Sunday, March 10, 2024

Knockin on Heaven's Door

    Very recently, two of my fittest friends, both life-long athletes, both in their late 70s, came very close to death with pneumonia. Thanks to ready access to the wonders of modern medicine, both now are recovering - one at home, the other still in hospital. "Knockin on heaven's door" for some, suggests closeness to "the end" - perhaps imagining concrete barriers at the end of a "dead end" street. But Zen talks about a "gateless gate" - a koan or open question (transcending the left-hemisphere) to ponder deeply, until - like plainly visible, tangible water at 100°C suddenly transforms into subtle vapor - everything changes ...

    "Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.” Anthony de Mello SJ

     Everything is driven by the magnetic pull toward Oneness, our true Self, and this we sense with our right-hemisphere-dominant consciousness. BUT when we're out of touch with our true nature, then we're driven by LACK - gnawing frustration & dissatisfaction which activates our left-hemisphere-dominant mindset, the function of which is exclusively to help us survive & reproduce - so we try to grab, hold & keep 'things, people & experiences.' This (sadly common) obsessive self-centeredness invariably fails to provide peace & lasting happiness:
     Iain McGilchrist spent 30 years of meticulous research, study, writing & speaking about the crucial importance of right-hemisphere dominance which includes a useful subservient, supportive role for the left-hemisphere. He put all the ducks ("parts") in order, to satisfy the most fastidious, materialist, skeptical of linear thinkers so that they might have a glimpse of "the whole" in two masterworks:
    Iain McGilchrist "The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World" in 2019.
    Iain McGilchrist "The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World" in 2021.

    “Since 2006, Jeffery A. Martin PhD and his team have spearheaded the largest global scientific effort to understand forms of human experience such as: awakening, enlightenment, non-duality, God consciousness, the peace that passeth understanding, unity consciousness, persistent mystical experience, and hundreds of similar others. Academically, we refer to these as types of Ongoing and Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience. Publicly, we most typically call them Fundamental Wellbeing.”
    Dr. Jeffery A. Martin. “How to Safely, Reliably, and Rapidly Reach Fundamental Wellbeing: Lessons from the Largest Scientific Project Ever Assembled on Awakening, Enlightenment, Non-duality, Unity Consciousness, and Other Forms of Fundamental Wellbeing.” Integration Press, 2020. (free e-book)
    “If you stop and truly examine the average person’s life, it becomes obvious that it comes down to tradeoffs that are being made to mitigate their fundamental discontentment. It’s the foundation that all of their experience is built upon, and they spend a great deal of time & energy trying to pacify it. People will do almost anything to get as much distance from it as possible.
    Sometimes they make the decision that the best option is pleasure in the moment. Other times, they might sacrifice for what they perceive to be a more substantial or durable gain in the future. Every moment involves a carefully calculated move in an overall strategy to minimize fundamental discontent.
    Finders have this discontentment replaced with a deep-seated foundational, inner peace. Just like the discontentment is for others, this peace simply seems to be there. However, also just like discontentment, there are things that can pull it closer or create some distance to it. The inner game for Finders is about this peace, though some miss this because of their former habit of focusing on & managing discontentment.

    Dr. Jeffery A. Martin. “The Finders.” Integration Press, 2019.

    Michael A. Singer is imho a wise man with 50 years of deep spiritual practice, and an excellent communicator. His regular talks are freely available. Here are the closing 3 minutes of (at this time) his most recent talk: “It's All Energy” - Thursday March 7, 2024 -
    “‘Are you willing to let go of your self?’ … But you’re just lost in your self, aren’t you? If you think that things should be the way you want, you’re lost in your self. ‘Why is it raining on my birthday?' ‘Oh my God, there you go again. Why did it have to rain today?’ ...
    That’s ego. It’s not just people who are boisterous who have big old egos. That’s ego, you think it’s you. You look at it all through the veil of ‘you.’
    The great ones do not do that. … they look at things from the center of Consciousness, and realize everybody else is the same as me - it’s the same Consciousness, but it’s looking at something different. And we’ve all had different experiences. Yogananda, an enlightened being, used to say, ‘But by God’s grace, there goes myself.’ That’s how he looked at wrong in this world. Had I not been brought up by my mother, in my tradition, in this, & that food to eat, and so on. How dare you judge somebody else. And Christ is the same way, ‘May you without sin, throw the first stone.’ Wake up!
    These are the deep traditions. They’re about stepping out of your self enough to realize we’re all in here, but we’re lost in the stuff the psyche built over the course of our lives.
    Next time you feel low in energy, just remember who you are - five hundred trillion times the brightness of the sun. And you can’t even see it. One star in the spattered sky, and that’s what it really is. And they’re everywhere. And that’s who you are. 

    But you’ve limited yourself. You’ve limited yourself to stare down at this thing. And the trouble is, if you don’t get what you want, you’re not comfortable. A heroin addict once said that to me. ‘You know I’m much nicer when I get a hit. And I’m really strung out and terrible when I don’t.’ Well, okay, fine. That’s not a nice thing to talk about is it? But it’s the same thing. You’re addicted to your psyche. You’re addicted to the patterns that you have within your mind. All right.
    The beauty of it all is that you are a very great being. And you’re capable of returning to that state, gradually, by letting go of staring at yourself. The more you let go of staring at yourself, the more you let go of getting all caught up in ("preferences") what you want & what you don’t want, what you like & what you don’t like.

    And just start honoring & respecting the flow of life, and serving it to the best of your ability. … You don’t interact with life to make it do what you want. You see something happening, and you feel a reactionlet go of the reaction, and then see if there’s something you can do to help! How nice would it be if every single moment, instead of asking, ‘What I want & how do I get it?’ you were asking, ‘How can I help this moment? How can I serve?’ ("Nurturing") Whoa. That’s the beauty of the path!
Michael A. Singer “It's All Energy” - Thursday March 7, 2024 -

"At times we are hidden, at times revealed.
We are Muslims, Christians, Jews, of any race.
Until our hearts are shaped to hold all hearts,
We show these different faces to the world."
Jalaludin Rumi 

Knockin on Heaven's Door

This version was recorded in memory of the Dunblane Massacre 13 March 1996, where 16 children and one adult were killed. A new verse was written, and the children who sing the chorus are brothers and sisters of the victims. The song was released 9 December 1996. Proceeds went to charities for children. Ted Christopher - vocals, Mark Knopfler - guitar.

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