Sunday, 11 May 2008

Not much integrity......around this blog these days..

I am aware that the intervals between blog entries are getting longer. I could say that it is the warm weather which is making it difficult for me to think! but this would be a lie. The truth is that the last couple of times after I finished writing the blog I felt quite restless and the day doesn't seem to go as well. It's like I tap into something unconsciously through this blog and whatever it is I have tapped into just doesn't go away, if that makes any sense. I am aware though that there are return readers to this blog and to those I want to say sorry for any frustration caused when there is no blog update.

These days I have been thinking more and more about the nature of enlightenment. I have been thinking more in a scientific way than a mystic way. For me, freedom comes when the mind is freed from the senses. When we can look at a flower and become lost and absorbed in its beauty. When the senses are free without any interference from the mind this to me is liberation, enlightenment, Nirvana whatever label you want to put on it. This thought of mine was validated quite strongly at work the other day. Both my colleague and I had read a moving article in a magzine about a woman who had cured herself of cancer. I read it and was absorbed and moved by the story there was no mind involvement, in terms of evaluation of the article. My colleague said to me when we spoke about it 'as I was reading it I kept thinking the English in this is very bad and it is also badly written'. When she said this to me I was sad that her mind had prevented her from being moved to compassion by what was a very moving story. The evaluative mind prevented the movement of energy to compassion.

On Saturday night I felt drawn to attend a talk by Sri Kaleshar. I had never heard of this self-proclaimed enlightened man who is descended from the Shirdi Sai Baba lineage. This is typical of me. I will be drawn to go to a talk. Beforehand it is all I can think of and everything will work that I will be at the venue early and then I will sit amongst the crowd of devotees feeling that I don't belong and wondering why I found myself there. Saturday night was no different. I was firstly struck by the number of westerners that were wearing Indian clothes. I have never understood this. I am a westerner on a universal spiritual path, why would I wear Indian dress to go to a talk in London given by an Indian yogi. I have the Indian pyjamas (I'm not being disrespectful but I can't remember their proper name) that I bought and wore when I lived in India but it never entered my head to wear them to hear this man speak. For me, I think if I had put them on then something would have said 'now you are special', in other words a spiritual ego would have taken a hold. This is the danger with the ritual of dressing in a special way or being given a special name during an initiation. The spiritual ego is no less damaging to the spiritual path than is the materialistic ego. In fact I would assert that the spiritual ego is more damaging because it is the deepest form of self-delusion. The self-delusion of being special.

The evening began with some Bhajans (devotional songs). These were sung in Sanskrit and were different mantras. Devotional singing and chanting I have faith in. I have faith in this for speeding up spiritual awakening for 2 main reasons. The first is that the Bhajans are not in English. This stops the mind from evaluating. It doesn't understand so knows that there's no point in trying and so it accepts. In that acceptance the power of the soul can begin to emerge. The other reason I have faith in singing is that it creates more space in the brain. The more space the more expanded is the consciousness. I knew that if I closed my eyes during the Bhajans that I will create space and my consciousness would expand. This is exactly what happened. I found myself in Rishikesh where there is a huge statue of Lord Shiva. I had done some devotional singing there the last time I had been in India and had been moved to tears there. Through the Bhajans my consciousness returned and I don't want to sound arrogant but I really felt like I had merged with Lord Shiva. The image of the grandness of the statue and the feelings it awoke in me were once again so strong. I knew then that this was the reason why I found myself sitting there on a wam and balmy Saturday night in London.

Then Sri Kaleshar began to speak. I had been drawn to his talk because it was supposed to have been about 'The miracle power of Jesus, awakening the miracle energy within'. It was more the 2nd half than the first that drew me there. I have experience of this miracle energy within and I wanted to find out more. He began his talk by showing a slide show of his ashram in Southern India which he has called the Sri Kaleshwar Soul University. All I could think of as the slides were being shown was how much it must cost for its upkeep. Perhaps this was my evaluative mind that was acting to sabotage total absorption in what he was saying, but again I had the thought,' is the setting up of structures like this what the Divine really wants'. This cutting oneself away from the world to meditate and learn complicated theories. I have such a strong feeling that it isn't. That the Divine wishes to experience the fruits of its creation which is life as a human. It can only experience this through an awakened consciousness. How pissed off it must get when it delivers an experience to a person to wake him or her up and then this same person goes off to an ashram. I don't know where this thought of mine comes from but I do know its strength. This is why I find myself in such a conflict whenever I am being told about an ashram or any spiritual structure. Today's realization becomes tomorrow's spiritual ego inflation unless there is unrelenting vigilance.

As he was speaking I experienced a level of frustration. Again I don't want to sound arrogant but he said nothing that I didn't already know. However one thing he said really resonated. He said that when we have the mind and the heart under our control, then the soul releases and powerful healing is the result. He said that this is why Jesus could perform the kind of healing miracles that he did. He could do this because he had both his mind and his heart under Soul control. What does it mean to have both heart and mind under Soul control? For the mind it means freeing itself from the senses so that the senses are free to operate without interference from the mind. For the heart it means having a contentment that is independent of external circumstances. When we have this contentment independent of external events and circumstances then the heart is controlled and the Soul is released. The result then is freedom and liberation and the power to perform miracles.

I am clear that I won't be attending Sri Kaleshwar's Soul University. It is not for me. What struck me about the slides he showed was how sincere the devotees were as they pored over some diagrams which looked very complicated and which he didn't explain. I was disappointed in the talk for a number of reasons. Firstly he didn't speak about what he was billed to speak about which was 'awakening the miracle energy within'. He didn't ask for questions from his audience which to me is always a weak sign in a speaker and the majority of the talk to me seemed to be promotion for his Soul University. However the experience I had through the devotional Bhajans was so well worth me being there. It is important on this path to be discerning and honest in what resonates and what doesn't. I am not being critical here or making him wrong but I am clear he is not my teacher.

When I came home I looked at the photograph I have of Sri Ramana Maharishi on my shelf beside the statue of the Buddha and a great wave of love and devotion overcame me. It is always the same when I look at his photograph. I think it is necessary to have this reaction before accepting someone as a teacher. Every day something new comes along yet it is the One Truth only different paths. Discernment is necessary to find the right path for each of us.......

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