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#3670 - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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Invitation: Visions of Reality in the Voices of Children is a new CD of songs sung by children based on the words of Hafiz, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Buddha, Tony Parsons, Lao-tzu, Jesus, H.W.L Poonja ("Papaji"), David Carse, and Robert Frost.  

Find out more and listen to samples:  

http://www.aholeinaflute.com/a_hole_in_a_flute_v3_006.htm  

There is no set price for this CD. Pay whatever you wish.    


"Finally, after I had given up all hope of attaining my goal, it happened. In a cheap motel room on the night of August 13, 1983, I Awoke to a Reality at once far more astonishing and, at the same time, far more simple than anything I could have ever imagined."    

   

The Way of Selflessness: A Practical Guide to Enlightenment Based on the Teachings of the World's Great Mystics  

by Joel Morwood  

http://centerforsacredsciences.org/wos/  

Preface

Know, O noble brother, that while the paths are many, the

Way of Truth is single.

— Ibn al-`Arabi (Muslim)

 

During a particularly dark period in my life, when I despaired of ever finding

happiness, I happened to stumble on some of the writings of the mystics—men

and women who claimed to have discovered a universal and liberating Truth

about the ultimate nature of Reality. What I found so striking about their testimonies

was that, unlike the works of other philosophers and theologians,

whose ideas seemed always to conflict, the mystics’ accounts of this Reality

were remarkably similar. And this was true despite the fact that they had lived

in very different times and places, and come from very different religious

traditions. Listen, for example, to one of the authors of the Hindu Upanishads,

some of which date back to the eighth-century BCE:

 

As rivers flowing towards the ocean find their final peace and their

name and form disappear, even so the wise become free from name

and form and enter into the radiance of the Supreme Spirit who is

greater than all greatness… In truth who knows God becomes God.

 

Now, compare this to how the eleventh-century Muslim poet Abdullah

Ansari of Herat describes what happened to him:

 

The rain drop reached the sea and found therein its mellowing,

Just as the star was effaced by the daylight,

Whoever reached his Lord and Master (Mawla) has attained

his true “self.”

 

Four hundred years later, the Christian mystic Teresa of Avila had this to say

of her “union with God”:

 

Here it is like rain falling from the heavens into a river or spring;

there is nothing but water there and it is impossible to divide or

separate the water belonging to the river from that which fell from

the heavens. Or it is as if a tiny streamlet enters the sea, from which

it will find no way of separating itself, or as if in a room there were

two large windows through which the light streamed in: it enters in

different places but it all becomes one.

 

And here’s what the contemporary Tibetan master Dudjom Lingpa writes about

the end of the Buddhist path:

 

It is like a drop of water blending with the ocean and becoming the

ocean without altering it, or space within a vase blending with the

space outside, extending freely throughout space without its being

altered.

 

Another difference between the mystics and ordinary philosophers and

theologians was that, instead of trying to convince the reader of the truth

of their ideas through argument, the mystics insisted that anyone willing to

undertake the appropriate spiritual disciplines and practices could discover it

directly for themselves. Thus, among Sufis (the mystics of Islam), seekers who

reach the end of the path are called al-muhaqqiqun, which means “verifiers.”

This is because, as the thirteenth-century Sufi shaykh (master), Ibn al-`Arabi,

declares,

 

Knowledge of mystical states can only be had by actual experience,

nor can the reason of man define it, nor arrive at any cognizing of it

by deduction.

 

So, too, the anonymous author of the two fourteenth-century Christian classics

The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling writes,

You will not really understand all this until your own contemplative

experience confirms it.

 

And here’s how the seventh-century Hindu sage Shankara sums up this insistence

on empirical confirmation:

 

From the lips of your teacher you have learned of the truth of Brahman

as it is revealed in the scriptures. Now you must realize that

truth directly and immediately. Then only will your heart be free

from any doubt.

 

In this respect, mysticism is not unlike a science. In science, theories can be

verified by observations gained through various kinds of experiments. So, too,

the teachings of the mystics can be verified by insights and experiences gained

through various kinds of practices—which is precisely what I myself did.

 

Slowly but surely I began to engage in practices of meditation, keeping precepts,

cultivating love and compassion, and conducting self-inquiry. At first, I

thought of all this more as a hobby—something to do in my spare time. But,

eventually, walking a spiritual path became the priority of my life. I abandoned

my career, friends, and family in search of the Truth to which all the

mystics seemed to point. And yet, no matter how hard I tried or how far I traveled,

that Holy Grail continued to elude me. Finally, after I had given up all

hope of attaining my goal, it happened. In a cheap motel room on the night of

August 13, 1983, I Awoke to a Reality at once far more astonishing and, at the

same time, far more simple than anything I could have ever imagined. Here is

part of what I wrote shortly thereafter:

 

I jump up, turn on the light, and look around. Sure enough, I no longer

see through a glass darkly. The veil has been lifted and the glass

has cleared—no, more than cleared—it has vanished! I see the Kingdom,

and now I am laughing wildly, because the great joke of it all is

that this exalted Kingdom I have been searching for in such anguish

and despair is none other than the very room I have been sleeping

in, with its dirty, cinder block walls, frayed curtains, and horribly

grungy, blue-green rug! I could have shouted! I could have danced!

I could have done anything for that matter, because it really didn’t

matter. It didn’t even exist and never had. I was free.

 

In the years that followed a number of students sought my help with their

own spiritual quests. In 1987 we established the Center for Sacred Sciences—a

small organization dedicated to studying mystical teachings and engaging in

mystical practices. This book is an outgrowth of that work. In it you will hear

the voices of many mystics from very different traditions, but it is not meant

to be an argument for the validity of their claims. Rather, it is meant to be a

manual of instruction, a step-by-step guide for anyone who wishes to walk

this path and find out for themselves if what the mystics say is true. To this end

I have tried to distill out the most universal principles and the most essential

practices taught by mystics of all the great traditions. I have also tried to restate

them in more generic terms, suitable for modern seekers, whether they belong

to an established tradition or not.

~ ~ ~

More information about this book is at http://centerforsacredsciences.org/wos/

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