Buddhism, Death & Rebirth, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 22: The Cycle of Birth, Death, & Caffeination

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It occured to me that I am in the cycle of birth, death, and caffeination. The first two are inevitable, and the second is my choice.

Coffee is like a grounding force inside my consciousness: as black, without sugar, maximum three and minimum one cup per day. It’s an ironically bitter, valuptuous, force that gets us legally high and becomes a staple in the day of multiple days.

We all have at least one idea or perception that we cling to, forcefully, as if it’s our last breath. Like that man who laid down to die with £20 in his hand, hoping he could still spend it.

In this episode, we go over some of the pitfalls of waking up — including why we don’t automatically fall into that state of non-dual awareness we are after.

The episode and my blog, here down below, are different. Here, this blog goes lightly into the deep edge of how the mechanism works to keep us from waking up. My episode goes hand-in-hand, speaking more personally and intuitively about this mechanism, so have your go at both!

As always, here we go…

The mind is a big player in the game of life, and she has been switched on since our birth, creating our physical and mental perceptions, our ideas about life, abstractions, responses to pain and pleasure, and pretty much every other facet of our personality we take for granted. This is the bubble of “me”, and everybody lives in their own; indeed, a person from the UK has mightily different values from somebody residing in the Amazonian jungle! For example, I have had the belief instilled in me that hard work pays off, and we must work hard for our money. Deep inside there somewhere is also the basic belief that if I’m not busy enough, then I’m not worth enough. The first is completely cultural and came from an idea my parents had from their parents whereas the second is personal and family-orientated (meaning that not all people in the UK follow that basic belief). So beliefs and perceptions can range widely from the societal level down to the personal level, and each individual becomes completely unique in their viewpoint of the world and themselves to try to make sense of what is going on their “screen”.

The screen of consciousness is not normally seen as a screen but as a true and accurate projection of what’s taking place. Whether that be sight, sound, emotion, or a recurring situation (potty training your kid, perhaps, or going to the gym like it’s a religion), we believe it’s all real and we’re in control of making the whole thing up.

That’s partially true. We have decided to make it all up, but not from “our self” — but from the standpoint of Awareness itself — which is responsible through all our life changes from birth until death. But we don’t recognise that. When we’re in the thick of it, we carry all our projected baggage and see mostly endless rows of bags: essentially, the construction of the self.

The easiest portion of ourselves to cling to is our body — if we have any doubt we exist, we can rely on our body to confirm that we do. (Deep sleep, comas, and being under aneasthetic cause loss of awareness of the body lead us to believe we don’t exist for a while. Think about that!)

So our brain sort of hallucinates a basic self-image into our consciousness that stays with us for a matter of time — until it changes, eventually. Maybe once we viewed ourselves as a serious person and now we’re a relaxed person. We had a different self-image when we were 16 than when we were 26. It’s all relative and constantly changing, but if we can’t see that that is the case, then we can “get stuck” in ideas about ourselves that no longer serve us. It happens all the time.

But I believe that consciousness is always looking to expand its awareness, capabilities, and smash down limitations of the mental, physical, and spiritual realms; we let go from time to time. It’s just that the ultimate smash-down is the death of the ego itself. And that is not going to happen overnight. So we have to be aware of the fact that there will be limitations and setbacks. This is a natural part of the awakening process, so don’t give up!

Maybe that’s why Buddhists says it might take lifetimes…

Buddhism, Death & Rebirth, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 20: Buddhism is not a Religion!


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Buddhism is not a religion.

That’s a bold statement, considering the sheer volume of monasteries, Buddha statues, and complex practices embodying Yidams, Devas, Mandalas, and Incense. Not to mention carefully laid precepts and the Noble 8-fold path… which sounds like the Christian ladder to heaven, doesn’t it? It does, until we discover for ourselves what Buddhism embodies. Like Christ was a man and the term “Christianity” came after him, so has “Buddhism” come after the Buddha. Buddha is not worshipped as some God we cannot be, but as an inspiring human being who has lived in our not-so-recent-past, engaged in unfathomable amounts of unconditional compassion for others. He came to embody “enlightenment” or “awakening” by figuring out the true purpose of life and passing it on.

There is historical evidence of this right here, folks.

This is from an article you can look up online called “Footprints in the Dust: A Study of The Buddha’s Travels”: the Buddha walked on foot for 40 years, without sandals, in the Indian heat and mountains, mixing with everyone, including dangerous individuals, until he was 80 years old and died of food poisoning. He slept on the ground, sometimes in the winter frost.

When a man found the Buddha sleeping underneath a tree, without a blanket in winter, he asked, “do you need anything? Are you happy?” The Buddha replied, “Yes, I am happy”, and went back to sleep.

He covered 200,000 square kilometres of Indian territory in his life, just to teach about compassion. He taught most days of his life and woke up at 4am, meditating first thing and looked for beings who needed help in his meditation. He would then feed others or beg for food himself after this. He walked, ate, meditated, slept, and taught, day-in and day-out. Is this inspiring, or what?

If people thought they loved Michael Jackson, think of the constant selfless service the Buddha engaged in just to help others. Wow.

Please listen above to find out more…

Death & Rebirth, Interview, Spirituality

Episode 11: Interview with Hans Wilhelm on our Pre-birth Plan and Reincarnation


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Hans Wilhelm is an author and illustrator who has been on the spiritual path for upwards of 50 years. The story of how he came to be able to use his authorship to help so many people is quite astounding, and you can read it all here on LIFEexplained.com. After his father’s passing, he happened on a chance meeting with somebody who knew details about his father that Hans could not ignore… so he began his art form.

Hans has a way of simplifying the most intriguing spiritual questions our minds yearn for:

Who are we, in these bodies, on this planet?

Why do we incarnate and reincarnate? How about karma?

What is the deal with intimate relationships and people in general?

Thousands of books explain the same basic truths in many ways, but human beings tend to complicate things by bending backwards and doing somersaults over the vast knowledge available to us — in the Vedas, in the Buddhist sutras, and even in the books lining our shelves on ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’. Any great spiritual teacher will bring a seeker straight to the answers in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Otherwise, what is the point of whirling around endlessly with thousands of scriptures, terms, texts, rituals, practices, and koans?

A great master has no student. It is the divine meeting with the divine, showing the divine to its Self — that which it has been searching for all this time.

It is a great honour to present Hans’ explanations on why we incarnate on planet earth, so relax and enjoy!