Wednesday, March 4, 2015


         Then there’s self-preservation.  May it be viewed less a separate, distinct power among others, then  a primordial, pervading coalition of  inherent appetites variously ordained to preserve one’s existence. Talk all you want about the ‘higher mind’, but unless the gross, everyday sensual needs are catered to, you won’t get very far. Most obvious act of love is the enduring desire for self-preservation.
         Quite simple. You are walking alone  in a forest and suddenly you spy something moving behind the pine trees. Spontaneously, your mind wants to know what is that! We don't want to stay in a vague, indefinite state. Our curiosity wants to figure out what it is, for 'that' merely acknowledges something there. When we ask the 'what' of some that, we want to know what constitutes the ‘that’.
What dragonfly does not know that.
         Starting with our pedestrian perspective, we venture to know the world at large. Call it curiosity. The moment we know something, anything, no matter how meager, makes that slim act an instance of self-realization. Ponder. Did we not increase our knowledge? That simple expansion proves that we have the capacity for cognitive and emotional enrichment. We now know more than before. To follow that natural propensity allows us to broaden our awareness of life and thereby seek richer or lesser realities and protect ourselves from possible dangers. Simply, we are enlightening ourselves. Self-realization, self-enlightenment, self-fulfillment, self-actualization, happiness itself, are different words for ‘know thyself.’ The full aphorism carries much more:  Know thyself and thou shall know the mysteries of the Gods and the Universe. Now that’s more like it.

Befriend the impermanence of things:
         Students speak of spirituality as an ideal that often includes the denigration of mundane realities. They would be appalled to appreciate their quest as nothing more than and confined to intelligent living, even calling it a life of optimal wellbeing.
Treat ancient myths as sacrosanct….even literally true…dogmatism easily sets in.

Try a fresh outlook:
         At their recent anniversary gathering, the cheerful nuns graciously offered a workshop at IHT for female yoga students on how to handle grumpy swamis and lazy, meat eating students. Rifles and ammunition will be supplied for attendees.         

The Woods of Meditation              
What strikes us moderns as a strange phrase: a malaise of soul. Thoreau put it pointedly: "The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." As far as he was concerned, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” 
Could the first assertion arise from the failure of understanding the second one?

                                                                                                          The Wanderer