Meditation, Willpower, and Driving

by Michael Maciel

As a young man growing up in Reno, I was into sports driving. The Mount Rose Highway, leading up to Lake Tahoe, and the Virginia City Highway, leading (as you might guess) up to Virginia City, were my training grounds. Both were treacherous mountain roads, but they were well-paved and perfect for learning how to master the art of driving fast through turns.

912One hot summer day, I was driving a friend’s 912 Porsche. He was in the passenger seat. We were approaching a hairpin turn on the Mount Rose Highway just above Galena Creek where the road swings around a maintenance station. Anyone can drive through a hairpin turn, but not everyone can drive through one fast.

In a hairpin, you come in high, dive in at the apex, and swing wide as you exit. The object is to maintain speed throughout. Since it was a hot summer day, the tires were sticky on the asphalt, and the 912 (good at any temperature) was taking the corners like it was on rails. Coming up to the turn, I had slowed to 50 mph. My friend Kent said, “Don’t slow down.” I said, “What do I do?” He said, “Just turn the steering wheel.” To my amazement (Porsches are phenomenal in the turns), the car sailed through the hairpin with barely a screech.

curvesOne of the problems that rookie drivers have is “stiff-arming.” It’s when you’re in the middle of a scary turn and your arms stiffen up, as though pushing on the steering wheel will keep the car on the road. It’s a fear response, and it gets a lot of drivers into trouble. No matter how tight the corner, very little pressure is needed to turn the wheel—pushing on it does nothing whatsoever. Once you learn that, driving is a lot less tiring, and it’s more fun.

Meditation
It takes willpower to meditate. But willpower, as in driving, isn’t stiff-arming; it’s simply turning the steering wheel.

discipline

Basic meditation is quieting the mind, or, more specifically, not thinking. You put your attention somewhere other than in your head, you keep it there, and then you just sit. Sounds incredibly exciting, does it not? Nevertheless, that’s what it is, and the benefits of a solid meditation practice are extraordinary. Once you acquire the ability to hold your attention in one place, there are other things you can do, but not until you are able to master this simple task.

While holding your attention in one place is an act of will, it’s not effort-ing—it’s just doing it. When someone told astronaut Jim Lovell that going to the Moon was a “miracle,” he said, “No, we just decided to go.” So it is with holding your attention in one place—you just decide to do it.

When a guru gives a disciple a seemingly mundane task, he’s seeing whether the disciple has the willpower to get it done. If the disciple stiff-arms his way through it, then the guru knows that he hasn’t yet mastered the will. Spending unnecessary energy doing a job means that there’s resistance going on somewhere inside the disciple’s mind. He hasn’t surrendered to the task. He’s still wondering whether he should, instead of simply turning the steering wheel. If he can’t demonstrate mastery in a mundane project, he won’t be able to meditate.

Stabilize
One of the reasons why Porsches are so good in the corners is that their weight distribution is close to 50/50, meaning that the car’s center of gravity is about halfway between the front and rear wheels. This makes the car very stable. It doesn’t understeer (plow through a turn) nor does it oversteer (spin out). When you’re driving fast, confidence, along with skill and a good vehicle, is everything.

Balance is the root of confidence. It allays fear. Drift far enough away from your center of gravity and your confidence erodes quickly.

buddhaSince the first goal in meditation is to quiet your mind, place your attention on your center of gravity. Ironically, that place is in the area of your belly button. That’s right—your navel. You are going to contemplate your navel. Don’t laugh. It works. In martial arts and Chinese medicine, this area is called the hara. It is the center of your body as well as your center of gravity.

Anatomically, the navel is where the umbilical cord enters the body of the fetus. It is also the point where the aorta branches into the two femoral arteries. If you visualize the umbilicus attaching at this point where the three major arteries converge, you can see that the four blood vessels form a kind of tetrahedron, the first geometric solid. And “solid” is a good place to begin your meditation.

Quieting the mind and stabilizing yourself are essentially the same thing. And, as you will discover, placing your attention anywhere other than inside your head will bring your brain-chatter to a halt. Focusing on the hara has the added benefit of bringing you to a standstill, energetically speaking. It’s like moving to the center of the merry-go-round. It is the centripetal locus of you.
The-CorePaying attention to your breathing focuses your attention on the hara. Proper breathing is diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing.” While there are other areas you can focus on, using this as a starting point will teach you  how to quiet your mind. Other areas can have more of a centrifugal force and can be very energizing, so unless you have mastered the ability to hold your attention where you decide it should be, your mind will wander all over the place.

Focusing on the hara gives the term “balanced life” a whole new meaning. This is inner balance, and you want to have it before you venture into higher states of awareness, otherwise you will lose traction. Venturing into areas of higher awareness is venturing into areas of higher energy. Driving through a hairpin turn at 15 mph is a lot different than driving through it at 50. Unless you can hold your attention where you want it, going into those higher areas will send your mind careening off the road. You should see all the “skid marks” on a zendo floor.

Practice
solidMeditation is an acquired skill every bit as challenging as sports driving. There are rules. There are techniques. There are hours and hours of practice at different speeds and on different road surfaces. There’s vehicle maintenance to do, check lists to follow, deadweight to eliminate, engines to tune, tires to change—all falling under the category of “preparation.”

In a meditation practice, diet and exercise are important. Your vehicle has to be in good shape. This is why hatha yoga was developed. It prepares students for the rigors of inner work. Thinking that meditation “just happens,” that anyone can do it if they simply want to is one reason why so many people find it too difficult and give up. Meditation must become the central focus of your life before you begin, not just as a result of having done it.

Prepare, and then begin.

Posted in Lessons | 2 Comments

Does God Know Everything?

Omnicience

Let’s examine the statement “God knows everything.” This idea is meaningless and misleading. The rules for creativity are the same for God as they are for us—we have to know nothing before we can know anything. Divine, undifferentiated potential is no-thing. It is empty and void and yet pregnant with the ability to become. In the beginning, according to Genesis, “Darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The vast, undifferentiated potential of God’s own being is where God had to start in the creative process. It is into that potentiality that God spoke the Word, and the worlds were brought into being.

face of the deep

Not-knowing creates a space within which all things are possible. Not-knowing breaks down the barriers that keep us imprisoned in the known. The known is a parched desert—nothing grows there. Once a thing is known, it ceases to live. Not-knowing is the key to life. You can’t exist in a state of not-knowing and believe that God knows everything. If God knew everything, everything would cease to be. It is God’s not-knowing that keeps the universe growing and evolving. It is the very thing that generates life.

Consider that our greatest awakening occurs in the space created by not-knowing. Why would it be different for God? We are the microcosm of the macrocosm. What is true for us is true for It. If we believe in statements like “Man, know thyself” and “We are created in God’s image and likeness,” then we have to afford God that which provides the opening within us—not-knowing.

egyptianOnly in a society caught in the glamour of the intellect, a society that values knowledge and information above all else, can you find the concept that God knows everything. When knowing everything is the highest concept of good, then naturally the god of that society must epitomize that concept. But the mystic knows better. The mystic knows that in order for God to be the creator of all life, there must be that within God which creates the emptiness within which life can occur. Unless the universe holds that space within Itself, the whole thing would grind to a halt.

The one thing that is guaranteed to produce movement (life) is a vacuum. When we stand in the place of not-knowing, we effectively create a vacuum in the universal mind, the Mind of God. God then rushes in to fill the vacuum that we make ourselves to be.
But in order to understand this concept, we have to think in terms of power, energy, and force.

God is not an external entity. God is the living, sentient being in Whom we live. The only thing that keeps us from the experience of God is the belief that we exist as a separate self. This is the lie perpetrated by our own senses. When we turn away from the senses and go into the silence within ourselves, we begin to experience God as a presence. And by that I mean a living power that knows and experiences us to the degree that we know and experience It. God’s love is a two-way street—love begets love, although, “we love because He first loved us.”

Taking the phrase “first loved us” out of the context of space and time, which is what we have to do if we want to know God, “first loved us” means that we exist in a field of love, a conscious energy that is always here and now. “First loved us” means that we did not create it—it was already here when we arrived. But when we get quiet within ourselves and open up to it, we allow love to occur in the world. This is our place in the scheme of things. As Unity teacher Eric Butterworth put it, “We are an inlet and an outlet of God.”

— excerpt from The Five Vows by Michael Maciel

Posted in Lessons | 1 Comment

The Redemption Project

white eve

Premise 1:

There is only one Person, and we are that Person.

Premise 2:

Everything that people are capable of doing, we are capable of doing, from the worst atrocity to the most profound act of compassion.

Premise 3:

Each one of us can petition God as that Person. We can each individually stand in for the Whole of Humanity.

Our Prayer:

Oh, God, make me a better Person.

Where I am unconscious, make me conscious.

Where I am blind, make me see.

Where I am deaf, make me hear.

Where I am numb, make me feel.

Make me, O Lord, a better Person.

white-lotus-flower

Posted in Lessons | 2 Comments

Entering the Spiritual Path

Mary and the Baby JesusThere’s a difference between the spiritual presence that arises from within a student, as a result of his or her training, and mere mimicry. Emulating the teacher seems to be part of the spiritual path itself, at least in the beginning. Every new student will try to imitate the guru, and it’s a true teacher who knows not to be distracted by the flattery but to use it to his advantage. Both student and teacher must negotiate this turn in the path at the outset of any successful training curriculum. It’s a tacit agreement that must be approached obliquely, however, because hitting it head-on will only draw unnecessary attention to what’s really happening.

Spiritual aspirants are drawn to master teachers because they can sense in them something of themselves. After all, Moses had said that all people are created in the image and likeness of God, so it’s one’s own true self that’s the attraction. The problem lies in the tendency of the outer being to mis-identify itself with that innate divinity. The new student will look at the mystical aura surrounding the teacher and say, “Wow, this is for me!” And because the student desires to be appreciated for the spiritual nature of his being, he sees the teacher in an unrealistic light. He sees the teacher as a god to be worshipped, not as a teacher. The outer being is not interested in discovering the inner being. It’s only interested in being worshipped. So the new student will see the teacher as one to be worshipped, which is, of course, not true.

But a skilled teacher will use this intoxication of the outer being to draw the prospective student in close, much like leaving breadcrumbs to lure an animal into a trap. The inner being wants to be trapped, because it knows that it’s already snared in the body, like a chick trapped in its own shell. But just as you don’t let an animal see you lay the breadcrumbs, you don’t let the outer being see too far down the path to its own death. It already thinks that it has found the key to its exaltation. Why disabuse it of that belief? Why thwart the momentum? Besides, it will come in handy when the training starts in earnest. Everyone likes to see themselves as tough enough to take it, so let them.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

What Are Your Superstitions?

boogeyman

 

by Michael Maciel

I owned a woodworking business for twenty years. Our employees ran dangerous machinery every day, tools that could take a finger or two in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, we never had a serious accident. There were lots of minor cuts, and one person lost the pad of one of his fingertips, requiring a skin graft, but no lost fingers or broken bones. In the world of commercial woodworking, we were fortunate.

dark_cloudI did notice, however, that accidents tended to occur cyclically. We would go for a few months, and then, seemingly out of the blue, we’d have to take someone to an urgent care facility. It got to where I could sense them coming—the accidents—like a build up of psychic pressure. I think everyone else could feel it, too. And as they became more and more aware that something was bound to happen, an invisible cloud would start to take shape in the air above the workspace. I swear, you could almost see it. The cloud was, for lack of a better term, a thought form. It was an energy potential of the mind, and it had a specific shape to it—an idea, an intention, a momentum. And it very clearly said, “Someone’s gonna get hurt.”

ten-fingersNo one was intentionally feeding this thought form, but everyone was nevertheless giving it life. After all, accidents happen, right? But after a while, my priestly training kicked in, and I decided to do something about it. I decided that I would destroy the thought form before it could come to fruition. So instead of buying into the belief that accidents happen, I realized the truth: accidents don’t have to happen. As I sensed the feeling of inevitability arise in myself (which was the thought form taking shape in my own mind), I faced it squarely and said, “No.”

It wasn’t a dramatic “no”—I didn’t yell at it—I simply knew that it wasn’t going to happen. Interestingly, when that same feeling of inevitability arose in my own mind, telling me that I was the one “scheduled” to get hurt, I would say to myself, “I don’t have to do that. I don’t need to experience that. I’m not going to experience that.” Usually, I would wind up injuring myself anyway, but it would be so minor that it required little more than a band-aid.

We’ve all been there, that moment immediately following an accident where we wish we could wind the clock back one measly minute. What I was doing, in effect, was winding it back ahead of time.

Let’s look at what actually happens when we say, “No, this isn’t going to happen.” We aren’t changing fate, we aren’t stopping karma, and we certainly aren’t going against anyone’s free will. All we’re doing is dissipating a thought form, a thing that has no life of its own, no consciousness of its own, and no will of its own. It’s not a demon, it’s not an angry god, and it’s certainly not inevitable. It’s just a thought form, as substance-less as a hologram. The only power it has is the power that those involved give to it. It’s an idea that must first take root in the collective mind before it can manifest.

crystal ballThe belief that “accidents happen” has to be instilled in people’s minds before an outward manifestation of that belief can take shape. A belief is dependent upon the thought form that contains its idea. Destroy the thought form and you interrupt its cycle of manifestation. No one is hurt, not even if they are consciously and deliberately creating the thought form, as in the case of so-called black magicians and voodoo practitioners. They simply lose the energy they have invested in the thought form. These people have to rely on pre-existing beliefs in the collective mind upon which they can build a thought form that can cause harm. Change the beliefs, and you undermine the foundation. There will simply be nowhere for the thought form to take hold.

ghostbustersNow, before you pat yourself on the back and thank your lucky stars that you live in an enlightened age and don’t have to worry about any of that voodoo crap, I urge you to take stock of the beliefs that you do carry around in your head. Can you think of any? A good place to start is by asking yourself, “What do I habitually worry about?” Right there in that list is where you will find the voodoo that’s trying to kill you, or at least trying to make your life miserable. It’s in that list that all of your “accidents” and limitations have their roots. Every person carries around with them—like the cloud in my shop—a thought form that they encountered in the collective mind and adopted as their own. It’s a nameless, faceless thing, and you are hereby authorized to engage it with extreme prejudice.

“I don’t need you. I don’t want you. I don’t have to have you in my life. You cease to exist in my awareness. You are no more!“—these are the words you use. And if at any time you feel like you’re up against a monster, a demon, or some disembodied spirit, remind yourself that a thought form is just a thing. It doesn’t have a soul, it doesn’t have a mommy, and you have every right to terminate it. It’s as impersonal as a Dixie cup. Stomp it and put it in the recycle bin. For unless you accept it as your own, unless you think it makes up part of who you are, it has no power over you. None at all. It only has the power that you think it has. So stop thinking that it does and pull the plug. It’s only an idea, and a false one at that.

cups

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Karma’s Purpose

athenor
What makes us unique as human beings is the ability to choose which “mind” we tap into. Will it be the mass mind or the mind of Christ? If we tap into the mind of Christ, then to the mass mind we will appear as an island unto ourselves.
heaven and earthThe mind of Christ is a wonderful blend of the mind of nature and the mind of the spiritual world. (There is only one mind, of course, but it has many subdivisions: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.) The mind of Christ reveals the life energy as it manifests in all things, how everything is connected, especially how we are all connected with each other. The more we do this, the more we become capable of feeling compassion.
The mass mind pushes the idea that everything is separate, that different parts of the natural world exist in isolation and are not really connected to the rest of nature. Therefore, they can be exploited as “raw materials” and turned into commodities.
In the mass mind, people are seen as independent agents and thus in competition with each other. Everything that smacks of cooperation is vilified. Well-known objectivist philosopher and author, Ayn Rand, was a major contributor to this worldview.
ayn_randThis dichotomy of unity and division is necessary, however, for soul-growth (which is karma’s purpose). Our purpose is to learn how to create, and the act of creation requires that we first take something apart and then put it back together in a new way (no one ever actually creates anything; matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be reconfigured).
As an example, or proof, that competition is necessary, we can look at how it manifests in the business world (when it’s used in economically healthy ways) in the way it stimulates innovation, improves distribution, and lowers prices. The concept of “pushing the envelope” only makes sense within the context of competition. When competition is directed inwardly, our aspirations compete with former versions of ourselves.
Reconstitute

Reconstitute

In alchemy, this “taking apart and putting back together” is expressed as “solvae et coagulae,” to dissolve and coagulate. While this is the fundamental premise of the science of chemistry, it is also the fundamental premise of soul-development. We periodically endure the deconstruction of our sense of self and then reconstitute ourselves in new and better ways. When we do this consciously, we are officially on the Spiritual Path.

We have to be careful not to interpret the Law of Karma as Divine punishment. God does not punish. God is not vindictive. We are not in competition with God, but rather we are co-creators with God for the purpose of our spiritual evolution and growth—soul-development.

Note: The prepositional phrase “with God” doesn’t mean that we are separate from God but that it is God that acts “through us as us” any time we act creatively and not merely replicate what we already are. God manifests whenever there is a change of state, alchemically (and chemically) speaking.

Karma2
Karma
Posted in Lessons | 2 Comments

Truth is the beginning of freedom…

wisdom gateThe more we identify with the thoughts and feelings of the society in which we live, the more we are subject to its karma. As long as we think the same as everyone else, how can we not suffer the same reactions and interpretations of life’s events?

Each of us belongs to a “group,” whether we know it or not. And if that group makes a right-hand turn, or a left, we are swept along with it and call it fate.

Posted in Lessons | 1 Comment

The Circle of Illumination

7

by Michael Maciel

Ever wonder what those lines on a globe mean, the ones that say Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer (and Capricorn), and the Equator? Well, they have to do with what’s called the “Circle of Illumination,” which is the half of the Earth that’s illuminated by the Sun.

The Arctic Circle, for example, is the farthest point south that the Sun’s rays can reach when the Earth’s North Pole is tilted toward the Sun. This is the point where the Sun never goes below the horizon in the Summer, which is why they call the Arctic the “land of the midnight Sun.”
seasonsThe Tropic of Cancer is the farthest northern point where the Sun’s rays can be perpendicular to the Earth, when the Sun appears directly overhead. At noon on that day, a flag pole casts no shadow. This happens on June 22nd every year, the day the Sun enters the Zodiacal sign of Cancer—hence the name “Tropic of Cancer.” The word “tropic” means “turning towards.”

Since the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5 degrees, the Arctic Circle is 23.5 degrees south of the North Pole. If the tilt were greater, the Arctic Circle would be drawn farther south on the globe, because that’s where the Circle of Illumination would reach.

If the Earth weren’t tilted at all, the Circle of Illumination would remain constant. The Sun’s rays would be perpendicular to the Earth’s equator 365 days a year, and there would be no seasons. The North and South Poles would only see the Sun barely peeking above the horizon all day long.

Plato's Academy

Here’s where this gets interesting.

Plato once said, “God always geometrizes.” The Circle of Illumination, along with the tilt of the Earth on its axis, forms the geometry of the seasons. It is also the basis of the symbol of the circle with a dot in the center, the symbol we commonly use for God. In a universe where everything tends to coagulate into a sphere, the circle seems the logical choice.

Meditation:

  • Ask yourself, what is my orientation towards the light of my being? Is it directly overhead, or does it barely peak above the horizon of my awareness?
  • At what times of the year (or day) does my spiritual consciousness peak? Where are my “equator,” my “tropics,” and my “arctic circle”?

(Remember this: geometry links metaphor to reality.)

If you want to take this meditation further, ask these questions:

  • Since all heavenly bodies are spheres, am I a sphere, spiritually speaking?
  • Does the geometry of spheres apply to me, and if so, how?
  • What is my “degree of tilt”? How much do my intentions wax and wane?
  • To what degree are any of these factors under my control?

Mystery Schools:

These were the questions that philosophers like Plato and Pythagoras asked their students behind closed doors. Outwardly, their schools were about philosophy and mathematics, but secretly they were Mystery Schools—schools of initiation.

sacredheartjesusBy the time Jesus came along, however, the once ubiquitous Mystery School Tradition had begun to wane. His mission was to restore it. But the emphasis this time would be on love—the geometry of our relationship to God and to each other.

The principles were the same, but now they were being given in a different language.

Unless we see Jesus of Nazareth—Jesus the Christ—in terms of the Mystery School Tradition, we will miss the greater part of his message.

And unless we see the Mystery Teachings themselves as rooted in geometry and cosmology, we won’t be able to see the intimate connection they have with our life here on Earth.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Maestro

maestro

by Michael Maciel

There are many ways we can learn a skill and many different types of teachers who can teach us.

If we want to learn how to play a musical instrument, for instance, we find an instructor, someone who not only knows how to play the instrument, but who is also skilled at teaching.

Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to go to a really good school, one that has teachers who are not only good, but who also have noteworthy careers. Not all of these teachers, however, are easy to get along with. Having worked hard to get to where they are, they tend not to have the patience to teach beginners. But for the more gifted students, they are the best, because they know how to get the most out of their pupils.

It’s hard to say what kind of a teacher Jesus was, but by the sayings attributed to him, especially those in the Sermon on the Mount, it’s easy to assume that his ability to teach soul development was of the highest caliber.

But just as it takes a trained ear to know the difference between a good musician and a great musician, many of the sayings of Jesus seem to the uninitiated to be be at best quaint and pious, and at worst hopelessly idealistic and even obscure.

For people who only want to learn to play a musical instrument as a way to enhance their lives and the lives of their friends, or who simply want a career, a good teacher is all they need.

But those for whom music is a calling, for whom music is an art and feels larger than they are, something they would gladly die for, only a great teacher will do. For them, music is a portal into a higher world, something that transcends ordinary life, something that will carry them not only into personal glory, but into a glory that transcends them as a person. For them, music is a way to liberate their very soul.

If we try to understand the teachings of Jesus in any way lesser than this, we will fail to catch the spirit in which they were given. They were not meant to lead us into a “good life” but into a higher life, a life that transcends the ordinary human experience. They were meant to break us open, to see past the limitations of our mind, and to carve out a wider space in which to live. They were not given to placate, but to challenge, not to bring peace, but a sword.

The teachings of Jesus are the highest spiritual teachings that have ever been given. Their depth can only be grasped at the outskirts of human life—they are not for the ordinary but for the extraordinary. Mastering them takes far more endurance and tenacity than any other art.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Peace and Chaos

dylanguest.com

dylanguest.com

by Michael Maciel

Peace is knowing our inmost intention. There is nothing as unsettling as being confused about our direction in life, the relationships we are in, or the way we spend our time. Knowing our intention and letting it express outwardly in our lives is the beginning of peace. But, like the flower in the crannied wall, our intention will crack open any obstacle in its path. When we ignore our soul’s desire, our lives begin to crack open. We begin to fall apart.

Jesus said something very strange: “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” Many interpreters have tried to explain this enigmatic statement. The best interpretation, I feel, is that when we allow our soul’s intention to express itself in our everyday living, the parts of our lives that obstruct that expression are “cut away”. Jesus is saying that real peace comes when we conquer the obstacles to that expression within ourselves.

When we choose the path of peace, chaos ensues. Peace is standing still in the midst of chaos without trying to resist the swirl. It is knowing our center and sticking to it, regardless of “Job’s comforters”, those who would tell us that we must have done something wrong to be in such a mess. If we refuse to buy into that accusation, they will call us stubborn. And it would be stubbornness, but only if we did not know the difference between a gut feeling and an entrenched opinion. Sticking to an opinion is not the same as being centered.

We are born with intention. Like an arrow shot from a bow, the arc of our life is powered by the thrust of our soul. What am I about? What is the direction of my life? What quest am I impelled to embark upon? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves. Until we do, we will not find peace, for life is never content to express itself halfway.

Each of us has our part to play, our mission to fulfill. To be at peace is to be in action with life, to engage with our circumstances, and to be taught by the intention within our soul.

Here are three things to keep in mind to help you discover your soul’s intention:

  1. Within normal social guidelines, it is not your actions that matter, but what those actions mean to you.
  2. Beneath every desire is a deeper, simpler desire of the soul. So examine your wants carefully – where do they come from?
  3. Identify with the source of your desire, not its apparent object.

The emergence of spirit in our lives can sometimes be as painful as childbirth. Physical and emotional anguish cannot compare to the sorrow the soul feels when it cannot unfold into the light of day, into its full expression in the world. The peaceful person knows what he or she is about. The only torment that such a person can know is the frustration of the expression of their soul’s intent. This torment becomes even more poignant with the realization that it is one’s own weaknesses and character flaws that stand in the way of complete fulfillment. In this, we are all alike. It seems to be the human condition.

“All life is suffering”, said the Buddha. Cuts and bruises, failure and death mean nothing to an unfolding soul. Comfort in life, honor amongst friends, victory over one’s enemies are all cheap in comparison to the accomplishment of the soul’s intention. What am I about? What am I here for? What MUST I do? These questions are engraved on the doorposts of peace. No one enters without first making these questions their inmost prayer.

The soul’s intention is a burning hunger that many try to alleviate with alcohol, drugs, uncommitted sex, power, and excitement. All these and more are the currency we gladly hand over to the world “out there” to keep the soul’s demands at bay. So the irony is this: one who appears to be in torment, because he or she is in the process of soul-discovery, is in fact at peace. It is the one who appears satisfied and content to take his direction from the dictates of outer circumstances who has buried the burning hunger. This is true torment, the source of all unrest.

Posted in Lessons | 1 Comment