Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

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Quote of the Week 354 - Mind and Soul

A [productive] quality is the ability to make mistakes without condemning yourself! Determine that no matter what happens, no matter how many times you stumble, it does not matter. If you have not crawled, you cannot walk; if you have not stumbled, you cannot stand…So do not be afraid of stumbling. You will stumble many times in life. You will commit many mistakes. Don’t create a complex in your heart and mind by thinking that you are nothing. Don’t start condemning yourself, and suffering. Stumbling and committing mistakes are not sins. On the path of wisdom, there is no such thing as sin.

A sin is any act that affects your mind in a negative way. Then, if you remain in a state of negativity for some time, you become passive and helpless. A passive mind is very dangerous. A negative mind can be improved; but a passive mind leads to sickness…

Never identify yourself with negativity, with a passive mood or with weakness. You are not that. You have many weaknesses, yet you, yourself, are not weak. You commit many mistakes, yet you are not weak. You have committed many so-called sins, yet you are not a sinner…

When you commit mistakes, the real repentance is in not repeating them. If you are helpless, practice. If you stumble, practice again. Help will come to you; grace will be there. Do not give up with your human endeavors! Whether you consciously or unconsciously commit a mistake, just do not do it again, but do not believe in sin.

Usually…you care only for trivial or mundane thins of the external world. Your eyes flow with tears for petty things but your heart should cry for something higher. If you constantly cry for worldly things, your body will become ill, but if you cry for God, you will move toward Samadhi, ecstasy. At present, you have great zeal to attain worldly things – you have too much feeling for the things of the world.

Your main problem is that you are hung up on the things of the world: you are afraid you will not gain what you want, and you are always afraid of losing what you have. You have never worked with the totality of your mind. This anxiety is all the result of your mind, because nothing happens to the body, and nothing happens to God. Whatever happens, it occurs only in your mind. The Upanishads say that atman is the fastest entity, and yet at the same time, that it has no movement. Teachers often say that the mind is the fastest, faster even than sound or light. But there is one thing faster than the mind – your individual soul, the atman. It is the fastest because wherever the mind travels, the soul is already there, no matter where the mind goes. So if there is anything that can correct and help your mind, it is not worldly wealth or objects, it is nothing external, but only that which is the innermost center of your being.

Do not concern yourself with the rewards of meditation. There is a scientific law that every action has a reaction: it is not possible for an action to not have benefits. Even if you do not see conscious benefits, there are unconscious benefits. At the very least, you will develop muscle relaxation, rid yourself of tension and stress, and learn to use the mind for spirituality.

--Swami Rama, Path of Fire and Light, Volume II


Torah-Veda Meditation, Self-Discovery, and self-Transformation. This series will cover the basics of the theory and practice of meditation grounded in time-honored Himalayan and Kabalistic teachings. It is suitable for beginners with an earnest interest in committing to and furthering their spiritual growth, as well as more experienced meditators who would like a refresher, re-charge, tune-up, or perhaps a different perspective.

Dates: Four successive Saturdays, Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, 2016

Time: 11 AM to 1 PM

Location: Vedanta Center of Atlanta; 2332 Brockett Road, Tucker, GA 30084; (Corner of Adrian and Brockett, one block from LaVista.)

Cost: Free and open to the public. Donations gladly accepted.

Note: These sessions are cumulative, and there is benefit to taking all or most in the series, but drop-ins are welcome.

Questions: Contact Steve Gold, torahveda@gmail.com or 770-270-8290.

Course outline:

Session 1: The Body. After a general overview, we begin our journey within (from the small self, with a small “s” to the big Self, with a capital “S”), at the level of bodily awareness. What can we do with the body to use it as a vehicle for productive spiritual growth, and not a hindrance? Meditation postures. Lifestyles and approaches conducive to spiritual growth.

Session 2: Breath/Life Force/Prana. What is the nature of our breath and correlation with our life force/prana? Breath/Life Force/Prana as an important link between the body and the mind. Breathing/pranic exercises to assist coordination and calming of the body, breath and mind.

Session 3: Mind and Emotion. What is the mind? What are its various functions? What are emotions? How do mind and emotion interact? What can we do to harness the instrument of the mind and the powerful forces of emotions to aid in our spiritual growth in a constructive, upward spiral, instead of being caught up in a vicious cycle or even downward, destructive spiral?

Session 4: Spirit/Consciousness. How is consciousness distinct from mind? What is its relationship to Spirit? What are the various states of consciousness? How to distinguish between identifying with the small self that prevents our spiritual growth, and the large Self that aids our spiritual growth? Connecting with the still, quiet voice within, the eye of the storm.

About the Instructor: Steven J. Gold, BA Antioch College, Philosophy and Religion; JD Emory Law School, is the founder/director of the cyberspace center, Torah-Veda and the author of Yoga and Judaism, Explorations of a Jewish Yogi (2007), Ivri: The Essence of Hebrew Spirituality (2010), Torah Portion Summaries; With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi (2010), and Basic Spiritual Principles (2011). He has been an initiate, student, practitioner and teacher in a Himalayan meditation tradition for over 35 years and a student of Kabala and Hebrew Spirituality for over 20 years. In addition to his ongoing avocation as a meditation teacher, he was a practicing attorney in the Atlanta, GA area for many years, and transitioned into his current vocation of providing professional mediation services.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quote of the Week 257 - Freedom and the Self

He is free who, knowing through his mind the Self in moving and unmoving objects and observing It as their substratum, gives up all superimpositions and remains as the Absolute and the infinite Self.

To realize the whole universe as the Self is the means of getting rid of bondage. There is nothing higher than identifying the universe with the Self. One realizes this state by excluding the objective world through steadfastness in the eternal Atman [the higher Self that exists within each individual].

--verses 338 and 339 of Vivekachudamani of Shri Shankaracharya, translated by Swami Madhavananda

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