Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

"Discovering Stillness" - Interview with John Butler (from Conscious TV)

All I can say about this man is, "he is profoundly plugged in," and I'd sit at his side anytime anywhere!—Bei Kuan-tuhttps://www.youtube.com/watch? v=fZXhPmHPoNohttps://www.youtube.com/watch? v=IXBV8IKtBYo&spfreload=10
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  246 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
246 Hits
0 Comments

“Behold the Spirit” (New Preface) by Alan Watts

I did not pursue it for the purely personal reason that my bohemian style of life did not fit well with the clerical stereotype, and because even then I was ill at ease with the commitment to spiritual imperialism which most Christians feel to be the sine qua non of being Christian, as if one could not be a true Christian without being a militant missionary. ...I now find it easier to assume that Jesus was a man like ourselves who had a spontaneous (i.e., virgin-born) and overwhelming experience of cosmic consciousness in which it became completely clear to him that “I and the Father are one” and that “before Abraham was, I am.” ...Therefore Jesus had difficulty in saying what he felt, not only because it was officially blasphemous, but also because it made no sense to say that he was consciously and personally ruling and causing every detail of the universe, and attending to all prayers from everywhere. ...It is thus that the “saving truth” of the Gospel appears, not as Jesus’ experience of Godhood, but as his punishment for proclaiming it, and that sanctity in the following of Christ is chiefly measured by the degree of guiltiness felt in failing to come up to his example. ... Lacking such experience, religion is only a futile straining to follow a way of life for which one has neither the power nor the grace, and there is no power in a merely theoretical grace which one has allegedly been given but does not feel....As might have been expected, Behold the Spirit was criticized for its creeping pantheism—a point of view which, in its many forms, is so repugnant to religious monarchists that simply to be named a pantheist is enough to have one’s case excluded from an intelligent hearing. I am no longer concerned to defend myself against the charge of pantheism because, from my present point of view, all doctrines of God—including atheism—are ultimately false and idolatrous, because doctrines are forms of words which can never be more than pointers to mystical vision, and not by any means the best pointers. At most I feel that some sort of pantheism is the least inconsistent with that vision, and by pantheism (or panentheism) I mean the conception of God as the total energy-field of the universe, including both its positive and negative aspects, and in which every discernible part or process is a sort of microcosm or hologram. ...But, from the beginning, institutional Christianity has hardly contemplated the possibility that the consciousness of Jesus might be the consciousness of the Christian, that the whole point of the Gospel is that everyone may experience union with God in the same way and to the same degree as Jesus himself. ...Of course, those who have never let themselves be reduced to this simplicity will feel that it is an arid oversimplification, that there must be much more than this—by way of doctrines, precepts and practices—to an effective religious consciousness. ... One can but reiterate the point that the mystic is negating only concepts and idols of God, and in this way cleansing the doors of perception in the faith that if God is real, he need not be sought in any particular direction or conceived in any special way.
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  235 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
235 Hits
0 Comments

"The Tao Does Not Command" by Raymond M. Smullyan (excerpt) THE TAO IS SILENT

And being in harmony with the Tao is not something “commanded”, nor something which is one’s “duty”, nor something demanded by “moral law”, nor something sought for some future reward, but is something which is its own reward; it is in itself a state of spiritual tranquility. ...The Tao is certainly not willful, and I think the Taoist would tend to regard things having their own will as somehow “willful”—but let that pass! At any rate, the idea of “surrendering” one’s will to the Tao would seem inappropriate since an individual’s so-called “will” is but part of the Tao. It’s not that the Taoist denies free will (nor would he affirm it, for he would tend to regard the whole free will- determinism controversy as a confusing duality), but he would rather say that whatever it is which we call “free-will” is but part of the activities of the Tao. ... Similarly Suzuki has said that Western man thinks he is controlling or conquering nature; he does not realize that in so doing, he is only acting according to the laws of nature.I must confess that all my life I have reacted with the utmost horror to the idea of “obedience to God”—and even more so to “surrendering one’s will to God”. ...And that is that if a person decides to surrender his will to God, and spends several years undergoing the inner discipline, self-mortification, purgation, etc., he finally reaches a stage in which he suddenly realizes that the issue he has been so violently struggling with is purely illusory! That is to say, he suddenly realizes that his will has been part of God’s will all along and that even his so-called “rebellion” has been but part of God’s activities. ... Put in less theological terms, it is like the man who suddenly has a Satori-like realization that he is not controlling Nature, as he had thought, but rather that Nature is controlling him to think that he is controlling Nature—or better still, that neither is he controlling Nature nor is Nature controlling him, but that he and Nature are one. ...Now, if “surrendering one’s will to God” really does lead to this wonderful state—so close to Taoistic harmony or Zen Satori—then there is of course something to be said for it. ...I can only think again of the Taoist Sage by the river stream, not worrying about “obedience” or “surrendering his will” or not even conceptualizing the notion of “being in harmony with the Tao”, but simply being in harmony with the Tao and enjoying it to his hearts content.
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  156 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
156 Hits
0 Comments

"Wonders of Spiritual Unfoldment" by John Butler (an Amazon customer review by Glen W)

A friend lent me this book (Wonders of Spiritual Unfoldment by John Butler) and after reading a few pages I thought it was going to be one of those books that becomes a lifelong friend - the kind you re-read every couple of years....Having returned the book to its owner, it was not two years, but only two months later that I was clicking "buy" on Amazon, haunted by many half-remembered passages and wondering if they were really as profound and compelling as memory seemed to suggest....All my adventures and (so called) achievements, the countless thoughts, the good and even wonderful events - all seem as nothing compared to these "moments of truth" which shine out as lamps, guiding me home after long years of exile in a foreign land".But the journey home is not without its difficulties and for me, at least, Mr. Butler's wise and perceptive account of these obstacles and traps is one of the book's most valuable gifts....Mr. Butler is the only mystic I know of who succeeds in describing the roller coaster that is spiritual unfoldment in such concrete and personal language, (except perhaps for the neglected early 20th century English writer, Lilian Staveley)....Feeling that the Church of England "did not rise to the spiritual direction my young mind required", his early spiritual experiences resulted in a search that eventually led to the School of Meditation run by disciples of Shantan and Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Northern India. ..."I am convinced that it is her [The Virgin Mary's] intercession that has obtained for me, and for many of the people I have guided, graces in prayer that we should never have acquired otherwise. There, then, is my first piece of advice to you if you would make progress in the art of contemplation: Seek out her patronage and ask for her intercession before you start out on this way. ...I would do him an injustice if I attempted to summarize these insights, but their essence is an experience of union in which the false self, (ego), is temporarily shed and with it the delusional fears and problems that assail us in the realms of separation....One, where most things, people etc. are outside of oneself, and life is a continuous effort of "me" accepting, rejecting, trying to do, change or be something i.e. rearrange bits of separation. ...I see now that the reason I had to revisit the book after only two months was the sheer impossibility of taking so much in at a single reading.
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  149 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
149 Hits
0 Comments

“The Karate Kid and Why There is (or Can Be) Purpose Behind Everything That Happens” by Karem Barratt

But, eventually he complies to the instructions -until the fourth day when our Daniel explodes in anger, as he feels lied to and tricked by the supposedly karate teacher. In one brilliant moment of extraordinary educational methodology, Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel how each hard, boring and senseless task has trained his body to respond automatically and turned the different actions into karate moves.Once Daniel grasp this, he’s fully engaged during the following lessons and he receives them with patience, harmony and dedication....“The Lord’s ways are mysterious,” is a well-known expression in the Christian tradition, to talk about “strange coincidences” or difficult moments for which we find no reason or explanation, and feel abandoned by the God of our understanding. Let’s imagine then that all of us are bit like the protagonist of the Karate Kid: each human is Daniel and the Divine is Mr. Miyagi.Many spiritual traditions, particularly the modern ones, seem to agree that, like in the film, before coming to this physical realm, each one of us makes a contract or agreement to exploit some talents, pay some karmic debts, and go through some experiences -all for the spiritual growth of our soul. But just as Mr. Miyagi doesn’t give much explanations as to why the fence has to be painted on a certain way, the Divine, after designing our life curriculum (with, I believe, some of our input,) keeps this information away from us on an intellectual level. ...But when Daniel loses his faith in his teacher, his mission and his work, lets out all his frustrations and fears, he goes through what has been called “the dark night of the soul:” a hard, painful, almost soul-destroying moment all spiritual walkers go through, that is a bit like having your skin ripped off to open a space for new one to grow. ...We still may not have all the answers, but we now live in the knowledge that there is purpose in all that happens, and if we are diligent students, we will look for and assimilate the lessons. We still have to struggle on in our spiritual studies, but now we are supported by our inner faith in the Spirit we have come to understand. We will get hit and we will get hurt (see poor Daniel’s state at the end of the film) but now we know we are not alone, that the Goddess heals, the God guides, that Deity is with us, holding us, yes, but also suffering and feeling with us, while at the same times it’s cheering us, being both hammer and nail, as it mould us into the precious piece of jewellery, the work of art, the masterpiece we were born to be. And at the end, in a sublime moment of true communion, we see the Divine with the eyes of our soul, half smiling, half crying, and we say: “we did it Mr. Miyagi!
Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  169 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
169 Hits
0 Comments