Past Life Experiences

May 23, 2010

I am a big fan of reincarnation. It makes a lot of sense to me. To sum it up simply: our impressions from events in the past influence us in the present.

This week I was wondering about my lifelong hunger, so I decided to meditate on it. I can’t remember how it happened, but I had a peak into a past life. I looked down at my hands – old, wrinkled – it appeared that I was a beggar in India or somewhere similar. I was perpetually hungry and there was a strong feeling of inferiority to all the people who walked by. Also, my mind was really dull – I was not a philosopher – I was totally overshadowed by the experience.

A lifelong impression like this can run very deep and carry over into the next lifetime and even many lifetimes. I heard of an alcoholic who did a past life regression and discovered that in his past four lives he’d been an alcoholic and the one before that he’d died of thirst.

Another man died in a previous life by falling off a roof and in this life was afraid of heights.

One friend of mine has a French theme in his life – he always drives French cars and his children have French names. I asked him why there was this theme and he said he recognised it in his life too but had no explanation. I suggested that perhaps he’d been French in a previous life, but he refused to believe such nonsense.

Past lives answer many questions: why are some people naturally talented at some things? Henry Ford answers this below. Why is it that with some people we meet there is an instant familiarity and with others there is an instant dislike? The answer is not always apparent.

In my experience we find ourselves around people that we have been with before – people with whom we have unfinished business. And they may have been with you in a number of different lives. Once I made a spreadsheet that mapped out all the cultural influences that have come into my life so far through people and circumstances. There are repeating patterns with particular flavours.

These stats are very subjective, but a reasonable guide. Keep in mind that I am fifth-generation Kiwi WASP. And these stats are subject to change. For example, I had little to do with Germany, so I thought, until I ended up living there for a year just by chance.

Indian 17%
French 16%
British 13%
German 13%
Asian 9%
Jewish 8%
Slavic 7%
Dutch 5%
Italian 3%
Russian 3%
Maori 3%
Egypt 2%
Scandinavia 1%

Swami Satyananda Describes Enlightenment

May 18, 2010

From Meditations from the Tantras by Swami Satyananda

During meditation one experiences a feeling of no anxiety. One’s normal self-interest seems to disappear and one feels the same, if not more, for other people as for oneself. Life no longer seems fragmented by opposing ideas and opinions. Everything merges into one composite whole. External events enter the mind, are absorbed, yet without causing the usual disturbances or reverberations.

All things take their normal course of action, without any unnecessary hustle or bustle. Fear, the biggest trouble-maker in life, no longer exists. Even fear of death disappears, and the idea of death seems almost superficial, non-existent and unimportant. The usual ups and downs of life are replaced by a continual and elevating feeling of the joyfulness of life. Everything seems to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle.

Even normally opposing religious, philosophical and cultural ideas seem to be in unison with one another. Everything fits. The past and future seem to be unimportant. They lack meaning. What is important is the eternal now. Living and experiencing the totality of the present seems to be the only important thing to do. The present is so absorbing that the mind automatically fixes itself on the work or action being done.

Efficiency and perfection become the natural course of events. The normal impediments to efficiency such as worry, anger, no longer block the total absorption of the mind. Under these conditions work becomes play and play becomes work. There is no differentiation. Life becomes so joyful that it needs no ambition, no justification, no reason; it is sufficient just to be.

Remember that it is through frustration, dissatisfaction, unhappiness that we try to find a reason for life, or follow modes of life that are unnatural to our very being.

One does not lose one’s zest, nor does one lose one’s interest in the activities of the world. One merely ceases to worry about things. Superficial worry may be there but internally there is perfect peace.

All the preliminaries associated with preparing one self for meditational experiences no longer seem important or necessary. In other words, all the rules laid down in the yamas and niyamas for example, detachment, renunciation and so on, are no longer necessary. The experience of meditation stands way above these rules. The rules no longer apply. These rules are designed to eliminate mental disturbances.

But now the individual can do anything: exciting activities, be angry, be happy, all the multifarious actions in life. These actions no longer adversely affect his inner being. He goes through life as a witness. Sense enjoyments are not diminished; in fact they are heightened. One takes greater delight in feeling the outside world impinge on one’s being.

Everything unites to become one. The faculty of intuition is the medium of knowledge. Objects show their deeper and essential characteristics. Everything assumes an attitude of friendliness and the universe assumes a state of helpfulness; opposition to one’s nature no longer exists. Every atom shimmers with life and vitality.

The progress of time and the immensity of space lose their fixed meaning, they are seen as nothing more than a manifestation of the universe. Time begins to stand still and the outer depths of space no longer seem so far away. The stars come within grasping distance. Infinity and eternity become almost tangible. Existence is seen as the permanent aspect of everything.

One realizes that one’s being is intimately bound up with everything that is. As such, the ego no longer seems important or even a reality. One normally sees oneself as a small, insignificant part of the universe, as a small cog in a large wheel, a small particle in unending space and time.

One often feels completely isolated and often alienated from other parts of existence. One feels alone, and very mortal. One even never suspects that one can overcome this situation. Most people merely shrug their shoulders and fatalistically accept their fate. Meditation changes all this. One realizes through meditation that one is a necessary, intimate and important part of the universe. One starts to relate deeply to everything that exists. They are no longer separate entities. You are That.

Henry Ford on Reincarnation

May 13, 2010

I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilise the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan I realised that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.

Henry Ford interviewed by the San Francisco Examiner (26 August 1928)

Enlightenment is Invisible

May 11, 2010

Lorraine Sinkler was a close associate of Joel Goldsmith – a very influential modern Christian mystic. She wrote a few books herself and the one which I liked the best is The Alchemy of Awareness. Here is a quote:

The silence of meditation is not the silence of a graveyard; it is the silence of a garden growing. There is no deadness in a garden, but in that all-pervading silence an intense activity is going on in the ground which will later take form as buds, blossoms, and fruit.

So, too, in meditation there is not a blankness, but a rhythmic activity of Spirit. The silence of meditation cannot be attained by will power, so never try to blank out the mind. As the mind exhausts itself the Spirit comes through, and we are in the kingdom of heaven. True, we are still on earth, our feet are solidly on the ground, but the ground is not mire and dirt of human experience; it is the holy ground of spiritual awareness.

When we discover the kingdom of God within, we behold the miracle: this earth is heaven. Our whole point of view changes: we see the world with new vision because we see beyond what the eyes see, beyond the visible to the invisible substance. The mind has become a limpid pool of water that mirrors a perfect universe.

[Definition. Limpid: clear, transparent, or pellucid, as water, crystal, or air: We could see to the very bottom of the limpid pond.]

May your mind be limpid.

Quote Parade

May 1, 2010

If you think my philosophy is nutty, that’s okay. I share it with many other nutty-nutcases from different times and cultures:

I got these from Rick:

“The being of separate beings is non-separate being.” Chuang-tse (c.369-c.286 BCE).

“We, the originally vast, serene, and marvellous mind are all pure and illuminatingly all-inclusive. Nothing can hinder us: we are as free as the firmament.” Tsung Kao (1089-1163)

“From the beginning, not a thing is.” Hui Neng (638-713)

“Be still. And know I am God” Psalm 46

“This consciousness exists as each being, and nothing else exists.” The Vigyan Bkairava and Sochanda Tantra.

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me: my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” Meister Eckhart

“Seeing that one cannot see the absence-of-things (subjectivity) is true seeing, permanent seeing.” Shen Hui

“You must have a clear understanding that all things are only a manifestation of the mind itself. Everything, everything in this world is nothing but a complex manifestation of one’s mental activities.” Lankavatara Sutra

“Remember that from the first to the last not even the smallest grain of anything perceptible has ever existed or ever will exist.’ Huang Po

“I am Not, but the Universe is my Self.” Shih T’ou (700-790)

“Body, heaven and hell, bondage and freedom, as also fear, all these are mere concepts. What have I to do with all these, I who am pure Consciousness?” Ashtavakra Gita

“Let me remind you that the perceived cannot perceive.” Huang Po

“Prajna (Subjectivity) is our true nature.” Hui Neng

“Our original Buddha-nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity.” Huang Po

“I’ve told you all that constitutes the very core of Truth; there is no you, no me, no Superior Being, no disciple, no guru.” Dattatreya

“Moreover, in thus contemplating the totality of phenomena, you are contemplating the totality of Mind. All these phenomena are intrinsically void and yet this Mind with which they are identical is no mere nothingness.” Huang Po

“Phenomena only exist in the mind that perceives them.” Tibetan Book of the Dead

“What you are looking for is what is looking.” St. Francis of Assisi (attrib.)

“Simply see the world as yourself. Embrace things as they are.” Lao Tzu

“If this principle is understood, that will amount to real deliverance, for the attainment of which there can be no other method.” Hui Hai (trans. John Blofeld 1948)

“Why this talk of seeing into your own nature?……That Nature and your perception of it are one.” Huang Po

“There is absolutely nothing which can be attained.” Huang Po, Wan Ling Record

“Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Emptiness is nothing but form, and form is nothing but emptiness. Apart from nothing there is no anything, and apart from anything there is no nothing. Apart from our phenomenal world there is no Void, and apart from the Void, there is no phenomenal world.” Heart Sutra

“The essential Understanding is that in reality nothing is. This is so obvious that it is not perceived.” Wei Wu Wei

“There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free will, neither path nor achievement. This is the final truth.” Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

“The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusory. Why go anywhere? Just realise that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs to be done.” Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981)

“There is no such thing as an entity. Now you know you are awake because you are here and you have that knowledge. There is nothing else other than this knowledge, no entity.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Greater than the greatest good in life is to know who we are.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

“With the belief in the individual entity/doer, problems never cease. When the illusory nature of the individual is seen, problems never arise.” Ramesh Balsekar

“There is a Presence that is unnameable that thought cannot touch. It is not your possession; it is what you are.” Adyashanti

“All said and done: everything is I and I am no thing. All phenomena are objective manifestations. What I am objectively is the totality of phenomenal manifestation. What I am subjectively is all that all phenomena are. Nothing personal about it anywhere or at any stage. The personal notion is not inherent and is the whole trouble.” Wei Wu Wei

“I am Presence; not I am present or you are present or he is present. When one sees the situation as it really is, that no individual is involved, that what is present is Presence as a whole, then the moment this is perceived there is liberation.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

“So-called self-realization is the discovery for yourself that there is no self to discover.” U.G.Krishnamurti

“You will come in due course to realise that your true glory lies where you cease to exist.” Ramana Maharshi

“Pure Apperceiving is the subjective Functioning of Potential, sense perception is the temporal reflex in objectivity, phenomena are a conceptual interpretation of that. Therefore that which they are is the mind that is perceiving them. True Apperceiving is perceiving that, as mind, you are bringing into apparent existence whatever you perceive. Consequently the fundamental nature of all phenomena is the Apperceiving of it.” Wei Wu Wei

“An eye cannot see itself, and Truth cannot express itself, because, being non-duality, it cannot be conveyed dualistically as the object of a subject.” Wei Wu Wei

“There is no such thing as an entity. Now you know you are awake because you are here and you have that knowledge. There is nothing else other than this knowledge, no entity.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

“The Void is nothing, absolutely nothing – and Nothing is absolutely everything. For both exist in mind.” Wei Wu Wei

“The essential Understanding is that in reality nothing is. This is so obvious that it is not perceived.” Wei Wu Wei

“You see, the search takes you away from yourself; it is in the opposite direction. It has absolutely no relation. The search is always in the wrong direction, so that all you consider very profound, all that you consider sacred is a contamination in that consciousness. You may not like the word ‘contamination’ but all that you consider sacred, holy and profound is a contamination.” U.G. Krishnamurti

“What is real does not die. What is unreal never lived. Once you know that death happens to the body and not to you, you just watch your body falling off like a discarded garment. The real you is timeless and beyond life and death. The body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should live long.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maharaj Reality

May 1, 2010

Questioner: Some Mahatmas (enlightened beings) maintain that the world is neither an accident nor a play of God, but the result and expression of a mighty plan of work aiming at awakening and developing consciousness throughout the universe.

From lifelessness to life, from unconsciousness to consciousness, from dullness to bright intelligence, from misapprehension to clarity — that is the direction in which the world moves ceaselessly and relentlessly.

Of course, there are moments of rest and apparent darkness, when the universe seems to be dormant, but the rest comes to an end and the work on consciousness is resumed. From our point of view the world is a dale of tears, a place to escape from, as soon as possible and by every possible means.

To enlightened beings the world is good and it serves a good purpose. They do not deny that the world is a mental structure and that ultimately all is one, but they see and say that the structure has meaning and serves a supremely desirable purpose.

What we call the will of God is not a capricious whim of a playful deity, but the expression of an absolute necessity to grow in love and wisdom and power, to actualise the infinite potentials of life and consciousness.

Just as a gardener grows flowers from a tiny seed to glorious perfection, so does God in His own garden grow, among other beings, men to supermen, who know and love and work along with Him.

When God takes rest (pralaya), those whose growth was not completed, become unconscious for a time, while the perfect ones, who have gone beyond all forms and contents of consciousness, remain aware of the universal silence. When the time comes for the emergence of a new universe, the sleepers wake up and their work starts.

The more advanced wake up first and prepare the ground for the less advanced — who thus find forms and patterns of behaviour suitable for their further growth.

Thus runs the story. The difference with your teaching is this: you insist that the world is no good and should be shunned. They say that distaste for the world is a passing stage, necessary, yet temporary, and is soon replaced by an all-pervading love, and a steady will to work with God.

Nisargadatta Maharaj: All you say is right for the outgoing (pravritti) path. For the path of return (nivritti) naughting oneself is necessary.

My stand I take where nothing (paramakash) is; words do not reach there, nor thoughts. To the mind it is all darkness and silence. Then consciousness begins to stir and wakes up the mind (chidakash), which projects the world (mahadakash), built of memory and imagination.

Once the world comes into being, all you say may be so. It is in the nature of the mind to imagine goals, to strive towards them, to seek out means and ways, to display vision, energy and courage. These are divine attributes and I do not deny them.

But I take my stand where no difference exists, where things are not, nor the minds that create them. There I am at home. Whatever happens, does not affect me — things act on things, that is all.

Free from memory and expectation, I am fresh, innocent and wholehearted. Mind is the great worker (mahakarta) and it needs rest. Needing nothing, I am unafraid. Whom to be afraid of? There is no separation, we are not separate selves.

There is only one Self, the Supreme Reality, in which the personal and the impersonal are one.