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4/25/2015

Conversation With God Is Beyond Words

Any real "conversation with God" takes place in the intimacy of lovers, the intimacy beyond words. When sweethearts make love, they don't talk about making love. They make it.

To meditate is to listen to God speaking God's native language. God's native language is silence. Therefor, meditation is listen to silence.

Meditation is the deepest conversation, the deepest prayer. It is like the movement of waters in the ground before the stream gushes up into the light. But meditation is not a mute or empty silence. It is a silence filled with the juice of mutuality, the ebb and flow of yearning and love. There are tides in silence, voices in silence, giving and receiving. Yet there are no words. This love-play in stillness is the Mystery of our union with God.

When the prophet Elijah was fleeing from the priests of Baal, he hid in a cave on Mount Horeb. Deeply depressed and lonely, he opened his heart to the Presence of the Lord. There was a earthquake, then a desert whirlwind, then a bolt of lightning. But the Lord was not in earth, wind or fire.

He listened inside, and there found God in the still small voice of silence. Now the Hebrew here is very subtle and powerful ((1 Kings 19:12). What Elijah heard was a קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה (qol dmamah daqah). Literally this means:
  • "qol - voice" 
  • "dmamah - silent or hardly audible, murmuring" 
  • "daqah - faint, small, fine"
This last word is remarkable and difficult. Its root can mean "to grind up, to pulverize." Literally the phrase means, "the sound of a finely atomized silence," which is an image out of modern quantum physics.

Our entire universe arises from fluctuations of the vacuum, where "virtual photons" of light and "virtual electrons" of energy vibrate in the void: a finely atomized silence. The vacuum of space is not actually empty, but teeming with possibility, churning with seeds of new creation.

When Elijah practiced deep meditation in that cave, his felt renewed. He emerged refreshed and charged with a new vision for his people, because had, just for a few moments, attuned his heart to the source of creation.

We too can listen to God speak when we practice transcendental deep meditation. What we receive will not be words, but tidal waves of energy and light.

Jai Guru Dev

4/24/2015

No Victims

There are no victims. Or if you prefer, we are all victims. But the notion that, "I am the victim and you are to blame," only perpetuates suffering and conflict.

Not one of us has clean hands. Whatever befalls you, know that you have played a role in the tangled web of its causation. When you blame others, it is certain that you share in the blame.

If this is too hard to hear, by all means, scapegoat others for your pain. Insist on being the victim. But honestly observe whether this actually helps you become an agent for positive change.

4/23/2015

Did Jesus Teach Meditation?

 

Hallowed be thy Name. (Luke 11:2, Mat. 6:9)

Holy Father, keep them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11)

My first guru, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, told us point blank, "Christ taught meditation and it is in the Bible." Of course he did not mean that you could find the specific label, Transcendental Meditation, or the precise content of its instructions in the Gospel. He did mean that Jesus taught the science of graceful transcending through the mantra.

In fact, opening awareness to divine presence through the mantra, or holy name, is the oldest spiritual practice mentioned in the Bible: "From that time men began to call on the name of the Lord." (Genesis 4: 26) In the New Testament, Jesus proclaims this practice the key to union with God. The disciples asked Jesus how to meditate. "Lord, teach us to pray." In Luke's version (Luke 11), Jesus instructs an intimate group in a quiet place when they come upon the Master in prayer. He summarizes the practice in his famous words: "Father in heaven, hallowed be thy Name."

In Matthew's version, Jesus speaks to the public. Nevertheless, he refers to a meditation technique that is silent and interior (Matthew 6). "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." 

Jesus teaches us to pray not audibly but in the secret chamber of the heart, having shut the door of the senses. We do not need to use many words, but only one word, the Name of God. Indeed, according to the Philocalia, Christian Orthodoxy's definitive compendium of ascetic instruction, the purest form of meditation is monologisthos eucharistos: "one-word prayer."

Jesus's disciples practiced a one-word prayer of God's Name, the practice of mantra. They learned to hallow the divine Name: to let the mantra gracefully settle inward, from external sound to interior vibration, where it finally becomes a gentle radiance, the presence of God in the heart. The remaining verses of the Lord's Prayer outline the benefits of this graceful mantra practice.

The word hallow is well chosen in the King James version of the Bible. It not only means holy, but is associated with light in many ancient languages. In India, Holi is the Spring festival honoring the rebirth of the sun. In Christian art, halo refers to the aura of a Saint. In Greek, the word heile means a ray of sunlight: it is pronounced just as the German and Dutch words for holy. G. Jobes' Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore and Symbols declares: "In practically all languages, the word for holy has been derived from the divinely honored sun."

Thus Jesus's instruction to hallow the Name refers to precisely the same experience as Transcendental Meditation, Sahaj Samadhi and other so-called Eastern techniques. They are not Eastern or Western: they are human. They share a common practice and goal: to experience the energizing and healing effects of the divine Name until, at the subtlest interior level of mantra, a luminous life-giving vibration arises from the solar center of the heart.

Jesus reminds his disciples of this practice again at his final discourse in John 17. In the form of an ecstatic hymn, he reveals that his disciples may experience the unified field of divine consciousness, just as their Master is one with God, through the practice of the divine Name. "Holy Father, keep them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:11)

Egyptians and Hebrews practiced the ancient science of mantra too. Whether or not Jesus was in India, he was in Egypt for many years as a young student. He loved to go into the desert to pray. Therefor he had ample opportunity to contact the Hebrew school of the Prophets as well as Essene communities in Egypt or in Palestine. Jesus brought the practice of mantra from the mystery schools to his disciples. Gnostic Gospels from the Nag Hammadhi library in Egypt, such as the Pistes Sophia and the Gospel of Truth, make explicit reference to the practice of the divine Name as Jesus taught it.

The Gospel of Truth designates the disciples as "Sons of the Name, in whom the Name of the Father is at rest, and who themselves are at rest in his Name." (Gospel of Truth 38) That this Name is no mere theological concept, but a practice of sound to be heard in the depths of the heart, is made clear by the following verses:

"The Logos, or divine Word, is in the heart of those who pronounce it." (26)

"The sign of that which is their sound is that it is the Father." (32)

"They listen to their root; they have leisure for themselves." (42)

    In Pistes Sophia, Jesus tells the disciples that "the mystery of the Ineffable is a single word" (2:96). He invokes the sound-stream of the seven vowels, then contracts them into a three-letter word: IAO - in Greek, iota, alpha, omega. Scholars regard this as the Greek version of the Hebrew divine Name. Jesus gives his disciples this sound when he initiates them into meditation. Then he offers an interpretation of the three letters that precisely corresponds to the explanation of Aum (Ah-Hu-Um) given in the scriptures of Yoga: "Iota because the All emerges, Alpha because it is in movement, Omega because the final dissolution will occur" (Pistes Sophia 4:136).

    Thus the Name of God, in the subtle form of sound, contains the vast cycle of creation. In Hinduism, the three impulses that Jesus calls "emergence, movement, and dissolution" are personified by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the three persons of Godhead who are all one Brahman. One divine Name contains all three vibratory powers: the vibration that creates, the vibration that maintains creation's order, and the vibration that dissolves creation into pure consciousness.

    Meditation on the mantra enlivens the mechanics of creativity in our consciousness, stirring the three-fold impulses of manifestation, organization, and purification. The mantra takes our attention to the transcendental source of creation, whence the cosmos emerges and into whose silence it dissolves.

    But we don't need to go to the Gnostics to find mantra meditation. We find it at the root of Christian orthodoxy in the letters of St. Pachomius, "father of Christian monasticism." Born in 292 CE, Pachomius established the first rule for monks in the Egyptian desert. In his letters, as yet untranslated from Old Latin, Pachomius designed complex charts of mantric syllables. These sound-syllables are transcribed into Latin, but they are clearly bijas, "seeds of meditation," derived from earlier sacred traditions. Most of these one-syllable meditation seeds are identical with bija mantras from the Sanskrit.

    The ineffable Name of God in the Old Testament is also composed of bija mantras. Though Christians transcribe this word as Yahweh or Jehovah, its sacred vibration is never vocalized in Orthodox Judaism. That is why, when traditional Jews read scripture aloud, they substitute the word Adonai (Lord) or simply ha-Shem (the Name).

    In Kiddushan 71a, the Talmud states that, once every seven years, the secret method for pronouncing the the mantra of the divine Name was given to the temple initiates. The Midrash on Psalm 91 asks, "Why is it that prayers of the children of Israel are no longer answered? It is because they have forgotten the Ineffable Name."

    Quite possibly the syllables of the Hebrew Tetragramaton, the most sacred Name of Yahweh, signify the sound of the breath flowing through us, for in Biblical language, the word for Spirit is precisely the same as the word for breath. Likewise, in Yogic literature, what the Hebrew calls Ruach Elohim - "the Spirit-Breath of God" - is the Prana-Shakti, the creative energy carried in the breath.

    The bija mantras that form the Hebrew divine Name are Yah and Huh. They resonate in the heart and solar plexus. To breathe them in and out is to repeat the divine Name in Hebrew.

    Yet these are universal bijas. They are found in Sanskrit, in Tibetan, and in Arabic among the Islamic Sufis. This means that we find the science of mantra, and in many cases precisely the same mantras, in Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Meditation is the practice that unites world religions.

    It is not by arguing theology but by praying together, meditating together, and breathing together that spiritual seekers will meet in global community.

    Jai Guru Dev