A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity (documentary)

Our world situation invites each of us to look at our lives truly, to muse about our future and the future of the world. Around the world there are numerous experiments in going back to land and simplicity in order to go forward. Here is a documentary about one such experiment.

My heart and mind feel dedicated to live as simply as possible. To do so serves the well-being of beings including the worms and pollinators, the plants, people, and Mother Earth. My heart and mind are also dedicated to a life of meditation which – by nature – is simple. That, too, serves the well-being of all beings. Permaculture has interested me for several years because it is regenerative not simply sustainable. We’ll see what transpires at my home in Jaroso over the next few of years!

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Meditation: 900 year-old instructions

We are blessed to be able to meditate. Positive karma and merit have given those who meditate the opportunity and inclination to do so. We hold in our hearts and minds the billions of people who do not have either the opportunity or inclination. To live a life of travail or hardship or danger and not have the circumstances of a half an hour to contemplate or meditate is like having only poisoned water to drink. One’s good fortune to be inclined toward meditation, use time for meditation, and to have instruction is indeed rare and is a statement of joyous responsibility.

The instructions included here are from Milarepa, a Tibetan enlightened yogi. He spoke or sang them spontaneously to a woman who sought his instruction. Choose one line of instruction and then use it for the week. We will support each other energetically for our half hour and then by shared commitment through the week.

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Meditation: when this body dies – 2

When this body dies, everything that this body has participated in disappears from view, dissolves like waves subsiding back into the sea, or evaporates like a dew drop in the morning sun. The Heart Sutra reminds us, “No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body …” It then says, “no mind.” That mind is the one of complexity, the one entangled in eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, loves, dislikes, pressure and stress, deadlines, family, striving, accomplishing, and not accomplishing. However, that mind is also naught in the end because it is not as the “me” has experienced it.

Though we have had countless lives in various forms and locations and epochs of history, each lifetime we begin freshly: new habits of consciousness, appetites for food and companionship or solitude, plus a fresh sense of familiarity with some things, some knowings, some people. That familiarity is Awareness; the appetites are habits of emotion-body. The consciousness is also a set of habits but these are generated fundamentally from the sense of self, the belief in a me, the conviction that I actually do exist.

What exists and what is existence is for each person to contemplate and discover should one choose. Upon the death of the body, however, everything that this body has participated in is not transferable into the after-death states. Money, status, holding hands, the alcohol stash or chocolate stash will all fade like darkness does at dawn.

It has been an honor of this life for me to assist people during dying and through the transition of death. Dying is often about tidiness of affairs, discussions about big things, peace of mind and heart, love and acceptance. Death and the journey of light through the bardos is just that: a journey of light through stages of awareness.

If someone has done harm to others repeatedly, then the light is shocking, horrendous, and from it there is no escape. The evil they have done glaringly envelopes them. In that experience, that “soul” knows that the selfishness that drove and the denial that allowed harmfulness to continue must be addressed. Karma is the flawless mechanism for that. Seed and fruit.

For the person of good heart, which is the vast majority of humanity, the light is warm, joyous, often can be heard as well as felt, and envelopes one in loving peace that literally moves one along to greater light. Light is the first bardo, no matter who you are or what kind of life you have led.

One’s ongoing state of mind is also a spectrum of light. Doubt is a low vibration within the spectrum, stress even lower, anger and hatred lower still. Generosity, kindness, sincerity,  are bright. Genuine listening, empathy, sympathy, and respect are a sustained luminosity. Inventiveness, problem solving predicated upon wisdom and compassion for the variety of needs to be met, and ingenuity are bright but also must be sustained. Essentially, a person is a light-being which is why there are auras and chakric centers for clairvoyants to see, and why all people experience light with entering death.

This is also why our ongoing states of mind are important; and why it is vital to get to know one’s mind with all its sub-parts. Emotions, feelings, mechanisms of sensation, intuition, creativeness, obsessiveness, empathetic ability, reasoning, wisdom and compassion all of these and more are the collection that is lumped under the category of mind. In addition to that, there is MIND, Awareness, bodhi-mind; and these “two” are present simultaneously. We are, by nature, non-dual.

We meditate on and with “this mind.”

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Meditation: “when this body dies, this mind does not die.”

Training in shamatha provides an incremental experience of the mind as it is. This mind is distinct from the thoughts that arise or roll around in it or the emotions that come and go or the sensations that produce our sense of the physical and dimensional worlds. This mind is Awareness; it is continuous, bright, spacious, and pure.

It is this mind born of Awareness that continues after the body dies. That is worth knowing and worth contemplating. It is also valuable to call to mind throughout the day as Awareness-mind gets temporarily cluttered with the thoughts or tasks of the day, with something upsetting, or by fleeting joy and delight. Noticing the fluxuations of the content that passes through the mind, one also begins to notice the nature of mind as distinct from those contents. The nature is Awareness.

When in a meditation session practicing abiding in the spacious tranquility of luminous mind (shamatha), to call this thought to mind is very worthwhile. This recollection often re-collects the wandering mind to center. Then, as one abides, the truth of “this mind” continuing through the session, through the day, and through the afterlife states becomes obvious. The quality of the mind that is experienced in meditation is the mind-nature that will continue. As one’s practice deepens and the attributes of Awareness-mind become more refined and clear, transparent and expansive, one’s experience declares that “this mind” is what continues through life and death.

I have found this recollection powerful for its truth plus instrumental in stabilizing myself in the innate qualities of Awareness.

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#10, the astrological houses spiritually viewed: the 4th house

The fourth house is the deepest point of the chart. Its cusp line is the downward vertical axis symbolizing the energy of spirit, soul, higher nature, and innate being coming into manifestation. It “descends” into form thereby creating an incarnation.

The mysteries and truths of birth/death are held before us in the water houses. The 4th represents our birth home, birth family, and the circumstances that will color the entire life due to choosing that birth. From the higher nature’s point of view, birth is death into form and death is a birth out of form. The 8th house represents the myriad deaths that one experiences through life: giving up, letting go, the passing away of things or people, and one’s growth through these experiences. The 12th house represents the death of the personality or practitioner and the completion of the Wheel. It is a death through devotion, opening fully and surrendering completely.

In these ways, the water houses demonstrate an alignment with the occult, the esoteric, and the full exploration of being. Corresponding to Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces respectively, water signs align with spirit thus the spirits and the spiritual, with energy thus energetics, with buddhi thus intuition, as union thus empathy, sympathy, and friendliness, as wholeness thus non-duality. Water protects us in the womb and lets us go at birth. This is a metaphor for the dark cushiness of ignorance and for the nakedness of liberation. Water hides the psyche as well as protects it. And, through the actions of dissolving, merging, extinguishing, and fertile blossoming, water provides access to our full potential.

The 4th house is all too glibbly spoken of as one’s home; but the subtle dimensions of Awareness and the inner realms of realization are one’s true home. The 4th house refers to one’s foundations; authentic being is one’s substantial foundation. This house indicates roots. May it be that one has established roots of virtue. The 4th house represents one’s childhood plus early, formative years thus, by extension, the same for one’s children. This house invites the pondering of formation, formative people and circumstances, plus support and nourishment from all its sources.

The 4th house is called the nadir or I.C. (innum coeli) Going upward, this same axis creates the 10th house cusp and is the MC (medium coeli).

The fourth house corresponds to Cancer which is a Cardinal Cross, water sign. Cancer is the Crab. It holds on, moves sideways in order to move forward, and retreats for cover instinctively. Fourth house planets? First, observe if you are straight in your use of them or not. After that assessment, if straight, straight to what? What is your overall direction in life? If sideways, why? What are you avoiding within those planets and yourself or others? After all of this self-reflection, consider 4th house planets as involved in the birth of freer states of being, of – like a hermit crab – leaving one shell of reality for a larger one, a more expansive one. Yes, it is still a shell, but it is an evolution also.

Fourth house planets give direct access to the psyche which accounts for the personality’s way with them, but also declares that a turn of the spiral with these planets and the psyche is as simple as getting wet.

The fourth house includes tradition and traditional ways, that which is ancient yet present; antiquities or artifacts, too.

Cancer is ruled by the Moon traditionally, Neptune esoterically, and Neptune hierarchically. These planets influence the fourth house as well.

The Moon’s influence on the 4th house traditionally
The Moon represents the past. Planets in the 4th speak to one’s past. The signs of those planets do as well. Interpreting them begins with acknowledging them as habits of consciousness, default patterns that hold back the flow of spiritual maturing. Almost all of these articles have encouraged a blameless honesty with one’s self. We cannot move forward on the Path or in mundane life if that which stymies forward momentum goes unacknowledged thus unaddressed. Because we are incarnated, the foibles of being incarnated are always the first layer of interpretation.

The Moon is comfortable, feels familiar, generally is preferred, and a go-to. As these qualifiers influence the 4th house. Planets there will feel familiar – like old slippers. This makes the planets accessible. Then, it is up to the native to stretch into the fuller range of attributes of the planet(s) so that that range also becomes familiar and comfortable.

The Moon represents feelings. When a woman is pregnant, she can feel the baby but not see it or hear it. Feeling is, in a way, direct yet vague. Some people walk into a room and feel the emotions of others, or the past that played out in a location, or the devic/elemental/angelic life of the land or water. These feelings are psychic to a certain extent, could indicate intuition on some level, but all are pre-mind. Feeling is direct, immediate, and often dismissed. Yet being pre-mind, pre-cognitive processes are pretty flawless. Planets in the 4th house probably have this direct quality to them. That means that they could be experienced as intense or poke at one’s vulnerability or insecurity. This is all for maturing. Beingness is intensity itself while simultaneously pure peace. Security/insecurity is all a matter of what one relies upon.

The Moon’s influence on the 4th house could also demonstrate through waxing and waning. That is to say that the planets in the 4th come into prominence in some cycles of our life and fade out of prominence in others. The fading is an integration time, but might not be recognized as such.

Neptune’s influence on the 4th house esoterically
This is the “soul” level of influence to the house. Neptune invites an examination of one’s incarnation, which is -of course- the incarnation of the soul. Are you living as a soul? If so, how does that demonstrate? If not, why not?

On this turn of the spiral, the planets in the 4th house signal loving kindness, empathy, and the desire to serve others because these are the intention of the soul in form. Even if the planet is a mental planet, such as Saturn or Uranus or Mercury, its expression wants to be that of the loving energy of the soul. This could be a very powerful stretch for the native, and one worth attending.

Neptune’s influence hierarchically
An analogy here is that in the ocean there are no single drops of water. All is one: a shared intimate, complete oneness. The entanglement of being is undeterred and undefiled; it is also uncomplicated.

Highest Neptune is buddhi, bodhi, wisdom-compassion, and the inseparability of emptiness and form. Buddhi is uncomplicated. Buddhi supersedes mental processes; it is blunt, frank. Buddhi is true if it is true buddhi. Buddhi is intuition, but not like that elicited at an intuition workshop. Buddhi is “budh”, its root word. Budh is light as in clear, transparent, luminous, bright, no shadow, not shaded, stark, real, true. Bodhi comes from the same Sanskrit root word. Bodhi, as in bodhisattva, is the light of awareness lived as the way of being. Such livingness lightens density, illumines obscurity, shines the way out of ignorance, and is uninterested in that which obscures, is of a denser vibration, or expresses ignorance. Planets in the 4th house, if under this hierarchical influence, are the native’s bodhi in the world. They are how you undo the density and darkness of suffering, how you assist in the illumination of the world and reality.

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