… On Raising the Level of Collective Consciousness [III] – The Human Experience

GUEST POST by jrbarch: There is a longing inside of every human being that we do not know how to label consensually. We call it the search for joy, contentment, clarity, knowledge, divinity, wholeness, truth, love-wisdom. No matter the label assigned, it is the same thing. But we cannot clarify the meaning this label masks. Mind jumps in, and like a used-car salesman announces, brashly: “Boy have I got a solution for you”. In this day and age, the solution is the political-economy, science, entertainment, and materialism – and there is nothing wrong with any of these, if manifest in harmony with and background to, existence. But mind has never been able to solve our quest. Our societies have never been able to fulfil our quest. Because it is the heart that needs to be fulfilled – not the mind. Mind will always be restless, creative, inquisitive, and have more questions than answers. The heart seeks but one answer, its focus is singular; and within that one answer, all other questions are resolved.

I know that Krishnamurti looked at this longing and spoke about one manifestation of it – the search for security – CERTAINTY – in a world that atom by atom is forever changing and evolving, and ends in form corruption, dysfunction, and death. He looked at the human basics of our longing for security, very honestly. As did Buddha.

How its ultimate expression (after temporal dominance and recognition) is the desire for egoistic immortality; hence the ‘guarantee’ of the religions, jumping in just like mind does with a promise to the ‘I’ that it will endure, in ‘heaven’, under the watchful eye of a loving G.O.D. Of course, in heaven each religion will have its own partition, where they can feel they are the most important. Just like children like the idea of Santa Claus.

So, you accept this as your Authority: – or, if you are mentally tough, you assert the opposite as your authority. Either way, the ‘I’ wants to feel secure – certain. However, very few people wish to actually know, how to get to the bottom of this universal longing which is an integral part of their being; and are unaware it is the engine and motivational energy, that drives them through every moment of their life.

Most people believe they are their (conditioned) minds. Mind needs to be appeased. But the truth is we are bottomless pits that need to be filled – and no matter how much of the world we stuff into our mouths, hypnotise ourselves with entertainment, stuff knowledge into our brains, or study the political-economy or gorillas in a wet rain forest – the longing remains; the search, the quest, is as relentless as the breath is supportive.

Not wishing to take responsibility for their own existence, people love to bind themselves to some authority outside of them, once again like children – here, you be responsible, and I will complain if you get it wrong. Or bind themselves to some identity outside of them: – ‘I am Australian, I am a bus-driver, I am a husband, father and brother; wife, mother and sister’. Forgetting these are just roles we play on a limited stage, from which we try to extract identity. We are so much more than the ‘I’ – but have no clue. Clearly, people are not willing to treat the ‘I’ as just a wave in the mindstuff – fearing they will lose their sense of self, and descend into chaos.

‘I do not know’ seems to be the hardest thing to say; ‘I must take responsibility for my own existence’ even harder. We seem to prefer to be each other’s crutches, each other’s blindfold; the primary reason blogs exist? We entrap ourselves to one another, and our institutions and ultimately the society. The life is owned, bought and sold. Teenagers think they are different if they change the colour of their hair. Megalomaniacs want to rule over human stupidity. The ‘I’ swells to gigantic (diseased) proportions. Following Marx or Keynes is no different to following a Prophet in this sense. We abrogate our existence to something or someone outside of ourselves. As Krishnamurti says: – “A few golden balls are rolled through the world, and most chase them ….”

So, because we seek security, and are riddled with fear and doubt, and still hope to find solace in an authority outside of ourselves – we have priests – on both sides of the argument. People are strong only because they are deluded, and do not recognise the crutches, propping them up. S. Hussein ended up hiding in a hole in the ground. These priests are not fools – they know exactly how to exploit us; how to ‘guide’. All of the world is a religion and religion is all of the world, and it is cloned from generation to generation. Where is the priest of a religion that will tell you – you do not need a broker or a religion; or a worldly priest you do not need (s)he or the world? Will tell you the truth – your existence has nothing to do with the world, or the religion. With or without the society – you are alive – that is your most fundamental truth. Do you understand what it means to be alive?

Both society and religion are, in the end, peripheral, circumstantial, belief systems – external to your existence. Your responsibility for your existence , your integrity and independence, increment by increment, as you have grown up and been conditioned by the world, has been abrogated to somebody else, or something else; although I know no-one likes to look at it. Thus the blind lead the blind around and around the desert. Who is there among the priests to tell you to win back your own territory and begin YOUR journey anew. That you did not come into this world to fulfil your society but you came into this world to fulfil your quest: – the society comes second if you like, if you want to order your priorities. You came, to deal with your existence as it is; to find your own two feet beyond the Age you live in. To find out what it means to be human and to discover the treasure you carry inside. Or do we, like good little social robots – acquiesce. What do our ‘leaders’ do with human lives?

Living in the world, we get caught up in all of the political and economic arguments, the religions and art movements; human sweat blood and tears, miasma and fiasco, labour and human effort. Organisations and institutions take us over. We slave at their coalface and forget how to think for ourselves. We are conditioned, nay, TOLD we are social beings. That the society is far above the individual. Not that you are a proud independent being, absolutely divine in nature, and must lift the bar to your own evolution, your own path; plumb your own existence to its ultimate depths. Your heart will tell you this – mind is used to being a slave. The word ‘science’ means knowledge, and we hope through knowledge to become sane and happy human beings. But knowledge is not compassion or Love. Knowledge can create untold misery and has never been able to bring peace to the mind, or love to the heart.

We are told by the education system to be little Genghis Khans, or Alexanders – take your sword and go out and conquer the world. HA! ‘Empty-handed I came into this world ……. Like a fool, I wasted my one chance of Life.

We substitute pleasure for love as a quick fix, but that doesn’t work. We want to bring about economic, social and political changes in the world, but we do not wish to transform ourselves, which is the only way such changes are possible. Is that too simple? We are hypnotised, dazzled, befuddled by the world.

Like a razor, death cuts us off abruptly from the world; terminates and recycles us, absolutely, impersonally. Everything that we cling onto for security must be abandoned. Our brains are not conditioned to handle this reality. All education leads us away from our existence; not towards it. Love and death, says Krishnamurti, are like sister and brother. The brother wishes you to be detached, the sister wishes you simply to Love. There is no school for love. Love walks only where there is freedom. Love is a seed, planted in the heart, which must be watered to grow. Love is existence and you are existence. Only you can water this seed, perhaps with a little bit of gardening advice, if you can find it in this desertic world.

Inside of yourself, you are alone. Everyone spends all day long every day, avoiding this fundamental. No matter how many people you gather around you; the ‘hours you spend’ with your dearly beloved (at precipitous return)? You spend many more hours, every hour, with yourself; and you know in your heart of hearts you are alone – and yet crave not to be. The tower of circumstances and relationships we have built in the world, our little Tower of Babel, can come crashing down, and we see ourselves as we really are – vulnerable, reeling; not all that strong because we do not know our true strength. When this tower crashes we think that we have crashed because we bound our identity to it. We want to be secure, complete, whole within ourselves, content and free. Free to love and free to think; free to act and free to do no harm; free to breathe and be kind and generous, compassionate. Free enough to celebrate and enjoy being alive! Free enough to genuinely love humanity. Our lives on the other hand, are full of contracts, turmoil and pain, anxiety, violence, pettiness and mundanity – no matter how many books we read, or how engrossing our study. The world and Nations are run by madmen; corporate greed is insatiable. The contrast is maddening. The human heart cries out and who will listen?

No matter how socially elevated or sophisticated we may be, or luxury we surround ourselves with, daily life becomes a grind, without any meaning other than survival. As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to corruption, and the reality and finality, humility and emptiness of death looms. Our lives seem to stagnate. Then we die, truly empty handed. We are followers and follow something or someone in the world, for relief, or to keep us occupied. At times, for a few days, the sun may break through the clouds of darkness that seem to blanket our lives. We are tantalised by happiness. At times, we seek a friend, with whom we can sit down and talk about unresolved struggles. But, what is happening in Russia and China, Syria, the world and its incessant stupid stupid history, is nothing as compared to what is happening in our hearts and minds. We are Masters of Distraction – anything to take the attention from ourselves. We are our greatest challenge and greatest enigma. For seventy laps around the sun, we are a question mark, a tail (?) looking for the lion that somehow lost it, in the desert. Looking for the courage to be alive. Looking to find our voice, our heart, in a world that is full of noise, and where nobody seems to care. Who accepts this challenge …..?

Because we place belief before life, concepts before life, circumstances and events before life – we are frozen in time and space – and so build temples of one kind or another; pyramids on Wall Street that one day too, will turn to dust. Who is strong enough in this world, to take back the authority we accede to the world; to lay the sword to their own beliefs and stand on their own two feet? To cut themselves free of the chains that they have bound themselves with. To say that I am a human being and my heart demands fulfilment. My truth is what I understand and experience for myself; and my truth is within me – the rest is hearsay. That truth does not come packaged in an institutional wrapper. Nor does science explain the truth about my existence – only my form; and it is often revised. That truth is not something outside of me. That all of the strength that I need, all of the courage, all of the clarity, and above all Love and Intelligence, Consciousness, is within me, if I can only lift the bar to my Gate. That the human heart holds the key.

We do not need leaders or followers – but people who understand their common humanity and individual responsibility to existence; their own and others. As nature intended. We should never let the mind organise truth for us. Mind weaves a web of deceit over everything, and if there is no Light within that web to illuminate it, then how will you know? It is something only the heart can experience and know. It is the heart that sees clearly.

I will leave you with a fragment of Krishnamurti’s simple ‘truth’. The ‘collective consciousness’ for Krishnamurti is not minds that may happen to agree, to dream the same societal dream. It is awareness itself:

There was a man mending the road; that man was myself; the pickaxe he held was myself; the very stone which he was breaking up was a part of me; the tender blade of grass was my very being, and the tree beside the man was myself. I almost could feel and think like the road-mender, and I could feel the wind passing through the tree, and the little ant on the blade of grass I could feel. The birds, the dust, and the very noise were a part of me. Just then there was a car passing by at some distance; I was the driver, the engine, and the tyres; as the car went further away from me, I was going away from myself. I was in everything, or rather everything was in me, inanimate and animate, the mountain, the worm, and all breathing things. All day long I remained in this happy condition. I could not eat anything, and again at about six I began to lose my physical body, and naturally the physical elemental did what it liked; I was semi-conscious ….

…. I sat cross-legged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head I saw the Star, bright and clear. Then I could feel the vibrations of the Lord Buddha; I beheld Lord Maitreya and Master K.H. I was so happy, calm and at peace. I could still see my body and I was hovering near it. There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself, the calmness of the bottom of a deep unfathomable lake. Like the lake, I felt my physical body, with its mind and emotions, could be ruffled on the surface but nothing, nay nothing, could disturb the calmness of my soul. The Presence of the mighty Beings was with me for some time and then They were gone. I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters at the source of the fountain of life and my thirst was appeased. Never more could I be thirsty, never more could I be in utter darkness. I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering; it is not for myself, but for the world. I have stood on the mountain top and gazed at the mighty Beings. Never can I be in utter darkness; I have seen the glorious and healing Light. The fountain of Truth has been revealed to me and the darkness has been dispersed. Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated.

# … some nice reading: Splitting the Arrow – Understanding the business of Life Prem Rawat

1500 Yen – also available on Amazon (in support of the message of peace Prem will be delivering at many public events this year).

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10 thoughts on “… On Raising the Level of Collective Consciousness [III] – The Human Experience

  1. Thanks for your contributions, jr, in this series and in the comments. A different perspective from the usual heteconomist fixation on economics is always welcome.

    I have a few questions/observations that perhaps some other “political economist types” might also have when it comes to spiritual (if that is the right word) stuff. I know my reaction in each case is probably based on a misinterpretation, but perhaps expressing each one in crass terms will provide an opportunity for clarification or elaboration.

    1. You write that “… what is happening in Russia and China, Syria, the world and its incessant stupid stupid history, is nothing as compared to what is happening in our hearts and minds.”

    To my mind (!) this idea – which appears to come up a lot in spiritual writings – can seem to border on the callous. A child is starving in Africa, but it is suggested that this is nothing compared to what is happening within me? I can be content anyway? The starving child can be content anyway? I’m not convinced that either I or the child should be content so long as this situation persists, even if one or both of us has the capacity to be content under this circumstance.

    At the popular end of the spectrum, for instance, there is “The Secret”, to which Dave Chappelle responds in this way.

    2. You write that “Your responsibility for your existence , your integrity and independence, increment by increment, as you have grown up and been conditioned by the world, has been abrogated to somebody else, or something else; although I know no-one likes to look at it.”

    Logic tells us that there are circumstances beyond the control of an individual. In macroeconomics, for instance, unemployment in aggregate is not the result of individual failing. One individual can outcompete another for one of the available jobs, but if there are not enough jobs, there will always be individuals who are unemployed. No amount of taking personal responsibility will resolve this. It requires a collective policy response.

    I can see that if everybody’s collective consciousness had progressed sufficiently, the collective policy response would be forthcoming and unemployment would be eradicated. But, right now, this is not the case. There are some people who understand the cause of unemployment. Most don’t. Let’s say some of those who do understand have a relatively high level of consciousness, as do some of those who don’t understand. Is the best strategy for those who do understand the cause of unemployment really to look within? The problem is that others don’t understand the cause of unemployment or, in some cases perhaps, don’t care. To look within, at this point, could be seen as an escape from the situation rather than a strategy likely to improve it.

    Or if the suggestion is (I don’t think it is) that the unemployed are responsible for their own contentment and that their unemployed state is, in the grander scheme of things, “nothing as compared to what is happening in our hearts and minds”, then we are back at question 1.

    I am guessing that your meaning, rather, is that by going within we are able to understand how we can best act and interact with others. (?)

    3. You write that “We should never let the mind organise truth for us. Mind weaves a web of deceit over everything, and if there is no Light within that web to illuminate it, then how will you know?”

    It seems to me that mind is precisely what should be used to organize truth for us. (?) Heart clearly has a role too, but heart without logic or reason would seem to lead nowhere coherent and leave us susceptible to superstition. (?)

    In a former life, I played casino games. A lot. Casinos are full of people who are following their “feelings” rather than applying technical knowledge, logic, reason, skill and self-discipline. As a result, they sooner or later lose their shirts. It seems to me that technical knowledge, logic and reason relate primarily to mind (?) while self-discipline perhaps relates primarily to heart (?). Self-discipline (heart) is necessary for success when it comes to playing casino games, but without technical knowledge, logic and reason it is nearly useless. It will at least prevent you from losing what you can’t afford to lose. But if self-discipline is all you have, you are still going to lose if you play long enough.

    It might be of interest to elaborate on what you have in mind when it comes to the balance between – and respective roles of – heart and mind.

    Thanks again for your always thought-provoking and often inspiring contributions. They are always much appreciated.

  2. Peter,

    “Secondary causes are only a veil to occupy the common people. God’s elect see through the causes, to the Causer of causes.” —Rumi

    Regarding the subject of sustenance, the following quote from the Qur’an:

    “Do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. But the mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.” (Qur’an 43:32)

    From this, the idea of a man’s sustenance being decreed by God, and only by God, all else being secondary causes. That a person’s lot in life is predetermined. Christians know this as Divine Providence.

    As regards the starving child in Africa, we should feed him. But while doing so, we see ourselves only as instruments of God. His sustenance passes through our hands. It is all by Divine decree.

    Regarding your points about macro, I was thinking recently about this as regards the US versus Russia. The US inherits Adam Smith and The Wealth Of Nations, the Russians get Karl Marx. We know how that worked out.

    Which begs the question. Why should millions be doomed to poverty because of faulty economic thinking. But then we step back. Who decides whether one is born in the US, or Russia, or Africa, and in what year, if not God. So again, we are back to God determining the outcome, right from the start.

    Along the same line of thought, I recall a comment by someone who said they had seen more people smiling in the slums of Africa than on Wall Street. So maybe things like per capita GDP and such are not the best measures of a successful society.

  3. @Peter

    And thank you for making some space to air these thoughts in the public domain Peter. Your questions are good questions, and I have seen them pop up before many times. Shall do my best with them as soon as I can. I am not a callous person and would not allow any inhuman principle.

    I think if you hold onto the thought, that for me, there is an inside and an outside: – knowledge on the outside and self-knowledge on the inside, that may help? I don’t have any duality in my heart about the pursuit of self-knowledge on the inside and the dharma of being a human being on the outside. I hope I can be clearer in the future.

    I too like Rumi Ahmed!

  4. @Peter

    First of all I need to remind, that I am a student, and my perspective is both based on my own experience and learnt. I make mistakes and have plenty of room for improvement in making myself clear. Secondly, it is quite a challenge for me to put into words and concepts something I know on the inside, but have to externalise. Third – on any blog, I am a mind, speaking to any other mind that takes an interest. My Teacher speaks from his heart to other hearts – I have listened to him for over forty years, and his energy as it impacts people’s hearts and effects minds is entirely a different means of communicating. All that I do, is look at different signposts in life, and point out they are facing in the wrong direction.

    So, to deal with your points as they came up:

    As an aside (incidentally) – the word ‘spiritual’ has little specific meaning for me. The wind and clouds, the earth, the Sun and the stars on the outside, are all spiritual to me. The whole universe is spiritual to me. So are the people living on my neighbourhood block, but their minds are elsewhere. On the inside, there is another ‘Sun’ of a different order – that too is spiritual, and the source of all external light and energy, hence matter. I call it an ‘Universal Energy’ and its characteristics are beyond the scope of all human imagination and thought: – all I know is, it is our (physical and spiritual – two poles on the same continuum) progenitor. (Just words I admit; useless without experience).

    1) Shall try and deal with the second part of your query first.

    I cannot tolerate the thought of a child or any other human being starving to death. I do not like cruelty in any form. This world produces food in abundance. Obviously a starving child cannot be content, no matter how we visualise things – nor can I be content to know that a child is suffering. But that does not mean that contentment, happiness, Joy – are not still within me, and the child. For me, happiness is an entity: – it is the Self within me, within the child – and without that Self and the breath that comes with it, neither of us would exist.

    No-one can breathe for me, no-one can drink for me or eat food for me; no-one can give me even one nano-second of their life as a donation, nor I to them. No-one can smile or laugh or cry for me: – no-one can go inside of me, and experience for me, the Universal Energy that resides within me. There are some things that we can only do for ourselves. This Joy is a gift, meant for me, as is your gift meant for you. My Teacher taught me to value and open this present, accept it, understand it, plumb its unlimited depths; and for that I am incredibly grateful. It is not selfish to experience this inner joy; and it fills your heart with a genuine Love; it has taught me to treat the external world far more kindly. It is a part of you; just as your thirst is a part of you. This in no way abrogates your dharma, your duty towards your fellow man, and Life.

    For me, we have a duty on the outside, and we have a duty on the inside. Our duty on the outside is clear to us but not everyone fulfils it. Our duty on the inside is to fulfil our heart. Very few people understand this. Love is an Energy, that flows from on high. If it has ‘Laws’, it is like water, and will flow and must flow in accordance with its own Nature, to anywhere it can. Seeking nothing for itself, because it is already full; never concerned to replenish itself, because of its unlimited source. One name for this flow is Dharma (duty).

    Obviously this Love should flow to the starving child. But why does it not reach there?

    The reason why the child is starving is, in almost every case, because of human intervention or selfishness. In this case, the human being caused the problem, a human being is suffering because of it, and only a human being can fix it up. Some blame the condition on the divine, or implore the divine to remedy the situation. It is a human responsibility.

    Now if we feed the starving child (which we should), that alleviates the suffering; but it does not alleviate the ignorance that caused the suffering. We know what this world is like: – tomorrow she may well be suffering and starving again, probably in direr straits. This is the gift of mind to the world. For 200,000 years we have used mind to create all of the problems in the world – it is not the right tool to solve problems. My signpost points towards the heart.

    So Yes, it is possible to go inside and be completely content, completely in awe and bliss on the inside in the presence of that beautiful Energy within you; but when you come back out to the personality, to being a human being again, when the mind lights up again, you can never be content that there is even one person suffering needlessly in this world. Even when you can still feel the presence of that beauty inside of you. You know that this Love is meant to flow, into every human heart, that will accept it.

    And as I tried to explain in the post above, many people have looked at this, the Buddha looked at this, and saw the prime reason why suffering exists in the world is because of ignorance.

    Now to deal with the first part of your question, which is much harder for me to answer, in terms of the mind.

    I made a statement that the tumult extant in the world is nothing compared to what is happening inside of us. This does not seem to be correctly scaled. Surely America is bigger than a homeless person on its streets.

    For me, such a statement comes from a point of realisation inside of me. You would have to stand inside of yourself at exactly the same point to get the same view, so all that I can do is offer a partial explanation.

    For me, all of the history of humankind, the journey from the tribes through the kingdoms, nation states and global oligarchies, in other words, the entire experience of the human personality – all leads to one portal. The realisation of Peace within. From there, the journey begins anew. It’s kind of like a process of try everything else first, develop the persona physically, emotionally and mentally, like little ants build the society build the society build the society – allow the ‘I’ to realise it is not the Self and can possess nothing, wield no power – then knock on the door of the heart. As it is for the collective, so it is for the individual. For me, that is human history in a nutshell.

    Life has the meaning that our Creator, that beautiful but impersonal Universal Energy assigned to it – we give it another meaning. Like children we play, but with real guns and real planes, affecting real human lives. The drama, fiasco, and miasma we create for ourselves in the effort to find ourselves. Only one meaning, in the course of evolution, is going to prevail.

    Shall have a go at (2) and (3) a bit later on. If any of this interests anyone, they should find someone who can speak to their heart.

  5. jrbarch,

    Re: spirituality versus religion

    I did ten years of studies in comparative religions. During that time, I ran across some sayings that help to distinguish between ‘spirituality’ and ‘religion’ and their relationship to each other. Here are a few that come to mind:

    Spirituality is the journey of the mystic. Religion is the journey of the mystic, at a symbolic level. (For example, the Muslim journeys to the “Kaaba”, the Sufi journeys inwardly, to the “Kaaba” of the heart. The outward pilgrimage mirrors the inward pilgrimage).

    Religion seeks a garden. Spirituality seeks the face of God.

    Religion is watered down spirituality.

    Religion is the gateway to spirituality.

    As regards the ego, the goal of religion is to curb the ego. Spirituality has, as its goal, the death of the ego.

    While religions differ, all spirituality is one. The goal of all mystic paths is the attainment of enlightenment. Each mystic path calls it by a different name but their descriptions are one and same.

    Buddhism (nirvana) – the death or annihilation of the ego.
    Sufism (fana) – the death or annihilation of the ego.
    and so on…

    Hope that helps. As an aside, I am a Sufi.

  6. @Peter

    2) I am guessing that back and behind of your considerations in this query, is the idea of responsibility; coupled with going within as a ‘strategy’. For me, going within is not a strategy – no more than breathing is a strategy. For the heart, going within is not a luxury. The heart wants to expand. The more we allow a Teacher to expand this heart, the more we can fill it and learn to expand it for ourselves. The heart wants to be in touch with the Peace that breathes in its centre. You, have the privilege of being its witness.

    Above I stated: “For me, we have a duty on the outside, and we have a duty on the inside”. For me, it is beautiful to allow this process on the inside to happen. For me personally, it is a duty, a covenant with Life and myself, a commitment, and beautiful privilege. If this process fills my heart with a genuine Love (and remember Love carries within itself its own wisdom and intelligence) then hopefully this will help me fulfil my duty on the outside.

    Going inside for me is all of the above, and more. When a human being takes responsibility for their duty on the outside, they are becoming mature. When a human being takes responsibility for making the connection on the inside, they are about to be awakened. By going within we are recognising and fulfilling our Nature; by recognising our duty on the outside, we are fulfilling our humanity.

  7. @Peter

    3) The heart never gambles Peter 🙂 Mind gambles and the ‘I’ spins on the roulette wheel, while Lady Luck smiles on? The heart will not help you with a business proposition. Nor will it help you become a better person. Its focus is singular. There is no balance between the heart and the mind. At best they are partners, with the heart in the lead. It is up to the mind to understand and make sense of the inner world and the inner experience. The heart wants to know, it wants to be connected to the Peace within – it is not interested in theories. A Teacher is someone who can back up their words and connect people to the Peace within: – all of the rest are theorists.

    To go within is first and foremost to trust yourself and to be clear about what you are doing. You are beyond curiosity. A child is willing to learn, to observe and see and hear for themselves, to be willing to understand and to say ‘I do not know, but show me’. There is a freshness in the heart of a child. You have to understand there is a seed there, and be willing to nurture it and grow it. To feel it for yourself, pulsing and expanding. If you do not wish to do so, then that too is your prerogative. It will always be there whenever you are ready. Your heart has always been absolutely faithful to you. As for our duty on the outside, I like to remember the words from Desiderata, way back there in the seventies (perhaps a little poetic modification by me):


    Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you are here, now – now is your Opportunity!

    Who knows when it may come again?

    What you are looking for, is already inside of you ….. a human being is a door.

    Without the Self, we have no-one.

    Follow your heart and let the heart be the judge.

  8. @Ahmed
    Religion seeks a garden. Spirituality seeks the face of God.

    I really like that quote ….. 🙂

  9. jrbarch & Ahmed, thanks for your in-depth responses. I never thought there was a callous bone in either of your bodies, but am glad for the clarifications you’ve offered. They are helpful for an “economics type” such as myself.

    I will say, jr, that although the heart never gambled, it did, on big plays, occasionally palpitate. 🙂

  10. This is an excellent post. There is no need for hate, either oneself or others. So you effectively have a scale from selfless to pure hedonist and in practice choose somewhere in the middle. We should follow our conscience , the “heart.”

    BTW Changing Minds is a good blog for all sorts of things – readers here may be interested. Here is a sample:

    http://changingminds.org/techniques/happiness/happiness.htm

    Let’s take the USA. People who were worse off are “unfortunates” (the old term). Instead, they are now “losers.”

    The dominant emotion is spite. Winners hate and despise the losers who are regarded as worthless ballast, moochers and looters who are just out to parasitically exploit their superiors. That it is spite is pretty obvious from the use of the very term “loser”, which is derogative.

    The spite of some of the wealthy is well known. Even “aspirational” winners (the 60% of Usians who think that they will become rich and enter the top 10%) have only spite for losers, and even losers do (self-hating losers). The USA is so full of self hating losers who need to read this article!

    The dominant value of the “tea party”, and indeed of Real America, is the spite of the superiors for their inferiors. “F*ck YOU! I got mine” is the Real American Dream.

    Some of the tea partiers go on about the envy of the inferiors for their superiors, but in the USA superiors are widely admired and celebrated.

    That indeed is a coherent and important value, and the point that merely attacking that value is not going to sway the tea partiers is very realistic. But what can you do? Tea partiers are usually *emotionally invested* in their spite.

    Spiteful southerners 150 years ago started a war and went enthusiastically to be shredded by USA cannon in their hundreds of thousands to validate their spite for their inferiors, and USA ordnance was the only argument that they heeded.

    Perhaps the tea partiers are less invested in their theology and their less intense spite, and they may be persuaded more gently that after all a tiny percentage of freeloaders does not matter that much, and that the USA is rich enough not only to “afford” supporting the tiny percentage of freeloaders with mansions in Manhattan, but also those 50,000 homeless in LA even if they are mostly dark-skinned, as well as pay for a massive nuclear arsenal and lose track of a few dozen billions per year in “accounting errors” in Iraq, or pay a few hundreds thousands per year in overheads to support each soldier in Afghanistan.

    But I doubt it.

    “you can never be content that there is even one person suffering needlessly in this world”

    Right. The world is imperfect. But we can make it better. Getting anxious and wishing for perfection won’t help.

    Starving Africans are a minority, but you always seem to be able to get a rock concert going for that minority. So there are ways of manipulating minds to get minorities looked after.

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