Eastern Perspectives on Compassion


Isis Pleiades has honored me with inviting me to host at the official launch of Spirit Park! So, at 10am SLT on Saturday Sep 21 I will be hosting a meditation followed by some discussion, in humble consideration of the International Weekend of Peace. Please join us to share in an exploration of the energy within ourselves and how we can transform it into compassion for all living beings.

I’m so thrilled to be back in SL and connecting with you all!

The entire weekend is full of events at this same location. The lineup is as follow:

Saturday Sept 21

6:45 am – Opening address form Isis Pleides
7 am – Rtada hosts Vedic chanting
8 am – Andre Farstrider hosts Starseed Connections
9 am – Kana Koray hosts New Hero Journey
10 am – Chraeloos hosts Perspectives on Chinese Medicine
11 am – Lyle and Sedona host Reincarnation and Immortality of the Soul
12 Noon – Elizabeth hosts The Oz Experience
1 pm to 8 pm – Live Music!
8 pm – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting

Sunday Sept 22

7 am – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting
8 am – Divali hosts I Ching Revelations
9 am – Andre Farstrider hosts Pleiadian Discussions
10:30 am – Regis Roubodoo hosts Inner Harmony
12 pm – The Companions Tea Ceremony/Tour
1-9 pm – Live Music
9 pm – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting

I do hope to see you there! Namaste _/\_

**

International Day of Peace Guided Meditation and Presentation
at Spirit Gate, 10-11am SLT Saturday Sept 21 2013

Welcome everyone to Spirit Park at Nirvana Island. Thank you all for coming to share and take part in our celebration of peace, love and harmony. Thank you to Isis who invited me to host this discussion today. I’m so happy to be here!

On this day of International Peace I present the following practices to you so that we may see that each and every one of us is connected. If one of us suffers, all of us suffer. If we show compassion to all living beings as much as we can, if we feel that we are even slightly responsible for the well-being of others, and that our actions affect everyone else, we would live in a much more peaceful world. Only through love can we achieve world peace. And by love I don’t mean the type of love where you can’t stand to be apart or are reliant on the other person for your happiness, but the kind of love that is unconditional and accepting regardless of the situation. If we can all open our minds and bodies to the feeling of pure love and pure energy and send that love out to all who need it, remembering to nurture ourselves at the same time, we can achieve true happiness and true peace.

In Buddhist practice, we commit to three things:
1. Not causing harm
2. Taking care of one another, and
3. Embracing the world just as it is

Pema Chodron says, “May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both – indeed hold it all – at the same time…”

With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to a practice called Tonglen. The idea is to breathe in pain, and breathe out relief. For this short meditation I will go into voice. I will also post the instructions here for those who do not have access to voice.

If you could get comfortable, whether sitting, standing, or laying. Regardless of what position you are in please make sure that your spine is aligned, so if you were sitting your tailbone would be drawn towards the front slightly, straightening your lower back, and your shoulders would be dropped out of your ears and resting in a line above your hips. Pull your chin in slightly, bowing it to your chest to make the back of your neck straight. Place your hands where they fall comfortably.

Now, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Let the sounds of the world surround you; listen to the birds, the air, the children playing outside. Notice your breathing getting calmer, deeper, and steadier. On your next breath in, try to feel it fill up your entire abdomen. Hold it for a moment. Let it out. Repeat… Take a deep breath in. Feel it fill up your entire abdomen. Hold it for a moment. Let it out. Try to see if you can make your in breath the same length as your out breath.

Now, following this in and out pattern, bring your attention to how you feel. If there is any sadness, anger, pain, or other strong feeling, don’t judge it. Instead of labelling it, just notice it. What does it feel like? Where do you feel it manifesting? Play with it a bit. Does the feeling move? …

Now, bring your mind to something that makes you very happy: a loved one, the beautiful Harvest Moon, the sound of the ocean. Whatever it may be, let the feeling of joy and love fill you up. Let it wash over the fear or pain. …

Let us together breathe in the fear and pain and sadness that we feel. When we breathe out, send the joy and love out to the world. At first, send it to someone close to you. Then try sending it to an acquaintance. Imagine this joy and love going out to all the people you know. Then imagine it going out to everyone sitting in this room. If you can, slowly spread it out every living creature. …

With every in breath we can pull in all the pain and sadness that we feel and with every out breath we can turn it into productive, compassionate energy. I’ll leave you in silence to practice this for a few minutes. …

Slowly bring your attention back to your body. When you’re ready, deepen your breath, wiggle your fingers and toes. If you’d I suggest drinking some water to help ground you.

~~

Norman Fischer talks about us all “swimming in an ocean of compassion.” He goes on to say that everything is compassion. If we can see that everything exists in this ocean of compassion, we can be free of suffering. The practice we just did is a good way to open ourselves to this ocean of compassion.

Tantric yoga is a path of union – yoking – between the one and the many. It is the path to liberation of the “self” – the entity that the ego insists is individual, but is merely a piece of the macrocosmic world. Where would we be without each other?

Tantra worships the divine dance of Shiva and Shakti, which we can safely relate to yin and yang in Chinese medicine. The breakdown works a bit differently, though, with Parama-shiva as the umbrella of ultimate reality. This is characterized by sac-cit-ananda, or Being (sat), Consciousness (cit), and Bliss (ananda).

David Bohm described reality as movement that occurs as “a series of interpenetrating and intermingling elements in different degrees of enfoldment all present together.” This accurately describes the tantric world-view, which only adds that this dynamic Being is conscious.

Tantric practitioners believe that all of us have this Consciousness within us. They believe it is located within the heart, the heart meaning here: “that which I truly am.” “[The heart] is not the body or the mind,” says Georg Feuerstein, “but pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss.” Remember here, that these terms don’t mean what they mean in ordinary western context, as in the ultimate being there is no differentiation between subject and object.

Shiva, is the aspect of the ultimate reality that is consciousness. It is pure subject rather than object; the notion of “I,” without a sense of “I am.” You may be familiar with the mantra for this aspect, located in the heart, “aham.” This sound means “I.” Shiva is often interpreted as the masculine aspect.

Shakti, is the second aspect of the ultimate Reality. It is creativity, energy. Shakti coexists with Shiva to create the universe. Shakti is considered to be the Bliss aspect of the ultimate Reality. Shakti is often interpreted as the feminine aspect.

We can view the union of Shiva and Shakti much like we do yin and yang: as a seemless continuity of Consciousness and Power within one and the same Reality. One cannot exist without the other, one exists within the other, and one manifests the other. This union is often viewed in the west as a sexual union between a couple, but we must keep in mind that this union is transcendental and therefore also asexual.

Shakti plays the active role, whereas Shiva plays the passive role. He manifests the absolute stillness of consciousness, and she expresses the unlimited potency of Power or Energy. “Together they symbolize the play of life and death, creation and annihilation, emptiness and form, dynamism and stasis. This interplay is found on all levels of cosmic existence because … it preexists the ultimate Reality itself.”

One of the first concepts that Eastern practitioners focus on is nonattachment. The Kula-Arnava-Tantra, an ancient Tantric text, reads: “nonattachment (nihsangha) alone is the means if liberation. All defects spring from attachment. Therefore one becomes happy by abandoning attachment and relying on Reality.”

Reality is seen as a continuous process in which everything is constantly in flux. This is mirrored in modern physics: “[current models show] that the properties of a particle can only be understood in terms of its activity – of its interaction with the surrounding environment – and that the particle, therefore, cannot be seen as an isolated entity, but has to be understood as an integrated part of the whole. … The fact that the mass of a particle is equivalent to a certain amount of energy means that the particle can no longer be seen as a static object, but has to be conceived as a dynamic pattern, a process involving the energy which manifests itself as the particle’s mass.”

Here we can see that everything, on both macro- and micro-cosmic levels, is continuously flowing and changing. By teaching nonattachment we learn that change is inevitable, and that only by letting go of our preconceptions and expectations will Reality reveal itself and all the Bliss that it contains.

Georg Feuerstein, in his book, “Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy” gives a typical path of the tantric practitioner, which you may be familiar with if you know of Patanjali:

1. Yama – moral restraint consisting of non-harming, truthfulness, chastity, and greedlessness, which are said to be valid on all levels, at all times, and everywhere.

2. Niyama – self-restraint through purity, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion to The Lord.

3. Asana – posture, which makes the practitioner immune against the onslaught from the pairs of opposites (dvandva), such as heat and cold or dry and moist.

4. Pranayama – lit. “Extension of the life energy” by means of breath control.

5. Pratyahara – sensory inhibition

6. Dharana – concentration, or fixing ones attention upon a selected object, be it a mantra or the graphic representation of a deity

7. Dhyana – meditation, which is a deepening of concentration marked by a progressive unification of consciousness

8. Samadhi – lit. “Putting together,” or ecstasy, which consists in ones complete merging with the object of meditation

The Sharada-Tilaka-Tantra adds five practices to the moral restraint category: compassion, rectitude, patience, stability, and moderate eating, and in place of greedlessness, cleanliness. Through all of these practices, the sages believe one can achieve self-transformation. In my own experience, through these practices and many more, one can achieve an understanding of our connectedness to each other. Through these practices we can move beyond our limited sense of the world – how we want it to be versus how it is – and find our true happiness. Once it’s been found, once Bliss or enlightenment has been reached, one can live in the ocean of compassion with all other beings, free of violence and hatred, free of shame or greed. Through compassion for others you will grow to love yourself, and through loving yourself you will be able to feel more compassion for others.

Just remember, the people that it is hardest to feel compassion for are the ones who likely need it the most. If someone is acting really rotten, just remind yourself that you don’t know what they are going through in life. Maybe your smile or small reassurance or understanding would turn their whole day around. Just knowing that someone cares, even a stranger, can be a very powerful thing.

You may hear me use the term Namaste quite often. This is an ancient term which means: my soul honours your soul. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I horn the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.

I will leave you with one final quote:
“The opposite if consumption isn’t thrift, it’s generosity. ” – Raj Patel

Thank you for your time today! May all of you soak in the ocean of compassion, whatever path may lead you there! Much love and peace to you all. Namaste! _/|\_

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The Nature of Reality – Conversation between Tagore and Einstein


The Nature of Reality – Conversation between Tagore and Einstein

(A transcript of the conversation between Rabindranath Tagore and Professor Albert Einstein on 14th July, 1930, at the latter’s residence in Kaputh)
Borrowed from: http://www.myspace.com/iamasmartmathguy/blog/251373954

Einstein : Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

Tagore : Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the Universe is human truth. I have taken a scientific fact to explain this. Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them, but matter may seem to be solid without the links in spaces which unify the individual electrons and protons. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us, as individuals, in a similar manner – it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

Einstein : There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe -the world as a unity dependent on humanity, and the world as a reality independent of the human factor.

Tagore :  When our universe is in harmony with man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty.

Einstein : This is the purely human conception of the universe.

Tagore : There can be no other conception. This world is a human world – the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. Therefore, the world apart from us does not exist; it is a relative world, depending for its reality upon our consciousness. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

Einstein : This is a realization of the human entity.

Tagore : Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals, it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know this truth as good through our own harmony with it.

Einstein : Truth, then, or beauty is not independent of man?

Tagore : No.

Einstein : If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

Tagore : No!

Einstein : I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

Tagore : Why not? Truth is realized through man.

Einstein : I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion.

Tagore : Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being, Truth the perfect comprehension of the Universal mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experiences, – through our illumined consciousness – how, otherwise, can we know Truth?

Einstein : I cannot prove that scientific truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man, there is also a truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter.

Tagore : Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human; otherwise whatever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth, at least the truth which is described as scientific and which only can be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute Truth which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a truth cannot belong to science. The nature of truth which we are discussing is an appearance, that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called Maya or illusion.

Einstein : So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual but of humanity as a whole.

Tagore : In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our individual minds and thus reach that comprehension of truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man.

Einstein : The problem begins whether truth is independent of our consciousness.

Tagore : What we call truth lies in the rational harmony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super-personal man.

Einstein : Even in our everyday life, we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the objects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is.

Tagore : Yes, it remains outside the individual mind but not the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess.

Einstein : Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which nobody can lack – no primitive beings even. We attribute to truth a superhuman objectivity, it is indispensable for us, this reality which is independent of our existence and our experience and our mind – though we cannot say what it means.

Tagore : Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact that the ultimate physical reality is nothing but a multitude of separate revolving centres of electric force, also belongs to the human mind. In the apprehension of truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The perpetual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science, philosophy, in our ethics. In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing. It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which sequence of things happens not in space but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind such conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of literature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth which eats that paper literature is absolutely non-existent, yet for man’s mind literature has a greater value of truth than the paper itself. In a similar manner if there be some truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to human mind, it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings.

Einstein : Then I am more religious than you are!

Tagore : My religion is in the reconciliation of the Super-personal Man, the universal human spirit, in my own individual being. This has been the subject of my Hibbert Lectures, which I have called “The Religion of Man.”

Source:
(Published in the January, 1931, issue of Modern Review)

The Will of a Particle


The Will of a Particle. Originally from taoareyou.com:

One of the more controversial aspects of quantum mechanics is the probability factor.  Basically, the properties of particles, such as position and momentum, are not known with certainly but rather estimated through complex mathematical formulas.  Einstein took issue with this, resulting in the famous quote, “I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.”

Of course Einstein was being metaphorical, since I don’t think he was professing his faith in a specific creator, but he was a man that did hold  beliefs.  He believed that all things have order and predictability.  To him, relying on probability just meant that somewhere, some understanding was missing.  Unfortunately, he died before he could find out what that was.  Even today, that search has never been completed.

When I think about this subject, I cannot approach it with the highly trained mathematical mind, but instead, I begin my visualization from a super-massive perspective rather than a sub-atomic one.  We look out at the universe.  We see our solar system, planets orbiting the sun, distant stars within the galaxy, other galaxies, galaxy clusters and so on.  Imagine if our consciousness was one that was looking down at our universe in the same manner we examine molecules.  This consciousness would likely be able to make predictions about the galaxies’ movements, and perhaps identify even smaller atoms, what we call solar systems.  Stars would be like tiny nuclei, planets would be like electrons zipping around them.  Then this consciousness would look deeper and note even smaller particles that make up the planets.

Us.  We are after all, technically a part of the planet.  Every piece of us was at sometime before us being used in a different capacity.  So how would the huge consciousness predictour movements?  What mathematical formula or principle governs our choices and our actions?    To it, would birth and death seem like parts of the Earth’s surface constantly bubbling in some chaotic manner?  Could it understand the meaning of societies or would it see it as some quantum flux?  What about our thoughts and emotions?  Would it even be able to see that we have our own sub-atomic world of wonder?

Depending on perspective, we are particles.  We like to think that we have no predictable formulas that apply to us.  At best our actions can be broken down into probabilities.  A profiler can look at different known factors and make predictions but they still cannot with certainty know in advance what we think or do.  That is our individual will.

But does will apply to our particles observed in quantum mechanics?  We have consciousness, an electron doesn’t.  Right?  This brings to mind Aristotle’s Metaphysics where he surmised, “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”.  Electrons are particles that are part of who we are.  Still, like the electron, we are also tiny particles in the greater body of the Universe.  Yet we are conscious and make decisions that are at best a probability.

So is there a missing mathematical understanding that will link the world of quantum physics to the physics Einstein knew?  Or is quantum probability the foundation of consciousness?