Friday, November 11, 2011

Going Beyond Karma

"Chance. Is there chance? No. There's karma. Karma causes all things to happen. It makes the sun come up every day; the moon go through its 28 phases; it causes your birth, your death. It's what makes your days and nights, days and nights.  Karma. Why do you meet someone? Karma. Why don't you meet someone else? Karma. Why do you love one person more than another? Karma. Why are you in the career you're now in? Karma."   ~ Rama    from Zen Talks - Karma

Karma is such a baked in word in society these days, and simplified to the point of hardly touching on the actual essence of the meaning. Understanding karma can help you through life in the most amazing ways. The exoteric understanding of karma is, if you do something nice for someone, someone will do something nice for you, and conversely, if you do something bad or unkind, something bad or unkind will come back to you. This is a highly simplistic view of karma. Karma is really related to states of mind. If you're in a clear state of mind, or a joyful or loving or open state of mind, you can see the options of life before you with understanding, you can see your choices, and they reflect the state of mind you're in. If you're in a dark, unhappy, miserable state of mind, you don't see many choices if any, and those you do see lead to greater darkness. This is a somewhat more accurate way to understand karma.

"It's good not to think of karma as an alien force that's outside of yourself because you are the generator of karma. Karma is your own energy - the energy patterns that emanate from your life, from your actions, from your thoughts, feelings and desires, your attractions and aversions, hopes, dreams, plans and schemes - karma."  ~Rama

For example, if you find that you make an unwise choice, one that seemed promising but ended up bringing you to a state of unhappiness and misery, then you find yourself with less options in front of you. It doesn't necessarily get better because the situation that made you unhappy is gone. Your state of mind was impacted, and results in unhappiness. Perhaps you'll decide at this point to get your mind off of your unhappiness, and you'll look for distractions to feel better, while knowing all the while that the distraction will only be temporary. Eventually you'll return full bore to the state of mind that the original bad situation carved into you. At this point, if you understand something about karma, you might be inclined to look a little more deeply into the matter. You might ask yourself honestly - how did I get here? And, if you're honest with yourself, you might be able to turn things around with your sheer will, but for most people, they don't necessarily want to look into it. They'd rather continue on distracting themselves, hoping that the unhappy state of mind will go away. And maybe it will, but the impact of the original scenario has been made - on you, your state of mind, your view of life. It has changed your karmic profile from one that was a little lighter, a little brighter, to one that is a little darker, one that is a little more inhibited - that has less clarity and expansiveness to see what's in front of you.

"The idea is simple. For every action there's a reaction, for every cause there's an effect, for every effect there's a result, and a new situation is created. Karma can be examined within the structure of an hour, a year, a lifetime, thousands of lifetimes. But the active principle is the same - you, your choices, your decisions, your awareness. How aware are you? What determines how aware you can become?" ~Rama

Karma is your state of mind - right now. How did you get to this current state of mind? If you track back, you'll realize that everything you've been through up to now, and more specifically the way you responded and the state of mind that resulted from your life's experiences, has brought you to this moment of the current state of mind you're in. In talking about karma this way, most people can relate. You make a choice that wasn't the greatest for you, and then you make another that continues not to be very good for you. You start to build up a momentum and things keep moving in a direction that is more and more limiting. It makes you feel locked in. At a certain moment, you ask yourself - wow - how did I get here? The answer is, karma.

When people consider how this happens in life, most agree - yes, it has happened many times. And at the end, we feel that we're in a bind and don't know how to get ourselves out of this mess. Perhaps we hope someone will come along and help, or it will go away, or something great will happen to make things better. This might be the case, but even in these scenarios, if your karmic profile starts turning around, toward brightness, it's because you've shifted your state of mind. And the shift helps you to see there's another direction - one that can take you higher, to greater insight and to cognizance of brighter options. But for most of us, we find ourselves getting stuck and becoming more miserable and more locked in, without having the courage to seek help, or having the insight to get ourselves out of it.

"Karma, first of all, comes from the mind. Karma is engendered by states of mind. For example, if you're in a happy state of mind, that will engender one kind of karma. If you're in an unhappy state of mind, that will engender another kind of karma. It's best to think of karma, not so much in terms of physical action, but as waveforms of vibratory energy." ~Rama

The best, most wonderful wild card that humanity possesses is meditation. When you meditate, you gain perspective. You take the time to lift yourself out of your current state of mind - your current self, and you move your mind into expanded states of awareness - unencumbered by thoughts. In these expanded states, you gain perspective. It's as if you've been down in the mire of the jungle, with a limited view, inhibited by all the trees, bushes, vines and obstacles, and then you climb a mountain. Suddenly, you can see. You can see the jungle below you and the traps you got snagged in. You can see a lake just a ways off that you didn't even know was there. You can also see a path that leads out of the jungle and into an open meadow. You continue going up higher, and eventually you can see there are a myriad of other paths that lead to many new, exciting and beautiful places. Now you have options. You have choices, you can see. Your state of mind has shifted from one of being crowded in with the dramas of your life (the metaphorical jungle), to one that has clarity, perspective, new insights and many more options (the metaphorical mountain heights). Options that you couldn't have known were in front of you when you were mired in the foliage of the jungle (your thoughts and emotions).

After a meditation, you don't ever have to go back down to that jungle. You can forge ahead on one of the many new paths you discovered in front of you. Paths that will lead to new adventures, new discoveries. And in those scenarios, no doubt, you'll find yourself getting stuck again, and again and again, but now you've learned how to find and climb to the high points. You know how to meditate. And you've come to find, when you really apply yourself, that meditation can lift you right out of where you are, right out of who you are, and into newness.

But, another interesting aspect of karma is the attribute that develops a momentum that most people get caught up in and don't know how to stop it. Imagine that a rock falls out of the sky and into a lake. The lake will ripple. All the ripples in the lake will affect everything in the lake - the swimmers, the fish, the boats. For the time of the ripple effect, everything is impacted. So too, there are karmic ripples. These karmic ripples simply play out. We can watch them with detachment, with the simple understanding that this is the effect of the initial karmic splash. For example, back to our jungle example. If we're in the jungle, and our toe gets snagged on something, perhaps it's broken and bleeding. Just because we climb up on the mountain and get perspective doesn't mean the broken toe will go away. It won't. It's there, it's part of the karmic ripple of getting caught in a trap, that was in the jungle. But having climbed up high, we can now see where the traps are and avoid them in the future, or find another scenario altogether. But, we still have our broken toe. The broken toe was the result of getting caught. Now, we're no longer caught, and we can see how to avoid that trap and maybe others like it, but, we still have the broken toe.

So, back to karma as a state of mind, specifically, the state of mind you're in right now. This is your karma. One bad decision can send you on a track of bad decisions; make the bad decision, get hurt, become upset, become reactionary, lose your balance, make another bad bad decision. It can become a cycle. Or conversely, one good decision can send you on a track of good decisions; generate insight, experience joy, achieve clarity, make another good decision. The game of life is far more enjoyable and satisfying when you can see. When you can see where you're going, you can choose where to go. When you can't see, then it's easy to get frustrated, to fall, crash into things, and not see the options in front of you of how to best proceed. And the thing about being human is, when we fall and crash, we become upset. We get angry or depressed or violent, or apathetic...And the reaction locks in the state of mind on a path - a path that spirals down (or up).

For example, imagine running out of the house to catch the bus to work and you miss it, you might get upset. Then, being upset, you're not really watching where you're going, and we stub our toe. It hurts, you cry out, you hit a tree in anger and hurt your hand. Now, you're limping and aching and angry. Someone walks by you who was ready to be kind, but you can't see or notice their smile. Perhaps it was an old friend from college, and if you'd been in a better state of mind, with the ability to maintain your equilibrium, you might have stopped to talk, and in the conversation, they might inform you of a great job they know of that would be perfect for you. You'll never know that because you were wrapped up in your reactionary state. It shifts your life. You get to work and your boss is upset that you're late. It might not have been so bad, but they point out that your foot is bleeding and insist that you go get it taken care of. That take another 30 minutes. Now, you've missed a key meeting, one which you might have been able to give great input, which may have created new ripples of opportunity. But you missed it. And, your boss is more upset because you're missing more work, which upsets you. And on and on it goes.

On the other hand, if you had meditated that morning, even if you'd missed the bus, you might have a moment of aggravation, but you'd have the clarity and perspective to realize it's not the end of the world, and perhaps you'd  quickly realize there's another line that can get you close to work across the street. In a more balanced state of mind, you'd stop to notice your old friend, and perhaps you'd pat yourself on the back for getting a lead to a great job, and you'd feel that being late was worth it. And that new state of mind carries you through the day, giving you different and varied experiences because your state of mind is open, clear and joyful.

That's a closer idea of karma than, do something nice, and something nice will happen to you. Instead, it's perhaps more accurate to say, if you do something kind, it will open your state of mind. That new state of mind will allow you to see new options more clearly, and your life will continue to take new directions, ones that keep leading you to greater clarity, more opportunities, more kindness, and attracting people and situations that keep you moving in the highest direction.

"There is only one thing that karma can't decide, and that's how far you will evolve in this lifetime. How much you'll wake up. How much you'll come to see and know before you leave this place again. That is up to you. The rest is karma." ~Rama

So, meditation is the wild card - the key, to not only show you the karma producing dramas that keep you locked into ever shrinking views and opportunities, but to give you the power and insight to find and move in new directions. Ones that keep you expanding and growing. And learning all the while to accept the karmic ripples with equanimity and humor, with courage and understanding, until one day, the karmic engine stops altogether. Then, the karmic ripples will move through your life, once and for all, as you watch with clarity, wisdom and love, beyond wheel of karma, beyond the wheel of birth and death. Have fun living in the wild territory of new and ever heightening perspectives that come from your meditations!

To hear more from Rama's Karma talk, go to his Zen Talks to listen to
  Karma and other Zen Talks (click on link)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Having Profound Meditations

In today's world, meditation is becoming the new "in" thing. Like yoga, it's becoming part of mainstream life. But is the meditation being peddled into the masses via self help, style and fitness magazines and instructors actually the kind of meditation that enlightened teachers, including the Buddha and many others, have taught throughout time? Hardly. It's diluted - watered-down. It's a tool being sold as a way to deal with the stress of everyday living. And that's great. It's like going to the beach or the park, like taking a vacation or having a glass of wine at the end of the day. Nothing at all wrong with any of that. But, is it what the enlightened teachers of the planet have taught throughout time? Is it what they experienced in their meditations? No. If you're practicing meditation to relieve stress, that's valid, but that's not why the Buddha, why enlightened teachers mastered and then taught meditation. They taught it for a reason that is not at all popular with mainstream culture - in any time, any country, any peoples, except for maybe pockets in India and Tibet that have slowly fizzled out. Enlightened masters practiced and taught meditation because they wanted to break the barriers of the Human Condition. They wanted to experience Awareness. Truth. Self Mastery. Fearlessness. Freedom. Overcoming illusion. Going beyond desire. Merging with the infinite expanse of existence.

Is there a way to experience this in today's world? Of course. Though, it may seem daunting given the crowded, psychically jammed up airwaves that have created an ozone of static on the planet. But, that static is created by something that has always been here on the planet - something that all enlightened teachers, including the Buddha, had to learn to go beyond: Illusion. Yes - it may be a little tougher now to cut through such a thick layer of psychic pollution because there are so many humans crowding the planet, but they say that in times of greatest darkness the light shines the brightest. So, you can still find the light of truth - in yourself, in life, in meditation.

How can you do that? First, find some inspiring books of others who have gone beyond illusion. The point of reading these wonderful books isn't just to hear about other people's stories. That's great, but there's another reason that will give you a huge boost if you find the right books. These books, written by or about enlightened teachers who have gone beyond illusion, can actually infuse you with the highest, purest most perfect awareness of existence. And this essence, this sublime consciousness, can be absorbed by you - by your consciousness, and it will lift you up. It's a way to get a sneak peak at the most brilliant consciousness experienced by other humans who have mastered the self. The list of these powerful books can be found at the bottom of this blog page.

Second, start learning to meditate. There's no better way of learning in our day and age than to be guided through the process by a modern day yogi who worked incredibly hard to go beyond illusion - Rama. He learned to master the self through meditation and mindfulness, and eventually went on to teach others how to meditate and live in enlightened states. If you listen to Rama's talks on how to meditate, the consciousness of profound and perfect meditation comes through his talks and it makes it very easy to learn.  "When we meditate, we quiet the mind and open ourselves to our limitless possibilities. As a human being, you are capable of a higher level of perception than you may now be cognizant of."  Click on the following link (colored text) to hear an Introductory and Intermediate Meditation talk by Rama.

Once you've listened, try meditating on your own. Eventually, you'll continue progressing by reading more of the books on the book list below, and eventually, you can try listening to Advanced Meditation. It's a great talk that will help you further your progression on your path of self discovery.

What are you after with meditation? What are you aiming for? To start with, your efforts will be focused on going beyond thought. As you sit down quietly, in a comfortable position with your back straight, quiet your mind by ignoring thoughts. You can focus on an object, like a rock or a yantra, to help you stop thinking. Move your mind beyond the constant inner chatter, and allow it to expand beyond the boundaries of your personal dramas, which is essentially what the chatter is all about. There's something bigger than the illusory visions we have of how life ought to be, thoughts around fixing things, thoughts around getting what we want, etc. There's a big, bright infinite universe of wisdom and love to experience, to merge with. So the first thing is to learn how to go beyond your small mind - the result of being conditioned into the Human Condition, and moving it into what in Zen we call Big Mind - that is, the oneness of existence.

Another way to find a huge boost in your ability to meditate, to silence your mind and go beyond thought, is to listen to meditation music. Rama worked with some top musicians of the world to create music for students to meditate to, that would help them get through not only their own mind's raging thoughts, but also the psychic pollution of this world. To hear Rama's talk on using meditation music to help stop thought, listen to his talk from The Enlightenment Cycle Series called Meditation. Here, he talks about why he created the music, how it works, and how to use it to achieve amazing, clear, brilliant states of higher perception and awareness.

Finally, when you're ready to meditate with the music, follow this link to the Zazen website to download one of 2 albums that are great to meditate to. The first is Zazen's Enlightenment CD, and it's great to meditate to in the morning. The second is Zazen's Canyons of Light CD, and it's great to meditate to in the evening.

After reading some recommended spiritual books, you'll begin to learn about Dharma, or Truth. The Dharmic teachings are the essence of truth that the enlightened teachers have come upon in their discoveries. The essence of all the Dharmic teachings of enlightened masters are the same, though the outer form varies. The Dharmic teachings as conveyed by Rama are a powerful and insightful way to start learning about the Dharma in this day and age. There are numerous talks which will guide you on the path of your own self discovery, so you can start to uncover your own inner truth. Follow this link to encounter all talks by Rama: Dharma Talks by Rama.

If you're interested in finding a sangha - a group of like-minded seekers that is interested in enlightenment, leave a comment and I'll be happy to offer some customized suggestions. You'll learn many great things by listening to Rama's Dharma talks, like visiting places of power, figuring out how to set your life up for greater, more profound adventures into light and truth, learning how to overcome illusion, fear and limiting, out-of-control emotions that hold you back. You'll learn to become an empowered seeker of truth who can bust through the limitations that have been formatted into you by the Human Condition. You'll learn to find your highest self, and live in that extreme, brilliant, profound silence and joy beyond words. Good luck on your journey into Big Mind! May the Force Be With You!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Being and Non-being - from Insights by Rama

Being and Nonbeing

Between here and there,                          
Time and space,
Man and woman,
Yin and yang,
Brightness and darkness,
And just about anything else
You can think of, there is
Being and nonbeing.

What is being?
Being is consciousness.
Or more precisely, to be conscious.
And to be even more precise, who is conscious.
And to hassle the details, being is
Who is conscious and what they are conscious of.

Nonbeing is easier:
Nonbeing is unconsciousness.

In your quest for enlightenment you will learn
A great deal about being and nonbeing,
Because enlightenment is neither.
Enlightenment is like a highway that can
Only be reached by journeying down other roads
That lead to it.
There are many different roads that you can take in
Life, and most of them don't lead to enlightenment.
But being and nonbeing, even though they have nothing
Directly to do with enlightenment,
Will lead you there.

Some hints from someone (that's me) who has travelled
Down the bumpy roads that lead to enlightenment and
Quite a few of the roads that don't:

To find the road of being you must:

First!       Love someone or something more than
               You love yourself.

Second!   Take chances constantly.

Third!      Stop taking yourself so seriously.

Fourth!    Start taking others more seriously.

Fifth!       Never give up hope.

Sixth!       Meditate more deeply today than you ever

Seventh!   Learn to dance.

Eighth!     Feel the pain of the world and be happy

Ninth!      Let go and let eternity do with you what it

Tenth!      Look beyond all of this and know the truth.

To find the road of nonbeing, you must
Simply overcome yourself.

Quote taken from
by Rama, Dr. Frederick Lenz

Insights is available at the Frederick Lenz

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding An Enlightened Teacher

"I’m an enlightened teacher and my name is Rama. I’ve been teaching Buddhism for lots of incarnations, and I teach it in this incarnation. But none of us really teach Buddhism. Buddhism is a way of life. It’s yoga. And we practice it. People can watch us practice it; they can learn how to practice it by watching, by observing, by listening, by becoming sensitive. But I think it’s something that life teaches us. We are teachers. We are necessary, but life is the real teacher and always remember that." ~Rama
Is it important to have a teacher on the pathway to englightenment? Definitely. Do they have to be in the physical? Not necessarily. The Buddha stressed 3 components in walking the path to truth successfully, (success meaning, continually progressing without veering off, crashing, becoming an egomaniac, getting distracted by or sucked into the wrong planes of attention, etc. I'll discuss these issues in a future blog). The first is the Buddha - meaning, you need an enlightened teacher - someone who is liberated, who has transcended the human condition through their own self effort and lives in states of perfect light. The second is The Dharma, meaning, the secret teachings of ancient, mystical wisdom that have been handed down through the ages. The third is The Sangha, meaning having a group of like minded buddies who are also having transcendant experiences of light, humor and silence. With these 3 parts moving in your life, you'll be able to walk the path with grace, integrity and joy.

In many cases, people start with The Dharma, in which case, they've found a book or a set of techniques, perhaps a way to meditate or to "stop the world". Something entices a person to begin exploring their possibilities. Many times it starts with the question "Is this it? Could this really be all there is to life? Is this planet, this insanity of humanity (hey - it rhymes!) - is this the only way - to live, to be, to die?" And when the answer is, "IT CAN'T BE!", then a person starts exploring. They might read a book such as Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, or, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, or Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda, or Surfing the Himalayas by Rama (Frederick Lenz). In any case, they begin to question the authority of this reality we call life on earth.

"Study the great teachings of the teachers, read books that expand you, that are bright. See films, plays, art forms that elevate your consciousness, that bring you into a sense of how beautiful this world is, how beautiful other worlds are, how beautiful nirvana - the transcendental - is." ~ Rama
The next thing that may happen is a person becomes prompted to find other ways to be. Perhaps they look into something on a physical level, such as yoga or back-packing. Or, perhaps they go a little deeper, and look into Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Taoism. Then the moment comes. They want to go much deeper.

This is the point when they might begin taking steps towards changing their fate. They might start meditating, or whirling, or chanting, or practicing mindfulness. And then, they usually hit a wall. How to go deeper - into truth, into silence, into the light beyond this superficial layer we call life on earth. At this point, they may or may not acknowledge that they're looking for a teacher. But, they want one. They want to be guided into the highest realms of possibility by someone whose gone there, who lives there, because by now they've accepted that there is no limit, there is no truth to the human condition, yet truth exists - in existence! And it's time to start exploring and transforming. To see the mysteries and marvel at the wonders of eternity. To experience love, power and unrivaled joy.

So then, does a teacher show up magically? Should one go searching for a teacher, to the far corners of the earth? Usually, when a person is ready to start going deeper, and when they are open to existence and begin to trust their own inner truth, vs. listening to their personality and ego view that was conditioned into them, when they start asking for guidance, Yes, life will bring it. The only question is, will the seeker be open enough to see when the teacher appears.
"That's what I'’m trying to tell you, my friends. To be happy is not something that happens to you because you're born, because and you live on this earth. Nor is it something that happens to you because you're rich. I know a lot of wealthy people in West Los Angeles. They're not necessarily happy. Money doesn't make you happy. You might as well have some if you can, but that's not the ticket. Health is nice. It doesn't make you happy. You only notice it if it's not there. Fame doesn't make you happy. It just makes you look in the mirror a lot, worry about how you look today for your audience. They are fun things to pursue if you get a kick out of them, but what makes you happy is not being born - it's not having a human body - it's not this world. It's a decision. It's a decision that you make every day, and that you renew - that you strengthen through meditation." ~ Rama
So here we are, at the stage where a person wants to know, needs to know, is there a teacher out there for me? Like when Dorothy asks the wizard, Is there anything in that black bag for me? YES, there is a teacher out there for you. Do they need to be in the physical, or can you still make progress without a teacher in the physical? I guess it depends on who you are. Some people do need a teacher in the physical. Someone sitting in front of them having REAL experiences in light. On the other hand, it can also be a bit of a distraction - everybody vying for the teacher's attention, when the teacher doesn't view anything on those human terms. Yet people are projecting human-ness into this non-human association. Then these distractions become a layer of illusion that doesn't need to be, shouldn't be, part of the experience of working with a teacher. Either way, it may be difficult to run into a teacher who is fully enlightened. It's rare and there aren't many of them on the earth at any given time.

On the other hand, some people may prefer an enlightened teacher who has lived in their timeframe, in the modern world. One who understands how to reach enlightenment and gives explicit, relevant, applicable steps toward doing that. Rama was such a teacher. He was born in the U.S. in 1950 and grew up during the 60's youth counter-culture revolution. He sought truth throughout his youth and studied with many mystical yogis, one of whom was enlightened. He's the real deal. Rama is no longer on this earth, but his teachings and truth continue to live through the practice of hundreds of students.

Rama was fully enlightened - he attained what is known as liberation, meaning, he worked very hard, in many many lives, meditating and practicing mindfulness, until he was no longer imprisoned by the human form, the conditioning we all receive as people who are born. Here in the U.S., when he meditated, the room turned gold - a fluid, ecstatic light infused all who were present. He taught many students. He was a brilliant teacher who reached into eternity for truth and didn't accept the status quo of society or the human condition. He was radical in his ability to merge with all of existence inwardly, yet outwardly, he was very disciplined and conservative in that he always aligned to truth - never to expectations placed on him by society, students or family. He was conservative financially in that he was frugal when he had no money and philanthropic when he did. He was adamant that his students handle themselves with integrity, with what he called etiquette, meaning, bringing your highest consciousness to student activities, including meditations, dinners or spiritual journeys. The rest of the time was your time, to get your life together, meditate with love and consistency, and practice mindfulness in all aspects of life. But he also encouraged allowing the ecstasy of meditation to bring fun, brilliance, and excitement to your life.
Some places in the U.S. where Rama taught
"I’ve been teaching yoga and Buddhism for a while - many, many, many lifetimes. I’ve had lots of students, disciples. A long time ago, many lives ago, I had great teachers, radical, radically wonderful teachers who brought me through the enlightenment cycle like I’m bringing some people through the enlightenment cycle in this and other lives. And the thing that I’ve noticed, that I learned from my own teachers a long time ago in another universe, the thing that I’ve observed in the successful students that I’ve had over the lifetimes, is a quality which I think you can develop. I think it’s something that’s in each of us, and it’s a quality of gentleness but strength, silliness but maturity, optimism but a sense that it’s not going to be easy, if not impossibly difficult, but we’re going to get it done anyway, a kind of quiet fortitude that is renewed by a person’s love of light." - Rama - Balance Talk
Rama was very hands on in terms of teaching students how to become seers, to use their intuition in life's decisions, to integrate the teachings into everyday life and to ultimately become wise and become their own teachers. But, he was very hands off when it came to the personal lives of his students. He expected students to figure out their own lives and rarely got involved, unless a person had a question, in which case he would turn them back to themselves to answer their own question. He ran a squeaky clean center - no ashram politics. Everything was handled very professionally, in a business like manner, with a grace and elegance that were brought to all scenarios, which usually included periodic meditations at a university lecture hall or hotel conference center, or dinners held at beautiful venues in various cities all over the world. There was no "party line" with Rama - he didn't allow for it - for groups of people to formulate clicks of whose cool, or whose in, or, who has special access and knowledge. And there were no "ashram patrons", no rich students who gave him all their money, who he would then be forced to treat in special ways. No. Instead, he charged tuition, in a university like manner, equally across the board. In this way, people used all the power and energy they were gaining from meditation and empowerments, and applied it to living a balanced, dynamic life, using all elements of daily living to learn about love, truth, compassion and humor and to go more deeply into light through their own personal practice.
Some of the places Rama took students on spiritual journeys 
"You decide to be happy. You find out how. You find the happiest person you know, but not happy in a facile sense. We'’re not talking Rodney Dangerfield who makes me laugh, but I have no idea if he's personally happy. You find a special teacher, someone who doesn't just look majestic and say the right words, but someone who themselves is obviously intrinsically happy in a very deep and quiet way. Someone humorous, someone you can see if you probe their depth beyond just the external caretaker personality they may choose to manifest, someone who is really at peace with themselves. They’ve got it wired. You learn happiness from someone who knows it, like you learn mathematics from someone who knows it." ~ Rama
One of the things about Rama is that he lived the adage of freedom - samsara is nirvana. Meaning, eternity is in everything, enlightenment is in everything. It's in consciousness and it's in the physicality of the world. Everything comes from the same source and returns to the same source. We are all that existence. Therefore, we don't need to run away to a monastary and avoid living in the world. Instead, Rama taught students how to see truth in everything, going grocery shopping, getting a haircut, having a career, yet using the progressive abundance generated through career to have a beautiful home - one that could be used as a meditation sanctuary, and to have the mobility to take holy journeys of power and transformation all over the world.
"Balance - It's a way of being. It's a conscious decision, and the shortcut to happiness, to spiritual balance, is to meditate. If you meditate twice a day and not just sit there but actually meditate, raise your attention with your willpower to a brighter sphere of consciousness, learn the discipline of meditation and practice it in, hopefully, a very beautiful way - if you do that, and you have a teacher to direct you who is happy, not just someone who has good PR, then you will find happiness. But it doesn't just come. Otherwise everyone would be happy in the world. Hardly anybody's happy, not even for a moment. Take a walk today and look at how many people smile. Not many. Look at how troubled they are. Look at how unhappy, how stressed out. Whether we go through the ghetto or we go through Beverly Hills, they're stressed out. They're not happy out there. And even the ones who are happy (what they call happiness) are just looking at the fog bank. They can see a hundred yards and that's all. Real happiness is something most people never know. What we experience in yoga, in deep meditation, that ecstasy is beyond what human beings call happiness. Yet it's human beings who experience it, who practice yoga." ~Rama
The long and the short of it was, Rama didn't have a problem with money, sex or materialism. He taught that it's all in your intent. If you make money and use it to spread the Dharma and to live in fields of light, then money isn't so bad. If you have a relationship and you learn from it, to give, to love, to offer your highest consciousness to your partner, then sex isn't so bad. If you use your money to create a life of beauty, with furniture, clothes, a car, food, that vibrates with you, that is high vibe and fun, then materialism isn't so bad. But because Rama didn't kow-tow to traditional, staid religions, because he didn't appear in traditional garb, because he didn't seem like the world's notion of a holy man, he got lots of heat from traditionalists and media. Rama was outrageous, but in a beautifully radical, free, powerful, loving and compassionate way. He didn't live to be understood by humanity.

Of course, if you're bucking the system, if you're going beyond ego and teaching others to do the same, why would the collective ego of humanity like you? They don't. As a matter of fact, an enlightened person is the ego's worst nightmare. Why? Because their life is about going beyond ego - busting it, exposing it, transcending it. So, it's true, the planet didn't understand or accept Rama. But when it comes to enlightenment, when have they ever?

I am a mentor and I was given the secret teachings by my teacher, Rama. He was enlightened. He could meditate on his students and shift their consciousness to one of pure light beyond thought. That was his talent - he could use his power to infuse a person's consciousness with light, whether he was with them or not. What does that mean? It means that a person could go beyond thought and beyond the out of control monkey mind altogether into perfect silence, and be inundated in the light of eternity. It's blissful, revolutionary, and feels like you're swimming in an ocean of love. You experience the oneness of the universe, and come to a knowledge that you are that - that light is you - it exists within you and you can access it through meditation. That's one of the most wonderful aspects of having a teacher is, they introduce you to the light of eternity that is within you.

So, back to teachers. Rama was enlightened and as such, he wasn't hampered by the physical.  He had come to understand the nature of life and death, of the physical and the immortal. He had dissolved over and over in samadhi - the highest of meditation - merging with pure light. He was liberated - the ultimate freedom that keeps progressing into newness and truth every minute. Given that he had transcended the human plane, yet he chose to be here to teach his students, he was able to teach them inwardly, through a heart connection of truth. So, can you do the same? Absolutely! That's the good news :) I've seen students who have established a connection with Rama and he teaches them inwardly all the time - through meditations, mindfulness practice, through dreams, in all of life's situations. If they're open, they get ushered along through the teachings he left behind, but also through a very live-wire connection with the truth that he merged with, the truth that is existence, that is inside of all of us.
"If you'’re interested in happiness, you want to be balanced in life. If you want to be able to handle death and life, success and failure, then I would suggest that you practice yoga and Buddhism, not just go through the motions, not just do what everybody else does. But that you find a teacher who is happy, focus your life on happy and beautiful things, put a smile on your face even if you don'’t feel like it. Don'’t just sit there. Go do something. And don'’t expect that it'’s going to be fun unless you make it fun." ~Rama

So, do you need a teacher? Yes! Find one. It's wonderful to know you have options. You can choose to study with Rama, or any other enlightened teacher. It can be someone in the physical, or it can be an enlightened teacher who lived and taught at some point on the earth. Someone like Babaji or other teachers from his lineage such as Lahiri Mahasaya, Yukteswar, Yogananda.

Ramakrishna was a wonderful enlightened being from India in the 1800's and there were many teachers who came from his lineage such as Brahmananda or Vivekananda.

Ramana Maharshi was a wonderful Indian guru, or Adi da - an American teacher, or Shunyru Suzuki who taught Zen or Chogyam Trungpa from Tibet. There are teachers who are alive and having many transcendant moments with students, such as Sri Kaleshwar. 

If you choose an enlightened teacher who is no longer in the physical, you may want to find a mentor and sangha, somebody to walk the path with, who also studies with that teacher. If the teacher was truly enlightened, then they transcended the physical and can still provide a beautiful connection between you and eternity, until you've established that connection so completely that there is no difference - then you are the enlightened buddha, you are the perfection of existence. It can happen :)

Good luck in all your journeys into light!

To hear the Secret Mystical Teachings of Enlightenement, visit Rama's Official website:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Foot After The Other Into Perfection

Every brilliant journey begins with the first step. How do you start meditating and allowing your being to dissolve into the endless ocean of eternal perfection? It's easy to start. What makes it easy is your decision to be committed to meditating every day. Once you come to that decision, it will be something you love doing, like taking a shower, going hiking, finding a glimmering surprise, having sex with someone you love. Meditation, when done correctly, brings you into the oneness, into the beauty of existence - something we all seek, but usually in transitory ways. Meditation is not transitory in that the awareness you experience becomes who you are. It brings new colors into the palette of your daily experience - new colors that you can paint your daily painting with. And as you experience new and varied things with more awareness, you begin to love the expansive perspective meditation gives you. So, it's not hard to meditate, just as it's not hard to shower, or have a great meal, or find a new mountain to hike.

Every meditation is different, though, and the important thing to remember is not to judge your meditation. Allow yourself to experience whatever comes your way, with the intent of not letting yourself get caught up in thoughts. Instead, gently move your mind back to your focus. As Rama said in his talk, The Awareness of Meditation (click to follow link), it's not so much being creative in your meditative practice that brings you to perfect awareness, it's consistency. So, start building up momentum by meditating each day for a short period of time, once a day, preferably in the morning to start your day off feeling high and clear. Try meditating for 15 minutes. Sit on a pillow, or against the wall, or in a chair - as long as your back is straight. Have something in front of you to focus on, such as a rock, a yantra, a flower or a candle flame. Focusing on something inspiring in front of you helps you to wrangle all your wild thoughts into one corral - one focus. Once you've done that, it's much easier to discard them.

Focus until you feel your mind is still. Then, move your mind to a chakra. Chakras are energy centers that have various attributes associated with them. The concept of energy meridians in the body is part of the ancient understanding of the orient that is just making its way into western civilization now. But these concepts have been well developed and understood for centuries. Human incarnation - this world, is made of the union of matter and energy. Yet, no one teaches us about this energy and how to deal with it, to take care of it, to cherish it, and keep it healthy. Yet, without energy, we die. So, coming to understand energy and how it plays out in our lives is inherent to becoming an empowered meditation practitioner. This starts with understanding the subtle physical body, which is our energy body. We have seven major chakras, starting at the base of the spine and moving up our energy spinal cord, called the shushumna, to the crown chakra. Rama describes it in his talk The Subtle Physical Body (click to follow link), as follows:
"The subtle physical body is made up of ether. The physical body, according to the ancient yogis, was made up of fire, water and air. These elements, these three elements, would constitute the physical condition. Think of them as symbols. There's not too much that I can say or explain about them. It's something that you just have to feel inside yourself.

Think of fire as heat - one aspect of the kundalini or of the infinite awareness, one way of seeing life, the fire of the sun that generates life. The fire of the sun is in the solar plexus, in the navel chakra, and in the root center, the base chakra at the bottom of the spine. Think of those two chakras in your being as fire.

The heart chakra and the throat chakra you can think of as water, if you will. The lower three chakras could be fire, and the chakra, the energy center, in the center of the chest and also in the throat would correspond to the element of water - just to try to give you a sense of the tonality of these things of which I speak, for which there are few if any words. Air would be connected with the third eye, between the eyebrows and slightly above, the Agni chakra, and the crown chakra would also be connected with air."
So, you start your meditation by focusing on something outwardly as suggested above, then you close your eyes and bring an internal focus to one of your chakras. Start with your navel chakra which is located just below your belly button. Imagine yourself as a luminous egg, and right at the core of that egg, right in the center, is your navel chakra. It is the chakra of power, will and strength. When focusing on it, you draw from the bottom three chakras. Focusing on it will not only help you wrangle your thoughts together so you can discard them more easily, but will also begin to engender those qualities in your life. Chakras are also a doorway to the fields of energy beyond the physical, which is the whole point of bringing an initial focus to your meditation - to move you beyond the physical. As you continue your meditation, move your focus to your heart chakra. This chakra is located exactly where you point to yourself when you say "me". It is referred to as the throne of consciousness. This is where your spirit resides and is the source of who you are. This is the chakra of love, beauty, compassion, joy and silence. Focus on the heart chakra, and you will begin to engender these qualities more strongly in your life. Then, move your focus up the shushumna to your third eye chakra. This is located in the center of your forehead, an inch or so above your eyebrows. This is the chakra of intuition, intelligence, wisdom, vision, clarity. Focusing on all three of these chakras in concert during your meditations will bring tremendous balance to your life, but will also give you an immediate boost in being able to move from the physical plane to the planes of energy, and eventually, to the causal planes - or the planes of light. A great talk on this is Meditation (click to follow link).

At the end of your meditation, it's great to bow - as a gesture of gratitude. In bowing, we begin to reverberate with the essence of existence that is within us, we acknowledge that with reverence, we give our meditation away to eternity, and simultaneously, we realize that we are a tiny drop in the endless ocean of awareness, making sure to allow the purity of our meditation to pervade our awareness with humility and understanding.

If you meditate every day, you will start picking up a momentum, of strength, power, clarity, joy, lightness of being and unadulterated love. You'll begin to feel whole, like you don't "need" people in your life to make you feel okay, to fill a hole that comes with being alone. You'll realize that you are connected to all of existence - you are perfect in your essence. If there are people in your life, you'll have so much more to offer, because you won't be needy - you'll be free. Free to listen, free to love, free to give, but also free to walk away if that's what's right. Being whole in life is called Integrity of Being. It means that you are happy with who you are, and who you're becoming, and ultimately, you actually welcome being no one in particular, because that means living in the fullness of truth beyond the limiting ego - as buddhas before you have done. You accept yourself as a being in progress. You accept wherever you are right now, while also continually moving your mind out of the negative patterns that defined you, that were conditioned into you and that made you unhappy.

Your meditation practice will ensure a life that's filled with extraordinary adventures - explorations into the mysteries of existence. You'll begin to see life in its myriad forms, colors, understandings and connections. To see, amidst the chaos, illusion and horror that humankind has perpetrated onto this earth is the most beautiful gift that is available to us, and that we have to offer each other. May your adventures be filled with beauty, light and love.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meditation Is Soaring Through Light

Meditation is the way to truth - to our own inner truth, and ultimately, to the truth of existence, beyond the puny man-made human condition with all of it's arbitrary rules and limitations. Real meditation isn't what they sell in the mainstream. Real meditation is revolutionary. It's a way to change - to rewire - to undo the damage done to us as individuals through the false, hypocritical, binding conditioning that we all get as humans. We're swept into the club of the human condition from birth without even knowing it, and then expected to kow-tow to the "modality of the day", that is, to act like everyone, behave in a way that is in line with society's expectations, and generally, to not bother to notice that the human condition is a sad, dull reflection of man-kinds' inability to perceive truth, magic and awareness.  

Meditation shows us The Way, beyond the limiting factors of our
 upbringing, perceptions and opinions. It is a way to move into
 fields of light - the energy of the universe that we're all made of. Accessing that light and dissolving into it is what happens when you really meditate. At the end of the meditation, you feel lighter, you see more brightness in the world around you. You have insights that allow you to understand who you are and how to proceed in life. How to keep moving your attention into brighter fields, into more expanding understanding that leads to wisdom and compassion.

What is this light? Light is just a word. It's impossible to discuss with our language because human beings tend to be so "out of it", so in the dark, that as a race, we haven't even come up with ways to discuss our experiences in truth. Maybe that's better - it keeps them more pure, more untouchable - unstainable by human ideas. Sanskrit was a spiritual language and had ways to discuss these things, but most languages these days don't even know there is something to discuss. As Rama pointed out, "What people do here is obviously not working. They sit in their commuter traffic hour after hour, making the earth a toxic waste dump."

Referring to humanity as being in the dark does not refer to individuals. As individuals, we have the capacity to be fabulous, funny, intelligent, insightful, selfless - to soar! But as a race of beings, we've fallen far short of our potential to know and interact with the truth (that is our source of life) in our societal mores and transactions. We tend towards the lowest common denominator, and that's what then defines us as a particular society of a particular time. But, at any moment, any one of us can jump out of our molding and try new things, be heroic, offer inspiration to the world. And meditation gives us the insight, energy and inspiration to do that - frequently, until it's what we are. But it's actually fairly uncommon, to meet a truly heroic person. Yet, we're all built that way. But, as Rama simply states,

"A society that destroys the environment that supports it, I would not consider to be intelligent life.
A society that can destroy itself and places the largest amount of revenues
in instruments of destruction is not evolved or intelligent."

It's worth taking note of this sickness, of the dullness of a race that is mindlessly driven by the status quo. Looking honestly at the state of affairs, at what the world has made of this miraculous opportunity of incarnation, can perhaps be one of the most inspiring reasons to meditate and find truth in your own way, since we can, since it's been done before, since Buddhas of yore have shown us that it's doable. Rama made the teachings accessible to us in today's modern world because he himself yearned for and reached pinnacles of brilliance in his everyday life, and shared how to do it with the rest of us. He rebelled against the status quo with quiet commitment to truth. And there are those who wanted to tear him down for his  Why accept this dismal planet's view of life when you don't have to?  So, back to the question - What is the light of existence that begins to peak through in the beginning of our meditative forays, and then bursts through as mind-melting torrents of liquid ecstasy more and more frequently as time goes on? And which eventually brings us back to the beginning, with innocence and sparkling eyes wide open?

All there is to say about it is, if you want to experience that light, that ecstasy, life in its true state, then meditate, with heart, with aspiration, with your total being, with one-pointed focus - everyday. If you've come to the conclusion that the grayness of settling for what society, what the powers that be, have to offer, which is only as good as the best TV show, or Las Vegas show, or Comedy show, or Discovery show, all of which are highly entertaining but won't ultimately fulfill your life - if that's it - if that's all they have to offer, then meditation is an exquisite alternative for discovering brilliance that keeps coming on - stronger and higher.

When you see the illusion of life, that is, understanding that everything in our lives is transitory - every part of this earth, everybody and everything currently in our lives, will be gone soon, then it's easier to get to what's real - what lasts. That is, awareness, light, love, Truth. Understanding that and living with that in mind allows you to move your mind and life away from the cravings and desires that may or may not bring short lived satiation. It allows you to move your life toward that which is eternal, toward that which is beyond words, beyond the mind's knowing, and into the endless ocean of perfect light.

For talks on How To Meditate from the master, Rama, an enlightened Buddhist monk who lived in our time, in modern society and offered truths relevant to seekers today, visit