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  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
  • Sacred journey to peru, mystic travel agency peru, mystic travel
 
     
     
 
FOUR PATHS LEAD TO UNITY - Secret #3

ALL THE SPIRITUAL SECRETS from this point on, meaning the vast majority, depend on your accepting the existence of one reality. If you still think of it as a pet idea held by someone else, your experience of life won’t change. One reality isn’t an idea—it is a doorway into a completely new way to participate in life. Imagine a passenger on an airplane who doesn’t know that flight exists. As the plane takes off he panics, thinking such thoughts as “What’s holding us up? What if this plane is too heavy? Air weighs nothing, and this whole plane is made of steel!” Thrown back on his own perceptions, the panicked passenger loses all sense of being in control; he is trapped in an experience that could be leading to disaster.
In the cockpit the pilot feels more in control because he’s been trained to fly. He knows the aircraft; he understands the plane’s controls that he works. Therefore he has no reason to panic, even though in the back of his mind the danger of mechanical failure is always present. Disaster could occur, but that is out of his control.
Now move on to the designer of jet planes, who can build any craft he wants based on the principle of flight. He occupies a position of greater control than the pilot because if he kept on experimenting with various designs, he could come up with a plane that is incapable of crashing (perhaps some kind of glider with an airfoil that never stalls, no matter what angle of dive the plane goes into).
This progression from passenger to pilot to designer is symbolic of a spiritual journey. The passenger is trapped in the world of the five senses. He can perceive flight only as impossible because when steel is compared to air, it only seems capable of falling through it. The pilot knows the principles of flight, which transcend the five senses by going to a deeper law of nature (the Bernoulli principle), which dictates that air flowing over a curved surface creates lift. The designer transcends even further by coaxing the laws of nature to arrive at an intended effect. In other words, he is closest to the source of reality, acting not as a victim of the five senses or a passive participant in natural law but as a co-creator with nature.
You can take this journey yourself. It is more than symbolic because the brain, which is already manufacturing every sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell that you experience, is a quantum machine. Its atoms are in direct contact with the laws of nature, and through the magic of consciousness, when you have a desire, your brain is sending a signal to the very source of natural law. The simplest definition of consciousness is awareness; the two are synonymous. One time at a business conference an executive came up to me demanding a definition ofconsciousness that was practical and concrete. At first I wanted to reply that consciousness can’t be defined concretely, but I found myself blurting out, “Consciousness is the potential for all creation.” His face brightened as he suddenly got it. The more consciousness you have, the more potential you have to create. Pure consciousness, because it underlies everything, is pure potential.
You need to ask yourself this question: Do you want to be a victim of the five senses or a co-creator?
Here are how the options look.

ON THE WAY TO CREATION

  • Depending on the five senses:Separation, duality, ego-based, subject to fear, detached from the source, limited in time and space.
  • Depending on natural law:In control, less subject to fear, taps into natural resources, inventive, understanding, explores the reaches of time and space.
  • Depending on consciousness:Creative, intimate with natural law, close to the source, boundaries dissolve, intentions turn into results, beyond time and space.

Awareness is all that changes in the journey from separation to the one reality. When you depend on your five senses, you are aware of the physical world as primary reality. In such a world you must come second because you see yourself as a solid object made up of atoms and molecules. The only role your awareness has is to look upon the world “out there.”
The five senses are extremely deceptive. They tell us that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, that the earth is flat, that an object made of steel couldn’t possibly be held up by air. The next stage of awareness depends upon laws of nature that are arrived at by thinking and experimenting. The observer is no longer a victim of deception. He can figure out the law of gravity using mathematics and thought experiments. (Newton didn’t have to sit under a tree and have an actual apple fall on his head—he could perform a thought experiment using images and the numbers that match those images. This was the process he followed, as did Einstein by imagining how relativity worked.)
When the human brain considers the laws of nature, the material world is still “out there” to be explored.
More power is gained over nature, but if this level of awareness was the ultimate one (as many scientists think it is), utopia would be a technological triumph.
However, the brain can’t set itself aside forever. The laws of nature that keep airplanes in the air also apply to every electron in the brain. Eventually someone has to ask, “Who am I who is doing all this thinking?” That’s the question that leads to pure awareness. For if you empty the brain of all thoughts (as in a state of meditation), awareness turns out not to be empty, void, and passive. Beyond the limits of time and space, one process—and only one—is taking place. Creation is creating itself, using consciousness as its modeling clay. Consciousness turns into things in the objective world, into experiences in the subjective world. Break any experience down to its most basic element, and what you get are invisible ripples in the quantum field; break down any object into its most basic element, and what you get is also a ripple in the quantum field. There is no difference, and by a stroke of supreme magic, the human brain doesn’t have to stand outside the creative process. Just by paying attention and having a desire, you flip on the switch of creation.
You flip it on, that is, if you know what you’re doing. The victim of the five senses (pre-scientific man) and the explorer of the laws of nature (scientists and philosophers) are just as creative as someone experiencing pure awareness (sages, saints, shamans, siddhas, sorcerers—pick any label you want). But they believe in limitations that are self-imposed. And because they do, those limitations turn into reality.
The glory of the spiritual journey is the same as its irony: You acquire full power only by realizing that you have been using that power all along to thwart yourself. You are potentially the prisoner, the jailer, and the hero who opens the prison, all rolled into one.
Instinctively we knew this all along. In fairy tales there is a magical connection between victims and heroes. The frog knows he is a prince, needing only the magic touch to regain his true status. Most fairy tales put the victim in peril, unable to break the spell until the magic is delivered from outside. The frog needs a kiss; the sleeping princess needs someone to break through the wall of thorns; Cinderella needs a fairy godmother with a magic wand. Fairy tales symbolize a belief in magic that wells up from the most ancient parts of our brain, but they also lament that we are not masters of this magic.
This dilemma has frustrated everyone who has tried to embrace the one reality. Even when wisdom is gained and you realize that your own brain is producing everything around you, finding the control switch to creation is elusive. But there is a way. Behind any experience is an experiencer who knows what is happening. When I find a way to stand where the experiencer is standing, I will be at the still point around which the whole world turns. Getting there is a process that starts here and now.
Every experience comes to us in one of four ways: as a feeling, a thought, an action, or simply a sense of being. At unexpected moments the experiencer is more present in these four things than usual. When that happens, we feel a change, a slight difference from our ordinary reality. Here is a list of such subtle changes taken from a notepad I kept by my side for several weeks:

FEELINGS

  • A lightness in my body.
  • A streaming or flowing sensation in my body.
  • A sense that all is well, that I am at home in the world.
  • A feeling of complete peacefulness.
  • A sensation of coming to rest, as if a speeding car has glided to a halt.
  • A feeling of landing in a soft place where I am safe.
  • A feeling that I am not what I seem to be, that I have been playing a part that isn’t the real me.
  • A feeling that something lies beyond the sky or behind the mirror.

THINKING

  • “I know more than I think I do.”
  • “I need to find out what’s real.”
  • “I need to find out who I really am.”
  • My mind is becoming less restless; it wants to calm down.
  • My inner voices have become very quiet.
  • My internal dialogue has suddenly stopped.

ACTIONS

  • I suddenly sense that my actions are not my own.
  • I sense a greater power acting through me.
  • My actions seem to symbolize who I am and why I’m here.
  • I am acting out of complete integrity.
  • I gave up control and what I wanted simply came to me.
  • I gave up the struggle, and instead of falling apart, things got better.
  • My actions are part of a plan I can barely glimpse, but I know it must exist.

BEING

  • I realize that I am cared for.
  • I realize that my life has purpose, that I matter.
  • I sense that random events are not random but form subtle patterns.
  • I see that I am unique.
  • I realize that life has the ability to run itself.
  • I feel drawn to the center of things.
  • I realize with wonder that life is infinitely worthwhile.

This may seem like a very abstract list because everything on it is about awareness. I didn’t record the thousands of other thoughts, feelings, and actions that centered on outside things. Of course, like everyone else, I was thinking about my next appointment or rushing to it, feeling harried in traffic, being happy or out of sorts, confused or certain, focused or distracted. All of that is like the contents of a mental suitcase. People stuff their suitcases with thousands of things. Yet awareness is not a suitcase, nor is it the things you stuff inside.

Awareness is just itself—pure, alive, alert, silent, and full of potential. Sometimes you come close to experiencing that pure state, and at these times one of the hints I’ve listed, or something similar, comes to the surface instead of lying hidden out of sight. Some hints are palpable; they arise as undeniable sensations in the body. Others arise at a subtle level that is difficult to verbalize: a shiver ofsomething unexpectedly catches your attention. If you notice even one such hint, you have in your hand a thread that could lead beyond thought, feeling, or action. If there is only one reality, every clue must lead eventually to the same place where the laws of creation operate freely, which is awareness itself.
Once you start out with a promising hint, how can you wrest free from the ego’s grip? The ego fiercely protects its view of the world, and we’ve all experienced how wispy and fleeting any experience can be when it doesn’t fit our ingrained belief system. Sir Kenneth Clark, the renowned English art historian, recounts in his autobiography about an epiphany in a church when he suddenly realized, with total clarity, that an all-embracing presence was filling him. He sensed beyond thought a reality that was sublime, filled with light, loving, and sacred.
At that moment he had a choice: He could pursue this transcendental reality or he could go back to art.
He chose art, without apology. Art, even if it fell far short of higher reality, was Clark’s earthly love. He was choosing one infinity over another—the infinity of beautiful objects over the infinity of invisible awareness. (There is a witty cartoon showing a fingerpost standing at the fork of a trail. One sign points toward “God,” the other toward “Discussions about God.” In this case the signs could be changed to “God” and “Pictures of God.”)
Many other people have made similar choices. In order to displace the physical world you already know, a hint must expand. The threads of experience must weave a new pattern because, as separate strands, they are too fragile to compete with the familiar drama of pleasure and pain that grips all of us.
Consider the list again. The boundaries between the categories are blurry. There is only the slightest difference betweenfeeling that I am safe, for example, andknowing that I am safe. From this I can proceed toacting as if I am safe until finally I realize, without a doubt, that my whole existence has been safe since I was born: Iam safe. In practical terms, this is what it means to weave a whole new pattern. If
I take any other item from the list, I can weave similar interconnections. As I draw thought, feeling, action, and being together, the experiencer becomes more real; I am learning to put myself in his place.
Then I can test this new reality to see if it has enough strength to replace an older, outworn picture of myself.
You might want to pause for a moment and do just that: Choose any item that speaks to you—a sensation or thought you can remember having—and connect it to the other three categories. Let’s say you pick “I see that I am unique.” Uniqueness means that there is no one else who is exactly like you.
What feeling would go with that realization? Perhaps a feeling of strength and self-esteem, or a sensation of being like a flower with its own unique scent, form, and color. There is also the sensation of standing out from the crowd and being proud that you do. The thought might then come, “I don’t have to imitate anybody else.” With this thought you might begin to feel free of other people’s opinions about you. From this, a desire arises to act with integrity, to show the world that you know who you are. Thus, from one tiny sensation a whole new pattern emerges; you have found the path of expanded awareness. If you pursue a momentary glimpse of awareness, you will see how quickly it expands; a single thread leads to a complex tapestry. Yet this metaphor cannot explain how to change reality itself. To master pure awareness, you must learn how to live it.
When an experience is so powerful that it motivates people to change the whole pattern of their lives, we call that a breakthrough, or an epiphany. The value of an epiphany doesn’t lie just in some new or exciting insight. You might be walking down the street and pass a stranger. Your eyes meet, and for some reason there is a connection. It isn’t sexual or romantic or even a suspicion that this person could mean something in your life. Instead, the epiphany is that youare that stranger—your experiencer merges
with his. Call this a feeling or a thought, it doesn’t matter which—it’s the sudden expansion that counts.
You are flung outside your narrow boundaries, if only for a moment, and that makes all the difference.
You have tasted a hidden dimension. Compared to the habit of shutting yourself behind the walls of ego, this new dimension feels freer and lighter. You have a sense that your body can’t contain you anymore.
Another example: When you watch a young child who is playing with complete focus and yet totally carefree, it’s hard not to feel a tug. Doesn’t the child’s innocence seem palpable at that moment? Can’t you feel in yourself—or yearn to feel—the same delight in play? Doesn’t the child’s tiny body seem as fragile as a soap bubble and yet bursting with life itself, something immense, eternal, never to be defeated? In a fascinating text called theShiva Sutras, which dates back centuries in India, one can find similar epiphanies. Each one is a sudden glimpse of freedom in which the underlying experiencer is directly confronted, without interference. One looks at a beautiful woman and suddenly one sees beauty itself. Or one looks at the sky and suddenly one sees an infinity beyond.
No one else, however much you love and adore the person, sees the true significance of your private epiphanies. The secret belongs to you, with you, in you. In the titleShiva Sutra, the wordShiva means “God” and the wordSutra means “thread,” so quite deliberately the reader is being shown tiny threads that lead back to the eternal source.
There is a wider context for theShiva Sutras, which requires following the path that is opened up by an epiphany. In the Vedic tradition, each person can choose four paths that arise from feeling, thinking, acting, and being. Each path is called aYoga, the Sanskrit word for “union,” because unity—merging with one reality—was the goal. Over the ages, the four Yogas have come to define specific paths that suit the

kind of temperament a seeker has, although in truth you can follow several or all at once:

  • Bhakti Yogaleads to unity by loving God.
  • Karma Yogaleads to unity through selfless action.
  • Gyana Yogaleads to unity through knowledge.
  • Raj Yogaleads to unity through meditation and renunciation.

Literally translated, the fourth path, Raj Yoga, means “the royal way to union.” What makes it royal is a belief that meditation transcends the other three paths. But the fourth path is also inclusive: By following it you are actually following all four at once. Your meditations go directly to the essence of your being. That essence is what love of God, selfless action, and knowledge are trying to reach.
It’s not necessary to think of the four paths as being Eastern. These Yogas were the original seeds, the means that brought unity within reach. Everyone has feelings, so everyone can be on the path of feeling.
The same is true for thinking, acting, and being. So the vision of Yoga is simply that unity is possible for anyone, starting from wherever you happen to be. Indeed, unity is secretly present in every moment of daily life. Nothing can happen to me that is outside the one reality; nothing is wasted or random in the cosmic design.
Let’s look at how each path is actually lived:

Feelingpoints the way whenever you experience and express love. On this path your personal emotions expand to become all-encompassing. Love of self and family merges into love of humanity. In its highest expression, your love is so powerful that it calls upon God to show himself (or herself) to you. The yearning heart finds ultimate peace by uniting with the heart of creation.
Thinkingpoints the way whenever your mind stops being restless and speculative. On this path, you silence your internal dialogue in order to find clarity and stillness. It takes clarity for your mind to see that it doesn’t have to be so driven. Thinking can turn into knowing, which is to say wisdom. With greater clarity your intellect looks into any problem and sees the solution. As your knowingness expands, personal questions fade. What your mind really wants to know is the mystery of existence. Questions knock on the door of eternity, at which point only the Creator can answer them for you. The fulfillment of this path comes when your mind merges with the mind of God.
Actionpoints the way whenever you surrender. On this path your ego’s control over action is loosened.
Your actions stop being motivated by selfish wants and wishes. At the beginning, it is inescapable that you will be acting for yourself because, even if you try to be completely selfless, you will be earning personal satisfaction. In time, however, action detaches from the ego. Doing becomes motivated by a force outside yourself. This universal force is called Dharma in Sanskrit. The path of action is summed up in a phrase: Karma gives way to Dharma. In other words, personal attachment to your own actions is turned into nonattachment through performing God’s actions. This path reaches its fulfillment when your surrender is so complete that God runs everything you do.
Beingpoints the way whenever you cultivate a self beyond ego. At the outset the sense of “I” is attached to fragments of your real identity. “I” is an accumulation of everything that has happened to you since you were born. This shallow identity gets exposed as an illusion, a mask that hides a much greater “I” existing in everyone. Your real identity is a sense of existence pure and simple, which we’ll call “I am.” All creatures share the same “I am,” and fulfillment occurs when your being embraces so much that God is also included in your sense of being alive. Unity is a state in which nothing is left out of “I am.”
Yoga is seen in the West as a renunciant’s path, a way of life that demands giving up family and possessions. Wandering yogis with their begging bowls, of the kind that used to be seen in every village in India, symbolize such a life. But outer trappings don’t signify renunciation, which happens on the inside no matter how much or how little you possess materially. Internally, a crucial decision is made:I am starting over. In other words, you renounce your old perceptions, not your possessions.
When your heart grows sick of the violence and divisiveness in the world, starting over is the only choice. You stop looking at the reflections and turn instead to the source. The universe, like any mirror, is neutral. It reflects back whatever is in front of it, without judgment or distortion. If you can trust that, then you have taken the crucial step of renunciation. You’ve renounced the belief that the outer world has power over you. As with everything else on the path to unity, living this truth is what will make it true.

CHANGING YOUR REALITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE THIRD SECRET

Finding a path back to your source is a matter of letting life settle down to where it wants to be. There are gross and subtle levels of every experience, and the subtler levels are more sensitive, awake, and meaningful than the gross. As an exercise, begin to observe when you touch upon subtle levels in your own awareness. Notice how these feel compared to the grosser levels. For example:

  • To love someone is subtler than to resent or push the person away.
  • To accept someone is subtler than to criticize the individual.
  • To promote peace is subtler than to promote anger and violence.
  • To see someone without judgment is subtler than to criticize the person.

If you let yourself feel it, the subtler side of each experience puts the mind at ease, decreases stress, and results in less restless thinking and less pressure at the emotional level. Subtle experience is quiet and harmonious. You feel settled; you aren’t in conflict with anyone else. There is no overblown drama or even any need for it.
Once you have identified it, begin to favor the subtle side of your life. Value this level of awareness—only if you value it will it grow. If you favor the grosser levels instead, the world will reflect your perception back to you: It will always remain divisive, disturbing, stressful, and threatening. The choice is yours to make at the level of consciousness because, in the infinite diversity of creation, every perception gives rise to a world that mirrors it.

Exercise #2: Meditation

Any experience that brings you into contact with the silent level of awareness can be called meditation.
You may have spontaneously hit upon a routine that allows you to experience a deep settling in your mind. If you haven’t yet, then you might adopt one of the more formal meditation practices that appear in every spiritual tradition. The simplest, perhaps, is breathing meditation, as follows:
Sit quietly with your eyes closed in a room with the lights low and no distractions from the telephone or knocks at the door. Shut your eyes for a few minutes; then become aware of your breathing. Let your attention follow your breath as it gently, naturally draws inward. Do the same as the breath flows outward. Don’t make any attempt to breathe with a certain rhythm and don’t try to make your breath deep or shallow.
By following your breath you are aligning yourself with the mind-body connection, the subtle coordination of thought andPrana, the subtle energy contained in the breath. Some people find it easier to stay with their breathing if they repeat a sound: one syllable for the out breath, one for the inner.
Ah-Hum is a traditional sound useful for this purpose. (You can also adopt the seed mantras or ritual sounds as described in any text on Eastern spiritual teachings.)
Perform this meditation for 10 to 20 minutes twice a day. You will become aware of your body relaxing.
Since most people are storing massive amounts of fatigue and stress, you may even fall asleep. Don’t worry about this, or about any sensation or thought that crops up as your mind grows quieter. Rely on the body’s natural tendency to release stress. This is a gentle meditation that has no negative side effects or dangers as long as you are healthy. (If you feel pain anywhere or a repeated sense of discomfort, these may be symptoms of undiagnosed illness; in that case, should such feelings persist, you need to ask for medical help.)
The relaxing effect will continue, yet you will also begin to notice that you are more self-aware. You may gain a sudden insight or inspiration. You may start to feel more centered; sudden spurts of energy or alertness may occur. These effects vary from person to person, so be open to whatever comes. The overall purpose of meditation is the same for everyone, however: You are learning to relate to awareness itself, the purest level of experience.

 
 
     
     
   
     
     
 

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