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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Quote of the Week 381 - Heaven

Heaven is all round,

Translated to sound.

--Michael Hedges



Announcing Publication of New Book, DIMENSIONS: Navigation the Spiritual Spectrum

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum, now available at Amazon, in paperback print and Kindle versions. It is easily found by searching my name, or by searching the full title and subtitle. You can also click on the image of the book in the right hand column of this blog.

What a great way to start the New Year, cozying up to a fire, real or imagined, and reading a new spiritually inspiring book, sure to become a classic!

DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum

Grounded in the traditions of Torah and Veda, Steven J. Gold takes us on an oceanic tour of the depth and breadth of spiritual consciousness. Sharing personal stories and insights into various traditional scriptures as examples, he urges us to adopt a spiritual worldview, to “ponder infinity, awake and arise,” to “find your inspiration and follow it.”

“The chapters…are records of what happens when Steve’s right mind, and heart, are given full freedom to wander where they wish. As discoveries and correlations are made, his well-trained left mind and sharp wit give his observations shape and form…” – Brother Shankara, Resident Minister, Vedanta Center of Atlanta

“Universal Ice Cream: Dive deep into Steve’s wonderful book to help find your favorite flavor on the Spiritual Spectrum.” – Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Spiritual Leader, Congregation Shalom B’Harim, Dahlonega, GA

“Steven J. Gold’s Dimensions is an exploration of spirituality from the inside out. If you are looking for a guide through the pathless land of truth, read this book.” – Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The World Wisdom Bible

Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Groups

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