One group, with several hundred members, discusses spiritual topics and has posts or links for various spiritual teachers, and yet most posts on most threads contain some degree of skepticism and/or cynicism, which also includes doubt. In many, who think of themselves as 'spiritual people,' there is much more doubt than there is faith. It’s as though they hope the Truth is true but don’t quite yet believe the Truth is true.
On my own Facebook page, which maintains a dialogue of a certain level among people of all religions and spiritual traditions, there is very little blatant skepticism or cynicism simply because they wouldn’t be comfortable with the feedback they would get from the others. The little that comes out now and then is mostly of a very subtle nature, and the one expressing skepticism or cynicism or doubt on this level is not consciously aware of doing so.
In fact, in many cases, were I to point out to a person, ‘You’re being a little cynical aren’t you?’ the reply would almost invariably be, ‘No I’m not!’ Sometimes this is followed by something like, ‘You do not understand me. If you really knew where I was coming from, you would see that there is not a cynical bone in my body.’
People do not like to be told what they are doing. Well, their ego does not like it. The indwelling Identity doesn’t mind, but the ego hates to be called on what it’s doing. If you say to a person, ‘You’re being defensive,’ they’ll almost always immediately reply, ‘No I’m not!’—which is a totally defensive statement.
Or sometimes you can say to a person who is being grumpy, ‘You’re being grumpy,’ and instantaneously they’ll smile sweetly and ask in the gentlest voice, ‘Now what would make you think that?’ The ego has various nuances, and it transitions from one to the other very smoothly, without our even noticing. Like Gurdjieff once said, ‘The one who sets the alarm clock at night is not the same one that the alarm clock wakes up in the morning.’
Just as a fun exercise, observe yourself and see if skepticism, cynicism, or doubt come up in ways that you might not ordinarily notice or be aware of. You just might learn something valuable about yourself through seeing something new, as though for the first time. When you see something new about yourself, as though for the first time, it is the most valuable form of Self-Knowledge.
Someone wrote and asked if I could concisely explain the money thing to him. He admitted he was having financial troubles and having a hard time generating the income that he needs, and wanted me to simply remind him once again in a way that, hopefully, he could finally get it.
This is basically what I told him, for anyone who can use the same information. Money is possibly the most amenable thing in the world when it comes to manifesting according to our consciousness OF it. One reason for this is that it does not exist, it is not real; it is a conscious concept. These days people tend to pass money back and forth over the Internet. How would that be possible if it were a real, tangible thing? Do you think there’s enough gold in Fort Knox to cover all the existing ‘money?’
If the stock market goes up, the amount of available money increases. When the stock market goes down, money disappears. It doesn’t change hands; it disappears, it no longer exists. If we understand that money doesn’t even exist, that it’s only a conscious concept, we can somewhat grasp the understanding of how easily it is controlled by our consciousness OF it.
People with money have prosperity-consciousness. People without money have poverty-consciousness. The cause is in consciousness, the effect is our financial situation. If we feel in our own heart, in our own consciousness, that we don’t have enough money, there’s no energy there making it possible to generate any. If a person is conscious of having all that he needs, opportunities arise and situations develop that make it possible to generate money.
The secret to financial security is to KNOW without any doubt that you have all that you need. If you have the consciousness of having all that you need now, there is no reason that this condition should change later, in the future. Our consciousness of any quality determines the reality of it for us, in our own personal life. The objective world around us is only the mirror, the reflection of the Subjective world within. What we create on the inside determines what manifests on the outside.
All this and much more is discussed thoroughly in the lessons of the Course of Training, yet this is the concise answer, or explanation, or exploration, of how the money thing works.
You might remember Kind and Wise Taxi Driver. If you don’t, please see the blog entry of June 1, 2011—it is certainly worth a read. We had a visit from Narayana on his birthday last month, which is how he usually likes to spend his birthdays. This time he became 59. You have to understand that I have known Narayana since he was 16. And he hasn’t changed yet. He is still the same in every way, although his wisdom has evolved over the years, and there is a slight aging process happening physically. If I hadn’t seen him in those 43 years, however, I’d recognize him immediately.
Aside from his sister that lives in LA, (imagine her surprise to start reading the front page lead article and the first thing she sees is her brother’s name,) I am probably as close as anyone to being ‘family’ in his life. In October of 1974 I met an incredible meditation Master who transformed my entire life and made me into a teacher. He asked me to lead a meditation center for him. At the very first satsang in January, 1975, Narayana was there. Several years later there was a blizzard in NYC. It hit on the night of our satsang. I said to the person I was with then, while looking out the window at the utter intensity of nature, ‘It looks like no one will be here tonight. It’s too bad for anyone to go anywhere.’
A few minutes later the doorbell rang. Narayana had walked through several feet of snow to get to the subway, and then had walked quite a long distance with snow blowing in his face from the subway station closest to us. He was, of course, the only visitor present. The three of us had a wonderful satsang.
For many years now, he has driven a Taxi in Manhattan during the evenings. He could write a book about all his experiences. Maybe Martin Scorsese would even make a movie about himJ
Narayana presented us with a copy of the September 11, 2011, Los Angeles Times. The lead story on the front page was about the 9/11 tribute in Manhattan near Ground Zero. The first two words in the article was Narayana’s name. The writer of the article was the same man who inspired the character of the journalist played by Robert Downey Jr in the movie ‘The Soloist.’
Turns out, when this journalist came to Manhattan to cover the original 9/11 happening, he hailed a taxi and was picked up by Narayana. Narayana essentially became his guide for the whole time he was here, and he wrote an article about his experiences with Narayana then. Coming back for the 10th anniversary, the writer called Narayana and asked him to escort him about and be his guide again.
So he wrote the 2nd article about him, 10 years later. Narayana was quoted a few times, but what most sticks in my memory was when he was quoted as saying, at Ground Zero, ‘This place shows how we should never forget how quickly our lives can end. This present moment is precious.’
You have to understand that Narayana driving around New York City is like a mini-ashram on wheels. If you hail his taxi, you are in for satsang, regardless of what you expected or how big of a hurry you are in. He interacts with many different people on any given night, and you never know who might step into his taxi.
He was telling us that not long ago a woman stopped him and got in the back seat and that she seemed to have a frustrated energy about her. As he got a better look at her, he saw that it was the actress, Marisa Tomei. One ironic ‘coincidence,’ is that the movie that really kicked off her career was ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ and it happens that ‘Vinny’ is Narayana’s birth name. (Yes, he’s from Brooklyn, too, still lives there.)
So when she exhibited this frustrated energy, he asked her what was bothering her. She replied, ‘Just relationship problems. They get me every time.’ Narayana said, ‘Are you not focusing on the present moment?’ She sat up with a start and said, ‘What?’ as though she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. So they had a nice chat on their way to her destination, and by the time they got there she was totally calmed down and in a cheerful mood again. Of course, Narayana give her the address of the blog and encouraged her to take the course, as he does with many lucky passengers.
Anyway, just a quick note to catch you up on Kind and Wise Taxi Driver.
We have ‘space’ for an exchange or two from last month’s comments. Terry asked, ‘I really liked this paragraph: "Ego is not created by thought, as someone suggested. It is a sense of duality and separateness that exists even before the first thought arises. Impure or conditioned ego identifies with the thoughts of the mind, the feelings of the emotions, and the actions of the body, and believes itself to be the thinker, the feeler, and the doer of bad and good actions. I had "thought" that the ego arose in the moment with the "I" thought where i-dentification occurs. It seems a closer look is needed at the "sense of duality and separateness" which is prior to the I thought.’
The response was this: Terry, the primary philosophy behind ego coming before the first thought is mostly simply the fact that ahamkara (ego) is the 15th tattva, while manas (thinking, conscious, waking mind) follows that as the 16th tattva.
A deeper answer to your question, going higher up the tattvas, might be the 6th tattva, which is the Maya tattva. During the first 5 tattvas there is still no sense of separation, but various nuances of Awareness becoming aware of Itself. At the 6th tattva, the Maya tattva, there is a split between subject and object, where there appears to be a difference between the conceiver and the conceived, the knower and the known, the seer and the seen, the experiencer and the experience, which are in reality all the Same, and which is obviously so in the first 5 tattvas. Anyway, all this happens before the first thought.
Finally, a ‘comment’ shared last month, which was originally posted in a relevant thread on Facebook: The subconscious is formed and molded through conscious concentration and repetition. If we do something consciously often enough, it will be passed on to the subconscious. Therefore we have to make sure that we feed it the right 'food' in positive and uplifting conscious thoughts. So the process of 'conditioning' the subconscious happens through habitual conscious thoughts, and what we consciously accept as true. Then the process of sadhana is the purification of the subconscious impressions, which we know in Sanskrit as 'samskaras.'
Thank you for joining me for our chat this month. Hopefully you will read it more than once, as you can experience for yourself simply by doing so that it will be good for you. You can be sure that I, if no one else, will read it againJ
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