Friday, November 17, 2017

Back to Basics II

Meditation is one of the most popular practices in the world.  It extends across the boundaries of beliefs, religions, and dogmas and it is practiced by billions of people, Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and even by Atheists.
It is also one of the few spiritual practices that have been scrutinized and validated by the scientific community. 

The numerous positive benefits of meditation are widely known and documented but we are not going to elaborate on that aspect here, or maybe we will, but another time.
What I really want to talk about is the practical aspect of meditation and in particular some of the more problematic and misunderstood aspects.

People starting the Buddhist practice usually come from other backgrounds, Christian, Jewish come to mind, and they are usually either disappointed by the unsatisfactory answers their former religion give. Like “What was God doing during the Holocaust?” 
Or does a guy that rapes and murders a child goes to heaven if he accepts Jesus as his savior? 
Or they are looking for a practical solution to their worldly problems like people suffering from drug addiction, anxiety, depression etc.

Unlike the religions that offer you heaven but only after you are dead Buddhism offers peace of mind and ease of human suffering right here and now.
Because their religious background students starting the practice of Buddhism put a lot of emphasis on the dogmatic side and less on the pragmatic side which is totally wrong.

To truly understand Buddhism a student should start by understanding what Buddhism is and who Budda was. It should be a mandatory requirement that all Buddhist students should read “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse before studying any of the holy books and sutras.

There are some major points not mentioned in the holy texts and that the teachers, Gurus will not mention to the students like the fact that After studying for thirty years with the best teachers India had all that Buddha got was disappointment and disillusionment and that only after meditating for forty days and nights under the bodhi tree Gautama awaken and attained enlightenment.

Buddhism is something that you do like cooking. 
You may study as many cookbooks you want you are not going to become a chef unless you get in the kitchen.
Yet the Gurus insist on pushing the students on the scholastic path to enlightenment which takes you to nowhere. 

I have met people that have studied Buddhism for 10 -20 -30 years and when I asked them how long till the end of the path they gave me the BS answer that is not the destination but the journey.
That is Ego talk defending the Egotrip, not the eternal soul seeking liberation from the material world. But will leave that discussion for another blog.

So probably you are wondering how much scholastic knowledge does one needs to attain enlightenment. 
The answer is zero, zilch, nada. 
The scriptures are like maps and very confusing because nobody seems to agree on the topology of the human spirit and how to navigate it. 
Even without a map if you keep wandering around you may accidentally find enlightenment, even if that wasn’t your intention at all. 

Pick up this book at your local library “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. 
This is the real account of a spontaneous enlightenment. The guy is real and the even is real, you have to trust me on that. 
But be careful although the event was 100% genuine the way he translates his experience has some major flaws. Once again will maybe talk about that another time.

Back to meditation. 
Short of having a spontaneous enlightenment or a near-death experience the only tried and trusted path to enlightenment is MEDITATION.
So let’s start talking what meditation is. 
To me is the process of awakening. 

I hate labels because people confuse the labels with the reality and getting attached to words makes us miss the meanings.
The process of awakening is a journey from point A the material, dualistic Ego reality and prison of reason to point B the non-dualistic ideal plan of the spirit and free unbounded, infinite existence.

I will not bore you with my 35 years of trial and errors so let’s go directly to the good stuff.

STEP 1 – Shutting down the rational – reasoning Ego mind. 
We are all familiar with the disease plaguing humanity of constant mental chatter AKA rumination. This constant incessant brain activity is the reason for many human mental conditions and just by learning this first step anybody will be greatly rewarded.

The principle behind shutting down the reasoning mind is the fact that the brain can only process one task at the time. 
Multitasking is a misnomer we do not multitask we just switch between tasks really fast giving us the illusion that we are actually doing two or many tasks at the same time.
If you don’t, believe me, there is a very easy way to blow away that misconception 
Next time you feel like you are multitasking start counting backward from 5000 to 1 
That will stop your multitasking dead in its tracks.

So how do you stop your mind from reasoning? 
Very simple you find something to keep your mind preoccupated like watching the clouds drifting in the sky, the flow of a small creek or the flickering flame of a candle. All those things and much more like that are very good mental relaxation techniques and like I said very beneficial in destressing, alleviating anxieties etc etc.

For our practice, however, I found out the most effective method way of quieting the mind is OM chanting. 
You can find OM Buddhist chanting on youtube and can download it on your computer and from there put it on an MP3 player or a smartphone.

Before going to sleep play the OM chant. Join in the chant. 
Note: You don’t have to hit the perfect note or keep up a certain length just find a comfortable tone of your voice that will harmonize with the voices of the monks. 

I recommend you practice only this step until it feels natural to you. Don’t worry if you fall asleep and don’t try to force to stay awake. 
Remember the only purpose of this practice is to quiet the mind nothing less nothing more. I am emphasizing this because the meditation is a naturally progressive chain and if you don’t master the first step the following steps will fail. Also once you master the first step the second step will fall in naturally.

STEP 2 – Contemplation. 
Although we have stopped the mind chatter chanting OM is actually still a brain process so if we keep chanting we are stuck at that level forever so while the OM chant is still playing you drift out from the active chanting, this should happen naturally and when its happening you just let it be. 
You switch your focus to a contemplative mode you are there as a witness with no other agenda other than letting it be. 

Things will start happening, actually, the things are always happening but this time you will become aware of your subconscious mind activity. 
In the beginning, your Reason mind will try to pop out of its inactive mod and try to grab, dissect and judge what’s going on. 

No need to panic just go back to the OM chanting and calm her down. 
You should keep your practice at level two until you are not experiencing any of those pop-ups. 
Like I said once mastered the level you will naturally be attracted to the next level.

STEP -3 Detachment. 
Like I said do not get attached to the labels you need to understand the principle behind the label, II just call it detachment because that is what resonates in my mind. 
So when you are in step 2 CONTEMPLATION you are witnessing your reality as you are watching a movie. 

You have to understand that at this point there are two entities involved The Observer and the Observed. 
Step 3 DETACHMENT is a step in which that difference is erased. 
You should naturally move in a mind experience where there is no observer and observed or that you are both. 

This will translate into a detachment from your corporeal existence. 
Some people in the new age spirituality will call it out of body experience, third eye opening etc etc. IT DOESN”T MATTER. The words mean nothing. The only important thing is that you understand what was going on. At this point, your consciousness is expanding beyond the limits of your physical existence.

Note: The first step is always the shortest, The second will be longer but not extreme, The third step is usually the longest. You are exploring the vast regions of consciousness and that is a lot of exploring to do. So be patient enjoy the experience and as always don’t force anything.
And finally 

STEP 4 -Transcendence. 
Although in step 3 you have escaped the limits of self you are literally still in the dualistic reality you are still not free of the concept of self. 
Step four is where you are going to die, The construct of self has to vanish before you can become one. 

You know that joke about the Buddhist monk asking the hot dog vendor “make me one with everything”? This is it. This is the place where the AWAKENING and subsequently the Enlightenment happens. 

How do you do it? 
I don’t know I haven’t passed that threshold yet but when I'll do it I’ll let you know.

Good luck with your practice. 
Be patient an persistent. You should do your meditation religiously every night before bedtime. 
You may practice it anytime as many times you want but pushing it will not work or make it faster it will be exactly the opposite making it longer So you practice once in the evening every day without exception or excuses and whenever you feel its right and natural.

Good luck and if you reach enlightenment first  I’ll be your first student!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Back to Basics I

I am a very practical man and as I am getting older and have less and less time on my hands to waste, anything I do has to have a purpose and it has to work, to give results, in order to be worthy of my time.
So, I don’t care if it is the Bible, the Quran or the Buddhist sutras, I am expecting that the teachings they impart to be beneficial to my life and if they don’t then too bad because I’m not putting up with the BS anymore.
So instead of concentrating on holy texts and books, as I use to do when I was young, I now concentrate on my practice, my meditation, my affirmations, and visualization.

I found out that you don’t need a Bible to talk to God. He will talk to you anytime you want. 
You just have to learn how to do it, how to stop listening to your mind chatter, stop listening to your Ego, and create the mind silence in which God can address you and can be heard.
I know it sounds simple, maybe too simple but believe me it is much harder when you meditate and actually are trying to stop the chatter in your mind.

So, let me share with you some of the things I found out from my daily practice.
Prayer, meditation, chanting, mantras, yoga etc etc are just names for the same process we are trying to affect in our subconscious mind. 
Basically, there are two things we can do: Erase old programming or write new programming. Obviously, we want to erase the “bad” programming and add “good” programming but as you know hell is paved with good intentions and sometimes things turn out just the opposite to what we want to accomplish.

By practicing forgiveness, thanks giving, gratitude, charity, and compassion we can remove some of the negativity we have accumulated. 
By practicing affirmations, visualizations, hypnosis or self-hypnosis or NLP we can introduce new programming in our life. 
Most people just do one of the two without realizing that you have to do both and not in just any random fashion but in this precise order: First, erase then re-write.

It is essential to first decide what we want to accomplish and make a plan on how we are going to accomplish it rather than jumping in and do a lot of things in the hope that something will work.
Like I said if you don’t know what are you doing you can end up screwing yourself up and trust me I’ve seen some very fucked up “spiritual” people.

The other thing you have to know before actually doing anything is the “language level match” principle.
It states that in order to communicate you have to speak the same language with the one you are trying to communicate with. It sounds so basic that many people don’t even consider it.

So, let me ask you what language does your subconscious speak? English, French, Chinese? Whatever your answer is it is probably wrong because the subconscious doesn’t speak an abstract language like words or images. 
The only things that our subconscious understands are emotions and feelings.
If the words of your affirmations and the images of your visualization do not trigger any emotions it is exactly like saying blah, blah, blah to your subconscious.

In order to make your affirmations and visualization work, you have to find the words that trigger the desired emotions in us.
 There is no given script since the same words trigger differently in different people but you can read some affirmations or listen to some on YouTube and make notes of how you respond emotionally or you can try the old method of trial and error,
 Just experiment with your affirmations and take my advice, do not assume anything just go wildly random.

The second and maybe the most important IMO is the meditation practice but for that, you’ll have to read my next post. 
Until then good luck with your practice!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Love Love

Love has a very bad reputation.
Love has been accused, put on trial found guilty and condemned for a crime it has never committed.
That crime has been written in books and poems, sung in songs, painted in paintings and depicted in movies so much that it is taken for granted.
Love is a heartbreaker.

But has Love ever break your heart?
Don’t just jump to the answer. Before saying “YES” think about it.
Have you ever had so much love that it actually broke your heart?
No? I didn’t think so.

Love never broke any heart.
We broke it and instead of pleading guilty, blame it on Love

First of all, we don’t know what Love is.
You may think what it is but your puny infatuation and libidinous lust are not love.
You have to go to an animal shelter and rescue an abused or abandoned dog.
Only people that have done that know what Love is.

Only an animal can love unconditionally
We, humans, can’t.
We used to know what unconditional love was, but then we became “civilized” and losing Love was part of the price for the “civilized life”
The promise of “civilization” to make our lives better was a lie.
Instead, we have become slaves to the “civilization”, to the system.

I remember when my daughter was born.
I was in love from the first second I saw her face.
I thought I knew what love was but I was wrong.
I would have given her everything, my blood my organs my life, but not my unconditional love.

She was about 2 years old. I was ready to go to work when she came to the door and grabbed my leg.
-          Daddy, please don’t go! She said with big wet eyes.
Did you know what I did? I turned around and went to work while she watched me with tears rolling down her face.
She was 2 and I broke her heart. I broke her heart, not Love.

Don’t give me the bullshit that love has broken the heart s of the people you loved.
That you have never done it.
Love has never broken a heart.
It is time we set the record straight. It is time to atone for our crimes.

Before it is too late we have to remember, learn how to love unconditionally.
Before we lose our humanity completely we have to bring it back in our lives in our society.
I think it is time to let the machines do the work and for us to return doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place.
Let’s put back Love in the formula of our society
Life, Love, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Friday, November 10, 2017

We are not Humans

We are not humans, and I don’t mean we are more or less assholes, I mean we are NOT humans.
Being human is an illusion, a dream a falsehood programmed in our brains by social conditioning.
This error is the only reason we can judge, dislike, discriminate, hate, torture and kill another human being.

It is this false belief that there is an I and a YOU, a US and a THEM.
This disconnect, this anomaly that tells you that, is called the Ego.
The Ego is the reason we believe we exist independent of everything else.

Not to state the obvious but we are just “embryos” living in mother’s Gaia womb like unborn fetuses.
Without her loving protection and nourishment, we wouldn’t last a minute and that is a scientific fact not a figure of speech.
Yet we don’t give a damn about the pillage and destruction we perpetuate every day to the very thing that gives us life.

What makes the Ego think he is the most important thing, the center of creation, that everything in the universe revolves around “ME”?
Being “human” is an act, our bodies mere costumes, the world just a stage where the very complicated drama with billions of actors is playing for millennia.

You did not create yourself, you did not create your character and nobody else is taking that credit.
So who is the actor behind your act?

We are mere waves on the surface of an ocean of consciousness.
We are divine and nature and human only in form.
We ebb and flow and each time we forget where we raised from and where our journey will return us.

Birth and death are not beginnings and ends, they are just costume and role changes, but behind every human experience, the actors remains the same.

I once asked a Rabbi  “What was God NOT doing when six million Jews were butchered in the concentration camps?”
He could not answer me because he saw himself as “human”
He told me that a “human” cannot understand Gods plans.
I told him “God died six million times. And you cannot see or comprehend God as long as you see yourself separate from me, and us from HIM.”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

No Regrets

Living your life with regrets is like driving a car looking in the rearview mirror.
You may have good intentions, think positive thoughts and envision a better future but the “aim” of your actions will be determined by your view.
It is all the could have, should have, regrets that are guiding your course, not the I am and I will.

We all have made mistakes, we all are making mistake and we will continue to make mistakes no matter how hard we try to avoid it.
Life is a continuous learning process and just when you think you have figured it out it will throw a new challenge at you. So don’t sleep on your laurels and don’t expect boredom in your future.
As long as you live life is a constant challenge.

But that is not a problem. I love challenges and I don’t understand the people that go out of their way to avoid them, to do nothing.
I don’t agree either with the people that work all the time and never stop to smell the roses.
I mean after hard work and struggle everybody deserves a vacation.

I also believe that the only bad experiences are the experiences from which we have learned nothing.
And that seems to be the big problem; we keep on making the same mistakes again and again.
These bad experiences accumulate in our mind, in our memory, as negative luggage as regrets and after a while, these regrets will drag us down.
So from time to time it is necessary to go through this negative burden and throw it out of our mind any regrets we may have.

You should live your life with no regrets.
Whatever you have done you have done. The past cannot be changed no matter what you do.
The only thing in your control is our present and in how we handle this present is the secret of our future. So stop driving your life looking in the rearview mirror. It is just a recipe for more accidents to come.

There is an interesting study done by the phycology department at Cornel University.
The researchers have looked at videos of Olympic medal ceremonies and compare the way the winners reacted.
You would expect the happiness to be tied to the value of the medal but your assumption would be wrong.
Of course, the gold medal winner will be happy but to everybody’s surprise, it was the bronze medal winner that was most excited and the silver medal winner that was the list excited. Why is that?

We look at ourselves by comparing us with the other people around.
The bronze medal winner is looking down. One second less one small difference and he could have not been an Olympic medalist.
The silver m medalist, however, is looking up. He is thinking one second, one minute difference and  I could have been the gold medal winner.

It is the regrets that take all the joy out of our experiences.
We torture ourselves with “I should have” and “I could have” while keeping the same mistakes again.

I remember an incident in my high school years.
We were having a dance ball.  It was an annual tradition for our school to invite the neighbor high school which happened to be a girls-only high school.
Needless to say that all the boys in my school were looking forward to this dace.

I can still see us, the boys, aligned on one side of the ballroom and all the pretty girls aligned on the opposite side.
The music started and with the exception of a few boyfriend-girlfriend couples, nobody was brave enough to invite the girls to dance.
I started making fun of all my colleagues. I was the unofficial class jocker and it was my duty to ridicule them.
I was having fun calling them names until one of them fired back. “If you are so smart and brave why don’t you do it?

I realized there was no way out so I did the best I could think of.
I said I’ll go and ask a girl to dance but no matter what happened they all had to go and ask one girl to dance. They also had no choice but to accept the challenge but to make it even harder for me they asked to pick the girl I have to invite.
So they picked out what they thought was the most beautiful girl guaranteed to refuse me and shut me down.

Here I was walking to a certain defeat and humiliation but determined to do it just to take them down with me.
I reach the girl and blurred out the prepared invitation and to my shock, she said yes!
So here I was slow dancing with the most beautiful girl in the room looking at my friends looking at me from the side. Life couldn’t have been more wonderful.

So I learn a very important lesson that evening: It is better to regret making a decision than to regret never making that decision.
It was a very good lesson and it served me well in all my youth and young adulthood but somehow somewhere I lost it.
I became fearful of the future or just too complacent, too lazy. I got stuck into a dead end job and inevitably found myself on an unemployment line.

I let regrets taking over my emotional life and pretty soon worries and negativity joined in to take me down to the deepest darkness of depression.
Do not let regrets of the past determine your future.
If you have any regrets write them down. Look at the list and for each regret write next to it the lesson you have learned. Post that list on a visible spot on your desk or where it would be impossible not to see it every day.

At the top of the list write in bold capital letters: