Blog Archive

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sacred Places: Tree Of Knowledge Can Liberate You

Sacred Places: Tree Of Knowledge Can Liberate You

Siddhartha Gautam roamed in search of the secret of sorrow and suffering. At Gaya, a village on the banks of the river Niranjana in Bihar, he sat in silent contemplation under a banyan tree.

He attained enlightenment there, and became known as the Buddha. The spot began to be referred to as the Throne of Wisdom, and the banyan tree is now known as the Eternal Wisdom Tree, the Akshaya Bodhibriksha .

The tree stands for inexhaustible life, and is therefore a symbol of immortality. With its roots underground and branches rising to the sky it symbolises heavenward ascension.

The branches that hang down to take root in the ground symbolise the continuing support of merit through earnest devotion.

In ancient India the acharya and his disciples would sit together under a tree, mostly a banyan tree, and endlessly discuss the mysteries of the universe.

The Upanishads emerged from such disputations. In Shankaracharya's Hymn to Dakshinamurti , the following verse describes this tradition: "I bow down to Dakshinamurti, the Teacher of the three worlds, who, seated on the ground under the banyan tree, grants knowledge to all the learned sages who have assembled around him. How strange! The assembled disciples were all aged, and the guru was young. The Guru's sermon was conveyed through his silence, and all doubts of the disciples were cleared up."

Ultimate wisdom is be-yond the reach of mind and speech. Yamaraj explains to Nachiketa in the Kathopanishad: "This atma is not realised through long lectures nor through intellectual effort nor through listening to many sermons."

The Buddha experienced the truth of this saying in his own experiments. The Truth dawned upon him in silent contemplation on the Throne of Wisdom under the eternal Tree of Wisdom.

To western travellers, however, the banyan appeared as a tree shrouded in dark mystery. Pliny, Raleigh and others have commented on the evil nature of the tree. Thus, for them, "the proliferating tree is a tree of error... As this tree, so did man grow straight and upright towards God until such time as he had transgressed and broken the Commandment of his Creator. And like unto the boughs of this tree, he began to bend downwards, and toward the earth, which all the rest of Adam's posterity have done, rooting themselves and fastening themselves to this corrupt world." After the Fall, as Milton described in Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve tried to hide their guilt and shame "under a pillared shade, high overarched, and echoing walks between".

The tree is still echoing the warning: You grow straight and upright until such time as you transgress the limits prescribed for you. As soon as you transgress, you begin to bend downwards rooting yourself in corruption. Like the banyan, the peepal tree ashwattha (that which does not last till tomorrow), also represents a great truth in the Indian tradition.

The Gita (XV.1-4) says: "They speak of a Cosmic Tree. It is the ever-changing tree of the phenomenal world. Its roots go up, and its branches go down. He who knows it is a man of knowledge. Its form is not visible here, neither its end, nor origin, nor its basis. After cutting down the firmly fixed tree by the mighty sword of non-attachment, one attains the goal from which there is no return."

This idea of the cosmic tree is found in several other traditions also. For the Hebrew tradition states that the Tree of Life spreads downwards from above, and is entirely bathed in the light of the sun. Dante too portrays the pattern of the celestial spheres as the foliage of a tree whose roots (origin) spread upwards.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Monkey stuff..are you a monkey?

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In recent studies, scientists tracked the behaviors of shoppers and investors as they spent money snapping up things on sale or investing in low-risk transactions.

And when these same consumers noticed that one shopper was getting a special deal, they reacted in a very human way: by flinging their money back in the seller's face in a righteous show of anger.

But these study subjects weren't human -- they were a troop of capuchin monkeys, native to the jungles of South America.

Scientists say the capuchins' "animal behavioral economics" are bringing new insights to everything from the stock market to the tit-for-tat reciprocity of daily human life.

"You can't explain everything that happens in economics by market forces -- you have to look at the human animal. And as soon as you look at the human animal, you notice that we have a lot in common with other animals, too," said Frans de Waal, a professor of psychology at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

Until fairly recently, economists believed the marketplace worked on a simple principle: everyone was out to maximize their own personal gain. But that theory doesn't quite fit with reality, according to Yale University primate researcher and professor of psychology Laurie Santos.

"For example, there's the curious problem of why humans don't put as much money into stocks as they do into bonds," she said. Over the long-term, stocks always outperform bonds, even though short-term dips in an individual stock's value are common. With stocks "you're more likely to look in your portfolio and say 'Oh, I lost $1,000 this month' -- even though you still make more money over the course of a year than you would with bonds," Santos said.

So why don't humans make the rational choice and play the stock market more?

The answer lies in the "reference point" -- an irrational habit that humans have of gauging economic performance against what happened yesterday or last month, or by the type of success or failure a neighbor might be having. Many economists have suggested that this illogical tendency is simply a product of human society, easily changed.

"Is this really the case?" Santos wondered. "Or is it something that's much more deeply ingrained?"

She turned to our primate cousins for help.

Working with a group of capuchins in her Yale lab, Santos and her colleagues first spent a few weeks training them to the concept of "money" -- in this case aluminum tokens that were exchangeable for food. "Even though we trained them, the monkeys spontaneously understood on their own that the market was 'fungible' -- that they could buy anything with the token -- grapes, apples, whatever was offered," she noted.

What's more, they also spontaneously latched on to the simple rules that drive the human marketplace. For example, if the researchers started swapping a token for one piece of apple but two grapes (essentially a "50 Percent Off All Grapes!" sale) the monkeys immediately chose to spend their money where it bought the most -- grapes. "It's what an economist calls a 'shift in consumption,'" Santos said.

The capuchins were also in tune with the "reference point." In one experiment, monkeys were given two options in spending their token: one researcher who offered just one piece of apple but sometimes rewarded the monkey with a "bonus" second piece; or a second researcher who initially showed the monkey two pieces but sometimes delivered just one apple slice in exchange for the token.

Either way, it was a gamble: the monkey was guaranteed at least one slice -- but might get two.

However, the capuchins overwhelmingly rejected transacting with the researcher who presented them with the two apple slices. The reason? "If they think they are going to get two pieces of apple, one piece just doesn't seem that great," Santos said. "But if they think they are going to get one piece, then getting two pieces seems really awesome."

This behavior -- a disproportionate fear of loss versus gain -- is exactly the reason humans prefer bonds to more lucrative stocks, she said. Her team plans to publish the study results soon.

Experiments conducted at the Yerkes lab and published in 2003 in Nature were even more intriguing.

A team led by Dr. Sarah Brosnan found that capuchins quickly understood that humans would accept pebbles (money) in exchange for cucumber slices. Monkeys swapped pebbles for cucumbers happily. Then, one day, a researcher suddenly rewarded just one of the monkeys with grapes -- a much more desirable commodity.

The result was pandemonium, de Waal explained. All of the monkeys who had not received the grape "suddenly got very agitated, they got obviously mad at us, the experimenter, the situation." The capuchins essentially went on strike, hurling both pebbles and cucumber slices -- which they had been greedily munching just a minute before -- out of the test chamber.

According to de Waal, this type of "outrage" against apparent inequalities in the marketplace influences human financial dealings every day. "It's irrational, and the monkeys were showing a similar irrationality -- of course a piece of cucumber is better than no piece of cucumber. But when a neighbor gets grapes, the cucumber is rejected," he said.

The capuchins are highly social animals, but it's pretty clear they're not acting from a sense of social injustice. "They don't understand the long-range implications for themselves, their society or their position. But in the same way, we probably don't either, most of the time," de Waal said.

Among capuchins and humans alike, the resentment primates feel when they think they are getting less than their neighbor is, "does, in the long run, have an effect on the level of cooperation you get from others," he said. "You're making sure that you get the right amount of reward for the right effort."

In the end, then, the capuchin studies suggest that "irrational" human economic behaviors may have logical roots in our evolution as highly social animals.

According to Santos, "It suggests that to really convince people to overcome these biases, we may have to dig a little deeper before we can get them to behave a little more rationally on their own."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Juanita will unchain your heart

Shania Twain Lyrics Juanita on Allspirit
Shania Twain - Album 'Up'

She is the restless river
running through my veins
She rides without the reins--
her name's Juanita
She lives in the heart of every
woman in the world
Within the reach of every girl
who wants to meet her

(She's gonna be ridin' through)
Her name's Juanita
(She's gonna be ridiin' free) She's ridin' free
(She's gonna be inside of you, gonna be
inside of me) She's inside of you
and inside of me, yeah

Oh, go with her--flow with her
Dream with her--scream with her
Let her take over, or just get to know her
Be everything you can be
If you can find her and free her
Juanita will unchain your heart

When someone tries to take
away the freedom of your choice
To take away your voice--
that's when you need her
She's there if you dare to give
your broken wings a try
C'mon and take a leap and fly,
and you can be her

(She's gonna be ridin' through) Oh, Juanita
(She's gonna be ridin' free) Ridin' free
(She's gonna be a part of you, gonna be a
part of me) She's a part of you and a part
of me, yeah

Oh, go with her--flow with her
Dream with her--scream with her
Let her take over, or just get to know her
Be everything you can be
If you can find her and free her
Juanita will unchain your heart

[Instrumental Solo]

Oh, go with her--flow with her
Dream with her--scream with her
Let her take over, or just get to know her
Be everything you can be

Oh, go with her--flow with her
Dream with her--scream with her
Let her take over, or just get to know her
Be everything you can be
If you can find her and free her
Juanita will unchain your heart

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Edgar Cayce On The Christ Consciousness

Edgar Cayce On The Christ Consciousness

Edgar Cayce On The Christ Consciousness

Part of the A.R.E. art collection - donated in 1975 - artist unknown
Oftentimes, when individuals hear the terms "Christ" or "Jesus," right away they may fall into preconceived notions based upon their upbringing or particular religious background. Throughout history, the perspectives people have had on the life and teachings of Jesus have been varied, oftentimes even at odds. Sometimes individuals involved in so called "new age" philosophies or comparative religious studies have decided that Jesus was "just a teacher." Was he only a prophet? Others have decided to disregard him altogether. Members of non-Christian faiths may have ignored his life and ministry. Was he a man who committed blasphemy by thinking himself a God? Others may have said, "Well, Christians have been cruel to me and therefore I'm not interested in Jesus." Even among those who call themselves Christian there is not complete agreement about the meaning of Jesus' life and work. These disagreements have resulted in dozens of denominational factions, charges of heresy or breaking away from the faith, and countless wars. The Edgar Cayce material, however, offers an approach that suggests there is a way of looking at Jesus' life in a manner that unifies all of humankind rather than dividing it.

Because of our focus on the material things in life, much of humankind has forgotten its true birthright as a child of a loving God. From Cayce's perspective, we are not simply physical bodies, instead we are spiritual beings who are having a physical experience entailing personal growth and development. Many individuals have incorrectly assumed that the goal of being in the earth is to simply reach heaven, find enlightenment, or somehow "get out of the earth." And yet, this is a perspective quite different from that contained in the Cayce material. Instead, Cayce believed that as children of God, our mission was to somehow bring spirit into the earth.

The dynamics of our deep and literal connection to God can be found throughout scripture, beginning with Genesis when we are told that God made humankind in the Creator's image. But our relationship with God as our Parent is perhaps no more clearly illustrated than in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24). This parable describes the journey of the soul: we were with God in the beginning, through the power of our free will we were able to make choices that were not necessarily in perfect accord with the Creator. And, at some point, we will "arise" and decide to return to God, regaining our inheritance and experiencing our true relationship with Him. One of the readings beautifully describes the spiritual nature of humankind in this way:

"For ye are a corpuscle in the body of God; thus a co-creator with Him, in what ye think, in what ye do."

Edgar Cayce reading #2794-3

The readings state that God desires to be expressed in the world through us. The example set by Jesus is apparently a "pattern" of wholeness for each and every soul.
Regardless of an individual's religious or personal beliefs, this Christ pattern exists in potential upon the very fiber of their being. It is that part of each of us that is in perfect accord with the Creator and is simply waiting to find expression in our lives. This Christ pattern was further described as "the awareness within each soul, imprinted in pattern on the mind and waiting to be awakened by the will, of the soul's oneness with God" (5749-14), and its manifestation is the eventual destiny of each and every soul. With this in mind, the readings present Jesus as our "Elder brother," a soul who came to show each one of us the way back to our spiritual Source by perfectly manifesting the laws of the Creator in the earth.

Just as an older sibling can sometimes provide insight and counsel into some of life's difficulties ( because he or she went through them first ) Jesus as Elder brother can assist us in facing life's challenges. What may surprise individuals is that this fact has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with spirituality and discovering our true relationship with God - a relationship we share with Jesus. The readings not only affirm that Jesus was the Son of God, but they also state the same thing about each and everyone of us. In other words: Jesus was like each one of us and, ultimately, each one of us is destined to be like Him.

I and my Father are one. Then they took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these do you stone me? They answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, "I said, Ye are gods."

John 10:30-34

Although many of us may be repelled at first by such a suggestion, evidence for this premise is found in both the Bible and the Edgar Cayce material. When speaking of humankind, Jesus, himself, states, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world," (John 17:16). Surprisingly, perhaps, a Jewish businessman came to this very conclusion in questions that he posed in a Cayce reading:

Q. Jesus was made perfect, God came into His Own. We are men not yet perfect, god not yet equal to God. He represents our so-called future, the path to the Throne?

A. Correct. He is the path to the throne, in that we, man, must become as the One as directs the way.

Q. ...Like us, Jesus was both God and Man until He became God alone?

A. Correct.

Reading 900-100

Before becoming offended by this incredible possibility, shouting out charges of heresy, or believing the idea to be the work of the devil, we need to look closely at the life of Jesus. Not only will we find that He was charged with blasphemy for this very claim, but we will find that He stated this truth for each and every one of us:

For indeed in Him, the Father-God, ye move and have thy being. Act like it! Don't act like ye think ye are a god! Ye may become such, but when ye do ye think not of thyself. For what is the pattern? He thought it not robbery to make Himself equal with God, but He acted like it in the earth. He made Himself of no estate that you, through His grace, through His mercy, through His sacrifice might have an advocate with that First Cause, God; that first principle, spirit...

Reading 4083-1

The law Jesus is referring to is the Old Testament, specifically the 82nd Psalm which asserts that not only are we God's children, but we are also "gods" (to be sure in-the-making), as well. Although some individuals may be offended with the statement that everyone is a part of God, in recent years more and more people working with esoteric spiritual traditions have come to that very conclusion. Unfortunately, oftentimes those individuals who accept this premise have forgotten the appropriate attitudinal stance that should accompany it. In reality, this claim is not so much true as a verbal statement made about oneself. Instead, it is only true as we become god-like toward one another:

For the Master, Jesus, even the Christ, is the pattern for every man in the earth, whether he be Gentile or Jew, Parthenian or Greek. For all have the pattern, whether they call on that name or not; but there is no other name given under heaven whereby men may be saved from themselves.

Reading 3528-1

When Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life,"(John 14:6) it was not a call to religious conversion; but rather an opportunity for us to realize that His life could serve as an example for each one of us. Regardless of our religious background, in Jesus' life we can find a pattern of how to live, enabling each of us to overcome our personal weaknesses, our shortcomings, even our problems. In the language of the Cayce readings:

Q-5. What is the main purpose of this incarnation?
A-5. To glorify the Christ Consciousness in the earth . in the lives of those with whom ye come in contact, and to live the same thyself.

Reading 2441-4

On one occasion, a thirty-eight-year-old male who primarily desired additional information on how he might better manifest his life's purpose, asked Edgar Cayce for clarification on these words "Jesus" and "Christ":

Q. What is the meaning and significance of the words Jesus and Christ...?
A. Just as indicated. Jesus is the man . the activity, the mind, the relationships that He bore to others. Yea, He was mindful of friends, He was sociable, He was loving, He was kind, He was gentle. He grew faint, He grew weak . and yet gained that strength that He has promised, in becoming the Christ, by fulfilling and overcoming the world! Ye are made strong . in body, in mind, in soul and purpose . by that power in Christ. The power, then, is in the Christ. The pattern is in Jesus.

Reading 2533-7

This transformative power of the Christ Consciousness is awakened as individuals act in accord with the pattern set by the example of Jesus' life. In fact, this awakening is the essential purpose for which each soul enters into life:

In terms of how this Christ Consciousness could unfold in an individual's life, one person was told:

What [then] will ye do with this man thy elder brother, thy Christ, who . that thy Destiny might be sure in Him . has shown thee the more excellent way. Not in mighty deeds of valor, not in the exaltation of thy knowledge or thy power; but in the gentleness of the things of the spirit: Love, kindness, longsuffering, patience; these thy brother hath shown thee that thou, applying them in thy associations with thy fellow man day by day, here a little, there a little, may become one with Him as He has destined that thou shouldst be! Wilt thou separate thyself? For there be nothing...that may separate thee from the love of thy God, of thy brother, save thine own self!

Reading 849-11

From Cayce's perspective, Jesus is the Elder brother for all of humankind, deeply committed to assisting all souls in reawakening to the awareness of their oneness with God. This Jesus is not interested in religious conversion, denominationalism, or even mighty personal accomplishments. Instead, He is simply interested in how we treat one another. With this in mind, even in the midst of our diversity as a human family, we share a common spiritual heritage. We are all Children of the same God. We are all part of the one spiritual Source. And, we are all destined to return to our Creator, our Mother/Father, our God.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

F.E.A.R- False Evidence Appearing Real

: Life does not work through indecision. Indecision promotes blocks, confusion and stress. Make a decision and allow life to find movement through you. Trust yourself.

2: The 3 C's of life are Courage, Capacity and Commitment. It takes Courage and a commitment to make many of life's decisions, and capacity to follow them through. The 3 C's of a successful relationship are Caring, Consideration and Communication. Communication opens the door between us, consideration allows us to pass through it and our ability to care for each other unites us.

3: Truth is not truth out of timing- yet it remains truth. We are the timing to recognize truth.

4: The mind recoils from the unknown, so we seek to make everything known, and, thus sage. Imagination is the key to the unknown- positive, uplifting imagination.

5: For as long as we search for Our God Self, we deny that we are it. Loving your self reveals your truth.

6: Becoming free is not changing yourself into someone you think you should be. Becoming free is falling in love with who you are- right now.

7: Imagine a room of pitch dark and a room of bright light connected by a door. When you open the door what happens? Light floods into the dark room, illuminating it. Live accordingly, think thoughts of light.

8: F.E.A.R- False Evidence Appearing Real

9: Anything of the past that is unresolved is unresolved now. Living NOW resolves the past.

10: Life flows from the inside out, never the reverse. Understand this and you cease to be a victim.

11: Love responds- fear reacts. Love connects- fear separates. Love uplifts- fear deflates. Love creates- fear destroys.

12: There is no such thing as a mistake- only experience. There is no such thing as failure- only people's condemnation. There is no such thing as success- only people's approval. Let life live through you.

13: Do not get caught up in modifying your life, allow life to change YOU. Modification is a superficial exterior veneer, change is an inner shift in consciousness.

14: Pain is a measure of your resistance to change.

15: Decide whether you want to be an onlooker of life or a participant. This is the birthplace of choice.

16: You hear with your ears- but you listen with your mind. You look with your eyes- but you see from the heart.

17: Consciousness is not contained in your body- you are the consciousness that contains the body. Consciousness draws to itself form through which to express

18: Your mind cannot exist in the moment. You cannot think your way into the moment, you can only think your way out of it. This indicates that your mind/intellect cannot set you free. Only your consciousness is aware of NOW. True freedom is a state of consciousness.

19: We each live in our own universe, a universe of our making. It is designed to support our beliefs and our focus. Our thoughts are our focus, so observe your thoughts, focus on your blessings, and trust. This is how you become a participant.

20: Practise seeing all life around you as an aspect of yourself. In this way you shatter the illusion of separation.

21: Your mind does now know the difference between what you do want or what you don't want, it only knows what you focus on. Many people focus on what they don't have, what they are incapable of doing and their sicknesses.

22: If you focus on what you do have, it increases. If you focus on what you don't have, you will have even less. If you focus on your capabilities, they grow, if you focus on your health, it improves.

23: Your mind does not know the difference between a powerfully imagined reality and a physical happening reality. Why? Because there is no difference.

24: You only have a problem if you believe you have a problem.

25: Live these principles and you will be practising reality. Practise reality until you overcome the illusion.