Murli Notes August 16th
BK Sister Denise
An important point about yoga: first become soul conscious and only then is it possible to remember Shiv Baba. Very often people try to remember Shiv Baba while still body conscious and then they get surprised that it doesn’t work. The main effort is to become soul conscious, and then you come on to the same dimension and level as Shiv Baba. Then you can make contact easily.
An important philosophical point comes in the question and answer. A human being is definitely affected by karma. There are many spiritual paths and practices that delcare that the soul is immune to the effect of karma. This is because they assume that the soul is part of God, and God certainly is immune to karma. Shiv Baba is always karmateet but the soul gets affected. and then the effort of Raj Yoga is entirely about becoming free from karma and reaching the karmateet stage.
The indication of closeness to becoming karmateet is that you are progressively more neutral regarding the polarities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. You become closer to the stage of Shiv Baba which is karmateet, and that is also the effort to be Bapsaman, (like the father). The information we need to achieve this is contained within Shiv Baba, and the information that different human beings provide through the different paths, practices and religions is insufficient and/or incorrect. Due to that it doesn’t work.
This word ‘embodiment of peace’ is given for the soul. I think ‘embodiment’ may not be a good word because it implies the body. ‘Swaroop’ means the form of the self, the way the self is. The original dharma of the soul is peace, silence, stillness. If you understand dharma to mean only religion it doesn’t make much sense. There is another meaning of dharma, which is ‘what you are exactly,’ ‘what your definition is.’ The definition of a soul is to be in an original, essential state of stillness. This equates to the potential energy of the soul when it’s not active. As soon as the soul comes into the world of matter, action, time, and into a body then that energy becomes kinetic.
The word ‘great soul’ is used. I think we might as well leave in the Hindi. People are used to the word mahatma especially when applied to Gandhi. You do not have a reference for the word ‘great soul’ but if you use the word mahatma which is part of the English language nowadays, then you know exactly what that refers to.
The expression used is: ‘the intellect’s yoga goes up above.’ It is a bit difficult to figure out what that means, but you can translate the word buddhi yoga as ‘focus of attention’ and then it is much easier to make sense of it and understand that your focus of attention goes up above when you remember, or when you speak of the Supreme Father the Supreme Soul.
Baba is giving knowledge into our ‘intellect’ or we could also say ‘intelligence’. The implication of intelligence means you have to comprehend and process the concepts. It is not a matter of feeling. Feeling happens in the mind but comprehension takes place in the intelligence. I would use the word ‘intelligence’ as well as ‘conscience’ for buddhi because we do not use the word intellect in that way in English.
There is an interesting distinction Baba makes about the Vedas and the Gita. It is interesting to know that within the Gita it states clearly that the Vedas are for people who don’t have that much subtle intelligence, and that the Gita is the knowledge that God gives. Those who choose the Vedas are people who are not able to understand the knowledge that God is giving.
There is an interesting description about remembrance and the absolution of sins. As you know, absolution is a Christian concept and Raja Yoga is not Christianity. What is a sin? A sin is the effect of a negative action, that puts you into bondage of matter, people, places, and things. A sin then rules your actions and the result is suffering. Sin takes the form of inertia. The way to become free is to detach from the matter of your physical body and stay in remembrance of Shiv Baba, and perform action, not on the basis of response to sense stimulation, but as a comprehension of gyan, which guides us as to what karma to perform in various different situations. Brahma Babas life is the encyclopedia of more or less all situations. There are examples of how Brahma Baba interpreted the knowledge, and his response to various situations.
Attachment is the great problem. When you remember a person, place, or thing, you are tied to matter and the activities within the drama, and the impact of the drama on your consciousness. However, when you become detached from the impact of the drama, and your attraction to people, places and things, then you become free, and the sin is not operating by compelling you to act in a certain way. You have deactivated the potential of the sin. That, to me, makes much more sense than the idea of absolution, which implies that you remember Shiv Baba and He will take away your sins. You do nothave to do anything except have faith. That puts as back into a religious mode of thinking; it is like blind faith because you cannot incomprehed the process or method by which Shiv Baba would take away your sins. He is giving us instructions how to free ourselves from sins. Therefore, it is a more useful way to understand it. Then we have to get on with the work of finishing our own sins. He gives us the guidance, and detailed instructions.
When Baba says ‘I give you the reward,’ it means the teacher teaches us so much information that we are able to create unlimited fortune for ourselves. He gives us the possibility to create fortune, but he himself doesn’t give us fortune. He calls us, teaches us, and enables us to create fortune. His love, his gift, is the knowledge and everything else follows from that.
Baba clarifies that happiness is what happens to us when we perform accurate karma. We have taken full power from Baba and can resist the pull of Maya and matter, sorrow, situations and circumstances which are more powerful than us. Baba makes us more powerful than situations, then we are free, and then we are happy.
Baba takes us to Nirvana, but Nirvana is not a land. Nirvana is a state of deep silence where there is not even the sound of a thought. The practice to go to zero is a very subtle state. It is on a different dimension. The word ‘land’ is terrestrial. Heaven is down here on earth. Neither is heaven up above nor is hell down below, it’s all here. Nirvana is another dimension, non-terrestrial.
Baba talks about ‘creating the Brahmin religion’. I don’t think Brahman Dharma refers to a religion. I think this is a study and a spiritual practice. To me religion involves the esoteric and the exoteric attributes of particular global religions but you can translate the word dharma in many ways, not just only religion. My preference is to stick with the Hindi word dharma.
We are studying, therefore we need to study the different meanings of the word dharma. Dharma is a very broad term and ‘religion’ is a very narrow term. In the same way there is nothing like religion in the Golden Age. I think that we cannot translate Shivalaya to mean the ‘Temple of Shiva’ exclusively. Shivalaya does mean that, but heaven does not have any religion, it doesn’t have any temples. It is a civilization and a culture. We can apply the word dharma to the deities but we should not use the word ‘religion’ for the kingdom of the deities. Hindus they do talk about Hinduism as the Adi Sanatan Dharma, but they do not mean that you actually become deities, they mean that you worship the images of deities. Our terminology must be very clear otherwise it is not possible to churn effectively.
The word buddhu comes in the English murli. I don’t think we need to keep the Hindi for buddhu but just simply translate it as ‘fools’ because although buddhu is a childish word I think it’s much better to just stick to ‘fools’.
Then Baba makes a comparison between the word chitra, (picture) and vichitra. Vichitra means a lot more than not having a picture. Vichitra also means strange and it means different, it means one who doesn’t have a physical form, a physical frame, or a visible form that you can think of. One of the challenges of spiritual study is that you have to be able to conceptualize realities and real things which are not physical and do not have any visible aspect. People with what Baba calls a tamopradhan intellect are not able to conceptualize abstract concepts. They can only deal with physical visible things.
The Rajasic intellect is able to conceptualize abstract aspects. Brother Jagdish Chander Hassija had talked about the difference between intellectual consciousness, which is able to conceptualize the abstract, and then spiritual consciousness which goes much further than what we normally think of as abstract. You can reach as far as conceptualizing the soul, God and the imperishable identically repeating drama. Thus, you can position yourself completely outside of time and space and be on the same level as Shiv Baba. It is only by studying this gyan that you can get to that space, because only Shiv Baba can describe it. The people who write the Vedas and other scriptures are not able to get there, because they have no means, they do not have the information. The wonder of the information that Baba gives that he can take us to the next level beyond intellectual consciousness.
Baba also takes up the philosophical concept of dwet and adwet, which are normally translated as ‘duality’ and ‘non-duality’ or ‘dualism’ and ‘non-dualism.’ Generally speaking, in Hindu philosophy they say that dualism is wrong and non-duality or non-dualism is right. But the interpretation of that is varied. Baba says that the kingdom of the Golden Age is non-dual because there is nothing that you can compare it with. The copper age is called Dwapur Yuga. Dwapur means that it separates into two, there is a bifurcation. Bifurcation means something that was one, becomes two. The bifurcation of the copper age is a separation of the political and the spiritual powers. The aspect of non-dualism that applies to the Golden Age is that the political and religious powers are in one hand. That power is not abused because the rulers are completely pure and fully self-empowered, whereas if political and religious powers were in one hand at the present time, there is a likelihood of tyranny and abuse of power. We face this problem at the end of the iron age.
Baba takes up the difference between physical creation, when a man and a woman come together to create a child, and the spiritual creation when Shiv Baba uses the body of Brahma and begins to speak through him such that we become the mouth born children of Brahma. That is to say, our sense of self our sense of identity is awakened when we understand the knowledge, and that we belong to Shiv Baba. Our relationship with Brahma is that we become the male and female children of Brahma. Brahma becmes our mother in the sense that we are born through him. He is our alokik father in the sense that he is male and we have a relationship with him in the confluence age as father, so he is mother and father. In Hinduism they praise God as the mother and father, and here Baba explains that the combination of Shiv Baba and Brahma Baba is the mother and father. When you are just a soul in relationship to Shiv Baba completely bodiless then the soul is a son and Shiv Baba the father. The son claims his inheritance from Shiv Baba through Brahma Baba, in the relationship with Bapdada, the father and the grandfather.
We have a living relationship with God in the confluence age. We experience Shiv Baba through the body of Brahma Baba. We experience ourselves, our community our Brahmin family through our bodies. It is a pure relationship because we follow shrimat and we follow the different principles and ways of this Brahmin dharma.
Shiv Baba explains how He knows everything. Everything is pre-known because the drama is an identically repeating cycle. All of us experience the drama within our minds. Experiences come into our minds through our sense organs as sense perceptions. However, Shiv Baba knows all of this in advance. Unlike us humans, He does know things according to chronological time, or according to the chronological emergence of the different scenes of the drama. He has the big picture. He knows who everyone is and he does not deal with the little aspects of individual thoughts. He knows who is who, and what their perfect form is, what there imperfect form is, and everything in between. The way Shiv Baba knows things is very different from the way human beings know things. Human beings know things by observation whereas Shiv Baba knows things by fore-knowledge. When we become soul conscious and we spin the cycle of the drama then we are able to come close to Baba’s way of perceiving the world through fore-knowledge.
Baba says this is the sapling. A sapling is a very tiny tree which grows up into a big tree. This very tiny tree is planted on top of the big tree. You can also think of it as grafting where a tiny branch of good tree is stuck into an old, practically dead, tree and then that dead tree is given life again through that. There is the aspect of Shiv Baba grafting the new tree onto the old tree and then the old tree is destroyed and a new tree grows. These are different symbols in connection with how an old tree dies and a new tree grows again.
He is the seed and he plants himself into the body of Brahma and begins the new tree in the soil of the old tree. You can see in the images of the Kalpa tree, Shiv Baba, the seed, is at the bottom of the tree. All the Brahmins are in the roots, we are underground, we are incognito and a new tree is growing up from underneath the old tree. This is a little similar to how banana trees grow. New trees grow up from underneath.
Baba makes the comparison with the banyan tree near Calcutta in particular, where, in 1925, there was a huge storm which broke off the original trunk of that banyan tree but it continued to survive because of all the lateral roots. The lateral roots spread over a huge area. It is a phenomenon worth going to see. Of course, Brahma Baba was in Calcutta in 1925, when that storm broke the tree. It was big news and everybody knew about this, making this a perfect reference for Baba to allude to when teaching about the Kalpa Tree. He could illustrate how the original trunk of the deity dharma was destroyed in the small destruction, and how the other different religions emerged, which are like the lateral roots. They are all derived from Hinduism, and are children of the Gita, as Baba often mentions. The main prophet souls interpret the ancient scriptures and then add on their own insights. In this way a multiplicity of religions arises, similar to the proliferation of the banyan tree through those lateral roots, which become like separate tree trunks with their own branches.
In the blessing, Baba encourages us to be entertaining to play multiple roles; to take on different forms, the artist, the businessman, all the different expressions. We should not just be one thing. Just as Shiv Baba expresses himself in so many ways, so we also play multiple roles within our confluence aged life. So enjoy the confluence age and play many parts.
Murli Notes August 15th 2018
Baba takes up the well-known saying “when you die, the world dies for you.” Baba is interpreting it in new ways. Normally you would think that when you die your world disappears but Baba is saying that because this is the last birth then when we leave the body we will return back to the Soul World, there will be general destruction and the world as we know it will be dead. Baba talks a great deal about the death and rebirth of the planet in this murli.
Baba also takes up the common matter of departed souls being called back into the body of Brahmins so that they can be fed, given gifts and conversed with. Baba says this is a common practice in India, so if you can do this with a regular human soul, what is so difficult about God coming into the body of Brahma Baba. He was anyway a lokik Brahmin and by Shiv Baba naming him Brahma, he became the seed of the Brahmin caste. Shiv Baba being called or calling himself into the body of Brahma is not as out of the ordinary as people would think. The reason Baba has to prove this is because people question how it is possible for God to come into the body of this man. Baba says it is normal spirits to be called, so this is also within the traditions.
Baba take up the matter of death. At the time of death, God is normally remembered, the soul leaves the body and the body is just a corpse, the remains. For us it is the last death in the cycle of 84 deaths, and we go back with Baba to the Soul World and we return here to the world of heaven.
Baba calls our Brahmin life, a life where you are dead whilst alive. When someone is dead it means the remembrance of God would be taking place. For us, no chanting, no taking of the name of Ram or anything like that, but simply to be in the remembrance of Shiv Baba quietly, internally in the mind.
Another important theme in the murli is the proof that God is not omnipresent. Baba says, if you say that God is your father, it means there is a distinction between the father and the child. The father cannot be the child, the child cannot be the father. People believe that God is the father; which it means there is a relationship and a relationship involves two or more distinct individuals. Baba clarifies further the difference between God and a human soul. That includes the founders of religions. Even if they are absolutely pure when they first arrive, they still have to pass through the stages of sato, rajo and tamo and ultimately reach the tamopradhan stage. Only God who remains free from the changes through sato, rajo, tamo, is able to purify the impure souls.
When Baba uses the expression “everyone is in a graveyard or tomb.” This refers to the tamopradhan physical body which is compared with a tomb. The process of destruction involves everything finishing, and all the bodies turning to ashes, everything turning to ash. This ash becomes fertilizer, especially in India which does not suffer nuclear war. India becomes the foundation of the fertile world of the Golden Age.
Baba talks about the destruction of innumerable religions and the establishment of one religion. This is also one of the most famous lines of the Gita: ‘at the time when there is the extreme of irreligion and unrighteousness, I come and destroy the many irreligions and establish the one true religion.’ As the knowledge of Baba becomes clear throughout the world, and as the condition of the religions of the world become progressively tamopradhan, the knowledge that Baba teaches becomes recognized by everyone. Consequently, the religions gradually become obsolete in terms of doctrine, secondly, because of mass destruction, all the people who belong to those religions also return back to the Soul World in their sections and they then return in the next cycle at the right time.
Baba talks about visions and who can get visions. On the one hand, those who have done a great deal of bhakti receive visions as a fruit of their bhakti. Baba also says that on the path of gyan those who have done service, have fulfilled all of the directions of Shiv Baba and performed all the practices over a long period of time, will also get visions. These visions are very powerful and wonderful experiences of being transported into the world of heaven, seeing Shiva Baba, Brahma Baba etc.
Baba also refers to the early days of establishment which is translated as “the furnace.” The furnace means the bhatti. The bhatti is the name given to the first 14 years of tapasya. It was said the bricks were baked. All the people who came to stay with Baba at that time were in intense meditation and spiritual practice. Some of them became very firm while others broke. This also happens in a kiln when bricks are fired. Some become firm and some break. Baba also calls this time the cowshed. They remember God as Krishna who was looking after cows. Many women had to leave their families because of abuse. Participation in Brahma Kumaris (at that time called Om Mandali) was not accepted, so Baba had to give them asylum. Asylum for battered women in particular was named the cowshed. This later on became the Raja Yoga Centres.
Baba talks about the need for a personal teacher. Merely reading literature will not enable a person to understand gyan. The process of educating a person is not only giving information but also demonstrating the teachings, through who you are and how you are and how your life is. This is why Brahma Kumaris teachers who teach the Seven Days Course need to be those who are actually doing all the practices. If somebody is good at telling the knowledge but not doing all the practices, they should not be assigned to teach student. They may touch the intellect but they will not touch the heart or the being. Through teachers who are not doing the practices, it is unlikely that a student will become a Brahmin or come into relationship and connection with Shiv Baba through Brahma Baba.
Baba says only those who go to the Golden Age are called deities. Those of the Silver Age are called warriors or Kshatriya. Although sometimes it is said that there are deities in the entire period of heaven, here He clarifies that its only in the Golden Age, and that too sometimes He says that its only the royal family that actually are the deities. There are different levels of divinity. Probably the real deities who are worship worthy, and become worshipped on the path of bhakti are only the kings, queens, princes, and princesses, who are at that level of the society of the Golden Age.
Baba talks about shrimat, parmat and manmat. Shrimat is different from conventional social rules and conventional morality. Parmat which we translate as the dictates of others, really means the ways, ethics, morality, social systems of the conventional society. When you grow up in that, you absorb it and it becomes your manmat. Parmat and manmat are thus one and the same thing. There is no meaning in distinguishing between your own dictates and the dictates of others, it is the same thing and rooted in conventional social mores or morality.
In the blessing, Baba talks about the importance of being a generous hearted donor. Donate fortune such that whatever you are aware of and whatever you are doing in your life, becomes an inspiration for others. They start filling their lives with fortune, just as you have made your life full of fortune. As much as you are a giver, that much you create punya and that much you create very fortunate circumstances for yourself, for the whole cycle. (Punya is the accumulating of much pure karma over a long time which causes circumstances to be favourable to you.)
In the slogan Baba talks about eknami and economy. Eknami refers to those who take the name of one, that means they belong to one. There is word play here on eknami and economical. These are fairly close words, and Baba is saying do not waste your time, energy, money, breath etc…
The Power of Discrimination
(From a lecture at Brahma Kumaris, Buenos Aires, July 4, 2018)
Anxiety arises from a lifestyle where there is anguish and it is difficult to handle stress. Anxiety is connected with imbalance and occurs in environments that do not correspond to who and what you are in your essence. It arises in different ways for different people.
Children experience anxiety when there is violence in the home, and when their parents divorce. They experience anxiety when there is violence at their school. Students experience anxiety when graded in a way that makes them look bad. Many educators believe the system of exams is flawed because it neither proves nor disproves whether a student is intelligent or competent. Exams simply indicate whether or not a young person has been prepared to handle exams. This system of socialisation reveals that children are routinely trained and prepared to anticipate a life of pressure and varying degrees of violence. It also predisposes young people to rely on psychotropic drugs whether provided by the pharmaceutical industry through the health care system, or on the streets through illicit drug dealers. We have created a global social environment where most people are anxious most of the time. Anxiety is embedded in modern cultures and the levels are increasing as time goes by.
Anxiety is connected with over-population, the great problem of the modern world. Overpopulation has contributed to human driven climate change issues. The global economic system creates anxiety because it is antagonistic to human happiness. It is biased to benefit a few privileged ones and harm the many who are under privileged. People in general are progressively diminished in their personal spiritual power. Anxiety occurs within the human spirit as a response to what is occurring in the social and physical environment, and to being internally disempowered.
It is neither humanitarian nor realistic to euthanise half the population. Situations where large numbers of people die, have not resulted in a reduction of the population. For example, in the Second World War 80 million people were killed in six years. This is almost double the current population of Argentina, yet human population continues to increase exponentially. Ethnic cleansing and other efforts to remove or displace populations do not reduce the population.
Self-Empowerment in the face of Violations
Spiritual knowledge says that every person who dies also reincarnates. Following a violent death, the spirit reincarnates in a state of anxiety, because the soul carries the imprint of the experience. Individually, we can rarely influence external situations, but we can reinforce and empower the spirit within.
Anxiety is connected with how we think and feel. Confusion arises when we fail to use precise vocabulary to describe what we are feeling. Anxiety also depends on how we interpret external situations. We can strengthen the soul through meditation and cultivate various spiritual powers. A situation that triggers anxiety requires us to discern the subtle and hidden details and determine how and why the situation is causing anxiety. It could be a life situation of extreme change.
According to psychologists, the most stressful situation is to get married and the second most stressful is to get divorced. Getting forcibly displaced through war or climate change is even more stressful. These events change your circumstances dramatically, impacting financial and social responsibilities, and your sense of identity. They catapult you into unknown territory. This also happens when fired from your job, or you experience a sudden illness or accident. You had set up your life with the expectation of a certain income, then all of a sudden there is nothing. You suddenly find yourself with a debt that you cannot pay. Suddenly you are no longer in a high position, you are in no position. Your social identity is connected with your professional position.
Serious accidents can result in inability to return to work even after a long rehabilitation. It can take several months to recover from the injuries and, even if you can move around normally, you are no longer able to do that job. Your entire identity is affected, you no longer know who you are. You may think: I am the same person, yet the other people treat you differently. You may be a highly educated and competent person, yet suddenly you are in a situation where the people think you just imagined it and you are not really that. There are artists and intellectuals who are suddenly marginalised when the regime in their country changes. All of a sudden, your position is very ordinary or very low. This usually creates an internal reaction of anxiety.
You could be targeted by an enemy or competitor who is jealous of your competence and talent, and injures you physically or destroys your reputation through character assassination. You can do nothing to restore your reputation. You made no mistake, yet you have to deal with the resulting anxiety.
What spiritual powers are used to handle the situation? First evaluate the situation with precision. Experientially you would say: I am being ill-treated, and unjustly discriminated against. Look more deeply. OK, you are being mistreated, but why? Some wonder, what did I do to deserve this? Some think that such situations could not occur unless they did something bad to merit such punishment.
Detecting Devious Behaviour
Our culture declares that if you are good, then nothing bad can happen to you. It implies that if something bad is happening to you, then that must be correct. However, it may not be. It is possible that something bad happens to you that is not due to you having done something bad. If you discern the situation incorrectly you will also respond to it incorrectly. If something happens to you and you believe you deserve it, but you don’t deserve it, this will create anxiety and confusion. In that case the situation is not a karmic return but a test.
Discerning a violation where the perpetrator disguises it well, is subtle detective work. Those who attack you do it secretly because they do not want to get caught or exposed, and they wish to gain an unfair advantage. If they get caught they lose their advantage. You have to discern that their strategy is to avoid discovery and benefit from an unfair advantage, as well as by disadvantaging you. This is very common human behaviour. But our culture discourages analysis of such things, claiming this does not exist. Human behaviour is defined as simplistic. In reality, it is devious rather than simplistic. Many are clever at hiding unclean motivations and become expert in the art of intrigue. Do not expect the behaviour of competitors to be clean or according to your moral logic. Expecting people to be honest and clean is naïve. The social system is set up for victims and perpetrators. Perpetrators need victims. Victims experience anxiety. It is not necessary to be a victim. You must discern whether someone wants to victimise you and cut you down. First think, “I am OK. This is a subtle or disguised attack. The violation does not make me not OK.” Anxiety and confusion are greatly reduced when you change your thinking in this way.
In a situation of competition, anxiety is only one of your options. If someone is attacking you, create your defence. You need to discern all the many aspects of the situation so that you can see the exact nature of the field. You also need to discern many invisible aspects about yourself. First discern that the attack is not because you are weak or bad, but because you are very good and someone is jealous. Maybe everyone looks at you as bad, but you know inside that the reality is: I am good. It strengthens you to think: I am good. A person who is connected to God would also think that God can see that I am OK.
A culture where people believe that nothing bad can happen to you unless you first did something bad, would also believe that God is also part of that equation. In spiritual practice, the relationship with God is not like that of people in conventional religions. You make God your ally. God is capable, intelligent and strong. You are not alone.
The feeling of isolation creates a state of anxiety. Someone who targets you will also isolate you. They destroy your reputation so that the people around you dislike you and withdraw their support from you. This weakens you and increases your anxiety. Then you can say to yourself: OK everyone dislikes me, but God likes me, so I am OK. You need strong faith in yourself. The basis of your faith in yourself is that you know yourself and what kind of person you are. You do no action against your principles.
The people who target you want to break your spirit. It is up to you whether you allow it or not. If you are strong in your spirit, you will understand that no one can break your spirit unless you give them permission. They also try to corrupt you. They come along and say: Aha, I can help you. This is a traitor, and you must also discern treachery. Say: Thanks very much, but no thanks. Have a good day. God plus one, is a lot more powerful than another person minus God.
When you orient yourself this way and position your opponent with precision, you prevent anxiety from arising. Anxiety is a position you adopt in your mind. It depends on your thinking. This is subtle and can neither be proven nor disproven. If you know and believe in yourself and you have a connection with God, it changes the game.
In a state of anxiety, confusion gives way to the emotion of fear and mitigates against making good decisions. In a state of fear and anxiety you are less likely to make a decision that is favourable for you. Positioning yourself as good, with pure intention and supported by God, gives you distance from the situation, a broader overview, and more options are available for you. With courage, you can discern what action or strategy to adopt for the most favourable outcome.
You have to take a risk. When anxious, it is hard to take a risk. Create an attitude in your mind where you are ready to take a risk, you feel good about yourself and you take that step. You may succeed or fail, but if you are anxious you will not even try. If you are courageous and you try, and it succeeds that is good. If it fails, then you try something else. If you fail, you can analyse the details of what happened. Play it like a game of football or tennis. It is a competition that requires good strategy.
People in positions of power declare that competition is bad and discourage you from being competitive. This mentality is taught to people in weak positions to prevent them from asserting their rights. It is propaganda. Do not be deceived. Be competitive, there is nothing wrong or unspiritual about it. It would be unspiritual to cheat at the competition, but expect your opponents to cheat. Obviously, other people will cheat, but don’t be afraid of them cheating, otherwise you will get anxious. It does not matter if someone lies to you. It matters that you discern that they are lying. Then you are not deceived. Much depends on how you feel about yourself – be creative, and take courageous steps.
You can replace the word competition with competence. If you say competence that is considered very good. If you are competent you can cooperate, you have no issues.
In a marriage, if one is dominant and the other is dominated, the partnership will not endure. You need to be collaborative. The relationship must be made equal. For that you must achieve competence in maintaining the balance of both collaboration and competition. Our culture tries to make one party dominant and the other subservient. It is a power struggle that involves weakening and controlling the other party. Another way is to maintain a balance of power and thus live together effectively. It is political. You keep your self-respect, you command the respect of the other one. You respect the other one, and you can live together for a long time. Otherwise your life resembles a Tom and Jerry cartoon. It’s amusing but that is not how you want to live. It is very important to be competent to live well.
What arises in your mind depends on your perception, and on how you interpret what you perceive. You have more jurisdiction over what happens in your mind than you may believe. Your mind is fed by your sense perceptions, also by your subconscious. How you feel is dictated by the thoughts that arise. Within your consciousness you have the intellectual capacity to evaluate your thoughts and select which ones to act on. Most people have a certain amount of trauma, and this trauma resides in your subconscious. It engenders thoughts and drives how you feel. Because the origins are subconscious, you can neither identify why you feel or think this way, nor recognise where it comes from. In addition, your personality and character are created by acting in particular ways in certain situations over a long period of time. These patterns of character influence your thoughts.
Perform a SWOT analysis. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is useful to know where you are weak. Your enemies will find out where you are weak and strike you there. They are unlikely to vanquish you if they strike you where you are strong. They will plan to win by striking you where you are weak. Have you thought about your relationship with your weaknesses? Some deceive themselves, thinking that by hiding their weaknesses, no one will notice them.
You frequently encounter people with ego problems, and have to deal with them. False ego is a mask that covers character weakness. They present their ego mask as something very strong, but it is just plastic. You can break it easily, but then they get angry. Weakness and violence are connected. People use violence because it is effective to control other people. We must not be afraid of their violence because behind it is weakness. If they threaten you and you don’t feel threatened, they are ineffective. This puts you in a more powerful position. If you don’t know your weaknesses and they do, then you are vulnerable.
Through spiritual practice, you learn that your relationship with your weaknesses needs to be neutral. If you think your weaknesses are bad, you will become anxious and even weaker. Any weakness you have is due to some valid cause, or injury to your psyche. When you go deeply into your weakness you can transform it into a strength. The process of transforming your weakness into a strength is part of spiritual practice. If you understand your weakness and reinforce yourself in that area, then your overall position is not bad. Your conclusion about yourself is positive and respectful to the self. When you face a situation of conflict, you enter into it strong, not weak. You feel good about yourself and you can take risks. If you face the risk of death it does not phase you because you consider yourself, your spirit, to be immortal. When you think you are a spirit you are not afraid of death. This changes your response and your attitude. If someone threatens to kill you, you can think: “Watch out because I will come and haunt you.” You play the game with a positive attitude of courage. You do not perceive your condition as a weakness. Your position may be weak, but you are strong. You have greater self-respect and you command the respect of others.
The Laws of Nature
People speak of the law of the jungle. Nature has its laws. There is a natural balance, and it includes violence. Animals must be vigilant always. Just recently we were in Paraiso, our retreat place near Buenos Aires. There are many owls. This is the season when they get their young. The owl can rotate its head all round. Very few creatures can do that. In nature, there is always someone looking at you as lunch. You have to watch out for predators. It is normal for there to be predators.
Humans have propagated the idea that there should not be any predators. To deal with the reality that there are human predators, some are criminalised and others are legitimised. Usually the weaker ones are criminalised and the stronger ones are legitimised. This is an incoherent way to handle society. We are in trouble because we do not understand the natural laws. Violence in modern humans is often gratuitous, which puts us outside the law of the jungle.
They look at it differently in traditional societies. For example, I spent a little time with the people of the Masai Mara in Kenya, Africa. They live with lions and other dangerous creatures. A lioness is a strong, fast predator with big teeth and big claws.
Humans are traditionally considered the stewards of the earth. In primitive societies, to assert their superiority, they must be knowledgeable and skilful. The environment is hostile and you will only survive if you truly understand, love and respect the environment. You must understand the law of the jungle, which is merciless. I have a friend who is initiated as an aboriginal in Australia. He knows how to swim through a river full of crocodiles and not get eaten, but there is a risk at every second. He described his training to me. It is a very good training for any kind of human situation. In conventional modern cultures, you get no training on how to handle human crocodiles.
Flawed moral philosophy
By declaring that modern humans are by nature non-predatory, and disguising the reality by legitimising the big predators and criminalising the small ones, the dominant culture of the modern world has created a flawed moral and legal philosophy. This is because the concept and definition of a human being is erroneous.
The social rules we have created have led us to our social problems. The root causes of anxiety lie in our definitions of what a human being is and the consequent social rules. We need to re-think our moral and legal philosophy. This is a big challenge and a lot of work. In the face of such a huge problem when people ask what is the answer, generally we will say, “well, God knows.” When we say God knows, we mean no one knows. And we do not expect to find a solution.
If God knows then perhaps we would also want to know what God knows. Knowing that information would be very convenient. At least we could evaluate it and experiment with it. We could evaluate what happens when it is applied, and if it looks effective then we could use it. Compare two definitions of a human being. Consider us as spiritual beings functioning through physical forms governed by the laws of spirituality on one hand. On the other hand, consider us as physical forms operating according to the laws of physics. Human generated moral laws were devised to address social problems; however, these have ultimately failed us. The implications and consequences of the second option are the intractable problems we face in the world today.