You are without attributes Even so, you are over kind to devotees
You are desireless Yet you make this marvelous creation
You are formless Yet you are the Eternal Enlightened Being
You are the Lord of all Yet you are helpless before love
Thinking of you all the time Sages and yogis are absorbed in your contemplation
Your spirit pervades the Vedas You are the One adored
None is greater than you You are the strength of all
Having found you There is nothing more to seek
Until we find you We wander, Lost, without a haven
For those who taste the nectar of your lotus feet Even salvation is valueless
O Lord, you are truth, consciousness, and bliss Your power is eternal
Unequalled, imperceptible, auspicious, excellent O God unmanifest
Praiseworthy, you are the object of our devotion
Unconquerable, yet love attached you to your devotees
Sacred, holy, lotus-eyed You are embodied with the lotus of Lord Vishnu You are the liberator
You are One, yet you have many forms You have no beginning and no end
You are incomprehensible, unique Incarnate supreme being
You are Brahma, the creator You are Vishnu, the preserver
You are Shiva, the destroyer of this creation
Compassionate beloved One glance from you bestows everything
Your love and kindness gives us so much What can we ever give you
What is there in this universe that is ours Everything is your creation
Our obligation is eternal To you, the Source
Helper of the helpless Lord of Lords
We are immersed in the fragrant ocean of your love and compassion
You have no beginning and no end Glory to you, Immortal One
The universe worships you All praise to the controller of illusion
Vishnu, you are the perfect being
Vishnu, you are the Lord of the world Glory,
Glory to you, O Lord The Omnipresent Supreme Being
All-pervading Vishnu, you are unique Eternal Shiva, you govern the laws of maya
O Magnificent One Giver of everything that is good You show us the path of wisdom

Adapted from:

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At the Dog Park

I took my dog, Jake, out for a walk in the park this morning. The wind was cold, and the trees were icy and barren. Jake didn’t care how cold it was. Immediately, he shot like a rocket across the park after a squirrel. I called to him, but he was too caught up in all the excitement and snow. Eventually, he settled down, and the white stillness of the park returned.

So it is with my inner life. I see that my thoughts can be just as noisy and reckless. I can’t change my dog’s nature. That is how dogs are. Sometimes though, Jake hears my call and recognizes that I am his master, or at least that I am the one that feeds him, and he obeys. What if we could have a similar gentle attitude towards our wandering mind that we find ourselves in so often, and instead of reacting against it, see it as a friend?

Maybe I am just chasing after squirrels a lot of the time; however I can also recognize that all these inner noises, clamour of associations, and busyness prevent me from the direct experience of life. Behind all of that, there is always a quality of stillness, whether I recognize it or not. Jeanne de Salzmann speaks about this stillness in her book “The Reality of Being.” She writes:

I have to see that there is a space between thoughts. A void that is reality, and I need to remain as long as possible in this space. Then another kind of thinking appears, clear and intelligent, a thought of another level, another dimension.

The idea that there are two worlds or two rivers is found in many spiritual traditions. The first is the world of our day-to-day functioning with all its dogs of commentaries, opinions, ideas, as well as the emotions that move through us like the weather. The second world is completely different. It’s related to silence and seems composed of an entirely different order. This second world is always beckoning to us, but it is hidden behind the veil of the first world. Siddhartha describes this second world beautifully as “a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

The key, I think is not to be in one world or the other, but to witness and be related to both worlds at the same time. The Buddhist teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya provides a wonderfully clear description of this practice in his book Awareness Alone Is Not Enough:

When you are on your own, your attention will tend to be all ‘in here’. When you are with others, it will most likely be all ‘out there’. Why does it all go ‘out there’? It is because you are more interested in what is going on ‘out there’, because you are not really interested in what is going on ‘in here’. When the attention is all outside, thoughts and emotions will come unnoticed and things will build up.

“[The yogi says, yes, this is the problem! I try to maintain internal awareness but when the awareness wants to go out, it affects the quality of awareness.] OK, the outside is important but so are you! Why not be aware of both, why not go for 50/50? There are of course variations. In some circumstances it might be 60/40, etc. You need to experiment, learn in different situations…

To make an effort in this direction, I try simple exercises; for example, in the morning, I say to myself: “I am going to try to be as present to myself and the world around me today whenever I pass under doorways throughout the day.” From this deceptively simple task, I gather snapshots of myself. It’s really not about getting the task right or wrong, but to see how I am moment by moment. For the most part, I see that I forget the task most of the time. Why do I forget? If I’m lucky and remember the task underneath a doorway, I wonder what part of me remembers. Essentially, I’m attempting to break up habitual patterns and awaken from a hypnotic sleep by putting myself into question. I’m making an effort to step outside the incessant story I have of myself, that usually runs on auto-pilot and bear witness to how I really am, moment-to-moment.

In short, these exercises are a struggle to bring the action of an inner world into my daily life. Similarly, when I practice meditation in the early morning, I’m seeking a way that that will hopefully relate both worlds and inform my daily life. The temptation is to be lost in the inner or the outer. Is it possible to be in manifestation, yet related to an inner silence at the same time; to be in-between the meeting of the horizontal and the sacred vertical axis? In the busyness of life, this is near impossible, but I have to try. The real challenge of being a witness and reconciling both of these forces of life truly begins as soon as I get up from the meditation cushion. Back in the dog park, I whistle to Jake and prepare him to come back home.


Posted in Awareness

Being Special

Being Special

To be special you don’t really have to do something special or spectacular.

In fact, being special is a possibility for each one of us. Yes, you are special.

To be special is to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.

Value the contribution you make, value the action itself and make the most ordinary act – special!


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Choiceless Awareness

Awareness isn’t something mysterious that you must practise; it isn’t something that can be learnt only from the speaker, or from some bearded gentleman or other. All that kind of fanciful stuff is too absurd. Just to be aware, what does it mean? To be aware that you are sitting there and I am sitting here; that I am talking to you and you are listening to me; to be aware of this hall, its shape, its lighting, its acoustics; to observe the various colours that people wear, their attitudes, their effort to listen, their scratching, yawning, boredom, their dissatisfaction at not being able to get from what they hear something to carry home with them; their agreement or disagreement with what is being said. All that is part of awareness, a very superficial part.Behind that superficial observation there is the response of our conditioning: I like and I don’t like, I am British and you are not British, I am a Catholic and you are a Protestant. And our conditioning is really very deep. It requires a great deal of investigation, understanding.To be conscious of our reactions, of our hidden motives and conditioned responses, this also is part of awareness.You can’t be totally aware if you are choosing. If you say, ‘This is right and that is wrong’, the right and the wrong depend on your conditioning. What is right to you may be wrong in the Far East. You believe in a saviour, in the Christ, but they don’t, and you think they will go to hell unless they believe as you do. You have the means to build marvellous cathedrals, while they may worship a stone image, a tree, a bird, or a rock, and you say, ‘How silly, how pagan!’ To be aware is to be conscious of all this, choicelessly; it is to be aware totally of all your conscious and unconscious reactions. And you can’t be aware totally if you are condemning, if you are justifying, or if you say, ‘I will keep my beliefs, my experiences, my knowledge.’ Then you are only partially aware, and partial awareness is really blindness.Seeing or understanding is not a matter of time, it is not a matter of gradations. Either you see or you don’t see. And you can’t see if you are not deeply aware of your own reactions, of your own conditioning. Being aware of your conditioning, you must watch it choicelessly; you must see the fact and not give an opinion or judgement about the fact. In other words, you must look at the fact without thought. Then there is an awareness, a state of attention without a centre, without frontiers, where the known doesn’t interfere.

The Collected Works, Vol. XIII,188,Choiceless Awareness

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Distance and space is a thing of the mind

How clear the blue sky is, vast, timeless and without space. Distance and space is a thing of the mind; there and here are facts, but they become psychological factors with the urge of desire. The mind is a strange phenomenon. So complex and yet so essentially simple. It is made complex by the many psychological compulsions. It is this that causes conflict and pain, the resistance and the acquisitions. To be aware of them, and let them pass by and not be entangled in them, is arduous. Life is as a vast flowing river. The mind holds in its net the things of this river, discarding and holding. There should be no net. The net is of time and space, it is the net that creates here and there; happiness and unhappiness.

Letters to a Young Friend,20

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Realizing True Wealth

The Paradox of Wealth – Time, Love, Money

We need deep psychological and spiritual healing of individuals, groups, communities, nations and the earth at large. The bedrock of this healing is a return to this present moment, not in a selfish, narrow way, but in a way that includes the totality of what is here-there as well as past-present-future. It is nothing less then the ancient ideal of enlightenment of all sentient beings.

We may have money but little time. We may have time but no money. We may have love but neither time nor money. Coming to a point of balance between these factors is mastery of the art of living which is true wealth.

It’s been said, “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” This is both true and not-true. Some say, “money does not matter” — but quietly and privately we fear poverty. Fear of homelessness, hunger, and a drop in social status drives many to insane focus on money at any cost. If you are poor with a positive state of mind, you may still suffer a sense of emotion degradation just from the social stigma of poverty. Such fears are well founded in societies that fail to attain true wealth, since the members of those societies know they can and do fall into poverty. A world based on fear cannot be wealthy in any real sense.

Our possessions can own us. Attach ourselves to our possessions and we immediately lose our sense of true wealth. The very desire for possessions not yet owned breeds greed and lust. We suffer endless rounds of grasping for the goods that will make us “happy and full”. We get “more”, but immediately need to get “more” again. There is no end in sight.

“Business as usual” means a life filled with urgency, running to keep up, and without time. “Oh! If only I had more money, I would do the work I love.” Or, “If I had that big new house on the hill, people would respect and love me. My wife would stay with me.” Such conceptions of wealth are very childish.

Many of the “richest” people in the world are always “hungry”. Much shopping is for useless trinkets which act as displacements for lack of meaning and love in life. Many a parent, for example, who has no time for talking with their children, will just buy toys. Most people identify with the stuff that they own as an extension of their personal ego. Consider automobiles and houses which function as symbols of wealth, but are also destructive to the natural capital of nature.

What is money? It’s a symbol for value, it is information; it is abstract. Humans are driven by symbols to go to war and fight for abstract causes. Money, being utterly abstract, is often valued more for itself than for what it actually buys – it is the ultimate “field of dreams”. Individuals and societies measure self-worth by financial net-worth, but this devalues the deeper qualities of awareness and soul that are the true source of all value.

Walking by a beautiful garden filled with iris flowers, someone might think: “I don’t own it, how unfortunate!” So they miss the simple of joy of the experience. You don’t need to own things in order to enjoy them. To really “have” something we must be present to it. Taking time to appreciate the existence of an object, a friend, or a place is really having that object before us.

Wealth is transpersonal because it is “beyond the personal”. Everything that we do to accumulate wealth depends on past human efforts; as well as the Earth, the solar system, and the cosmos at large. You are not your own source of supply. Companies create private wealth by extracting resources from nature as if nature is “free” and unlimited. Water, for example, was always free. Industrial pollution turns water into another commodity with price barriers for the poor and helpless. This situation creates transpersonal poverty.

There can be a wealth of time. Societies can make time for living, for singing, for family, for just sitting and watching. This wealth is greater than the focus on consuming goods and working to pump up the “gross domestic product”.

A man can become homeless and starve to death in a big city filled with apartments, hotels, and food. It is not just lack of money that brings us to the homeless state. Depression, lack of faith in life, lack of friends, and lack of family ties can bring one to this place. Call it lack of love.

We cannot be truly wealthy in such societies with extremes of poverty and riches. The expansive homes of the few wealthy are beautiful, but the society is really poor and ugly. So many become restless and debased is such a society. I cannot relax in a mansion without security systems and insensitivity to the disparity around me. Just like the Buddhists who say they cannot become enlightened until everyone is enlightened, you and I cannot be truly wealthy until all are “wealthy”. Clearly, a new meaning of wealth needs to emerge for the culture at large.

True wealth goes beyond the concerns of the skin encapsulated ego. True wealth includes the social, political, and transpersonal levels. What about a friend or relative who needs help? What about broader environmental concerns? True wealth goes beyond the individual, and even national, egos. What you spend your money on, changes, impacts society. A balanced wealth portfolio can be attained by disciplining the ego and personal pride. This spiritual practice has ramifications for self, society, and life on earth.

True Wealth Realization Practice

Wealth is usually defined by external measures: affluence, millionaire money levels, ownership and control of companies, and influence over people. Look deeper; and, there is the feeling of being wealthy or poormore or less independent of external wealth measures. Work with that feeling so as to become more independent of the strictly personal illusions of money-wealth and poverty.

Remember who you really are. This means giving yourself the time to contact your own ultimate wealth: the soul. Your own soul is your own ultimate wealth. As you begin to be wealthy in yourself, you will be able to extend your sense of wealth to include others and reality at large. Every soul is the same soul – only covered by different personality, history and circumstances. I could have been any one of the other people that I see everyday.

To awaken to this very moment is true wealth. This moment is in truth all we really have and own. Everything else is just on loan; we must give it all back in the end.



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