getting to silence

Knowing how to meditate allows us to rest our thinking to the point of having no thoughts for periods of time.

Some folks claim all types of weird and fantastical things one can experience by meditating.

Magical thinking is passe, yet many because of their heritage cling to it. It really is a great comfort to believe there will be an eternity of bliss for the faithful. When it doesn’t take place, he or she will never know it. It’s a win/win situation…specially for the hell-fire-and-brimstone preachers.

Meditation is good for undoing stress, and meditation is also a way to commune with one’s being (one’s body and steed).  This communion happens during the silent periods of meditation. Meditation allows us to become more positive.

Imagine what a relief it would be for the language going on in our brains all of our waking moments to gradually become still, silent. Meditation gives the body and brain small vacations.

Getting to silence is not easy because we are hooked on language because it’s the best tool available. 

So, we use words – listen to words – or produce thoughts constantly. This is why music and good stories are so restful because they can take us away from ourselves for a while.

Meditation is
the dimension of silence,
and it’s free and open to all humans.

Classical meditation:

We sit or lay down and get comfortable and begin to relax our body parts one at a time from the top of the head to the bottoms of our feet or the other way around.

Then to slow down our thinking, we put attention on our breath by noticing the air going in and its coming out again and again. There are tiny hairs at the openings of our nostrils which are affected by the flowing air of our breath which can be sensed if noticed and can capture our attention.

It’s normal for us to eventually begin to use words while meditating, and when we do, don’t worry about it because it’s natural for the mind to reestablish its normal activity, and we’ll eventually notice the thoughts, and without a sense of failing, we’ll go back to noticing our breath again or we’ll begin using a mantra again: Ommmmmmmmm…Ommmmmmmm again and again until we notice our thinking and will return to noticing our breath or a mantra again. 30 to 45  minutes daily will put us on firm path. We can break this amount of time into 10 or 15 periods or have a single period of meditation.

Daily meditation is best because its affect becomes greater and greater, yet any amount of meditation is good for us.

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miracles

Do those
who depend on reason recognize
miracles as not existing,
and those who
have faith
use that
faith
to keep
believing in miracles?

Is a miracle a natural
occurrence
which
doesn’t seem to
have an explanation?

feeling sorry

If an agnostic has the quality of not having to be right, do we automatically know what an atheist feels when he or she claims the belief that there is no God? Would that feeling be the same feeling the religious fundamentalists love to feel? The rightness of it all, with the “all” hidden in a cloud of faith and words.

It’s wonderful to know and feel one is right. But what makes it wonderful? Traditional religions are zero-sum games, so everyone not believing as one should believe gets the ax.

The members of each of the thousands of religions are feeling sorry for rest of the world because even the very good and faithful folks of all the other religions will not end up in their god’s favor because their god has not been acknowledged.

And yet a deep natural freedom and relaxation can be found by living life not having to know for sure about some of the most important issues which confront us in life. And the benefits of freedom and relaxation are hidden because as human animals we are unknowingly trapped in a stream of language of our own making. Being trapped allows us to experience becoming free and relaxed. Being trapped by language is the setup to the ultimate spiritual game.

How is the game played? Sometime during a person’s life he or she may begin to ask the questions of Who am I? and Why am I here? When one gets past the answer “You are a child of the only true God and you are here to serve Him”, then one may start looking for better answers, and all of a sudden, folks with answers are everywhere, and normally, they are asking for money. 

Eventually, one might come to the sayings of the great sages of history. They give the same answers but expressed in a different ways. Of the major religions, Buddhist teachings come the closest to reality for me.

There are many factions in Buddhism just as there are many in Christianity. Main-line Buddhism teaches there is no afterlife, or god, and we suffer and are trapped by the strong habit language.

Buddhists use Zen meditation to escape from the language corral and as a centering tool to deal better with suffering and desire.

Only in the sweet silence of the present moment can a human sense the universe as a tree senses it. How is this possible? We are able to feel the universe because our bodies are units of its expression just like trees are.

We identities are in the way, and can be explained away, but what we need most is a daily period of silence.

It’s best to have the practice of sitting down in a comfortable position daily and then with eyes closed paying attention to one’s breath or a mantra for at least 20 to 30 minutes and by calmly coming back each time without blame or regret for not paying attention to every moment.

Getting better at paying attention is part of the trip, and this skill opens up the world to the seeker.

In this game, everyone can win because attempting is the only posture needed, sitting comfortably with silence as the horizon.

For those interested, I recommend the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice by Shunryu Suzuki. It is a small book (138 pages) and is full of practical advice and insights. In it he states “The world is its own magic.”

I learned to meditate using Transcendental Meditation (TM) which the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi made popular in the western world a little over two-thirds of the way through the 20th century. Shunryu Suzuki arrived here in the USA a little before the Maharishi, and their messages are still changing lives.

Their work prompted science to test and then adopt meditation as an important tool. We are fortunate to have had these missionaries from the east.

Suzuki’s book recommends you eventually be able to sit with legs crossed to meditate which takes a bit of dedication.

TM recommends “a straight-back chair with feet flat on the floor.” I have found that a comfortable car seat works well too. (Of course the car stays stationary if you’re in the driver seat.) The traditional Hindu mantra “OM” will work for anyone.

While researching TM in the early 1970s, Dr. Herbert Benson used the word “one” as a mantra instead of a TM mantra and found almost the same results as a similar group of TM students using the TM mantra given to them by their TM instructor. All of the participants of both group’s breathing rates, types of brain waves, and galvanic skin responses were recorded during their meditation and the results were almost the same. For the full story read Dr. Benson’s famous book The Relaxation Response.

It turns out almost any short nonsensical sounds ending with m or n will do the job. These two sounds have ending sounds which vibrate naturally (the mantras can be repeated silently in the mind or sounded out) and the vibration can last several breaths until it fades on its own and then restarted after a period of silence.

There are no rules. It’s what feels best for you that counts. TM recommends two twenty minute periods of meditation each day. A seeker can use meditation to lessen stress, gain a more positive attitude, better sleep, etc.

Today there a various digital meditation aids available which give positive results and work well along with traditional meditation.

It’s best not to be concerned about enlightenment. Then and only then, the sages say, can the mystery: the universe (in the form of your amazing body) come calling.

There are copies of the two books above being sold for bargain prices on Amazon.com and ebay.com. Libraries also may have copies.

All the best,

Marvin

belief

To be or not to be is what we face all along the way.

Believing something will always be the same and then coming to believe the same something can do nothing but change…happens too along the way. It’s a shock but we get over it.

Is it that we can’t help believing?
Is this why disbelief
exists?

Belief plus
disbelief equals
just one of the dualities.

As has been said many times, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

Why? We feel comfortable with beliefs because they can stay the same and facts are subject to change which is scary to many.

the game of life

I’m imagining I’m in my crib slobbering and goo-gooing and in comes the one I love to see, and my mouth opens wide squealing and my legs kicking and hearing sounds and seeing lips moving and smiling, and I’m picked up and the lips kiss my forehead and cheeks and the one I love puts me back down into the crib. I feel so very good as I pull myself up bobbing and weaving to stand in my crib unaided for the first time.

Down the road I came to recognize a sound and decided the sound was referring to me. I became me, the name, the ID: the one who will eventually choose and figure. My body is the one seeing, feeling, smelling, etc. Today I’m guessing I’m an arrangement in a powerful brain inside of a body which has mobility, language, and will. The last one is critical and is my specialty, it’s my duty to choose. And starting out it was easy.

I didn’t know where I came from until I was told by a girl in my Sunday-school class that I came out of my mother’s stomach. And I asked my mother and she said so too.

I went to church three times a week with my mother for years and they taught that I had an eternal soul inside of me, and to be safe for all eternity, I had to believe and trust in Jesus to be saved from terrible punishments that would never stop.

So, I believed and trusted. Yet I still wasn’t totally honest all the time, and I treated others as I would like to be treated but not all of the time. I was caught shoplifting a pocketknife when I was twelve. Knives weren’t kept under glass when I was a kid. This episode in my life turned out to be a good thing.

The important thing is I was and am a normal human being. I, like everyone else, have either a constant flow of language going on inside of me, or I have language coming out of me, or I’m paying attention to language sounds coming from my surroundings.

Our desire to continue this constant gathering in and reeling out of language must be the reason why there’s a hugh market for entertainment. It’s a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to relax and hear and see the best ideas and things going and to read what others are recommending. What a relief it is to be entertained. 

As one matures, one eventually and naturally wonders about the answers to questions like Does my life have a purpose? and Why am I here? Unless your mind has been made up for you. Which is usually the case until one starts to think for one’s self.

However, it’s not likely we carry around from birth a purpose to complete, and it’s more likely a purpose can find us by appealing to us and then convinces us. How so? Purpose can’t talk but situations can pull thoughts out of us. For a long time I’ve thought there’s no special purpose for anyone, and circumstances help to make it so. 

Beyond giving our gifts to the world, what is there? Can we give something to ourselves? Can one explore without becoming religious? The spiritual philosophies of the East appear to be the oldest and best. Excluding Hinduism’s many gods, is there anything else besides Buddhism and Zen Buddhism which comes close to the depth of their spiritual insights?

Are Buddhism’s ideas about personal fulfillment or enlightenment valid? Does communing with one’s being plug one into the universe? Can existing without language   for a while each day eventually bring a realization which completes a human being?

Countless sages in the past agree there’s more to life than a life where one’s identity dominates all of the time. This is because of its ancient position of decider and planner. 

A normal type of life is all we can expect when normality is all we want. The search-for-enlightenment meme is one of the oldest memes existing. 

No search is necessary because the sages agree our wonderful and powerful carriage is the key. Commune with it silently and it will take you home.

Desire will prompt an adventurous baby to climb out of its crib to explore. Does language represent a special crib which naturally, without malice corrals the normal life?

We don’t notice the corral because being occupied with language has always been the case. There’s no expectation of anything more after death except an afterlife. Is the belief in a never ending joyous or torturous afterlife the ring in the nose of the followers of most organized religions?

Are we all dreaming and snoring, and this rumble is the breath of identity: the wonderful and powerful tool of language? 

magical being

Can or should the term “magical being” be used instead of the word God? Of course this swap will not fit in every instance but will be expressive in the places where it fits.

One might reply, “Are you telling me, you believe in magical beings?”

But what’s the matter with a magical god? The matter is people are the promoters of magical happenings right out of thin air. Magical things are in story after story and used in the creation of religions. Think of the ten commandments with no burning and talking bush involved. Impossible, it sells the story.

The term magical thinking describes more graphically what folks are believing than their favored term the supernatural does. It’s favored because the term supernatural makes their magical beliefs seem as though they might have a scientific basis of being natural but something beyond science that science cannot understand or control.

Terms aside. Is belief only belief or is it real? A belief is called belief because you can’t always count on a belief matching what’s real. When new supported information comes forth, the what turned out to be beliefs have to be dropped and replaced with ideas (beliefs) fitting the new circumstance. It’s the way science works.

On the other hand, religion is fueled by faith in beliefs which not supposed to change.

Some of the faithful may say “We can’t know for sure, but we aren’t taking any chances. What about you?” Then agnostics and atheists might ask “What are the chances you are believing in the correct god out of the thousands which exist?” 

Yet believing in magic is a way of living a satisfying life for many. The term supernatural being in their minds describes their god best and separates it from the magical existence of creatures like elves and goblins. The faithful feel all of the other so-called gods were invented by humans, and say we are so fortunate to have the real God’s favor.

It’s impossible
for me to imagine an
actual being greater than nature.

Nature actually creates itself. I can imagine
all of the safe-for-life pockets
out there.

Don’t
most stars
have a sweet spot?

Is having to put up with organized
religion
a

phase
most planets with
civilizations have to go through?

god’s promises

Many preachers say every thought and action of every human is being recorded and will be displayed at the final judgment. Yet how could this happen?

I was told god is all powerful and all knowing. Now, there’s an easy answer. To go along with it, all we have to do is believe in a type of magic that’s real…which is a job for faith.

Faith is firmly believing certain events happened in the past and certain promises will become real as events and take place sometime and in an actual place in the future. And if an all-powerful and all-knowing being actually exists, we should be able to safely believe and trust in what it promises.

Is it that god’s existence has to be believed in, which requires faith. And when a person believes in a god but the god’s promises are delivered by humans, are the odds extremely high we are believing in one of the thousands of gods and religions created by humans?

Where did the all of the gods we hear and read about come from?

All of the gods can’t be telling the truth because almost all of us are claiming ours is the only true God (only the real god is worthy of the capital G) and having faith in its message and promises is the only way into its favor. 

How do we know which humans are telling the right story? Is it that claims and faith are not proofs or evidence? Can believing sincerely create something physical out of nothing? No, but it can create attitude which can create!

Is knowing you can’t be sure of god’s existence or nonexistence comforting? Do we need a real mystery?

It is that the existence of real magic is just wishful thinking and so is a very very long shot. Literally pie in the sky. If we are naturally gullible and brought up and taught by gullible folks, what can we expect? Wars and rumors of wars?

Science brought us out from under the autocratic rule of religion, and science has sincerely listened to and explored the so-called proofs for the existence of a god, all of which have come up short for a lack of evidence, yet science is still open to the possibility; otherwise science wouldn’t be science any longer.

Science states the odds are very very small for the existence of such a magical being as a God. In other words, the actual existence of a judgmental and all-powerful god is not something we should be betting on, but it can be fun and/or terrifying if we go along with all the rules of the fantom god we choose to follow.