Sailing To Infinity


Looking at this photo reminded me of something.  If you stand looking out to sea it could be that at some stage you will see a ship sailing off into the distance.  “There she goes”.   As the ship continues its journey it appears to get smaller and smaller until it eventually disappears over the horizon.  Now imagine that on a far distant shore there stands someone just like yourself, looking out to sea.  All of a sudden a ship appears on the horizon, ”here she comes”,  and seems to be getting bigger and bigger as it nears the shore.

The ship getting smaller and then bigger again is, of course, an illusion.  At no time during the course of the journey did the size of the ship change.  It may be worth me mentioning to you that what I have just described to you is the cycle of birth and death.  We use our vehilcle, or ship (physical body) to sail from one shore to the other across the ocean of life.  As we leave one dimension with our loved ones seeing us off, ”there he goes”, seemingly diminishing in size, we enter and grow into another, with loved ones welcoming us, ”here he comes”.

At no time during the course of the journey did ”who we really are” grow or diminish in size ; we were always Divine Spirit in all its infinite glory.

The photograph above was very kindly provided by Author and Photographer Janet Beasley of JLB Creatives.  Please follow the link below to access Janet’s blog.  Janet is a featured author at loveahappyending.com

http://jlbcreatives.blogspot.com/p/about-janet.html

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That Sinking Feeling


A yogi once challenged Sri Sathya Sai Baba to a contest of powers; of course, as you would expect, Baba did not even entertain the yogi and treated the request with the contempt it deserved.  The yogi had organised an event, during which he was going to walk on water, and his thinking was that if he could get Swami to attend, his name would attract huge crowds, thus giving the yogi a chance to make some good money.  The day of the event came, and in front of the gathered crowd, the yogi stepped out onto a large vat of water and promptly sank!  Speaking about this some time later Baba said that the yogi’s downfall was that he allowed his judgement to be swayed by his ego.  Once the ego entered into the equation the yogi was always going to be a loser.  This story prompts me to muse on the powers that yogis have and whether having such powers makes someone a spiritually enlightened person.

I remember reading Autobiography Of A Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.  Yogananda wrote about how he went in search of his guru.  Before he met Sri Yukteshwa Giri, who would evetually become his guru and master, Yogananda encountered several others who seemingly had amazing powers and would have made ideal teachers.  There was the levitating saint and the swami who wrestled with tigers and always won.  But the astute young Yogananda saw all these things for what they really were, which was nothing more than novelty.  he was not interested in showmanship; he was searching for enlightenment.  To us mere mortals a levitating yogi or a tiger wrestling yogi would surely be the ultimate guru.  But in truth, although it takes a great and prolonged period of spiritual discipline before an individual could levitate or walk on water, the yogis who develop these powers are actually quite selfish.

You don’t develop such powers by devoting your life to others, you develop them by devoting your life, by and large, to yourself.  As Baba always said, in this age of vast change the simplest and most effective way to reach God (enlightenment) is to engage in the selfless service of others; for to serve others is to serve God; God being present in all human beings.  This action of selfless service is called Karma Yoga; yoga meaning union with God.  It is said that those who use their precious time here on the Earth to develop amazing yogic powers without giving of their time in service to humanity do not become truly enlightened.  To devote so much time in developing powers of showmanship would imply that there is always going to be an attachment to the ego-self.  A truly enlightened being, Buddha for example, would have been in a permanent state of bliss because he transcended the ego.  Whereas the yogis in question would merely have flitted in and out of a blissful state.

What we feel as individuals on this subject of course depends on our own perception of what is ”fantastic” and what isn’t.  Swami himself used to say that his miracles of manifestation etc. were only for the purpose of grabbing people’s attention, and did not in any way represent his true mission here on Earth.  For examples of Swami’s true miracles we need look no further than his fresh drinking water projects, his Super Speciality Hospitals, his hospitals, schools and universities; and of course the way his very name united millions and millions of people from all over the globe and from all walks of life.

Sunset


Ahh sunset; that beautiful crossover point between day and night.  Two polarities in perfect paradox to each other; that cannot exist simultaneously but at the same time cannot exist without each other.  Indeed they only exist BECAUSE of each other.  For if there were no day it would be impossible for night to follow.  Indeed, how do we know when it is night time?  Because we have EXPERIENCED day time, and when the sun sets on the horizon we know that the day we have just experienced will be replaced by the night.  But wait!  There is a further paradox here.  Because we also have sunrise which exists in juxtaposition to sunset, and everything just stated about sunset also applies to sunrise.  Just one example of how the whole of creation exists as a perfect paradox.

Have you ever considered this….. How lucky we are that we are able to experience pain?  You see, pleasure and pain go hand in hand and you cannot have one without the other.  Consider further, that if we were to live our lives in a permanent state of bliss, it would be so boring.  Why?  I hear you ask.  Because if there were no pain and we lived our lives in a permanent state of bliss, we would never know we were happy because there would be nothing to compare our bliss with.  It’s like prefering to taste the sweet juice of an orange as opposed to the bitter because we have tried sour fruits and concluded that we do not like them.

Think about all the trials and tribulatioons that you have faced in this life and it will be difficult for you not to feel that you have gained great strength from them.  It’s also true to say that we learn so much about ourselves by experiencing life’s ups and downs.  Think about who you are today and it will again be difficult not to acknowledge that you are who you are BECAUSE of your experiences and NOT in spite of them.  Externally you may perceive yourself to be weak when faced with adversity, but you always manage to delve into that infinite ocean of inner strength and pull out something extra when the need arises.  This is because you actually ARE a being of infinite bliss, and it is the ”inner” that is your truth and not the ”outer”.  The external world of paradox is simply an arena where we play the game of life; a stage, where as actors we take part in each scene of the play in accordance with our choices.

Choices?  That is also a difficult one, because none of us would consciously choose pain over pleasure.  But what we can choose is how we deal with the experiences that come our way.  That is the beauty of relativity; one man’s success is another man’s failure.  What makes me laugh may make you cry.

Once descended into flesh our sun rises through infancy, adolesence, adulthood and old age until it eventually sets on the dreamland stage of this earthly life, only to rise once more in glorious, glorious light; a perfect paradox…. a truly perfect paradox.

All is perfect, so perfectly perfect

Whatever being lives, moves and breathes on Earth

At every level from atom to galaxy

Is absolutely perfect in its place.

The Isa Upanishad

 

 

Unity In Diversity


Today, 10 September 2011, I attended a fantastic event in Bath that was organised by Region 7 of The Sri Sathya Sai Organisation here in the UK.  The event was an interfaith prayer meeting and it was attended by representatives of the Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Bahai and Jewish communities of Bath, and of course, devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

It was a very harmoneous event with some wonderful devotional singing and an amazingly inspirational video; we were also graced with the presence of The Mayor of Bath himself.  But for me the highlight of the afternoon was one hilarious moment when a man called Peter, representing the Jewish community, roped his son, James, into joining him on stage.  Then in the middle of trying to teach the audience to sing in Jewish, he grabbed his son for an inpromtu Jewish dance.   The hall errupted in laughter…..ahh that wonderful thing, laughter; the universal language that everyone understands; that great bringer together of people.  That particular moment along with the afternoon’s events in general proved once again that race, colour, creed, sect and/or religion are no barrier to people coming together in love and harmony.

For me the event summed up what Swami’s teachings have always been about.  He never preached religion, instead he encouraged people to always do their best in whatever religion they were born into.  He always said that people should simply strive to be good Hindus, Christians or Jews etc. and that we should never criticise the faith of another.  As ever Swami’s presence was very strong in the hall and I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.  To finish I will share with you a poem by an Irish poet called John O’Donohue, which was read to the group by the minister representing the Christian Community of Bath.

On Meeting A Stranger

With respect

And reverence

That the unknown

Between us

Might flower

Into discovery

And lead us

Beyond

That familiar field

Blind with the weed

Of weariness

And the old walls

Of Habit.

 

 

 

The Religion Of Love


My heart has opened to every form. It is a pasture for gazelles, a cloister for Christians, a temple for idols, the Ka’ba of the pilgrims, the tablet of the Torah and the book of the Koran. I practice the religion of Love; in whichever directions its caravans advance, the religion of Love will be my religion and my faith.

Ibn El Arabi – 12th century Sufi mystic

Marcus Aurelius


In December 2006 I approached my friend, and wonderful psychic artist, Patrick Andrews to do a spirit guide portrait for me.  Patrick only needs a piece of handwriting, which he tunes into, in order to produce such a picture.  As we live in different towns this was very convenient for me.  I sent a piece of my handwriting through the post and waited for him to tell me it was ready for collection.
In early January 2007 I got the call from Patrick and duly arranged to go and collect it.  I had no idea who the guide was; and all Patrick could tell me was that he’d had the name “Aurelius” flash through his mind whilst drawing.  I took the portrait home, got myself a nice big frame a few days later, stuck it up on the wall and kind of forgot about it.  In the ensuing weeks I got a vague picture of Aurelius a few times during meditation, but it really was very vague, so I simply forgot about it some more.
At some stage during the summer of 2010 this character started to draw close to me during my meditations and also started to work with me very closely when I was engaged in my spiritual work, to the extent that we became very close.  I was most glad to be associated with this extremely strong presence.
In February 2011 I was reading the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, and in the particular chapter I was reading the author quoted the most wonderful piece of philosophy from a character by the name of Marcus Aurelius, who apparently lived about 2000 years ago.
“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs”.
I thought this a coincidence, but in my typically apathetic way, I didn’t think too much about it.
Over the next few weeks I started to think that this was too much of a coincidence.  Then on the evening of 17 March 2011 I finally decided to Google the name “Marcus Aurelius”.  To my amazement there was a whole universe of information about this truly great being.
Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180) was a Roman emperor.  He was one of only five Roman emperors to have been considered “good”.  He was also revered as a great philosopher.  The most incredible thing was that the busts of him displayed on Wikipedia did bear a remarkable resemblance to the portrait that hangs on my wall.
I know that in truth names are meaningless and that you now enjoy life in the timeless realms of the nameless and formless, but I shall still refer to you as Marcus for the sake of human logic.  So, I am truly honoured Marcus that you have made yourself known to me and that we now enjoy a close bond of brotherhood.  God bless you brother!

The Alchemy Of Love


You come to us
from another world
From beyond the stars
…and void of space.
Transcendent, Pure,
Of unimaginable beauty,
Bringing with you
the essence of loveYou transform all
who are touched by you.
Mundane concerns,
troubles, and sorrows
dissolve in your presence,
Bringing joy
to ruler and ruled
To peasant and king

You bewilder us
with your grace.
All evils
transform into
goodness.

You are the master alchemist.

You light the fire of love
in earth and sky
in heart and soul
of every being.

Through your love
existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane
becomes sacred again

~Rumi