Making images : our major test as humans

 

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Humans are actually taught to make images to symbolize or represent almost everything – for remembering, for recognizing, to navigate, and so on – and we excel at it. This aptitude to bring to bear rich imaginations and wide vision in our daily lives is one of the things that differentiates us from animals and plants.

But actually, this often becomes an abstract route to creating our exclusive way of seeing the world. It literally forces us to identify, to stamp ‘me’ and ‘mine’ on that mind moment, and if we are not mindful we may become attached to such images, mistaking them for reality.  

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This temptation to ‘identify’ with the images we constantly create is our major test as humans – our conditioning and DNA (countless ancestors who have lived distant to the sacred) lead us to etch a clear line between reality and the imaginary, to make a distinction between the visible and the invisible. Also, we unknowingly consign ourselves to experiencing life always from the sidelines, via concepts and archives.

But many of us have never even heard of this test which means that we have fully and unconsciously turned our backs on our divine mission. Instead, we favour and over-cherish a synthetic ‘self’ invented by the dictatorial intellectual mind. This is pure ego and arrogance: some would say it is the dark side of human beings, our personal ‘Satan,’ our samsara, It is as if we are constantly resisting the gravitational field of love and goodness. These resistant consumers surround us in modern life: those who live lives of surrender and desireless-ness are rare.

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Science informs us that human beings have evolved physically as much as they can; in other words, that we are at our peak as a species, but evidently our spiritual evolution is badly retarded. As a result, most of us are not truly happy and neither is the world at large. We are restless, insatiable, destructive and primitive, unable to create harmony in our social groups for the most part and constantly craving artificial stimulation.

In our short-sightedness in life most of us convincingly conceal our terror of death and disappearance. But this endemic fear has caused us to lose the use of so many subtle tools available to the higher mind: the mind of ‘grace’ (Christian) or emptiness (Buddhist) or moksha (Hindu). Instead, we invest all our energy in the visible, the intellectual and in acquiring. We give over our precious human existence to shopping, possessing and questing for attention, and so we have become major stakeholders in the worlds of materialism and sensual satisfaction.

Given our huge stake, it is logical that we sit back in our high comfortable chairs, flicking switches and frittering away our time viewing visual collections. Logic? – Another resistance to what is natural.

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We may even make images to represent our own minds: for example, the iceberg with its small tip showing above the water surface and its mass below, symbolizing the conscious mind and the unconscious mind respectively: the onion with its tender centre and its layer upon layer of ever-hardening skins is another. Although this may be useful to try to appreciate or recognize the difference between these two contrasted aspects of our mind, it does in fact separate them from one another in an Aristotelian way.

By attaching ourselves to such images, we are unwittingly identifying with them and so coaxing our contrived ‘self’ to acquire and possess compulsively.  In actuality, there is no self to identify with anything material because we are beings of energy made flesh for the express purpose of evolving spiritually.

It is preferable then to avoid making or encouraging these images even though they may seem to ease understanding. Ironically, understanding in its original sense is connected to listening not looking.  Perhaps, rather than finite blocks of black and white as captured on screens and pages and in bold framed linear scenarios, there is only a boundless greyness which floats and fleets in whatever shape is needed to embody the essence of love. There is only an unconditional listening, a subtle flickering of our essence of light.

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If we give up trying to pin down our feelings, cementing them into our foreground, crying out for witnesses to come forward and acknowledge us, asserting our view to others, we might realize that the field of awareness is infinite and has no boundaries, no images.  Then we can quietly coalesce in the field needing no images or intermediaries at all.

By closing the busy outer eyes so addicted to colour, shape and orientation we can close the image albums and lock the archives, walking away to our real home beyond all concepts created by the human mind. Then we will be able to clearly hear the sound of reality moving and merging, the concrete sound of infinity and eternity, of goodness and the divine.

True understanding consists of universal unconditional listening during which nothing is pinned down, nothing is owned and everything becomes one. We embody love with our true nature enabled only by the privilege of breathing air granted from the universe. Everything else is simply arranged only to stimulate the intellectual mind.

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‘We shall know each other by our deeds and being,

and by our eyes and no other outward sign save

the fraternal embrace.’

The above is a verse from the Cathar Creed (1244), The Church of Love. The spirit of life is played out whilst silently respecting everything on the material plane though not identifying with it; accepting everything but quietly supporting those who need support. It is clear from our history that identifying and possessing destroy and engender greed and ignorance. Using images is, in a way, an attempt to possess aspects of the visible, to keep them for reference as a source of knowledge.

The medieval mystic Cathars possessed nothing material, not even Bibles which showy Christians had become slaves to. Indeed, all the great spiritual adepts have dispensed with material supports. Instead, they did what was natural and wholeheartedly embodied their spirit of compassion and humility.

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I have deliberately positioned myself in my life in a different culture (Japan) in which I cannot easily read or write or even understand the society around me.  This is the most precious opportunity to stop making images and concepts.  I notice that I am not using my mind in the same way as I did living in my native culture because it is often impossible to make interpretations of my environment here.

As I wander down crowded streets decked out with loud kanji, katakana and hiragana neon signs so characteristic of Japanese cities, whisked aside by bicycles mounted on the pavement and bustling people pushing through crowds, I can often only listen deeply and breathe. It is no use bringing out my image albums and brandishing metaphors and idioms because they are meaningless in a culture which reads the air instead of dissecting and deeply analyzing ideas.

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It is often impossible to imagine what is going on in other minds around me because there is no pattern I can predict, no pictograph I can possibly imagine, no inherited template. I can only embody my love and float around sealing away the intellect and allowing visions to temporarily occupy me, while relying on my ancient senses to help me to navigate.

There is only the field of awareness. I am the terraced shaking paddy, standing in sluiced rice rows, paddled by ducks and frogs, activated by tremors from the inflamed warts of the Earth’s crust below me, burned and bundled and finding its way inevitably into famished stomachs.

Here, I have dramatically learned how not to be separate from anyone or anything here in a Land created from the hair and kimono of the million gods. To interfere with this seamlessness for even a second to create an image, to snap a shot, would make me gasp for air!

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Images: courtesy of megapyxl.com
  1. Bird and web  – Alisen.com
  2. Sensing Energy between palms –  Nikkizalewski.com
  3. Man hunting. bushman’s prehistoric cave art –  Wilad.com
  4. Three geisha –  Razvanjp.com
  5. Cosmic Transformation –  thefinalmiracle.com
  6. Iceberg – Luislouro.com
  7. South and North pole and all things related – Stuidoclover.com
  8. SoundHealer’s web banner – Nikkizalewski.com

Innocent Voices Conveying Crucial Messages

The story of how I wrote my Australian work Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day

the writer

As an author, I sometimes find myself between two worlds: that populated by the hard facts with visual proof told in R.T. (Real Time) or man-time as I like to call it; and that of the spirit, invisible, unbidden, in need of no proof.  The former is championed by frightened people of knowledge, out of contact with their fire and their true nature, who argue and disturb people in the name of the so-called truth; the latter champions speak quietly from their experience, not knowledge, and have no argument with anyone but simply wish innocently to share their view of the world, to enrich, to edify others.

What should I do if I have repeated dreams and take on wholesale the strong flavour of something invisible beyond knowledge, something I cannot pin down into facts and justification?  I could stay quiet and for the most part do, but in some cases, I can use the literary or artistic vehicle to convey a crucial message out loud.  People listen to art whereas they often stuff their fingers in their ears when it comes to politics, religion or humanitarian common sense, all of which are often based on the much over-rated ‘knowledge.’

25 years ago I arrived in Alice Springs on my way to visit Ayer’s Rock, the aboriginal belly-button of the earth, and was unexpectedly selected to join a group project in the South Australian Desert. At the time, I had no idea that this experience would completely transform my life, but it did, and I have written about it quite innocently in my novel,Easy-Happy-Sexy (2013).  Some years after the experience, I had several very strange dreams, both waking and sleeping, about the tribal leader I had encountered briefly there called Ninija.  Quite soon after through the ether she initiated me into Desert Wisdom and became my spirit guide, and to this day she appears unbidden in my meditations and dreams, always addressing my higher self. 

Ninija indicated to me that developed peoples are in the process of rapidly destroying the Earth and each other and that it was time she told her story of the damage they had done to her people.  She appointed me as custodian of this story and set about relaying it to me through images, songs, and fables.  It tumbled out of me and I wrote it down in strangely disconnected notes which eventually I consolidated into Easy-Happy-Sexy.   There is no way I can prove this happened to me, so I ask my readers to take my word on it, and to listen avidly to the urgent message Ninija wanted me to convey to ‘my people,’ (people of the developed world).

I have no logical explanation as to why this happened or what my connection with these amazing tribal people is, but I do know for a fact that we who inhabit the visible or mortal world are our ancestors and that we are entrusted to carry forward our line. I strongly feel that my ancestors were once indigenous to Australia and have chosen me to convey this wisdom at this precarious time in human history.

Now you may say that every white English-speaker or speaker of European languages may expect to have ancestors who were involved in the migrations and exclusions from overcrowded Europe to various parts of the New World. But in my case, I feel the reverse happened.  By the same token, if we consider that the presence of aboriginal Australians has been detected as long ago as 40,000 years and that our ancestors may stretch back to that prehistoric epoch, then why is it not possible that I have traces of them in me, modern citizen of the developed world that I am?

The objective of my group experience in the South Australian Desert was to escort Ninija and the surviving elderly and children of her tribe back into Aboriginal territory in the very centre of Australia so that they could once again pick up their traditional life.  I actually experienced some beautiful aspects of that traditional way which was being revived, and I felt so at home with them: they made good sense in terms of the Earth and its inhabitants.  Many of their traditional ways are truly ancient, stretching far back long before they had encountered white-fella’s concepts of ‘time’ and ‘space,’ to an epoch of harmony and the flourishing of the Earth. This Golden Era when humans were young and innocent and lived closely with nature is how things were meant to be before arrogance and power took hold and we allowed negative emotions to rule us. The visible was just a small part of the invisible then so we were energy-sensitive – able to predict the future and tell the past, to know each others minds, to live outside concepts and theories, but most of all able to commune directly with our ancestry and the spiritually-evolved beings who walked among us.   

Recently white settlers in Australia are arguing about who actually is from indigenous stock, bringing discrimination into the most natural and ancient scenario of all.  The native people have lived peacefully and harmonically in Australia for 40,000 years.  Talk about Hubris! Arrogance!  Discrimination!  Going where the limelight is! Etc.  And the so-called white writers can only write about native life as observers if they insist on observing the facts and staying within charted and visible territory.  I have ventured outside these boundaries into the vast invisible world and through my spiritual awareness am certain that I have, as mentioned, native Australian DNA somewhere in my being which laid me open to becoming an advocate for the rights of native peoples in general, and to awakening to my Australian spirit guide Ninija.

About a year ago, I started to conceptualise a non-fiction work which came out of another such spiritual and life-changing experience of the Cathars, medieval mystic Christians exterminated as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. Once again I found myself transplanted to the Eastern Pyrenees, the chain of peaks which has created a natural border between Spain and France, where I lived for about 6 years.  And once again, through a series of dreams, meditations and being touched by the potent spirit of that place where they were exterminated, I touched another thread in my ancestral line and realised that my relatives had been Cathar martyrs in that place. 

At the time, I was seriously practising the Buddhist teachings but had a vivid revelation that the Cathar beliefs were almost identical and that they, in turn, dovetailed beautifully with the creation spirituality of the Aboriginals.  My spiritual life became ecstatic watched over not only by the Buddha and all his emanations, but the highly-evolved Cathars martyrs and Ninija and her Desert wisdom too.  Tuning into one’s legacy through meditation and awareness of a higher being is available to all of us, but it seems that only spiritual seekers grasp the opportunity to accept the visible and invisible worlds as one. Only fear of the unknown, the unseen, leads us to throw up a wall between them. After all, the human race is innately good, and it is generally agreed that the positive virtues of trust and acceptance are greater than the negative of suspicion and defiance.

My feet of clay as a creator could easily be unearthed by the knowledge-dependent R.T. brigade, but I will not allow it.  If only they really understood the fragile nature of the notions of time and space, and opened to the idea of three thousand dimensions instead of just three.  If only they had for a moment walked outside their concepts and theories, stood back and put their weapons down, and examined their motivation for expressing their ‘mere’ opinions.  For what are opinions and knowledge when compared with experience and insight and the knowledge that we human beings are one with the glorious universe that gives us our lives? 

We cannot embody opinions and knowledge. They are specks of dust, mere material floating in the sunlight, compared with our magical essence of love and light.

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Forward to my new book: Glorious Death: Glorious Life

Buddhists and Cathars jacket

author’s forward

Glorious Death? Human beings are curious of and frightened by their own death and the death of others they love. Death is taboo to most of us, and it is understandable that the complete unknown is terrifying so we evade it, clinging to what we know even more tightly.  But I will show you in this book that there is a way to understand and to embrace death, and that when we do our lives are transformed. 

Glorious Life?  Life is both predictable and unpredictable; both happy and sad; both satisfying and dissatisfying, but what is certain is that we do not have control of it.  Like setting sail on a stormy sea, we are at once battered by waves and wind, and the next becalmed or shrouded in dense fog. However, acceptance of our impermanence is the master key to dealing with such fluctuations; we need to have complete mastery of our sails and rudder and to learn to sail with the weather, into the weather, instead of against it. Realizing that all the challenges that the wild ocean throws up are spiritual tests and messages provided for us to overcome and interpret, allows us to strap in and actualize our human potential. 

Buddhists? Cathars? People of the Earth? There are so many spiritual pathways available to us in these days of diversity, but I have discovered that although they may have different appearances and structures, they are all reaching for the same lasting happiness and joy. They are all about mastering our restless fearful minds. The serenity and wisdom of the Buddhist way are well known.

The way of the Cathars (the Good), a medieval group of Christian mystics in Europe branded as heretics by the Church of Rome because of their spiritual beliefs, may not be so well-known because they were exterminated by the close of the 14th century. 

But now is the time of the revival they predicted 700 years later at a time when the Earth and its people are rapidly deteriorating.  The Cathar Creed is the perfect blueprint for us to fully realize that we special humans with our essence of pure love are not aliens here on Earth, but we are the good way for the Earth and its community to heal. 

People of the Earth? The surviving indigenous tribes of our world possess the wisdom to save the planet and to live in harmony. In fact, they are the only people who dedicate themselves entirely as custodians of the Earth, protecting species and living in awe and respect for what the Great Mother Nature has supplied to allow humans to evolve spiritually. The natural world which we moderns have made ourselves separate from provides the perfect conditions for us to excel in love and light, and to bring our intrinsic goodness to bear.

All three of these traditions have brought me personally to a breath-taking watershed.  I look down into the great oceans and I have no fear of death or life, and I have come to surrender to the truth that the world we think we know is just a tiny part of the vast invisible world, the ocean of spirits of love. This is our origin.  In other words, I have fully awoken to the reality of the supremacy of universal love, and that everything else is simply weather. 

I write this work, not from a place of dazzling qualifications or impeccable experience, exhaustive scholarly research or struggles for recognition or advancement. In fact, I have deliberately put aside such accolades and indicators of success, and instead offer a different kind of intelligence and a world of perceptions unique to their expresser. They are testimony above all to being a human spirit. My motivation is to share my view of the world as honestly as I can, striving to write from my true nature which I have consciously worked to uncover during my enchanted life.

I find my true nature to be akin not to heroes or celebrities, state leaders or explorers, but more to mystics and castaways, contemplatives and psychics. In my short human life, I have found the great truth in my own mind as I create it for myself, for it does not exist without my creation. By virtue of our dazzling consciousness, human beings are extraordinary creators.

Living and working in Japan, I have been given a unique opportunity not only to experience an ancient and bizarre culture first-hand but also to question or reappraise many aspects of life that ‘westerners’ take for granted. As a person of faith, one of those aspects is exactly that, faith.  It is well-known that most Japanese reject notions of religious affiliation and look both uncomfortable and incredulous when asked in public what they truly believe in or at any mention of spirituality.

It has been said that Japanese have little imagination which on the surface may be attributable to their passivity and conformity to the greater social conscience.  It is the social system and customs which expect them to be self-contained, restrained, and so they are often reluctant to exchange true feelings or experiences. They are however skilled readers of the air once they have trust.

Therefore, when a westerner, usually born, brought-up and educated in a Christian, Moslem or Hindu atmosphere, talks freely about faith feelings, it seems that it is almost impossible for them to grasp another life course outside superficially secular Japan.  In fact, many Japanese are rarely if ever exposed to foreigners: there are still strong traces of xenophobia from the 250-year period of the country’s closure.

Surely faith has to be recognized by those who realize its personal importance?  Faith?  Conviction?  Trust? These are not qualities that come easily to many Japanese because there are so many types of fear running through their veins. There is also a formidable sense of national pride and duty under the skin, a sense that everything Japanese is best, superior. Here religion and spirituality are very much a social pursuit.  This is part of the necessity of belonging so that the countless temples (Buddhist) and shrines (Shintoist) double as community, culture, and mental health centres.

It is from my stance as a person with a commitment to the intrinsic power of the human race and with indestructible confidence in my own true nature, that I write this book.  My life is unimaginable to most mono-cultural and mono-linguistic Japanese – packing up two suitcases and leaving my ‘homeland’ to live in this land of endemic shyness and nationalism, sampling many spiritual teachings and alternative disciplines along my route, and so on.

You Japan, though we are now one, cannot imagine my life.  So, I dedicate this work to you.  It is a bringing out of the roots of my faith, my origins, and the process of my life as a spiritual seeker.  I want you to experience my invisible Christian upbringing and education, the purity of my lineage; in fact, the whole purpose of my being; to experience my brushes with Islam and Taoism, Sufism and Hinduism, Judaism and Jesuits in the multicultural environment of my birth.

This is my mission: to share my blessed life with a nation which Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism created a form of Chinese Buddhism especially for. He is recognized as, one of the very few Japanese who have attained a universality far beyond the limitations of nation or race.

In 1950, after the Pacific War was resolved and Japan was occupied by the United States, there was a purging of religion and education.  In Buddhist terms, it was called the Dharma Crisis, and through my involvement for 11 years with a Shingon Buddhist teaching, I have encountered this first-hand, although it has mostly been buried under recorded Japanese history of the period so it is difficult to research. Indeed, as a result of the government inquisition, all religious organizations, no matter what denomination, were scrutinized and subjected to a vicious authenticity check. 

The founder of the teaching was in fact thrown into prison for his deep convictions and faith with murderers and other capital criminals, his Buddhist instruments confiscated, and his qualifications and motivations examined microscopically.  This truly tested the faith of his small sangha (community), most of whom disassociated themselves, but those remaining deepened their conviction leading to worldwide strength of the teaching today. This Dharma Crisis was an enormous test of faith for the whole nation, and it has clearly engendered the moral and religious cowardice or seeming indifference that exists today as a result.

It seems that people, in general, are divided into two groups: those who need to know, and those who just-know. Those driven by fear and doubt, and those who are fearless and accepting. Those who think and those who do not. Those who consider the physical sun to be the only source of light in the world shining down on them, and those who are their own sun shining on themselves and others. Those who have taken up permanent residence in their minds, and those who have stepped on to the bridge of their mind and walked out into the limitless field of their consciousness.

As I write, I find myself conflicted and separated by trying to cater for both of these groups, not wanting to leave anyone out. For example, when writing about sincerity and secrecy in relation to the Cathar creed, The Church of Love, I have to describe the Cathar-Catholic history and struggle in great detail so that permanent residents can understand the background; meanwhile, I am longing to get to the spiritual centre of things, and do not want to be pinned down by the time-space continuum.

It feels as if there is a dense web of doubt and proof-seeking, a kind of contagion emanating from the thinkers, the limited, which threatens to draw me in.  So, I want to kick free of it and unconditionally dart around the infinite field which has no horizons or divisions, or tenant agreements, without any appointments or duration. I, therefore, have inserted small articles into the text so that the received knowledge concerning Buddhism, Catharism and Creation Spiritualism is available to those who need it.

Thinkers habitually make questions and construct opinions, which can potentially tyrannize a writer, blocking him or her from writing anything at all. They are natural fighters with an obsession with analysis and understanding on their terms, but they have the power to sway others in this modern life dominated by the intellect. Surely it must be an affliction to always need to justify and debate in order to be accepted, or to gain approval from the intelligentsia fashion leaders, but that is the norm in developed nations.

As Buddha is reputed to have said, People with opinions just go around bothering people all the time. What I write in this book is not opinion but insight gleaned from my spiritual training and awakening mind. And yet, I am unable to exclude this majority group because my message concerns them most of all. I have no dispute with anyone. (Buddha)

In the end, readers will make up their own minds about my Glorious Death: Glorious Life based on so many conditional factors. Therefore, writing anything using abstract symbols capable of such beauty, such harm, such hypnosis, such confusion, is a leap of faith into an abyss. I leap willingly.

And as for my own Glorious Death, the title of this book? I die every night in my dreams. It is no stranger to me.

Evenings had always been our special time back in the city, each one a life in its own right. It was usually initiated with flames and candles, and the opening of corks. Each a make or break, visible or invisible, irresistible attraction or cold polarization. Now, in the mountains, evenings ended in small deaths in the full darkness and silence. We two isolated souls, which might sting or flee at any moment, were entirely invisible here. (Veil, a novel of Cathars and Troubadours by Linden Thorp)

To wake each morning is a blessing, a new start, a stand against the fear that the human mind throws up like the jackknife of a bully.  During all my moments, the Veil of my physical death flutters above me, giving me glimpses of the invisible world beyond the bridge.

My motivation in writing this book then is to share my journey and to drop seeds into fertile earth.  As a Buddhist practitioner, I have already written a great deal, but it was my discovery of the universal Cathar Creed combined with the realization that I was a member of the 20th-century Cathar revival behind the scenes, that made me sit down and determine to create it.  I believe this perfect Creed entitled The Church of Love, will suit all beings regardless of their supposed level, caste, status, thinking or no-thinking in the visible world. All beings are perfectly equal in the invisible world.

In order to familiarize the territory before revealing the Creed, I share my blueprints and the spiritual schemes which have brought me to this Glorious point, this watershed.  Some would say perhaps that Buddhists, Cathars, and Indigenous Australians have no fear or doubt because they are at liberty to embody their beliefs. But I would go a step further and suggest that beliefs are dead thoughts, museum pieces, plastic flowers compared with the energy stream that these three breeds of spiritual giants stand knee deep in.

The energy flow of all humans without exception consists of light and love and humanity is itself the Church of Love.

The Church of Love recognizes that the way we (humans) are may be the way of those around us because we (humans) are the way.

Embodying love, being the universal energy of love, cannot be limited to inert thoughts or beliefs, or added to a tomorrow to-do list. It happens right now and here inside us.

Once we have put our visual accessories time and space aside, then reality consists only of now – this moment, not the next or the one before, and here – without borders or differences, regardless of weather or religion. The conditioned mind may think this notion embodying love is an interesting concept, an intriguing theory even, but it will immediately disappear as thoughts and theories always do the moment it is made conscious. By thinking about it, it is immediately made indirect, a mere interpretation. So, it is useful to create a mindful gap around this seed that has been dropped into your being and stay quietly in that gap. In other words, resist thinking about it or even giving it a name. Mark it as that thingy, or your favourite song – music is concrete so cannot be erased as abstracts such as words can.

The thingy must be gently held back outside the gap, prevented from its usual destructive, interfering activities. Then the love can flow freely, indiscriminately, for all of the people around you: like a fresh mountain stream cascading across everything in its path.

In this gap, this opening, you can use your borrowed human muscles and limbs to flow or swim into your day ahead. Staying in this fluid state you enter a crowded space, a train carriage, a shopping centre, or a classroom. With every square inch of your body and your energy field, you can live the divine love that you have eternally embodied once the conditioned mind is quiet.

Then you make eye contact only to love. You spread your lips in a smile only to love. You extend your arms and stride forward with your legs only to love. It is absolutely the only agenda your spirit has. Next, staying for as long as you can in that identity-less gap, just radiate into now and here, and others around you will radiate in response. They will use their eyes only to acknowledge your light and being.  They will spread their lips in a smile only to radiate.  They will extend their physical form in a sincere gesture of appreciation only for the light you bring. And they will expect nothing in return.

Inside this gap is where we belong. It is our true nature. There are no labels or identities, no hierarchies or structure. It is the flow and flux of our energy origins, the wide river of our indestructible human love and light.

Those who are, know.

(Church of Love, Cathar Creed, circa 1244)

 

March 2016, Osaka.     

 

Gratitude to Mariko Kinoshita for her gorgeous artwork

Temple Chronicle: 26th February

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Materials, possessions, appropriations. Membership. Rivals. Ambition. Boundaries, nationalisms, differences. Ulterior motives, agendas. These are the bywords of life in the world of form. They are either repeated internally consciously or allowed to drone away in the unconscious. They are built into our conditioning and our education, but they are a fabrication, a conspiratorial dream which we are forced to participate in if we want to find human success and respect, and approval from our social witnesses.

700 years ago a small group of Christian mystics moved around Europe defying the dominant Church of Rome and living out the opposites of these bywords in their lives. I was one of them. We had no church, no fabric to ostentatiously display our faith or our liturgies and dogma in; instead, we found secluded meeting places in the mountain passes and forests to listen to those who were ready to receive their final blessings. We had few possessions, needing little to live simply, and our only fabric was understanding. We appropriated nothing for ourselves.

There was no congregation to be a member of and to parade our great virtue in attending regularly, no opportunities to be ‘holy’ before witnesses and then crooked behind the screen. Those who received blessings and joined our numbers themselves did so from their private and total commitment. They did not need encouragement from a group or to feel a sense of belonging in a human way. They had touched their own true nature and realized that spirit is indestructible. They had experienced the full truth of the vast invisible world outside their skin.

We had no personal ambition because we understood that we were only short-stay tenants in our human form. We understood that there was no ‘person’ to have earthly desires, to accumulate and hoard, and so there could be no rivalry with others, no comparisons, no competitions. We understood that our unique spirit wanted nothing except to edify, to build a sacred bridge for each human angel trapped in their body of flesh to escape back into their source.

We served others tirelessly and silently with our unconditional love and compassion. Pure love emanated from each of our precious breaths as we worked behind the scenes of the greatest religious inquisition of all times.

The supreme Church of Love was branded heretical by the materialist Roman Church, by the vendors of expensive pardons and blessings which guaranteed humans entry to heaven. But for us, known as the ‘Good’ Christians, there were no rewards either in the world of form or no-form except for the ineffable joy of being and loving. There was no ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ because hell was this life on earth, and by touching our true nature heaven was possible in this hell. There were no other fictitious realms created by fanatical power-mongers as inducements.

Goodness in human form feels no shame or fear. It is the eternal witness in the oneness of the visible and the invisible. We knew then and we know now that as humans are the world and the way, they will change themselves.

lotus seed pod

Good Messages: Disintegration

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We have to let go of the fragile ‘self,’ to throw away all the masks, to turf out ‘wanting’ and ‘needing,’ in order to reach our higher consciousness and step into the bright light of the expanded field of awareness.

We must realize that the images we have of ourselves are dictated by the media and other forms of propaganda designed to keep down our true nature. We cling on to every word of praise or denigration from others, desperate to be accepted and approved, as if it were the last drop of water we will ever drink, the last crumb! But while we are putting all our animal effort into clinging, like a dog does to a bone, we can no longer hear our higher minds calling to us. ‘Let the bone go! Let someone else have it!’

There is no trust left in the world! If we give our precious bone to another dog, why do we doubt there will be another. Why are we so afraid of loss and scarcity when fear and craving do not exist in the expanded field of consciousness. We have to take risks which means the disintegration of the permanence we have cobbled together out of dreams. Now is the time to make way for the new integrated world. Let the papier-mache reality we have thrown together be rained on incessantly until it becomes pulp once more and flows away down the drains. Let our greed evaporate: in the integrated world, there more than enough for everyone because we are all One with the planet and Mother Nature.

Not until we listen and follow our higher consciousness will the new world be created because we the divine are the only way. The world was made of materials doting on form, and forms were preserved at all cost because we had ceased to trust in what we could not see or prove or collect. We always need evidence and perpetual witnesses to make us memorable in our massive communities and societies, and in the face of death and disappearance.

But in losing trust in the universe, we have lost our integrity. We have become weak and dependent, devoid of spiritual confidence. Integrity of mind does not signify that we have to go to live in the wilderness: we are too weak to survive that. It means that we live happily in this world we have created, loving and supporting each other, and always aspiring to higher states of awareness. Our environment may not change quickly to reflect this integrity because it is matter, but our attitude to it, our view of it, will change totally. There will be different priorities. Without greed there is enough to go around for everyone, and with that sharing mass anxiety will be decimated.

Our energy can flow where it wishes if only we stop throwing up countless obstacles in its way. But the real key to disintegrating and dismantling our complex, immovable ‘selves,’ is having sincerity inside our hearts. Then, once we are certain of our integrity, our wholeness, we must generate the confidence and courage to be always honest and honourable with others. This is the embodiment of pure unconditional love, which is our divine essence.

Words have become small explosives we react to as if our life depended on it. They can easily undermine the fragile selves we live by. Let those plaster statues crack and collapse as those of Stalin and Lenin did after the Soviets were deposed. Let the crumbling heads and hands roll and smash, until we are in a thousand pieces. Then, and only then, will we be free like desert winds and ocean currents. Then rapidly we will integrate ourselves into the fabric of the universe once more, standing deep inside a rock, living with the sun and moon, and walking among the gods.

So, make a start with the dismantling. Listen to yourself honestly, remaining untouched by external views and pressures. At least once in every day, be pure and honest with yourself and with others. This will coax to the surface your true nature, which is indestructible and eternal, and ‘good.’ Please know this well.

True nature needs no fabric, no stone shelters, no secrets, no paraphernalia. It belongs to the Earth and the Universe. So, stand naked and free like the wind and the sky.

This is INTEGRATION!

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spirit marriage

Is Heaven or Nirvana dimension in its own right?

imageInspired by ‘Heaven is for Real’ (2014): director Randall Wallace: starring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church

Visions of the realms of Heaven and Hell pervade Christian, Islamic and Buddhist eschatology. But can we be persuaded to believe that Heaven is this idyllic dimension, full of extraordinary light and angels, where goodness and purity pervade everything and evil cannot thrive?

A young boy is taken seriously and suddenly ill, and undergoes emergency surgery. His mother desperately rings friends and begs for prayers to be said, while his pastor father finds the hospital chapel and shouts at God in a blaming way. Later, when the boy fully recovers, he mentions his visit to Heaven to his father, where he met Jesus and various deceased relatives. This sends the pastor into circumspection and confusion. He refuses to preach and when he speaks to his flock he is filled with doubts and questions, unable to alleviate their doubts and give them the answers to the mysteries of Christian life which is his role. His living and thus his family’s future hangs in the balance, and yet he is unable to come to terms with his son’s experience of Heaven.

The propaganda of Christianity as expressed in large organised religious groups since the Middle Ages, has been at pains to make all things that are invisible visible.  There has been wholesale indoctrination via beautiful images, architecture and music, of the story of a good man named Jesus Christ, but it has been romanticised and hyped.  Images have been bought into, thrust into the spotlight like all commodities and things popular, and so in a material world lacking in the pursuit of the sacred, people develop pride in and become attached to such things.

But we are told by the mystics of all religions that we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven if we have even the tiniest grain of pride in our hearts. Clearly the pastor’s son has no pride at all.  He therefore makes no separation between the visible and the invisible, and so is able to have such experiences, away from the hot fires of the self-will, anxiety, and benefit-seeking consuming the adults who look on.

After being drawn closer to such scorching fires, making the choice to believe or not to believe in ‘Heaven,’ finally the pastor steps away from the heat. He tells his congregation, foundering without his leadership, that they must cast away their pride and open their eyes so that they can all see Heaven in their daily life, in the eyes and actions of loving people, and in the simple things around them: in fact, here and now in this life. Without this realisation, we live in a burning Hell, scorched by our emotions and desires. The states of ‘Heaven’ or ‘Nirvana’ are accessed by complete submission while we are in the world of form, or the ‘visible’ world. This is so that we can bring unconditional love and divine light to adorn the living Hell that some of us choose to live. If we submit in this way, there are actually no choices.

Goodness and light are the opposite of Evil and darkness. In the dark world of “getting and spending,” we are blind, blocked, excluded and separate, in the dark alone.  It is only when we let go and stand in the fast-flowing stream of reality, when we surrender, that the fires of attachment are extinguished and we are integrated into the seamless loop of reality which is our origin.  George Taylor, one of the astronauts who crash-lands on Earth in an earlier film about similar subjects, Planet of the Apes (1968,) says scornfully, ‘I can’t help hoping there is something more than man!’ He also obviously has some insights into the invisible world beyond matter and form.

We can embody Heaven in every moment, not just occasionally, or in adverse situations, or even vicariously as the pastor tries to do through the experience of his son, and the congregation does by refuting his visions but secretly hoping they are true.  Every tiny thought which adheres to a negative emotion such as fear or greed, stokes up the fires of Hell and clouds our true mission in this life.  It keeps us partitioned away from Oneness or ‘Heaven,’ marooned in the dry dock of the visible world.

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A Tidal Wave of Monsters and Devils, Torture and War

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If we are sucked into the media vacuum, infiltrated by disturbing images of violence and corruption which become natural to us, then little by little we will not notice anything good and filled with light. If we are only stimulated by death and demise, by materialistic mystery and gore, then how can we be aware of the real universe, the infinity and eternity we are each vital components of? The natural energy in the wild undisturbed places, flowing and pulsing, is the true nature of the planet, and it is our true nature too. These snapshots and effigies of terror we cram into our eyes, block our true nature as well as damaging the planet at many and various levels.

For the majority of us, in our relaxation time away from work and other responsibilities, we willingly fill ourselves with monsters and demons, with the filth and greed of urban life. Hungry human potentail 1ghosts are howling all around us, their suffering intense and, we say, unimaginable. But there is no question of using the imagination to stand in the shoes of others because we ourselves are deeply suffering beneath the veneer of respectability, the fragile semblance of convenience and fulfilment. We too are howling in the pits of our spirits – a million suicides, thousands of torture methods, starvation and sensory deprivation, hounded and hided. When we have had enough, we flick away the sordid pictures of evil as someone else’s business, the concern of the powers that be, then swallow and get on with creating our own brand of it.

In a string of movies, articles and books widely available, even popular, we can find torture, abuse, greed and ignorance on a grand scale; lust and betrayal, and the fertilising of more and more babies in the name of calming the irrepressible urges. At each channel change, the mutating of deadly diseases and aliens which target us and fix us as fugitives from our own souls, our true nature, abound. We run in terror, always in the dark depending on fickle torchlight instead of our own light, bewildered and manipulated by others. We are rats in a maze of fear entirely synthesised by the mind, so heavily drugged by our own picture shows, that we Japanese weather 4cannot climb a nearby tree to see the exit.

In just one session of viewing the flashing screen, I am both tortured and torture, the rack stretching me, my victim, until the tendons and ligaments snap. I hold hospital cardiologists at gunpoint because my son will die without a transplant, and I am too poor to buy him a heart. I am a politician involved in outsourcing the killing of Moslems in Iraq to mercenaries, paying them billions of dollars to take them out of my hands. I am a special squad policeman wading through the sewers every night, working through suicides and poisonous snakes, bag-snatchers who sell their merchandise for inflated prices so they can buy their cocaine fixes, the possessed who bite and speak in scrambled tongues, a dead baby found in the gutter and live Hell Realmsbaby in the womb of my wife. Human life seems irreversibly doomed. It is a living hell.

The oblivion of orgasms, inebriation and lap dancers are what most people pursue, either openly or in secret. Erotic videos flood the internet which most of us instantly judge and dismiss, and yet we are the egocentric handsome guy masturbating while not losing eye-contact with the camera lens for a second except to see how enormous he has become, and we wait too for his moment of sticky heaven. We are the circus acts of hard inflamed penises curling and thrusting into mouths and assorted orifices in tandem. We are the insatiable girl who writhes repeatedly on a rod-like penis for the camera, blatant, moaning, putting off the moment of explosion masterfully. We writhe, we are repeatedly renewed, we feel mistaken love, and flood with hormones we are told are healthy.wave

All this, not just the respectable parts, is us. Each horror is a bubble constituting the massive wave of in-balance and artificiality. How can we not long for the end of this onslaught, this hell realm? How can we not long to know that our awareness has expanded to blot it all out, the veil of death lifted, and that our physical bodies are no longer needed. That it is the state of the human race. Only our emptiness and detachment will make it stop. Only letting our positive and undistorted light shine out into the invisible world will balance this visible world. Our compassion and acceptance is the only subduing influence that we can bring to bear on this deluge which constantly batters the shores of our true nature.

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Reading the Air: Open up the Temple Precincts

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I wake thinking of our lovely neighbors waking up in their apartment above us. We live in the hills around Takatsuki City in western Japan – an area filled with Emperor’s tombs preserved in their beautiful enclosures. Our neighbours are pure and generous, their faces clear-skinned, their universal respect shining through gentle mushroom eyes always give me a warm feeling. We exchange local produce quite often but do not spend so much time together as we would like.

Then suddenly, I remember the temple precinct we live in and wonder if they feel excluded because they are not members/followers. The high walls of the temple loom over the whole area, its strong gatehouses manned always by young guards, impenetrable. Entering is impossible without badges and ecclesiastical proof. In other words, visitors who do not have the right qualifications cannot enter. They are excluded because the spiritual current is only accessible to those who make a commitment to it. How must they feel to have this citadel with its gleaming golden sorin visible for miles on top.

Religion and spirituality are fearful things to most Japanese so they often avoid any discussion on the matter. The Dharma Crisis here after World War 2 when all religions were sanitized, their status regulated, has made these shy, sincere people retreat in fear from religious visibility. And yet, their hearts are naturally connected to sacred things such as respect and peace. They often venerate their ancestors each day on their home altars, lighting candles and incense on their special days, ensuring that their throats are not dry with daily offerings of green tea, their stomachs not empty with rice cooked before sunrise in the first drawn water. They remove themselves back to their home towns once or twice a year en masse to prepare for the arrival of the spirits, waiting with all their loving relatives in the lantern light.

Perhaps they are right to avoid associating themselves with one particular religion, one sect, one view. Their wisdom comes from the time when our divine flame was alight and there were no divisions, only one universal faith. No-one was excluded. No membership credentials were needed. A time when each human was a spiritual leader, a god, a Buddha, a holy being.

I close my eyes and open up the precincts of the temple in my mind, removing the stout gates enclosing the spirits to exclude the uninitiated. The temple is surely a sanctified space for all beings, even animals and plants, without discrimination. It is not a place of fear and secrets. I vow to remove all boundaries in my own mind and to regard all my neighbours with exception as fellow holy beings.

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Sylvanus: 1st century Christian mystic, certainly fully embodied the Christian teachings

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Christianity has strayed far form the original teachings and the beautiful minds of the gnostics and mystics who carried forward the true teachings of the spiritual Christ. In the Middle-Ages there was a clear recognition of the misguided and manipulative ways of the Church of Rome. The Cathars referred to it as the ‘Church of Wolves’ because the teachings increasingly dwelled on sin and the material Christ, choosing to ignore the spiritual and mystical aspects of the original teachings.

A relatively recent book, ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’ by Martin Sixsmith in 2009, and the film adaptation called ‘Philomena’ directed by Stephen Frears (2013), traces the inflexible attitude to teenage illegitimate births of the Catholic Church. Accidental pregnancies are even today seen as evil acts demanding severe punishment and a life devoted to atonement for committing this sin of all sins.  15-year old Philomena’s son Anthony is wrenched from her at the age of 2 to be sold for big money to rich Americans. As an elderly woman she decides to search for him on his 50th birthday. It turns out that he has died of AIDS, but as the disease progressed he returned to the convent where he was born in Philomena’s native Ireland, to try to find her.  The greedy sisters, living in luxury thanks to their illegal income, fail to tell her of this, or even that his body was buried in the convent graveyard.

The senior sister at the time of this shocking incarceration of teenage Pilomenamothers and the nurturing of their babies born without pain-killers as penance, now frail and in retirement, is finally confronted by the journalist helping Philomena with her search. Sister Hildegarde says bitterly that she has kept her vow of chastity all her life so why shouldn’t others! Celibacy is something so unnatural and unnecessary in the name of religion. Catholics seem to thrive on the suffering and self-punishment meted out by an omnipotent and ruthless King of their imagining. These are the crooked interpretations of power-seeking egos surely, as it was in the Middle Ages.

This kind of religion demands that we submit and vacate our true and natural self. We buy into such hierarchies by deferring without question to their absurd and harsh rulings. The divine spark of original Christ is extinguished forever by the blood and sweat of human suffering and punishment as followers (those who follow and have no mind/nature of their own) become merely consumers buying a material set of beliefs and idols. In the story, Philomena’s sense of goodness is strong, natural. She doesn’t blame what Martin calls ‘the evil nuns,’ and yet her whole life has been ruined by the mistake she made at the age of 15. She considers herself to be a serious and irredeemable sinner. She is so pure that she defers wholesale to the rulings of God’s dubious representatives. What profligacy is this?

Sylvanus taught clearly, as did the Buddha and other remarkable energies, that we humans have the potential to be God. His model is realizable in our daily life. He says,

‘Light the light within you.  Do not extinguish it!  Certainly, no one lights a lamp for wild beasts or their young.

Many followers of religions look to the lights outside themselves for light. They mistake their own light as ‘ego,’ or some kind of arrogance which they must eradicate or hide. There is no place for the individual in the eyes of obsessive clerics who sadly climb into positions as educators and damage the purity and natural qualities of many of their ‘sheep.’

‘You were a temple, (but) you have made yourself a tomb.  Cease being a tomb, and become (again) a temple, so that uprightness and divinity may remain in you.’

Unfortunately, the world is dominated by living tombs who have lost all contact with their own unique voices. This is why we live in a world of mass mediocrity often studded with dubious and adulated stars.

‘Knock on yourself as upon a door, and walk upon yourself as on a straight road.  For if you walk on that road, it is impossible for you to go astray. And if you knock with this one (Wisdom), you knock on hidden treasures.’

We each have all we need inside us to become living Gods and Buddhas, now, in our lifetime. We all have a sacred mission which we constantly evade while deferring to other so-called ‘leaders’ and ‘holy beings.’ As Sylvanus advises, it is important to always keep in mind that ‘everything which is visible is a copy of that which is hidden.’ The Cathars referred to the visible world as the world of the Devil, created to tempt us away from the invisible and our essential being as spirit.

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Going Beyond : Buddhist and Cathar

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I have recently written a book based on my experience of Catharism while living in the remote Pyrenees, south-eastern France. The title is ‘Veil’ and it is in fictional format, but actually it is a work of creative non-fiction. In other words, it actually happened to me and to my partner at the time. You can watch the short video explaining a little more about it in a general sense here. But in the wider context of Buddhism I would like to elaborate.

As mentioned in the articles I have made into a portfolio on this site, and am busy making into a non-fiction book to be released in July this year, 2015,  called Buddhists and Cathars and the People of the Earth, I have been chosen to lead a revival of the Medieval mystical sect of Christians known as Les Bonnes or Les Parfaits. Many people may consider that I have jumped ship and am turning my back on my Buddhist training and benefits, but this is not the case as I am not a benefit-seeker.

To qualify that term ‘benefit-seeker’ a little more, I am not looking for personal benefit from my spiritual seeking. I live in Japan where I am surrounded by Buddhists who pay homage to numerous and varied deities and put great energy into practising and donating simply in order to receive benefits for themselves and their loved ones.  This way of seeking is rooted in superstition and goes way back to the original religion of Japan, Shinto. A clapping of hands accompanied with a bow while standing in front of an image, or the throwing of a coin into an offering box placed before the deity, is meant to bring good fortune in a land where fortune-telling is still a valid way of looking into the past and the future. Of course, this kind of activity is wonderful as long as we are not attached to it. The deities and holy energies exist unconditionally to balance and harmonize – we do not need to bribe them by begging and offering. If we are not separate from them, we merge into that balance and harmony.

Of course, this kind of superstition is practised across the world and the world’s religions. Humans in their fearful helpless mode, recognise that there is something greater and so as they navigate samsara, the world of transience and suffering, they offer money or food and drink in return for constant and helping power. I have ceased to do this recently because instead I offer myself and my human life in all its aspects. I no longer need a witness, a public moment of dedication, and I make no distinction between myself and all beings, my life and that of all sentient beings.

Beliefs are a type of thought, and I have ceased that kind of thinking, because I have woken up to the fact that my so-called beliefs make me either separate from others, or bring me closer to those with the same beliefs. In either case, I exclude someone by such a thought. Beliefs serve to separate us from others and from the spiritual/invisible world. As the Cathar Creed for The Church of Love, strongly advises, ‘It’s members shall know each other by their deeds and being, and by their eyes and by no other outward sign save the fraternal embrace.’

The Cathars were Buddhists, just as Moslems are Christians, and Sikhs are Taoists. There is no difference between these subdivisions! Can you remember or imagine a time when the human race started out and had only one faith; it is said that in this Golden Age, the gods were not separate because they walked among us. Diversity and pluralism create too many options to choose from until the point where everything becomes splintered and we feel we are forced to choose. Some choose not to have any beliefs, but surely that also creates a separation. I am the Buddhist and Cathar teachings. I embody them.

I do not choose. Instead I listen. Buddhist and Cathar teachings found me, and they are merely a means whereby. In other words, they have brought me to this very place where I can say I simply ‘am’ like the trees and flowers, the animals and other natural organisms.   I no longer use my thoughts to contrive beliefs according to a particular guru or doctrine. I am cradled in my being. My altar or butsdudan (Japanese home altar) is my life. I live it, breathing and smiling and loving unconditionally.

The Buddha taught me that I must go beyond all form, all thinking. I have no need for benefits to be bestowed. One teacher asked me why I believed in the Buddha and his power, and I answered that I just did. He said, ‘but the Buddha is beyond all form, so please stop blocking your own formlessness by imposing images. Turf all images and thoughts away to take up your proper place standing in the Cosmic Stream.’ He had realised ’emptiness’ at the time, and I had not.

Going beyond! Disposing of all blocks so that the friction which causes us to stop, to get stuck, does not occur. This smooth eternal flowing of being and beings, without beginning or end, is beyond Nirvana, the ceasing of all craving.  It is beyond words, so I must not say more.

My gratitude is eternal to all my teachers whatever they taught me. But now there are no more lessons because my mind and my body are not separate from the Great Truth.

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