Sunday, August 21, 2016

Suffering

The most common reason that people turn to spirituality is to deal with suffering. Pain is not the same as suffering. Suffering is pain that we hold on to. It comes from the mind’s mysterious instinct to believe that pain is good, or that it cannot be escaped, or that we deserve it. 


It takes force of mind to create suffering, a blend of belief and perception that we think we have no control over. But, as inescapable as suffering may appear to be, what brings escape is not attacking the suffering itself; its getting at the unreality that makes us cling to pain. 

Mostly, this unreality is about overlooking actual facts; as we know, but so often forget. Adopting negative perceptions, reinforcing those perceptions by obsessive thinking, getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out, comparing ourselves to others and cementing the suffering through toxic relationships that don’t serve us.

Once we stop knowing what is real, these misperceptions fall into place automatically. This means that for most people only the end of the line - fear of death - is a conscious experience; therefore, we must begin there and go back up the ladder. Being afraid of death is a source of anxiety that reaches into many areas. 

The way our society worships youth and shuns the elderly, our desperate need for distraction, the promotion of cosmetics and beauty treatments, flourishing gyms with full-length mirrors on all sides, and the craze for celebrity are all symptoms of wanting to deny death. 

We fear death not for itself but for a deeper reason, which is the need to defend an imaginary self. Identifying with an imaginary self is something we all do. Even on a superficial level, we erect an image based on income and status. Self-image is closely connected to self-esteem, and we know the high price we pay when self-esteem is lost. 

Life never stops demanding more and more. The demands on our time, patience, ability and emotions can become so overwhelming that admitting our inadequacy seems like the honest thing to do. Yet, in our false self-image is buried the ugly history of everything that has gone wrong. “I won’t,” “I can’t,” and “I give up” all became self-fulfilling prophecies. 

Even with a healthy self-image we recoil from things that threaten our egos. These threats exist everywhere. I am afraid of being poor, of losing my partner, of breaking the law. I am afraid to shame myself before anyone whose respect I want to keep. The need to protect myself from what I fear is part of who I am. 

Holding on to something is a way of showing that we are afraid it will be taken from us. People feel violated when they come home to find that their home has been broken into. This violation doesn’t matter because of what has been taken; but rather the loss of their sense of personal safety, stripped of the illusion of being untouchable. 

There are many twists and turns to suffering. The trail leads from fear of death to a false sense of self and the need to cling. In the end, however, unreality alone is the cause of all suffering. The problem is never pain; quite the opposite. Pain exists so that illusion won’t keep persisting. If unreality didn’t hurt, it would seem real forever. 

These misperceptions can be solved all at once by embracing one reality. The difference between “I am my hurt” and “I am” is small, but crucial. A huge amount of suffering has resulted from this single misperception. For example, thinking that I was born, I cannot avoid the threat of death. 

All of these are perceptions that were created, not facts. Once created, a perception lives a life of its own until we go back and change it. In reality nothing exists outside the self. As soon as we begin to accept this one bit of knowledge, the whole purpose of life changes. 

The only goal worth attaining is complete freedom to be ourselves, without illusions and false beliefs. To no longer bring problems to anyone who wants to leave us alone. To no longer reject genuine offers of assistance out of pride, insecurity or doubt. To no longer absorb the toxic effects of others, by keeping a distance. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Time Of The Black Jaguar

How many times in the previous centuries has the end of the world arrived for hundreds of nations? How many times have our ancestors had to rebirth from the ashes of their destroyed worlds? Those were difficult moments when we learned to pray and to ask for help so that our people might continue living. In such painful situations, we rediscovered the power of our ceremonies.


It is time to change, and if we do not change something stronger than us is going to do it for us. We know this from experience. We know this because for thousands of years we have been observing the life-cycles of our civilisation. Times like the one we are in now are especially difficult. We are at the end of a long cycle, where social and planetary change is born from a cosmic command, that we humans have no other choice but to obey. 

Sages of many nations say that we are now at the end of a very long cycle: the complete cycle of our present humanity. The Elders also say that the lack of preparation for the change that is coming is alarming. There are small cycles, like the 500 year cycles; there are bigger cycles that last around 2,000 years; and there are even longer cycles, always containing smaller cycles within them. 

These longer cycles are the time of a complete humanity that lasts almost 26,000 years. According to the memory kept by some nations, there were three other humanities before ours, so we are part of the fourth humanity. Now we are not only at the end of one long cycle of around 26,000 years, but we are also at the end of four of these cycles that amounts to 104,000 years of human experience. After this, the fifth humanity will begin.

The complete cycle of a humanity goes through three movements or times. First comes the time of creation, next comes the time of conservation; and last is the time of renewal. The time of creation is where the creative capacity of the humans, supported by strong cosmic forces, does not know the impossible. The time of conservation always ends when the essence of the beginning has been forgotten. Now the third movement arrives: the time of renewal. 

This is the shortest and most intense of the three, the time when purification is needed so life may continue. At this confusing time, old group and ethnic identities become debilitated; and millions of humans lack clarity about their future and their true place in the world. The belief systems of the conservative past are broken, and the new ones are not built yet.

In times of renewal, it is the Black Jaguar who rules. At this time, it is common for many people to experience major losses in their lives; some are brutally taken out of their comfort zone. Many see their old life not working anymore or feel afraid when seeing destruction happen in the rest of the world. It all means just one thing: it is time to change. The Black Jaguar comes and destroys the prisons, where we feel safe and comfortable, so we can wake up.

To be waiting for for an attack of the Black Jaguar to come and kill you and all your bad habits; leaves you like a leaf at the mercy of the wind. It makes your life swing from bliss to pain, over and over again. But the swings are less frequent if you develop your own will. Instead of being at the mercy of the forces that come to wake you up, you prefer to choose to wake up and do your own work. Doing so will not stop the forces that bless or shake you; but develops a partnership and collaboration with them.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

What You Seek, You Already Are

Seeking is a word often applied to the spiritual path, and many people are proud to call themselves seekers. Often, they are the same people who once chased too hard after money, sex, drugs, alcohol or work. With the same addictive intensity they now hope to find God, the soul, the higher self. The problem is that seeking begins with a false assumption.


It doesn’t mean the assumption that materialism is corrupt and spirituality is pure. Yes, materialism can become all-consuming, but that’s not the really important point. Seeking is doomed because it is a chase that takes you outside yourself. Whether the object is God, money or whatever; makes no real difference. Productive seeking requires that you throw out all assumptions that there is a prize to be won.

This means acting without hope of rising to some ideal self, hope being a wish that you’ll get somewhere better than the place you started from. You are starting from yourself, and it’s the self that contains all the answers. So you have to give up on the idea that you must go from A to B. There is no linear path when the goal isn’t somewhere else.

You must also discard fixed judgments about high and low, good and evil, holy and profane. The one reality includes everything in its tangle of experiences, and what we are trying to find is the experiencer who is present no matter what experience you are having.

People who race around trying to be models of goodness are trapped in 'spiritual materialism'; the transfer of values that work in the material world over to the spiritual world. The pitfalls of the seeker are:  knowing where you’re going, struggling to get there, using someone else’s map, working to improve yourself, setting a timetable, waiting for a miracle. There’s no better way to be a genuine seeker than to avoid these pitfalls.

Spiritual growth is spontaneous. A single word can open your heart; a single glance can tell you who you really are. You should glean teachings from all directions, keeping true to those that bring progress yet remaining open to changes in yourself. People get stuck in bad places that they can learn to get out of. Rather than a timetable, give yourself support for spiritual growth.

If you strip away all the distractions of life, something yet remains that is you. When people say that they are seeking, it’s this level of themselves that is calling to them in its silent, untroubled way. Seeking is really just a way of winning yourself back. The 'I am' consists of nothing but a silent witness.

Look at a rose and break it down from the level of a physical object; to the level of energy vibrating in empty space. So, when you are seeing a rose, is nothing looking at nothing? So it would seem, but the real phenomenon is more amazing: You are looking at yourself. One part of your awareness, which you call yourself, is gazing upon itself in the form of a rose. There is no solid core to either the object or the observer.

There is no person inside your head, only a swirl of water, salt, sugar and a handful of other chemicals like potassium and sodium. This whirlpool of a brain is always flowing, and thus every experience is swept along in currents and eddies as swiftly as a mountain stream. So, where is the silent observer located if not in my brain?

This is a cause for incredible excitement because, if the real you isn’t inside your head, you have been set free, like awareness itself. This freedom is limitless. You can create anything because you are in every atom of creation. Wherever your awareness wants to go, matter must follow. You do come first after all; and the universe second.

We imagine a fixed 'I' who is in control, at least as much as possible. But there is another, far more stable point of stability: the witness. No one can predict your next step of unfoldment, including yourself. But if you are willing to follow the flow, the path will certainly lead you closer to the silent witness, who resides at the source of all your desires.

On the other hand, when you feel distracted, lost, confused, fearful, scattered, or trapped inside ego boundaries - you are not in flow. Pick a strongly negative experience, put yourself back in the situation and feel what you felt then. You might want to close your eyes and visualize. Do what it takes to make the situation vivid in your mind.

When you feel that stab of anger, hurt, mistrust, suspicion or betrayal, say to yourself: “That’s how my ego feels. Now let the feeling run. Get as worked up as your ego wants; envision fantasies of revenge or self-pity, or whatever your ego thinks is appropriate. Imagine your feeling spreading like the shock wave from a slow-motion explosion.

Follow this wave as far as it wants to go, watching it grow fainter and fainter as it spreads to infinity, filling the whole universe if it wants to. Now, just as you see the wave disappearing into infinity, look at yourself and see if any of the following feelings are present: a giggle, the desire to laugh, a shrug, peace, exhaustion, release or letting go.

These are the telltale feelings that arise in us when we are crossing the invisible boundary between ego and the real self. If you follow any emotion far enough, it will end in silence. But it’s asking a lot to get that far every time. Your aim is to get to the frontier at least, the line where the ego’s needs begin to lose their grip.

When you laugh, you are losing the need to take yourself so seriously. When you shrug, you lose the need to blow things out of proportion. When you feel calm, you lose the need to feel agitated or to have drama. When you can look at yourself as if you are another person, you lose the need to be the only one who counts.

When you feel relief or fatigue coming out, you lose the need to hold on to stress. When you have the feeling of letting go, you lose the need to be vindicated - the possibility of forgiveness is in sight. When you suddenly realize that the other person may be right, you lose the need to judge.