“The present life of man, O King, is like to the swift flight of a
sparrow through the Mead Hall wherein you sit at supper in winter,
with a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail
abroad. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went
before or what is to follow we are ignorant.” Edwin of Northumbria’s
Counsellor, 12 April 627
We need not be ignorant. We come from beyond the world, live in it for a
while, and leave to progress according to our deserts.
If we remember that we are not of the world, that we
are passing through, we act profitably, doing only those things which are for
our long term good.
If we see only the attractions of the world, we become forgetful and are
immersed in the world. We do things which are for our short
term gain, but not necessarily for our long term good.
We forget that, no matter how hard we try to preserve our lives, we will
lose them in the end. And however hard we try to escape the consequences of our
deeds, we can never escape them. They pursue us like our shadows. Inside the
Mead Hall or without.
NEW PROJECT: “MEN MAY RISE ON
OF THEIR DEAD SELVES TO HIGHER THINGS”
(Tennyson: In Memoriam 1849)
Business men boast of their skill and cunning
but in philosophy they are like little children.
Bragging to each other of successful “deals”,
They neglect to consider the ultimate fate of their bodies.
ETHICS is the highest science (knowing, knowledge) because it is concerned with survival. Those whose ethics are not perfect cannot escape a level of being which has death as one of its concomitants. Those whose ethics are perfect do not die. They finish their last birth on earth by leaving the physical body behind to be recycled. They move on to eternal life. Why is this? Because everything is One and all things are part of that One. Everything we do to another, is actually done to us. If it is a negative action, it pulls us down to what appears as a separate material existence. In this, we die with the body. Over and over again. If our actions towards others are positive, we experience the positive result of being drawn closer and closer to the Centre of the One. This is a state of bodiless eternal life.
The fundamental, easily understood ethic is, therefore, Don’t do to others what you would not like done to yourself.
NEW PROJECT: CAN YOU BE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD?
“There being really no plurality, duality is untrue”
really is only One. Every living and non-living thing is part of this One.
There is no “Other”. Every thing arises out of the Centre of this One and
subsides back into it. Just likes waves rise and fall but are never
separate from the sea. The Centre of the One has a physical location in the
centre of every living being. In the case of a human being, this is the centre
of gravity. Just above the navel and in front of the spine. Locating it as an
experience makes possible escape from physical existence and entry into our
spiritual home and origin. In deep sleep, we subside into it quite naturally.
But because we lose consciousness, we are unaware of it. Through meditation we
can enter it knowingly. Once inside it we can verify all things for
ourselves and gain understanding of ourselves.
NEW PROJECT: ETHICS
of ethical behaviour is not to do to others what we do not want others to do to
us. Since all is One, what you do to “another” you do to you.
(You cannot shake him by the hand. His
hands go round and round cutting eternity into ticks and tocks.)
Grandfather, What makes you tick?
GF Tick. Tock
(Open his door. No one is to be seen
hiding behind the long pendulum or crouching in the hood behind the face with
its moving hands. There are two cylindrical lead weights, pulled by gravity.
They move the escapement and pendulum. This enables the hands to tell the
passing of time and the bell to sound on the hour.)
So does gravity make you tick,
GF Tick Tock
(The weights move down until the karma
which raised them up is exhausted and they stop.)
Is that what makes you tick,
(What force will raise them up again,
creating the karma that will then unfold? There is nothing in the clock with
all its metal parts, wood and ornamentation to provide a clue.)
What will make you tick, Grandfather?
Do but watch and wait. And listen. For
the footstep in the hall. Wait and watch. For the hand reaching out from
outside the clock. The hand with the key. The key for the keyholes in the face.
The karma-forming hand. Which winds up the weights on their chains. Which
gently touches the pendulum. Which releases the escapement. Which moves the
bad friends. I have watched two seagulls chasing a kestrel away from the
safety of the shore. Seeing this, others join the chase to hunt it down
into the water and drown it. Faults are like that. They are not worth defending
or justifying. They are false friends and will attract more like them, which
will drag you down until they drown you.
NEW PROJECT:MAKE A
LIST OF YOUR VIRTUES! Purify them. Consolidate them. Find new
ones. They are real friends which will journey with you until the end. The real
End. The end of suffering.
METHOD: Make a list of your faults. Every time one occurs, put an "X" next to it.
At the end of a day (week) you can see by the position and number of the "X"s, which are the most persistent faults.
If you remove the feeling or emotion from them, they appear just as mistakes. A mistake is something that causes unwanted results: wrong directions taken; accidents, miscommunication, ill health to mind or body etc. Seeing them without emotion is objective seeing. It removes the resistance to overcoming them.
The mind is like a computer (or more accurately a computer is like the mind).
If you make a list and decide (program the mind) to do without them, you discover that every time you repeat a fault (or are about to do so) the mind will immediately remind you. If you respond positively to this reminder, the fault will disappear. If you delay, the reminder will disappear and you should note an extra fault "prevarication".
Generally with this project, you get the eye for a fault and can continually unearth ones you have overlooked. This is especially true if you can drain the feeling/emotion out of them. It's a lot of fun (and of course profitable).
All the things the fox knows are outward-facing: hunting, sniffing, mapping, deceiving, avoiding, running. The biggest thing he knows is to run to his "earth" when he can no longer avoid his hunters.
He made his spurt for the Mourne End rocks.
The air blew rank with the taint of fox;
The yews gave way to a greener space
Of great stones strewn in a grassy place.
And there was his earth at the great grey shoulder,
Sunk in the ground, of a granite boulder.
A dry, deep burrow with a rocky roof,
Proof against crowbars, terrier-proof,
Life to the dying, rest for bones.
But, when he gets there,
The earth was stopped; it was filled with stones.
Then, for a moment, his courage failed,
His eyes looked up as his body quailed,
Then the coming of death, which all things dread,
Made him run for the wood ahead.
The fox's biggest thing is not big enough! The hedgehog's is bigger.
The hedgehog escapes away from the world. He rolls up into himself. Even the fox cannot follow him past his spikes. But the leather-covered hands of man can reach him. Lift him. Drop him in boiling water and eat him.
Certainly we may be carrying suitcases and bricks. But most of the baggage is in the lumber room of our minds; regrets and might-have-beens from the past; anticipations, worries and fears about the future; and the entanglements of our present lives; relationships, mortgages, bank balance, our decaying bodies. Like jugglers, we wrestle with what is already in flight:
The Juggler throws
his batons at the sun.
The sky throws them back again
each and every one.
Surely by now he knows
what it is he’s gaining?
Come Mr. Juggler, look at it from your point of view, just how long has it been raining? On you?
yet cannot resist picking up more. His penance will continue until - Journey's End
when all batons
lie still upon the ground
and of the Juggler
no residue is found.
NEW PROJECT: THE FOX KNOWS MANY THINGS. THE HEDGEHOG KNOWS ONE BIG THING.
U.S.A. Seven hundred thousand doctors, ten thousand hospitals, a million nurses, one hundred and fifty thousand dentists, 56,000 chemists, 35,000 clinics, 8000 operations weekly, ten percent of children and adolescents suffering from serious emotional and mental disorders.
Signs of progressive medicine and civilisation? Actually, they demonstrate failure in medical systems and wrong guidance of the public in nutrition and life style. The 8000 operations performed weekly with brilliant technique indicate the failure of previous treatment.
The medical profession has discovered no cure for cancer, diabetes, AIDS, psoriasis, arthritis, dementia or the common cold. But the pharmaceutical companies make vast amounts of money, selling their carefully packaged products for these conditions. They suppress the symptoms or the patients' awareness of them. They are full of claims, disclaimers and mention of undesirable side effects. In order to get on the shelf, they are tested for safety by a million-dollar industry which specialises in the breeding, mutilation and disposal (death) of animals in vivisection laboratories. Most of the research into the undesirable effects of tobacco was performed on rats. But who has ever seen a rat smoking?
We are educated to look outside ourselves for healing. Cats and dogs and wild animals don't have sex education or antenatal care but they breed pretty successfully.They rarely get sick, if left to themselves. If they do, they don't rush off to a doctor to find out the name of what it is they've got. They don't buy and ingest pills and liquids. What do they do? They find somewhere quiet and lie down. They stop eating. They drink when they are thirsty. They may go off and sniff and taste plants in their immediate vicinity (but they don't try to find out their names). Mostly, they just lie down until they feel better. Or they die comfortably. That is, unless they have an "owner" who decides to "put them to sleep" (kill them).
"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
"The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment."
Why cannot you therefore HEAL YOURSELF. Maybe you can! Why not try? Start by looking in rather than out.
NEW PROJECT: THE LONGER THE JOURNEY, THE MORE BAGGAGE YOU NEED TO TAKE. THE MORE BAGGAGE YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE, THE LONGER THE JOURNEY.
All conflicts between individuals or groups stem from conflicting wants. All our problems at bottom come from wanting. Even one kind of not wanting is actually negative wanting.
Consider: I don't want a cat (but if that one stays, I don't object) and
I don't want a cat (and if you don't get rid of it I'll call the vet!).
All our problems come from wanting: If we don't get what we want, we are, at the least, dissatisfied. If we do get what we want, we are satisfied for a while but then we want more of it or we want something else. Wanting is never satisfied. The only cure is to be free of wanting.
There are two ways:
1. Put your mind on something else. You can't want something you are not conscious of because wanting is always accompanied by consciousness. But if the want is very strong, you may not have the will power and concentration to do this.
2. Look to see if it is actually desirable. All wanting depends on seeing that something is desirable. If you can see that actually it isn't, the wanting will evaporate.
Consider a small boy looking at a bowl of fruit. The more he looks, the more saliva and impatience is generated. (How can he get at it without being caught?) But if he were to sink his teeth into the most luscious looking and discover that it's made of wax, you couldn't force him to have another bite. (Unless he likes wax fruit).
NEW PROJECT: TRUTH CANNOT BE AN ADD-ON FOR THE EGO!
The whole universe together with the minds and bodies of its human beings is in constant movement: pursuing and avoiding, planning and remembering, day dreaming and night dreaming.
"Be still... and know that I am." Don't stir it up with the spoon of desire and it will settle of its own accord. The shining consciousness that remains contains all its secrets buried deep within you.
Pleasure is a feeling. When one of our six senses touches a sense object, the result is feeling. Feeling can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
It all comes down to the struggle to survive, the endlessly obstructed urge just to stay alive. All use just one rule as measure; avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure.
Pain leaves an imprint which says, “Leave it be!” The sirens of pleasure leave a note, “Follow me!”
Happiness is different from pleasure. It's the natural state of mind, at peace in the absence of all desires. People seek happiness in their pursuit of pleasure. But pleasure can only provide the satisfaction of desire. And once a desire is satisfied and pleasure experienced, it soon fades and desire reappears to chase something else.
People think that the pleasure they get from sense objects makes them happy. This is not the case. When a desire is being satisfied or has been satisfied, happiness is often present. But it is not the pleasure that has causes the happiness. The satisfaction and subsidence of desire leave a temporary gap in the mind. Through this the ever-existing happiness can shine. Until it is obscured by new clouds of desire.
One needs to distinguish between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is always temporary. It always needs a sense organ and a sense object. It always needs a body to provide sense organs. It needs birth to get a body. A birth always results in a death. If the desire carries over after death, it will produce another birth, but where and under what circumstances? And in any case, there will be another death. Moreover, no life produces an unending sequence of pleasures, of desires being satisfied. Quite the contrary. There are at least as many unpleasant experiences: sickness, old age, disappointment, loss (and still the inevitable deaths).
The rattling of teeth within the jaw mocks the tongue murmuring:
"Please some more!"
Happiness, on the other hand, does not need pleasure. It is always there and easily accessible when one gives up pursuing pleasure and obscuring happiness with the clouds of desire. If it needs anything, it is Ethics. Ethics means not causing pain to others. A bad conscience causes obscuring clouds, too. NEW PROJECT: "BE STILL..."
Thinking, speaking, doing: - we are scattering karmic seeds all the time. These affect others for good or ill and, in due course, return to confront us too. Though by then we may have no idea that we are facing the results of things we have done - maybe long ago.
It is easier to chop down
than an oak.
(The branch you bang
your head on
was an acorn
that you missed.)
Most of the time,the harm we do may be unintentional. Many of our words and actions (and especially our thoughts) are haphazard. Becoming more conscious of the seeds as we actually sow them rather than just impulsively scattering them at random, helps us to realise what we are up to and gives us the opportunity to select and choose. We can then create a garden for ourselves (and others) and not just be the cause of a wilderness.
The Laws of the Body are those which restrict the body's freedom: gravity, chemistry, ageing, temperature etc.
The Laws for the Mind are those which others attempt to impose on the mind and limit its freedom: legal penalties (pay your taxes), highway code (drive on the left here, on the right there,) moral prohibitions (don't lie, don't steal, you can eat a sheep's child but not your own). These are sometimes legal prohibitions as well. They involve the body in those areas where it is considered to be under the control of the mind. It is not yet illegal to grow old but you are not allowed to kill yourself (although you are allowed to change your sex).
The Laws of the Spirit are those fundamental laws which are inescapable and affect the very essence of a man. Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad. Do good, be happy, Do bad, suffer (inevitably, sometime).The basic one is that permanent total freedom and happiness is only possible by withdrawing from the limitations of mind and body and remaining in the pure realm of the Centre.
The Laws in a given system are co-extensive with that system. They limit my Freedom to (do what I want) and interfere with my Freedom from (outside influences).
If one goes outside the system, its laws disappear. If one enters another system, one will meet another set of laws.
As Newton discovered with the help of an apple (though Adam had beaten him to it with the help of Eve), gravity is a fundamental law in the system which is the earth as we know it.
However high you jump, this spinning sphere drags you back down. However high you throw your apple, it will come hurtling back (though, unlike Newton, you can move your head).
But, as the astronauts have shown, if you can generate enough power and move off at the correct angle, you can escape this spinning system we call the earth and be free from its law of gravity.Then you are in a different system and can travel in a straight line forever (or at least until some other spinning system (some other Eve?) acts upon you and drags you in (and down).
Freedom from is another way of saying Peace.
If you were to be completely still and refrain from impinging on anything, physical or mental, anything in the world would not impinge upon you. You would experience the freedom from being impinged upon, being affected by, discomforted by, bothered by, attracted by, hurt by; in short, from suffering.
Freedom to is another way of saying Power.
Power is the handmaiden of Desire. Freedom to is the power to fulfil your desires. Unfortunately, since others exist, it may be that your desires conflict with their desires. Then it would be just a question of who has the greatest power and therefore the greatest freedom to.
If you were to enter the Centre by refraining from any action whatsoever, physical or mental, you would achieve Perfect Peace, Perfect Freedom from.
You would also achieve Perfect Freedom to because, in the Centre, there is absolutely no desire to do anything whatsoever. One's power to achieve what one wants is unimpeded because there is absolutely nothing one wants. There are also no others.
The ultimate Freedom from is, among other things, Freedom from Freedom to. This is a perfect definition of Perfection itself.
(NO NEED TO DRAG THEM SCREAMING TO THE TO SCAFFOLD)
The seed grows steadily and becomes its own fruit. Everything takes its course and fulfils itself if left alone. The good ascend to the heaven their goodness created. The bad descend to the hell their minds have made. No-one is unrewarded. No-one gets away with anything, although he may appear to in the short term. One may use one's freewill to pick up a sword of justice if one wants. But it isn't really necessary and often one's judgement turns out to be wrong. Or one becomes ensnared in what doesn't really concern oneself. One's true concern is putting oneself right. If one completes that, one can look around.
The weakest link in the chain is the point at which the intended journey from A to B veers off at C.
* Blondin, halfway across Niagara, is distracted by a seagull and is sidetracked to the rocks below.
* The white grains stirred into the tea were salt and not sugar.
* The best football team chose a goalkeeper who urgently needed an eye-test.
* Some time in the early centuries AD, the Christian hermits and ascetics who had retreated from the world into the desert accepted and acquired a taste for temporal power (ignoring Jesus' advice that you cannot worship God and Mammon). At this point Christianity was grafted onto the tree of Jesus' teaching. The entirely different kind of fruit which has resulted is clearly seen in the jungle world of today and also in the history of the Churches' activities (wars, suppression, Inquisition, torture and accumulation of wealth et cetera.)
* You answer your mobile on the motorway and reach home later than intended (via the back of a truck, a hospital and a stretcher).
Every time things don't turn out as expected, look for the weak link in the chain of events and take precautions for next time!
NEW PROJECT: LET THEM HAVE ENOUGH ROPE AND THEY WILL HANG THEMSELVES!