Thursday, July 01, 2021

God as Certainty (Part 2.)

 

In the dedication to His book, God Speaks, Meher Baba states, “To the Universe—the Illusion that sustains Reality.” But this relationship between God and His creation is not so easy to understand and even some of His closest followers could not understand this statement. One even suggested that Baba had got it wrong.

 

The question has been asked and answered in countless ways since consciousness first evolved into the first human form. Even the Perfect Ones put their individual spins on the subject, but the one thing I have been able to glean that they all agree upon is that life in creation is indispensable to attaining God—attaining Certainty—the Illusion that sustains Reality.”

 

It is that Bliss that first evolves itself into the mind and the body, and then through their help it is able to know it is Bliss. The body and the mind are formed out of that Infinite bliss. Once that Bliss is experienced, then that mind and that body, despite remaining there for a time, virtually become non-existent, since one immersed in that Bliss, does not remain conscious of them. Once that Infinite Bliss is attained that Bliss has no necessity of anything. What for and for whom will such a man request anything?” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume IV pages 402 – 403

 

Meher Baba put it beautifully when he said, "The sojourn of the soul is a thrilling divine romance in which the lover, who in the beginning is conscious of nothing but emptiness, frustration, superficiality and gnawing chains of bondage, gradually attains and ultimately disappears and merges in the Divine beloved to realize the supreme and eternal fact of God as Infinite Love."

 

Meher Baba is reminding us of the three states of God. God asleep in deep sleep, God asleep but dreaming, and God in the fully awake I am God state. There is certainty in the first state and certainty in the third state, but the hallmark of the second state is uncertainty. Everything in this state is always changing. Achievement in this state turns into failure and visa versa, pleasure into pain, success into failure, etc. Kabir is quoted as saying, “Because you have forgotten the Friend, that is why in everything you do, there is a strange sense of failure.” It is in the second state of God that God is forgotten—but not completely.

 

Meher Baba pointed out the spiritual significance of the famous Cole Porter song, Begin the Beguine—that it describes the second state of God in which the soul lost in life, at first finds any reminder of its own divinity painful, but in the end yields to the infinite love of the Beloved:

 

When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,

It brings back a night of tropical splendor,
It brings back a memory ever green.

I'm with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra's playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.

To live it again is past all endeavor,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.

What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;

So don't let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.

Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
"Darling, I love you!"
And we suddenly know, what heaven we're in,
When they begin the beguine.

 

(To be continued.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

God As Certainty (Part 1.)

 

Of all the words, God is the most supercharged word of all. Supercharged implies intensity, disagreement, misunderstanding, differing points of view, passion, etc. Therefore, supercharged words are often avoided in discourse because they can stir up so much emotion and create so much polarity that the very point that was behind their use is all too often obscured, or even totally lost. Take the expression, the search for God. God is the supercharged word in the expression because people have such differing opinions of what God is. So, the very idea of a search for God gets stalled in the question of who, or what, is God. Ouspensky used to say, “A good plan is a plan that works.” So, what if we changed the expression to the search for certainty and then talked about that?

One might argue that certainty and God are not the same, but I that think most people would agree that certainty—real continuous certainty—is an attribute of God. In the absence of certainty there is often confusion, fear, worry, stress, and paralysis. If I’m not certain what is coming next, how can I plan on anything? If I don’t know that my next step will support me, how can I walk? If I don’t know how my words will be taken or understood, how can I speak? Of course, one might answer by saying that one can never be certain what the next day will bring; one can never be sure how their words will be taken, and yet, we go on planning and talking, and living. And I agree; we go on living despite uncertainty and maybe that is why we feel so much fear, worry, stress, and paralysis?  I wonder also, if so much of our mental, emotional, and physical, activity is not implicitly, if not explicitly, motivated by a longing to achieve some sort of certainty in life?

The Mulla was observed by one of his followers searching for something on the on the ground under a streetlamp at night. “What are you looking for Mulla?” asked the follower. “Did you lose something?” “Yes,” replied the Mulla, “I lost my key?” “And did you lose it here, under the streetlamp?” “No”, replied the Mulla, “I lost it back there in the yard in the dark.” “Then why are you looking for it here under the streetlamp?” asked the follower incredulously. “Because,” said the Mulla, “the light is better.”

The meaning of the story is that things are not found where they were lost, they are found in the light. Very esoteric, no? But also very practical, because things cannot be found where they can’t be seen. To find, one must see, and to see, one needs light. One may say that it doesn’t make sense, but perhaps whether it is sense or nonsense depends on what we call the light.

And regarding the search for certainty, how can it be found where it was lost—in the dark—in life as we know it, since uncertainty is found at the very core of life itself? Does not certainty only exist in the Infinite and Eternal Light of God?

It is the mind that becomes the experiencer and the thing to be experienced. If the mind is not there then there will be nothing—no world, no enjoyer, nothing to be enjoyed. Mind, thus, is a very important entity. It has to take a false form to experience itself.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume IV page 402

In other words, to experience certainty, uncertainty must be experienced first. And that is what life is for, to experience uncertainty. And to experience uncertainty that is what mind is for.

(To be continued).

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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

"If You are Thirsty, Drink!"

 

It was sometime in the late 1970’s, I was already deeply involved in the “Gurdjieff Work” and I had no interest in meeting this yogi, but agreed to attend a small, semi-private gathering with him when he was visiting some of his followers in Chicago. I had heard that he was an old Shaktipat yogi, a yogi that works with Kundalini, a powerful energy that can be awakened within us that leads to powerful experiences of mystical powers and spiritual bliss. I had heard that this yogi was not well known in spiritual and New-Age circles, and that he was the “real deal”.


As I mentioned, I was not interested, or even curious about the yogi, had all but forgot about him, and never made a connection between him and the strange internal state I began to experience during the days before the gathering. I was very emotional; I remember eating lunch in a little restaurant and being unable to control my own weeping—weeping neither tears of unhappiness nor happiness, but something else, like rain clouds pregnant with longing. And something else was out of the ordinary, I was not lost in my mood, as is often the case with the intensity of normal emotions, I was “above” my mood, watching myself with myself.

  

It was more than forty years ago and so my recollection of many of the details is a little sketchy, but the “program” took place in a medium-size room in a neighborhood wellness center. There were perhaps no more than thirty to fifty people in attendance. 



The yogi was introduced. He had the longest name I have ever heard, and I don’t remember it. He was small of stature and looked like he could have been in his sixties, though something he mentioned to a friend of mine indicated that he was probably in his early to mid-eighties.



I had heard that he did not speak very much, and true to form, his remarks were brief and left no impression on me but for the fact that he said he was on the “sixth level” and could not advance further in the body he was now in. What he meant by the “sixth level” I really don’t know, but I assumed he was talking about the sixth plane of consciousness, the highest plane of illusory consciousness before God-realization.

 

 The sixth plane is called Brahmaloke—the World of God. One whose consciousness is of the sixth plane sees God everywhere, in everyone and everything, even himself, but does not identify himself as God, because he still remains identified with his mind.


The yogi indicated that we were to meditate with him, which we did for about forty minutes. He gave no instructions, and I engaged the practice of watching my breath and trying not to follow my thoughts. I experienced a powerful meditation—deep and silent—but did get distracted on two occasions, one when there was some noise—voices—coming from a closed door to an adjacent room that caused me to open my eyes and see the yogi stand up and take a step in the direction of the door. The voices immediately stopped. The other time I opened my eyes during the meditation—and I don’t know what prompted me to do so—I saw the yogi walk over to a young woman, a friend of mine, who was sitting in a very stiff formal posture and tell her to relax and not work so hard at her meditation.

 

The “young woman” of this story is none other than Dr. Dorothy Mead, the co-author of my most recent book, SuperVisions (available from me at fromsilence2sound142@gmail.com). She gave me permission to publish a few of her comments on her meeting with the yogi…



“Just read the blog and it made me giggle...because all I spontaneously remembered from the meditation was that I was tense, and that was pointed out to me. So I was very curious to see what you might have remembered...

   

“ I remember this yogi as being somewhat athletic (and bald) because it was such a contrast to the other yogi Bob B. had introduced us to, who had the flowing gray/black hair and somewhat fragile demeanor more 'typical' of pictures I had seen of yogis. As you said, he appeared to be in his sixties...


Another thing I remember was that after he told me not to work so hard, I began to experience energy moving up my spine in a way I had never experienced before. It was all so new to me - meditation was something completely foreign (and difficult) for me, having really only encountered it in the G. group at the time...and not being of the type to sit still anyway!


“I wish I could say his admonition changed everything for me forever (how loudly are you laughing now?), but that 'formal' pose has haunted me for years (and been rather crippling at times)...even now, as I approach the study of biodynamic craniosacral therapy, it can take hold - we spent literally hours and hours working with expanding attention, deepening awareness and relaxation, the weekend before last, and when it was over, my body felt fractured. Plenty of work to do...”


I don’t remember how it happened, but after the gathering was over, I received an invitation, along with a few other people, to meditate with the yogi for the next few mornings while he was still in town. I accepted the invitation.


The yogi was traveling with three eastern disciples, two men and a woman, and staying in Chicago at the apartment of one of his western disciples. The pattern was always the same… 


We, the invited guests—there were about five of us— would arrive at the apartment at the appointed time in the morning—somewhere around 7 or 8 AM. We would be escorted to a small bedroom and would sit on the floor around the yogi’s bed. I don’t recall him ever saying anything to us. We would meditate until he indicated to us that it was over—about an hour—and then we would be escorted to the door and out of the apartment.


As I mentioned, this went on for about five days. After the morning meditations I would resume my normal schedule, mainly working on music and teaching guitar. I remember quite clearly that for this period of time I remained in a super-charged state of awareness. I felt different, not really comfortable or uncomfortable, but with a strong feeling that many of my usual limitations, psychologically, musically, etc. had been transcended. I was playing my scales and exercises much faster than I ever had and the world at large appeared to me to be very small and mechanical and asleep.

    

I think it was on the third day; things were different when I arrived for the morning meditation. As I mentioned, the previous days we were met at the door and escorted into the yogi’s room. It was all very orderly; the three disciples were very friendly and efficient with us.


But this day, when I walked into the apartment, I could see that one of the disciples—the woman—was, apparently, still asleep on her bedding on the living room floor. The other two disciples seemed agitated, if not alarmed.


I learned from someone that the woman was not asleep but was stuck in some kind of Samadhi—a trance-like state of consciousness—and could not “wake up”. Within minutes the yogi appeared and began to work on the woman. I was surprised to see how forceful he was as he began to press various points on her head and neck. At first I observed no noticeable effect from his actions, but then when he began to force his thumbs deep into the disciple’s eye sockets she began to stir. At times, the yogi’s thumbs were pushed so far behind her eyeballs that I could not see them. 


It took about ten minutes for her to “come back”. It was as if the yogi was dragging her back from some faraway place, and it was a tremendous struggle, but as soon as it was over, she immediately rose to her feet and began to do things—as if nothing had happened to her at all! The yogi returned to his room, and we joined him, as usual, for our morning meditation.


From observing the disciple’s experience I learned one thing; if you are seriously going to follow a real yogi—I’m not talking here about classes at your neighborhood health club, or even your average spiritual retreat—if you seriously follow a real yogi or teacher, you had better be prepared to trust him with your life, health, and sanity, for in a very real way, that is exactly what you will be doing. 

 After the morning meditation on the day before the yogi was to leave town, I received an offer to become a disciple. This brief conversation with the yogi ensued: 


“Thank you for this opportunity, but I must decline your offer because I am already in the Gurdjieff work and feel it would be a conflict to follow two paths.”


“There is no conflict; If you’re thirsty, drink!”


“No doubt, you are right. At your level of unity there would be no conflict, but at my level of dichotomy, there is this conflict. So, I will refuse your offer, but I do request one thing.”


“Yes?”

  “Please help me internally to achieve that state of unity that you have achieved.”


The yogi nodded his head. “Yes,” he said. 


It was not long after that a series of events occurred in my life that culminated in me going to India, realizing my connection to Avatar Meher Baba, and leaving the Gurdjieff work. I have been with Meher Baba ever since…

 

 

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