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 378 - Core Teaching of Buddhism

The core teaching of Buddhism is to help people become less self-centered and learn how to give love to others.

--Lama Surya Dass, as quoted in Spirituality and Health magazine, September/October 2017 issue


I will be making a presentation at the Atlanta Southeast Limmud this Labor Day weekend, with the following title:

Job’s Second Daughters and the Kabbalah of the Unicorn.

There has been much existential hand-wringing discussion over the centuries about the Book of Job. However, there has been little focus on the significance of the concluding verses and his second set of daughters. Come explore these interesting passages and the mystical significance of how one daughter’s name relates to a single-horned creature, sometimes associated with a unicorn.

Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Groups

Please check out the following, which is an ongoing activity that may be of interest:




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quote of the Week 352 - The Quiet Mind is a Vibrant Mind

As there was such a nice response to the quote from last time, I will offer a further elaboration:

The quiet mind is a vibrant mind. Classic yoga teachings refer to the “antahkarana”, the “inner instrument”, which aids us to function. It sounds like a thing, a noun, but in many senses, it is more of a description breaking down various functions which broadly could all be referred to as aspects/functions of the mind. The four basic functions are “ahamkara”, the sense of separate self, ego; “manas”, the mind in a more narrow, specific sense as the processor and re-caller of experiences, the lower mind; “buddhi”, the intellect or higher mind, that is capable of exercising choice through discriminating among the information processed and recalled by manas; and citta, the storehouse of everything we have ever experienced, felt, or thought, the memory.

Going back to the broad concept of referring to all of these functions as functions of “mind”, the teachings also refer to mind as a noun, a subtle inner entity, variously described as either like a mirror reflecting what arises from within, or as a jewel, a crystal, a diamond, similarly reflecting/refracting what arises from within. Although it is usually referred to in the manner of this reflecting/refracting what arises from within, as described above, it also internalizes/processes external experiences, which then generate and enliven inner impulses in a karmic cycle.

This inner instrument, in its purest form, lacks any distortions during its input and output processing. It is a finely-honed, crystal-clear jewel in this state, and thus references to it such as “The Crest Jewel of Discrimination”, the title of one of the most significant works of Adi Shankara, or other spiritual texts, such as “The Diamond Sutra”, and other references in spiritual literature to jewels and crystals. As we all know, the plight of most human beings concerns the problem that this wonderful inner instrument becomes blemished, distorted, polluted through a false/incomplete/overblown sense of separation leading to egotism and bloated pride fueled by powerful lower emotions related to the instinct of self-preservation, the most powerful of which is fear/insecurity. This process of distortion obstructs access to the clear mind, because it becomes veiled, cluttered, sluggish, and dull. The mind becomes the servant of the bloated ego and lower emotions and lower mind, and we are caught in a vicious cycle or even a downward spiral.

The practices and processes of spiritual growth involve purification efforts to clear away the obstacles and distortions and establish/regain the purity of the uncluttered mind. Spiritual literature often speaks of destroying the ego and emptying the mind. But it is more accurate to say that these functions just need purifying, not destruction. A purified ego serves the purified and higher mind and the higher emotion of the spiritual Heart. The mind does not actually become empty. What is often conveyed with the concept of emptying the mind is really all about stilling the mind, so that it may seem to be empty. It is empty of its common noise and chatter. But it is more accurate, or at least more complete, to say that through the process sometimes referred to as “emptying”, the mind becomes quiet, and in doing so, it actually becomes filled with stillness, and through that stillness, it becomes vibrant, because it is reflecting the infinite, eternal, boundless field of creativity and potentiality that lies beyond the mind, at the core of our real essence. The mind is then seen and understood as an instrument, a servant through which our real, deepest spiritual essence expresses itself. Likewise, stillness is seen and understood not merely as the absence of activity, but rather as a positive presence encompassed within our spiritual essence. It is more accurate to say that there is no process to empty the mind other than to introduce it to the inherent, vibrant, inner stillness that lies beyond it, and which it can reflect. Its usual chattering content is then replaced with something quite extraordinary. Such is the real essence and nature of Shalom, of Peace at all levels.

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