Who were the Cathars?

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The Cathars (from the Greek katharos meaning ‘unpolluted’ or ‘pure’) were a group of Christian mystics who changed the face of Christianity in Europe. They were at their most popular in the 11th and 12th centuries in the region north-west of Marseilles called Languedoc, near the modern frontier between France and Spain. They also were present in Spain, the Rhineland and Flanders, and Italy.

Their powerful influence came about in the midst of great adversity because they were branded ‘heretics,’ rooted out and exterminated by the dominant Church of Rome. They rejected many of its beliefs, texts and doctrines but they were well-supported by local nobility and popular among peasants and artisans.

One group of Cathars was known as the Albigenses taking their name from the local town of Albi, the scene of a huge massacre between 1209-1220 during which between 9,000 and 20,000 citizens were butchered. This happened because the credentes (Cathars believers) could not be distinguished from the Catholics. It constitutes ‘one of the most conclusive cases of genocide in religious history.’ (Lemkin, R)

Cathar practices probably developed as a consequence of traders coming from Eastern Europe bringing the teachings of the Bogomils, named after their founder the priest Bogomil who denied the Christian conception of the world of matter as a vehicle of grace. In France, they were heavily persecuted until the 13th century when the last group was burned at the stake by the Roman inquisition at the fall of Montségur hilltop Fortress in 1244 where they were hiding. However, those outside France continued to be rooted out and killed as late as the 19th century in Bosnia.

They referred to themselves as Les Bons Hommes, Les Bonne Femmes or Les Bon Chrétiens (the Good Men, the Good Women or the Good Christians). They had no hierarchy or physical church and those who silently knew they were Cathars were divided into 2 groups – the elite or Perfecti, who had mastered all the arduous trainings and travelled around in same-sex pairs as healers and the credentes, or believers who may be at various stages of training and vied for the honour of housing the Perfecti.

The Perfecti lived a life of austerity and extreme poverty and were believed to be the vehicle of the Holy Spirit. They believed they were heirs to the true heritage of Christianity and that the Catholic church had turned its back on Christ’s message in favour of reveling in vast material power and wealth.

Catharism : origin and doctrine.

They were dualists as are most of the followers of the world’s major religions but they were ‘absolute dualists,’ or monistic, their worldview dominated by the opposing principles of Good and Evil, the material world being intrinsically evil and to be overcome. Like Buddhists and Hindus, they considered time was cyclical not linear and so offered infinite opportunities to reincarnate until purification was complete. Also, that all beings were made from the same material substance created by Satan (the evil God or fallen angel) as a rebellion against the ‘Good’ God, but that humans each had a trace of the Divine Light of their origins trapped inside them which would eventually lead them back to God.

Catharism is an ancient faith based on Manichean dualism established by the Babylonian prophet Mani c. 215-216 C.E., which pre-dated Christianity itself. In respect of the Christian Bible, the Cathars’ abhorrence of physical matter was encapsulated by the God of the Old Testament, and the natural goodness of mind or spirit by the message of Jesus Christ of the New Testament, the spiritual Christ, which they lived by.

Persecution of the Cathars
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The Church of Rome hounded the Cathars forcing them to flee and hide in the abandoned hill-top castles of Languedoc. It insisted that provincial rulers use torture to maim them and if they refused they themselves would be punished. Made official by French law in 1229, their property and land were authorized to be confiscated which proved to be a great incentive for greedy state officials.

Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) launched a vicious crusade against the Good Men redirecting his military armies from the Holy Land so determined was he to wipe them out. This was triggered by the assassination of Peter of Castelnau, the papal legate responsible for opposing the Cathars.

During inquisitional interviews, if lay people showed favour in any way to the Cathars, they were often treated as heretics themselves. On 8th September 1308, all 114 inhabitants of the village of Montaillou in Ariege were arrested on heresy charges and found to be of the Cathar persuasion according to the relentless interrogation of Jacques Fournier, the Bishop of Palmiers at the time.

The Cathar Creed

After the extermination of supposedly every remaining Cathar in France in 1244, the Cathar creed of the Church of Love was discovered 700 years later in 1986. It was found using the techniques of dowsing or divination, so it could be argued that there is no actual scientific evidence to support its existence, but it is followed widely today by revivalists. It was left for future Cathars who the Perfecti predicted would be born 700 years later in the mid 20th century and who would continue on their work when the material world was on its knees.

In summary, the Church of Love has no membership or fabric, no hierarchy or structure and there are no rivals because it is not competitive: ‘Those who are, know.’ It has no ambition, seeking only to serve, and recognizes no barriers of any kind. It acknowledges all great teachers of the Truth and their teachings, saluting those who have blazed a path but paid the price for it. However, it professes not to teach but instead to be and by simply being, enrich. It recognizes the whole planet as a Being which humans are not separate from. It proclaims itself only in subtle terms of love, the dedication of each Cathar to the silent loving of their neighbour, the planet and the environment while carrying out their role in society however mundane.

Cathars have no expectations of any reward either in this life or the spiritual world except the ‘ineffable joy of being and loving.’ They never feel fear or shame, they keep no secrets or history or perform any initiations. Only the power of love will allow the world to change and that will come about only if humans change first. The influence of Catharism is still apparent in the south-east corner of France, its revivalist practitioners still working to purify the world of evil.

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The Cathar Influence

The medieval Catholic Church was greatly influenced and still bears those indications today. Inspired by the goodness of the Perfecti, the papacy of the Middle Ages created new orders like the Dominicans and Franciscans which imitated them. As a result of Cathar asceticism, finally celibacy was imposed on the Roman Catholic clergy after centuries of empty talk, and church buildings were greatly simplified – the cathedral at Albi is a spectacular example.

As for gender and the role of women in the church in the Middle Ages, the introduction of devotion to Mary Magdelene could be seen as a way of countering the prominence of women among Cathar Perfecti. In modern days, women are gradually preaching, teaching and administering sacred rites on an equal footing with men in the church. Thus the Cathar prophecy is steadily coming true. Protestantism was also influenced in similar ways.

Images courtesy of Linden Thorp
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Becoming Fully Human

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‘Human’ is a process – no longer an animal, no longer a god.

Our appearance in human form is a tiny part of the whole cosmic process, so if we cease to interfere with that process, the ‘means whereby,’ we will be able to move on to the next stage of our spiritual perfection!

We are beings suspended between Heaven and Earth, between ignorance and knowledge, between light and darkness.

Animals are ‘beings.’ Humans are ‘becoming.’ We are yet incomplete, a new species. Only 10% of our potential has been realized.

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We had our chance to be fully-conscious gods of limitless power early on in our evolution, but we chose the cerebral way. We allowed the intellectual mind to interfere and create its own delusional reality known as samsara (a world of suffering and loss, of beginnings and ends).

This has set us back to a position where we are 100% evolved physically, but for the majority of us, only 10% of our potential has been realized. This incongruence creates anxiety, anger and struggle which leads to destruction and discontent.

 

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The Earth and its species have evolved over a 4.5 billion year period: but human DNA is only 200,000 years old at the most. At all costs, we must not be distracted from our precious and special human consciousness because that is our natural process, our earthly way to become and our mission!

We are, so let us simply be!

Nothing more!

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Monument Valley straddling the states of Arizona and Utah in the United States of America, serenely cradles beautiful upthrusts from the Earth’s mantel which are 570 million years old! Their process continues on! No interference from the human mind. Such an inspiration to cease interfering!

Our planet and its nature are already perfect.

 

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Images courtesy of megapixyl.com, Mariko Kinoshita and Linden Thorp.

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Slither out of the dead skin of your past and future

Your past and yourfuture are like unwanted skin!  Rub them away with sharp awareness and slither into reality.  No past = no karma! 

Ego and persona with all their limitations are simply grooves etched by repetition and reaction into the mind  

so that our daily lives become like a laser that habitually falls into the groove and makes it ever deeper.

Awareness is the only virtue.  It is your true power so embody it.

Prowl with every hair into each moment of each waking interval in search of its very centre.

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Such awareness is a narrow bridge leading you out of the groove of necessity you have created into your unbounded True Nature, your absolute sincere heart.

Here and now you mirror each moment exactly as it is, and by doing so, you act and you laugh with relief.

Nothing else is needed.

                         

images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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Divine Thread: our human legacy (Navajo Wisdom 1)

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The Navajo nation believes to this day that they are the direct descendants of the Holy People or Creation Gods. Their whole reason for existence is to carry their legacy forwards with each generation endowed with the physical and emotional attributes of human beings. Their way of life known as the Blessing Way, or Beauty Way, represents the female energy of creation – harmonious, peaceful, happy, undemanding.

In Navajo wisdom, there is no division between sacred and secular unlike in western traditions. Life itself is sacred, only sacred, therefore knowledge, the process of learning, is also sacred.

Holism is their way of life, a constant expression of interconnectedness and beauty. They astutely survey the misplacement of even one small element of life because it is bound to effect all other parts and so the harmony will be broken.

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I recently visited Monument Valley, Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgali (Valley of the Rocks) deep in the Navajo Lands straddling Arizona and Utah, and there I directly witnessed such harmony and beauty.
The hotel we chose was called ‘The View’ exactly because it is an astounding viewpoint out on to such Holy Rocks. This is considered to be the heart of the Earth according to Navajo Creation myths – the Monument Valley Tribal Park, 92,000 acres of majestic buttes, spires and rocks. Unlike other Navajo reservations, this valley is still inhabited by Navajo – 30-100 people depending on the season who live in hand-built houses without running water or electricity, tending their livestock and creating artifacts.

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‘The View’ hotel, the first in Navajo Lands, opened in 2008, followed by a renovated visitors centre in 2009. When driving at 5 mph down the unpaved valley road which weaves in between the sandstone ‘monuments,’ we could get a view of it embraced by the sandstone contours, built in a way which completely respects the majesty of the sacred.

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On arriving, after paying a modest entrance fee to enter the national park, we drove up to the rear windowless side of the hotel to enter the plain lobby. The experience was almost like walking into one of the rocks itself. The lobby is centred around a massive indoor chimney with a log fire burning in it, the walls adorned with Navajo artifacts, but it was the meeting with the beautiful female receptionists that moved me most.

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They exhibited the ‘Blessing Way’ perfectly. No masks. No posturing or acting. Their voices were low and respectful, their eyes used carefully, the information we required expressed succinctly. I immediately thought of hospitality training in western traditions, and how the customer is treated as a god and entitled to amass charm points during their stay! But these young women had the courage to show their true strong nature to all visitors equally. There was no effervescent welcome because we were expected by the spirits.

It was as if we were in the presence of the Navajo Creation Beings, moving in an eternal dance with them.

Their creation story states that once the Earth was made and after things had been placed on it, the First Man and First Woman pulled a single feather out of a Bald Eagle and blew on it while vowing that from that moment on nothing would be still in the universe, ‘not even water, not even the rock.’ (see ref: 1983:16)

We ancient spirits in human form, which is what all human beings are, can directly influence such movement. I had a sense that even the 58,000 year-old rocks were flowing amongst the warm breath of the Navajo guardians, and this sense of movement is still with me several weeks after my recent visit to Monument Valley.

 

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This experience illuminated the importance of venerating our beloved ancestors who laid the foundation of our lives. I have no single doubt that we are descended from the gods and have been entrusted to carry forward their sacred legacy. We can all choose to live as Holy Beings in this very life.

These stunning buttes below are called ‘The Mittens.’ They are the covered hands of the Earth beings pushing up from the Earth’s mantel in what was once a great ocean high in the mountains of Arizona.

Our Earth is a living moving monument to our divine origins.

 

 

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Images courtesy of Linden Thorp (4-9 February, 2017) and megapixyl.com

Reference: Pinxten, Rik and Ingrid Van Dooren, Frank Harvey Anthropology of Space. Philadelphia University Press. 1982

Holding the Earth

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I feel so privileged to be here at Monument Valley staying in a Navajo Hotel called ‘The View.’ These ‘monuments-butte,’ free-standing rock formations, appeared about 570 million years ago. This was once the ocean floor and the mantle of the Earth uplifted in these strange forms known as ‘The Mittens’ to crack it. Later the ocean subsided west during the shifting of the tectonic plates: the resultant mud became sandstone and limestone.

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Such an ancient scenario to suddenly arrive in, but arriving creates such a connection with my Earth! I am One with it! I am sandstone and limestone: the desert paints me in rainbow colours against the gigantic Moon.

 

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This is my Earth! I am inspired to become its custodian once more, to hold it and look upon it with complete awe! Only putting aside the synthetic reality created by my limited mind will allow this to be.

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Images by Linden Thorp.

Releasing True Nature

Since the dawn of time, humans have felt the need to create images or effigies in the material world. The most ancient surviving examples are around 13,000 years old and were quite recently unearthed at Gobekli Tepe, thought to be the first monumental building, in south-eastern Turkey.

It is useful to think about why we do this.  Before we could read or write, before the emergence of technology or pottery, our ancestors were moved to create something on the material plane using materials of the Earth to focus their attention on. Protection from the unknown?  Celebration of the invisible? Markers to send messages into the sky?  

We can make a beautiful image or effigy as an outward signal, or as a representation of something inside. We can create an image for ourselves or for others.  Our motivation to do this may come from a profound sense of gratitude or awe, or to communicate with something invisible, or perhaps to convey some message or display as a badge to our communities.  It may separate or unite us with its audience.

But there are some image makers who sculpt uttering a prayer or mantra for each strike of their chisel or each rub of their file. Their motivation is to release the true nature of all beings so that the planet will become a land of permanence, of bliss, of true self and purity.

These sculptors etch the divinity of each being into the hearts of all spectators with a wish to transport them into an eternity of purity and true happiness so that universal balance will be restored or maintained.  

Look out upon beautiful images with your physical eyes, then look inside upon your own unique permanent beauty.

Images courtesy of megapixyl.com (all licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com) and Mariko Kinoshita

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Australopithecus: we stood up and chose the wrong route

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The majority of human beings have decided that we will go our own way.  We no longer listen to the natural world, to our origins.  We are suffering and the Earth disintegrating exactly because we have turned our backs on our divine flame and torn ourselves out of reality with manmade concepts and synthetic realities. Only a few of us are struggling to get back!

It is said that this separation started when we stood up from all-fours to widen our view and pick the best fruit from the higher branches of trees and bushes.  We poked our head up into the sky for the first time between 3.9 – 2.9 million years ago. This species, Australopithecus, played a significant part in human evolution because it could stand up straight and possessed a gene which caused increased length and ability of neurons in the brain – the SRGAP2 gene. One of these species eventually became the Homo genus in Africa about 2 million  years ago (e.g. Homo habilis),  and so on to ‘modern’ humans, Homo sapiens sapiens.

 

art work by Mariko Kinoshita
art work by
               Mariko Kinoshita

Our increased cerebral capabilities and physical stature heralded the beginning of a period of human excellence which differed from animal excellence.  Once we could negotiate the world in a new way with our increased memory capacity and other intellectual tools and skills, we naturally were spiritual beings with a sacred intent.  We were still close to our divine origin with a clear mission to express what animals could not express with the tool of language and communication, the pen and the sword. But we were and are essentially mammals, and always will be.

Our species represented the pinnacle of the evolution of mammals, painstakingly nurturing our young inside us with love and handing down our advanced cerebral capabilities. This upright beautiful species would walk the Earth and create an unsurpassed civilization, going ever upwards. But instead of remaining close to the Earth, we have become aliens with synthetic realities who have gradually lost contact with our original reality, with the universe we are a crucial part of.

 

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It seems as if we were led astray by an evil power some would call the devil, but this is a fantasy.  Imagine this moment of choice – to stay with the sacred, or to move away to the secular:  sacred meaning worthy of veneration and respect: secular meaning ‘worldly’ or ‘temporal,’ not connected or separate from those things worthy of respect. The presence of so-called ‘evil’ is a fallacy because we each have that real choice now in modern life.  We can freely choose to either respect and integrate into a whole, or to doubt and find our own way, to become a splinter.  Another way of interpreting this is that we can choose to be positive and stand in full light, or we can withdraw to the shadows and negativity.

 

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So, now our spiritual evolution lags badly behind our physical and cerebral development, and so we have a choice to deviate from what is morally acceptable, from the ‘Middle Way,’ from our innate goodness and natural love. The love we are endowed with when we come into the world often dims or disappears.  The unconditional love of our parents lavished on us from the moment of our conception which we embodied as loving innocent children, turns into an accessory – something we ‘have’ or acquire/purchase.

 

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Instead of embodying our divine inheritance of love and immortality of the spirit, we have chosen to live in a tyranny of fear, greed and envy, clinging white-knuckled to the material world because we have torn ourselves away from the natural path.  We have taken everything into our own hands, respecting little and trusting no-one.   How can we assume our role as custodians of the Earth when our arrogance dictates and controls our hearts.

The real future of the planet Earth lies in the open hands of indigenous peoples who have made the right choice.  They continue to live with a sense of awe and form a partnership with the Great Mother Nature so that all species thrive and they dance to the rhythms of the planet.  Living in traditional life, undisturbed by arrogant consumers like us, they are truly integrated. They devote their entire energy and being to caring for and listening to the planet – their visual responsibility, and the greater invisible – the universe.

 

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Images courtesy of megapixyl.com

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To glimpse aboriginal life please read my book ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day.’  This is an account of my time living with Australians in traditional life.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUSPLYM  – kindle link

http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Happy-Sexy-Twelfth-Day-Linden-Thorp/dp/1622129776/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1434547522. –  ISBN link

U tube video link:

http://youtu.be/8Tc7XuC U38k – the author speaks

https://youtu.be/xCZ3FMGc0bs

Media Deluge: I am tortured and torturer

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If we are sucked into the media vacuum, infiltrated by disturbing images of violence and corruption which become natural to us, then little by little we will fail to notice anything good, anything filled with light.

If we are only stimulated by death and demise, by materialistic mystery and gore, then how can we be aware of the real universe, the infinity and eternity we are each vital components of? The natural energy in the wild undisturbed places, flowing and pulsing, is the true nature of the planet, and it is our true nature too. These snapshots and effigies of terror we cram into our eyes, block our true nature as well as damaging the planet at many and various levels.

For the majority of us, in our relaxation time away from work and other responsibilities, we willingly fill ourselves with monsters and demons, with the filth and greed of urban life. Hungry ghosts are howling all around us, their suffering intense and, we say, unimaginable. But there is no question of using the imagination to stand in the shoes of others because we ourselves are deeply suffering beneath the veneer of respectability, the fragile semblance of convenience and fulfilment.

We too are howling in the pits of our spirits – a million suicides, thousands of torture methods, starvation and sensory deprivation – we too are hounded and hided. When we have had enough, we flick away the sordid pictures of evil as someone else’s business, the concern of the powers that be. Then we swallow and get on with creating our own brand of it.

In a string of movies, articles and books widely available, even popular, we can find torture, abuse, greed and ignorance on a grand scale; lust and betrayal, and the fertilising of more and more babies in the name of calming the irrepressible urges.

At each channel change, deadly diseases mutate and aliens target us fixing us as fugitives from our own souls, from our true nature. We run in terror, always in the dark depending on fickle torchlight instead of our own light. We are bewildered and manipulated by others.

In truth, we are rats in a maze of fear entirely synthesised by the mind, so heavily drugged by our own picture shows that we cannot even climb a nearby tree to see the exit.

 

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In just one session of viewing the flashing screen, I am tortured and I torture.

At one moment, the rack stretches me – my victim – until the tendons and ligaments snap. I hold hospital cardiologists at gunpoint because my son will die without a transplant and I am too poor to buy him a heart. I am a politician involved in outsourcing the killing of Moslems in Iraq to mercenaries, paying them billions of dollars to take them out of my hands.

At the next moment, I am a special squad policeman wading the sewers every night, working through suicides and poisonous snakes, bag-snatchers who sell their merchandise for inflated prices so they can buy their cocaine fixes, the possessed who bite and speak in scrambled tongues, a dead baby found in the gutter and a living baby found in the womb of my wife. Human life seems irreversibly doomed. It seems to be a living hell.

 

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The oblivion of orgasms, inebriation and lap dancers are what most people pursue, either openly or in secret. Erotic videos flood the internet which most of us instantly judge and dismiss, and yet we are those egocentric handsome guys masturbating while not losing eye-contact with the camera lens for a second except to see how enormous they have become. And we wait too for our moment of sticky heaven.

We are the circus acts of hard inflamed penises curling and thrusting into mouths and assorted orifices in tandem. We are the insatiable girl writhing repeatedly on a rod-like penis for the camera, blatant, moaning, putting off the moment of explosion masterfully. We writhe. We think we are repeatedly renewed. We mistake love for lust, flooding with hormones we are told are healthy. All this, not just the respectable parts, is us. The world we each see is an exact reflection of our minds.

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Each horror image or footage is a bubble encapsulating the massive wave of imbalance and artificiality. How can we not long for the end of this onslaught, this hell realm? How can we not long to know that our consciousness has expanded to blot it all out, the veil of death has been lifted and that our physical bodies are no longer needed?

This is the present state of the human race. Only our emptiness and detachment will make it stop. Only letting our positive and undistorted light shine out into the invisible world will balance this visible world.

Our compassion and acceptance are the only subduing influence that we can bring to bear on this media deluge which constantly batters the shores of our true nature.

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com : licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

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Avoid desires to be touched by the divine.

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It is our countless nagging desires that keep us separated from happiness, from the great truth. But there are 2 principal desires: the first is to avoid death; the second is to avoid living fully.

The intellectual mind conjures up such desires as a distraction from the free flow of our energy.  Our divine origins have led us to the manifestation of our unique energy in the world of form, and from that moment on we must undergo a huge battery of tests until the for we are tenants in deteriorates and vanishes like dust in the air.   The tests are mostly about attachment.

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Our energy flows.  It must do because the prime reason for the existence of energy is movement. But we have bounded that energy in a human form and we must carry the weight of thousands of years of conditioning, of the desires of our nation, our community, our family and our ancestors. Most people under such weight abdicate responsibility for their energy, and even forget it completely.

Can we sustain the weight while also keeping the flow of our energy and life force moving.  Or will we become static and passive, and start to live a lie, ignoring our most basic energic urges?

If we can detach form the forms and material temptations, and allow our selves to flow naturally, then there are no fears, no negativities.  Just a vital pulsing river of all life.  This is the glory of our human consciousness.

Energy is the only thing we possess.  It is dynamic is we allow it to be.

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images courtesy of megapixyi.com

Divine Thread: from the gallery

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Most of us live in a world in which the past dominates us. It seems to have such a strong influence, magnetizing us to always look into another time and making comparisons with the present. It is as if we sit in a high gallery strapped into a chair, our necks braced into position forcing us to look down on a dream which we are taught makes our reality. However, this is true conditioning, a kind of indoctrination.

The past is not in any way dynamic because it is produced by the mind as something which we amount to, something we can either regret or revel in. But above all, it is something we know, especially our personal past. We are separate from it but we can look at it whenever we like – the subject and the object.

 

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In fact, this manmade concept of ‘time’ has been created exactly because of our doubts and fears of the unknown. Time is a synthetic reality in which we can create many desires and then go about realizing them. But such activity is only a distraction from the reality of the unknown. To find true liberation we must embrace what is unknown courageously.

Desires are eternally repetitious in the dream of the past and projected into the dream of the future. The pattern is always the same, circular, a circle which keeps us captive. And the mind just goes on creating this pattern and ingraining it so we can live blindfolded, effortlessly. So that we feel safe because we think we know!

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After thousands of repetitions, particular experiences become more and more weighty, artificially significant. Then, ‘reality’ seems so convincingly real that we relegate everything else to the realm of dreams.

However, if we are living on auto-pilot, repeating everything, again and again, we are not in any way aware. Dynamism only comes into play when our full awareness is activated. Most of us prefer to be deeply asleep with auto-pilot engaged to the inconvenience of awareness. Why not allow the mind to work automatically, taking over every moment of our existence so that we can sleep.

If we sleep, we will never know Oneness with the Universe. We will never know the vast field of consciousness and the joy of each moment of the unknown. Wee will never embody the creature we are, stepping into every moment for the very first time.

We will never ‘know’ that we are composed of pure energy and that the only thing that energy does is to move eternally, flowing on in the wide river of all life.

 

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One day, someone told me that they owed me an apology. I was surprised saying that I was unaware of any mistake or offence they had created. They tried to apologize again. My response was that I would tell the person they offended when I met them and that it was not me because I am in no way the same even from moment to moment, let alone from day to day.

 

 

Images courtesy of Megapixl.com: see licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

To read more about ‘going beyond all dualities,’ our Divine Thread, and Oneness, please visit my web site at http://www.divinethread.wordpress.com

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True Nature: the Beginning

 

This new site – ‘TRUE NATURE: Our Supreme Inheritance’ – is dedicated to writing and perfecting a book with the same title. Another way of saying this is that I am adopting a currently very fashionable approach to writing and publishing which is to write a book in short episodes published live on the internet. 

I like this idea very much because I often get lonely and lose objectivity if I am working on a large project with little feedback over a long period. I love the prospect of having my followers, my audience, accompanying me and making me notice flaws or inconsistencies in what I’m writing as I go along.

I also love being challenged about my ideas and way of seeing human existence, so I’m really hoping you will feel free to post questions or comments. Please freely contact me and interact in this place of reflection.

Of course, the scheme and concepts for this book have been well-planned so it’s not as if I’m writing completely off the cuff. However, I anticipate that as I write, as usually happens, I will be moved in directions completely different to what I had planned once the narrative comes tumbling out of me.

So, getting this book out will be exactly like taking a long journey. There may be unexpected adventures or changes in route, but basically I think I know where we will end up.

I’ve finished packing and got all my travel accessories ready. Above me is the rocket ship we’re going to travel in! Hope you’re ready for a rocket-ship ride? Perhaps not what you had in mind.

I am also looking forward to talking directly to you, to wooing you with my view of the world. What is my motivation, I can hear you asking? Well, I am a writer/creator of many different things, but the crucial thing about my passion for the written word and for the beautiful language of English, is the challenge to touch my readers.

And it so happens that I am someone who has always had a fascination for the spiritual, the mystical, and belief in the basic goodness of human beings even though they often behave badly. That’s another thing I’m curious about. Why do people behave so badly sometimes and get so scared of life, and death? And after a lifetime of questing and tireless spiritual training, I think I’ve got some ideas about that.

So, basically I’m hoping that you can join me a couple of times a week for the next few months so I can reveal my insights to you in short easy-to-read episodes full of images, as well as get your feedback, good or bad! If you miss a visit, or are lacking in time to read me, I promise to make a little summary of the points I have made so you can easily catch up. I will put them in a special place so you can easily see them, and call them ‘travel notes.’

I like to use images to make my points clearer and to break up the text a little, but it is my intention not to clutter up this site with advertisements for other sites or works in process. I hope this TRUE NATURE site will be like a sacred corner in our lives – quiet and peaceful, a place where you can retreat from the gravitational force of life out in life. If I could, I would light a candle and burn some fragrant incense there, and open the window a crack so that the air flows nicely and we can feel the closeness of the universe and see my favourite tree and Moon plant in the garden.

So, I’ll get started and summarize what’s going to happen with each episode. You’ll soon get the swing of it. There are 5 episodes so far, so please come and visit me. Episode 1 asks, “What exactly is true nature?”

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Soul Management: not priests or nuns!

Soul Management

We don’t need to become robed priests

or wimpled nuns to feel our true nature

and the sacred! We do not need to take vows,

to strap ourselves up with symbols,

and live in a cloister accountable to our superiors.

Our humanity is our creed and

our faith combined. Each breath is an

opportunity to experience it.

Humanity is our robes and regalia,

our bible and vajra.

Our church is ‘understanding’ and listening

to others with full sincerity. It has no walls

or boundaries, and there are no rewards for

good works at any time, except one –

the sheer joy of being fully alive and

awake each moment!

We need no mediators, no clerics or shamans,

to communicate with our own true nature,

and that is the way, that is the divine.

We are the dynamic pulsing way of pure love

and compassion! Religion is…

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The role of the past!


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The past is so forceful. It pulls us away from reality like the strongest of magnets. But it is dead; a dead weight; a burden. The past belongs in works of art so that it can be re-evaluated, re-visited. So that we can cease to identify with it as a part of our ‘self.’

It liberates us and makes more space for the present, for the ‘now-and-here!’ Tibetan Sand mandalas are painstakingly created with an inner bow for each grain and then abandoned to the master artist, the weather. This creation is witnessed by the universe, the visible and the invisible.

When we create art we can be assured that we have contributed a little of our unique minds and our spirits, a little of what we consider we ‘know,’ to the universe which we can never ‘know,’ without expecting rewards or benefits. This is real freedom.

 

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After all, we cannot desire the unknown, so we can give freely to it without any attachments, any strings. Desires – the future – are repetitious and delusional; and the past has been repeated so many times that it is easy, habitual, representing no challenge whatsoever.

All the challenges lie in the present as we navigate our lives as tenants through breaths which we borrow. Our spirits are the only authentic art – formless, divine, and indestructible.

 

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Desirelessness: walking away from ‘civilization.’

I briefly lived with a tribe of Australian native people 11 hours by land cruiser south of Ayer’s Rock.  Our group went to help them to move deeper into the scorching interior of Australia in order to return to ‘traditional desert life.’  Their tribal leader, Ninija, had decided that the aging and young of her people should return to their ‘Lands,’ turning away completely form white-fella comforts and handouts.

During this adventure, my view of human life completely changed.  

The settlement we left consisted of primitive prefabricated housing and an air strip.  But not one member of the tribe lived inside the housing. Instead, they used them as a dumping ground for the heaps of material goods donated to them from white-fella do-gooders.  

White Australians have always wanted to ‘civilize’ these desert people, to make them respectable, useful to their average urban ways.

There is no such thing as a ‘gift’ to the desert dwellers and not one of the variety of items they receive is useful to their desert life: nylon dresses, leather shoes, plastic toys, kitchen equipment, tools made of metal.  They accept them and then quickly let them pass through their fingers. They are soon added to the tall heaps of detritus inside their unsuitable housing.

The day we left the settlement in our land cruisers loaded with prefabricated shade shelters to erect as the tribe walked in temperatures that most humans could never survive, Ninija and her people walked naked and barefoot.They carryied nothing except their few custom-made possessions to negotiate the harsh Lands and climate: 

Dilly bags woven from Mangrove string for their totemic badges; Wood and Grass carrying bowls (coolamon) sported on their heads, shoulders or against their bellies; custom-made digging sticks slung across their backs from ornate Kangaroo straps; beautifully crafted boomerangs for hunting; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing the precious bones of their deceased.

As they slowly walked, the sheen of their black skins caught the strong sunlight and their blond and red topknots of wild hair blended in with the iron-rich ochre of the desert floor. They were joined occasionally by competing kangaroos on one side, and a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, on the other.

They were walking away from ‘civilization,’ – known to them as ‘The Lands of Frowns and Fears,’ away from ‘safety.’ They had neither compass nor water flask.  Walkign away from health care and education; away from the culture of ‘the thinking‘ stuffed with words and ideas.  

Our ‘modern’ mobilized team followed them at some distance, kitted out in snake boots, fly-nets, clinging to our ‘possessions’ stashed away in brightly coloured waterproof rucksacks and pouches. We were highly protected by metal and glass, and cooled by powerful air-conditioning.

I have learned from these genuine custodians of the earth, that a desireless state is a truly pure and happy state.  It is ‘now’ and ‘here.’  Whereas, the future is a mirage and the past is dead. 

I have learned that time itself does not move because it is only a crude device, another delusion; instead, the only movement is of our minds

When our desires are frustrated, all of our negative emotions are generated because we cannot get our way.  In complete contrast, not having any single desire is contentment, no craving, no worries or attachments. Naked and without possessions, we can blend into the many natural realities of the universe

All desires are a mirage or like the horizon: we can never reach them because they are imaginary, a hallucination, delusional. And yet, we persist in running after such pots of gold from the desire to possess them, to drag them like magpies into our nests.

A state without desires is purity itself. If we allow them to ebb away then we do not need to reach out to gods and deities for benefits or protections

If we clear the bridge of the mind of such clutter, then we can walk straight out in the vast field of consciousness and awareness. There we can embody the divine, our original state.

Without worldly desires and clutter, we naturally embody the divine. This is our true human mission. 

Images courtesy of megapixl, etc: all licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

The story of Ninija and my adventures has been written as a novel called ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day.’ If you want to read more about desirelessness, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUSPLYM or watch the video trailer at: https://youtu.be/xCZ3FMGc0bs

Two Angels

 

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Dawn is an eminently suitable time for angels to leave the down of quilt and pillow, to slip away from the smooth cotton snug, to move further than just turning over.  A loving observer said that your dark red eyelids showed thousands of glow-worm lights as they flickered.  Your luminous clavicle bones trembled, widening, and your swan neck grew long.

The pale sheet bandaged around your breasts slipped allowing dark, mystic nipples oratory and your spine became a shifting spire making scarecrows beneath the sheet.  Several kisses were captive on your argent forehead, but your eyelids could not be caught.

Your keeper told you that you had had a fit, convulsion, apoplexy, petit mal, grande mal.  Gave you the precise time and duration, the clinical description, of your episode.  Stopwatch.  Jotting down notes.  A part-time biologist. You told me, toying with a description like un-relished oysters or snails, and I knew.

“I move in and out of consciousness.  It is timeless.  I am ashamed.”

As a dark-haired angel child you were never alone for the legion Sistine blue butterflies which lived in the orbs of your huge blue eyes may carry you off somewhere at any moment.  Your father held on hard to you when you blinked and walked with you into sleep until the butterfly wings were paired and still beneath the surface of your eye-lid lakes of heliotrope. Then, pale with watching, he would imagine your sleep, never knowing that your head was filled with moon-crazed creatures.

When you heard him pad away with worried steps, you would get up to let them out of the skylight in the hallway, listening for the moon.  As they dotted up into the stars, you compared the constellation in your head with that beyond the glass.

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Your life was filled with trees which you collected behind your eyes.  Eventually you had enough to plant out the pattern of stars in your head.  This tree chart which you often looked at was designed to be a forest of sound.  The breeze would rustle through many different species of leaves, and the wind would resound around the carefully positioned trunks, the excited air silvering through uncountable spruce needles, cymbaling birch leaves, tinkling the berries of rowan and holly. 

You would stare up from the ground looking through thin clouds and tree vapour, your eyes dangling azure fruit on very long stems, or sometimes a pair of errant bluebells in late summer.

Later, you would plant out your own tree garden to make a map of the world.  Moscow. Budapest. Delhi, all with the appropriate tree.  You were not daring enough to use the constellations of your childhood, but there is still time for that.

The huge shiny Bechstein piano took charge of most of your young years.  It was very difficult to get you away from its big body; your dextrous fingers constantly summoning sounds from the slim, smooth keys.  They were your white friends who carried around younger black siblings which you tolerated.

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Your intent eyes stained the manuscript with their blueness because you read on and on, hour after hour. And when your eyes began to flicker, your fingers learned to stay still while your mind extemporized blissful forays into your sound garden.  Then your fingers would go on as if nothing had happened.

Sometimes you would sit under the piano and flicker the pink and blue, and your mind would fly up into the dark vault of strings.  You would lie with your disheveled head on the sustaining pedal so that the inter-stellar hum would go on forever, or until some meddler came and insisted that you climb up on the huge leather stool with its buttoned hills and valleys to play something soothing. 

As soon as you were alone again you would climb down and yelp up into the strings, hungry for harmonics, marveling at the coarse copper of the bass notes, the triplets of wire for the treble.

You.  A listening creature.  A honeycomb of receptive cavities.  A gentle twinkle of star.  Breathing. Flickering the minute muscle screws of the membrane in your ear, tightening or loosening the skins as you pleased. Later, they wanted you to read and write about sound.  Paragraphs.  Letters.  Ruled pages.  Wanted you to turn sounds into history, morality, even to make politics out of it. 

You left the university in haste, going alone, unsafe, to flicker in the bottom of the domes of Florence.  Frescos were your cushions and clouds into which you bedded.  Your eyes always played the part of angels, sexless, weightless, circling close around the Madonnas, your fingers deftly activating spheres of coloured sound.

You left your first love behind.  A Rasputin who draped his gigantic beard across your white belly and shared his opium pipe with you.  He had travelled a little way into your world by this means but he hadn’t learned listening and how talk was only the voice playing with shadows.

You have learned to flicker at your will now, standing in the well of the Duomo, flying up into your dreams, or diving into memories if you desired. But always preferring the dark softness of Now, your senses working at full pelt.

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Then one day you thought that the coloured patterns and pitch of your messages were received. 

Far across the great dark dome in which you had been always alone, aware only of your trees and of walking again and again through huge mirrors, suddenly you saw other flickering, glistening eyes.  They were blue but darker.  Beneath the eyes, long dark fingers were operating vessels of sound, only some of which you recognized.  Above, a head was slightly bowed, intent, listening unmistaken and beautifully.

There were wisps and sibilances of a struggle for breath as the two beings realized they were no longer alone.  Their throats became blocked, crammed with sapphire spangles of tears of joy.  Only a thin trickle of air passed through which prompted strange intermittent sounds.  Breath-speech.

There were many diversions through mirrors before the two beings approached each other.  In time they held each other’s faces in long lit fingers.  Their neat hair became disheveled, blurred, and their commingled sounds were sustained into eternity.  They spluttered out colours from the octaves of their spines through the tiny trap-doors in their porcelain throats.

Dawn was an eminently suitable time for the commingling of two angels.

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images courtesy of Megapixyl.com and Mariko Kinoshita

Somnambulation: how many seconds can we really stay awake?

Most of us spend most of our lives asleep!  We fall into routines often by choice exactly so that we can sleep. We walk down a busy road in a dream staring into the wide-open sleeping eyes of passersby. We try to get our obligations fulfilled, our daily chores and duties finished quickly so that we can get back to sleep. We let most of our lives fritter away while sleeping.

You may be able to stay fully awake for a few seconds while something takes your attention, for example, the incredible curves, points and texture of these ice mountains, but then you drift off into your slumbers again.  And increasingly, it is only the visually sensational that holds your attention, so we are completely unaware of so many other invisible dimensions. 

If you close your physical eyes and hold back the constant stream of images and words which flood by, then perhaps you can count 3 or 4 of your own breaths before you are distracted again by the flooding. But this place of stillness and near-silence is REALITY! – the place where your spiritual eyes open wide. 

It is remarkable that human beings so rarely directly experience the full force of our natural and intended condition.


So, please remember to wake up for tiny periods during the day ahead. Take a moment to count your breaths deepening them as you go, or close you eyes and count from 1 to 10 without being distracted. This wide silent focus is reality, is being fully human! It is being entirely integrated and not separate from the Universe!

For me, this reality is heaven! And I go there whenever I can.

          

                                                       

                                                                        TRUE NATURE : Our Supreme Inhertance


Making Images: the greatest test for human beings

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Humans are actually taught to make images to symbolize or represent almost everything – for remembering, for recognizing, to navigate, and so on – and we excel at it. This aptitude to bring to bear rich imaginations and wide vision in our daily lives is one of the things that differentiates us from animals and plants.

But actually, this often becomes an abstract route to creating our exclusive way of seeing the world. It literally forces us to identify, to stamp ‘me’ and ‘mine’ on that mind moment, and if we are not mindful we may become attached to such images, mistaking them for reality.  

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This temptation to ‘identify’ with the images we constantly create is our major test as humans – our conditioning and DNA (countless ancestors who have lived distant to the sacred) lead us to etch a clear line between reality and the imaginary, to make a distinction between the visible and the invisible. Also, we unknowingly consign ourselves to experiencing life always from the sidelines, via concepts and archives.

But many of us have never even heard of this test which means that we have fully and unconsciously turned our backs on our divine mission. Instead, we favour and over-cherish a synthetic ‘self’ invented by the dictatorial intellectual mind. This is pure ego and arrogance: some would say it is the dark side of human beings, our personal ‘Satan,’ our samsara, It is as if we are constantly resisting the gravitational field of love and goodness. These resistant consumers surround us in modern life: those who live lives of surrender and desireless-ness are rare.

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Science informs us that human beings have evolved physically as much as they can; in other words, that we are at our peak as a species, but evidently our spiritual evolution is badly retarded. As a result, most of us are not truly happy and neither is the world at large. We are restless, insatiable, destructive and primitive, unable to create harmony in our social groups for the most part and constantly craving artificial stimulation.

In our short-sightedness in life most of us convincingly conceal our terror of death and disappearance. But this endemic fear has caused us to lose the use of so many subtle tools available to the higher mind: the mind of ‘grace’ (Christian) or emptiness (Buddhist) or moksha (Hindu). Instead, we invest all our energy in the visible, the intellectual and in acquiring. We give over our precious human existence to shopping, possessing and questing for attention, and so we have become major stakeholders in the worlds of materialism and sensual satisfaction.

Given our huge stake, it is logical that we sit back in our high comfortable chairs, flicking switches and frittering away our time viewing visual collections. Logic? – Another resistance to what is natural.

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We may even make images to represent our own minds: for example, the iceberg with its small tip showing above the water surface and its mass below, symbolizing the conscious mind and the unconscious mind respectively: the onion with its tender centre and its layer upon layer of ever-hardening skins is another. Although this may be useful to try to appreciate or recognize the difference between these two contrasted aspects of our mind, it does in fact separate them from one another in an Aristotelian way.

By attaching ourselves to such images, we are unwittingly identifying with them and so coaxing our contrived ‘self’ to acquire and possess compulsively.  In actuality, there is no self to identify with anything material because we are beings of energy made flesh for the express purpose of evolving spiritually.

It is preferable then to avoid making or encouraging these images even though they may seem to ease understanding. Ironically, understanding in its original sense is connected to listening not looking.  Perhaps, rather than finite blocks of black and white as captured on screens and pages and in bold framed linear scenarios, there is only a boundless greyness which floats and fleets in whatever shape is needed to embody the essence of love. There is only an unconditional listening, a subtle flickering of our essence of light.

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If we give up trying to pin down our feelings, cementing them into our foreground, crying out for witnesses to come forward and acknowledge us, asserting our view to others, we might realize that the field of awareness is infinite and has no boundaries, no images.  Then we can quietly coalesce in the field needing no images or intermediaries at all.

By closing the busy outer eyes so addicted to colour, shape and orientation we can close the image albums and lock the archives, walking away to our real home beyond all concepts created by the human mind. Then we will be able to clearly hear the sound of reality moving and merging, the concrete sound of infinity and eternity, of goodness and the divine.

True understanding consists of universal unconditional listening during which nothing is pinned down, nothing is owned and everything becomes one. We embody love with our true nature enabled only by the privilege of breathing air granted from the universe. Everything else is simply arranged only to stimulate the intellectual mind.

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‘We shall know each other by our deeds and being,

and by our eyes and no other outward sign save

the fraternal embrace.’

The above is a verse from the Cathar Creed (1244), The Church of Love. The spirit of life is played out whilst silently respecting everything on the material plane though not identifying with it; accepting everything but quietly supporting those who need support. It is clear from our history that identifying and possessing destroy and engender greed and ignorance. Using images is, in a way, an attempt to possess aspects of the visible, to keep them for reference as a source of knowledge.

The medieval mystic Cathars possessed nothing material, not even Bibles which showy Christians had become slaves to. Indeed, all the great spiritual adepts have dispensed with material supports. Instead, they did what was natural and wholeheartedly embodied their spirit of compassion and humility.

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I have deliberately positioned myself in my life in a different culture (Japan) in which I cannot easily read or write or even understand the society around me.  This is the most precious opportunity to stop making images and concepts.  I notice that I am not using my mind in the same way as I did living in my native culture because it is often impossible to make interpretations of my environment here.

As I wander down crowded streets decked out with loud kanji, katakana and hiragana neon signs so characteristic of Japanese cities, whisked aside by bicycles mounted on the pavement and bustling people pushing through crowds, I can often only listen deeply and breathe. It is no use bringing out my image albums and brandishing metaphors and idioms because they are meaningless in a culture which reads the air instead of dissecting and deeply analyzing ideas.

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It is often impossible to imagine what is going on in other minds around me because there is no pattern I can predict, no pictograph I can possibly imagine, no inherited template. I can only embody my love and float around sealing away the intellect and allowing visions to temporarily occupy me, while relying on my ancient senses to help me to navigate.

There is only the field of awareness. I am the terraced shaking paddy, standing in sluiced rice rows, paddled by ducks and frogs, activated by tremors from the inflamed warts of the Earth’s crust below me, burned and bundled and finding its way inevitably into famished stomachs.

Here, I have dramatically learned how not to be separate from anyone or anything here in a Land created from the hair and kimono of the million gods. To interfere with this seamlessness for even a second to create an image, to snap a shot, would make me gasp for air!

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Images: courtesy of megapyxl.com
  1. Bird and web  – Alisen.com
  2. Sensing Energy between palms –  Nikkizalewski.com
  3. Man hunting. bushman’s prehistoric cave art –  Wilad.com
  4. Three geisha –  Razvanjp.com
  5. Cosmic Transformation –  thefinalmiracle.com
  6. Iceberg – Luislouro.com
  7. South and North pole and all things related – Stuidoclover.com
  8. SoundHealer’s web banner – Nikkizalewski.com

Forward to my new book – Glorious Death: Glorious Life: Buddhists Cathars and people of the Earth

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author’s forward

Glorious Death? Human beings are curious of and frightened by their own death and the death of others they love. Death is taboo to most of us, and it is understandable that the complete unknown is terrifying so we evade it, clinging to what we know even more tightly.  But I will show you in this book that there is a way to understand and to embrace death, and that when we do our lives are transformed. 

Glorious Life?  Life is both predictable and unpredictable; both happy and sad; both satisfying and dissatisfying, but what is certain is that we do not have control of it.  Like setting sail on a stormy sea, we are at once battered by waves and wind, and the next becalmed or shrouded in dense fog. However, acceptance of our impermanence is the master key to dealing with such fluctuations; we need to have complete mastery of our sails and rudder and to learn to sail with the weather, into the weather, instead of against it. Realising that all the challenges that the wild ocean throws up are spiritual tests and messages provided for us to overcome and interpret, allows us to strap in and actualize our human potential. 

Buddhists? Cathars? People of the Earth? There are so many spiritual pathways available to us in these days of diversity, but I have discovered that although they may have different appearances and structures, they are all reaching for the same lasting happiness and joy. They are all about mastering our restless fearful minds. The serenity and wisdom of the Buddhist way are well known.

The way of the Cathars (the Good), a medieval group of Christian mystics in Europe branded as heretics by the Church of Rome because of their spiritual beliefs, may not be so well-known because they were exterminated by the close of the 14th century. 

But now is the time of the revival they predicted 700 years later at a time when the Earth and its people are rapidly deteriorating.  The Cathar Creed is the perfect blueprint for us to fully realise that we special humans with our essence of pure love are not aliens here on Earth, but we are the good way for the Earth and its community to heal. 

People of the Earth? The surviving indigenous tribes of our world possess the wisdom to save the planet and to live in harmony. In fact, they are the only people who dedicate themselves entirely as custodians of the Earth, protecting species and living in awe and respect for what the Great Mother Nature has supplied to allow humans to evolve spiritually. The natural world which we moderns have made ourselves separate from provides the perfect conditions for us to excel in love and light, and to bring our intrinsic goodness to bear.

All three of these traditions have brought me personally to a breath-taking watershed.  I look down into the great oceans and I have no fear of death or life, and I have come to surrender to the truth that the world we think we know is just a tiny part of the vast invisible world, the ocean of spirits of love. This is our origin.  In other words, I have fully awoken to the reality of the supremacy of universal love, and that everything else is simply weather. 

I write this work, not from a place of dazzling qualifications or impeccable experience, exhaustive scholarly research or struggles for recognition or advancement. In fact, I have deliberately put aside such accolades and indicators of success, and instead offer a different kind of intelligence and a world of perceptions unique to their expresser. They are testimony above all to being a human spirit. My motivation is to share my view of the world as honestly as I can, striving to write from my true nature which I have consciously worked to uncover during my enchanted life.

I find my true nature to be akin not to heroes or celebrities, state leaders or explorers, but more to mystics and castaways, contemplatives and psychics. In my short human life, I have found the great truth in my own mind as I create it for myself, for it does not exist without my creation. By virtue of our dazzling consciousness, human beings are extraordinary creators.

Living and working in Japan, I have been given a unique opportunity not only to experience an ancient and bizarre culture first-hand but also to question or reappraise many aspects of life that ‘westerners’ take for granted. As a person of faith, one of those aspects is exactly that, faith.  It is well-known that most Japanese reject notions of religious affiliation and look both uncomfortable and incredulous when asked in public what they truly believe in or at any mention of spirituality.

It has been said that Japanese have little imagination which on the surface may be attributable to their passivity and conformity to the greater social conscience.  It is the social system and customs which expect them to be self-contained, restrained, and so they are often reluctant to exchange true feelings or experiences. They are however skilled readers of the air once they have trust.

Therefore, when a westerner, usually born, brought-up and educated in a Christian, Moslem or Hindu atmosphere, talks freely about faith feelings, it seems that it is almost impossible for them to grasp another life course outside superficially secular Japan.  In fact, many Japanese are rarely if ever exposed to foreigners: there are still strong traces of xenophobia from the 250-year period of the country’s closure.

Surely faith has to be recognised by those who realise its personal importance?  Faith?  Conviction?  Trust? These are not qualities that come easily to many Japanese because there are so many types of fear running through their veins. There is also a formidable sense of national pride and duty under the skin, a sense that everything Japanese is best, superior. Here religion and spirituality are very much a social pursuit.  This is part of the necessity of belonging so that the countless temples (Buddhist) and shrines (Shintoist) double as community, culture, and mental health centres.

It is from my stance as a person with a commitment to the intrinsic power of the human race and with indestructible confidence in my own true nature, that I write this book.  My life is unimaginable to most mono-cultural and mono-linguistic Japanese – packing up two suitcases and leaving my ‘homeland’ to live in this land of endemic shyness and nationalism, sampling many spiritual teachings and alternative disciplines along my route, and so on.

You Japan, though we are now one, cannot imagine my life.  So, I dedicate this work to you.  It is a bringing out of the roots of my faith, my origins, and the process of my life as a spiritual seeker.  I want you to experience my invisible Christian upbringing and education, the purity of my lineage; in fact, the whole purpose of my being; to experience my brushes with Islam and Taoism, Sufism and Hinduism, Judaism and Jesuits in the multicultural environment of my birth.

This is my mission: to share my blessed life with a nation which Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism created a form of Chinese Buddhism especially for. He is recognised as, one of the very few Japanese who have attained a universality far beyond the limitations of nation or race.

In 1950, after the Pacific War was resolved and Japan was occupied by the United States, there was a purging of religion and education.  In Buddhist terms, it was called the Dharma Crisis, and through my involvement for 11 years with a Shingon Buddhist teaching, I have encountered this first-hand, although it has mostly been buried under recorded Japanese history of the period so it is difficult to research. Indeed, as a result of the government inquisition, all religious organisations, no matter what denomination, were scrutinised and subjected to a vicious authenticity check. 

The founder of the teaching was in fact thrown into prison for his deep convictions and faith with murderers and other capital criminals, his Buddhist instruments confiscated, and his qualifications and motivations examined microscopically.  This truly tested the faith of his small sangha(community), most of whom disassociated themselves, but those remaining deepened their conviction leading to worldwide strength of the teaching today. This Dharma Crisis was an enormous test of faith for the whole nation, and it has clearly engendered the moral and religious cowardice or seeming indifference that exists today as a result.

It seems that people, in general, are divided into two groups: those who need to know, and those who just-know. Those driven by fear and doubt, and those who are fearless and accepting. Those who think and those who do not. Those who consider the physical sun to be the only source of light in the world shining down on them, and those who are their own sun shining on themselves and others. Those who have taken up permanent residence in their minds, and those who have stepped on to the bridge of their mind and walked out into the limitless field of their consciousness.

As I write, I find myself conflicted and separated by trying to cater for both of these groups, not wanting to leave anyone out. For example, when writing about sincerity and secrecy in relation to the Cathar creed, The Church of Love, I have to describe the Cathar-Catholic history and struggle in great detail so that permanent residents can understand the background; meanwhile, I am longing to get to the spiritual centre of things, and do not want to be pinned down by the time-space continuum.

It feels as if there is a dense web of doubt and proof-seeking, a kind of contagion emanating from the thinkers, the limited, which threatens to draw me in.  So, I want to kick free of it and unconditionally dart around the infinite field which has no horizons or divisions, or tenant agreements, without any appointments or duration. I, therefore, have inserted small articles into the text so that the received knowledge concerning Buddhism, Catharism and Creation Spiritualism is available to those who need it.

Thinkers habitually make questions and construct opinions, which can potentially tyrannize a writer, blocking him or her from writing anything at all. They are natural fighters with an obsession with analysis and understanding on their terms, but they have the power to sway others in this modern life dominated by the intellect. Surely it must be an affliction to always need to justify and debate in order to be accepted, or to gain approval from the intelligentsia fashion leaders, but that is the norm in developed nations.

As Buddha is reputed to have said, People with opinions just go around bothering people all the time. What I write in this book is not opinion but insight gleaned from my spiritual training and awakening mind. And yet, I am unable to exclude this majority group because my message concerns them most of all. I have no dispute with anyone. (Buddha)

In the end, readers will make up their own minds about my Glorious Death: Glorious Life based on so many conditional factors. Therefore, writing anything using abstract symbols capable of such beauty, such harm, such hypnosis, such confusion, is a leap of faith into an abyss. I leap willingly.

And as for my own Glorious Death, the title of this book? I die every night in my dreams. It is no stranger to me.

Evenings had always been our special time back in the city, each one a life in its own right. It was usually initiated with flames and candles, and the opening of corks. Each a make or break, visible or invisible, irresistible attraction or cold polarisation. Now, in the mountains, evenings ended in small deaths in the full darkness and silence. We two isolated souls, which might sting or flee at any moment, were entirely invisible here. (Veil, a novel of Cathars and Troubadours by Linden Thorp)

To wake each morning is a blessing, a new start, a stand against the fear that the human mind throws up like the jackknife of a bully.  During all my moments, the Veil of my physical death flutters above me, giving me glimpses of the invisible world beyond the bridge.

My motivation in writing this book then is to share my journey and to drop seeds into fertile earth.  As a Buddhist practitioner, I have already written a great deal, but it was my discovery of the universal Cathar Creed combined with the realisation that I was a member of the 20th-century Cathar revival behind the scenes, that made me sit down and determine to create it.  I believe this perfect Creed entitled The Church of Love, will suit all beings regardless of their supposed level, caste, status, thinking or no-thinking in the visible world. All beings are perfectly equal in the invisible world.

In order to familiarise the territory before revealing the Creed, I share my blueprints and the spiritual schemes which have brought me to this Glorious point, this watershed.  Some would say perhaps that Buddhists, Cathars, and Indigenous Australians have no fear or doubt because they are at liberty to embody their beliefs. But I would go a step further and suggest that beliefs are dead thoughts, museum pieces, plastic flowers compared with the energy stream that these three breeds of spiritual giants stand knee deep in.

The energy flow of all humans without exception consists of light and love and humanity is itself the Church of Love.

The Church of Love recognizes that the way we (humans) are may be the way of those around us because we (humans) are the way.

Embodying love, being the universal energy of love, cannot be limited to inert thoughts or beliefs, or added to a tomorrow to-do list. It happens right now and here inside us.

Once we have put our visual accessories time and space aside, then reality consists only of now – this moment, not the next or the one before, and here – without borders or differences, regardless of weather or religion. The conditioned mind may think this notion embodying love is an interesting concept, an intriguing theory even, but it will immediately disappear as thoughts and theories always do the moment it is made conscious. By thinking about it, it is immediately made indirect, a mere interpretation. So, it is useful to create a mindful gap around this seed that has been dropped into your being and stay quietly in that gap. In other words, resist thinking about it or even giving it a name. Mark it as that thingy, or your favourite song – music is concrete so cannot be erased as abstracts such as words can.

The thingy must be gently held back outside the gap, prevented from its usual destructive, interfering activities. Then the love can flow freely, indiscriminately, for all of the people around you: like a fresh mountain stream cascading across everything in its path.

In this gap, this opening, you can use your borrowed human muscles and limbs to flow or swim into your day ahead. Staying in this fluid state you enter a crowded space, a train carriage, a shopping centre, or a classroom. With every square inch of your body and your energy field, you can live the divine love that you have eternally embodied once the conditioned mind is quiet.

Then you make eye contact only to love. You spread your lips in a smile only to love. You extend your arms and stride forward with your legs only to love. It is absolutely the only agenda your spirit has. Next, staying for as long as you can in that identity-less gap, just radiate into now and here, and others around you will radiate in response. They will use their eyes only to acknowledge your light and being.  They will spread their lips in a smile only to radiate.  They will extend their physical form in a sincere gesture of appreciation only for the light you bring. And they will expect nothing in return.

Inside this gap is where we belong. It is our true nature. There are no labels or identities, no hierarchies or structure. It is the flow and flux of our energy origins, the wide river of our indestructible human love and light.

THOSE WHO ARE, KNOW.

(CHURCH OF LOVE, CATHAR CREED, CIRCA 1244)

 

March 2016, Osaka.     

 

Gratitude to Mariko Kinoshita for her gorgeous artwork

Temple Chronicle: 29th February

look no further 1

The light of day comes and it goes from my personal theatre. Objects and people come and they go, they wax and wane, as I watch from the gallery. This appearance and evanescence can affect me in two ways, but I am free to choose only one of them.

Either I can swallow the beauty I see as it glimmers and gurgles, calmly enjoying, marveling, weeping, smiling in the centre of the moment, and moving smoothly without flinching on to the next to supersede. I look and listen in absolute trust at these arisings and descendings because I know and accept that they are finite, that they will run only for a limited number of seasons. My indestructible essence of love is the lubricant which brought me to the theatre and will convey me back to the ether high above the lit streets.

Alternatively, I can hold the beauty in my mouth, refusing to let it go, to swallow it, wanting to immortalize it and make it permanent, to possess it so that no-one else can have it. The emotions that arise as a result of the stimulus are negative, inverted, flinching so that they separate me away form everyone else in the world, from my race and from the natural world. They are rooted in my fear that the supply of beauty will end, and so I must create my own stores because I have no shred of trust. My love essence has brought me this far smoothly, but I sabotage it deliberately so that I do not have to leave, and put it aside as spent fuel.

In the same way, I can accept that my form is imperfect as it ages, becoming worn and weathered. I can humbly embrace its decay in concert with all things in the universe, accepting this physical withdrawal of flesh and bone, but constantly delighting at the sights and sounds that flow around me now and here. There is no astringent peak of the taste of fear, just a subdued broad flavor to savour. Everything is exactly as it is. There is no friction of ownership or cloying. I gently polish myself, restrained, quiet – disturbing no-one, content to cherish my steady but gradual evanescence along with that of everything in the universe.

As a saboteur, the taste of fear though momentarily thrilling and rousing will never allow me to feel contentment, will always block the free flow of the essence of love, my spiritual essence. It will always isolate me, remove me from now and here so that I am likely to miss the show entirely. I will become marooned in my archives, dependent on my storehouse, and unable to embody the love that I was endowed with. I will never trust and will live outside the theatre of all life on the wet streets, unable to believe even in the blue ether.

Which will you choose?

uchu-A
This is the final post of this series ‘Temple Chronicle’ for the whole month of February 2016. Each daily entry will be combined into a single continuous document entitled ‘Temple Chronicle: February 2016’ to be stored in the main menu of the site should you want to look back at them.
It is snowing intermittently here in western Japan as the winter austerities come to an end. Spring will be welcomed on 20th March and the year ahead looks bright when viewed from the very centre of the moment in this very spot on the Earth’s crust.

May you have determined exactly what kind of light will you become for the year ahead.

Temple Chronicle: 28th February

knowledge 6

We are living in the age of space travel so there are many images and films appearing. This is no coincidence. We are getting further and further away from ourselves, from putting our own Earth in order. We are moving into a gravitation-less state, in pressurised capsules full of flashing alerts and less and less direct contact with other humans, unable to put our feet firmly on the Earth. Such space exploration demands courage and vision, but they are visible emotions, displayed on large screens. It is probable that we are running away from our invisible Earthly responsibilities. We cannot afford yet another clean slate: indeed, there is no such thing except for those who are deluded.

It is salutary that indigenous peoples have no desire to physically conquer space and the universe. They are custodians, not conquerors, content in their spiritual territories. ‘Developed’-humans are marooned in a spiritual wilderness, in a neon-lit world, and so they restlessly search for new thrills, playing with their special toys, and feeling so proud of their advancement, their sophistication.

As they zoom through inner and outer space, they look back at the beautiful planet with sentimentality. It is ‘home’ with all mod-cons, and they created it from scratch. They turn a blind eye to all the destruction and conflict, all the failed states and ecological deterioration – sweep it under the carpet so they can see only a broad expanse of gleaming living space.

But more significant than this ignorance created by extreme filtering is that the gravitational field of Earth is brought about by the special consciousness of divine love, and we are choosing to look elsewhere for it as aliens might. Love is the special energy we and only we are endowed with. No other creation can utilise it. But we squander it, converting it into a possession, a commodity, a currency because we have become so arrogant and gone so far away from our true nature. We prefer instead to float around in our heads synthesising to embodying our divine energy here on Earth. Our blindness and defiant pursuit of pleasure and kudos help us to justify our lack of responsibility, to turn away from the mess we have created as a race.

Fear and delusion drive us into the stratosphere and beyond, breathing artificial air instead of pure oxygen and ozone reserved for our beings of love in the field, encapsulated away behind ever thicker artificial, space-resistant materials, and lost perhaps forever to the Lands of Pure Love.

link between father and son image

Temple Chronicle: 27th February

reality

Our human lives may bounce around on an unpredictable ocean – our emotional responses to the incidents and occurrences in daily life combined with our karma, both bad and good, and the emotions of others around us also creating incidents and occurrences, and their karma. We never know how the weather will change and we are rarely prepared for its storms or for the becalming or sea fog. We are not in control because we allow external circumstances to control us. This is the conditioned mind, reacting and forcing responses, compulsive, not content, and it seems that there is nothing behind that unrelenting action and respite, action-respite. So we become afraid to look. In the end, we blame and protest and perhaps even try to resign from life. Our happiness seems as short-lived as a warm sunny day when there is no trace of a cloud in the sky.

This drama of our life is a like a fast-moving dream which we think we can only stop by waking up. But we never wake up from it because we have allowed it to become our reality, our view, our way of seeing and being. The only way we can wake up is by taking control and changing the way we see everything: in other words, by investing in our neglected ship and its equipment, especially the sails, instead of the ocean and the weather.

The first step in that process is quelling the continual dialogue perpetuated by the media and perhaps by people around you. You need your own vacuum of silence and stillness so that you can truly look inside. You need to appreciate yourself, and examine your sincerity with yourself because the revealing of your original core, which has been temporarily submerged, depends on that entirely.

Honesty expresses honour and virtue. If we are dishonest with ourselves our core becomes unstable. Honesty wakes us and others with its strong scent. It will allow your divine flame to burn more brightly, and then you can go forward and enjoy restoring your ship, repairing or replacing its sails, making new ropes, scrubbing the deck, and pumping out the bilges.

When you set sail on life again you can deal with any kind of extreme because you are equipped. Your core is stable and glowing, the weather is always tolerable and you accept its changeability without flinching; your ship is somehow part of the ocean now.

And then you wake up from the terrible dream forever and move on to the next phase of the restoration of your core.

human potential 2

 

 

Thank you dear followers. This series of posts will have lasted for the entire month of February. It represents Buddhist Winter Austerities and spiritual training in Japan, a time to cultivate wisdom, and I have learned so much from the discipline of writing everyday for you. I apologize if I have swamped you with posts, but I hope that you can allow at least some of the notions to work for you in everyday life. Future posts will be intermittent.
May you be truly and enduringly happy for all of your days immersed in the vast ever-changing ocean of energy.

Temple Chronicle: 26th February

let go 4

Materials, possessions, appropriations. Membership. Rivals. Ambition. Boundaries, nationalisms, differences. Ulterior motives, agendas. These are the bywords of life in the world of form. They are either repeated internally consciously or allowed to drone away in the unconscious. They are built into our conditioning and our education, but they are a fabrication, a conspiratorial dream which we are forced to participate in if we want to find human success and respect, and approval from our social witnesses.

700 years ago a small group of Christian mystics moved around Europe defying the dominant Church of Rome and living out the opposites of these bywords in their lives. I was one of them. We had no church, no fabric to ostentatiously display our faith or our liturgies and dogma in; instead, we found secluded meeting places in the mountain passes and forests to listen to those who were ready to receive their final blessings. We had few possessions, needing little to live simply, and our only fabric was understanding. We appropriated nothing for ourselves.

There was no congregation to be a member of and to parade our great virtue in attending regularly, no opportunities to be ‘holy’ before witnesses and then crooked behind the screen. Those who received blessings and joined our numbers themselves did so from their private and total commitment. They did not need encouragement from a group or to feel a sense of belonging in a human way. They had touched their own true nature and realized that spirit is indestructible. They had experienced the full truth of the vast invisible world outside their skin.

We had no personal ambition because we understood that we were only short-stay tenants in our human form. We understood that there was no ‘person’ to have earthly desires, to accumulate and hoard, and so there could be no rivalry with others, no comparisons, no competitions. We understood that our unique spirit wanted nothing except to edify, to build a sacred bridge for each human angel trapped in their body of flesh to escape back into their source.

We served others tirelessly and silently with our unconditional love and compassion. Pure love emanated from each of our precious breaths as we worked behind the scenes of the greatest religious inquisition of all times.

The supreme Church of Love was branded heretical by the materialist Roman Church, by the vendors of expensive pardons and blessings which guaranteed humans entry to heaven. But for us, known as the ‘Good’ Christians, there were no rewards either in the world of form or no-form except for the ineffable joy of being and loving. There was no ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ because hell was this life on earth, and by touching our true nature heaven was possible in this hell. There were no other fictitious realms created by fanatical power-mongers as inducements.

Goodness in human form feels no shame or fear. It is the eternal witness in the oneness of the visible and the invisible. We knew then and we know now that as humans are the world and the way, they will change themselves.

lotus seed pod

Temple Chronicle: 25th February

torii

Buddha taught that if we become enlightened we will have full clairvoyance (seeing) and audiovoyance (hearing) in the past, present and future. When our conditioned mind is quiet, idling so that it can deal with the demands of daily life, and all our cravings have been extinguished, the clarity of our perceptions will intensify. We will no longer simply react in the ups and downs of subjectivity or duality, being swept along trying desperately to get our feet down on the ground for a few seconds. I have witnessed and experienced past lives and future lives, and I have lived with indigenous people who naturally have these extra-sensory tools at their disposal.

Karma is an absolute proof of our past and our future to come (DNA is the scientific equivalent) which we hand on through the birthing process and the closeness of related spirits to our families. It is a marvel how we inherit our parents’ physical appearance and structure. We also inherit their predispositions and proclivities, their cellular conditions, and very often their diseases, sorrows and losses, come to the surface in our lives. It is also, therefore, logical that we will pass forward our karma and our wisdom to future generations, and that is our responsibility.

How do we create good and bad karma? – respectively the karma to live happily, safely and to fulfill our life’s course; and the karma to have tragic and restless lives, crippling disease and deformity, to be criminals and make others suffer. It is useful to see karma as a seed which we sow with our thoughts, words, and deeds: eventually, the seed germinates and ripens at an indeterminate moment we ordinarily have no control over. But with spiritual practice and elevation, we gradually take some control.

We must accumulate as much merit and virtue as possible while crossing the river of life so that our negative karma will be neutralized and our positive karma will increase. These are the challenges of the world of form which we are deliberately manifest in to overcome. Having good karma will ensure our happiness in temporality, and if we cut the negative karma and console our ancestors their spirits will reside comfortably in the spiritual world. If our ancestors are suffering in the hell realms, then that will reflect in our lives. All things that appear to us are simply reflections of the invisible world.

Look back at photos of yourself as a child, a young adult, and older adult, and you may be so surprised at how different your appearance is. The camera catches glimpses as your karma and DNA flows and transforms, and at any moment, you may resemble your ancestors right back to the beginning of human history, the seeds being planted and germinating as you travel through life encountering suffering and joy. Pure gratitude and appreciation for your parents and theirs, and so on, is the best way to console their continuing journey in the spiritual world. ‘You’ would not exist to have these incredible opportunities if they had not given birth to you.

Floating lanterns inscribed with prayers on the ocean or rivers is one moving way we remember and console our ancestors in Japan. The torii, large orange gateways to be found all over the country, were expressly constructed to allow the spirits of ancestors to return to the physical plane at certain periods of the year. They return briefly to gather our prayers and wishes and then return, representing a golden chance to feel their closeness to us.

I am my parents and my grandparents. I can never walk in any other footprints than theirs along the beach, although the conditioned mind may convince me I have taken a new direction.

I smile and shed tears and love and feel and breathe as them. It is my true nature to eternally tend their garden of karma as our seeds ripen and stock dies while they recline on a shady verandah, always watchful. 

lanterns

Temple Chronicle: 24th February

incongruence 9

I have no need to consciously meditate or pray or recite mantras, to sit carefully before exquisite images and light and incense, arranging time to sit and the particular mind to do it with. Buddha, Jesus, Mahavir, Mohammed never self-consciously sat to offer themselves to the deities, because they knew they had nothing to offer because there is actually nothing in the world. Once I make conscious gestures I must examine the motivation behind them. 

Of course, I may seek to quell the tormented mind in a beautiful sanctuary, to take refuge, but images can distract me if I gaze on them with emotion, surveying their materials, adoring their form, and ultimately becoming dependent.

I create something which can be dispersed in an act of total generosity, empty of attachment. I create a deity of mud, molding it with calm un-grasping hands and momentarily worship it – make it worthy or divine – then I throw it back into the river or ocean so it can be dispersed. In this way, I connect directly with the energy river. I make a worthy momentary image and then give it back to the Earth, to the invisible realm. I make a beautiful feast with empty motivation to momentarily make it worthy before I throw it into the forest. I cook a banquet with no agenda except love, and then feed my loved ones making the produce of the Earth worthy before they consume it. Everything is energy and vibrations made sound and light. There is no need to interfere with it: I just leave it alone. This is our true nature.

Our individual good energy temporarily housed in the flesh in the world of form is a prayer, a meditation, a mantra in itself. But with our arrogance we interfere and rearrange trying to make meaning from it. There is no meaning in or of energy.

It is. So be.

energy

 

 

Temple Chronicle: 23rd February

rindou
We have the ability to make everything in our life divine. It is merely a question of the humility and clarity and our view.

A beautiful flower may appear before your physical eyes: it is perfect in every respect, at the peak of its energy, vivid, vibrant. There are many ways you may view it: a decoration for your living room, in memory of someone, an evocation of someone because it was there favourite, the emblem of a certain country or group, its species, and so on. There is so much visual information and background to this flower that we can become consumed by it and cannot see the flower for its own sake, in its own right, at all. This is how we mostly live – indirectly, always librarians and archivists, tucking multiplicities of images and information into our incredible memories.

If we close down the clicking conditioned mind and just gaze at this flower with no agenda, for its own sake, and merely for the sake of being with it and of it, then it becomes divine flowing energy embodied for our viewing. We turn our gaze away and the flower disappears. We turn back and it is there once more. The images we hoard will never replace that momentary divine embodying, but because we have lost contact with our own divine energy and have made our own images permanent, we are fearful that the whole world will one day disappear so we immortalize. Once we accept that we are flowing energy embodied just like the flower, a light for others to see momentarily, then there is no fear, just love-flow.

Once we see and accept that flow then we can live in the field of awareness in peace. We can clear out all our archives and records, making space to use other tools like deep listening, compassion, telepathy, bodhicitta (the power to gather up all the suffering energy in samsara and neutralise it), and illumination – using our bright light to bring light to others with just a smile. Once we clear away our collections we can breathe in full concert each glorious breath having gratitude for the one that has been breathed, and awe for the one to come.

When we truly listen to a beautiful melody, we cannot make an image of it and secrete it away, but because sound is concrete, a constellation of vibrations that resonates with our own, we can recall it, imitate it, whenever we care to. If only we could use our eyes as ears, listening and imitating the divine frequencies, then there would be nothing to lose or immortalize.

wheel-31 

Temple Chronicle: 22nd February

You must be like the hummingbird disturbing nothing or no-one.

Nirvana Linden

drinkingWe need to work so hard to get approval from our societies at large. If we are different and honest about our differences, then we are shunned. There is silence when we walk into a room, averted eyes, deliberate disinterest displayed. We are a threat to the masked committees and there will be no compassion, no concessions of any kind until we decide to put aside our honesty and our difference, put our masks back on, and behave in the interests of uniformity and social rank. How can we expect to be accepted if we are living our true nature?

Social groups are often empty and congealed with their dishonesty, so the members busy themselves auditing credentials. Is their behavior exemplary according to the rules? But most important of all, what are their sexual proclivities and urges? They form a group but they are separate liars behind their masks.

To…

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Temple Chronicle: 21st February

architects of our world

Our human lives are a process, a means whereby, but what is the result, the end-product? Our story began with the moment of birth and it will end with the moment of death. Between these two points our physical form develops and matures, and then as its season draws to a close, it starts to shrink and slow. We, our spirits, are temporarily housed in a flesh form to participate in the visual material world which is subject to varied and numerous conditions. It is logical then that the conditioned mind expects results from the progress through the years of our lifespan.

Religions use certain terms for this end-product, this resolution of the years and the effort – Heaven or Hell, Nirvana, Enlightenment, Paradise, Zion, Avalon, Swarga, Valhalla, and so on. But words and images die the moment they appear or are uttered or thought. ‘Birth’ and ‘Death’ are also only words, but we identify ourselves with them – ‘my birth,’ ‘his death,’ and so on, and once again they are dead, in the past, dropped like a heavy stone into a deep pool.

Without using any special labels or grand proper nouns, we have always flowed in the vast wide river of all energy, and we always will. Energy is vibration and light which is subject to no conditions, not even human’s facile ‘time’ or ‘space.’ It goes where it will dependent on nothing, consuming the darkness, flowing and flowing. There are no rewards or results in any dimension except the joy of being and loving with company in our human boats, and breathing in concert.

The conditions throw up obstacles in the way of our flow which create detours, sluggish pools, and rapids. The build up of the heat of negative emotions and violence acted out in the form world, the jarring of separations and limitations, the tattering and fraying of the fabric of the universe at our human hands, causes drought and the flow dwindles to a trickle, or floods which extinguish the divine flame of the flow.

Can you desist from throwing obstacles into the flow now and here? Can you give up your addiction to collecting, to hoarding, to getting and spending, to violent acts of separation from your fellows? Can you say you will no longer depend on creating parallel worlds in your mind with words and images so that you can just flow and flow, laughing and loving? Slap bang in the centre of this moment and in no place in particular, can you accept that there is nothing you have to do except be, and in your full being the flow flows without end?

self-knowledge

Daily Reflection: the sacred way

Sacred? Secular? Now we can find flawless motivation to let our goodness surface.

Soul Management

narrativeThere was a time when the sacred way

was the only way of life.

Religion had the monopoly

so we bought blessings and

made donations so we could get to Heaven.

Our daily lives presented constant opportunities

to be virtuous and accumulate merit,

or sin and wait for punishment,

but on someone else’s terms.

nothingnessNow we are secular, steering clear of religion.

Fame and fortune have the monopoly.

But this is the ideal chance to find our true nature

on our own terms, without external pressure.

Our motivation to live virtuously and accumulate merit

can be completely pure, our motivation flawless.

Heaven is here and now on the glorious Earth,

and the gods live around us every second.

There are no punishments to be exacted

no rewards to be won

just the grinding wheel of adversity to polish

our rough diamond so it sparkles.

grinding wheel

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Temple Chronicle: 20th February

Homa

The world of words demands that we churn out concepts and assertions mindlessly. Each word creates an image in our visual libraries and memory banks. The bridge of the mind leading out to the vast field of consciousness is so cluttered with verbiage and images that we cannot move. We are blocked in.

But unblocking is not just a matter of clearing out, discarding our highly documented lives out on to the scrap heap. No matter how badly they make us suffer by living always indirectly, marooned in our own minds, we have created them in our unique way. They are what we amount to so far, our materials. But we can be sure that materials are not permanent.

So we can first acknowledge them, accept them as our way up to this point, and then we can tenderly build a fire and set them alight, watching them burn with gratitude.  They are a means whereby and without them we would be deprived of their richness.

In the desert, in the Dreaming Lands, aboriginals set light to large tracts of land to promote new growth in the universe, and to send cleansing smoke up to the sky travelers. Japanese Buddhists write prayers and mantras then burn them in a special Homa fire to convey them into the invisible world, and to burn away human delusions. Fire cleanses and promotes new growth, so let go of the archives and new growth is guaranteed to appear. The bridge will instantly be unblocked.

We must keep creating because that is our modern way, teeming with diversity, but we can discard, empty the trash on a regular basis, and spend a little more time each day in the great still silence where words and images have no purpose. Then we can slowly and steadily intersperse listening with looking because sound is concrete whereas images are abstract.

And words? Concentrate your attention on the sound of the words instead of the meaning. Listen to the heart behind the words that reach you and linger lovingly there without reacting or categorizing, or trying to make them permanent. They are the utterances of a fellow true spirit after all.

With a sincere heart and awareness, you can cease to assert and window-dress your ego when you interact with other true natures in your vicinity. Asserting is merely a desperate attempt to make yourself and your world permanent in someone else’s eyes, and in your own. It excludes and separates.

When you speak remember that you are essentially spirit so you must express yourself in an artfully vague way like a breeze, the rapid flapping of the wings of the hummingbird, or the constant fluttering of a candle flame.

We actually have no single ‘claim’ to make via our soft lips or balanced on plump tongues because we are pure love energy, and the human throat is best-suited to singing. Instead of words, fingers and eyes and warm breath and our unique fragrance will register our sincere heart with perfection. Therefore, it is wise to refrain from talk until you have checked your free flow of love.

humming bird

Temple Chronicle: 19th February

wave

Embodying love, being the universal energy of love, cannot be limited to your thoughts, or added to your tomorrow to-do list.

Once we have put our visual accessories, ‘time’ and ‘space aside,’ then reality consists only of ‘now’ – this moment not the next or the one before, and ‘here’ – without borders or differences, regardless of weather or religion. Our conditioned mind may think this notion ’embodying love’ is interesting, intriguing even, but it will immediately disappear as thoughts always do the moment you have thought them. By thinking about it, you immediately make it indirect, a mere interpretation. So, create a mindful gap around this seed that has been dropped into your being, and stay in that gap. In other words, resist thinking about it or even giving it a name. Mark it as that ‘thingy,’ or your favourite song – music is concrete so cannot be erased as abstracts can.

Then in this gap, this opening, use your borrowed muscles and limbs to flow or swim into your day ahead. Staying in this fluid state you enter a crowded space, a train carriage, a shopping centre, a classroom. With every square inch of your body and your energy aura you can live that divine love that you have eternally embodied if the conditioned mind is quiet, held back outside the gap, prevented from its usual destructive, interfering activities. Then the love can flow freely, indiscriminately, for all of the people around you: A mountain stream cascading across everything in its path. You are in one heart.

You make eye contact only to love. You spread your lips in a smile only to love. You extend your arms and stride forward with your legs only to love. It is absolutely the only ‘agenda’ your spirit has. Then, staying for as long as you can in that identity-less gap, radiate into ‘now’ and ‘here,’ and others will radiate in answer.

This human form your spirit is using has absolute power to touch the other spirits around you. The exterminator ‘thought’ with its negative entourage, is utterly powerless.

In this ‘gap’ is where we truly belong, our true nature. There are no labels or identity. It is the flow and flux of our energy origins, of our love and light.

changes 2

Temple Chronicle: 18th February

attached

When someone you thought was so close to you dies, you will see it as a desertion because you are attached, in some way reliant, leaning on them. They have seemingly aborted their journey by your side, breaking their contract. Naturally, there are moments of aching loneliness and the glaring need to make changes, to adapt to a new style of life in their absence. There is also the profound shock that the object of your love, and perhaps your entire life, has vanished forever, perhaps suddenly.

We can easily project our feelings of need or possession on to others, contaminating them, forcing them to feel guilt if we do not get our own way, or if they do not feel or act the way we expect them to. And so, in the name of ‘love,’ we pressurise the people around us exactly so that we can get our own way, and use fixative from the mind to make love permanent. This manipulation is not ‘love.’ It leaves others with no choice but to wear masks, to be dishonest, to spare our feelings, and ultimately under the duress of these acts of violence and separation, they cannot bring out their true nature. This creates something unnatural, a museum piece, a stagnant pool, a plastic flower.

Divine love, the energy or force of our essence as humans, flows like light going wherever it can, indiscriminately. Its focus is as wide as the horizon, and it is not bound by likes or dislikes, by fads or fashions. When we embody love we know there is no choice and that the energy of our loved one is required to be combined with ours for a universal invisible purpose. The love embodiment of others will find us if we remain open, unprotected, standing always in the full flow.

Love is like the weather or the perpetual blue sky behind clouds. The conditioned mind has no power to change it because it is limitless, way beyond the visual aids of ‘time’ and ‘space.’

A beloved husband drowns while swimming in the ocean with his wife. She eventually finds his body along the beach. There are sparkling grains of sand on his lips, and that is what she remembers most of the last sight of him. She grieves, haunted by their significant moments together during a lifetime, but gradually she picks up her life and continues on with a strong sense that her love for him will never end. Then one day after she has healed, she visits his favourite local art gallery and there, walking towards her, she sees him. She wants to look more closely, but he is wearing a hat obscuring his face, and he quickly leaves, so she follows him, and presents herself in his art class.

Looking directly into his eyes, ravaged by his voice, she collapses with the shock of this appearance, and he is predictably bewildered by her reaction. She is certain he has come back to her exactly so that she can love him without fixing him in stone, without turning him into an object, and by letting his true nature run free.

Soon he dies, for a second time, and she receives a memorial card inviting her to his final exhibition consisting of all the paintings he did once they were together though briefly. And there, he has captured her swimming fearlessly full in the flow, and the painting sets her true nature free at once.

At last, they are both embodied in their love and breathe together as one eternally.

teachers

Temple Chronicle: 17th February

incense smoke

We become absorbed so easily in such trivia, in time-wasting. We even play cards to ‘kill time’ when the universe is frantically beckoning us to open the window and go outside. Our conditioned mind distracts us persistently with a circular unstoppable dialogue which is speculative, judgmental of others, envious, and all manner of negative and distorted views. One of our great talents as a species is our phenomenal memory and our consequent susceptibility to influence which strongly links us together as one energy. Why then do we surround ourselves with trivia and games, with pornography and gambling, frittering away our precious life?

We are utterly impressionable, our unconscious mind a vast storehouse of every instance of our short human life. Our individual identity comprises that storehouse of experience and accumulated knowledge, combined with our genetic inheritance and spirituality.

Everyone around us is ‘killing time.’ It seems that they are killing time until they die, or until the next rite of passage, and the next, and the next. Completing their innings, their social requirements, filling their quota, frittering precious human life away playing chess, completing puzzles, and using frantic thumbs to gather as many red balloons to put in a net on their mobile phone as possible.

Time is a man-made concept and so we have the power and the right to kill it in any way we like. Every human is capable of such aimlessness and potential murder under the control of the conditioned mind. In fact, many of us reserve the power to destroy willfully what we build just as children do. We even destroy what nature has created so arrogant are we.

A Christian story tells that the origin of this phrase ‘killing time’ comes from an American organization (C.L.I.T. – the Cult of the Literal Interpretation of Time) which reacted to the rigid Biblical literalism of New England Protestantism in the 18th century. Their belief was that Time had a literal, physical, tangible body and that he was older or roughly the same age as God the Almighty, and a friend of his. Animosity grew between them when God created the Garden of Eden and Time wanted to seduce Eve instead of Adam. He befriended all the humans in the garden who surprisingly decided they needed the presence of Time to get them through their lives until their deaths. So, members of C.L.I.T., regarding themselves as direct descendants of Adam, wanted literally to kill Time. To achieve this, they lived mindfully, making each moment of their day count, each mundane activity a glorious absorbing event, so that they could murder the tyrant Time.

Mindfulness is the key to living beyond human limitations imposed by the limited conditioned mind. When we have realised that opening our awareness by silencing the conditioned mind transforms our borrowed body into a living temple, we can move through the river of energy marvelling at every turn. We can stay fully alive during every instance of our fleshy lives. Then, consciously breathing borrowed breath from the universe in concert with all our species before we close our eyes to sleep, even our dreams will be mindful.

greater awareness

Temple Chronicle: 16th February

persecution 1

At the close of World War 2, the victorious American forces occupied Japan and ordered a complete social reorganization. It was especially concerned about new religions, so the government scrutinized every new organization or cult and demanded that they justify their existence. Many Buddhist organizations were ripped apart, their founders imprisoned and interrogated, their instruments and holy books confiscated, and many were banned from continuing. Religion was generally outlawed and viewed with the greatest suspicion, and this legacy continues today. The Buddhadharma struggles to survive here more than almost anywhere else. Its survival fills the prayers of many spiritual leaders.

The master was imprisoned and tried. His children and wife were persecuted. Humans often intimidate innovators from a sense of envy or fear. He continued to deepen his faith throughout this disgrace, counseling murderers and common thieves about their faith in his communal cell. He continued to be kind and calm even under duress, and his interrogators recognized his quiet determination. His core of conviction was not touched by blows to his pride, by social shame, by degradation. His Buddha nature shone through and dazzled everyone, and this year the teaching celebrates its 80th year and boasts 2 million followers worldwide.

Our true mission in human life will undoubtedly require courage and conviction. Therefore, we should not be concerned with our reputation because if our innate goodness is shining through others will recognize it eventually. Dark forces may try to destroy us, to persuade us to stay in line, to put aside pipe dreams, to choose to have a quiet life. But we must follow our heart and make our contribution during this limited time. We have arms and legs, we can give vocal expression to our vision, we can smile and shine, radiating our loving kindness to give form to the invisible. But in this dangerous world of form where we are capable of being monsters or angels, of creating beauty or destroying wholesale, of preserving our innocence and purity or spreading poison and lies, it is our motivation that we need to always be mindful of.

So, although you may never have consciously experienced persecution, be sure that some of your ancestors did, and it was then that they intensified their courage, their conviction, and their motivation became as clear as a bell. This is our karma and indelibly written in our DNA. Clarity rises as your Buddha Nature, your true nature, is polished by adversity, so walk straight towards it and face it head on.

You can surely do this at some moment during your day today. There is something you are avoiding – a difficult relationship or situation, a decision, or simply telling someone your honest feelings. These people and situations are exactly your best teachers, so embrace them fully.

persecution 2

Temple Chronicle: 15th February

imprints 3

Hindu deities are fashioned out of mud exactly so that there is no danger of them or the spirits behind them becoming permanent. Tibetan Buddhists make the most exquisite mandalas out of coloured sand outdoors and then walk away abandoning their delicacy to the weather. Japanese Buddhists copy sutras and prayers on to parchment and hang them from trees or bury them to welcome future Buddhas millions of years in the future. Indigenous people place their dead on high platforms or in the upper limbs of trees so that the weather and creatures can clean the flesh from their bones. There is no clinging in these acts. There is nothing to be saved and stored away.

If we can live in this way, avoiding sticking to anything, avoiding the heat of static, then we can find happiness in everything, every moment. Our emotions may flare up – anger, hatred, envy – but we can just walk away from the hot flames. Turn away our faces from such violent heat, and walk away from the site realizing that nothing can be accomplished by projecting these distortions on to other targets. Emotions spark a fire in the mind which burns others. We must ask ourselves if we truly want to be responsible for burning and mutilating other humans.

Everything except our loving kindness and our unique energy is impermanent. This human life as tenants flows on towards the great ocean of Nirvana. Our best contribution is to join the flow and shower our loving kindness on all our fellow bathers.

bones

Temple Chronicle: 14th February

wheel 3

Objectivity or conscious awareness necessarily creates a division or separation because objects need a subject to perceive or be aware of them. The perceiver and the perceived. The aspiration and the aspirer. The lover and the beloved. To avoid the necessity for this duality, we must go beyond all craving and clinging, even for and to deities and gods. We should even let the gleaming sacred images of the Buddha and of the King of Suffering, Jesus Christ, fall so that others can use them as we have. If our hands are full of images and gods how can we hold compassion and heal others from our unique nature?

Guilt. Compulsion. External obligations. Fear. The conditioned mind will throw these spanners into the spokes of our wheels to distract us. But our wheels need to spin naturally without sticking so we can freewheel down the eternal hill of true freedom. We need to let nothing and no-one interfere with our absolute sincerity to ourselves, and it is our wheel which is designed to turn eternally, so nobody else can initiate the spin.

All around there are people separated from others and from themselves. Their wheels cannot continue to spin because they interfere with what is natural. The practitioner says she is desperate because she cannot practice the teachings. ‘Practice’ and ‘Performance.’ ‘Practitioner’ and ‘practice.’ ‘Practice’ of the ‘Buddhist teachings.’ My ‘practice’ is superior to her ‘practice.’ We can find so many dualities here. Employing and becoming attached to these words prescribed by religionists is adding many and various cogs and electrical devices to our already perfect natural wheel.

Another ‘disciple’ clings to my hand and tells me how she envies my western mind, yearning for my culture and white skin. This lack of acceptance of her personal reality and mission has rusted and broken her wheel. There is no contentment even while taking full refuge in the Buddha. How then can others take refuge in her?

The few freely spinning wheels are of those who suffer and have recovered from death. Only in this extreme of physical extinguishing can some allow their wheels to spin. They are no longer afraid or dishonest because they have faced reality full on.

Akira speaks with difficulty, his eyes moving slowly, and as he searches for the foggy words he turns away to reveal long white scars down his neck from two of the 8 surgical operations he needed to allow him to be revived and restored. Now in his second year of daily rehabilitation, he has no roles in life except as an invalid, and this he embraces. He is his broken self, and he is the patches which have put him back together. He is not separate from his condition, and in that oneness he freewheels. He is content to be the misfortune which has uprooted the smooth passage of his young life. There is no barb of blame in sight.

Only when we go beyond all expectations and hopes, any and all fixed ideas, will our wheels spin freely. Only when we let go of the permanence of the physical and material form, of beginnings and ends, will we find contentment and the unimpaired flight of our true mission.

wheel 2

Temple Chronicle: 13th February

purity

We modern people have become dis-integrated. This is not surprising as we live under the tyranny of time and space, success or failure, approval or disapproval, love or lovelessness. These extremes roll us between them like a ball on a board.

Our daily moments are spent by choice sailing on a stormy ocean lifted and dropped by massive waves. There is no respite from this manipulation, or what we judge as manipulation. Someone else creates the waves and the wind, and forces us to be on board! There is seldom calm on this kind of sea. We may induce it though with a soothing substance, with anesthetic, or instead, bury our dreams and honesty with ourselves and let a trespasser deal with the danger.

If we do not have a stable core, a beautiful background to the absurdity of human behavior lived out under tyrants, then we are literally moving from one wave crest to the next relentlessly. We are not in control because we are outside our spirit, trying to hold everything still in the midst of great flux, trying to make meaning of the nightmare with the conditioned mind. One thing finishes and we rush on to the next, galvanized one minute, recuperating the next, always reacting to some prodding from an external source.

The conditioned mind combined with the constrictions of society and our communities have snuffed out our inner light, the connection with our true nature. We are inhabiting our physical form, but our spiritual essence is lying stagnant. Another automaton being has been created by the conditioned mind to fill the fleshy shell, to take over ownership.

Our stable core has not disappeared entirely, but the strata of meaningless life have been laid over the top of it. If we want to integrate once more, we need to find a way to activate and unearth it. Moist moments of meditation, of stepping briefly into the great still silence, will start the process of removing these strata. But it will happen more quickly and effectively if we can take more control of the ship: loosening the sails, off-loading ballast, or smiling for no reason because we know that no terrible situation can last forever. It is certain that the waves will subside and the sun will emerge.

Adversity is inevitable in our human lives, and as the French origin of this word points out, we should turn towards the negativity and challenges that we encounter, not try to escape from them. Only fear makes us resist, but fear is only a tactic of the conditioned mind to make us turn away. Turning towards? Turning away? It’s our choice.

If we turn towards our suffering, if we go with the massive swell of the waves, then we can embody it and better deal with it. Fear and other delusions are random flashing lights which distract us from our native stability. Looking full in the face of our suffering will shift away the strata so that our true nature will overcome anything.

The master tells us that fully facing a difficult relationship which we shy away from is exactly how will find our way back to our stable core. We ‘are’ that situation. It is not something the we ‘have,’ or that is imposed on us. If we say the words, ‘I am suffering,’ and not ‘I have so much suffering,’ we step into control, no longer a pitiable victim of life’s cruelty. We are not separate or exempt.

natural practice

Temple Chronicle: 12th February

self-knowledge 1

It is fear that makes us inflexible, and forces us to suffer. We are first taught it as helpless children by our kind parents, who are passionate for our survival. Our reflexes are honed, our target sights are set. The regime of training by other adults with experience and knowledge, who themselves are highly trained, is usually strict.

It is then that masks and social apparatus are issued so that we can receive approval from our community, fitting in and gaining respect; wealth and fame, being paramount. But fear easily lodges in these intricacies like dust on an elaborately carved choir screen. We gradually become insensible to it so it mounts up until the gaps for air and light are covered over.

The heavily conditioned mind thrives on this substance ‘fear.’ It efficiently suppresses originality and the courage to be truly ourselves, first with others, but then eventually with ourselves, so that we are no longer familiar with our true nature and become self-dishonest. Dishonesty frets the perpetual dialogue in our heads until eventually we cannot glean the difference between it and honesty. Then our strings of words create a new being, a permanent resident in the house of our flesh and blood.

So, our spirit energy has been trapped, caught up in a million meshes! Incarcerated so that we will follow the rules and fulfill the expectations of our communities. We are anxious about the rapidly approaching age of robots and our possible obsolescence, but those who live in massive urban communities have been system slaves for several centuries. We abdicate everything to mediocre leaders, even the kindling of our divine spark which becomes a mere pipe dream.

Fear has been heavily utilized by governments, religions and educators to maintain control of individuals, and as a result, the goodness at the core of each individual has gone underground. Endemic fear has become focused only on the negative, the evil, the destructive, the anarchic so that goodness has become a cliché, a pleasant myth, a triviality, something in the background. It is a by-product of the domination of the visual sense, detected in everything we see, and in the commentary we produce to accompany it. But if we close our eyes and stop the babble, it recedes with each grateful breath.

Above all, in our human journey, we must find the truth according to our individual divinity, and in it our mission will be patent, our exact contribution in the visible world outlined. Our specific talents and strengths are in great need at this time of disintegration to reunite us in one bright light.

The master promises us that the visible and the invisible are one, and fear will vanish if we remain supple and bring goodness into the forefront of human life. We are each a piece of the unfinished puzzle.

 

gravitational field

Temple Chronicle: 11th February

self-honest

The master’s voice is unconditional. Only one tiny part of it is used to convey information, practical inspiration, instructions for those who can only follow. The greatest portion is from inside the torrential river, fizzing energy of spray and turbulence, which is silenced and stilled.

A white voice with no function, no advice, no expectations. It allows. It is empty of anything but the vibrations of pure unconditional love. It has no end. It opens locks and chains and brings us into the bright sunlight.

Can we also speak in light waves of lovingkindness to everyone we encounter with no trace of discrimination? It is better to be silent than speak from a stone of logic, from the hard drive of boundaries and imperialism, from prescribed patterns and reaction-seeking. Better not to speak if we are blind and deaf.

Can we possibly realize that all the sounds in the world are permanent once expressed? We cannot change them. They are stored in vast banks in the emptiness of the invisible world with the wind, the water, comet beds and moon streams. They are the only permanence. Our beings are composed from sheer sound.

The master asks what the quality of our light will be for the year ahead? And what kind of voice will we have? We need to be certain that it is coming from the field of full awareness, not from the conditioned mind with its devices and tubes, its trumpets and clauses. We are capable of irreparable damage if we speak from the material world: if we speak with the eyes for other eyes to hear. Sounds are jewels, fragments of our diamond which we vibrate through the air, so we must use them so carefully.

Sound is concrete, beyond interpretation. Close your eyes to the world of ephemera and open the ears of your soul. Feel the body shell naturally vibrating in unison with the vibrations of goodness and pure light.

The waves of the high soprano touch unceasingly.

The singing bell awakens every cell.

The energy of the land is a bass hum on and on.

But the sound of the great silence is the most sublime of all.

Listen beyond and beyond!

divine link

Temple Chronicle: 10th February

knowledge 1

It is only the conditioned mind, the bridge or verandah around the house as it is sometimes called, that is sustained by knowledge and cannot tolerate any other kind of sustenance. That clinging, that fastidiousness, is a massive block to freedom.  It is the spoiled child in all of us!

It is impossible to live via knowledge alone, always in its shadow, deeply longing to create it, to possess it, to make it permanent. It is only a ‘means whereby,’ a raft, a rope bridge to cross the roaring torrents threatening to overcome trapped angels. Knowledge consists of useful and fascinating patterns, but it is a digression to make its analysis and amassment our life’s work. Instead, we just need to immerse ourselves in shifting across that unstable bridge and stepping into the infinite field of awareness. Or, simply open the door of the house, and walk inside.

‘Attachment’ needs to be our major concern in our lives as humans. We live mindlessly, constantly searching for a warm place to rest then dozing off there, only to be awakened suddenly by a crisis, a demand, an accusation, a parking ticket, the wisdom of a master. But why do we crave warmth and the oblivion of sleep, intoxication and excess? Why are we desperate for a change of scene, something new, a thrill or the presence of a jester. Dozing and feeding the senses in the pleasure gardens of life is a procrastination, so as Gautauma Buddha and Jesus and all the gurus did, we must go forth now, right now, to find the middle path for ourselves blowing them a kiss as we go.

Tomorrow? Yesterday? They are figments, contrivances, thrown up by the conditioned mind. ‘Nothing is Permanent!’ we are told, and we know it in our knowledge base, but we never actually experience the raging torrents of the energy river beneath us as the masters have.

There is no logic behind a smile, a loving word, an aria, the aroma of nutmeg. Why would we want to turn them into stone libraries, and probably never look at them again? We have bred cultivated versions of flowers in order to preserve them on our human terms, but they are synthetic when compared with the native species that only botanists record the individuality of. Millions of unique seeds, blooms, dead stalks and roots eternally fluxing through infinity – this is giggling of our natural world.

We can inhabit the natural world and unlearn all the knowledge and experience of the mind world by lingering in the stillness and silence between loving encounters. What a glorious tapestry! Stepping into true nature, stillness, silence and the vibrating pulsing energy of live love.

knowledge 5

NB:  please be sure to let go of these words and go beyond for yourself!

Temple Chronicle: 9th February

no demons or dialogues

Our minds trick us into living constantly with negative and unnatural thoughts. All around us, there are many other negative energies exhibiting themselves in the world which overcome us with their cheap perfume. But they are unreal and regularly projected onto vulnerable beings. The state of ‘LovingKindness’ means that we gently but firmly refuse to take on these negative missiles, and with the vibration of pure love and light, bring a new awareness to the projectionist. A smile, a loving touch, can bring something new to someone who is jostled by fear. Those who project have wide staring human eyes, but they are outcasts from their own hearts, shivering in the cold. They understandably lash out at the nearest person, and likely those they are closest to.

The outcasts are not separate from us. We cannot reject them or escape from them because they are mirror images. All humanity is viewable in the cosmic mirror in one vast sky. It is only the thoughts which prize us into separate beings, arms and legs, parted lips, and certain permissions – to condemn, to adore, to decline from comment. The awakening of the entire species is our collective concern. A sincere smile is sufficient to rouse the oblivious, and eventually, the fragrance of divinity will seep through the strata.

LovingKindness is not something spiritual traditions have created or generated. It is eternal and interstellar, but we have found a way to uncover it. It is the fragrance of the flame of divinity which we can kindle with our wisdom at this time of disintegration.

Each flame is different and essential to the completed glow of full harmony and happiness.

image

Temple Chronicle: 8th February

massive diamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

The field of energy humans inhabit is not as it appears to diverse human eyes. The arts give expression to the vast differences in individual views: today, the disparate imaginations of around 7.4 billion are at work every moment. These local energies are surely not separated by skin and skeletons though the logical brain insists they are. Therefore, if we close our eyes and our mind’s relentless analysis and classification, our energies merge into one fabulous multi-faceted diamond. Such a gem can illuminate every dark corner of the universe with divine light, purging away all the accumulated impurities.

Our sensitivity to each other has been deadened as the eyes have gained the monopoly on the material world. Progress and civilization have gradually removed the necessity of using the spiritual eyes and along with it unconditional looking. But we can once again use our ancient tools of divination and healing by cleaning away the accumulated detritus on our diamond facets. Our suffering, our conflicts, and doubts, are the grinding wheel that will remove the layers. The masters invite us to accept and embrace our adversity so that we can uncover our true nature, our Buddha nature, and cut away all our negative karma.

Light exists without conditions. We humans are beings of light in our divine form, and light is love and goodness. It needs the darkness and evil so our deteriorated and diluted essence can apprehend it.

So let your light flow to consume the darkness so that everyone can see with their spiritual eyes.

grinding wheel

Temple Chronicle: 7th February

healing 4

She dreamed that she was talking to a group of people, looking into the eyes of all her spiritual children, when slowly, outside her control, her own eyelids closed and she could not open them ever again.

There was panic all around, urgent movements, many different fingers touching her arms and shoulders, voices of such tenderness and tears rising in the air.  But she continued to talk from her sincere heart, and gradually the sobs and cries died down. She invited everyone to close their physical eyes as she spoke.

‘We need to close our physical eyes so that our inner spiritual eyes will open. For the physical eye, though a remarkable anatomical evolution and a powerful tool, sees only through the graded lenses of the ego. The material world becomes the only reality that it can perceive.  It is blind to the vast invisible world which is our real home.’

It takes practice to be able to look into the physical world with spiritual eyes.  To gaze without taking possession, without categorising or judging, without accumulating worldly status and merit.  To perceive directly instead of interpreting, making copies. The desperate craving of the worldly human incarcerated in constant suffering while careering towards oblivion in their death is acute.  They cannot let go, always hedging their bets, having reserves, in case they are left with nothing and fall into an abyss created by their terrible fear.

This way of looking can dominate in the presence of sacred images.  The serene Buddha images and altar adornments are rendered permanent by the physical eyes; continual shots are taken by the acquisitive camera and then archived.  The master carved sublime images of all emanations of the Buddha so that disciples could overcome this kind of obsessive greed and self-centred cherishing.   The spirit does not need to rely on memories and labels, or stored images.

We have the choice to gaze on these images without greed so that they connect us firmly to the spiritual world. In this way, the spiritual eyes are wide open. Holy sculptures are manifest as permanent in their gold and bronze inside man-made temples exactly so we do not possess them. This is for our spiritual growth.  The Buddha is mere energy just as we are.  We give this powerful energy the name ‘Buddha’ but that label can be abused. To find enlightenment we need to let go of it and allow the power to merge with our own power. To allow all divisions disintegrate.

When will she have paid all her debts?  Debt is such a negative state which worries and disturbs the natural equilibrium.  Debts to parents, to masters, to husbands and wives, to employers; an endless queue of beneficiaries. They make an elaborate maze in the mind which we get trapped in.  This cannot possibly lead to spiritual liberation. If we are in touch with our divine origins, if the flame is lit, then we naturally give to others, we trust unconditionally, we breathe with a genuine smile, and we truly love people because we are not separate from them.  Debt makes us separate and exacerbates the suffering of samsara.  It suspends us in murky water above the mud so that our lotus cannot bloom freely.

If we are motivated to practice spiritually from our thoughts, then this is flawed.  Thoughts are dead things which obscure the truth: They are worthless in spiritual terms.  Spirituality is living organically, is only being in the great stillness and silence.  If we manufacture thoughts of a religious kind and then use them as our propeller, we are creating everything from our side.  This is not the truth, the suchness, the shinnyo, but we can habitually mistake it as such.

And if we merely imitate the masters, cloning ourselves in their likeness, then we are ignorant of our individual mission, our unique spirit. The master engraves Buddha images not only in physical form, one bow for each tap of his chisel but in each disciple’s heart.  We can embody that heart in each moment of our daily lives, living as Buddhas, undistracted by the trivialities of the worldly mind.  This is the only way we can change the suffering world because our environment in the world of flesh is exactly a reflection of our minds. And if our minds expand into the field of consciousness, then the world will truly be a Buddha world.

She is restless in the temple precinct because she is attached to it. It has become her temple and everything is invested in it. Her living space, though full of light and the warmth of loving kindness, has become oppressive because of the outside view.  Beige concrete buildings with identical balconies, impede the view so that she cannot see beyond them to the mountains.  This way of viewing the environment is bedded in her DNA, has been the way of looking of her ancestors for aeons. The view reflects the mind, so she is keen to change it and live in a penthouse. Never content, and she will never be so until she lets go of physical dimensions.

May she put aside her physical eyes, open her spiritual eyes and so live with panoramic vision now and here, plum in the centre of the moment.

May she climb the temple steps of her own divine heart where ownership and mementos are unheard of.

spiritual practice

Temple Chronicle: 6th February

ellipse 2

It is entirely possible to become attached to practice, to achieving and succeeding, either cheered on or envied by our Dharma siblings. It is a human characteristic to compete with others, but it is not natural because it involves a separation. These distinctions that we make when comparing ourselves with others both outwardly and in our own mind secretly are imaginary. Status and its indicators have become a requirement of modern life, and in achieving that status many of us come to believe that it is due entirely and exclusively to our own effort. The mind gets carried away with itself and forgets all the myriad conditions that allow us even to take a breath of oxygen.

In short, we are liable to place too much emphasis on achievement and success in human terms. This is perhaps inevitable in our huge urban communities in which most people have a strong survival instinct for themselves and their families. The way these large groups are managed also provides perfect conditions for self-centredness to thrive: we are forced to comply with education, health and governing systems, often abdicating responsibility for ourselves and so losing contact with our own hearts and talents.

To adapt to and flourish in these situations that most of us cannot avoid, we need to treasure ourselves without over-cherishing, so that the ego does not become an impenetrable but transparent screen. If we are intimate with ourselves, entirely self-honest and appreciative of our innate goodness, then we can use the mind as a bridge to pass into the limitless field of consciousness. There, we can live each moment without escaping the suffering, without creating a gap between what is suffered and the one who is suffering. They are not different. We don’t have suffering like a possession, we are suffering. We are suffering. But it is the habit of the mind always to be at the side of our experiences, interpreting, analyzing, judging.

Loving-kindness or compassion is the main constituent of our nature, so if we let the mind fall away and stop all resistance to what is natural, extending it universally to every being we encounter in daily life requires little effort. We imagine that we have to do something, to achieve, to struggle, to reach out in kindness to others. But there is nothing to do. We only have to be.

Breathing is a wonderful practice in this respect. Focusing on the breath closes down the doing, achieving mind. The breath links us to the universe, so the Buddha taught this as his first meditation. Without borrowing oxygen from the atmosphere, our lives would be impossible. It is the basis of chi, fundamental life force or energy. Breathing occurs automatically in the majority of creatures when a demand for air is made. The breath is invisible, so it links us with the infinite invisible and natural world and removes our arrogance. Watching the miracle of the breath rising and falling takes us into our unique core in the same way that sound does.

Sitting together with sangha members, she watches her breath and listens to the voiceless voice of the Dharma. There is no duty, no guilt, no comparison because there is no achievement to make or end to gain. Allowing air inside where it is purified, then the detrimental gasses expelled, makes her part of everyone else and the master. The master breathes with them all linking them to the spiritual current of the Buddha-dharma. Breathing with the Buddha as he reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree out in the field of all awareness. Breathing as a Buddha. Benefits and concerns have no place in the breathing field.

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Temple Chronicle: 5th February

 

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The objective of all Buddhist training, of any spiritual training, is to first become a better, happier person, and then to look after other sentient beings, developing unwavering respect and compassion in that pursuit. The majority of humans aspire to ascend and so get clarity on themselves and their place in the world. They have deliberately sought a method of getting control of their negative emotions so that they can allow their natural goodness to prevail at every moment.

According to the Buddha, we are each a stupa, a shining tower to house the essence of the Great Truth (Tathata {Skt} Shinnyo {Jpn}), but the divine can only work in us when we are empty of delusions, self-serving desires and attachments. There are numerous ways we can ‘practice’ to realize this emptiness, but there is a danger that we ‘practice’ with ego, becoming attached to the practices themselves, forcing and striving to achieve these states. The word ‘practice’ is unfortunate in many ways because it implies imperfection, apprenticeship, and an impending performance. However, immediate realisations are numerous in the same way that performances can be spontaneous and their performers unknown.

This struggling against the current of the natural, this shouldering and manipulation and grasping by religious means, is perhaps burying our true nature even more deeply. Aspirants in Japan must start from scratch in terms of their faith, so are often initially benefit seekers, believing that they can acquire protection and benefit from the deities. These expectations are ingrained in the popular Shinto practices, and the line between Shintoism and Buddhism is quite blurred. So, they often barge into zealous practice, giving it their best for a probation time, and then, if they are not happier, wealthier and wiser, they may go on to try some other faith path.  These tactics often come from fear and superstition in my experience.

It is interesting and at the same time quite shocking that human beings often long to wipe clean the slate of their beings, to erase everything so that they can be reborn, totally transformed. Many of us view our thinking as flawed so we block it, hide it away; we experience a frisson of guilt at having such thoughts and then bury them, perhaps forever. We have rendered thoughts permanent and visible as everything and everyone else is. But it is possible to just let our thoughts appear, let them surface as detritus or debris in water. We do not need to condemn ourselves for having so-called bad thoughts, in the same way as we do not applaud ourselves for having so-called good thoughts. Thoughts are epehemera.

It is impossible to wipe the slate of our human existence and our spirit entirely clean, unless we synthesize amnesia or undergo brain-washing. Instead, we can adapt and accept – making the effort to free the flow of the water of our life. We humans are essentially beings of light, formless tennants. Water is similarly formless; in its natural state it flows wherever it wants to, wherever it can. Sometimes over-zealous practice can freeze that flow, fixing our nature into a glacier. Emptiness is the free flow of our waters, which are healing and cleansing, refreshing and exuberant.

Once we did not need to make an effort to keep our divine flame alight by spiritual practice. We were truly living out our original nature, flowing freely, merging with the fluid natures of those around us in loving harmony. Then, we learned to utilize the intellectual mind to interfere in this natural process, and our blindness began, leading us to go our own egocentric way towards the secular and personal power.

We may meditate, we may reflect, we may take empowerments and initiations, we may doggedly follow the letter of our teacher’s advice, but we must not lose sight of the truth, the suchness, which is deep inside ourselves, inside our unique stupa. We must not rule out the possibility that our ancestors were divine beings who handed on their divinity through the generations to us, and that in simply being, sitting with ourselves exactly as we are, that spark will burst into joyful flame once again.

The master invites us to appreciate ourselves, our inner beauty, while at the same time making certain we are completely honest with ourselves.  What are we really feeling?  What are we imagining we are feeling?  What are we hoping we will feel?  This is the true basis and function of meditation. Before embarking on a spiritual path, we must come face to face with our deep selves, naked, so that our true nature will be revealed.

Do we truly feel the icy stab of the first pail of water poured over our own warm flesh? Or do we feel it vicariously as our Master pours it? Do we rise before dawn with our entire consciousness, 100% present, in order to watch the reality of the sun rise in the sky, the sun rising inside our sky? Is it really our true nature which takes the prayer beads now, in the centre of the moment, completing it with all our might? Is our stupa dedicated and perfectly purified in order to embody the light of the great truth?

Mindfullness engenders enlightenment.

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Temple Chronicle: 4th February

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There is no escape from suffering for Japanese Buddhist lay practitioners. Daily life and stark reality are the anchor of life here: no time for dreams and personal ambitions. Endless conversations about how foreigners practise the teachings of Nirvana often lead to the subject of retreats. Only monastic practitioners here have that opportunity.

The wide temple halls are filled with neat kneelings, the corridors polished with slippers, and escalators well trodden by hordes of attendees who travel long distances. Mass purification is advocated by the founder, the cutting of negative karma achieved in countless ways of purification. Vigorous practice takes on many forms. There is so much to do here to let the clouds of Dharma float freely, the traces of so much massacre and ritual suicide vanish.
Today is the embarkation day for the Masters so it is marks every year at this time. They followed their hearts and their mission to act on their compassion for all beings, giving up their comfortable way of life and of fulfilling the expectations of society. They had no idea what each day would bring for themselves or their children, but they shared the journey totally, supporting each other no matter what. This is what Buddha Shakyamuni did also, in the firm belief that he could overcome anything by walking away from creature comforts, from his family. Cutting off his long hair and giving his princely robes to his servant, he set off into the unknown. There was no belief system to support him, and there were no fellow-travellers. He had only his compassion and his knowledge that suffering was a tool to reach true liberation from the stranglehold of the mind.

We can renounce every day. In your mind, you can die a little death, the death or extinguishing of human craving, human fear. Fear can die and wither away just like the body does, and with that, true nature reveals itself. Fear narrows the spirit, roping it in, forcing the poison of greed and ignorance and hatred through the veins. By letting go of everything we have ever known, standing naked, blind, deaf, decommissioned, in the great stillness and silence, our original goodness can fragrance everything. We become able to wear physical death like a veil, and human life a tunic.

Living with no system or framework to slip unconsciously into: Living full-time in our individual temples of goodness and beauty: Here and Now, truly settled in the dead centre of each second of man’s time with no thought of being anywhere or anyone else, the mists and dust clouds clear so that we embody the divine light. It shines eternally thanks to the enveloping darkness.

Especially here in Japan, the land of the collective conscience, individual and diverse lights are badly needed, and the inner beauty of each soul is bursting to emerge. The fear of not-conforming and being undutiful is a paralysis. The fear of not wearing the masks of ‘following’ or ‘accepting’ are prohibitive to the true flourishing of Buddha Nature, to catching the lightning glimpses of enlightenment which persistently suffuse in the air. The joy of actually overcoming the extreme difficulties of human birth and all hardships to follow is our contentment.

The master gently invites us to put aside duty and compulsion to conform so that our true nature can shine out.

The lotus blooms only when its roots anchor in mud.

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Temple Chronicle: 3rd February

interfering

Those who follow.  Those who are followed.  Followers or leaders, there need be no division.  What prevents us from taking the first step to being different from the conformists surrounding us?  Fear?  Prohibitive karma?  Ignorance of the millions of opportunities staring us in the face each moment?

Followers are by their very existence separated from the followed one.  They are the victims of a small act of violence which places them at a disadvantage, rendering them passive to superior instruction.  This is not the Buddha’s way, not the middle way. In adulating even a Buddha, we are being excessive, servile, insincere, because we turn away from our own Buddhahood.   By maintaining an even breath and softening our gaze on what is not real, we become one again, in one heart.  We become one with the master because we are the master.

Such purity is hobbled by a complex system of filters and refineries designed to keep us back, keep us quiet in our sprawling communities, to make way for so-called leaders. This is all enacted in the blind tyranny of the visual world.  Close your eyes and mute your memories and conditioning by embodying your breath, and you will quickly realize that such differences, such separations, are imaginary.

In each tiny interaction with others – a smile, a murmur, a passing fragrance on skin, a positive thought, a word – we leave our traces behind. We cannot see them, count them, or erase them. But our influence endures and we echo it.  Each entity of goodness sparkles and  remains, eternal, but we are blind to them because of our deluded view.

Only when each unique moon of goodness is glowing in its place will the chaos of the sighted be dispelled, and the ocean its original calm.    

Gaia

Radiating from a pure core: religions are dying

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Excessive rituals and doctrine are a sure sign that an organized religion is dying.  They are beautiful and even alluring and we may be tempted to believe that they will make deep changes in us.  But we are of the natural world and this kind of transformation brought about by exterior influences is completely unnatural. Some practitioners convince themselves that they are changed beyond their control.  But the reality is that only we can make changes in our view because the world does not exist if we do not view it. Real change must come from inside and radiate outwards into the physical, material, visual world.

Nothing happens in the outside world, the world beyond our skin as we perceive it, without some inner root cause or change.  Consequences.  Shadows. Effects.  All of these are the result of a stimulus in the unique consciousness of an individual.

We each have our unique ancient religion: that of the individual.

 

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