Compilation of articles
(1) Christmas Humpreys: The Escaping
(2) Rohit Mehta: What is freedom?
(3) N. Sri Ram: What is the Path?
(4) Susunaga Weeraperuma: The Art of Dying from Moment to Moment
(5) David Frawley: Ritual and the Quest for Enlightenment
(6) Joy Mills: Ethics of an Understanding Heart
(7) Joy Mills: Reincarnation, Reality or Fantasy?
People mostly think that their lives offer them many different opportunities, countless possible choices, that in front of them there are open several attractive and interesting paths that could lead them toward the realization of their desires, their tendencies and toward success and personal happiness, toward becoming a content person which is the pride of their family and community.
But in spite of this apparent multitude of different paths, there are only few that really succeed to find their path and to reach the realization of their own aspirations, no matter which is the sphere of action they have chosen.
And if we look at the life stories of these comparatively few individuals, they show us a relatively simple fact: that the secret of their success lies in their capability of expressing themselves freely, that they succeed to discover and to realize their own latent faculties and that they were enough courageous and persistent in their efforts, so that they were able to overcome all the obstacles on their paths.
This simple fact tell us, together with our fruitless meditations about countless different and neglected opportunities, that these apparent paths are not so many, that in truth there is only one path and that this path leads through self-knowledge and awakening of one’s own latent faculties; but nevertheless one another path which digress us from that what we wish to find.
And “in one way or another we are all trying to escape from the thing which we pretend that we are trying to find. Some of us know that we are trying to escape. Others don’t. In either case the cause is too much fear and too little love, and the fear is fear of ourselves, of being ourselves, and the fear is born of ignorance. For we do not know ourselves, and most of us are too frightened or too lazy to inquire.” (1)
And if you don’t believe this, let’s have a look
of our way of living. “Beyond the legitimate needs of recreation, change
and other pleasant pastimes, most of which are necessities by reason of our
utterly wrong living, it will be found that a large part of our day is spent
in preventing ourselves from thinking - lest in the course of this dangerous
process we stumble on that frightening and embarrassing experience - the truth.
So we turn on the TV, go to parties, go to the “movies”; we read novels, collect
stamps, and then we feel too tired for more. So we go to bed, and another day
in the brief span of our lives has passed, with the dread wolves of serious
thought kept safely from the door.
Later the technique grows more subtle, and the lies to oneself more elaborate. We take up serious reading, and chatter of the books we have read but have not dared to think out lest we might have to apply them. We toy with phrases and quotations, and exchange with our fellow members of the Escaping Club a grand collection of high-sounding terms.” (1)
But we do not readily confess this, and if we do so, we say that this is due to the circumstances we have to live with, that we are not free, that we are under the pressure of “the outer compulsions … that arise out of circumstances of life.” It is true that “when material environment is unfavorable due to insufficiency of financial resources and due to disabilities of the physical body, one feels the impact of outer compulsion. Similarly, when our relationships with those around us impose restrictions upon us, we feel restricted in our ways of living. There are mental restrictions, too, which arise out of a feeling of inferiority or a sense of insignificance.” (2)
But “circumstances by themselves are neutral, having neither compulsive nor non-compulsive factors. It is man who imparts the element of compulsion to objective conditions. All compulsions are subjective … To seek freedom from objective compulsions, while the inner compulsions are fully operative, is to tread the path of disappointment.” (2)
“The compulsions of the outer circumstances are,” namely, “what is described in the religious philosophies of the East as Karma. Laws of Karma are mysterious and so it is difficult for man to predict their behavior. This is another way of saying that life is unpredictable. No one knows from where the restrictive factors of Karma will arise.” (2)
“But the mind, in its determination to run away from life, whether from its suffering, the product of past error, or from its higher truth, which it lacks the courage to face, may go much further. It may go mad. Short of madness it may resort to a neurosis, that convenient state of “nerves” which arises from our refusal to accept what we do not like, that is to say, the condition of affairs produced by our own past thought and action. We must accept our karma, the resultant of our own behavior, and work it out instead of running away from it.” (1)
And “what are the inner compulsions of man? They are factors constituting the future which the mind of man has built up out of the materials gathered by it in the past … They arise out of the urge to become something. This urge to become something expresses itself in ideals, aspirations, dreams, etc.” (2)
“Every human being carries with him right through life a great load of images in his mind in the form of various ideas, innumerable impressions, information of all sorts and countless memories … For the sake of clarity it is necessary to distinguish between two distinct kinds of images: the non-psychological images on the one hand and the psychological images on the other. Knowledge, information and facts of all kinds constitute non-psychological images whereas psychological images are our hates, likes and dislikes, jealousies, fears, ambitions, hopes, urges and the like. For example, all the bits of information one has about how to assemble or repair a car set fall into the category of non-psychological images; but the desire to outshine one’s next door neighbor by having a superior car is a psychological image. Knowledge in itself is a collection of non-psychological images, whereas all the images that go to create and sustain the ego or the sense of “I am” are psychological images.” (4)
“Psychological images invariably generate ill-will, misunderstandings and disharmony in human relations. Do we ever see anew the various persons whom we daily meet in a real spirit of freshness and as though we were meeting them for the first time? That is rarely the case for we are accustomed to viewing people through screens of images. The images we have may be likened to self-inflicted wounds.” (4)
Therefore “the lack of freedom which man experiences in outer circumstances of life is due to the absence of freedom in the inner life of man … What is meant by this inner freedom? Obviously, it is a state where mind is not tethered to anything. If the mind has created its own vested interest, then it is bound to be circumscribed by its sphere of influence. A vested interest, whether financial or psychological, is always created for the purposes of security. When the mind creates a psychological vested interest, it is with the purpose of safeguarding its zone of comfort and continuity. The mind that seeks security must remain a stranger to freedom; it must accept the compulsions of its own vested interest. The joy of creative living cannot be comprehended by such a mind.” (2)
“It is the mind with psychological vested interest that is afraid of Karma. Having lost all direct contact with the flowing stream of life, such a mind is eager to safeguard the existing forms and patterns … In this state of isolation the mind becomes a custodian of something that is dead - not something that is alive. It carries the dead in the forms which it labors hard to decorate. But the dead cannot take place of the living, just because they have been richly decorated.” (2)
“Now, when does one feel the compulsion of life? Surely, this feeling of compulsion arises only when the mind has arrived at some conclusion. Now, a mind that approaches life with a prior conclusion is no longer open. It is a closed mind. In fact, a mind that is open feels no compulsions as it has no prior conclusions; it is free from all conflicts. We feel the compulsions of Karma because of the conclusion to which we have already arrived. We want Karma to follow the pattern of our conclusions, but when this does not happen we feel frustrated and look forward to some near or far-off future for release from conflicts and turmoils of life. Life does not follow the line of our conclusions and from this arises the endless sorrow of man.” (2)
“Refusing to accept this obvious truth, we project our own dislikes, desires, beliefs and prejudices onto our neighbors, or the government, or “fate”, and so get rid of them. Or so we think, but sooner or later we must give up these projections … which as adults we should have learned to outgrow.” (1)
“Man is essentially the mind … The word “man”, if you associate it with the human stage of evolution, is the instrument of the Spirit. But in the human stage it separates itself and acts independently.” (3)
And so “The “I” is probably the most safely guarded image in the psyche. Although the “I” is merely one of many images yet it has the presumption to regard itself as a sort of super image with the power and authority to control the other images!” (4)
But “the intelligence or the intellectual nature of man is capable of being transformed into likeness of the Spirit, getting assimilated to its nature and becoming a spiritual entity … That is to say, the mind, the whole way of one’s thinking has to become transformed so that, instead of being a creature of many interests that split up the unity of the individual, it becomes a different kind of man.” (3)
“Buddhism is unique in that it is the only system of thought which is founded on the doctrine of acceptance. The Buddha … began with here and now. Observe for yourself, he said, and you will find that all forms of life are subject to change, that the thing called soul is no exception … Accept, in other words, that nothing endures, not even a love affair or a holiday by the sea …” (1)
Only “the mind that has its renewal from moment to moment … can know what is karma-less-ness. Not a renewed mind - but a mind that is in a state of constant renewal - it is only such a mind that is free …” (2)
“The mind that is engrossed in images, either while being “awake” or asleep, is really in a state of deep slumber, but the mind that is not preoccupied with images is truly and supremely awake … Psychological images that do not die get reborn again and again … There is freedom from this bondage of rebirths only when images die at the very moment of their inception. Is there any greater virtue than that of dying to all one’s accumulated hates, jealousies, rivalries and prejudices? Living and dying are inseparable: it is by dying from moment to moment that one discovers the only life worth living …” (4)
And this only life that is worth to live is the Path. “It is a way of life. If you live a certain life you are treading the Path. And there is no other way. What kind of life? To put briefly we might say: treading the way of the Spirit.” (3)
But what is the path of Spirit? “… the way that is indicated by what comes from within oneself. One cannot say what that direction is, but one can say what it is not. So when you move away from the wrong direction you automatically move along the right direction.” (3)
“… mind must be turned away from the direction it has so far pursued … Now, the directions in which we have proceeded so far, are the directions of our desires. And we have to move away from them. There is no compulsion. Everyone can experience as much of what he wants to experience as he likes … He can drain to its dregs the cup of fame, enjoyment, position and wealth … It is only through experience that man comes to understand the significance of that experience, how much it is worth. In that way all this is necessary. But it is in the nature of things that you get tired of them all, of anything to which you are attached, every sensation, enjoyment; all pall in time … You never arrive at anything; you just go on rolling this log up the hill.” (3)
Therefore you gradually begin to “avoid certain things because you lost the savor for them,” and begin to “move along a certain path … because you are led along that path by your gravitation towards the center of your nature.” (3)
“… and the Path is therefore … walking by the light that radiates from within … It involves the totality of one’s will … the whole of one's being … So the way is not to be trodden with a portion of oneself.” (3)
“The word “Path” implies that also others come with you. It is something that exists in itself, by itself, and which is open for many others also.” (3)
“We must always bear in mind that the goal exists in the very nature of things. If you realize that, treading the Path is not something artificial; it is just being yourself.” (3)
However, can we say about this Path something more? Can we find along this path any landmark, that we should not be mislead by the sensation that we have wasted series of lives only to overcrowd our mind so fatally that we have lost ourselves and that we do not know in which direction to search. Let us see if we can be helped by the “ritualistic view of a universe as an organic intelligence in which human beings play an integral part and purpose.” (5)
“Any action that is repeatedly energized with thought and intention gains power, thereby becoming a ritual of sorts. In fact, all our actions have a ritualistic orientation, because action tends toward repetition and reinforcement, thereby projecting a particular energy to link us with certain forces in the world in which we live. In this regard, even basic vital functions like eating and breathing are rituals, that is, rhythmic actions drawing into us various cosmic energies.” (5)
“The Sanskrit word karma, which usually refers
to the effects of our actions through various lives, originally meant “ritual”.
Action or karma is always ritual; that is, whatever action we do sets in
motion certain forces, not only of a personal but of a collective and cosmic
All action, we could say, is like jumping into a stream. We can choose the stream to jump into, but once in the stream we come under the stream’s forces, which are not longer a matter of choice. Whatever we do places us in a stream of action which has a momentum that will carry us in a particular direction. Conscious actions reinforce the energy of consciousness, which causes us to grow in awareness. Unconscious actions reinforce habit, inertia, and the energy of ignorance, which places us under the domination of external world.
Once we recognize that action is karma, we will approach our actions with an awareness that makes them sacred. We will then give even simple and everyday actions an attention so that we do not let ourselves drift in the stream of unconscious action into greater darkness and sorrow.” (5)
Now “our rituals have become mundane and sensate, with no spiritual goal; they have become a repetition of sensation, and at worst, of negative emotions. To fill the void created by a lack of true ritual, or sacred action, we have created, perhaps unconsciously, an entire set of false rituals. These are rituals of entertainment, sports, politics and even crime.” (5)
This is the cause that practically every member of so called civilized world is in a sort of “neurotical” state. Therefore the fundamental thing for our return to the source is the recognition “that what we do on a personal or microcosmic level corresponds to what occurs on a universal or macrocosmic level.” (5)
“For we are all parts of one another, and brotherhood, so far from being a mere ideal, is a present fact in nature.” (1)
“But the man who withdraws his own projections is brave indeed, and has saddled himself, as Jung explains, with a new host of problems and conflicts. “He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong and they must be fought against … Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow then he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in removing an infinitesimal part at least of the unsolved, gigantic social problems of our day.”” (1)
“The individual can only find himself … by constantly sacrificing himself to something he knows and admits to be larger than himself.” (1)
And how can we be helped by ritualistic view on life? “True ritual gives a universal meaning to all that we do and to all with whom we come in contact, including all of nature.” (5)
“In the true sense, ritual means right action, and any action done rightly, with wisdom and compassion, is a ritual. We cannot avoid action as long we live. For action not to bind us, it must be a ritual not in the personal sense but as a means of connecting with cosmic being and its movement.” (5)
Therefore we have to be very careful and respect
the words of the Voice of Silence:
“Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from men; believe thou not that life on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range - believe thou not, O Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal of final liberation.
Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and muscle, unites thee to thy “silent Self”. Think not, that when the sins of thy gross form are conquered, O Victim of thy Shadows, thy duty is accomplished by nature and by man."
The only path is therefore a life we live - our personal and collective life. All is only one Life!
And this life, as it seems to us, is full of problems that hinder us, even so, that they prevent us to walk along the Path. And this hindrance is the entanglement of the mind in its psychological images and its vested interests. Therefore the problem is not that thing which the mind sees as the problem; the problem is the very mind, as it is; or maybe better, it is the source of all the problems; for when we shall solve its entanglement, all that the mind sees as the problem, will disentangle itself as a ball of wool.
But the entangled mind can not solve its own entanglement in which it has caught itself, for more it tries to disentangle itself, more active it is more entangled it is. Here we need a help of our intelligence or intellectual nature, of our consciousness, of our capacity of recognition, of discrimination. It must not identify itself with the mind any more but assume its genuine, natural state and bring the mind to that state. Creative powers namely lie in consciousness.
“How necessary it is to die each day, to die each minute to everything, to the many yesterdays and to the moment that has just gone by! Without death there is no renewing, without death there no creation,” said Krishnamurti.
But why to die? Because under the natural law the life, when it exhausts its experience in some form, it withdraws itself out of that form for it could reborn in some new form for some new experience. This is the law of reincarnation in action, in every moment. We can not love if we do not die for hate. The world can not know the peace if it does not die for war. Therefore we must die for hate so that we can be born in love.
And how to die? With Will! With Love! With Action! And the activity through which we learn to die from moment to moment is concentration of the mind towards the Spirit, the One - a state of awareness, the awake-ness of mind, of attention and acceptability. Only from that state the true meditation can proceed and action can be linked with the Spirit, or better, can spring out of Spirit, and can be performed in a new spirit.
“The highest ritual is meditation, wherein everything we do becomes imbued with attention and awareness.” (5)
Therefore for the creative action there are no problems but only impulses and opportunities for the action. Therefore the outer circumstances are not any more the compulsions but a field for action, for “when the inner compulsions are dissolved, objective environment becomes only a field of expression and not a sphere for self-fulfillment.” (2)
In that way we begin to disperse the “self” as the most protected image in the psyche and to recognize that is no such thing as “my” or “your” problem, as also there is no “my” or “your” mind, there is only one mind. And to see the illusion into which we lead ourselves by drawing conclusions upon the nature of ourselves and of others. And likely the most dangerous and hindering illusion, which delays our true progress, is that we are not capable of intellectual awake-ness, that our intellectual capacities are limited.
The creative action proceeds out of acceptance that all life forms constantly subordinate themselves to change and that there is taking place a thing called “intellectual evolution” (7) in which there is no need we should be only dumb and powerless observers of “fate” but conscious co-operators, if we decide, here and now, to awake ourselves for these truths and to make efforts to realize them in our daily life.
And when we decide to co-operate consciously in that development then such a decision means that we are trying to understand the functioning of our mind, then we strive to disperse its psychological images and vested interest, then we do not draw anticipated conclusions, but remain open for “an unknown factor of human personality which constitutes the mystery of human being.” (2)
““Only be aware of what you are thinking and doing and nothing else. The seeing, the hearing is doing. The skill in doing lies in the skill of seeing, hearing,” said Krishnamurti … and perhaps, it is simply seeing and hearing through which we give ourselves.” (6)
Then we act in a way which we can imagine as “a total caring for life. That everything,” and every man around us, “because of its rooted-ness in the non-material,” in Spirit, “bears within it a preciousness, and we care deeply for that preciousness in each other and everything. It is so something that we nourish and love and try to bring into flower. That it is, in other words, one uses all that one is for welfare of others.” (6)
In that way our meditation, our individual ritual, our ritualistic way of life changes into and becomes one with collective ritual, ceremony, when the action out of Spirit impregnates every meeting, shall that be a dialog with a friend or stranger, a family lunch or business agreement, a society meeting or peace manifestation, or simply a walk in nature.
We can not dissolve the images of mind over night. This process takes a whole life and then another one and another one, until we shall dissolve also its super-image, image of “I”. But the thing we can do in every moment is to calm the mind, stop the appearance of-psychological images and, in that way, to enter into a state of oneness.
Our acting can only be conscious or not. Both modes of acting are due to some decision, especially when we had come into possession of definite truths of Life. Then “… we become ever more responsible for fulfilling our human task to build a future in which every human being will know freedom and peace and in which all will recognize they are parts of one universal consciousness.” (7)
Then, for we acquired understanding, such acting becomes our moral necessity to apply Will and Love for accomplishment of our Duty, in accordance with the development of our nature and with the law of its further progress. Our nature is already developed to the degree where we can realize reciprocal love and co-operation, and therefore our next step is brotherhood of all man and all beings in nature.
Therefore the only path is the way of living where we, in every moment, accept the actual state of things as the result of our previous thinking, where we die for that thinking, to be born in brotherhood. That is a true ritual, the ritualistic way of living.
Last Update : January