Tagged: virtue

Increasing ego

As shared in previous articles, the journey of a “seeker” is to increase his ego just to let it go.

Our society’s make up and religious beliefs are truly “methods” to increase the size of the ego.

For example, in our dualistic mind we are programmed to only enjoy when someone praises us: “ Oh… Robert… He is a loving, fun, compassionate guy…” If Robert is hearing that comment, his ego will inflate as a turkey puffing its feathers out.
Robert may say to himself: “ I should be humble. My religious teachings say so. I will not allow those praising words to get to me.”

However, it is too late… the minute we are aware that we need to reject something, to change our thoughts… it is because we ARE not that which we BELIEVE to be or want to be.
We are not humble. To be humble is not a matter of rejection of praising words.

Robert heard from someone: “ …That Robert is an angry, greedy and obnoxious guy.”
At that point, Robert will get very upset. Robert cannot accept to be something which does not fit the “image” that he has about himself. That image is “pure” ego.

Robert could be “angry only today,” but he cannot tolerate to BE anger. Robert could have been greedy in one action; but he is ready to ask for forgiveness to his God, so everything goes back to “normal” to his previous image; but Robert is not ready to accept BEING greed.

Ego has chosen an image that Robert must fulfill.

In religious groups and in our society we learn to play the game of being “virtuous,” but we cannot accept to be the opposite (sinful) as well, in that way; inner dishonesty is created. We have ben taught to identify with one side of the duality.
Chaos and order are not opposites but complementaries of each other. They are 2 changing states of the same thing. Those states will replace the other by themselves, for Life is change and it can change because of the movement created between those apparent opposites. It is the dance of Yin and Yang.

When the mind is dualistic, it will be attached to one side of the duality (virtue) and reject the other (sin) thus, ego increases through that attachment. Observe that our definitions of what is sinful and what is not, delimits our duality.

We may believe that we are “virtuous” because we follow a particular law or “word of God,” but observe that there is not a single thing in Life which could be separated as “Black or White” as everything is inter-related. The only place where that separation could exist is in our dualistic minds.

Therefore, if a religion tells me that ”I need to DO” certain things to gain Heaven, it is without a doubt a “method” to increase ego.
Increasing ego is not “bad,” for that ego needs to mature, to be big enough to explode.

Every religion, every belief system, every Guru can only offer “methods” to increase the size of the ego. That is why, there is no religion, no belief system, no Guru, who could be “bad.”

Little ego, means that a person does not need yet to get involved with religions and Gurus. Once the ego becomes big enough to bring inner suffering, then the “search” for a “solution” starts.

At that point, every “method” will be “good” as long as ego increases to the point of “explosion.”

Not to follow a “method” is also a “method” to increase the ego.
When we are beyond that, not as simple mental understanding or a rejection… then  the “practicing  a method”  is no longer  part of our consciousness.
We have gone beyond that duality.

Advertisements

Life out of the box

Speedy Gonzales

The intention behind the action is the determining factor in the consequence of it.

We cannot hide our intentions to life, although we could dress them up with pretty words to defend our “morality.”

That is how “Being” is before “Doing” and Karma is not understood unless the intention, the feeling behind that action is identified.

For a religion or a society it may be easier to judge individuals according to their actions. That will give them some objectivity.
It is easier to punish someone and call him “bad” or “evil” in that way, but it is very difficult to pinpoint the feeling the intention behind it.

Being virtuous in life is not a matter of “working on a virtue” or “making effort.”
In that realm of understanding, we are caught up with conceptual living.

Love is “good” but love is not a definition to practice, to be “better at.” To work on “being loving” or to “make effort” to love is just strengthening the “I.”

Unless there is a change in consciousness, that means opening our own limits to life itself, we may not be able to grasp a new consciousness.
There may be plenty of pretty words and rules to follow to give us the idea that we “are being good,” but a concept cannot do the trick.

When we open ourselves to the experiences that life is bringing, we will be out of our comfort zone. That means, the “I” will be challenged.
Any ideas, beliefs or preconceptions of the “I” could be challenged.

If there is no selection coming from an “educated” trained mind, but rather; there is the feeling to flow with life without “making decisions,” our journey will be aligned with “what is.”

“What is” is not the understanding of the “I.”

To live in a “box” of comfort is the tendency of most human beings.
That “box” has “life insurance” for us. There is a step-by-step path to follow that humans have made up to get someplace, even to get to Paradise after we die.

Ahnanda is saying that it is not like that.

Every individual has its own path based on his own experiences in life and his own consciousness.

Life presents different flavors to taste. Humans like to think that by tasting all, the “I” could select what he likes and what he does not, creating in that way a duality which rejects life by rejecting one side of the duality.

Ahananda is saying that every flavor is to be tasted and appreciated when it is happening. That is, enjoyed in that moment to the fullest.

For that a tremendous ability to be open and accepting to life is needed, something which there is no religion or commandment that could teach.

To honor life, to trust it, to live it, to enjoy it, to appreciate it… to be in awe and wonder, to be open without armors… to dissolve the “I.”

That is all.

The virtue of Tolerance

gandhi-tolerance

A notch of depth will be shared below.

If God were to speak with a group of people about living life to the fullest, what could be “His” way of addressing the audience? 🙂

Most probably according to the audience’s state of consciousness. Otherwise, “his” message could not be understood.
One thing to notice is that “interpretation” of that message will happen until there is personal experience of the words conveyed. For all practical reasons, the only concern is to make sure the audience understands the message.

That is a powerful reason not to limit the manifestation of what we may call “God” in our lives. “God” is not meant to appear in just one form to everyone.
Why?
My intellectual ability, cultural traditions, moral values, beliefs, etc. are different from someone else from another culture or historical time.

As our consciousness moves to a different position, so will be our understanding.

Let me illustrate the above.

Matthew 5:39 (Holy Bible) “But– I say to you, not to resist the evil, but whoever shall slap thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other…”

The above is believed by many to be the words of God. For some, the words of the “son of God” and for others “nice words to live by.”

Malcom X said: “If you turn the other cheek, you can be enslaved for 1,000 years.”
Nietzsche interpreted “turning the other cheek” as “slave morality” in his “master and slave paradigm of moralities.

Even though the words: “To turn the other cheek” were pronounced by “God himself,” according to some; those words were not really understood.
As a matter of fact, those words caused a rebellion in those listening to them. Every experience of war or racist issues bringing the problem of “you vs. me” created an environment in which the majority of human beings were not able to “give the other cheek” to the “enemy.”

At that point, God decided to change his words and used the word “Tolerance” instead. 🙂
“To tolerate someone or something” was considered a virtue.
God himself could be praising our ability to “tolerate.”
That tolerance became a “Spiritual” power.
The power to tolerate.

You could “turn the other cheek” because you were “tolerating” as God has taught you.

The above is something which could be understood by many.

To “tolerate” means that there is a “wall” in me called a personality. That wall does not allow for things being thrown at “me” to pass through. The focus of someone who tolerates is to do the “right” thing.
The focus is important to understand consciousness at a deeper level.

Basically, when “I” tolerate John’s behavior, “I” will make myself believe that “I” am doing the right thing and even though John’s behavior is not something which “I” approve; that is fine for I have learned that to “give the other cheek” is “good.”

In a deeper level, to tolerate means to lie to yourself.

Is it possible for God to teach us about lying to ourselves?

That is the wrong question to ask when we could see the “valley from the top of the mountain,” but a valid question to ask when our consciousness is stuck on the focus of being “right or wrong.”
That type of consciousness is filled with judgment and duality.

To tolerate is a step forward in keeping things at peace. It is the first step for someone whose “normal” behavior is filled with animosity.
Tolerance is something that a person in this level may understand for to “give the other cheek” is still out of reach.

Is tolerance a virtue?
It all depends on your state of consciousness.

When your consciousness is focused on enjoyment, to “give the other cheek” is not an issue. Many examples in the life of the Buddha will point to this.

When our consciousness is located in “being right” we could give the “other cheek” as compulsion.
“It is the right thing to do whether I feel that or not.”

That is why, virtues are not found in the dictionary. That is why to be “virtuous” is not a matter of “practice.”
It is a matter of consciousness.

“Others” will label what they perceive as “virtue” but there is nothing to practice.

Tolerance is not necessary when the wall of the personality is not there anymore.
That is called emptiness.

To be empty is not something that could be defined. A concept is not the thing, but when we experience emptiness ourselves, then we will know.

When we know about emptiness, to tolerate someone becomes meaningless.

Is emptiness a virtue?

Let me laugh at that question …. 🙂 🙂

malcomx

The beauty of voidness

squirrel

Matter is 99% composed of empty space.
Isn’t that logical?
Ask a scientist for a logical answer. He could give you a “reason” and then, you could accept that answer as the “correct” answer. Intellectually, that is just information; practically, there is more in that.

A human being is mostly empty space. Our eyes have the ability to recognize a form, and we become very entangled with that form by labeling it as “pretty” or “ugly,” “good” or “bad.”

Beyond that form there is no-form, which is that emptiness, that voidness. A human being is composed mostly on empty space, not made mostly of water as we have learned, but if we go deeper; between the molecules of Hydrogen and Oxygen, there is empty space. It is that emptiness which brings value to everything, for that emptiness, that voidness is part of everything, that is the “Totality.”

Our mind will create a personality based on that form. That personality is the means for human relationships. Nevertheless, that “form” should come from “no-form” from emptiness, that is from the “totality” to be “harmonious.”

If the above does not make any sense, is because there is so much “thinking” there… 🙂

In a nutshell, an “empty mind is a healthy mind.”
There is “peace” in emptiness.
Why is that type of mind healthy?
Because it reflects that voidness. It reflects that belonging to a “Totality” and not only an individuality as the “normal” human being does.

It is amazing how a squirrel is capable of jumping from branch to branch in a tree without “thinking” about it. The squirrel is “one” with that emptiness.

It is amazing on how a human being will not be able to enjoy swimming in the ocean, when he thinks too much…Something like: “ I wonder if there are any sharks around? “ or what about if that stingray comes close to me? Then, the mental “movie” is in motion and we are unable to relax and enjoy.
We cannot go back to that voidness anymore.

When we are part of that “totality” then we are immortal. That “no-form” cannot be destroyed. Neither the “form” could be destroyed, for it can only transform into something else. Matter transforms. No form, the “Totality” remains.

That is how there cannot be destruction. It can only be transformation.

When our mind in entangled with only a “form,” we miss the other side of duality; “no-form.” If we experience only “no-form” without being conscious of having a “form” then , we are “unfit” to live life in a society.
That is the paradox.

I hear, “But I am a soul.”
That voidness has a “center,” you could call that a “soul” but there is “nothing” in that center as well.
For example:
The “eye” of a Hurricane is the center of that Hurricane, but that center has nothing in it… 🙂

The “center” of a human being could be called a soul, but there is nothing in it. That “soul” is part of the “Totality.”

A balanced individual knows about that “form,” that individuality, but at the same time; is aware of that “no-form,” that voidness.

It is in our awareness of that “no-form” how we can develop a “form,” and it is through that “form” how we relate with the world.

Being “good” or “virtuous” is nothing but being part of that “totality,” that “no-form.”
When we have experienced that “no-form” then our “form” will have those qualities of being part of the whole, the “totality.” Ego and its separation, is not there anymore.

Most religions and philosophies are only concerned in changing the “form” of an individual from a mental aspect, through the hammering of beliefs; however, it is in the awareness of that which we belong to; the “totality” when that change happens without beliefs.

Ask the squirrel. 🙂

Want to be virtuous? :-)

laotzu

“One of subtle universal virtue
Is not conscious of being virtuous,
Therefore, he is truly virtuous.

One of partial virtue attempts to live up to
An external standard of virtue,
Therefore, he is not truly virtuous.

One of whole virtue does not need to do anything
In order to be virtuous,
Because virtue is the very essence
Of one’s true nature.

But one of partial virtue believes that something
Must be done in order to prove that he is virtuous.
Thus, partial virtue becomes prevalent
When people fail to follow their own true nature.

Benevolence becomes prevalent
When people fail to be naturally kind.
Etiquette becomes prevalent
When people fail to be righteous and considerate.
When people find no response with etiquette,
They roll up their sleeves
And force others to respond to them.

When people stray from the subtle way of universal nature,
They cannot longer perceive their own true nature.

Thus they emphasize relative virtue
When natural virtue is lost,
Society depends on the doctrine of humanism
When humanity becomes corrupted,
Social and religious teachings appear
And become powerful forces.

When social and religious teachings become corrupted,
What is left behind is the empty shell
Of superficial ceremonies and artificial etiquette.

When etiquette is emphasized,
It is because people lack the simple qualities
Of fairness and kindness

This is the starting point of people of confusion
All of these man-made, partial virtues
Are merely superficial flowers, a false nature.
When people begin to move away
From their own true nature,
It is the beginning of hypocrisy
.

Therefore, one who integrates
his own individual being
with the deep nature of the universe
sets his heart upon the root of reality
rather than the husk,

and upon the nourishment of the fruit
rather than the fleeting beauty of the flowers.

Truly, he cherishes what is deep within
Rather than what is shallow without.
Knowing this.
He knows what to accept and what to reject.”

Tao teh Ching Ch 38 – translation by Hua-Ching Ni from “The complete works of Lao Tzu.”

If we are capable of “understanding” the above without analyzing it, but just by looking into our own experience of life, then we could find its usefulness and appreciate that.

Virtue is not something to achieve by doing a practice. Virtue is already present when we integrate our sentiments or feelings with the whole totality of life; that is when we feel that unity with all. As long as the mind interferes with ideas, philosophies, information, analysis, logic and all of that man made business; there can only be separation. In that separation virtue cannot bloom. The seed is already within us. The water and sunshine of pure feelings is what that seed needs to grow, develop and thrive.

Is avyakt7 a taoist? No just that… but more than that… a human being 🙂

Appreciation : The forgotten virtue in life

When someone feels unhappy because he is not being understood by others, that person lacks appreciation.
When two human beings speak to each other and none of them listens to the other, they lack appreciation.
When we would like for everyone to be the same, to think the same, to feel the same ; in that “ideal” there is lack of appreciation for variety.

Appreciation is not related with a person in particular but is the relationship, the setting, the person, the circumstance, the moment, that special time of being aware, of being thankful for life for having the chance to experience without expectations, without attachments…. For when there is attachment, there cannot be appreciation.

Appreciation then, is to let things be, to allow things to happen, to live in continuous wonder to be in a thankful state without the word “thanks” in our minds.

We can appreciate a spiritual teaching which came to us through a book, a person, a situation, through any other means; but to fully appreciate that teaching, our state of detachment is important, for otherwise; we cannot see; we become engrossed in that teaching, closed minded, so there is no space for anything else, but that literal teaching.
Or we could become totally against it, reject it with our whole being,… on those 2 extremes there is attachment.
We have attachment of an idea, a concept which we call our “teaching.” Rejecting everything else only demonstrates the extent of that attachment.

In that polarity of being engrossed or rejecting there cannot possibly be appreciation.

There is a butterfly flying. I can look at it, perceive its colors, perceive its singular way of flying, perceive the shiny day, the flowers around, the smile in my face; it is in that detachment, in that lack of expectation, when beauty could be felt. That beauty is love.

The moment a thought enters: “I must possess that butterfly,” there is no appreciation anymore. It is like caging the butterfly inside our house so we can see it “forever.” That is the extent of possessiveness that some have over others.
There are some who would rather pin the butterfly in a wooden wall, so they feel that this butterfly is “theirs,” that it cannot run away. The extent of that sickness is demonstrated in their attachment to ideas, concepts, ideologies, traditions, cultural biases, in such a way as to kill the beauty of the butterfly just to hold on to a concept: “the butterfly is with me.”

That sickness is attachment. Pinning the butterfly is not the way to appreciate it.

Many religions and philosophies teach about detachment. “Be detached,” when those words are mentioned to someone who has no experience of appreciation in life; that person will take detachment as another mental sickness: negligence.
Learn to appreciate and detachment will come automatically.

Learn to appreciate others and yourself and your mental sorrow will go away.
Learn to appreciate life, be thankful of it and you will learn to be spiritual.
For in that appreciation there is love… and that dear friends; is all.

Cardinal virtues to gain wisdom

wisdom

Those who want to know the truth of the universe
should practice the four cardinal virtues.

The first one is reverence for all life; this manifests as
unconditional love and respect for oneself and all
other beings.

The second is natural sincerity; this manifests as
honesty, simplicity, and faithfulness.

The third is gentleness; this manifests as kindness,
consideration for others, and sensitivity to spiritual
truth.

The fourth is supportiveness; this manifests as service
to others without expectation of reward.

The four virtues are not an external dogma but a part
of your original nature.

When practiced, they give birth to wisdom and evoke
the five blessings: health, wealth, happiness,
longevity, and peace.

From the “Hua Hu Ching” Chapter 51 – by Lao Tzu translated by Brian Walker.