can all help each other along our individual journeys, united by our common needs and yearnings.


Quote of the Week #92 - Mind and Soul

A [productive] quality is the ability to make mistakes without condemning yourself! Determine that no matter what happens, no matter how many times you stumble, it does not matter. If you have not crawled, you cannot walk; if you have not stumbled, you cannot stand…So do not be afraid of stumbling. You will stumble many times in life. You will commit many mistakes. Don’t create a complex in your heart and mind by thinking that you are nothing. Don’t start condemning yourself, and suffering. Stumbling and committing mistakes are not sins. On the path of wisdom, there is no such thing as sin.


A sin is any act that affects your mind in a negative way. Then, if you remain in a state of negativity for some time, you become passive and helpless. A passive mind is very dangerous. A negative mind can be improved; but a passive mind leads to sickness…


Never identify yourself with negativity, with a passive mood or with weakness. You are not that. You have many weaknesses, yet you, yourself, are not weak. You commit many mistakes, yet you are not weak. You have committed many so-called sins, yet you are not a sinner…


When you commit mistakes, the real repentance is in not repeating them. If you are helpless, practice. If you stumble, practice again. Help will come to you; grace will be there. Do not give up with your human endeavors! Whether you consciously or unconsciously commit a mistake, just do not do it again, but do not believe in sin.


Usually…you care only for trivial or mundane thins of the external world. Your eyes flow with tears for petty things but your heart should cry for something higher. If you constantly cry for worldly things, your body will become ill, but if you cry for God, you will move toward Samadhi, ecstasy. At present, you have great zeal to attain worldly things – you have too much feeling for the things of the world.


Your main problem is that you are hung up on the things of the world: you are afraid you will not gain what you want, and you are always afraid of losing what you have. You have never worked with the totality of your mind. This anxiety is all the result of your mind, because nothing happens to the body, and nothing happens to God. Whatever happens, it occurs only in your mind. The Upanishads say that atman is the fastest entity, and yet at the same time, that it has no movement. Teachers often say that the mind is the fastest, faster even than sound or light. But there is one thing faster than the mind – your individual soul, the atman. It is the fastest because wherever the mind travels, the soul is already there, no matter where the mind goes. So if there is anything that can correct and help your mind, it is not worldly wealth or objects, it is nothing external, but only that which is the innermost center of your being.


Do not concern yourself with the rewards of meditation. There is a scientific law that every action has a reaction: it is not possible for an action to not have benefits. Even if you do not see conscious benefits, there are unconscious benefits. At the very least, you will develop muscle relaxation, rid yourself of tension and stress, and learn to use the mind for spirituality.


--Swami Rama, Path of Fire and Light, Volume II

Friday, August 26, 2016

Quote of the Week #92 - Mind and Soul

A [productive] quality is the ability to make mistakes without condemning yourself! Determine that no matter what happens, no matter how many times you stumble, it does not matter. If you have not crawled, you cannot walk; if you have not stumbled, you cannot stand…So do not be afraid of stumbling. You will stumble many times in life. You will commit many mistakes. Don’t create a complex in your heart and mind by thinking that you are nothing. Don’t start condemning yourself, and suffering. Stumbling and committing mistakes are not sins. On the path of wisdom, there is no such thing as sin.

A sin is any act that affects your mind in a negative way. Then, if you remain in a state of negativity for some time, you become passive and helpless. A passive mind is very dangerous. A negative mind can be improved; but a passive mind leads to sickness…

Never identify yourself with negativity, with a passive mood or with weakness. You are not that. You have many weaknesses, yet you, yourself, are not weak. You commit many mistakes, yet you are not weak. You have committed many so-called sins, yet you are not a sinner…

When you commit mistakes, the real repentance is in not repeating them. If you are helpless, practice. If you stumble, practice again. Help will come to you; grace will be there. Do not give up with your human endeavors! Whether you consciously or unconsciously commit a mistake, just do not do it again, but do not believe in sin.

Usually…you care only for trivial or mundane thins of the external world. Your eyes flow with tears for petty things but your heart should cry for something higher. If you constantly cry for worldly things, your body will become ill, but if you cry for God, you will move toward Samadhi, ecstasy. At present, you have great zeal to attain worldly things – you have too much feeling for the things of the world.   

Your main problem is that you are hung up on the things of the world: you are afraid you will not gain what you want, and you are always afraid of losing what you have. You have never worked with the totality of your mind. This anxiety is all the result of your mind, because nothing happens to the body, and nothing happens to God. Whatever happens, it occurs only in your mind. The Upanishads say that atman is the fastest entity, and yet at the same time, that it has no movement. Teachers often say that the mind is the fastest, faster even than sound or light. But there is one thing faster than the mind – your individual soul, the atman. It is the fastest because wherever the mind travels, the soul is already there, no matter where the mind goes. So if there is anything that can correct and help your mind, it is not worldly wealth or objects, it is nothing external, but only that which is the innermost center of your being.

Do not concern yourself with the rewards of meditation. There is a scientific law that every action has a reaction: it is not possible for an action to not have benefits. Even if you do not see conscious benefits, there are unconscious benefits. At the very least, you will develop muscle relaxation, rid yourself of tension and stress, and learn to use the mind for spirituality.


--Swami Rama, Path of Fire and Light, Volume II

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Quote of the Week #91 - Wiping the Mirror Clean


You see the reflection of the sun in clear water. In the mirror of his ‘I-consciousness’ the devotee sees the form of the Primal Energy, Brahman with attributes. But the mirror must be wiped clean. One does not see the right reflection if there is any dirt on the mirror.

As long as a man must see the Sun in the water of his ‘I-consciousness’ and has no other means of seeing It, as long as he has no means of seeing the real Sun except through Its reflection, so long is the reflected sun alone one hundred per cent real to him. As long as the ‘I’ is real, so long is the reflected sun real — one hundred per cent real. That reflected sun is nothing but the Primal Energy.

--Ramakrishna



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quote of the Week #90 - The Quiet Mind is a Vibrant Mind

The quiet mind is a vibrant mind. Classic yoga teachings refer to the “antahkarana”, the “inner instrument”, which aids us to function. It sounds like a thing, a noun, but in many senses, it is more of a description breaking down various functions which broadly could all be referred to as aspects/functions of the mind. The four basic functions are “ahamkara”, the sense of separate self, ego; “manas”, the mind in a more narrow, specific sense as the processor and re-caller of experiences, the lower mind; “buddhi”, the intellect or higher mind, that is capable of exercising choice through discriminating among the information processed and recalled by manas; and citta, the storehouse of everything we have ever experienced, felt, or thought, the memory.

Going back to the broad concept of referring to all of these functions as functions of “mind”, the teachings also refer to mind as a noun, a subtle inner entity, variously described as either like a mirror reflecting what arises from within, or as a jewel, a crystal, a diamond, similarly reflecting/refracting what arises from within. Although it is usually referred to in the manner of this reflecting/refracting what arises from within, as described above, it also internalizes/processes external experiences, which then generate and enliven inner impulses in a karmic cycle.

This inner instrument, in its purest form, lacks any distortions during its input and output processing. It is a finely-honed, crystal-clear jewel in this state, and thus references to it such as “The Crest Jewel of Discrimination”, the title of one of the most significant works of Adi Shankara, or other spiritual texts, such as “The Diamond Sutra”, and other references in spiritual literature to jewels and crystals. As we all know, the plight of most human beings concerns the problem that this wonderful inner instrument becomes blemished, distorted, polluted through a false/incomplete/overblown sense of separation leading to egotism and bloated pride fueled by powerful lower emotions related to the instinct of self-preservation, the most powerful of which is fear/insecurity. This process of distortion obstructs access to the clear mind, because it becomes veiled, cluttered, sluggish, and dull. The mind becomes the servant of the bloated ego and lower emotions and lower mind, and we are caught in a vicious cycle or even a downward spiral.

The practices and processes of spiritual growth involve purification efforts to clear away the obstacles and distortions and establish/regain the purity of the uncluttered mind. Spiritual literature often speaks of destroying the ego and emptying the mind. But it is more accurate to say that these functions just need purifying, not destruction. A purified ego serves the purified and higher mind and the higher emotion of the spiritual Heart. The mind does not actually become empty. What is often conveyed with the concept of emptying the mind is really all about stilling the mind, so that it may seem to be empty. It is empty of its common noise and chatter. But it is more accurate, or at least more complete, to say that through the process sometimes referred to as “emptying”, the mind becomes quiet, and in doing so, it actually becomes filled with stillness, and through that stillness, it becomes vibrant, because it is reflecting the infinite, eternal, boundless field of creativity and potentiality that lies beyond the mind, at the core of our real essence. The mind is then seen and understood as an instrument, a servant through which our real, deepest spiritual essence expresses itself. Likewise, stillness is seen and understood not merely as the absence of activity, but rather as a positive presence encompassed within our spiritual essence. It is more accurate to say that there is no process to empty the mind other than to introduce it to the inherent, vibrant, inner stillness that lies beyond it, and which it can reflect. Its usual chattering content is then replaced with something quite extraordinary.