Sunday, July 29, 2007

A guide for ethical living

Edward Berge Says: July 27th, 2007 at 7:13 am From Thich Nhat Hanh’s 14 Mindfulness Trainings, which serve as a guide for ethical living to residents at Plum Village:
1. Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, I am determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help me learn to look deeply and to develop my understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill or die for.
2. Non-attachment to Views
Aware of suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, I am determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. I will learn and practise non-attachment from views in order to be open to others’ insights and experiences. I am aware that the knowledge I presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life and I will observe life within and around me in every moment, ready to learn throughout my life.
3. Freedom of Thought
Aware of the suffering brought about when I impose my views on others, I am committed not to force others, even my children, by any means whatsoever - such as authority, threat, money, propaganda or indoctrination - to adopt my views. I will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. I will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness through compassionate dialogue.
4. Awareness of Suffering
Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help me develop compassion and find ways out of suffering, I am determined not to avoid or close my eyes before suffering. I am committed to finding ways, including personal contact, images and sounds, to be with those who suffer, so I can understand their situation deeply and help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace and joy.
5. Simple, Healthy Living
Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, I am determined not to take as the aim of my life fame, profit, wealth or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those in real need. I will practise mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs or any other products that bring toxins into my own and the collective body and consciousness.
6. Dealing with Anger
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, I am determined to take care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognise and transform the seeds of anger that lie deep in my consciousness. When anger comes up, I am determined not to do or say anything, but to practise mindful breathing or mindful walking and acknowledge, embrace and look deeply into my anger. I will learn to look with the eyes of compassion on those I think are the cause of my anger.
7. Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Aware that life is available only in the present moment and that it is possible to live happily in the here and now, I am committed to training myself to live deeply each moment of daily life. I will try not to lose myself in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or craving, anger or jealousy in the present. I will practise mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. I am determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing and healing elements that are inside and around me, and by nourishing seeds of joy, peace, love and understanding in myself, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in my consciousness.
8. Community and Communication
Aware that lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, I am committed to training myself in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. I will learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. I will make every effort to keep communications open and to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
9. Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, I am committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. I am determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain nor criticise or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will do my best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten my safety.
10. Protecting the Sangha
Aware that the essence and aim of a Sangha is the practise of understanding and compassion, I am determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit or transform our community into a political instrument. A spiritual community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
11. Right Livelihood
Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to the environment and society, I am committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. I will do my best to select a livelihood that helps realize my ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of global economic, political and social realities, I will behave responsibly as a consumer and as a citizen, not investing in companies that deprive others of their chance to live.
12. Reverence for Life
Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, I am determined to cultivate non-violence, understanding and compassion in my daily life, to promote peace education, mindful mediation and reconciliation, within families, communities, nations and in the world. I am determined not to kill and not to let others kill. I will diligently practice deep looking with my Sangha to discover better ways to protect life and prevent war.
13. Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I am committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I will practice generosity by sharing my time, energy and material resources with those who are in need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
14. Right Conduct
For lay members: Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I am committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I will practice generosity by sharing my time, energy and material resources with those who are in need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.are that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness, but will create more suffering, frustration and isolation, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love and a long-term commitment. In sexual relations, I must be aware of future suffering that may be caused. I know that to preserve the happiness of myself and others, I must respect the rights and commitments of myself and others. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. I will treat my body with respect and preserve my vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of my bodhisattva ideal. I will be fully aware of the responsibility for bringing new lives in the world, and will meditate on the world into which we are bringing new beings. Open Integral

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sri Aurobindo has experimentally verified and logically described the process of creation in The Life Divine

Anand Narayanan
Science posits that the original creative principle in the universe is a physical energy of nature moving without intelligence, design or purpose yet somehow constituting out of itself an ordered system of physical forces, elements and forms of matter. This original cosmic indeterminate gives rise to a number of general determinates--elemental properties, physical laws and principles of action. How does this cosmic indeterminate give rise to the general and specific determinates that govern the nature and development of the universe?
Basing itself on the primary reality of matter, science traces the emergence and evolution of inanimate life forms from inanimate substance. Chemistry and biology seek to explain the creation of life as a fortuitous and spontaneous product of physical circumstances. The logic and statistical probability of this explanation calls for a leap of faith by the thinking mind similar to that demanded by religion in a previous age. Yet even if science is able to reproduce the creation of life in a laboratory, the achievement would only prove that animate life has manifested in inanimate matter. It would not prove that these chemicals are the primary constituents of life. ..
It is possible to conceive of other systems of knowledge that adhere to the principles of science--which we have earlier identified as the experimental method, rational thought processes, predictability and repetition--as strictly as modern science, yet without being limited exclusively to the physical assumption. The ancient systems of Indian yoga fit this description. Through long experimentation they developed, tested and verified methods that can be repeated to obtain predictable results with a high degree of precision. Only the methods employed and results produced were not primarily physical ones. The Indian seer Sri Aurobindo has experimentally verified and logically described in The Life Divine not only the essential view of reality discovered by the ancients but also the process of creation by which that reality manifests as matter, life and mind.
Suppose purely as an experiment and working hypothesis that we suspend and invert our normal view of life and physical nature. Instead of viewing unconscious (or inconscient) matter or energy as the basic reality and originating principle of all that has emerged during the evolution on earth and subconscious life and conscious mind as only derived accidental products of this original unconsciousness, we postulate a Conscious Force as the original principle of which matter is the final stage of a process of involution that precedes and supports the evolutionary emergence of life and mental consciousness from matter.
Based on this postulate, the unresolved questions of physics and biology lend themselves to rational explanation. Since the original principle is an intelligent determinate capable of design and purpose, it is but natural that it gives rise to general determinates that define the properties of matter and laws of physical energy. Since a conscious force that is involved within matter, self-absorbed and concealed below the surface, it is not surprising that science should reveal matter as form of energy or that it should give rise to animate, subconscious life forms, conscious animals and self-conscious humanity. Then the evolution of biological forms can be understood as an outer expression of an underlying and self-propelling process of evolving consciousness.
One incidental but important implication of this view is that if the individual scientist--as a manifestation of this evolving conscious force in humanity--fully understands this creative process of nature, he can utilize it consciously to control the nature and type of scientific discoveries.
Conclusion: We are arguing, not for an abandonment of science or embrace of mysticism, but for a broadening of the scope of enquiry to permit examination and experimentation with other principles and methods. The criteria for evaluation should be the ability of these alternative perspectives to shed light on the processes of nature which are as yet still incompletely understood and to generate fresh discoveries in fields where science is encountering limits to its powers of creation. If a new perspective can generate these pragmatic results, it will surely warrant serious consideration by the entire scientific community.
One further criterion may be introduced that is not essential but promises to be highly beneficial. The historical preoccupation of science with discovery by a process of physical trial and error is the primary reason why scientific discoveries often generate unpredictable and dangerous effects that could not be foreseen and cannot easily be controlled. We believe that the adoption of a new approach based on a wider perspective can produce more balanced and harmonious discoveries that do not suffer from these negative side-effects. Posted by Anand at 2:58 AM Human Brain- The Secret of you and me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hindu ploymorphisms should not be confused with polytheism

Is Hinduism Polytheistic? Prof. Arvind Sharma, McGill University MONTREAL, CANADA, July 15, 2007: (HPI note: Dr. Sharma submitted this article in response to the outburst of Christian fundamentalists in the US Senate protesting the Hindu prayer as polytheistic.)
One distinct and very visible feature of Hinduism is the presence of numerous deities and divinities within it. These are both male and female and can be angelic as well as theriomorphic (of the form of an animal). Even natural objects come to enjoy a divine status. It is thus easy to see how the casual observer may form such an impression about Hinduism.
However, the fact that Hindus worship God in many forms does not mean that the Hindu thinks that there are many Gods, no more than one would think, on seeing many photographs of an individual, that there are as many individuals as the number of his or her photographs. Just as it is the photographs that are many, not the person; it is the forms of God that are multiple, not God itself.
The c onclusion that there is only one God underlying the many forms was reached quite early in Hinduism. The following passage from the Brhadaranyaki Upanishad (III.9.1), assigned by modern scholars to circa 800 bce, makes the point clearly.
"Then Vidagha Sakalay asked him, 'How many gods are there Yajnavalkya?' He answered, in accord with the following nivid (invocation of the gods). 'As many are mentioned in the nivid of the hymn of praise to the visve-devas, namely three hundred and three, and three thousand and three.' 'Yes,' he said, 'but how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' "Six.' 'Yes,' said he, 'but how many gods are there Yajnavalkya? 'Three.' 'Yes,' said he, but how many gods are there Yajnavalkya?' 'Two. ' 'Yes,' he said, 'but how many gods are there, Yanjavalkya?' 'One and a half.' 'Yes, said he, but how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'One.' "
Another later but well-known Upanishad, the Svetasvatara Upanishad states (VI.13.11): "The one God hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the inner self of all being, the ordainer of all deeds, who dwells in all beings, the witness, the knower, the only one..."
Thus Hindu ploymorphisms should not be confused with polytheism.

There remain serious theological differences

Vox Nova Monday, July 16, 2007 On the Catholic/Protestant Dividing Line By Alexham In the wake of the CDF's latest release, I thought this was one of the better reactions by a prominent protestant leader.
Bottom line: There remain serious theological differences between Catholics and protestants, and neither side is doing the other any favors by papering over them. This is not to say that we should not discuss these differences with our protestant brothers and sisters in a loving/charitable manner. We most certainly should. In this respect, I think Dr. Mohler's response sets a good tone for the rest of us to follow. Posted by Alexham at 9:13 AM Labels: , , Comments (9) Trackback

Sunday, July 15, 2007

There is too much in their traditions to ignore

By Henry Karlson
But the question remains – what relationship can there be with Catholicism and the pre-Christian Native American practices? The question is not easy to answer, and indeed, Native Americans find themselves split over the answer; some Catholics embrace their cultural heritage, others feel they must abandon it to become a Catholic. Some non-Christians are angered when the two traditions are brought together, feeling it relatives their own faith; others believe a Catholic embrace of Native American traditions helps bring stability and order to the rather fractured society on the reservation.
But truly, for the Catholic, the answer has to be as with all cultures, a yes and no – as it was with the Greeks, as it was with the Romans, as it was with the Celts, as it was with the Germans, so it must be with the Native Americans. There is too much in their traditions to ignore, and Catholics can gain from studying them and putting them into practice. For example, we can follow Blessed Kateri and her respect for the environment; is there any surprise that her original Native American spirituality, when baptized into Christ, led her to becoming one of our patrons for ecological awareness? Posted by Henry Karlson at 5:13 AM Labels: , Comments (4)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The desert fathers didn't go to the library to learn about Christianity

Friday, July 13, 2007 Pneumanauts & Vertical Adventurers
One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin
As I have mentioned before, it was only after my book was actually written and the manuscript submitted that I had a vivid moment -- think of Alec Gunness in Bridge On the River Kwai -- in which I exclaimed, "My God, what have I done?" Not only had I included some things that would needlessly alienate Christians -- and more traditionally religious people in general -- but at that very time, I had found myself being drawn to Christianity in a deeper way than had ever happened before. Thus, I had to rewrite much of the book in the space of a few short weeks.
I suppose I could reconstruct the timeline if I gave it some thought, but that's probably not important. I can, however, more or less reconstruct the exact sequence of books that opened my eyes to the "yogic depths" -- no offense -- of Christianity, and it was this: Inner Christianity --> A Different Christianity --> Gnosis (three volumes) --> Meditations on the Tarot.
I keep some of these books in the sidebar, in the permanent overmental liberary of foundational raccoomendations. In particular, Meditations strikes me as the last word in Christian hermeticism from a universalist Western perspective. I don't include Gnosis, because although Mouravieff is rooted in Eastern Orthodoxy, he's nevertheless rather unorthodox, as he gets into a lot of occult speculation that is closer to the spirit of Gurdjieff. Not that there's anything completely wrong with that, but at least for my taste, I find that universal precepts can be twisted too far in an idiosyncratic or personal way, so that the universal appeal is lost.
I think one of the purposes of dogma is to channel the religious imagination within certain constraints, but it's always somewhat of a fine line between being a visionary and heretic. Meditations may at times push the envelope, but in the end, I believe Anonymous achieves his goal of "vivifying the body" of tradition -- not by being "superior" to it, i.e., the "head" -- but by providing it with a "beating heart." He exemplifies the spirit that "interiorizes" as opposed to the letter which "exteriorizes." Someone such as a Rudolf Steiner has many deep and useful things to say about Christianity, but they are often couched in such a personal vision that they become problematic. They are too interior.
In fact, once I read Mouravieff -- who was strongly influenced by the early Fathers -- this spurred me to go back to the very beginnings of Christianity. I became fascinated with the question of exactly what transpired between the time of the death of Jesus and the elaboration of Christian theology. Originally, Christians didn't even call themselves Christians. Rather, that was a designation of the Roman authorities.
Early Christianity was markedly experiential, to say the least. It is critical to point out that a uniform doctrine only emerged with the first Council of Nicea in 325. It is rather difficult to imagine, but that means some three hundred years, during which time the followers of Jesus were having these pretty wild experiences with the Holy Spirit before they decided to try to get everyone on the same page. It's easy to forget, but the attempt to come up with a creed was definitely a case of O-->(k), not vice versa.
In other words, in hindsight, we might look at dogma as something cold and inflexible, but at the time, it was thoroughly rooted in experience. But once experience is "stored" in dogma, the trick is how to "unpack" it again. This was the main problem I had with Christianity as a child. You're just presented with this "finished product," which is essentially (k) about O -- that is to say, a kind of rigid formulation about ultimate reality. But what if I want to figure things out for myself? After all, this is what the first Christians did. The desert fathers didn't go to the library to learn about Christianity. Rather, they left civilization altogether, went out to the remote desert, and lived in caves in order to have a direct encounter with O.
Again, we can scarcely imagine. In fact, I'm not sure if we can imagine it at all. First of all, imagine the strength of the "call" to do something so radical. Why? What was the lure? Is there anything analogous in our day and age to such a wholehearted plunge into the mystery of being?Well, yes, I suppose there is. I eventually found a number of important Christian figures who didn't so much initiate a "Christian-Vedanta dialogue" as become totally committed to exploring and living out the reality of their unity, including Swami Abhishiktananda (Fr. Henri LeSaux) and Fr. Bede Griffiths.
Interestingly, the desert fathers were not fundamentally dissimilar to the Vedantic seers who rejected the world as "maya," who wished to have a direct encounter with O, and who left us the Upanishads. Or look at it this way: don't flatter yourself, little Raccoon. The folks who had that kind of commitment -- to turn their back to the solid but illusory world in favor of an uncertain adventure into the ocean of consciousness -- have much more in common with each other than with you or I.
As I put it in One Cosmos, we owe much to "these inward explorers -- eccentric psychonauts mostly unfit for conventional existence, or simply unwilling to accept the slave wages of normality," who "identified a trap door into a vertical dimension," finding there "a return route to the forgotten country from which humans had set out Before the Beginning. Venturing across the Great Divide separating man from the incorruptible sphere of the gods, our virtual adventurers then found themselves pulled into the orbit of the Great Attractor, the very ground and goal of existence, the unseparate Source of all being, a mostly uninhabited region at the outskirts of consciousness, the Final, Absolute Reality where cosmos flowers into deity and Bang! you're divine."
Sri Krishna Prem, another westerner who left the comfort of the modern world to found an ashram in India in the 1920s, wrote that "the real purpose of all the ancient cosmogonies" is "to invite us to turn our gaze inwards to the source and origin of both the 'outer' universe of phenomena and of the 'inner' universe of consciousness, to find there the ever-present and eternal simultaneity of what is here seen as a flow of separate events in time; and above all, to fathom the ultimate mystery of our selfhood." Flat out of time. To be continued.....posted by Gagdad Bob at 7/13/2007 08:25:00 AM

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kepler made this Pythagorean secret the center of his research, as did Newton

Indeed in the summer of 1997, I had a very close encounter with an “autoionized” equilateral Pythagorean big black triangle. The new book The God Theory by the editor of the academic Journal of Scientific Exploration notes that Einstein’s theory for stimulated emission in lasers now depends on stimulated emission from the zero-point energy field—nonrandom results from beyond spacetime. Arthur Young, designer of the Bell helicopter and occult technology researcher also rediscovered the Law of Pythagoras by re-examining the i-1 grid of Gauss. “The cube roots of one are the points thatdivide the circle into three equal parts….But these roots can be expressed in terms of square roots,” Young states in his book Mathematics, Physics and Reality. So the cube root of three (really the Pythagorean ratio 5:4) in an equilateral triangle forces, through resonance, a higher dimension of volume, creating the illusion of a 3- D holographic matrix. John Wheeler, one of the H-bomb engineers, makes the same claim:“It is marvelous that such simple Pythagorean geometry can display rules even of black hole dynamics,” Wheeler states in his 2000 book Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam.
Kepler made this Pythagorean secret the center of his research, as did Newton. When Francis Bacon studied the secrets of the octave he declared: “The Cause isDark.” The equi-partition of the sine-wave as the “music logarithmic spiral” created “the devil’s interval” whereby the major interval 8:9 cubed approximates the square root of two, thereby connection the Pythagorean Theorem with the Law of Pythagoras. 8:9 cubed also equals the Tritone—the most dissonant interval in the major scale which also bisects the scale. Known historically as the “Devil’s Interval,” the Tritone as 8:9 cubed comes from 2:3 cubed cubed as the 666 principle of the Freemasonic secret of the snake. “In the Harmonice Mundi he [Kepler] reinforces the belief that the Golden Section [or Ratio] is the archetype of generation,” states the book Studies in the Musical Science in the Late Renaissance from the Warburg Institute. It’s commonly supposed that the Bournellibrothers disproved the law of Pythagoras when logarithmic-based statistics was created but Newton knew better.
Newton, an alchemist, realized that the overtones of sound transmute themselves into other types of energy, in contrast to what Galileo claimed. This was recently rediscovered in the article “Newton and the Pipes of Pan” from Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 1966. Mario Livio in his definitive book The Golden Ratio makes the crucial mistake of not including music analysis with the connection to the Pythagorean Theorem. So Livio reiterates Kepler’s backing of the natural number-based Golden Ratio but then Livio claims that there is a hidden unit of number underneath the hypotenuse of the natural number golden rectangle! This implies a fourth dimension of space as consciousness, which is indeed the answer to how the Golden Ratio works—through resonance beyond spacetime. Dr. Peter Plichta has figured out this 4th dimensional secret based on the Tetrad natural number resonance. Livio argues that the studies of the Egyptian pyramids prove definitely that there was no use of the Golden Ratio but Livio does not consider that the Egyptian definition for area of a circle used the Law of Pythagoras natural resonance with 8d divided by 9 based on the major tone interval.
Marsilio Ficino, funded by the Medici Dynasty, was the most prominent restorer of the secret of the snake. As discussed in “Ficino, Daemon Mathematics and the Spirit” by professor Michael J.B. Allen, in the book Natural Particulars (M.I.T. Press,1999), Plato’s cosmology is derived from the fact that the music ratio 4:5, the major third, approximates the cube root of three, modeled by the equilateral triangle. “Ficino clearly rejoiced in some at least of the figural extensions (with the puns this term implied) of the Pythagorean mathematics that Timaeus is propounding here. For his own Timeaus commentary explores the implications and arrives at an interpretation that identified the Soul itself as the exemplary triangle, its triple powers corresponding to the three angles and three sides of the archetypal geometric figure.” Allen emphasizes the structural nature of this Freemasonic control: “the notion of roots and powers—that is, of self-division and self-multiplication—suggests that daemonic agency is ever present in the realm of mathematics.” Allen concludes:
“An awareness of this mathematical Platonism (dominated by geometrical ratios) is surely called for if we are ever to establish with confidence the valencies governing early modern science, its artful exploration of Browne’s ‘things artificial.’”

I want to read ten million books in my lifetime

My Research Interests One of the reasons why I kind of hope reincarnation exists is because I want to read ten million books in my lifetime. Well, here is a list of broad research areas that I seem to be obsessed with. There are actually too many to list here, but I’m putting down the most important ones for now:
Cognitive science, neuroscience, and neurotheology: How do the latest findings of these sciences tie in with spiritual realization and spiritual pursuits? For instance, how do the findings of neuroplasticity relate to the effects of meditation and spiritual experiences? I’ve experienced so many tangible changes in my personality as a result of my awakenings — some of my old habits and mind-patterns have been shattered completely — that I strongly suspect that if I had taken fMRI scans of my brain before and after these experiences, I would have noted tangible changes in the neural network patterns. I would like to see if I can track these sorts of changes in myself as I grow spiritually and to that end I’d like to participate in experiments on meditators. I’m also curious to see how spiritual experiences triggered by neurotheology experiments that stimulate certain parts of my brain compare phenomenologically to the actual spontaneous spiritual awakenings I’ve had. If I some day have the time, I’d like to set up a website on the Internet that would serve as an annotated bibliography on brain science and how it relates to spiritual experiences...
An integral understanding of the Islamic religion: Or, what would Sri Aurobindo do? We are living in a world where Islamic fundamentalism has become a huge problem. In fact even as I type this, Islamabad, the city I live in, has been brought to a standstill by the extremists at a religious seminary known as the Lal Masjid. Islam was the religion of my birth and the religion I grew up in. I gave up on Islam for a number of reasons, but possibly mainly because I could not reconcile it with my feminism and my queerness. Since then I have had spiritual experiences that have led me to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, but I believe they would have wanted me to heal from whatever negativity I feel toward the Islamic religion.
Like all religions, it served its purpose and had its role to play in the awakening of humanity. Whether I like it or not, my experience of Islam and Islamic society, however negative, has shaped who I am today, and as a result, I tend to obsessively research Islam, using traditional, modern and mystical sources, because I yearn to see the Divine Light and beauty in Islam. Moreover, I believe that in order to combat religious fundamentalism, one must learn the fundamentalists’ language inside out and assign new meanings to it. In other words, one can take a fundamentalist’s symbol space and transmit a new consciousness using that very symbol space, which is what I believe many great Sufi teachers that I admire are doing.
Contrary to the way many “spiritual” people tackle the matter in an emotional, knee-jerk way, I believe that both Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda (not to mention Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi and other Sufi masters!) had a remarkably nuanced and balanced approach in dealing with Islamic fundamentalism, all the while appreciating the important role played by Islam in challenging the Hindu caste system, and acknowledging Sufism as an important set of Mohammadan yogas. Islam’s embrace of the world prompted Vivekananda to invent the phrase phrase “Islamic body, Vedantic brain”, and Sri Aurobindo to write:
“Mahomed’s mission was necessary, else we might have ended by thinking, in the exaggeration of our efforts at self-purification, that earth was meant only for the monk and the city created as a vestibule for the desert.”
It’s that heart-centered, balanced, and gnostic approach that I would like to emulate on my own journey, and I also want to seek guidance from Sufi masters during this process. Posted by ned on July 8, 2007. Filed under Notes and Speculations. the stumbling mystic God shall grow up . . . while the wise men talk and sleep.