Monday – September 7 – The “Choice“
Sometimes, these “maps of the territory” seem to contradict each other. One map says to go this way and another map says to go that way. Ultimately, we must choose the path we take. What is it that most influences our choice? What is the motivating factor(s)? The answer, I think, is what we desire. Desire drives anything we choose to say, think, do….
The Vipassana map has been called, by some, The Buddha’s minimum required training necessary for a human being to experience enlightenment. OK. When asked about Buddhism, many will say that desire is the problem. Get rid of all desire and poof you are liberated. They say this because they think desire creates a perception that invites the reactions of liking and disliking which leads to craving and aversion which leads to attachment which results in suffering. But, I don’t think desire is the root cause of suffering, We need desire. If desire did not exist then why would anyone do anything? NO, desire is not the issue. Ignorance is the root cause of suffering. Remember, the Buddha was asked on his death bed…..”Who are you.” The Buddha answered, “The question is not who am I. The question is what am I?” OK, “What are you?” The Buddha answered….”I am awake.”
Paradox is the ingrained throughout our experience. Everything that arises does so with its polar opposite. Desire in an unawakened state is the cause of suffering. Desire in an awakened state can be the vessel for the energy of The Light of The Creator in us.
Our guide to the cosmos this week is the portion of the Bible called Nitzavim. Nitzavim means “you are standing before.” Moses continues to address the Israelites, but this time with more conviction than ever. Moses, lecturing from the heart, reminds them that they are standing before the Creator, as well as their relationship with Him. He asks them to fully understand the gravity of their connection with the Creator and to continue to choose Him. He reminds them, yet again, that they have a bond with the Creator that was established with their forefathers. He encourages them to cherish it and remember it. In doing so, they are assured continued success and blessings for all the years of their lives. The Israelites are warned of the negativity that they can potentially create if they veer off course of the Creator’s path. Behaving in ways of intolerance or lack of human dignity will only generate negativity for themselves. Moses, with earnestness, expresses the dire need for the Israelites to choose love in their hearts for each other, themselves, and the Creator. He promises that the Creator will help in this process, by softening their hearts, allowing them to be open to love. Moses assures them that their Promised Land is waiting if only they commit to the path of the Creator. In what seems to be his greatest and final plea, Moses says, “I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you may live.” It is a powerful moment in the Bible, one that is almost like being shaken from a deep sleep. A sleep that may have been preventing us from acting in a way that serves our own best interest. We all desire blessings in the coming year. Now is the time to meditate and ask for exactly our heart’s desire.
No matter your geopolitical world view, when studying The Torah portions one should see them as “Windows of Opportunity” to connect to your path in life. Here is a short video on the portion.
Tuesday – September 8, 2020 – Perception
Well…..We had an interesting Monday Night Mapquesting/Meditation Session last night. On our eight limb yoga path we are currently honed in on the 6th limb – Dharana – Focused Concentration. What do we focus on? Do we focus on what we want? What we don’t want? What we like? What we don’t like? What we are attached to? The yoga journey has a target; a destination and that is the eight limb on our path – Samadhi – Connection/Union with Source. Last night we worked on focusing on Source. Inquiring into our present perception of Source. What is it? Where is it? Can it be connected with? Is there any value in connecting to it? Were we connected at one time? Aren’t we always connected whether we know it or not? We are cultivating the path for our next step in the journey – the 7th limb – Dhyana – deep meditation/absorption.
My role is that of guide. We are on a path of inquiry. That is what.yoga is. As your guide I wish to provide you with a kind of itinerary for the next three weeks. Our goal is “be in” the 7th limb by the 17th of this month and in the eight limb by the 27th, That, will then, five us a good full month to review through from start to finish in October.
Wednesday – September 9, 2020 – The Reality of Reality
What do we really know? As we approach Samadhi it is important to check our perspective. What assumptions are you making? What are your beliefs? What do you know to be true no matter what anyone else says? Can you let these go? I don’t mean to discard them. I mean….can you suspend them for even a brief moment? This is the only choice you really have in this life; to choose your perspective. Is it static? Is it firm? Is it strong? Or, is it an evolving process?
THE RAV BERG WRITES…………..”Nitzavim-Vayelech will always be read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah. In this portion we learn about and can connect to something that is certainly not religiosity or commandments of God, but is rather the kind of energy that would permit us to exercise complete control over our situations in life.
The Zohar says that the reason there are negative, chaotic conditions is because we, ourselves, create negative energy that affects our minds, our health. There is no way to escape it, not even by going to live on a remote island. We are all contaminated. The only option is to make the presence of the Lightforce felt. This is the entire purpose of the study of Kabbalah.
We are either reinforced with sufficient Lightforce of God, so that darkness will not penetrate our lives, or we can rely on our accountant or lawyers or physicians.
Next week, we have the two days of Rosh Hashanah that are going to determine the entire next year’s proceedings, yet we hang on to the ego that says, “I am the master of my destiny.” However, those of us who have come to grips with the reality that we are not in control can become connected and partner with the Lightforce of God so that our very essence is the Lightforce of God.
The Zohar makes it clear that Rosh Hashanah was never meant to be a Jewish thing. Rosh Hashanah is for all of humanity. It is the day when Adam was created. The Zohar explains that God did not abandon us, and at this time of year, with the portions of Vayelech-Nitzavim, we can retrieve our God-given birthright to prepare ourselves on a very physical level, to explore our life and eject ourselves from the field of Satan that we have been playing in all year, weeding out the chaos that has overtaken our lives. We have an opportunity with this effusion of Light to level the playing field. But it will not be different unless we make an active effort to clear our individual field, and proceed on to the next year.”
Thursday – September 10, 2020 – The Time of Babel?
Friday -September 11, 2020 – Suffering
In the Buddha, Yoga, Hindu circles, which yoga is immersed in, the word suffering is used and, perhaps, abused. As westerners, we might understand this word to mean something different then what is meant by the Buddha in his use of the word “suffering” which is the central theme of The Four Noble Truths; specifically, the nature of suffering, the cause of suffering and the solution to suffering. I believe some context is needed in the trek we are taking along the path(s) of yoga. The Buddha, before he became The Buddha was the prince of a wealthy kingdom. He wanted for nothing. All of his needs, wants, desires were fulfilled immediately if not sooner. It was only when he left the walls of the kingdom did he see suffering. So, in our work, suffering should be seen as the state which exists when there is a perceived lack. We want, need or desire something and it is not here or there or wherever you want it to be. And, sometimes we acquire things we don’t want, as though they have been forced or imposed on us…..like a dis-ease or a loss of something we were attached to. With that said let’s do a kind of recap or summary of where we are.
Yoga is the raison d’être of our group’s existence. As a member of the group you are either supporting the groups’ effort or/and attending yoga sessions on a weekly basis. Some of you are coming to the Monday Night Mapquesting/Meditation sessions where we are taking a deeper dive into the inquiry and practice of similar “maps of the territory” that are often referred to in the yoga sessions. These maps include: Vipassana Meditation, Weekly Torah Portions, Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, Kabbalah Concepts, Chinese Medicine, Cranial Sacral Therapy. Some of these maps we have only touched on. We become aware of them and inquire into them in order to get a more holistic view of the territory. But WHY? Why is this of any value?
Over the next few weeks we will be exploring this question and, hopefully, together, as a group find the answer.
Now, I am going to embed a 27 minute video from one of my favorite Rabbis. As someone who does not know Hebrew, he is difficult to follow. Sometimes the most precious gems come when it is difficult. Think of how a diamond is created; constant pressure. The first two Kripalu stages of yoga help is here. First, proper alignment. Second, discovering and exploring your edge. This video is not for everyone. It can be quite confronting hearing an alternative perspective from which we have adopted and perhaps become attached to. I am sharing this because, as your yoga guide I see the potential for value in it considering where we are in our journey along the eight limb path. We are fast approaching our destination of Samadhi. Good to explore what that means from multiple perspectives, don’t you think?
Saturday – August 12, 2020 – DHYANA
For weeks 1-5 see next pages …