Sunday, December 20, 2009

Understanding Being

Please stop trying to understand Being. You have already had significant glimpses of Being, but the mind will always try to squeeze it into a little box and then put a label on it. It cannot be done. It cannot become an object of knowledge. In Being, subject and object merge into one.

--Eckhart Tolle, Power of Now, 88

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Isolated and Broken

"A 2006 American Sociological Review study ("Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades") reported that, in 2004, 25 percent of Americans did not have a single confidant. (In 1985, 10 percent of Americans reported not having a single confidant.) Sociologist Robert Putnam, in his 2000 book, Bowling Alone, describes how social connectedness is disappearing in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. For example, there has been a significant decrease in face-to-face contact with neighbors and friends due to suburbanization, commuting, electronic entertainment, time and money pressures and other variables created by governmental-corporate policies. And union activities and other formal or informal ways that people give each other the support necessary to resist oppression have also decreased."
-- Bruce E. Levine

From "Are Americans a Broken People? Why We've Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression"
Thanks Dave for the link

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to do all things:

At any given moment in time, we are what we are; and we have to accept the consequences of being ourselves. Only through this acceptance can we begin to evolve further.
In general, mankind almost always acts with attachment; that is to say, with fear and desire. Desire for a certain result and fear that the result will not be obtained. Attached action binds us to the world of appearances; to the continual doing of more action. But there is another way of performing action, and that is without fear and without desire.
People often confuse non-attachment with fatalism, when in fact, they are opposites. The fatalist simply does not care. He will get what is coming to him. Why make the effort? But the doer of non-attached action is the most conscientious of men. Freed from fear and desire, he offers everything he does as a sacrament of devotion to his duty. All work because equally and vitally important. It is only to the results of work - success or failure - that he remains indifferent. When action is done in this spirit, Krishna teaches, it will lead us to the knowledge of what is behind all action, behind all life: the ultimate Reality. And, with the growth of this knowledge, the need for further action will gradually fall away from us. We shall realize our true nature, which is God.

Appendix II, The Gita and War
Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God
translated and appendix presumably written by: Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood


"My God, give me the grace to perform this action with You, and through love for You. In advance I offer to you all the good that I may do, and accept all the difficulty I may meet therein."

The Direction of Intention
St. Franis DeSales

Going to Salesianum (House of DeSales) High School, I had to say this at the start of every day and every class. Simple and profound, and highly compatible with the above sentiments.

Who's Crazy Here?

Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don't they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion. Yes, maybe they are crazy, these divine fools. Maybe they are mumbling idiots in the face of the Abyss. Maybe they need a nice, understanding therapist. Yes, I'm sure that would help. But then, I wonder. Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity—a total embrace of the entire Kosmos—a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It's at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?
Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, 42–3

If what is at issue is not truth but happiness and freedom, why must philosophy have the last word? Why should not faith and myth have equal rights? Formerly philosophers sought peace of mind while pretending to seek the truth. Perhaps we should set ourselves a different aim: to discover which illusions we can give up, and which we will never shake off. We will still be seekers after truth, more so than in the past; but we will renounce the hope of a life without illusion. Henceforth our aim will be to identify our invincible illusions. Which untruths might we be rid of, and which can we not do without? -- that is the question, that is the experiment."
—John Gray, Straw Dogs, 83

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meditation Notes from the Writings of Ken Wilber

  • "Slowly begin to silently recite the following to yourself, trying to realize as vividly as possible the import of each statement:"
    • "I have a body, but I am not my body. I can see and feel my body, and what can be seen and felt is not the true Seer. My body may be tired or excited, sick or healthy, heavy or light, but that has nothing to do with my inward I. I have a body, but I am not my body."
    • "I have desires, but I am not my desires. I can know my desires, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Desires come and go, floating through my awareness, but they do not affect my inward I. I have desires, but I am not desires."
    • "I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can feel and sense my emotions, and what can be felt and sensed is not the true Feeler. Emotions pass through me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have emotions, but I am not emotions."
    • "I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I can know and intuit my thoughts, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Thoughts come to me and thoughts leave me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts."

  • Affirm as concretely as possible:
    • "I am what remains, a pure center of awareness, an unmoved witness of all these thoughts, emotions, feelings, and desires."
  • From

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    K. Wilbs

    Ken Wilber:
    "There is nothing spooky or occult about this. We have already seen identity shift from matter to body to mind, each of which involved a decentering or dis-identifying with the lesser dimension... consciousness is simply continuing this process and dis-identifying with the mind itself, which is precisely why it can witness the mind, see the mind, experience the mind. The mind is no longer a subject, it is starting to become an object [in the perception of] the observing self. And so the mystical, contemplative and yogic traditions pick up where the mind leaves off... with the observing self as it begins to transcend the mind."
    "The contemplative traditions are based upon a series of experiments in awareness: what if you pursue this Witness to its source? What if you inquire within, pushing deeper and deeper into the source of awareness itself? What do you find? As a repeatable, reproducible experiment in awareness? One of the most famous answers to that question begins: There is a subtle essence that pervades all reality. It is the reality of all that is, and the foundation of all that is. That essence is all. That essence is the real. And thou, thou art that. In other words, the observing self eventually discloses its own source, which is Spirit itself, Emptiness itself... and the stages of transpersonal growth and development are basically the stages of following this observing self to its ultimate abode."
    Q: "How do you know these phenomena actually exist?
    A: "As the observing self begins to transcend... deeper or higher dimensions of consciousness come into focus. All of the items on that list are objects that can be directly perceived in that worldspace. Those items are as real in [that] worldspace as rocks are in the sensorimotor worldspace and concepts are in the mental worldspace. If cognition awakens or develops to this level, you simply perceive these new objects as simply as you would perceive rocks in the sensory world or images in the mental world. They are simply given to awareness, they simply present themselves, and you don't have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out if they're real or not."
    "Of course, if you haven't awakened to [this] cognition, then you will see none of this, just as a rock cannot see mental images. And you will probably have unpleasant things to say about people who do see them".[10]

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    For Argh Moments, Like The Current One

    Suffering the gloom, inevitable as breath, we must further accept this fact that the world hates: We are forever incomplete, fragments of some ungraspable whole. Our unfinished natures — we are never pure actualities but always vague potentials — make life a constant struggle, a bout with the persistent unknown. But this extension into the abyss is also our salvation. To be only a fragment is always to strive for something beyond ourselves, something transcendent. That striving is always an act of freedom, of choosing one road instead of another. Though this labor is arduous — it requires constant attention to our mysterious and shifting interiors — it is also ecstatic, an almost infinite sounding of the exquisite riddles of Being.

    To be against happiness is to embrace ecstasy. Incompleteness is a call to life. Fragmentation is freedom. The exhilaration of never knowing anything fully is that you can perpetually imagine sublimities beyond reason. On the margins of the known is the agile edge of existence. This is the rapture, burning slow, of finishing a book that can never be completed, a flawed and conflicted text, vexed as twilight.

    -Eric G. Wilson

    Trading Meaning for Explanation

    Indifference and skepticism are two potent forces in the modern mentality. We have elevated them to the status of values. They are part of the way we have learned to inure ourselves from shock--what Benjamin calls "the price for which the sensation of the modern age may be had: the disintegration of the aura in the experience of shock." They furnish us with a certain shabby level of comfort. Franz Kafka wrote: "there is an infinite amount of hope--but not for us." To be an "indifferent skeptic" is to have reached the end of a certain evolutionary line--for a passionate skeptic, or even an indifferent believer, there might still be hope. For an indifferent skeptic, all that remains is the piling up of fact and statistic, to be sorted into categories of explanation.

    -Pinchbeck, 2001, p134

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Needing a Return to the Feminine

    From the Tao Te Ching:

    Know the male,
    yet keep to the female:
    receive the world in your arms.
    If you receive the world,
    the Tao will never leave you
    and you will be like a little child.

    "Our one-sided fixation on mechanized progress is the result of our civilization's ingrained habit of prioritizing the "rightness" of masculine rationality, seeking to dominate nature, over the "leftness" of feminine intuition, preferring to surrender to it. Edinger writes: "Everything 'feminine' (earth, nature, body, matter) underwent a profound depreciation with the onset of our aeon.... The fact is that the 'depreciation of the feminine' is one of the ways by which the Western psyche has evolved; and we can only assume that it was necessary for the required sequence of events." The "depreciation of the feminine" includes, not only women, but the intuitive and shamanic forms of thought denigrated by our rigidly masculine rationality, as well as nature itself, which is treated as the soulless object of the scientist's alienated gaze. This domineering attitude continues to underlie--and belie-- our mechanistic progress." -- Daniel Pinchbeck, p114 of 2012

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Our Psyche

    "Technology, its poisonous by-products, weapons of mass destruction and inhumane repercussions are projections of the human psyche, expressing our current stage of development. They express not only our consciousness, but also our unconsciousness. "Look at the devilish engines of destruction!" Jung wrote, "They are invented by completely innocuous gentlemen, reasonable, respectable citizens who are everything we could wish. And when the whole thing blows up, and an indescribable hell of destruction is let loose, nobody seems to be responsible. It simply happens, and yet it is all man-made" -Daniel Pinchbeck, pg. 107 of 2012

    It seems to me that the evil of the world is headed for a major downturn. The most innovative and popular technologies -- the Googles, Firefoxes, Twitters & Youtubes -- are projecting a much different psyche than the one described above. I'm confident that the psyche of my generation will be much different than the old-man psyche that gave birth to the destructive culture we currently live in. The fact is, the world we want is a much different world than the one we have, and I fully expect (in a very moral sense) for future technologies and business practices to reflect that.

    **I realize this is an optimistic view, but it seems to me that an optimistic psyche has a better chance of success than a pessimistic one.

    Mandelbulbs - Three Dimensional Mandelbrot Fractals

    More images at

    Thanks to Martin for the link