My adventure at squidoo just seems to go on and on. Here are my latest spiritual lenses:
There is an international theosophical conference coming up - the website is a bit of a mess. Details on where, when and how are scattered throughout. It seems to be held in Philadelphia, USA, August 7th through August 10th, 2008. I'm not sure about this, because the website also mentions something about Athens, Greece (which is in Europe, right?).Subjects are: Integrating the Six Schools of Indian Philosophy for the Purpose of Global Dialoge, The Timeless Message of the Upanishads, Islam and the Theosophical Doctrine, The Practical Philosophy of the Sufis, Does the Absolute Love You?, Living the Higher Life and last but not least: Neuroplasticity: Modern Truths for Making the Brain Porous to the Influences of the Soul and
These are some of the subjects I'm interested in myself, so I'm very sorry I won't be attending.
"Alive to the truism that every path may eventually lead to the highway as every river to the ocean, we never reject a contribution simply because we do not believe in the subject it treats upon, or disagree with its conclusions. Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision. Dun vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt ['while striving to shun one vice, fools run into its opposite.'] - is our motto; and we seek to prudently walk between many ditches without rushing into either. For one man to demand from another that he shall believe like himself, whether in a question of religion or science is supremely unjust and despotic. Besides, it is absurd. For it amounts to exacting that the brains of the convert, his organs of perception, his whole organization, in short, be reconstructed precisely on the model of that of his teacher, and that he shall have the same temperament and mental faculties as the other has. And why not his nose and eyes, in such a case? Mental slavery is the worst of all slaveries. It is a state which, as brutal force has no real power, always denotes either an abject cowardice or a great intellectual weakness."
The first step in self-knowledge is to become aware of that hard shell in our natures, which is compounded of our settled habits of thought and action, a thing of shadows opaque to the rays of our own understanding. The very awareness of its existence makes way for the rays of one's intelligence and starts the process of its dissolution.
Once you have placed yourself in the hands of the Overself within, your life will begin to flow more serenely and more sweetly.
You may falter or even fail in applying this knowledge, but the Overself is infinitely patient and will be ready to assist you in its own way when you are ready to invoke its presence.
You must refer inwards to the Overself until the habit becomes first thought, second nature and sixth sense.
Reading over and over again the many statements that have been made and suggested about the relation of masters, or adepts, or nirvanees, or liberated men, to unliberated men or reincarnating men, I have often thought of trying to formulate some principles. We have a great deal of information before us in the Mahatma Letters to Mr. Sinnett, and various Mahatma Letters to other persons, and suggestions and reports from various sources. Out of these certain main principles clearly arise.
(1) Masters do not interfere with personal karma. They do not act so as to reduce the impacts of any particular karmas upon us. To take an example, they do not protect us from our enemies. The reason for this is perfectly clear. We need our karma. We need our enemies. If I am to attain the highest power of love I certainly need those enemies. Some love I can develop in relation to my friends and to those who are kind to me. That is an easy matter, but to rise to the full height of love is another matter. For the completion of my realization of unity in feeling I need the opportunity which only my enemies can give.
This is a thought that applies to the development of the mind and of the will as well as to the development of love. It will be asked why in that case we should extol the conduct of any unliberated man who protects us from our enemies. The answer is that we unliberated men are living together in one world. We are doing things together and gradually forming that kind of society which is integrated by love. Just as every act of creative mind on materials of various kinds brings them into a unity of form and relationship, so does the creative act that we call love bring varied human, beings into a unity that we call society, or social order. It is imperative in such an order that the elements or parts must be different. If I am not different from my neighbor I cannot perform a special part in that organism. Briefly, variety is necessary to unity. It is when a man has harmonized his love to all varieties of men that he attains liberation.
The Masters as liberated men are no longer engaged in the karmic business of forming parts of a social organism. That is a work which is not an end in itself, but for each of us fitting in to that organism is really an act of self-fulfillment. Just as a painter paints a picture under the impulse of a central urge in his own life and while making the picture really makes himself, so that when the picture is done he no longer needs it and puts it aside, yet retains in himself all the awakening or growth that he has attained by the effort, so also the production of social harmony through love is only an external work, not an end in itself, and it remains forever an eternal effort for all unliberated men. This is no work for masters, since it is no end in itself and has no intrinsic value. It belongs to the karmic world, outside their precincts.
(2) Masters, it is said, can influence the minds of men, but they do not do this. Inasmuch as every man's growth depends upon the exercise of his own thought, love and will, upon the objects of his own experience, that is, upon his own karma, there would be no point in inoculating him with a foreign strength for that purpose. Man is not in a school built for him by somebody else, and made to go through a series of tests devised by a mind other than his own, but he is at all times faced with his own particular karma exactly suited to his needs because it is the expression of his own imperfect work in the past. An artist painted a picture yesterday, putting all his best into it. Today he looks at it and says, "Not good enough." That is so because in putting all his power into the effort - his thought, feeling and will - he became a better artist than before. Now, looking at his picture, he will find it painful in some degree and will set about altering it or painting a new one. There is no disharmony between man and the world of his experience, it is the perfect method of self education. If some greater artist were to come in and do the artist's next picture for him, it would be no real help to him.
(3) If Masters do not save us from our karmas, and do not strengthen our minds, what do they do? I have been much impressed by the statement that their function in relation to unliberated mankind is to remind that mankind of its spiritual origin and power. Not more than that. That is indeed a karma that men deserve, but what use they will make of it depends upon themselves. All environment is only opportunity. This, too, is opportunity, and Masters are our environment to this extent.
No doubt in the past thousands upon thousands of men have passed from the unliberated to the liberated state. They have not done that without the aid of unliberated men. In their day they had their enemies, and with the aid of those enemies they developed the love which was part of their attainment. That is one example of what those liberated men owe to us who were their enemies away in the past. They are not separated from us.
The function of reminding mankind of their spiritual power and destiny does not interfere with either karmas or minds. Inasmuch, therefore, as any one of us opens himself up to the reception of that piece of environment, turns his attention fully upon it with thought and love and the intuition of the will, he is "in touch with the master".
(4) I think of nirvana, or the beyond, or the state of the liberated men, as a world in which the very sands of the seashore are living Buddhas. I think of that world as not far away but as close and intimate to us as any kingdom of nature that we know, as in its own manner enfolding us and pressing upon us as much as the earth's atmosphere presses in its own way upon our bodies all the time.
We can perhaps understand this better if we remember that we are in contact with life in every kingdom of nature. A very undeveloped man does not know much of the life in his fellowman. To him other people are merely animated objects in his environment. He has not paused to see the inside of them, to feel their feelings and to say to himself, "There is a man in there". But as we become more developed we find ourselves living among fellowmen who incidentally have bodies.
In course of time and as a result of our education our experience or perception of life increases, so that we are aware of it in animals and plants, and even in the minerals to some extent. I compare the following pictures: First, I am sitting on a nice green carpet; secondly, I am sitting on a lawn. Why am I so much happier sitting on the lawn than sitting on the green carpet? What is it that gives me this feeling? When I look at this matter closely I find that when sitting on the lawn I have some fellow-feeling with the grass and the bushes and trees that are around. It is because I am in some degree aware of life in these things that they mean so much more to me and can teach me such a better lesson. This is true of the animals also and even of the minerals. When I walk on the earth I ought to feel that as a companionship and I believe I do if at any time I go into the garden with my bare feet. I do not mean that in any of these things we should people the earth and the woodlands with all sorts of gnomes and fairies in our imagination. That is an extra thing. It is important to us that we are living with life. The animals, the plants and the mineral world are life; their forms are only incidental.
When you come to think of it the mineral and other forms that we see are only the karmic production of those lives, and as their karmic productions are the outposts of their consciousness just as our karmic productions are outposts of ours, really we are dealing with life only, and living among life. And as it is with feeling rising to the height of love that we become conscious of life in our fellowmen, so it is that the treatment of all these things with the feeling consciousness, not merely with the thinking mind, will give us our knowledge of reality.
(5) Apart from and in addition to the reminders that we get from the Masters, we have always an open channel to their world in what we call the will. The Masters have been called the Inner Government of the World. Let us understand that word "inner", and let us never confuse it with any conception of the outer government of the world. It is true that each one of us is the complete and utter slave of that inner government of the world. Each one of us has an inner urge which sends him through his cycle of experiences in a certain manner, in a certain order, particular for each, and that urge comes into us from our Archetypes, which are our real selves resident in the beyond in perfect harmony with all liberated men. There is our point of rest, our point of strength, our unchanging basis, the unity in all our varieties of experience, that stamps its character and mark on every true act of our will.
I must resort to an illustration. My hand and arm act in obedience to their own nature and quality. They carry out the behests of the brain without any constraint of their own nature. Such action is indeed the advancement and fulfillment of their own character. Thus do my fingers act in a service which is perfect freedom for them because it is the fulfillment of their own nature, and indeed my fingers become better fingers, more supple and delicate and sensitive in the performance of this work well-directed from within. But if some strong man were to come along and take hold of my arm with his hand and pull it here and there, directing it from the outside what to do, there would indeed be bondage and the negation of arm-progress.
Similarly, when the will in me that directs my whole embodied being responds with intuition to the impulses of that archetype of which the beings of the liberated world are the custodians, in a sense, for me, so that I follow the correct cycles of effort in my embodied existence, there is no bondage. I am being myself. But if some other man from the outside, acting and speaking in the world of karmas and mind activities, tries to tell me what decisions I must make, what loves I must have, and what thoughts I must think, he is my enemy, my worst of enemies. To try to get between men and the Master or between me and the Master's world, and pull me about from the outside, is the worst thing that anybody can do. But if I have the intuition of the will, that man will be my beloved enemy.
Sister Mary Ann, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it, an Exxon Gasoline station was just a block away.
She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but she could wait until it was returned. Since Sister Mary Ann was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car.
She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, Sister Mary Ann carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried the full bedpan back to her car.
As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said, 'If it starts, I'm turning Catholic!"
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