Helping you to know yourSelf.
Here you will find a collection of my writings— links to some articles to the left just below, and then below that a blog of sorts where I invite thought or comment about the latest spiritual ideas I am grappling with / embracing / resisting at my peril.
I am currently doing a series on some of the Yogic philosophy I am looking into and adopting at the moment (beginning with “I: Who are We” below);
III: Illusion and Reality Part Two
What is illusion and what is reality? What can we say is real and what can we say is false?
One way of thinking about what is real is to consider what is real as truth. What is real is truth, and what is true is reality. And therefore the ultimate reality or the ultimate truth – if there exists such a thing – would be the ultimate in objectivity.
What I mean by objectivity is a truth that it is true no matter what. For example, for one person, the meaning of their life is their family. This is what is true for them, but it is a subjective truth, because it depends on the perspective of this one person. Another person’s truth may be the level of success in their life, or their health or whatever. And while all of these things are true – true for each individual, they are not objective – true for everyone.
So the ultimate objective truth would be true for everyone and everything – regardless of perspective, consciousness, spiritual awareness, etc.
So this hypothesis is that not only does this ultimate objective truth exist, but that this objective truth is equivalent to reality. While I am not going to try to describe the nature of this reality here, what we can do is use this state of reality truth to investigate the nature of the world we see around us – the so called illusion.
So this Objective Truth as reality – as it is equally true for everyone and everything could be said to be never-changing; always the same no matter what your perspective is in time or space. In this way it could be described as being beyond time and space. In any case, this means that everything that is changing – that undergoes some sort of shift – cannot be real.
And when you think about it, everything that we see, feel and experience around us is changing. Everything in our lives from our houses, our families, nature – all of this is changing and therefore all of this is not real. In fact, it could be said that anything with form is subject to change, and is therefore not real.
And if you get into thinking about other dimensions, then all of those “forms” – even though they are not physical, they still some sort of form – must also be part of the illusion.
So what about us? Our nature or personality? You could think of our personality as being a form, but even if you didn’t, it is clear that our personalities shift and change all the time. Just the act of thinking can be thought of as a change. Therefore, our personalities must also be considered part of the illusion. And for that matter – any other personalities on any other planes of existence must also be considered part of the illusion.
So it is all illusion. Which brings up some interesting questions – What is real? And What does it mean if we are an illusion?
What is Real?
II: Everything is an illusion
That everything is an illusion is a term that get used a lot in New Age circles. Another one is that everything is God. So what do these statements really mean? Are they contradictory? Do they compliment each other?
One way of looking at these two statements is to say that in the beginning there was God – or consciousness, or whatever term you prefer. I prefer Consciousness, so that’s the term I’m going to use.
So if in the beginning there was Consciousness, and nothing but Consciousness, then all that came from Consciousness had to be made of Consciousness. Therefore we, as we came from consciousness, and there was nothing else to make us out of but consciousness, must be made of consciousness. Or made of God.
Another way of saying this is that we are made out of – that our essence is all made of the same stuff – physically, metaphysically, etc. So you could say that “before” all there was Unity, and now - “after” – all there is, is Unity. And I use inverted commas here because what we are really talking about is beyond the reaches of time.
And so we come to the illusion part of things, because it sure does not seem like we are all One at the moment. That is, even through we all have the same essence, we are all the same at some level – it does not appear to be so to us, as supposed individuals.
So perhaps that is an answer to the question of how all of this world that we see around us can be both an illusion, as well as the Divine God-stuff we call consciousness.
The thing about this way of interpreting the world around us in this way is that even though we can have an intellectual understanding that all we experience is an illusion, inherent in that illusion – at its very essence - is the ultimate objective reality or Consciousness.
So if you have been thinking - as I was – that all of this is unreal and the real stuff is over there somewhere – perhaps in another dimension or something – forget it! The ultimate reality is right here – it just doesn’t appear to be so from our limited perspective
I: Who are we?
What does it mean when we say who we are? In particular when we say “I am…” - or in my case “I am Simon” what does that mean? What does it mean to be an individual? Are we an individual? We claim an identity as if we have some consistency or permanence, but what is it that is permanent about us?
For example, the things I believe now are different to what I believed 7 years ago. Just about every cell in my body is different to the cells that made up this body 7 years ago, so what is the same? What is it that defines who I am? Not my body for that is changing all the time—as I write this cells are being replaced all over my body, so not my body. I don’t even know—at a molecular level—where my body might end and where “not my body” might begin.
My mind is different—not only the cells that make up my brain, but the thoughts and beliefs that I believe to be mine. If what I believe now is different from what I used to believe does that make me a different person? What about my thoughts? The thoughts I have are even more fleeting.
What about the actions I take? The relationships I have? All of these things are different. Significantly different to 7 years ago. Profoundly different that from when I was a child. So in short there is nothing the same. Nothing that is consistent.
So who am I? Or even what am I? A collection of thoughts and bodily cells that is telling itself that it is consistent, that there is enough of a degree of sameness to justify me saying “I am Simon”?
But, more to the point who are you? What defines you? What allows you to say who you are?
The Key to Quiet Mind Meditation
OK, there are many keys, but one of the keys to being able to keep your mind quiet is firstly to have your mind focus on one particular thing. Like your mind, a mantra, your body, God, etc. That bit is probably obvious.
But in order to keep your mind focused on that one particular thing, and not have it wander off in to unrelated topics, you also need to have a portion of your mind watching for just that. You need to have a portion of your mind watching to make sure the rest of your mind stays focused on its chosen subject. In this way, as soon as your mind begins to wonder, that part of your mind will notice, and you can bring your awareness back to what it is focusing on.
What does it mean to be Enlightened?
Man, I wish I REALLY knew the answer to this question. As of this point in time, I have not yet realised my true self, so I can only conjecture as to what it truly is to be enlightened. But as far as I can tell...
The first stage seems to involve a sort of "duality" of consciousness. You are aware of yourself as you are also aware of doing whatever you are doing. That is, your normal state of consciousness is accompanied by an awareness of that state of consciousness (as described by Mouravieff, Gurdjieff and others).
The second stage seems to come when your sense of identity resides with this dual portion of your consciousness, or with what many spiritual traditions call "The Witness." At this point, you simply witness your body going about its business, seemingly of its own volition. It appears that your conscious will no longer engages your physical body and its actions, and that the things your body does, simply "happen" (as described by Satchidananda, Hawkins, and others).
The third and what I will term "final" stage seems to follow on from the second in that what you are consciously aware of expands from your physical body into directly experiencing the Unity that Truly Is. From this point, you are experiencing (the bliss of) Unity / Reality. You are still aware of your physical body, but it takes up a fraction of your total awareness, with most of your Real Self experiencing the indescribable All. Your sense of ownership recedes from "my body" to "this body" (the only one I have found describing this fascinating state so far is Nisargadatta, although there are a few unread books on my bookshelf that promise to provide other points of view on this state.)
What is it to be "Spiritual?"
It has come to my attention recently that a kick in the nuts can be as spiritually insightful as any profound weekend workshop.
New workshop schedule to follow...
The Hand of Enlightenment
Lets imagine that in a hookey spiritual analogy, our real-selves - who we truly are - are our physical bodies. And yet we, as our ego's / personalities, only think ourselves as a hand.
As a hand, things are pretty good. We can move around a bit, move our hands, flex our fingers. Some hands even find that with training, they can do super-hand feats of strength - by using all of their fingers, they can claw their way around and move much more than other ordinary hands. But they are still hands.
Then, one hand, after meditating and doing lots of finger stretches, comes to realise that he is not just a hand - he is an arm as well! This realisation then brings about so much more freedom, that to the hand and all of the hands friends, it is incredible. Not only can he now move vast distances with ease, he can also leap into the air and stay suspended indefinitely.
All the other hands marvel, for surely this hand is miraculous and has reached enlightenment. But then, one day, the "enlightened" hand meets another enlightened hand. But this new hand has realised that it is not just an arm, but it is really the whole body.
Gently, the new hand tells the "enlightened" hand that he is not fully enlightened, and has just come one step along the path of true enlightenment.
The "enlightened" hand considers what he has been told before asking the new hand what is it like to be fully enlightened.
The new hand thinks about the freedom and range of experiences that comes from knowing you are a whole body compared to thinking you are a hand and replies "It's kind of hard to explain..."
All things Yoga
One of the most fascinating areas I have started to look into recently is yoga. Not necessarily the stretching / postures / asanas (although I can now touch my toes), but more on the yogic approach to enlightenment.
I will be putting up some recommended reading in a new "yoga" section on my recommended reading page (one of many needed updates - see below), but for now, if this resonates, check out "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Don't let the length of his name or beard put you off - this has to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
You can order it through our shop Wonders of the World, or through Amazon.com
Long time no blog...
Hey, for those of you who have noticed, I haven't made many updates recently. Been going through lots of "shifts" and changes to my perspectives on workshops and my work in general.
I have decided that I need to revamp my website to reflect said inner changes, but as that is a whole lot of work and I haven't got past conceptualizing it yet, I thought changing the website as it is would be best for now.
Anyhoo, am back and looking forward to sharing some of the stuff I have come across in my journey recently.
Masculine and Feminine Energy and Affirmations
"If we have too much masculine energy, we become too stubborn and brittle; we cannot deal with the ebb and flow of the unpredictable nature of life (which is the ultimate manifestation of feminine energy). If we have too much feminine energy, we are pushed and pulled from one direction to another, always starting, never completing; our life becomes lost in the experience at the cost of progress.
"It is the same with affirmations; with too much masculine based affirmations, we can become ruled by our ego, caught up in the achievement of one goal after another. If we have too much feminine energy in our affirmations we can end up embracing our spiritual flow to the detriment of our material comforts. In this, as in all things, balance seems to be the answer.
"And where that balance specifically lies for each one of us, is up to us to discover."
...from the upcoming book "Two Minute Meditations"
Moving from One Teaching to Another
A student is like an open hand, a teaching like a feather that lands in their palm. If the student closes their fist, hanging on to the teaching as if it held all the answers to their life's problems, then they will be unable to detect when it is time for the feather to alight again and for another feather to take its place.
...from Ron Holt, through a great friend.
He who says he is enlightened is probably not enlightened...
One person alone can change nothing. And yet one person can change everything.
Healing and The Spiritual Path
The more I read about various spiritual paths that describe the various states of a more awakened mind in different ways, the more I am convinced that applying commonly available alternative healing modalities that release emotion and change beliefs are the key in terms of "how to" get to these states. For example;
Taking the wisdom and experience of your past and leaving the emotion behind (Robert Monroe) - emotional release work.*
Stopping wasting energy with petty tyrants and retaining your impeccability (Carlos Castaneda) - emotional release work, changing beliefs*.
Essentially believing in nothing (Hermetic Alchemical tradition) - changing beliefs*.
Responding instead of reacting to your environment and the people within it - emotional release and belief work* on "issues."
Escaping from the bondage of limited social programming (conspiracy theorists) - changing beliefs*
Which basically boils down to this - the same alternative tools that you can use to heal yourself of your trauma's can be used, in much the same way, to assist you on your path of self-realisation.
[* - whenever you work on beliefs, you work on emotions, so the two really go hand in hand - it is the focus, as always, that matters.]
What I Like Most About Christmas
The thing I like most about Christmas is that complete strangers feel comfortable being friendly with each other.
Trinity - And the Power of Three
Father Mother Child
What's the Definition of an Honest Politician?
The one that comes up with plausible reasons as to why they can't fulfill their election promises...
If you buy the conspiracy theory that the government is not really running the place, but is merely the front for the people that are, then it makes you wonder about the whole reputation about all politicians being corrupt.
Perhaps it is really that it is only those people with a shady past or a proclivity to corrupt behavior that are ALLOWED to become a politician / rise to a position of power. For then those that truly run the place will always have something over them, should they need the politician to do their bidding / encounter any resistance to doing thier bidding.
Much of our energies are focused on survival, and the fear that we will not be able to sustain it; intimacy, and the fear that we will not be able to achieve it; and the exertion of our conscious will, and the fear that we will not be able to do so.