Wednesday, 29 August 2012

How to destroy your children's spirituality - or not!



Kids have a bad deal if we don't guard them against some of the horrors of this world.  The task of parents and teachers is challenging.

Throughout our lives we are in one of two states. 

We are either a drop thrown up by the Ocean, in which we see the world as me and 'it'.  

Or through meditation, or some other unitive experience, we are in a state of having (temporarily) laid down the burden of separate, egoistic self in favour of just Self.

“The birds have vanished from the sky,

and now the last clouds slip away.

We sit alone, the mountain and I,

until only the mountain remains.”

(8th Century) Chinese poet Li Po

Many I suppose pass through this world without the awakening that is represented by access to the unitive, non-egotistic state.  Many are called, few are chosen.

Parents have the challenging task of using the 'world of dualities' to create the individuation of the self: hot-cold, nice-nasty, acceptable-not acceptable, loving-not loving, green-not green, me-not me etc.

The more challenging dimension is to not allow 'individuation via dualities' to tip over into permanent, unbridled egotism.

Even more important is the enabling, encouraging dimensions of self that are the foundations for true spirituality in the adult.  Of course every child, thank God, is different.

Stillness is one.  Quietness is one.  Sensing the magic of a wondrous phenomenon - a horse, a cloudscape, a rushing brook another

I recall that Eckhart Tolle says that as soon as we label something - say a tree - the child never really sees that phenomenon again - at least in the sense of it's total, magical reality.

I think that is true if all we do is provide labelling answers.

To (merely) label is to dismiss.

To (merely) label is to reinforce dualities and only dualities.

When we say to a child, "In the tree there are whole wolds of animals, and water systems and capturing of sunlight." we are creating a relationship between the child and tree-ness that is not limited.  The tree is then a possible gateway to Wholeness, Oneness and an experience of laying down the burden of self in Wonder, Awe, Astonishment, Amazement.

The horrors of our celebrity world and the constant bombardment of noise to ensnare and then sell, sell, sell is one of the worst horrors waiting to capture our children for Mammon - leaving them for an adult life without the basics of true spirituality - something we should work to prevent.

Much in early life is simple: hugs, reading every day, laughing and games -  but another is also easy - vocalising our own inner spiritual dialogue:

"Sitting and having a cup of tea stops me from too much busy, busy, busy."

"I love being near a horse - I love the twitches, the breath, the horsey smell, the munching of grass - horses are magical."

"Sometimes I wonder about all the life that is in and around and beneath that beautiful tree!"

We don't even have aways to ask such key questions as, "What do you think?" or "What do you like about elephants?"

Sometimes being authentic in and through ourselves is the best we can be, and therefore do, for our children.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Thomas Merton's defence of Thich Nhat Hanh

I was delighted to discover than a wonderful defence of the Young Thich Nhat Hanh was put up by Thomas Merton;


This is not a political statement. It has no ulterior motive, it seeks to provoke no immediate reaction “for” or “against” this or that side in the Vietnam war. It is on the contrary a human and personal statement and an anguished plea for Thich Nhat Hanh who is my brother. He is more my brother than many who are nearer to me by race and nationality, because he and I see things exactly the same way. He and I deplore the war that is ravaging his country. We deplore it for exactly the same reasons: human reasons, reasons of sanity, justice and love. We deplore the needless destruction, the fantastic and callous ravaging of human life, the rape of the culture and spirit of an exhausted people. It is surely evident that this carnage serves no purpose that can be discerned and indeed contradicts the very purpose of the mighty nation that has constituted itself the “defender” of the people it is destroying.
 Certainly this statement cannot help being a plea for peace. But it is also a plea for my Brother Nhat Hanh. He represents the least “political” of all the movements in Vietnam. He is not directly associated with the Buddhists who are trying to use political manipulation in order to save their country. He is by no means a Communist. The Vietcong is deeply hostile to him. He refuses to be identified with the established government which hates and distrusts him. He represents the young, the defenseless, the new ranks of youth who find themselves with every hand turned against them except those of the peasants and the poor, with whom they are working. Nhat Hanh speaks truly for the people of Vietnam, if there can be said to be a “people” still left in Vietnam.

To read the article go HERE

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Do you like to eat melon? - Yes, then help bees!

"Grow, grow, grow
buzz the bees -Issa, 1809 - To receive your daily haiku go HERE 

For more on Japanese Haiku poet go HERE


If you like fruit & vegetables help bees - go HERE




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Friday, 24 August 2012

Exquisitely chanted Baha'i Prayer for the Departed (Laurie Early)

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!

Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.

O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendours on the loftiest mount.


Laurie says:

I created this musical setting of the prayer in honor of my musical mentor, Ulysses L. Slaughter, Jr. This was the first public performance, January 4th, 2009, (not the 9th, that's a typo), at his memorial service. 

I continually dedicate my musical life to his memory.

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9/11 Tribute Song - This Unforgiving Town by Laurie Early

Zen masters talk about nothing but the existence of God - in Tillich's sense


How close is Paul Tillich's work to (Zen) Buddhism?

First some of Tillich's central ideas;

Tillich presents .......... God as Being-ItselfGround of BeingPower of Being

What makes Tillich's ontological view of God (RP ontology = being ) different from theological theism is that it transcends it by being the foundation or ultimate reality that "precedes" all beings. 

Just as Being for Heidegger is ontologically prior to conception, Tillich views God to be beyond Being-Itself, manifested in the structure of beings.[42] God is not a supernatural entity among other entities. Instead, God is the ground upon which all beings exist. 

We cannot perceive God as an object which is related to a subject because God precedes the subject-object dichotomy.[42]

Thus Tillich dismisses a literalistic Biblicism. Instead of rejecting the notion of personal God, however, Tillich sees it as a symbol that points directly to the Ground of Being.[43] 

Since the Ground of Being ontologically precedes reason, it cannot be comprehended since comprehension presupposes the subject-object dichotomy. 

Tillich disagreed with any literal philosophical and religious statements that can be made about God. 

Such literal statements attempt to define God and lead not only to anthropomorphism but also to a philosophical mistake that Immanuel Kant warned against, that setting limits against the transcendent inevitably leads to contradictions. 

Any statements about God are simply symbolic, but these symbols are sacred in the sense that they function to participate or point to the Ground of Being. 

Tillich insists that anyone who participates in these symbols is empowered by the Power of Being, which overcomes and conquers nonbeing and meaninglessness.


RP - A few comments;

Tillich's 'pointings' are no different to those of a Zen master.

Buddhist teachers, especially Zen masters talk about nothing but the existence of God - and how to be a drop lost in the Ocean - until the laundry needs doing

Literalism is the death of religion because metaphor is the language of the spirit - metaphor makes room for other viewpoints - and for the infinite God, the Whole, the infinite Mystery.

Yet these also are true:

"The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." - Meister Eckhart

"Zen is the unsymbolization of the world." - R H Blyth  (RP Try explaining that to a fundamentalist - or to a child!)

"No reason can be given for the nature of God, because that nature is the ground of rationality."  A N Whitehead  in Science and the Modern World (1925). 

Zen and the thology of Tillich teach us to live in the presence of God as that which is beyond word, concepts or any symbols - about which we are mindful when and being overcome with self.

QUESTION - So are we supposed to live constantly in mystic union with the Whole in an ego-less reverie?

Abraham Joshua Heschel provides the best answer I've ever discovered;

The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it only ‘the sense of the ineffable’ can glide.
It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding. ‘

Neither is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore,and
the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references, but can never fill the gap They are as far and as close
to each other…as life and what lies beyond the last breath.
A J Heschel - Man is Not Alone p8.

a more poetic and fulsome presentation of the much more cryptic;

'After the Ecstasy; the laundry'


"Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." 

Duality is the goal - but duality is a vital wing in the raising of consciousness, especially in children - without a self, there is no self to lose.

It also enables us to not bump into the furniture


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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

You have only 48 hours to say NO to the UK govt's law to spy on all.

Please add your voice to stopping the governments law to spy on everyone.  

The police and secret services already have all the powers they need.  

Such a law is a dangerous step toward a totalitarian state.

See here;

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Photography as exploration of our inner life, spirituality & healing

Nick Turpin says about doing street photography,

"It makes me feel special to be there but not to be chatting, not to be shopping or not even be heading for some where else. I feel like I am invisible to the passing crowds. This in turn leads to my sense of self, which is the finest feeling of all."

Street Photography Now p207

In a spiritual context this is a statement about unitive ie mystical experience. Nick points up another ability within raised spiritual consciousness here;

"For me, pictures made in a shopping street or business district of a city reveal as much about our world as pictures made in places of international conflict or famine or environmental disaster."

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

I have been converted to Swami Beyondananda


Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist, and workshop leader. For the past 23 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the "Cosmic Comic." Swami's comedy has been called "irreverently uplifting" and has been described both as "comedy disguised as wisdom" and "wisdom disguised as comedy."

As the Swami, Steve is the author of Driving Your Own Karma (1989), When You See a Sacred Cow, Milk It For All It's Worth (1993), Duck Soup for the Soul (1999) and Swami for Precedent: A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction (2004).

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Authentic spirituality as 'what we do with our higher in-comprehension' - 'Radical Awareness 365 8/08/12


“Awareness of the divine begins with wonder. It is the result of what man does with his higher incomprehension. 

The greatest hindrance to such awareness is our adjustment to conventional notions, to mental clichés. 

Wonder or radical amazement, the state of maladjustment to words and notions, is therefore a prerequisite for an authentic awareness of that which is.”

                                                                                                                                                                   From Abraham Heschel’s ‘God in Search of Man’

A view of Heschel's Radical Awareness - as a 'philosophy'.

A gross but inspirational oversimplification of Radical Amazement is to be so in awe of every aspect of the world and its creator that one cannot help but do one’s part to make it the best it can be.


TAGS: radical awareness, daily inspirations, art, inspiration, wonder, awe, awareness, consciousness, spirituality, authentic, spirituality, 

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Rabbi Arthur Waskow discusses what we can draw from the civil rights and anti-war movements of 40 years ago

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Jonathan Jones writes about 'mighty wordsmith' Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes
'A mightier wordsmith than most of today’s leading novelists' ... Robert Hughes, who has died aged 74. Photograph: Najlah Feanny/Corbis

Robert Hughes, who has died aged 74, was simply the greatest art critic of our time and it will be a long while before we see his like again. He made criticism look like literature. He also made it look morally worthwhile. He lent a nobility to what can often seem a petty way to spend your life. Hughes could be savage, but he was never petty. There was purpose to his lightning bolts of condemnation.

To read the article go HERE

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Authentic spirituality and 'radical amazement'

                                                                To read the full article go HERE
In exploring Abraham Joshua Heschel's philosophy/way of living  'radical amazement' I cam across an inspiring blog post by Ellen Brown.  Here s a quotation from it;

Finding wonder in even the simplest and most common of things is the first step in appreciating the land. This mantra follows from the principle that humans are temporary tenants on the earth, not owners of it. Radical amazement is a form of thinking that goes beyond knowledge–its a constant attitude. It is one thing to understand science, history, math etc., but it’s another thing to be awestruck with the existence of how the world functions.

By studying and asking questions, we exhibit the will to wonder.  In the Jewish tradition, every moment and each act can become an opportunity to feel wisdom in all things. We use blessings to provide an opportunity for us to “ask permission” to use, benefit, and take pleasure from what we find in the world. According to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “We are trained in maintaining our sense of wonder by uttering a prayer before the enjoyment of food. Each time we are about to drink a glass of water, we remind ourselves of the eternal mystery of creation.”

In this way, blessings channel us from the physical world to the spiritual world. Yet blessings are not the only way to enhance wonder. The principle of Bal Tashschit(derived from Deuteronomy 20:19) prohibits the needless waste of anything, from food to fuel. Today, using disposables, leaving lights on unnecessarily, over-utilizing the air-conditioning, or driving a car when it is not necessary might be considered a violation of this principle.

In this way, we can maintain amazement by not taking things for granted.

To read the full article go HERE

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Thursday, 2 August 2012

Matthew Fox on Hildegarde and the State of the Roman Catholic Church


</object><div style="font-size: 10px;text-align: center; width:220px;"> Listen to internet radio with Namaste Radio on Blog Talk Radio</div>


Matthew Fox was born December 21, 1940 in Madison, Wisconsin. He currently resides in Oakland, California. Formerly a Catholic priest and presently an Episcopal priest, Fox is arguably the most important theologian of our time. He is certainly amongst the most controversial. A spiritual theologian and religious scholar, he has dedicated much of his life to developing/recovering the tradition of Creation Spirituality.

One can learn much about Matthew Fox's life by reading his autobiography, Confessions: The Making of a Post Denominational Priest. Not surprisingly much has happened in Matthew's life and work since the 1996 publication of Confessions. We invite you to find out what his latest projects are; he usually has several in the works at any given time.

He's currently working on a new book about Hildegard and ressurecting the balance of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, published by Namaste Publishing.


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