Category Archives: spirituality

season’s greetings

Hi . . .
This is just a little Christmas greeting – taking an opportunity to wish you well at
a special moment in time. For some, this particular moment won’t seem significant, that is, if you find in yourself no particular reason to especially enjoy the birthday of Jesus Christ, possibly because of other religious beliefs or out of disdain for the materialistic attitudes it brings out. Personally, I also respect and enjoy the special days set aside to honor others who deserve our admiration and gratitude: Buddha, Mohammed, Nanak, Moses, Krishna, Lao Tse and the many more who came, in indescribable compassion and wisdom, to guide us on the long road.

But I take this moment to honor the universal child in us – Shri Ganesha and Lord Jesus – with the sincere hope that we may all soon enjoy the unlimited joy and clarity that only a balanced child can know. And I honor universal motherhood. There are many who look forward with dread and insecurity. When I look forward, I look also inward, and I know that there is much to be enjoyed coming our way. That’s not a hunch but a certainty. I wish for you this comforting light, not just at this moment, but for always. It’s growing in our midst, uniting and strengthening us. The road leads to inner freedom. That is the wondrous beginning.

Vibrating Sky

beyond ego pumpering

Did you know that you have a built-in Jeeves – a compassionate and intelligent butler who can gently lift you out of any tangle? By Jove – by Jeeves – you do indeed! It’s been rumored that we are using only a fraction of our brain power. Some think that by pumping and pampering (pumpering) of the ego, we can ascend to greater heights of skill in dealing with life. This line of thought leads to a solid dead-end. The only way to unleash that vast potential is to activate a specific energy at the base of the spine, whose purpose it is to rise up and open the pearly gate at the apex of the brain, thus connecting said brain to the power that created it. The more this energy is strengthened through appropriate meditation, the more this connection is expanded, and the more our brain is enlightened. In fact, our whole nervous system then becomes increasingly aware of subtler phenomena, and the dignified genius in us generously supplies answers to life’s many complications. You don’t have to be Bertie Wooster to have access to the ideal solver-of-problems. You become your own indispensable, wise best friend.

You: “Jeeves! What on earth am I to do about this incessant mental rambling?”

Your-Own-Inner-Jeeves: “Sir?” (or “Madam?”)

“This unsolicited, unproductive thinking, Jeeves! Is there no stopping it? Is humanity to be driven off the brink of its remaining sanity by this relentless inner train?”

“There is a simple way to ascend comfortably above these disturbing trains of thought, Sir.”

“Well, out with it, Jeeves! What is this satisfying, cerebral secret that you’ve been withholding from the waiting world?”

“The answer is simultaneously simple and profound, Sir, and readily available to anyone, from any walk of life – it sleeps in each of us at the base of the spine.”

“Do you mean to insinuate, Jeeves, that my Aunt Agatha, among others, is presently sitting on the solution to mankind’s greatest problem?”

“Indeed, Sir. In fact, no single person on the planet is exempt from this common trait. Os sacrum, or hieron osteon, the ‘sacred bone’, was so named by the early Greek mystics because of the enlightening energy coiled there, necessary to connect the individual awareness to the all-pervading power that created us.”

“And you have proof that this benevolent something can free us from the noise within, thereby lifting the willing subject into a sort of golden, wise halo of silence?”

“Indeed, Sir. It is a purely natural phenomena which occurs spontaneously when this Kundalini energy awakens due to contact with the subtlest of universal vibrations, manifested, causing her to gently rise up the spine to the fontanel, thus opening the door to collective consciousness. This evolutionary breakthrough was available to very few in the past, but it seems that we have all reached an important threshold which allows anyone to ‘dance liberated into the light’, as the poet so aptly put it.”

“So you’re saying that the moment I make the magic wish to ascend beyond my miserable, human bonds, I’ll be ready to pass by a smiling cherubim radiating these fine vibes that will inevitably cause my being to lift off like a Nasa space-shuttle at the end of count down?”

“The experience is somewhat subtler than that, but you have the gist of the matter, Sir. It is the promised yoga, that is, union. May I demonstrate?”

“Demo away, Jeeves! I have cast my wish into the fountain of hope. What do I stand to lose?”

“What indeed, Sir? Place your hands, palms upwards, comfortably on your lap. You may close your eyes, and sincerely, in your heart, ask the universal Mother for your Self-realization.”

“Ask the what for my what?”

“Addressing this Kundalini energy, Sir, simply request that you may know your true, universal nature. I will expedite the process by lifting my open hand parallel to your spine to a point above your head. This will help the Kundalini to rise in response to the familiar vibrations.”

“As I’ve always conjectured, Jeeves — so you are an angel!”

“No more so than any other Self-realized person, Sir. Are you feeling anything yet?”

“I am. My goodness, you know? I really am . . . This is even better than whiskey, Jeeves. Have I lived all these years without knowing joy? I feel, well, I feel as light as a feather, as focused as a hawk, and . . . what is all this breezy coolness? It’s pouring out of my hands, and the top of my head feels like a fountain! May I open my eyes, or will it all fade like a beautiful dream on waking?”

“You may open your eyes, Sir, and I can assure you that it will not fade away. These are the Vibrations of which I spoke. They are the powerful Breath of Life which have been referred to throughout history in various cultures and religions as the Chi, Ki, Chaitanya, Prana, Ruach, Ruh, Pneuma and Spiritus, as well as the Wind of the Holy Spirit.”

“This is marvelous! Only a laughing, well-fed baby cuddling at its mother’s warm breast could know how I’m presently feeling! Who was it that rejoiced about the coming Age, calling every breeze sacred incense, Jeeves?”

“That would be Lionel Johnson in Vita Venturi Saeculi, Sir. ‘Let green woods wave thee welcome, and blue seas laugh welcome, and each breeze be sacred incense round thee: peace appear through crystal atmosphere, impassioned, perdurable, omnipotent; given by God, not lent, foretaste of Heaven, ere Heaven be all in all, come to the vexed world’s call!’

“That’s the one! Yes, I’m gushing with goodness – woods and waters – maybe a bit like those bliss-sharing Kalpa-thingy trees in the Indian proverb!”

“You must be referring to the passage from the Gyaneshwari, Sir: ‘Such men/women are the moving forests of Kalpataru trees. They are mines of wish-granting living jewels. They are vocal oceans of nectar.’ It is but one early description of realized souls, Sir.”

“All this enlightening has made me thirsty, Jeeves. Would you be so kind?”

“Certainly, Sir. Would you like your usual whiskey and soda?”

“Not today — I don’t want to come down. Bring me pure water. This new connection can use some meditative nurturing. I think someone has just answered my prayers.”

‘Holy mother, hear my prayer, somehow I know you’re still there. Send me please some peace of mind; take away this pain.’

“Shakespeare?”

“Eric Clapton, Sir.”

“Thank you, Jeeves.”

“The pleasure is all mine, Sir.”

 

Hear us, hear us, hear us, sweet Age to Come! Our hearts prepare thy home :-) L.J.

Child of Love

Have you loved your Heart this day?
Held it like a tender Child,
Beheld pure Innocence at play,
Shared Its laughter, bold yet mild?

Have you turned your eyes within?
Seeing Goodness spread Its wings,
Breathing deep the cool, soft Wind,
Thanking Love for all good things?

Have you felt Her Lotus Hands
Carress the Child who dwells within,
Bathing It in Amrit sweet,
That flows as joy from Love’s Ocean?

Have you loved your Heart this day?
Have you sung Its Song of Bliss?

Take this moment now to pray
That we may all now share in This.

– Edward Saugstad 1985

(This poem ‘came’ to me in a special location, overlooking the North Shore Mountains in downtown Vancouver, one day when I worked in the city streets there. I stopped and sat down on a bench, located about where the heart of the Ganesha would be in this photo, and jotted down these soothing lines. For some reason I always felt my heart open and my attention become calm and clear when I passed through this area, despite the city congestion.)

StanleyPark Ganesha

Earth Baby

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if you’re not having fun, you may have a short-circuit somewhere in your inner-net*. . . .

One Family

Hum-dee-dum, tra-la, tra-la . . .
Now, where were we – oh, my gosh! Is it so late already? Almost eight years passed the twentieth century? How time does fly when you’re having fun.

When I was young, I earnestly believed that a pandemic of fun could save mankind. Funny – now that I think of it – I still do, although my outlook has become somewhat more refined. The youthful images of reckless abandon have been replaced by a majestic movie in which every person shines with a child’s countenance, bubbling with the champagne of wise innocence. In this age of global communication and friendship across all borders (let’s just ignore the racists, fundamentalists, fed-up-ists, megamerger-swallowtheworld-industrialist-capitalists and political-power-activists for the moment) we find the ideal setting for the kindergarten birthday party utopia, where care is no longer an ulcer-giving demon in the back of the mind, but a magical, benevolent whim that spontaneously brings luck to others. By ‘fun’, I’m of course referring to the stuff that shines from the pearl of joy, not its wannabe, temporary copy that sometimes emits from the fickle happiness/unhappiness coin. (More on that somewhere below: Just scroll down this site to investigate.)

Mount Saugstad (2908 meters)

Things were a lot different back in the days of my great-grandfather, Reverend Christian Saugstad. Not only were those guys bereft of Internet, I don’t think even fun had been invented yet! Imagine leading your followers over one-and-a-half thousand rugged miles to a new, puritan home in the wilderness (from Minnesota to British Columbia). That was hard work back in 1894; no jumbojet-getaway! But I’m sure they experienced something resembling fun after the men spent the first fall and winter on the freezing coast chopping trees, shoveling snow and building log cabins, and then all their wives and children ferried up from the capital in the spring thaw. Well, I guess if reincarnation is the norm, we all bin there; dun that. I ain’t sayin’ that the plastic smell of computers is more inspiring to collective understanding and integration than a five hundred year old cedar rainforest, but the invention of mass-communication terminals and networks have brought us a long way in appreciating each other. Old Rev. C. didn’t even want his people to marry non-Norwegians, not to mention Muslims, Hindus or Jews (although they did somehow manage to get in among the more enlightened aboriginals). first Bella Coola settlersHis son, my grandfather the sea captain, was more evolved in this respect. He brought home his bride from Devon after WW1, Norwegian or no. Why, she wasn’t even a conformed Christian. Surviving witnesses in the old Vancouver neighbourhood may still recall the public argument she had one day across the picket fence with Mr. Bible-Thumper next door, insisting that reincarnation of human beings is a natural and inevitable process (“and-you-can-jolly-well-put-that-in-your-pipe-and-smoke-it!”). And that was well before the New Age Revolution began in the sixties. Um . . . Grandma’s reincarnation> Devon> Sea captain> Indians> the old Rev.> . . . ah, yes – the Internet: It’s obvious to me, after twenty-five years of daily personal subjective, and international objective experience in Sahaja Yoga, that this new level of global communication is a result of an accelerated inner process of collective consciousness. Naturally, these deep, evolutionary, spiritually powerful, expanding awareness thingies do tend to find ways of manifesting appropriate tools, so it’s no wonder that super-fast, super-portable, super-affordable gadgets and systems have sprouted into common use for the greater goodness of getting everyone universally chummy. I’m also convinced (und ich wuerde meinen rechten Arm darauf verwetten) that as soon as all this evil and bullying and perversion and smug complacency has been played out, that wave of – yes, in your face – LOVE is going to wash over the stage, and we’ll be in for one hell-of-a (oops), I mean, one wonderful show!
You may sayyy I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one . . . And whatever desire you hold on to, is the direction you move toward. It seems we’re shifting into a whole new mode*.

(Stay tuned for further fun ‘n’ fascinating features . . .)

Now, I really must get back to my wood chopping. (I do find it fun!)

our Austrian blackberries

(And I truly do admire the seeking spirit of my fore-fathers/mothers, including my own parents, whose appetites for shared goodness and truth, in times of such pervading spiritual darkness, have been encouraging.)

out back in the Vienna Woods

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~click on the gigantic stump to experience more~BellaCoola 1800s.

meditation: a new, hope-filled beginning

There are a lot of concepts about meditation. But for those who’ve experienced the real thing, it’s obvious that meditation is the state in which all limited concepts are exposed for what they are, and a new kind of insight becomes the norm.

Meditation is the state of thoughtless-awareness reached when the human attention rises above the mental turmoil to perceive everything as it really is, above thoughts. This state allows one to experience in a direct, actual way, without the filter of conditionings and projections. That may sound over-simplified and unlikely, but it is in fact a very natural, essential evolution of our consciousness.

Even after twenty-five years of daily moments of meditation, I’m still often surprised and delighted by my personal experiences, which sometimes come unexpectedly and in new, varied ways. One becomes aware of the subtle ‘vibrations’ that emit from persons, places, things or occurrences. The other day I sat behind a mother playing with her laughing baby on a public bus. My mind was filled with clear silence, and my body became light, joy-filled and pleasantly cool. In contrast, as I later strolled along the sidewalk and passed two angry motorists exchanging hot words over a minor accident, I experienced a short but vivid wave of heat, tension and noise inside. On such occasions, I usually take a moment to direct the very subtle, cool vibrations, that indicate and can even activate a deeply healthy and constructive state, into the fray, so to speak. This can be done with a simple implementation of the attention, or by using the hands. Once, when confronted by a raging clerk who had grown impatient with my innocent questions, I simply asked her to hold out her hands, palms up, to see what she feels. Taken aback by my request, she spontaneously complied and shortly replied that she felt waves of heat pouring out of them. I put my hand above hers, mentioning that we all have a special energy in the sacrum bone at the base of the spine, which easily rises at contact with certain cool, subtle vibrations, clearing stubborn obstacles to our well-being. MeditatingSuddenly, her hands emitted a soft, cool breeze, and her tense face broke into a lovely smile. She then felt the same cool wind coming out of the top of her head, indicating that this energy, kundalini, had risen up the spine to the fontanel. We were mutually grateful for this wonderful moment, which had bonded us in a way previously unknown and unreachable to average human beings.

In the simple practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation, which I and my family have enjoyed daily for over a quarter century, a natural process unfolds within the body, expanding the normally dwarfed human awareness. This is easily verifiable by anyone with an honest inclination to feel truth – and I don’t mean emotionally. Once the human nervous system is enlightened, it’s possible to literally feel the difference between goodness and harmfulness, constructiveness and destructiveness. It’s the closed, biased circuit of our personal thought processes that keeps us in the shell of insecurity and ignorance. The benefits I’ve experienced and seen would (and inevitably will) fill a book. I find it shameful – indeed tragic – that a handful of malicious persons invest their time in defaming this unprecedented, universal gift, thereby misleading earnest seekers. It’s an old story, I guess. History is full of the scars from dark hearts which couldn’t stand the light – individuals who cleverly don the robes of would-be righteousness. It’s always been easier to rally under the banners of hatred and suspicion, than to proudly plant the flags of common goodness. At last we’re able to equip ourselves with the inner tools to perceive reality and establish clarity. Now that we all stand on the threshold of a beautiful, new opportunity, I sincerely hope that you will recognize the difference when your moment comes.

Brahmapuri

You can try, just now.
Open your hands, palms upward, and ask quietly in your heart
for your Self-realization.
You can close your eyes or else look at the picture above this text.
Within a few seconds you should feel something in your hands
and on top of your head.
Take a few moments to enjoy this change.
This is the beginning.

Rainbow

prisoners of thought

Baby Angel

I was visiting friends the other day. Their daughter, who I know since babyhood, just graduated from high school. She is now tall and smart, but just as much a free-spirited child as she always was. She has always nurtured her spiritual ascent, meditating regularly to enjoy the daily inner clearing and centering effect that this inbuilt connection, this sahaja yoga, has on her. Her classmates never showed any particular interest in her. But on the last day of classes, she was approached by the other girls who had been shocked to hear that she was not going with them on the graduation field trip. She was moved to tears when they started crying with dismay at the prospect of never seeing her again. They probably didn’t know themselves why they were so overwhelmed with emotion at this loss. The subtle vibrations that emit from such a person, like a comforting, familiar fragrance, sooth the energy centers and channels in others. This is not a theory, but a well documented phenomena which has been occurring with increasing frequency. I remember when another born-realized toddler made friends with an elderly lady on a return flight from India. Leaning against her knees, he sweetly smiled up into her face, radiating joy and thoughtless awareness. Then he played nearby, sometimes involving her in his games. By the end of the journey, the woman was beside herself with mirth. As they wheeled her from the plane, she was heard to exclaim, “I don’t know what has come over me. I feel so good!”

Such is the nature of the higher state we are approaching – a state of boundless benevolence that benefits everyone, regardless of race, age or social class. Its range of influence is limited by only one factor: human free will. A person with an honest and humble desire to attain freedom from blinding conditionings and misleading ambitions – one who feels, or at least hopes, that there is something more to life than what we’ve known so far – is destined to attain this treasure. It’s easy to reach, but sometimes a challenge to maintain in this chaotic world. At work and school we have to engage our brains in mundane, and often frustrating, routine. And the landslides of thoughts that bury our attention don’t vanish of their own accord when we come home to rest*. This key to freedom from random mental chatter is only ours to use when it once rises from its hiding place at the base of the spine to open the highest door at the top of the head. With minimal daily effort of the newly enlightened attention, you can permanently escape the burdens of the past and future, and settle into the playful present. If this is such a universal principal, why don’t we learn it in school and practice it in the workplace, you might justly ask. This knowledge and technique is now being implemented in many such institutions, but you know what they said about the early inventions of radio and television (and the later innovation of Apple digital devices): amazing, but will they ever be accepted into common use? Sometimes we humans stick to the old familiar and try to ignore the improvements we could embrace. May the essential joy and inner peace become the familiar that we get hooked on, leaving behind the dead-weight and noise that holds us down. Absolute freedom is just a breath away.

(*In sleep we can step out of this mental traffic, but the third state, that of meditation, is by far more deeply nurturing and liberating, in a permanent way.)

Vibrations Flow From Sahasrara

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when common sense becomes uncommon

Ganesha’s Innocent Eye

In the morning I was down near the creek. I suddenly heard a deep, dangerous sound like a thunder clap rising out of the earth. I stood still and peered in the direction from which it came. As I watched, just eight or nine meters upstream from where I stood, rooted to the spot, an eighty year old cherry tree cracked in the middle of its wide trunk, and came ripping and crashing down onto my bank of the small river. Then all was silent and sunny again. Although it was rather a sad and shocking sight to see this old, proud member of the forest lying there, fatally broken, never to enjoy the water in her roots and sun and birds in her branches again, I understood that nature had run her course and that the saplings sprouting out of the rich earth nearby would rise up to take her place.

The same is true in the world of humans. It’s not a shame to pass away and be born again as something higher – someone richer in love and Gentle Roseexperience – but it is regrettable to shatter one’s inner foundations through frivolous free will, thereby scarring the face of future possibilities.

I recently read a reader’s short statement in a city newspaper, written by a simple, sensible woman, pleading for a move to balanced sexual relations between human beings in our modern society. It was a refreshing plea. We tend to be a society of addicts. Whatever feels good is used and abused to extremes until – like a drug whose effects we numb to, forcing us to take more to feel it – it dominates our senses and our true freedom. I imagine that this concerned citizen caught a distinct glimpse of this break down of common sense, and wondered why two people united in mutual, collectively sanctioned love, could not share this sacred and magical experience privately, without hearing and seeing the topic advertised around every corner like a circus event. Not all that is natural and personal should be hung out on your front door. There is sublime dignity, and there are deep, natural guidelines to a thriving existence, rooted inside each of us.

brokenBack in the early twentieth century, someone* came up with an absurd, twisted theory about sexual feelings between children and their parents (recently exposed as being unfounded) and certain followers of this concept, certain of their cause in making sex an open forum (in effect, watering down the potency of this special, intimate act) shouted from the roof tops that, because there are the nazi-like, or old-fashioned minded who try to repress us in our natural expression, we must run full speed in the other direction to avoid disaster. The individual and collective damage done in such a misguided venture is mostly subtle, but there appear obvious signs of weakness and decline which we tend to ignore. We, as a race, are very slow learners.

It’s time to adjust to the center and rebuild our inner foundations. The experiences of the left and the right extremes are sensational, but not sustainable, and certainly not constructive in the long term. Maybe we’re conditioned now by politics, believing that the ‘center‘ represents a sterile, diplomatic void where nothing concrete can be achieved. The inner center is actually the source of power and creativity. It is the eternal present, abundant in joy and resonant experience. It is built into our subtle beings, and easily accessible through spontaneous self-realization. There springs the love and innocence that make sex, and all other tender exchanges in a dedicated relationship, fulfilling.

Okay, we’ve tried all the cheap extremes. Now let’s get to the potent essence.

~

(*One of his students, Carl Jung, went on to discover more realistic and helpful facts about the human psyche.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5drUNviakdk

fallen

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the universal child

 

God dreamed,
And in Her dreams She saw
The Perfect Form
To reveal Her Love:

In soft
And tender, rosy limbs;
In gentle, curious,
Tickling buds;

In plump
And soothing curves that glow
With generous, happiest
Harmony;

With bright
Caressing, sunny eyes,
And ears to hear
What’s pure and dear;

With tiny,
Shiny lips and tongue
Which taste and sing
And breathe sweetness.

Into
One simplest, gracious Form,
The Best from God
Was humbly born.

And with
Each murmur, smile and wink,
The Mother’s Heart
Did bound and leap!

With each
Fumbling, curious grasp,
The Mother’s Voice
Was heard to laugh!

And when
That Child was sleeping sound,
The Mother’s tears
Of Joy ran down . . .

No flower,
No hill, nor moonlit sea
Can match that deep
Serenity.

Those soft
Eyelids, so calm in sleep,
Do lull to peace
The whole world’s grief,

As, cool
And clear, comes from Above,
That heartfelt Sigh
Of Mother’s Love.

– e. e. saugstad, 1996

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two drops of simple, practical advice

The two most crippling attitudes in our so-called advanced culture are guilt and un-forgiveness. These are the two sides, one dark and the other glaring, of an unlucky coin. The more guilty and insecure we feel, the more we try to justify our existence through unnecessary aggressiveness. On returning home to Vancouver after fifteen years in Vienna, I was surprised to discover how many old friends had completely stopped talking to certain family members because of some minor disagreement between them. When a sliver of inferiority is imbedded deep inside of someone, it’s impossible to maintain the flow of love that would normally generate in the heart. (The internal energy center in a human being that is directly handicapped by guilty feelings, the left vishuddhi chakra, is located just above the heart.) This is how most marriages shatter. When your own unconscious image of yourself is that of a kicked dog, it’s difficult to feel the goodness in others. Once the raging motor of ego kicks in (right agnya chakra), the chances of slipping back into a natural state of benevolence are not likely. Wouldn’t it be great to have a button to push, that would shift your machine back into a smooth gear? You have one.

There is a benevolent, motherly energy in each of us that, once awakened, nurtures the intricate affairs of our subtle insides. With the simplest sincere wish to know ones true self, combined with the slightest contact with the subtlest vibrations, the subatomic building blocks of Creation which can be felt via the human nervous system as a cool breeze, one can instantly reach the state in which we are linked to the all-pervading power that will constantly recharge our worn batteries. You change from a closed, stagnant system, to a plugged-in instrument with all the same valuable attributes as that unlimited Source. This is the first button. Then you get a whole range of active keys and switches that were previously only dormant.Merry Mary Meditate

One of these keys is that which selects a healthy, constructive self-image. Normally, an affirmation or prayer is something spoken (with good intentions) into a disconnected phone. After self-realization, you have your own, personal connection to the inexhaustible reservoir whose nature it is to answer promptly and fix without cost – more efficient and user-friendly than the best on-line device! I’ve been married for twenty-one years, and sometimes I’d like to give my wife a brain transplant when she’s disagreeing with me. Sometimes we walk away angry. But, with a childishly simple correction of the vibrational imbalance, fun and humor can be instantly restored. (And when I’m driving, there are moments in the line of fire of an aggressive motorist when I wish I had a James Bond car that fires rockets. But, with a wave of the hand and a gentle re-orientation of the attention, the cool, calming balance washes in, dispelling the fiery illusion.) It’s very easy to decode subtle obstacles to well-being with an enlightened nervous system. As soon as the inner festive tree-lights are turned on, all your beautiful decorations are discovered. It only takes a few minutes a day of regular meditation to feel and learn how to use all the inherent tools that are built in. The key that removes unnecessary feelings of guilt has many options, and can lift you out of countless complex dead-ends. The same with the switch that deals with your sometimes naughty Mr. Ego. These methods are possible because the hands and the attention become powerful instruments that are capable of directing these vibrations to correct any troublesome problem. Sounds too easy? When you’ve tasted the juice of thoughtless-awareness, a fruit like no other, you’ll never go back to cheap soft-drinks. Just try it and see what happens after you’re connected. The difference will overwhelm you.

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the Force that doesn’t force

We are entering the Age of Miracles, a time when the word miracle loses its familiar meaning – a time when the full potential of human beings is realized and that wondrous splendor spills out to enhance all living experience. (For some, this statement will produce the following reaction: ho-hum, I think I’ll click over to eBay for a cheap camera. Another might rave: yeah, far out, it’s all, like, so WOW! Most – hopefully – will take a moment to peek inside themselves to find out if any hidden treasures lie buried there.)

We’ve heard all the apparently fantastic proclamations: The day of the Last Judgement is nigh; the Comforter and Counselor is coming; watch for the time of Kiyama; the New Age of Aquarius has dawned. . . . Is the highway we’re driving down leading to something permanently better, or just to bumpier disappointment?

Something essential gets overlooked in most of our presumptions about our collective future: whatever shape it takes depends on what’s happening inside each individual. If everyone’s banging their heads against the Wall of Life, the future is bound to be a headache. If everyone is running in circles and complaining about it, we’re definitely in for a dizzy, grumpy trip. If, on the other hand, we can find out if there’s something important inside of us that has till now escaped our attention – something positively revolutionizing – we could be greeted by a very promising landscape indeed. The problem is, the solution seems too simple for our complicated insides. Looking around, we see worrying results of that inner fragmentation. Internal integration is the key.

Cool Vibrations

A good heart (considered by some as a sign of weakness) is a good start, but even benevolent intentions can only take us so far. Still missing is that jump to light-speed that takes us instantly from confusion to clarity. The Force is with us, but how to tap its precious resources? Believe it or not, it’s a natural, built-in germination. Unlike most natural things, it can’t be exterminated through human folly. It’s born of Love, the most powerful force in the universe. It’s tangible. Take a look – it’s inside you.

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steady to the center

Over forty summers ago, at the neither-here-nor-there age of fourteen, I picked up my bongos, stuck out my thumb, and followed the long-haired trail of freedom through Western Canada. My middle-class traveling companions and I ended up in the middle of a hippy community in a public park in central British Columbia. Brick WallOne sultry evening, a long, cool black man showed up introducing himself as John Lee Hooker’s brother – they were in town for an upcoming concert. He took out his guitar and played to the awestruck gathering. Unfortunately, I sat down nearby and pounded on my bongos. Despite the gentleman’s encouraging smiles in my direction, my wine-drenched mind just wouldn’t allow me to keep pace. (The following morning, an acutely annoyed banjo-playing hippy, who had also tried accompanying the star guest in the park, threw a beer bottle at me when I picked up my bongos to tap along.) This was my early introduction to a liberal, but not entirely liberating, life-style. I went in and out of hippy circles over the following decade, eventually cutting off my freak-flag (long hair) and escaping out of alcohol and drug abuse. (When my fourteen-year-old son recently put his hand on my shoulder and declared, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to the sixties!’ I couldn’t keep my lip and eyebrows from curling in honest resentment to the sentiment.)

I didn’t become a corporate executive, military commander or gambling-empire tycoon (I prefer working with my hands – wood is nice), but the wild ways of the beautiful children of nature also didn’t draw my allegiance. It’s funny how life’s many complications actually come out of two simple mistakes: right turns, and left turns. Did you know that your governing nervous system is made up of a distinct left and a right side? I say governing, because we’re normally victims of our pendular moods – domination of the left and right sides of our brain (ego and superego). There’s also something very important and little understood called the para-sympathetic, which automatically animates the various functions of the body. After self-realization, this benevolent caretaker glides in, like a first-class customer service, to make life more fulfilling. From this point on, you become your own *manager, gravitating always to the optimum *center, for maximum efficiency and enjoyment. (*not to be confused with corporate manager, and political center!)

Just to set the record straight: Hippies and other social drop-outs are not always left-sided; and public leaders are not always right-sided. I’ve seen ambitious hippies playing a marathon world-domination board-game, which made me glad that they didn’t really hold the reigns of power; and I’ve met a couple of military officers (Russian and Indian) who write poetry and pray for world peace.

(Here in Austria, there are some pretty intense vibrational elements from the two extremes, from Nazi attitudes to Freud and Catholic ghosts.)

metal peace

the case for Innocence

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Natural Innocence, like absolute Love, is the very foundation of life. It can’t be destroyed, only clouded over in one’s awareness. There are those who would accuse Innocence of being a limiting state that should be grown out of. In fact, it is of the Essence, and a priceless asset to every living thing. It is the fragrance that makes life worth living. If its light is smothered in us, we lose the vitality, the spark of joy, that fills our life with meaning.

I’ve worked on city streets and seen old children, working in the sex trade, hanging on corners with shriveled skin and hollow eyes, like burnt tree trunks in a once lush forest. There are religious organizations that would have us live in states of guilt and darkness, or of egoistical pride and fiery aggression, and the world seems to be run now by ravenous corporations bent on monetary profit at any sacrifice. Most of the daily bad news that bombards us is the result of, directly or indirectly, the decline of Innocence. But Tagore wrote: “Every child born brings the message that God is not yet discouraged of men.” We’re (still) in luck.

Innocence lives in each of us, and supports us, emanating from our Mooladhara center and our heart. We love to hear a child laugh (if we’re not too stressed); to see a puppy play, or the sun rise on a landscape, and sometimes we miss that certain something that seemed to have died in us when we left childhood. It didn’t die, and it is easily unearthed. There’s a simple experience that can be reached effortlessly by any human being, that allows that essential light to shine powerfully inside of us. It’s not a pay-for formula or a trick of the mind. It’s something built-in and it’s waiting, like a present on your birthday. It’s time to open it.

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Innocence Wins

Innocence Wins

One fine morning, down the street,
An elephant I chanced to meet:
“Good day,” I said, and trying to pass
Spoiled my shoes in the dewy grass.

(For he filled the sidewalk, where
He stood without a thought or care.)

“Excuse me sir, I’m late for work!”
I shouted up, a bit berserk.
“If I’m not there by half-passed eight
“I’ll loose my job for being late!”

(But he pretended not to hear
And simply smiled from ear to ear.)

“What’s wrong with elephants these days?!”
I cursed, my liver now ablaze.
“Don’t you watch the stock-exchange?!”
“Time is money! Life is change!”

(He waved his ears and gave a yawn
And nodded to the rising sun.)

“I’ve sweated all my life to be
“Important in the company!
“No elephant will make me stop
“My ardent race to reach the top!”

(With his trunk he picked a rose
And pushed it up against my nose.)

“Listen here you thoughtless brute,
“Perhaps you think you’re being cute,
“But you’d better face the fact:
“You’re holding evolution back!”

At this remark he seemed to grow
And over me, a shadow throw;
A shadow cool and comforting . . .
I wondered what was happening.

Just then I noticed in his eyes
A clear blue depth, like endless skies.
And did, or did I not there see
All life, all hope, all destiny?

Suddenly I seemed to wake
And gave myself a good, strong shake.
“What is . . . where am . . . how did . . .?” said I.
“Where is that god who made me cry?”

(Then wiping tears from both my eyes
I stepped back in great surprise.)

For there before me on the walk
A little child stood looking up.
With head just slightly to one side
He sweetly watched my melting pride.

(I felt embarrassed by his gaze
Which read me like the sun’s pure rays.)

With smile playing on his lips
He quickly turned, and off he skipped.
Was it my heart that, by his whim,
Ran that day along with him?

~

That was a long, long time ago.
And though today I’m gray and old
I feel that child within me still.
And gratefully, I always will.

– Edward E. Saugstad, Cambridge, summer of ’87

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joy and emotional intelligence

JOY+Ei

The human heart is a highly underestimated instrument. It’s quite famous for pumping blood – sometimes uncomfortably fast or slow. It is indirectly responsible for countless love songs and romance novels. It is the source of unforgettable emotional stimulation, i.e., the ecstatic falling-in-love, and the somewhat less agreeable heart-break (falling-out-of-love). And it is universally notorious for the part it plays in the guaranteed end, when, with dramatic finality, it stops, to usher in the mysterious state of death. But what do we really know about our precious hearts?

Without getting too esoteric, there is a simple way of getting to really know your best friend, that rhythmic pal in your chest that channels life and love. The first important step is to establish the actual connection with your self. That sounds like a lot to do, especially if you’ve read countless spiritual self-help manuals. In fact it is easy, quick, and infinitely enjoyable, and happens spontaneously when a certain benevolent energy, designed and provided exclusively for that special purpose, eagerly rises from the ‘sacred bone’ at the bottom of your spine to the fontanel bone at the top of the head. But don’t take my word for it; try it for your self. (For the Web-disoriented, that was a hint to click on the underlined phrase, try it 😉 )

Now, once you’ve gotten to that all-important link (no pun intended) with your self through the awakening of kundalini and it’s subsequent ascent up to the sahasrara chakra, there opens up for you a whole new realm of hither-to unexpected possibilities. You will inevitably find, through the simple, regular practice of sahaja yoga meditation, the proof in the universal pudding that you are much, much more than you ever guessed you are. As the limited human attention steps out into the endless fresh air of pure, unlimited Spirit (as your kundalini spontaneously opens the seventh center at the top of your head), an amazing thing happens. Your heart, a normally clouded mirror, starts to clear and catch more reflection of that joyful sky or sea of absolute love that, although supporting all life, is usually just beyond our perception. Through the carefully designed instrument of your central nervous system, your spiritual modem, you get a first concrete glimpse of the Divine Internet. Don’t be surprised to discover that there is no noise and chaotic chatter there: that connection will fill you with beautiful Silence, the source of all creativity. And That is your very own.

Oh, yeah – this was supposed to be about joy and emotional intelligence. But reading about joy is about as en-joyable as being told about a delicious club sandwich – it just doesn’t hit the spot. Joy has to be lived – and emotional intelligence inevitably follows. Try it. You’ll love it.

(Spirituality = Inherent Joy. It is not a commodity to be bought or sold or in any way controlled by a third party! It can only be a direct connection.)

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Sailing to Capri