21 May 2012

A journey from living to being truly alive

That who suffers in you, suffers in all suffering everywhere. None cause hurt to another unless they are hurting themselves. This understanding is the beginning of compassion, is the room for forgiveness, and is the place of love.

With the innocence of a child be completely convinced at all times of the following truths:

1. Everyone loves me
Ignore any and all of another's seemingly insolent acts, rooted in ignorance, in the  same way as a mother ignores the outcries of her child while continuing to attend to her child's needs with great care, love and compassion.

2. I love everyone
Regardless of what negativity may arise within, act and speak only from a place of great love. Truly care for the well being of those around you regardless of their attitude or action. Speak less, speak well.

3. I want nothing
Life has taken care of you this far and it will continue to take care of you. Have unflinching faith that your needs will be taken care of. And realize that the need is not always for food, sometimes the need is to experience hunger; the need is not always for acceptance, sometimes the need for us is to experience alienation. Only one who is not afraid to till the soils of scarcity gets to experience the true joy of fields of abundance. Continue to diligently attend to your duties in life without demand for anything.

4. Whatever I have is for the service and good of everyone
Do all the good that you can, in all ways you can. Do not hold back, do not calculate. In any situation, always ask what is needed and how can I help?

5. Commit to happiness
Above all, do not let your happiness be a victim of your circumstances. When something makes you upset, make it a point to truly and genuinely smile from the core of your being, your heart. No negativity would be able to stick to you, your heart would be free of all resentment. Declare your freedom to be happy unconditionally - for conditions are always changing.

02 May 2012

The Human Divinity, Determinism, and Free-will

‘God created man in his own image[Genesis 1:27]’. The Supreme Spirit, which manifests itself as everything in this Universe - from rocks to humans - created humans as the closest clone to its own nature. To this effect, just as figs do not sprout from mango seeds, abject slavery is not born of infinite freedom. To believe otherwise is false understanding.

Man’s freedom, though not unlimited like that of the Supreme Spirit, does exist (it also has the potential to be that supreme freedom, when freed from the ‘I-am-ness’ of itself). This freedom, though limited, is real. It may be referred to as the free-will or it may be called as discrimination - the power to choose or to act based on the contents of one’s consciousness. The only entities who are devoid of free will are those who are either not human (which is why human birth is of such great significance since only through this birth form is it possible to realize the Supreme) and those who have actually attained the state of enlightenment while living in the human body. The enlightened beings in human form have no personal self and are a mere instrument of the Supreme will. Every other human has the capacity to exercise free will in accordance with his/her knowledge/experience/memory. This discriminatory power or intelligence may be used to elevate oneself towers life’s greater truths or be ignored at the risk of miring oneself down with its illusions. The choice is there. This is why in Gita it is said that one's own mind can be one's greatest ally or one’s worst enemy.

This can also be understood through the example of a hospital patient. Although the patient does not have the same freedom as the person who is not in the hospital, within the hospital the patient does have some degree of freedom, which if rightfully exercised, could lead to an expedited expulsion from the institution, although it does not guarantee such outlet.

Same is the case with man. Man has the ability to exercise discretion/intelligence over the contents of his consciousness towards attaining greater wisdom or demerit. And although such efforts do not guarantee that one would realize the Truth, they certainly improve upon the possibility. Hence the paradox - one cannot attain the Truth by effort alone but effort is essential nonetheless.

One cannot so easily dictate the circumstances of one’s life but the response, based on one’s knowledge at the time, is definitely within one’s reach. Hence all scriptures emphasize the use of one’s intelligence. Hence we are able to make choices and learn from them. Hence we do not have to burn our hand every time on a hot stove to know that it hurts.

Free will exists in the form of discrimination. It is not limitless because its quality and extent are limited by the contents of one’s consciousness. The contents of one’s consciousness are a gift from consciousness itself, as is the ability to play with them and to refine them. This 'play' is also governed by inescapable rules. Rules such as the inability to give up the search for joy, rules which enable an inherent understanding and struggle to decipher right from wrong (when all is one), inevitability of the death of that which takes birth, inability to deny or to ignore the truth forever, the rule of karmic cycle (what goes around, comes around), and more. The entire play is set up for man to see it for what it is - a game. For man to learn to play an active part while recognizing oneself to be not the player. The only meaningful lessons from this game of life are about moving from being a token on the game board to recognizing oneself as the detached witness of the game. Man’s ability to learn is man’s ability to exercise choice. These choices can serve to expand one's consciousness by virtue of greater inclusivity or to shrink it by denial or negation of that which is. As the expanse of one’s consciousness increases, one’s freedom also accentuates.

In addition, man is not dictated to always act on the strongest impulse or loudest thought either. The ability to be in the company of these loud noises and stay unaffected is called awareness.

Also, space is not a helpless impotent comatose patient. Space is the most alive, living, and vibrant entity in this creation. Even science is unable to find anything more alive and active. It is this space that is us, the Universe, the consciousness, and that which is even beyond the consciousness. Space is not only the spectator. It is also the play as well as the stage on which it is being played. It is Space in which all knowledge arises and then manifests in human beings as intuition or insight, the source of all of our  knowledge. It is Space in which all knowledge and everything else eventually dissolves.

Human beings have free will. It manifests itself in their ability to learn and to apply that knowledge towards greater wisdom. Life as a human being is of immense significance because only in this life form there exists the possibility to live either like an animal, or like a human, or like an Angel, or to be the Buddha. All choices are available.

However, although the exercise of one’s discrimination to seek the Truth may create the possibility of coming upon the Truth, it does not guarantee it. Just as keeping a window open makes it possible for the sunlight to come through but cannot force the sun to shine. Discovery of truth, like the happening of Love, is a gift from the Supreme. And upon whom the Supreme chooses to bestow such a gift, is part of the Supreme’s free-will, of which we are a tiny but a precious part.