Opening Letter: Summer 2013

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  –Psalm 19:1

 Dear friends,

Would those of you who know what this is all about please raise your hands?

 Here we are, completing another trip around the sun, preparing ourselves in the Northern Hemisphere for its full effect.  Wheel in a wheel.  As above, so below.

Because, you see, we live in Eden.  The Garden has always been here, and we’ve been invited back in.

So many wonderful seeds we’ve been given to sow.  Planting and weeding and watering with care, we accept there will be an abundance to share.

 

“Look about you. This is paradise. It’s hard to find, I’ll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot.”  

And after long days, we look up at the night.  Ancient and timeless light, reaching our eyes from afar.

And before we sleep, we look to the ancient and endless Light from within.  The brightness and warmth of the Great Benevolence that takes us to the Knowing; We Are One.

 Love in Christ,

Mark

 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.  –Psalm 19:14

From Father Paul Summer 2013

From Father Paul:  class on the Tree of Life

January 1971

 

… Now, it’s time we get down to the basis of these things.  Learn the details here and start to put them to work in your life.  And I don’t mean just on Sundays, but boom-boom-boom-boom right down the line.  This is a seven-day-a-week job.  And don’t you ever think it don’t take seven days to do it, in each incident.  That’s right.

The Light, Life and Love, the three “L’s”, are the way in which the Christ brings Life, growth and development, and it is also the thing that – if you were to look at this (on the chart), Epigensis or Grace, that is what helps to bring this on.  Because the growth, it has to be substantiated by the Life and the Light within which we live.

The average individual has a great desire for Life.  They have a great desire for spirituality and, of course, most of that desire comes from within themselves and the attraction that the Self has for the Father, within which it is, it lives and has its being.  But most people are not informed—and have not been informed that true Life, as a Christian, means that you live as close as you can – now get that word straightened out in your mind – as close as you can to these three principles of the Christ; and you absorb it, and you live with it and you work with it, as close as you can.  And of course that may not be very close, from the ultimate reality, but it will be an outstanding and outshining example of Christianity, if you do just that.  As close as you can at the present time.

And don’t try to condemn yourself for making mistakes, because the only real mistake you can ever make is if you stop trying and don’t pick yourself up the next day and say, “Well, I did it yesterday but, h’m, I’m going on today.”  That’s the greatest mistake that man ever makes.  It is one of the oldest sayings in the ancient schools that man’s greatest mistake was not what he actually did that was wrong, but he didn’t pick himself up the next day and try again.  Not trying is man’s greatest sin.  And this is not a pacifier by any means, but an absolute truth that was taught in most all the great schools.

We have exactly the same thing here, and we show as we go along through the Tree of Life:  Light, which goes and strengthens the spiritual body; Life, which works through the soul, and Love, which works through the flesh body of man, not only in his relationship with man and woman, but also in his relationship to the ultimate of the Self and the gaining of the Illumination on the Way, as Jesus said.  These three bodies are as existing fact, very simple, there’s nothing so unusual, there’s nothing so mysterious about any of them.  There’s many people here in this room whom I know have seen the Self and the soul and demonstrated it, and are able to work with it.  There’s a lot – wish there were a lot more.  And maybe one of these days we’ll get down to that too, I hope.

The spiritual body is not some sort of a mythical image or something, but is a reality… The soul and the soul body or Self which is around the Self is an existent fact and we don’t have to prove that because so many have seen it.  The flesh body we looked at, and we think we know, but actually know very little about that because that can be changed, and you can’t change the spiritual body, and you can only improve the soul.  So, it winds up with the understanding of this as the understanding of the outer body of man in the physical world so that he becomes master of that and is able to work with it and live happily with it regardless of what he thinks about it now.

The symbolism that I spoke about yesterday and showed the symbolism of the physical body – I want to show (pause, drawing on a blackboard) Ah, this is not Atlas, it was though, the image of a man, just the outline.  This fellow was a weight-lifter (laughter)  This spinal cord here and the branches from it, and the main branches of the body, which is the arms and the legs, and the whole telephone system that is represented within the physical body itself.  It is a pretty wonderful thing to be able to realize that we can control any part of this body anywhere, at any time we want to, if we know how to use it, know how to use the energy and the power.  You can cut it off or you can clear it up.  You can clean it out, and you could even isolate it so they could take a piece of skin off your leg, or instance, and it would not have fazed you at all, and you would not suffer.

…I’m not talking about phenomena.  I’m just talking about plain ordinary control of the physical body that will help you to bring you to the point where you can truly find the illumination of Christ and you can truly find the Self, and the door can be opened and the veil removed.  This is a factual thing, not some Grecian myth, by any means.  These are the things which we need to know and which the world is crying for today, and in their ignorance some of them are suffering terrific pain, not only physically but mental. This is what we’re here for, to serve man so that they too can know and help those on the street, and help those anywhere, no matter where it is.  To go where we are needed, when we are needed – not when we’re ready to go, but when we are needed; and this is our striving here in this Order.  Is there any question?  Yes

Student:  What’s an altar call?

Father Paul:  Well, an alter call is when the good parson gets up and preaches a good live, fiery sermon of – probably hell-fire and damnation out of Isaiah or some other book of the Testament, and he says, “Now, my good friends, it’s time you got to the point where you love Jesus and you gave your life to Jesus.  And we’re going to have the altar call and I want you to come up, all up here that want to give their life to Jesus, and kneel here, and we’ll bless you, and we’ll start you on the Way.”  And then they’ll start to sing some songs and- to get themselves in the spirit of things.  And they will, some of them, come forward and publically make a confession of their sins, so to speak, so they would put it.  And this is a true thing that has been practiced for many years.

Public admittance of your errors or sins, or whatever you want to call them, was practiced by some of the ancients too, and it was part of the daily routine of some of the ancient mystic Orders in their retrospection, to acclaim their errors daily, to disperse of them and so forth.  So it’s not exactly new.  It’s a revised form, you might say, and some things added.  Like many things.  That’s the altar call, when they invite you to the altar.

Brahman–Spirit of the Sun Summer 2013

Isa Upanishad*, dating from about 200 BC , identifies Brahman with the spirit of the Sun:

‘The face of truth remains hidden behind a circle of gold.
Unveil it, O God of light, that I who love the truth may see !
O life-giving Sun, offspring of the Lord of Creation, solitary seer of heaven !
Spread thy light and withdraw thy blinding splendour that I may behold thy radiant form :
That spirit far away within thee is my own inmost Spirit.
May life go to immortal life, may the body go to ashes,
OM
O my Soul, remember past strivings, remember !
O my Soul, remember past strivings, remember !
By the path of good lead us to final bliss,
O fire divine, thou God who knowest all ways.
Deliver us from wandering evil.
Prayers and adoration we offer unto thee.”

A Little Perspective Summer 2013

“The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths…the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still.” Carl Sagan in Cosmos

Cosmologists now believe that the Big Bang happened roughly 13.77 billion years ago.  This number of 13 billion years is of the same magnitude to what the Hindu Vedas say. This aspect of Rig Veda is nothing short of spellbinding. How could have they come up with such a grand scale – in billions of years – for the cosmological age of the universe? What kind of minds and awareness did they possess to get into the same ballpark timeline wise, when it has taken us billions of dollars worth of equipment and painstaking scientific research to get into the same ball park?

What’s even more incredible is that the Hindus didn’t restrict themselves to the current universe. The Rig Veda tells us that the life of the cosmos stretches endlessly before the Big Bang and will stretch endlessly well after the current version of the universe ends. The life of a Brahma, we’re told, is 100 years of 360 days each, where each day = 8.64 billion years. Simple math (100 x 360 x 8.64 billion) gives us the life time of Brahma, which is the life of the cosmos. This number is a staggering 311 trillion years. And after 311 trillion years, the ‘old’ Brahma ‘dies’, and a ‘new’ Brahma is ‘born’. And the cycle of 311 trillion years repeats itself with a new Brahma, endlessly into time. Mind boggling!    –from Life in the Middle Age of Brahma:  What Ho!

 

The Indo-Europeans or  Aryans  invaded northern India it is believed some 1500 years BC. They were a nomadic race who paid great attention to the cosmos and the movement of the planets. Their altars were set up as a symbolic representation of the universe and the Cosmic Order. Their priest/magicians, also known as Rishi (divinely inspired or saint), would become the channel for the transmission of divine knowledge. It wasn’t until about 1000 BC that this divine knowledge, known as the Vedas, were put into writing. Vedas is from a Sanskrit word Veda, meaning knowledge. The essence, however, is not just knowledge, but heard knowledge. Thus these writings represent a form of revelation given to the Rishi from the gods. The Vedic pantheon of gods it must be noted were clearly understood to be personifications of the energies flowing from the one divine source–not as facts, as we so love to concretize deities here in the West. We find much of this Vedic doctrine also in the Hermetic lore of the West.

As the Aryans integrated with the Hindu culture, we find the sublimation of this Vedic wisdom manifesting in the most popular Hindu texts called the Upanishads, which manifested around 800 BC. The Upanishads represent a powerful collection of teachings which represent a most wonderful and relevant Mythological system. As one example, The Brahma-vaivarta Purana  has a story called “The Humbling of Indra” that really hits the mark. As the story goes, this somewhat haughty king of the gods finds himself confronted with a cosmic knowledge of the universe and the vastness of time and space—such that his entire sense of self importance goes out the window. Eventually, he learns how to deal with these revelations and finds balance in having a direct knowledge of the Eternal; and yet still able to participate in the rapture and wonder of the radiance of the eternal through the forms of time and space.  Does this little story sound familiar?

Indra indeed represents us all on one level.  The revelations of the scientific community concerning the nature of the universe are forcing mankind to open up to a new and wonderful cosmic awareness. Many are even beginning to sense the thrill and transforming power of the divine radiance pouring through these forms of time and space. It is only through humility however, that we as a humanity shall be able to re-connect with this far greater cosmic realization.

The purpose of myths and religions across the planet, it should be noted, are to assist man in his ability to re-connect with the mystery of mysteries and indeed to reconcile these higher revelations with his day to day life. The science of today must be integrated and in accord with humanitity’s new and unfolding Mythos. Interestingly enough, this ancient religion calls forth countless mythic images that are so profoundly relevant to this current age of exploration and awakening. For the Universe is within us as God is within us—as well as without us—in a mysterious way. As vast and infinite as this universe is, the entire mystery is closer to us than our hands and feet. We need not transverse the vastness of the Universe to find it. It is right here: now.

 

From the Book of Alchemy Jacob Boehme states:

“In this Stone there lieth hidden, whatsoever God and the eternity,

also heaven, the stars, and elements contain, and are able to do:

There never was from eternity anything better or more precious

than this, and it is offered by God, and bestowed upon man;

everyone may have it that doth desire it; it is in a simple form and

hath the power of the whole Deity in it.”

James

 ☼☼☼

 Psalms 121: 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

From Mother Ruth Summer 2013

All things come out of seeming nowhere—and return again to the Unknown, even human beings.  Yet this source is not a vacuum, but the infinite potential in which all is rooted, symbolized in number by zero.

It is No Thing, because “things” are finite, and No Place, because places are also limited.  This is Limitless, called by Cabalists “Ain Soph”, which means “No limit”. ..It has been said the universe came into being by the issuing forth of pure spiritual Substance from the Creator, all its elements being potentially present in the Godhead.  This is called the doctrine of Emanations, whereby the One unfolds into the many, and the many are reabsorbed into the One.    –from M.R.B. writings on the Tree of Life

Gross National Happiness

A series of hand-painted signs dot the side of the winding mountain road that runs between the airport and the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Instead of commands to cut speed or check mirrors, they offer the traveler a series of life-affirming mantras. “Life is a journey! Complete it!” says one, while another urges drivers to, “Let nature be your guide”. Another, standing on the edge of a perilous curve, simply says: “Inconvenience regretted.”

It’s a suitably uplifting welcome to visitors to this remote kingdom, a place of ancient monasteries, fluttering prayer flags and staggering natural beauty. Less than 40 years ago, Bhutan opened its borders for the first time. Since then, it has gained an almost mythical status as a real-life Shangri-La, largely for its determined and methodical pursuit of the most elusive of concepts – national happiness.

Since 1971, the country has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment…

Last year the UN adopted Bhutan’s call for a holistic approach to development, a move endorsed by 68 countries. A UN panel is now considering ways that Bhutan’s GNH model can be replicated across the globe. ..

, Bhutan is also being held up as an example of a developing country that has put environmental conservation and sustainability at the heart of its political agenda. In the last 20 years Bhutan has doubled life expectancy, enrolled almost 100% of its children in primary school and overhauled its infrastructure.

At the same time, placing the natural world at the heart of public policy has led to environmental protection being enshrined in the constitution. The country has pledged to remain carbon neutral and to ensure that at least 60% of its landmass will remain under forest cover in perpetuity. It has banned export logging and has even instigated a monthly pedestrian day that bans all private vehicles from its roads.

“It’s easy to mine the land and fish the seas and get rich,” says Thakur Singh Powdyel, Bhutan’s minister of education, who has become one of the most eloquent spokespeople for GNH. “Yet we believe you cannot have a prosperous nation in the long run that does not conserve its natural environment or take care of the wellbeing of its people, which is being borne out by what is happening to the outside world.”

Powdyel believes the world has misinterpreted Bhutan’s quest. “People always ask how can you possibly have a nation of happy people? But this is missing the point,” he says. “GNH is an aspiration, a set of guiding principles through which we are navigating our path towards a sustainable and equitable society. We believe the world needs to do the same before it is too late.”

Bhutan’s principles have been set in policy through the gross national happiness index, based on equitable social development, cultural preservation, conservation of the environment and promotion of good governance…

The infusion of GNH into education has also meant daily meditation sessions and soothing traditional music replacing the clang of the school bell.

“An education doesn’t just mean getting good grades, it means preparing them to be good people,” says Dukpa. “This next generation is going to face a very scary world as their environment changes and social pressures increase. We need to prepare them for this.”…                                          -from The Guardian; Dec 2012

Note:  Bhutan has just declared a goal of 100% organic farming, allowing no pesticides or herbicides to be used.

The Dalai Lama on Compassion: Summer 2013

The Dalai Lama devoted the last public appearance of his Portland visit to an hourlong teaching on compassion.

Speaking to about 10,000 people at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, he said the traditional Buddhist value is the key to a happy and peaceful life.

“Compassion means genuine lovingkindness,” he said, “the wish for others to be happy.

“All the world religions’ — every one — message is compassion. We need the practice of tolerance. We need the practice of forgiveness.”

Religious people who aim to practice these values must be serious about it, the Dalai Lama said. “In many cases, religious practice is simply lip service: Talk compassion, do something different.  Sometimes religion teaches us hypocrisy.”

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said compassion is not, strictly speaking, a religious value. Out of 7 billion people in the world, about 1 billion say they are not religious.

“We can see among non-believers some people really dedicated to serving other people,” he said. “Be a compassionate person, not necessarily a religious believer.” His remarks drew a round of applause.

He encouraged his listeners to scorn wealth and material consumption as the means to true happiness.

“Sometimes money brings more worry, more anxiety,” he said. He knows rich people who are miserable. “Too much stress. Too much exciting. Too much loneliness deep inside.”

He repeated a point he’d made in his other public appearances, that the “secular ethics” he promotes do not imply negativity toward religion. “Secular means respect other religions, respect non-believers.”

“Compassion is the key factor to one’s own well-being,” he said. “We are social animals,” he added, “but those dogs always barking often remain lonely.”

Anger eats away at us, he said. “Compassion strengthens our immune system.”

 

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Rumi