A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

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A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:06 am

Zcommunications.org

A Few Thoughts On Spirituality
By Matt Loewen

Image. > Matt Loewen's Blog


As wandering words ebb and flow
issues come and issues go
the fluffy nothings of apropos
and hand in hand we together go
about them all we shall never know
mind 'tis for the journey not the goal
for which we stray from home.

~

So, what happens to people when they die?

Though I have yet to search the literature for the explanation of anomalies such as haunted houses and things of that nature, I think it is fairly safe to assume that no one has yet to objectively demonstrate the existence of an afterlife in which the souls of the dead inhabit the earth as ghosts or spirits or angels or daemons or anything like that.

So, what happens to people when they die? The brain is shut off, yes, and the mind, or the self, that the brain contained, and the energy that the brain regulated, and the human being which is thrumming with the combination of that mind and energy is...well what, exactly? Is snuffed out forever? Somehow I have trouble believing that. While discussing this with some friends I realized I had only really briefly sorted this issue out in my head while I was doing dishes one time, if I remember correctly, which I probably do not.

Anyhow, I started to think about this idea of the spirit world, or about what happens when people die, and where their "soul" or "life force" or their "self" goes. The first thing I came up with was that my life force, or the combination of my mind, my energy, and the self that makes me who I am can be called my spirit.

When I die, my body will decompose. That is inevitable, unless I donate it to science, or if I for some reason decide to become a cryogenic zombie- the chance of either is slim. So, my body will decompose, and my cells, and their nutrients will go to the annelids and the bacteria and the nematodes and the plants, and eventually become cycled all the way around the globe through groundwater or in other organisms. Thus I will slowly encircle the globe.

"But those are just your cells, and the atoms that you once had, they weren't you, they didn't have your personality or your subversive political beliefs or your unexplainable skill with baked goods. They were just inanimate objects operating as a series of chemical reactions controlled by your brain. You're a delusional, new-age airhead whose hypotenuse would be squared by scientific objectivity before you could even being to consider the time domain expression of your transfer function."

Firstly, I would caution you regarding your belligerent Scientism, and the mechanistic tendency of those who uphold that ideology. If one is solely focused on continually breaking things down to into smaller and smaller boxes, into chemical processes and equations, then the larger meaning, the larger connectedness, and the larger and broadly-applied importance of the whole is as lost as the one who is attempting to transverse the maze of gargantuan Russian dolls heaped on the microscope slide. This is a narrow viewpoint, and like most narrow-mindedness, it can be extremely dangerous. It's like cutting someone open to see what kind of person they were.

Organelles function as interconnected interactions of their constituent parts: molecules and atoms.
Cells function as interconnected interactions of their constituent parts: organelles.
Cells create tissues which give rise to organs.
Organisms function as interconnected interactions of their constituent parts- every part is important, inherently, as it is part of the whole.
Ecosystems are made up of the organisms which inhabit them, as well as the interactions of those organisms with each other and the non-living environment, that is, the biotic and abiotic interconnected interactions.
Notice how things get more complicated as the scale increases, as the previous interactions all build on each other to create massively complex interactions of what some have described as mere muscular tubes (organisms).

That being said, the interaction of ecosystems with other ecosystems is so complex that it begins to boggle the mind if you momentarily step back and contemplate the layers beneath the surface. Imagine if you will, a painted light bulb. The glass of light represents the earth's crust. The paint covering on that crust represents all of the life on earth- from the deepest ocean trench to a living organism suspended, perhaps, on a droplet of moisture somewhere in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. They key here is that this light bulb is coated with a blanket of bacteria, mice, pigeons, donkeys, cucumbers, hippopotamuses, horned toads, jellyfish, alligators, yellow montane violets, etc.

This is what I am going to opt to call "Earth's Blanket," a term first used bu the Nlaka'pmx peoples to describe the plants and grasses that cover the earth's surface. They believed that if too much of the blanket was removed, then the earth, the mother, would become sad, and weep. I think it is safe to say that few would steal their mother's blanket and sell it for short term corporate gain if that blanket was her only means of survival, but also vicariously the children's means of survival.

This idea of the Earth as gigantic living organism is one of controversy in scientific discussion, ever since Dr. James Ephraim Lovelock proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in the 1960's. Personally, I think that it is a comment on the narrow mechanistic viewpoint of the global scientific community to dismiss the interactions of organisms with others, and how these create ripple effects that are felt globally. One of the simplest demonstrations of the global connection is humankind's emissions of carbon dioxide, which have a global effect, despite being concentrated in certain areas.

The atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the geosphere are all connected, are all interacting as part of the same system that is our planet. You can call it Gaia, you can all it our planet (and hey, some people that were highly regarded in the scientific community used to think it was flat, and the center of the universe, then they were suggestively falsified- it is important to bear in mind that there are only two types of scientific theories- those that have been proven wrong, and those that haven't been proven wrong yet) but at any rate, the idea of the earth as a large rock ball with a slimy, leafy, prickly, furry and generally sexy and delicious living skin is an idea that scientists have been chewing on for almost 50 years, and they have yet to spit it out.

Most of the time, people go out into nature as a vacation- to reconnect with the environment, to soak it all in like a sponge. I think it is prudent to ask, "Soak what in?" Have you stood alone in a stand of old growth forest? If you have, then you actually haven't, because you aren't standing there alone, the trees are standing with you, or rather they are thrusting towards the sun with such strength that one can scarcely hear it. Their silence is immense and vigorous, pierced just so by the ghost of a bird who watches from lofty foliage, or the softly sighing breeze through the trees that accentuates the rays of light perforating through the canopy and splashing upon the colossal, gnarled feet of the trees. Can you hear it? The air is crisp, crisper than any apple, and sumptuous in the lungs. Can you smell it? Every dew drop tentatively hanging from green Douglas fir fingers is visceral and real and significant and beautiful. The place has a feeling to it. You can feel the spirit of the place. You can feel its life as part of the experience of your own life. You can feel its spirit interacting with your spirit.

You can feel your own spirit- your individual self, your mind, and your energy. If you can feel it within yourself, and you can recognize it in organisms (for instance, you can recognize a dog is an individual entity that has a mind and energy) and you can recognize it in ecosystems- can you feel it at all scales? In the global sense? Can you feel a global spirit, and does it weigh on your conscience when this global spirit is being attacked from all angles, and nearly every level, in the name of the power held by rich white men who want to protect their power? Because of greed? For money?

Imagine that you live in a society where rape is commonplace. One of your parents were being raped by some of your brothers and sisters, and they were profiting from that rape, because by raping your parent, they were taking gluttonous amounts of the material and spiritual and cultural provisions provided by the parent. Usually all was shared, but this rape means that your future, and the future of your parent, and the future of whole entire family is at stake, because everyone relies on your parent to provide. Imagine that the rapists also usually depend on the parent for survival, but they rape because in doing so they gain profit, which provides the rationale for their rape- more resources than their brothers and sisters, and therefore power. Imagine now, if you will, that you had the means to do something to stop that rape. If you were in this situation, you most likely would not only use those conventional means but also means that are deemed illegal by the rapists (for the sole reason that such actions would allow you to interfere with the rape, and therefore stop their flow of profits, and force upon them dependence on the parent) to end the rape once and for all and bring to responsibility to bear on the rapists. Pretend also, that if you participate in the rape, then you can share in the profits.

Would you rape your parent for your own personal gain, so you can 'bling' off the rape of your parent (also known as 'pimping')? Would you try to stop it at all costs? Those who commit the rape have devised very entertaining ways to divert you from stopping their rape. Will you fall victim to these entertainments, or remain vigilant? Or, knowing of the rape, will you apathetically permit it to persist, because you are told by the rapists that it is for your own good, or that there is no alternative to rape, or that you are ultimately gain from the rape, or that you are interfering with the rapists' freedom to rape, or simply because rape has become the status quo? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that those who permit rape commit rape. Furthermore, permission of rape is suicidal when one depends on the parent for sustenance and has means to fight against the atrocity.

Can you look at yourself in the mirror every day, or sleep at night, knowing that your provider is dying from rape-related causes? Can you look at yourself in the mirror knowing that you could stop it, but you were too busy? If you see the world as a living entity in and of itself (which requires you to recognize- not fully understand or comprehend, just recognize- the interconnectivity of all life) then you must realize that, as one of its spiritual, constituent parts, that the health and well-being of that entity is in your best interests, as your spirits are linked. Imagine a kidney cell trying to exist without the kidney. Or a man of the Yanomammi tribe trying to exist without the Amazon. Or a shrimp without a heart. It is impossible because the constituent parts, and the interactions of those parts create the essence of the larger entity, and the larger entity is comprised of the essence of all constituent parts.

Humankind is nearly alone in that it destroys that which provides its everything- I say nearly alone, because some viruses and diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, do that, too. Am I saying humanity is the HIV/AIDS inflicting this earth? Yes. Am I making a blanket statement about all humanity? No. Am I some kind of crazy, lazy, good-for-nothing misanthrope? Yes. Am I optimistic or pessimistic? No.

If this feeling of spirit can be broadened out and beyond the personal self into realms of experience- experiences that we can be inside and be a part of, such as being inside an ecosystem, and experiencing it- then why can't it go the other way? Imagine if you are rushing through your own veins as a red blood cell, or pumping as your own heart. They are selves in and of themselves, and they have energies. Every atom has energy, every atom is an individual in itself. Plus, they belong to the greater self, many greater selves, just as do we. Must we constrict our view of spirituality based just on what we can see? Can we not use our imaginations to try to feel the feeling of those places? Or are we too caught up in trying to feel the feelings? That's the only approach we really have at this point- and so we are limited by our approaches to such questions.

Can it be said that just because each of our cells doesn't have a measurable mind (what is a "mind," anyhow?) doesn't mean that it doesn't have a spirit? How to test what kind of mind a nucleus has? And when do we admit that there are some things that we will never know, and some things that will never be measured? Will we ever look at ourselves in the mirror and face our own limitations?

I think, perhaps, that it can be said that because, as constituent parts of a whole, our cells are a part of us, which help make up our spirit, and that they are a part of our spirit- that they share our spirit. Without our protons and neutrons, we wouldn't have a spirit (remember, spirit is loosely defined as our energy and our singular selves, distinct from others) because we wouldn't exist as our own self. They help to create that self in us, as one of the smallest known constituent parts of our own selves.

We all come from the same common ancestor- things are interconnected in ways that scientists may not know. Our electrons in our constituent parts are simply an electrical charge- many things have electrical charges- what happens to them when we die? Is it possible for this electrical charge, one of the facets of our spirit, can remain in the place where it once was, or by some chance event reassemble where it was once know previously, and is it possible that another spirit, a whole one, close by, can sense that spiritual facet, in ways we can't explain? Then is this information passed up the system of Russian dolls, processed by our brains, and termed as 'ghosts' or 'spiritual remains' or a being who had once inhabited this place but is now gone?

Is it possible?

I don't know. I never will. But the fun is usually in the journey, though sometimes in the destination is of great importance. But then, from the destination we proceed again to journey. And when the destination of our real and tangible journey, this life we lead, reaches its final physical destination in a coffin or urn or splattered on the pavement or deep in a silent forest, whence from there? Well, I believe that this destination begins another journey, one in which our spirits diffuse out in our constituent parts and join with others into theirs, creating, concurrently (through my own personal belief that everything is connected in that we share the same spirit as we all inhabit the same earth) huge and undulating webs of circumstance and chance and happenstance shuffle us, every single one, in and around one another, and we are buffered by others being buffered by others being buffered like a supercomplex chess game in which no one wins, and no one loses, and barely anyone even knows that they are playing, from Sandstone (a beautiful, easily-eroded rock) to Sturnus Vulgairs (a ruthless type of colonial bird) to Homo sapiens sapiens (large, confused, ape-type creature) to Linaria genistifolia (Dalmation Toadflax, a pretty yellow flower).

Thus, when I die, when we die, when anyone dies, when anything dies or breaks or cracks and splits and is no longer what it was before, we die in the sense that our bodies are gone, that our selves as we once knew them are gone- but our energy isn't dead. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, so sayeth the Law of Conservation of Energy- it can only be converted into different types of energy. Thus, our energy, and our constituent parts and they themselves bearing our spirit and their spirit to whatever end it reaches- usually to join with another spirit, or infinite other spirits over time. We are bundles of energy, buzzing around, and when we die, we get to finally unwind, relax, and join in the buzzing of everything else, and thus "live" on through eternity or until the end of time, or until Ragnarok, etc.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Heck, I'm having enough trouble trying to get a handle about what's going on in this world, right now- I figure I can worry about any other afterworld or whatever you want to call it when it comes.
___

Web Address: http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/loewenclass

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby Prisni » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:52 am

Modern understanding of computer science should shed some light on what goes on in the brain. Today we have the common wide understanding of "computer program". What is a computer program? Somehow we acknowledge its existence, although we cannot touch it, we cannot see it, it does not have any weight, it does not consist of atoms. And yet, no one say "there is no such thing as a computer program", since we have experience of the effects of it.

Ok, let's progress a litte in thought. Our brain is a biological computer, with the building stones of neurons. And yet, the brain is just organic substance, dead matter. What is "alive" is the program running on that computer. And even though we don't know exactly where the program came from, or what happenes to it after death, we at least can acknowledge that it is there, somehow.

So if the computer program has not existence in terms of matter, of atoms, what is it?
We can as well coin a name for it. But we don't need to go far, since there is already a word for it that we can use - subtle matter. Not the kind of things that you see as parapsychology or as protoplasm during seances, but rather "thought matter". IT already manipulates that thought matter, and there is already a kind of science about it, so it should not be so hard to go the step of realizing gross atomic matter, to subtle thought matter. It is an abstraction, but science is practically there.

If we connect this idea of subtle thought matter, with the hindu thinking of subtle matter, we will find that it actually is quite a nice match. It is the matter that computer programs are made of, that thoughts are made of, that dreams are made of. It is inspiration, thinking, intelligence, many things in our common lives, so it is not a big step to take.

But what it does not cover is consciousness. Consciousness is the observer, the desirer, the one who wants, performs, and experiences. But once we have accepted that there is a step from the very gross atomic matter to the non-atomic subtle matter, it is not that hard to take yet another step from subtle matter to spiritual. That spiritual relates to subtle in about the same way as subtle relates to atomic matter. And that consciousness is a function of that next inner step, the next step from subtle matter.

As we with the help of atomic matter can build a computer, and by that start to understand the subtility of subtle thought matter, with the help of thoughts, we can likewise bridge the gap to the spiritual and get some understanding of it. By using the thoughts in our brain, we can analyse what is part of that computer system, and what is not, and we can analyse that consciousness is not a part of it. It is separate, and that we call spiritual.
The introspection of analysing ourselves, and our thought patters can sift out what is what, and that way we find the observer, the knower, the feeler. That is what we call "the soul" (or the sanskrit "jiva").

And as we find that a computer in itself is a function of thoughts, that thoughts create the computer, which then can house the computer program, similarly we can make the assumption that the suble is a function of consciousness, that thoughts is a creation of or consciousness, and likewise creates a house for the soul.
And then we have it. What we are, and why we are like we are.

All the details of this, consequences etc., comes from a deeper analysis of the system of what we are, and if we do that we find that things just fits together in a very nice way, and answers come by themselves.

Some call it "the science of self realisation"

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Prisni wrote:... similarly we can make the assumption that the suble is a function of consciousness, that thoughts is a creation of our consciousness, and likewise creates a house for the soul.
And then we have it. What we are, and why we are like we are.

To my knowledge the main source of power and inspiration is a given love, a presence of love that is given to us, and dwells in us. That creates in us and is silent with us. That trusts. And abides. Although there may be noise all around us, the joy we find in silence is a treasure, and it is already within us, waiting to be found. We don't need to journey far to find it. We don't need to journey here or there. To journey to it we just have to be still. And this silence and stillness is not only a country within us, but can reach outwards in embrace and compassion, from the sacred within. It reaches out in love, yet it is stillness and silence. It is the giving and receiving, the mutual interchange of love, in the silent gaze, beyond speaking, beyond our defences and controls. Open yourself to the sacred within. Seek stillness, seek silence, and open yourself to the silent land of your soul. Because the presence of a great power, is already there. Me, the soul within and whoever dwells in there in the core of my heart.
___

"A person who lives in happy surroundings with luxuries and sources of pleasure and comfort, may be envied and imagined to be a very happy and lucky man. In reality, however, he may be very unhappy. The external world has given him all he wished for, but the inner world, the inner being, is unhappy. There is something absent, and he wants it to be present. There is something missing inwardly. This shows that the inner presence is required. The external presence is not the only comfort.

But we may ask, the inner presence of what? Many will say, 'We know we are unhappy sometimes in spite of wealth, comfort, happiness, friends, or beloved.' But, perhaps they will not believe that it is another lack, the lack of a divine ideal that makes them unhappy. Others consider that life requires scope for progress, and that it is the lack of scope that causes the greatest unhappiness. Such persons think that they cannot prosper in the work that they are doing, that they cannot be any better off than the others. Such a thought is worse than death. Life is unlimited, and it wants scope to expand and rise. Without that scope life is unhappy.

Every kind of power lies in this one thing which we call by the simple name: love. Charity, generosity, kindness, affection, endurance, tolerance, and patience -- all these words are different aspects of one; they are different names of only one thing: love. Whether it is said, 'God is love,' or whatever name is given to it, all the names are the names of God; and yet every form of love, every name for love, has its own peculiar scope, has a peculiarity of its own. Love as kindness is one thing, love as tolerance is another, love as generosity is another, love as patience another; and yet from beginning to end it is just love. ... True love must have free flow; and to learn that free flow the teachers have taught us first to love from the limited, and thence to advance in love till we attain to the love of God, the Unlimited." > www.unitedstarseeds.org

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:38 pm

Intent.com

The Path to Enlightenment
By Deepak Chopra, 12/28/2010


Image.Deepak Chopra


Question:

I want to rise my soul towards spiritualism as I do understand the meaning of life.
I want to attain eternal bliss and want to reach back to the original home of the soul.
Since I am 25 years old ,I am not that aware how to follow the path.
Please do help me how to enlighten my inner self.

Answer:

Spirituality is your essential nature. Bliss is your true self. So the journey home is just becoming what you really are, who you already are at your core. The time-honored means of reclaiming knowledge of your self is through meditation. A simple meditation practice that takes you beyond your thoughts, your feelings and all mental activity so that silent awareness is left to know itself. In time that truth becomes your dominant reality, your permanent sense of selfhood.

Love,
Deepak

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:53 pm

Synchronicity Radio

Fulfilling Desires
By D. Chopra, 01.17.2011

Question:
When you make contact with the universe and you want something how long does it take to get what you are asking for?

Answer:
- What you want to do is have your desire from that state of consciousness that is one with the universe. This is the silent state of awareness reached through meditation. At that deepest level of nature, your intention and the intention of creation through you at that moment are one and the same. That state of awareness itself is timeless and completely fulfilling, so it’s not a question of when you will get what you want-in that state, you are already the source, the process, and the outcome of what you want. The external manifestation of your desire is almost incidental, because you are already satisfied within and your happiness is no longer tied to your desire. That is why the spiritual approach to manifesting your desires is liberating in contrast to the approach that only emphasizes the external outcome that keeps you trapped in the cycle of trying to fulfill more and more desires in the search for happiness. (more)

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:58 pm

Intent.com

Life After Death
D. Chopra, 1/14/2011

Question:
I'm an academic neuropsychiatrist with deep interest in brain and mind. I only read 2 of your books, Buddha and Muhammad. What impressed me the most is your thorough understanding of the person in these figures. For me you seem to know that what is sacred is every moment we spend existing and not in what is "out there". I don't believe in god/gods or in religion and I feel that humans are miserable because they developed "consciousness", an extension of the frontal lobe function that allowed awareness of time, what has passed and what to come, which created this eternal anxiety about life and death and all the complexity that followed. I think that the Buddha figured it out and gave us the only way to go through it with the least suffering. But when we die, we blend back to the energy in this universe, our soul is the set of experiences that we had and left traces behind, the noise of the working machine of our body and the products of that machine that is left behind. How far am I from the "Truth"!

Answer:
- I don’t presume to know Truth with a capital “T”, but Buddha’s doctrine of freedom from suffering is premised on the idea of awakening from ignorance. This ignorance is the energetic pattern of our identity that keeps us in the cycle of reincarnation until we are fully enlightened. So while the raw material of our bodies is recycled on death, the energy of our individual consciousness is not united with the consciousness of the universe until the body of the enlightened person dies. As for what exactly that experience will be or won’t be, we’ll have to see.

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:03 pm

Intent.com

Truth After Death
D. Chopra, 12/13/2010

Question:
I read your book life after death and i was also reading some answers from your archives. My question is that from what i understood after you die you see what you want to see, but that scares me (perhaps because I'm only 19) because wouldn't that all be a lie? If i were to die i would want to see the truth not projections from my mind. Thank You

Answer:
- What we see right now in life is a function of our state of consciousness. That is the truth that corresponds to our given state of consciousness. The same principle applies to after death experience and truth. The highest state of enlightenment gives us an experience and knowledge that ultimate truth insofar as it includes the truths of all states of consciousness.

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:58 pm

Ezinearticles.com

Religion, the Gnostics, and Personal Truth
By Seth Mullins

Organized religion has always wielded a lot of power in this world because - despite all the distortions that its messages have undergone and the abuses that have been perpetrated in its name - it points to some basic and eternal truths that human beings have always intuitively recognized.

The drama of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, for instance, has persisted for so long largely because it reminds us that our consciousness survives physical death. This is a myth, then, that deeply resonates with something that many people believe in their heart of hearts.

For the sake of such reminders, though, we've endured some pretty awful tyrannies throughout human history. But I don't want to devote too much space to the topic of religious persecution since it's been pretty well covered already in other times and places. It's easy to dismiss organized religion on the basis of holy wars, Inquisitorial persecution, and epidemics of sexual abuse. But this also robs us of an opportunity to discover what inner resilience has enabled the world's major religions to endure for so long.

Obviously they exist to satisfy an inner need that we have, even if it could be argued that none of them really answer or sate that need for the masses of people who're left wanting. For one thing, we humans are mythmakers. This is something that we do spontaneously. We might dispense with religion, in its strictest sense, without much qualm, but we're likely then to just spin myths around our artists, pop stars and politicians. This impulse is, in fact, what drives celebrity culture. We seem to perpetually need to find barometers in the world against which to measure ourselves.

The Gnostics of generations ago had a pretty revolutionary doctrine for their time. They asserted that true religion was a personal matter between the soul and God. In other words, they essentially said, "Let's do away with the middlemen - the clergy." Even this philosophy can be easily distorted, though, as everyone has their own associations to words like "soul" and "God". But I think there's something to be said for treating your own personal life experience as a sacred gift. The Gnostics devoted their lives, then, to being in personal relationship with the Divine - and this was something that had different nuances of meaning for each person.

Who's to say that there's any world or God that exists separately from ourselves, anyway? (more)

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:09 pm

Ezinearticles.com

Acknowledging Your Ego - How the Ego Is Connected to Spirituality
By Jose Bulao

There are many factors which have built up your ego or self-image, who or what you think you are in relation to others who live around you. Some of these factors you are not even explicitly aware of, but they are there.

    Factors Making up Your Ego

To begin with your parents have the first determining factor in the process of forming your ego. The color of your skin, the contour of your face, the blood in your veins, and a host of other physical characteristics come from your parents and you formed your self-image according to these data about you. If you are born of black parents your skin by the genes transmitted from them is also black. And you see your self as a black guy or gal. On the other hand if your parents were white you inherited their white complexion and so you think of your self as a white guy or gal.

But the image of your self goes beyond your skin. Your parents also influenced your image of your self in the society where you live. If they are well to do, then your tendency is to consider your self as well off. If your parents are poor then you think of your self as a poor member of society. Teachers, especially religion or values education teachers, your peers, your neighbors, your friends, your enemies, the animals around you, the plants that give you oxygen, the total environment around you influenced the making of your self-image.

    Redefining Your Ego

As you grow up you redefine or remake your ego. Your poor parents won in the lotto and suddenly you thought of your self as a rich person. You got the highest score in an exam in your class and you thought of your self as not so dull. A handsome man falls in love with you and you think you are a beauty queen in your community. Your ego or self-image does change. Sometimes the image in your ego hardens and becomes difficult to change. You think you are the underdog and you fight anybody who comes to oppose you. I know of an old man who has maintained this image of being an underdog from the time he was in the elementary school and he has no friends.

    Acknowledging Your Ego

Most do not reflect upon their ego, who or what they think they are. They just go through life acting without reflecting on their identity. But a crisis may come which forces them to reflect on who they really are. A courtship break-up occurs and the man reflects what in him caused his girl friend to leave him. He begins to ask who or what he is to himself and to his girl friend.

A valedictorian in a law school fails in a bar exam and she asks, Why? Is there something in her personality which disqualifies her from passing that exam? The ideal and proper thing to do is not to wait for a crisis to change or redefine our ego for the better. If a person is perceptive of herself and asks the great questions of life (Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?) then she can begin to investigate her ego and acknowledge it for what it is. You do not have to wait for a critical moment in your life. Right now you can take stock of your ego or self-image, acknowledge it and if you are not satisfied with it, then change it.

    The Ego's Connection to Spirituality

Spirituality is the life of the real you, the spirit in you. As the Christian existentialist philosophers keep on saying, you are an embodied spirit, a spirit enclosed in a body of flesh, blood and bones. And the task of spirituality is to discover your real self, who you really are. Once you discover your real self, or as some have expressed it, once you have reached self-realization, then you can function as a full human being.

To reach self-realization you have to cut your way through the ego, because in a sense this ego has blocked your view of your real self. You have an image of yourself as defined by others, your parents, teachers, peers, friends, and even enemies. The first steps then in living the spiritual life consist of knowing your ego, acknowledging it and then discovering or realizing your true self. Once you discover this true self you redefine or remodel your ego to conform to this real self so that you can function as a full human being. (more)
___

- What Is the Purpose of Your Ego? By Jose Bulao
- Energy Feeding: What It Is And How It Serves Us

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:34 pm

Ezinearticles.com

The Metaphysical View of Death and Life After Death
By Leonard Lee


When the time for transition has come to the incarnated soul--the exact moment of which is determined and initiated by the Higher Self--the physical seed-atom which contains the soul-plan of the Higher Self, releases certain information to the endocrine glands via the blood stream to stimulate the death process. The glands then secrete certain substances that Earlyne Chaney calls the "death hormone." This hormone then circulates around the physical system releasing the immaterial aspect from the physical. The mental, astral and etheric bodies dissociate themselves from the physical body, followed by the seed-atoms. The first to be affected and released is the mental seed-atom. As it leaves the physical body, the mental records of the soul and consciousness goes along with it. This is in fact the commencement of the bardo, of which no soul can avoid experiencing, even in a sudden impact of death.

Once the mental seed-atom escapes from the physical system, the physical body falls into a coma. Although the physical body still reacts to external stimuli, there is no registration in the consciousness of the soul through the brain. Next to be liberated from the physical body is the astral seed-atom. With the absence of the astral seed-atom, the physical body lies inert and senseless. The departure of the physical seed-atom marks the beginning of clinical death. Its disappearance from the physical body causes the dissolution and disintegration of the physical form. In the above process no pain is involved, for the absence of the mental seed-atom prevents any sensation to be noted in the consciousness. Also, the "death hormone" anesthetizes the whole physical system. Any death struggle or spasms to be seen in the dying merely reflects the release of the components of the soul and the physical body's straining to prevent its departure. As a person is about to leave the physical, the astral body increases in luminosity, even in the case of sudden deaths.

All of the seed-atoms as they leave the physical body, are transferred to the astral form. With the transference of the mental seed-atom, the consciousness of the soul gradually awakens in the astral state and experiences the bardo. Once the bardo is undergone, the soul, the awareness-principle in average cases, is greeted by advance beings and earth-relatives who have prepared beforehand for the arrival of the soul. This we know personally having had psychic contacts when our dad was undergoing the dying process. The dying are often instilled peace with the help of music played by the disembodied spirits.

The departure of every soul from the physical plane is known by spiritual beings, and preparation is always made for their reception in the astral world. Even while journeying in the bardo the soul is often aided by spiritual guides. Divine guides in the higher planes helping the newly dead is a common belief among ancient Egyptians.

When the physical seed-atom leaves the physical form and transfers itself to the astral body, the sutratma, the silver cord, snaps and recoils to the physical form where it infuses itself into the bones of the body. Imbued with the qualities or magnetism of the personality of the soul, the sutratma, as it recoils to the bones, impregnates the skeletal structure with the vibrations of the soul. The bones, therefore, acquire a magical quality, especially if the departed soul was a mystic or saint of a high caliber. This occult principle is well known among shamans of various cultures who often utilize bones of revered men as implements as ceremonial magicians would use their consecrated wands as tools of their will. We personally possess such a magickal object, a very ancient trisula, part of which is made by a human bone.

During the above process of soul-transference, or transition, the awareness-principle undergoes the bardo, as we have said before. Since we will be considering the bardo at some length in a later section of this paper, we will now deal, instead, with the nature of the after-death state.

Once soul-transference has been completed and the bardo experienced, the astral form drifts to the realm or region in the astral or mental world where it will sojourn for a time. The etheric body, is however, still connected with the physical form through a remnant of the sutratma. It dissolves simultaneously with the physical body. With the absence of the higher principles, the etheric body, like the physical form, is but an empty shell, and it may somehow be galvanized into some resemblance of life by astral entities using the life-force borrowed from incarnated beings. Some forms of vampirism is also related to the etheric body. Corpses remaining fresh in their graves is the result of a vital etheric body animated by some intelligence maintaining subsistence through the act of vampirism.

Possessing some psychological traits and memory of its former occupant, the etheric form is often used by malicious entities to deceive and mislead living relatives and persons through channels, psychics and mediums. It is for this reason that cremation, from the occult point of view, is often seen as a spiritual necessity and a psychically sanitary method for disposing physical remains. It prevents the occurrence of negative phenomena such as obsession and possession. In burial grounds, the etheric body may often be seen as bluish lights hovering buried bodies; these are often mistaken for ghosts or human spirits--the correct term for these are phantoms.

In ancient Egypt, the desire for preserving the etheric body may underlie the practice of mummification. Like the bones of a deceased person, the etheric body is also often used for occult and magical purposes--usually necromancy or sciomancy, which are forms of divination. This is usually done with the use of the shedding of blood where it attracts the shades, the etheric forms of the dead used not by its former occupant, but by elemental or elementary spirits. Blood, as a medium of the life-force, is an energy source sought after by malicious or mischievous spirits. With the presence of blood such spirits find it possible to be fully aware of the physical plane and materialize and converse with material beings; and also possible to satisfy certain base desires.

We mentioned before that the soul, the awareness-principle, gravitates to the realm most suited for it in terms of vibration. Mercy does not automatically lead a soul to heaven. A soul's personality determines where it would go. If the nature of the soul is of a low type, it will find itself in one of the lower astral regions which corresponds to the religious concept of hell. High-natured souls will be drawn to the high astral worlds or to the mental mansions. Swedenborg speaks of this in his book, "Heaven and Hell":

"It ought to be clearly understood that with the angels [souls] it is their interiors which cause them to be in one heaven or another. For, the more their interiors are open towards the Lord, the more interior is the heaven in which they are." (1958:16)

Here Swedenborg says that souls enter the type of heaven that corresponds with the quality of the inner heaven within them. This spiritual principle is a known law among occultists. Cornelius Agrippa in the Three Books of Occult Philosophy, has this to say about the reward of lofty souls:

"But the spirit of man, which is of a sacred nature, and divine offspring, because it is always faultless, becomes incapable of any punishment; but the soul of it hath done well, rejoiceth together with the spirit, and going forth with its aerial chariot [astral body], passeth freely to the graves of the heroes, or reacheth heaven, where it enjoys all its senses, and powers, a perpetual blessed felicity, a perfect knowledge of all things, as also the divine vision, and possession of the kingdom of heaven, and being made partaker of the divine power bestows freely divers gifts upon these inferiors, as if it were an immortal god . . ." (1995:594)

He goes on to say that the soul of a negative nature is left to the pleasure of the "devil":

"Wherefore then this soul being void of an intelligible essence and being left to the power of a furious planetary, is ever subjected by the torment of corporeal qualities." (1995:594)

Agrippa alludes here to hell or purgatory. Should there be coarse material in the astral form as a result of negative habits, negative patterns of thoughts and desires, the soul sojourns temporarily in purgatory before transmigrating to its rightful place in the heavenly regions. Purgatory is a transitional plane of human souls of various natures and types; for instance, there are those bound there because of their unrealistic religious concepts, and they linger in purgatory until they accept the truth concerning the spiritual laws governing the higher spheres. There are those also stuck in purgatory until certain habits or desires are overcome. Atheists and intellectuals likewise find themselves in purgatory for a time. Attachment to earthly wealth, position, and power may also be a cause of bondage to purgatory.

In purgatory the soul strives to rid itself of its moral, mental and emotional defects; and also the effects of its physical and sensual indulgences, as well as those sensual desires itself. In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, these souls in purgatory are called Pretas, or "hungry ghosts." Until the astral form has reached the required degree of purification, the soul would find it uncomfortable to live anywhere else in the astral plane. Purgatory is said to resemble the earth plane's slums and ghetto areas.

The author of this paper once had an interesting experience in one of the lower astral regions in which he was directed to counsel souls who were kleptomaniacs. Although not informed as to the nature of the inhabitants of the realm, certain events such as personal objects carried on our astral person at that time which was suddenly amiss made us realize the common problem of those souls living there. Those souls were stuck in purgatory because of their thieving tendencies, and we were there to help them realize and give up their negative habit. Bad habits and desires follow us in the afterlife and they cause us intense suffering--the result of being unable to completely satiate, gratify, or fulfill them. It is for this reason that negative habits and desires should be extinguished, or at least transmuted in the here and now, in the physical plane. Before entering purgatory, a soul may be given a glimpse of the astral heavens so as to awaken its aspirations, its desires to improve its condition and soul-estate. When the soul is dissatisfied with mundane and carnal things in the lower astral and when it aspires for something better, it commences to purify its astral body of the lower particles, and suddenly it finds itself within a higher sphere.

Souls that are psychologically unsound or mentally and emotionally disturbed are brought to healing centers in purgatory for the restoration of harmony among their soul-vehicles. Souls with crystallized minds and are mentally imprisoned by preconceived ideas concerning life after death are likewise brought to healing centers for de-hypnotization, or rehabilitation. Souls that led violent lives fall into suspended animation for a lengthy period of time. This enforced unconsciousness is therapeutic in nature, it is a period of soul-healing. These souls are awakened from time to time to determine its attitude--whether it feels guilt or repents of its negative deeds. If not, it is once again tranquilized.

When ignorant of the existence of the higher spheres, souls in purgatory and in the hell regions are often shown, by guiding souls, of the splendour and glory of the upper regions of the astral and mental worlds. Souls are no more intelligent or knowledgeable in the astral as they were in the physical. Ignorance in the physical concerning Truth and Reality are brought along with them in the discarnate state. Opinions are maintained. Souls, therefore, see and experience what they have learnt to believe. Such "lost souls" are shown the way of ascension to the higher worlds.

The astral body is plastic-like in nature and it normally reflects the nature of the soul within. Souls with negative tendencies and evil traits assume forms with facial features reflective of its nature. They may take on the appearance of misshapen, grotesque, and monstrous forms. Conversely, souls with positive, clean, and pure natures take on angelic forms. The higher the quality and nature of the soul, the more beautiful and scintillating its appearance. Even the clothings worn by souls reflects the inner state. Referring to this principle Swedenborg declares:

". . . all the interior affections appear and shine forth from the face." (1958:22)

He also relates the mystery of soul-appearance of evil persons:

". . . and wonderful to tell, those in hell appear to one another as men, but in the light of heaven they appear as monsters, horrid in face and body, the exact form of their own evil." (1958:66)

Among Chinese and Tibetan beliefs is that souls could reincarnate as animals. Considering the principle mentioned above, we can come to appreciate some truth in this concept. Men with animal characteristics do reflect their animal nature in their astral-forms.

Through death the mind retains the same personality, habits, traits, character and inclinations, and this is known through one's appearance. It is through the facial appearance, the quality of the clothings worn, and the luminosity and colours of the aura of the soul that the degree of evolution of the soul may be determined. Some beings are so radiant, that it hurts to look at them. We would probably shield our eyes with our hands to protect our sight from the glare--this gesture could almost be interpreted as a salute--a sign of honor and respect to those beings. These souls are bearers of Light, Life and Love. Their presence heals and vitalizes the younger souls. Overthere, in the astral and mental worlds, everyone sees us for what we really are, including ourselves. Though we may be "somebody" in the physical world, in the astral worlds we may be just another "person." In the higher worlds, our true character stands revealed. There is nothing of our private thoughts, feelings and character that we can hide. We are an opened book that reveals our inner selves to others around us. Again quoting Swedenborg:

". . . an angel who excels in wisdom instantly sees the quality of another from his face." (1958:22)

Only virtues, good thoughts, deeds, and a search for Truth confers beauty of appearance. In the higher worlds we will discover the fact that thoughts are things. What we think manifests and affects us almost immediately without any time interval.

Those with pre-conceptions regarding heaven, such as religious devotees, will experience the type of heaven of their expectations. These various heavenly conditions, however, are illusions. They exist temporarily as dramas played on the behalf of the newly-arrived soul for the purpose of teaching spiritual lessons, such as the errors of pre-conceived ideas. The dramas are sometimes played by negative beings with non-benevolent motive. These dramas last until the soul awakens to the fact that its concept of heaven as experienced, hardly reflects the true reality, state, and nature of the mansions of the Cosmos; or conversely, it could entrap him even further. The former condition is brought home when certain events occur in their personal "heaven" which indicates the artificiality of their paradise. For instance, a soul conceiving heaven to be one where its inhabitants wear wings and halos, and play on the harp and sing hymns for all eternity will experience just that . . . until ennui sets in, and voices begin to get hoarse, and harp strings begins to burst, and halos begin to fall, and wings begin to molt . . . In reference to these dramas in the astral dimensions, Torkom Saraydarian comments in The Science of Meditation:

"Once you enter into it, you see that many colorful events are rapidly forming and dissolving according to your unnamed urges, aspirations, thoughts, and volitions, which are in continuous change and motion and in various intensities. All you see is the response of your astral substance, which mirrors your desires, urges, dreams, and mental modifications. The comic part of this is that you do not realize that whatever you see or experience is your creation, your own expression, which sometimes becomes the vehicle of astral entities who perform an illusive play or comedy to englamour and trap you even more." (1993:208)

In the various astral and higher planes, the soul occupies some of its time analyzing its past life and the assimilation of its experience. This introspection is often done with the assistance of spiritual guides and group discussions. In the heavenly worlds the soul finds time to do and to learn the things that it always wanted to without being bothered by the necessities of earning a daily living. There are Halls of Wisdom and Temples of Learning in all branches of the arts and sciences, including the science of creation. In these schools the soul learns the purpose of life, the laws of the spiritual planes and how it may function effectively therein in its higher vehicles. The potential and expressions of one's creativity are also taught. Generally, the average soul will spend its time studying and serving others, with intervals of relaxation and play.

In the astral state one discovers that it is unnecessary to eat or to drink to nourish the astral form. Nourishment occurs through spiritual osmosis. The astral form automatically absorbs the life-giving energy-fluid flowing through the astral ethers. This could be done physically as well, but it requires intense spiritual training to reach this level. Streams and fountains of energy are to be found in the higher heavens. Muslims call them Salsabil. A dip in them also vitalizes the whole spiritual constitution.

There are several modes of locomotion available to the inhabitants of the heavenly worlds. There are vehicles to convey one from place to place. One may also choose to walk or to use the astral body's innate capability to fly. This latter mode of travel requires some mastery though, however, once mastered, it offers one of the most convenient methods of mobilization. Once settled in the higher astral, the soul does not possess the ability to view or manifest in the earth plane unless it has acquired the occult ability to do so. Generally speaking, it is not possible for the soul to visit the higher worlds beyond its soul-level because of the intense fiery vibrations emanating from those worlds. Journeying to lower worlds, however, is much more easily accomplished.

Communication in the subtle worlds is done mainly through telepathy, although sometimes normal speech is used. The utilization of telepathy means that every soul understands every other soul eventhough in physical terms there may be a language barrier. For instance, through the means of telepathy it is possible for an Englishman to understand an Italian, and vice versa. One also eventually learns to communicate through colours and sounds, these being universal languages. There is, however, a phenomenon that should be noted and expressed clearly by Swedenborg:

". . . the angels of a lower heaven cannot speak with those of a higher heaven. In fact when they look towards them, they do not see them, the higher heavens appearing like a mist over their heads. Angels of a higher heaven, however, can see those in a lower heaven . . ."

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:12 pm

Ezinearticles.com

Are You a Spiritual Soul? And What is Spiritual Living?
By Rob Today

This universe holds ancient secrets that when you learn to unfold will give you a new meaning to your existence. People since the beginning of time have tried spiritual meditation and spiritual healing, all looking for that pot of gold when you become one with the "being". If you continuously seek to find truth and joy within, you will find some of these secrets unveil through your very eyes. The moment you recognize the existence of your spiritual soul, which is one of the deepest secrets of the universe, you will realize that this dreary earthly life is not the fulfillment of your existence- this is the spiritual awakening of your soul. You will start being unmasked with the egotistical truth you set in your world, and you will see the beauty and inner peace within you, you will realize your spiritual powers and start to notice that you live in a spiritual world.

What is a spiritual soul?

When we say spiritual it means everything positive. It moves to attain unconditional love and inspires the heart of those who have it. It is a quiet connection to the Supreme Being who is the source of all the goodness in this world. It is what a man should strive for to transcend worldly desires, and human inclinations. It moves us to a higher understanding that there is more to life than waking up, eating, drinking, working, and sleeping. A spiritual being does not judge others or their actions but rather accepts everything as part of the spiritual journey. Spirituality is the driving force that stills the mind and touches the heart. It is what makes a person calm amidst the turmoil he may be experiencing within.

The soul is the eternal part of a human being. It goes on and on even after a person dies. It is that aspect of a human being that is separate from his body. When a person dies, it is the body mass which is left behind, however the soul has already begun a new spiritual journey.

When you open our eyes to the intangible presence of our spiritual soul, you begin to become aware of the dimension of your existence-that compelling force that fills us with awe and gratitude. You start seeing yourselves as a being intertwined with every forces of the universe. You are connected to everyone and everything. This spiritual awareness opens a world of possibilities for you which were previously non existent until the light of spiritual wisdom shined on you. You begin to experience life and all its profoundness. Suddenly, you see life in a different perspective- some people call it spiritual living. You become alive and living becomes fuller and deeper to your understanding, as well as how closely you are connected with all things around you. Your spiritual soul is that beautiful manifestation of the goodness that surrounds you. Thus, it teaches you to respect, love, and protect life and its manifestations. It helps you to maintain balance and harmony around you. It inspires you to achieve greater heights not for your glory but for the glory of the One Force that is bigger than who you are. The spiritual soul is the key to obtaining the true sense of joy, peace and freedom. When it moves you, it can move you so hard you'll feel as though there is nothing in life you desire but to see the divinity of life. You become One with His presence and everything becomes still-your heart reveres the light and is filled with satisfaction and peace. You see the truest sense of your existence and you begin to understand your purpose. This is the ultimate life we all want to experience- a truly spiritual living. A journey with the spiritual soul is the key to achieving self-awareness, which ultimately is the path to obtaining true happiness.

My spiritual journey started less than one year ago. I can say with deep conviction that my life has improved considerably in this small time period. My outlook to people and situations has calmed down drastically and I find normal day yo day things do not effect me anymore. I believe and practice Jappa to keep my mind focused. This has given me to feel more peaceful and happy and in control of my everyday life.

Rob is a practicing spiritual student who is enriching his spiritual soul on its spiritual journey. His work spreads the benefits of spiritual meditation to vastly improve our way of life and get glimpses of the ultimate goal of this life- true happiness. (more)
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Ezinearticles: What is the Soul? By Ron Henry

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:06 pm

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God -- Transcendent and Immanent
With Jean Houston and Deepak Chopra

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Deepak talks with Jean Houston about how narrow viewpoints can restrict our understanding.

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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:44 pm

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Meditation's Beneficial Magic
By Timothy Connolly

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Meditation in the Mind

More and more these days we see countless recommendations to practice the age old art and science of meditation. Most, if not all, extol its seemingly magical power on the human psyche through its purported benefits. These recommendations and claims have stood the test of time- they are universally accepted and well justified. For eons past those who came before us have spoken volumes regarding this great gift we all posses but today sometimes, we neglect to use. Why now are we again reminded of this?

All of us are participating either aware or unaware. in a quantum shift bringing at times, tumultuous changes in all areas of our society and world structures. No one is exempt from the effects these rapid changes bring. While universally experienced, these trans-formative energies are individually unique and processed differently depending on a person's outlook. With a little discipline and practice we can apply this gift of meditation to help balance stress levels, reduce mind-movies which seem to play nonstop to bring increasing levels of joy, clarity and purpose into life.

While it's true that meditative practices are known by many names in virtually all cultures each with various forms of practice, finding one that will work for you is quite easy. Best of all, this gently leads us ultimately to a special place we often desire and want- greater understanding and acceptance to life's mysteries.

So, let's briefly explore the subject for the sole purpose of learning how to reap many beneficial rewards available through meditation. Besides, it is true, the best things in life are free. So let us begin to clear our minds of useless, wayward abstract thoughts having no justification to control or dictate our life's direction. We will find meditation allows you in the purest sense, to create your own life's experiences. (More discussion about that possibility a bit later). For now, consider that during meditation you can replace, and clear out unwanted thoughts with life affirming versions gaining- a true, lasting peace of mind, body and soul. Meditation is your gateway offering all that and more...you can even create some magic in your life through this simple process!

As you may have heard or if you are already a dedicated practitioner, individuals report profound psychological, physical and spiritual well-being as they practice meditation daily. What then is meditation really all about? For beginners, how can one start? And how far can I go with sincere dedication? In this article are going to examine a few areas- some historical background, benefits, science of the mind and advanced possibilities.

History to Date

According to many archeologists, meditation pre dates written records. It could be easily envisioned a person entering an altered state of consciousness by simply gazing in the mind-stilling flicker of fire while taking no thought. The earliest documented record of meditation comes from India in their Hindu scriptures called tantras. These records date back over 5,000 years coming from the Indus valley and were combined with what is referred to today as yoga. Along with expanding trade, cultural exchange was also carried westward and meditation practice was soon embedded in eastern thought and spiritual practices.

With the advent of Buddha around 500 AD, many diverse cultures began to develop their own interpretations and specialized meditative techniques. Some techniques still in use to this day are said to deliver incredible mind-over-matter powers and supernormal skills that transformed the practitioner. Today, these are devout individuals and are not necessarily monks living in some remote mountain monastery. They are everyday people like you and I. Of course advancing through time, the long history of meditation is no longer only attributed to the Hindus and Buddhists. Not to be left out, Christianity, Islam and Judaism also participate in the perpetuation of meditation each with its own take on the practice.

However, historically these religious faiths do not dominate in their teachings and practices a culture of meditation when compared to the Asian traditions. Meditation finds its place here in our Western culture in the early 1960's into the '70's. This was a time when much of our culture was being tested, demanding to be redefined. Meditation found fertile ground in which to flourish and expand. Some could say it was the "hippie" revolution which inspired to embrace acceptance of foreign ideas but only ones that possessed real substantive value. It was not long after that when the Western medical and scientific community began to conduct research and studies on meditation. And what did most studies if not all, to varying degrees find?

You guessed it- significant health benefits. One of the most important aspects of meditation is how it releases stress from our bodies. This is achieved by bridging the gap between our conscious and un-conscious selves, situations or non-justified thoughts that ferment stress become less significant and actually lose their power. Through meditation, it does not take long before you feel more peaceful and relaxed about everything. What happened to cause this nearly miraculous change? Studies have proven that meditation raises serotonin levels which directly affect our behavior and emotional temperament. Conversely, low levels of serotonin lead to depression, headaches even insomnia. All symptoms associated with stress.

Today, our western civilization with all our "advanced" knowledge has re-affirmed the ancient knowledge and understanding of meditation's therapeutic power to help alleviate mental and physical ailments. And this was just the infancy of discovery or shall we say re-discovery of unlimited powers available inside each of us. Today, mediation without question is a universally medically accepted form of holistic healing used worldwide. Meditation could be summed up as a natural mechanism within each of us that enables the spirit within, the higher, true self to bridge the communication gap into our physical aspects grounding us in unconditional love.

Rebirth through Breath

Beyond all the medical community assertions lies a vast segment of the population seeking additional benefits when practicing meditation. How can what appears initially only to be a physical act, effect our true inner being so profoundly by simply clearing our conscious thoughts and focusing on our breath? Well the secret really is in our breath. When you first start a meditative practice at face value, it appears really easy. Yet, early on many are easily frustrated because they have really never truly attempted to quiet their thoughts while awake. Successfully navigating the mental mind field of what apparently appears to be non-stop streams of thoughts popping up can at first be a daunting task. Be forewarned this is a common occurrence and quite normal and there is a solution. It's funny actually once realization sets in that you really are like two individuals within a single physical body. And that is not far from the truth.

I, like many who meditate found out early on one key to successfully get beyond this mental speed bump is to acknowledge the thought. Proceed to then dismiss it entirely or agree to revisit the thought after the meditation session and return the mind's focus to your breathing. I have used this method to great success getting past the egos gate keeper role which it often plays.

You may find this method helpful as well if not, find what brings your focus back without distracting thoughts. Again, breathing's role is of utmost importance in this whole process because it is the gateway bridging the physical body with the spiritual body. The goal here is what I refer to as the death of thoughts through focusing on your breath. Becoming more sensitive of taking no thought along with staying present in the moment by the simple act being consciously aware of your breathing, an amazing inner rebirth begins. Next, we define some good basic steps for all meditation practices.

Meditation 101

Chances are in your life you have unknowingly experienced moments in a purely meditative state. The odds are that when this occurred, you found yourself outside in nature. In nature we more easily find resonance with a deeper more real aspect of ourselves which often comes alive in the natural environment.

Perhaps it occurred while relaxing on a beach watching the hypnotic like waves repetitively washing ashore or possibly noticing the invisible wind rustle leaves on a tree as warming sunlight bathed your face. If you recall during these moments, you found a completely relaxed feeling immerse your entire being because you were free of distracting thoughts. This is what being in "the moment" is all about. It is as if your mind tunes into the higher natural frequencies of life which for the most part, are virtually non-existent inside buildings and such. Yet, with focus, proper intentions and processes we can escape these limitations imposed in man-made environments. Of course meditation can be greatly enhanced when it is practical in natural surroundings.

The whole concept of meditation takes on various identities depending what an individual's intention is while performing a chosen meditation. Some may want physical or mental relief, others, answers or directions for a better life. Either way, choices are clearly individualized. Find yours since this goes a long way in helping you along the path aided with a unique, personalized purpose. Define it for you! To begin a meditation, a few simple rules are universally accepted. These generally are-

1) Break away from distractions. Turn off the outside electrical/technological intrusions like phones, computers, TV's etc. A quiet, calm peaceful place is preferred. At first, commit 10 minutes or more with no interruption.

2) Posture is important in that you must be comfortable. Preferably this is with your back upright and your spine to you head straight. Normally a seated position on the ground is preferred with hands in your lap; it can also be done in a chair. Lying down initially is not suggested as you body can assume a sleep mode.

3) Close your eyes gently, relax your jaw and facial muscles. Do a "body scan" looking for any muscle tension that may exist releasing any found. Continue relaxing now for a few moments allowing your body to become comfortable. Be observant of bodily tension arising. The key is to physically relax.

4) Slowly evacuate your lungs completely. Gently inhale and exhale through your nostrils with a deep (from the belly) rhythmic cycle filling your lungs to capacity and expelling the air completely. Slow, long in and out breaths are ideal. Pausing momentarily at the end of each in and out breath. Focus on the feeling and sounds during the entire cycle.

5) Activate the heart-mind connection which provides an initial thought-clearing mode. Do not attempt to suppress these thoughts. Acknowledge them. Briefly as thoughts arise, dismiss them by surrounding any with the six heart virtues of: appreciation, compassion, forgiveness, humility, valor, and understanding. Another very powerful technique is to apply unconditional love (without a judgment position) to any thoughts that may arise, release them and return focus to your breathing.

6) Steadily and incrementally increase the time duration spent in your practice. As the moments of time lengthen between arising thoughts, you are now well on the way to higher levels of meditation. Remind yourself to notice and appreciate the beneficial by-products you have regained. (more)

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harsi
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Re: A Few Thoughts On Spirituality

Postby harsi » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:45 pm

Zcommunications.org

To Know Ourselves
By Matt Loewen

Image. > Matt Loewen's Blog


To be civilized is to be removed from the relationships that sustain us, and to conform to predetermined rules and conventions. The city, one of the shining examples of our civilization, is an efficient grid of concrete, plastic, rubber and steel that denies us the ability to feel the earth. It denies us the ability to feel each other. Without our relationships - both with other people, and the natural environment - people are, in fact, nothing. Our cities are massive nodes of commerce allowing us to consume products from around the world. Often these things destroy people's lives or the natural environment in the way they are produced, transported, consumed, and disposed of.

Established conventions compel people to ignore these consequences of relationships that sustain us; they compel us to be alienated from ourselves because a life without relationships is empty. Our senses are so stunted by following these conventions that people don't realize or don't care that we are nourished by suffering - that our actions are in fact suicidal, by jeopardizing the health of natural ecosystems, without which no person, let alone a civilization, may exist. We are preoccupied with our freedom, recognized as choice in our consumption habits.

Arguably, this freedom amounts to little more than a greater range of relationships to ignore; it is simply greater freedom from ourselves. To know who we are, we must seek out the relationships that sustain us. Unfortunately, many of us will find ourselves living an inevitably empty, suicidal, and parasitic or tyrannical existence. We have two options to address this situation. We may wait until our suicidal tendencies end us. Or, we may foster and honour our interrelationships with other human beings and end our parasitic ways; our tyranny. We may honour our interrelationship with the natural environment, and overcome suicide. We may break the concrete conventions that compel apathy and ignorance and lionize suicide and tyranny. We may reinvent our cities, our societies - our lives - to honour our interrelationships. In doing so, we may cease to be empty.

In doing so, we may know ourselves.


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