Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Family Constellation Within Us

Within each one of us is a family constellation, mother, father, and child.  We are all members of our own family, and when the members are communicating with each other, respecting each other and loving each other, we are free to love ourselves.  The father in us protects and provides, the mother in us nurtures and creates, and the child (the integration of the parents) accepts, forgives and loves unconditionally.   Some believe that an imbalance in our father/mother aspects is what creates duality, or opposition in our lives.  Because each opposing side has the seed of the other side (sickness the seed of health, hate the seed of love, sorrow the seed of joy), finding ourselves in opposition is simply a reflection of this imbalance, and an invitation to restore balance by recognizing both aspects within us equally, thus giving birth to the child, and unconditionality (nonduality).

With the divine feminine and masculine in balance, the human self becomes and feels healed, whole, and complete.  The harmonized human is one who has integrated, feels, and experiences the divine aspects of its true identity --- that of its attached divine, eternal, God-created soul with its Spark of God Within --- into its human self. 

Our physical bodies reflect this model with our right and left polarity physiology.  Several holistic medical models across the globe that are widely used today are based on the interplay of polarity.  Left and right brain function,  Polarity TherapyAcupuncture, Naturopathy and the Chiropractic premise of Innate intelligence are just a few.  In the Shamanic tradition, the archetypal wisdom of the inner landscape is paramount to understanding the wisdom of the soul. For when we begin to conceptualize the inner marriage of the masculine and feminine within, we begin to work in concert with the energetic laws of nature. What emerges is the essence of our true harmony, which, in the Shamanic tradition, mirrors where our personality (male) is in relationship to our soul’s (female) journey.

Why is it important for us to consider these things?  Now more than ever we are barraged with stressors and data that distract us, confuse us, outrage us and pull us off balance.  We have a struggling global economy, constantly changing technology, and medical and scientific paradigms shifting in ways that challenge everything we have ever been taught.  These worldly influences change our workplace, our family dynamics, our relationships, our daily routines and our ability to think and feel our way through our days.  Taking the time to contemplate the depth and simplicity of our own inner nature can be a spontaneous life changer.

Joseph Campbell tells us:  “A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.” Consider the Osiris/Isis/Horus within you.  If you look, the father/mother/child constellation can be found in every mythological tradition.  But the best place to find it is within you. Create your own myth of reconciling opposites and creating trinity. 

What do YOU think?
Artwork by Sacha.  Many thanks.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Understanding: Mind, Consciousness, Thought

Mind: All human beings share in being a part of, and connected to Mind, the universal Life energy and source of intelligence beyond the brain. Because of Mind, we share in an endless flow of wisdom—each of us equally capable of being wise.
Consciousness: All human beings share in the principle or fact of Consciousness. We experience life. We also experience life from different levels of consciousness—from truncated and fear-based, angry and insecure “levels” to grounded, secure, safe, wise and even enlightened states (Buddha Mind, Christ Consciousness, the “Father within,” the Kingdom of Heaven.) If humans lived even a little more often in this last state of mind, the impact on world peace, from a personal to a global level, would be significant.
The principle of Thought, as a universal function, guides humans either toward or away from non-violence, love and compassion. The existence of a personal thought system, or “ego”—which we see as simply being a sticky attachment to, or identification with thoughts—trips up our noble aspirations for peace. Yet we have found that teaching people about the neutral fact of Thought, and how it creates reality for each of us (rather than attempting to change “content”), allows people to shine the light of this principle on all their thinking. Levels of consciousness jump as people gain understanding about the formless source of all ideas, beliefs and opinions.
When humans understand that a thought is just a thought, just a creation from formless energy, the iron grip the ego can have on us begins to lessen. Lighter, gentler, more inspired feelings arising from impersonal, or universal thoughts create kind and selfless behaviors. We begin to realize we are so much more than our limited thoughts. So much more than we ever “thought”! While respecting our own and others’ traditions, cultures and preferences, we see beyond the forms that humans have created—and to the deeper truth of our common divinity, our shared existence in universal Mind, Consciousness and Thought … or in Life. From this vantage point, there is no reason to argue, to fight, to hurt another. When I hurt you, I diminish me.
So, our personal answer is to share with people these simple principles that govern their states of mind. Because, beneath it all, all humans are already wise, good, generous, kind and even enlightened. When the clouds of thought begin to part, they each take their unique and radiant place in being one in “six billion paths to peace."
What do YOU think?
Artwork:  Ronald D. Isom  Many thanks.
See also Sydney Banks, “The Missing Link: Reflections on Life and Philosophy” & other works.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Participating in Possibility Brings Freedom

The United Nations has a declaration of human rights that states in the preamble:  "This Universal Declaration Of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

It has 30 sections, and the 27th states:  "Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

This got me thinking about what it means to participate in life.  Certainly, it means different things in different spots around the globe.  And, I can appreciate the United Nations boldly stating the ideal for humankind that includes freedom and choice.  But I wonder what it really means to participate in life, especially since in my current life stages, I have given up the ideas of goals and long term plans and surrendered, for the most part, to the calling of the moment.

I say this with the understanding that what calls me in the moment is a direct result of my life's work, my faith and my internal environment (thoughts, feelings, relationships, attitudes.)  This is to say that we never come completely fresh to each moment, we come as we are.  Yet, it seems to me, how we present ourselves to each moment allows possibility for change, growth, freedom, love...

What do YOU think?
Artwork by David Walker.  Many thanks.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Our Second Chance to Play, Parenthood

"By helping this child to grow into a beautiful human being, into a buddha, you will be becoming the mother of a buddha. You will not be obliging the child: you will be simply enjoying your own life; your own life will become a fragrance through the child.This is an opportunity, a God-given opportunity.

And these are the two pitfalls: either you neglect the child, you are tired of it; or you become too serious about the child, and you start burdening him, obliging him.

Both are wrong. Help the child – but for the sheer joy of it. And never feel that he owes any debt to you. On the contrary, feel thankful that he has chosen you to be his mother. Let your motherhood bloom through him.If you can bloom into your motherhood, you will feel thankful to the child forever.And, naturally, there will be sacrifices, but they have to be made…joyously. Only then is it a sacrifice! If you do it without joy it is not sacrifice. Sacrifice comes from the word sacred. When you do it joyfully, it is sacred. When you don’t do it joyfully, then you are just fulfilling a duty – and all duties are ugly, they are not sacred. This is a great opportunity. Meditate over it, go into it deeply. You will never find such a deep involvement – in fact, there is none as it is between a child and the mother. Not even between the husband and the wife, the lover and the beloved – the involvement is not so deep as it is between the mother and the child. It cannot be so deep with anybody ever – because the child has lived in you for nine months as you; nobody else can live in you for nine months as you.And the child will become a separate individual sooner or later, but somewhere deep down in the unconscious the mother and the child remain linked.If your child can become a buddha, you will be benefited by it; if your child grows and becomes a beautiful human being, you will be benefited by it – because the child will always remain connected with you. Only the physical connection has been disconnected; the spiritual connection is never disconnected.

Thank God! Motherhood is a blessing.” Osho

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Best Christmas Present: Presence

The beginning of the New Year is traditionally a time of renewal and reassessment.  For some of us that goes deeper than boxing up old things to make way for the new, or wrapping up financial figures to prepare our taxes and budget the upcoming year.  Taking a step back to witness ourselves, who we are, and how we relate, is also in order.  From the position of the witness, I can see a faceted triad of self - my self-image: my mental self portrait; my identity: the part of self formed in relation to others; and my presence: the dynamic, infinite self connecting the internal and external, beyond form yet recognizing forms such as thought and feeling as they arise and all other complexities of self that identity and self image assign.  All parts of the triad are developmentally important to me, all integral to who I am.

As I contemplate this triad, I consider that self image and identity can, but don’t always, give way to doubt.  Presence does not.  Presence unifies.  It does not hold me in separation of anyone or any event or any time because there is a flow in presence that unites the many and One.  When I view myself from the position of presence, there is no need to place a value on one aspect over another because all is experienced as constant, unified flow.  From the position of my self-image or identity, I find myself assigning values of good, bad, true, untrue, self, not self…and in a reassessment, doubt may arise – did “I” make a mistake?

Another observation is that the relationship between cause and effect changes when I witness myself from the position of presence.  Internal cause from the dynamic presence takes precedence, and external cause, like that from my worldly experience, others or even my own mental constructs of self image, become the effect.  My world does not change me, I change my world by changing my view to that of presence.  My DNA does not define me from birth, but changes as my consciousness changes.

It must be said that this is nothing new.  Mystics as old as written history have relayed these ideas to us.  They can be found it all the sacred texts.  But as I enter the New Year 2011, I feel an infinite gratitude, for entering in presence, surrounded by people that read what I write here, and enter with me, a large part of my smile.

What do YOU think?
Artwork by Alejandro Silveira Bruno.  Many thanks.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Evolving Role of the Artist

Rupert Spira, twenty first century mystic and teacher of nonduality, sees the “mystic’s job is to explore the nature of reality, but more is required of the artist. He or she has to simultaneously make manifest the ongoing results of this enquiry in form. So the role of the artist is to provide a way that this presence can be approached and experienced through the senses. The artist has to re-present our world of conceptualised objects, separated and extended in space and time, as it really is. He has to reinterpret our model of reality in line with direct experience and to convey this ‘taste of eternity’. We could call this twofold activity contemplation and creativity. Contemplation is the passive aspect; creativity is the dynamic aspect. These are two inseparable aspects of consciousness.”

The fourteenth century German mystic, Meister Eckhart, believed that “God dwells within you - as you,” or “I can only be fully known by becoming God.”  Eckhart wrote prolifically on the subject and was charged but never convicted of heresy for his writings.  His direct identification with the divine can also be seen in the works of Shankara, James, Blake, Rumi and many great saints and sages of the wisdom traditions.  Author Aldous Huxley  believed that most enlightened beings also practice this philosophy. Within the God space in us peace can be found, and here, mystical and aesthetic experiences and transformational events can unfold.

The nineteenth century artist and philosopher, Benedetto Croce, believed this peaceful God space to be the spirit within us from which we draw our inspiration.  He tells us that the externalization of intuition is secondary to its appearance in the consciousness of the artist, and that the expression of intuition is meaningful apart from the projection or form it takes in a work of art.  With art as the embodiment of spirit through intuition, we symbolize feelings, Nature, soul, God.

The role of the artist, then, is to bring the other, or viewer, to that place in consciousness through the form presented – into Nature, soul, feelings, God, where we can be, ourselves, inspired, and feel ourselves a complete microcosm of life’s macrocosm.  In this way, we connect with and become our own aesthetic holon, nesting with all others in unity consciousness.

What do YOU think?

Artwork by Ron Isom  Many thanks.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Nonduality and Creativity of Silence

According to twentieth century philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism), Jean Klein, it is only in a "spontaneous state of interior silence that we can open ourselves to our true nature: the 'I Am' of pure consciousness." Klein goes on to define this silence as “the natural state is a non-state of not-knowing, non-concluding. When there is knowing, there is a state. But your real nature is not-knowing. It is a total absence of all that you think you are, which is all that you are not. In this total absence of what you are not, there is presence. But this presence is not yours. It is the presence of all living beings. You must not try to be open. You are open.” 

Klein redefines intelligence as “spontaneous behavior. It is creativity. When you are free from the person, from the “I-concept”, when you are free from psychological memory, then you are open to intelligence. This intelligence is in you, it is not outside. When you are intelligent, there is no quantity or quality to that intelligence. It is right acting…This spontaneity does not go through the discriminating mind. Spontaneous, intelligent acting occurs naturally the moment there is pure perception, perception without conceptualizing.” 

So thought and feeling arise in us, but we do not need to attach the “I-concept” to them. We, instead, take the viewpoint of ever present awareness of all living beings, with a quiet mind and open heart. We act, not based on ego or “I concept,” but on the creativity that comes with our pure perception. Is it possible to live our lives in this silent manner? 

What do YOU not think?

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Jon Stewart Concerted Effort to Restore Sanity

Last weekend, Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity drew millions of participants in cities all over the world while Stewart himself, led the effort in Washington DC with a few hundred thousand in attendance, asking everyone to “take it down a notch for America.”  He did so with the hope for an end to the partisan bickering and oppositional rhetoric that prevents collaboration necessary for the efficacy and success of the nation.

Stewart’s colleague, Steven Colbert, provided the counterpoint with his “Rally to Restore Fear,” providing the comic (if not juvenile) relief.  Stewart’s closing remarks were a plea for prevailing sanity:  “This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear.  They are and we do.  But we live now in hard times, not end times.  And we can have animus and not be enemies. .. If we amplify everything we hear nothing. “

Fear is the core issue behind violence, jealousy, bigotry, anger, depression, greed, hatred, lies, insecurity or obsessive worry, just to name a few. When fear is managed it is a vital, effective life saving response which is critical to self preservation.  It is vitally important to discern what appropriate and inappropriate fear is, as well managed fear can and will protect us, and unmanaged fear can destroy us.

What is our tendency to seek experience that amplifies our emotion, especially fear?  Why do we keep feeding this tendency while knowing that it takes us beyond the parameters of sanity?

Sociologist  Tim Hallett of Indiana University  asks: “How does an inkling of anger develop into a blind rage?  How does a little happiness evolve into bliss?...I argue that interaction serves both as a stimulus to evoke emotional responses, and as a conduit for emotional feedback and amplification. ” Emotional interactions left unmanaged seek the further interaction needed for further arousal and emotional amplification.  What becomes unmanaged emotion blinds us from possibility, and takes us beyond sane mental states.  In the words of Jon Stewart, “Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder.  To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.  Thank you."

Why do we succumb to self seeking insanity?  How do we resolve the conflicting, amplified emotions within us to restore sanity?

What do YOU think?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Evolution of the Interior Universe

All aspects of human civilization—language, art, aesthetics, technology, architecture, organizations, governments—depend upon essential human relationships for their evolution and expression.

Question: What is actually evolving?

Answer: The quality and quantity of relationships between people, assuming the form of shared meanings, agreements, relationships and groups of relationships. The cultural domain is inter-subjective, because it exists between subjects, yet is often not objectively identifiable. But the fact that these shared spaces of meaning are not objectively identifiable does not hinder us from experiencing them as being real. As such, the subjective world includes not only individual consciousness but the inter-subjective domain of relationships as well, making the interior universe much more substantial. These relationships are real, yet they exist in the internal universe.

What do YOU think?

For more:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Joseph Campbell's Labyrinth of Life

There is a pattern in life that goes like this:  if we are confronted with a problem, want to know ourselves, or are looking for particular meaning in life – and we take this into the contemplative space, hold the question in our mind, dwell on it before sleep each night – however we ask and continue to ask in silence - the answers to our questions will eventually come to us.  This pattern is age old, found in ancient texts such as the bible “ask and ye shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened to you,” Luke 11:9
"We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us - the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world." Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
I find these answers can come from anywhere, and often the most unexpected places: a spam email, a Facebook post, a passing remark from a stranger, and intimate disclosure from a loved one.  Whatever the source, the act of recognizing the answers we are given is recognition of enduring fulfillment.  We are recognizing spirit in action, energy in motion, Divine Action.  It can all occur in silence within us, or be expressed in creativity, but it is always the realization of the inner you.  And in this kind of heroic discovery you find that this inner you in fact is what governs your outer you.
What do YOU think?
Artwork by Cindy Hesse.  Many thanks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Rebel in YOU

"People are afraid, very much afraid of those who know themselves. They have a certain power, a certain aura and a certain magnetism, a charisma that can take out alive, young people from the traditional imprisonment....

The enlightened man cannot be enslaved - that is the difficulty - and he cannot be imprisoned.... Every genius who has known something of the inner is bound to be a little difficult to be absorbed; he is going to be an upsetting force. The masses don't want to be disturbed, even though they may be in misery; they are in misery, but they are accustomed to the misery. And anybody who is not miserable looks like a stranger.

The enlightened man is the greatest stranger in the world; he does not seem to belong to anybody. No organization confines him, no community, no society, no nation." -- Osho The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself Chapter 9

Have you known rebels that make you uncomfortable? Is there a rebel in you that makes others uncomfortable? Is the rebel in you able to break barriers (especially internal?) With what results?

What do YOU think?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Difference One Person Can Make

In 2004, Jeremy Gilley launched his Peace One Day movement with his documentary movie of the same name:

What difference, do YOU think, one person can make?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What Unites Us is Greater than What Divides Us

There is a phrase that I think is important, but is overused and well on its way to becoming a cliché and that is: “What unites us is greater than what divides us!”  President John F. Kennedy used it in his 1961 address to Canadian Parliament: “Geography has made us neighbors.  History has made us friends.  Economics has made us partners.  And necessity has made us allies.  Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.  What unites us is far greater than what divides us."
The current US President, Barack Obama also used the idea in his speech this past Martin Luther King Junior Day: “through times of great challenge and great change, we have remembered that fundamental American truth - that what unites us is always more powerful than what divides us.”
But the idea is not strictly American, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon has recently used it in two different speeches.  First, in April of 2009, in his address to the Alliance of Civilizations forum in Istanbul, “What unites is so powerful it could easily overcome what divides us.”  Next, in November of 2009 in his speech to the Summit of Religious and Secular Leaders on Climate Change in London, “We are united by the belief that what unites us as human beings is stronger than what divides us.”  
What is it that unites us all?  Is it greater than what divides us?  What do YOU think?
Artwork by Cindy Hesse.  Many thanks.