(click on the combination lock above to unlock your limitless heart potential)

Develop the confidence that there is something deeper within

and this confidence will unlock the secret hidden by our mundane life to reveal a heart jewel of infinite beauty, compassion and wisdom

We are already the ulitmate peace and joy which we continually seek.

Rest in the confidence of that and prepare for the divine self revelation

that you and the universe have always been one and the same

Introduction

It is said that all cliches contain deep truths. For instance, many of us have been told that we have unlimited potential and perhaps we thought it was simply a story to encourage us to try harder – little do we know how literal this cliche is. Both modern scientists and ancient sages are converging to the same conclusion; at the root of the multitude of problems plaguing humanity is the fact that we have infinite potential but we are asleep at the wheel of life. Our ever-deepening crisis today is one of forgetting our inherent unity with the externally perceived universe. We have a deep fear of mortality which arises from an equally deep sense of alienation from the “external” world and its inhabitants. That alienation leads us to fear death and live with the continuous suppressed anxiety surrounding our mortality, to grasp at objects in our attempt to fill an illusory, perceived void,  to build up defensive shells that separate us from our environment and to distant ourselves with groups of people we feel threatened by.

We have been told stories which we now take as our own narratives – stories that leave us perplexed and disenchanted. As the old guard who hold onto the last vestiges of these antiquated stories begin to die out, they are replaced by a new generation of thinkers who dare to question them. Indeed, they dare to look at the storyteller itself, guided by the intution that only by looking at our mind who constructs the story, can we truly transcend the dualism that has trapped us into a harmful narrative that lay at the heart of the self-destruction of humanity.

The new narrative no longer excludes the subject and treats this subject and the universe as one and the same. It offers a paradigm in which we can discover the universe that lay within us and us within the outside universe. Awakening to ourselves as what we really are is the beginning of the process of authentic personal and social healing. When we are able to manifest wholly integrated, we will begin our journey to unleash our incredible latent potential as human beings. It is the profound, non-verbal, non-intellectual and indescribable experience that melts all separation between perceiver and the external world it believes lay outside of it. It is first step to liberation.

Is there a real you?

Movements such as Anonymous and Occupy are stirrings of awakening in modern times

As long as we are not awakened to the jewel within, we are like ghosts inhabiting a strange and eerie landscape, one in which we are alienated from our own nature. Our lives become a normalized schitzophrenia, a continuing self-created fiction in which underlying tensions are always bubbling up from the ether, signs telling us to fall back to our natural state.

New Scientific Models are Revealing our Unlimited Potential

Consciousness is a fundamental aspect of nature, not depending on any material structure for its existence. The function of the body-brain system is to localise and restrict conscious perception to the space-time locus of the physical body. As such, the brain modulates and limits conscious perception, this being why, in ordinary states of consciousness, mental states correlate so well with brain states.

- Bernardo Kastrup

Today, modern science stands at the precipice of a paradigm shift in uncovering the unlimited human potential found within each of us. These discoveries will fundamentally reshape our entire society – from how we view ourselves, to how we govern our societies, how we teach our children and how we take care of each other. They are nothing less than earth-shattering, placing the power of the entire universe right in the heart of every human being and revealing to us the wonder-filled nondual nature of our very human existence. Most of the brave new scientific explorers in this field also acknowledge that what they are uncovering is nothing new, but has been taught in many ancient spiritual traditions. They are only recasting these ancient wisdoms in a modern cultural paradigm.

Author and artificial neural network expert Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, is leading the charge to promote a new view of consciousness that allows science and spirituality to coexist in harmony. In it, he champions the conclusions of researchers such as neuroscientist Allan Snyder and proposes what is effectively an ancient view dressed in modern garb – that each of us is the conscious universe distilled into a local copy. We are at once the universal or “cosmic” consciousness and a unique individual consciousness at the same time. How can this be?  In his model, the brain is a limiting filter that actually restricts the overwhelming power of consciousness. Without it, our consciousness would be far more expansive. This immediately raises the first question – why would nature evolve us to become less conscious? Kastrup  explains why the brain evolved to perform such counterintuitive tasks – to provide us with a significant survival advantage. In his work designing artificial neural networks, he has consistently found that constriction of  
huge datasets is necessary for artificial neural networks to do any meaningful activity. If this more equals less approach taken by brains is true, one way to test it is to bypass certain brain mechanisms and look for signs of more expansive behavior. Historically, most, if not all, methods for achieving non-ordinary states of consciousness seem to do precisely that: To enable expanded perception and understanding byreducing brain activity. A number of observations are consistent with this theory:

  • Many traditional Yogic breathing practices reduce brain activity through the constriction of blood vessels that results from hyperventilation
  • Military pilots undergoing G-force induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) – which forces blood out of the brain, thereby reducing its activity – are known to report transcendent narratives similar to near-death experiences
  • Teenagers worldwide play a dangerous, potentially fatal game involving partial strangulation in order to ‘trip’ without drugs.
  • Psychedelic substances have always been assumed to produce ‘hallucinations’ by stimulating brain activity but recent studies by Carhart-Harris et. al show that it actually reduces brain activity
  • Nobel Prize laureates  such as Francis Crick and Kary Mullis have attributed their prize-winning insights to such non-ordinary states of consciousness;
  • Meditation, ritual prayer, and sensory deprivation are likely associated to decreased brain activity and lead to broader insights

Kastrup concludes:

Specific reductions in brain activity seem to consistently lead to a broadened and crisper perception and understanding of reality. The hypothesis that the brain is a mechanism to constrain and localise mind is entirely consistent with this: Reduction of brain activity impairs the filter/localisation mechanism, allowing one to temporarily and partially escape its entrapment and come closer to perceiving reality as it truly is.

Kastrup further believes that scientists investigating nature can have broader and more authentic inquiry into the true nature of reality through an expansion of their own state of consciousness. This suggestion goes far greater than the traditional scientific transcendence of physical limitations through the use of instrumentation – it is a transcendence of the investigators own brain-based mental filters. To see and understand reality for what it truly is – to see the original, not the flawed copy – we need to temporarily escape the limitations imposed on us by biology and culture.

A February 2013 article in Popular Science by writer Adam Piore entitled When Brain Damage unlocks the Genuis Within provides strong evidience to support this new paradigm. Piore follows exciting new neuroscientific research into savants, in particular those who show dramatic change after some form of neurological damage. One of those interviewed is Dr. Bruce Miller, director of the UC Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco.

Dr. Miller is an award winning behavioral neurologist who studies brain and behavior relationships as well as the genetic and molecular underpinnings of disease. One of his main areas of focus is the study of frontotemporal dementia and when the son of a patient pointed out his father suddenly took a strong interest in painting, Dr. Miller began to identify other patients who also displayed increased new found talents correlated to further neurological degeneration. Dr. Miller soon discovered that there was another population who displayed these characteristics – savants. Research  literature dating back to the 1970’s showed signs of left-hemispheric damage in autistic savants with prodigious artistic, mathematical, and memory skills. Miller decided to find out precisely where in the left hemisphere
of regular savants these defects existed. His research subject was a five-year-old autistic savant able to reproduce intricate scenes from memory on an Etch-a-Sketch. By using Single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT), Miller found abnormal inactivity in the anterior temporal lobes of the left hemisphere—exactly the results he found in his dementia patients.

Then there is the story of Derek Amato. While attempting to catch a football on the side of a swimming pool, Amato miscalculated and fell to the concrete, smashing his head against it with a spine tingling thud. He suffered a concussion that was accompanied by delusions, dizzy spells and slept immediately afterwards almost continuously for days.

When he awoke, he went to his friends house, who had a makeshift music studio, found a keyboard and was drawn to sit down in front of it. What happened next was beyond normal explanation. Never been trained in music before, he began to play beautiful music effortlessly. He played for 6 hours that day and brought tears to his friends eyes.

Surprised by his newfound ability, Amato went home and searched for others who experienced this strange phenomena. He found others:

  • Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon in upstate New York who was struck by lightning while talking to his mother from a telephone booth and also became obsessed with classical piano and taught himself how to play and compose music
  • Orlando Serrell, after being hit in the head with a baseball at age 10, could name the day of the week for any given date
  • Alonzo Clemons, after a bad fall at age three left quickly developed a talent for sculpting intricate replicas of animals

Finally, he found a retired world expert Darold Treffert who would diagnose his unusual trasnsformation as savant syndrome – a condition of mental impairment accompanied by extraordinary other skills. Amato’s condition is acquired savant and such abilities is the subject of research of famed Australian neuroscientist, Allan Snyder, director of the Center for the Mind.  Snyder is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and is a scientists scientist winning awards and accolades such as:

  • Received the world’s “foremost prize in communication and information technology”, the Marconi International Prize, in New York city in December 2001
  • Recipient of its 2001 Clifford Paterson Prize for “contributions which benefit mankind.”
  • His discoveries in brain science are hailed in the prestigious journal Nature as “breaking a 19th century mindset”
  • His advances in physics are described in Science magazine as a “giant step forward” and featured in the Economist
  • Was a Guggenheim Fellow at Yale University’s School of Medicine
  •  Royal Society Research Fellow at the Physiology Laboratories of Cambridge University
  • Graduate of Harvard University, M.I.T. and University College London

Since 1999, Snyder has been focusing his research at the University of Sydney in Australia on the brains incredible array of non-conscious abilities and how we might unlock them. Dr. Snyder believes that the human mind has evolved to become fast at the familar rather than think about everything slowly for novel solutions. This mechanism, while great for survival cuts us off from a whole host of observations about our reality which certain kinds of neurological damage, ironically taps into. His study of savant syndrome has the aim of producing the same outstanding abilities in people with undamaged brains.

In the May 2012 Neuroscience Letters, Snyder published a paper entitled Brain stimulation enables the solution of an inherently difficult problem in which Snyder used the famous 9 Dot Puzzle. The Abstract of the paper reads:

Certain problems are inherently difficult for the normal human mind. Yet paradoxically they can be effortless for those with an unusual mind.We discovered that an atypical protocol for non-invasive brain stimulation enabled the solution of a problem that was previously unsolvable. The majority of studies over the last century find that no participants can solve the nine-dot problem – a fact we confirmed. But with 10 min of right lateralising transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), more than 40% of participants did so. Specifically, whereas no participant solved this extremely difficult problem before stimulation or with sham stimulation,14 out of 33 participants did so with cathodal stimulation of the left anterior temporal lobe together with anodal stimulation of the right anterior temporal lobe. This finding suggests that our stimulation paradigm might be helpful for
 mitigating cognitive biases or dealing with a broader class of tasks that, although deceptively simple, are nonetheless extremely difficult due to our cognitive makeup. These results were consistent with  test results from another study entitled Savant-like numerosity skills revealed in normal people by magnetic pulses that Snyder obtained in which subjects guessed the number of dots of a very dense cluster of dots occurring on a computer screen in front of them in a time period of 1.5 seconds – too short to count the number of dots. Again, pre and post magnetic pulse stimulation produced dramatic differences.

Treffert has looked at Snyder’s 9 Dot study and finds the results of the experiment compelling while Snyder thinks Amato’s musical prodigy adds to mounting evidence that untapped human potential lies in everyone and accessible with the right tools. Snyder believes that Amato has a “literal” experience of music—he hears individual notes. Miller’s dementia patients have technical artistic skill because the neurological damage has fundamentally removed the normal filters of the brain – they are simply drawing what they see: details now visible by the unfiltered brain. Snyder’s results are consistent with Kastrup’s theory that temporarily removing the filters inherent in the brain allow the mind to manifest in a more expansive dimension, enabling the solution of problems it would normally have difficulty with.

Awakening Consciousness Around the World

 

 

If you think awakening to your true nature is a myth or beyond you, then Buddha at the Gas Pump is a rich online website resource that shares the awakening experience of countless other ordinary people to inspire your own awakening. Host Rick Archer interviews the awakening experience of ordinary people and shares his library of interviews freely to aid in the global transformation of consciousness.

Archer writes:

People everywhere are undergoing a shift to an Awakened state of consciousness which is transforming their understanding of themselves and the world. For some, this shift has been abrupt and dramatic. For others, it has been so gradual that they may not have realized it has occurred. Such shifts, or “awakenings,” are not new: Christ spoke of the “Kingdom of Heaven within,” Buddhists speak of Nirvana, Zen masters of Satori, Hindus of Moksha, but these traditions generally regard these states as rare and difficult to attain.

Many people are therefore skeptical of claims of higher states of consciousness. They find it hard to believe that apparently ordinary friends and neighbors might be experiencing something extraordinary. Maybe they expect Enlightenment to look as remarkable on the outside as it is reputed to be on the inside.

This show will attempt to dispel skepticism and misconceptions by week after week, allowing otherwise ordinary people to relate their experience of spiritual awakening. The terminology is tricky, because there are no universally agreed upon definitions to describe this experience. Also, enlightenment is not something that an individual person “gets”. It’s not even something that the mind can grasp. It’s an awakening to that which contains the mind and all other things. So it’s not surprising that language is inadequate to convey it.

Perhaps those listening to these interviews will become convinced, as I am, that genuine and permanent spiritual awakenings are not just a pipe dream, but are real and are becoming relatively commonplace. Feel free to pose and discuss questions brought up on the show, both in this blog and in it’s related chat group. I’ll invite interview guests to join so that you may chat with them directly.

Guest List (Click to watch interview)

A Teaching by Maharshi

If there be a goal to be reached
it cannot be permanent
the goal must already be there

We seek to reach the goal with our ego
but the goal exists before the ego

What is in the goal
is even part of our birth
to the birth of the ego

Because we exist
the ego appears to exist too

If look on the self as the ego
then we become the ego
if it’s the mind, we become the mind
if it’s the body, we become the body

It is the thought which builds up sheaths
in so many way

The shadow on the water is found to be shaking
can anyone stop the shaking of the shadow?

If it should cease to shake,
you would not notice the water
but only the light

Simliarly, to take no notice of the ego and its activities
but only see the light behind the ego
is the I-thought
the true I is the self

Realization is already there
The state free from thought
is the only real state

There is no such action as realization

Is there anyone who is not realizing the self?

Does anyone deny his own existence?

Speaking of realization,
it implies two selves
the one to realize
the other to be realized

What is not already realized
is sought to be realized

Once we admit our existence
how is it that we do not know the self?

Oh, because of the thoughts, the mind!
Quite so!

It is the mind that stands between and veils our happiness

How do we know that we exist?

If you say because of the world around
then how do you know you existed in deep sleep?

How to get rid of the mind

Is it the mind that wants to kill itself?
The mind cannot kill itself!

So your business is to find the real nature of the mind
then you will know that there is no mind

When the self is sought
the mind is nowhere

Abiding in the self
one need not worry about the mind

How to get rid of fear

What is fear?
It is only a thought

If there is anything beside the self
there is reason to fear

Who sees the second?

First the ego rises and sees objects as external

If the ego does not rise
the self alone exists
and there is no second

For anything external to oneself
implies the seer within

Seeking it there
will arise no doubt no fear,
not only fear, all other thoughts
centered around the ego will dissappear one with it

This method seems to be quicker
than the usual one of cultivating qualities alleged necessary for salvation

All bad qualities center round the ego

When the ego is gone
realization results by itself

There are neither good nor bad qualities in the self
the self is free of all qualities

Qualities pertain to the mind only

It is beyond quality

If there is unity
there will be duality

The numeral one gives rise to other numbers

The truth is neither 1 nor 2
it is as it is!

The difficulty is to be in the thought-free state

Reality is simply the loss of the ego

Destroy the ego by seeking its identity

Because the ego is no entity
it will automatically and reality will shine forth by itself

This is the direct method
whereas all other methods are done
only retaining the ego

In those powers there arise so many doubts
and the eternal question remains to be tackled finally
but in this method the final question is the only one
and it is raised from the beginning

No sadhanas are necessary for engaging in this quest

Sri Ramana Maharshi

 A Student’s Encounter with Maharshi

“Have you seen god?”, I asked and if you have can you enable me to see him? I’m willing to pay any price even my life but your part of the bargain is that you must show me god.  “No”, he answered I cannot show you god or enable you to see god because god is not an object that can be seen god is the subject he is the seer.

Don’t concern yourself with objects that can be seen find out who the seer is.  He also added “You alone are god” as if to rebuke me for looking for a god who is outside and apart from me. At the conclusion of his words, he looked at me and as he gazed into my eyes, my whole body began to tremble and shake. A thrill of nervous energy shot through my body.  My nerve endings felt as if they were dancing and my hair stood on end.  Within me, I became aware of the spiritual heart.  This is not the physical heart it is rather, the source and support of all that exists.

Within this heart I saw or felt something like a closed bud it was very shiny and bluish. With the Maharshi looking at me and with myself in a state of inner silence I felt this bud open and bloom. I use the word “bud” but this is not an exact description It would be more correct to say that something budlike opened and bloomed within me in the heart. And when I say “heart” I don’t mean that the flowering was located in a particuliar place in the body. This heart, this heart of my heart was neither inside my body nor out of it. I can’t give a more exact description of what happened – a student of Maharshi

About Maharshi’s Atma Vishira Technique

The keystone of the Maharshi’s teaching is his self-enquiry or Atma Vishira – his infallible, direct path to self-realization coupled with total devotional surrender to god self or guru. Broadly speaking, Sri Bhagavan tells us that the immortal self, or Satchitanada or pure existence-consciousness-awareness-bliss is already there inherent in each of us. The difficulty is we do not recognize “that”, our “true nature” or essential “I-amness” because it is veiled and obscured by many latent tendencies and habits of the egotistic mind which acts as a mirror and project a dream of the world, the body and the mind. Our identification of the mind and body is the chief reason for our failure to know ourselves as we really are. Through persistent self-enquiry, devotion and surrender of the egotistic mind to god or the satguru in the spiritual heart this obscuration and identification is gradually and gracefully removed until the immortal self is realized. That is the full power of absolute consciousness and is known. The world is seen as real because the substrate is perceived to be as Brahmin.

Teaching by Maharshi

There is no greater mystery than this: Ourselves being the reality, we seek to gain reality. We think that there is something hiding our reality and it must be destroyed before the reality is gained. It is ridiculous! A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now. So, it is a great game of pretending? Yes! In Yoga Vishista it is said what is real is hidden from us and what is false is revealed as true.We are actually experiencing the reality only. Still, we do not know it. Is it not a wonder of wonders? The quest “who am I” is the axe with which to cut off the ego –  Sri Ramana Maharshi

Averi and the Unknown

Words from the Author

The more I merge in the “I-am-that-I-am”, the deeper that I see I am beyond the “I-me and the I-self”

- Saraswathi

“Averi and the Unknown”  is a book written by Saraswathi, whose Indian name means  “The Light Of Wisdom’
What is aware of beingness? I am aware of my own beingness – I am even beyond that. What’s aware even the expansive love? We are there even prior to the most sublime experience of bliss.

Saraswathi, interviewed on Conscious TV

There is no mother, no father, no brother, no sister, no husband, no wife, no child. There’s noone to support you. There’s only you.

- Saraswathi

We can be permanently in a state of love. We’re never in judgment of them; they are a reflection of you. We’re never in demand of someone else. Nobody is required to complete you. Nobody has to tell you they love you because you love yourself. When others feel your love, their layers begin to shed.

The (thinking) mind has this incredible power and hold over us, to deny even flashes of awakened purity when they come. It’s so overwhelming for the (thinking) mind to come home to the heart, that within a millisecond of such recognition, we may retreat to our old way of seeing. In her life experiences, Saraswithi glimpsed the power of this habitual energy with people in her life. it gave her the insight that there is the potential that at least some of those in mental hospitals may be in the process of awakening and coming to their authentic self and their outward manifestation of disturbance is a reflection of the inner battle between old habits and the authentic self  spontaenously arising. The walls become so dense and close in around this experience. Whether we are institutionalized or walking freely outside of them, we’re all in delusions to hide the purity of oneself to oneself.

Hope is the biggest illusion. We’re never inhabiting ourselves when there is hope so be hopeless and really live.

The Storyline

Two stories come together

Story 1 – A young psychiatric patient, known as Lili, is having a profound effect on both fellow inmates and medical staff alike. As she begins to unravel the truth of her hospital admittance, she persuades her sceptical psychiatrist, Katherine Kolinsky, to begin a search for Truth in her own self.
Story 2 – Thousands of miles away in eastern Canada a young fisherman, Averi, is about to be capsized, both in the sea and in the heart. At first troubled and resistant, Averi surrenders at last to the inner journey, coming to see through the loving guidance of his friend and confidante, Nyx, the Reality of his own existence.
As Truth unfolds and falsity is wiped clean, so it becomes clear that Averi and Lili are not separate, that the former lives in the mind of the latter, an alter ego and a signpost to Self-recognition. It shall take the delicate unpicking of a densely woven tapestry to cut through the layers of ‘psychosis’ and delusion. Only then shall Katherine the psychiatrist be convinced that ‘madness’ is not all as it seems.

Averi and the Unknown

Mandi Solk, and the Joy of No Self

 Self-Enquiry is just a slow way to awakening,  it’s the slow cooking method of awakening.
If things come up and disturb you, find out where it comes from and resonate with it. Look for it and see where it is. The present holds the secret but how do we find the treasure in the present. Where is this “I”? We have been mixing it with a body but it is actually pure being. Initially, there is a lot of thoughts but after some time there is a shift. The center of gravity shifts from thought dominance to presence. Imagine you are a big stingray and they are all having nibbles and tickling you. Allow your thoughts to nibble at you. There’s only one thing that can stop this and that is not wanting this enough. It becomes an intense aspiration and nothing else matters. All mundane experiences become appearances that begin as concepts, then appear then dissappear. We learn to let go of these and focus on the sole aspiration of this intense aspiration to recognize what we are and what we are not.

Mandi Solk talks about the difference between Awakening and Liberation

Dr Robert Forman ‘Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be’

We have to let go of our fantasies and come down to what this human life really is. Enlightenment isn’t something we can know to hope for; you can only hope for that which is in  your known reference frame. The kind of shift is not something we can ever predict. It’s not a shift in the content of life, but the background chatter – who’s holding or engaging the content of one’s life. We are the silence, the open presence, not the thoughts which appear within it. We are living the life of 2 beings – one does things and the other is this presence watching and observing. We may experience the presence, the silence but if we expect fundamental outward transformation, we may be dissappointed. This is another false expectation. By exploring his own 39 year experience of spiritual enlightenment, Dr. Forman shows that it’s indeed possible to create harmony between real life and spirit. He describes the necessity of “embracing the human messiness” that is either ignored or outright rejected by most spiritual traditions.  

 Dr. Robert Forman on Conscious TV

Consciousness is Asleep

If we are to awaken consciousness this presumes that, in some way we really aren’t conscious. Our consciousness is asleep and must be awoken. In other words, there is something about our reality that we are not cognizant of This sleep is obviously not the conventional night time sleep, it is a deeper, much more subtle type of sleep, one that in fact happens while we are in our normal “awake” state It is a strange kind of sleep in which we become dead to the wonder of the universe the wonder of appearances as they magically arise and the world appears, instead to be dull, depressing, disconnected, repetitive, uninspired One way to tell if you’ve been infected by this strange sleep is if you get easily bored Boredom is an indication that you are not able to be present to the universe as it is constantly communicating itself to you 24/7, nonstop, throughout your entire life Indeed, it is not to be able to see that the “universe” of which we speak is not just “outside” of you but includes you yourself This boredom is an energy that urges you to leave your present experience in search of another to replace it There is an inability to be here and now and a constant search for novelty and when that which was new becomes old the cycle perpetuates This constant searching is based on a delusion, a manufactured story that one appearance is superior and preferred over another and this masquerades a blindness that fails to recognize that behind all appearances is the same universal energy the same one that is, in fact what makes you, the observer As long as this delusion manifests one becomes restless with the present moment and jumps from one appearance in search of another There is a feeling of boredom, restlessness and a feeling of excitement of another thought or concept and then the desire to escape this moment to a future one Underlying ones actions in such a constructed world is an ongoing but subconscious search for “home” and as one continues to subconsciously search for “home” one’s search, in fact continually takes one away from it What happened to that wonder that you spontaneously manifested when you were a child? What happened to the feeling of the sacred? What happened to not having any sense of separation? Remember asking these questions? We have all embarked on a lifetime search for home yet with each novelty we occupy our time with we are filling our spiritual body with junk food…donuts, chips, soda pop and though it fills us temporarily it doesn’t have the proper nutrition our innermost nature craves We must stop and check to see if what we are doing with our lives really addresses our innermost needs What are these needs? They can be distilled into a few basic questions that we asked as soon as we were able to but we have long since forgotten…

Reminding ourselves of the Preciousness of Life

Life is the most precious gift of all We know that intuitively We know that the greatest loss of all is the loss of a life We see this in the news and we know it personally when it happens to a loved one Life is puzzling, a great mystery We don’t know why we are here We don’t know how it is that we have come to have consciousness, to be able to experience everything the way we do Why should I be? Why should I be able to think consciously? To speak? To sense the world? Why should physical laws take the form they do? Why is there birth? Why is there death? Why is there life? Life endsAs we are born our fate is sealed so shall we die These 3 facts about life every human has come to know since leaving the womb Yet, though we may know we do not appreciate we are no longer in a place of wonder as when we first left the womb

When we are too close to the trees, we cannot see the forest

We live in a time when extreme aberrations are accepted as normal. Religions are no longer able to provide answers to our deepest questions but the reach of science is limited. The gods of yesterday are replaced by the new idols of money & power today. Our education gives us shallow, intellectual knowledge but does not impart deep, satisfying wisdom. Our physical food is artificial and satisfies our hunger pangs but does not give us the lasting nutrition which the body needs. and our words, thoughts and emotions satisfies our basic need to connect but does not give us the lasting unconditional love and wisdom that our spiritual body needs. We spend our time sucked into a vortex of solitary cyberspace instead of authentic, intimate relationships with other living beings.
We live in artificial walled enclosures instead of in the natural expansive space of nature. We manufacture too much of things we want and not enough of things we need. We aimlessly work and live our lives, without a vision and plan of a long term life goal. We fill our life with busyness at work, leaving little time for the real peace that work is supposed to give us We have vast communications infrastructure yet we don’t say anything meaningful, filling it with idle gossip. We create imbalances in the world, dualistic poles where the wealthy die of disease of excess and the poor die of disease of lack We play by the rules of a broken system so that we may survive and further propagate a system which we know is ultimately unhealthy We settle for impermanent surface beauty over deeper unconditional love We are impatient and easily bored, not able to appreciate the timeless beauty of the here and now. We fear death and that causes us to fear life and we experience both ourselves and others as mundane when in reality we are both sacred We act out of fear instead of love and we  live in our minds but not our hearts. and we  have lost respect for ourselves by living lives of compromise and self denial. We need an exit strategy from modern life, back into a whole one

The World Stands at a Crossroads

The world stand at a crossroads. Human ingenuity, based on rational, analytic thinking has created the marvels of the man-made world. However, the very success of industrialization has had an unexpected but profound negative impact on humanity. This thinking faculty, which has enabled us to create such a markedly different living environment is also the source of so much modern misery. We build technologies that save lives then we build ones that take them away, industries that allow some to become exceedingly rich, but only at the expense of everyone else. Human Beings occupy a strange space in the animal kingdom. Mastering tools and abstract symbolic thinking has enabled us to build marvels of engineering; structures that loom large over all other species. We are at the top of the animal pyramid. We are not intimidated by any other species and no longer have any natural predators. We dominate all other species, treating some species as food and all others species as insignificant. We build huge industrial systems to rear and slaughter other species for our mass consumption. All this leads us to distant ourselves from nature, In spite of such enormous displays of power, however we are still fundamentally animals. We are still born with these animal bodies and we must die in them. The awareness of the impending death of this body, is in fact, a thought so disturbing that we do not wish to be reminded about it. This fear of death, in all it’s myriad forms in the form of business and finance, power, fame romance, sports and technology dominates the subconscious underpinnings of this society

  The distance between our man-made world and the natural environment we come from is profound. Environmental science did not even come into being until two hundred years after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Industrialization is marked by a detached process which produces products for sale to consumer at the expense of almost all other factors: social, environmental and health & well being.
Industrialization is based on an antiquated model of limitless resources, an ecosystem viewed as an infinite sink and little environmental consciousness.
The industrial revolution began with James Hargreaves’s Spinning Jenny patented in 1770. In 1893, Edison proved the success of mass production by using electric motors to process 20,000 tons of iron ore in one day with two shifts of 5 men each, that at a time when men were using shovel, wheelbarrows and small narrow railcars to each process 5 tons in a 12 hour shift. Henry Ford popularized mass production in his famous Ford automobile production plants in 1910. Today, less than 3 centuries after it began, the death of the industrial era is already dawning. Perhaps the biggest indicator comes from the US Military, who have announced it is preparing for Peak oil. In retrospect, it is clear to see that this path was far from a healthy one. The fathers of the Industrial Revolution could not have foreseen how wildly successful their model would become.  Neither could they have predicted that the enormous scaling would have an equally enormous negative ecological impact it.  Today, the millions of industrial plants around the world continue to consume the planets resources at unsustainable rates meanwhile spewing out a constant stream of airborne, waterborne and solid waste.
The world we live in is the proof of the untenability of the basic assumptions that the Industrial Revolution was founded on; limitless resources and ecosystem.
The time for a fundamental shift is past due but industry is still reluctant to change because of the heavy perceived cost of environmental stewardship. There is a way to bring about the change, however….through the power which all of us wield, we the consumers. Manufacturing coexists with consumer society. Unsustainable production can only exist if there is mask hiding the reality of industrialization from the consumer base that supports it. For this reason, a non-holistic industrial complex needs to create a disconnected, non-holistic worldview in the consumer….a consumer who will say yes to all the products made. The world is now faced with a multitude of complex problems resulting from this disconnected approach to society building. Technology’s amplifying effect is daily increasing the problems and shortening the timewindow for solutions. Meetings after world meeting have failed to resolve the basic underlying issues because those who hold power are the very ones who embrace the non-holistic worldview…and they are unable to relinquish control. The momentum of the vast unsustainable infrastructure is another great challenge. Human beings prioritize their short term survival needs ahead of all else. Non-holistic and unsustainble work that pays the bills will trump any holistic ideology which doesn’t. It is up to policy makers to create the environment which makes sustainable practices competitive to unsustainable ones.

Awakening Human Potential

As the momentum of old habitual ways of thinking, unsustainable infrastructure, accelerating technology and population growth steer us towards a perfect storm of obstacles in the world, how can something as amorphous as awakening the sacred and human potential have any real impact? The world’s current growth is like a vehicle with its driver asleep at the wheel. When there is no awareness in the person in control then the vehicle can easily veer off the road. We are all “asleep at the wheel”. It is only when there is a critical mass of awakening  that we will regain control. The meek will inherit the earth, but only if they awaken and empower themselves. As the meek are to the powerful, water is to a solid rock.  A chinese proverb testifies to the power of water. Seeming so delicate yet when it seeps into the crevices of rocks and freezes and thaws, have the power to break hard stone in half. Water’s fluidity also allows it to flow around hard obstacles, like a river around rocks. All these myriad problems in so many fields: technological misuse, governance, poverty, starvation, disease, corruption, war, aggression, inefficiency, apathy, greed, pollution, overpopulation, dwindling resources….all have a common root. While the symptoms of worldly problems manifest in the material world, their causes lay in the fundamental way we view reality; our actions arise from thoughts which motivate actions which then leave an imprint on the material world. The awakening to the sacred and to the limitless human potential in even one person have influenced the course of human history: One Nelson Mandela changed the course of South Africa’s history, one mother Teresa changed the course of millions of poor, one Einstein changed the course of all science. Imagine the transformative power if we can design education so that it can awaken the potential in thousands, even millions of people.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life because almost everything falls away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. You are already naked. There is no reason to not follow your heart.

- Steve Jobs

If thinking about death every day is morbid, then one can argue that Steven Jobs, who guided Apple to become one of the world’s most successful Tech companies is morbid. His message is simple and it echos the message of all great teachers throughout time;  to realize the preciousness of life, we must appreciate it’s brevity. We must realize the profound implications of the knowledge that every single human being has a finite time to live. At one level, we all appreciate  the value of life. The biggest news stories are often about people who have died. People who have lost their lives in accidents, famous people who have died of natural causes or people who have couragously sacrificed their lives…these stories all capture our attention. The fact that we are drawn to such stories shows us that at a superficial level at least, we do have some appreciation of the preciousness of life. On the other hand, we continue to live lives that continue to bring harm to others and this shows a lack of awareness of life’s preciousness. When we were young enough to speak, our hearts asked the most profound questions of all. Why are we here? Why do we die? What is life? But then, the questions were silenced because those around us could not answer them. It is time to rekindle these, the most important questions of our life, so that we may awaken our highest potential:

  • Awaken each person to the stark reality of our own mortality
  • Guide each person to a healthy acceptance of death in order to awaken our appreciation of  the preciousness of  life
  • Use that to awaken each person to the preciousness of the life of others; awakening our compassion
  • Awaken  the latent creativity associated with the above
  • Look without bias at the basic functioning of the human mind and the assumptions and conceptual framework that underlies all human thinking
  • Look at the relationship between the nondual and the thinking, linguistic mind that we are all familiar with
  • Provide the support and  resources to channel the awakened energy across a variety of fields for the benefit of humanity