Monday, February 25, 2013

My Soul is a Candle........

 This is my experience with St. John of the Cross's poem.
The Veil of the Temple

At the end of the Crucifixion story in the Bible, when Jesus died on the Cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. This signified that because of Jesus' death and sacrifice, that the Holy of Holies (the truth and wisdom and love of all) was opened up to everyone. So when we say “my soul is the candle that burns away the veil”, St John of the Cross is clearly stating his revelation that Jesus' sacrifice is representative of our soul's journey. All of us who have a spiritual mission on the Earth in this time, have the mission to clear ourselves, to see the emotional charges transmuted so we can see the VEIL of the false experience of duality torn asunder from our lives. And what then are we without the veil? We are awakened into love and light. We experience divinity in Union with us. We become the divine of non-duality, representative of all. 

Meister Eckhart wrote:
Someday you will hear all things applaud your wonder.
Life claps in awe of the Divine's performance.
When your veil is removed, you, dear --
you, everyone -- will see
that your being is

Suffering is a portal to divinity

Within the St. John poem are many deep truths about our journey to ourselves. Our sufferings become a vehicle to the divine, as we allow the suffering we feel to not consume us but to carry us to see our sufficiency is in the divine. We also see the suffering of others as our own, not in a purely sympathetic way, but in a participatory statement of non-duality. I am all and all is one. As I said the poem again and again, I felt the suffering of the world, and I also felt that suffering becomes our initiation into divine consciousness for all. The suffering I knew was my initiation into God!
When I feel the tears.......
In non-duality, the tears I shed are felt by all beings, and the tears that the young child feels because of her hunger are felt by all, and me. During this meditation, I have felt tears falling into my hands for the suffering of all. It started with MY suffering, and progressed to the suffering of the world. All of our suffering is transformed when we feel the veil pass soul is the candle....

The love of the divine, I now have

It is yours and it is mine. Divine's intention is love for all, contained within our consciousness.

Idea!  Say the poem once daily for 5 days. See what it teaches you.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

St. John of the Cross

Love and Union with the World: with all things

  As I studied the history of mystical religion and philosophy, I came across the poem by St. John of the Cross, “My Soul is a candle”. When I read the poem it immediately resonated with me and I knew that it was part of me. I revised it and realized that it was a statement of my journey as well as the world's journey to awakening. So I say it twice, once as a grateful appreciation of my journey and then again, as a statement of the world's ultimate destination: non-duality.
St. John of the Cross.
My soul is a candle that burned away the veil;
 only the glorious duties of light I now have.
  The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.
 My Union left me with a single eye.
 When I see the tears of all humanity running across my cheeks
 and falling into my hands,
what can I say to their great sorrow
 that I too have known.
My soul is a candle that burned away the veil,
 Only the light of the Divine remains.
 The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.
 the love of the divine I now have.
  - St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) revised by Virginia Stephenson
Next Post:  "My Soul is a Candle", explained.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Oneness Blessing

3 years ago I became a Oneness Blessing (deeksha) giver, by attending a 2 day Oneness awakening course. Since then I can truly say that this spiritual practice has had more effect on me than any others I have done. This is my experience:

When my friend Buck came back from India and gave me a Oneness Blessing, I knew that I was created to do this.  And then when I was trained to give them myself, this was confirmed to me.

I think we are ALL created to bless others. As I lay my hands upon a head, I intend for the divine grace and unconditional love to flow to the recipient and also to me.  It also has the ability to speed the awakening of the world.  In the 3 years I have been giving Oneness Blessings, I know that I have realized my non-duality place in the world.  I am NOT separate from others. The illusion of separation is a belief in my past.

In our "modern" day the philosopher Spinoza, popularized Oneness,
whose “Ethics” was an answer to Decartes' famous dualist theory that the body and spirit are separate. Spinoza held the monist (or Oneness) view that the two are the same, and Oneness is a fundamental part of his philosophy. He was described as a "God-intoxicated man," and used the word God to describe the unity of all substance. Although the term pantheism was not coined until after his death, Spinoza is regarded as its most celebrated advocate. Pantheism is the belief that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god, or that the universe (or nature) is identical with divinity. 

Other sources of Oneness explanations are found with the Gnostics in the early centuries, CE, with Sufi scriptures, with mystics such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and Meister Eckhart.  
  Oneness teaches me that I do not look to the outside or to others for my "salvation: nor do I blame outside circumstances or people for my problems. Within myself is the divine, and I am at Oneness with grace and love. All things are possible.  Hooray!


A few lines from some of my fav...poems:


 About suffering they were never wrong, 
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;.................

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;...........................

  Wild Geese  By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repeating.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. 

To read the entire poems just google the title!!!!  Enjoy!! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Heart Sutra (the Heart of Prajnaparamita Sutra)  is chanted daily by millions of Buddhists around the world, and presents the teaching on the understanding  of non-duality.  A “sutra” is a teaching, and the heart sutra teaches a state of “non-mind” by which one can “lose” their suffering.  The famous line “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” is sometimes difficult for Western minds to understand.
Recent translations have clarified the meaning of “emptiness” and have re-interpreted reality as “boundlessness”, very much in keeping with our understanding of Oneness. 
Sacred texts, like the heart sutra, are guideposts and gateways for personal experience with our true selves and with our personal divine. We do not teach or experience the literal word for word meaning of the sutra.  Instead, we will seek to personalize the sutra for each of us, thereby creating our own “bhakti” experience.  Bhakti is the personal love and devotion to one’s divine.

In a nutshell, the Heart Sutra teaches on how one can transcend "suffering", and thereby help others to awaken to the joy that their suffering can also be transcended. The suffering that Buddhism talks about is the suffering of the mind, thinking......that causes worry, fear, dissatisfaction, etc.  Per the 4 noble truths, suffering arises because of our desires, or cravings.  To the Western mind this is hard to understand, so I will TRY to help to explain.
This is the mental process that we go through:

We are attached to outcomes and expectations, therefore we have the idea that our actions can effect specific outcomes in our lives, and that our wishes and desires are obtainable. Once we have this idea our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and object of mind) agree with the ideas and conspire to produce cravings that our false realities will  be fulfilled. We seek to avoid the suffering that will come by NOT attaining what we crave and desire, thereby producing an attachment to its outcome.  We worry that it will not come about, we fear it not coming about. These appear as cycles of suffering as we get a glimpse of our desires coming to pass, and the reality of its being unattainable.   This state of disappointment, or suffering, is the essence of ignorance, which started and perpetuates the cycle until one becomes AWARE, in the words of the Buddha, that "this whole heap of dukkha (suffering) arise according to these factors.”
The heart sutra takes reality as we know it, strips us bare, destroys all we think is true, and then asks us to step into a new world where we have overcome our ignorance, we leave suffering behind as an empty form, and step into a boundless existence where nothing is permanent.  Sounds like fun, huh?
The best way to find "grace" from the Heart sutra is to memorize it and feel it become part of you as you learn it.  As you repeat it and know it, it is amazing how often parts of it will be made aware to you, and you will have many "ah-ha" moments with it.
Be very blessed today. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra
About a year ago, I added the heart sutra to my spiritual practice. The first time I heard the translation by Tanahashi and Halifax, it so resonated with my understanding of reality. A “sutra” is a teaching, and the heart sutra teaches the dismantling of duality. It identifies some of the hazards of dual thinking, such as fear, ignorance, trusting in wisdom and attainment, and attachments. It sings the praises of those who lead others to awakening.
I decided to rewrite the sutra from a Oneness perspective. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, and I rewrote it to recognize the impersonal God, Christ consciousness, or the indwelling Atman. I basically wrote it for me, from the inside out. I would read a line of the sutra and rewrite it according to what it meant for me inside. This is a process you can do too. Simply look within and put your feelings and thoughts on paper.
I find the heart sutra a source of grace in my life. Whenever I recite it I feel very firm and solid. The sutra points the way for me to realize and keep a daily awareness of what is important in reality.
Warning! Please do not try to figure out the heart sutra literally. The grace of the sutra comes as we experience it in the right brain, in the feelings and the heart. Buck and I have even spoken the sutra to each other, as in a conversation. Hearing it spoken to you is a real treat!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sutra on the Heart of Realizing Wisdom Beyond Wisdom

TRANSLATED BY Kazuaki Tanahashi AND Roshi Joan halifax
Avalokiteshvara, who helps all to awaken,
moves in the deep course of
realizing wisdom beyond wisdom,
sees that all five streams of
body and mind are boundless,
and frees all from anguish.
Oh Shariputra,
form is not separate from boundlessness;
boundlessness is not separate from form.
Form is boundlessness; boundlessness is form.
Feelings, perceptions, mental formations,
and consciousness are also like this.
Oh Shariputra,
boundlessness is the nature of all things.
It neither arises nor perishes,
neither stains nor purifies,
neither increases nor decreases.
Boundlessness is not limited by form,
nor by feelings, perceptions,
mental formations, and consciousness.
It is free of the eyes, ears, nose,
tongue, body and mind;
free of sight, sound, smell, taste,
touch, and any object of mind;
free of sensory realms
including mind-consciousness.
It is free of ignorance and the end of ignorance.
Boundlessness is free of old age and death
and free from the end of old age and death.
It is free of suffering, arising, cessation, and path,
and free of wisdom and attainment.
Being free of attainment,
those who help all to awaken
abide in the realization of wisdom beyond wisdom
and live with an unhindered mind.
Without hindrance, the mind has no fear.
Free from confusion,
those who lead all to emancipation
embody complete serenity.
All those, in the past, present, and future,
who realize wisdom beyond wisdom
manifest unsurpassable, authentic and
thorough awakening.
Know that realizing wisdom beyond wisdom
is no other than this great mantra,
luminous, incomparable, and supreme.
It relieves all suffering.
It is genuine, not illusory.
So set forth this mantra of realizing
wisdom beyond wisdom.
Set forth this mantra that says,
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi! Svaha!
The last line is the mantra, and can be sung or repeated, or even sung in a round. The English means: Gone, Gone, Completely Gone. All completely gone in awakening, Hallelujah!
More on this soon.