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Philosophy Spiritual Uncategorized

The Purpose of Mythology

The purpose of mythology is to make you realize that your ego is keeping you from your destiny.

Maybe we shouldn’t say “your” ego because that emphasizes the sense of separateness that the ego function engenders. The definition of ego is the belief, or rather, the sense that you are separate from the outside world, from nature.

So, its purpose is to break that lock and allow the “waters” of the universe to flow back through you, and the breath (the Tchi) of the universe to once again fill your lungs. Just as your physical body would die without water and air, so your “subtle” body (what we in the West may call ‘Soul’) will die without the ‘divine’ water and air. Because, though, it is wrapped in a story that may be historical untrue, rationally untrue, it contains within it the kernel or seed of a transcendent truth. It’s this very transcendence, the “womb of creation” as Deepak calls it, that’s made, and continues to make, everything we know. It’s desire is to come up through you and “marry” these two worlds, that of the internal and that of the external.

Your ego stands exactly in this middle ground between this external infinity (which our telescopes show us) and this internal infinity (which our microscopes show us), and also this transcendent infinity, which our heart shows us. There’s a trinity for you. A trinity that wants to be “Re-Ligio” or relinked, which are the Latin words that our English word Religion, synonymous with Mythology, actually comes from.

So think about this. Religion actually means to “re-link.” It’s the re-linking of eternity with immanence.

“There’s something that wants to be known, a presence.” 

See, that something, which is real and transcendent, can’t be known when an Ego function serves as a sort of ringed fortress, blocking it out.

So the purpose of the mythology, religion, is to break that Ego sphere, and allow the transcendental to pour forth, both up from within, like a hidden spring, and down from without, like a great waterfall or rain.

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Philosophy Spiritual

How to Meditate – Post #3

“Yoga [meditation] is the (intentional) stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind stuff.” – Yogasutras 1.2

“Throw open the gates, put self aside, bide in silence, and the radiance of the spirit shall come in and make its home.” – Kuan Tzu, P’ien 36

“When you enlarge your mind and let go of it,
When you relax your [qi ?] vital breath and expand it,
When your body is calm and unmoving:
And you can maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances.
You will see profit and not be enticed by it,
You will see harm and not be frightened by it.
Relaxed and unwound, yet acutely sensitive,
In solitude you delight in your own person.
This is called “revolving the vital breath”:
Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly.” Kuan Tzu (24, tr. Roth 1999:92)

To me it feels like every thought we have is blocking out our true nature. It’s also blocking out what would be a true life experience: both because the inner self can’t get out, and the outer life is blocked from showing forth its true nature and transcendence. “The Kingdom of God is spread upon the earth, yet men do not see it.” Thus every thought we have is distracting us from the ‘real show’ or ‘real adventure’ of our lives, which is our destiny. It’s like the Polynesian saying, “We spend our time fishing for minnows, all the while standing on a whale.” The “minnows” are thoughts, distractions, making us ignorant of the “whale” of our true nature, our true destiny, which is something much bigger than we ever imagined, and much more interesting than the sideshow of the mind trying to catch “little minnows.”

The sublimity of our essence is trying to make itself known both from within and from without. Thoughts are blocking that “knowingness.”  This is the reason for the practice of yoga, or what we call meditation. To re “yoke” this awareness which would initiate a marriage of the eternal with the imminent.

“There’s something that wants to make itself known, a presence.”

“No one has yet lifted my veil.”

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Philosophy Spiritual

How to Meditate 1

My own insight happened while I was meditating last week: It was the insight that you’re not trying to get rid of your thoughts, or stop thinking, but rather stop the attachment to the thought. Don’t let it move you emotionally. That way the thought can come and go without you emotionally reacting to it. Think of the mythology of the Buddha: His victory came not from directly getting rid of thoughts, but by not being moved by them. Remember the story? First he was tempted by desire in the form of Lord Kama’s (a metaphor for Ego, Super-Ego, or even thought itself) beautiful, naked daughters (I believe there were three, which is an important mythological number) and he didn’t allow himself to be moved. So then, Lord Kama tried to use fear: He sent armies and weapons hurling at him. Again, the Buddha wasn’t moved, so the arrows dissolved into flowers.

Ah, but I almost forgot, there were three temptations, right? What was the third? It was the temptation of “Dharma” or in our lingo, what you should be doing out in the world. You might call it a “Political” temptation or a “Career” temptation. In the Buddha’s case, he was a King’s son. So, the temptation was political. The Lord Kama said, in effect, “What are you doing just sitting here? Can’t you see the world’s going to hell in a hand basket? You’re a prince. You should be leading your people!”

And still the Buddha did not allow himself to be moved. And that’s the moment he attained complete victory.

I just bought a book on Kindle called “Why Meditate?” and while I’ve just read the first 10 or so pages, he already confirmed my first insight: That you’re not trying to stop or get rid of your thoughts. At least not directly. Anymore than the Buddha tried to directly get rid of The Lord Kama. Instead, he wasn’t moved emotionally by the temptations of desire, fear, or duty. And that’s a good metaphor for what you’re trying to do in meditation: as the thoughts arise, you don’t try to fight them, but instead, lose your emotional attachment to them. Practice not letting them emotionally move you. So in that sense you really need thoughts during meditation, just like a marksman needs a target. You need them, so that you can practice not letting them control you psychologically or emotionally.

Here’s another good example. If you go to the 2:48 mark of this video, you’ll hear Deepak address this very issue:

“See, trying to silence a thought, is a thought. Ok? So, don’t try to silence the thought. But, you see, if you leave them alone, they start to say to themselves, ‘Nobody’s noticing me.’ Ok, so you don’t try to get out of the thought, because that is a thought by itself…The awareness of a thought is not a thought. It cannot be, right? So, just be aware of it. That’s all. Don’t try to [silence it].” – Deepak Chopra

I might rephrase it like this: “Trying to silence a thought, is an emotion. If you leave them alone, emotionally, they’ll leave the ‘party’ on their own volition. So, don’t try to get out of the thought, because, that, in itself, is an emotion. Instead, try to lose your emotional attachment to the thought.”

Play and practice with this idea. As the thoughts arise, practice not being emotionally moved by them.

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Philosophy Spiritual Uncategorized

On Ego: The Labyrinth Metaphor

The labyrinth in which the hero soul has become lost. That’s the place from which we are all starting. Did the ego build this labyrinth? Or is the labyrinth a metaphor for the ego itself? Those are interesting questions, but they aren’t nearly as interesting, practically speaking, as what the Wax String of Theseus stands for. The wax string is a metaphor for the thing that got the hero, Theseus, out of the labyrinth. Some qualities strike me about it:

  • It’s very smallness, thinness, almost invisible quality represents the fact that it is something representative of the spirit, soul, the psychology. It’s easily lost, like a feeling, but if held onto can lead you out.
  • That same narrowness represents single-mindedness of purpose, and an unbending intent. It also represents a psychological commitment. So that nothing distracts from it. It’s very narrow but very long, meaning that, commitment, ironically, leads to freedom, adventure, and, in short, the way out of misery.

Update: 03/11/15:

I’ve been reading a lot of Grimm’s Fairy-Tales in the last few weeks. This kind of material really feeds my soul, makes me happy. But I’ve only been “allowing” myself one or two stories a day. It strikes me that when you find something that really awakens your passion, why compartmentalize or limit yourself to it for one hour a day? My sense of this and similar experiences, is that, like the Wax String, you should hold on to them, not let them go, stay with them, all day and all night, at least until they lead you “out” of the Labyrinth. That’s my sense of “The Hero’s Adventure” and more specifically the metaphorical, or one possible metaphortical meaning of this element in this particular story. 

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Philosophy Spiritual

The Law of Detachment

The Law of Detachment:

“If you get attached to the outcome, you won’t be in the process.” – Deepak Chopra

“Life is a metaphor for what’s happening in our consciousness.” – Deepak Chopra

I guess I should add this to my “Consciouness Quotes” page, or my “Deepak Chopra Quotes” page. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m watching something or reading something that I’m interested in, it could be anything: Science, Spirituality, Entertainment (the fact that we feel the need to ‘categorize’ everything speaks volumes about the state of fragmentation our consciousness is, indeed, in.), there’s always one or two things that really “Hit home” with my “Subconscious” or my “Archetypal Instinct.” I feel the need to write these down, to remember them.

I wish I could find a way to organize them in a better way, but for now the spontaneity of a blog post will have to do.

 

Related:

 

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Philosophy Spiritual

Shamans and Medicine Men


Whenever I’m reading a book or watching a video there may be one snippet that really turns the light bulb in my head, or should I say my heart, on. I want to start writing these down so I can have a repository of them to look back on. Two of my inspirations are Deepak Chopra and Joseph Campbell. I saw a video today that Deepak’s son, Gotham Chopra, produced. In one segment he was talking to his father, and Deepak said one of those snippets that caught me like that. The quote comes at the 2:38 mark in the video above.

And so, what Medicine Men have done throughout ages, is actually triggered the body’s response to what it normally wants to do.

I think the reason this struck such a chord in me, in my deep inner self, is that it seems to be saying something that my deep, inner voice has been whispering to me for many years: That the answer is not so much in what to do next, as in what not to do next. In other words the concept of “Being.” There’s a will in nature that is antecedent of our mind, that will take us exactly to where we need to be, if we only would get out of its way. This reminds me also of a quote from Joseph Campbell:

that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are (will be) living. (link to full quote)

This reminds me of the thought that wisdom comes from nature, up through the body to our consciousness, not the other way around, down from consciousness to be imposed upon nature. Or the idea from the German Romantic philosophers (Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche) that the brain doesn’t produce consciousness, but rather consciousness produces the brain, and all other “objects.”  It also reminds me of a Timothy Leary quote: that the LSD experience was like driving consciousness down to the cellular level and putting it in touch with what the cells were communicating. Most of the time the mind is only indulged in (or deluged by) stimuli from the outside, macro world (Blake’s “Nobodaddy”), whose messages are blocking out the voice of your soul, which is a spontaneous, instantaneous awareness of your calling or purpose. In a sense, the only thing that you have to do in life, to make if work for you, is to Be True to Your Calling. When you can relax and be in silence, ask yourself calmly, “What is my purpose? Why am I here?” And then wait for your soul’s answer. Not the answer that’s been planted in your head by other people or by society. In the above statement by Campbell, “Your bliss” is equivalent to Your Soul’s True Calling.