What do you see here?

icecube

I have been showing this picture in different courses and talks, and when I place the question “what do you see in this picture?” I get the same answer in 95% of the cases: ice cubes and water.

That is correct, by the way. But if in the audience I have some who is more scientifically oriented (especially in chemistry), they might  reply “only water” or “only H2O”. Which is also totally correct.

So, are there two different things, or just one? How can both answers be correct if they are different? It’s all a matter of perspective, really. But for you to reply with the 2nd option, you must have some knowledge of chemistry.

What’s so interesting about this? Well, in life all around us, exactly the same thing is happening.

We may look at the world and see “ice” and “water”, we see different people, different objects, different manifestations, each with its own individual attributes, characteristics and movements. But if, like a chemist, you are able to grasp a bit deeper the essence of what you are looking at, then you would know that in fact, there is no ice and water, there is only H2O. That is, the same One vibrational entity is behind all sorts of manifestations, having apparent differences, but in fact, being only one and the same.

Just like water takes up different forms(vapour, liquid, solid) according to external forces, so that One infinite consciousness manifests itself in many ways, according to a cosmic cycle of evolution. From subtle to crude and back from crude to subtle.

The challenging part in all this is that, unlike in chemistry, you can not just pick up a book and study the subject. Well, you can, but it won’t change much of anything in your real life as it will only be a theoretical concept.

This is why focused spiritual meditation is so important. Gradually it will change the lens by which you see the world, and the idea that “we are all one” and “everything is connected” will transform itself from an intellectual thing to a state of being.

… and everything melts

“Every Microcosm is an hibernated Macrocosm”. Or, putting it in another way, Mind is a distorted projection of Consciousness.

From both this perspectives, we can draw the same conclusion, that the fundamental nature of everything is, in fact, just One.
A common example to explain this is to imagine a rainy night, where puddles of water accumulate on the floor, and countless moons can be seen reflected, while just one moon exists.

Depending on the cleanliness and turbulence of the water in each pond, the reflection can be more or less similar to the real moon. In the same way, the jumble of vibrations, thoughts, desires, fears, complexes, etc, that we carry with us all the time, create more and more distortions in our mind, making it more and more difficult to see that reflection of pure consciousness.

We are in an age were millions of people are getting more and more focused on personal development, working to understand complex psychic processes of their minds, trying to solve fears, emotional blocks, and others. While I have no objection to any of this (I have my fair dosage too), I’d like to point out the other-side of the equation.

Everything that makes us who we are, is a distortion of consciousness. Every virtue or vice, pleasure or pain, like or dislike. Plainly speaking, if we did not have any of these at all, we would simply cease to be, as there would be nothing to seperate the mind from its original source (consciousness).

In the process of spiritual evolution, we are aiming to return to that state. Hence, the mind has, imperatively, to get herself free from those bondages. And as a spiritual aspirant progresses further and further, and is able to tear way those limitations, his mind will experience a greater degree of freedom from those mental attributes.

I often like to mention, as an example, the case of Detachment. You’ll see it very often advertised as a kind of new-age thing, that is very “cool”, and we should all practice and train it in order to avoid suffering. In my experience, “training” detachment is a pure waste of time as it is something that can not be artificially implanted on you. True detachment comes in the most natural of ways, once the mind elevates itself and is able to “see” a bit more of what is reality. You don’t even need to care about detachment, it will just be there.

In the same line of thought, we should perhaps spend less time and worries in trying to “fix” our mind’s problems, and more time elevating the mind to a state where it automatically becomes free from them.
Just imagine a comet approaching the sun. As it gets closer and closer, the sun’s heat will start consuming the comet, that begins to desintegrate, until nothing else is left and it just merges with the sun.

Or, like Rumi put it: “I once had a thousand desires. But in my desire to know You, all else melted away”

System and Speed

About a year ago I wrote a short article on the importance of rules in the spiritual path (read Do we need rules in spiritual practice?). I’d like to add a little bit more on that topic again and take it a bit further.

As I quoted before, “principles will guide us, but rules will protect us”. Being a disciple, following a discipline is of great importance while following a serious spiritual path. Without proper practices, trailing such hard and mysterious path will be close to impossible as the mind will be under the influence of many external factors.
Sticking close to a system of solid, proven practices and applying our energy, dedication and sincerity in it, can make all the difference.

Now if you have a small marble, and gently push it towards a target, it may or may not get there. It will very likely turn at some points and end up in a totally different place. Instead, if you shoot it really fast, not only it will get there faster, it will also be practically immune to external influences that could deviate it from its pretended path. Speed gives stability (just like when you are learning to ride a bike, if you go too slow, you can’t stand in it).

Likewise, this same principle applies to our spiritual life. If there is not enough speed, the mind will be easily influenced by external forces and easily put off its path. When enough speed is given, it becomes very hard to take it out from the path.

What do I mean by “speed” in this context? Dedication, sincerity, discipline. Do more of what you need to do. Do it eagerly, with passion and commitment. Do your very best, not giving any chance for slack behavior or bad habits. There’s a big need for the application of dynamic energy in this path.

Like my spiritual master said: “Speed without system is dangerous, system without speed is useless”.

On meditation

It’s definitely a good thing that spirituality is becoming more and more common, more accessible to all, more widespread.
The disadvantage of anything becoming trendy and widespread is that it very easily starts loosing its original essence, as more and more people spread it by their own personal understanding. Sometimes, that understanding is very far from the original idea.

I feel this has been happening a lot to practices like yoga and meditation. We have such a big amount of books, teachers, courses, schools, each one with their own understanding and tendencies.

Don’t get me wrong, whatever meditation you do, is best than no meditation at all. So it is good we have all this, it reaches more people at different stages of understanding and depth of spiritual practices. What kind of annoys me is the fact that the core essence of these practices seems to be further and further way and harder to get.

Meditation has been on the news a lot, due to many scientific studies that prove its benefits. Things like, decreased heart-rate and blood pressure, relaxes the nervous system, improves calmness and memory, and even increase your lifespan! All good, no doubt. But really, meditation it’s not meant for that.

Spiritual practices like meditation have one purpose: to withdraw the mind from external objects and direct it inwards, towards it’s own core, it’s own essence. And when that goal is achieved, then the mind knows itself, or should I say, it knows that is actually something much bigger than just a “mind”. This inner psychic process is difficult, is challenging. It’s not about putting some nice sea sounds cd, and burning a candle or incense sticks. It’s not about “being in the present when you eat or go for a walk” (although I most certainly advise you to do so ;) It’s about conquering a universal force of extroversion and, with each battle won, at each step, feeling ourselves getting closer and closer to that pure entity, pure consciousness, far from being affected by life’s problems, needs, joys and sorrows. It’s a magical journey. If you ask me what are the benefits of meditation, I could come up with a few of them:

  • Reducing mental agitation and desires
  • Naturally achieve a state of detachment
  • Increase our own radius of love and compassion
  • Developing a concern and care for the welfare of all beings
  • Achieve a deeper understanding of things, not based on intellect but intuition
  • Finding a source of limitless bliss
  • Discovering the most beautiful, romantic and mystic connection one can have: the one with the supreme (call it god if you wish)
  • Become as big as the universe itself

Everything else, is nothing but pleasant side-effects ;)

Do we need rules in spiritual practice?

Over the years I’ve seen many people running away from spiritual paths (especially my own) due to inherent need to follow certain rules and regulations, do’s and dont’s.
Anyone who might have studied or read spiritual biographies or stories will understand the need for these things, especially when this instructions are coming from the spiritual aspirant’s master himself. Sometimes they are easy and understandable, other times they are void of any logic or reasoning, but still, it is in the disciple’s best interest to follow those instructions.

I guess this allergy to rules is just one of those things of these modern times, a side effect of this so called “new age” mentality, that wants you to be “free”. And, as such, working for this “freedom” seems to imply that you only do whatever you want to do. “Listen to your heart”, they say. That’s nice and sweet talk, but that won’t get you far.

Let me use a simple analogy here. If you have Continue reading

Yesterday the world changed…

… as it does every single day.

So, yesterday was the long awaited day of the apocalypse/new era/raising of consciousness/[insert your own thing here]. As expected, it was a day just like any other.

I said this before and I’ll say it again, we are not living in any special phase or era, there is no special thing about this time, there is no special happening for humanity or planet earth that we are witnessing now. There’s just too much new-age stuff around in this planet.

Yes, we have a collective energy and collective consciousness. But it’s important to understand that each of us is mainly walking an individual path. In this journey of creation and evolution, each unit mind threads along this path, from crudeness to infinite consciousness  passing by so many stages and experiences (will write a detailed article about this topic soon). Each one of us is in an individual phase, and no two people are exactly the same. Forget this utopian idea that something is going to happen and suddenly the planet will be saved and humanity will be different. This is not the way nature works.

“Bad” is being created all the time, and so is “good”. Both will always simultaneously exist. I’m sorry if you have seen too much fairy tales movies on TV or new age documentaries and this can disappoint you. The world will never end, and it will never be “saved” either. There is no such thing, everything is happening in a most natural way, and evolving from it.

We should not be worried with these “phases”, our concern should be with our own “phase”. What am I doing daily to push ahead my development? What am I doing to expand my own consciousness until it reaches infinity?

That’s how it will happen, don’t expect magical shifts or help from other galaxies. Take action, start today.

And that internal progress will need to manifest itself in an external way, and that is when you care more and more for creating a more harmonious and functional human society. Not only taking care of other people, but the entire creation, animals and plants. Fighting to create this better world will become inevitable. But this fight is done without attachment, because it’s also just a temporary fight, related with this stage you are living in. The inner journey is the one that continues, stage after stage, life after life, until you reach nothing less than the Supreme. Everything else is just scenery.

Moving to Him

“You know, there is nothing disorderly in this Universe. Everything moves according to certain rules. In this solar system of ours, the sun is the nucleus, and so many planets are moving around the sun. In this ethereal system, the earth is the nucleus, and the moon is moving around it. Similarly, in the atomic system also there is a nucleus and electrons move around the nucleus. In our cosmological order the Supreme Consciousness is the nucleus and so many animate and inanimate objects are moving around Him, knowingly or unknowingly. Human beings move knowingly and other animals, other less developed living beings, and also inanimate objects – even some human beings – move unknowingly, unconsciously  The radius of those who move unknowingly remains unchanged, or even, due to their mean propensities, their radius may increase. But spiritual aspirants always try to lessen the length of their radius. They come closer and closer to the Supreme, and when they come to the nearest proximity, they become one with the Nucleus, and that is the stage of Salvation.
Now, so many entities, so many individuals are moving around Him; they have so many physical structures – long, short, white, black, learned, illiterate – but the common goal is the Nucleus, the Supreme Consciousness. There should be no shyness, no hatred, no complex in human beings because that Nucleus is the bigger “I” of everybody – that Nucleus is the Supreme Progenitor of all.”
~Shrii Shrii Anandamurti

Just as in any other nuclear system, two forces are constantly in play in the movement of the different actors: the centripetal (or introversial) force, and the centrifugal (or extroversial) force. One pulls the entity to it, while the other pushes it further away.

The difference between this spiritual cosmological system an Continue reading

Cleanliness of mind

In the moral values of yoga (yama and niyama), there is one called “Saoca”, which we can translate as “cleanliness” or “purity”. Its application is two-fold, internal and external.

Externally, it’s easy to understand the impact that a pleasant and harmonious environment can have on our state of mind, not to speak in terms of physical health.
But the internal part is the most interesting and yesterday I got to experience a little bit of it, from the negative side.

Those who know me, know that I’m a person that likes extremes. What Continue reading

on happiness

It seems there is an always increasing number of books and articles being published on “the secrets to be happy”. I find it curious how each one praises itself to be the ultimate, best-way-you-really-cant-fail-with-this, method to achieve a happy life.

There are some to which happiness is all about being you and achieving your goals (materials or not), others to which happiness is just a mental state, which you can induce, others that say that there is no “happiness” but a collection of evergoing “happy” moments, etc etc.

kandalama-hotel-dambulla-sri-lanka-infinity-pool

Two knotty questions: 1 – how to be happy? but more interesting still, 2 – what is happiness, really?
You can’t be/get/do something, if you don’t know what that ‘something’ is.

So, lets get philosophical here: Continue reading