In the surroundings of a lovely afternoon, the sun was about to end its perceived daily trip from east to west, while giving the chance to most individuals to change the direction of their familiar gazes at this time: From looking downward to looking up at the sky. The scenery had that depth beyond the normal, trivial entertainment which the human mind has grown to be accustomed with.
The master said: “ To understand our own minds is perhaps one of the most important tasks that we could undertake. In general, the mind is an instrument to deal with memories, data and facts. The mind centers its existence in the past or the future only; that is; the mind lives in those times which are no longer real. The experience of the present as in “right now” is not of the mind. Thus, if you look at a sunset, you could look at it attentively as if that was the first time ever; that sight is immensely fulfilling or you can choose to take a photograph and look at it later and use your mind to label that sight and compare it: ‘It was yesterday at 6pm. Last year’s was better’ and completely miss that wonder. Humanity has grown to be content with having a picture or a video for that information of pixels is all the mind needs; but they are missing the unique moment of being in front of a timeless presence which no picture or film can ever grab. That timeless moment can nourish you. A picture cannot.”
The disciple had a question: “Master, isn’t a memory needed to connect with people? Otherwise, how could I remember that I know you?”
The master responded: “While the mind will allow us to remember someone from our childhood; it is that same mind creating a still picture, a belief that that one who we have met many years ago, is still the same. Therefore, most will relate with their own mind pictures rather than what is actually there. To find out what is there, you may need to observe as if that was the first time ever.”
The master paused for a few seconds and then continued: “The mind will judge based on social protocols which it has learned through conditioning. That judgment has the polarity of moral standards such as good or bad. That judgment will make us biased. A lazy mind will not consider change for it likes the certainty of what it already knows. Therefore, you will find in Life people who will be attached to their beliefs and defend them even to the expense of losing their own lives, in the name of truth. The mind finds a way to maintain its principles under the facade of improvement, which is another ideal of pursuit of that mind.
The mind is very good at recalling pieces of information to resolve technical or mathematical problems; it has the idea that Life follows the same protocols; that is the accumulation of information which has been labeled as knowledge to solve problems. Thus, the mind will follow ready-made recipes which do not necessarily meet the need of time. There is a disconnection with ‘what is.’
The mind creates separation, as it is designed to see differences. Those differences will be the ingredients to create beliefs. Those beliefs are static and cannot match the fluidity of Life. The mind creates what is known as ego in every individual as well as collective identity: Patriotism, nationalism, chauvinism are degrees of that same disease of pursuing separation, but yet the mind distinguishes those labels as different and appeal to the morality of ‘good and bad’ to make one degree of separation between those words and create a theoretical moral reality.
Moreover; suffering is a creation of the mind, that is the continuous repetition of distorted facts in time. Life will give us the experience of pain and pleasure: Physical, emotional or psychological; but the mind will make that experience into a ghost of torments or a pleasurable treasure to look for in a repetitive fashion, to bring addiction to our experience.
Pain is a fact of Life. Suffering is the option of a sick mind. Pleasure is the other side of the coin following pain, but addiction is the option of that ill mind. Therefore, the intensity of your suffering will give you the intensity of your addiction.”
Finally, the master went into a deep silence and emerged after a few seconds and said: “ The mind could be your greatest friend or your most formidable enemy. ”
Will resume writing on August 19, 2021. Enjoy life!
In a rare sunny afternoon in the middle of Winter, the master and his disciple had a conversation on the master’s house rooftop, while overseeing human “progress” in a classical crowded, busy city: Buildings upon buildings of concrete with the characteristic background noise of cars, motorcycles, horns and even fruit salesmen with megaphones, voicing their latest deals. That setting was perfect to practice observation and appreciation skills. Nevertheless, the master had a few pots there, with gorgeous aloe plants and geraniums to look at, and practice those same skills. The art of appreciating Life is in finding beauty in everything.
The disciple asked: “Master, why is it that good people seem to have so many problems to deal with? My neighbor’s kid ran away from her house then she lost all of her savings during a fire. She is a good person! Why does Life seem to be so unfair?”
The master listened attentively and replied:” Our judgment shows our conditioning. Life events occur as consequences of our actions and emotions. Today you may learn something new. Many are not ready for this yet but, you are. Good and evil are part of the human perception of a society ruled by the misunderstanding of duality. It is conditioning. Life itself is beyond those definitions, those borders created by the human mind.”
The disciple was surprised and replied: “ But master, I see people harming another. We cannot call that good.”
The master listened and smiled: “ If we cannot call that good, we call it bad, evil and we will throw in our emotional charge to demonstrate our rejection. Correct? That is exactly the point. Those labels could be used only to identify something due to the limits of language but if you judge, you are missing the point. If you observe someone harming another, do you reject that one? Look at your emotions. If you find rejection, distaste, you are judging based on your social conditioning. Remain unbiased, even if you participate to avoid further harm. ”
The disciple responded:” But what is wrong with that, master? I will do what is necessary to stop that fight and side with the good ones.”
The master smiled and said: “ Observe how you continue using those dualistic words: good, bad, right, wrong to emit judgment. Do as you wish, but observe that your feelings remain unmovable to either side. Let me explain: A strong Earthquake will kill many. Shall we label that as bad and reject that? Interestingly, many call an Earthquake an ‘act of God’ but yet in their minds, that God is good. Do you see the deceiving game of words and judgment? We do not know about the different events that will happen in Life, for Life is uncertain. There is no security in it; but yet if events are suitable to our viewpoint, we label those as good and pretend to find security in them by holding on with something that will change. We experience fear instead, which we then label as bad. That is the conditioning that we need to become aware of. More important than those labels are the emotions that we send out. Those are actions in itself and that which we emotionally reject, will be attracted toward us like a magnet. Our emotional charge becomes the strength of that magnet. Do you remember the time when you saw a couple fighting? What happened?”
The disciple remembered that episode. The boy was starting to beat up the girl and the disciple tried to separate them. To his surprise, the girl said to him: “ Why do you interfere with our fight? Who gives you that right?”
The disciple said: “ I thought I was doing the right thing. But obviously, they didn’t think so.”
The master smiled and said: “Now, you are starting to understand. You acted with an emotional impulse based on your conditioning of what is right to do. You did not feel inside you whether your presence was required there. You did not ask first, if you could be helpful. You merely thought to be right… and that gave you the right. Similarly, you will find out that our social conditioning is very limited to understand Life. Look at the Sun up there. It is giving light to all. It is not judging who is good or bad, who deserves this or that. Ruminate on this: People are caught in the duality of good and evil but Life and the angelic realm are beyond good and evil.”
While the master and the disciple were enjoying a walk in Nature on an ample sidewalk, a mother walked with her son in the same direction as them for a couple of seconds. They overheard the little kid saying: “I will clean up the front porch of the house, but if you want it done right it will cost you more than what you want to give me.”
The master decided to stop by a pond and asked: “ Would you charge me if I ask you to clean up my front porch?” The disciple was perplexed by that question but immediately said: “No, Master.”
The master said: “Why not?” The disciple said: “ I am grateful that I am your disciple and you do not charge me for that.” The master then said: “Your education is different from that kid who charged his mother to clean up the porch of the house.”
The disciple said: “ He is living in her house and obtaining many benefits but he doesn’t realize that. I wonder why?” The master responded:” He has been trained alright to know the value of coins and bills. He wants to get the maximum profit that he can. That was his education.”
The disciple said:”The word education can be understood in many ways, master. In this case, you are saying that the mother has taught that kid to act in that way…”
The master said: “ You said that. Let us talk about that word, education. What does it mean to you?”
The disciple who was versed in dictionary meanings said: “ Well, education is the process to acquire general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself intellectually for mature life.”
The master said: “Very well. What about acquiring beliefs, values, skills and habits. Is that education too?”
The disciple said: “Yes, master but that depends on the setting. Someone from a different country will have different values and beliefs.”
The master said: “Therefore education depends on a particular setting. Isn’t that called training or even indoctrination to fit into that particular country?”
The disciple said: “Yes, master. We could call that training too.”
The master said: “ Society has a way to train a person to fit into it. Society values the economy over any other thing. Therefore, that training will be geared towards that end. The development of reasoning and judgment will be centered in that value of economics. Do you see that?”
The master continued:” Even if you are well versed in languages, arts and sciences; you are only trained to fit into the boundaries of society. Thus, education in our society is just training to acquire skills to fit in, to promote the ways and beliefs of that society. However, Life or Nature does not fit into those narrow boundaries. Society has borders, Nature does not. What sort of training do you need to understand Life, to enjoy it? How does society prepare you for that?”
The disciple thought for a few seconds and said: “When I attended a University, I had a few courses in psychology, philosophy and religion. I guess that is the extent of my preparation for that Life beyond the boundaries of society along with my beliefs and values.”
The master said: “ Life does not usually use the language of reasoning. If you would like to understand Life, a vision based only on intellectual reasoning is very superficial and narrow. Thinking cannot see the whole for it is fragmentary. But why is it so important to understand Life, you may say? Well, most individuals want happiness and all they do is acquire, buy things, power and wills. They believe that happiness can be purchased. Most individuals want to feel at peace and what they do is prepare themselves to fight in case someone takes away what they have accumulated. Most individuals want fulfillment in this life experience but all they find is seclusion from their roots, from Nature, and rather live artificial lives surrounded by concrete, artificial food which they need to purchase, and dependency on a few coins which you must obtain to survive. Many in the world, have to work selling widgets 7days a week to survive. Imagine that life! No time to smell the roses. No time to feel! They will be closer to Nature only when they are depressed, or when they want to take something from it. If these individuals acquire more knowledge or training to have a better standard of living, they become slaves of their acquisitions and status, ever fearful that those could go away. In that conditioning, most speak about love, peace and happiness and even justice without knowing those through experience. Labels become their mental, reasonable reality; but there are no feelings no meaning behind those words. Those labels are empty, lifeless, but yet minds are obsessed with those words. Do you see the importance of that education and where it may lead you if you become unaware? That kid will work only because he wants profit. He does not know about the common good. On the other hand, you will work and you will do it with joy. Isn’t that another type of education? “
It was noon. The Sunlight appeared bringing some smiles. It was finally escaping from the prolonged grayness of Winter time. Many times in Life, we miss that which is now gone and take that for granted while with us. There, we live in the realm of memories. What is not real anymore, becomes our reality.
The disciple and the master were observing a plant in a flowerpot. The master said:” Today you look a little distant. Are you alright?”
The disciple looked down and said: “ My little brother had an ejaculation for the first time. He is feeling guilty for he masturbated. I put off our talk so I could think what to tell him. I feel uncomfortable and I do not know what to say since I am his big brother.”
The master listened to his disciple, took a few seconds and responded: “ I understand. What is your experience with masturbation?”
The disciple felt uncomfortable, that was a taboo conversation but he found some courage and said: “ I also masturbated at one time. I don’t know why I felt guilty. I used to pray to God asking for forgiveness as I couldn’t help it. It became a habit like an addiction and I felt depleted of energy as time went on. Now that habit is gone, but I understand that my spiritual efforts and inner changes have helped me to perceive and feel sexuality from a different perspective and I am afraid that my brother will take my experience and my current state as something better than his and feel guilty about it. I don’t want for him to feel guilt as I did.”
The master could understand his disciple’s emotions and said: “ Sexuality is an expression. That is all. That expression could be loving, violent, ugly, lustful, pleasurable, and any other adjective you could think of. That expression expresses who we are. Nothing else. You cannot be violent one day and loving another day through sex. That is an illusion. You are what you are and the expression will be there until your BEING changes.
There is the ideal of sexuality which is the loving expression, but there is a reality at this time as well; where many do not know what love is. Guilt arrives when the ideal is not your experience: When you unconsciously feel as if your vitality runs away even though you only look for pleasure, or when you realize that your promises not to indulge in that act, cannot be kept.”
The disciple knew that to be his case, but knew that others did not have that same experience. The disciple asked:” Master, how is it that others do not experience the same as I did?”
The master replied:”That is the wonder of consciousness. It is different for every individual. It is a matter of sensibility. There are some who can murder animals or even people, consciously without feeling any remorse. Completely unaware of the consequences. Those cannot feel the same as you but yet those are human beings the same as you are. In that realization, is how compassion arises. They require different answers to the same questions that you have. Therefore, answers are according to the level of consciousness of a person.”
Then the master immediately changed the conversation :”Do you see that plant in the pot? Like a child, its growth depends on someone else ’s care. We can water the plant, give it nourishment so it will grow and blossom. Guilt, shame and self righteous beliefs associated with fear of sexuality will only make that water leak at the bottom of that pot continuously. The nourishment will be gone. Do you understand?”
The disciple understood that comparison quite well, but still did not know how to approach and advise his brother. He wanted to hear clear cut ‘words of wisdom’ from his master and repeat that to his little brother.
The disciple said: “What do I tell my brother, then?”
The master smiled and said: “ That depends on you. There are no right or wrong answers. Perhaps tell him your experience, in that way he will know something different and more reliable than the typical social conditioning and peer pressure. Remember that what is truly important is your intention. If you intend to suppress his experience by inflicting fear and guilt, it will make him fearful and guilty if he trusts you. That water will leak at the bottom of the pot. On the other hand, if you congratulate him for he has reached a new stage in his life, where he is capable of bringing new life in a loving relationship; and tell him about the value of his seed for his own health and well being; you will be helping him by nourishing his growth. After all, that experience is only his to go through just like you had your own.”
The disciple said: “Master, sex could be very pleasurable and addictive…”
The master responded: “ Remember that pleasure is the prelude of pain and vice versa. That is the reality of duality that we are meant to experience in Life. Avoidance of both sides, is not living Life. While most will pursue only one side of that duality, the other side is unavoidable. Therefore, BE in the middle. Experiences are meant to be experienced but if you are a conscious human being, you will notice when there is no harmony in your life. That realization will steer you towards the balancing act. Nevertheless; as your spiritual stage increases you will be able to hold your seed at will naturally, and released it at will. That is the other side of the coin, which is seldom experienced.”
The disciple had one more question to redeem himself. He didn’t know how to put it, but he took the chance: “Master,” he said, “is masturbation bad?”
The master looked at him with tenderness and said: ” That is not a human moral issue where we label something as right or wrong. Do you remember the talk we had about the limits of adaptation in Life? To explore yourself and your potential is not bad, is not wrong. The intention behind the action drives the quality of it. However, if this becomes a compulsive habit then you are cutting yourself off from the complete experience while draining your life force. That is a consequence not a punishment. Learn from your own experience. What humans call ‘problems’ will evolve in different ways with different individuals. In your case, it went to side A, for others it will be the opposite, side B. For both sides, a learning experience will come out only if you are attentive, aware.”
In a lovely afternoon, the rain was sparsely falling with utmost care. Its main function wihtout doubt, is to nourish all plants. That, we could say it is Nature’s responsibility.
Once the rain stopped, the master and his disciple observed some tiny hummingbirds, flying rapidly from flower to flower. They had another responsibility to fulfill as well.
The master asked: “ As you could see every being in Nature has a task. Something which they are responsible for. I have a question for you: What is responsibility? Search the answer in yourself. I will ask you that question again tomorrow.”
The disciple was confused. He knew that Spiritual teachings are different than merely finding a dictionary definition. But, just in case he read those dictionary definitions but also he looked up written material from spiritual gurus. He wanted to come up with a solid, informative, thought out answer for his master.
The day arrived quickly, and they met at the same place. The master asked: “What is your answer?”
The disciple said: “ Master, there are different views of that word. For most it is about fulfilling an obligation or duty and to accept the consequences of following certain path which was thought to be the best. Now, for a spiritual guru; responsibility is the duty that oneself has to dissipate darkness, and to be our own lighthouse.”
The master said: “ Alright. There is no point in repeating what others have said. Look in Nature. Do you believe that beings in Nature act based on a sense of duty or obligation?”
The disciple said: “No, master. I believe they have an intention guiding them to act. It is almost as if they were in tune, vibrating with what is needed.”
The master said: “ You know we are all one. Most humans do not experience that and they come up with definitions to support their collective individualistic view. In Nature; the intention of all beings is aligned with their actions. That is their responsibility. It is not a duty or an obligation as the dictionary may say. Observe how responsibility for humans, has been tinted with an accountable burden. It is that constant perception of separation given by their minds, which has distorted their feelings.”
The disciple smiled as he thought he gave the “correct answer.”
The master said: “Very good! But there is more.”
The disciple was surprised: “More?”
The master said: “Yes. When we are not conscious of our potential, we do not know our function and we could fall sleep in the belief that we are ‘good responsible people’ to the point where we forget to do what it is truly important. Therefore, discover your potential within; that is how you belong as a particular piece of the totality of Life. Then you will know your responsibility.”
It was a cloudy, gray and moody day. Most did not want to come out unless they had to. Winter was silently tiptoeing its way into the city as an expert burglar; stealing precious Nature time from unaware citizens. Nevertheless, that was the moment of blossoming of many flowers, a moment to admire that bright shade of green color in Nature and to enjoy that distinct morning grassy smell; while birds were harmoniously singing and chirping for only those who could have ears to listen. Nature has a bright side even in the darkest day.
On another scene, the disciple was in a heated discussion with his neighbor during that cold morning. The disciple was right in his complaint but the neighbor continued with his diatribes. After a few moments which seemed like an eternity, the disciple walked away and went to see his master. The disciple explained that scene and waited for his master’s words.
The master said: “Ego is a coward in disguise. Ego is afraid. Ego will look for an enemy to discuss, to fight because otherwise; it will have so much fear that it will sense its own dissolution. If ego is not utilized, it dies and disappears but not everyone has the courage to break away from that identity of themselves and to realize that as it is outside; it is inside. How did you feel during that battle?”
The disciple responded: “I felt very tense during those minutes, master. Now, I feel depleted.”
The master then replied: “Do you know the difference between sexual orgasm and ejaculation? The difference is Tension. To relax means to open up to life beyond the feeling of annoyance or hassle. Many times we just want to liberate ourselves from a bothersome relation as soon as possible thus, we are in complete tension. When there is this intention of ‘getting rid of’ before meeting that one, then that becomes an ejaculation. Then exhaustion appears, tiredness and a sensation of annoyance almost as if you had a relationship with a girlfriend where you need to ejaculate many times to demonstrate your virility. The end result is an uncomfortable feeling with her smell, her presence, her skin. Thereby; an orgasm means relaxation, to surrender in infinite pleasure. Ego does not like to surrender. It likes to fight, to run high. However, deeply in that personality there is a broken heart. Proud as no other of something which does not have. A complete illusion.”
The disciple understood his master’s words but he wanted to know what he needed to DO in such circumstance. The master responded: “ Only Presence. Thoughtless awareness. Whatever is there it has to be as it is; but if you remain consciously present that which is there in conflict, will dissolve by itself.”
The disciple then said: “Master, that person was acting in a crazy manner. The world is Crazy!”
The master listened, smiled and answered: “To live in a mental hospital has its pleasant side when you know that you are a doctor. But when you begin to fall ill from listening about diseases, when you become afraid of a disease or when you feel bothered by a sick patient; in that moment your vocation to help humanity goes away. Then obligation, a sense of duty comes in to replace vocation. Ego bubbles up as soap in that situation. Ego suffers in that sense of obligation and that will keep it alive. Trapped in that circle of feeling annoyance and hassle, bitterness appears.
Remember: Tension brings rigidity and that will end up breaking down your own body. Thinking about those events after the fact, attracts further tension. Feelings of goodness on the other hand, will evade it and settle into relaxation. Relaxation does not come by thinking about it or by forcing ourselves to be relax. It naturally comes in the awareness of tension.”
The master and his disciple were in front of a big tree. It was very wide and tall. The disciple used that tree to energize himself, by resting his back on the wide trunk for a few minutes. That tree had many branches and cracks which showed its resilience through the passage of time.
The master said: “ Every living thing has a role in Life. For example, a tree has a good role because it brings many benefits. However, some people may say that a tree brings some obstacles, others may say that a tree is dirty because leaves will fall and dogs will urinate at the base of the trunk. Yet many may say: Thanks to a tree I have a comforting shadow in a sunny afternoon, or perhaps they may say: I can have better oxygen. See? Everything depends on how we perceive a tree. That is our point of reference. Likewise, everything depends on how you perceive your particular living experience. If that experience gives shadow or not. You could be confined in a place with nothing else to do, perhaps suffering some discomfort. You could abandon yourself to endless complaint and crack the freshness of your visage with lines on your face made out of anger, and bitterness or… use the time in a worthwhile way to edify yourself. See? ”
The disciple said: “ Master, many times events in Life may be very harsh. Yes, I may have time to enlighten myself but I could be depressed, or my mind could be bothering me with incessant hostile thoughts, not allowing me to do what I ought to.”
The master responded: “That is the perfect scenario to learn about yourself. You do not need to fight back. Just become conscious on how those things appeared and realize that, they will disappear as well. Don’t wind up that clock with negativity. In the world of duality you will have 2 options, that is; there is always an alternative. If your perception dictates one option, find the other. By knowing the options you can change your posture. Just remember this: Be aware of tension. It is tension what doesn’t allow for openness. It is tension what does not allow for joy. In tension there is rigidity, boredom, there is confusion… ”
The disciple realized that truly every situation in Life will bring those 2 options. But he had yet another question: “Master, what about if I pick an option which is not the best for me? That will worry me…”
The master smiled and said: “To worry is not a solution. It doesn’t solve anything. It only adds tension. Look, what is the worst that could happen to you?”
The disciple thought for a second and hesitantly replied: “ To die.”
The master laughed and said: “ At that point all worries will be over! We spoke about 2 options. What is the alternative of death?”
The disciple understood the ‘concept’ so he replied: “Life, master. But in that duality of life an death, if I am already experiencing life, the counterpart is death and that should be all, the complete experience, correct?”
The master smiled and said: ” If you started with Life, doesn’t that mean that death was before that? for you were not. Thus under your perception, the complete experience should finish in Life, but it is not.”
The disciple was perplexed and said: “How could that be, master?”
The master replied: ” Have you seen the depiction of Yin and Yang? It shows duality but also it is in a circle. What is the meaning of that? Life is a circle. I will leave this conversation here, for you need some time to muse about this interesting finding, but I will finish saying this: Contraction follows expansion, but also expansion follows contraction. People believe that a caterpillar knows how to become a butterfly. They perceive those two as different. However, the caterpillar IS the butterfly. Ponder on that one too, and you may find the depth behind life and death and your own perception.”