Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Purpose of Misery and Suffering

This is a continuation of the comment on this post-- The Gift of Sadness that is on the blog, Little by Little.

As mentioned in the article that the above article quotes, people try to avoid misery and suffering. But it is unavoidable. But there is a purpose to it. The ULTIMATE purpose of misery and suffering is to help you to get to the state of consciousness where you can experience true happiness and perfect peace all of the time.

Note that word ultimate again. In the comment I said that the ultimate cause of all death is birth. Everyone that is born dies. If someone is not born, then they will not die. The quote in bold in the above article talks about real happiness. So there is a real or true happiness and a fake happiness.

The fake happiness is one side of a 2 sided coin. Today someone died that you did not know. Did it cause you pain and suffering? No. Say that you have a brother that you hate and never talk and he dies, does that cause you pain and suffering? No. The point is that the pain is equal to the love and happiness you lose.

So if you have no one that is close to you, then you cannot feel the intense pain of losing someone close to you. The woman who wrote the post above is Rachel. Say that you find the man of your dreams and you marry him. You become wealthy and have 2 kids-- a baby girl and 2 year old boy. You adore the 3 of them immensely. Then while your husband is driving them home from from a restaurant, they get into a crash and they all die.

To most of the people in America, it is no big deal. But can you imagine how much that will hurt you? Well you cannot know how it would feel but you try to can imagine it. So the fake happiness comes along with the fake pain. They both feel very real. They are 2 sides of the same coin. To be a great actor you need to act like what is happening in the move is real.

Now if you are homeless and have no friends, then when you die, you feel the pain of losing that. If you are very wealthy and have a husband and 2 kids that you love, then when you die you feel the pain of losing that. Shakespeare said:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
So you do lose all the good emotions from worldly things when you die. But the real happiness has no opposite. It is not from the world of birth and death. It comes from the existence of your soul. This soul or Soul (it is divine) cannot die. Also it cannot be hurt. In fact to worldly people it does not even exist.

So the pain and suffering has the purpose to help you learn that the real happiness does not lie in the world outside of you but exists inside of you. Also the pain and suffering that each person feels is tailor made just for them to help them to learn. There is a new age saying about this-- "it's all good!"

Eckhart Tolle says "Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego." I have a web page all about happiness and it is from a modern perspective. It tells about the Positive Psychology Network that studies how people can be happier. Its director is Professor Martin Seligman of UPenn who is Jewish.

Now if at age 29, Eckhart Tolle won a lottery and became rich or he met the woman of his dreams, that would have been fake happiness. He would not have been on the Oprah TV show and would not be famous. But Wikipedia says about him:
He says he was depressed for much of his life until he underwent, at age 29, an "inner transformation", then spent several years wandering and unemployed "in a state of deep bliss" before becoming a spiritual teacher.

One night in 1977, at the age of 29, after having suffered from long periods of suicidal depression, Tolle says he experienced an "inner transformation." That night he awakened from his sleep, suffering from feelings of depression that were "almost unbearable," but then experienced a life-changing epiphany. Recounting the experience, Tolle says,
I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void. I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.
Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that “everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful."
This post is not about Tolle but just an example of true happiness. But he did not know how to get others to this point since it just happened to him. He is not going to teach people that they need to be very depressed for many years to do this. He started learning about Buddhism so he would get an idea of how to help others. His books have a lot of stories from Buddhism..

Wikipedia also says about Tolle: "His family thought him 'irresponsible, even insane.' " Also Wikipedia says:
Tolle writes that "the most significant thing that can happen to a human being [is] the separation process of thinking and awareness" and that awareness is "the space in which thoughts exist". Tolle says that "the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it".
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Socrates taught that the most important thing was the immortal soul. He was executed for corrupting people's morals with his teachings. He has a famous quote: "Know your friends very well." Just kidding. His saying is "Know thyself!"

He is not talking about the ego that Buddha says is the source of misery and suffering. Also above Tolle says that suffering burns up the ego. Socrates was talking about knowing your true self or soul. Note again that he taught this hundreds of years before Jesus was born so the soul he is talking about has nothing to do with any religion.

The posts below on this blog talk a lot about the true self. When someone says that they are a Muslim terrorist, they are talking about their ego. The soul has no hate, only endless love. When someone says that they are Jewish, then they are talking about their ego, not their soul. The ego could also be called the fake self.

Also in biology you learn that at one time there was no such thing as sex and organisms multiplied by cell division. Then sex came later on. So the soul does not have a sex but the ego does. Sometimes the sex of the ego is different than the sex of the body and they have a sex change. I have another blog that has the post 7 Year Old Transgender Girl (Hailey) on Oprah.

There is a video of her and she appears to be a happy little girl. But she has the physical body of a boy! The word 'soul' used to be used a lot but now it is referred to as one's consciousness. So pain, misery and suffering are part of living in the physical world but the Dalai Lama says that the purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. As one experiences more true happiness then the sadness bothers them less. There is no true sadness, only the fake sadness.

As far as true happiness not having an opposite or other side, here is something interesting. You can take a long, thin piece of paper and tape it into a loop. This paper loop has 2 sides-- an inner and outer side. Now you can do it again but before taping the 2 ends together, you give the paper a half twist.

Then you tell people that this piece of paper has only one side. They will tell you that you are nuts! How can a paper have only one side. The way that you test it is you draw a line down the center of one side of the paper until the line meets the beginning. Now when they look at it, the line apppears to be on both sides of the loop, since it has only one side. This is called a Mobius strip.

Wikipedia says:
The Möbius strip or Möbius band is a surface with only one side and only one boundary component. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being non-orientable. It can be realized as a ruled surface. It was discovered independently by the German mathematicians August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing in 1858.
A model can easily be created by taking a paper strip and giving it a half-twist, and then joining the ends of the strip together to form a loop.

The Möbius strip has several curious properties. A line drawn starting from the seam down the middle will meet back at the seam but at the "other side". If continued the line will meet the starting point and will be double the length of the original strip. This single continuous curve demonstrates that the Möbius strip has only one boundary

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ancient Inspiration from Song of the Self Supreme (Ashtavakra Gita)

This is the best book to learn all about yourself. I have The Song of the Self Supreme Astavakra Gita translated by Radhakamal Mukerjee, Copyright 1971 and 1982. I call this the first translation and I call the John Richards version the second translation. Note that the spelling in the title is correct while the spelling above from the book uses symbols below and above the letters so that spelling is incorrect since I do not know how to make those symbols.

Here is the The Heart of Awareness ~ a translation of The Ashtavakra Gita by Thomas Byrom online. I will call this the third translation. Note that these books online may be taken down at any time.

Wikipedia says:
The Ashtavakra Gita (Sanskrit in Devanagari: अष्टावक्रगीता; IAST: aṣṭāvakragītā)[1] or the Song of Ashtavakra, also known as Ashtavakra Samhita is an Advaita Vedanta scripture which documents a dialogue between the Perfect Master Ashtavakra and Janaka, the King of Mithila.[2]

Ashtavakra Gita presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta. The work was known, appreciated and quoted by Ramakrishna and his disciple Vivekananda, as well as by other well known gurus such as Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu, Swami Chinmayananda, Ramana Maharshi, Osho and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Radhakrishnan refers to it with great respect. [3]
So here are some quotes from it (this first 3 are from the Thomas Byrom translation):
We are all one Self. The Self is pure awareness. This Self, this flawless awareness is God. There is only God.
The body is nothing, the Self is everything. 
For the Self is pure awareness, 
Nothing less.
What is the Self that this book is talking about. It is different than the self. The self is your ego or your mind. The Self would be like your soul. In the physical world you have quantity like one body or 2 bodies.

In the non-physical universe there is no quantity. Everything is one. So the soul of every person is non other than God. Now there is a modern word to describe the true self of every person and God. That word is consciousness. There is only one consciousness.
Chapter 2:16-- Unhappiness has its roots in duality. I am undefiled, non-dual, and pure intelligence. All this visible universe is illusory. There is no other remedy (for unhappiness) than this (knowledge).
 As explained before (see previous post for full explanation) duality refers to what every person experiences. It is the feeling that there is you and others and that there is you and other things. This is opposed to the supreme experience of feeling that only one thing exists everywhere-- Self, God or consciousness. Another translation of the above is by John Richards so you can compare them:
Truly dualism is the root of suffering. There is no other remedy for it than the realisation that all this that we see is unreal, and that I am the one stainless reality, consisting of consciousness. 2.16
 More from the first translation:
Chapter 11:2-- God (the self) is the creator of all; there is none else in the universe. Knowing this for certain, one finds desire melted away and becomes serene. He becomes attached to nothing.
 From the second translation:
At peace, having shed all desires within, and realising that nothing exists here but the Lord, the Creator of all things, one is no longer attached to anything. 11.2
 Here are more quotes from the John Richards version:
Realising that pleasure and pain, birth and death are from destiny, and that one's desires cannot be achieved, one remains inactive, and even when acting does not get attached. 11.4

Realising that suffering arises from nothing other than thought, dropping all desires one rids oneself of it, and is happy and at peace everywhere. 11.5

Realising, "I am not the body, nor is the body mine. I am awareness," one attains the supreme state and no longer remembers things done or undone. 11.6

Realising, "I alone exist, from Brahma down to the last clump of grass," one becomes free from uncertainty, pure, at peace, and unconcerned about what has been attained or not. 11.7
 Here are the Song of the Self Supreme versions of these quotes (first version):
Knowing for certain that happiness and sorrow, birth and death, surely come of themselves through fate, one does not seek after the goals of life; he becomes non-active. His deeds do not involve him. 11:4
Knowing for certain that in the world sorrow is caused through  anxiety and not otherwise, a person becomes free from this becomes happy and peaceful, with his desires melted away. 11:5
Knowing for certain that "I am not the body nor does the body belong to me; I am intelligence itself," one attains the absolute aloness of the Self. He does not remember what he has done and what has been left undone. 11:6
Knowing for certain that "It is verily I who exist as everything from Brahma to the clump of grass," one becomes free from the fluctuations of thought or reasoning; pure and serene he withdraws himself from what is to be attained and not attained. 11:7
For more quotes from the Astavakra Gita, see my Facebook Info page under philosophy. Also I have plenty of room for more Facebook friends if you want to invite me to be your Facebook friend. Here are 2 quotes from that  page. This is good stuff! I love it. My 18 year old best friend, Jen, also loves it. She is a genius and great at art.
How can there be either birth, karma, or responsibility in that one unchanging, peaceful, unblemished, and infinite consciousness which is you? 15.13

Using the tweezers of the knowledge of the truth, I have managed to extract the painful thorn of endless opinions from the recesses of my heart. 19.1

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Post-- Ancient Inspiration

This blog will have mostly inspiration from ancient Indian books. Most popular religions base their religion on one book. In Hinduism or yoga there are many ancient scriptures that have the same message. These ancient scriptures do not mention the Hindu religion or a Hindu. They mention yoga and a yogi. Wikipedia says:
The Upanishads (Sanskrit: उपनिषद्, IAST:Upaniṣad, IPA: [upəniʂəd], are philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion.
The earliest ones were from before the time of Buddha, 500 B.C.E. They are supposed to be handed down verbally for hundreds of years. "All Upanishads have been passed down in oral tradition." There are over 100 Upanishads like the Katha Upanishad (Dialogue with Death).

Here are a few paragraphs, allowed by fair use of copyright, from a translation of The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran, Copyright 1987 by Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. Page 115, from The Mundaka Upanishad:
Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree,
Intimate friends, the ego and the Self
Dwell in the same body. The former eats
The sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life
While the latter looks on in detachment.

As long as we think that we are the ego,
We feel attached and fall into sorrow.
But realize that you are the Self, the Lord
Of life, and you will be freed from sorrow.
When you realize that you are the Self,
Supreme source of light, supreme source of love,
You transcend the duality of life
And enter into the unitive state.

The Lord of Love shines in the hearts of all.
Seeing him in all creatures, the wise
Forget themselves in the service of all.
The Lord is their joy, the Lord is their rest;
Such as they are the lovers of the Lord. 
By truth, meditation, and self-control
One can enter into this state of joy
And see the Self shining in a pure heart.
Page 117 says:
The flowing river is lost in the sea;
The illumined sage is lost in the Self.
The flowing river has become the sea;
The illumined sage has become the Self.
Elsewhere in these scriptures, it talks about finding a teacher that has achieved this state. It mentions duality which means two different things. In these scriptures, it is referring to the normal experience of feeling that there is you and other people; and there is you and other things.

The unitive state is where you experience that there is only one thing that exists in reality. They call that one thing the Self or God. This is also referred to as enlightenment or becoming one with God. They also call this one thing consciousness.

Sigmund Freud described an "oceanic feeling" as a sense of limitless and unbounded oneness with the universe. Wikipedia says [This is no longer there now], under Yoga Philosophy, "In all branches of yoga, the ultimate goal is the attainment of an eternal state of perfect consciousness."

It appears that the above quote came from this website putting it up on Wikipedia and someone must have removed it. Yoga Philosophy This says:
In all branches of yoga, the ultimate goal is the attainment of an eternal state of perfect consciousness. Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism this perfection takes the form of Moksha, which is a liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) at which point there is a cessation of thought and an experience of blissful union with the Supreme Brahman [God].
The goals of yoga are expressed differently in different traditions. In Hinduism, with its variegated viewpoints and sects, Self-Realization and God-Realization are used interchangeably, with the underlying belief that the true nature of self (truth, consciousness, and bliss), revealed through the practice of yoga, has the same nature as the universal self, which may or may not be identified with a 'creator God' depending on the philosophical standpoint of the practitioner.
In Buddhism, which does not postulate a creator-type god, yoga may help people deepen their wisdom, compassion, and insight. In Western nations, where there is a strong emphasis on individualism, yoga practice may be an extension of the search for meaning in self, and integration of the different aspects of being.
Wikipedia says under Yoga
Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in modern India whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.