Tuesday, September 25, 2007

constant awareness and alertness

Separativeness (ego) will always be there in a body as long it breathes. Mind will always be there. Attention is required to prevent its interference – that’s all. Then the mind is harmless, nay, it becomes a powerful instrument if the brain is good, as intellect functions free from all psychological registrations. Then the dichotomy of duality vanishes. Then “Two” (in centrifugal) and “None” (in centripetal) exist at the same time without any conflict.

-- Shibendu

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

state of contemplation


Why is this so? First of all, contemplation cannot be talked about for there is no movement in contemplation -- it is non-movement. The journey does not start; in fact, it ends. It appears like movement.
When you travel by train you see everything rushing past you. In fact it is the train that is moving, and all else is static. In a like manner, because of your habitual movement, when the mind begins to come to a halt, you feel it is a movement. But when the mind stops ultimately, you will suddenly find that everything has stopped, for nothing had moved.

He who is hidden within you has never walked -- not even a single step. He has undertaken no journey, not even a pilgrimage. He has not stepped out of His house; He has been there forever.
It is the mind that has always been on the run and its speed is so great that everything around that has never moved appears to be running. When the mind begins to halt they also begin to halt, and when the mind comes to a stop, everything stops with it. While you can talk about movement, how can you speak about non-movement? It is possible to talk about a journey, for you can describe the different places in your travel from one place to another, but if you have gone nowhere what will you talk about? If there has been no happening, no change of situations, what is there to say?
You can write the life story of a restless man, but what can you write about a man of peace? It is the experience of novelists, writers, and dramatists that things come alive only around the bad man. The life of a good man is very dull and uneventful.
Don't be under the illusion that the Ramayana is the story of Rama; it really revolves around Ravana, the villain. Ravana is the actual hero of the story and Rama is secondary. Remove Ravana and what remains of the story? Sita is not stolen, the battle is not fought -- everything is quiet and uneventful. How much is there to say about Rama? Can you write an epic on God? He is where He ever was.

There has never been any change in Him -- the story just cannot take shape. Therefore there are no biographies or autobiography of God. For to write about someone, a journey is necessary.
You can write a great deal on thoughts; what will you write in connection with no-thought? Whatever you say about it will be false and you will regret it later. Sages always repent after speaking, for they feel they could not say what they wanted to say; and they have said what should not have been said. For what they tried to convey the listener could not follow, and what he understood had no meaning.
Lao Tzu has said, ''Nothing can be spoken about Truth." And whatever is spoken becomes an untruth. The more you know, the more difficult you will find it to express yourself. Each word becomes a challenge to utter for now you possess a touchstone within by which you test; as a result all words seem too shallow and petty to express. A big event has taken place inside which cannot be contained by words, a vast space discovered within that cannot be filled with the capsules of words.
And even if you speak, the regret becomes greater, for by the time your words reach the listener their meaning becomes quite different. Everything that you said gets completely changed -- you gave a diamond; it became a stone. The genuine coin you gave, in changing hands became false. As you look within his eyes and see that the coin has become a fake, then you are filled with remorse for this man will now carry it along with him throughout his life.

This is exactly how all sects run, how the crowds of thousands move. They carry the burden of what was never given to them. If Mahavir were to return, he would beat his chest and weep at the state of Jainism; if Buddha returns he will weep for the Buddhists; if Jesus returns the fight will start again with the Israelites, for what each of them said never reached the people for whom it was intended. Something very different was received and digested.
If Nanak were to return he would not be as displeased with others as he would be with the Sikhs, for you can be angry only with those to whom you gave the word; it is they who have distorted it into something quite different.
We are very cunning. When a person like Nanak speaks, we add our meanings to his words, as it suits us. We do not shape ourselves in Nanak's words; we fashion his words according to ourselves. This is our trick to bring things back to where they were. There are only two ways.

There once was a very rich woman. She was very artistic but also fickle and obstinate. Being fond of an ashtray that was very expensive, she had decorated her room so that it became the focus of the room and everything was made to match: the curtains, the furniture, the walls. The ashtray was the center of everything. One day the ashtray broke. She called the best craftsmen to make an exact replica of the ashtray but try as they would, no one could recreate the original color which was also reproduced everywhere in the room.

One day a craftsman offered his services. He asked for a full month to produce an ashtray to match the original one, but he laid one condition -- no one was to enter the room during this month, not even the lady. In a month's time he invited her to inspect the room. She was completely satisfied.
When the other craftsmen asked him what the secret was, he said, "It was simple. First I made an ashtray as close to the original one as possible, then I painted the walls accordingly." Impossible as it was to get the exact shade in the ashtray, this was the only way out.

When Nanak speaks there are only two ways open to you: either you merge into Nanak's color and attain to satisfaction, or else you are bound to become restless. To be near a person like Nanak is like standing next to fire. Either you burn yourself as Nanak burned, you turn into ashes as Nanak did, you lose yourself as Nanak did -- like a drop falling into the ocean; or, the only other alternative is to color Nanak's words in your own shade. This is very easy, for we never actually hear what is told to us, but hear what we want to hear. We infer meanings that suit us. We don't stand on the side of truth; we make truth stand on our side; we make truth follow us.
The difference between a genuine seeker and a false seeker is that the legitimate seeker follows truth wherever it might take him -- whatever be the outcome -- even if everything is lost, even if life is lost.

He is ready to lose his all. The inauthentic seeker bends truth to follow him; but then it is no longer truth, it is falsity.
How can truth follow you? Only untruth can follow you, for you are false; your shadow is bound to be fake. You can follow truth if you desire, but truth can never follow you; it cannot be contained in your concepts, it is too big for your head. Therefore Nanak says whoever attempts it afterwards repents. There is yet another reason which you should note, that I have mentioned before. When you almost reach contemplation you come to the midpoint from which there are two choices, one of which is to start talking of it to others. In that case you will regret it; therefore, whenever the urge comes to tell others, first consult the guru. Do not trust in your own judgment to talk about it till the guru tells you.
The ways of the ego are very subtle. No sooner do you make one small step than it proclaims great triumph. It gets a fistful and claims to have attained all space! A little glimpse of light and it says the sun has risen. A drop has hardly fallen and you begin talking of the ocean. Then the talk leads to more talk and the result is that even the one drop vanishes, the glimpse dissolves. The result is that the person remains a shallow pundit, full of nothing but knowledge; he seems to know too much. He talks a great deal without any experience.

If you observe him carefully you will note that his actions are completely inconsistent with what he says.
Once Mulla Nasruddin was trying to catch a train that had already started moving. He caught hold of the handle and one foot was already in the door when the guard grabbed him saying, "Don't you know it's an offense to climb a moving train?" The Mulla climbed down.
Then just as the train was leaving the platform the guard jumped into his compartment. The Mulla promptly pulled him down, saying, "Well, sir, doesn't the law also apply to you?"
This is exactly the state of the pundit. His statements apply to everyone else. He enjoys the taste of delivering discourses -- bereft of the waters of life, unrelated to his own experience and this danger is always there.
When you reach the midpoint you arrive at two paths: one is the path of the pundit, the master of words; and the other is the path of the wise. The path of the pundit leads you to the world outside via words and pronouncements. On the path of the wise you leave the word and immerse yourself completely in no-word. Therefore without the guru's permission do not go on telling others.
There was a disciple of Buddha by the name of Purna Kashyap who had attained knowing but still followed silently behind Buddha. After a full year Buddha called him and said, "Why do you still follow me like my shadow? Go out into the world and tell others what you have known."

Purna Kashyap replied, "I was awaiting your orders. For what about this mind? It might begin to take pleasure in preaching to others and then I might lose what I have attained only with so much difficulty! I know there is every possibility of the ego's returning."
It is very difficult to attain knowledge, very easy to lose it; for the path is very subtle and you can go astray any moment on the slightest excuse. So Purna Kashyap waited, knowing that Buddha would tell him when he was ready to preach to others. Do not set out to teach others before the guru tells you or else you will repent. And the repentance will be great for you were very close to the other shore when you went astray. The boat was just about to cast anchor when the shore receded. Wisdom and learning are the final temptations.

The True Name - English translation of Osho's lecture on Guru Nanak's Japji Sahib

Download Mp3 files containing the lectures

Friday, September 07, 2007

choosing good

If God is absolutely good, why did He create a world that has so much evil? Ultimate goodness, which is the goodness achieved through choice, requires the possibility for evil. Once you understand this, you will appreciate how central a role evil plays in this world. What's so good about this world is the evil in it. This world offers the opportunity to beat evil and choose good.

In other words, Kabbalah is teaching that the main feature and advantage of this world is the evil in it. This world was not created for what is already good in it. This world was created to be a forum for a new and higher kind of goodness-the goodness born out of overcoming evil and choosing to do good.

Imagine you walk into a factory and you see them trucking in tons and tons of garbage. You then find out that they actually buy this garbage and that it is their most valued raw material. This all sounds crazy to you until you find out that this factory is actually a recycling plant. They take garbage and turn it into usable products. Welcome to World, Inc.!

Yes, this world is really a recycling plant. This is why it is filled with so much garbage. All the trash around us and within us is here for us to recycle into usable products-lessons and realizations, growth and accomplishments. Before I learned this lesson from Kabbalah, I always wondered why there was so much evil in the world. However, after this secret was revealed to me, I asked: Why isn't there more evil in this world? The answer, of course, is that there is less evil because we are working so hard and succeeding in our mission on earth to choose good.

Does God struggle with evil? Can God experience complete goodness through overcoming evil and choosing the good?

Yes, through you and me. God participates in complete goodness through our choices. Our service to God is to choose goodness. That's why we're in a world so full of allurements to do evil-so that we can rise to the challenge and choose good. That's our service to God. For there to be choice, evil has to be pretty attractive. There is no choice if we're not interested in one of the alternatives. In other words, if somebody puts in front of me a gorgeous, delicious meal, and next to it a plate of (forgive me) vomit, would it be a tremendous choice that I opted for the meal and not the vomit?

Therefore, in order for there to be the optimal opportunity to choose goodness, evil has to be extremely attractive. People think the Devil is an independent character who has a red ugly face, horns on his head, and a pitchfork in his hand. Kabbalah teaches that the forces of evil were created by God and the strongest ones are a counterfeit of good. They look just like goodness. That's why they present such a great challenge. Evil and good are not always like black and white. High- grade, superclassy evil looks just like good, but it's counterfeit nevertheless. Counterfeit means that it looks like the real thing but isn't.

I walk into a store. I hand the cashier a bill. The cashier says, "Thank you, sir. Oh, wait a second! ... Sir, I'm sorry, this hundred-dollar bill is worthless; it's counterfeit." I then begin to argue, "What are you talking about? This is a hundred-dollar bill! Do you see the number 100 in the corner?"

The cashier shrugs. "No, I'm sorry, sir, this bill is a worthless piece of paper. President Washington's right eyeball is slightly off."

"No, no, this is one hundred dollars. What's an eyeball got to do with it?"

"Sir, just because it looks, smells, and feels like a hundred-dollar bill doesn't make it a hundred-dollar bill. Unless it's printed at the U.S. Mint, it's worthless."

So, too, the choices for goodness in real life are often much more subtle than most people recognize. There is a subtle but real difference between "looking good" and "being good."

Torah and Kabbalah teach that God created the world in order to facilitate the possibility for ultimate goodness, which means goodness that has been chosen. Our service to God is to choose goodness. Life is all about choices. There are always choices to be made. Every day we are all handed choices. Every day we all get different challenges. No one can expect life to be a piece of cake in a world of choices.

But don't worry. Try your best, and if you make a mistake, you can do teshuvah. You can be forgiven. Remember, God knew the stakes were high, and God is with you in your pain and struggle.

In fact, the Talmud tells us that before God created the world, He created the power of teshuvah, because the likelihood of our making mistakes was so great that we couldn't even last a moment without the possibility of teshuvah already available.

-- Rabbi David Aaron

Note: You may not like the term evil in above quote, replace it with
unconsciousness, maya, ego, or sin.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

grand canyon

Some beautiful scenery from Grand Canyon.

brain images

Beautiful images captured from real EEG activity.