Category Archives: philosophy

Allowah’s “Heart ‘n’ Hands” CD is now Available on iTunes, Spotify & Amazon

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“Prescription For Anxiety, Depression and Fear: Listen to Heart ‘n’ Hands daily while sitting peacefully with eyes closed. Repeat until symptoms disappear. These songs have changed my life. The lyrics are important teachings taken from The Course in Miracles (ACIM), brilliantly put to music, making them even more inspiring and etched into my consciousness. They are sung from Allowah’s heart to yours, and you will recognize their truth when you hear them. These powerful songs are replete with Allowah’s passion, strength, transcendence, love, and strong desire to be only Truly Helpful. I love how these songs remind me every day to choose love rather than fear. As the melodies run thru my mind, the authenticity of these enlightened words fill my heart with love, joy and peace. This is more than a CD, it is a heartfelt connection to the love and wisdom of Christ Consciousness. Like The Course itself, it offers the possibility of personal transformation. It’s all about the precious journey of becoming peace, forgiveness and unconditional love. I believe these songs were divinely inspired. Listen to them, and know All is Well.”

~ Jai Segal, Florida Gulf Coast University Professor

DOWNLOAD THE CD

 HERE

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DOWNLOAD THE CD

HERE

You might also be interested in Allowah’s new book,

Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment,

now available on AMAZON,

CLICK HERE

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Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.
While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?
Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.

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OFFICIALLY RELEASED!!! ALLOWAH LANI’S NEW BOOK, “WHO AM I? YOGA, PSYCHEDELICS & THE QUEST FOR ENLIGHTENMENT”

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“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.”

—Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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Book Description

Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.

While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?

Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.

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About the Author

Allowah Lani has devoted his adult life to spiritual and religious scholarship, earning a BA in philosophy and an MA in liberal arts from the University of Pennsylvania and going on to study the Torah and the Bible in Hebrew in Jerusalem.

Lani began a PhD in Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University comparing Kabbalah and the yoga philosophy prior to becoming a full-time yoga instructor. He is the founder and director of Yoga University, which offers teacher training and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.

Lani currently lives in Naples, Florida. Who Am I? is his first book.

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What Readers Are Saying…

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.

Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

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“We are in a time of resurgence, the next wave of psychedelic and entheogenic exploration and reflection. Allowah Lani tours the reader through many different perspectives and differing conclusions on this crucial subject. He observes, explores and researches with a most important tool of [inquiry] meditation and Yoga— openness and questioning as opposed to certainty. Since ancient Eleusis, and time immemorial, a philosopher stoned has always used potent psychotropic means that open windows into other realities, new perceptions and into life itself. Most serious explorers of living and dying have not denied theses powerful tools and catalysts. This book will get you thinking, and perhaps seeing.”

Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief

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“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell you I can’t put it down… Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted… It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place… Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

Marie Colandrea, Yoga student and teacher

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“Allowah Lani has written an incredible book combining deep insights from the teachings of yoga, psychedelics, and A Course in Miracles, each of which provides us with doors and windows into what is possible for us including an awakening back into the heart of God. Though I’ve had no experience with psychedelics since the 1970s, I know how incredible that experience can be. Each of these disciplines are “alchemies.” Let them “cook” inside and you will see another world your body’s eyes could never find.”

Jon Mundy, Ph.D. author of Living A Course in Miracles

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“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar

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“Your insights of the Yoga tradition are original and unique. I truly hope you can make this happen.”

Estella Arias, Literary Agent, New Chapter Editions

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“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of ‘seekers’ who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont

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“Incredibly well-written, highly personal and throughly researched, Allowah Lani’s new book Who Am I? explores the links between Shamanism, Rituals, Plant Medicine and Yoga. Shamans and Yogis were the original explorers of evolutionary consciousness, healing and communication with the Spirit Realms. Nature and all its tools have been their guides since the emergence of the human race. Ancient Egypt was one of the first great centers of the mystic and healing arts including early forms of what would later be refined in India as Yoga. The Egyptians developed sophisticated spiritual initiations and practices that are still alive in different forms today throughout the world. Read this book and you will learn of many of the possibilities that have existed throughout time for Humankind’s evolution and how they relate to you.”

Danny Paradise, Ashtanga yoga master

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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Press Release for “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics & the Quest for Enlightenment”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Company: Yoga University

Address:  4301 Gulfshore Blvd N   Naples, FL  34103

Contact Phone: (239) 592-0898

Contact Email: allowah13@gmail.com

Website: www.allowah.org

 

Pre-orders now available for book on yoga, psychedelics and enlightenment

Yoga teacher seeks support to share vision eight years in the making

Teacher and author Allowah Lani has announced pre-orders are now available for his book, “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment.” The book, which Lani has been working on for more than eight years is the product of research and in-depth interviews, and examines the interplay between psychedelic substances and yoga.

“I’ve been writing my whole life, and I was looking for a subject that I would feel so passionate about that I could not NOT write a book about it,” Lani said. “This subject is just that for me—it was just too juicy to not dive into wholeheartedly.”

Lani said that as he was growing up, even before he discovered yoga, he was interested in rock n’ roll, especially the music of the 1960s that was heavily influenced by psychedelic substances such as LSD. As he looked into the time period more, he found that there was a shift later in the decade toward mysticism, meditation and yoga, as exemplified both by Ram Das’ book “Be Here Now” and The Beatles’ turn away from LSD and toward Transcendental Meditation, which they learned in India from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

“The book opens the door on a debate and discussion that will be with us for a long time yet,” Lani said. “And I do feel that it will bring readers that much closer to an answer to the universal question that lies at the heart of our collective spiritual quest: Who Am I?”

The book has drawn praise from early readers, including Anne Dillon, an author and editor at Rochester, Vermont-based published Inner Traditions • Bear & Company.

“The book deals with an important topic on the history of yoga and is a very engrossing read and a very unique book,” Dillon wrote. “In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study.”

Lani graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy and religious studies. He started a Ph.D. in comparative mysticism at New York University, but realized that academia was not the path he wanted to follow.

He has spent hundreds of hours learning and practicing various types of yoga, including Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Dharma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Partner Yoga and AcroYoga.

More information about Lani and “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment.” Is available at:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/753307990/pre-order-my-new-book-who-am-i and www.allowah.org.

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Pre-Order “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment”

 

About this project

Dear Readers!

I am very pleased to offer “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” to the world…

This project has been 8 years in the making and has taken countless hours of research, writing, marketing, editing, and now fundraising. It’s finally time to get it out and that feels good.

I’ve been writing my whole life and always knew that I would be an author, I was just looking for a subject that I would feel so passionate about that I could not NOT write a book about it. Well, the subject that this book deals with is just that for me, it was just too juicy to not dive into wholeheartedly.

And if you know me, you know that when I get into something, I really immerse myself in it; or, switching metaphors, it becomes all-consuming. Which is also one reason I am seeking your help, because all the time committed to this project has not afforded me as much time to devote to more profitable undertakings.

I believe that the subject matter of this book is of the highest import for each and every one of us because it deals head on with 2 of the most important topics of our time: Yoga and Psychedelics. Considering these subjects deeply with me in this book will be in and of itself a spiritual practice, if not enlightening.

(And, even though we all know not to judge a book by its cover, we also know that a “picture says a thousand words” and sometimes it is the cover alone that says it all — or at least all that one may need at that moment. I want to say right now that I LOVE the cover that Alexander Ward created for this project, and trust it will bring more readers to this book. Alexander is a brilliant visionary artist, you can learn more about him here: http://www.alexanderward.co.uk.)

I’m not going to go into all of the “story” and my process here, because after all, that’s what the book’s for, but I will say that I am not alone in this process, and I do know that there are many right now who will benefit from this book, because it is very much of this moment. It opens the door wide on a debate and discussion that will be with us for a long time yet. And I do feel that it will bring YOU that much closer to an answer to the universal question that lies at the heart of our collective spiritual quest: Who Am I?

Thank you for your help with getting this out and in your hands!

Namasté & AHO! : ) Allowah

Ps. And here’s a special message from my editor and award-winning author, Brian Francis Heffron:

Today I am delighted to tell you about a bold and informative new book created & designed for people just like you: people who are seeking spiritual answers to all the most important questions of our lives. Eight years in the making, Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment represents countless hours of research, numerous in-depth interviews, and months of organizing and editing all that material into a final polished, comprehensive, and accessible book.

Spirituality is a clearly a subject Allowah is very passionate about. He totally immersed himself in the mysteries of consciousness and enlightenment; topics that are for him, deeply engaging. Allowah’s book explores the practices of Yoga and Psychedelics, both individually, separately, and in combination. It’s time for his writing to meet his readers, and so he is seeking your help. Simply reading it will gently guide you on your own personal journey towards enlightenment. .

Allowah is not the only person in the world seeking spiritual answers to ultimate questions; there are many, many people who are also asking big questions, and who would benefit from an encounter with this book. “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” opens the door to mysteries we have all pondered. The goal of the book is to bring YOU, the reader, answers to these universal, timeless questions.

This kick-starter effort is a major milestone in bringing this book into the world. By reaching out into the world’s spiritual community for assistance, Allowah is casting his bread upon the water. How can you get involved? How can you help? How can you get your questions answered? Today you can pre-order a copy of Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment, right here, right now, right on this page!

Thank you in advance for your help in birthing this informative and eye-opening book. Please join us by following the instructions below to pre-order your copy of “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment” today. Read it and be part of the spiritual solution. Thank you again for your time and consideration. ~ BFH

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Some Advance Praise for “Who Am I?”

“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

~ John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar

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“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of “seekers” who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

~ Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont “

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“Just read the manuscript. Really liked it.”

~ Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief

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“Am reading your book. I think it’s important and well-written.”

~ Alisande Sweeney, Permaculturist

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“Wow brother… just after a couple pages I’m hooked… I really really like it and your writing style. Please understand that I’m not just trying to make you feel good… it’s really really excellent.”

~ Joe Marshalla, Author of Repeatlessness

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“Good read. Well written and held my attention, up after midnight a few nights not wanting to put it down.”

~ Carey Turnbull, veteran TM teacher & yoga scholar

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“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell u I can’t put it down…Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted…It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place…Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

~ Marie Colandrea, Yoga Student & Teacher

Some Thoughts on Leela, the Play of God

Someone Caught God Playing With Herself

or,

Thoughts on Leela ~ “The Play of God”

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Dedicated with Love to our Prince George Yoga Tribe, Thank You Beautiful Souls! ❤

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tad ekam sat vipram bahudha vadanti
“Truth is one, yet even the sages call it by many names.”
~ Rig Veda
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Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He…
~ Rig Veda 10.129

These amazing passages from one of the oldest and most sacred of the world’s scriptures express something that attracted me from the very beginning of my love affair with yoga about India and the Hindu yoga tradition, namely, it’s open-endedness and absence of dogma.  This has translated into Hinduism’s great tolerance for even seemingly contradictory ideas.

This tolerance and flexibility, if you will, can be seen in the fact that there is no one founder of Hinduism (such as a Moses, Buddha, Jesus or Muhammed), and no one scripture that is considered to be the sole authoritative one (even the Holy Vedas are not).  Rather, there are many Hinduisms, many yoga schools, and many saints, sages, swamis, and gurus with their respective schools and lineages.   The idea, as expressed in the Vedic hymn (above), is that there are many ways to get there, numerous trails up the mountain, something for everyone in the smorgasborg of spirituality laid before us to partake.   But at the end of the day, there is only one place to go…

Truth is One, paths are many,”

said the late Swami Satchidananda, echoing the ancient Vedic dictum.

      And thus, when the student is ready for a particular teaching, the teaching will appear in some form or another, and the form itself ultimately does not matter.  And when that lesson is learned –or rather, embodied — then the next, deeper teaching will present itself to the seeker, and then the next, and the next…  At least in theory, this will go on and on until there is Nothing more to learn and Nowhere (Now Here) to go, in other words, until the point of “enlightenment” — a point to be considered in due time!

Since we’re on the subject of Creation stories… In the Hasidic tradition, there is a beautiful quote that runs,

             “God created the world because God loves stories.” 

     Whether this is at all true is also something that will be touched on here, yet I at least love stories, you?

Well, here’s a wee little one…

I believe Freud is to be credited with the observation that when we’re young, our parents are like gods to us, and up until a certain age, we treat them as such, becoming chips off the old blocks, so to speak.   When I was eleven years old, my parents went through what I experienced to be a painful separation.  Painful because the fairytale was over for me, the Queen banished forever from the King’s Castle, and my hot air ballooning sense that we would be one happy family forever deflated quite abruptly and decidedly.

So one day, a few years later after the Queen’s exile…

I was over at my dad’s house when my mom happened to call and start to berate me for something, related to the fact that I was with my dad and she didn’t like that (this happened often enough at that time).  My dad overheard some of what was happening with me and my mom there on the phone and he said something that I still have not forgotten to this day, partly because it was a little out of character for him, I thought:

                                                           “Tell her you didn’t ask to be born.”  

He said it facetiously, like to get her off my back, yet this was an idea that I had already begun to really ponder and vibe with, namely, the feeling that I could let go of all feelings of guilt and judgment because hey, I didn’t ask for this life, it was just thrust upon me (Gee, thanks, mom! )

If so, why was everyone on my case about everything?  Why this big heap of guilt and judgment all the time?  Sheeshkabob!

Of course, I could have said the same thing to my Dad when he was giving me a hard time about something.  This is all your fault, bro, lay off!

[btw, Bill Cosby, one of my favorite comedians but who has been drawn and quartered of late, has drawn much comic material from his own childhood and has a new book out called “I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was)“]

I do believe this idea of not asking to be born, if taken to its extreme, contains a very strong kernel of truth. On the one hand, from the standpoint of reincarnation (which I do believe is true in a relative sense), we did in fact ask to be born. We even planned it all out and wrote the whole bloody script, even down to who was going to be in our family, core group of friends, etc.  So we’re not off the hook that easy! And to bring the above story to a close, I never got off the hook with either of my parents that easy, either!

On a still deeper root level, though, the question arises:

Who, or what, is this “I” personality that seems to keep reincarnating lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, how did that happen?

Was that something that “I” asked for?  And again: Who, or what, is this “I”?

    Who the heck Am I anyway?

    Recently I’ve gotten very much into A Course in Miracles, recognizing it to be the next big thing in the unfolding of my own spiritual journey.  I’m noticing that a lot of other people are waking up to the profundity of this work, too. Another little story…

So I’d been living on Maui and happen to be of the Mosaic persuasion (i.e., I’m Jewish by birth — did i sign up for that, too?) and even though I didn’t make it, I heard that there was this great rabbi here who was flown in to lead Yom Kippur (aka, the “Day of Atonement” – the “holiest” day of the year on the Jewish calendar) services.  This rabbi was not traditional in the sense that he didn’t stick solely to the Torah, Talmud, and other Jewish sources.  He was just as much at home quoting Rumi, the Tao Te Ching, and guess who… our old messianic and similarly unorthodox friend, Jesus, who is the stated voice that dictated A Course in Miracles (aka “The Course”) to Helen Shuchman nearly 50 years ago now.

So I was told, the rabbi began his sermon with the opening words of the Course:

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

     Wow, a rabbi on Yom Kippur quoting the words of Jesus as channeled by an atheistic Jewish psychology professor in the heart of the Big Apple some 5 decades ago (!)  Surely a sign o’ the times, which perhaps could be described as “post-traditional,” a time when the best of the world’s spiritual traditions are being brought together all on one buffet table, much as your Whole Foods superfoods section contains the most superb foods from various tradtional cultures around the globe.

Yet back to the main point, which is how A Course in Miracles views the Creator’s creation of the world.

Essentially, it never happened.

Really?  Yes, really.

    As the opening salvo of the rabbi’s sermon above indicates, if only God is real, and the world of impermanence that we feel to be so real is in reality not real, then how could God have created this world?  Why would, and how could, what is Real create what is false?

As the poet-sage of the Rig Veda humbly admits, he didn’t really have a clue either, but he was pretty damn sure it was a toss up between 2 possibilities: Either God did it, or God didn’t!  Pretty brilliant, no?  Hey, anyone’s got a 50-50 chance of getting that one! They didn’t call ’em sages for nothin’!

So later, it seems, some of these wiseacre sages got cleverer about how to answer this whole question.

God didn’t create the world, actually, but somehow it still came from God.

Whaaaaa?

um, How?

“The play’s the thing…”

(remember Hamlet?)

Yes, the idea somehow came through that God was lonely or some craziness like that and wanted to feel what it felt like to have a playmate, namely the dualistic Universe of namarupa, name and form, yin and yang, Shiva and Shakti…

This is the idea of “Lila,” that the whole cosmic manifestation that we find ourselves in is the “Play of God,” sometimes also referred to as the “Divine Drama,” in which we are all merely players/actors (again, Shakespeare).  Now, the squeaky keen reader will still be wondering WHY on earth God would/could do this if God is perfect Oneness for which nothing could possibly be added or taken away…?  Sounds preposterous, no?  Why would God need a “playmate” (the Universe) in other words when She could just Self-Pleasure Herself for all Eternity (figuratively speaking, of course ; )?

Here’s one recent, decent answer to this that I found in Gary Renard’s second book dealing with the Course, Your Immortal Reality, which is a dialogue between Renard and two ascended masters, Arten and Pursah:

Gary: “…there are people who think that God couldn’t experience Himself in Oneness, and the only way He could experience Himself was to make this world and live in it….

Pursah: “…The idea of thinking that God would have to make this world in order to experience duality so he could enjoy Himself is the equivalent of the idea that in order to experience and enjoy sex, you would have to also experience getting shot in the gut.  No. Pain is the result of the guilt that came from thinking you separated yourself from God, and you don’t have to experience pain in order to experience the pleasure of reality.  But you do have to forgive pain and suffering and give it up in order to return to reality.”

It’s at this point that the idea of paradox perhaps needs to be brought in, paradox being a Greek word that literally means “beyond belief.”  A paradox is the concept that two seemingly contradictory ideas can somehow be reconciled, like having your cake and eating it, too, or the chicken and egg manifesting at the same time, something like that.

For if the conception of God is one of Absoluteness – that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent — or even that God is absolutely transcendent of everything, then we still want to say that some way somehow, God did create the world, or that it came to be through God’s agency somehow, otherwise God wouldn’t truly be God, would God?!?  The idea we find in A Course in Miracles is that a “tiny, mad idea” was somehow in the Cosmic Mind that “gee, what would it be like to be separate from God…?”

Now, most people I’ve spoken with do not find this completely satisfying, because it still seems to suggest that God had something to do with it, otherwise where could that tiny, mad idea come from?

Well, if God is truly infinite, then there might be a sense in which God contains within Godself infinite possibility. This could also mean that God contains within Godself even the thought “not-God.” Yet even that thought is still part of God and could never actually be separate from God – it’s a possibility and could even appear to become an actuality, but that would only be from within the idea itself that it would all seem real. In and of itself, however, it would really only be a possibility in the Mind of God, nothing more, but also nothing less.

To return now to the idea of “Divine Play” (lila/leela) that we find in the Hindu tradition, and one that has definitely taken hold in the minds of many…Perhaps we can now reconcile the seemingly opposing view that we find in the Course with this idea. On this view, God also did not willfully create the world, yet it still rose from God as God’s “Lila” or divine play from out of the eternal bliss of God’s Self.  As one commentator has put it:

   “Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world will mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. And that is impossible. Hence, there can be no purpose of Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or sport, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss. Lila indicates a spontaneous sportive activity of Brahman as distinguished from a self-conscious volitional effort. The concept of Lila signifies freedom as distinguished from necessity.”

                     —Ram Shanker Misra, The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo

For those who need an answer to this question, there you have it, and I do feel that this is the closest we’re going to get to it using just our intellects.   While for those deep thinkers (or overthinkers : ) out there I realize that even this will not be sufficient, I do feel this is enough. What I especially appreciate about both the Advaita Vedanta and what is presented in A Course in Miracles is their downplaying the theological and philosophical speculation on these Big Questions in favor of the actual empirical experience of these truths through the continual practice of removing the cloudiness in our minds that have obscured the light of the sun.   As the Course famously says:

       “The ego will demand many answers this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.”

The Course (or Jesus, the narrator of the Course) goes even further to tell us that actually, the only reason the ego has these questions to begin with is to say something like: “See, I exist! I’m real! Now tell me (or don’t tell me!) how I’m not real!” So at various places in the Course, Jesus makes radical statements like the following:

“Your questions have no answer, being made to still God’s Voice,

which asks of everyone one question only:

“Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?””

         Another way of putting all of this is that the only way for the ego to have a truly satisfying answer to these ultimate questions is for the ego to be completely dissolved – at which point there will be no more ego to appreciate the answer! Until that point, there will only be, there can only be, doubt and questions.   This is where faith must come in, and a firm commitment to keep that faith and keep practicing, even with doubts. The good news is that even just on the illusionary level at which we currently are, the practices that will “undo” the ego will also generally create a happier, healthier, more peaceful life. So we do get our cake and eat it, too!

In other words, while it is indeed helpful to be aware of the questions and these metaphysical issues, they mean nothing if there is no practical application of them.

And so I will leave you with one of my favorite philosophy jokes:

 

What is Mind?

Oh, no matter.

 

What is Matter?

Never mind!

 Jokes-Only-Philosophy-Geeks-Will-Understand-010

The Cult of the Hugging Saint Re-examined

The Cult of the Hugging Saint Re-examined:
Towards an Inner Dialogue

“People have different opinions and they have the freedom to express them. Those with sharper intellects can prove or disprove many things. However, their statements may not necessarily be the truth. The more intellectual you are, the more egoistic you are. For such a person, surrendering is not so easy. The experience of God will not become a reality unless the ego is surrendered. …If somebody claims that a Guru’s guidance is not necessary in the path to God, such a person, Amma feels, is afraid to surrender his or her ego. Or maybe they themselves crave to be a guru.”
~ Ammachi

“Do not believe something just because I tell you. Question everything.”
~The Buddha [said something like that]

This essay will attempt to clear up some confusion in regard to one of the most remarkable spiritual teachers of our time, Mata Amritanandamayi, familiarly known as “Ammachi”(aka “The Hugging Saint”). I write this partly for myself, to get my thoughts down on paper, and also for those on both sides of the growing debate/controversy surrounding who is now perhaps India’s most highly regarded living saint.

      In writing this, I do not wish to make anyone wrong, and am in fact coming from a space of some doubt and confusion myself, having now pretty thoroughly explored much of what has been said on both sides and finding there to be room for pause from all that has been written. What I do want to do is to suggest that we deeply listen to what everyone is saying rather than immediately putting the other side down, delete them from the message board, not really confront their points, or completely ignore them. I feel that most everyone, regardless of whether they take to spirituality or not, can agree that truth is best revealed through respectful and open dialogue, rather than deprecating diatribes. I would also suggest that if we are thinking or writing about these things at all, and especially if we strongly take a side, we’re most likely secretly confused and we might do well to question our own answers.

     I also feel it’s appropriate to reveal that I’m writing this at about 3 am during Devi Bhava at Ammachi’s San Ramon ashram, 2014. Earlier this evening I spent a couple of hours going through a number of the pieces written online, including the Rolling Stone exposé (from 2012), as well as Ron Rattner’s essays, Gail Tredwell’s revelations, etc. I also wrote out a lengthy question to ask Ammachi, the gist of which I will touch upon in a moment.

    The next revelation is that I wouldn’t have gotten into yoga as I did were it not for Ammachi. When I first was introduced to yoga in the mid-nineties, I met a number of gurus, swamis and yogis and Ammachi was like the gold standard for me by which I measured all the rest. Why? Well, at that time, it seemed that Ammachi had it all and was pretty much beyond reproach in my book. I couldn’t comprehend who she was and what she was doing, the superhuman energy she displayed day in and day out in selfless service to the world, hugging literally tens of thousands of people each week, with very little food and sleep, never seeming to waver or flag in her seva, her selfless service. To this day, apparently, she has never had to miss a day due to illness. That’s in 30+ years…pretty incredible, no? What’s that all about?

     If Jesus’ oft-quoted maxim “by their fruits ye shall know them” means anything, and it certainly did to me back at the beginning (and still does), Ammachi had demonstrated unequivocally that she was putting all of her life force into the service of humanity, setting up countless charitable organizations, schools, disaster relief initiatives, traveling the world tirelessly, etc.

The first thing I would point out is something I read from a devotee early on, to the effect that she thought she was such a “good person” until she met Ammachi. Meaning that being around Ammachi showed how far she had to go in terms of embodying love in every moment, as Ammachi appears to do to the nth degree. That statement stood out in particular because it was also true of my experience – I really thought I was hot stuff until meeting Ammachi. I realize that a skeptic or “ex-Amma” might jump in at this point and say, well, you are hot stuff! You are also a superstar, no different than Ammachi! You would also have her energy and love if you had all of those people adoring you, and your job was to run a multi-billion dollar business based on love. You’d have to rise to the occasion. Maybe so, yet the fact is, I am not in Ammachi’s position, nowhere close to it, and neither are her detractors.

     So the phenomenon of “sour grapes” and jealousy obviously can come into play here, and it is at this point that I feel we must deeply consider our ulterior motives in attacking Ammachi, or anyone for that matter. Is the attack (even if it is not couched in such extreme terms) really coming from a deep desire to help or save people from a brainwashing cult that abuses its members and what have you; or is it in fact coming from a desire to be seen as the hero, the whistleblower, or even the victim, because Ammachi is revered by millions and you are not? Or maybe it’s because you dropped your yoga practice and are trying to rationalize or justify it to yourself? And so on.

     Let’s not stop there, though, yet let’s also deeply and just as fairly consider the other side of the coin. What might be considered jealousy or sour grapes might in actuality be emanating from a real desire to save people from someone who has been called a “false guru,” “energy vampire,” “antichrist,” and perhaps worse. Let’s consider that maybe Ammachi is “on top” so to speak because she ruthlessly knocked out most of the competition.

     This is not an entirely hypothetical musing. The summer I met Ammachi, I also met Karunamayi, another South Indian “Amma,” who some of Ammachi’s devotees were going to see to receive darshan until Ammachi put a definite stop to that! Her followers were not going to see another Amma! She apparently even went so far as to sign her name to a document saying that if Karunamayi were allowed to even use the same venue as her, she would find somewhere else to give her programs. Then I heard that she put down Karunamayi as not the highest guru. This all shook me when I first heard about it, and started to put a crack in the picture I had of Ammachi (and ultimately not going back for 14 years). And of course, in the last 14 years or so, much more shocking allegations have come to light about the disturbing underbelly on what on the public surface looks like such an above board organization. We’re talking about physical, psychological, and sexual abuse allegations, some of them pretty much confirmed, as well as misappropriation of funds, and even intimations that Ammachi’s movement has offed people who don’t toe the party line. Pretty horrendous sounding stuff, not all of it proven, and probably much of it not true. Yet it seems that some of it is true and yet is being officially denied by Ammachi’s organization, including we must suppose, by Ammachi herself.

     Again, though, how we see all of this kind of depends on what stake we have in Ammachi being either an avatar or a fraud. If we have some stake in the former, we’ll find a way to see Ammachi as an avatar. If we are invested in the latter, we’ll have no problem showing how Ammachi is a fraud. Where does the truth lie? Perhaps, as usual, somewhere in between.

Her defenders will say things like, “Well, if she’s an avatar, then she can make it look like that to test people to look beyond the surface appearances, as well as to test the faith of her devotees. Perhaps there are really stubborn blockages there that can only be dislodged by certain shock and awe tactics, what has been termed “crazy wisdom” teachings? Perhaps her “tough love” is exactly what is needed to completely blow their mind and bring them into an enlightened state? How/who are we to judge? And every major figure is going to have their enemies and detractors, it’s just a fact of life. As far as the public denial that these things ever happened, well, there is a “greater good” being served by Ammachi’s organization running than not, and the tough karmic lessons were confined to a few close disciples – why should they be allowed to bring the whole blessed enterprise down with them? And again, who is to judge?

       That’s the defense. Now those against Ammachi will come and say that there’s a real slippery slope if we go that route because then the guru can really abuse their power and do anything they like, justifying it by saying “I’m the boss, my word is queen, and you just have to deal with it and learn your lessons,” and if they get away with it, they might abuse their power even more. Towards the end of his life, there were a number of people also trying to take down South India’s other great guru of this era, Satya Sai Baba, mainly for faking his materializations and miracles, but even more damning, for the number of reports that were being posted on the internet accusing him of pedophilia. Again, supporters said that because of who he was, he could do whatever he wanted and it was all never so he could get his jollies but to serve the greater spiritual evolution of his devotees, perhaps especially to test or reveal their level of faith and detachment. Meanwhile, his detractors again used the argument that a true guru would never commit such adharmic (non-lawful and unrighteous) for any reason, even to test their followers.

     Perhaps at this point you, like me, are sensing the limits of rational thinking here, and that if we truly honestly consider both sides of this issue, we will be left in a state of stalemate, not being able to offer a definitive 100% sure conclusion either way. And it is here that we come to what seems to be an essential part of the spiritual path, and that is what we know as “faith,” which is where reason leaves off and a humble sense of “I don’t know” begins. Yet before we leap with loveblind faith, there are certain things we can do first to help decide for ourselves which way to go…

      More than a century ago, Harvard professor William James came up with the philosophy of pragmatism, which essentially says, “What Works?” Does it work for you? Then do it! And if doesn’t work for you, then don’t! And I would add, if you see something is working for someone else, be very careful before you attempt to burst their bubble, because what they believe may be very useful to them at that moment! And that said, they also might be very grateful to you for bursting their bubble, so it can go either way (you might want to propose a “spoiler alert” first 😉 Yet in the end, it’s really our choice to have our bubble burst or not – if it happens, we’ve opened ourselves and allowed it.

     The other thing I would say is that exploring other religions and paths has, for me, definitely strengthened my faith in Ammachi and what she is offering the world. For one thing, her teachings are very simple, clear, able to encapsulate the most profound and universal spiritual teachings. And they are ultimately in accord with Advaita Vedanta – the philosophy that all is One, and that we are all and have always been one with what many call God (or Spirit, Source, etc). Vedanta has been confirmed and re-affirmed not only by the teachings of the Vedas, Upanishads, and countless sages past and present (including from other traditions, such as Rumi, Meister Eckhart, et.), but also by other contemporary revealed scriptures such as a new favorite of mine, A Course in Miracles. Furthermore, if I had never done an ayahuasca session, I wouldn’t have been able to fully grok some of Ammachi’s teachings (if they truly are her’s, and not ghost written), such as the following:

“ Spirituality is not a journey forward, it is a journey backward. We return to our original source of existence. In that process, we have to pass through the layers of emotions and vasanas [tendencies] that have accumulated so far. That is where the pain comes from, not from outside. By going through those layers with an open attitude, we are, in fact, crossing over and transcending them, which will ultimately take us to the abode of supreme peace and bliss.”

     Actually, meditation showed me the truth of this statement early on (and I wouldn’t have really gotten as deeply into meditation were it not for teachers like Ammachi), but working with ayahuasca took it that much deeper.

So in other words, I now have for myself outside confirmation of what Ammachi is teaching, and at this moment, sitting in her presence and in this beautiful gathering, I will say that even if there are some things in Ammachi’s movement that are red flags, it yet seems wise to see things in the context of the big picture and the “spiritual fruits” that Ammachi and her followers have offered the world.

      All that said, it ultimately does come down to faith: Is Ammachi truly an Avatar, God in human form who can lead us through those deeper levels of our unconsciousness that are so difficult to access and navigate on our own; or is she actually a false guru who has come to enslave her followers (and the world, too), keeping them as far from enlightenment as possible so that she can win all the glory for herself? All I can say is, the choice is yours. My point here has mainly been to suggest that we all really examine our own motives, our own stake in all of this, and from that place of complete self-honesty and transparency, decide whatever we decide. That requires some real introspection, the hallmark of the spiritual path.

     For myself, what works for me is to remain in a position of open-endedness, and to also be primarily focused on working out my own salvation, without over-reliance on external teachers. Despite the traditional yoga teaching that one has to have a guru in order to reach enlightenment, it seems this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Even Ammachi herself has said the following:

“Amma doesn’t force anything on anyone. For those who have the unshakeable faith to see every single situation, both negative and positive, as a message from God, an external Guru is not necessary.”

Ammachi, however, goes on to ask rhetorically:

“But how many people have that determination and strength?”

Indeed, how many? Do I truly have that ability, or am I fooling myself?

Sources

1) Rolling Stone article, “Cult of the Hugging Saint.” http://www.theyogablog.com/controversial-rolling-stone-article-on-amma/ . This blog entry provides a link to the original RS article, plus the blog author’s commentary.

2) Ron Rattner, Silly Sutra Website, particularly the piece: http://sillysutras.com/other-teachers-mata-amritanandamayi-ammachi-rons-memoirs/. I first learned through a friend of Ron’s break with Ammachi; this was in the late nineties, some 15 years before he went public with his grievances.

3) Gail Tredwell. Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness. http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Hell-Memoir-Devotion-Madness/dp/0989679403

4) Official and Other Responses to the Tredwell book: https://ammascandal.wordpress.com/tag/holy-hell/

5) Amma.org. Official Ammachi website.

6) Bronte Baxter, “Blowing the Whistle”: http://brontebaxter.wordpress.com/blowing-the-whistle-chpt-9-amma-the-mother-saint-hugging-away-your-personhood/

7) Letters to the Mother: http://letterstothemother.com/tag/ex-amma/

8) Jovan Jones website: One of Ammachi’s biggest critics. I met her when she was still a devotee of Ammachi in the mid-90s. She wrote “Chasing the Avatar,” a mainly non-fiction account of her time with Ammachi.

9) Article quotations of Ammachi are from the book “From Amma’s Heart,” written and edited by Swami Amritaswarupananda.

“The Real Yoga is Bhakti Yoga” ~ The Practice of Heartcore Yoga

“GOD IS ONE, LOVE IS ONE…GOD IS LOVE.”

~  Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

~ Namaste’ Beloved One ~

There’s a really nice documentary on yoga that we show at each of our yoga teacher trainings — it’s funny, hip, sexy, and is also able to get deep into the heart of this thing that we call yoga. If you’re really into yoga, you’ve probably already seen it. The film is called “Enlighten Up!” and if you haven’t had the opportunity yet, it’s definitely worth a couple hours of your time. Here’s a link to the Official Website.

I bring this up because towards the end of the film, which up until that point had mainly focused on “Hatha Yoga” (the more physical form of yoga most seen in the West), we get thrown a ringer: The real yoga for most yogis in India (and for most Indians, as well), we are told, is not Hatha Yoga at all, it’s Bhakti Yoga. This bit of news comes from Shyamdas, a Western-born yogi who has lived in India off and on for something like 30+ years. Here is the clip from the movie to get a better feel for what I’m about to talk about:

So what is Bhakti Yoga, and why is it the “real” yoga?

     Bhakti is the Yoga of “Love, Devotion, and Surrender” (see Santana-McGlaughlin : ), and it is the real yoga because it is the foundation of all the other forms/paths of yoga. The essential idea is that when we love something, we give it our attention. We become attracted to whatever it is, and our heart is in it — we consciously choose to explore that thing more deeply, to enter into relationship with it. For example, many of us yogis get into yoga because we initially are just following our bliss, our heart, and decide that we really want to spend more time getting to know this Yoga thing, and ourselves, more intimately. Then we give it our love, our attention, and go about devotedly and intently practicing and learning it to our heart’s content.

That’s Bhakti.

And you see how by definition it lies at the base of all other paths of yoga, and really can be seen to be the foundation of all that we do in life: We tend to tend and attend to what we love to do — whether it’s Hatha, Tantra, Jnana, Karma, Raja, or any other form or path or style of yoga. In this sense we might say that all yoga is real yoga, because ALL Yoga is Bhakti Yoga.

That said, Bhakti Yoga is its own path, too, and it is much more than that. Because we can practice the other forms of yoga and miss the “heart,” the juicy heart of it all. Indeed, we can miss the point, the essence, the rasa (juice). For Bhakti Yoga is the path of Love, and if Bhakti lies at the foundation of everything else, it is because Love does. And so if our Yoga is not working on our heart and somehow helping to remove all the armoring and blockages around the heart that has served to keep us from truly loving ourSelf and an “other” as ourSelf, then it is not true yoga. No, it is yoga that is actually only serving to reinforce the ego’s boundaries, and leading us away from Yoga, which is no different from Love, from Unity, from the Divine.

Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with a strong ego, as it all depends where we are on our life’s journey.  As Ram Das, one of the great Western Bhaktas (Bhakti Yogis), and one of my greatest inspirations, has often put it:

“You have to be somebody before you can be nobody.”

For me, this means that we truly have to be very strong within ourselves to fully face and even embrace the reality of our non-existence. Put another way: Our ego is also what drives us forward on the path, and it is through it that we feel more empowered to live a full human life in the body-temple we have been gifted, which affords the chance to “slowly, slowly” prepare for our inevitable demise. So if there were no ego, there would be no game to play here — we would be dissolved back into the Godhead/heart (or GoddessHeart, if you will ; ) — and that’s not so bad, either, it seems to be what we’re all secretly seeking!!! A strong, healthy ego also will have the ability to look death in the face (or our greatest fear(s)), and say, “yes, bring it on.” And a strong, healthy ego will also be able to fully look at our shadow, and if not fully enlighten the darkness, then at least keep it in check.

Now, I bring all of this up because this is all truly fundamental & foundational for all that we do in yoga. And it also feels so essential for the current 2012 and beyond time period that we are navigating. It does now feel to be time for the Shadow work to be done, where we stop stuffing our stuff — the horrific damage we’ve been doing to our bodies, each other, the planet — and actually fully face it all and deal with it (by first not being in denial anymore). Yes, it’s time to truly Be the One that we’ve been waiting for, to be our own Hero/Savior/Beloved, individually and collectively.

I know, easier said than done! Because in truth, this heart work is hard work, perhaps the hardest we will ever do. It takes great courage (from the French word for heart, “coeur“) to get to the core of things, to look unblinkingly at the truth about ourselves… For truth hurts, and the truth can even kill us (or the ego, at least). Many of us are not yet prepared to handle such truth, and so we live our lives on the surface of things, judging and blaming others instead of pointing the finger back at ourselves in the realization that we have our own inner demons to confront. The good news is that the practice of yoga, in its fullest sense (that is practiced integrally, holistically), is one of the greatest systems ever devised to prepare ourselves for such intense revelations, empowering us also to then make the necessary changes in our lives so that we may truly be beacons of light in this world.

I happen to be writing this on Easter morning, 2012. I have no strong opinion whether Jesus truly lived and died for our sins, or not, though I do feel it’s possible, certainly. At the very least, if he truly said all or most of what we find in the Gospels (including the non-canonical ones like The Gospel of Thomas) — much of which we find in Eastern wisdom, too — then Jesus was indeed a great yoga master, an avatar (incarnation of God on earth), if there ever was one. And if Jesus really is Love, then hell (or heaven) yeah I believe in Jesus, because I know the Power of Love. I don’t believe in a Second Coming, except in the sense that we are each responsible for our own resurrection in Love, and that we are all the Messiah, and that it will be something of a “team effort” here to truly bring Heaven to Earth. And it is happening.

Omni Vincit Amor

Love is and has always been the ever and only lasting answer. It does truly conquer — or perhaps better, contain — ALL. There is no force in the universe greater than Love. A great yogi (Yogi Berra ; ) once said:

If life were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

Well, the same is true for us: We are all perfectly imperfect — perfect in our imperfectness. Even our desire to be saved from our imperfections is perfect, too. And perhaps the only salvation for our imperfection, for our “Fallen” nature, if you will, is to Fall In Love, to fall deeply In Love.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

I want to close by sharing two things which have been brought to my attention this past week, and you will note also speak to what I have been sharing here. The first is a piece by Marianne Williamson on why the phenomenon of “falling in love,” is not an illusion at all, but a taste of enlightenment. I actually first saw this in Natural Awakenings magazine, and then found it here on the web: Marianne Williamson on Love

The other is a song that we all know, one of the most beautiful and profound love songs I have ever heard:


 

Thanks for Listening!

Love, Allowah

 

A Course in Miracles in Light of the Yoga Tradition, Part I

22 Core Teachings of A Course in Miracles

This is not the Course, not even close.  The Course presents an entire metaphysics and a practical application of which that requires repeated application to truly be effective and undo the ego.

So the quotes below really must be read in context to get the bigger picture of what’s being said and meant.

Yet they will still be helpful as a reminder for some and perhaps as an inspiration for others to actually begin to take a deeper look at the Course.

Personally, I would not have taken A Course in Miracles that seriously if I hadn’t first read Gary Renard’s “Disappearance of the Universe,” which really helps to clarify and simplify it’s message.

I still don’t know how I feel about how Gary’s book came about, yet as of now I have decided that it doesn’t matter, it’s the message that counts, and more important even, the practical application of the message.

So how is all of this connected to Yoga?  Well, Yoga means “Union,” and the highest philosophy of India, Advaita Vedanta, is the philosophy of Nonduality, which is exactly what the Course teaches, though with the added emphasis on “true forgiveness,” though this also involves an acceptance of  .

My teachers all held Jesus to be a great avatar (ascended master come to earth), perhaps the greatest ever.

I can see this now.

In any case, great minds think alike, and after all, as the Course says, there is only one mind anyway.

So let’s not get caught up in superficial differences of “oh, that’s Christian” and “that’s Hindu,” because it’s really all one.

*

KEY 

ACIM = A COURSE IN MIRACLES

DU = Disappearance of the Universe

ps. Enjoy the pictures below, but the deeper message here is in the words…

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

haleakala sunrise

The Real & The Unreal

1)  “Nothing real can be threatened.  

   Nothing unreal exists.  

      Herein lies the peace of God.”  

(Main message of the Course, from the Introduction)

[Compare with Shankarcharya’s classic statement of Advaita Vedanta:

 brahma satyam jagan mithya

jivo brahmaiva napara

Brahman [God] is the Reality, the universe is an illusion,

The living being is Brahman [God] alone, none else.

 “To mean you want the peace of God is to renounce all dreams.”  ~ ACIM

OM ASATOMA SADGAMAYA ~ “Lead us from the unreal to the real.” (ancient Sanskrit mantra)

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP6W1MaxJLI

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REMOVING THE BARRIERS TO LOVE

2) *“The search for love is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with love.” * 

“The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught.  It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.” (ACIM, from the Introduction)

[Compare with another line from the Course, often mis-attributed to Rumi: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”]

Commentary: This is all the process of yoga is — Peeling the onion, going back to union, to the One Love that we are… what we call “God.”  The Course calls this “Undoing the Ego.” http://www.undoing-the-ego.org/index-ute.html

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb9P8BLipqo

  pizap.com10.74557676492258911354650113424

THE WORLD IS AN ILLUSION

3) * “There is no world!  This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he canlet himself be led along the road to truth…” *

“The world you see is an illusion of a world.  God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself.  Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever.” ~ ACIM

“No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected.”  ~ ACIM

“There is nothing outside you.”  ~ ACIM

[Einstein: A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”]

Will you bring truth to your illusions, or your illusions to truth?

Row Row Row Your Boat…

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW8TlrYhBxk

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TRAINING THE MIND

4) “This is a course in mind training. 

An untrained mind can accomplish nothing.” *

 DU: “One of the goals of the Course is to train your mind so the time will come when instead of judging automatically, you will forgive automatically.”

DU ~ “This is a lifelong spiritual path with numerous rewards along the way — but they happen within a difficult process.”

DU ~ “One of the reasons that A Course in Miracles is so long is that, even though the truth may be simple and consistent, your ego is not — and it needs to be undone gradually.”

“And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long , long time. 

– He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance.” ~ ACIM

[Commentary: The Yoga Sutras recommends constant practice and “non attachment.”   It also says that we can get there faster with more intense practice.  The paradox is that time is an illusion and that whenever we get there, in whatever dream lifetime, is at a time beyond time anyway!

More Yoga Wisdom: “Make the mind your servant and not your master.”

“The truth is simple, but it’s not easy.”

“Get with De-program.” ~ Mr. Smiley : ) ]

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSIajKGHZRk

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ACTION IN THE WORLD

5) “This is a course in cause and not effect.   

Therefore, seek not to change the world, 

but choose to change your mind about the world.” *

“The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the reinterpreter of what the ego made,

 sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home.”  ~ ACIM

[Compare: “You can’t change the world, you can only change yourself.”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

“Your own Self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ~ Sri Ramana Maharishi ]

Commentary: Putting yourself at “Cause” means that you take 100% responsibility for everything.  There is no

more allowance for blame or victimhood.

Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS-16m1OhtA

 

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I Sit Corrected

(Just “Be Still and Know…I Am”)

  

FEAR & LOVE 

(or, Fear OR Love)

6) * “Fear and love are the only emotions of which you are capable.” * 

“Fear binds the world.  Forgiveness sets it free.”  ~ ACIM

“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.”  ~ ACIM

“Perfect love casts out fear. If fear exists, then there is not perfect love.”  ~  ACIM

“It is but your thoughts that bring you fear.”  ~ ACIM

“There is nothing to fear.”  ~ ACIM

Jesus in the Bible: “You cannot serve two masters.”

DU: “The words love and fear in the Course represent two complete and mutually exclusive thought systems.”

Ram Dass: “Live from your soul, not your ego.”

Roosevelt: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” –> and even that’s NOTHING to fear!]

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fWN6VvgKQ

970529_639629626066722_96311105_n

  

GUILT & SUFFERING

8) * “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.”  *

Commentary: According to DU, Jesus was crucified, but did not suffer.  He realized that he was guiltless and so were his apparent persecutors.  He also realized he was not his body.

A similar process happens in yoga.  At first the practice of yoga can be very challenging, even torturous.  Over time, it becomes easier and easier as

blockages are released from the body-mind.  For me personally, yoga and exercise in general have become nearly effortless and fun – until I go to the next layer/level where I begin to access the unconscious.

DU ~ “Pain is not a physical process, it is a mental process.”

[Compare: Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths: 

The four noble truths are:[a]

  1. The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction)
  2. The truth of the origin of dukkha
  3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha
  4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha]

 

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.last.fm/music/Bob+Dylan/_/Watching+The+River+Flow

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THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATION

9) * “A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct.” *

“The truth about you is so lofty that nothing unworthy of God is worthy of you.  

Choose, then, what you want in these terms, and accept nothing that you would not offer to God as wholly fitting for Him.”  ~ ACIM

“You dwell not here, but in eternity.”  ~ ACIM

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of separation.” ~ Ram Dass (and other spiritual teachers)

The Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Jesus

 

Commentary: The word “individuality” has the word “duality” in it.

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tiOMu_Bf8Q

Forgiveness-Quotes-To-forgive-is-to-set-a-prisoner-free-and-discover-that-the-prisoner-was-you.  

      FORGIVENESS     

10) * “Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation.” *

Commentary: Ultimately, forgiveness is an illusion, because we’re forgiving something that’s not there…It’s purpose is to lead you to God, but it’s not of God.

Unlike all other illusions, it leads you away from separation and not towards it.  The Course calls it a “happy fiction.”

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. 

 It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception.  

The means of the Atonement is forgiveness.”  ~ ACIM

“He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive.”  ~ ACIM

“There is a simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. 

When you feel you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did,

for that is self-deception.  Ask instead, “Would I accuse myself of doing this?”  ~ ACIM

“Forgiveness allows love to return to my awareness.”  ~ ACIM

“God does not forgive for he has never condemned.”  ~ ACIM

DU ~ “Forgiveness and arguing are mutually exclusive, and forgiveness is always the way.”

DU ~ “You have to learn how to turn the tables on the ego. The only way to forgive what is within is to forgive what seems to be without.”

DU ~ “True forgiveness is the real purpose of life, but you’ve got to choose it in order to make it yours.”

Jesus: “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

“That which is hateful to you do not do to your fellow man.” etc.

[Commentary : All is forgiven — AND there is nothing to forgive! ]

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xezg3z5IE8I

Love-and-forgiveness-cannot-be-separated.-To-truly-love-2C-you-must-forgive.-To-truly-forgive-2C-you-must-love.-Forgive-and-move-forward-to-a-life-of-true-love.-status

NON-JUDGMENT

11) * “The ego cannot survive without judgment.” *

“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes  from meeting yourself and your brother totally without judgement.”  ~ ACIM

“Judgment and love are opposites.  From the one comes all the sorrows of the world.  From the other comes the peace of God.

Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind.” ~ ACIM

The Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Jesus

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'” ~ Jesus

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” ~ Jesus

“Fire the Judge and hire the Witness.” ~ Gurudev

(“As God is my Witness.” : )

“Non-judgment day is at hand!” ~ Swami Beyondananda

 

Commentary: Again, taking the Golden Rule to its most absurd conclusion: Loving our brother/sister as ourself because they are ourSelf!

 

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwbGjzF3mB0

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…and it’s all in your mind!

PEACE OF MIND

12) * “There are no small upsets.” *

They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.”

DU ~ “It is just as important to forgive a cold as a physical assault,

and just as important to forgive a subtle insult as the death of a loved one.”

Commentary: Having a bad hair day is just as needing of forgiveness as having a bad hair life!  Or if you’re bald, a bald hair day!  Forgive it all!

All is Forgiven…AND There Was Nothing Ever to Forgive.

[Mr. Smiley’s Recommended Mantra ~ “It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter…”]

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cTYhY3NUWE

935497_274054532738980_591440159_n


THE MASTER TEACHER

13) * “To teach is to demonstrate.” * 

“As you teach, so shall you learn.”  ~ ACIM

“I am among the ministers of God.” ~ ACIM

“The ego does not want to teach everyone all it has learned, because that would defeat its purpose.” ~ ACIM

“There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought; 

no act belies your word; and no word lacks agreement with another. Such are the truly honest.”  ~ ACIM

[“Be the Change.”  “Lead by example.”  “Walk your talk.”  “Practice what you preach.”  — And forgive yourself if you don’t!  Because you probably won’t!

Gandhi ~ “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in Harmony…Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed.”]

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4GZFbCqx18

Okay, that was a joke, try this one instead:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qd-fAnHjPg

 

943283_275246965953070_1759899097_n 

MIRACLES

14) * “Each (of us is) a miracle of love.” * 

“Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness.”  ~ ACIM

“There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” ~ ACIM

“Miracles mirror God’s eternal love.”  ~ ACIM  

“The miracle is the only device in your immediate disposal for controlling time…

The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years.”  ~ ACIM

[Commentary: Ram Dass’ book about his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, is called “Miracle of Love.”

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g26e89xV1HU

51rCQSHPKZL._SX270_ 

HEALTH & SICKNESS

15) * “Sickness is of the mind and has nothing to do with the body.” * 

“Sickness is but another name for sin.

Healing is but another name for God.

The miracle is thus a call to Him.” ~ ACIM

 “The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing.  

And this is so for healing in all forms.” ~ ACIM

DU ~ First Biggest Rule About Spiritual Healing: “It’s not about the patient.  All healing is a result of some kind of forgiveness, and all forgiveness leads to self-healing.”

Second Biggest Rule: “Pain is not a physical process.  It is a mental process.”

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy625sZAHN8

god-and-money

(well, it is possible to multi-task on this one, ’cause God is not a cruel multi-taskmaster, haha, i tried ; )


REAL ABUNDANCE

16) * “You have sought first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all else has indeed been given you.” * 

DU ~ “How much success or money you get has nothing whatsoever to do with how spiritually enlightened you are.”

DU ~ “If you remember you’re not a body, then you can step back and see that what you desire is valueless.”

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

~ Jesus

[Commentary: If abundance comes, let it be a “perk of the job” so to speak, and then use it to further the work you are doing.  The Course essentially is telling us to make the world and the things of the world nothing, because they are.  If we are fervently seeking them and praying for them, then we are missing the point.]

Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tGuJ34062s

10_jesus-prays

TRUE PRAYER

17) * “The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need.” *

“I once asked you to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me.  This is what I meant: If you have no investment

in anything in this world, you can teach the poor where their treasure is.  The poor are merely this who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed!” ~ ACIM

“Not my will, but Thy will.”  à Not the ego’s script, but the Holy Spirit’s.

 

Commentary: In yoga, meditation is generally considered a more beneficial practice than prayer.  There is a saying, “When you pray, you talk to God.  When you meditate, God talks to you.   Generally we only really pray unless we’re in a crisis, or if we really need something.   This type of prayer is coming from a place of fear, not love.

 

Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruAi4VBoBSM

 

 

   bible-church-funny-hell-masturbation-sex-Favim.com-42457

SEX

18) * “This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have.” *

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish, and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven. 

The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and a demonstration of separateness. 

The Holy Spirit transforms them into perfect lessons in forgiveness and in awakening from the dream. 

Each one is an opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is another chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other.   And each one becomes still another invitation to the Holy Spirit and to the remembrance of God.”  ~ ACIM

DU ~ “A dream is nothing, and sex is nothing.

But I wouldn’t recommend that you turn to your partner after making love and say, “That was nothing.”

DU ~ “Tension can be released by forgiveness, but until someone is very proficient at it they shouldn’t be forced to give up earthly desires.”

“Let not their form deceive you.  Idols are but substitutes for your reality.” ~ ACIM

DU ~ “We’ve made a false idol out of the sexual feeling, like a substitute for God.”

First Commandment (Book of Exodus): “I am the Lord thy God…Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods [Idols] Before Me.”

What other false idols do we have?

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY9-98tkfvg

 

 

Death 

LIFE & DEATH

19) “Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem.” *

“If death is real for anything, there is no life.  Death denies life, but if there is reality in life, death is denied.  

No compromise in this is possible.”  ~ ACIM

“Death is the symbol of the fear of God.” ~ ACIM

“God did not make death because He did not make fear.  Both are equally meaningless to Him.”  ~ ACIM

“Are you afraid to find a loss of self in finding God?”  ~ ACIM

“The reality of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son [you] is a body.” ~ ACIM

“Without the idea of death, there is no world.  All dreams will end with this one.”  ~ ACIM

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmASTC7wR6U

Enlightenment

ENLIGHTENMENT

20) * “Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.” *

[Commentary: Other names in the Course for Enlightenment are “Resurrection,” “Salvation,” “Atonement,” “Awakening.”]

“Your resurrection is your reawakening.”

DU ~ Enlightenment is “the total absence of unconscious guilt.”

DU ~ “Enlightenment happens during one of your illusory lifetimes.  The body is laid aside once and for all only after your mind awakens from the dream.”

DU ~ “When you’re enlightened, you will completely awaken from the dream.  Even though you’ll still appear to be in a body, you’ll see what the Course refers to as the real world. …You’ll see only innocence everywhere, because it’s your own innocence — the innocence of Christ.”

“Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.” ~ Zen Saying

Commentary:  The “Son of God” which the Course so often mentions is none other than…You!  You are the One you’ve been waiting for!

You are Christ!  (Or if you prefer, Mary!)  And so is everyOne else, too!

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELRBvDz6YgU

sacrafice

THE COURSE IN MINIATURE

21) “I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.

I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.

I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.

I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit

will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.

I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.”

  • Text, Chapter 5
  • This passage is sometimes called “the Course in miniature”

 The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piOlKl7hLhAGod-is

 164965_172032829629585_1054909689_n

 

22)   * “GOD IS” *

“Life has no opposite, for it is God. ” 

 

“Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life.   Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God create cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. 

 In this one sentence is our Course explained.  

In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. 

 And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.” ~ ACIM

 “We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something

not itself.  It has united with its Source.  And like its Source Itself, it merely is.”  ~ ACIM

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Jesus

Commentary: Funny how we need these big books to tell us “God Is” and all else, including all of the words, are ultimately meaningless.  It’s a work is process, the lifetime plan…

The Gospel of Rock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWhMyOs0pCQ

god-is-but-love 

il_570xN.451031787_9vo9

22+ = 23) Come on, there had to be one more, the most important one!

 

LAUGHTER!

 

* “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea,

at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.

In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea,

possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” *

[ACIM, T-27.VIII.6:2-3]

 a127

Trivia Question: Where does Jesus laugh in the Gospels?

I don’t seem to recall Jesus ever laughing or smiling – let alone singing or dancing.  Gotta watch the movie “Godspell” for that! J

But we do have Jesus crying as in the shortest verse in the Gospels: “Jesus Wept,” which is just a little shorter perhaps than the saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas (a non-canonical, Gnostic Gospel), “Be Passerby.”

“Laugh at the ego and be free!”

The Course uses the phrase “gentle laughter” at the whole absurd thought system of the ego.

The Gospel of Rockhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo

More “Gospel” Music

CAN MUSIC SAVE YOUR MORTAL SOUL?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsV5-Hv-7U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4s9wVRIXeU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6TFW1F6oY0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4SqDx1vi4c

This is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.”

You Also Might be Interested in the “Gospel of Rock” (Ministry of Rock) blog I was doing for awhile…

http://ministryofrock.wordpress.com/2007/11/18/stairway-to-heaven-meaning/

(The above link to a piece on the deeper meaning of Stairway to Heaven was the most commented on.)

 

To Be a Rock and Not to Roll: A Yogi Reflects on Stairway to Heaven

            I’ve been doing yoga for the past 18 years.  I’ve been playing guitar for nearly 33.  Picking up the guitar in the early ’80s, early songs that were de rigeur for a young guitarist were, of course, Iron Man and Smoke on the Water.  And after that, Stairway to Heaven.  Almost everyone back then wanted to see me play Stairway.  I just learned the opening chords and that was enough.  Though I loved Led Zep, I didn’t get as much into Jimmy Page’s playing as my other heroes: Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton.
           Years later, after being deeply immersed in the yoga tradition, I see the profundity of this song way beyond just the chord progression.  Robert Plant has said that the words came to him one night sitting in front of the fire place at Headley Grange, contemplating “spiritual perfection.”  Despite all claims to the contrary (that the band was in league with satan, etc.), the message of the song is ageless.  Let’s consider just the last verse:  
And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When we all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.
     And she’s buying the stairway to heaven.
             This really is the essence of Advaita Vedanta expressed right here, and in words that are timeless and of this time.  There is a seeming war between the ego and God.  From our perspective, being in the throes of the ego, the odds are greatly against God, for the ego’s illusionary “reality” seems so real, so solid.  So much so that some of us need a kickass hard rock song to get the message through to us!  And yet, there is still a still, small voice of Spirit that we can listen for, tune into, and it will lead us to the place that is eternally golden light, to Heaven.   If yoga is a lifelong path (and possibly for many lifetimes — “rolling” here can be seen as an allusion to reincarnation, which is only real within the ego’s illusion), it is so only because this process of awakening is not an overnight thing, it’s gradual, lest we blinded by the light (see my next blog on Bruce Springsteen ; )
             So, it’s really nice to see Robert Plant’s eyes well up in this video.  I’m sure it wasn’t just pride in the song.  It was knowing that this song truly is ageless, timeless, immortal.  It will be with us quite a long time, it’ll be interesting to see how things develop, and yet, most important is to truly take in its message.
           ps.  If you’re interested in reading further, I would suggest reading the Katha Upanishad, which talks about two paths you can go by: The Good (shreyas), and the merely pleasant (preyas).  Also, I will blogging soon about another one of the greatest rock songs on all time, Hotel California, and how it connects with the deeper teachings of yoga.

Welcome

Welcome to Allowah & The Great Yoga Quest

This site has two main purposes

The primary purpose is to provide resources to you on your “quest” for understanding.

Their intention is to help question our deepest held beliefs about the nature of reality.

The site tagline “resources for the liberated yogi” plays on the word “liberation” which obviously means “freedom,” but can also be read as liber-ation, with the suggestion that freedom can be found through reading (liber = book, as in library) and reflecting on and applying what we read. This is part of the yogic path called “Jnana Yoga,” which some have called the most direct path to moksha, a Sanskrit word meaning “freedom, liberation.” Thus this site will provide you with a good deal of thoughtful writing to read for all who are ready.

The other purpose of this site is to let you know about my current events and offerings.

Please click on the “offerings” tab for more about this.

My intention in all of this is to provide you with the most useful information and services that I can that will truly help you in your life.

Thank you for being here!

Namasté _/\_ Allowah

treenamaste_1

ps. Here is the cover of my new book, Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment. Please click HERE if you would like to pre-order your own autographed copy.

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