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November 2013

This Month's Contents: Beliefs are Stored Deep in the Body by Linda Clair | Rumi, Pay Homage by Rumi | Countless Lies by Bob Cergol | What you Want by Shawn Nevins | Nature of Thought Paul Hedderman| Poetry by Walt Whitman | Humor | Quotes | Reader Commentary |

Editor's Note
by Heather Saunders

May everything be as it is.

Beliefs are Stored Deep in the Body

Linda Clair

Q: If enlightenment already exists, why do you say it takes time to become enlightened?
A: While we still believe that we exist as a separate self in the relative world, we also believe that time exists.

Q: So why do we need to act from that belief in time, and accept that enlightenment takes time?
A: We need to disprove our beliefs. At the root of them is the belief in "I" and that encompasses the belief in time. As long as we believe "I am the body" we believe in time. As long as I believe "I" exist, I believe in time.

Q: The so-called obstructions to enlightenment are only illusions, aren't they? If we say it takes time to get rid of them, aren't we giving them power by believing in them?
A: No, because we've taken years to build up these habits and illusions.

Q: And beliefs?
A: And beliefs. These habits go very, very deeply into us. They're not going to change overnight. And by believing in all those things, we also believe in time. So we have to prove to ourselves, through our own experience, that all this is an illusion. No matter how many times we hear someone who's enlightened saying, "it's an illusion", we still don't believe them. It's only when belief turns into trust, that we stop believing anything, and we realize that it's an illusion.

Q: And that has to take time?
A: It has to take time. And all these illusions are stored in our bodies as beliefs, and our bodies are subject to relative time. We've built it up over the years and stored our emotions and beliefs in our bodies. And from my experience, the only way out of time is through the body. It's like you're going backwards in time through the body. It takes time to purify the body. When you're enlightened, you don't believe in anything. There's nothing to believe in.

Q: I think awakening is often understood as a mental phenomenon - as seeing differently. It is a different way of seeing, isn't it?
A: Yes, but it's seeing through the body, seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears...It's pure seeing, through the body, without the contamination of the mind.

Learn more about Linda Clair

For those of us who do not bow enough.

Rumi, Pay Homage

If God said,
"Rumi, pay homage to everything
that has helped you
enter my

there would not be one experience of my life,
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I
would not

~ Rumi

Countless Lies....

by Bob Cergol

[An excerpt from a talk given by Bob at the September 2012 TAT weekend intensive.]

If we allow that the 1st lie we told ourselves was around the age of 7, the so-called age of reason, then by the time you are 21 you have repeated the lie to yourself countless times each and every one of the 5,110 days that have passed you by.

By the time you are 30, 7,665 days of countless times you've repeated the lie to yourself.

By the time you reach 50 the countless daily lies are multiplied by 15,695.

If you make it to 75 the entrenchment is 24,820 days of countless daily lies - 2.2 billion continuous seconds of life lived reinforcing the lie.

Now - do you really think that asking yourself - if you are lucky - once-a-day, maybe in earnest, or more likely, only earnest once in a blue-moon when a random life event knocks the pillars of your ego out from under you - that it is enough to counter the lie that you've lived that you are the personality that owns a body that is animated by an eternal soul - placing that personality anterior to everything that preceded it? Then what are you? What will remain of you after death?

To answer that, change the vector of your attention from looking away from doubt to staring directly into it. It is a window into the Silence where the certainty of Being displaces all doubts.

~ Email

What You Want

Shawn Nevins

As a spiritual seeker, what is your response when asked what you want? Do you unhesitatingly proclaim, “I want the truth,” “I want enlightenment,” “I want certainty”? Do you want peace, rest, bliss, or happiness? Power or knowledge? What other less exalting wants flicker in your mind? Are you actively striving for security, a mate, or creature comforts? Be honest about the motivations behind your actions. If we didn’t have needs, we wouldn’t fire a neuron or flex a muscle.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow explored wants and needs as motivators. Here is his hierarchy of needs (I consider want and need synonymous terms):

It’s a good representation of motivators and at the tip top of the pyramid, though it’s not shown above, Maslow inserted “spiritual needs.”

At a recent workshop, several people answered the question, “What do you want?” by saying “I want to know what I want.” That’s a fairly honest answer indicating familiarity with the changing, conflicting, and multi-pronged variety of our wants. It is also procrastination.

Your body was born and immediately began wanting, hungering, and searching for fulfillment in the exterior world. As the body ages, its wants change, but a thread and theme unites them all. What is the fundamental want, the source of all desire for action?

By inverting Maslow’s pyramid, we trace every want back to its source: the spiritual need.

Imagine a flow of action extending up and out from the triangle’s apex. Our most obvious motivations are farther from the source, but closer to the surface and more visible – the physiological needs. Our spiritual path is to work our way down the triangle by backing away from lesser wants. Spiritual practices often include a period of denying wants through fasting, celibacy, solitude, and other “ascetic” practices. Satisfying all of our lesser needs does not move us towards a spiritual realization. We don’t work our way through the pyramid by satiation. This inverted pyramid also illustrates why Maslow noted transcendent experiences occurring throughout his hierarchy – the spiritual need is the source of human existence rather than the culmination.

The fundamental need is always spiritual. I spent six years in college studying soil science because I saw a beautiful picture of rolling, green pastures in a college handbook. I longed to be in that moment of verdant perfection. At the time, I couldn’t have parsed those feelings. I chased a degree to chase a dream connected with those pictures. I did not, I could not, have asked myself why. I would not have understood the process of finding the need behind my reaction to pictures of nature. I’d never heard of Maslow, or the spiritual search. But you have.

It took six years for me to realize I did not want to be sitting under a tree in a postcard field of grass. What I wanted was the feeling of completeness that arose when I saw (or imagined) the picture. You have to seek the fundamental need. You have to look at your desires and see by experience or imagination what satisfying them gets you. Identify the feeling, then use logic to deduce what will satisfy the feeling once and for all. Don’t keep returning to the same dry well of experience.

Discovering our longing is really not that difficult. Those who “want to know what they want” either haven’t taken the time to examine their desires, or are denying/rationalizing their true longing. We long for a moment of perfection that we feel we have known and lost. It’s not just a moment though, it’s forever. It is a longing and homing instinct we associate with some place and time other than where we are. The experiences, people, and objects we chase and try to hold are echoes of this permanent state.

Check out Shawn's creative endeavors

Nature of Thought
Paul Hedderman

~ Paul Hedderman

"Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of
every moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded
holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea,
rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair."

~ Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself


"How do you swim?" he began after a silence. "You throw water behind and behind you, that's how you propel yourself. Spiritual life is the same; you keep throwing everything behind, as you go on. This is the only way; there is no other."

~ Irena Tweedie, from Daughter of Fire:
Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master.

Published by The Golden Sufi Center,
Point Reyes, California.


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