ZenWayz

Articles about the art of living from the heart. Allow more Zen to enter your life. All articles written by Nino.

Be-Create-Be cycles

Creating our life consciously, by manifesting our dreams, is commonly approached in terms of a linear trajectory between desire and realization, between vision and outcome. From our mind, we approach the creative process in a straight line. Even though most of us know life moves in cycles, we tend not to apply this principle in our creative process. What you want to create doesn’t matter. The same principle applies for art as for starting a business, shelter for the homeless, a new laptop or perhaps psychic abilities. Most of us work our way towards our goals, although some may believe that isn’t necessary anymore, once you get the trick of the law of attraction. This is magical thinking. Magical thinking is detrimental to your actual success, but that doesn’t mean there can be no magic. Magic is a principle of life itself, like other high-vibratory elements such as love, compassion, presence, emptiness and equanimity. Magical thinking is a contradiction in terms, as thought cannot create magic. It can only create imaginary constructs and beliefs. This doesn’t mean the mind has no creative power. This just means thoughts by themselves do not have create power.

Mind is the space that harbors thoughts, wherein a lot more happens than just thinking. Intention, feeling, the vibration of the desire; all of them live there, in mind. Equally important, next to these creative forces, is perception of what is happening now, of your abilities, of your skills and your joy. Your self-awareness is this moment, in all of those facets of your being. Then, you follow – in your perception – the course of events from past to present. You are aware of your life’s cycles. You know what is behind you, how your life is unfolding and in what theme’s. This makes you conscious of what you’re working on, where you are moving towards. There’s greater and smaller cycles, cycles within cycles. Not until you have a general view on these movements, will you know how and even what to create. Life creates for you, as well, from your vast subconscious space, the iceberg under the water. In the approach to manifesting our dreams, we tend to draw a straight line across all these cycles, not even considering them to be of influence to what we wish to bring about. That is why a linear method of vision to outcome so often doesn’t work. It seems practical, but it cannot really be applied to reality, which is always moving in this iterative motion of cycles.

How do we work with the cycles of life, while being creators in the process to learn to harness creative power. It is not as easy as it often is portrayed in the well-known books like “The Secret” or techniques like energy pulling. Energy pulling is another visionary technique to magnetize a desired outcome towards you. In the process of doing such an exercise, realize it will cost you something. If you start moving energy around, you will need to exchange it with something you have. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, yet it can surprise you when you didn’t take into account energy comes at a price. Source energy is free, infinite and potent. Energy that already exists (you pull something towards you, stating it is already there) needs an equal exchange. Often I see this painful drawback people find themselves in, after having relished a period of high energy manifestation of their dream life. Apart from a questionable motivation behind their desires (not in all cases) they’ve moved so much energy inwardly, it has to be balanced. Also, in many such cases, their manifested reality turned out not to be too well aligned with their true self. I always stress this if the subject comes up. If you want to aid creation as a sovereign being, be sure you’re not creating more of the same. By that I mean, not more of the same of what is already here too much. Lots of programs are aimed at wealth, getting more than you need, conquering your private space in the world, wanting, wanting, wanting. The argument of being able to give more once you have more, contradicts the whole principle of the forces behind these techniques. Why not start with your real goal in the first place. You begin where you are. You move forward from there. Your desire might be to set up an intentional community. But how do you know that’s the right thing to do? Is it just a nice idea, to reach lots of people this way? Is there truly a deeper plan behind it, moving things along, or is all of that just thinking? Ask yourself, do you really know your plan is from the deep dwellings of your soul?

If you want to create in harmony with creation, you will not have to trade energy. Source is abundant, infinite, because it brings itself into form. It has done this with you, you are this energy. Source inspires you through your soul’s desires, infuses you with a contagious drive to move forward. You have to tune in to that movement, otherwise you’ll miss it. Mind chatter prevents you from hearing, until you start to listen. Once you found this frequency of stillness, creating in alignment with life becomes so much easier. We’re too impatient with life, believe waiting is a dirty word. Waiting is not as in passive lethargic hanging around in boredom. Waiting means we acknowledge ourselves to be an organic part of life, needing to adjust to the changing environment while we take each step deliberately, purposefully, into the direction of our vision. Our vision is not a static, two-dimensional drawing of images and ideas. It’s a living substance, inspired by our very soul who paints it artfully before our very eyes. Moving ahead in small steps prevents us from running all over the place, being obsessed with results in comparison with our ideas. When they do not match, we feel like a failure. No, that’s not the way. Failure is what we get by doing things from thoughts and ideas that are so often not our own. We have accumulated enough failure feedback to start doing things differently. Individually we will reach such a point, as also collectively. Collectively we seem to need more failure feedback, before we can move into alignment with life and stop acting like hungry ghosts. Failure is the doorway to learning to do things the right way. The right way cannot be molded into some formula that works for everyone. However, the principles behind life will not be ignored, as we cannot escape life. Working in accordance to natural ways should never become clouded with quick and simple ten step programs to reach your success. Life isn’t cheap like that.

Being deeply and intimately involved in the process of our own life might sound basic and perhaps a little old school. I love old school, but I’m also very interested in contemporary practices. They must however have a solid ground. Most of this stuff is still too wishy-washy, no matter how popular it is. Popularity is no measure for quality and depth, as we have seen with so many things in the past. To be is a first, create from that place where you can rest in your own being, then move forward and be there; repeat. You’re actively involved moment to moment. That’s not boring, even though mind chatter might try to convince you of that. There will be people, perhaps quite a few, who don’t like this kind of criticism on manifestation techniques. Some think there’s some dark program behind discouragements of such methods. I must tell you, I have had similar suspicions not that long ago. I was entertaining the idea, trying to lure people into The Now was a way of distracting them from their mission to create something into being here. Form what I’ve come to know, my investment in The Now, in Zen, was never an obstacle to creation. In fact, inspiration became stronger and stronger as I invested attention into the moment, including everything; thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, the body, the mind, the heart. These suspicions came up at a pivotal point of my practice. It was a deepening into the timeless realm, the stillness, where the water becomes so clear, you see aspects of yourself you didn’t see before. Only now, these deeper aspects were not controlling me. I had to adjust to this new way of being. It is a way of being where you see yourself, without being at the mercy of personal whim all the time. There’s a much greater being there, in all of us. We have to be willing to meet this being first, before we can know if what we are trying to manifest is the right thing. Inspiration has a quality of freshness and depth, it feels so different from mere imagination. With this knowing, all of my suspicions against the Now movement vanished. Becoming a creative force requires a relinquishing of the small vehicle of creation; the persona. With the words of a renowned teacher, I conclude this article.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – beloved Jesus

Regards,
Nino.

 

Groupie consciousness

The meaning of the term groupie originally was a person in utter, uncritical adoration for a music band, or star. Young girls could lose their wits completely at the mere sight of The Beatles, or Michael Jackson. Boys would turn to jelly over Gloria Estefan or Britney Spears. Nowadays you can watch groupie behavior in lots of other venues and circles. Even on social media you find groupies of all sorts. Since much more people have become “famous” in their online community, they’ve gained a celebrity status that works in similar ways. The only thing they might suffer less are the paparazzi. Not completely though, since a new kind of news media also found its place in the online social scene.

This is interesting, because it shows something fundamental in human behavior. Groupie behavior, in its most elementary form, reveals the drive of humans to follow alpha people. This is nothing new. The animal kingdom shows this in obvious ways. Society has become complex, so where it concerns humans, it may appear to be more or less obvious in different situations. Seeing how this works online, one thing becomes clear. Our whole society is still mostly built on adoration of alpha charisma. The only thing that changes, is what alpha charisma looks like. As our psychology changes, it develops into more convoluted shapes. What is attractive and interesting changes accordingly. This is however not an evolutionary process. It is a fractal-like reshaping and reforming of basic patterns. The alpha adoration is still there. Is has not disappeared, it merely takes on a different face. It is still embedded deeply into our mythical, archetypal drama. We want to free ourselves from it, but are we really succeeding? That is a question worth asking.

If anything, we’re gravitating towards leadership with a strong single-point leverage, instead of more autonomy. Leadership can be political, but mostly leadership has been scattered across lots of other domains such as the arts, religion and economics. Leadership may be less obvious in the arts, yet what appeals to the human psyche more than the arts? The arts tell us who we are, what drives us and translates our dark and light into images, sounds and movement. This is an indirect leadership quality. In the arts we see an interesting element of immortality, which rarely applies to other areas. Often times, artists lead difficult lives, barely receiving any recognition while they are alive. After their passing, their work may receive proper recognition in cases where there’s a depth to it that goes far beyond human attraction. Art with a timeless quality will survive throughout the ages.

For someone to become a star, groupie consciousness has to spot some type of alpha essence in the person or work. Worship of the artist often exceeds his or her work, as the alpha pattern of the creator is what propels success. The work itself emanates this alpha element, otherwise it cannot sustain its status. Pop music uses a formula to arouse this alpha pattern in, for instance, boy and girl groups. The music follows this same formula. Image and style are the main ingredients, emphasis is on appearance. What all this eventually leads to, is more of the same.

The people involved can barely lead their life with a descent amount of privacy. Then we say that’s the consequence of being famous. Sure, it is. Yet we have to ask ourselves why that is a consequence. It’s not a consequence of something they do. It’s a consequence of how we behave towards the alpha. We simply can’t seem to help it. You can see this on a large scale, but even on a minor scale. We behave like groupies on any scale. There seems to be a desperate craving to be recognized ourselves. We want the attention of what we believe to be of more importance, of more value, than ourselves. You see girls almost literally selling themselves to stars, simply to be with them. But this is an obvious example. Less visible examples can be pointed out throughout social media. People either get attention as an alpha or want it from an alpha.

What all this perpetuates in our world, is not so easy to describe. Conditioning of minds instead of freeing them is one result. People are taught what is interesting, beautiful, before they can figure it out for themselves. Everyone exchanges recommendations. They need to have a sense of security to invest time, energy or money in what seems safe, whether it is consultancy, books, artworks, movies, real estate. We are shifting weight where it may not entirely belong prematurely, leaving a lot of chances for good material outside the perimeter of recognition.

It is a fact; this is a strong force in our society. It has a deep connection to the Animus and Anima. We fall in love with things in our vulnerability to seduction. We’re seduced into things more than we dare to admit. In that sense, Freud has all but left the building. Without passing judgment onto these facts, it’s important to admit they’re there, that we do behave this way. And before you might react and say this doesn’t go for all of us; I don’t think any human being has been granted the privilege yet to be detached from our mythical background. Archetypes are us and we embody them. Therefore, Anima and Animus are intrinsic elements of the psyche. We may be about to start transcending some of that as a collective, but we’re not there yet.

Regards,
Antonino.

 

What you should know about Zen

I like watching video’s on Youtube from different teachers. Not because I’m looking for something I would not be able to find in my own practice. I’m fascinated by the infinite amount of angles teachings can be given as a means to awaken. There’s more than a few approaches to reach self-realization, although in the final hour you have no say in it. It has to reach you, whereby the one who wants to reach for it disappears. This can happen in moments of shock, either frightened, in awe or relaxing just a bit too much. Zen is impossible to define. It teaches us the art of not doing, without being passive. Everything happening from a realized state has meaning and purpose, without the conventional stance on what is meaningful or purposeful. A pure Zen practice therefore never looks the same from the inside, moment to moment, although it often appears that way on the outside. Zen meditation – Zazen – is just sitting. What comes, comes. What falls away, goes. What is realized, is no longer believed but known. Everything is allowed to be exactly as it is. To relax to such an extent brings a hardship. The mind doesn’t want to. It needs movement. It thinks what is not here into being, shaping our inner world.

Modern, non-traditional teachers often have their own approach to induce the process towards awakening. What strikes me as typical, having watched so many of them over the years, is their deliberate attempt to portray traditional practices as expired in the new era, the new age or other reference to us being at a pivotal, auspicious time in history. While that might me the case, the way in which they portray how traditional teachings work according to them, clearly points out they do not have a clear understanding. Some even mock Taoism, Zen, Buddhism and the like. It’s of course very easy to make fun of something when you don’t understand it. You can say whatever you like in front of an audience prefering the modern approach. They probably already have a resistance to what looks old and outdated.

The funny thing is, to the present day I have yet to find this “new” Dharma. Every single time – and by that I really mean every single time – they use old techniques, reference to what has been written in the 2.500 year old sutra’s, make use of a slightly bent or twisted version of, mainly, eastern philosophies and add their juicy vinaigrette.

Modern teachings are about unique selling points. They claim to be different, standing out of the mass and truly bring awakening, a good life and the power to the people so to speak. I have studied them nonetheless, because I wanted to know what makes their modalities, systems and practices unique. The funny thing is, to the present day I have yet to find this “new” Dharma. Every single time – and by that I really mean every single time – they use old techniques, reference to what has been written in the 2.500 year old sutra’s, make use of a slightly bent or twisted version of, mainly, eastern philosophies and add their juicy vinaigrette. That’s the part where suddenly you are in total control over your own life, where smart shortcuts and spiritual chiropractic maneuvers will bring you bliss like you have never felt before. Follow your bliss is not a bad pointer, but before you can understand where your bliss is, you have to get to know the depth of who you are. If one thing would be a pillar for a good and sound practice, it would be to always start there. As long as you’re oblivious to your own nature, what else can come from what is not you? What good can come from a false center of identity, from what is still firmly believed by the mind and ultimately the least true? You have to be wiling to not know first, before you will come to know and to be at last.

In Zen, discipline is the flagship as a means to single point focus the mind. This has many functions.

In Zen, discipline is the flagship as a means to single point focus the mind. This has many functions. One of the most important functions is a straight jacket to prevent its insanity from the mayhem it is capable of creating, once it thinks it is enlightened, holy, special, legendary, bestowed with supreme wisdom. It’s a psychic straight jacket to keep illusion at bay. It may still go wild, but after a while it cannot do this without you noticing its every move. The door to the realm of truth is entered from there. You enter Zen from there. Through your own insanity, by seeing thinking for what it is, you’re launched beyond the threshold into your own space, through the gateless gate as often referred to. Only from that moment forward can valuable things be given. This is the position from which right view is the only possible angle. There’s no guarantee you’ll stay there, because mind, however vast and transparent it has become, still hears the voice of the world.

None of us can outrun life, because how can we get away from it? There’s nowhere to go. Once you begin to realize things are not the way they appear to be, the tables turn.

We’re often unaware of what happens inside us. Only by really wanting to know what is true within, can we also know the unborn. Before we start the journey of inner exploration, there’s no way we can have our way with life, in life, without paying the piper somewhere along the line. This might sound discouraging, but it is not. Life will find you wherever you try to hide from it. It haunts you because you act as if to fall prey to it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t run. The way you run is personal. You can do this either subtly, or obviously. None of us can outrun life, because how can we get away from it? There’s nowhere to go. Once you begin to realize things are not the way they appear to be, the tables turn. Then you begin to see that what you were chasing after, is really chasing you. You’ve seen it and it wants to find you now. Life wants to show you her true face. It wants to make you see your true face.

The reward for knowing thyself is beyond any thinkable reward we could ever desire. We do not have to do this alone. We can still touch the old teachers, also some new ones who are willing to honor 2.500 years of wisdom and still add something contemporary, without selling it. It happens because they’re competent and unbiased. They are like that, as they have witnessed what has to be witnessed before any meaningful work can begin.

Regards,
Antonino.

 

The man from Sedona

“How on earth did I find this man?” I wondered. Looking back to the genesis of this magical journey to Sedona, I was suddenly struck by the unfathomable ways in which circumstances came together. Booking the flight, executed in a whim, was the easy part. As always, whenever I decided to make arrangements for a trip, the flight details would become the template for the interior of the journey. As crazy as it may sound, contrary to what most people do when they book their holidays, looking for places to stay came last.

Thus the pathway found its route to the day I came to meet Mr. Charles. Standing at his doorstep, the reality behind all the plans and joyful anticipation had set the new stage. I was wondering how he was in real life, what kind of room he had in mind for me. As I rang the doorbell, I became aware of a strange quietness surrounding this place. Breathing in Sedona’s oxygen, recognizing it as the ultra-dimensional dwelling so many people talk about, Mr. Charles’ house felt even more strange.

As he opened the door, an ear-to-ear smile with a hospitable greeting made up the first impression. “Please come in, be so welcome my friend,” he said. We shook hands and exchanged the obvious formalities about finding the place and how I was doing, being in Sedona. I felt welcome beyond the usual. He treated me as if I had been away for a few years, now finally returning home. Not in an overly emotional fashion, just appreciating my move. He showed me my room, making a spectacle of the neat gadgets like the air conditioning, fan and window shutters. His simple, grateful innocence made me aware of something I rarely see in men nowadays. Without any fuzz about material items, he was genuinely enthusiastic about his home and everything in it. Just being happy with what he had, without showing off. He left me with a well wish to feel right at home, showing me where the coffee machine was and all of life’s necessities.

It was only afternoon. After getting some of my things in order, I decided to take a short drive and a walk nearby. Mountains in Sedona will call you out every single day. You cannot be in Sedona for 24 hours without a hike. It borders the impossible to not spend at least an hour or two amongst the rocks each day. The vortices have such distinct qualities. During my hike, I promised myself to remember to ask Mr. Charles about them. I’m sure he was adept at the sites, the energies and their effects, being a native Sedona citizen. I would first see to it I got some groceries, as my stay was not like an all-inclusive arrangement. I was allowed full access to the kitchen and premises, yet I was on my own. I like traveling that way. No attachments, just living the free spirit life with good company.

Meals in Sedona are a treat, if you find the right places. I was getting to know some of them, as it wasn’t the first time to be there. During dinner, I was reminiscing on the previous trips, the year before. Those were shorter. I had made the first one to get a taste of the energy, while I stayed for only a few days on a whirlwind holiday including San Diego and Sedona. They often say, it is best to tiptoe the vortices first, before the plunge. The second trip was exclusively a Sedona journey with a four-day retreat during the winter solstice. So many memories over such a brief period of my life. Enough memories for a lifetime. I could only imagine what that would mean for a journey of a whole month, of which Sedona was the initiatory venue. Having started off with again, a retreat for the summer solstice celebrations, I would enjoy Sedona’s vortices by myself for one more week.

The key Mr. Charles handed to me opened the front door of what was now my temporary home away from home, as he called it. Walking towards my room, from the living room I saw him standing in the backyard. He was conversing with another resident, drinking coffee, smoking what I would later come to know as a tasteful original, organic blend or american tobacco. As I proceeded to my room, he waved at me with his typical, be-welcome-friend smile. I decided to join the gang in the backyard. He invited me to have some coffee, a smoke if I would. I in return offered a pale ale I bought at the store that afternoon. I had wanted to try it out, not being that available and popular overseas in Europe. I decided to take one for myself as well. The other resident would come back later, as she has other things to tend to.

A peaceful joy overcame me, sitting with him and his dog in the backyard of beautiful Sedona. We didn’t exchange a word for minutes. The desert twilight was deepening, while space and quiet began to fill the sky, the ground, the moment. I looked at him, while he was staring straight ahead. Suddenly he uttered an inquiring “Yes?” as if he had heard a question I was barely aware of. I didn’t really know how to ask the question. I sensed something about him and this place, this house. I guess I wanted to know in every way possible, what mystery was behind this man. The question lingering in my mind was: “What is this place?” He suddenly shook his head, laughed and said: “Man, I’m still amazed you stepped through that door,” while he pointed at the front door of his house. “Hell, I’m even amazed you found me on the internet.” I smiled back at him, inquiring what he meant by that. He began to explain how people would always hesitate to come in, to be in his presence even. He didn’t really explain why, he just mentioned people canceling their reservation last-minute, or something else that would come up, preventing them from taking residence. Apparently, I was one of the few who didn’t hesitate for a second. I recalled the moment he invited me to enter through the door. I honestly couldn’t think of any sort of resistance. I only felt the welcoming atmosphere, which I decided to express explicitly in our beyond strange but magical dialogue.

What followed was an exchange of information, experience, origins, archetypal patterns even. I still have trouble translating that contact. I don’t think I will ever be able to. I can only refer to some of the things we said. One of those things was his predisposition towards forms and fields of consciousness. His dog would react to topics we were discussing. Entities and other critters and creepy ghouls would try to enter, he said. His dog was super alert. Normally people would lose me as soon as they brought up entities and similar stuff. Not because I dismiss the truth in some of that. Most people who talk about these things are on the heavy side of the spectrum. I tend to believe a suspicious stance towards these type of energies is generally not helpful. Somehow though, his approach was different, more genuine, real, unbiased in a way. I was able to follow his take on invasive energies that control this world, how Sedona was a sanctuary of sorts and how that pisses them off beyond belief. No matter what you believe about these influences, one cannot deny they’re there. Any conceptual explanation tends to be a limitation of the totality of the truth behind it. Nevertheless, the existence of these forces, as well as our own, are a fact. What matters most is attaining an empowered attitude about them. Mr. Charles struck me as someone who had figured that out.

Many conversations followed during my stay. He turned out to be outspoken about almost every mainstream spiritual concept the masses had gotten used to. He didn’t deliberately oppose ideas or dismiss them. He simply saw beyond them and could not comply to any system of ritual, dogma or consensus. Whenever I meet new people, they more of less match with certain archetypes or combinations thereof. Spiritually conscious humans follow a certain pattern of awakening, a path that strikes similarities with saviors, teachers, sages, magicians or the like. I had great trouble fitting Mr. Charles into one of these categories. Not mentally, but the sense of it was, he emanated a completely new, unknown archetype. Undeniably, our resonance had something to do with it.

Regards,
Antonino.

 

Why karma is not a bitch

Some words will never get their original meaning back. Words like enlightenment, devotion, sacredness, grace and prayer have been forever tainted with misunderstood meaning, using them to define what they do not stand for. On this list of words, one would probably reach a place at the top 5: Karma. It’s not that karma is poorly defined, nor is that the case with any of the other words. Its connotation has just been living its own life, through the channels of strongly biased opinions and views.

So often, Karma is seen as a divine instrument of retribution. Penalty over sinful deeds, merit over virtuous ones. This incredibly simplistic view on karma is supposedly been abused by religious institutions. While the front-end of some forms of Buddhism and Christianity appears that way, beneath the surface there are many other angles on karmic laws and how they operate. Though some relation to sin and virtue is still there after digging deeper, it is brought into a much broader light, presented as actually being a much more complex mechanism.

Having done some reading, something began to dawn on me. I remembered quite a dramatic event from some time ago. A bullfighter, in the middle of his act, was struck by a sudden episode of empathy towards the animal. As his eyes opened up that very instant, he stopped and sat down in deep remorse. It was his last bullfight. Later, reports revealed this story turned out not to be entirely true. Still, it speaks to us because we know the power of a moment of repent. We know it, because its divine quality is undeniable. The essence of such events is, that in a sudden flash of reality, grace descended upon us and shows us what we are doing. I found this story to be one of spiritual significance. I am certain of this: that whenever a human being sees what he has done, it will forever change him. A full aperture on reality will blow ignorance to pieces.

In light of recalling that event, I saw something wonderful. A vision on karma that would knock the conventional image of the divine court off its pedestal. Because you see, when you only include action and consequence in the law of karma, you are leaving out the intelligence of the divine in its most breathtaking appearance; grace and awakening. Grace can do many things, but it always operates in service of our growth, which in turn is in service of all life. From that vantage point, I understood that karma was in service of all life, a natural law that exchanges energy to restore balance in an ever ascending motion.

I suddenly saw how pointless it would be to arrange exact repercussions and rewards for our actions. We would not learn a thing. If all a murderer gets is punishment, the only result is his conditioning to avoid it. If he doesn’t care about the consequences, which is not uncommon among severe mental cases, so far for the effectiveness of penalty. Sure, the man or woman is locked away, not doing anymore harm. But that is how our justice system works. In terms of natural balance, nothing is gained by confinement. Over the course of lifetimes, nothing would change by penalty and reward alone. On all dimensions – physical, mental and spiritual – circumstances have to be arranged in such a way, more awareness can drop in to evolve situations beyond their present status. Karma is like the emulsion that binds all energy together. It is powered by the Universe’s intelligence to find the shortest way through from moment to moment.

Expressions of our immensely grotesque nature often invokes anger. It makes us want to get even, an eye for an eye. Because an eye for an eye is known for its ultimate stupidity when we look at history, deep down we must know the Universe would never be this narrow-minded in executing our sentence from life to life. It is driven by ways to show more than what we realized before. We are given opportunities to wake up. Good fortune often – not always – turns out to be the least effective vehicle to awakening. So if good karma leads to good fortune, it also leads to the dream state. Adversity is like an artifact of karma, a footprint of what needs to dawn into your life. So is synchronicity.

We cannot explain these things by looking at extremes. On atrocities carried out by war criminals we should apply other questions first. On a gobal scale, you cannot explain laws of karma in a way that sheds any light on its dynamics. You need individual experience for that, because only you as an individual sees into your inner world. Your inner world plays an important part in how karma magnetizes circumstances in your life. No, karma is not a bitch. It is a benevolent force, protecting and orchestrating the balance of life and all forces in the universe. We are not its slaves. We and all sentient beings are its instruments. Without them, karma would have no channel, joyous evolution would be impossible.

Regards,
Antonino.

The hidden realms behind spoken and written language

I have been seriously neglecting this blog page. There are several reasons for it. Mainly, my focus is currently on writing a book on ways of working with the mystery of life and Spirit. So most of my attention has been captured to finish that endeavor. But things are coming to completion now, so I decided to re-aim the literary Bifrost towards the blog arena again.

A movie called “Arrival” tells the story of aliens coming to Earth. Communication must be established to understand their intentions. In attempts to communicate to them, humans learn that the visitor’s spoken word has no correlation to their written word. This is how I came to think of a question. I wondered if there was a correlation between what I say and write. And I discovered that often, there isn’t. So I started to look into reasons why that is.

I discovered that the realm my mind aligns with during writing, is a very different one from when I speak. The setting for a dialogue is different, which is obvious of course. But something else is aligned differently. Awareness is locked into another dimension when I am with people, making it difficult to speak about the things I write about in the depth I experience reality. This has to do with intention to be more of a listener, a presence, in conversation. I am often more silent in presence of others, because I’m locked into a state of being rather than a state of inner reflection. In writing there’s no interaction that has to be given space, so awareness shifts to a deeper realm. There, I perceive different levels of existence, having more fluidity to go back and forth between them, unlocking different types of insights.

I’m not talking about saying different things to different people. Or saying something else than what you are thinking in the moment, wanting to present yourself a certain way that does not reflect who you really are. That’s a misalignment within your psychological structure, creating imitated behavior in one scenario, authenticity in another. I’m talking about what you can access and convey in different contexts and situation.

I noticed the state of presence during writing and speaking was not different. What was different, was the space created as a result of presence tuning into the situation. When you are with other people, there’s a synthesis on the mental-emotional sphere that brings togetherness. This togetherness has a distinct texture, fragrance, feel to it. Within that sphere, your presence and that of others populate it. This shared sphere is like a mind melt. Presence within the sphere yields to certain limitations. These limitations are a representation of mutual resonant insights of the joined minds in togetherness. It is by that definition impossible to explore beyond the boundaries of shared reality, unless there’s a willingness to transcend the mental-emotional domain altogether. That rarely being the case; even if your perception of reality is ultra dimensional, when the willingness to transcend views is absent in the other, there’s no way you can access more than what the shared sphere allows. When you extract your presence from that sphere, togetherness ceases.

So the choice is not whether to try to inspire someone, or invite someone to a broader perspective. The choice is whether you can see the limitations of the reality you share with them and respond accordingly. When shared reality doesn’t provide for deeper access to what lies beyond the horizon, you can choose to remain with them nonetheless. Perhaps it is not you, but them who are inviting you to a deep field view. Can you acknowledge the fact you don’t know if they may have secrets for you to unravel. Perhaps you are missing out, because you think the limits come from their perception. Perhaps your views are blocking the view. The only way to know for sure, is to remain available within that sphere. Regardless of what you say, listening can open dimensions never suspected to be there. When you bring this attitude, there’s always a chance to learn something.

And so I have come to see how my speech has little to no correlation to my writing. And now I know why. Perhaps it would be different if I record a monologue, but that lacks togetherness. In spiritual sessions like Satsang there’s a willingness from almost all participants to go beyond what they know and feel. That creates the energy to allow for transformation, transcendence, access to presence in a much more powerful way. The speaker is of course blessed with an innate power of presence, yet he or she also rides the waves of the high quality togetherness created by the audience.

Being open to what you don’t know is always a good starting point. Beginners mind, as they say in Zen. Sharing insights is as important as finding new ones. Finding them in unexpected places brings a new quality to exploring mystery. Behind every face, big secrets of life are waiting to be found. Then you become a treasure hunter, instead of remaining at the museum only displaying artifacts.

Regards,
Antonino ❤

The purpose of crisis

Miraculously, even as circumstances haven’t changed since the crisis began, the crisis is experienced to be over as soon as the dust settles within. Much can be said about the nature of a storm raging through the familiar landscapes of your life. Regardless of whatever is said about it, the raw taste of its reality is the only thing that matters when you’re in it. It is also the only thing that can teach you what you have gained from it.

Looking back to what was happening to me over the course of the past months, I honestly can say I do not find it difficult to be present in full allowing of what is. I’ve actually discovered trying to escape the situation is far more painful. It only makes its inevitable nature more evident by administering severe shocks of reality. Feeling distress is therefore also a part of the process. I wrote a post recently, at a moment when I was in quite a desperate mood. The strange thing is, even during these dark hours, life seemed to be in order. A being okay while things are not okay at all; it sounds like this terrible cliché so often uttered in the non-duality circles. I wish to attempt to give this some nuance, in order to share what I have come to see as the purpose of a crisis.

While awareness will not really have an effect on what happens, it will have a profound effect on you and how you will move on afterwards.

There’s two ways you can be okay with something. You can come from a place of defeat, where you simply throw in the towel and rest in the fact you cannot change what is happening. While this is a great first step, it shouldn’t be the only step. When you stop there, the process takes its course with you as the victim of events. You will not be aware of what is going on, except for what appears on the surface. You will have a phenomenal perception of the process, thereby missing the deeper layers of the why, how and for what this is all taking place. While awareness will not really have an effect on what happens, it will have a profound effect on you and how you will move on afterwards.

I feel very blessed with the perseverance to pursue inner stillness. Not to quiet the mind, but to be able to witness and become what doesn’t move. Although enlightenment and awakening is not achieved through any means of meditation or mindfulness practice, it prepares a more stable ground for the part of our nature that is ever evolving. When realization comes, a more spacious room is ready to invite reality. I would not dare saying I have achieved realization. I have had awakening moments and there is a background I’m aware of, brimming with clarity, but this is not an uninterrupted realization. In applying all of this in practical ways, I do use it in difficult times.

What is true in my experience is not my perception of phenomena. It originates from what is beyond that – that which cannot be named. It cannot be recorded, it can only be pointed to. Any memory I have of seeing what is true, is a pointer to what the truth revealed for me.

I always have this innate love for truth. By that I don’t mean truth in concepts and ideas, not an intellectual form of truth. In fact, the truth is never written or spoken. One of the wisest books ever written even states it in the beginning: “The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” The love for truth for me is to be truthful to what I can “see” rather than what I can intellectually know. What I intellectually know as true, always has to be a derivative of what has been true in my experience. What is true in my experience is not my perception of phenomena. It originates from what is beyond that – that which cannot be named. It cannot be recorded, it can only be pointed to. Any memory I have of seeing what is true, is a pointer to what the truth revealed for me. By “seeing” I mean the sense of what is real. From a state of silence, this seeing is the foreground.

As my situation of crisis became almost unbearable at some point, there was something in me that suddenly worked up an appetite for investigating matters. I wanted to know the reason, the mechanism behind all the dark clouds and bad weather that seemed to be aimed at me quite deliberately. There is an intelligence behind these mechanisms I very much loved to expose. So I had to sit and inquire in silence, started to go back to the basics and be present for longer periods of time, making life meditative again. Because for some reason I didn’t seem to find that important anymore. I’m not even sure how that happened, although an injury with a severe inflammation was the beginning of the spiral downwards.

The result of all the distractions eventually was a huge lack of discipline and preoccupation with the outside world, mostly. Let that be the first important point taken. The crisis showed me what happens when you start living your life without order or discipline. While there were others anchors in place at that time, somehow the vertical alignment was pretty off. So I was glad to be made aware of how far you can slide off if you don’t play an active part in your own dharma practice. Thinking I was well beyond that phase, it’s good to be shown your place again.

You cannot rely on memory. It has been researched that memory changes as our personality changes. When we undergo a significant change within ourselves, we perceive the past very differently.

Being mindful from that point forward, sitting with the crisis changed from being a shaking tree trunk in a perfect storm, to the ultra deep field view of very very old trauma. When old stuff is being put in your face like that, you realize there’s nothing you can do. You can only witness and revisit what has happened way back then. What was true in that ancient past is not important, I also found out. Because the wisdom and clarity that was not present in those moments, can be given right here right now. All I have to do is see it for what it is. That means that I have to witness my own suffering from the point of view of today. If you ponder on what it meant to you in the past, you go astray on conclusions and assumptions. The reason for that is simple. You cannot rely on memory. It has been researched that memory changes as our personality changes. When we undergo a significant change within ourselves, we perceive the past very differently. Funny detail;  I was listening to a radio program discussing this topic, when I was under the MRI for my injury. So witnessing past trauma from the perspective of what it does to you now, is key.

Without going into details of bullying, abuse, loss and living conditions, the depth of the healing was unlike anything I would have ever expected. Several years back I followed a course on NLP for a year. From there on I practiced this for a while and used all kinds of models and modalities to “fix” personal history issues in myself as well as others. While I could never fully be true to these techniques, I now understand something I didn’t back then. The full presence of clear seeing has that much more intelligence, “it” knows exactly what to do and what is required to bring the appropriate healing. And so I let it. I would only “facilitate” to be present with the deep gaze, while divine intelligence worked its way through, revealing layer upon layer what was once buried and forgotten.

The brightness of your spirit was never dim. It was the eclipse of what was unresolved in you, that made appear the world so dark. What is unresolved in us is not always our doing, because our lives are not our own.

After a while, this process became kind of exciting in a weird way. I got to find out so much of what was lost. When the gaps of the past are closed, things make sense in a new way. Forgiveness can come spontaneously, by seeing the light that was hidden behind the clouds of misunderstanding. Suddenly you realize; life did you no wrong but the breaking of shells that needed to be cracked. Life did you no wrong, as by the ignorance of others as well as your own, things could not be set straight in too dim a light. The brightness of your spirit was never dim. It was the eclipse of what was unresolved in you, that made appear the world so dark. What is unresolved in us is not always our doing, because our lives are not our own. We have an interrelated being together. What one does, affects all the others. And so I have come to realize, forgiveness is not personal or even between two or more people. Forgiveness is the instrument for collective liberation. Unresolved energy always seeks the shortest path to equilibrium, whether that comes through a thousand lives or just one. Therefore, nor our suffering, nor our prosperity, is really ours. We cannot take ownership of it. The only thing that is important to take ownership of, is the power of presence to let the divine intelligence heal it through us. That, to me, is the true purpose of crisis.

Regards,
Antonino.

 

Rays of Source

As a nice follow-up of my previous article, where I elaborated a bit on my personal mystical journey, I would like to bring up a topic that is both timeless and inviting to the brotherly and sisterly spirit. I will do this again from my personal angle. It is about appreciating and embracing diversity. It is about moving beyond all surface phenomenon, beyond appearances. It’s about finding that which is common in all of us, to understand and be grateful for the beauty of all colors of the spectrum. It reflects upon the fact that many can carry the spirit of the one, in unity, as sometimes the one can carry the spirit of many by embracing their perspectives. We, as humans, have both of these capacities, either active or still dormant.

Sure, eastern systems like Buddhism, Zen and Taoism are popular, as they have been adopted and altered into forms which can be applied better in the western culture. But that is not where they originated from. For a real straight-to-the-bone Zen practice, as a westerner one always encounters a cultural gap.

Let’s make a jump to what we refer to as religions, or otherwise called belief systems. Even in the spiritually awakening community there is a lot of prejudice in regards to religion. Because of its negative exposure in both the political and world arena, there’s a lot to say for not going into a religious direction when one desires to become a more conscious human being. I have always wondered how this view has evolved and now so dominantly influences the public opinion of spiritual seekers. Sure, eastern systems like Buddhism, Zen and Taoism are popular, as they have been adopted and altered into forms which can be applied better in the western culture. But that is not where they originated from. For a real straight-to-the-bone Zen practice, as a westerner one always encounters a cultural gap. There’s some interesting literature on the study of these differences, which I won’t go into right now. The main difference – please mind the broad brush stroke here – is orientation. Eastern culture has its focus on the whole, while western orientation is on the individual. Another difference is ethics, which are based on this orientation. Their religions are a reflection of this cultural difference, and as such will be hard to fully embody by a western person. We more or less have conveniently adopted a translated and corrected version to make it a useful vehicle for western practitioners. Of course, there are certainly exceptions to this rule and some are able to bridge this cultural gap. Some went to the far east and came back later to be teachers. Still though, to teach they had to make a translation of the teachings to fit to their students.

Without this merger of colors on the spectrum, or rays of source as I call it, I could never take it all the way.

Where am I going with this, you might ask. What I found out in all the searching and studying of different practices, while myself practicing dharma as it is presented to me, is something fundamentally important. My upbringing had its roots in Christianity. Somehow, however deep I have immersed myself in the eastern traditions, I could not fully get “there” because something was missing for me. The devotional aspect manifested itself in the form of the eastern deity Kwan Yin. Further along on the path, another important one came along; Mother Mary. These energies were not completely similar, as I explained in my earlier sharing. Mother Mary has a deep resonance for a reason. There is a part of me that needs to devote to this Christian side, because it is coming home full circle. While Kwan Yin is home away from home, one could say, Mary is home by stepping through the door through which I once had left home behind. Being a devotional practitioner, this brings through the spirit of other saints and the spirit of Christ actually. Without this merger of colors on the spectrum, or rays of source as I call it, I could never take it all the way. That is the devotional part of my practice. Even if I would awaken and become realized, for the sake of devotion this would always have been a missing piece. Devotion is so important to me, because it is the instrument of prayer, transmission of benevolent intention, holding space for loved ones. Without it I would feel crippled, truly unable to walk the path.

Each day there was a different devotional epicenter. My daytime was meditative, in prayer (quite spontaneous intentions would come up), while the night-time was saturated by vivid dreams on different layers of what I was doing there.

During my stay in Lourdes, France, I had been visiting the sanctuary every day. Once I had overcome my feelings of unworthiness the first day at the gate, after which a valley of tears ensued back in my hotel room, I enjoyed the energy and atmosphere of the place like a little child on a playing ground. I was walking to wherever I would be called to go. Each day there was a different devotional epicenter. My daytime was meditative, in prayer (quite spontaneous intentions would come up), while the night-time was saturated by vivid dreams on different layers of what I was doing there. I was doing a lot, yet I really understood that the things that were unfolding, were completely beyond me. The psychological part of the visit was clear to me, but everything else was too big to comprehend. I just felt instrumental in all of it and I also knew I needed a lot of time afterwards, just to make sense of what was being done here.

Like only white light would leave a world without distinction, thereby being invisible, Spirit is transparent without beings who facilitate its Rays to emanate distinct qualities of source energy.

I remember one particular dream where I was among these beings who didn’t have a name but a sound. I was running from one to the other, asking questions and wanting to know everything in a very enthusiastic and joyful manner. I saw golden light around these beings, who were known by sounds only. After waking up, I could not reproduce or remember these sounds, yet I knew that these were the energies behind what we find in spiritual places like Lourdes. Mary represents a Ray of these energies, as do many other iconic beings, masters and teachers. These Rays are a filter of source through which we can see color and thus, spirit. Like only white light would leave a world without distinction, thereby being invisible, Spirit is transparent without beings who facilitate its Rays to emanate distinct qualities of source energy. That is to say, beings who are at the root of a Ray on this source spectrum, transmit “their” essence at a very high magnitude. It often leaves people confused as to what hit them. The valley of tears, which is often related to having an encounter of the Virgin Mary, feeling her energy, is not just a poetic phrase. Her redemptive love immediately lifts sorrow from within. Just by a gaze at her statue, some people just start sobbing and have no choice but to completely surrender to her presence.

Because the emanation of these energies from their places – from their Rays – dwells in their subsequent traditions and ritual, there is never a real difference between what happens on the surface and what goes on underneath it.

Now, rather than saying Mary is just a Source Ray, which would be a sort of dead-talking the devotional side of spirituality (a direction to which non-duality teachings seem to be pointing more and more), I have truly felt with my whole being as a human, even the broadest of Rays are not just facilitated impersonal energies. The transcendent presence of Lord Buddha, the reconciling and healing spirit of Christ, redemptive motherly love of Mary, the Angels and Archangels, the transforming love and Dragon Mind of Kwan Yin, the knowledgeable art of mental alchemy of Merlin and Hermes… They live! They’re not just bodies of modulated energy frequencies. From an absolute point of view, everything is a modulation. From a devotional point of view, everything lives from an innate personality and intelligence, directed by the great body of the all. Because the emanation of these energies from their places – from their Rays – dwells in their subsequent traditions and ritual, there is never a real difference between what happens on the surface and what goes on underneath it. The people who conduct sermons and ritual, at places where the Rays are powerful, will always be the instruments of transmission, no matter the content. In a place like Lourdes, attending a sermon, you just feel the transmission is pure. The same goes for all the people I’ve met there. Priests, confession fathers, pilgrims. The spirit is unified. This might be less apparent when you attend a Sunday sermon in church. It depends on the level of proximity to the source of the transmission. The one who is in function of conducting the sermon, is in conjunction to the Source Ray in a more or less degree. This degree of conjunction depends on the devotional depth of the priest. As an example; since not every priest can visit Lourdes, Rome or other sanctuary on a regular basis, the degree of conjunction might slide off-center over time. That doesn’t mean a bad sermon is the result. It just won’t carry the magnitude it would have otherwise. It’s nobodies fault. This is just how it works.

Where is home, who makes one feel at home. To what Source Rays is one bound by heart and spirit. When your path is one of not just becoming more conscious, but also devotional, this is an important question.

To come back to what I started with; you have your spiritual roots to whatever you have been exposed to the most. You can’t just say: “I’m going to be a Buddhist nun,” when you have a Christian background or any other example. There’s always a part of you that won’t be able to fully practice, unless you can make it work by reconciling one in the other. Cultural conditioning isn’t only a problem in religion, it even poses problems physically. Not all people can simply bridge their differences, when they have to visit a country that is not of their own culture. Forget the holiday abroad. Think about the refuges… They land on soil that harbors very different perspectives on life. They should be welcomed for shelter, no doubt about that. Yet, is it possible to give them a meaningful existence in a place that does not support the same values as they do? I think we are asking too much of them if we’d expect that. We would not be able to either. Again, there are exceptions to the rule, but most people find other countries beautiful and enjoyable in the knowledge they will return home. If there’s nowhere to go, this is a very different experience. This goes for both visitors and hosts.

Not to go too far off, let’s take this back to the context of spiritual roots. I think it’s important for the spiritual seeker to become aware of what home means. Where is home, who makes one feel at home. To what Source Rays is one bound by heart and spirit. When your path is one of not just becoming more conscious, but also devotional, this is an important question. Being whole is important, when there’s a calling to something greater and selfless. It could save someone’s life one day, perhaps even your own. Being true in a path that has this proximity to your own soul; its value is beyond measure. It doesn’t always mean that you have to go somewhere. As long as you can find it inside your heart… as long as you can feel this Source Ray shining through you… you will be alright. And you will know where it comes from.

Regards,
Antonino.

 

The path: A personal note

I’m not really used to talking or writing about my own personal experience of spirituality. Without knowing exactly why that is, I tend to be more focused on what I’d like to share with others. Instead of being pulled into my story, which I often think of as mere phenomenon of what goes on underneath, I rather take what has been meaningful to me to translate it into something less personal. Yet today, there’s a sudden urge for me to share some of my own way of walking the path. I was reminded of people’s stories being valuable, as to have a sense of recognition of where I am personally, by reading about how someone else goes through certain typical phases and events. So, I think this is a good time to give you a peek into my world in a more direct, personal way.

I won’t be going too far into the past right now, as childhood contains experiences that have quite a different theme than what happened later in life. I’d like to concentrate on how my path of spirituality and awakening has been structured, from the years before awakening and how things unfolded afterwards. I will share some points of view, some personal angles on certain phenomenon. I will also share a very intimate part of what I consider to be a core element that has driven me into the depths of the mystical part of the journey.

AWAKENING

Before I jump in, it’s always a good idea to loosely define what I mean by the term awakening. Loosely, because giving it a real definition is impossible. Awakening to me is seeing through the illusory self – the ego – as being your identity. In a moment of awakening, your identification with personhood shifts to something that is beyond that. That being said, awakening is not an altered state of consciousness, trance, or any other form of induced mode of perception, that shifts your sensory input to a different kind of experience. Awakening is, in that sense, the falling away of the one who is in the center of all that’s happening. Perception is left without a center. It’s not possible to describe it and it isn’t a magical thing, or otherworldly. It’s a very simple no-thing.

FIRST GLIMPSES

A first glimpse occurred in a phase of my life I had to take a good look in the mirror. I had followed a year-long study for NLP practitioner, in which a lot of psychological debris was stirred up. One of the exercises to contact the logical layers within, where spiritual identity is at the top, gave me access to a silent space where I almost literally touched my own soul. In one occasion, there was a complete blanking out of thought. I was embraced or absorbed into a space where there was a standstill, no speaking, no thinking, no imagery. Yet from there, everything was “seen” so to speak. These episodes kept happening from time to time, throughout the ensuing year.

when this intention goes deep enough, the divine will find a way to meet you half way. Once you’ve reached the perimeter of what is within your own power, you have to let the divine take care of the other part.

I started doing Yoga practices for a number of years. I just followed classes of Radja Yoga, which were a great mix of physical, meditative and contemplative exercises. Although an awakening cannot be induced directly with techniques, there can be a very sincere intention behind these activities. It depends on the way one approaches the practice. The way I sense how this works; when this intention goes deep enough, the divine will find a way to meet you half way. Once you’ve reached the perimeter of what is within your own power, you have to let the divine take care of the other part. You just keep doing what you do. That means not to stop and wait, or to change your practice if you don’t feel really called to do so. Quite often after a Yoga class, I would go to bed and literally wake up with my body mildly shaking, but sometimes giving sudden jerks of energy I couldn’t control. Later on I found out that this is Shakti moving through your body, where blocks can cause the body to move or shake to loosen up the pathways to further support the flow of energy.

NO-SELF

I was not there, as I was in all as all. At a certain point I became aware of the sounds in my own ears, as my de-localized awareness began to gravitate towards my body again.

It was on the first day of my summer holiday 2009. I came home from my last day’s work and I went upstairs to change. Well, I thought I would only be doing a change of clothes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I remember I took off my tie and laid down on the bed. A sense of total freedom came over me, first as mere a feeling of not having a care in the world. I closed my eyes for a while to really soak myself into that feeling. I thought it was quite awesome, as there was nowhere to go, yet I could go just anywhere if I wanted to. I don’t know exactly how long I was laying there, but I began to hear crows flocking around a tree outside. Then I suddenly “saw” the tree and the birds. But I didn’t see them from a particular place or position. I was the crows screeching, their flight paths in the air. I was the tree on which they landed and flocked around. I was also laying on my bed feeling totally unbound. It was all happening at the same time. I was not there, as I was in all as all. At a certain point I became aware of the sounds in my own ears, as my de-localized awareness began to gravitate towards my body again. It took a few minutes before I was completely back in my localized perception. It was very strange but also very liberating.

From that moment forward, this knowing would begin to make relative all that I knew in the physical realm. The truth became untrue. Things weren’t simply things. Yet I didn’t have access to that specific global awareness any longer. Something else came along to further help me on the path.

ENCOUNTERING THE BELOVED – DIVINE RELATION

This is the part which I consider to be the doorway to spiritual intimacy. As such, for me this is an intimate part of my spirituality. Somehow I know there are a lot more people who have some sort of relationship with the divine. And I mean that in a way that is less religiously biased or has been established according to traditional ritual or even any deliberate action at all. What I’m speaking of is a presence that not only guides you and protects you. It also moves you into all the areas where you would otherwise not go on your own. Yet it moves you into those areas in a much more conscious way, as it would have without this relationship being a part of your path.You could say that this relation is the face and voice of the great Beloved, the Divine, or God. What ever term you like, this presence brings an otherwise formless and unreachable being within your realm of perception in a very real way. I will share with you how I encountered this relation and who / what this energy is.

Your karma becomes your dharma. The bridge between the experience of just karmic cycles and learning from that as an individual, as opposed to a new kind of enrichment by these cycles as embodied dharma, is reflected in the divine relation.

The term Ishta Deva stems from Bhakti Yoga, where the student / yogi chooses a deity from the pantheon of gods and goddesses that will be one’s guide for life. Sometimes this deity chooses the student. The Ishta Deva is a teacher, guru, guide and master for life. This means that this presence, this being, is in charge of the dharma behind the unfoldments of your path. Life continues to unfold itself as it did before, yet there is a new quality to the way we can view certain lessons, go through a process of mourning, handle severe experiences with loss, regret and big challenges. In other words, your karma is still in place and operating, but in terms of your development, life takes on a different quality of experience. Your karma becomes your dharma. The bridge between the experience of just karmic cycles and learning from that as an individual, as opposed to a new kind of enrichment by these cycles as embodied dharma, is reflected in the divine relation.

The way I felt was more in terms of: “Can I take you to a candlelight dinner?” It was quite a crush and it took me by surprise.

The Beloved can take many forms. It can be induced from a tradition or present itself rather spontaneous. While I did practice a Yoga tradition, the Ishta Deva was not part of that practice. I also wasn’t really informed about these matters back then. One of the first moments this relationship began to dawn, was seeing a depiction of Kwan Yin. It was somewhere online and there was a short description going with it, as to who this deity was. I fell in love with her immediately. Something about the depiction, also about the sound of the name. Later on the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” – which I loved as well – turned out to be related to this deity. The quality of this love was deep and tranquil, yet it also carried a quality that was not even that spiritual. The way I felt was more in terms of: “Can I take you to a candlelight dinner?” It was quite a crush and it took me by surprise. As some point my wife (I was married back then) even got jealous because I was writing love poems to the Goddess. Later on that crush subsided a bit, but the current of this love became ever more present.

At some point, on a holiday in Amsterdam, I was walking unsuspectingly as all of a sudden, this Kwan Yin temple emerged from the busy city life. I had no idea there was one. As I entered, the big golden statue of the thousand hand Kwan Yin was in the middle. My feet were nailed to the ground and I fell speechless. I have no idea how long I had been standing there, but at that moment I knew that something brought me there. I didn’t choose her. This deity chose me for something that was still unknown at that point.

TEACHINGS FROM THE BELOVED

Of course, this relationship with Kwan Yin wasn’t meant just for a yummy time and bathing in the sweet waters of the heart. There was a calling behind this bond, which I can now write about in retrospect. It took several years to find a way to create a sort of dialogue between me and this deity. I don’t mean this in the usual sense, when people talk about channeling or downloading information from a disembodied spirit. This has nothing to do with that. I actually discovered that trying to do things like this, from a perspective of an outside entity you are trying to communicate with, only distorts the dharma that is already there naturally. This kind of connection is not meant to be treated a certain way. Because it is so interwoven with life itself – the Tao if you will – there is no specific way to the dynamic. It unfolds as it is meant to. The dialogue I am referring to is more or less the interaction that one can understand from the human perspective.

As this merger with Mind progressed, I was able to see painful experiences from different angles. Also the layers of circumstances and events I could and can view much deeper and more profound than I ever could before.

Meditation turned out to be the perfect instrument for this. Within a meditative space, my presence merging with Kwan Yin’s, I could experience and observe my life from an older Mind’s perspective. I use the term Mind the way they use it in Zen. Mind is the formless, the space in which though and feeling arises. This is not the absolute awareness. Mind can mature and become more expansive, be more compassionate for what it witnesses and cultivate wisdom. As this merger with Mind progressed, I was able to see painful experiences from different angles. Also the layers of circumstances and events I could and can view much deeper and more profound than I ever could before. I guess this kind of benefit can also come from a live guru or teacher. Yet, since that didn’t happen for me, I have been blessed with this one.

The most important teachings came from the ways in which I had to learn about betrayal, disillusionment and having faith in the Great Way. or Tao. This faith seems to be tested quite vigorously on a regular basis. Yet it isn’t really a test as much as it is the steps that have to be taken into the unknown. In every experience there are two sides. As I followed love I encountered a piercing of the heart as well. Where I followed the light I also found the dark. The unfoldment was already a part of the post-awakening Sadhana, of which I wrote an introduction in a previous article. The expanding consciousness moves itself into the darker places. It’s drawn to it. What is awake is drawn to what is asleep. This happens inside of you and outside of you, because there isn’t a real inside or outside.

Kwan Yin’s has more fire and a certain fierceness that arouses the Dragon Mind. The Dragon Mind is an abstract, non-conceptual and non-moral world view. It draws discernment from a natural and spontaneous principle.

All that is unresolved within, will be met in time. Of course, the form that the Beloved has taken, in my case Kwan Yin, only goes so far as the deity’s traits can provide a lens or filter to extract the dharma. My personal experience of Kwan Yin’s energies differs somewhat from the general presentations. It’s often compared to the energy of Mother Mary. To an extend that is true, as the Virgin Mary’s energy also has a profound place within my life. However, Kwan Yin’s has more fire and a certain fierceness that arouses the Dragon Mind. The Dragon Mind is an abstract, non-conceptual and non-moral world view. It draws discernment from a natural and spontaneous principle. That doesn’t mean its energy is Yang. It’s fierce yet compassionate. It allows polarity, yet it demands a natural balance between the two. It makes space for desire to build momentum, yet its shadow will be welcomed in equal measure.

SPIRITUAL ABILITIES

This is always a tough one for me to write about. I have attended classes for training to become a medium and do psychic readings, contacting deceased loves ones etc. This was an interesting time and I did learn that we do not cease to be, that the afterlife is real. It also helped me deal with the loss of my father, as well as my mother who passed when I was a child. I also studied most of the spiritual first wave material like angels, star beings, all the peripheral stuff as well. For some reason I just couldn’t keep doing it. Something else called me. Therefore, I find it difficult to name abilities that I presumably have.

What seems to be a pattern in my spiritual life in service, is providing a transitional space for people who are going through big life changes.

There’s a natural stillness to me that opens up a space where the inner life of the other person gets a lot more room. My home breaths this space. It can be too much for some, but I can’t switch it off. Sometimes I’m an amplifier for energies present or a healing that wants to come through. Sometimes I’m a bridge between this world and the other side for someone. None of these examples however describe abilities that I can apply in a deliberate way. Nor do I feel called to do so. What seems to be a pattern in my spiritual life in service, is providing a transitional space for people who are going through big life changes. There have been lots, since the past 9 years.

This transitional space is custom designed to the requirements of the one making the journey from the old to the new. Often, this expresses itself in conversations, chats, sharing space. Within it, the dynamic sometimes creates a spin of Shakti that accelerates the movements. It doesn’t always happen though. Nothing is done by my authority. I’m just there to breathe, listen and reflect, which is more than enough in most cases.

SAINTS AND ARCHETYPES

I believe these energies are the self-awakening mechanisms of us as a collective consciousness, as well as the spirits of these energies also live intelligently as beings we can interact with.

Ever since I’m able to extract the dharma from every experience, there have also been encounters with other energies. They always make their identity known by symbolism in dreams or other cues I can pick up. These encounters mark a specific period and are there to help take certain steps, make a journey, learn about other traditions, inspire my writing or deal with a challenging phase of life. There have been many different ones, from very different times and traditions. Some have always been around me and return from time to time. Some go back to childhood, as I see in retrospect  their presence showed itself in symbols or icons. I believe these energies are the self-awakening mechanisms of us as a collective consciousness, as well as the spirits of these energies also live intelligently as beings we can interact with.

The more I write about this, the more comes up. So perhaps this is a good place to stop for now. I will continue next time…

Regards,
Antonino.

 

 

Unlocking of core beliefs

Becoming conscious of the way the ego works, we will find – sooner or later – the pillars of its temple; the core beliefs. Around these core beliefs orbit various preferences and desires, which form the lens through which we view the world. This lens can be obscuring things or project them in a very distorted way, or perhaps not so distorted. For each of these beliefs, it depends on the way how and reasons why it was originally formed and, how deep it is embedded in the ego.

Often to a certain degree, we can detect these beliefs through the witness, by seeing what assumptions and prejudice are activated in certain situations.  Some beliefs may feel like they are solid rock that seems unmovable. Others may not be easily seen through, as their true core is embedded in a system of related beliefs. These related beliefs can appear to be standing on their own, as they seem to be uncorrelated in the context in which they appear. Also, beliefs might stay undetectable by the witness. They are simply part of our subconscious and remain inaccessible to us, until they are unlocked.

The big question is, how do we unlock these core beliefs. As most of the people in this process have their fair share of hardship and disillusionment, it would be nice to have a “how to” or a strategy to break down this annoying thing called the ego. Especially after we realize that the ego is not who we are, it seems to become more urgent to have it dismantled as quickly as possible. As a result of that wish, a lot of self-help activity is being undertaken and a lot of practice is engaged in, in order to see through the layers of illusion the ego has pulled before our eyes. There is however an important question to ask first, before we begin to look for ways to break down what is now perceived to be in the way. This question (I bet you can feel it coming) is: “Who is the one that desires to form a strategy for this breaking down?”

The longing for awakening seems to have another source. It does not come from the ego, who is the main character in the dream. But then where does it come from? Where can we find the epicenter of this ego-quake? Does it even have a center?

The answer is obvious, yet it seems paradoxical that something that is embodying the illusive self, wants to dismantle itself. The question therefore has to be reformulated. Because we can see that the wish for a strategy to feel better comes from the ego. Yet does the deeper desire for truth, for an encounter with reality, truly come from the same place? The longing for awakening seems to have another source. It does not come from the ego, who is the main character in the dream. But then where does it come from? Where can we find the epicenter of this ego-quake? Does it even have a center?

We could say that assumptions are the hidden calling cards of our beliefs. They also hold them into place.When we look at this as the framework of our ego, it is only logical to state that beliefs have an interdependence.

When we choose to actively pursue the breaking down of ego by unlocking the beliefs that are behind it, it is possible to go a certain distance. In the psychological structure, some patterns that can be easily recognized as they assimilate familiar chains of thought and emotions. Some of these may come forward as almost addictive and extremely repetitive. Though the thought forms and feelings are easily recognized, it doesn’t mean they can easily be traced back to a core belief. What makes them velcro is the underlying assumptions about the world, which we constantly carry around. These assumptions are reinforced by the lens through which we look, as it filters out anything that does not fit the belief. We could say that assumptions are the hidden calling cards of our beliefs. They also hold them into place.When we look at this as the framework of our ego, it is only logical to state that beliefs have an interdependence. Take one out at a very vulnerable point of the structure, and the rest will fall or shift into another hierarchy.

These questions can be put into other words; does truth not embrace the wholeness and pursue a full exposure of the ego, rather than getting rid of it?

Let’s go back to the original question of who is behind this desire to self destruct. When we clearly see that this longing for awakening to truth is not of the ego, without exactly knowing where it comes from, is the desire to get rid of it also from that place? Why would awakened truth have a problem with an ego. Isn’t that ego a part of the same reality? Can we state that the ego exists within the psyche of a human being that has a place within this world? These questions can be put into other words; does truth not embrace the wholeness and pursue a full exposure of the ego, rather than getting rid of it? And if the answer is yes – that a full exposure into the light is truth’s only wish – who then wishes to get rid of it. And the answer to that question is; the ego itself wants to get out of its own way. Why? Because the full exposure is inconvenient. It would have no place to hide. The imagined self would turn out to be non-existent. So the fact of its non-existence that has already been revealed, may not become a reality to itself. Therefore, it will develop strategies that attempt a self-destruct, yet will never execute entirely. How do you ask a program to write code to delete itself. How can a program delete itself. It can only pretend it is doing that, but real deletion can only be done by the operating system. Deletion can be requested from within a program, yet the execution of it is always done from a level above the program.

To an extent, it’s possible to trace behavior and thinking patterns back to their source. Yet as you move deeper into this process, inevitably you will also encounter barriers.

Now, deletion or destruction are terms that don’t quite reflect what this process is doing. It really is more of a gradual dismantling. The falling away of ego structure is not something we can control. To an extent, it’s possible to trace behavior and thinking patterns back to their source. Yet as you move deeper into this process, inevitably you will also encounter barriers. This is where we have to let go and surrender to the power that governs this dynamic. Ultimately, we can only control the way we observe and experience the changing moods, thoughts and perceptions. We are both in and around this and we can learn greatly from its unfolding. We are a part of it and we are a witness to it. We can notice when certain ways of thinking are no longer there. We may find that we do things differently then we once did. If the witness is sharp and piercing, these changes can be seen as they happen.

One by one, core beliefs are unlocked and exposed into the light of awareness. As they do, they start to melt like snow in the bright spring sun.

Somewhere, way back in time, there has been a choice to take this road to the great resurgence. We chose it in such a way, that we agreed to have taken away anything that would jeopardize this resurgence. That is exactly what this process is doing. One by one, core beliefs are unlocked and exposed into the light of awareness. As they do, they start to melt like snow in the bright spring sun. A lot of it might eventually  disappear, yet there’s always the eternal snow on mountaintops. Avalanches may happen that shift the mass, or glaciers sliding down over eons. Some things are not meant to go… One day perhaps, but not yet.

Regards,
Antonino.