Afraid of the Light?

October 17th, 2014

light

 “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –
Plato

Humans are such vulnerable creatures, particularly with respect to their inner feelings. The truth is that people are afraid of many of their feelings. They are even more afraid of expressing them.  Instead, they suppress their feelings. They deny them, not only to others, but also to themselves. They are ashamed of their feelings.  They are afraid what they might do or who they might become if they allowed themselves to feel their feelings.

Know that you can responsibly manage your feelings. Know that you do not become less of an adult by feeling them. In fact, you become more of an adult. Artistry in life is about feeling your feelings and dealing with them wisely. Bring your feelings into the light. Doing so requires a great deal of self honesty, which can at times require a great deal of courage, yet it is the light of awareness that heals and evolves you.  It is not about impulsively acting out. It is about knowing, with the full light of awareness, what dwells within you and holding those things responsibly. As you do so, the psyche and physiology purify and you begin to live more and more in harmony with Mother Nature, your own true Divine nature.

Few people really understand that their true nature is Divine. They fear that it is not Divine. They feel they must not bring to light all that is within them. They feel that to do so is to release a beast. It is the suppression, the hiding away of what is within you, that causes the distortions and convolutions. As you work with the feelings within, you become more and more skilled at dealing with them all. You also become more free. It is about creating a healthy relationship with what dwells within. Suppression and denial is not healthy. This certainly does not mean that you act out whatever it is you are feeling. Those feelings are not necessarily your Truth. They are often just your personal issues. But to heal them, you must feel them. Then you learn how to deal with them responsibly and maturely. In time, you gain the ability to share the depth of your being with others. That is the greatest gift you can give to another and to the world. That is your own personal genius.

The art of living is being able to find a way to “put your cards face up on the table”.   In other words, to share yourself with the world… to bring what dwells deep within you to the light of day. That is not done with reckless abandon. It is done with thoughtful insight and respect for yourself and others. It is about having a healthy relationship with your self, other people, society, and the world. It is the process of becoming no longer afraid of the light.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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Approach from Every Angle

October 12th, 2014

prayingYesterday after the Ganesh puja in the temple the following came to my mind that I was compelled to get up and share with the group:

“In meditation you rest into the absolute… pure consciousness, pure is-ness.  From that depth of your being, the influence wells up and permeates all levels of your being.  You know that it is something best done twice daily.  Over time it cultures the physiology in the direction of enlightenment.

The pujas, havans, and all the ceremonies at the temple approach from a different angle.  Obviously there is the physical aspect of the procedure.  From there is permeates the physiology more and more deeply… through the levels of thoughts, feelings, etc. ultimately touching and enlivening the depth of your being.

It is as if meditation goes from the bottom [or depth] up and the ceremonies go from the top down.  Meditation awakens you to the unstructured, pure abstraction, which lies at the basis of all life and existence.  The ceremonies awaken you to the deepest structured level of existence and permeate all levels of your being from there.  That is why it is best to not actually meditate during the ceremonies but to instead keep your attention on the ceremony.  To transcend, to bring the attention to the unstructured level, is different from staying with the structured and enliving the Absolute from there.  It is like the distinction between Atman and Buddhi… transcendence and the very finest relative.

Meditation waters the root of life.  The ceremonies, mantras, etc. direct their nourishment through specific aspects of life, depending upon the deity (personified aspect), sankalpa (specific purpose), etc.  You can have a havan for health, wealth, happiness, or even more specific things.  Often the results are felt immediately.  However, as with meditation, it is best viewed as a culturing process.  Every day, every day, every day do your meditations and attend the temple.  Culture your being to live in harmony with nature day by day.

It does not really make a lot of sense to only meditate on special holidays.  No!  Of course not!  People understand that meditation is a culturing process that is done twice daily. But it seems few understand that attending the temple is also a culturing process best done every day.  You can attend pujas, havans, do japa, pradakshina, etc.  It does not have to be for an extended period of time.  Just attend the temple and touch in, touch in, touch in.”

I then asked Panditji to comment to the group about what I said and to feel free to correct or refine anything that he felt was not exactly right.  As he and I both have enjoyed through the years his knowledge gave beautiful confirmation to what I said.

Another important approach is that of knowledge, but not just intellectual facts but true understanding from the depth.  My lectures are for that purpose.  I remember years ago, after attending a number of my lectures someone said, “I think there is a lot more going on here than just a lecture.”  Honestly I was a bit shocked that it took them time to understand that.  Yet I was delighted that they now understood.  What we offer here at Mount Soma, daily group meditation, the temple, and the lectures are all great catalysts to your evolution.  Make hay while the sun shines!

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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Judgment vs. Discernment Revisited…  Who Do You Think You Are?

October 9th, 2014

Perhaps it is the most common question I hear: “How do I know if I am being judgmental or discerning?”  Considering that “the spiritual path is the path of discernment” (Adi Shankara), it is perhaps the most important question you can ask.  Yet it is also the most difficult for you to answer.

Lady Justice wears a blindfold.  The idea is that She is unbiased and objective.  But let’s realize that the blindfold also signifies that justice is administered through oblivion. She is not objective alone. She is also subjective. Laws change as people change. A 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision molds social mentality often for decades to come… until the pendulum swings the other way. Is that system discerning or is it perpetually judgmental? Either way, it is simply the way of the world. History has proven that over and over again. Of course, every generation seems to consider itself to be the enlightened generation… the generation that finally got discernment right.

And who do you think you are? What molds your viewpoint? You can justify anything with the intellect, and you do according to your viewpoint. What molds your viewpoints? Do you place your thumb on the scale of your own inner justice? Or perhaps a better question is, are you willing, or able, to take a step back and see yourself? Consider how you hold the scale of self-evaluation. Judging yourself harshly is putting your thumb on the scale. Any issue you have puts a thumb on the scale. Issues with authority? Self doubt? Self-righteousness? Defiance? Fear? For any and all issues, you place your thumb on one side of the scale.

I suggest you consider placing a counterbalancing thumb on the other. Of course you may think to suggest removing the thumb from the scale. But if you see the thumb is there, it is already removed. Or is it? If you judge yourself harshly, I suggest considering the opposite. If you are self righteous, I suggest the opposite. If you see your own bias, I suggest your reaction to that realization compromises your understanding of it. Those who are instinctively kind to others are often the first to cruelly judge themselves as sometimes being unkind. Those instinctively judgmental of others are often the first to stand up for their self-righteous viewpoint.

Are you judgmental or discerning? It all comes down to the nature/tone of “your relationship with…” Your relationship with what? Your relationship with everything within and without you.  With yourself, with society, with authority, with friends, with loved ones and so on.  To overcome being judgmental and to become discerning, you must find balance within yourself. To do so, you need to consider your nature and the nature of all things.

Consider strengths and weaknesses.  Look at world history, social history, and your history. When the scales tip one way, consider the other. In all situations, be open to seeing the strengths as well as the weaknesses within and without. To anarchists I say, consider the value of society and authority. To puppets I say, think for yourself. To the self critical, I say be kind to yourself. To the self righteous, I say be humble.  It starts with your relationship with yourself. Find balance there first.  Only then can you have a healthy relationship with what lies outside of you.

Do understand that discernment does not preclude passion. The more fully you find your Self, the more discerning you will be. You will know your wisdom and thereby find your true path in life. And your true path in life is filled with passion. It is the river that carries you to the ocean.

Yet judgment also can be most passionate, so life’s journey must begin within. Find your inner wisdom first. As Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, “Established in Being, perform action”.

Be you in conflict or comradery, always do your best to keep to the high road. There are no absolutes in the relative.  Yet everything gravitates back to the Absolute, back to the Divine. That is the nature of existence. The path of discernment is the path of balance. You will fall. That is fine – just get back up.  Your job is to do your best to keep your balance as you face the wind and go forward, forward, always forward.

That is called the Path of Discernment.

rain

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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What Does It Mean?

October 3rd, 2014

tree Today is Vijayadashami. Victory Day. It is a good day to start new projects, businesses, etc. It is the day that Lord Rama defeated Ravana and the Goddess Durga defeated the buffalo demon, Mahishasur. But what does that really mean? And how could it be that Rama and Durga both happened to be victorious on the exact same day of the year?

Everything cycles. The sun rises and sets. When the sun shines, flowers bloom. Every season has it own unique influence. Similarly each hour of the day, and each day of the year have a unique influence. There are of course many other variables, many other factors, at work simultaneously. However, it is good to know when ‘the sun will be shining’ so you can ‘make hay while the sun shines’. There are also ‘Nodal points’. Like water freezing at 32 degrees.. not 33, 34, or 31. Today is a nodal point in nature called Vijayadashami, Victory Day.

But who is victorious on Victory Day? Those who act in harmony with the laws of nature will be supported toward victory on this day. This is a mechanic deep within creation. Rama and Durga are both very deep principles ‘woven within’ the very fabric of creation. This day then carries that influence, their day of victory.

Why would this be hard for some people to comprehend? People have no problem ‘believing’ that individual human beings exist because they see them in the physical body. But stop and think a minute here. People are born out of nature… ‘Right? So why is it so hard to understand that the intelligence that birthed personified beings (humans) also has personified aspects? Just because you can’t see it? Keep in mind we have no technology that can read a mind. Similarly, we have no technology that can ‘read the mind’ of the underlying basis of existence. But because people can’t see it or read it, they conclude it does not exists? Isn’t that rather arrogant? And why, too, is it so difficult to understand that some people, Rishis, have developed an ability to perceive that which others cannot? Isn’t that also rather arrogant? To question it is understandable. To insist that it is absolutely not true is absurd.

I am a scientist by formal education. I insist that things must make sense. At this point in human history, knowledge has advanced in so many fields of life, that by putting all the pieces together, the big picture can be logically derived. To those willing to entertain the possibility, I offer that compelling understanding.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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The Classic Story Line

September 29th, 2014

For a book or movie to be successful, it has been said it must follow the classic story line… start with a content status quo, go into thrills and adventure, and return home to peace and contentment. It is said that is the formula that has worked throughout eternity. But why?

The other day I realized why. First there was wholeness. Then the universe manifested when Pure Consciousness perceived itself as other and multiplicity emerged… many thrills and adventures resulted. Over time life evolves, and one by one, human beings awaken to their true nature. They return home to peace and contentment.

Everything maps. Reading or viewing the classic story line touches that place deep inside where you already know everything. You are reminded of the nature of life, your life… your journey. The Classic Story Line works so well because it is the story line of your very existence… of all existence. It maps onto the story of all that is. It is the story of the universe and everything in it.

It is your story.

cat

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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How to get Enlightened

September 24th, 2014

treeI was asked the following:

若我只ㄧ天兩次靜坐保持,這樣最後我能走到哪兒?還需要做些什麼嗎?
If I meditate twice a day to maintain (my energy,) where would I end up eventually? Is there anything else to do?

 

To which I respond:

Everything is born out of Oneness (Pure Consciousness, The Unified Field, God, the Transcendent) and everything returns to it. I discuss that process in detail many places (the manifestation of the universe, Darwinism/Creationism, etc.). Meditating twice a day accelerates the process of returning to Oneness. When you awaken to that Oneness, it is called Enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not a mood, attitude or philosophy. It is a state of being. When you awaken to that, you awaken to all the harmony, intelligence, wisdom, bliss, perfection, and peace that dwells eternally at the depth of your being and is your essence… who it is you truly are. You then spontaneously live in harmony with Nature… Mother Nature… your own true nature. It is a state of fulfillment… wakefulness to the root of all life and existence.

Meditation waters that root within you. It nourishes all levels of life including your energy. However, the root is not energy… it is consciousness. It lies deeper than mere energy. As the ancient seers have said, pure consciousness is the source of all that is. Every time you meditate you re-member with that source. It is what you long for… to return to your essence… the truth of the divinity of your own being. By meditating regularly, reuniting with that becomes a habit. As you awaken more and more to it, you live from it more a more, until you fully awaken to it and then it never leaves you. It is quite possible that you attain enlightenment this lifetime through regular meditation. But I can not guarantee that everyone will do so in this lifetime. What I can guarantee is that through regular meditation life becomes better, just as surely as by watering the root of a plant, the plant is nourished. Also, through regular meditation your life will gain a great momentum toward enlightenment that will carry you through and between incarnations until you gain full enlightenment…

The best you can do is to meditate regularly, read the blogs that I post, do not get distracted, do your best to stay very true to what you learn from the blogs, and if at all possible come and visit me at Mount Soma. The knowledge I offer is very profound and powerful, but it is also delicate. Take care… do not allow it to slip through your fingers.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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The Rose and Its Thorns

September 18th, 2014

I was asked the following question:
“How it is possible to enjoy a beautiful sunrise when there is suffering in the world?”

To which I respond:

When the rose blossom gets larger, so too the thorns naturally get larger. The world will always need two poles to spin around. Up creates down. Left creates right.  With fame comes infamy. When there is affinity, there is aversion. This is the way of relativity… relative existence. It is said that in this age (Kali Yuga) negativity dwells in the hearts of people. In other Ages, it dwells far away in the dark forests.

I remember over twenty years ago when I taught in another school. The students loved me.  This elicited jealously and resentment in other teachers. Fearing I would take away their students when I left, other teachers spread vicious rumors about me.

Yes, such things hurt when dwelled upon. But do not fret. Yin will always create yang. There is real beauty in the way of the world. Find the beauty.

Enjoy the sunrise.

sunrise

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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knowledge vs. Knowledge

September 15th, 2014

If you think this quote from Mundaka Upanishad undermines Vedic knowledge in any way, then you do not understand the quote.  It is speaking of the sublime and subtle relationship between the Pure Absolute and the finest finest level of existence.  It is a beautiful commentary on the structure of existence.  This topic seems to keep coming up which is why this is posted here.  To those that seem to lose sight of the importance or even the possibility of their awakening to the Absolute, I would say read this quote.  To those who would not understand or appreciate the profound value of reason, Vedic literature, and the Vedic rituals, I would say that you too do not understand this quote.

My life is one of dedication to knowledge… both aspects of knowledge.  We are all in great debt to the Pandits and scholars who preserve and share Vedic knowledge.  You must of course, keep your ‘eye on the ball’ as you pursue the Self… the ‘higher Knowledge’ that is spoken of in the quote… enlightenment.  When held and understood properly, you understand the exquisite relationship between the two.  Each honors and reveres the other.

B%WDirectly experience the Self through PROPER meditation. Learn and practice the
Surya Meditation and Surya Ram Meditation…From Mundaka Upanishad:

1)
This Self cannot be obtained by studying the scriptures,
nor through the use of reason,
nor from the words of others
-no matter what they say.

By the grace of the Self is the Self known,
The Self reveals Itself.

2)
‘Those who know Brahman,’ Angiras replied,
‘say that there are two kinds of knowledge,
- the higher and the lower.

The lower is that of the four Vedas
- Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva,
and of the accompanying sciences:
pronunciation, ritual, grammar,
etymology, metre, and astrology.
But higher is that through which the Eternal
is directly experienced.

3)
But verily, these rituals are unsafe boats
They cannot reach the farthest shore.
The Vedic sciences are but the lower
The ignorant,
who take them as the higher,
sink once more into old age and death.

Though they think themselves wise and learned
they are fools lost in ignorance,
a prey to suffering,
wandering without direction,
like the blind led by the blind.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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Who Are You?

September 11th, 2014

who are you?You exist on many levels.  On the most superficial level, you are your physical body.  Some would say the physical body has attributes like consciousness, thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc.

On a bit deeper level, you are a personality that is beyond the body.  The body is just a vehicle.

Some would define themselves by their work.
Some by their family and relationships.
Some by their thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

Now you may understand all of this, but that is not enough.  Take a moment to reflect and to be honest with yourself.  Who are you?  How do you define yourself?  Do not answer based upon a philosophy that you hold true to.  Do not answer based upon what you think you should believe or intellectually know.  Answer based upon what you feel.  Answer based upon how you live your life.  Answer based upon what you feel and experience from within your own life, not based upon what you have been told.  On what level of life do you put most of your energy?  What level are you invested in?  To find the answer, do not just think, but FEEL.  Also, look at how you live your life. The term for that is IDENTITY.  What level of life are you most identified with?

Now, there are many more levels to you than the ones mentioned so far. Your being exists beyond your thoughts and emotions.  Take a moment to feel into that.  Who are you?  What are you that lies beyond thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and the “story” of your life? What part of you lies beyond all of that?

It is quite normal and healthy for your attention to move from one level to the next.  Sometimes your attention is mostly on your body.  Sometimes your thoughts, sometimes emotions, sometimes the activity you are engaged in. At each moment, your ‘self’ is related to on a different level.  That is fine.

But there is a particular level that you identify with as ‘you’ most of the time and put most of your life force into.  What level is that?  Do ponder this, but do not think you have to have an exact answer.

The value of the question is in the pondering of it, not in the answering of it.

Now, there is a level beyond all the levels we have discussed so far.  It is the Transcendental basis of all the other levels of not only you as an individual, but of all life and all things.  Just as the earth is the basis and the essence of all the plants, the one Transcendent is the basis, the essence, of everything.  It is who you really are.  The eternal you.  The you that lies beyond space, time, thoughts, emotions, the story.  It is the source of infinite bliss, harmony, intelligence, love, wisdom, and yet it lies beyond all of those things.  It is pure Is-ness. It is one with all that is. You sense it inside yourself, though you may speak of it differently.

In the state of enlightenment, that is what you know your self to be. That is what you rest into, like the idle of an automobile. The engine is always running. It is always there. But the awareness naturally rests into that.

It is who you know yourself to be. You can still act with passion on all levels of life.  But you are no longer identified with anything.  You are in the world, but not of it.  This is not an attitude or philosophy or belief. It is a state of consciousness.  You simply see the world as it truly is. The deepest mystery of life is simply self evident, obvious.  You spontaneously and naturally live your life accordingly.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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Brahma Sutras

September 7th, 2014
Swami Paripoornananda Saraswathi

Swamiji’s followers, Maharshi, Swamiji in orange, Pandit Prasad, Lakshmi (Panditji’s wife)

The Brahma Sutras are a portion of the Vedas that addresses Vedanta. Sri Adi Shankara in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras set forth the non-dualistic( Advaita) interpretation of Vedānta. It is said that knowledge is structured in consciousness. In other words, the knowledge a person has of any subject is a function not only of the information they have, but even more so it is a function of their level of consciousness. Certainly this is true when addressing a topic as sublime and profound as Vedanta and the Brahma Sutras. Even as it is stated in the Veda, Knowledge does not dwell in books, it dwells in the consciousness of enlightened individuals.

Furthermore, translations, interpretations of the texts themselves, interpretations of the commentaries, and the changes of subtle meaning of words and expression over time result in the study of Vedanta and Brahma Sutras texts and commentaries being an incredibly elusive field of knowledge.

Swami Paripoornananda Saraswathi, a renowned saint, scholar and visionary, recently visited Mount Soma. It was wonderful to spend time with him. Everyone at Mount Soma greatly enjoyed the talk he gave to the group. He and I became great friends, even in the little time we had together. I would love to some day offer a conference with him to discuss, not just academically, but experientially the Brahma Sutras and Vedanta. He and I did have the opportunity to privately have a brief discussion on the topic. It was fascinating. He is a great reservoir of knowledge. He has invited me to join him to tour and give lectures in India. I very much look forward to that magnificent opportunity. It is a great joy to have him as a dear friend.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.

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