Lesson 23: The Journey

July 2017

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All of your life is the journey. There's nothing but the journey! Every atom of your life is part of the path. It is a journey marked by significant events, good and bad, that embroidered the tapestry of your life with indelible conditions that stood the chance of guiding you Home, events that are but the instruments of your becoming. Unique to the individual, the journey is splattered by the orgasmic as well as unbearable events that contain within them all that you seek, inside and outside of your Self.

"The world-ways opened before Savitri.
At first a strangeness of new brilliant scenes
Peopled her mind and kept her body's gaze.
But as she moved across the changing earth
A deeper consciousness welled up in her:
A citizen of many scenes and climes,
Each soil and country it had made its home;
It took all clans and peoples for her own,
Till the whole destiny of mankind was hers.
These unfamiliar spaces on her way
Were known and neighbours to a sense within,
Landscapes recurred like lost forgotten fields,
Cities and rivers and plains her vision claimed
Like slow-recurring memories in front.
The stars at night were her past brilliant friends,
The winds murmured to her of ancient things
And she met nameless comrades by her once."

Inside of you lies a greater destiny that is necessary but not yet realized. With mathematical precision, the days and years give up their secrets and fates are revealed. Yet, the scenes, climes, clans, peoples, rivers and cities are not the journey. They are but the landscapes of the journey. The journey is becoming what you are, what you have always been, and what you will always be.

"But morn broke in reminding her of her quest
And from low rustic couch or mat she rose
And went impelled on her unfinished way
And followed the fateful orbit of her life
Like a desire that questions silent gods
Then passes starlike to some bright Beyond."

It is at this point in "Savitri" that all has been made ready for Savitri's true journey: her destined union with Satyavan and her necessary confrontation with Death.

"These bodies summed the drift of numberless births,
And the spirit to the spirit was the same.
Amazed by a joy for which thewy had waited long,
The lovers met upon their different paths,
Travellers across the limitless plains of Time
Together drawn from fate-led journeyings
In the self-closed solitude of their human past,
To a swift rapturous dream of future joy
And the unexpected present of these eyes.
By the revealing greatness of a look,
Form-smitten the spirit's memory woke in sense.
The mist was torn that lay between two lives;
Her heart unveiled and his to find her turned;
Attracted as in heaven star by star,
They wondered at each other and rejoiced
And wove affinity in a silent gaze.
A moment passed that was eternity's ray,
An hour began, the matrix of new Time."

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Lesson 22: The Call to the Journey

July 2017

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The sacredness of birth is the onset of the Divine seeking to know itself in physical form. The journey did not begin with the first breath but began ions ago.

"O spirit, traveller of eternity,
Who cam'st from the immortal spaces here
Armed for the splendid hazard of thy life
To set they conquering foot on Chance and Time,
The moon shut in her halo dreams like thee
A mighty presence still defends they frame."

As with all journeys, one prepares the necessary ingredients that allows the journey to come to fruition. Each year when all of our children and grandchildren unite together at the beach for our week in the sun, there is a methodical process of packing what left behind would cause the trip to be jeopardized. It seems like each year something is forgotten. But worst case scenario, you can always buy another one.

Unlike the ego, the journey of the soul begins with nothing being left behind.

"Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide
Than One who burns within they bosom's powers.
There shall draw near to meet they approaching steps
The second self for whom thy nature asks,
He who shall walk until they body's end
A close-bound traveller pacing with they pace,
The lyrist of the soul's most intimate chords
Who shall give voice to what in thee is mute."

The work for which your soul was made is none other than your life...good or bad. Just as your life is right now. Wherever you are, whatever circumstances you find yourself in, it is perfect. The call to self-realization is issued to all. The alchemy of the exact ingredients that are required to experience the grandest part of your Self are right in front of you. Although you may not be able to see them, they are not hidden. Nothing is missing.

The call to the journey must be developed. You must learn to train yourself beyond your sensory faculties and no one is going to do that for you. Strength, balance and transformation must be developed. The urge to greater fulfillment can certainly take place in a moment of inspiration but it is more likely to take place as a result of deliberate preparation, development and commitment. Under these conditions, the results are much more sustainable. So, instead of waiting for a miracle or for someone to save you, choose the journey one breath at a time, one day at a time.

"Then, falling silent in himself to know
He meets the deeper listening of his soul:
The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:
Thought, visions, feeling, sense, the body's self
Are seized unutterably and he endures
An ecstasy and an immortal change;
He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,
All knowledge rushes on him life a sea:
Transmuted by the white spiritual ray
He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm,
Sees the God-face and hears transcendent speech:
An equal greatness in her life was sown."

Strive. And when you meet failure and loss, strive again. Demand of yourself a greater life. And when you meet failure and loss, demand again. Expect. And when your expectations fall short and you meet failure and loss, expect again.

The call to the journey begins within you.

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Lesson 21: Grounded Within: Grounded Without

July 2017

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Your Self is your original, essential and divine state of who you are. Your Self is the supreme expression of the Divine. You are "It." "It" (you) is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. "It" (you) is invulnerable, eternal and limitless...until "It" (you) decides to manifest.

The process of manifestation results in form. Form is matter. Matter is a highly densified state of "It" (you). In fact,all matter is densified "It." Your body is a highly densified condition of "It." If you understand this, then you understand that all matter is the Divine, including you. You would also then simplistically deduce that so are "they"...the ones you don't like, the ones that should be punished for the things they do. But if you don't understand this, then there is good and there is bad, and, of course, you know the difference and stand on the side of good. If you don't understand this, then your life is also racked with the pain and struggle of reconciling duality (good and bad).

It is a fairly simple process of repetition that allows you to become robotic, mechanized, blind and a stranger to the "It" that is who you really are. The struggles of daily survival, the demands of the physical body, and the endless pursuits of the unenlightened mind take little time to jail your Self in a self-made prison of self-doubt, ignorance and fear. As a result, the Self that you are remains hidden from you as you become someone other than your Self. The funny thing is that there is nothing you can do to achieve the Self because it's already who you are. The pursuit of the Divine cannot be realized because it is the Divine in you who is doing the pursuing. Get it? You are already who you seek to be!

"O Force -compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race,
O petty adventurers in an infinite world
And prisoners of a dwarf humanity,
How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind
Around your little self and petty things?
But not for a changeless littleness were you meant,
Not for vain repetition were you built;
Out of the Immortal's substance you were made;
Your actions can be swift revealing steps,
Your life a changeful mould for growing gods.
A Seer, a strong Creator, is within,
The immaculate Grandeur brrods upon your days,
Almighty powers are shut in Nature's cells,
A greater destiny waits you in your front;
This transient earthly being if he wills
Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme."

The rediscovery of this, of learning about who you really are effortlessly results in spiritual transformation. This is truly the distinguishing mark of your life, the lighthouse around which everything else will orbit. Before, your world was ruled by everything outside of you. Daily life was like walking through an asteroid field. Chaos was the norm. Now, your world is ruled by everything inside of you. Your inner cosmos evolves closer and closer to its original state, and in doing so, creates a center that is grounded in the truth of who you really are. The inner rules the outer and your power to transform outer events strengthens. Before, the outer ruled your inner, resulting in chaos, pain and a lot of therapy. If you are grounded within, then you will be grounded when you go without, turning the hurricane winds of life and catastrophe into understanding, knowledge and blessing.

"Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts.
You shall awake into the spirit's air
And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind
And hear the message which left life's heart dumb
And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids
And blow your conch-shells at the Eternal's gate.
Authors of earth's high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul
And touch the mighty Mother stark awake
And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh
And make of life the million-Bodied One."

Your realization of this will be your greatest gift to the world.

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Lesson 20: The Error of Escape

May 2017

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I can't be that different from anybody else in that even at an early age I often thought about the after-life. My upbringing in the Episcopal church placed me in the middle of the extremes and without thinking for myself, assumed that what I was taught was true. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell but unless you really screw up, you're going to Heaven. I was 10 years old.

I can't be that different than anybody else in that when I was young, I tried alternative escapes from my confusion by the use of self- medication. After I had a bad trip from doing hash that was laced with LSD and thinking that a water tower was actually a giant squirrel wanting to eat me, I abandoned that route of discovery. I was 20 years old.

I can't be that different from anybody else in that after I realized that I would not find God in church or self-medication, I considered the alternatives. I studied Buddhism and a host of other approaches and maintained a very disciplined meditation practice for 10 years. I assumed that what I was taught was true and that Nirvana was attainable. After I tripped the light fandango, had some out of body experiences, I saw the irreconcilable discrepancy between being in a state of nirvana and actually walking the earth. I was 40 years old.

In all religions, an escape exists. One day you won't be here. After you die, you'll be there. And "there" is better than "here." Blow yourself up and a crowd of innocent people along with you and there will even the added benefit of 27 virgins waiting for you when you get "there." And as we all know, it doesn't get any better than that. Even the Episcopal church doesn't promise virgins. Why are we taught not to be here? What is wrong with being here? As Stephen Hawking recently argued, it is time to colonize the moon and Mars because according to him, it's not going to be a lot of fun being here before too long. How brilliant.

Savitri, too, made a choice. She made a choice to be here because of her love for Satvayan. She decided that heaven was not "there" but "here." She changed directions. Is it possible that a directional problem exists that lies at the heart of your confusion about what you are doing here? Is is possible that death will not be your reprieve as you have been taught? Is it possible that it is not about you going to heaven but about heaven coming to you? The error of the Church, of self-medication, of escape is that what you seek does not lie outside of you...but inside of you. It is who you are. If you understand this, you can solve some really big issues for yourself. Example: The reason that no one and no thing can complete you is because you were never incomplete in the first place. And that's just for starters!

"Abolished is the burdening need of life:
Thought falls from us, we cease from joy and grief;
The ego is dead; we are freed from being and care,
We have done with birth and death and work and fate.
O soul, it is too early to rejoice!"

The meaning of this great, mysterious experience of life cannot be death nor can it be escape to another realm whether that be through death, self-medication or meditation. The grief, the freedom you seek from work and paying your bills, the silent struggle of your fate, the burden you face in your daily pursuit to come with the terms of your existence, the losses...they all contain within them the heaven you seek.

"Thou hast leaped into a glad divine abyss;
But where hast thou thrown Self's mission and Self's power?
On what dead bank on the Eternal's road?
Once was within thee who was self and world.
What hast thou done for his purpose in the stars?
Escape brings not victory and the crown!
Something thou cam'st to do from the Unknown,
But nothing is finished and the world goes on
Because only half God's cosmic work is done.
Only the everlasting No has neared
And stared into thy eyes and killed thy heart:
But where is the Lover's everlasting Yes,
And immortality in the secret heart."

Heaven is not there. It is here. You can only get "there" by being "here." It's a simple error of direction to be corrected. "Half of God's cosmic work" with you is done. It is time for the other half of you to begin.

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Lesson 19: The Comedy of Ignorance

May 2017

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"Our mind is a house haunted by the slain past,
Ideas soon mummified, ghosts of old truths,
God's spontaneities tied with formal strings
And packed into drawers of reason's trim bureau,
A grave of great lost opportunities,
Or an office for misuse of soul and life
And all the waste man makes of heaven's gifts
And all his squanderings of Nature's store,
A stage for the comedy of Ignorance."

It is 2017 and we are still killing one another to resolve our domestic and international disputes. Religion may have been able to save a few souls here and there but it has been unable to spiritualize humanity. In North Carolina, we have one the highest percentages in the United States of children under 18 years of age who are food insecure on a regular basis: almost 1 in 4. The plethora of public figures living lives of contradictions and hypocrisies are no longer secretly hidden but touted as virtues. If you accept that violence need not result in bloodshed for there to have been violence, you see violence everywhere you go. Voter suppression and discrimination are legalized in numerous states. There is no need for me to keep going on with this. You get the point. It appears that it is only out of sorrow and darkness that things change. But what if that is not true? What if there was an easier way other than starring in "The Comedy of Ignorance?"

Let's begin with an act of self-implication. What I would invite you to do is to identify without any judgment whatsoever something that you deeply desire but something for which you have substituted something much lesser. While there are many, just identify one. Implicate yourself. Perhaps it's a passionless marriage, an unfulfilling job, or a mental, physical or emotional addiction you've learned to accept. Now, take 10 steps back from it. Now, take another 10 steps back and be sitting on the first row of the playhouse watching your own comedy of ignorance play out. Watch with amusement how you have it set up in such a way that you always end up with the problem. Notice what you have to pretend is true to make sure you always end up with the lie.

Now, read the following as you watch yourself play the problem out on stage.

"For He who Is grows manifest in the the years
And the slow Godhead shut within the cell
Climbs from the plasm to immortality."

What is growing inside of you as you remain a prisoner to your comedy of ignorance? What is shut off inside, hidden within, denied, but there? What slumbers inside of you waiting to be awakened? If this problem was not part of your life, then what would you have it be? Above and away from the ignorance, if this problem did not exist, then what would exist? Instead of living with the substitution, what would you have it be? If there was one, just one, part of your life that you wanted to see fulfilled, what would it be? And now, translate the unthinkable into a thought! Translate the unimaginable into a possibility!

"A fiery stillness wakes the slumbering cells,
A passion of the flesh becoming spirit,
And marvelously is fulfilled at last
The miracle for which our life was made."

Your "...comedy of ignorance" is but the tool of your own design to cause to awaken inside of you the miracle for which your life was made. Awaken. Be THAT!

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