Now it’s Spring, why not spend time in a flower garden or in a park? An arboretum is a great place to be with trees and often provides a special sort of quiet. In an arboretum you can take a spirit walk. That is to be at one with nature. There among the trees you can listen to the breeze moving through the branches and the grasses. Birds too can be heard in the quiet of a tree-lined pathway. There’s no better sanctury for birds and butterflies than an arboretum. A walk with nature is a healing thing. Stay there as long as you wish, but make sure your visit is long enough to take in the various forms and colours that the world of leaves and petals provides. You can glean so much in such a short time. Nature is ever providing something wonderful to look upon. Look not only to what’s growing around trees or those flowers growing along the way, Look beneath your feet too. What do you see? However you choose to spend your time, be aware that you are a guest in someone else’s home — nature’s — so act accordingly. Eve
“Nature is part of our life. We grew out of the seed, the earth, and we are part of all that. But we are rapidly losing the sense that we are animals like the others. Can you have a feeling for that tree, look at it, see the beauty of it, listen to the sound it makes; be sensitive to the little plant, to the little weed, to that creeper that is growing up the wall, to the light on the leaves and the many shadows? One must be aware of all this and have the sense of communion with nature around you. You may live in a town but you do have trees here and there. A flower in the next garden may be ill-kept, crowded with weeds, but look at it, feel that you are part of all that, part of all living things. If you hurt nature you are hurting yourself.”
Touching report from Ram Dass on his meeting Sai Baba back in those early days of the 1960’s. He tells us here how Baba created a ring for him. He tells us the ring was obviously man-made and come from the Sai Stores. We all remember the Sai Stores and the bits and bobs Baba would gather from there and give to devotees, just to encourage faith. Of course many say, he was wrong to do this, but he never made any secret that this was all “tinsel and trash” compared to what he really wanted to give, that was his love to change our hearts around.
Flicker of Faith
Posted January 15, 2016
In India there was a very beautiful saint, Sathya Sai Baba, where you could go twice a day everyday and stand in his courtyard. He was a very high spiritual being. He would come out beautifully, just flowing and he would look at someone and say, “You have very bad dysentery.” Then he put out his hand, someone else holding out a piece of paper, and about a foot above his hand dust comes out of the air, verbouti or sacred ash. It comes right out of the air and falls onto the piece of paper. He folds it up and gives it to the person saying, “Here, put a little of this in your mouth everyday, and you will get rid of your dysentery.”
When I was there, as I was sitting at his feet and he was sitting on a chair, he said to me, ‘“Here Ram Dass, I’ll give you something.” and I said, ‘No Babaji, I don’t want anything.’ “No, no, let me give you something.” He held out his hand, and I knew he did things like this, manifest small things like bracelets, watches, small things like that. As a social scientist, responsible to the West, my eyes were going to watch his hand closely, I wasn’t going to blink. As I watched, a bluish light formed on the top of his hand, a flickering light, and it became more and more solid, and then it became a little medallion. It was a little circle a star on it with a little gold image of himself, Sathya Sai Baba. He gave it to me, it was definitely man-made, it did not have an astral quality to it at all. Later I asked a Swami there, “How does he do that?” And he said, “Well, he doesn’t make those; he just moves them from his warehouse with his mind.” And you can just imagine his warehouse, full of these little medallions, and if you were in the warehouse, they’d be disappearing from the shelves, literally.”
Here is a being who is far beyond all of this physical stuff, and it is very interesting what miracles do for most people who are ready to see them. They give a flicker of faith in the possibility that things aren’t the way that you thought they were.
This makes you open to the Spirit. For those who are not ready, it just makes them worship the person performing the miracle, because miracles are not the thing itself. Miracles have the power to give you faith through your rational mind and senses because your rational mind and senses can’t do the miracle, so it gives you faith that there’s some other reality. It opens you to it.
Another and probably my last – time lapse 3D you tube from the same Film Creator, together with an important message from mycologist, Paul Stamets where he discusses the important role mushrooms play in the survival and health of the earth and human species. Also included in this post, the wonderful talk “Living Spirit” by Chief Seattle.
How precious Is Our Earth?
Chief Seattle has become well known for his impassioned speech when asked to ‘sell’ his land to the European settlers. Although there has been some recent debate about who actually wrote the words, the message still stands. ‘How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?’ he pleaded. ‘If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?’
All the memories and identity of his people were linked to the relationship they felt with this land. Was it so easy to give this up for beads and blankets? He realized the inevitable truth, however, that his people had been broken by starvation and war, and that they were going to lose their ancestral homeland to the mad rush of European settlers passing themselves off as the legitimate government of a country which they had, for the most part, stolen. But before resigning himself to sign the treaty, he offered to them the natural wisdom of his people. His speech is a beautifully poetic and a haunting reminder of what most of us have forgotten. ‘This we know.’ he finally concluded. ‘The Earth does not belong to Man. Man belongs to the Earth. We are all connected, like the blood that unites one family.’
The Living Spirit
‘Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, even mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices of the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man – all belong to the same family.
For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.
The red man has always retreated before the advancing white man, as the mist of the mountains run before the morning sun. But the ashes of our fathers are sacred. Their graves are holy ground, and so these hill, these trees, this portion of the earth is consecrated to us.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All thing are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all; we shall see. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover – our God is the same God.’
– Chief Seattle – from an oration given at the tribal assembly of 1894
preparatory to the Indian Treaties. (translated by Dr. John Smith)
I’d not heard of “two spirit people” in native American culture until recently. I found the subject profoundly interesting, and was eager to learn more, although my knowledge about them is still limited. The you tube above is a history of “two spirit people” that covers facts from both the present and past about their tragic history.
We-Wah, a Zuni Berdache, from New Mexico, who was born biologically male but lived as a Two Spirit woman.
Excerpted from Walter L Williams article on The Two Spirit People
Rather than the physical body, Native Americans emphasized a person’s “spirit”, or character, as being most important. Instead of seeing two-spirit persons as transsexuals who try to make themselves into “the opposite sex”, it is more accurate to understand them as individuals who take on a gender status that is different from both men and women. This alternative gender status offers a range of possibilities, from slightly effeminate males or masculine females, to androgynous or transgender persons, to those who completely cross-dress and act as the other gender. The emphasis of Native Americans is not to force every person into one box, but to allow for the reality of diversity in gender and sexual identities.
Most of the evidence for respectful two-spirit traditions is focused on the native peoples of the Plains, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, and California. With over a thousand vastly different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, it is important not to overgeneralise for the indigenous peoples of North America. Some documentary sources suggest that a minority of societies treated two-spirit persons disrespectfully, by kidding them or discouraging children from taking on a two-spirit role. However, many of the documents that report negative reactions are themselves suspect, and should be evaluated critically in light of the preponderance of evidence that suggests a respectful attitude. Some European commentators, from early frontier explorers to modern anthropologists, also were influenced by their own homophobic prejudices to distort native attitudes.
Two-spirit people were respected by native societies not only due to religious attitudes, but also because of practical concerns. Because their gender roles involved a mixture of both masculine and feminine traits, two-spirit persons could do both the work of men and of women. They were often considered to be hard workers and artistically gifted, of great value to their extended families and community. Among some groups, such as the Navajo, a family was believed to be economically benefited by having a “nadleh” (literally translated as “one who is transformed”) androgynous person as a relative. Two-spirit persons assisted their siblings’ children and took care of elderly relatives, and often served as adoptive parents for homeless children.
A feminine male who preferred to do women’s work (gathering wild plants or farming domestic plants) was logically expected to marry a masculine male, who did men’s work (hunting and warfare). Because a family needed both plant foods and meat, a masculine female hunter, in turn, usually married a feminine female, to provide these complementary gender roles for economic survival. The gender-conforming spouse of two-spirit people did not see themselves as “homosexual” or as anything other than “normal”.
In the 20th-century, as homophobic European Christian influences increased among many Native Americans, respect for same-sex love and for androgynous persons greatly declined. Two-spirit people were often forced, either by government officials, Christian missionaries or their own community, to conform to standard gender roles. Some, who could not conform, either went underground or committed suicide. With the imposition of Euro-American marriage laws, same-sex marriages between two-spirit people and their spouses were no longer legally recognised. But with the revitalisation of Native American “red power” cultural pride since the 60s, and the rise of gay and lesbian liberation movements at the same time, a new respect for androgyny started slowly re-emerging among American Indian people.
Walter L Williams is the author of The Spirit and the Flesh (Boston: Beacon Press) and is Professor of Anthropology, History and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. His most recent book, Two Spirits: A Story Of Life With The Navajo has been released.
Historic photo of Navajo couple from the collection of the Museum of New Mexico, 1866.
Native American notions of identity are communal. They depend upon community context, status and history. In many ways, gender is more fluid in Native American cultures in comparison to the rigid binary concepts of male-female that we know in Western societies.
Navajo scholar Wesley Thomas explains that Navajo culture has four genders:
Given that Navajo culture is matrilineal , the first gender is feminine woman (asdzaan). They are born biologically female and function socially as women;
Masculine man (hastiin), are born biologically male and adopt the role of men;
Feminine man (nádleehí) are born biologically male and function socially as women; and
Masculine woman (dilbaa) are born biologically female but function as men.
If consciousness is not simply an emergent property of life, as science assumes, but is instead the initial glimpse, we have of Spirit, we ought to stop wasting our time trying to explain how it derives from matter and turn our attention to consciousness itself.
The image on a television screen provides an analogy for what we then find. The television lights up its screen, and the film in the video we are watching modifies that light so as to produce one of an infinite number of images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we consciously experience – we might think of them as the contents of consciousness. The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to pure consciousness. We know that the images on the screen are composed of this light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself. Our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but normally we are aware only of the many different experiences, thoughts, and feelings that consciousness presents us with. Consciousness proper-pure consciousness, consciousness with no images imposed upon it – is the common property of us all.
When (in introspection of meditation) we detect pure consciousness, we have every reason to think that what I experience is identical with what you experience in that same state.
And identical with what God too experiences, not in degree but in kind. For at that level, we are down to what consciousness is, namely infinite potential – receptive to any content that might be imposed on it. The infinitude of our consciousness is only potential whereas God’s consciousness is actual – God experiences every impossibility timelessly – but the point here is that our consciousness themselves, are in fact identical.
The involution of a superconscient spirit in inconscinet Matter is the secret cause of this visible and apparent world. The keyword of the earth’s riddle is the gradual evolution of a hidden illimitable consciousness and power out of the seemingly inert yet furiously driven force of insensible Nature.
Earth-life is one self-chosen habitation of a great Divintiy and his aconic will is to change it from blind prison into his splendid mansion and high heaven – reaching temple.
The nature of the Divinity in the world is an enigma to the mind, but to our enlarging consciousness it will appear as a presence simple and inevitable. Freed we shall enter into the immutable stability of an eternal existence that puts on this revealing multitude of significant mutable forms..
Illumined we shall become aware of the indivisible light of an infinite consciousness that breaks out here into multiform grouping and detail of knowledge. Sublimated in might we shall share the illimitable movement of an omnipotent force that works out its marvels in self-imposed limits. Fixed in griefless bliss we shall possess the calm and ecstasy of an immeasurable Delight that creates forever the multitudinous waves and rhythm and the ever increasing onward-going and inward-drawing intensities of its own creative and communicative world possessing and self-possessing bliss.
~ the Indwelling Spirit – Sri Aurobindo – to be continued.
From His Bio.
Man’s present existence in the material world is in this view or vision of things a life in the Ignorance with the In- conscient at its base, but even in its darkness and nescience there are involved the presence and possibilities of the Divine. The created world is not a mistake or a vanity and illusion to be cast aside by the soul returning to heaven or Nirvana, but the scene of a spiritual evolution by which out of this material inconscience is to be manifested progressively the Divine Consciousness in things. Mind is the highest term yet reached in the evolution, but it is not the highest of which it is capable. There is above it a Supermind or eternal Truth-Consciousness which is in its nature the self-aware and self-determining light and power of a Divine Knowledge. Mind is an ignorance seeking after Truth, but this is a self-existent Knowledge harmoniously manifesting the play of its forms and forces. It is only by the descent of this Supermind that the perfection dreamed of by all that is highest in humanity can come. It is possible by opening to a greater divine consciousness to rise to this power of light and bliss, discover one’s true self, remain in constant union with the Divine and bring down the supramental Force for the transformation of mind and life and body. To realise this possibility has been the dynamic aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga.
gurur brahma, gurur vishnu, gurur deva mahaeshwara gurur sakshat, parabrahma, tasmai shri gurave namah. I offer homeage to my guru, the prayer said, who is as great as the creator Brahma, the maintainer Vishnu, the destroyer Shiva, and who is the very energy of God.
Years after the death of George Harrison, I suddenly became interested in what made the man tick. I was never a Beatle fan, nor anyone’s fan. Pop music had it’s place in my life, but not in a big way. Pop concerts and the “groupie” thing did not appeal to me. I saw it as something utterly stupid, a waste of time, when life offered so much more to be hooked on. The seeds of my interest in George Harrison only began when I heard several of his chants on youtubes. I was not listening to the “Beatle” George Harrison, but the spiritual George. Prior to YouTube, I had not known much about his spiritual music.
His impressive renditions of Hindu bhajans and chants really made me want to know more about him. Thus, I bought several books on his spiritual life to read and find out more. Here are several quotes from the book, “Here Comes The Sun” by Joshua M. Greene. This was the book that touched my heart and took me on a journey into George’s inner life.
George Harrrison Quotes:
“Nobody was committed to that type of music in the pop world. There was a real need for that exposure. So rather than sitting and waiting for somebody else, I decided to do it myself.”
“My Sweet Lord” featured George’s friend and organist Billy Preston. Scoring a Sanskrit mantra to Preston’s gospel rhythms proved to be a musical inspiration, Hindu revivalism, the pop equivalent of interfaith prayer.
“One of the things about people who are famous, Dorn said, especially from the sixties and seventies, is that they tended to be, in my view, unbearable to be around. George didn’t have that extreme star thing. He didn’t have any of those silly trappings that a lot of people put on when they become, you know, so publicly spiritual that you want to push them down a flight of stairs. He wasn’t wrapped up in himself. We had this conversation how you have to follow your heart, and your instincts, and at the same time serve people through the projects you’re involved with. In that sense, he was unique in the circles I went with in those years. I didn’t catch any false humility. “
page: 220 – All things Must Pass
“Part of George’s charm is that he always feels so inadequate to repay the world for what the world has given him. Simple acts of kindness have become an art with him.
He would pay people’s hospital bills and do other random acts of kindness – not so that people would think well of him but simply because he believed kindness should be done in the world. O.kay, he was on a spiritual search, but he was a good human being. Our mum always taught us to be careful about judging good or bad. Her criterion was, “Does this harm anyone?” If so, then it was wrong, and George lived by that.”
-Louise, George’s sister.
excerpted from Here Comes the Sun. page. 221 ~ Joshua M. Greene
Hey has anyone noticed Harrison = Harri-son = Son of Hari (Krisna)
Mind is the master power that molds and makes, And we are Mind, and evermore we take The tool of thought, and shaping what we will, Bring forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills, We think in secret, and it comes to pass – Our world is but our looking glass. — James Allen
This short and inspiring poem contains a world of wisdom within its few short sentences. It serves as a powerful reminder that we are what our thoughts. What we consistently and persist in thinking, be it good or bad, sooner or later our thoughts will manifest into reality. May you always think about the other, because their joy or pain could be in your hands……..
“You may control a mad elephant; You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger; Ride the lion and play with the cobra; By alchemy you may learn your livelihood; You may wander through the universe incognito; Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful; You may walk in water and live in fire; But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”
– Sri Yogananda (Autobiograpy of a Yogi
Cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul. ~ Flavia ~
You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
~ Erica Jong ~
Like attracts like. Whatever the conscious mind thinks and believes. the subconscious identically creates.
~ Brian Adams (from ‘How To Succeed’) ~
By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your Light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.
~Gary Zulak – from “Seat Of The Soul” ~
There is nothing I can tell you That you do not already know. There is no question that you can ask me That you Yourself cannot answer. You have just forgotten.
~ David Littlewood (from ‘Start To Live’) ~
Good words are like roses – they make you smile.
Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and the use establish the life your experience. ~ Sonia Croquette ~