Friday, January 22, 2016

Fakhr al-Din Iraqi - The first step

The first step in love
is losing your head.

After the petty ego
you then give up your life
and bear the calamity.

With this behind you, proceed:
Polish the ego's rust
from the mirror
of your self


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rumi - In the realm of Lovers

In the realm of lovers
There is only one beloved
In this realm of lovers
There is no coming nor going

Lovers wander
Looking for each other

There is no need for this wandering
The soul of lovers Lives in a place beyond time

The one beloved
Searching for herself in the other

Let us become passionate lovers
Lovers in life
Lovers in death
Lovers in the tomb
Lovers on the day of resurrection
Lovers in paradise
Lovers forever

If you have not known this love
don’t count your life as lived
On the Day of Judgment
it will not be counted

There is a bazaar
Where love is traded for free

There is a river of wine
Where drunken merriment knows no rest
Where burning passion knows no repose
Where billions of galaxies dance
Where restless lovemaking
Gives birth to universe upon universe

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jnana Yoga - The Way of Knowledge

Jnana Yoga uses the intellect as a tool to understand that our true Self is behind and beyond our mind. Along with Bhakti Yoga (Devotion), Jnana is among the best and direct approaches for becoming aware of the eternal Self (God / Sat Chit Ananda / Existence Consciousness Peace)

It is, however, a mistake to think the Source can be found with the intellect alone. For the purpose of Self-discovery, Jnana Yoga probes the nature of the Self through the question: “Who am I?”. Thus Jnana Yoga may be called the ‘Quest for the Self’ or the 'Inquiry into Who we Are’. Shankara and, more recently Ramana Maharshi are the classic authorities concerning Jnana Yoga.

Who practices Jnana Yoga?

Some seekers already have a strong belief in God and require no other system than to love God with all their heart, which is the main path of Religion and of Bhakti Yoga.

Others also have belief, but still feel a need for a more systematic approach and are drawn to Raja,  Ashtanga  or  Kriya  Yoga.

Some seekers feel they need to do good and self-less deeds, which is also a path of Religion as well as Karma Yoga.

And there are those who, at times, feel the need for more outside assistance, making them good candidates for Religion, Shaktipat and Siddha Yoga.

Finally, there are those seekers who want to believe but have a greater need to understand - seekers who have lots of questions and need solid answers. These seekers are the best candidates for Jnana Yoga or introspection.

Jnana Yoga is not alien to other systems or religions. One could say that the beginnings of Jnana Yoga are found in Vedanta, the philosophy of Vedic Scripture. These writings are even older than the Bible and there are scholars who see the origin of all major religions in these 'revelations of Truth’. The close relationship between the Bible and Vedanta was also pointed out by Ramana Maharshi, who once said that the whole Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements: “I am that I AM" and "Be still and know that I am God.”

Is Jnana Yoga a mere intellectual exercise? Definitely not.

Practically all questions may be answered intellectually, but not the final questions like: Who or what is God? Or, Who or what is the Self? The answer to Who/What is the Self? must be the Self by It-Self. The answer to Who is God? must be God by Him\She\Itself.

As a first result of Jnana Yoga, we can intellectually realize that God’s nature must be pure Beingness or pure Awareness, and that at the center of our Being is pure Beingness (the real Self). But to know the Self we must Be the Self; to know Beingness, we must be Beingness (pure Awareness). The Jnana Yogi seeks this actual direct experience, which can’t be compared with an intellectual exercise.

In order to experience God’s omnipresence, we turn to what Jnana Yoga and Religion have taught all along:that we should not produce a single thought (Psalm: "Be still and know that I am God").

The Jnana Yogi meditates by concentrating on the answer to the question: Who am I? Or by simply hanging on to the first of all thoughts, which is: I or the sense/knowledge 'I AM’ / 'I Exist’.

This may sound strange and egotistical, but every thought we produce is attached to “I”. Thus we may say or think: I see you, I do this, I love God, etc. First comes I, then everything else. If we concentrate on I until the thought can be held, then we are already at the root of all problems and errors. In time, even this thought will disappear leaving nothing else but pure Awareness: the omnipresence of God.

It should be quite clear that one can continue to exist without thinking, and that such a thoughtless condition must be possible. However, if one simply tries to stop thinking - just for a moment - we encounter the resistance of our ego. But since the ego cannot consist of anything more than thoughts, it can be weakened by meditation on a Mantram, which for a Jnana Yogi is simply I or the sense/knowledge 'I AM’ / 'I Exist’.

Like Hatha and Raja Yogis, Jnana Yogis also acknowledge the relationship between breathing and thinking. However, they have found that breathing slows automatically through the concentration on the I-AM, and so less importance is placed on pranayama exercises.

The best promise of the Jnana Yoga system is the possible culmination into Sahaja Samadhi/Self Realization when the natural condition of the Self continues even during regular activities, free of worries and anxiety.

Through persistent probing, fixing our attention on the source of our Being, we regain our real Self; we remember who we are. The inquiry, as the result of practicing Jnana Yoga, leads us towards clear Awareness of THAT which we are by removing our attention from that which we are not.

Yoga Vasistha - The Self

Equip yourself with such an attitude, O Rama,
and remain unattached,
endowed with the spirit of renunciation,
and with the realisation that whatever you do
or you experience, is an offering to the omnipresent being,
Brahman (The Self).
Then you will realise the truth,
and that is the end of all doubts.
That is the supreme state, it is the guru of all gurus,
it is the Self, it is the light
that illumines the world from within.
It is the reality in all substances,
that which endows the substances
with their essential characteristic.
The notion of ‘world’ arises only
when the spirit of enquiry is absent.
But, 'I’ am before the world was.
How then do the notions of world, etc., bind me?
He/She who has thus realised the truth is free
from all beginnings and all ends.
He/She who is thus equipped with the spirit of non-duality
(as if he/she is in deep sleep, though awake)
is not disturbed, though actively engaged in life.
Such a person is liberated here and now. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Matt Kahn - Loneliness is a bridge

"Loneliness is a bridge
between feeling left out in the world
and being one with all that is.
When loneliness arises,
it invites you to slow down
and deeply experience exactly how it feels,
without an interest in imagining
what is missing from your life.
While it may first seem like
the heartbreak of personal despair,
such feelings equally have the power
to reveal an unsuspecting communion
with your true eternal nature.
It is here where nothing is actually needed
for you to be happy, peaceful, and free.
This is by far the most threatening realization
any personal boundary may encounter,
but the most liberating insight
you were born to explore." 


Monday, January 18, 2016

Rolf Jacobsen - The Silence Afterwards

The Silence Afterwards
Try to be done now
with deliberately provocative actions and sales statistics,
brunches and gas ovens,
be done with fashion shows and horoscopes,
military parades, architectural contests, and the rows of triple traffic lights.
Come through all that and be through
with getting ready for parties and eight possibilities
of winning on the numbers,
cost of living indexes and stock market analyses,
because it is too late,
it is way too late,
get through with and come home
to the silence afterwards
that meets you like warm blood hitting your forehead
and like thunder on the way
and the sound of great clocks striking
that make the eardrums quiver,
because words don't exist any longer,
there are no more words,
from now on all talk will take place
with the voices stones and trees have.

The silence that lives in the grass
on the underside of every blade
and in the blue spaces between the stones.
The silence
that follows shots and birdsong.
The silence
that pulls a blanket over the dead body
and waits in the stairs until everyone is gone.
The silence
that lies like a small bird between your hands,
the only friend you have.

Stephen Levine - RIP

 Teacher, writer and wise man Stephen Levine died this afternoon. His book, "Healing Into Life and Death," touched me deeply when I read it in the early '90's. His compassion for our human journey softened me to my own struggles. Prayers for his wife Ondrea and all who loved him- his absence is a loss, but his presence will continue to ripple outward from his time here with us all. ~Oriah