Lets Interpret Scriptures to Promote Love, Peace, Healing and Unity

    Sunday, November 28, 2010, 12:51 AM [General]

    This journal post is the introduction to a group I hope to form in the near future devoted to developing and  discussing interpretations of scriptures from the worlds religious traditions that are compatible with and promote the notion of a God, or ultimate state of being or consciousness, that has the qualities of infinite, omnipresent, unconditional, selfless love that embraces all of creation and excludes nothing from that embrace.  I believe that such a quest can have a positive impact on those involved and has the possibility of having a positive impact for humanity.  My thought is to have a thread for each religious tradition. The Jewish thread would involve the Tanak, the Talmud and other midrash.  The Christian thread would involve the various versions of the Old and New Testament.  The Islamic thread would involve the Koran.  The Hindu thread is more complicated but would involve at least the Bhagavad Gita. 

    I have been involved in writing an interpretation of the verses in Genesis and some of these writings are posted on my website www.perennialpsychology.com

    If you have any suggestions on how such a group can be structured please let me know

     

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    The Light of Ten Thousand Suns

    Thursday, March 12, 2009, 10:32 PM [General]

     

    Excerpts from

    the LIGHT of TEN THOUSAND SUNS

    With commentry by rvalin

    Swami Veda Bharati granted me permission to quote any of his writings.

    The LIGHT of TEN THOUSAND SUNS is a book of deeply meaningful short compositions by Swami Veda Bharati.  

     The spirit in which this book was written is expressed in the composition titled "Homage" (p V)

                Homage to the sages of humanity, our teachers, the donors of our philosophy, those travelers in time who were born centuries ago yet come to our day, making us also travel in time by calling us to their age.  Homage to the adults of humanity who stand tall and look in compassion at us playing with the toys of our littleness and to the saints of all and no religions, our homage.

                Homage to the God-incarnations, the Word become flesh, who came down speaking many languages to many lands in many centuries, whenever virtue is on the decline.  They are master-ventriloquists who spoke elsewhere then, but we hear them here and now across the gulfs of time and civilizations.  They are the life-force flowing through humanity's collective body, the true homes of our consciousness, the shinning suns whose intercession for us is our only light. To them our homage.

                Their lives are the only success stories to read, the only archetypes for our dreams.  They alone make it worthy for us to belong to the human race, for without them we would destroy like horns of beasts or be torn like horns of dilemmas.  From them come to us waves of wisdom, words, confidence in our divine Self: for in them appeared our own divine Self.  Them we honor before we meditate.  To all Gurus of past present and future, to the saints of all the worlds, our meditation is our homage.

     

    Commentary: I had the privilege of being present when the "life force flowing through humanities collective body" was so strongly manifested through Swami Veda that I could experience it.  I was doing a 10 day silent retreat at the same time and place that Swamiji was doing a 30 day silent retreat.  Swamiji had been there about twenty days in silence. A note was shoved under the door of the room I was in informing me that Swami Veda was going to break his silence to address the people who were at the retreat center.  Of course I went to hear him.  When he spoke, I experienced his words being carried on waves of silence that produced in me a deep inner peace that permeated my entire being.  For me the essence of the message was the silence that was flowing through Swamiji to all of us gathered there, not the words he was speaking.  These thoughts arose in my mind. "This silence keeps humanity from self-destructing. There are sages in inaccessible caves in the Himalayan Mountains in deep meditation for months and years at a time from who waves of silence flow to all humanity.  This silence emanating from these sages, from the sources(the God incarnations) of the worlds great religions and others such as meditating monks in other parts of the world and the silence eminating from all meditators keeps the destructive waves of anger, jealousy, fear, depression and all our negative emotions from ending humanities existence.  When the Bible talks about the flood and the sanctuary of Noah's ark this is the tale that I believe is being told. (You can read my interpretation of this story in the Bible on my web site www.perennialpsychology.c...

    THE FACES OF TRUTH ARE MANY (p 15)

     

                When you reject something, do not reject it entirely, for what you reject today you may accept another day.  What you dislike do not dislike totally, for another day it may suit your liking.  Aversion is another name for attraction.  What one layer of you seems absolutely averse to, another layer is attracted to.

                The quality named tolerance means that you do not regard the word "truth" to mean your views at this moment, for the faces of truth are many, though you have seen the profile of only one of them.  Remember that your "this moment" is only a little of the truth.  When you are enjoying the light of the day, do not condemn the night, for in a few hours the peace of the night will give you rest.  When you are at peace in the night, remember that in a few hours the sun's hands will touch you to awaken you.  The night and the day are two faces of the truth.

                Someone who stands on the peak sees many trails coming to the top, but one on the forest trial does not see the parallel path.  In your temple, in your church, let all cultures flourish.  Let each person be guided on his trail by the one at the peak..  Let the bee of your mind gather honey from all flowers.

                I wish you this day a view of the paths of truth from the Peak.

     

    Commentary:  Our little egos strut on the earth playing a game of one-upsmanship. "I'm OK, your not OK", "I'm better than, stronger than, holier than, more powerful than, more important than you"  "My suffering, my sacrifice, my endurance is greater than, yours".  "My religion, my God is the Truth, yours is false".  Remember from childhood, "My father can beat up your father".  There is almost an infinite variety of ways to play this game.  This is a win-lose game that breeds resentment, depression, hostility and aggression.  This game is based on fear, fear of being controlled, of losing control, taken advantage of, fear of not being able to satisfy ones needs, of being unacceptable, rejected and fear of being destroyed.  As long as the ego is in charge this is the game that will be played in its obvious or subtle forms.  Some members of religions and some spiritual seekers tend to be good at the subtle forms while denying to themselves and others that they are playing the game.  As long as this game is being played, there cannot be widespread or lasting peace and harmony in the world.   All the worlds' true spiritual paths are designed to remove the ego from the driver's seat and replace it with the divinity within each individual, which is the Self of all that exists.  Then fear ends and all the win-lose games stop, suffering ceases and the peace of God is established.

     

     

    YOUR BREATH (p 57)

     

                Your breath is a river that flows between the twin banks of your nostrils.  The physical tributary of this river starts in the fire-pool of your solar plexus.  The vital spiritual tributary begins in the cave behind your forehead.  Through all your expirations and inspirations your vital energy declares: "I am life. I am awareness.  I am a being of light.  I am not of depression and death.  I am the very self of eternal hope."

                This, your breath, is a mere waft of breeze if it begins only in the navel and the lungs.  When you know, however, its source is in your mind and in turn it generates mental power, it is a ray of sun, a winged soul in flight.  Then it says: "I am.  I am who I am.  Before Abraham was, I am."  It sings the hymn of all here and now as a song of eternity.

                This day I wish you, through your breath, the knowledge of the changeless in the changing, and of eternity in this time.  I wish you that stillness which comes when you hear for a long time the flow of the mental tributary of breath.  May the doors between your eyebrows open to the mental chambers of hidden wisdom and inspiration.

     

    Commentary:  the therapeutic use of breath for calming the mind and body is gaining increasing recognition in the fields of medicine and psychology.  In the yoga tradition, it is understood that vital energy is involved in the breathing process.  The flow of this vital energy that accompanies your expirations and inspirations is called prana. Swami Veda states that, "Pra" means "first unit" and "na" means "energy".  "The first unit of energy is in its subtlest aspect in man; the universe is its expansion.  Thus, there is no qualitative difference between man and universe.  It is prana that feeds and sustains the mind and produces thoughts.  It is linked to the mind, through the mind to will, through will to individual atman (soul) and thus to the cosmic soul, and then to the trans-cosmic Brahmin (the ultimate state of God consciousness).  All sensations, all thinking, feeling and knowing are only possible because of prana.  Learning to still and control your breath, pranayama, is one of the primary meditative vehicles for realizing ones universal Self.  The etymology of prana is given here according to the oral teaching of the yogis."

     

     

    LIGHT AND LOVE (p 41)

     

                God is light and love.

               

                The love that your heart longs for is the recognition of your Self in all Selves, and the recognition of all Selves in your Self.  This light and this love is so sublime that there are no words to express it.  Only the deepest state of meditation can show you the depth of that universe of love which is in you.

     

                Love without questioning.  Love without analyzing.  When you love ask, "What can I give?"  Do not ask, "What can I receive?"  Do not call your craving for reassurance or your selfish needs by the name of love.  Let love flow unhindered from soul to soul.  Give yourself without expectations.  Give up a little of your freedom to the other, and allow your love to bind you fast together.  The spirit of your love should be the same as Christ's love for Mary Magdalene.

     

                Let your love for everyone be a worship of God.

                There is only light.  There is only love.

     

                I wish you this day a shower of such love and an expanded awareness which embraces all others in a circle of divine light and love.

     

                Commentary:  Within the Jewish tradition, some Rabbis tell us that God is perfect and complete and needs nothing.  Therefore, everything that God creates is an act of pure giving without needing anything in return.  Creation is therefore selfless.  It flows from the intrinsic nature of God, which is to give or impart.  When we give selflessly, we partake of the nature of God.  Christ said that the most important commandment was to love God and equal to it was the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.  My teacher Swami Rama said that the most ancient language in the world is the language of love, that selflessness is the singular expression of love, and that to love all and exclude none is the key to enlightenment. 

                The poet Edwin Markham also beautifully expresses the power of love:

    He drew a circle to keep me out,

    heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

    But love and I had the wit to win,

    we drew a circle that took him in.

               

                I would like to end the excerpts from Swami Veda's book with a wonderful expression of a God centered prayer and of selfless love.

     

     

    SONGS OF SILENT WORSHIP (P 142)

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    Grant me the high stature of a silent man.

    May my footsteps be so soft no one hear,

    but a perfume so gently waft into minds as I pass by

    that a quarreling couple behind closed doors

    suddenly go silent

    and only wonder what strange peace,

    from where, drifted into their hearts.

                O God may it be so.

     

    God grant me this wish..

    No name be inscribed on this,

    your unknown soldiers grave,

    yet whoever hurries by feels an urge to halt

    but never knows that it was because

    he had stopped at this mere dirt patch in the ground.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    May I never interrupt my silence by a song,

    but whoever brushes by me in a crowded bazaar

    feels a song of your praise in his heart and

    helplessly pour out from his lips.

                O Cod, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.Like a secret love

    may I never utter your name in the presence of those

    who bear no love for you,

    lest it hurt their un-matured feelings,

    but my thought of you so jump like a star-spark across

    that its echo fill the halls of their minds.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    In my sleep I do not dream

    but thereby those who lie near me

    dream of you and

    helplessly mutter your name in their sleep.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    May a million doubters shout their open throated

    challenges at me while I stand dumb, silent before them.

    But thereby their questions be forever resolved

    and their voices stilled within.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    That I enroll as a private in some tyrant's army.

    He gives an order to start a march of conquest.

    I salute him, along with the rest of the soldiers' company.

    His glance accidentally falling on me,

    a white dove flutters in his heart;

    he calls a halt to the march

    and sends a message of peace

    to the weak neighbor land.

    Never knowing me as the cause,

    he disbands all his battalions.

    I enroll in another tyrant's army.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    In tatters, I beg in city streets,

    and something comes over the rich and miserly.

    They send cartloads of food to follow me

    to give feast to the hungry throngs at the city gates

    and then extend an open invitation to all the crowd

    to eat at their homes for always from the next day.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish.

    May I become flesh in endless rebirths

    only in the most difficult of centuries

    and I, unknown,

    ease the century into a time of comfort,

    then ease myself out of my flesh to dwell in you till the

    next difficult times.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    God, grant me this wish

    Whoever read or hear this

    become so tranquil of spirit

    that they seek the exact same wishes granted by you

    and may they be fulfilled for them.

                O God, may it be so.

     

    May it be so, God,

    that hearing my prayers, these

    you say only within my hearing

    "May it be so, Son: I grant you your wish."

    "May it be so."

                O God, thus may it be so.

     

     

     

     

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    My prayer for peace

    Friday, February 6, 2009, 9:28 AM [General]

    I pray for the end of divisive judgment that promotes much of the violence that we see in the world.  May all of us become so imbued with the notions and sensibilities of unity that anytime our egos rise up to proclaim, in obvious or subtle ways, "I am better (holier) then you" or "my religion or god is better than yours" deep misgivings and discomfort will also arise about this kind of thinking.  May this discomfort stir within us an understanding that this is not the way to a loving God, but rather a barrier to the awareness of Divine presence.  May everyone recognize that we are all children of one God who in his/her wisdom and love has compassion and even humor for our confusion and stumbling because God knows that one day we will walk with a sure and firm step to complete our journey home.  May we experience the total, unconditional love and acceptance of God, the Great Spirit, the Great Mystery as welcoming all and rejecting none.  I pray that we become so open to the light of God that we can, without fear, open lovingly and compassionately to God's universal presence in whatever form it shines forth.  May we develop the capacity to see it shinning forth from shamans, priests, rabbis, ministers, imams swamis, children, family, people in love and in everyone regardless of their position,calling, beliefs, nationality, race, confusions or fears.  I pray that the barriers of fear that prevent or dull that perception of unity will be dissolved in the receptacle of your love, will be burned in the fire of your love. May we have the clarity to perceive and the wisdom and will to honor the light of the Divine Presence in all of life.  The prayer of my heart is that it may be so. 
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    Meditation: A Path to Peace

    Friday, January 30, 2009, 5:24 PM [General]

    I came across this wonderful story that was said to be a Sioux Indian story from an unknown author.  I regret I lost the reference.

     My grandfather took me to a fishpond when I was about seven, and told me to throw a stone into the water. He told me to watch the circles created by the stone. Then he asked me to think of myself as that stone person.

    "You may create a lot of splashes in your life but the waves that come from those splashes will disturb the peace of all your fellow creatures," he said.

    "Remember that you are responsible for what you put in your circle and that circle will also touch many other circles. You will need to live in a way that allows the good that comes from your circle to send the peace of that goodness to others. The splash that comes from anger or jealousy will send those feelings to other circles. You are responsible for both"

    That was the first time I realized each person creates the inner peace or discord that flows out into the world. We cannot create world peace if we are riddled with inner conflict, hatred, doubt, or anger. We radiate the feelings and thoughts that we hold inside, whether we speak them or not. Whatever is splashing around inside of us is spilling out into the world, creating beauty or discord with all other circles of life".

    Remember the eternal wisdom: Whatever you focus on expands.

    A great amount of research has been done on the effects of meditation. Dean H Shapiro, Jr. reviews the early research on meditation in his book, "Meditation". He notes that a review of the scientific literature revealed that meditation has been effective in reducing stress, substance abuse, fears and phobias, and depression, increasing congruence between a persons real and ideal self, fostering self actualization, helping an individual develop a sense of personal meaning in the world, a sense of personal responsibility, increased internal locus of control, an increase in positive self statements and a concomitant decrease of negative self statements, and feelings of creativity.  There has also been research carried out by the Transcendental Meditation group that documents a reduction in community violence when one percent of the community meditates.

    Meditation leads you to the innermost level of your being where profound peace, silence and love can be realized. I have met people who think that those who devote time to travel the path of meditation are unrealistic, deluded or self centered and selfish.  However if the above story speaks to you then it is possible to see that the violence in the world is a manifestation of the inner turmoil, inner negativity of people that is projected into the world. It is my belief that the reason the world has not descended into total chaos and anomie is thatthere are constantly highly evolved spiritual beings in deep meditation and from them flows waves of silence that dampens the waves of discord.  Each of you reading this can help bring increasing peace to yourself, your families, your communities and the world by the daily practice of meditation.  If you do so, over time, you will grow in your capacity to channel peace love and healing into the world.

    If you have no training in meditation here is a procedure you can start with until you have the opportunity to take some training from your own tradition. (The following is taken, with some modifications, from a pamphlet issued by the Swami Rama Sadakha Grama dedicated to the teachings of the Himalayan Tradition):

    1. Sit as straight as you can on an even, firm but cushioned surface.

    2. Relax your forhead, relax your eyes and the area around your eyes, relax your cheeks, mouth, jaws, neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, hands, fingers and finger tips. Relax your finger tips, fingers, hands, wrists, lower arms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders, chest and upper back, navel and back, lower abdominal region, hips, upper legs, knees, lower legs, ankles, feet, toes, tips of toes,  Relax the tips of toes, toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, hips, lower abdominal region, navel, chest, neck, jaws, face and forehead.

    4. Bring your awareness to your breathing.

    5. Breath slowly, gently, smoothly, evenly without jerks or sound in the breathing.

    6. Now feel the touch and flow of the breath in the nostrils.

    7. Let there be no pause between the breaths; as one breath is completed begin to feel the next breath flowing and touching in the nostrils.

    8. After a few breaths choose:

      a) whichever name of God is your favorite according to your tradition or religion;

      b) or a sacred but short phrase or prayer from your scripture or tradition;

      c)If you wish to do the meditation practice in a secular manner see section (j) below.

    Some suggestions are as follows:

       (a) Christians may use one of these: Jesus or Yeshu, Hail Mary, Ave Maria, Maranatha (Aramaic) or Kyrie eleison (Greek)

       (b) Jews may use Ha-shem

       (c) Muslims may use Allah or any sacred phrase such as La-Illah Illillah, or one of the 99 names of God

       (d) Buddists may use the word Buddho to start with

       (e) Sikhs may use Vaah-e-guru or Sat-naam

       (f) Those who wish to follow the Himalayan tradition may use the sound so on the in-breath and hum on the out-breath, without a break in the cycles of hum-so with the breath.  If you would like an authoritative exposition on meditation as practiced in the Himalayan tradition you may go to www.swamij.com 

       (g) Mazdayasnians (Zoroastrians, Parsees) may use any of these: ahura mazda, ahuu va-iryo or esham vohu.  For total beginners of the Mazdayasnian tradition the best recommendation is to use the phrase Vohu-mano

       (h) The Jainas may use Om, Om hreem, hreem arham

       (i) Those who prefer total transcendental, transqualitative divinity may use only Om

       (j) If you do not believe in a form of divinity or spiritual incarnation you can think One as you exhale and two as you inhale.

    9. Exhaling think that phrase; inhaling think that phrase. The phrase is not to come in the mouth, nor on the tongue, nor in the vocal cords; it must only be on the level of thinking.

    10. Let there be no break between the breaths, nor the incessant flow of the thoughts of your phrase.

    11. As soon as you become aware that you have lost the flow and other thoughts have begun to arise, restart the same procedure.

    12. Sit for as long as you wish.

    13. Let the quietness of the mind continue even after you rise.

    14. If you practice this for even 2 to 3 minutes at a time many times in the day you will notice subtle changes in yourself for the better.  

    15. Whatever you do repeatedly with the mind will become the minds habit. Calming the mind repeatedly will return your mind to its original calm nature. (END of meditation instruction)

    Down through the ages there have been individuals and groups trying to bring peace, love, and healing to the world. Reviewing human history it is possible for a reasonable person to assume that none of these efforts has had any lasting global effect. I believe this lack of success is so because first, those attempting this task did not sufficiently establish a state of peace or silence within themselves and secondly, the energy of discord and disharmony emanating from individuals was too widespread to permit such lasting change to a state of global peace and harmony. It seems to me that if any group is to make a lasting positive impact on their community and the world the members of that group must establish in themselves a state of consciousness based on innerpeace, harmony, and silence. Meditation is an important practice for establishing this state of consciousness.  It is only from this state that pure selfless love can continuously flow, and I believe that it is only selfless love that can heal the world.
     

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    WHAT UNITES

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 9:24 AM [General]

    THE GOLDEN RULE IN THE WORLDS RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
     
    Listed below are statements from different religious and spiritual traditions. Their similarity is striking. I believe tht they are all based on a profound understanding or intuition of the fundemental nature of reality. That there is only ONE, and the multiplicity we experience is the myriad expressions of that ONE.  This is the basis of a morality, an ethics that can heal our planet. In our fundemental nature we are all ONE. The reason we experience a multiplicity is due to our constricted state of consciousness.  The purpose of spiritual practices is to eliminate limiting identifications and expand consciousness so that it becomes one with God.  Then the illusion of multiplicity vanishes. We thus complete the journey from bondage to freedom, from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from mortality to immortality.
     
    ABRAHAMIC TRADITIONS
          Judaism:  What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a
          Christianity: In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;for this is the law and the prophets.  Jesus, Matthew 7:12
          Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
     
    Baha'i Faith: Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings
     
    Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. 
    Udana-Varga, 5.8
     
    Confucianism: One word which sums uo the basis of all good conduct...
    loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you what you do not want done to yourself. Confucius, Analects 15:23
     
    Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata, 5:1517
     
    Jainism:  One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
     
    Native Spirituality: All things are our relatives, what we do to everything we do to ourselves. All is really one. Black Elk
     
    Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. Guru Granth Sahib pg 1299
     
    Taoism: Regard your own gain as your neighbors gain, and your neighbors loss as your own loss. T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien 213-218
     
    Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for the interedependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Unitarian Principle
     
    Yoga tradition of the Himalayan Masters:The most ancient language in the world is the language of loveSelflessness is the most singular expression of love. Love all and exclude none, that is the key to enlightenment.From lectures by Swami Rama
     
    Zoroastrianism: Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.
    Shayasr-na-Shayast
     
     
     
     
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