Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some basic spiritual ideas

Some basic spiritual principles and practices:
Forgive absolutely everyone for absolutely everything, including yourself. There may well be people from your past who have done you wrong, never apologized or repented. Or there may be people who have done you wrong who have apologized, but you never really got over it. It’s not for them that you forgive, it’s for you. You have no choice, other than to continue to suffer if you refuse to forgive. Any old unforgiven deeds, even small ones, they register in your consciousness and continue to trap you. So forgive others, and forgive yourself. Life is full of mistakes and learning, and you are not the karma master of anyone, it’s out of your hands.

Forgive and be glad that you can forgive, it’s a gift, it is Grace, and we all deserve some Grace.
Practice extending unconditional love outward from yourself--to everyone and everything. Why not? Do you have something better to do than that? What could be better than pouring love from yourself without waiting for a reason to do so?

Try to be in the moment, always. Most instances of not being in the moment can be classified as “worrying.” This is not to say that you shouldn’t plan for the future, or never reflect on the past. Just know that you are constantly in the act of creation, as a participant. If you are actively thinking about the past or possible future, be aware of your own mind and cognizant of what you are doing right now. Write down your future plans if necessary, then let them slip away from your mind. Come to grips with your past, and then let that reflection on the past slip away quietly, come back to the now and be empty.

Sex is not something to feel guilty about, it’s not wrong , bad, dirty or forbidden nor is it separate from the spiritual, nothing is. It’s ok to be having sex, and it’s ok to abstain from it. We’re made to enjoy sex but we also are made to have our own selection process about who and what we do. Be OK with your own process and your choices.

Meditation is important to quiet the mind, but stimulating the mind is important too, and even sometimes overstimulating it. The mind needs challenge, but it also needs to have the background information wiped away clean like a blackboard. That’s the most basic aspect of meditation. People need to understand that the quiet mind is not only possible, but actually effortless, and takes no time to reach. The noise in the mind is due to attachments, and when the attachments are gone the natural state is silence.

Attachments are related to desire, and desires are always voluntary. Sometimes desire is manifested as a negative as in: "I don’t want this.” “I wish it weren’t so” or, “Man, I suck at meditating, and this is stupid anyway.” Quit if you want to, nobody is making you do this. But you do need to know that desires are like heavy weights that we pick up and carry of our own volition. Attachments are like chains.

The state of emptiness is very pleasant, persistent, good for your health. It’s a very beneficial place to be. It’s not emptiness like hunger, it’s more like total peace. It’s not boring, and there is a reason that meditative states of mind are called “ecstatic.” Nobody is making this stuff up, it’s real.

Judgment versus discrimination: Discriminating is a natural part of perception. Judgment is when values are overlaid onto perceived discriminating factors. Trust your senses and perceptions, but be aware of your judgments. In all these things, don’t force yourself to go against your nature, but be aware, and know that it is kinder to be understanding and accepting.

Austere measures are not necessary, and when the Buddha spoke of the middle way, he knew what he was talking about. It’s not necessary nor beneficial to deny yourself, food, sleep or any of life’s simple pleasures. It doesn’t make you a better person to deny yourself. As you progress along your path, you may discover that desires and attachments are diminishing, and you simply don’t need very much in order to experience real happiness. But you can be very spiritual and still enjoy a hot fudge Sunday, these things are not mutually exclusive.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Paul.

I use the word "discernment" in place of "discrimination".


Paul Hood said...

Yep, the discerning reader wisely utilizes her powers of discrimination.
thanks, Linda

Victoria said...

Great post Paul! I LOVE IT!