Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, July 15, 2005

There was conversation at the Bhagavad Gita reading tonight about simple and complex.

The simple is not involved or complicated; easy.

There is much complexity in being human.

CHAPTER XIV

THE THREE GUNAS

1. The Blessed Lord said: I will again declare the supreme Knowledge, the highest of all knowings, which having known, all the sages have gone hence to the highest perfection.
2. Having taken refuge in this knowledge and become of like nature and law of being with Me, they are not born in the creation, nor troubled by the anguish of the universal dissolution.
3. My womb is the Mahat Brahman; into that I cast the seed; thence spring all beings, O Bharata.
4. Whatever forms are produced in whatsoever wombs, O Kaunteya, the Mahat Brahman is their womb, and I am the Father who casts the seed.
5. The three gunas born of Prakriti, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas bind in the body, O great-armed one, the imperishable dweller in the body.
6. Of these Sattwa is by the purity of its quality a cause of light and illumination, and by virtue of that purity produces no disease or morbidity or suffering in the nature: it binds by attachment to knowledge and attachment to happiness, O sinless one.
7. Rajas, know thou, has for its essence attraction of liking and longing; it is a child of the attachment of the soul to the desire of objects; O Kaunteya, it binds the embodied spirit by attachment to works.
8. But Tamas, know thou, born of ignorance, is the deluded of all embodied beings; it binds by negligence, indolence and sleep, O Bharata.
9. Sattwa attaches to happiness, rajas to action, O Bharata; tamas covers up the knowledge and attaches to negligence of error and inaction.
10. Now sattwa leads, having overpowered rajas and tamas, O Bharata; now rajas, having overpowered sattwa and tamas; and now tamas, having overpowered sattwa and rajas.
11. When into all the doors in the body there comes a flooding of light, a light of understanding, perception and knowledge, one should understand that there has been a great increase and uprising of the sattwic guna in the nature.
12. Greed, seeking impulsions, initiative of actions, unrest, desire - all this mounts in us when rajas increases.
13. Nescience, inertia, negligence and delusion - these are born when tamas predominates, O joy of the Kurus.
14. If sattwa prevails when the embodied goes to dissolution, then he attains to the spotless worlds of the knowers of the highest principles.
15. Going to dissolution when rajas prevails, he is born among those attached to action; if dissolved during the increase of tamas, he is born in the wombs of beings involved in nescience.
16. It is said the fruit of works rightly done is pure and sattwic; pain is the consequence of rajasic works, ignorance is the result of tamasic action.
17. From sattwa knowledge is born, and greed from rajas; negligence and delusion are of tamas, and also ignorance.
18. They rise upwards who are in sattwa; those in rajas remain in the middle; the tamasic, those enveloped in ignorance and inertia, the effect of the lowest quality, go downwards.
19. When the seer perceives that the modes of Nature are the whole agency and cause of works and knows and turns to That which is supreme above the gunas, he attains to mad-bhava (the movement and status of the Divine).
20. When the soul thus rises above the three gunas born of the embodiment in Nature, he is freed from subjection to birth and death and their concomitants, decay, old age and suffering, and enjoys in the end the Immortality of its self-existence.
21. Arjuna said: What are the signs of the man who has risen above the three gunas, O Lord? What is his action and how does he surmount the gunas?
22. The Blessed Lord said: He, O Pandava, who does not abhor or shrink from the operation of enlightenment (the result of rising sattwa) or impulsion to works (the result of rising rajas) or the clouding over of the mental and nervous being (the result of rising tamas), nor longs after them, when they cease.
23. He who, established in a position as of one seated high above, is unshaken by the gunas; who seeing that it is the gunas that are in process of action stands apart immovable.
24-25. He who regards happiness and suffering alike, gold and mud and stone as of equal value, to whom the pleasant and the unpleasant, praise and blame, honour and insult, the faction of his friends and the faction of his enemies are equal things; who is steadfast in a wise imperturbable and immutable inner calm and quietude; who initiates no action (but leaves all works to be done by the gunas of Nature) - he is said to be above the gunas.
26. He also who loves and strives after Me with an undeviating love and adoration, passes beyond the three gunas and he too is prepared for becoming the Brahman.
27. I (the Purushottama) am the foundation of the silent Brahman and of Immortality and imperishable spiritual existence and of the eternal dharma and of an utter bliss of happiness.
( -- From The Bhagavad Gita, as translated by Sri Aurobindo)


I agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin -- the more complexity the more consciousness.

If anything is simple, it is that complexity is the field within which we live, and move, and have our being.

Even with flooding of light it is all far beyond me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Things are not what we say they are. Things are always and only what they are.

Calming the Mind

Too much knowledge
Leads to overactivity;
Better to calm the mind.
The more you consider,
The greater the loss;
Better to unify the mind
.
- Shih Wang Ming (6th century)

To inquire, to ask into something, is to investigate things as they are.

But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
he is a mockery among his neighbours.

( from Psalm 88 (89))

We have got to face something as it is. Not as we wish it to be.

We'll ask this in prison in the morning: how does something being what it is transform the whole world?

Don't give a psychological answer to this, rather, give an essential answer.

No explanation.

Just be it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

At times you are simply tired.

When the mind is properly adjusted
And quietly applied
The Way is attainable;
But when you are too fervently bent
On it, your body grows tired;
When your body is tired, your spirit
Becomes weary.
When you spirit is weary, your discipline
Will relax, and with relaxation of
Discipline, there follows many distractions

- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

When that happens, rest.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Walking trail up Bald Rock Mountain in Lincolnville Monday afternoon. It begins to rain. Cool rain on hot dry mountain. One step after another. Dogs apace. Two Canadian women ahead. Just roots and rocks with rain soaking relief through climb. Just that.

And when That is seen in its
immanence and transcendence
Then the ties that have bound the
Heart are loosened, the doubts
Of the mind vanish, and the law
Of karma works no more.

- Mundaka Upanishad

Later Saskia takes friends from Ontario for early evening sail. Windless drift off bell buoy 2 and Curtis Island, they catch up with downpour again rowing back to dock. Their swordfish and salad, I'm told, was placed on plate downstairs just after 11pm.

Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor. For patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
(--Julius Caesar, born in Rome around 100 B.C.)

In America, slash and burn arrogance begins to fray at edges. For the president, the shadows of second term scandal creep from behind curtain. July slows nearing fulcrum mid-month pause -- a baseball all-star game today, a deputy chief-of-staff finally revealed as source for CIA agent name-leak, Jane in a novel dies as Rose and Son are given her family's land surrounding home for unwed mothers in Kentucky. The days quietly stretch alongside reading material and silent watchfulness.

The Writer's Almanac tells that today is the birthday of Henry David Thoreau.
He was 27 years old when he built that little cabin on the edge of Walden Pond and moved in, in an attempt, he said, to "Simplify, simplify, simplify ... to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach."

When Jesus said: "This is my body...This is the cup of the new and eternal covenant," he was teaching essential facts of life. We are -- each and all of us -- the bread and wine, yogurt and strawberry muffins of existence. The very "stuff" of the universe and creation is the very "stuff" of religious symbolism. "Tat tvam asi" -- we are that, "That" is what we are. Jesus was a profound teacher. He refused to make God other, nor did he claim equality with God something to be grasped at.

It is Tuesday. A bumble bee surveys screen at window. Birds ask about sunflower seed. Sun slants across paper in milk crate. Truck climbs Barnestown Road.

Gratitude at being alive types these words. Even as I am being killed in London, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Mid-west, in Cuba, Haiti, and along the Florida panhandle -- I sit in the pause of gratitude for...

Being,

Alive.

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Listen!"

The first word of Benedict's Rule is "Ausculta" -- Listen -- carefully, with the ear of the heart!

When the inward and the outward are illumined, and all is clear, you are one with the light of the sun and moon. When developed to its ultimate state, this is a round luminosity which nothing can deceive, the subtle body of a unified spirit, pervading the whole universe. Then you have the same function as the sun and moon.
- Liu I-Ming

We must continue to listen. Listening incorporates, incarnates, and we embody what is embraced.

St Benedict (480 - 547)
Benedict was born at Nursia, in Umbria, and studied in Rome; but he was unable to stomach the dissolute life of the city, and he became a solitary hermit at Subiaco. His reputation spread, and some monks asked him to be their abbot, but they did not like the discipline he imposed and tried to poison him.
(
http://www.universalis.com/)

He didn't die, not then. He went on to be an inspiration for monastics, male and female. (But what is it about us that the inclination to kill what we do not like or understand is so strong?)

Just as there exists an evil fervour, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervour which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. Monks should put this fervour into practice with an overflowing love: that is, they should surpass each other in mutual esteem, accept their weaknesses, either of body or of behaviour, with the utmost patience; and vie with each other in acceding to requests. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. They should display brotherly [and sisterly] love in a chaste manner; fear God in a spirit of love; revere their abbot with a genuine and submissive affection. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life. (From the Rule of Benedict, abbot; Put Christ before everything)

"All else" might be diversion of mind that cannot accept the wholeness of what is as-it-is and thereby creates "elseness" to inaugurate the process of mental differentiation leading to exclusion and fragmentation. "All else" is what stands between us and the ever-present wholeness we call "God."

To put Christ before all else is to avoid dissembling by entering directly the monastic embrace of the Christ Reality.

There is much sadness in the world. From bombings and bullets to bombast and bullying -- so many have so much difficulty finding a clear and safe path upon which to walk.

Poem

The unspoiled colors of a late summer night,

The wind howling through the loft pines --

The feel of autumn approaching;

The swaying bamboos keep resonating,

And shedding tears of dew at dawn;

Only those who exert themselves fully

Will attain the Way,

But even if you abandon all for the ancient path

of meditation,

You can never forget the meaning of sadness.

(from The Zen Poetry of Dogen, Steven Heine)

Exert ourselves, yes. But more -- Exhort, that is, encourage ourselves fully! This exhortation to listen is powerful practice. And not to shrink from what is heard.

This listening is a round luminosity which nothing can deceive.

Thank you, Benedict!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A friend argues portioned information, portioned revelation. (Something portioned is a part separated from a whole.) He believes Jesus gave secret teaching to some, and befuddling stories to others. He holds to the many and the elect template.

I don't.

If you desire to attain enlightenment, you should steadily walk the Way with a resolute heart, with courage, and be fearless in whatever environment you may happen to be. Destroy every evil influence that you may come across; for thus you shall reach the goal.
- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

The philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) spoke of "bracketing" in a way that puts the word "destroy" in perspective.
Phenomenological reduction is also a method of bracketing empirical intuitions away from philosophical inquiry, by refraining from making judgments upon them. Husserl uses the term "epoche" (Greek, for "a cessation") to refer to this suspension of judgment regarding the true nature of reality. Bracketed judgment is an epoche or suspension of inquiry, which places in brackets whatever facts belong to essential Being.

Husserl argues that bracketing is a neutralization of belief. Doxic positing (i.e. the positing of belief) may be actual or potential. Doxic positing may occur in every kind of consciousness, because every consciousness may actually or potentially posit something about Being.

(--from "Husserl'’s Ideas on a Pure Phenomenology and on a Phenomenological Philosophy" at http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/husserl.html)

To destroy literally means to pile up. Do we destroy -- that is, pile up to the side -- so that a new passageway might be found? Is this destroying also applicable to any of, or all, our beliefs?

What is Jesus saying? What does it mean to say that the mysteries of heaven are revealed to you?
"Listen, anyone who has ears!"
Then the disciples went up to him and asked, "Why do you talk to them in parables?" "Because" he replied "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:
You will listen and listen again, but not understand,
see and see again, but not perceive.
For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,
their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,
for fear they should see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted
and be healed by me.

(from Matthew 13)

The reality of the kingdom of heaven is revealed. Some say, and I'd agree, it is revealed here and now. The mysteries are revealed.

We see it by listening.

We hear it by looking.

This seeming paradox is cross-learning.

By listening and listening we see more. By looking and looking we hear more. Many and some do not listen nor do they look. We grow course in our closed passageways. We remain insulated and detached when we refuse to break through ossified and separative walls.

These walls, in heart and mind, restrain us from experiencing the pain of compassion and integration. We are -- all of us -- of the whole. We are not parts to be distributed and dispersed into geographies and categories of separateness.

The evil influence to deny what-is, to ignore the ground reality of existence itself -- must be put aside, piled off to the side -- so that we might pass through to what-is, to the ground reality of existence itself.

Peter Russell says, "We don't create reality; we create our experience of reality." (Russell is author of From Science To God: The Mystery of Consciousness and the Meaning of Light.)

Meher Baba said: "Don't worry; Be happy." Genuine Reality is not something to worry about. Genuine Reality is something in and with which to be happy. We might not be able to see God because God is not some thing to see. But in our looking and in our listening we might become aware of the permeating presence of looking-Itself, of listening-Itself -- within and as our looking and listening.

The secret teaching of Jesus is that there is no secret teaching.

Christ-Reality is revealed. It is whole.

It is revealed as referred to in the "Our Father" where the words say: "On earth (as it is) in heaven."

"As it is." This is the revelation of wholeness. We are not other than "as it is."

In the open.

As love is.

On/in.

Earth/heaven.

Another way of seeing things.