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Building a Creative Temple

--by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dec 07, 2010)


Whenever you set out to build a creative temple, whatever it may be, you must face the fact that there is a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil. Hinduism refers to this as a struggle between illusion and reality. Platonic philosophy used to refer to it as a tension between body and soul. Zoroastrianism, a religion of old, used to refer to it as a tension between the god of light and the god of darkness. Traditional Judaism and Christianity refer to it as a tension between God and Satan. Whatever you call it, there is a struggle in the universe between good and evil.

Now not only is that struggle structured out somewhere in the external forces of the universe, it’s structured in our own lives. Psychologists have tried to grapple with it in their way, and so they say various things. Sigmund Freud used to say that this tension is a tension between what he called the id and the superego.  Some of us feel that it’s a tension between God and man. And in every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life.  And every time you set out to be good, there’s something pulling on you, telling you to be evil. It’s going on in your life. Every time you set out to love, something keeps pulling on you, trying to get you to hate.  Every time you set out to be kind and say nice things about people, something is pulling on you to be jealous and envious and to spread evil gossip about them. There’s a civil war going on. There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us. [...] There’s a tension at the heart of human nature.  And whenever we set out to dream our dreams and to build our temples, we must be honest enough to recognize it.

In the final analysis, God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives. In the final analysis, God knows that his children are weak and they are frail. In the final analysis, what God requires is that your heart is right.  Salvation isn’t reaching the destination of absolute morality, but it’s being in the process and on the right road.

And the question I want to raise this morning with you: is your heart right?  If your heart isn’t right, fix it up today.  Get somebody to be able to say about you, "He may not have reached the highest height, he may not have realized all of his dreams, but he tried."  Isn’t that a wonderful thing for somebody to say about you? "He tried to be a good man.  He tried to be a just man. He tried to be an honest man.  His heart was in the right place."  And I can hear a voice saying, crying out through the eternities, "I accept you. You are a recipient of my grace because it was in your heart.  And it is so well that it was within thine heart."

I don’t know this morning about you, but I can make a testimony. You don’t need to go out this morning saying that Martin Luther King is a saint. Oh, no.  I want you to know this morning that I’m a sinner like all of God’s children. But I want to be a good man.  And I want to hear a voice saying to me one day, "I take you in and I bless you, because you try.  It is well that it was within thine heart."

--Martin Luther King. Jr.


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28 Previous Reflections:

 
On Dec 13, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Thanks to Pancho, Somik, Sanjeev, Mia and the others as well for their reflections. There is so much instructive information here, I am going to have to print it out and post it on my wall and read it again and again.

 

More later, I hope. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts. Much to be gleaned here, in shining glitter and gold.



On Dec 13, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Dear Somik, thanks for your thoughts about "beliefs" creating "experiences." In my case, my experiences definitely created my current beliefs. I really thought I could change things out here by being good and caring and sharing and taking care of others, and all I got was robbed and almost killed for my efforts. Efforts that lasted over ten years. So I have definitley changed my beliefs. But I think it is time to stop thinking the whole world will be like these good-for-nothings that really don't care what they do or who they hurt. I have found a new group of people that really do seem to care about the world and the people in it. I think I am AFRAID to "believe" again and have all the bad things come back down all around me, like rain in a thunderstorm and hurricanes and tsunamis. That is what it was like before. If you've never been around or lived around hypocrites, liars, drug addicts, alcoholics and thieves, you probably don't know what I am talking  See full.

Dear Somik, thanks for your thoughts about "beliefs" creating "experiences." In my case, my experiences definitely created my current beliefs. I really thought I could change things out here by being good and caring and sharing and taking care of others, and all I got was robbed and almost killed for my efforts. Efforts that lasted over ten years. So I have definitley changed my beliefs.

But I think it is time to stop thinking the whole world will be like these good-for-nothings that really don't care what they do or who they hurt. I have found a new group of people that really do seem to care about the world and the people in it. I think I am AFRAID to "believe" again and have all the bad things come back down all around me, like rain in a thunderstorm and hurricanes and tsunamis. That is what it was like before. If you've never been around or lived around hypocrites, liars, drug addicts, alcoholics and thieves, you probably don't know what I am talking about, but it's not a pretty picture or a positive environment. People warned me over and over that I was spending time with dangerous, unreliable and manipulative people, but I believed the "best of people" and refused to listen. It almost cost me my life, in a number of different ways. Ten years of HELL that I brought on myself by "trying to help" and "make a difference" and I believed they just hadn't had a chance yet and all the other white liberal middle class b.s. I really believed in. I sure learned different, the hard way. So I don't believe it's my "beliefs" that created my cynicism. It's my experience that did.

Now I've put up a fence around our property (a literal, physical fence and an emotional one) and have moved part-time to a place I can afford that IS in a much more positive environment, so some kind of faith is coming back, however slender it may be. I don't blame myself so much for endangering my life, despite repeated warnings, as I really believed that racism was wrong and that if only people "really knew" how the "other side lived," and helped those "poor people" everything would change. People used to call me a saint. Now I call myself a fool. I hope I never make those same mistakes again. Foolish is putting it mildly. People end up in prison because they earned the right to be there. I don't have to give them an opportunity to go back there after robbing, threatening or killing me.

You wrote: "This comment was not for others doing wrong things, but for you (and me) who are trying to determine whether anger is a good decision or not."

OK. That makes sense.

I don't have guilt about their decisions, but fear about what they might again do to me, or try to do to me! It's made me fearful and angry and I have to find a way to let this go.

Then you talked about "guilt about others mistakes." I don't think they are "mistakes" but concious actions designed to hurt and damage and destroy, but your earlier talk about "gardens being destroyed" and everything is destroyed at one time or another is something important to think about. Alright. I think I am "hooked." I can look at this new kind of thinking and see if I can fit myself in there somewhere.

Especially the part about Ghandi and cowards, and violence vs. nonviolence and asserting oneself, in the best possible way.

I can try to do that and I will. I will finish reading all that has been written here and check out the links and begin this "new course of study." Finally, someone is explaining things in a way I can understand and a way I can "stand." No namby-pamby stuff here. Much appreciated.

 

I had no idea I was in this state of mind until I started responding to this site. Whew! I have a long way to go, but with an end in sight. Gracias amigos.

 

Last but not least, you wrote:

 

"About games, we are all playing "human" games here. We are role-playing so many different roles. Unfortunately, unlike actors who shed their on-screen persona when they come home (or head toward dementia), we do not know to do that, at least not without significant kicking and screaming. :)"

 

Well, alright. LOL. I'll have to think about that one, but I will. Buenos Noches.

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On Dec 13, 2010 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all. The Kindness Temple is creative indeed ;-) It is impossible to quantify the impact that this family of the Planet --the Mehta Family-- has done to our communities and souls. It is an honor to be embraced by their unconditional love and their strong self-less service. Home is everywhere we go, but on Wednesdays at Santa Clara, I particularly feel more at home. This is what I had to share last week at the Kindness Temple: 1. Cosmic Companionship 2. (Inner) Compost 3. Why Do We Sit To Be In Receptive Silence? 1. Cosmic Companionship Marting Luther King Jr. is a champion of nonviolence, service and love. He often reminds us that: the Universe is in the side of justice... [as I type these words I can hear his voice reverberating in my soul... papá Dinesh provided us the powerful audio in his comment]. So, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends to  See full.

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.

The Kindness Temple is creative indeed ;-) It is impossible to quantify the impact that this family of the Planet --the Mehta Family-- has done to our communities and souls. It is an honor to be embraced by their unconditional love and their strong self-less service. Home is everywhere we go, but on Wednesdays at Santa Clara, I particularly feel more at home. This is what I had to share last week at the Kindness Temple:

1. Cosmic Companionship
2. (Inner) Compost
3. Why Do We Sit To Be In Receptive Silence?

1. Cosmic Companionship
Marting Luther King Jr. is a champion of nonviolence, service and love. He often reminds us that: the Universe is in the side of justice... [as I type these words I can hear his voice reverberating in my soul... papá Dinesh provided us the powerful audio in his comment].

So, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" he says. We, humans, can always choose to make a right or a left on the path of life but in the final hour, right before we leave this body, the Universe of Love will tap us on the shoulder, give us a warm hug and whisper in our ear: "Did you love enough my child? Did you stand up for justice, love and compassion long enough that your legs are strong enough and ready to become wings? Are you ready to fly?"

Human beings are not intrinsically good or evil. We are about choices. In any given circumstance, sometimes we only see one option but in reality we always have many options. That's why we spend time in receptive silence, to be creative and find new choices. We all love to have another chance to live a life aligned with the arc of the Universe that bends towards justice. The act of bending is love: 
 
"Power at its best is LOVE implementing the demands of Justice. Justice at its best is LOVE correcting everything that stands against LOVE." --Martin Luther King Jr.
 
That's why in the emerging paradigm we go beyond right and wrong, we go beyond labels. We are human beings who are engaged and IN LOVE with the voluptuous authority of collective intelligence; with her hugs of learning, respect and peace; and with her kisses of justice, true democracy and freedom.
 
How are we pursuing these principles in the face of injustice and violence? Through the means of nonviolence. 
 
"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.  In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."-- Martin Luther King Jr.
 
Oh yes! Let's be bright stars in the galaxy of our communities! Our means are ends in the making. Our collective light is shining and it is starting to illuminate the darkest corners of this Planet.
 
"I am convinced that the Universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness humans have Cosmic Companionship... the Universe is in the side of justice and each of us must keep faith in the future. Let us not despair. Let us realize that as we struggle for justice and freedom, we have Cosmic Companionship." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
 
Let us not forget that this companionship lives in every small act of courage and kindness we perform. This Cosmic Companionship is always in our hearts.
 
2. (Inner) Compost
Last Wednesday and was turning up the compost at the Free Farm and I was very impressed to see how a big compost pile --debris, food scraps, left overs from harvesting, horse manure,  mushrooms and more-- was auto-cooked at high temperatures and converted into fresh fragrant soil ready to be used for more planting.
 
If we are part of the flow of Nature, how does our inner compost really work?
 
3. Why Do We Sit To Be In Receptive Silence?
Every single human being has both negative and positive seeds. Even the kindest most compassionate human on the Planet has to practice inwardly. Why? Because she or he needs to transform that compost on a daily basis in order to be happy and radiant. In order to cultivate those inner smiles that will inspire others. If everything inside of us, all of a sudden, is positive and beautiful, there would no be need to practice.
 
We always have the choice to cultivate courage, loving kindness or not. Because of this precious characteristic of human life, we must sustain our spiritual practice to avoid walking on the path of self-centered life or burnout. Suffering is needed for compassion and understanding to be born. Suffering is necessary until we know that it is unnecessary. Negative seeds are the inner compost of our farm, our True Self. 
 
Without compost and organic matter there are no veggies, no flowers, no fruits. In the same way, without the inner _awareness_ of violence, greed, anger, untruth and selfishness, there cannot be _embodiment_ of nonviolence, trusteeship, compassion, truth and solidarity.
 
It is because we have all the time seeds of negative energies that we must continue to practice. The process of transformation and healing requires ongoing practice. We produce material for our inner compost bin every day, so we need to practice continuously to take care of the debris in order to make it into healthy food and beautiful fragrant flowers. 
 
Even the great farmers of the world --those who produce large amounts of local, organic and fresh food and flowers, the giant spiritual teachers-- have to deal with their inner compost and must practice continuously. Let us recognize that self-center nature, that desire based life-style and transform it into fresh-local-organic-healthy thoughts, words and actions.
 
It is no easy task, but remember that we have Cosmic Companionship ;-)
 
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
 
Pancho
 
PS: Dear beloved sister Catherine, I recommend you to read the translation of the Gita by Sri Eknath Easwaran. And Julio Díaz provide us a very inspiring example how to embody nonviolence. Here's one of his stories featured in NPR and the DailyGood: The Man Who Dined With His Mugger. You might want to subscribe to the DailyGood! :-) Love you sister!

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On Dec 13, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

Catherine wrote: I have talked to plenty of people about their bad acts, and believe me, most of them don't care and won't return things. They like doing wrong! You wrote that their acts were "not a decision from the space of freedom, but a reaction from a space of bondage." Perhaps, but they are more than willing to put others into bondage and stay where they are, Lord of the jungle and king of the Hill in their own little corner of hell. They don't want to come out and they don't even try, and they will do all they can to keep you in.  This comment was not for others doing wrong things, but for you (and me) who are trying to determine whether anger is a good decision or not. I have never found guilt for other's mistakes to be useful in life, and so, in my personal ethical code, I've put in the following line, "I am not responsible for the stupid things people do to each other without asking me." That helps me a lot, as I have no burden to carry, and bri  See full.

Catherine wrote: I have talked to plenty of people about their bad acts, and believe me, most of them don't care and won't return things. They like doing wrong! You wrote that their acts were "not a decision from the space of freedom, but a reaction from a space of bondage." Perhaps, but they are more than willing to put others into bondage and stay where they are, Lord of the jungle and king of the Hill in their own little corner of hell. They don't want to come out and they don't even try, and they will do all they can to keep you in. 

This comment was not for others doing wrong things, but for you (and me) who are trying to determine whether anger is a good decision or not. I have never found guilt for other's mistakes to be useful in life, and so, in my personal ethical code, I've put in the following line, "I am not responsible for the stupid things people do to each other without asking me." That helps me a lot, as I have no burden to carry, and brings the smile back so I can genuinely serve from the heart.

Going a step deeper, you might find it helpful to reflect on whether your beliefs come from your experiences, or your experiences come from your beliefs. I find that for me it is the latter, and hence, the need to plant beliefs that give me the experiences I want. I have always suffered when I've believed people are bad and out to get me - it unfortunately plays out to be true. I have always connected and grown when I've believed people are good and are there to support my journey, some with active encouragement, and some with obstacles. This has turned out to be true :). The difference between the two experiences is the first one lacks joy and the second one has an abundance of joy. For me, it was clear that I should not choose the former.

Once the beliefs we want are clear, then planting it is the work that has to be done. I often judge others - because I now have the second belief, as soon as the awareness arises, I can immediately label such an action as inconsistent with my belief, and work on correcting my action.

The question is, what beliefs do you want for yourself? Work backwards from the experiences you want. 

About games, we are all playing "human" games here. We are role-playing so many different roles. Unfortunately, unlike actors who shed their on-screen persona when they come home (or head toward dementia), we do not know to do that, at least not without significant kicking and screaming. :)

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On Dec 13, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Somik, I realize that Mia wasn't "happy" about the nun being robbed, and that she did stand up to them. I didn't write it or express myself very well there. It's just that I could never consider any kind of silver lining or happiness coming out of being robbed, other than the person stealing some arsenic donuts, perhaps, and enjoying eating them! Now that thought would bring me some "happiness." I have talked to plenty of people about their bad acts, and believe me, most of them don't care and won't return things. They like doing wrong! You wrote that their acts were "not a decision from the space of freedom, but a reaction from a space of bondage." Perhaps, but they are more than willing to put others into bondage and stay where they are, Lord of the jungle and king of the Hill in their own little corner of hell. They don't want to come out and they don't even try, and they will do all they can to keep you in. Some people have a concience, but many don  See full.

Somik, I realize that Mia wasn't "happy" about the nun being robbed, and that she did stand up to them. I didn't write it or express myself very well there. It's just that I could never consider any kind of silver lining or happiness coming out of being robbed, other than the person stealing some arsenic donuts, perhaps, and enjoying eating them! Now that thought would bring me some "happiness."

I have talked to plenty of people about their bad acts, and believe me, most of them don't care and won't return things. They like doing wrong! You wrote that their acts were "not a decision from the space of freedom, but a reaction from a space of bondage." Perhaps, but they are more than willing to put others into bondage and stay where they are, Lord of the jungle and king of the Hill in their own little corner of hell. They don't want to come out and they don't even try, and they will do all they can to keep you in.

Some people have a concience, but many don't. All most people care about is "filling their own rice bowl," and those few who act on behalf of others we call heroes or saints.

 

The theives in the story probably aren't going to get any "spiritual gain" from what they've stolen because of the way they gained it. That was their choice, not bondage. Decisions and Choice. They don't want spiritual help or they would be seeking that and not the object of their addiction, whatever they are addicted to (money, things, thrills, danger, drugs, whatever). But that's another story and discussion.

You wrote: "Gandhi, initially, advocated nonviolence for Indians as back then, Indians had not fought in major wars, and he considered most Indians to be cowards. Over the years, as he deepened his experiments with truth, he realized that nonviolence was certainly not the path of the coward; it was the path of the bravest. He then reversed his recommendation, and told people to first experience violence, be capable of it, and then come to nonviolence."

Well, OK. That describes me. I can try to do this, come to nonviolence. I am never physically violent but emotionally in anger I am, even if it's just "in my mind" mentally, and never expressed outwardly. But I realize it has to stop. It's been making me sick inside and out. I ask God to grant me peace and this is surely a positive way to start. Alright.

Then you write: "Now, about gardens being destroyed - this is the real test of life. Every garden you make in your life WILL be destroyed, and most likely in your own lifetime. Connecting your happiness with the fruits you get is a big recipe for misery, for if there is one right we do not have, it is the right to expect. Nothing good ever came of expectations. The real test of spiritual growth for us is when, all our gardens are destroyed, we are able to cock our head and have a hearty laugh - "look at the silliness and fun of it all!" and move on to our next game."

Game? That's a little hard to swallow, but I'll give it a chance. "The real test of life" is something I do want to fulfill. I don't want my garden destroyed, and I'll fight to the death to protect it. But if my "garden" is the Garden of Eden, I suppose there's no death there and nothing to protect.

Alright. I'm going to re-read your comments (reflections) and think about this some more.

Where is that book you are promising / creating here? Whether or not you know it?

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On Dec 13, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

Catherine, you've asked many deep questions. First, I must clarify the comment on "being happy." I do not think Mia was happy that the nun's belongings were stolen. She was very saddened by the situation, and felt that if only the robbers understood who they were robbing, they'd return what they were taking. It was only much after the incident that she saw a silver lining, that the robbers may benefit from the spiritual contents of what they've stolen. That, by no means, justifies their action, and infact, Mia stood up to them, without regard for her own life. She did not say, "yes, yes, take the nun's belongings - it is all yours." Gandhi, initially, advocated nonviolence for Indians as back then, Indians had not fought in major wars, and he considered most Indians to be cowards. Over the years, as he deepened his experiments with truth, he realized that nonviolence was certainly not the path of the coward; it was the path of the bravest. He then reversed his reco  See full.

Catherine, you've asked many deep questions. First, I must clarify the comment on "being happy." I do not think Mia was happy that the nun's belongings were stolen. She was very saddened by the situation, and felt that if only the robbers understood who they were robbing, they'd return what they were taking. It was only much after the incident that she saw a silver lining, that the robbers may benefit from the spiritual contents of what they've stolen. That, by no means, justifies their action, and infact, Mia stood up to them, without regard for her own life. She did not say, "yes, yes, take the nun's belongings - it is all yours."

Gandhi, initially, advocated nonviolence for Indians as back then, Indians had not fought in major wars, and he considered most Indians to be cowards. Over the years, as he deepened his experiments with truth, he realized that nonviolence was certainly not the path of the coward; it was the path of the bravest. He then reversed his recommendation, and told people to first experience violence, be capable of it, and then come to nonviolence. In one of his essays, he asked people to go fight in the world war, shed some blood. Then they'd know that war has no victors. They'd also have the strength to try nonviolence. He considered the nonviolence of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan (Frontier Gandhi) as far superior to his own, for Khan was a Pathan (Afghan Pushtun) who had grown up in a culture of violence (honor-killings were common). Gandhi felt that for Khan to stand up and organize the warrior Pathans to follow nonviolence was a far more legitimate manifestation of his philosophy than his own efforts.

The Buddha, although advocating nonviolence, had an interesting view on when one must act decisively in a manner that involves violence. When someone is harming oneself by harming others, out of great compassion for that person (so they may not accrue tremendous bad karma), we should stand in their way and stop them. The operative principle is not so much what you do, but what you place in your heart when you do it.

Sanjeev has been recommending the Gita (and be sure to read multiple translations). This question comes up when Arjuna throws down his bow and refuses to fight, preferring to be killed by his unjust relatives, although all negotiations have broken down, and he is required by profession to stand up for ethics and fight. Krishna severely chastises him, and calls his grief foolishness and not wisdom. He asks him to stand up and fight. But then, Krishna also tells him to fight like a yogi. The test for that is to have not a trace of hatred toward another.

So, when you ask about reacting with anger, the test for whether it is a good decision or not is really whether you had choice in the matter. If, after seeing all the alternatives in front of you, you chose anger, perhaps it was the right thing to do. But, if you found yourself swept away by a tsunami, and after the episode of anger, found yourself wondering, "what just happened?," then you can be sure that it was not a decision from the space of freedom, but a reaction from a space of bondage. Such reactions always have unintended consequences, which makes us regret them later.

Now, about gardens being destroyed - this is the real test of life. Every garden you make in your life WILL be destroyed, and most likely in your own lifetime. Connecting your happiness with the fruits you get is a big recipe for misery, for if there is one right we do not have, it is the right to expect. Nothing good ever came of expectations. The real test of spiritual growth for us is when, all our gardens are destroyed, we are able to cock our head and have a hearty laugh - "look at the silliness and fun of it all!" and move on to our next game.

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On Dec 13, 2010 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 Catherine, You should look at the commentary on Gita by Swami Chinmayananda.   I do not like to use term "Lord" before Krishna since he was a Yogi and Scholar of Vedic literature and according to Yajurveda: He is One and only One, Sustains entire universe, Omnipresent, Formless, All-Powerful, Perfect, Omniscient, Unborn, Eternal and supports us always. He alone should be worshipped. (Yajurveda 40.8) There are lot of metaphors used in Gita. For instance Professor Krishna states in Gita that noble and spiritual souls are born to again and again to show the people the path of righteousness--some people misinterpreted it to mean that Krishna was "God" himself.   God sends us the knowledge of Physical sciences through Prophets like Newton & Einstein and Spiritual sciences through Prophets like Krishna.   See full.

 Catherine,

You should look at the commentary on Gita by Swami Chinmayananda.   I do not like to use term "Lord" before Krishna since he was a Yogi and Scholar of Vedic literature and according to Yajurveda:

He is One and only One, Sustains entire universe, Omnipresent, Formless, All-Powerful, Perfect, Omniscient, Unborn, Eternal and supports us always.

He alone should be worshipped. (Yajurveda 40.8)

There are lot of metaphors used in Gita. For instance Professor Krishna states in Gita that noble and spiritual souls are born to again and again to show the people the path of righteousness--some people misinterpreted it to mean that Krishna was "God" himself.

 

God sends us the knowledge of Physical sciences through Prophets like Newton & Einstein and Spiritual sciences through Prophets like Krishna. 

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On Dec 13, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Sanjeev, you wrote that it's alright and important to "fight for justice or Dharma." OK. I will do this further reading and find out "how to fight for justice." I know there are different ways to do this, and I don't always use the best way. THANK YOU. So glad to find out I don't have to QUIT being here! After reading about someone being "happy" that robbers got a nun's bowl, really thought it was all over for me. I was through. Will go find a copy of "Holy Gita" right away.   Found this: http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/ Namaste! Welcome to the Bhagavad- Gita online. We are happy you have arrived and it will be our pleasure to serve you. Here you will be presented transcendental knowledge of the most profound spiritual nature as revealed in the Bhagavad- Gita. It is the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself and is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. Always being rev  See full.

Sanjeev, you wrote that it's alright and important to "fight for justice or Dharma."

OK. I will do this further reading and find out "how to fight for justice." I know there are different ways to do this, and I don't always use the best way. THANK YOU. So glad to find out I don't have to QUIT being here! After reading about someone being "happy" that robbers got a nun's bowl, really thought it was all over for me. I was through.

Will go find a copy of "Holy Gita" right away.

 

Found this: http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/

Namaste! Welcome to the Bhagavad- Gita online. We are happy you have arrived and it will be our pleasure to serve you. Here you will be presented transcendental knowledge of the most profound spiritual nature as revealed in the Bhagavad- Gita. It is the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself and is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. Always being revered as a true source of spiritual knowledge it reveals the purpose and goal of human existence. In conjunction to this we will be presenting precise Vedic verification of the Supreme Lord Krishna's divine incarnations as evidence confirming His supreme position. In Bhagavad- Gita, chapter 10, verse 20, the Supreme Lord reveals that He manifests as the immortal soul within each and every living entity. No where else within any other religious scripture is this information available. Our purpose is to make the eternal knowledge of Bhagavad- Gita freely available to everyone all over the Earth. (more)

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On Dec 12, 2010 Sanjeev Verma wrote:
Catherine,

Sometimes you have to assert if you are in the right path or path of dharma. You can find answer to your questions in the theis of Professor Krishna, who was a great political and spiritual scientist in ancient India. His thesis is popularly known as Holy Gita--there is nothing Holy about the book-this is a great book on political and spiritual sciences and every word in this book is a gem. King Arjuna had also his doubts and Profesor Krishna tells him to fight for justice or Dharma.

Sanjeev

On Dec 12, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Somik, I agree that this story about the nun being robbed and her companion's response is "very touching" (if that's what that statement is referring to), but I can assure you there is no way that I would ever feel "compassion" for people like that. Even if they were "spoken to" nicely or otherwise, there are people in this world who are just plain bad. Evil, if you will. "Speak to them" and they will strike or kill you, plain and simple. This is how I started off talking on this site: Do we have to be a "martyr for the cause?" What good does it do NOT to react with anger when people are killing you or stealing your things? What good does it do to do NOTHING in return to show them the error of their ways? Are we supposed to have "compassion" for the Nazis and the evil they did? Did we just need to "talk to them" and they would have laid down their guns and closed down the concentration camps and turned off the gas ov  See full.

Somik, I agree that this story about the nun being robbed and her companion's response is "very touching" (if that's what that statement is referring to), but I can assure you there is no way that I would ever feel "compassion" for people like that. Even if they were "spoken to" nicely or otherwise, there are people in this world who are just plain bad. Evil, if you will. "Speak to them" and they will strike or kill you, plain and simple. This is how I started off talking on this site: Do we have to be a "martyr for the cause?" What good does it do NOT to react with anger when people are killing you or stealing your things? What good does it do to do NOTHING in return to show them the error of their ways? Are we supposed to have "compassion" for the Nazis and the evil they did? Did we just need to "talk to them" and they would have laid down their guns and closed down the concentration camps and turned off the gas ovens?

How to reconcile all this? Should the Jews have just "prayed their way out of this?" Or faced death with compassion for the Germans?

All the meditaiton / compassion stuff in the world sounds good until I try to imagine really putting it into practice. What good does it do to lose your own life or your possessions or the life of your children and home for an attitude of "peace" that only allows evil and conflict to continue to flourish? Yes, you can't gain peace with war, perhaps, but you can sure let people know that if they try to make way with you, they will get what they give. And then some. Why do you think that Americans are so shocked that we were finally attacked? Because no one dared to do it before.

My response was "what took them so long?" since we have been attacking others all over the world. Not a popular response, to be sure, but I would hate to be a weak country that gets blasted over and over again by bullies and those stronger than them. I would prefer to be a "neutral country" but as long as you have something that someone else wants, look out. They are going to try and take it.

 

So does this mean we just wish the robbers well and hope they enjoy the "good vibes" from our things and our teachings, and give up whatever we have to the bullies and the devils in this world? I'm not a mouse. I am a tiger. I'm not here to be eaten by the others. I don't cause trouble but if trouble comes I don't run away. And people only try to overtake me once. I don't start anything, but if trouble comes, I put a stop to it. I've taken away knives, guns and broken bottles and put a stop to many a fight. I have gone in to protect those weaker than me to put a stop to beatings and more. But I am never "happy" for people have done wrong.They need to learn in the shortest amount of time NEVER to act that way again.

I'm not saying I am right, but I don't know how to live any other way. I've seen too many people take the coward's way out, saying they don't want "violence" and they want "peace" when really they don't stand up for themselves or anyone else and then the bad ones take over.

Who wants to live in a completely corrupt society run by killers and theives? Isn't that what this kind of thing actually leads to? Where is this "nirvana" society where people don't care if they live or they die as long as someone else gains "good vibes" from the evil that they have done?

 

HELP! I do not understand. Maybe I don't belong here after all, or I have far too much to learn. I really don't know. But I know that in the cases where someone has tried to rob me, it isn't going to happen and they wouldn't even dare to try. I am glad for that. I prefer to feel safe wherever I go, because I know I can take care of myself and the bad guys know it too. I am therefore left alone in peace!

Somik, you wrote: "I liked the word "creative temple" very much, and it brought up for me a term in India, "karma bhoomeee," which translates to "field of action." Field is quite appropriate, for we plant seeds with our actions, and the fruits we get now are from seeds planted in the past. If we keep planting high quality seeds, then there will come a time that someone will benefit from it. If many of us thought that way, then we would end up converting our field of action into a creative temple. In many ways, I find the space of Wednesdays to be like a creative temple given the beautiful seeds that have been planted over the years."

This is a beautiful statement, and as a master gardener myself, one I can really appreciate. But what would it be like if your Wed's were abruptly put a stop to by political or religious persecution? What would all these "seeds" be worth then? Or if your beautiful "temple" was destroyed by outside forces of hatred and greed?

This is where I get confused. I live in a neighborhood where this has taken place, on the physical plane. I used to believe in "planting seeds" and "showing compassion" and that people ultimately or innately were "good." Now I see differently, and I don't see a way back.

Please advise. When is acting in "nonviolence" just plain cowardice? How to know the difference?

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On Dec 11, 2010 Amit C wrote:

Very touching.

 

Dinesh, Thanks for the link to the complete one & the audio.



On Dec 10, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

As an experiment, I tried reading this passage by substituting "I" for "God," and it was quite remarkable. e.g. "In the final analysis, what I require is that my heart was right." I agree. Therefore, it is time to make my actions consistent with my preferences. Chris built on this and pointed out that we should not just judge ourselves from our intentions, but others as well. I liked the word "creative temple" very much, and it brought up for me a term in India, "karma bhoomeee," which translates to "field of action." Field is quite appropriate, for we plant seeds with our actions, and the fruits we get now are from seeds planted in the past. If we keep planting high quality seeds, then there will come a time that someone will benefit from it. If many of us thought that way, then we would end up converting our field of action into a creative temple. In many ways, I find the space of Wednesdays to be like a creative temple giv  See full.

As an experiment, I tried reading this passage by substituting "I" for "God," and it was quite remarkable. e.g. "In the final analysis, what I require is that my heart was right." I agree. Therefore, it is time to make my actions consistent with my preferences. Chris built on this and pointed out that we should not just judge ourselves from our intentions, but others as well.

I liked the word "creative temple" very much, and it brought up for me a term in India, "karma bhoomeee," which translates to "field of action." Field is quite appropriate, for we plant seeds with our actions, and the fruits we get now are from seeds planted in the past. If we keep planting high quality seeds, then there will come a time that someone will benefit from it. If many of us thought that way, then we would end up converting our field of action into a creative temple. In many ways, I find the space of Wednesdays to be like a creative temple given the beautiful seeds that have been planted over the years.

I liked the focus on the heart, and was reminded of an NPR interview with a sociologist studying movement patterns of communities in San Francisco. At one point, when asked how she noticed so much, she commented, "To see change, one has to be slower than change." That really resonated with me. There is so much going on within us. Unless we slow down to observe (and meditation is one great tool for that), we cannot see the constant upheaval, and are left at the mercy of nature.

I liked how MLK frames this as a continuum and not an absolute yardstick for morality. Reminded me of Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) who remarked once, "It is not that I do not lose my center. I just regain it faster than others." The gap of time between the loss of center and its regaining is what we are all working to shorten and it is a work in progress. 

On that note, here is a gap story from last Friday. After watching Wavy Gravy's cool film which Nipun blogged about, we were outside, chatting. A friend came over and suddenly asked me about someone I knew from the past, someone whose memories left a bad taste in my mouth. While I was vibrating with so much positive energy received from the gathering and elsewhere, there was this pot of negativity, tucked away somewhere, and it was for me to choose what to do with it. Ordinarily, I might have told my friend, "come, lets both drink (from this) pot," but this being an evening of freedom, I said, "I have nothing charitable to say about this person, so I'd rather not say anything." 

Sounds picture perfect, only it wasn't. In order to come up with that response, I realized that I had drunk a little bit from the pot, and my heart was heavy. That night, as I introspected (that's the gift of a heavy heart), I remembered S. N. Goenka's (teacher of Vipassana meditation) radio interview, which I'd heard two years back, on this tiny dingy tape sold for a dollar at a bookstore in North Fork. In that interview, he was recounting his Burmese experience. The Burmese government, in a fit of nationalism, kicked out all who didn't look Burmese (so the Indians and Chinese were rendered homeless). They also took over all industries, and this included Mr. Goenka's companies, leaving him stranded in India where he'd gone to visit. As he recounted all of this, I was astounded not just with the words but the compassion in his voice. I remember he kept saying, "Oh, they took over every industry because they were convinced it was in the national interest, and therefore they took over my company too." There was not a trace of anger or regret in his voice. Those who have heard him speak might remember how he talks about people who act foolishly, "Oh, they don't know how much they are suffering. May they be happy!" with so much compassion.

That is a very high standard. When a man loses all his possessions and has to start from scratch, and he finds it within himself to not harbor a trace of hatred, that is a saintly man and an ideal to aspire to, an inspiration to shorten the gap. 

The stories shared this Wednesday were very deep. Mia's story was mindblowing - how she faced three people with a gun, and did not worry about her own life - only that they had robbed a nun she was accompanying of her only possessions. Mia shared it with so much compassion - how she was convinced that if she only talked to these people, they would understand and return what they had stolen. Although that did not work, she found herself feeling happy for them as they might benefit from the good vibrations of the nun's bowl and the teachings of the Buddha in her bag.

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On Dec 9, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Thank you Ripa for sending me the link for more about "Building a Creative Temple." Going there now. Might be just what I need. Gracias!

http://wholeyoga.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/building-my-own-creative-temple/



On Dec 9, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Sanjeev, I would be very interested in reading whatever you can send me. Write CatherineTodd2@gmail dot com or ctodd1000@gmail dot com. But what do you mean "Mind is in fact a sub-atomic particle?" My mind is a whole bunch of particles; in fact, I feel like the Swan / Orion Nebula, full of gasses and neutrons and a regular star-factory! Omega/Swan Nebula (M17). Hubblesite.org: HubbleSite - Picture Album: A Perfect Storm of Turbulent Gases in ... hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr2003013a/ As I mentioned earlier, where is "that book you have been writing" even if only in your mind? I think it's ready to "pop out" if you know what I mean! No one has ever described things in the way you have, including the "prophet Newton." I am ready for more! Dinesh, thanks for the link for the audio speech. I did a bit of searching to find out more about this sermon, and learned a lot. It will be good to hear it "in person."   But I STILL  See full.

Sanjeev, I would be very interested in reading whatever you can send me. Write CatherineTodd2@gmail dot com or ctodd1000@gmail dot com.

But what do you mean "Mind is in fact a sub-atomic particle?" My mind is a whole bunch of particles; in fact, I feel like the Swan / Orion Nebula, full of gasses and neutrons and a regular star-factory!

Omega/Swan Nebula (M17). Hubblesite.org:

HubbleSite - Picture Album: A Perfect Storm of Turbulent Gases in ...

hubblesite.org/gallery/album/pr2003013a/

As I mentioned earlier, where is "that book you have been writing" even if only in your mind? I think it's ready to "pop out" if you know what I mean! No one has ever described things in the way you have, including the "prophet Newton." I am ready for more!

Dinesh, thanks for the link for the audio speech. I did a bit of searching to find out more about this sermon, and learned a lot. It will be good to hear it "in person."

 

But I STILL don't know what a "creative temple" is, vs. a "physical temple" or whatever. What does the word "creative" signify here? A spiritual temple, an emotional temple, a mental temple, what is a CREATIVE TEMPLE?

An art gallery?

 

CT

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On Dec 9, 2010 Dinesh wrote:

This article was excerpted from MLK's talk titled 'Unfulfilled Dreams.

The full audio of the speech is 22 minutes and can be heard here:



On Dec 8, 2010 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 Catherine, It is a very deep topic and I can send you you very interesting articles on this issue. Mind is in fact a sub-atomic particle. Anyway, Yoga basically means union of body, mind and soul. In fact,  there is another layer of vital air between body and mind. Let me try to explain yoga principles in simple language. After performing physical pastures ( Asanas), you do pranayama ( breathing exercise). Prana ( Vital Air) has strong relationship with the mind--your mind becomes calm when your breathing is regular or rhythmic similarly after strenuous work out or when you are really angry then it becomes very fast or irregular. This clearly explains how body, prana ( vital air) and mind are related.  You then withdraw your attention from outside to inside ( shut off outer sense organs) and focus on certain point-like heart, between eye-brows etc. and meditate. Your mind becomes still and you go to the higher plane. Your mind stops wondering. The ultimate stage is S  See full.

 Catherine,

It is a very deep topic and I can send you you very interesting articles on this issue. Mind is in fact a sub-atomic particle.

Anyway, Yoga basically means union of body, mind and soul. In fact,  there is another layer of vital air between body and mind. Let me try to explain yoga principles in simple language. After performing physical pastures ( Asanas), you do pranayama ( breathing exercise). Prana ( Vital Air) has strong relationship with the mind--your mind becomes calm when your breathing is regular or rhythmic similarly after strenuous work out or when you are really angry then it becomes very fast or irregular. This clearly explains how body, prana ( vital air) and mind are related. 

You then withdraw your attention from outside to inside ( shut off outer sense organs) and focus on certain point-like heart, between eye-brows etc. and meditate. Your mind becomes still and you go to the higher plane. Your mind stops wondering. The ultimate stage is Samadhi when you really  go the highest plane (soul).  This helps you with the self-analysis and helps in getting rid of your vices. Can you know the weakness of a building when you are inside the building? You go bit far from the building and then only you can see any issue with the structure of the building. 

In fact most of the inventions/discoveries happen when mind is still. I heard that Archimedes had a flash on his mind when he made his discoveries.  

Probably I can give one more example regarding the relationship between mind and inteligebnce planes. I guess that it is common practice in popular cartoons to show "bulb" next to the cartoon character to illustrate "an idea".

Mind acts like a projection screen when you get an idea and you observe that "flash" from the "intelligence" plane. "Intelligence" is subtler than mind and it can go where even mind can not go and this nature of "intelligence" has led to lot of scientific discoveries and innovations.

In fact, I consider every scientist to be "prophets" of God since God reveals its secrets through the scientistics and philosphers. "Prophet" is one acts as a messenger of God--in my view Newton, Einstein were prophets of God. In ancient India, we used to attribute scientific discoveries to God and hence Vedas ( means knowledge) are revealed books and there is nothing in Vedas that goes against science. If someone claims that a book is revealed book but that book talks about certain things that are not scientific then that book can not be a revealed book.

Note that "laws of motions" existed even before the Newton was born. God chose prophet "Newton" to reveal the "Laws of Motion". These discoveries happen when mind is still and observer ( "intelligence") is looking at it from higher plane.

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On Dec 8, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Alright, Sanjeev: You wrote: "According to Yoga, every living being has four kind of personalities-Physical ( body), Emotional ( Mind), Intellectual (intelligence) and spiritual ( soul)"

I'm stuck in the emotional (Mind) basement. How to get out?

What is the difference between Mind and Intelligence?

What is the difference between Mind, Intelligence, and Spiritual (Soul)?

I thought the spiritual life WAS the "emotional life," as "peace" is an emotion, and too often lacking in me. I've got the rest down (most of the time).



On Dec 8, 2010 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 Catherine, Thanks for your comments. You wrote "Gandhi & King were killed for their beliefs & I do not want really want this to happen to me..." You are right in the sense that physical Gandhi and King were killed but their spirit is still alive among us and that's why we are still discussing their thoughts. We are mortals and we will all die physically one day sooner or later. According to Yoga, every living being has four kind of personalities-Physical ( body), Emotional ( Mind), Intellectual (intelligence) and spiritual ( soul): Mind is subtler than body, intelligence is subtler than mind and soul is subtler than intelligence. Noble people like Gandhi  understood this thing and that's why they did not care for physical self--same is true about various social reformers and freedom fighters. In fact even scientists also believe in this principle--sometimes they are even ready to sacrifice their sleep and ready to work long hours when they are deeply in  See full.

 Catherine,

Thanks for your comments.

You wrote

"Gandhi & King were killed for their beliefs & I do not want really want this to happen to me..."

You are right in the sense that physical Gandhi and King were killed but their spirit is still alive among us and that's why we are still discussing their thoughts. We are mortals and we will all die physically one day sooner or later. According to Yoga, every living being has four kind of personalities-Physical ( body), Emotional ( Mind), Intellectual (intelligence) and spiritual ( soul): Mind is subtler than body, intelligence is subtler than mind and soul is subtler than intelligence. Noble people like Gandhi  understood this thing and that's why they did not care for physical self--same is true about various social reformers and freedom fighters. In fact even scientists also believe in this principle--sometimes they are even ready to sacrifice their sleep and ready to work long hours when they are deeply involved in their research work of higher intellectual value.

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On Dec 8, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

"Zero and Infinity:" Wow! Somik, when are you going to write "that book" or have you already done so? I want to read more. Will re-read the above and post it on my wall. So much to consider now ("reflection" and I'm a busy bee flying over a mirrored pool. Whew! Spread wings and fly.

This all reminds me of The Silver Stream in "Pilgrim:" www.Last.fm/music/Catherine+Todd

Gracias, amigos. CT



On Dec 8, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

Love reading all the reflections. Some random thoughts.. 1. Zero and Infinity: Zero is infinity turned on its head. If infinity is God, then zero must be God turned on its head, which by definition, should still be God. Why I like zero more than infinity is that zero has no beginning and no end - it captures so simply in one stroke the greatest truth of nature - what goes around, comes around. Infinity says the same thing in a more twisted manner. :) I was reminded of the ancient Sanskrit aphorism: "This is complete (zero). That is complete (zero).  From this completeness (zero) comes that completeness (zero). When that completeness (zero) is taken away from this completeness (zero), what remains is still completeness (zero)." From zero comes zero - that is the foundation of all science (from nothing comes nothing). Removing zero from zero leaves zero - that is the foundation of all math. So much for the distinction between science and spirituality. :) 2. Significan  See full.

Love reading all the reflections. Some random thoughts..

1. Zero and Infinity: Zero is infinity turned on its head. If infinity is God, then zero must be God turned on its head, which by definition, should still be God. Why I like zero more than infinity is that zero has no beginning and no end - it captures so simply in one stroke the greatest truth of nature - what goes around, comes around. Infinity says the same thing in a more twisted manner. :) I was reminded of the ancient Sanskrit aphorism:

"This is complete (zero). That is complete (zero).
 From this completeness (zero) comes that completeness (zero). When that completeness (zero) is taken away from this completeness (zero), what remains is still completeness (zero)."

From zero comes zero - that is the foundation of all science (from nothing comes nothing). Removing zero from zero leaves zero - that is the foundation of all math. So much for the distinction between science and spirituality. :)

2. Significance of Temple: Going to physical temples is not part of my habit-pattern. And yet, when I do go once in a blue moon, I find a concentration of goodwill, a space where it is legitimate to forget my ego and still my heart. Where it is legitimate to recognize the infinite realities that make each moment possible. It does not matter which temple it is, and what the specific beliefs might be - the science of spirituality is such that the effects are very similar as long as the pursuit is beyond the smaller self. I totally agree with Sanjeev - one can create a temple in one's own home with one's intention and consistent action.

On that note, I find Wednesdays to be a temple, for all practical purposes, where we not only work on deepening our awareness but also support each other in doing so, thereby recognizing our interconnections.

3. Knowing the Difference: Catherine asks:
How to stand strong and stay in control and not give in to emotion, but keep the heart pure and still act with the emotions of courage and love?  How to know the difference?

There are many levels to this question. The second question can be answered by developing thoughtful tests for oneself. If there is even a trace of hatred for someone else in an interaction, then the heart is not pure. Is it possible? Yes - when a parent, with decisive force, yanks the toddler away from the power socket before its fingers make contact, there is not a trace of hatred - just compassion leading to decisive action.

The first one is much harder to answer. The wise folks say there are four broad paths by which we can practice deepening our connection with ourselves. People usually turn the knobs on one of them while also having the other three in their lives to a lesser degree. These four paths are: love, science, intellectual inquiry and action. Those who have the ability to believe in God usually choose the path of love, and use the attachment to God to break the attachment to smaller things. The trap in this path lies in the development of fundamentalism, where one starts to take one's own belief as the only way to go.

The path of science involves scientifically observing one's mind, stilling it, and seeing what lies beyond the mind. The metaphor for the mind is that of a lake with ripples. As long as the ripples exist, it is very hard to see through. When the water is calm, only then can we see what lies beneath the water. In this path, no God-belief is needed, but it is also hard and requires more strength than the others. The trap in this path is the discovery of special abilities which can become a huge distraction and stop the process of exploration.

The path of intellectual inquiry is for those who like logic, and need all their life philosophy to be logical. It is the use of logic to ultimately transcend logic and get to the same end. The trap in this path is that we can get stuck with dry intellectual debates and not deepen in awareness and understanding. 

The path of action is for those who find daily survival interfering with the above three paths :). For them, action becomes the means of transcending the ego, by treating work as worship. The person being served is treated as God incarnate (or as one worthy of our full presence and attention in more secular language). Through service comes growth, wisdom and understanding, and no separate worship is necessary. The trap in this path that we may delude ourselves in thinking we are serving in a detached manner, when in reality, we are feeding our egos.

In general, all of us have some elements of each of these paths in our lives. Typically, we turn up the knobs on one or more of these, depending on our natural inclinations. The wise ones tell us that although the paths look very different, the understanding that comes at the end is the same (like a mountain in Hawaii, having very different landscapes depending on which side you're climbing from, but with the same view at the top :).

In summary, the value placed is not on the destination (being unable to lie, always standing up for the truth, etc.), but on the journey, where each step is honored along with all the steps that came before it, and all the steps to follow.

Finally, if there must be judgment of how we are falling short right now, then it must be balanced with how far we've come, to get the encouragement to continue on. If there is no judgment, just a fierce determination to accept the whole truth about the present moment and be totally open to the next, life is a lot easier. That is what I loved about MLK's message - total acceptance of all my faults at this time, and a total determination to keep trying to work on myself. 

4. Catherine writes: I'd like to know some real heroes or saints in my own lifetime. People that really did make a difference and didn't have to "die trying." And didn't have a solely personal agenda of their own.

If the intention is deep enough, then the saints you seek will find you.

For myself, I resonate deeply with this yearning which I went through many years back. What I am now learning is to recognize the saints who surround us in life. The other day, I watched Nipun's talk which also reminded me of something the Dalai Lama said recently at Stanford, that for nine months, we are gifted sustenance and love, without any expectations. Almost every one of us. In my life, as I think about my parents, they are my saints - always giving, and never asking for anything in return, and always full of gratitude when I send tiny gifts for them. Whenever a friend, mentor or colleague gifts me love and presence with no expectation of reward, they become a saint of that moment. In other words, saintliness is not a destination, it is a process, that is far more consistent for some people and less consistent for others. 

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On Dec 8, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Sanjeev, you wrote: "The goal of life and meditation is to identify  our vices and eliminate them so that we could go closer to God ( located at infinity)." Thank you. Finally I have an idea of what "meditation" can do, or is supposed to do. I always heard the "clear your mind / blank slate" which didn't do me any good. I think I can do it the way you describe. You also wrote: "The infinity in this metaphor represents all virtues ( 100% virtues) and we humans are combinations of virtues and vices. Our closeness to God is determined by the  proportions of virtues and vices within ourselves. Demon represents "0" in this line" Perfect sense. I can do this, too. And hope I don't get too many more "zeros" on my card. Is this practice building a "creative temple" inside, as referred to in this post? Good to know I don't have to "go to temple" as I prefer to do this quietly as well. I am very h  See full.

Sanjeev, you wrote: "The goal of life and meditation is to identify  our vices and eliminate them so that we could go closer to God ( located at infinity)."

Thank you. Finally I have an idea of what "meditation" can do, or is supposed to do. I always heard the "clear your mind / blank slate" which didn't do me any good. I think I can do it the way you describe.

You also wrote:

"The infinity in this metaphor represents all virtues ( 100% virtues) and we humans are combinations of virtues and vices. Our closeness to God is determined by the  proportions of virtues and vices within ourselves. Demon represents "0" in this line"

Perfect sense. I can do this, too. And hope I don't get too many more "zeros" on my card.

Is this practice building a "creative temple" inside, as referred to in this post?

Good to know I don't have to "go to temple" as I prefer to do this quietly as well. I am very happy to find a connection with people who are striving for "spirituality," as seems to be here.

Gracias, amigos. CT

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On Dec 7, 2010 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 This is an excellent passage and I really liked every single sentence in this passage. If someone asks me to describe the relationship between humans and god then I will draw a line starting from zero to infinity and place the God at infinity. We,human beings, are different dots in the line that stretch from zero to infinity. The infinity in this metaphor represents all virtues ( 100% virtues) and we humans are combinations of virtues and vices. Our closeness to God is determined by the  proportions of virtues and vices within ourselves. Demon represents "0" in this line. The goal of life and meditation is to identify  our vices and eliminate them so that we could go closer to God ( located at infinity). I do not believe in going to temple--something to do with my Arya Samaj background also. I think real temple is our personality that has four dimensions-physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. There is no need for a temple once we realize this fact--  See full.

 This is an excellent passage and I really liked every single sentence in this passage.

If someone asks me to describe the relationship between humans and god then I will draw a line starting from zero to infinity and place the God at infinity. We,human beings, are different dots in the line that stretch from zero to infinity. The infinity in this metaphor represents all virtues ( 100% virtues) and we humans are combinations of virtues and vices. Our closeness to God is determined by the  proportions of virtues and vices within ourselves. Demon represents "0" in this line. The goal of life and meditation is to identify  our vices and eliminate them so that we could go closer to God ( located at infinity). I do not believe in going to temple--something to do with my Arya Samaj background also. I think real temple is our personality that has four dimensions-physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. There is no need for a temple once we realize this fact--i do go to Gurudwara but my main purpose there is to connect with spiritual people.

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On Dec 7, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

What is a "creative temple" and how does one "build it?"

Is this different from building a "physical temple" (which I understand very well, as I am a builder) and does it refer to the "spiritual life?"



On Dec 7, 2010 Charmi wrote:

I agree and that's why ....! we dont need to build Tempal but  indeed need to build a Tempal in heart..........  :))



On Dec 7, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Derek, that's a great comment with a lot to think about. I haven't seen the movie or read the book " Eat, Pray, Love" but maybe I should. Right away. I am finding a much richer balance where I live part time at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and a much more fruitful spiritual life, but I am only there part time as I still work in the United States. My friends and I all wish for a "spiritual life" here in the good ole USA in the midst of materialism and war. It's quite different when you live in a cultural that SUPPORTS a more spiritual life, but that oftens comes with a much "poorer" country in material goods & "progress." As much fundraising and "help" I give the indigenous people in Guatemala, I am aware that I am helping to destroy the very things I enjoy about their culture and the benefits I hold most dear. Modern conveniences and "information exposure" can have a terrible cost. "Education" in the wrong ways doe  See full.

Derek, that's a great comment with a lot to think about. I haven't seen the movie or read the book "
Eat, Pray, Love" but maybe I should. Right away. I am finding a much richer balance where I live part time at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and a much more fruitful spiritual life, but I am only there part time as I still work in the United States. My friends and I all wish for a "spiritual life" here in the good ole USA in the midst of materialism and war. It's quite different when you live in a cultural that SUPPORTS a more spiritual life, but that oftens comes with a much "poorer" country in material goods & "progress."

As much fundraising and "help" I give the indigenous people in Guatemala, I am aware that I am helping to destroy the very things I enjoy about their culture and the benefits I hold most dear. Modern conveniences and "information exposure" can have a terrible cost. "Education" in the wrong ways doesn't help anyone; it hinders them. And we gringos are "educating" the poor Guatemalans left and right. If we are not careful, we'll turn them into a welfare state as we have here in the states; greedy, grasping, lazy and complaining. Things you never see where I live now.

Well, the "greedy" part sometimes, and corruption for sure, but none of the rest since the government gives no handouts, which I always believed in before I saw the difference when people work for themselves and together and don't just wait around for someone else to do it, or wait for it to be handed to them. But this is probably another discussion - or is it?

 

Their children are being raised reading and writing, working computers (that I bring to them) and it is opening doors they never knew existed. Yet, when I see people from the capital or Antigua coming to the lake and bringing all their modern dress and modern conveniences, and modern attitudes, it's a crying shame. What are we doing in our world, and how to make the "best of things" in the midst of a spiritual life?

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On Dec 7, 2010 Derek wrote:

The content of this speech reflects an inward struggle I've had for while. WIth devotion (good) comes clarity. But will too much devotion eliminate joy in our lives? Author, Elizabeth Gilbert set out to reconcile these two in her book "Eat, Pray, Love". She lived in Italy to seek Pleasure and then to India to understand and create Devotion. And then she journeyed to Bali to reconcile the two. Their culture has a good grasp on how to balance our outer and inward needs. Wouldn't it be great if we could find this harmony right here at home?



On Dec 7, 2010 Carol Bell wrote:

It's limiting to ascribe man's religious interpretation to the opposing forces in our lives.  It creates a division of not wanting to accept some parts of ourselves, because we are putting them into a category of acceptable vs. unacceptable(eg. I'll accept the good, but not the evil).  Instead, in realizing we have polarities, yin and yang, opposing forces that create a vibration (like magnetic forces) that enable us to carry out action and inaction, it allow us to accept all parts of ourselves.  We need our active and our passive, our logic and our intuitions, etc.  Both parts help fuel each other - to act, to reflect, to change.  When we begin to accept all parts of ourselves and love ourselves, we then begin to change how we choose our actions and inactions.  And we have self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-worth growing and supporting us.  We begin to heal parts of ourselves that we walled off, to understand the larger picture of hurt or fear  See full.

It's limiting to ascribe man's religious interpretation to the opposing forces in our lives.  It creates a division of not wanting to accept some parts of ourselves, because we are putting them into a category of acceptable vs. unacceptable(eg. I'll accept the good, but not the evil).  Instead, in realizing we have polarities, yin and yang, opposing forces that create a vibration (like magnetic forces) that enable us to carry out action and inaction, it allow us to accept all parts of ourselves.  We need our active and our passive, our logic and our intuitions, etc.  Both parts help fuel each other - to act, to reflect, to change.  When we begin to accept all parts of ourselves and love ourselves, we then begin to change how we choose our actions and inactions.  And we have self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-worth growing and supporting us.  We begin to heal parts of ourselves that we walled off, to understand the larger picture of hurt or fear that influences actions.  When we can extend this to ourselves, we can better extend it to others.  Little by little, we change.

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On Dec 6, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

Excerpt: "And in every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life." And I thought it was just me! "Is your heart right?  If your heart isn’t right, fix it up today. " Well, OK. And just how do we do that? In specific cases, not just generalities? In times of conflict or attempts at resolution in conflict? When one has to stand up for themselves, in spite of the anger that will probably be engendered? How to keep peace when you have to take a stand? Gandhi and King were killed for their beliefs, and I don't really want this to happen to me. But I want to stand up for myself, even though people will probably want to destroy me afterwards. I'm not a saint even though King may have been. I'd like to be, but I'm not. I'm working on nonviolence but it doesn't mean backing down. How to stand strong  See full.

Excerpt:

"And in every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life."

And I thought it was just me!

"Is your heart right?  If your heart isn’t right, fix it up today. "

Well, OK. And just how do we do that? In specific cases, not just generalities? In times of conflict or attempts at resolution in conflict? When one has to stand up for themselves, in spite of the anger that will probably be engendered? How to keep peace when you have to take a stand?

Gandhi and King were killed for their beliefs, and I don't really want this to happen to me. But I want to stand up for myself, even though people will probably want to destroy me afterwards. I'm not a saint even though King may have been. I'd like to be, but I'm not. I'm working on nonviolence but it doesn't mean backing down. How to stand strong and stay in control and not give in to emotion, but keep the heart pure and still act with the emotions of courage and love?  How to know the difference?

Easy to pay lip service to "get rid of ego" etc., but the FEW people in this world who really act outside of self-interest we call "heroes" or "saints." That's how difficult or "out of the ordinary" this really is to do. I'd like to know some real heroes or saints in my own lifetime. People that really did make a difference and didn't have to "die trying." And didn't have a solely personal agenda of their own.

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