Oh, Hell…


by Michael Maciel

I think that much of our religious imagery comes from the very deepest parts of our biology.

What is the one thing that we share with all forms of life? Isn’t it survival? That’s as rudimentary as it gets, wouldn’t you say? It’s so deep that even our cells know it.

Living in an advanced, industrialized civilization, it’s easy to forget just how well we have mastered the survival game. We have heat in cold climates, plumbing to stave off diseases, clean water, law and order, education, healthcare…the list goes on and on.

What we don’t have is chaos, not very much of it, at least. Chaos is inimical to survival. The more chaos, the greater the chances that we will die. It stands to reason that some kind of basic order is equivalent to a virtuous (sinless) life.

I like the translation of hell as “Gehenna,” the landfill outside the walls of Jerusalem. Dumps are filled with items that are no longer useful. They no longer contribute to the common good. They are the antithesis of organization, everything piled haphazardly, destined to be burned.

Hell, in other words, is chaos—the lack of order, the lack of organization, sustainability, and viable environment. In every way, chaos undoes life.

As such, hell is more of a principle than a literal place. As a principle, it helps us to organize our lives in ways that support not only our survival but our ability to thrive. It’s a constant warning, not that we will be punished by a dictatorial deity, but that we must take seriously the precarious situation that life is, that we must always be mindful of and appreciate the good that we, as a species, have developed over time. Not that it’s all good, by any means, but it sure beats the hell out of freezing in the dark or living in a jungle without laws or agreed upon societal norms.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

The Ineffable Name of God


by Michael Maciel

The Unmanifest (the formless “no-thing”) is enormous untapped energy. The prohibition against giving it a name is equivalent to today’s saying, “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!”

Naming the Unmanifest gives it form. In Genesis, God gives Adam the task of naming everything—an allusion to this process of bringing the creation into manifestation. Male figures in sacred texts symbolize the conscious mind, so we have to be careful of which thoughts we allow to slip over into the subconscious.

Our innate potential (the Unmanifest’s expression of Itself within us) is a wide spectrum. What we focus our attention on narrows the spectrum to a single point. As such, it is how we shape our reality and is therefore not a thing to be taken lightly.

Posted in Lessons | 1 Comment

Reassess your understanding of sin as “missing the mark”


by Michael Maciel

As an archery term, “sin” means not hitting your target. This implies that you’re aiming at something. But it also implies that you might be aiming at the wrong thing, that your goals in life are misdirected, or that you aren’t even trying.

So instead of being an indictment of your inability to shoot accurately, sin might be more about not shooting at all. Maybe you’ve given up. Maybe life has been hard and you have grown resentful and cynical. Maybe you have come to believe that there is no higher meaning to life and that nothing you do makes any difference.

Such a mindset is dangerous. It leads to cruelty and wanton destruction. This is what makes sin the source of evil in the world, not just the tendency to make mistakes.

Shakespeare said that there is nothing good or bad but that thinking makes it so. It’s our interpretation of the hardships in life that make them good or evil. Of themselves, hardships are neither. Life is simply difficult. There’s no getting around it. The secret to happiness is being okay with that, not thinking that the universe is out to get you personally.

If you have accepted the fact that you are going to die, then you can structure your life in such a way that maximizes the benefits that life has to offer. But if you are in denial about death, then you’re going to be constantly running away from it, and the likelihood of your life being meaningful diminishes. Because meaning is the product of building something good, whereas running away is the product of fear. And fear is nothing on which to base your life.

So you see, sin is not simply making minor errors as you go about pursuing your goals. It’s more about your overall orientation. Are you for life or have you given up? Have you grown cynical? And as a result, would you rather that the world come to an end because the suffering is just too much? And if that seems extreme to you, you might do well to realize that the most murderous thugs in history had this exact same mindset.

Sin is a mindset. It is the mindset that pits you against everything good in the world. When Cain killed Abel, he did it because he felt that God was being unfair. Abel’s sacrifices found favor with God, whereas Cain’s did not. Are you resentful because all of your “best” efforts fail to give you the life you want? If your resentment grows, it can lead you to become cynical and eventually nihilistic, where life ceases to have any meaning, where life is a cruel joke perpetrated by an uncaring, dictatorial deity or, worse yet, no deity at all. When you see the world through such a dark lens, everything becomes evil, and you get to assume the all-important role of becoming its savior where your sole purpose is to destroy it all.

This is sin.

Posted in Lessons | 1 Comment

Love Isn’t Everything

loves ladder

by Michael Maciel

Well, you know………..there’s another way to look at this. It’s not that love isn’t the most important thing. All the great ones throughout history have said that it is. But I think it’s important to remember that it’s not the only thing.

Granted, love is the one thing without which nothing can have real value. Saint Paul said it best:

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

But notice that love doesn’t supplant these things. Instead, love gives life to knowledge. It doesn’t replace knowledge, it makes knowledge meaningful.

What other word might we use in place of love? What, for instance, gives action meaning? What makes action good? Intention, right? Doesn’t the intention we bring to action determine the long-term effects of our choices? You could almost equate intention with love in this formula, could you not?

You see, love is not a thing in itself. Love is a way in which we conduct our lives. Love isn’t even a feeling. The love that changes the world isn’t the kind of love we feel when we “fall in love.” That’s just a symphony of hormones orchestrated by two people hoping to fulfill each other’s highest dreams. And it’s great! But that kind of love usually doesn’t last. It’s not the kind of love that sustains the world. The kind of love that keeps the planet turning is more like intention. And let’s face it, the best relationships are those dedicated to a healthy intention, not the ones that are forever trying to recapture a special moment. Special moments fade, but true intentions only grow stronger with time.

To paraphrase one of Einstein’s famous sayings:

Knowledge without love is lame; love without knowledge is blind.

So when you sing the praises of love, know that love finds its greatest expression in the activities of our lives. Love is fulfilled in the way we live in the world. It in-forms what we do. Our love is only great when we let it fill great deeds. Without action, love cannot grow. It cannot move in the world. It is lame. Therefore, it’s every bit as important to tend to our thoughts as it is to mind our feelings. The two cannot be torn asunder. The Sacred Marriage isn’t all love; it is also intention. And intention requires careful thought.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Find Victory in Failure


UFC 207: Nunes v Rousey

by Michael Maciel

Most of us are trying to make something of our lives. We have values, and we want to realize those values in our living—to make them real, to manifest them in the world. Having values is the same as saying that your life is oriented towards the good—the ideal you envision for yourself, your family, and for the society you live in. It’s the same because it’s impossible to want anything unless you value it. “Where your treasure [value] is, there will your heart [desire] be also.” The heart wants what the mind deems worthy.

We define setbacks in our life as those instances where we fail to reach our goals. We miss an opportunity, we reach but fall short, or we fail to meet an expectation, either of others or our own. This is the source of our anxiety—the ever-present possibility of failure. This fear is simultaneously our nemesis and our strongest ally, because it keeps us alert, and it goads us to try our best in all of our endeavors. But when our anxiety supersedes our desire to succeed, we take fewer risks. We cease trying. We tend to hunker down in the safety of the known, the tried and true. Too much fear stops us moving forward altogether. And since life never stands still, it leaves us behind, until we are cut off from our own vitality and die. In the face of our greatest challenges, it is fear that we need to conquer—“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”—not some external foe, real or imagined.

No one is perfect. “All have fallen short of the glory of God.” This is the number-one reason why Jesus told us not to judge. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” If you are a person of good will, you naturally want to do your best to expunge the world of evil. And evil is everywhere! But it’s not so easy to reconcile our own evil, the malevolence we carry around in our hearts, the desire to correct the extraordinary evil in others. We would do anything to eliminate the atrocities we see on an everyday basis. We might, if given the chance, murder those who commit them, because our zeal to do good can easily flip and become its own kind of atrocity.

Recognizing that we ourselves are capable of doing evil is in itself a horrendous failure. That’s why we don’t go there. We don’t sit with our propensities and acknowledge their existence, because to do so would show us that we aren’t good at all, at least not as good as we pretend to be. So we try to bury it, we keep it under lock and key, like Pandora’s Box hidden away in the cellar of our psyche. But what we conceal in darkness has its way of oozing through the cracks, and we find ourselves doing strange things that we cannot control, things that we believe only strangers are capable of committing. And when we do them, we become strangers to ourselves. And that, dear friend, is our downfall. It’s when we surprise ourselves with our capacity to do evil that our lives are upended, sometimes catastrophically.

So, imagine what power there might be in getting to know the contents of the darker corners of our hearts, to go into each contest, whether external or internal, knowing that the evils we hate have already taken up residence within us. In fact, they have been there so long that we can hardly regard them as other. On the one hand, knowing that we can just as easily be bad as good can make us more compassionate. We’re not as quick to condemn others because we’ve “been there.” But, on the other hand, since knowing this about ourselves is a failure in itself, we might want to simply give up, to write off the whole human endeavor, to see the world as hopelessly flawed and unworthy of our efforts to change it, since we ourselves are the problem we seek to solve.

This, however, is the greatest failure of all. It’s what keeps good people doing nothing, because there’s no better way to psyche out your opponent than to get inside his head and make him doubt himself. And those who are unabashedly evil-minded do not hesitate to do that every chance they get—to make you feel guilty, shameful, inept, and powerless. True heroes, however, already know that about themselves and enter the battle anyway. In a way, they know they don’t have anything to lose and are therefore the most dangerous. They have no badges of honor to defend, no purity to preserve, no inviolable standards to uphold, because they know that they have themselves violated all these values. They themselves have been untrue. They themselves have done the evil they seek to overthrow. Really accepting this eliminates any pretense in the combat. This is what makes the wounded warrior a formidable foe.

If you are serious about doing good in the world, understand one thing: there is no virtue in naivete. None. It does not give you strength. It doesn’t make you pure. It doesn’t mean that you are better than the evildoers you hate. It only means that you are naive. And realize this, too: If you are hellbent for justice, you are potentially the most hateful, malicious, and genocidal person in town. History is full of such do-gooders. And millions upon millions have died as a result of their self-righteous efforts to purify human society. Don’t be one of them. Not on any scale.

Let’s call it the vehemence of justice. Its tools are the flaming social-media posts, the student rallies at universities, the riots of tear gas, rocks, and broken glass, and, finally, the guillotine, the firing squad, the forced marches, and the death camps—all in the name of righting wrongs, of casting out the beams from the eyes of others, of ridding the world of evil. What we repress, we project. And God help those upon whom we project the things we are unwilling to look at within ourselves!

Justice—real justice—never froths at the mouth. Real justice knows how to restrain itself, to make the punishment fit the crime, not gouge out the eyes of those who only knocked out a few teeth. Real justice doesn’t force anyone to do anything but instead deals with the present moment without imposing a utopian vision that only has room for conformists.

“Judge not that ye be not judged” doesn’t mean to let everything slide. It means
stop condemning other people for displaying in broad daylight the things you are hiding in the dark. Stop that. Stop it now. If you see something you don’t like, something you wish other people would do differently, imagine yourself in their shoes. Chances are that if you do, they will fit your feet perfectly.

Posted in Lessons | 2 Comments

Lose Your Religion and Find God


by Michael Maciel

Too many people base their religious beliefs on ideas, and too few base them on deep, inner experiences. Language conceals more than it reveals, and beliefs almost always come in words. Even if your belief is predicated on a mystical experience, you have to translate it into words before you can articulate it, even to yourself. And once you speak about it, it becomes an idea, and the idea is far removed from the experience.

The idea that God is within you is also just an idea. Like a traffic sign, it tells you what to do, but it doesn’t do it for you. In order to actually find God within, you have to have some practical means by which to do so. Otherwise, it will remain an idea forever. There has to be a way to put the idea into action in such a way that the idea becomes an experience.


The word “within” can be misleading. What does it mean to “go within”? Let’s try using the word in a different way, using a driverless car as an example. Most of the technology for autonomous vehicles (AV) is invisible, hidden away in its computers. So when we say “within” an AV, we’re not talking about a mystical component but real-life, albeit quasi-physical components in the form of programming. The most “mystical” thing about an AV’s architecture might be its internet and GPS connections – invisible sources of information coming from outside of the vehicle.

“Outside of the vehicle,” however, isn’t really an accurate way to say it, because the signals are everywhere, realistically speaking. The AV swims in a sea of information the way a fish swims in the ocean. This invisible information is, therefore, every bit as real as the AV, maybe even more so, because it’s bigger and more densely packed.

Our body’s “in-the-world” state of being is analogous to this information-rich environment in which the autonomous vehicle functions. For the most part, it doesn’t need us to navigate through most of the activities required for life on Earth. We don’t tell it how to digest its food, how to breathe, or how to circulate blood. It does all these things with mind-boggling proficiency. The sheer sum of all the different kinds of intelligence it takes to keep us alive and healthy is nothing short of miraculous.

In fact, our bodies are so adaptive and resilient in the face of ever-changing environmental conditions that it strongly suggests that they must be connected to a larger network. Their individual neural framework is simply too small. A larger, invisible “brain,” like the Internet and GPS networks that make AVs possible, must exist. This idea is far more plausible than each body being self-contained, having no broader connection with the world at large. This likelihood leads us to believe that the world we see isn’t so much made of matter but of information. Either that or matter IS information, only made visible, in which case it would be nearly impossible to discern where the external world ends and we begin.

The third thing we need to understand about this Sea of Information, this super-conscious, creative intelligence we live within (and that lives within us) is that it is wider and bigger in its field of operation than we are. In other words, it is capable of performing far more tasks than it takes to simply keep us alive. If matter somehow IS information, then the entire universe is one giant mind. It manages everything.

It can be argued that this way of understanding the universe is nothing more than equating God with Nature—“Nature IS God.” This would be true if the nature in question were comprised of only what we can see. But nature is more than that. Much more. The farther we look into its depths, the more mysterious it becomes. Take consciousness, for example. Science still has no idea what it is. No idea whatsoever. Our best guess is that consciousness is somehow epiphenomenal to mind, meaning that it arises out of a much larger field of intelligence than we are capable of comprehending. It is literally the “tip of the iceberg,” when it comes to the totality of our being. It is as though one part of the universal intelligence is looking back at itself, as in a mirror, and what we regard as “us” is nothing more than a reflection—a very small reflection at that. This makes us virtual beings, at least when we think of ourselves as conscious individuals.

This doesn’t make the world we live in unreal. It just makes it different from what we normally think it is.

temple 2

So, how do we find God? Well, we first have to start thinking in more realistic terms, which means that we have to investigate this idea that we live in a sea of information that is way bigger and far more intelligent than we are. Next, we have to enter into a two-way conversation with it. And since it’s bigger and more intelligent, the best way to approach it is by asking it questions. Asking questions is really the only appropriate interaction we can have, aside from simply acknowledging how awe-inspiring the whole thing is and maybe expressing how grateful we are to be in a position where we can appreciate the enormity of the existential environment we are fortunate enough to inhabit.

And—lest we slip into the false notion that we are dealing with a “blind,” machine-like intelligence, no matter how big and sophisticated—consider this: if this universal mind is more intelligent than we are by some unknown order of magnitude, then it’s more than a little likely that its consciousness is far more profound than ours, in ways that we can’t even imagine. So talking with “it” is not exactly like entering code in a program—it’s more like talking with another person.

If speaking to it in words doesn’t come easy, try showing it pictures. Use your imagination to form images of your highest ideal, your visions of perfection, your fondest hopes, and your most exquisite conceptions of beauty. And if images aren’t your thing, try feelings. In moments of ecstasy, when the goodness of life verges on being unbearable, share THAT. Sing to it, laugh with it, smile with everything you’ve got at it. And do all of these things with the expectation that you will be noticed and that it will respond to you in ways that are as varied and sophisticated as the ways in which you approach it.

Once you establish this kind of communication, your life will never be the same again. Then, if you want, you can go to church. You can adopt a religion. But without this, you might as well not.



Posted in Lessons | 2 Comments

Find the Self

Tip of the Iceberg

by Michael Maciel

The Self does not exist on the Earth plane. Because of this, YOU do not exist on the Earth plane either. Because the Self (along with the soul) is who you are. If you do not exist on the Earth plane, where DO you exist? And furthermore, who or what is this person who obviously DOES live here, the one who thinks, is self-aware and is conscious of the world? Who is THAT?

When Jesus said, “I come from above,” he was speaking for all of us as our true, spiritual nature. He was saying that who we are is NOT a product of this body (which he referred to as a “temple,” one that could be destroyed and rebuilt in three days) but rather like the people in some of his parables who had traveled into a “far land” at the behest of their lord. Whoever we are, we are definitely in a far land.

What if everything you think you are is a fiction—even your consciousness? That would imply that the real you exists someplace else, would it not? It’s not so difficult to imagine that the self you have created is a false self, but can you imagine that the “you” that you think you are, the one that sits inside your brain looking out of your forehead as though out of a picture window, that that self is not you at all? What if the person referred to in the question so adroitly posed by gurus to would-be seekers, “Who are you,”—the one that feels more like a countermove in a chess game than an answer—what if THAT person is nothing more than an animated figurehead?

You have to consider (and I mean, REALLY consider) that consciousness is overrated. Maybe the Self is as different from your conscious self as your conscious self is from your toenails. And if that’s true, there is no way that your conscious self can lead you to Self-realization. You literally can’t get there from (t)here.

What then can you do? Well, the first thing is to recognize that God is WAY bigger than you are, that your true self—the Self (and soul)—is as close to “other” as anything you can imagine. Stop regarding consciousness as the totality of your being, because it’s not. In reality, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of you. Trying to get more of it will only separate you further from who you really are.

I know that this all sounds counter-intuitive, but believe me, it’s worth looking into. The Self is not what you think it is. It’s not “you” in the way you’re used to thinking of you. Nothing you can think from the standpoint of who you think you are will get you closer to Self. You have to lose “you” to find YOU.

Only by denying self can you find Self. The more you let go of the idea that you are already God and start to entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, that God is entirely outside of anything you can conceive, then you will stand a chance of finding the Self. And when it arises, you will SEE it. It will be as real as anything you have ever seen before. At first, it will seem external, something “other.” But that’s because you are the other. You are the one on the outside looking in. Doesn’t that seem plausible? No amount of empty affirmations will bridge that divide. The “you” who is making those affirmations is powerless. Nothing it says will make any difference at all.

This is going to demand some real worshipfulness on your part. You are going to have to admit that you don’t have anything—no inherent divinity, no “already there” mentality, no “God and I are one” justifications. You and God are NOT one, not when it comes to breaking out of the illusion of self. Self has no affinity whatsoever with self. None. But in order to discover the truth of this, you are going to have to venture into the unknown.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Buddhism and Suffering


by Michael Maciel

Buddhism teaches that all suffering is caused by ignorance. And that’s kind of hard to argue with.

The word sin means to miss the mark. It’s an old archery term. Since we all have goals in our life, our success, to a large part, depends on how good our aim is, how intelligently we pursue those goals.

And not all diseases are inevitable. Some of them we bring upon ourselves, such as lung cancer by smoking. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and everyone dies eventually of something, but just as people used to die of cholera because they didn’t know the dangers of drinking contaminated water, surely there are many things we die of today because we don’t know what causes them. In other words, we’re dying of ignorance.

The term past life doesn’t have to mean reincarnation, and Karma doesn’t have to mean punishment. The mistakes we have made in this life are sufficient. And mistakes—actions taken out of ignorance—will, like any action, produce reactions, just as speaking ignorantly at a crucial moment can negatively affect one’s life for years to come.

These are basic wisdom teachings, and Buddhism is profoundly good at them.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment

Does God Exist?


by Michael Maciel

Everyone has a god, whether they’re religious or not. If you take anthropomorphism out of the equation, your god is simply that which you hold in highest esteem. Maybe that’s intelligence or rationality. Maybe it’s money or wealth. Maybe it’s kindness and cooperation. Whatever it is, you have one—unless, of course, you’re a nihilist. But if that’s the case, who cares?
This question of God isn’t as complicated as most people make it out to be. It’s not hard to see intelligence at work in everything—from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest galaxies. It’s everywhere.
And consciousness? No one, and I mean no one, knows what consciousness is. Somehow, it is integral to physical reality—intertwined into the fabric of the universe—but no one knows what it actually is. Some people are better at using it than others, but even they cannot comprehend it in its fullness.
Maybe the question of God is the wrong question. Maybe it’s a question of YOU. Do you think YOU exist? That seems to me to be a far more pertinent question.
Posted in Lessons | 3 Comments

Meditation can be easy…IF you know how!


by Michael Maciel

Mental discipline is key to spiritual development. Your mind is your vehicle, and just like your other vehicle—your car—it requires maintenance and improvements. If you plan to drive up a mountain or travel to faraway places (metaphorically speaking), you need to get your vehicle in shape. It has to be able to stay on the road. It has to keep from overheating, and it has to be able to go the distance, no matter the weather or road conditions.

Does this metaphor ring a bell?

Working on your vehicle—your mind—is important. It has to do what you want it to do. Just like a car, it has to be able to go in a straight line without having to fight the steering wheel (your attention). And you want it to have enough power to make it up a steep incline without bogging down, especially if you plan to take it into high places. But most important of all, you don’t want it to break down out in the middle of nowhere. Because nowhere isn’t a place you want to get stranded. Lots of people have perished getting stuck in nowhere!

Your car gets you where you want to go—to work, to play, to family, to friends. It takes you to all the places you want to go. So does your mind, but you have to know how it works. You have to know not only what to think but how to think. And, you have to know how to NOT think. The ancient Hindu philosopher, Patanjali, said in his Yoga Sutras, “Yoga is the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the substance of the mind.” So, using the metaphor of your car, in order to work on the vehicle of your mind, you must first turn off the engine.

Have you ever seen those two-colored posters that have hidden 3D images that you can only see if you focus your eyes on a point behind the image? The mind is similar in that you have to look behind its surface images before that which is hidden can reveal itself. In other words, you have to master your attention so that it goes where you want it to go. In the outer field of experience, the number of points on which you can focus is infinite, so many, in fact, that the brain has evolved in ways to filter out most of them, so that the senses don’t get overwhelmed. In your inner world, you have to construct your own filters, because the place you’re trying to go is a place your brain knows nothing about.

But while your destination is supra-physical, your point of departure is always right where you are, which is in your body. So you have to understand how your body works and use its mechanisms properly. The first thing to understand is that the eyes and the mind’s attention faculty use the same neural circuitry. If you keep the eyes focused on one thing, your attention focuses, too. But if you let your eyes wander, so will your mind. So, if you want to quiet your thinking, don’t move the muscles of your eyes, neither the extrinsic muscles that move your eyeballs nor the intrinsic muscles that control the dilation of your pupils. It doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or shut; if you keep them still, your thinking will naturally come to a halt. 

If your mind is prone to take one thing at a time and exclude everything else, then meditation will come easy for you. But if your mind is wired to pay attention to many things simultaneously, meditation will feel unnatural, and it will be difficult to learn. But regardless of your mind’s innate tendencies, the principle remains the same: your eyes and your mind’s attention faculty are inextricably linked. What you do with one profoundly affects the other. So learn to focus your inner vision as well as your outer.

Paying attention to one thing is a lot like using the fingers of your hand. If you like to focus on one thing at a time, it’s like putting your index finger on one spot. But if you like to keep your attention on many things at once, it’s like putting all five fingers on five different spots. It allows you to focus on something quite different from just “one thing.” It allows you to focus on the relationship of many things to each other. That relationship quality is also a “one thing,” only of a different order. Those who like to take one thing at a time find this approach impossibly difficult, while those whose natural ability allows them to pay attention to many things at once find it quite easy.

The eyes also share a neural link with the hands, which operates independently from your conscious decision-making process. The brain doesn’t see objects as objects. It sees them in terms of what the objects are for. In other words, you don’t see a cup. You see something to pick up and put to your lips. You can’t look at a cup without the muscles in your hand being put unconsciously on alert. Your brain begins to calculate the action, even so far as to activate your appetite and the muscles that control swallowing a liquid before you have a chance to think about it. If the cup contains something hot, like coffee, your brain will also activate the muscles of your entire body, the ones that will allow you to pick it up carefully. The entire process takes place automatically and below the threshold of your conscious awareness.

The purpose of this approach is to get these automatic mechanisms to work for you, not against you.

So, what you do with your hands while meditating is also important. Your hands can either make it easier or more difficult, depending on how you use them in relation to the attention faculty of your brain. Letting your hands just lay there flaccid is the same thing as letting your eyes wander. You have to focus your hands in the same way that you focus your eyes, because the two share a neural link. Hands, eyes, attention – it’s almost like they’re a single faculty. How do you “focus” your hands? You already know, but more specifically, your hands already know. Just imagine picking up a sewing needle.

The whole point of meditating is to quiet your thinking, to bring it to a standstill so that that which is hidden can be revealed. And just as the hidden image in the 3D poster springs into view, you will KNOW when the hidden dimension of your mind reveals itself. This is a profoundly life-changing event, one that transforms you. That which is hidden, the thing for which you’re waiting to show up, is not an image. It’s not a concept. It’s not a feeling. It’s an entirely new way of being, one that changes your relationship to yourself, to other people, and to the world. It cannot be described. It can only be experienced. And when you experience it, you will know that you have experienced it, and you will know it beyond all doubt.

The ancient spiritual masters, like Patanjali, really knew their stuff. Find out what they had to say about meditation and the purpose of meditation. It’s not just a stress-reduction technique. It’s not a walk in the woods or a way to expand your awareness of the world around you. Meditation is for expanding your awareness of the world WITHIN you. And for that, there are specific techniques. Learn them. And then put them into practice. Don’t stop until…you know…3D.

Oh, and if you’re one of those people who can’t see the 3D image in the poster, get one. And don’t stop looking at it until you see the image. Just the effort alone will teach you a lot about what it takes to meditate.

Posted in Lessons | Leave a comment