Saturday, January 30, 2021

"The world is too much with us. Getting and spending we lay waste all our powers, little we see in nature that is ours." "William Wordsworth"

Most of our living is at the level of our solar plexus.  This level of living coincides with our senses: seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and tasting.  The trouble with our senses is that they are not reliable. For example, it is dusk and you are walking, your eyes see something coiled, your senses say it is a snake.  However, the truth is, it is a coiled hose.  Its not that all our senses deceive us, they do however, lack the consciousness to discern fully, and at the same time you might say there is a quality of ignorance about them.  Our senses do however, provide us with the capacity to maneuver effectively about our lower levels of  our lives, that is "the getting and spending" part, but at the same time, negatively disassociates us with Nature. 

The Buddhist keep the relationship between the, lower material aspects of our lives, and the spiritual part,  by simply dividing the outcome of living a material based life, against the higher spiritual. The basic difference is that a strict material, "getting and spending" lived life, brings suffering, while the spiritual lived life brings happiness.  Most people, if asked which they would prefer, would chose happiness.  However, our "getting and spending" way of life has been praised, culturally excepted, and built into the perceived best practice of life to emulate. It has been praised so positively, that it has become a compulsion, to the point that we cannot control it, it controls us.   Compulsion is cyclical, and loops us, so that the more we use it the stronger it becomes, and the more difficult it becomes to brake free. 

The spiritual aspect of our lives is always with us, but becomes veiled and restricted by the "getting and spending" of the material side of us, causing us to live on the lower levels of life, while grooming us for even greater down word slides.  The result is a blocking of our hearts, and the unensouling of our self.  This disconnect, is our own making, and the finger of responsibility points directly at us. 

What we forgot to install in our life is that we have an innate capacity for self-determination.  Viktor E. Frankl, an immanent psychiatrist, and survivor of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, says, "...Man is not fully conditioned and determined, but rather determines himself whether he gives into conditions or stands up to them.  In other words, man is ultimately self-determined.  Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment." 

Let  us extend self-determination to include the determinate effect of the immediate Universe.  This link to the Universe my seem surreal to the solar plexuses level we are accustom to be living at, but you may be surprised to find, we are in fact: born of the moon, children of the sun, off spring of the stars, and inheritors of the cosmic spaces...we and the universe are in essence not twain but one. Truly, we all are wondrously fashioned by the elements of the Universe: earth, water, wind, fire, akash or some say ether. 

Our inherit connection to the Universe is not haphazard, we are it's inheritors, it's children, in all aspects of our commingled lives.  We are looked after with the greatest of love and compassion, just as our earth parents looks after us.  Because we live at a lower, evolutionary level then the harbingers of the celestial realms, our habits of life are not as virtuous and solidified as are the celestial beings.  However, with self-determination and relentless application in following the right thing to do, we will rise higher, and higher, to take our place with the celestial divinities in their cosmic labor.  


                                              One truth, many paths.   Be good, do good.  


                                                                   Louis DiVirgilio              

            



    


















       

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Duel Nature of Human Nature

The moment we decide to enter upon the path of spiritual realization we are enlisting in a great war, between ourselves and ourselves.  Than, once we the discovery that our human nature is dual, and that a battle is ever going on between our higher self and our lower self, we began to realize, that of all battles, this is the most fearsome and terrible.  

What is so fearsome, is that we do battle with opposing aspects of our selves-the light side and the dark side, and conflict comes not only from outside sources, but also from habits of mind, laden with deep and powerful emotions, caused by experiences from both this and past lives.  All these kindred aspects of ourselves confront and attack in a rapid, and continuous succession.  

As we enter the battle field within ourselves, we call forth and analyze our life purpose, our motives, taking courage to compare wrong things with the right things.  There sitting nose to nose with our truth, we do battle with our lower nature, and by subduing pain and pleasure, by unbending faith in our higher self,  we secure sacred wisdom.  Then we can wheel our sword of wisdom, and slash through the world of illusion to gain freedom from our own mortality.


                                                One truth, many paths.  Be good, do good.
 
                                                                    Louis DiVirgilio

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Wisdom Tree: A Christmas Story

 


Chris Martin was driving home from his work place earlier than usual. Usually he would leave his work about 4:30 pm, but this day he had left at 12, noon.  It was Christmas Eve, however that fact had little to do with Chris’s early departure.

Chris had arrived at his job on time, at 8:00am.  Out of the ten years he worked for the company, he was late only twice.  Once when his wife Elizabeth gave birth to their son Danial, and another when a record snow storm dumped 27 inches of the light and fluffy.  To say he was a responsible and dedicated employee, would be an understatement, for he was that and much more. 

There was a mood of excitement vibrating in the office.  Everyone seemed to be anticipating the festivities of Christmas Eve, and anxious to have at it. The din of excited voices was a background for the spirited activity going on:  people were laughing and talking with great animation, exchanging gifts, eating cookies and candy, drinking eggnog and hot apple-cider, singing Christmas Carols, and some of the men were stealth fully maneuvering the attractive women under the mistletoe to steal a kiss.

Chris too, was caught up in the festive excitement and anticipation of the morning.  After work he was to meet his wife and his children, Daniel and Lisa, at his in-laws house.  Of all the delightful experiences of the Christmas Season, Chris enjoyed this get-together most.  Every Christmas Eve for the past fifteen years, Elizabeth’s parents would graciously host a wonderful dinner, followed by the playing of Christmas Carols on the piano with the accompaniment of the guest’s voices, and then the opening of gifts.

Chris was standing at the work station of his friend Joe, talking with several other office workers.  He asked Joe, “Have you seen Stan.”  Stan was Chris’s best friend at the office and his immediate supervisor.  Joe answer, “No! I haven’t seen him this morning.  He’s missing all the fun.  Maybe he got caught by one of the big wigs, and had to do some butt kissing.”  Chris looked at his watch, 11:00am.  He needed several hours to put the finishing touches on a project that was dead-lined for today.  As he walked to his desk, Chris wondered why Stan wasn’t in the office.  It wasn’t like Stan to miss out on all the fun.

Chris sat at his desk and turned on the computer.  On the screen was a pulsating message, “you got mail:” he pulled up the message.  It was a memo from Walter Becker, the Vice President of Human Resources, to all the employees of the Department of Engineering Support.   It said, “Due to a decision made by the Board of Directors, and in keeping with company policy of “expense leanness,” the Dept. of Engineering Support has been terminated, as of Jan. 1, 2000.  All employees of said department must vacate their work stations by close of the work day on Dec. 31. 1999.  All holiday pay and any vacation pay will be paid in full.  Please check with payroll for further questions or details. 

This is strictly a business decision, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the overall performance of the Dept. or any of its workers.  The Dept. has performed excellently over the years.

Human Resources is open to you if you need help in finding new employment or to foreword references.”

                                            “Happy Holidays!”

 

This memo was in direct violation of the idea of human resources, and its intent was decidedly mean spirited and hypocritical, regardless of its undertone of apology and guilt.  A sociopath seeking his heart’s desire would have acted in a similar manner.  Bing told the decision was strictly business and that nothing personal was involved, puts me in mind of scenes in gangster movies, where the Mafia Hitman tells his victim, just before he murders him, “Nothing personal, just business.”  Chris found no comfort or relief in those words because the economic foundation for him and his family had been shattered by the contents of that memo.

Chris printed out a copy of the memo, and with it in hand immediately walked to Stan’s office.  He was in such a state of shock and bewilderment that he didn’t notice the uproar in the office.  The festive mood had changed to one of discord.  Of the 50 people that made up the department, most of the woman were sobbing uncontrollably, and the others were angrily shouting and moving about in great agitation. 

Stan was not in his office.  Chris, for some strange reason needed verification of this shocking state of affairs, so he went upstairs in order to speak with Walter Becker.  The receptionist recognized Chris as being a worker from the Dept. of Engineering Support and immediately became uneasy.  “I am sorry,” she said, Mr. Becker is not in his office.  Would you like to leave a message?”  Chris in a demanding voice asked, “Where did he go?”  She kept her head down so as not to be able to look into Chris’s eyes, “He is at the annual, executive Christmas party, at the downtown Hilton.  He will not be in his office until Monday.”  Chris quickly turned away without saying another word, and walked to the elevator.  His original shock and bewilderment was now turned up a notch, but still feeling the need for verification, pressed the elevator button for the basement.  Chris had remembered that Stan occasionally used a vacant maintenance room in the basement when he wanted to, “Get away from it all.”

Chris walked off the elevator towards the maintenance room, still clutching the copy of the memo in his hand.  He pushed open the door, and there sat Stan.  Stan was sitting on a chair propped against a blank wall. The back of his head was against the wall, and his eyes were gazing on an invisible spot on the blank wall in front of him.  Chris walked into the small room and paused, then pointing to the memo in his hand and said, “Do you know about this memo?”  Stan like the receptionist, averted looking at Chris eyes, while he answered, “Yes.”  Chris let out with a series of questions all at once:  “What the hell is going on?”  “What are you going to do?  How could they be so cold, especially on Christmas Eve?  Did you know about this before today?  Is it true?”  Stan bent forward, laying his head in both of his hands, saying nothing.  Looking intently at Stan waiting for an answer, Chris suddenly understood the truth.  With an accusatory tone he said, “You knew all along; didn’t you?  How long have you known Stan, two weeks, two months, two years; how long Stan?”  Stan was silent.  Chris continued, “They didn’t terminate you, did they Stan?  All that ass kissing and carousing with Becker finally payed off.  That is way you weren’t in your office this morning, and way you were cowering down here like Judas.  You probably even helped them collect data that was used to justify terminating the Department.  They probably promised you a raise and a promotion; right Stan?”  Stan lifted his head from his hands and turned towards Chris and said, “The whole think was completely out of my hands.  I couldn’t do anything about it.  There were inefficiencies.”  Stunned by the realizations of Stan’s betrayal, Chris said, “I thought you were my friend.  You should have told me.  Hell! You should have told us all.  You betrayed our friendship.” Chris crumpled up the memo in his hand and threw it at Stan, then walked away in silent gloom.  Chris returned to the office only to fine that it was empty.  He walked to his work station, put on his coat and left.

Chris’s initial shock and bewilderment, morphed into continuous, inner dialog of negative thoughts and emotions: ‘What is going to happen to my family?  There is the mortgage payment, car payment, insurance, monthly household expenses, Lisa’s dance class, Danial’s hockey program.  How will we ever make it?  I should have seen this coming.  I should have made plans?  How am I going to tell Elizabeth?  We will have to give up all we worked so hard for.’  Chris’s mind was quickly moving into deep despair and hopelessness as he drove home.                                                                                                         

His imagination filled his mind with the direst of scenarios, as he pulled into his driveway.  He knew that Elizabeth and the children were at his in-law’s home helping prepare the dinner. 

Although relieved at not having to tell bad news to his family, Chris was unable to quell his anxiety.  His anxiety penetrated so deep that it started a contraction that radiated through his entire body; even being in his own house was not enough to bring him repose.  Chris moved around his house like a man in a room with rattlesnakes.  For no apparent reason, he picked up his winter boots, sat down and put them on.  Next put on his parka, pulled a wool hat over his head, picked up his gloves, and walked out of the house.  He had no idea where he was going, just started walked.

The snow squeaked under his boots. He was moving like a man that was being chased, not by some menacing form, but by his own fears, doubts, and anxiety.  He turn right, heading towards the state park that abutted his property.  The park was a wetland reserve, interwoven with springs, large standing ponds, and walking and biking trails.

Chris was very familiar with this area.  He and his family had spent many pleasant hours hiking through the park. Chris entered the park from its west side and immediately descended into a valley.  The walking trails had been cleared of snow, making the going fairly easy.  Chris paused, looked around, and noticed a tree so tall it stood towering over all the other trees.  He wondered why he hadn’t noticed it before now.  It seemed to be a mile or so away and to the south.  He followed a trail with his eyes that led in the direction of the tree.  He turned right, and began walking on the trail which lead in the direction of the large tree.

After three-quarters of a mile, the trail took an abrupt turn towards the east, leading away from the tree.  If Chris wanted to continue his quest for the tree, he would have to make a quarter mile path of his own, trudging through light snow of about a foot deep.  He paused at this jointure, looked at the trail east, than to the tree, measuring the effort needed.  With watering eyes and smoking breath, he began a high stepping march to the tree.

Chris finally reached the tree, and with sweating brow and heaving chest began to survey it.  The tree was about eighty or ninety feet high.  Its diameter was about eight feet.  It was an old Cottonwood.  Chris took off his right glove and felt the tree’s thick, craggy bark.   Along the north side of the tree and running west to east was a spring fed creek, mostly frozen, save for trickles of running water here and there, where the rays of the sun hit.  Chris started to walk around the base of the tree.  As he moved towards its back side, noticed a small alcove formed by jetting roots.  It seemed the perfect place to sit down.  Strange as it may seem, Chris thought the tree had somehow, actually invited him to sit there; so he did.  The tree that Chris decided to sit under was a Wisdom Tree.  This was not some exotic species of North American tree, but a tree that has over the many years, self-initiated its self into wisdom.  All trees have the capacity to become a Wisdom Tree, but because of the long effort needed to attain such status, most fall short of the mark. 

What is needed to become a Wisdom Tree is an unbending desire to help others; to sacrifice your life, if necessary, for the sake of someone else.  This is no small task, only those of the strongest character can endure the everyday trials and tribulations, necessary to gain the highest degree of tree sentience.  Chris had the good fortune to be sitting under the most wondrous and extraordinary tree of all, a Wisdom Tree.

Chris sat under the Wisdom Tree with his legs crossed, Indian style, and gently leaning back his shoulders and head against the tree, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began to exhale slowly.  He opened eyes, and to his surprise, found that he now was standing inside a large cave.  There was no light source that he could find, but the entire cave was brilliantly lit.  He surveyed the cave until his eyes encountered a most, unusual sight.  To his right was a man dressed in a white robe, levitating, one foot off the cave floor, and completely engulfed in a flame.  This tongue of fire would change colors, from white to red, to orange, to pink, to green, to blue, to gold, to yellow, and continued to change, in what seemed to Chris to be a random sequence.  Whenever the flame was red or orange or pink, Chris felt its heat, as the flame change from red to green, blue or purple, Chris felt its chilling effect.  The man in the white robe, seemed to undisturbed by the flame and its color change.  His demeanor never varied.  Levitating above the ground completely encircled by flame or drinking a cup tea, it was all the same to the man in the white robe.

To Chris’s left, on the floor of the cave, was a mound of the most exquisite uncut, gem stones, gold and silver jewelry studded with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, heaps of gold and silver coins, goblets, thick bracelets and rings.  Chris’s mouth was wide open with awe, as his eyes fixated on that mound of splendor.  This was the proverbial “king’s ransom.” It’s worth would have to be calculated in terms of zillions of dollars.  Chris thought, ‘just one of these stones could immediately solve my current problems, and bring economic security to my family for the rest of our lives.’ Chris’s fixation on the mound of treasure broke, and his perception expanded to include both the man in the white robe and the treasure mound.  Although the man in the white robe’s sphinx like expression had not changed, he had somehow communicated with Chris.  Chris understood that the man in the white robe had given him a clear choice.  Chris could either take whatever he desired from the mound of treasure or join the man in the white robe standing in the flame.  Chris understood that the mound of treasure was not an illusion, and that whatever he decided to take from the treasure would be in fact be real.  Chris thought, ‘this is a no brainer,’ and with glee, started moving to his left to pack his pockets with treasurer, then paused.  Looking at the man in the white robe, Chris began to wonder, ‘What strange and wonderful powers does this man possess?’  He seems completely content, and not at all disturbed about having access to or giving up all that wealth.’  He wondered, ‘if I join him, will I too know peace and contentment? ‘that flame doesn’t consume the man in the white robe, but I feel its heat and coolness.  If I join him, will I be consumed by the flame?’  Chris felt two separate desires operating within him at the same time.  One was actually moving him in the direction to join the man in the white robe, the other saying, ‘No take the treasure.’  The desire to join the man in the white robe came from a much deeper part of Chris’s mind, and against his own opposition, Chris joined the man in the white robe. 

Chris entered the flame, and became so stimulated that he thought that he wouldn’t be able to stand it.  The stimulation was so intense and so exciting that it was like experiencing extreme pain.  It was like having every nerve in your body pulled out, then reconnected to a higher voltage, or a better analogy might be, like jumping into Lake Superior up to your neck, in November.  As the stimulation waned, Chris became calm, more than that, he became peaceful.  He felt great emotional security.  He know, somehow, he belonged there.  It was like coming home from a long voyage.  He felt loved, but not in any way that he had previously known.  He not only felt this complete love, but began to consciously radiate it back out through his heart.  His mind was crystal clear, like some kind of thought laser had cut out the superfluous, leaving only that which was most relevant. Chris understood that the loss of his job was, not a separate problem; that all things came out of this big, crystal clear mind, and that he hadn’t lost anything.  He had created his previous job out of his own mind’s effort, and he could create another job situation.   He understood that his life, his destiny was the result of his thoughts and actions, and if he changed his thoughts and actions he would change his destiny. 

Chris felt so peaceful, so contented, so loved that he wanted to stand next to the man in the white robe forever.  In an act of conscious surrender to this peace, Chris slowly closed his eyes.  When he opened his eyes, he was shocked to find himself sitting under the Wisdom Tree.  The sudden reappearance under the tree, startled him, but was quickly over taken by a wild excitement.  It was like Scrooge’s excitement, after he realized he wasn’t dead, and had time to mend his ways.  Chris jumper to his feet, patted the Wisdom Tree’s bark, thanking it loudly many times, and now being relieved of his mental burdens, ran like a wild man home.  Chris burst through the door, and left a trail of gloves, hat, boots, and coat, as he ran into his house.  While in the living room he looked at the clock, it showed 6:00 pm.  He put his tornadic excitement in neutral, as he surprisingly thought, ‘I must have been gone for at least 5, hours.’   Now realizing that he was late for the dinner at his in-laws, put himself back into high gear.  While speeding to get dressed, he heard the beep, beep, of the answering machine.  He pressed the answering machine on, he heard, “Chris this is Jim Winthrop.  I found out through Stan, that you lost your job today.  I want to offer you a job in my company.  We are a small business that is in the process of expanding.  We need good people to help us grow, and I know you are the kind of person we are looking for.  If you are interested phone me after Christmas.    My number at work is, 989-6242.  Merry Christmas!” 

After hearing the message, Chris was awe struck.  It was like someone waved a magic wand, and turned all of his wishes into reality.  He flashed back to the cave and his experience with the man in the white robe.  He smiled, and thought, ‘big crystal mind and faith, could there be any doubt?’  Now that he had some time to reflect on his experience with the man in the white robe, Chris recollected that the man in the white robe seemed familiar.  Chris was sure that he knew the man in the white robe, but try as he may was unable to place were it was that he had known him. Chris came out of his reflection, and once again began to ready himself for the Christmas dinner party.  He was anxious to be with his family. 

Chris had a wonderful time with his family at the Christmas dinner.  In point of fact in was the best Christmas ever.  He told his wife and children of the experiences he had had that day.  They were all very grateful and happy by the satisfactory outcome.

Chris did return Jim Winthrop’s phone call and accepted the job offer, and at a substantially higher rate of pay. ‘Could there be any doubt’?

 

Have a wonderful holiday season, and may the light of the New Year bring fulfillment to all your aspirations.  And oh! Who do you think the man in the white robe is? 

 

                                One truth, many paths.   Be good, do good.

 

                                                           Louis DiVirgilio    

 

 

 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Being is not a fixed state


As human beings living within our current evolutionary times, we ride along on the waves of our  immediate conditions and circumstances, and infuse our self's with all the social, and cultural activities that conform to the ideal of the times.  We begin to incorporate these cultural ideals into the very fabric of our lives, and relate to them as real fixtures of our being.  We also begin to unconditionally ride these ideas as a way to build up our life capacities, strategies, and even our characteristics.  These ideas bring forth enormous power on behalf of our cultural, current understandings: for instance, the spread of religious understandings, the ready acceptance of philosophical principles, the growth of political fads, and the effigies of science, are all examples of the manner in which we may be torn from our moral moorings by these ideas sweeping over our minds and overwhelming both our willpower and our sense of moral responsibility. What is more, our resolve to move within truth, deteriorates, and we begin to live our lives on lower levels, and what is worse, we let ourselves become compulsive, recycling our behaviors over and over, until we lose control, and now instead of, we controlling our compulsions, our compulsions are now controlling us.  

We have forged ourselves into a neck brace of barriers, thinking that these barriers, will keep us safe, and directly in tune with the standards of the cultural norms.  However, being is not a fixed state, and as we remain tied up feeling the tug upon our neck, we begin to sense that we slowly have become a mystery to our self.  The only way out of this predicament is moving and living inward.  We must realize, that being preoccupied by fixing our outer conditions, trying to make everything okay on the outside, is a recipe for failure. Our human body houses the most sophisticated technology on the planet, but because we waste our time trying to fix every thing from the outside, we cannot find where the key board is.  The key board is where it has always been, inside

Everything that has ever happened to you, you experience within you.  Lets us do a little experiment. Put your hands down on your thighs, now take an inhalation, pay attention to your inhalation.  Now flip your hands over with your palms up, pay attention to your inhalation.  Can you tell the difference between hands down inhalation and hands up inhalation?  The hands down inhalation needs more air then the hands up inhalation.  Lets try another experiment.  Its a hot, sticky summer day, you are sitting in the shade when a mosquito lands on your arm and digges his proboscis into it, you feel the sting.  How do you feel the sting, outside of your skin, or the inside mechanism of your body making an adjustment for the feeling of the sting. Lets take another example of your body's ability to process its reaction to its digestion and elimination processing, a formable undertaking, yet this body of yours responds, 24/7, every day and night of your life, monitoring an appropriate respond.  Even the most subtle change prompts a specific, swift reaction from the body.  Hopefully you can now begin to understand that all the sensations you feel, are the direct result of the masterful operations of the technology within your body.

You might ask, "Where does this marvaless innovation come from?"  "Who designed this technology?" Your answer to this question is probably God, but the idea of an all powerful, singular god is not expansive enough to fulfill the comprehensive nature of the entire universe, and that is why it is necessary for us to recognize our spiritual connection to the Universe because, surprise, surprise, we and the Universe are one; we in it, and it in us.  There are a hierarchy of spiritual beings supporting the length and breath of the entire Universe.  It is the lack of recognition of our essential one-ness in our spiritual origin that disturbs our understanding, and keeps us from our spiritual coupling.  We must shift our desires and actions to ethics and morals if we want to comply with the strict laws of the universe,  because they are the rules of harmony in and in all conduct, copying the harmony prevailing in the cosmic spaces.  All that we need to do is to understand those laws, to realize them in our hearts, to take them into our consciousness; for then we shall be able consciously to follow the fundamental operations of the universal life, because we are in intellectual touch with those harmonies.

  It is an inner spirk of spiritual light in humans and in all beings, that furnishes and has furnished the evolutionary urge towards producing ever fitter vehicles of self-expression.


                                          One truth, many paths.     Be good, do good.                                          

                                                               Louis DiVirgilio

                                     

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I have faith of the heart



Seeing what is taking place in our world today, I began to realize it is not by chance, that the dire events happening are not the blind blowes of haphazard events, but are ominous fore warnings of the strife to come.  We must recognize that despite the agony and the sadness that we are now indowled with, there are spiritual powers and forces sweeping over our earth, rearranging, remaking, and reshaping, setting a progressive, positive evolution of a higher order. Fear not, it will all work out to an already predestined and sublime ending.  

I also, have began to realize, that we humans are spiritually intertwined within Universal Nature, and as such, being the blind humans that we are, will not enter whole heartedly into Universal Nature's majestic processes, but instead of helping Her, oppose Her.  If you want to know the reason for the suffering and agony, the terror and appalling privation that are upon us, look directly into the mirror, and view your own image.  It is no intra cosmic God, who has put these horrible things upon us, but we ourselves. It is the tragedy of society that has lost its trust in an abiding spiritual power, and we have let reason lose its proper seat.  This  entire universe of ours is but an appearance, an outer shell, a physical body, manifesting the tremendous forces at work on the other side of the veil of nature; and no man, or god can oppose these powers with impunity; universal laws rule this world. 

All that is grand and unselfish will live.  What is false and selfish will not merely pass by, but be overthrown.  Put your entire faith in the divine power behind nature and live in accordance with her and, nature will look upon you as her master and will pay deference to you.  Those of you who have ears to hear, hear!     (thank you G. De Purucker)

                                         One truth, many paths.  Do good, be good.

                                                           Louis DiVirgilio     

                   

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

emancipation from donkey economics

Remember the metaphor from the movie, Pinocchio I used to describe how our current economic system operates, specifically the description where Pinoccio sets aside his discriminating capability to follow his desires and passions into Pleasure Island? A clue to the emancipation from donkey economics (here I made a big assumption, that there are people who desire emancipation) rests in Pinoccio's decision to put aside his discriminating faculty in order to indulge his passions. An even more telling clue can be derived from a quote in Thoreau's Journal, Oct. 22, 1853..."Consider how the broker collects his winter wood...Postponing instant life, he makes haste to Boston in the cars, and there deals in stock, not quite relishing his employment and so earns the money with which he buys his fuel. And when by chance I meet him about this indirect and complicated business, I am not struck with the beauty of his employment. It does not harmonize with the sunset"... 

 We move through every day geared to the high RPMs required by the system and practices of our economy. We are swept into this speedy rhythm spending most of our daily energy and attention keeping our heads above the economic waterline. Our minds are thus overflowing with stress, anxiety, depression, and fear, like rushing currents of water flowing over a waterfall. As our hearts beat to the frenetic percussion of our economy we rush by the rosebush. Its deep colored, scented flowers, have little attraction to our preoccupied minds. The poet, Wordsworth admonishes us in his poem, The World Is Too much With Us: "The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours..." 

Stop! and smell the roses: inhale their fragrance, take into your view their deep, pure color. They are offered to you as a gift, with no strings attached. When your attention is completely occupied on the roses, your mind will have slowed to the present moment. The slowing of your mind is the first step in emancipation. A mind that is fast is disconnected and unfocused, and synonymous with negative thinking. A mind that is slow is integrated and focused, and synonymous with positive thinking. If you think that is a false statement, test it out for your self. Of course, in order to test, you must be able to slow down your mind, a formidable task. A clue for the next step towards emancipation can be extracted from the last sentence of the Thoreau quote, ..."It does not harmonize with the sunset."... The broker's choice of labor is out of step with Nature. Nature is never synthetic, nor does it operate in an exclusive, singular manner, but moves in an inclusive, all encompassing manner. The buying and selling of stock is an enterprise on par with gambling. Its intent is singular, to gain a profit from a capital investment in a business. The investor speculates on a business's profitability, long or short term, and intends to share in those profits. The investor is far removed from the daily operations of the business and has little personal or legal responsibilities, aside from voting privileges. 

Nature on the other hand, is always directly involved with every aspect of Her operations, and Her primal motive is movement towards perfection. The broker participates in his out of step business process and receives a fee and buys his firewood. Not only is his choice of labor an act of disharmony, but also his manner of purchasing firewood serves to compound his disharmony with Nature. If he were in tune with Nature, he would have forged and cut his own firewood. The emancipation of our economic mental slavery starts with our awareness and discrimination of its causal and deleterious effects: generalized anger and tension, frustration, lack of joy, poor health, negative thinking, and generalized disconnection with our higher self or soul. We next need to slow our minds down by focusing on the present moment. After those two steps, we need to pay attention to Nature, begin to understand Her ways as they relate to our own natures, and finally to attune ourselves to Nature's rhythm, so that we can, ..."harmonize with the sunset."... 

We must change our perceptions so that instead of ..."seeing little in Nature that is ours,"... we begin to see that everything in Nature is directly related to us. These perceptions are not beyond the capacity of our human faculties, and in fact spring out from within the vary essence of who and what we are. We are in truth, a complete living analogy of our Cosmos, and at the same time magnificent participants in our Cosmos. The same forces and qualities that uphold the Cosmos uphold us; we in it, it in us. Nakomo, an American Indian, puts it beautifully, in his poem, "The Circle Is My Path:" ..."We are all on the rim of the world and at its center at the same time. We are attached to the ripples that emanate from the center. We ride the waves-the wind turns us, we flow as the prairie flows and we are bound to the sacred land."... 

 There is a chamber of our hearts were we can begin to know our true Cosmic heritage, one that lies beyond mere material acquisitions and accumulations, and the knowledge of which leads not to self-importance, but to great impersonality, balance, and universality.  

                                        One truth, many paths. Be good, do good.                          

                                                              Louis DiVirgilio
                                     

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Meditation-A Discipline of Mind

The idea of meditation and its practice has nested within our cultural confindmints for a number of years.  Generally, it congers up for us visions made popular by T.V. and movies: of priests or monks cloistered in some remote place, either chanting or quietly absorbed in prayer, or a practitioner of one of the marshal  arts preparing for mortal combat or some spaced out "newager" sitting in a crossed legged position trying to experience oneness.  Beyond those images, we have not a cultural niche of real value in which to place the practice of meditation.  

The problem is that we have no tradition, no established conceptual foundation, aside from the Science of Psychology whose study mainly focuses on the functions of the physical brain.  We therefore, need to barrow the cultural traditions of mind established over many ages, from the Orient and from India to help us understand, experience, and establish a true value for meditation. These borrowed traditions of mind are difficult for us to quickly and neatly integrate, adapt, and transpose into our culture.  Yet as remote as these concepts seem from our everyday experiences, we are beginning to realize that the practice of meditation has a relevance to our spiritual, mental, and physical lives. 

The motivation for this releverancy comes from our desperate desire to, in some way, neutralize and manage the stress and anxiety we create in our daily lives. People are desperately seeking any practice, method or technique that may relief their stress and bring some peace of mind.  The problem is that the search is usually confined to the material side, trying to find the right pill, therapy, medical technique  , psychological training, ect.  The more we search for cures from the outside, and the more our attempts fail to satisfy, the greater our stress, anxiety, insecurity, and confusion.  We are trying to satisfy infinite appetites with finite practices; an exercise in futility and ultimate frustration.  Life's enduring fulfillments lie within us, and the practice of meditation puts us in touch with that infinite world within.  The practice of meditation begins to discipline our mind and gradually begins to abate those 1000 voices in the mind speaking at one time. 

Our mind is always on; 24-7.  The Masters of the mind's world tell us that there are more than 84,000 points or centers of entry for streams of thought-atoms coming from innumerable terrestrial and comic sources.  Our mind's are continuously filled with these thought forms, whether we are awake or asleep. Our own experience of the workings of our mind tells us that there are differing patterns in the receiving of these forms, ranging from very slow and clear an to rapid and diluted.  Science has confirmed this intuitive observation.  It has studied the electrical impulses generated by the human brain through an instrument called an "electroencephalograph" and has grouped and labeled common brain waves rhythms: alpha, beta, theta, and delta.  These rhythms are measured in cycles per second (CPS).  It generally is agreed that about 14 CPS and higher are known as beta waves, about 7 to 14 are called alpha, 4 to 7, theta, and finally 4 and below delta.

The mind patterns we are most habitually involved with is beta.  Under the influence of a beta pattern our thoughts are reeling through the center of our head at great speed, with infrequent gaps or brakes. There is a Toltec word, (mih-toe-tay) which succinctly describes this kind of mind chaos.  It describes an untrained mind as having 1000 people talking at the same time, and nobody understanding the other.  Zen Master's, call this speedy beta mind, "monkey mind."  Through our ignorance, we become so thoroughly attached and familiar with this beta pattern of thinking that we aspire to it, and swell up with pride as we proclaim, "I am adept at multitasking."  In truth, our customary speedy mind acts to disperse our attention, energy, and desires, in a multitude of directions, while depriving us of a chance to experience the true nature of our mind.  It is a mind that once trained, can focus a stream of attention to a single point without a brake or gap, until the mind is completely absorbed and all disturbing thoughts disappears.  It is within our ability to meditate, and that the bridge between our monkey mind of self-seeking, and our higher mind of self-forgetting, can be found and utilized.  The practice of meditation will allow you to see and directly experience the true nature of your mind, and it will also expose the existence of dimensions far beyond the feverish, daily pitch of your monkey mind.  This inner knowledge of mind will fill you with an unbending security, inspire you with wisdom beyond the reach of mere intellect, and release within you the capacity to react calmly and compassionately.  

Meditation, generally defined then, is a practice that allows the mind to focus deeply and continuously upon any single idea or object.  Under this general definition, if you are walking in a garden, single-mindedly admiring and sensing the beauty of the flowers, you would be meditating; if you were single-mindedly writing a poem or some prose, you would be meditating; if you were single-mindedly studying a textbook, you would be meditating; if you were single-mindedly doing arts and crafts you would be meditating; if you were singled-mindedly praying, you would be meditating; even if you were single-mindedly musing about any general topic you would be meditating.  It is therefore obvious that the capacity to meditate is not a DNA predisposed mental talent, but part of the innate capabilities of all human beings.  The human disposition of mind works the same for all, and the ability to train the mind through meditation is a jewel within the vastness and complexities of the mind's field of operation. 

The practice of meditation, considering it from an operative sense, should be thought of as a discipline. In other words, it is training of attention, with the aim of mastering the thinking process. Here we have our usual monkey mind, filled with fast flowing streams of thought forms, and here we have our meditative practice, slowing down our speedy mind by the one-pointed focus of our attention.  Of all the disciplines related to human development, the discipline of meditation is the most effective for it directs its discipline towards the seat of all behavior, the mind.  Since thought is the initiator of all action, a discipline whose goal is the control of the thinking process would be directed at the point of greatest effectiveness.  In addition, since thoughts initiate actions and weave a destiny, meditation is the most powerful tool for affecting change. If you can discipline and control your own mind, you can control your own destiny.  If you think the idea of thoughts causing your destiny is mere whimsy, than hear from Lord Buddha, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."  

Even though the practice of meditation operates at the most effective level, progress does not occur readily.  The first stages of meditation are tough, and beyond that it gets even tougher.  The person who dares to examine the nature of their mind must take a long view of attaining the fruits of meditative practice, keeping in mind that anything worthwhile takes long arduous effort, and cannot be teached in a single leap.  Some of the fruits however, do come within the first weeks of consistent practice.  The  aspirant will experience a sense of calmness especially revealing itself under circumstances that previously produced great emotional reactions.  It is those fruits that reach to the highest qualities of our mind that take the longest to attain. The attainment of the highest fruits of meditative practices, such as a continuous calm, clear, and peaceful mind, is extremely difficult to achieve, but not out of the range for the average human being.  What is needed for success is a mustering of the full attention of the mind and the full affection of our heart to become one-pointed in thought, and an unbending willingness to press ever upwards through the personalized veils of consciousness and feelings in order to reach our higher consciousness, our Higher Self.  When success does come, we can say what Lord Buddha said, "I am the happiest of mortals.  There is no one happier than I am."  

Meditation should not, however be thought of as a practice that will bring the practitioner only, what the psychologist's term, peak experiences.  That is, experiences of bliss, joy, expanded awareness, peace of mind, or feelings of a closer connection to God.  Carrying this specific kind of expectation into the meditative practice turns the practice into a form of worship, were the worshiper wants to see only the positive aspects of God.  When the meditator experiences the destructive sides of the cosmos, he or she may begin to doubt the correctness of his or her's practice, and may stop meditating.  It should be remembered that meditation is not just experience of peace, but also a comprehensive experience including both the positive and negative aspects of life.  The aim should be to see beyond the conceptual evaluation, and integrate all experiences that emerge during meditation whether a peak experience or a negative one.

The person who examines the nature of his or her mind by the practice of meditation, who purifies the negative energy of envy, anger, avarice, and fear, and who dedicates his or her's action for the benefit of all beings follows the path of the gods.


                                     One truth, many paths.  Be good, do  good. 

                                                          Louis DiVirgilio