2 THE FOUNDATION. LIFE
Stone: Depends on the subject
The Mantra: Sujiivana Prachodayate
Although life appears like a vortex of apparently random sequences of favorable and unfavorable events in which we may feel in disharmony or conflict with others,
its essence is the process of renewing ourselves,
of discovering who we really are
and the Divine in us.
As Sri Aurobindo said:
Our life is a lavish and manifold opportunity given us
to discover, realize, express the Divine.
a) Rumi introduces the issue with the essential Question:
You were born with wings, so why do you prefer
to crawl through life?
Why do you prefer to crawl through life?
Don’t you know that you can inwardly FLY?
Most crawl through life instead of using their inner wings because since their earliest childhood they have been brainwashed into thinking that what is more important is to get an education, a nice job, a family, make money, have some fun while growing old,
and then die without having really lived,
without having understood the meaning of their lives, which is to find out
who they really are, unite with the Divine and help
to divinize the world.
The way that Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot put it is:
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little
shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset.
This is indeed so for the vast majority
because they are almost never
present to themselves.
With the right attitude life can be a wonder, an incredibly interesting adventure, but most made it into a stressful, deadening struggle merely to gain or achieve this or that in the external world,
thinking that then they can be happy, unaware that no real happiness
can be found there, or not for very long.
The Quantum physic scientist David Bohm agrees:
For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current
of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution.
Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles…
the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing
of which our civilization is most proud.
Ouspensky adds that:
It is only when we realize that life is taking us nowhere
that it begins to have meaning.
b) According to Dr Edwin Zappe, etymologically Life is associated with:
Arabic: Mansur, maksut: Goal, aim. To have an interest in; something with a meaning.
Africa: The Why.
Africa – Benin: Life and God, the World.
Africa – Chad: We.
Africa – Somalia: Water = life.
China: to stand + the sun + the heart.
Germany: The way, to move.
Hungary: Ertelen- He, she understands.
Indonesia: to love, to share.
Japan: man + life.
Latvia: To understand.
Southern India: New life.
Tibet: Aim, goal, the others and myself.
Vietnam: Mind and meaning.
To what all these interpretations add to?
Life is a process of constant renewal:
Every second about two and a half millions of the red cells of our body die,
and about the same amount are newly born.
But psychologically very few are both able and willing to renew themselves and remain stuck in their obsolete mental formations and keep putting off living while waiting for some more favorable or desirable future circumstances and only when very old and close to death realize that
they have missed out on their whole life.
The Yoga Vashista adds that:
Know life as a long sleep, and the world with myself and thyself, are the imaginations
of its dream; we see many other persons in this sleepy dream,
none of whom is real.
As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so our present life is only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death.
Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life,
and so it is endlessly, until the very last one,
the very real life of God.
The Qur’an also agrees:
The present life is no other than a pastime and a sport,
but the future mansion is life indeed.
Where is the future mansion?
Much closer than you think.
Wu Hsin warns that:
Questioning how to live
misses the mark.
It is better to enquire
what is it that is living?
What is it that is living?
It is essential to discover it, because otherwise as Adyashanti warned:
If we do not live and manifest in our lives what we realize
in our deepest moments of revelation, then
we are living a split life.
c) As perceived from the narrow standpoint of the ego
life merely seems to consists of gains and losses, endless shallow desires that can never give us a complete and permanent satisfaction, frequent disappointments, favorable and unfavorable events over which we have almost no control whatsoever,
but as we begin to Awaken we will see it in a completely new
and more wonderful way.
According to Aleister Crowley, and in this he was quite right,
The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth,
constant change, enjoying every new experience.
To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind
is to set up an attainable ideal.
What can be wrong in setting up an attainable ideal?
What is wrong is
considering much higher ideals
To the anthropologist Joseph Campbell,
What we are really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane
will have resonances within our innermost being and reality, so that
we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
Do you feel the rapture of being alive?
To which extent?
Jeff Foster adds that :
Seen in clarity, life is not this heavy thing that we think it is.
There is nothing to get in the future, it is all here and there is
nothing to fear; there is simply life dancing.
Life is seen to be so innocent; we are so innocent. This whole seeking business played out in total innocence, really; we didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t quite know what we were looking for but we knew we had to find it.
d) The reason that most are unable to feel the wonder
and the mystery all around us is that
they are imprisoned in the illusory dream of their life, like that classical
frog at the bottom of a well so convinced that
it is the whole world.
For them, life is just like a movie in which they believe having the main role and can choose what they think, say and do, and remain utterly unaware that
they are just the spectators of it.
and quite a few of them not even that.
Erasmus of Rotterdam agrees:
All human life is but a comedy in which everyone acts with a different mask
and keeps playing his role, until the great Scriptwriter
makes him leave the stage…
As the Buddha said:
What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday,
and our present thoughts build our tomorrow:
Our life is the creation of our mind.
How is your mind creating your life?
How would you like to create it?
According to Deepak Chopra,
You believe in the illusion that you are living in the world, while actually
it is the world that lives in you.
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world.
It also runs through YOU.
Swami Sivananda adds that:
All the environment surrounding you is exactly the mirror
of your thoughts. So all your life will be the one
that you have created with your mind.
David Moranis disagrees:
I believe that life is chaotic, a jumble of accidents, ambitions, misconceptions, bold intentions, lazy happenstances, and unintended consequences, yet I also believe that
there are connections that illuminate our world, revealing
its endless mystery and wonder.
e) Consider the dismal picture that Eric Hoffer makes here of Life:
Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved
by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes.
Small wonder that what he craves most
What about YOU?
Do you ever catch yourself craving self-forgetting through amusements?
John Green agrees:
You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth,
thinking how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that the future keeps you going, but you never do it.
You just use the future to escape the present.
Mooji has the right attitude:
What we call our life, is just the waking state and dreaming state…
It’s so amazing!
When the light of Consciousness turns on, all this magic
show begins: you, me, people, time, space,
life, death, religion, beliefs …
Certainly, deep sleep is a clue. Must be a clue for us…
Life cannot be against you, for you are Life Itself. Life can only seem
to go against the ego’s projections, which are rarely
in harmony with the Truth.
Rarely? Almost never.
Eckhart Tolle makes a very important point:
You don’t ‘have’ a life,
you ARE life.
The One Life, the one consciousness that pervades the entire universe and takes temporary form to experience itself as a stone or blade of grass, as an animal, a person, a star or a galaxy.
Note that Mooji said the same thing:
You are not living life –
you ARE life.
Mere sums it all up thus::
Life is a perpetual choice between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, progress and regression, the ascent towards the heights and the fall
into the abyss. It is for each one to choose freely.
Once a famous Imam visited the congregation but the Kabuli paid to him no special attention. When one of the Imam’s attendants remarked that he was almost a hundred years old and therefore worthy of respect the Kabuli nodded but remained silent.
Afterwards one of the dervishes asked Him about it and He replied that
It is not how many years a body has lived that is worthy of respect
but the life of our soul, whether it has emerged or not
from the slumber of the ego!
That dervish then asked Him: But when a soul has not really lived, who was living in his body then?
The Kabuli liked this question, praised him for it and answered:
Why, Shaitan (the Devil) of course, or, like in the case of the Imam,
just a few of its minions!
In Life the Veil prevents us from knowing
who we really are.
Life is a process of constant transformation on so many levels, but the Veil causes most to remain stuck on the surface of their lives, dominated by their ego and personality,
in a kind of absence from themselves, and their whole life, or almost,
is drained away in countless inanities.
When one REALLY sees it for the first time is it quite a shock.
Life IS the whole Dreamgame from beginning to end; until the Great Awakening we are almost completely lost in it.
We face life through a set of mental and emotional conditionings based on the patterns of our unreliable psychological memory, and our whole culture and “education” brainwashed us into believing that life consists in just getting an education, a good job, the pursuit of happiness, etc, but this, even when successful,
is like visiting a most interesting country but after
taking a room in a hotel never going out
until leaving it.
Would you ever do the equivalent of that?
According to Wu Hsin,
What is before birth and what is after death
is the identical vastness.
A life is only the briefest interlude
between the two.
Life is experienced as a series of events
happening to an individual.
Life is happening.
The individual is merely one
of the series of events.
An Unknown has a warning:
A plant is not thinking: Tomorrow I will put a new leaf
to the north and then next week when it rains
I will grow a meter taller.
Its existence is just unfolding out of itself spontaneously, naturally, unplanned.
Similarly, your true life unfolds in the same way but you are unaware of it
because you allow your mind to imagine fanciful ways of being
and then pursue your projections.
Like this, you began thinking and strategizing your existence rather than
simply experiencing your natural being.
Einstein adds that:
Life is too short to waste time matching socks.
How often, or not often, you do the equivalent of matching socks?
Mère sums it all up thus:
Life is a perpetual choice between truth and falsehood, light and darkness,
progress and regression, the ascent towards the heights
or a fall into the abyss.
The Devil’s Advocate:
Humans are always getting ready to live but never fully living, and so seldom ever become aware of it!
Even most of those who are aware of its meaninglessness somehow see no alternative to it and cling to the pettiness of their personality and shallow lives, which is the real cause of all their misery and suffering even more than my client’s bad work.
Let sleeping dogs…sleep!
Your human life should be a story told by the Divine:
instead of trying to make up your own life
let Him guide it.
Life is a cosmic Play enacted with billions of actors – everyone who ever
lived – and the whole world is its stage,
but deep within we have the power to merge with the Scriptwriter,
the Divine, and thus change our part of the plot.
Do you want to change your part of the plot?
Why in this way and not another?
If you fail to do this you will lose your life even before your body dies
in countless moments of unconsciousness
Words of Power:
The dream of our life has but one real aim:
our Great Awakening.
My real life abides
in the Divine.
“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written
by God’s fingers.” Andersen
“The sum total of our life is a breath spent
in the company of the Beloved.”
How many moments do you usually spend with the Beloved?
“It is not life that matters, but the journey”
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
N. D. Walsch.
Where is your comfort zone?
To which extent do you care about it?
“Life is a question asked by God about the way
He exists.” Kedar Joshi
Or more exactly, about the way that He exists IN US.
“What keeps us alive is not bread alone but His Word.”
“No mortal ever lives by breath alone but by “That”
(the Divine)” The Katha Upanishad
“Life beings where thought ends.”
“There is only life, there is nobody who lives a life.”
“Our life is a paradox with God for key.”
How would you change your life?
From Vijay’s Journals – 1964 – Saanen, Switzerland.
Yesterday Krishnamurti said that:
“whenever you take for granted that you know your life then
to that extent you are not really living.”
One of my major turning points occurred when at last I began to find a true direction and finally changed my outlook about life by no longer allowing my ego, personality, self-image and old conditionings to rule it, no longer gave much importance to achieving, gaining or avoiding anything in the external world but began instead exploring the depths of my own being.
Until then I had no real life of my own at all and I was merely
the puppet of forces beyond my control.
Realizing this was of course a big shock for me, which increased even further when I read this passage of Jung which, alas, also applies to how I had been living so far:
“It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others
yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy
originates in himself, and how he continually
feeds it and keeps it going.
Not consciously, of course. for consciously he is engaged in bewailing and cursing a faithless world that recedes further and further into the distance.
Rather, it is an unconscious factor which spins the illusions that veil his world.
And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end
will completely envelop him.”
Question/Ko’han 1 and 2:
How do you see your own life?
You need new eyes, inner ones.
Question/Ko’han 3 and 4:
Everyone’s life is like a fairy-tale dreamt
by the Divine Mind.
Which fairy tale is He dreaming for you?
Question/Ko’han 5 to 7:
Ikkyu said that
For tomorrow’s life pray we although so ephemeral remains; this is
our mind’s habit that already yesterday vanished.
Are you still praying for tomorrow instead of enjoying your today?
Has your mind’s habit already vanished?
Thoreau has the last word and the right attitude:
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not,
when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
To which extent are you really living?
Are you SURE?
If you are already really living don’t bother with this text but go for a nice walk in the woods instead!
1) Consider this scientific experiment
– Some water is synthesized from just two elements,
oxygen and hydrogen, ensuring that it is absolutely pure and does not contain any other organic elements whatsoever.
– A tadpole is put in this artificial water
and although it is absolutely pure the tadpole soon dies.
– The experiment is repeated with equally pure synthesized water,
but this time is exposed to sunlight for two weeks.
Although it is contained in a firmly sealed jar so that no other element can enter it and it is checked with a powerful electronic microscope that it did not contain any organic matter at all, only oxygen and hydrogen, H2O,
several life sustaining micro-organisms have formed in it
and a tadpole put in this water lives.
– There is at present no scientific explanation whatsoever
of how this can possibly happen; the process of photosynthesis has something to do with it
but no scientist has any idea of how.
2) Ask yourself these Questions of R. M. Rilke:
Although against the deadening grip
of daily necessity we strain
this mystery I sense, of all life
being lived – who is living it then?
Is it the things in themselves, or something
like a flute’s unplayed melody inside them waiting?
3) Meditate on these words of Wu Hsin:
There is an Intelligence operating in all organisms, even organisms
without brains, which manages the organisms’ life.
What stronger case can there be than this Something unseen, unknown, is at work, functioning at even the subtlest level? Understand that what is bound to happen will happen.
Events follow one another in endless sequence. All is the functioning of consciousness through the instruments of consciousness. There are no entities although there seem to be.
When we are unwilling to accept life on its terms, when we want things
to be different from what they are, when we define ourselves
by our preferences, all of these sow
the seeds of conflict.
1) This passage of the Quantum physic scientist David Bohm:
The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion….
the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate
is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely
urgent crises that is confronting us today.
Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it.
For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution.
Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles…the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing
of which our civilization is most proud,
and therefore the one thing that is “hidden” because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.
2) This image of Thomas Wolfe
There came to him an image of man’s whole life upon the earth. It seemed to him that all man’s life was like a tiny spurt of flame that blazed out briefly in an illimitable and terrifying darkness, and that
all man’s grandeur, tragic dignity, his heroic glory, came
from the brevity and smallness of this flame.
Note: Actually this flame isn’t small at all, it is immense, but is perceived as such because of our own smallness.
He knew his life was little and would be extinguished, and that only darkness was immense and everlasting.
And he knew that he would die with defiance on his lips, and that the shout
of his denial would ring with the last pulsing of his heart
into the maw of all-engulfing night.
3) These verses of Jack London:
I am life. I passed through ten thousand generations,
I lived for millions of years,
possessed numerous bodies.
I, who possessed such bodies
still exist, I am the life,
I am the never extinguished spark
which still blazes, filling
with wonder the face of time,
always the master of my will;
always venting out my passions
on those rough lumps of matter
always venting out my passions
on those rough lumps of matter
that we call bodies
and that I fleetingly inhabited.
Once as an ascetic an enemy life deemed
a cunning adversary to be fought
but every time I thought I won I really lost –
yes, I know, so dumb was I then!