God Notes Archives
Mountains inspire our highest selves. When we encounter mountains in wild places we experience the peak of our own humanity. Whether we are standing at the summit or paying respect from below, we are flushed with awe. Perhaps this is the beginning of religion.
Terry Tempest Williams. Extreme Landscape. Quoted in: McDonald, Bernadette. (2011). Freedom Climbers. P. 128. ISBN 978-1-926855-60-8.
More about Terry Tempest Williams can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Tempest_Williams
More about Bernadette McDonald can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_McDonald
I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary (...)
Friedrich Nietzsche. (1999). Thus spake Zarathustra. Mineola, NY: Dover Publ. Inc. P.3.
More about Friedrich Nietzsche can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nietzsche
"Only repeat the name of Amida with all your heart. Whether walking or standing, sitting or lying, never cease the practice of it even for a moment. This is the very work which unfailingly issues in salvation..."
Honen quoting Shan-Tao. Retrieved from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C5%8Dnenon 22 January 2012.
Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you disbelieve all the rest ... God, the omnipresent and omnipotent, is not limited to one creed, for He says, 'Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah' (Quran, 2:115).
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing the words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause the family or the community to split apart. I will make every effort to reconcile all conflicts however small.
For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. Trees and animals have no problem. God makes them what they are without consulting them, and they are perfectly satisfied. With us it is different. God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it!
Don`t let others tell you what you, in their eyes, ought to be. On the other hand, never dismiss their advice arrogantly. Try (...) to be always true to your own nature. You will never change yourself by suppression. Real change comes only by transcendence. (...) The secret is not to cease from enjoying anything – a “solution” which leads only to apathy, and consequently, to a deadened awareness. The secret, rather, is to center every enjoyment in the heart (...). Ordinary likes and dislikes are not man’s enemies, as such. Rather, they are like troublesome neighbors. (...)
Some people do have ugly traits. Don’t waste energy in reacting to them, neither by dislike nor by abhorrence. Don’t welcome them into your “galaxy” of interests. Move through life, rather, like a swan off of whose back the rain flows lightly, never touching its body.
If we study the teachings of the Buddha and if we observe our own mind, we will find there is nothing permanent within the constituents of what we call our “self.” The Buddha taught that a so-called “person” is really just five elements (skandhas) that come together for a limited period of time: our body, feelings, perceptions, mental states, and consciousness. These five elements are, in fact, changing all the time. Not a single element remains the same for two consecutive moments.
(...) Birth generally means that from nothing you become something, and death generally means that from something you become nothing. But if we observe the things around us, we find that nothing comes from nothing. Before its so-called birth, this flower has already existed in other forms – clouds, sunshine, seeds, soil, and many other elements. Rather than birth and rebirth, it is more accurate to say “manifestation” or “remanifestation.” (...) We have to transcend notions like birth, death, being and non-being. Reality is free from all notions.
Similarly, when a slave has come to love his master and his own wife and children, he may reject true freedom because of his bonds of physical kinship; and so he becomes a slave for ever, allowing his ear to be pierced through with an awl (cf. Exod. 21:6). He will never hear the word that can set him free, but will remain perpetually a slave in his love for present things.
The hermitages at which Rama and his companions had previously stayed had been uncomfortable and squalid. This was because the hermits who lived in them wished to be holy. When Rama and his companions came upon the Hermitage of the Gluttons they found it neat and clean and pleasantly disposed between a half-circle of hills and the bank of considerable river. This was because these hermits did not wish to be holy; they merely did not want to be wicked. (...)
The houses stood well apart in a half-circle that followed the sweep of the enclosing hills. They were made of clay and thatched with the dried leaves of palms. The ground rose gently behind each of them, and it was terraced. On the terraces grew fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables. The space in front of each house was sanded and paths led from each sand patch to a banyan tree that grew near the river. Its wide-spreading branches and the roots that grew down from them in thick columns made a meeting place. (...) The men lived in perfect equality, none was jealous. (...) The community was harmonious, since nobody would have cared a rap it it had broken up the very next day.
(...) such was Rama, after his months of pilgrimage. His skin was a golden brown and gleamed with the movements of the muscles beneath. His torso, naked save for the strap that bore his quiver, was heavy-shouldered and greatly narrowed at the waist, in the manner most admired among Indians. The pleated cloth around his hips curved over buttocks that were something womanish, a sign in his race of high breeding. It fell halfway down his thighs, which were strong and spare. His feet were now shod with country sandals, made of the hide of a deer. He wore no ornaments, so that nothing beguiled the eye from the astonishing beauty of his face. (...) He had long eyes. His nose was thin and flaring; his lips rich; his chin that of a boy. There was nothing arrogant in his expression, but the carriage of his head was very noble. He moved with grace and spoke with the voice of a man who is accustomed to being heard with attention. Apart from the sum of all these attributes there was something more – an air of freshness, a clarity, a directness, as of a young man coming in from a fine hunt on a glorious morning. At the time when he met Valmiki he was twenty-eight years old (...).
The climate of mercy, which is the climate of the new creation, depends on the realization that all men are acceptable before God, since the Word was made man, dwelt among us, died on the Cross for us, rose from the dead, and is enthroned in our flesh, our humanity, in the glory of God, Hence, all that is required for a man to be acceptable before God, and a recipient of mercy, is for him to be a man and a sinner. (I did not come to call the just, but sinners...Matthew 9:13; Romans 5:8). We ourselves are not entitled to be more demanding than God. Whoever is acceptable to Him is, therefore, acceptable to us, and this is the test of our faith and our obedience to Him (John 15:12, 17; 12:34-35), that we become to some extent able to be merciful to others as He has been merciful to us, (...) It is not required that he be a certain type of man, belonging to a special race, or class, or even practicing certain religious customs (Galations 5:6). Least of all is it required that he be exactly like ourselves, friendly toward us, and disposed to flatter us with a privileged consideration of our person and our ideas.
This deeper knowledge of God gives me full liberty and spiritual freedom, and nothing can disturb my close union with Him, not even the angelic powers. I feel that I am great when I am united to God. What happiness it is to have the consciousness of God in one's heart and to live in close intimacy with Him.
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
It has been said that the continuation of the species is due to man's being forgiving. Forgiving is holiness; by forgiveness the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue.
What holds us back from cultivating quiet?.........Quiet is rarely handed to us. To find it requires going against the grain of habit and convention. We may need to remember that ensuring we get it won't necessarily be easy........we will have to face ourselves in ways we like to avoid. All of us live with secret fears about ourselves. As long as my inner and outer worlds stay noisy and frenetic, I can ignore things I need to confront: my compromises, self-involvement, misgivings, lusts, guilt feelings, anxieties. When I am busy, when I don't listen to my deeper self, I can hide. (...) as long as I talk or fill my mind with the talk of others, I feel safe. (...)
O Great Spirit
whose voice I hear in the winds,
I come to you as one of your many children.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Make me strong not to be superior to my brother,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy: Myself!
May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
The Spirit, without moving, is swifter than the mind; the senses cannot reach Him: He is ever beyond them. Standing still He overtakes those who run. To the ocean of his being, the spirit of life leads the streams of action.
The pleasures and pains of life are not your lot alone. Even kings, emperors and saints have suffered. If you look carefully around, you will see that no one has escaped them. For attaining spiritual enlightenment, one has to pass through both pains and pleasures. In moments of pleasure, do not forget the Lord, the abode of happiness and in pain do not lose your heart, (...).
If any burden or thought troubles you, let it not stay long. Read some holy scripture in such moments or engage yourself in some selfless service or meditate or sing the glory of the Lord in high tones or turn away your mind and transform such thoughts and drive away the worry that assailed you.
In our ignorance we are innocent; in our actions we are guilty. We sin without knowing and suffer without understanding. Our only hope: to stop, to look, to understand and to get out of the trap of memory. For memory feeds imagination and imagination generates desire and fear.
At this present time in this world, Karma Yoga is greatly needed. The fact is, due to the progress of science and technology, people are becoming lazy. For example, computers have been invented and all calculations is done by computers and many people are not using their minds and bodies.(...) Science has made great progress in this world. Where we used to engage a thousand men to work, now a bulldozer does the work in seconds. But that makes a thousand people useless and unemployed. While unemployment is increasing in this world, people have lost their peace of mind. The reason for this is because man has ceased to work. Due to this inaction, all kinds of pains and sicknesses are increasing in the world. I want you to take the energy of the machines into yourselves and work like machines! (...) We must follow a Path which will strengthen us, so we must not be dependent on machines. (...) That is why it is very essential to be active and hard-working. (...) This is the best Path for all.(...) This is the eternal, unshakable way. (...)
You must find your own way. Unless you find it yourself it will not be your own way and will take you nowhere. Earnestly live your truth as you have found it — act on the little you have understood. It is earnestness that will take you through, not cleverness — your own or another’s. (…) Live a clean, selfless life, that is all. (…) Don’t cheat, don’t hurt — is it not important? Above all you need inner peace — which demands harmony between the inner and the outer. Do what you believe in and believe in what you do. All else is waste of energy and time.
Thy Name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succour in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
"Ten thousand flowers in the
spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, the snow in winter.
If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life."
Ascribed to Wu-Men (1183-1260). Sent by Jeffrey Solomon.
Many people take wine to banish sad or unpleasant memories and worries, but that kind of forgetfulness robs man of his native soul wisdom - the very power by which he was meant to overcome his trials and to find lasting happiness. God, being Joy Itself, wants us to seek and to find, within our souls, His ever-new bliss.
"Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it."
You must all advance by taking good care of your health. Only by taking good care of your health, you can gain success. The fact is that if your health is not good, how can you do your service? Taking care of your health is as important as any of the other duties of your life. It is your duty towards your body. If your body does not work, how will you function and advance?
Visiting the sick always brings
Maybe the sick person is a hidden saint,
or maybe he is a friend of the Way, (...)
Even if he is your enemy,
your visit might turn him into a friend,
or at least lessen his dislike of you.
There is much more to be said,
but so as not to be tedious, the gist is this:
befriend the whole community.
All these forms are strange to you, (...) they terrify you, (...) and yet it is you who have created them. Do not give in to your fright, resist your mental confusion! All this is unreal, and what you see are the contents of your own mind in conflict with itself. All these terrifying deities, witches and demons around you - fear them not, flee them not! They are but (...) the content of your own mind in the mirror of the Void. If at this point you should manage to understand that, the shock of this insight will stun you, your subtle body will disperse into a rainbow, and you will find yourself in a paradise among the angels.
You all think devotion is fun. Some day you will have to jump without fear of life or death; then you will be able to make progress. When the time comes, you will have to walk through fire and water. Only the man of courage can live through this time.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, sense of control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity, simplicity, nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, peacefulness, aversion to fault finding, compassion toward every living entity, freedom from greed, gentleness, shyness, determination, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, and freedom from both envy and the passion for honor - these are the transcendental qualities, born of the godly atmosphere, O son of Bharata.
Shri Babaji shows us the practical side of the teachings of great saints like Guru Nanak, who did not preach a particular religion or cult. He gave teachings of spiritual perfection valid for all mankind. To follow these teachings is to realize good for all humanity and the unity of all humanity and the unity of the individual soul with the universal Soul. (...) Guru Nanak, who appeared in Punjab, was such a saint. Whatever he did, he did for the sake of humanity. The actions of great saints like Guru Nanak are aimed exclusively at the welfare of mankind as a whole to lead men to the true goal of life. The words of the saints contain a vibration and energy that have the power to remove vice and evil from the world. The value of their words is that they inspire. This is why the scriptures say that their words have to be read again and a gain and to be meditated upon and be put into practice.
Some people have faith because their ancestors taught them to believe. In one sense this is satisfactory, no philosophical arguments will break their belief; in another sense, it is unsatisfactory, since their belief does not come from personal knowledge. Others come to belief through conviction after research. This is satisfactory in one sense, they know God from inner conviction; in another sense, it is unsatisfactory: if others demonstrate to them the fallacy of their reasoning, they may become unbelievers. The best believers are those whose beliefs are satisfactory in every way; they believe because of tradition and also through their own reasoning. This is what we mean when we say: "Our God and God of our ancestors." God is our master both because we know it and because our ancestors taught us.
Mysticism is the awakening to and cultivation of transcendental consciousness. It is unitive awareness. All forms of mystical wisdom are unitive, that is, non-dual. This is a significant point of convergence among the religions themselves. (...) Interspirituality (...) is a term to describe the breaking down of the barriers that have separated the religions for millenia. It is also the crossing-over and sharing in the spiritual, aesthetic, moral and psychological treasures that exist in the spiritualities of the world religions. The deepest level of sharing is in and through one another’s mystical wisdom, whether teachings, insights, methods of spiritual practice and their fruits. The mystical life, in its maturity, is naturally interspiritual because of the inner freedom that is ignited in the depths of the person on the mystical journey. This path frees us from the obstacles within us that would hold us back from that generosity and willingness to partake from the mystical springs of other traditions. To drink this precious nectar requires openness and a capacity to assimilate the depth experience of these venerable traditions. More and more it is becoming common for individuals to cross over the frontiers of their own faith into the land of another or others. We can, indeed, speak of this new millenial period as the Interspiritual Age.
The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.