Sunday, December 27, 2015

This week's blog is on the third of the Karmal Sins

Our evil inclination or shadow is central to the three impediments below
 When we point fingers there are usually at least three fingers pointing back at ourselves (one for each spiritual impediment.) When we judge another we often project our own shadow onto the one we are judging. This is why mindfulness practice and forgiveness are so critical to the spiritual path.

Judgment has huge karmic implications because we usually harm more than just our own karma and our connection with the Spirit that moves in all things. Judgment often comes from envy,  jealousy or covetousness and one of the Ten Commandments is not to covet our neighbor or anything that belongs to our neighbor. We have to judge in order to covet and want something that we do not have. If we judge someone but do not share that judgment we only harm ourselves although we may also be bad vibing or casting an evil eye on that person. Covetousness is also the source of witchcraft and sorcery.

Discernment has a softer energy than judgment and Kabbalah talks about the "sweetening of our judgments" which is a good idea.

Judgment also leads to gossip and Kabbalah states that we harm three  people or more when we gossip; ourselves, the one we are talking to and the one or ones we are talking about. Chofetz Chaim has 9 principles for avoiding this and the main ones are stated below.

Innuendo and body language do not go unnoticed or unfelt. One of the most important signs predicting a failing relationship is negative body language.

Truth is often ego clinging to its own image and ...
If we have a problem with judging, it often helps to examine our shadow and characterize some of the faults we have in ourselves and then make a trade - forgive ourselves for our particular one and release that person from his or hers. Forgiveness of Self is key to managing our shadow.

The symbol of the hexagon is within the heart chakra as well as Tiferet on the Tree of Life (also representing love and compassion.)
The remedies for the Three Karmal sins are AWARENESS, TRUTH and SPIRITUAL PRACTICE (being in the present moment)  all embraced by love, compassion, empathy and mercy. More on Judgment next week

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This week's blog is on the second of the Karmal Sins - Desirous Attachment and Impermanence

There is nothing wrong with having stuff as long as stuff does not have us. The consumer market spends a lot of energy and money convincing us of the importance of acquiring things we do not need. Happiness is dependent on having our essential needs fulfilled. The law of "Three's" helps us to gain perspective. Spending time with hunter gatherers who only have these key essentials and seem truly happy can enlighten us.
We can live three minutes without oxygen to our brains, three days without water, three weeks without food and three months without company or human contact (before we get a bit spiritually and mentally disturbed.) If we add the basic essentials of modern living like a roof over our heads, transport, a computer and some sort of phone we should have it all but sadly it is never enough. 

Desirous attachment is one of the faces of ego which always seeks to have more. More takes us further away from our true essence or higher Self. Ancient wisdom urges us to subordinate ego and attachment to the objects of our desire to the Self.

This "object "can also be fame, power or sex. Hillel also said; " in seeking fame ,honor will be lost; in seeking knowledge, wisdom is forgotten; and in ceasing to learn one ceases to live."

We all often think if only we just had a bit more we would be happier and when we get it we are not - except maybe fleetingly. In our present time when we have never had more, 50% of people are on antidepressants and the suicide rate is going up. Buddhism claims to be about true hedonism and happiness because it is not about having "stuff."

This says it all.

Furthermore, there are negative karmic implications to desirous attachment.

Yoga philosophy affirms that any action that is attached to an ego motive will buy us another lifetime. Charity for the sake of a tax deduction or getting our face in a magazine is still a good thing but it has no spiritual merit when we cross over to reconcile with our Book of Life.
The remedies are easy to understand though extremely difficult to do.
KISS or KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID goes a long way. Freeing ourselves of non essentials liberates our spiritual potential and makes us feel lighter. Do not buy into the hypnosis of materialism and planned obsolescence - put simply this is a huge con! Is a new I - phone really necessary each time one comes out? The mania resulting is sometimes reminiscent of the Israelites around the golden calf while Moses is on Mount Sinai getting the ten commandments. Attend to needs and not wants. The first need priority should be some form of regular, sustainable and enjoyable spiritual practice.

Tibetan Buddhists have the profound meditation of doing exquisite and laborious sand paintings of mandalas and then destroying them to emphasize the truth about impermanence. This does not mean that they are incapable of enjoying what is impermanent in fact the opposite. It enables them all the more to be in the moment with the beauty of it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This weeks blog begins a series on the first of the three deadly sins of Karma. 

Ego, acquisitiveness (desirous attachment) and judgment get in the way of the Higher Self 
(Desirous Attachment and Judgment will be in the subsequent blogs.)

The search for the Higher Self is at the core of all human motivation even though in many it may be subconscious. Ego or small self must be subordinated to the real Self. To quote Jesus...
Ego comes in many different forms - even desirous attachment and judgment can be said to be part of ego. They are reinforced by and reinforce our shadow or evil inclination.
Kabbalah describes Narrow mind which reflects the primitive mind or Monkey Mind, combined with ego. They are essential for survival but a deterrent to spiritual growth. Spacious mind on the other hand reflects Patanjali's description of the Intellectual Sheath - also called Big Mind.

This anonymous quote follows with the boon of being empty of ego - if you like the Dalai Lama archetype.

On an Inward Bound trip to the Kalahari Bushmen, after experiencing Bushmen humility combined with their superlative hunter-gatherer and spiritual skills, an accomplished spiritual seeker (and general in the U.S. armed forces) said to me;
 "The key to having power is not having power!" 

The Upanishads agree...

Jung felt that complete obliteration of the ego may be very difficult, impossible and maybe even antithetical to the Western mind set. The Bushmen probably are accomplishing this during their Trance Dance when they travel up to the spirit world to glean non local information. It is a highly advanced spiritual process that is also a manifestation of their profound humility.

Kabir warns us that ego is like a chameleon that changes its colors when it is stressed, to disguise its true nature. The higher we get up the spiritual hierarchy, the more elusive ego becomes.We fool ourselves that we are beyond it when we are not.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

This weeks blog on the Evil Inclination introduces a series on the three deadly sins of Karma; Ego, Desirous Attachment and Judgment. These quotes from various sages are for us to ponder and meditate on.  Desirous Attachment and Judgment though separated from, can also be considered part of the Ego complex. 
This complex is linked to our shadow side or what Kabbalah calls the Evil Inclination. All are associated strongly with Monkey Mind or the Primitive mind as distinct from the Intellectual or "Big" Mind. Kabbalah refers to these two "Minds" as Narrow Mind and Spacious Mind. We can control Narrow Mind and shift to  Spacious Mind with spiritual practice. We cannot "think it" for this to happen - intellectual pursuits though helpful in our understandings - do not go deep enough.
We will begin with the hunt for the Self in relation to the Shadow or Evil Inclination and follow with the three deadly sins in the next blogs.
The hunt for the true Self, the real Self is seminal to our karmic journey through our many lifetimes.

Redemption can be as easy as just changing one's mind.

The above quote by Credo Mutwa, a powerful sangoma, is coming from an indigenous perspective which often represents original truth. 
There is a Native American story of a grandfather who is explaining to his grandson that within each of us are two wolves fighting for domination. The one represents good and the other evil. The grandson ask his grandpa; "Which one wins?" He answers "the one you feed."

It is only through reconciling with our shadow that we come into full recognition of our own unique "light."