Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Control Dramas: Shining Light On the Energy Vampire Within

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Satisfactorily Dissatisfied

In the world we’ve grown up in we’ve been told that satisfaction comes from outside of us. This may be the world’s biggest lie, and thus a major cause of dissatisfaction on both the individual and collective levels.

Consider: How many people, of all the billions who have ever lived and the zillions of different things they’ve done, have ever been truly satisfied within based on that which came to them from without?

None. Because it’s not possible. True satisfaction is simply not attainable through transient, external sources. None the less, our society goes on believing it as though it’s an ultimate truth.


Because it's been taught to us since birth; if not directly than just in the simple fact that if everyone around us is religiously living the external rat race to internal fulfillment, then it must be true...Right? Most of our religions tell us it's without, our movies and TV shows tell us it's without, nearly all business marketing tells us it's without, and on and on unto the ends of this external illusion we call "reality."

But have we ever really defined what we've wanted? Have we ever really analyzed what this thing called "satisfaction" is and why we may only ever experience it in ever fleeting glimpses if at all?

Probably not. So I'm now going to help you out by giving you a little something to get working with...

Defining What We Want

What is satisfaction?

Satisfaction is an energy form which allows us to feel fulfillment, to experience a sense of wholeness, of completion.

Further, this energy is a personal and internal matter—which is actually something we've all learned and know deep down after being betrayed by the promises of the external world about 192 trillion times; that is, by nearly everything we've ever thought, said, or done.

So the problem, then, is that the energy we desire to make us feel good about life is dependent upon the amount of energy outside sources are willing to give us. When that energy isn’t available, because we’re not able to generate it within, we seek ways to externally derive it from the external world in a selfish and nearly always unconscious manner.

Although this most frequently and clearly applies to our resorting to physically or mentally "getting more," such is not what I would like to discuss right now. Instead, I'd like to talk about our attempts to otherwise attain the "satisfactory" feeling via energetic attacks of others, or, said another way, doing that which makes us each into an energy vampire.

Since our internal energetic sense of satisfaction—coming in the forms of joy, peace, love, gratitude, etc.—is forever inhibited, and since our society's mouth is sealed about the the attainment of it, we believe our only recourse to be “biting down in the soft areas of our fellow man and sucking out his life-force."

Of course, this is quite troublesome because it’s energetic thievery and highly dependence-forming. We vampire someone’s energy, we feel a quick high as they become sapped, our energy boost dies off, and we move on to the next victim (or hit the same one again) hoping, hoping, hoping that their energy boost will give us the internal satisfaction we so deeply yearn for.

But it doesn't. Because it's energy sourced from without.

Enter Control Dramas

This is where the energetic life-force leaching, other-manipulating things called control dramas come into play.

There are 5 of these dramas. Typically we pick up at least one predominant drama from our parents/guardians during our early childhood development, though it’s not unreasonable for someone to carry multiple dramas in varying degrees. What dramas an individual may carry are based on what their parents/guardians had, and are intensified to the extent of emotional suppression.

The 5 control dramas are as follows:
  1. Enforcer / Intimidator
    The control drama of Enforcer/Intimidator is such that the person under its spell, so to speak, is very hostile and aggressive. Their solution to the problems of life is thought to be found through anger, control of other, and violence.

    In this role, an individual will seek to gain—that is: steal—energy from others by overpowering them. This could be anything from physical and verbal abuse to parents punishing their kids through threats of punishment to spankings and the like (which, when we get right down to it, truly is physical abuse). Basically, the role-player’s intent is to drive others into a state of fear, helplessness, and submission, at which point those people become highly attentive to the Enforcer/Intimidator as a means of self-protection.
  2. Criticizer / Interrogator
    From the perspective of a Criticizer/Interrogator, everything is uncertain at best and wrong/bad/problematic at worst. This type of person believes that his/her way of life and perspective is the “One Right Way” and so will focus all self-discomfort onto characteristics of people, places, and things in the external world.

    Their tactic for sucking energy from others is to focus on the traits and goings-on of others in an attempt to get the others to feel insecure. From a space of insecurity, one will then either buy into the criticism or questioning as a means of seeking validity for their new-found uncertainty or will somehow show rationalized rejection to the attack, which, unfortunately, still gives the Criticizer/Interrogator the wanted energy because the implication of justification is a fear of being wrong and thus an unstated confirmation that the Criticizer/Interrogator may be right.
  3. Avoider / Aloof
    For one who is an Avoider/Aloof, the objective is to “self-sideline.” These individuals want to say something, but they dare not say it all at once or too loudly. They want others to notice their coyness and work the information out of them.

    The agenda of the Avoider/Aloof is to draw energy from others by offering them just enough information in conversation or inquiry so as to effectively force the other person to ask more questions to get any useful answer. Problem is, a useful answer will not likely be given, and so answers will have to be pried out. This makes for frustration and puts heavy focus on the Avoider/Aloof, meaning the inquirer must deplete his/herself of an unhealthy amount of energy… possibly to no informational benefit—just annoyance.
  4. Complainer / Poor Me / Victim
    The drama of Complainer/Poor Me/Victim is one of passivity in which the world is devoid of hope, in which the glass is always three-quarters empty. This sort of person can see only the negative side of things and makes little if any effort to improve life. And why would they? The problems are perceived, after all, of the external world, never of self.

    To gain energy, one in this role will generally draw from others in either of two ways. The first is to create conversation wherein the other is made to feel guilty. When this guilt is taken on as real the consequence is lost energy because the now-“guilty” party has become focused on the guilt-trip as though it may be true. The second measure this type of person may take is in conversing with others who’re also of the Complainer/Poor Me/Victim mentality. In fact, the person of this disposition will attract those of similar outlook like moths to light. Energetically, this is of grand “benefit” to the Complainer/Poor Me/Victim because all involved conversants are able to feed off of each other's ever-escalating negativity. Though weariness is always the end result, the reinforcement offered by the heightened energy and attention exchange gained during conversation, by the “high,” is perceived as worth it.
  5. Pleaser
    The Pleaser control drama is observable in the one who is forever seeking agreeability. They are the type of person whose self-truth is never expressed because they’re too busy shaping their personality to meet the validation of those around them, however diverse these other people may be at any given time.

    Since the Pleaser feels little if any self-worth, this person will work to sap the energy of others through award-based approval and by doing, saying, wearing, eating, etc. all the things that those in their company prefer themselves. Their source of “energetic income” is the recognition they receive for going above and beyond to align with the status quo (or at least pretending they do to those who are otherwise unaware). If they ever perceive themselves to be doing a displeasure to others, they will rationalize, perhaps profusely, as to why they are sorry and why things went wrong; said another way: a Pleaser will offer a most verbose and cockamamie excuse that couldn’t even pull the wool over the eyes of a sheep.

Personal Experience and a Closing Thought

I was once a Complainer/Poor Me/Victim. Big time. There was always some person, place, or thing to be negative about. There was always a reason why life was devoid of hope.

And the fuel of people, places, and things to confirm my negativity were also what I’d heavily attracted into my life. (Not to say all of these were inherently negatively-oriented, though many were, but that such is the way I'd perceived it all.) I mean, clearly I didn’t want happiness, so why would happiness come? Instead I’d spent my time almost exclusively with those who would support my need to prove to myself that I was, indeed, a helpless victim.

Then it changed. It’s not easy to explain this part because my shift out of the Victim mentality wasn’t conscious, as such. That is to say, it’s not like I’d read what I’ve written above and actively made the effort to change. Rather, I feel like I just became so sick and tired of being misery’s company that I’d experienced an unconscious shift through which 90% of the Poor Me drama just fell away.

And so, while we are all unique and I thus cannot say specifically for any person what will happen should he or she release their control drama(s), I can at least offer this consideration:

If you’ve not healed your control drama(s)—and most people haven’t—you are carrying the proverbial lead weight. Yet you don’t know it because it’s always been there and no one has ever shown it to you… Okay, well, actually…They have unwittingly done so at least 42,000,000 times—you’ve simply not yet had the eyes to see.

And interestingly enough, this “lead weight” consists of a great deal of what could be called your “internal poundage”—that stuff that paradoxically takes up so much inner space but leaves you feeling perpetually unsatisfied and empty.

Yet I tell you, dear reader: You are light as a feather. And what you perceive to be "normal" is anything but.


For further, more extensive resources, please see the following:

StarStuffs: Inner Wisdom 4 – Energy of Control Dramas

James Redfield’s The Celestine Vision – Chapter 5

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 11/8/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

Parable Set 1

  1. Just Passing Through
  2. Ithaca
  3. The Three Sieves Test

Just Passing Through

A man of the rich Western lifestyle was traveling through a certain town when he decided to visit the home of a very wise rabbi. On arrival, the man was surprised to find that the rabbi’s home was but a single room; the walls lined with books and no furniture but a table and a bench.

“Rabbi,” asked the man, “where is your furniture?”

“Where is yours?” replied the rabbi.

“Mine?” the man responded, puzzled. “But I’m just passing through.”

“So am I,” said the rabbi. “So am I.”

“Ithaca” by Constantine P. Cavafy

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

The Three Sieves Test

Once upon a time in ancient Greece, one of the acquaintances of the great philosopher Socrates came up to him and said: “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

“Hold on a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I would like to perform a simple test. It is called the ‘Three Sieves Test.’ ”

“The ‘Three Sieves Test?’ ”

“Yes. Before you say a word about my student, take a moment to reflect carefully on what you wish to say by pouring your words through three special sieves.”

“The first sieve is the Sieve of Truth. Are you absolutely sure, without any doubt, that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“Well, no, I’m not. Actually I heard it recently and…”

“Alright,” interrupted Socrates. “So you don’t really know whether it is true or not. Then let us try the second sieve: the Sieve of Goodness. Are you going to tell me something good about my student?”

“Well…no,” said his acquaintance. “On the contrary…”

“So you want to tell me something bad about him,” questioned Socrates, “even though you are not certain if it is true or not?”


“You may still pass the test though,” said the Socrates, “because there is a third sieve: the Sieve of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

“No. Not so much.” said the man resignedly.

Finishing the lesson, Socrates said: “Well, then, if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor useful, why bother telling me at all?”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Zealous or Jealous?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

There’s Only One Right Way to Live.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I received 12 years of Catholic education; I went to Mass nearly every Sunday, Holy Day of Obligation, and a few other occasions throughout the year for the first 24 years of my life; and I was an altar server for several years.

I am thankful for this because I could have been raised in complete religious/spiritual ignorance instead. I feel that a religious, spiritual, and/or philosophical base is important for every child to grow up with. Experience has taught me, however, that when something as central to life as religion is not taking us forward, we need to move on and try something different.

In the following story, I was not moving forward. I didn’t know that I could move forward. For that matter, I didn’t even know what “moving forward” meant. I was just doing what everyone else was: living life in what I perceived to be in conformance with all schooling, religion, and family had taught me was “right.” Also at this time, I was of the (unconscious) mind that religious was synonymous with spiritual, and the Church need not justify its actions because, hey, it was the Church—I need only follow…

When I was in my mid- to late teens, I wasn’t hardcore about following the Roman Catholic teaching as in going to Mass every day or going on retreats. But without recognizing it, I was influenced to believe that my religion was the be-all, end-all. Because of that, I lived in such a way that I would tell people what was wrong with them and that they shouldn’t be behaving in the ways they were.

This had only happened with a few people, but it was a few too many. Though I am now, to a greater or lesser extent, once again friends with these people, I had ruined friendships (sometimes life-long) for my mistaken belief that I’d known better than anyone else.

One of the worst things about this zealotry was that I’d been a complete hypocrite and didn’t even know it. Others would do something disagreeable, and I’d feel that it was my purpose in life to point out their “wrongness.” Yet I certainly had not been free of ever having done many of those things myself. My own behavior was proof of how useless the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do,” really is.

Probably the worst thing, was how sometimes my arrogance would just turn into a power trip, where it wouldn’t end up being about wanting these people to act in a “proper Christian way” but falling to the level of picking apart specific items in an individual’s personality, as if those things were ever any of my or my religion's business to begin with.

One thing I do not understand was my selection of the people I’d felt the need to attack. I can’t find a correlation between any of them. All I know is that something about my zealotry told me that these people must be “righted.”

Looking back, it's evident that I'd been brainwashed. (Heavily fear-based teaching does this, you know.) I would think about what I was going to tell a person over and over again to make sure there were no holes in my argument. Unfortunately, I was so one-track-minded, focusing solely on what I believed was right, that I didn’t recognize my argument had no holes because it was, in itself, one big hole.

One of the individuals to whom I’d given a hard time (to say the least) was a longtime friend. After two fits of zealotry and two years of avoiding each other, we slowly began talking again. A year or so after that, we were out on his porch chatting when I apologized to him for being a jerk a few years earlier. He told me not to worry about it. He also said something that really struck me because, by that point, I was able to see my old, big-headed ways in so many other people. He said:

I’m glad you changed. I didn’t really know what was going on at the time, but I knew it wasn’t you. I knew that it was your religion talking; it wasn’t really who you were. It seemed like something you didn’t want, but it had control of you and you didn’t know how to let go of it.

Well-spoken. I had identified with something, I let that identity shape my ego, and I let it control me.

Overall, as much as there was some kind of crazy zealotry, there was also a large degree of embarrassment. I didn’t like having in-depth religious conversations with other Catholics; I didn’t like going to work on Ash Wednesday with ashes on my forehead; I didn’t like telling others that I couldn’t go out with them on a Friday night because I had to attend a “Holy Day of Obligation” night Mass. While part of me wanted to condemn and “right” others, part of me found my religion to be a major source of shame.

Although this may sound bizarre, it’s really not. People do it all the time. (Perhaps even you, the one who is reading this right now, thinking: This could never be me.)

The reality was that I didn’t believe what I professed to believe. I tried to force it on others in hopes of selling it to myself; in hopes of avoiding notice that the finger I was pointing at others was actually curving back around at my own self.

Zealous or Jealous?

If a person wants to follow a given religion, I really don’t care. Religion doesn’t work for me, but if it works for the next guy—great.

What I do care about, because it has adverse effects on us all, is when religion is followed zealously: when religion is not used as a pathway to God (though it is often viewed as such) but as a weapon of self-righteousness.

…What’s the problem?

If a person can live their life in love, joy, compassion, generosity, gratitude, non-interference, and whatever other great and good quality that any and all of the big name spiritual figures have spoken of, why is there still a need for any specific middleman and/or belief structure between one’s self and the Eternal?

I mean, aren’t all of the qualities exhibited by the “Masters” just, say, of an “absolute” rather than a “sometimes” nature? And aren’t we, as average human beings, when we ardently strive to turn a “sometimes” quality into an “absolute,” indeed able to make it as such? Or at least pretty damn close, contingent upon the area of cultivation and various other conditions (e.g.: the natural physical and mental degradation of aging)?

Yet spiritually, morally, we so frequently pass up responsibility. We carry many of the same burdens with us straight through life, from childhood to death. We so frequently pass up putting in the necessary personal effort to fully remove ourselves from the negativity both given and received in daily life. It’s just the way it is, we justify. It’s just a character flaw, we defend. Surely, absolute spirituality is only for the ‘The Holy.’

But how do we know? Have we ever tried to reach that spiritual state ourselves? Or have we preferred to have someone else, who’d learned 72nd-hand from someone else, tell us about another “One-of-a-Kind” someone else who had lived way back in the day and, so it is said, had been endowed at birth will every quality already intact as an absolute?

My Spidey sense tells me that the latter is most often the case.

Because few of us endeavor into the personal, inner arena to see what really makes the self tick. We would rather fool ourselves into thinking that those of dissimilar belief are “wrong” as a means of placing the pressure of our own uncomfortable and uncertain faith on an outside source.

To my original question, then: I don’t see that there is a problem, at least not in the way the zealous would like to believe.

Instead, the problem lies in the fanatical need of the zealous for religion to be forced on others in order to affirm it for the self. In other words, the zealous are jealous.

Commonly, yes, jealousy arises when one is envious or desirous of that which is had by another. Less commonly used, however, is jealousy’s meaning as: The state of fear due to the influence of another.

I think the latter definition sounds more appropriate. For if the one in the aggressively defensive position has no fear of having their beliefs influenced, their faith shaken, their ways questioned, what need would there be for the aggressor—the zealot—to actively slander the alternate beliefs of another?

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 12/7/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Holiness: It's Just Not Worth the Effort

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

“And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.
--Amos 8:12

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
--Philip K. Dick

Holiness --> Hol-i-ness --> Whole-i-ness

Wholiness: The condition of being whole.

Remember this.

Questionable Beliefs

So often, particularly in the West, people have been led to believe that they can become “holy.” They’ve been led to believe that if they read more scripture, listen to more sermons, and do a bunch of other external, mind-engaging things that these doings will make them more holy, that these doings will get them closer to God.

In a way this is true. For example, through the act of reading authentic, truly-enlightened scripture we are picking up on the pure energy invested within the text. This means that, to some extent, the energy that is “us” is interacting with the purer energy that is embedded within “the text” and our consciousness is actually rising as a result (if only temporarily and too subtly for conscious awareness).

However, such practice can only do so much.

What these externally-oriented practices do little to affect—which, consequently, is the biggest determinant of all—is our own internally-based belief structure. Our belief structure colors our life experience, or, more accurately, off-colors it.

Let's keep in mind that:

What we believe we perceive; what we neglect we deflect.

Following the above example, this means that even one's interpretation of scripture will be misguided to the degree that the reader's existent belief set interferes with any as yet unknown meanings.

Truth: Probably Only as Real as Our Beliefs About It

The problem of carrying beliefs is this:

If we believe what is untrue, we may never actually realize it to be untrue for we are going to perceive that untruth—as “truth”—because “truth” is the implication of belief.

Our perception is thus one of a distorted “reality”—an illusion—for, to conscious awareness, belief renders all contradictory information and sensory input as false.

Think about it…

We say: “No, I don’t really have any false beliefs. My beliefs are regularly proven correct.” Yeah. Right. And isn’t that what all the other 7 billion people of the world are saying? So how can we all be right in our own view yet so wrong by everyone else’s?

It is because we are each the creator of our own personal illusory life experience—one that appears so real and operates with such mind-boggling fluidity within the collective experience that we’ve mistakenly come to believe that it is Reality.

But let’s keep in mind that Truth is Truth. It stands for itself—always. If something is really True, it doesn't matter what opinion a few Tom, Dick, and Harry's would like to hold fast to. The fact is that Truth can’t change; it just is, and therefore can only be Known or unknown. If something requires a belief in order for its existence to be maintained, it cannot be True because belief is merely a fixed opinion—it is not Known nor has any place in Reality.

This is important because so many of us get thinking and believing: I want to be holy, and to be holy I have to believe this or better understand scripture or follow this dogma or whatever.

But are any of these things actually doing what we believe them to be doing—making us more holy?

Well… To be blunt about it: Not so much.

You see… Belief is an intellectual activity. Yet the intellect consists only of 10% of mind function. Accordingly, if we create a belief about everything we experience or revive old beliefs in order to define new situations—which is exactly what we’re unwittingly doing all the time—we end up shutting out any and all aspects of existence that cannot be grasped intellectually—including those aspects which have intellectual implications incongruent with the beliefs we’ve already chosen.

This means we are denying at least 90% of that which leads us to full-blown conscious awareness of life, the universe, and everything.

Wholiness Over Holiness

Do you remember how this all began?

Holiness --> Hol-i-ness --> Whole-i-ness

Wholiness: The condition of being whole.

And what is the condition of being whole?

It is not about intellectually attaching to more data, more beliefs, more rules, more separatist and limiting ego-mind-fodder, and so on.

Instead, to be “whole-y” is to unlearn it; to unlearn everything; to remove from one’s self the arrogance of so-called “knowing”; to return to our natural state of pure and simple child-like beingness—perceiving Reality, the Truth, as it exists before definitions and distinctions, before division.

God is All. God has created us in his image and likeness. This means that—belief and false perception be damned—we are inseparable from the All.

We are the All.

And thus we find that our attempts to become holy are fruitless, for such activity is an externally-based, picky-choosey endeavor founded on the misconception that our perceptions, by which we create our beliefs, define Reality and Truth, define God.

Contrarily, yet in fact, since it is belief that determines perception, so must belief distort Reality and Truth—and God—to fit within the illusory experience we have chosen by taking on belief in the first place.

Thus, our true quest must be to avoid being holier-than-thou; to seek out and heal all internally-based obstacles—beliefs—that prevent us from Knowing without bias. Only then will we not just become whole-y but our attainment of wholiness will, in fact, take care of itself.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 48 by Lao Tzu
As translated by J. H. McDonald

One who seeks knowledge learns something new every day.
One who seeks the Tao unlearns something new every day.
Less and less remains until you arrive at non-action.
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.

Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course.
You can not master the world by changing the natural way.

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 6/14/13 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dogma: Obscuring Your Essence

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Offerings about
God that

When I see the word dogma, the phrase that comes to mind is, “Don’t think for yourself.”

Why? It goes like this:

Dogma: Doctrine given by authority that is not open for debate and to be believed without evidence.

I repeat:

Dogma: Doctrine given by authority that is not open for debate and to be believed without evidence.


What is doctrine?

In the case of religious dogma, it is a set of beliefs that create the central tenets of a religion. While some claim dogma comes from divine inspiration, if we look at the definition of the word dogma
…we can see that two words commonly used to describe it are opinions and beliefs.

Let’s have a clarification, shall we?

To have an opinion about something is to have a thought which defines that thing according to personal preference, agenda, etc. To have a belief is to maintain the opinion that we’ve used to define a given thing (according to personal preference, agenda, etc.). Either way, both are opinion but neither of which will necessarily be any more or less factual than the other.

Furthermore, the act of believing is valueless if we are to actually know. For if we truly know something, there is no need to believe it.

That said, if we believe or if we mistake our belief for knowing, then we’re automatically forfeiting our ability to perceive whatever may lie outside of our belief. Because by the very design of freewill, belief dictates limitation.

If we sincerely believe we hold the truth, our perception will prove that all else is wrong/false in relation to it. Of course, this doesn’t make us any more right; it merely keeps us from knowing what the truth really is should it be otherwise.

“…given by authority…”

Tell me, please: Who is this “authority,” and who was it that gave this “authority” their “authority”?

Are you sure? Would you stake your life on it? (Is that a wobble is see in your knees?)

As far as I know, every true spiritual teacher has always told us that the answers we need lie within each of us. It has only ever been the fallibility of religious pride and zealotry and false prophets who have suggested otherwise. So unless all of those teachers had been lying to us, how is it that an external entity, who is self- or dogmatically-appointed to promulgate the teacher's word, can legitimately claim to know exactly how every individual should live their life and connect with God?

When I’d read the Bible there was a certain passage that stuck out from most others. It's that of John 10:33-38 (KJV):
“The Jews answered him, saying, ‘For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘Ye are gods’”? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, “Thou blasphemest;” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.’ ”
Did you catch that?

“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘Ye are gods’ ” ’?”

Hmmm…It’s interesting that in my 24 years of Mass-going and my 12 years of Roman Catholic education, never once was such a concept even hinted at. No, instead we’d learned how desperately we are in need of a savior and how any disbelievers would perish in the fires of eternal damnation in hell, even those who’d never come across Catholicism in their life on this planet.

Yet oddly enough, Jesus, the very man who this religion is supposedly based on, is telling us we are all gods—that God said so Himself, no less! And wasn’t this the same Jesus who told us not to look here or there because the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21)? I believe he told us, too, in speaking of his miracles, that we would do even greater works than his (John 14:12).

“…that is not open for debate…”

By definition it would seem that dogma is opinion. Contrarily, religion typically touts it as truth.

Which is it? If it really is fact, what’s the need for a “non-debatability” clause?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds to me like someone(s) doesn’t want their “authority” and information questioned. It sounds more like a sneaky excuse to uphold a certain ideology while minimizing opposition; to puff up the authoritarian one(s) with an imaginary sense of power and self-importance.

For if the “authority” and information is true, what’s the value in labeling it undebatable? Don’t those who argue with the truth typically quiet down once the truth is clear to them? After all, they would have nothing left to argue about.

So why not bring out the proof? Why doesn’t the Church have a grand ol’ city-, state-, country-, or worldwide live and uncensored Q&A session? The people can ask the questions and the “authority” can provide the substantiation for their claims.

“…and to be believed without evidence.”

Oh, silly me! I’m getting too far ahead of myself. A Q&A session wouldn't make sense because we are supposed to believe without evidence. How forgetful I am!

Please don’t use your intellectual, left brain hemisphere to think about religion. I mean, you can—just be sure you're only thinking about what we tell you, in the way we tell you. This is all true, you know. We know because we’ve talked to God. We promise. And by the way, since everything you need to know about religion is conceptual, don't bother activating your right brain hemisphere, either.

How about that! Looks like you don’t have to use your brain at all! Simply obey!

Sometimes I Wonder…

A church will often consider itself to be the shepherd with the people being the flock, the sheep… Sometimes I’m not so sure this is as comforting of a thought as many of us have been led to believe—especially after seeing what Jesus had to say about the heavenly power contained within each one of us.

Sometimes I wonder if the suggestion that we should be proud to be “sheep” is no more than a comment of condescension by those who claim authority over us; a tongue-in-cheek statement of the “shepherd’s” ability to manipulate and control the mindless and unwitting masses through the power of fear, wielded against them in the name of love.

On a Musical Note…

Now that I’m done my spiel, a spiel which some might find as particularly upsetting, I guess I'll leave you with something more upbeat...

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 7/19/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Intention, Attention, Grace

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

“There are no impediments to meditation. The very thought of such obstacles is the greatest impediment.”
--Ramana Maharshi

This post is written as an extension to Something Happens! It is written to dispel the notion that "proper" self-cultivative conditions—clean meditation space, maintaining a schedule, etc.—must be present for accelerated spiritual growth.

Are “proper” conditions helpful? Sure. But if we're truly being drawn higher, the circumstances of our lives should rarely if ever be a hindrance to fulfilling our basic needs for self-cultivation. After all, we are in the very position we are in specifically because there’s a spiritual lesson there which we must learn.

Are You Able? How Does It Feel?

Sometimes we may read instruction for spiritual practice which tells us to sit on the ground or at the base of a tree in lotus position, or to meditate wearing white, loose-fitting clothes. Maybe we’re told to light incense and open a window to purge the negative energies and spirits from our surroundings. Some suggest we use the same space every day, fill it with sacred objects and pictures of enlightened beings, and be sure not to use that space for eating and sleeping and the like.

Or, it could be that nothing we read tells us do so. Yet we may still create the belief that these things are necessary because “it’s what the yogis do,” or “it’s what’s in all the pictures and drawings.”

My wisdom regarding such instruction is as follows:

If you can do it and it feels right, do it; if you can’t or it doesn't, don’t.

There’s no reason why we need to get bent out of shape that, I’m not doing it the “proper” way, or, Nothing's happening because I'm not doing it the “proper” way.

I don’t doubt that the energy surrounding us and, particularly, how readily it can flow within/through us plays a role in the effectiveness of our practices. But again:

If you can do it and it feels right, do it. If you can’t or it doesn't, don’t.

If we hardly even bother with trying to find the space between our thoughts because “life is too hectic and noisy here in the city,” well, the only direction we’re going is backwards. Maybe sideways.

It should go without saying, yet a reminder may be useful:

The path of self-cultivation is about removing the stories, not about making new ones.

Of our example above: If the city is too disruptive, our hearts will be broken when we find out that our move into the country isn't much better. The disruption we seek escape from is of the mind—it’s internal. Only when we modify the internal, does the external truly change.

The External Hologram of the Internal Condition

I’ve been on the Path for about six years now (beginning sometime during the Spring/Summer of 2009). If I'd always have waited for the "proper" conditions, I'd have fallen back to "sleep" long ago.

In terms of sitting meditation, 99.8% of it is done in the attic of my house located about 40 feet from a moderately trafficked road. The attic is 20 feet above ground-level—30 feet if we consider the basement. Usually, I’m sitting cross-legged on the carpeted floor wearing clothes made from darker-colored, synthetic materials. For my first year or more of meditation, I sat on a drum stool (so even nearer the sky!) which was machine made and also of artificial materials.

On 12-12-12, during the meditation which I experienced my partial kundalini awakening, I was sitting on the end of a beat up office chair, with moderately-sized synthetic material stereo headphones on, wearing artificial fabric clothing, three feet away from a computer screen.

One of the first times I’d recognized that a new awareness was being realized within me, I was driving on a busy six-lane road. As I crested the top of a hill, the tree-sided mountains several miles ahead of me came into view with a grandeur impossible to truly describe. The mountains and trees had a vibrant depth and wholeness to them. They were, quite literally, luminous. The mountains had also felt as though they were within arm’s reach, as though they were actually in the foreground of the apparent foreground of the buildings, cars, and roads which surrounded me.

Yet I’ve Never Sat With a Guru In India… Or In the US!

How could such experiences have come to pass? If I don’t meditate while wearing white, loose-fitting, natural clothes? If the negative energies and entities in the physical and non-physical space around me have not been purged? If I’ve never sat on a rock somewhere out in the wilderness or in a cave in lotus position while chanting “OM”? If I meditate somewhat erratically and can't set myself on doing one practice solidly because there are so many I want to try—all right now?

Because there are 3 items which mean more than any of that stuff, however worthwhile it may be. They are:
  1. Intention
  2. Attention
  3. Grace
We must first set our intention on what we desire—advancement, realization, awakening, remembering—whatever we like to call it.

Secondly, we must focus our attention on it every single day. We have to give it our best as far as our life circumstances and willpower allow for.

If we can’t do certain practices “properly” because we have noisy siblings or we’re away on a business trip or something, we do what we can as we can how we can. We don’t make a stink about it. If we really mean it, we’ll either find a way or we’ll one-up our have-to-do-it-like-this ego by joyfully accepting what is in the fact that we can’t do it “properly.”

Similarly, if we’re weak willed in regard to something, we need not lose sleep over “failing.” As the saying goes, “Progress, not perfection.” We’re better off accepting the fact that we’re weak willed than that we “should” have done better. If something truly should have happened, it would have happened.

Finally, let's allow God to do whatever God does whenever and however God chooses to do it. Whether karma, personal expectation, false belief, unpreparedness, or who knows what, we don’t always get what our egos think we deserve. But we do get just what we need when we are ready for it, often in ways we could never expect. We have to trust that God knows what God is doing.

When the time is ripe we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our practices, as "improper" as they may ever seem, have been worth the effort. We'll see that something's been going on all along, even if it's been unknown to us. As long as we're doing those things which will advance us ever onward and upward toward the Light, something can’t not happen; we can’t not be drawing ever closer to the “wholiness” that is the ever-present, experiential Grace of God.

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 1/21/13 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”