Posts Tagged ‘A A Bailey’


Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

In Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous. Yoffe talks about how the brain is hard-wired to seek. A little while ago, maybe in a some somewhat esoteric post, I addressed non-Seeking. But what’s interesting in this article is that the author suggests that we need to give the brain a rest from seeking. Again I think science has found a reflection of spiritual reality in the material form.

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Silent Illumination

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

I’m not entirely sure why Japanese Zen split into the soto and rinzai sects. Auckland Zen Centre practises Integral Zen, which I don’t really know a lot about, but it’s an interesting thought.

And then there’s the thought of meditation stages:- counting the breath, focusing on the single breath, and I guess focusing on nothing. If I’m to understand the practise of silent illumination properly, this last one is that. Patanjali describes I find focusing on nothing requires a level of concentration that the others I guess are indeed a preparation for. Perhaps this is why people like Gil Fronsdal and Bhante Henepola Gunaratana describe Zen as the most difficult practise.

Huatou practise (wato in Japanese, but more commonly and less correctly known as koan practise does indeed seem much easier. Personally, I like to do that as well. As I wrote in an earlier post, my question is “what is emptiness?”. And these to practises seem to dovetail quite well, but I practise focusing on nothing first. One of the reasons is that while huatou is meant to cut thinking off at the root, the mind occasionally finds things to grip on to. Another reason is that it seems to deepen the sense of emptiness observed in silent illumination practise. Patanjali refers to meditation with seed in Book I, 46 of his Yoga Sutras. And meditation without seed in Book 3, 8.

I think I’ve talked about the first two rules of magic before. The Tibetan as I recall it anyway observed that the personality and soul need to be meditating in alignment. Technical discussions aside, I think the practise of silent illumination is in one aspect the personality actively listening for what Blavatsky calls The Voice of the Silence. And this I think the practise of silent illumination does more readily.

And then both practises are the same. By the way, I think Sheng Yen’s book on this topic The Method of No-Method: The Chan Practice of Silent Illumination is a good one; a good addition to your meditation library.

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A modern monkey

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Alice Bailey talks about the three yogas: Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Her view is that Raja Yoga is the yoga for this development period of the human race. Those are big thoughts. I guess for me, Zen is my Raja Yoga. I also think it’s easy to overlook the needs of the emotional and physical bodies. We need physical exercise and stretching. And equally we need some kind of emotional exercise and stretching.

I find starting my day with four or five questions very motivating. I guess they’re about states. What states do I want to be in every day. Gratitude and clarity are two of them. So what in my life already makes me feel that way. This is a lead in to a round of visualisations.

Essentially what I’m trying to do here is maintain emotional health, while I move towards liberation. There are also some powerful insights that help. One is that every experience arises within the mind. So why not choose those experiences that are going to work for us, while we liberate ourselves from experience.

Equally we develop our physical energy. We drink water, exercise and eat well, which gives us the energy and flexibility we need to sit comfortably and to have focus and enthusiasm through our days.

I think this is the modern middle way. We have, or rather are living in, a monkey living in the modern world. We need to look after it while we seek enlightenment.

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