Tag Archives: Ramana Maharshi

Reminders from the Greats

ram dass

“Be here now.” – Ram Dass

eckhart tolle

“You are not a problem that needs solving.” – Eckhart Tolle

Gangaji

“To be truly happy you must realize who you are with nothing.” – Gangaji

terence mckenna

“Worry is praying to the devil.” – Terence McKenna

marianne williamson

“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

ramana maharshi

“Silence is also conversation.” – Ramana Maharshi

jiddu krishnamurti

“Here is my secret: I don’t mind what happens.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

osho

“A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.” – Osho

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Don’t be silly. Where could I go?

beautiful death

I watched an excellent video yesterday. It was of  Francoise Tibika, the author of  Molecular Consciousness: Why the Universe Is Aware of Our Presence. I’ll post the video below, so you can view it. After I watched the video, I thought of a quote. The exact line I thought of was “Where could I go?” It was something I heard Ram Dass say about Ramana Maharshi. It’s a story he told often during his lectures. This is the quote in context: “Ramana Maharshi, who was a great Indian saint was dying of cancer. His devotees wanted him to receive treatments for his cancer. He said, “No, no, it’s time to drop this body.” Upon hearing this, his devotees started to cry. And they said, “Don’t leave us, don’t leave us!” He looked at them with confusion and said, “Don’t be silly. Where could I go?”

This is the quote from Francoise Tibika that reminded me of Ram Dass’ lecture, as well as verifies what Ramana Maharshi said. In the video Tibika says, “An atom can never die. This is the first law of thermodynamics. You can not lose matter. It never dies. What dies is the coherence. The coherence between your molecules, this is what is lost when you die, the glue. And this glue, which we can call the vital force, has no place in a chemical reaction; vital force does not belong to biological lexicon.” You’ll have to watch the video for yourself to get the entire picture, to have a full view of the conversation. I highly recommend it.

Death is always something our culture & society wants to gloss over, and pretend is not part of life. It is viewed as the dreaded end of life — something we should refuse to acknowledge and embrace. But death is not the end of life, it’s an integral part of it, just as birth is, and change is.

Now that I’ve started to share my thoughts, it brings up another thought: water. There is no such thing as ‘new’ water. You can read more about it here and here. Think of life as water; it’s a constant cycle, sometimes seen, sometimes unseen. And let’s not forget that we are mostly water! It’s all very interesting. Lots to think about. But it’s good we think about it and talk about it. Eventually we will become more fearless. And in fearing death less, we’ll fear life less.

[The beautiful skulls & flowers artwork is by artist Paul Alexander Thornton.]

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Filed under awareness, loss & death

TRUST LOVE // BREATHE EASY

I love great conversations, like the one I posted on April 10, 2011 between Ram Dass & Terence McKenna in Prague. This week I found another interesting conversation I want to share with you. It’s between Benjamin Smythe & Rick Archer (Rick is interviewing Ben). Although, this conversation might be easier for those that are familiar with people like Ramana Maharshi, or teachings based on Advaita Vedanta (known in the west as Non-duality) — I think it’s a universal discussion about life that we can all relate to. It’s about the things that we are all passionate about (in one way or another), even if we have opposing views.

I’ve embedded the video for you to watch, & below that, I posted my thoughts.

Please note: the interview is almost 2 hours long. So watch it when you have the time. But please watch it so that you can hear both sides of the conversation before you read my comments below. (The bold sentences in quotation marks are from Benjamin Smythe, my comments on his points are underneath.)

“What does any of this have to do with that love?”

I love when Ben said that line in the interview. It reminded me of the one thing that is my saving grace. The one thing that unblindfolds me & allows me to see clearly. It’s a question that brings me to the truth.

“What is the truth?”

You can veer from it without suffering. You can stray for a while, but when the suffering starts to appear (& it always will), it’s best that you return to the truth. The suffering is a direct indicator that you have gone too far.

This “truth question” is especially effective in my relationships (be it family, friendships, or romantic partnerships). When I get upset with someone, or I am on the verge of calling it quits because of opposing views. When arguments or frustration arises, & the relationship begins to feel like work, like a struggle. That is when I gently ask myself: “What is true?” And without a second thought, the only truth in that relationship is the love. I remind myself that love is unconditional. This means that it’s impersonal. It doesn’t get its feelings hurt; it doesn’t have needs or desires; it doesn’t believe in right or wrong — it just is. Whatever it was that I was upset about really doesn’t really matter. And more importantly, it will always change — so why get stuck on it.

When I bring my mind back to love in its highest form (love that is unchanging), what is unimportant falls away, & the dust begins to settle. This allows me to be in the moment (with clarity), & I am able to be present.

“Ok. that’s great — but how do I care?”

Ha! I really liked that line. It’s so practical. I think in one way we can say, “Yes, we are all connected & everything is prefect, so let’s let everything be”. But then, on the other hand, “Yes, we are all connected & everything is perfect — now be the change that you want to see”. If you feel that you have a level of awareness, take responsibility for those that don’t & increase your load. They are connected to you, remember? Pay for them, clean up after them, forgive them, assist them, share with them.

Just like a messy room, it’s fine the way it is. It never has to be cleaned & it’s not wrong for being dirty. But when the dust piles up, & the critters take over, & it begins to smell, & it’s hard to keep track of what is in there. I would say that it might be more pleasant for everyone that has to use that room if it were kept in order — or if someone was responsible for it. And the one who is asking, “Who is the one that is responsible for this?!” is always the one that is responsible. Because that person has the awareness to see the mess as a problem. Often, the ones that create the mess, don’t see it as a problem. So when I say that person who sees it is responsible, I mean responsible to help raise the level of awareness for those around them, as well as to get their hands dirty & help clean it up.

“Violence is not relative!”

I know that violence is relative simply because the person committing the violent act has a different view of it than I do.

I understand what Ben is getting at and defending. But to me it simply boils down to levels of awareness & levels of violence. Stabbing, shooting, or bashing someone is extremely violent, most of us would abhor such an act, yet most of the population does it in inadvertently when they eat animals. The average person eats approximately 198 animals per year. These animals are killed & eaten simply for taste or profit, not because people were starving or left without a choice. In some minds, that would be considered extremely violent.

But more than hate crimes, prejudice, racism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or murder committed by people — we cause violent harm to ourselves in grater numbers. Nothing to me is more rampant than self-hate & self-harm. Nothing. (I’m only referring to the violence in our lives.) The physical & mental abuse we put ourselves through is so numerous, it’s beyond my comprehension.

The violence towards another being usually happens because we first have violent thoughts about ourselves. If we were to get a group of people together & ask them: “do you hate yourself?” They would more than likely laugh & say, “Of course not!” Yet live in their heads & hear their thoughts (& watch their actions) for a day, & you will find out whether they do or not.

Self-imposed suffering is the greatest source of suffering in my opinion. And if we got passionate about resolving that issue, I’m sure it would have a domino effect on many other issues that stem from self-hate, such as the violent treatment towards other living beings. The bottom line for me is: if people truly understood the impact of what they were doing, they wouldn’t be doing it. Some of us really can’t “see”.

We all have this lack of awareness in various aspects of our lives. Some lack it more than others, but still, all of us have this “blindness” to some degree. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our own suffering, & at the same time, help to minimize the suffering around us — by doing what we can to help & by doing what we can to not create more abuse. (This includes abuse to the earth we live on, & abuse to the living beings that inhabit it.)

I see the points that both Benjamin Smythe & Rick Archer are making. I just wanted to add my thoughts. And yes, by all means, use a net if you can! Try your best to save even the beings that cause harm (including yourself). Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Trust love. Breathe easy. One day at a time. One breath at a time. Every moment you are alive is an opportunity to be more aware, an opportunity to care a little bit more.

I think this poem by Rumi wraps up this conversation perfectly:

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

To see more of Rick Archer‘s interviews, check out the Buddha at the Gas Pump website. For videos of Benjamin Smythe, check out EternalNectar or BenjaminSmythe channels on Youtube.

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your BIGGEST OBSTACLE doesn’t exist

This blog post is a follow-up to a previous post I wrote called What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now?

I want to start off with a quote that sums up this entire blog post:

“Real obstacles don’t take you in circles. They can be overcome. Invented ones are like a maze.”Barbara Sher

When I asked the question “What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now?” Not one of my blog readers said that their biggest obstacle was life threatening. No one said, “I’m dying of a deadly disease” or “I’m starving with no access to food” No one was being chased by a tiger or was caught in a natural disaster without any sign of hope. Everyone said things that exist only because they were agreed upon by society. Credit card debt, self-doubt, getting paid for meaningful work, & developing self-mastery. How did these things come into existence?

Let’s look at money. Money isn’t real in my opinion, it’s an agreement. We all agreed that something (a piece of paper) is worth something & we act according to that agreement. This is something we all created & agreed upon. We made it real. The same goes for the other things mentioned. We all created them & we all gave them significance.

The answers I received from my readers fit into four categories:

1) Paying off debt
2) Overcoming fear & self-doubt
3) Doing what I love & getting paid for it
4) Being more disciplined

Although there are four categories listed, I believe they all stem from just one: Overcoming fear & self-doubt.

If I use myself as an example I can honestly say that all of the categories are a challenge for me. They all feel like a huge obstacle. But all of them can be dealt with easily if my mind wasn’t conditioned. Society & culture, we ourselves have created this conditioning & this environment. The environment has created a habit in us & that habit has created a problem. This can be changed if we view it differently & choose to create a new reality.

For example:

Paying off debt – I can file for bankruptcy if my debt was too much to bear. But then the fear creeps in of “What will people think of me?” or “What if I need credit for something?”

Doing what I love & getting paid for it– I can focus on what I love & try a few of my ideas out to see which ones create the biggest response. But then the fear creeps in of “What if I invest lots of money & time in trying something new & it doesn’t work out?” or “What if people don’t respond to my new business idea & it fails?”

If we look at a problem or obstacle what follows are the ‘what ifs’. The ‘what ifs’ always seem to have the last word. The ‘what ifs’ are the real problem. And they don’t even exist!

I will share with you four ways to view your biggest obstacle. These are empowering big-picture views. Views that can literally make your obstacle shrink or feel weightless. Your problem will no longer look like something blocking you, some heavy burden preventing you from moving forward. It’ll appear as it is, an illusion.

View #1: ‘What if’ is the problem.

‘What ifs’ seem to be the culprit behind most problems & fears. ‘What ifs’ are nothing but unnecessary suffering. People hardly ever have positive ‘what ifs’ They always seem to be negative. Another thing about ‘what ifs’ is that they are always future based. (Which means they don’t exist.)

“What are you worried about the future for, you can’t even be in the present.”Ramana Maharshi

“The best preparation for the future is fully being in the present.”Ram Dass

Get real with yourself next time a disempowering ‘what if’ comes up for you. Is it a factor or threat at this time? Are you OK right now? Do you have all you need for this moment? Let it go & focus on the moment & on the things that really matter. Throw your ‘what ifs’ in the backseat & keep driving. You can take them along, but don’t let them drive you around. You’ll never get anywhere!

View #2: The answer to a problem is in it.

Let’s use credit debt as an example. Maybe the solution isn’t getting an additional job to pay it off, or borrowing money from a family member to lower the debt. Maybe you can call the credit companies & negotiate a reduction. Or maybe you can file for bankruptcy (who cares what people think!). What I’m saying is, don’t look for solutions outside of the problem, work within it. Better yet, use it!

“In Judo the punch of someone else becomes the energy you work with to defeat them. You work with the energy that comes at you, by moving with it rather than going against it.”Ram Dass

I know this might sound really silly & insignificant, but last night I had a problem. The pillow that I like to sit on as I work on my laptop felt too low, too flat & it was hurting my back to sit that low & write. (My laptop sits on a small black wooden table.) All I had was this pillow like cushion & a piece of fabric that I was placing on top of it. I was annoyed at the time that those two things were all I had to work with (I don’t like sitting on chairs if I can help it). But then an idea popped in my mind! Why don’t I tightly roll the pillow & wrap it in place with the fabric. Sort of like a burrito. This was the perfect answer! This cushion was now the perfect size & height, it was also nice & firm. A perfect match for my wooden little work table. My back felt fantastic & I could write on my laptop freely! – The answer was in the problem.

View #3: The way out of it is through it.

Imagine a thick fog in front of you. It’s so dense that you can’t see clearly. All you can make out is a blurry vision of something. The best you can do is guess at what it might be. The way out of this fog is to go through it. It is the only way.

The thing that you think is holding you back, or setting you back, or in the way of where you want to go really isn’t there. It’s just a conditioning of the mind that can be changed. If you can just see through it, as well as work your way through it, you would be on the other side.

My knee is a great example. I was in a car cash in 1997. My left knee was operated on after the accident. If I don’t exercise regularly I get knee pain. It may seem counter intuitive to think “My knee hurts when I move it, maybe I should be moving it more” But that is the solution! I had to work through the pain to become painless. Now that I exercise consistently I never have problems with my knee.

Don’t be afraid to dive right in & work through the problem. You can’t work it out by avoiding it. And sometimes the problem will appear bigger before it can disappear. Just work through it & know that you will make it through to the other side.

View #4: Action is the opposite of worry.

This is actually the solution I use the most for my problems. If something is bothering me, I have to do something about it. Either actively let it go or physically address it. It may not mean I solve it in one swoop, but it may mean I take a bite out of it. I show it who’s boss so to speak. I am no longer paralyzed by it & it no longer seems bigger than me. I am chipping away at it. Things are moving!

“I never worry about action, but only about inaction.”Winston Churchill

“We don’t have a problem, we need a plan.”Timothy Leary

When I heard someone say that Timothy Leary quote I thought, “Yes! My problem is not the problem, I just need to see it another way!” This kind of thinking is nothing but awareness. It’s a higher level of awareness. It’s big picture thinking.

I hope these views are in some way helpful to you. Just by sharing them I feel lighter. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to post them & discuss them.

I started this post by saying that one quote sums it up. I will end this post with two quotes that wrap it up:

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
Albert Einstein

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”Lao Tzu

Use your problem as an opportunity to see how your mind thinks. Then rise above this current way of thinking & create something new. Hurrah!

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Filed under awareness, fear & challenges, great quotes, how to, unlearning