“People are constantly crossing over the threshold of Eternity. The door is open if you can stay Awake.” 
What does Rumi mean by “Awake”?
Surely not the first and most familiar dictionary definition; “to cease to sleep; to come out of sleep.”
No, it’s too obvious. There’s another; “to be roused from a state of inaction; to become active.”
If the “rouser” is us, it seems feasible that this inaction could mean sleep or lethargy. That’s normal. We also know what it is like to “awaken” from these states and, by comparison we become active. However, since Rumi wasn’t talking about our normal awake state, could this definition hint at something deeper? If so, who could this rouser be? And what is this state of inaction from which we are to be roused? And into what activity are we to be roused? Maybe we should look deeper.
Actually, there is a further definition;“to be invigorated with new life; as, the mind awakes from its stupidity; he Awoke to life’s higher significance.”
Ah, with this deeper definition, could the implication be that the active wakefulness, of which we are normally aware, is merely an idiotic stupor from which it is not only possible to be roused, but to be invigorated into new life? In the Greek language, the word for “Truth” is alethia, meaning “out of lethargy” suggesting there is no Truth to the stupor at all. If so, it certainly suggests that this new life has nothing to do with our normal “awake” state whatsoever.
It turns out that simply by Recognizing the stupor, We Awaken from it, because We, the Eternal Awakened Self, Is the only One who can Recognize it.
The door to Eternity is open, if you can stay Awake!
Last weekend, all over Australia, people took to the streets to “March in March”. It seemed they were furious with a relatively new prime minister for reasons that displayed a clear lack of Gratitude for a political system that works very well compared to many in the world, and was marked by hateful angry attacks on the man himself.
Of course, in a democracy, it is everyone’s right to voice their opinion. But, i wondered about the benefit of such a vitriolic display on the protesters themselves. There’s a Zen proverb that says “Hate injures the hater, not the hated.” The hate-mongering represents a symptom of a growing trend, the refusal to take responsibility for our woes and to blame government. In fact, social ills are not the government’s fault. Government is a handy scape-goat until you really See what is responsible; the collective human mind that believes its Good is separate from its Self.
We, not Knowing this Truth, fall under the unconscious veil of blame for the apparent lacks we suffer. What is the remedy? Not venomous protests. Gratitude dissolves hate because it dissolves the forms of hate, but you can’t be hateful and Grateful at the same time. Can you be Truly Grateful for your job and simultaneously hate corporate profits? Can you be Grateful for your spouse while you hate your in-laws? Can you be Grateful that you live in a democracy and hate the incumbent leader? No. It’s contradictory and hypocritical. Gratefulness and hatefulness are mutually exclusive, so while we hate, we cut ourselves off from our own Good. While we hate, forms of hate will keep surfacing for us to hate.
Hate turns our efforts to be grateful into ineffective and disingenuous lip-service. The venomous emotion that we hold under the surface actually feeds the collective human psyche and creates discord. Gratitude dispels it. But the way forward is not to create a new subject for blame by hating the protesters. They are only doing what they believe to be right. Forgiveness is the sister of Gratitude because both emanate from Love.
Be Grateful for whatever you receive, Forgive those who you believe are withholding. That way, we open Consciousness for the Infinite Gifts of Love to fulfil every need.
Let’s not march to complain, let’s march to be Grateful.
The Zen Master Hakuin lived a quiet life in a small village. He was praised by his neighbours as one living a Pure life.
Nearby lived a family who ran the local food store. They had a beautiful daughter. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was pregnant. She would not confess who the father was, but after much harassment at last she named Hakuin.
Furious, the parents confronted the Master demanding a confession. “Is that so?” was all he would say. The scandal spread around the village. Nobody spoke to him. They gossiped about him and condemned him behind his back. Far and wide, Hakuin lost his Pure reputation. However, he was unperturbed.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. Without complaint, he took very good care of the child.
A year later the mother of the child could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth; the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The parents went immediately to Hakuin to apologize, ask forgiveness, and to get the child back.
“Is that so?” said Hakuin as he yielded the child.
Why didn’t Hakuin defend himself against the injustice of slander and condemnation if he was innocent?
Because there is no injustice in Oneness. To defend himself would be to admit the reality of the injustice. Purity cannot be tarnished, and, as such is indifferent to the concept of reputation. He didn’t need defend a good reputation or restore a defiled reputation. Furthermore, in the end, he didn’t seek forgiveness because there was nothing to forgive if no injustice was done in the first place.
Only those of us steeped in duality feel the need to defend ourselves.
The use of mantras has become a widely accepted tool in meditation. But, are they a help or a hindrance?
The purpose of meditation is to develop Receptivity to Our Soul’s “Voice”, to become Aware of Our Spiritual Self beyond the mental realm. Mere repetition of a word actually keeps us bound to mentality unless there is a clear intention to rise above it. Sadly, that is not usually the case. More often than not, we just want to make our life happier, healthier or wealthier. And, repeating a word over and over, of itself, will not do that. It will only serve to put us into an hypnotic stupor.
It’s only as a particular word or phrase is contemplated for it’s deeper meaning, a meaning that we don’t know yet, that we rise above our normal thoughts and words into a state of Receptive Silence. This is the place where something Spiritual can enter our Consciousness.
So, if you are going to use a mantra,
Choose the word wisely. It’s no use contemplating a word that you already know the meaning of; that you are not drawn to; or, that is nonsensical. For instance; you would only use the word “om” if you were curious to understand it’s meaning. And, in that case, why repeat it numbingly? If “om” doesn’t do anything for you, it might be better to contemplate the word “Love”, “Wisdom” or “I”.
Don’t repeat the word mindlessly. On its own, it has no meaning whatsoever. It’s just a word. Instead, adopt a curious attitude as if you are waiting for an answer to “What is Love?”, “What is Wisdom?” or “Who am I?” Then wait. To continually repeat a word for repetitions sake would not only numb the mind, it would prevent you Hearing the Response. Moreover, you would find that you couldn’t maintain the repetition for long before you were distracted with other, more “meaningful” thoughts, like “what’s for dinner?”
Do it privately. Our Soul speaks to Us through Our Individual Mind, never as a group. You can be in a group, but the group will not rise together. Beware of so-called spiritual activities like chanting. They can actually hinder your Spiritual progress by bolstering the ego. This was the reason why Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount…”But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7
Therefore, mantras can be useful, not for the words we repeat, but for the Spiritual inner meaning of which we become Aware.
Nothing bad can happen to you without your permission!
But, i don’t give permission for my problems to manifest.
Actually, you think you only give permission for the good things that happen to you, but, that is because you don’t really know who you have allowed to do your thinking.
The thinker (the one you think you are) believes it is “in” your body. But by persisting with this belief, we have inadvertently handed over our “consciousness” to a limited problematic “self”.
Don’t believe Me?
Our definition of “conscious” is to be “aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.” (dictionary.com) This would suggest that our body must be awake for us to be “conscious”. That makes us dependent on our body for our “consciousness”. But, during sleep, our bladder holds, our body rolls over a few times, our stomach digests, our heart pumps, and our lungs breathe. Obviously, there is “something” else that is Awake or Conscious, functioning our body to our benefit while we sleep. But, by our own definition, it can’t be our “conscious” self.
Despite our unconsciousness, we trust this “something” to provide rest and rejuvenation and to wake us (and our body) up in the morning. Why do we trust it? Because, deep down, We Intuitively Know that this “something” is Our Consciousness in its fullness. It is not an alien Life-force or Universal energy that our intellect would like us to believe exists, or, some outside “God” of religion. Our Body functions while we sleep because it is being Activated by the same Consciousness that functions our Body while we are awake. That Consciousness Is Us, You and Me; Infinite, Immortal and Eternal. Can Infinite Consciousness be confined to a body that sleeps?
In fact, if the intellect didn’t “wake up” and interrupt proceedings, We, Our Consciousness, would Provide everything we “need” for our existence, like It does for every other creature in the Universe. Do birds worry about their health; are there any homeless fish; do bees fight over a flower; are there poor elephants? Yes, Our Consciousness is the same Consciousness that Provides, Maintains and Sustains the Universe.
Then, why is it that we humans are the only ones that suffer with a vast number of problems?
We suffer because we identify with the intellect that believes it is “in” a body, and, therefore, we think the only way to be “conscious” is to be not-sleeping.
The Truth Is that Consciousness is All that We can be Conscious of, and, that must be Infinite. Therefore, there is nothing outside Our Consciousness. That means, even though we seem to be “in” a body separate from everything we need for our existence; food, clothing, a home, money, work, friends, health, peace, happiness, etc, all those things, (just like the rest we expect when we sleep), are really “within” Our Consciousness.
When we lack Consciousness of this Truth, that’s when we open ourselves to problems.
Well, when you are ignorant that you are Infinite Consciousness, you, the thinker, doesn’t Trust this Source to Provide for all your “needs”. Instead, the “conscious” you interrupts the Intuition and takes over your mind with its doubts and fears about its life-in-a-body. As a result, you start to depend on this “separate” body for your existence.
When your body needs food, you are hungry,
When your body needs rest, you are tired,
When your body loses the roof over its head, you are homeless,
When your body contracts a disease, you get sick,
When your body has an accident, you are injured,
When your body ages, you get old,
When your body fades away, you die
But, you are not “in” your body. It is the other way around. Your Body is “within” You, Your Consciousness.
And, if you Know that Your Body is the expression of Your Infinite Consciousness, You would also Know that nothing could happen to Your Body without You. Can Infinite Consciousness be hungry, tired, homeless, sick, unhappy, lonely, old and dead?
If not, where does that leave the “conscious” self-in-a-body and its problems? Nowhere! They were only a thought conjured up by the thinker pretending to be you. Problems cannot manifest with Consciousness.
The next time you go to a restaurant, watch how people order their meal. The waiter will hand out the menu without any acknowledgement. That’s understandable. But when the order is being taken, rarely will anyone say “please”. It’s often “I’ll have…” or “give me…”.
Furthermore, when the food is placed on the table, seldom is there any acknowledgement of the service that has just been afforded to the patrons, no gratitude, no smile, no “thank you”. Not even a grunt.
The justification for the off-handedness is often that it’s their job to serve, but does that excuse the omission of common decency?
When we say “please”, we are not demanding or even expecting but asking politely and humbly for assistance. When we say “thank you”, we show our gratitude and respect. The words lift the speaker and the recipient into an atmosphere of Love.
On the other hand, by omitting these simple words from our speech shows arrogance, rudeness, presumptuousness, selfishness and general disregard for our fellow human. When “please” and “thank you” are lacking in the vocabulary of an individual, that person’s behaviour eventually degenerates into narcissism, a sense of entitlement, anger and depression.
I would even go so far as to say that the lack of a simple “please” or “thank you” would be a contributing factor in disputes of all kinds and not likely to be heard inside prison walls.
Therefore, i suggest that this would be a simple but highly effective way to lift the standard of any society.
Let’s elevate the importance of these words. Say “please” and “thank you” with Consciousness every day.
Is it only me? Are you groaning at the thought of another Christmas? Does anyone else yearn for a deeper meaning than consumerism offers? What is the True meaning of the word “Christ” in the word Christmas? We have a vague feeling of good-will at this time of year but “Christ” is usually buried under obligations, a trading of gifts, a holiday and a general excuse for self-indulgent behaviour.
So let’s unearth the Christ? What is It? The church has led us to believe Christ is a person who lived some 2000 years ago. But Christ isn’t a person. Christ Is the Impersonal Divine Spiritual Impulse existing as the Consciousness of every individual on the planet. In proportion to our Recognition and Conscious Realization of this Truth, the Christ shows Its Self outwardly, as the permanent Good in our lives. We can feel it as we allow the “Spirit of Christmas” to envelop us. But It is not something confined to Christmastime or any particular place. It is our own Consciousness revealing Its Self as our experience of good will. That is, our Individual Consciousness IS the Christ.
In Its completeness, the Christ manifests as the fulfillment of our every need. In fact, Its function is to provide, maintain and sustain us in Perfect Harmony. It is the Presence that goes before us to make the “crooked places straight”. It follows behind as a rear guard. All we need to do is Acknowledge this Presence as our Consciousness and It begins to make Its Self felt in and as our experience.
The symbolism of Christmas describes the process beautifully.
The Immaculate Conception didn’t just happen to Mary, mother of Jesus. It is not a physical conception. It is the Spiritual conception of the Divine Idea in Consciousness through our individual minds. The Christ is conceived in all of us, it is only the gestation period that varies. After the Conception, the birth of the Idea in Consciousness is inevitable, depending on a suitably ready mind, through which the Idea will be born. Symbolized as Joseph and Mary, the prepared Mind comes upon an “inn” which they discover is fully booked. The human mind preoccupied with its own ideas, beliefs and concepts has no room for an intangible and Spiritual Idea.
In fact, sometimes we feel the stirring of the Christ when we momentarily entertain a thought of dropping the materialism of Christmas, feeling there must be something more to it. But immediately, the human mind will throw up reasons why it should continue to engage in its old habits. “Christmas is good for the economy”, “Auntie Mable will feel offended if i don’t buy her a gift”, “i’ll be seen as mean-spirited”. The mind plays games of guilt, obligation and expectation to keep the Divine Idea at bay rather than be still and allow the “babe”, (the “saviour” to this unsatisfactory existence) to be born. Moreover, the “inn” of the mind is always full of its intellectual pursuits, self-aggrandizing beliefs and material concepts. A mind preoccupied in this way doesn’t leave any room for the “Christ” (Spiritual Discernment), to be born.
The humble and unadorned stables provide a perfect cover for an Idea likely to be judged as insignificant and thrown out by the human mind. The promise of the Christ is that once It is established in Consciousness, so is our Good. The “Christ” will only be born in Consciousness when its pursuits and attachments are given up, when the one feeling important, obliged and expectant realizes its folly, and the humility of the “stable” is understood and embraced.
The Three Wise men come bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Wisdom Understands, Recognizes and Honours the Precious, Pure and Other-worldly nature of the Christ. But without Wisdom, Conscious Acknowledgement, Recognition and Realization of the Divine Idea is unlikely. The human mind is reluctant to give up its apparent power. King Herod, the symbol of temporal power, on hearing of the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, feels a threat to his leadership and declares that every male child be sought out and killed. Without Conscious Recognition of its Source, the human mind will be hostile to anything which threatens to dethrone it. Consequently, the bearer of the Idea is Wise to keep Its Self Secret and hidden in the safety of crude surroundings that the human mind finds repulsive.
What does all this mean in a practical sense? Well, if our minds are full of human desires and expectations, ambitions and opinions, we won’t leave any room for our Good to Reveal Its Self to us. We must be still and allow the Christ entrance into our Consciousness. When we drop “our” thoughts, we make room for the babe to be born. We allow the Christ in others to be reflected back to us as our Fulfillment. It appears as Good people and Peaceful conditions, not just at Christmas-time, but at all times.
In the absence of Consciousness of the meaning of the Christ, “we” try to be good and expect that good to be returned to “us” by “others”. But this scenario leaves out the Christ. The Truth is that “we” can’t be good or not-good. Only the Christ of our Being (and everyone else) Is Good and the “not-good” we experience is just an absence of Consciousness of the Christ.
Be still. Let us ponder the True meaning of the Christ this Christmas so that It may be Revealed as Your Consciousness – the One Consciousness where Peace, Love and goodwill to Man Is already established, waiting to be Recognized.