Togetherness

08/22/2014 § Leave a comment

noun: togetherness
the state of being close to another person or other people.
“the sense of family togetherness was strong and excluded neighbors”
synonyms: cohesion, cohesiveness, harmony, fellowship, camaraderie,close bond(s)
“the camp inspired togetherness”

Buddhism

“Alone, our individual light may give off only a soft glow. But togetherness inspires hope — hope that we can all come together in friendship and understanding.” — Her Holiness Shinso Ito

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The path of liberation

08/09/2012 § Leave a comment

Man is born in this world with two tendencies— Vidya, the tendency to pursue the path of liberation, and Avidya, the leaning towards worldliness and bondage. At his birth, both these tendencies are, as it were, in equilibrium like the two scales of a balance. The world soon places its enjoyments and pleasures in one scale, and the Spirit, its attractions in the other. If the mind chooses the world, the scale of Avidya becomes heavy, and man gravitates towards the earth; but if it chooses the Spirit, the scale of Vidya becomes heavier and pulls him towards God.

 

Ramakrishna Paramhansa

No one can really remain a materialist

11/27/2011 § Leave a comment

After seeing Apoptosis At Work No one can really remain a materialist

Phenomenon called apoptosis says “For every cell there is a time to live and a time to die.”

Apoptosis is programmed cell death, and although we don’t realize it, each of us has been dying every day, right on schedule, in order to remain alive. Cells die because they want to. The cell carefully reverses the birth process: It shrinks, it destroys its basic proteins, and then it goes on to dismantle its own DNA.Bubbles appear on the surface membrane as the cell opens its portals to the outside world and expels every vital chemical, to finally be swallowed up by the body’s white cells exactly as they would devour an invading microbe. When the process is complete, the cell has dissolved and leaves no trace behind.

When we read this graphic account of a cell sacrificing itself so methodically, you can’t help being touched. Yet the mystical part is still to come. Apoptosis isn’t a way to get rid of sick or old cells, as you might suppose. The process gave us birth. As embryos in the womb, each of us passed through primitive stages of development when we had tadpole tails, fishlike gills, webbing between our fingers, and most surprisingly, too many brain cells. Apoptosis took care of these unwanted vestiges—in the case of the brain, a newborn baby forms proper neural connections by removing the excess brain tissue that we were all born with. (It came as a surprise when neurologists discovered that our brains contain the most cells at birth, a number which gets whittled down by the millions so that higher intelligence can forge its delicate web of connections. It was long thought that killing off brain cells was a pathological process associated with aging. Now the whole issue must be reconsidered.)

Apoptosis doesn’t end in the womb, however. Our bodies continue to thrive on death. The immune cells that engulf and consume invading bacteria would turn on the body’s own tissues if they didn’t induce death in each other and then turn on themselves with the same poisons used against invaders. Whenever any cell detects that its DNA is damaged or defective, it knows that the body will suffer if this defect is passed on. Fortunately, every cell carries a poison gene known as p53 that can be activated to make itself die.

These few facts barely scratch the surface. Anatomists long ago knew that skin cells die every few days;that retinal cells, red blood cells, and stomach cells also are programmed with specific short life spans so that their tissues can be quickly replenished. Each dies for its own unique reason. Skin cells have to be sloughed off so that our skin remains supple, while stomach cells die as part of the potent chemical combustion that digests food.

Death cannot be our enemy if we have depended upon it from the womb. Consider the following irony.As it turns out, the body is capable of taking a vacation from death by producing cells that decide to live forever. These cells don’t trigger p53 when they detect defects in their own DNA. And by refusing to issue their own death warrants, these cells divide relentlessly and invasively. Cancer, the most feared of diseases, is the body’s vacation from death, while programmed death is its ticket to life. This is the paradox of life and death confronted head on. The mystical notion of dying every day turns out to be the body’s most concrete fact.

What this means is that we are exquisitely sensitive to the balance of positive and negative forces, and when the balance is tipped, death is the natural response. Nietzsche once remarked that humans are the only creatures who must be encouraged to stay alive. He couldn’t have known that this is literally true.Cells receive positive signals that tell them to stay alive—chemicals called growth factors. If these positive signals are withdrawn, the cell loses its will to live. Like the Mafia’s kiss of death, the cell can also be sent messengers that bind to its outer receptors to signal that death has arrived—these chemical messengers are actually known as “death activators.”

A Harvard Medical School professor had discovered an amazing fact. There is a substance that causes cancer cells to activate new blood vessels so that they can get food. Medical research has focused on finding out how to block this unknown substance so that malignant growths can be deprived of nutrients and thus killed. The professor discovered that the exact opposite substance causes toxemia in pregnant women, a potentially fatal disorder in which the blood vessels are “unhappy” that they are undergoing normal programmed cell death. “You realize what this means?” he said with deep awe. “The body can trigger chemicals in a balancing act between life and death, and yet science has totally ignored who is doing the balancing. Doesn’t the whole secret of health lie in that part of ourselves, not in the chemicals being used?” The fact that consciousness could be the missing ingredient, theX factor behind the scenes, came to him as a revelation.

Apoptosis rescues us from fear, I think. The death of a single cell makes no difference to the body.What counts is not the act but the plan—an overarching design that brings the balance of positive and negative signals that every cell responds to. The plan is beyond time because it dates to the very construction of time. The plan is beyond space because it is everywhere in the body and yet nowhere—every cell as it dies takes the plan with it, and yet the plan survives.

So after seeing Apoptosis At Work No one can really remain a materialist.

– Deepak Chopra

Source: The BOOK of SECRETS Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

Breaking Habits

11/26/2011 § Leave a comment

 

Let us find out how to understand this whole process of habit forming and habit breaking. We can take the example of smoking, and you can substitute your own habit, your own particular problem, and experiment with your own problem directly as I am experimenting with the problem of smoking. It is a problem, it becomes a problem, when I want to give it up; as long as I am satisfied with it, it is not a problem. The problem arises when I have to do something about a particular habit, when the habit becomes a disturbance. Smoking has created a disturbance, so I want to be free of it. I want to stop smoking; I want to be rid of it, to put it aside, so my approach to smoking is one of resistance or condemnation. That is, I don’t want to smoke, so my approach is either to suppress it, condemn it, or to find a substitute for it -instead of smoking, to chew. Now, can I look at the problem free of condemnation, justification, or suppression? Can I look at my smoking without any sense of rejection? Try to experiment with it now as I am talking, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is not to reject or accept. Because, our whole tradition, our whole background, is urging us to reject or to justify rather than to be curious about it. Instead of being passively watchful, the mind always operates on the problem. – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

BRAHMAN OF VEDANTA

11/26/2011 § 1 Comment

Brahman cannot be approached by argument. He is unknowable. He is without any limiting adjunct. He is the source of the world, vedas, body, mind and prana (life).

Brahman is the only abode of eternal peace and purity. He is the instrumental and material cause for the universe, though He Himself is causeless because He is beginningless and endless. He is one without a second. He is attributeless. He is free from birth and death.

Brahman is absolute, infinite. He is the supreme being. He is the highest self. He has no attachment; He has no connection with anything – He has no connection with bodies, minds, etc. This is his supreme yoga which ordinary mortals can hardly understand.
Brahman dwells in every heart. He is boundless, unfathomable and immeasurable. There is neither subtle desire nor craving nor sense- hankering in Brahman. He is an embodiment of purity. His name or symbol is Om. He is the silent witness of the activities of the world and the activities of all minds. He is imperishable.

Brahman is absolute consciousness, the indwelling Atman. He is the one great indivisible bliss – satchidananda. He is awake when people sleep at night. He is the passive spectator of this world-show or cosmic bioscope. The aspirant finds full and eternal satisfaction in Brahman. All his desires melt away like mist or snow before the rising sun.

There is something behind life, matter, energy, mind that is the ultimate reality – it is eternal and unchanging. The finite mind cannot solve certain problems of life and the riddle of the universe. On account of egoism we persist in our vain researches and experiments. But our boasted intellect has failed to satisfy our yearnings and equip us with real knowledge that will dispel our ignorance and give us real peace of mind.

We bow our heads before the inner ruler who dwells in the chambers of our hearts, who is the source of matter, life, energy and mind, who is immortal, eternal, bliss absolute, knowledge absolute and existence absolute. May He now give us real enlightenment. May He grant us that highest knowledge of Self through which alone we can get full knowledge of all secular sciences. Our silent salutations to that highest self, the Brahman of the vedanta.

–          Swami Sivananda

BRAHMAN AND MAYA

11/26/2011 § Leave a comment

Like the pot and clay, waves and the sea, ornaments of silver and gold, the universe is non-­different from Brahman. The cause does not lose its being by appearing as the effect. The world is not an illusion, but it is non­different from Brahman. Like heat is inseparable from fire and identical with it, so the universe which is of the nature of Brahman is identical with it.

The world is dependent on Brahman and independently the world is nothing. The play of cit (consciousness) alone shines as this universe. The universe was, is and always will be. There is no beginning or end to creation.

Behind the impermanent material world there is the invisible source of all things, pure, unchanging spirit or Atman. In the presence of God, maya (illusion) creates the world, even as in the presence of the superior officer, the subordinates do their work. Just as a carpenter cannot work without the instruments, and the instruments themselves also cannot do any work without the carpenter, so also, Isvara (God) cannot create the world without maya, nor can maya create the world without Isvara.

This world is an overflow of the love of God. This is the view of a bhakta (devotee). This world is an overflow of the bliss of Brahman. This is the view of a vedantin or sage. Love and bliss are one; God and Brahman are one. This world is nothing but the expression of God’s love for Himself. This world is an expression or manifestation of God. It is the outcome of the spontaneous play of love and joy. God expands Himself and manifests as the world.

Atmic sankalpa (the will of the self) makes this universe shine and constitutes it. Every object is surcharged with divine significance. Everything in this world has got a spiritual message to convey. Learn from everything. All is Brahman. When this truth is intellectually recognised and intuitively realised, then all feelings of differences end forever.

–          Swami Sivananda

Actually we have no love

11/26/2011 § Leave a comment

You know, actually we have no love – that is a terrible thing to realize. Actually we have no love; we have sentiment; we have emotionality, sensuality, sexuality; we have remembrances of something which we have thought as love. But actually, brutally, we have no love. Because to have love means no violence, no fear, no competition, no ambition. If you had love you will never say, “This is my family.” You may have a family and give them the best you can; but it will not be “your family” which is opposed to the world. If you love, if there is love, there is peace. If you loved, you would educate your child not to be a nationalist, not to have only a technical job and look after his own petty little affairs; you would have no nationality. There would be no divisions of religion, if you loved. But as these things actually exist – not theoretically, but brutally – in this ugly world, it shows that you have no love. Even the love of a mother for her child is not love. If the mother really loved her child, do you think the world would be like this? She would see that he had the right food, the right education, that he was sensitive, that he appreciated beauty, that he was not ambitious, greedy, envious. So the mother, however much she may think she loves her child, does not love the child. So we have not that love. – JKrishnamurti, from: The Collected Works, Vol. XV Varanasi 5th Public Talk 28th November 1964

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