Sunday, May 20, 2018



ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 




In the West we have become accustomed to Eastern forms of meditation which are usually more passive in nature. However, many of us do not have this kind of patience.
Moreover, for most, the ultimate attainment of Samadhi is a far out of reach, no matter how diligent we are with meditation.

  Although we could all learn to have this form of staying power and we are taught to always gently return to the practice with the help of a mantra, the breath or some other technique without judgment, many may find this challenging.
 The Ancestors urge; 
 you are to find the spiritual practice meant for you! 
The Ancestors

Active meditation is another way to obtain equanimity.

 Asana yoga which can be a form of active meditation has become very popular in the West. This is only one of the eight limbs of yoga discipline. It is said that the asanas were really designed to  strengthen one for meditation, pranayama, and the deeper form of sensory withdrawal and not for an end unto itself. Nevertheless for many of us asana yoga serves to inspire and also is an excellent way of stress busting.
In the West because of our busy lives we are in sympathetic nervous system over load which is ostensibly a chronic flight or fight response. It should be balanced by some kind of relaxation response or meditation that invokes the parasympathetic nervous system to calm us down. Asana yoga performs well here but may not take the practitioner very deep.

The Ancestors agree fully that 
 and they teach that
the soul's fulfillment is through the senses. 
The soul's conversation is not of the mind, 
it is best heard with the senses.

The Sufi whirling dervishes would agree with the Ancestors that connection with the Divine and equanimity can also reside in some form of embodied practice; Tai Chi, Chi Gong, drumming, dancing, solo hiking etc ... Africans say we pray by singing and dancing. Try visiting a gospel church or one in South Africa.

Mindful? or Mind Full! 
It may be easier to empty the mind when using inner directed bodily activities. 
There are other ways to stop thinking other than passive meditation that are worth exploring
.
Use the senses for this sound driven meditation in whatever way it is enhanced for you. Focus on a candle flame, light incense, savor your favorite sweet treat, dance to the sound, imagine walking through your favorite nature scene, try different music ...

Click on the link to highlight then play and meditate





Saturday, May 12, 2018


SPIRITUAL PRACTICE SHOULD BE HIGHLY INDIVIDUAL 
 WE EACH NEED TO FIND OUR OWN WAY TO ACCESS THE FIELD OF SPIRIT

The Ancestors confirm that...
 The heart of spiritual practice is that it should be done for its own sake, for the sake of going inward and not to perform or perfect. Its about essence not form.
There are so many choices on the "menu." We need to check them out and see which fits best. If it starts to get stale we may have to "choose another dish."


The Ancestors

The Creator does not want copy cat spirituality. We need "to taste the reality of our choice" and if it doesn't inspire move on.

The Ancestors

Eventually we may end up with more than one form of going inward and maybe especially for those of us with very busy minds thats appropriate.
The Ancestors

Ultimately we are all able to hear 
"the soft, silent, still voice of the Divine." 
This voice will come to each of us in different ways but it requires silence and subordination of the ego in order to hear it.

The Ancestors

God want to be loved and wants to co-create the planet with each of  us with our own uniquely Divine given gifts. Kabbalah says that God is playing hide and seek but few want to play ...
"Search for Me and you will find me, seek me with all your heart and I will let you find me."

The Ancestors


Click on the link to highlight and then play. Listening to music that turns us inward is a form of sensory meditation. We also need to find the type of music with the right vibration for our own particular vibration. These may not work for you. But try reading the blog again with the music.

Saturday, May 5, 2018



SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

In he last blog we discussed Gratitude as a form of spiritual practice. If we are going to be able to navigate the challenges of Karma we need to know much more about some of the methods of going inward that can help us on the journey.


Spiritual practice is the main ingredient for spiritual transformation. Without a regular, enjoyable, disciplined practice we will not be able to control our survival "Monkey" or Narrow mind and ego and subordinate them to "Big" or Spacious Mind. 

Narrow Mind comprises our habits, addictions, compulsions, lusts and desires. Narrow Mind is responsible  for our primitive survival response and most of the time in our daily lives we are in the sympathetic nervous system overload of a flight or fight response. Its the same response that hunter-gatherers had when a lion was circling their cave. This response that was meant for a short term true survival response is not healthful in the long term. In our stress filled lives it also leads to release of adrenal hormones and can cause high blood pressure, depression of our immune response and a propensity for diabetes. If for no other reason than for stress busting and health we should incorporate some form of meditation to offset these effects. Narrow Mind for most of us is our default mode and can be localized to the more primitive parts of our brains on Functional M.R.I.'s.


The Ancestors


Spacious Mind embraces our higher goals, aspirations, ideals, beliefs, notions, discernments and discriminations. It can be located in the prefrontal lobe of the brain on F.M.R.I. It is the default mode for advanced spiritual practitioners who even seem to have more "neuronal density" in this area. Meditation invokes a parasympathetic nervous system, relaxation response which is not only healthful but can be transpersonal. 
There are only two feelings, love and fear. There are a range of emotions arising from love and fear. Fear based emotions such as jealousy, anger, hate, vengeance arise out of Narrow Mind bolstered by ego and our shadow side. With skillful spiritual practice we can modulate these harmful fear based emotions and focus more on a Spacious Mind, love vibration.

It is clear that we all need some form of spiritual practice in order to cope better with life. Better still if we incorporate this for spiritual transformation as well. This can be difficult for many of us to find and may require experimentation to see what best suits us. Some may need more than one type of practice especially for those not on a defined spiritual path or others who get bored with the monotony of one form.
Its ok when...

For some of us it may be a little like Goldey Locks and the Three Bears. You try the one bed and its too hard, the next is too soft and then you seem to find the "bed" that feels just right. After a while, however, even that bed gets a bit lumpy and might be ok every now and again but it may be time to renew the practice and be more creative. Meditation is all about calming the mind but in our busy lives we may need to embrace more than one practice and the one which feels right for our mood and energy level. It may be that a solo walk on a beach is the best form for that present moment.
For me the essence of spiritual practice is to calm the mind with some method of going inward that is done for its own sake and no other agenda. I prefer an active physical meditation like yoga asanas or hiking.

The Ancestors

For many of us active meditations are easier to commit to than passive ones. Practices like asana yoga, playing an instrument, painting, dancing, drumming or tai chi which have form can make one driven to perfect the form rather than be in the moment with the movement or the flow. Having no goal other than being in the present moment can be a real challenge for many of us.


Dave Cumes


Click on the link to highlight then play

_MP3s/14_Hishtavut_-_Equanimity.mp3

Next week we will compare Active and Passive spiritual practices.







Saturday, April 28, 2018


ONE CANNOT TALK ABOUT JOY WITHOUT DISCUSSING GRATITUDE SO BEFORE LEAVING THE TOPIC OF KARMA -
 A LITTLE ON GRATITUDE

Experts in positive psychology and in the mechanisms of well being such as Seligman and Ryff tell us that the following factors are essential for well being,  
happiness, joy, equanimity or serenity.

Meaning or purpose in life
Self-acceptance
 Autonomy
 Personal growth
 Positive relationships, friendships
 A connection to the environment and nature
 Pleasure 
 Accomplishment.

Joy can take on many forms.


The Ancestors urge us to 
find gratitude in hidden recesses 
and this too can lead to joy since ...


Robert Evans in his research on Gratitude found interesting changes in student volunteers that were given a gratitude journal to keep along with gratitude exercises.  He noted many positive benefits in the students somewhat similar to those found from meditation, yoga or other forms of spiritual practice.


When we have gratitude we also open ourselves up to more trust and surrender. The Ancestors teach that surrender is not as is commonly believed, 
a giving up - but a giving in
 to something much bigger than ourselves. Surrender also implies being in the flow of the Life Force or Chi, connecting to the Tao,  or the Cosmic Spirit Field and the Great Spirit and relating to the Higher Self rather than the small self.

Seligman

When we are in joy and have gratitude it often means we are becoming congruent with our true selves and are gaining self acceptance. Congruence occurs when our emotions and their expression match and behavior arises from the root of our being. Folks that are congruent sing their own song and march to the sound or their own inner drum. They do not do things for the approval of others. Soul, heart and intellect are congruent.
Lao Tsu said;
Care about what others think of you and you will be their prisoner.
When we have meaning in our lives, are congruent with ourselves and manage to find gratitude in hidden recesses everything changes.
David Whyte speaks to the power of using one's core strengths and being around others who value and enhance them.


Click on the link to highlight then play













Saturday, April 21, 2018


KARMA SUM UP




The Ancestors

The last many blogs have been on the law of Karma. So how can we sum them all up in a few paragraphs.

Joy and happiness are determined by many factors and the underlying catalyst for joy is gratitude. In my surgical practice I frequently find patients who in spite of all the odds against them and good health, (which would be a prerequisite for me) are able to have sincere gratitude for their lot. Furthermore, this attitude is  accompanied by a joyful disposition which is astonishing. I used to say that gratitude was the ultimate form of prayer until someone corrected me by saying; "its the only form of prayer!"
Unless a request made in prayer serves the greater good it does not bring the Creator the same joy as prayers of gratitude done without any agenda. 


The Ancestors teach; 
"we will be given strength in weakness, comfort in distress..."


Gratitude and Joy occur when we have meaning in our lives which occurs when we are in line with
 Our true destiny and mission in life. 
which inevitably must have something to do with
Doing service for the planet.
By doing this with passion and for its own sake we are able to Subordinate ego to our Higher Self. 
This does not have to be our full time occupation - we can keep our day job and pay the rent. 
At the same time 
We should strive to do no harm 
& correct injustice.
to any of the Beings; Talking, Wild, Growing or Still.

When we do all of the above we are aligning our Karma with a higher vibration.
The ultimate catalyst for our karma is 
Love & understanding that 
we are all one though not the same
So although its difficult to become a perfected soul - the principles are simple. Still ... 
"Kabir says, friend there are very few who find the way."
 We are all (except the truly evil ones) heading for spiritual perfection on the long journey of Samsara, the relentless wheel of reincarnation where we keep coming back again and again until we earn a Causal vibration. The key to this is a dedicated spiritual practice along with spiritual awareness. The rules of Karma differ strikingly to the principles on which our "civilization" developed and continues to "develop."
Though difficult to carry out, adherence to them does bring true equanimity.

Dave Cumes

Click on the link to highlight then play

The upcoming blogs will be on Gratitude




Sunday, April 15, 2018



THE KARMIC IMPLICATIONS OF JOY


The Ancestors

The Creator does not endorse abstention as a path to spiritual perfection. Furthermore self-flagellation or self-mutilation in any religiously inspired forms are antithetical to Self-realization which must begin with self-worth. We are made in the image of the Divine and we are not intended to beat ourselves up along the way. Scripture also teaches that 
self-condemnation is one of the biggest impediments on the path to enlightenment. 
We are here to enjoy life responsibly. A sentient body is a gift to savor -  we lose it when we leave the planet and go to the other side. The tension between enjoying the more challenging sentient pleasures such sex as love and not lust is one of our tests on the difficult road to spiritual transformation.
The Ancestors

Joy, gratitude and love are all interconnected and interdependent and gratitude is the ultimate form of prayer. Bhakti or devotional yoga embraces the joy of immersing in the mysticism of Divine love. It is expressed in the works of the Sufi poets like Rumi and Hafiz where they express their love for the Creator in words of ecstatic joy. David's psalms are similar. This religious fervor expressed as joy is affirmed by de Chardin
The Ancestors tell us that 
the route to God is through the senses 
and being able to experience the joys of creation through a sentient body. They offer sensory, "active" meditation as an alternative to the Eastern forms of passive meditation. There are eight limbs in Yoga philosophy. The Asana limb of yoga is a form of sensory, active meditation, now so popular in the West. Walking in silence on the beach when there is a gorgeous sunset is another. Africans say
we pray by singing and dancing.
and the Talmud adds that
with song one can open the gates of heaven.
We are here to enjoy life but with karmic responsibility in mind.

The Ancestors


Click on the link to highlight then play
Dance like no-one is watching!

-_MP3s/19_Spirit_Rock.mp3









Sunday, April 8, 2018


LOVE & JOYS' CONTRIBUTIONS  TO KARMA 


The Ancestors say; "God's love is not a test and God is not a test of love."
The love of the Creator is unconditional, however, karma is built as a default into the soul and when we cross the veil between worlds at the end of any lifetime we will still be accountable but in a loving non judgmental way - pure cause and effect. We never  escape the consequences of our actions in spite of the love bestowed.
The Ancestors urge, "if the law does not obey love, do not serve the law." This does not say disobey it which would be perilous but do not serve it. What is "law" this side of the veil can be karmically hazardous on the other side.
We will not only be accountable to our destiny, healing the planet, subordinating ego and doing no harm but also to the extent we do all this with love and in joy. These two, are for many of us, the most difficult.
Rev. Nachmann taught; "love is not incidental to your spiritual path it is vital."
The Ancestors teach that "anyone who brings joy to another also brings joy to the Creator."
All the factors determining our karma are interrelated and interdependent so we should try our best; "to love like we have never been hurt and dance like no-one is looking."
 If we are serving with our true destiny we will not only experience joy but hopefully also be doing our mission with love.
Loving ourselves makes it easier to love others so that we need to practice U.S.A. (Universal Self Acceptance) or have an unconditional positive regard for not only others but also ourselves. This does not endorse enabling! We need to take responsibility for our actions, make amends quickly and then move on.

Love embraces compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Thick Nhat Hanh says we all inter are and the Ancestors confirm that we are all one, though not the same. The Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu tells us that we are only persons through other persons. 
All of this is easier said than done; unity consciousness is much more difficult than duality consciousness.
 Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us is a good start. So that ...
The Ancestors 



We are taught to do things for their own sake but in doing so our heart chakra must also be fully open.

The Ancestors 




With social media and advance technology we are in danger of becoming more and more isolated not only from each other but from the healing power of nature and the elements.

Click on the link to highlight then play
-_MP3s/06_Together_All_Alone.mp3

More on Joy next week