Friday, July 25, 2008

Enlightened Living Through Giving

A deeply devoted Zen monk slowly climbed the mountain path. He took even breaths as the air thinned above him. Steadily he made his way to the summit. There he rested. The peace that transcends time, space, religion, and being surrounded him.

If you’re like me and think with your “western” ideas the preceding may be the one of the images your mind conjures when you think of enlightenment. Too often our ideas on consciousness or enlightenment are centered on a mystical almost forbidden impression or religion. This is particularly harmful because it causes us to shun the world within and look for answers in the world without. Great power must come from somewhere, and we have found that it can only be found by reaching within.

Meditation has long been the most direct method of getting in touch with the “other” self. Peace comes through silence and stillness. The Old Testament states it most simply, “Be Still and Know that I Am God (book of Psalms 46:10).” Through silence one comes in contact with the Infinite. God being eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent exists in the silent cracks of reality. Through the physical process of slowing down the brain waves and being still it is said one can become closer to knowing God.

I have found that living consciously can be accomplished through indirect means as well. Through the act of giving the embodiment of living infinitely can be found. Let me demonstrate how.

Giving comes in many forms it can be physical, monetary, emotional, and expressive. For example giving can be in the form of lending someone your shoulder to cry upon as in an emotional giving situation or as in giving sincere appreciation for a job well done in an expressive giving experience. Many philosophers and intellectuals have correctly identified much of the giving (and perhaps all) is essentially motivated by selfish desires. For example one may give all their possessions to the poor, yet they are doing so to make themselves feel better and imagine they are a helpful person.

Simultaneously, along with our selfish desire being fulfilled, a much greater occurrence takes place! To a varying degree, the giving individual steps outside them self to become conscious to the needs of another. No matter how selfish the “giving” this must occur. The less selfish the act of giving the more one is able to become conscious of the fact that the two seemly separate entities share the same relationship with the Infinite. Once this truth is recognized the idea of giving and receiving clearly shows that both separate parties’ benefit as much as the whole.

The act of giving allows individuals to access a greater power within themselves! Salesmen, great statesmen, and leaders have known this for years. The best salesmen so identify with the desire of their clients they can actually anticipate the need before it happens. Great leaders that identify with their followers put their followers needs before themselves earning the respect and loyalty of the masses. Living a spiritual life does not always entail climbing the mountain of Zen or making a Holy Pilgrimage but can exist in the everyday activities and interactions of our lives.

Beautiful photo by Jerrold

Monday, July 14, 2008

“In Him we Live, Move, and Have our Being.”

Read the title again from the first part of Acts 17:28. Within the title sentence is great meaning. When you read it, turn your attention inward as taking in a breath of air.

“In Him we Live, Move and Have our Being.”

Our first order of business is to get some of the details out of the way. This statement is made by the Apostle Paul when speaking to the Athenians, who were very religious in practicing the worship of various man-made idols (not unlike how we do now). Now the full verse states, “In Him we live move and have our being, as even some of our own poets have said, “For we are His offspring”.” Therefore, when referring to “Him,” this is not necessarily applying a gender to God, which may turn some off to the statement. The people of this time and place could perhaps relate to God being referred to as “Him.” This approach was especially effective as Paul is connecting their culture’s strong poetic and philosophic roots to this statement.

“In Him we Live, Move and Have our Being.”

Have you discovered the hidden power behind the sentence yet? Power only comes to those who are conscious of power. There was once a man who was down on his luck having lost his job, his wife, and his family. In his last resort he goes to a fortuneteller to see if there is any hope left in the future. The fortuneteller tells him he belongs to the lineage of the great Napoleon! At once the man begins to hold himself with great poise and strength. Soon he has his job back, a new wife, and a new reservoir from which to draw power. Later, he discovered through research that most likely he was not of Napoleon’s lineage. However, the inner power he found from identification stayed with him throughout his years.

“In Him we Live, Move and Have our Being.”

Here we recognize that true power comes from understanding that through identification of the Spirit one actually experiences true “being”. True power comes from the inside from our connection to the infinite. Everything we experience on the inside will come into manifestation on the outside. Seek the power within and you will find the ultimate realization of power and life in the world around you.

Beautiful Picture by Strudelmonkey

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Wisdom of Star Wars

Every once in a while a great work of art comes along that touches our hearts and minds in unforgettable ways. George Lucas' Star Wars is such a piece. The reason for Star Wars' success can be attributed to amazing special effects, action, adventure, and themes of romance. However, on a deeper level Star Wars speaks to our reality containing the great truths and secrets to life. Star Wars features themes that are eternal, archetypes that will live forever, and wisdom that contains the power of transformation.

In this scene, Luke Skywalker our hero and adventurer is faced with a situation that is impossible. Yoda explains to Luke that the problems and their degree of difficulty only exist in the mind.

"You must unlearn what you have learned."

Many of us have learned to react to life in a certain way. We are told we can do this - or we can't do that. Yoda here explains to Luke that nothing is impossible. Impossible only exists because we have learned to think it does. Luke's reality which is created by his own mind is the only thing that limits him.

"Try not! Do, Do or Do not, there is no try."

Here Yoda explains the importance two critical elements of living infinitely. 1. Faith: When we NEED to accomplish something in life (whether it be a X-wing in the swamp or a bill we have to pay) absolute faith is necessary if we are to receive the desired results. The Infinite Intelligence (maybe you could call it the force) responds to our intentions and brings about the solution. According to the Gospel of Luke (17:6), Jesus declared, "if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

2. Living in the moment: When we are one with the present moment we are not trying - we are either performing or not. To try is to expect to fail. I am not saying that calculations and strategy need to be disregarded, but they too can be performed with excellence in the present moment.

"Luminous Beings are We, not this prude matter"

Yoda here speaks of our true reality. The self that is connected to all others. The part of us that is One with God and in the likeness of the Divine. Through an understanding of this concept and awareness we begin to to understand that all is possible.

Luke: "I don't believe it"
Yoda: "That is why you fail"

Why do we fail?

"Fear attracts the Fearful"

Darth Maul here reveals to us out greatest enemy and his greatest ally. What do we fear? We fear ourselves. Overcome this enemy and great power will be yours. Fear grips us with limitations that deny our true nature. I leave you with Romans 8:12

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Special thanks to ErikErikSonD and Chassith for the excellent videos