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#2331 - Saturday, December 3, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Here's some nice music to listen to while reading the Highlights today: http://www.kabbalah.info/
We start with a small taste from the Pathwork Guide Lectures, which "were given between 1957 and 1979 by a spiritual being who came to be known as the guide. Through the medium Eva Pierrakos the guide gave the lectures which were recorded and written down. The guide has stressed that not the mode of this communication is important but the teachings themselves." http://www.path-work.info/
Next is a portion of an article about Jewish Buddhism or Buddhist Judaism.
Finally, the Antipot.
Pathwork Guide Lecture No.
January 12, 1968
Greetings, all my dearest friends here. May this coming new year be a blessed and successful one successful from the only point of view that really counts, which is finding your true self. The expression finding of the real self has been used so much that it has lost some of its meaning. This always happens when one uses an expression often, mechanically and unthinkingly. It is therefore necessary to contemplate deeply the real meaning of this word.
When you find your true self you inevitably find the true meaning of life; you begin to understand life in an entirely new way. Therefore you also begin to comprehend the outer life and death manifestation. When this is understood, nothing can frighten and faze you. You can only understand this when you perceive and experience the inner life processes and the laws of life emotionally. This, in turn, cannot be done in an abstract, general or philosophical way. It can only happen in an ultra-personal way, in a direct approach to yourself and your subjective reactions.
One of the great difficulties in life is the inevitable downward curve in all growth process. Life is growth, and growth is a continuum of movement that goes in a fluctuating line. Each down brings a new up; each up must bring a new down in order to go up again. There can be no upward movement unless there is first a downward one. Thus, there can be no life unless it has gone through a form of death. This rhythm prevails until the consciousness is no longer split within itself as a result of illusory dualism. The down movement death represents one side of the dualism, the upward movement life the other. Conciliation takes place when these movements are fully followed through, tasted, assimilated and accepted as a creation of the self. When one fears the down curve, struggles and fights against it, one fights against ones own creative output and is thus at war with oneself. This means total lack of comprehension of the laws of life and the facts of creation within ones own consciousness. Fear of the down curve means fear of change, thus you seek stagnation as a means of safety, as a means to avoid the apparent danger of moving into the self-produced curve. The curve can lead out of strife only when it is understood, accepted, and thus transcended.
The change of downward and upward curves manifests in millions of ways. The crassest one is the physical life and death curve. It is the most frightening only because the blind little self cannot see beyond the next curve, so that the whole view is concealed. Thus it appears to be an end an end in death, at that, and not in life. In reality it is a part of a chain which ends in life without the down curve. Struggle against the perpetual change in movement only worsens the subjective experience. However, the fight and fright exist also in the less crass manifestations of this law of life. Take, for example, a journey, a change of domicile. People invariably experience depression when they terminate one phase of existence, although they may even look forward to the new beginning. Every new beginning presupposes the termination of the last phase, thus ending it, dying it, as it were. This applies to all levels of ones being.
On the physical level this is obvious. Even though you are able to see the new beginning after the end of the old phase, you nevertheless stem against it. How much more so when the new beginning cannot be seen! The identical law applies to inner growth and movement. The new life, the new beginning of a phase, can only follow the dying of the old, which is often painful. It means battling through the waste and mud of ones misconceptions and destructiveness. You all know that and experience it again and again on your path. No new expansion can come unless it follows the downward movement of the spirit. Translated, this means dipping into the depths of ones inner being. If pain resides in those depths, it must come out, otherwise it cannot be dissolved. The pain obstructs the light and must therefore be dug out.
The identical movement exists in breathing, as I explained before. This is the breathing of the spirit, the breathing of the universe, as it applies to each individual life manifestation.
When you look at your life and your moods, see your bad moods as the downward curve that presages the next upward curve. Make the best of both by tuning into the next upward curve. Make the best of both by tuning into the subliminal intelligence that is always perceivable when it is truly desired. Then you will not stem against the downward curve and thus delay the coming through into the upper movement of your spiritual breathing and growing. You will embrace it by fully accepting it, by fully being in it and with it. There can be no more constructive and effective way of doing this than to seek to understand the personal meaning of your down curve, to approach it as your own creation and to try to reach far enough into your own depths, asking: What did I create and what does it mean?
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Read the entire article: http://snipurl.com/kh7j
and Back Again:
A JuBu's Passage to India
I feel like a fraud calling myself a Buddhist. For starters, Im too much of a theist, too attached to the notion of a personal God whose presence is manifest in my daily life. There are many other reasons. What I really want is ecstasy, not equanimity. Ive never officially taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, or any sangha. My formal meditation practice is limited, and half the time I waste my meditation hour berating myself for not being able to make my mind pipe down. And impermanence shakes me on some bone-deep level I cant verbally access. I hate letting go.
But the Judaism Ive come to practice is so colored by Buddhism that the pure, uncut stuff of Jewish-American culture sends me reeling. I have trouble relating to shuls that dont have meditation minyans. Often I like to strip the liturgy down so I can sit for a while with what our prayers evoke in me. I question the validity of focusing solely on Jewish narratives and Jewish suffering when suffering is so universal.
JuBu is a patchwork identity, but it may be the closest Im going to get to a label that doesnt itch. I want I-Thou relationships and a fundamental consciousness of nonduality at the same time: if that doesnt make me some kind of pushme-pullyou, I dont know what would.
On my better days, I see an appealing complementarity in the two impulses. On the one hand, the distance between God and world, waiting to be bridged; on the other hand, an awareness of how illusory those categories, and that distance, really are. The prophetic (Jewish) call to action balanced by a (Buddhist) sense of how my actions in the world shape my karma. Two traditions ought to give me two useful lenses through which to see the world, ensuring that I can always keep things in perspective and in focus.
That was the theory. But would it carry me through my first trip to India intact?
The first book I read about Indiaat least, the first one that made a strong impressionwasnt really about India, though its a true story for which India was the backdrop. It was the JuBu bible, Rodger Kamenetzs The Jew in the Lotus, which tells the story of a group of rabbis (and a poet) who went to visit the Dalai Lama in exile to share the Jewish peoples secrets to Diaspora survival.
The book had a profound impact on my religious life. I first read it a time when my frustrations with Judaisms insularity were at a peak; The Jew in the Lotus helped me realize that parochialism wasnt necessarily a defining quality of Jewish practice, that meaningful dialogue with other religious traditions is a vital part of at least some forms of Judaism, and that Judaism comes in far more forms than the standard quartet of mainstream American denominations would suggest. I was inspired by the notion that it wasn't "us versus them," that Judaism can flourish alongside other religious traditionsif not in comfortable coexistence, then at least in a productive one, with tensions and differences giving rise to fruitful conversations and learning experiences. The Jew in the Lotus was also the reason I sought out writings by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, went to the Jewish retreat center Elat Chayyim, and eventually set out on my JuBu path. It's not an exaggeration to call the book the reason that the spiritual spark I had guarded for ten years finally caught aflame.
Given the vivid descriptions of India that The Jew in the Lotus contains, I had come to feel about India the way many Jews seem to feel about Israel: as if the place itself might be innately holy, capable of changing me. At the same time, my husband and I tend to be skeptical of prepackaged religious experience; we wanted to find the kind of holy encounters that arise unexpectedly. Ordinary spiritual travelers might have made their way to Dharamsala, to walk the streets those rabbis and lamas walked, or maybe gone in search of the Bodhi tree beneath which Gautama famously achieved enlightenment. But we avoided those sites, and instead planned an itinerary that began in Bombay, wound through Rajasthan, and ended in New Delhi. We spent most of our time walking, from hilltop forts down into cities, through bazaars and twisting lanes, taking in as much India as we could handle through our eyes and our hands and our feet.
Before we left I made all kinds of promises to myself: I would be open to whatever experiences arose, I would endeavor to encounter India with an open heart and open mind, I would enjoy everything. I would be the perfect Jewish-Buddhist traveler.
Whatever that means.
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Read the rest of the article at http://www.zeek.net/spirit_0512.shtml
This sculpture dissolves the entire notion of containment, or dualism - in the world of Antipot, interior and exterior spaces flow together without boundary.
Antipot metal print, 4 1/2" tall - $350
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