Not The Body Train & First Aid
Posted by Kate on April 21, 2016
Today I met an elderly gentleman at the train station. I had been running for the train in my usual disorganized running late style and he commented on the huffing and puffing so our conversation started. Somehow we jumped to fairly personal matters. He told me how when he retired he had felt really down, and didn’t know what to do with his life and was beginning to question what it was all for. Then, 10 years to the day after his mother had died she visits him in his room and told him he should be writing. He said when he came downstairs his wife asked him if he was alright, because his face was pale, (as if he had seen a ghost, but those are my words).
It didn’t make sense to him because he never wrote, never read (despite having been a bookbinder!) and his teachers at school would totally back up his idea that he could not write.
Some time later he went out to his back shed, for no particular purpose, and decided to go through boxes that had been there since his mother’s death. His mother had been a reader and there were boxes of books. He ended up taking just one book back to the house. It was a small book, very worn with many readings, and the title on the cover was practically worn off. The title of the book was “Let go and Let God.” From these two events his life turned around and he began to appreciate there was some guiding purpose to life. He told me how he had now become a writer and even been published, writing life stories. Though he didn’t say it directly I could tell he was including in these stories his appreciation of spiritual matters in the hope of passing that on to others. He felt he was not writing by his own ability, that his mother was helping him.
He had been told by Suzuki, at a seminar he went to, that he was a kin-aesthetic learner, and he kept emphasizing to me that whatever he understood was due to his own experiences, not because he was a scholar or a reader. He had concluded as he put it “we are not just human, we have a spiritual part.”
I stepped in here, saying I could tweak his understanding a little, that it is not that we are, or have, two parts, human and spiritual. Rather we have a body, which is like a house, or a vehicle, a temporary containers and when we leave it the body is dead. We are not human though we are in a human body, and that in fact all living entities are the same, a living being inside a body, and that, in fact he most probably has been inside an animal body, even a tree body or an insect body or a bacteria body, that in fact we are not human, not a dog, not a cow, not a tree, that we do have a form, which is defined or exists in relation to the Supreme Soul, but we don’t yet have the spiritual vision to see that form. I said I don’t want to push this on you, but perhaps you can just take this away and consider it. To understand this more vividly, check this enlightening page by enlightening preacher Jagad guru chris butler. He makes us go through practical examples that helps us to gain a better idea.
I had wondered if I was going to be too far, and I don’t know how much he took in, as his main interest was passing on what he had learned the best in his life, but he did say, “I think we are saying the same thing using different words”, and we talked about how different people looking at the same mountain from different viewpoints might see and describe different things, both correct, and not actually contradictory.
He then told me how he met an ambulance worker who told him an experience he had had at a bad car accident, with one man lying inside the car, another man who looked exactly the same who was standing outside the car, talking to him. I don’t know the exact details but later on the other ambos (as they apparently call themselves) asked him who he had been talking to. He was thrown, as he had not realized anything strange had been happening, but no one else had seen the man he was talking to, and he realized there was only one man, who had left his body, which was still in the car. He wondered if anyone else had had a similar experience, so he began asking around the ambulance world if anyone else had and similar experiences and apparently several had.
Well, I was heading off to do my First Aid refresher, which is required to be able to have my Yoga Asana Teacher’s Certificate so I thought I’d do a little ad-hoc research of my own. During a break I told this ambo’s story and asked if anyone had had any similar experiences. Most of the people there were a bit more reserved than myself, but a couple spoke up.
A young nurse from Nepal described how she had worked in a Nepalese hospital and one of her colleagues described how someone had come to the nurses and said there was someone sitting in the stairwell (perhaps injured, her English was a little difficult to follow), and the nurse went out to help, but there was no one there.
Then a cheerful young lady described how as a young child, 3 or 4 years old, she used to be regularly visited by someone before going to sleep. She told her parents about a “chocolate man” coming to see her. Her father suggested she was drinking too much milk before bed. But after some time her mother showed her a photo of her grandfather and she told them all, “That’s the man that comes and visits me.” Her grandfather was Hawaiian, and had skin that as a child she thought of as chocolate. She’d never met him because he died the day she was born. When I asked if he kept visiting her after that, she admitted, a little more hesitantly perhaps not sure how we’d think of her, that she still had visits sometimes. But she did say it was OK for me to write about this.
I know I personally have stories, both those I have experienced firsthand and those heard from close friends, that fit this underlying theme, that we are not actually this physical body, that we exist both before and after the existence of this particular body, this particular vehicle that we are traveling in, that if we can leave it, either temporarily, or permanently, and still exist. There’s a lot of stuff pertaining to the matters of life, these are so beautifully explained in Jagad Guru’s spiritual web blog I think most people have either had a similar experience or heard of one from someone they know.
Of course some of these stories might be coincidence or misunderstanding, but there are enough similar tales, including some famous and extremely well documented ones, (for instance James Leininger, who recalled his life as a World War II pilot) to clearly illustrate this basic principle from the yogic texts.. Aham Brahmasmi, I am life force, spirit, not the body – the very point I had been discussing in the train with the retired bookbinder, whatever words we were using.
Be Yourself and Be Happy
Posted by Kate on July 16, 2015
Oftentimes, we feel pressured by our desires or fears to pretend to be something we are not. While this may bring us some small amount of temporary pleasure or relief, in the larger picture it causes us immense suffering. Our most beneficial path in life is always going to be the one which arises from authenticity. If, instead, we are constantly trying to manipulate the circumstances of our life through artificiality – through covering over the real person that we are – we will be creating a life that will always feel very anxious & wrong in the deepest levels of our being.
If we want our lives to fit us properly, to be joyful, meaningful, and satisfying in all the right ways, we need to base our lives on who we actually are. No amount of trying to shove ourselves into an ill-fitting shoe of a life will ever make us happy. No matter how prestigious or cool or attractive this shoe may appear to be, we will only end up with blisters. We need a life that fits us exactly right and for that we need to know who we are.
Fulfilling Our Desire For Happiness
Posted by Kate on July 15, 2015
We all desire happiness. And not just temporary, superficial happiness, but happiness that lasts, that is so deeply fulfilling and all-encompassing that we can completely rest our hearts and minds in it. This desire of the living being for happiness is completely natural.
So why our attempts to satisfy this desire for happiness & peace do seem to bring us so much distress and relatively little happiness? We are constantly searching for happiness in this thing and that thing, this place and that – in material activities, in enjoying the senses, physical sensations, in thoughts and emotions, in accumulating wealth, beauty, power, fame, respect, admiration, and countless other material objects and situations. We are always trying to manipulate our physical and mental environments for happiness. And although we may experience temporary and superficial pleasure from all of our hard efforts, the state of deep and lasting peace and happiness that we long for remains aloof. All this searching and struggling for happiness does not generally result in increased happiness. Instead, it is our anxiety about happiness that tends to increase.
Realizing this, we might conclude that the only happiness is perhaps in trying to rid ourselves of the desire to be happy. But this is an erroneous conclusion. The problem is not with the desire for happiness, but rather the misguided ways in which we are trying to fulfill this desire.