The Liberation Practice
by Colin Denny Donoghue



"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows."

~ Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope


[updated April 22nd, 2017]

Introduction

After many years of reading many books on various religious/philosophical/spiritual beliefs and listening to many teachers, and based on my own experiences, the following ideas and practices have seemed to me the most true to Reality and the most beneficial.  Much of the teachings I've come across are lacking in clarity, quality and/or importance; here my goal has been to compile and refine the ideas that are of the highest quality and also of the highest importance, the ideas that when put into consistent practice will be the most effective in manifesting the needed positive change.  This practice is mainly derived from key teachings in Buddhism, Christianity and the Taoism (pronounced Daoism) of Lao Tzu found in his writing called the Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dao De Jing); within these various wisdom teachings is where I've found the most crucial and comprehensive wisdom.  As time has gone on I have realized that the teachings of Jesus, when rightly understood, are in total the most accurate and of the most importance for our well-being, and so that will be central to this short book.  That said, I've found that the teachings of Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni Buddha (again when rightly understood) not only compliment the teachings of Jesus, but help complete them, each emphasizing different areas of wisdom, so that the big picture is much more clear when taken altogether.  Which makes sense, since the Truth has many subtleties, it's unlikely to be all covered by one tradition alone; the core idea encountered again and again however is not complicated, namely: to align with Truth, Peace & Love, and turn away from lies and disturbed mind-states.  I find this is explained holistically when the key insights from these wisdom sources are all taken together; each taken alone being arguably inadequate for humanity to adopt as a solid foundation for spiritual liberation.  I have chosen this material with care, "diamonds in the rough" that I've discovered, it's definitely quality over quantity. (Do not take quotes as endorsements of the book, etc. as a whole however, that quote may be the only thing I found completely true and of value.)

Yin & Yang and Good & Evil

To start with, the simplest way to view the spiritual practice is to divide it into two aspects.  One of the aspects is the Divine Feminine, or what Daoists call "Yin."  The other aspect, equally important, is The Divine Masculine, or "Yang."  The needed balance of Yin & Yang is often mistakenly associated with Good & Evil, and the Yin/Yang symbol is mistakenly said to represent a "needed balance" of Good & Evil, but this is 100% incorrect.  Yin & Yang represent Masculine & Feminine, not Good & Evil; Yin & Yang are aspects of the design of Divine Will, and Divinity is completely good, there is no evil with it at all, and there is no need for or benefit from evil at all (people can act compassionately in response to evil, but that doesn't mean compassion is dependent on evil to exist).  And as will be discussed more shortly, alignment with this perfect Masculine/Feminine Divine Will does not mean we forget about our own healthy desires and sane likes & dislikes; as Lao Tzu said, let us remember to "know the white [Yang/Bold Loving Action], but keep to the black [Yin/Receptivity to the Divine Will].  There are other names and representations for sacred femininity and masculinity that exist in other cultural/spiritual/religious/philosophic traditions (such as Shakti & Shiva, The Ground of Being & The Authentic Self), all of them referring on the experiential level to the same dual "gender" aspect of mystical practice.  The following quote speaks of these two aspects in yet other terms, "the subtle" and the "manifest," both being part of the process of opening the door/gate to "wonders"/wonderful things, as will be explained in more depth shortly:

"Being at peace, one can see into the subtle. Engaging with passion, one can see into the manifest. They both arise from a common source but have different names. Both are called the mystery within the mystery. They are the door to all wonders."

~ Tao Te Ching (1: 1-4) [Mantak Chia/Tao Huang translation]

Here again the needed deep peace & receptivity (Yin) is again emphasized, along with the needed bold & passionate action (Yang), in order to achieve a sacred marrage between the two, that results in the divine/wonderful being birthed into your life:

"Sacred Activists...need to bring about within themselves a difficult Sacred Marriage of serenity and urgency, inner peace and passionately compassionate energy... You need to be able to integrate and unite, at even greater and subtler depths, the essential peace of Divine Being with the essential radiant and holy passion of Divine Becoming... Only such a Sacred Marriage can help you become more richly, wisely, and completely the conduit of the full Divine Consciousness, with access to both its serene detachment and focused power."

~ Andrew Harvey, "The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism", p. 137

In the next quote the complete peace of "unmanisfested Spirit" (i.e. Yin) is equated with Freedom, which makes perfect sense, since complete peace of mind is also a mind of freedom, free of disturbance, ready to receive,  and to  act (Yang) when the right moment arises (i.e. when "the door to all wonders" suddenly and very briefly appears); this Authentic Self/Masculine/Yang-action is referred to here as "manifest Spirit":

"Unmanifest Spirit is freedom.  Manifest Spirit is creativity.  And when we realize that the process of life is Spirit in action, then ideally we would aspire for our lives to become an unceasing manifestation of its multidimensional nature. We would expect our actions to embody its most significant qualities. That means we would be expressing freedom and creativity in and through the way that we live the gift of life. And this would occur both as the spontaneous expression of a liberated heart and mind and as the practice of evolutionarily enlightened living."

~ Andrew Cohen, www.andrewcohen.org

The goal is to fully practice both Yin & Yang perfectly, as an enlightened human being.  Returning to the issue of Good & Evil, an enlightened person is not someone who has adopted an amoral "non-dual" view of the world, as many people wrongly say is true (those who spout this as an aspect of enlightenment are either ignorant or are purposely trying tp mislead others).  

Having the Right View for this Practice is important if you're going to have any chance at success, and one of the key parts to that view is an understanding of why this is called a Liberation Practice.  Someone that needs liberation is currently not free, they are in some sort of bondage; and that's exactly the situation we're all in.  If you find this immediately “too negative,” well, you're wrong.  If you don't face the reality of a negative situation, like the pervasiveness of destructive lies and those believing in them, then there is not much hope of making it more positive; if you think "it's all good," you're believing one of the false New Age doctrines that is a form of spiritual propaganda, misleading humanity.  Moral relativism (i.e. the belief that there's no real good or evil in the world, and therefore no solid Truth) may be the #1 obstacle to a productive spiritual practice today; that bunk New Age ideology has corrupted the spiritual philosophy field to a large degree (and that corruption may have been intentional).  Many people nowadays say "I don't judge," meaning "I don't judge between Good & Evil," as if it's some kind of intellectual and moral triumph, when it is actually a failure of both.

Along with recognizing the nonsense of amorality and the false morality of Mara-ideas (more on the latter soon), we must also remember that what's really good or bad does not necessarily correspond to social norms, taboos or niceties, mainstream beliefs, laws, etc.  In fact, those are often bastions of false morality.  As Lao Tzu said thousands of years ago and still holds true today (paraphrasing chapter 19 of the Dao De Jing), we need to give up false "wisdom" and "benevolence," and instead behave simply, holding onto purity; in other words connecting with true natural goodness, not misconceptions of what the good and true are.  True virtue is naturally and spontaneously expressed by your Authentic Self (because your Spirit/Buddha-Nature is perfectly Good).  This manifests fully in our behavior when we're no longer "acting" the part directed by the false Mara-ideas, when our behavior is no longer lie-based; therefore what really constitutes a good or bad person is: the more you follow the vitality of inner Nature/Flow & Outer Nature/Flow, the more good you'll be (since that Nature is inherently & completely Good), and the more you follow the toxicity of inner & outer Mara, the more bad you'll be (since the Mara-force is inherently & completely Bad).

Those who know right as right, and know the wrong to be wrong, ascend to happy states of being, for they hold right views.”

~ The Buddha, The Dhammapada, Chapter 22

"You have the power to strip off many superfluous things that are obstacles to you, and that depend entirely upon your value-judgments; you will open up for yourself a vast space by embracing the whole universe in your thoughts, by considering unending eternity."

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, book 9

What distinguishes true morality from the false is that when we don't follow the truly Good and revolutionary Flow we cause more harmful/disturbing/dissatisfying /awkward experiences for ourselves, and when we do follow it we get the opposite good experiences.  Now you may object that, for example, if you reject an unjust law you may be arrested, which can be disturbing, but that narrow view neglects the reality of the satisfaction that is actually gained by those that stand for the right despite the consequences, and also it neglects the reality that there are two opposing forces in our reality we are dealing with, good and evil.  Because evil forcefully opposes good, that doesn’t take away from the fact that doing good brings more satisfaction overall than doing evil.  And of course it is that fear of said prosecution by evil forces that keeps most decent people supporting an evil system, "bowing to the Devil" out of fear, which, by the way, Jesus completely refused to do (Matthew 4:9-10).  How many times have we "compromised" with something that went against our conscience because we believed it would be for the best to do so?  Each time we have we have, we bowed to the Devil, and only when we become true followers of Jesus (and the Buddha, and Lao Tzu), will we stop doing it.  So along with the other negative influences, we must always remain on guard against the influence of fear that persuades us to go against what's actually good in a deep sense: Dao & De, the outer Flow and our inner Buddha-Nature.  Then we will begin to free ourselves from dissatisfying circumstances, for Dao & De are liberatory energies of Guidance, they are the means to our liberation from inner/outer disturbance and slavery.

So because facing the reality of bondage is of the utmost importance for engaging in a genuine spiritual practice, I begin with focusing on this issue, on the evil force in the world that enslaves the minds (and bodies) of mankind.


Slavery to Evil


External Slavery

Most of this book will be focused on the internal bondage, but first I will give mention of the external sort.  The above quote on enlightened living corresponds to the truth I've found that the only two truly harmless/harmonious/spiritual occupations are Natural Gardening and the various Natural Arts.  And a natural, creative, ethical and free way of life, taken to its full extent, requires for us to be really free externally (of monetary-slavery, corporate/government dominance/exploitation, etc.), and that can, I believe, only be fully and rightly accomplished by living in voluntary gift-economy communities of sovereign veganic homesteads, where the health, security, peace and joy garnered from that truly nonviolent, natural and free way of life would inspire Artwork of all kinds to flourish.  Veganic Gardens & the Arts (including the Healing Arts) are completely aligned with Ahimsa/Nonviolence, Creativity, Beauty and Health; it's no wonder art-filled gardens are paradisaical to be in, and the word paradise itself points to a Garden!  (The word Paradise comes from the Arabic Pairi-daeza, which literally means "an enclosed garden").  Because most of us are living dependent on corporate products and money for survival, and therefore are restricted from living in art-filled gardens full-time if we wanted to, a comprehensive Liberation Practice must include liberation from multiple external factors stemming from socioeconomic exploitation and injustice, which basically thrives off of our forced disconnection from the Earth.  The more connected you can get to the Earth, basically meaning growing your own food and having access to your own fair share of land & water, the better.  (Shelter & clothing are the other basic necessities of course, but nowadays they are much easier to create or acquire, so are not major obstacles.)  Happiness is dependent on our inner state, but it is equally dependent on the outer; many spiritual teachers mistakenly reject the latter as unimportant, and ignore all the negative feedback from Reality (e.g. toxic/urbanized/disturbing environments, toxic/hierarchical/disturbing relationships, etc.) that is trying to direct us to a more natural, fulfilling and just way to live with the Earth and each other.  It's a very sad state of affairs humanity has been in for centuries, and increasingly so, as those living naturally without money have almost been completely phased out of all areas of the earth.  Monetary-dependence corrupts almost all of human life and interaction, e.g. furthering undignified work where men & women are tied to shops and offices, confusing genuine friendliness with "customer service," and of course disconnecting one from the spontaneous Flow of life to fit corporate work schedules... I could go on about how and why monetary-slavery is so bad, but you probably are well aware of it and could give many more examples oh how it so yourself.  The main things that need to be understood crystal clear is that:

a) It is in fact a form of slavery, and so therefore must be dissatisfying, since it's impossible to be satisfied while subject to slavery, because slavery is an evil that produces no good.

&

b) The root of that slavery is being forced to pay to live on this planet, being forced to pay for what is your free birthright from the Creator, namely a fair share of land & water for the purpose of natural nonviolent living.


Internal Slavery

"There is a madman inside of you who is always running for office.
Why vote him in?  For he never keeps the accounts straight.
He gets all kinds of crooked deals happening all over town
that will just give you a big headache, and glue to your kisser a gigantic confused frown."

~ "Crooked Deals" by Hafiz, a famous Persian poet

The main internal obstacle is our minds being distracted, influenced, and potentially being completely taken over by what is called an "emotional pain-body" by Ekhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now); this "pain body" appears to be the same thing as what is described as the demon Mara that attacked the Buddha from within as he sought enlightenment.  Also what is called the pain-body and Mara also fit many descriptions of what has been referred to in the Christian tradition as "demons" and/or "Satan/The Devil."  In the Kabbalah tradition, the same characteristics come up in describing "The Adversary," Native Americans use the term "Wetiko," and so on with other traditions and philosophies.  These characteristics are namely of an active intelligent spiritual/mental force who's main tool in undermining our liberation is lies, oftentimes coupled with emotional states that disturb the mind.  (M. Scott Peck's excellent book on this phenomenon is aptly titled People of the Lie.)  This same internal obstacle is sometimes clearly being described but unhelpfully just called "ego" or "the mind;" those terms are inappropriate for this solely negative force (ego is literally our normal waking consciousness, as is "the mind," which are neutral, they are simply the mental space in which we choose).  Examples of these misnomers, in otherwise excellent content, follows:

"The I Ching is clear about our relationship with the ego [the pain-body].  "No relationship with what is harmful." [Hexagram 14, Line 1]  The inner No needs to be said to all aspects of the ego [sic] with the firmness of a rock.  That means we do not allow, within ourselves, even the slightest tolerance of its false statements.  With every inner No we say to the ego's [sic] temptations to compromise our integrity and dignity, we are lifted out of servitude to the collective ego [i.e. the external pain-body, the control-system], and out of the helplessness, hopelessness, and depression it creates in us."

~ The Psyche Revealed Through the I Ching, by C. Anthony & H. Moog (2009), p. 112-113

As will be covered later in this book, these "inner No's" to its false statements, i.e. its lies, are best immediately followed by internally saying the corresponding Life Rule / Truth which opposes the lie that was being pushed by "Mara"; in this way you, by recognizing and rejecting these lies, you become savvy to the "Devil's tricks" and can then neutralize/destroy them, no longer falling for/being fooled by their deception.  I can't emphasize the crucial importance of this aspect of the Liberation Practice enough: If you don't discover the lies that you've been believing in and systematically reject them all 100% (demonstrated through action that faces the associated fear head-on), there's no way you're going to become happy and enlightened, because you're still aligned with the Devil, and there's no happiness or enlightenment ever to be found through fellowship with him.

"A false word the righteous hateth; the wicked causeth abhorrence, and is confounded." ["A good man hates lies, while an evil man's mind is crammed with them, causing disturbacen and confusion to others and himself."  (Proverbs 13:5, Young's Literal Translation, followed by my own)


"The [Authentic] Self cannot be known by anyone who desists not from unrighteous ways... stills not the mind and practices not meditation.  May we light the fire...that burns out the ego [sic] and enables us to pass from fearful fragmentation to fearless fullness in the changeless whole... [w]hen one has discrimination and has made the mind one-pointed.  Those who lack discrimination, with little control over their thoughts and far from pure, reach not the pure state of immortality [a.k.a. "eternal life," both actually meaning lasting satisfaction] but wander from death to death [again not to be taken literally, death meaning dissatisfaction, as in feeling dead, rather than feeling really alive, from following toxic thoughts rather then one's pure inner Nature/Self], but those who have discrimination [between the toxic and the pure, the true and the false], with a still mind and a pure heart, reach journey's end [i.e. fulfillment], never again to fall into the jaws of death [i.e. the dissatisfaction of falling for the Devil's tricks]. ... They attain the supreme goal of life, to be united with the Lord of Love."

~ The Katha Upanishad (written some 2,000+ years ago)

"[We need to] separate the human-mind's chatter [i.e. the pain-body's chatter] from our higher consciousness, shifting us into a new relationship with who we are.  That's where we can now go for the answers that are unique to us and aligned with our true journey and purpose. ... By learning to distinguish between the mind's [pain-body's] busyness and intuited messages of our true self, we come to more consistently align our actions with our highest being.  As a result, we naturally walk a path of honoring both our highest self and others.  The inner guidance we discern often [apparently] defies logic, but we begin to trust that it knows best. ... Be aware that when we honor our higher self, transcending the human mind's [pain-body's] control, the ego [pain-body] will fight for its survivalIt may argue for doing something else, not doing it fully or create circumstances that make it tough to act from an authentic place."

~Indira Dyal-Dominguez, www.indiratoday.com

Continuing the misnomers concerning this inner phenomenon, there's been a lot of confusion as to the issue of the "wounded inner-child" and how that relates to one's inner demon(s).  I've heard people say that "there's really no such thing as demons or the Devil" (something most psychologists love to pompously say often too), "it's just your inner child that needs to be healed."  But that's not the mistake, the mistake is in discounting the reality of the "demonic." 

"Stay present, stay conscious.  Be the ever-alert guardian of your inner space.  You need to be present enough to be able to watch the pain-body directly and feel its energy.  It then cannot control your thinking.  The moment your thinking is aligned with the energy field of the pain-body, you are identified with it and again feeding it with your thoughts."

~ Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now, p. 32

If you pay attention to what occasionally (or regularly, depending on your level of delusion) arises in your mind (and observe how it happens in others you're near), you will see that there really is something that becomes active at times that is at other times dormant, something that always consists of thought that is some form of lies, irrationality, & immorality; and crucial to recognize, the evil/toxic thought arises on its own (hence being "demonic"), and especially at times that are actually critical to your self-development and fulfillment (usually unbeknownst to you at first), i.e. at times when the negative impact will be greatest, which is what demons would want to do: keep you from really evolving/maturing spiritually.   And yes I know talking about demons is strange for a lot people, but when you clearly see an active intelligent spiritual/mental evil force in operation over and over, what's a better name for it?  “Ego” is definitely not sufficient, nor is “inner child,” or even “the pain body.”   So we just have to deal with that "demonic" is the most accurate descriptor available and try not to go on tangential ramblings about superstitious this and that (your inner demon might plant thoughts along those very lines to keep you in denial of its existence!).  As the old saying goes, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he doesn't exist."

Again mislabeling this evil force, the ancient Greeks called it the "passions," which is understandable, but still inaccurate.  They did however have it right that they needed to eliminate this negative influence and align with Nature instead:  "The goal of philosophy was to eliminate them [i.e. the "passions"], so that the individual might come to see things as nature herself sees them, and consequently desire nothing other than that which is natural."  (Philosophy as a Way of Life by Pierre Hadot, p. 242)  They recognized it wasn't something to integrate, it was something to fully reject.  Again, integrating past memories and suppressed emotions is good, integrating the demonic is not.

It's common for most of us to reject or deny the possibility that such a negative force has ever influenced our behavior, but this rejection/denial comes from prideful assumption rather than clear and objective self-awareness.  As the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he doesn't exist, likewise we often trick ourselves through self-denial, wherein the toxic thoughts and behavior we engage in are either ignored, or believed to be clear-headed and rational.  When we engage in unrushed and denial-free self-observation, we start to see something that arises within us more clearly, rather than it just being lost in a stream of daily life experience.  Ekhart Tolle says we all have this pain-body effecting our lives to varying degree, until we clearly see it and then fully dis-identify with it, starving it of the energy it needs to parasitically survive within us (which corresponds with the Buddha's teaching on Mara and what's "non-Self"); and the more clearly I observe myself, others and the world at large, that diagnosis unfortunately appears to be very true.  

"Two thousand years ago Paul [from the Bible], in great frustration, asked himself the question "Why do I do the things I don't want to do, and the very things I want to do, I can't?"  And when the scene, whatever it is, is over, we say to ourselves "I don't know what came over me!"  What came over us... is what psychology calls an autonomous complex, and behind it what we are calling a pole in a bipolar archetypal Shadow.  It pays to face these rebellious and often negative energy forms before they make us say and do things we regret."

~ King Warrior Magician Lover, by R. Moore & D. Gillette, p. 146

"I love God's law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me [i.e. the demonic] that is at war with my mind.  This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me [i.e. the lies that I am still subconsciously believing in/holding on to].

~ The "Apostle" Paul (Romans 7:22-3)

In Psychology this phenomenon is often called an "Autonomous Complex" or a "Shadow Archetype," but not considered really autonomous or really evil, i.e. they think it is just an unconscious part of the person's psyche that should be dialogued with until a healing unification takes place.  But as you become more familiar with this autonomous complex/pain-body/thought & emotion phenomena through experiences involving it with yourself and others, you discover, as Jesus and the Buddha also teach, that to seek such direct reconciliation with it is a lost cause (a fact many therapists don't acknowledge, perhaps because it results in endless profitable visits?).  This is not just healing from a passed repressed trauma (which is a good thing that can be accomplished via therapy), this is an active unwholesome energetic force than can be said to have actual intelligence, intelligence used to undermine your happiness, circumstance by circumstance.  Remember the Buddha became enlightened only after he "saw Mara" in all his manifestations and was no longer misled by any of the demon's deceptions. 

"The devil no doubt has a place in our theology, but is he a category we even think about in the daily events of our lives?  Has it ever crossed your mind that not every thought that crosses your mind comes from you?  ... we never stop to say, "Wait a minute... who else is speaking here?  Where are those ideas coming from?  Where are those feelings coming from?  If you read the saints from every age before the Modern Era--that pride-filled age of reason, science, and technology we are all thoroughly educated in--you'll find that they take the devil very seriously indeed.  As Paul says, "We are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11)."

~ Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2001) p. 152

"Satan's reality is "integral" to what is taught in the both the Bible and the theological tradition.  But I also have an experiential basis for my belief in the Devil. I frequently consider doing bad things--and only slightly less frequently I actually do bad things.  Another way of putting this is that I regularly experience, and succumb to, temptation.  And when I am struggling with temptation I have a strong sense that I am being tempted by someone.  Now, I don't intend to be pulling off some sort of "proof" here for the Devil's existence. You can believe that people are tempted by a variety of things without being compelled logically to posit the existence of a Temptor. But as I reflect upon my own experience of temptation the idea of a Temptor seems to fit very well. I mean, of course, the serious temptations, not the ordinary tug of war with chocolate cake and procrastination and the fleeting desire for things I know are bad for me.  I'm thinking of the big struggles--the meanness that I sometimes actually plan out, the lustful thoughts that I allow to linger in my mind, the feelings of revenge and envy that I nurture. Sometime during the seventh or eight century Saint Andrew of Crete wrote a hymn dealing with our Christian warfare against the forces of evil. Here are two of his verses:

    Christian, dost thou see them, On the holy ground,
    How the powers of darkness Compass thee around?
    Christian, up and smite them, Counting gain but loss;
    Smite them; Christ is with thee, Soldier of the cross.

    Christian dost thou feel them, How they work within,
    Striving, tempting, luring, Goading into sin?
    Christian, never tremble; Never be downcast;
    Gird thee for the battle, Watch and pray and fast.

I am personally familiar with the struggle Saint Andrew describes. The notion that there are spiritual beings that "work within" me--"striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin"--makes good sense to me.  When I succumb to wicked impulses I regularly feel that I have acceded to a power that wanted me to yield.  And when I refuse to give in to evil, I regularly sense that I have thwarted a force that had designs for me.  

In short: for me, being tempted is being goaded by someone. My soul has an enemy. This foe is a real center of consciousnesses who wills the worst for my life.  

A standard criticism of this way of viewing the Devil's role in our lives is that it encourages us to evade responsibility. And no doubt people can misuse the notion of an Evil One in this way: "The Devil made me do it!"

I am not saying, though, that Satan "makes" me do anything. When I choose to do something that is bad, that really is my choice. But in making the choice I was responding to someone's goading. The lure of evil is not an accidental thing.  It is a part of a organized campaign. There is a power in the universe that tries to enlist us in a program of opposing the good."

~ Distorted Truth: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Battle for the Mind by Richard J. Mouw (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1989), p. 31-33

"Many Christians today don't want to hear anything about the devil.  They think it's an unpleasant topic of conversation, but thinking like that will open the door for deception and error.  The devil is alive and active on planet Earth, and we may as well be aware of him and learn how to deal with him... The basic truth is that the devil is a liar, and he uses our mind as a battlefield to do warfare with us. He is the source of dark and harmful thoughts.  His goal is to prevent us from enjoying the good plan that God has for us, and he is successful if we never learn to recognize how he attacks our minds. ... [An example of one of his attacks is the following]: When you have a thought about being a blessing to someone else, and that good thought is followed immediately by a bad thought discouraging you from doing the good thing, realize that the second thought is a product of the devil trying to stop you.  Let's be committed to choosing the good and resisting the evil continually, just as God instructs us... The best way to resist thoughtless actions that always hurt us or other people is to fill our day with being thoughtful on purpose!"

~ Joyce Meyer, The Mind Connection (Faith Words, New York, 2015), p. 94, 102

"We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10, Berean Study Bible)


There are two very important reasons why I've also become insistent in using terms like Mara-mind or the Devil when referring to this internal phenomena, even knowing that many will immediately discount the quality of my views, thinking of themselves as "more rational" and "less superstitious." 1) Again, terms like "ego," "habit," "inertia," etc. that I often hear used as labels for this destructive inner force are severely inadequate, qualitatively and descriptively.  This is not simply ego, habit or inertia, it is something much more diabolical and autonomous than those terms allow for; as I said, some psychologists do use the term "autonomous complex" which is getting closer to the truth, but it is also inadequate because it has no mention of the wholly negative nature of this "complex," which leads me to reason #2)  If we don't face the totally bad nature of this inner force, if we think "it's not that bad, just a hurt part of myself that needs to be healed," then we will be unlikely to raise the appropriate level of determination needed to actually eliminate its influence over our lives; we remain "double minded," i.e. we will remain conflicted within and without by going back and forth between following good sometimes, and evil other times; this double mindedness creates instability in our lives and prevents us from realizing our full potential and higher destiny.

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."

(James 1:6-7)

If this spiritual idea is too unbelievable for you (it was for me at first), then this internal obstacle, this opposing force, can instead simply be thought of as mental-states that create mental disturbance (namely anger and craving), along with false, irrational and unkind ideas (what I call the "Toxic Trio" of delusional Mara-thoughts), that deceive and mislead us into making bad choices.  Anger, craving and delusion, which cover all this ground by the way, are what the Buddha called "The Three Poisons;" more on that shortly.  Returning to the The Toxic Trio, they are always the basis of Mara-thoughts (pay attention and see for yourself), they can be thought of as the primary colors by which all delusions are painted, it's the Devil's signature.  These delusional bad ideas (which lead to bad choices) always cause disruption, to our own minds and to others; this disruption is a karmic effect for aligning with something that is based on lies and is harmful rather than helpful (to yourself & others).  When the thought/idea comes up though, it will often be in the guise of something true and helpful to you, rationalizing some negative behavior like worry, rushing, craving, anger or unkindness in some form.  It constantly tries to trick us into fundamentally supporting harmful lies in their various forms, because if we fall for it, then we must suffer the consequences of Karmic Law.  Mara is the Trickster that misleads us, away from a more paradisaical life,  and toward a more hellish one. 

"We must catch in the act, at the very moment when it is at work in the deep zones of the consciousness, the operational process of thought and its complicity in the deception...”... "Our mind is filled with contradictory thoughts.  Some have not been consciously invited.  These are uncontrolled psychic movement which some psychologists call intruder thoughts.  No one knows whence they came or whither they go."  ...  "Before the experience of Satori [i.e. Liberation/Enlightenment], we are not complete human beings.  We are not [yet] in possession of our faculties.  "During this pre-individual phase, the habit-force [a.k.a. Mara] exerts its all-powerful control.  The man imitates and copies.  He does not yet think by himself.  He is not yet an individual."  ...  A great effort is necessary to fix the attention of our thought on one point to the exclusion of all others.  We bang up against a resistance [called Mara].  We bang up against the refusal of an almost irresistible force which is determined to maintain mental agitation." ... "In the ordinary man thought... plunges into a thousand disorganized and contradictory fantasies.  In the Awakened man, there remains no more interior disorder.  Each thought appears adequately for the circumstances."  ... "Proper attention and vigilance have finally allowed the human being to demask the farce he was playing with..."  ... "[T]his psychological death [of Mara's influence] must be realized by living fully attentive to the restrictive role of the mental habits which imprison us.  This does not involve an evasion but rather a sort of confrontation."

~ Robert Linssen, Zen: The Art of Life, (Pyramid Special Books, New York, 1972), p. 107, 108, 110, 111, 121, 122-3, 126

"We will need to choose good, positive, and godly thoughts on purpose every day that we live. I don't think they will ever come so automatically that we never have to put forth an effort. But I do know, from God's Word and experience, that if we leave our minds empty and fruitless, our enemy, the devil, will be more than happy to fill them with every kind of life-stealing thought that exists. In an effort to show how the enemy attacks our minds, let me share how I just realized that the devil was attacking my mind with negative thoughts while I was trying to write this book...  The Holy Spirit caused me to recognize that I have been having vague, negative whisperings in my ear all morning that have gone like this: "You don't have the creativity you need today. Just put off writing until tomorrow."  The devil is overt and sneaky, so I stopped for a moment and prayed over my mind, asking God to protect it from negative, energy-draining thoughts. ... You and I can interrupt the devil's plans through prayer. God helped me refocus my mind and convey His message accurately. We are not beyond the devil's ability to tempt us, but we can always resist him... Thankfully, I am pretty familiar with the devil's tactics and have had many years to practice resisting them, but I do realize that for many of you the journey to right thinking is just beginning. I urge you to not be discouraged on the difficult days, because your diligence will pay off with huge benefits in due time." 

~ Joyce Meyer, The Mind Connection (Faith Words, New York, 2015), p. 8-9


Of course sometimes we need to think things through purely rationally, and should, to avoid preventable/predictable misfortune, but us humans tend to over-think and thereby become vulnerable to the influence of toxic ideas.  The advice of Eckhart Tolle is good on this: "When you need to use your mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind."

When contemplating the role of unproductive trains of thought, consider this: Isn't it actually
Intuition that often gives us wisdom in our lives?  When was the last time a great idea came to you after thinking incessantly?  And yes, we need critical thinking to make skillful choices, but that usually consists of a few seconds of contemplation rather than many minutes on end of thoughts that are really serving no positive purpose.  The dominance of those distracting and unproductive wandering thoughts thrive off of our belief that we need them (like we "need" government) for a better life, when in fact we would be much better off relying more on inner & outer Nature.  This point that almost all the thinking we engage in is ultimately unproductive and just distracting us from the present moment bears repeating, it's a crucial realization needed for this Practice.  If we stay deeply present, not only will we immediately find more peace, we will also do things more skillfully through having that higher awareness, and also be more open for reception of Intuitive thought, which is always the most productive thought.  So, being present is a complete win-win, while letting ourselves get distracted constantly by "egoic" thoughts is always a lose-lose.  The way to go then is to immerse yourself in the present moment fully, and only engage with thought when absolutely needed for something arising in the present (and even then relying on Intuition can be more effective!).  This will be difficult at first since following all the tangential trains of thoughts that arise in our mind is a very common habit, in a way you could say we have become addicted to thought, and need to wean ourselves off of it, recognizing its unhealthy/unproductive nature, just like a harmful drug.
 

Overview of Consciousness

So the mental landscape is basically made up of three modes of waking consciousness:

1) Higher/Divine Consciousness, the Intuitive Self.

2) Our own Conscious and Subconscious Mind, from which our own thoughts, beliefs and choices operate.

3) Lower/Mara-mind Consciousness, i.e. evil/toxic thoughts and emotions.

This corresponds with the Hawaiian Huna belief in the "Three Selves," which are called the High, Mid and Low Selves.

~~~

In the Christian tradition we have the story of the Garden of Eden, which has the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil; bizarrely we are told that God didn't want Adam & Eve to have the knowledge of right & wrong, and the Devil encouraged them to gain it; obviously if the story ever did make sense the roles of God and the Devil must have been switched, and if that's so it was probably Mara-thoughts that made that happen!  As we pay more attention to what brings us peace and satisfaction, and what brings us disturbance and dissatisfaction, we see that it's to a great extent dependent on our everyday choices, and whether those choices are aligned with what's really good or with what's actually bad. 

"Ordinary people are blinded by worldly viewpoints and not having cleansed their minds of impurities are unable to see clearly.  Consequently, they look upon real goodness as wrongdoing and mistake wrongdoing as goodness.  This is very common today."

~ Master Zhonfeng, quoted in Changing Destiny by Ven. Master Chin Kung, p. 265

"As you look at your fears head-on, you'll begin to see how much of what you fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real.  When you act on this false evidence you create chaos in your life."

~ Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein, p.9

The Toxic Trio (lies, irrationality and immorality) is always used to defend slavery and aggression of various types.  This Trio often takes on five behavioral forms in the toxic personality it's good to be very aware of: a) missing or diverting from the crucial point, b) false equivalency, c) false morality (e.g. someone believing/saying that good things/people are bad, and bad things/people are good, or judgment based on assumption, not reality), d) projection (i.e. believing/saying others are doing a negative thing which the accuser is actually the one guilty of ), and e) passive (or more rarely outright) aggressiveness.  It is very productive to keep this in mind when evaluating the ideas and behavior of others, and yourself. 

These toxic thoughts/ideas are heavily supported by negative subconscious beliefs, which are the same thing as Mara-thoughts, but held onto for long periods of time (even a whole lifetime), rather than a false/irrational/unethical thought just believed momentarily.  These beliefs are usually installed during childhood experiences (especially traumatic experiences), and also by the intense indoctrination we receive through people around us, State schooling, mass-media, advertising and entertainment mediums of various sorts.  We follow these thoughts because we think they are legitimate, but if we contemplate objectively, we will see those thoughts are not true, rational, or kind, and never really lead anywhere productive; these kinds of thoughts misdirect our lives and disturb our mental peace, which disallows the needed inner silence needed for realization of Insight.  Our daily task is to actively reject this Toxic Trio that arises in our own minds (and the minds of others when it's directed at us); otherwise we remain under its oppression.  Concentration (Samadhi), Affirmation (Mantra), and Mindfulness/Awareness (Sati) are the main means of our self-defense; with these practices highly developed, we will much more readily clearly perceive the false, irrational and unkind, and consciously choose to not follow it, affirming and aligning with positive truth instead.  (Mindfulness and Concentration also increase "working memory," e.g. the ability to remember lessons learned previously throughout the day, so we don't repeat the same mistakes and realize it only afterward.)  I have found that these Meditations, through my lack of discipline with them (and thereby my lack of spiritual progress) is absolutely crucial for the self-liberation process.  We need to train our minds to be more mindful, concentrated and deeply present in order to see the pain-body and reject it, and see Dao & De and become one with it; without that training, we will probably not be able to overcome the former and unite with the latter

"Negative habit energy always tries to emerge but if you are mindful, you recognize it.  Mindfulness helps us to recognize the habits... [and] just recognizing them will make them lose their hold on you.  Suppose you have the habit of getting into a hurried state..., [when] you realize that the energy of being in a hurry has manifested itself... breathe in and out mindfully, and you say "My dear habit energy, here you are again."  And as soon as you recognize it, it will lose its strength.  If it comes back again, you do it again, and it will continue to lose its strength.  You don't have to fight it, just recognize and smile at it.  Every time you recognize it [and don't engage with it], it becomes a little bit weaker until, eventually, it can't control you anymore."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Answers From the Heart, p. 19-20

If we don't question these Mara-thoughts (i.e. namely question whether they are true, rational and/or kind) and just follow them as they arise, then our lives our corrupted by them; when someone follows them regularly they are a toxic personality; when someone follows them continuously they are in a closed-loop cycle and act "crazy" (interestingly the hand gesture for craziness is a circling finger by the head).  How much we obey these Mara/toxic-ideas determines our level of mental slavery to the Pain-body, to Mara, to the Adversary, to the Devil.  Since this is such an important issue that is often overlooked, I will next quote a Buddhist monk who very helpfully spoke about it at length; note the crucial comparison to outer slavery via government; just as we can be tricked internally by lies, irrationality and immorality, so too we can be tricked externally by the same type of propaganda that persuades us to agree with our own outer slavery (more on that here)By supporting something that is presented as good but is actually evil (like forced governance/slavery), we are tricked into making a karmic transgression, a transgression that we must pay for; the payment is mental/physical disturbance, disturbance that undermines our progress toward Liberation/Enlightenment.

"[F]or we would like to be free from the evil influence and domination of the Maras, within and without, for we do not want to stay at the mercy of our bad karmas--we have had enough of it. We want to get rid of its control. No longer do we want to do anything blindly, as one who is blindfolded and led along by some bad company. We simply want to put an end to it: we want freedom, to be free from our own bad karmas, free from the impurities of this world... But this would sound too bad to the Mara's ear. It is somewhat comparable to some people under a totalitarian government striving to free themselves from the administration or tyrant by defection. ... What can we do then? ...[T]he best thing we can do to help ourselves is to constantly resort to the Ultimate Truth of the Buddha Nature. ... And by referring to this Innate Nature, we are, in a way, invoking on the invisible support and empowerments from all Buddhas. And by this means we would be able to stay calm and cool, and we will grow strong and firm enough to cope with the dire situation at hand--and we shall overcome. ... If you have been practicing seriously and assiduously, then I suppose you might have already had the experience in meeting with some unbelievable difficulties or obstructions. The obstacles may have arisen either from yourself or from your surroundings (that is, people around you), and they may have thwarted your practice for some time. You might even lose most of your desire to practice at all! But beware! That may be the work of the Maras or Celestial Mara. If that be the case, then Mara is using others and your own foibles to prevent you from practicing or advancing. But once you become aware of his treacherous tricks, then all of a sudden his power would seem to dissolve instantly. It is something like finding out the trickery of a magician: once you have detected where the magician's hocus-pocus lies, he won't be able to deceive you any more. And so, always keep alert and watchful for all kinds of trickeries... which are played both externally and internally. And in the end the Mara's cat will be out the bag--Thus Maras will be banished out of your world of practice. ... [T]ry to attain the right Samadhi [concentration]... and thereby you will not be vexed or fooled by any tricks of the Maras."

~ Venerable Cheng Kuan, Three Contemplations Toward Buddha Nature (Part 2)

Ekhart Tolle is also excellent at explaining this phenomenon, which he calls the pain-body rather than Mara, but it definitely appears to be referring to the exact same thing:

"This "pain-body" is an energy field within you that sporadically takes you over because it needs to experience more emotional pain for it to feed on and replenish itself. It will try to control your thinking and make it deeply negative. It loves your negative thoughts, since it resonates with their frequency and so can feed on them. It will also provoke negative emotional reactions in people close to you, especially your partner, in order to feed on the ensuing drama and emotional pain.

How can you free yourself from this deep-seated unconscious identification with pain that creates so much misery in your life?

Become aware of it. Realize that it is not who you are...

When your unconscious identification with it is broken, when you are able to observe it within yourself, you don't feed it anymore, and it will gradually lose its energy charge."

~ Stillness Speaks, p. 96-7



Next, Mara-mind is simply called "ignorance," which again is a totally insufficient label, though again otherwise the description of the phenomenon, and how to deal with it, is very spot on; another sliver of crucial truth/wisdom found in piles of philosophical rubbish:

"Avidya (ignorance) is the first and foremost affliction.  All other afflictions... are an extension of ignorance.  Ignorance is like crabgrass.  It spreads through a network of branches.  A new system of roots evolves from each nodule.  By the time the blades of crabgrass are visible, the root system is extensive and has a firm grip on the soul.  ... The mind is like a field.  Providence has deposited all kinds of seeds in this field, including the seed of ayida.  When and how this happened is outside our awareness. ... The good news is that it can come to an end.  Reaching deep into the soil of the mind, discovering the seeds of ayida, and roasting them with the fire of knowledge ["roasting" the lies by affirming crucial truths] renders those seeds inert once and for all.  This is what yoga is all about.  Sutra 2.1 [of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali] says these seeds "are to be [ideally] destroyed while they are still subtle and just about to manifest." ... "Discovering and destroying the seeds of ignorance is not an easy task.  Imagine there is a mustard seed hidden somewhere deep in the soil of a vast field and it is your task to try and locate that seed.  It is only when that seed sprouts and turns into a plant that it becomes visible.  At this stage, you need a basic familiarity with the mustard plant so you can recognize it and separate it from the other plants growing there in the field.  Then you need the tools and means to cut the plant before it matures and seeds itself multifold.  The process of recognizing the mustard plant and uprooting it skillfully is called meditation (dhyana).  It is still quite a subtle process.  It requires vigilance and careful attention.  ... [T]he most subtle seed of avidya can be discovered and destroyed by the purest form of knowledge [the crucial truths that specifically address and destroy the lies that were believed in], that dawns in the deepest state of samadhi [concentration]."
 

~ Pandit Rajnani Tigunait, PhD, Yoga + magazine, Spring 2009 issue

Karma

W
hen speaking of Karmic feedback we receive from Reality, one will probably wonder about Karma in other contexts, i.e. "Is every bad thing that happens to people deserved?"  Common sense would say no; there is free will, so someone could possibly harm anyone, whether they "had it coming" or not.  (This is taught in the Bible too, via the story of Job.  We are told it is Satan, not God, that brings the many undeserved hardships to Job.)  Plus there are accidents, natural disasters, war, pollution, child abuse and disease... it makes no sense how all of this could be deserved, in exactly correct karmic proportions, by all who are victims of these phenomena.  Jesus spoke to this issue too when talking about innocent victims, like with those that died when a tower fell nearby that killed people. (Luke 13:1-5)  This story of course has its modern day parallel with the Twin Towers being brought down on 9/11/2001 while thousands of people were still inside them, by heartless controlled demolitions; (for more on that see this page).  None of those victims deserved what happened, just as the Buddha didn't deserve the onslaught of the demon Mara that assaulted him as he strove for enlightenment, nor did Jesus deserve his trial with the Devil in the desert or his crucifixion.  So when all of this is taken into consideration, we can see that when we speak of suffering that comes from Karma, it is in a limited sense, it is in the sense of that suffering which is self-imposed.  So it is in our own best interest to avoid that suffering as much as possible, since the other sources of suffering are not avoidable, they are a potentiality of the Reality in which we live, a Reality that doesn’t generate force fields to protect people and animals every time something harmful is about to happen (so that free will is upheld).

"Samsara"

You may have heard the term Samsara before interpreted as the idea of the dissatisfying cycle of birth & death, and liberation from this cycle being the end of rebirth; this, I believe, is incorrect (and probably not what the Buddha actually taught).  Again "death" should not be taken so literally.  To do so would be a view that is completely anti-Life, it proposes that seeking any satisfaction in our lives is a lost-cause, and although it's very true most people are not fully satisfied, and most people do suffer a lot, to say happiness is an impossibility, that we can't alleviate our suffering and the suffering of others, is extreme pessimism to the point of delusion; it is making a negative assumption (which is an irrational thing to do), an assumption humans really have no knowledge or authority to confirm without a doubt, and is also contradicted by the testimonies of countless people who have experienced pure happiness, for a time, or continuously, like the Buddha.  Samsara is better thought of as the dominant cycle of dissatisfaction within our lifetime, the repeating pattern of missing the mark in our daily lives (specifically meaning: failing to adhere to the aforementioned Life Lessons, Loves & Principles, and not developing the 7 Factors of Enlightenment, and instead following toxic ideas). 

"For the ever wakeful, training day and night, intent on Nirvana, the toxins disappear." 

~ Shakyamuni Buddha, The Dhammapada

In the following well-known image of the Wheel of Samsara, Mara (depicted as the giant monster) is shown holding the Wheel (something ridiculously overlooked by many "Buddhists!").  At the Wheel's center are the "Three Poisons" that keep people going with it, round and round again: Craving, Anger and Delusion (delusion includes lies you're believing in).  If you pay close attention to your life you may see how these three have been the fundamental components of patterns of dissatisfaction and suffering, over and over.


An interesting thing to note is that anger and craving are separated from delusion, and why is that?  It's because disliking bad things (even up to the point of hatred) and liking good things (up to the point of love) in a healthy and sane way (i.e. you're hating things that really are evil, and loving things that really are wonderful) is natural and righteous, but when contaminated with anger or craving, then our mind becomes disturbed by those Poisons, and remember, mental disturbance is used by Mara to keep us in the cycle of dissatisfaction ("Samsara").  Let's look more deeply into each of the Three Poisons:

Anger


“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you are the one who ends up getting burned.” 

Anger should never be engaged with, it is always unproductive to do so, although it may seem totally justified, and even "righteous," when it arises.  For example, a common way that anger can seem justified is when a toxic personality/dominantly-possessed-person projects falsehood onto you (e.g. saying that you're a bad or incompetent person, when you hadn't actually done anything bad or incompetent at that time).  You may rightly hate that being done, but if you react to it with anger, your mind will be immediately more disturbed, and then that anger will just be pointed to and used against you, adding "evidence" of their false/negative projection of you, making matters worse, rather than being able to reject their projection fully and rightly.  The main thing to remember is that Mara wants to disturb your mind, because if you're disturbed you cant become enlightened, and anger always disturbs your mind, so don't let the toxic/evil behavior of others convince you that anger is appropriate, it's not, hatred of the evil is appropriate, but we can hate evil without being angry; once again the devil is in the details!

Craving

The crucial thing to understand about craving is that it's different than desire.  Many people mistakenly believe the Buddha said that desire is a root of suffering, when in fact he was talking about craving; the crucial difference is that craving includes mental disturbance, while desire alone does not.  We don't need to, nor would it be to our benefit, to suppress or ignore all our natural healthy desires, including the desire to become enlightened.  I will be discussing the importance of healthy desire more later in this book.

Delusion

Delusions are particular kinds of thoughts.  As I already stated, but well worth repeating, delusional thoughts are always false, irrational and unkind. This "Toxic Trio" of delusional Mara-thoughts deceive and mislead us into making bad choices (just as Anger & Craving do).  This Toxic Trio are always the basis of delusion, as you can observe with a steady and concentrated self-analytical practice; these three, the false, the irrational, and the unkind, are the primary colors by which all delusions are painted, it's Mara's signature.  Of course at the time you're following these thoughts you don't think they're false, irrational and unkind, so you need to become much more familiar with them through analysis, so that the next time they come around you will be wiser and and see through the lie they are pushing on you. 

One very important area of contemplation that is often full of delusion is the Self.  The Buddha taught that the Five Aggregates, including lower intention, are "non-Self," that is they show us what is not our perfect Authentic Self and mislead us.  He also thereby taught how to avoid the influence of Mara-ideas, and how to instead align with outer Nature/Flow, which is synergistic with inner Nature/Flow.  When we understand that we are not the toxic thoughts, negative emotions, lower intentions, stressed reactivity, false beliefs, or merely the physical body, what is left?  Our True Selves.  In other words, being fully authentic is a prerequisite for defeating Mara and becoming fully enlightened.  Disidentifying with these aggregates may already make sense to you, but you may also be wondering about the authenticity of thoughts and intentions: "I understand that my intentions/thoughts are often misguided, but they are still my intentions and thoughts aren't they?  Even if they are of a lower/ignorant nature, it's still me intending/thinking, so wouldn't that be authentic?"  That's an excellent question, one to contemplate for sure; I will again offer the possibility, which has been given to us by countless teachers through the ages, that this lower/unenlightened intention is not actually who we are on a deep level, it is more like the behavior of someone intoxicated, or even possessed.  Once that negative influence is removed, only our Authentic Nature would be left, an inner Buddha Nature that is perfect, a reflection of Divinity. 


So, if you are still wondering "Are we, as individuals, meant to completely ignore our own desires and passions, and become a completely egoless vehicle of this Higher Consciousness?  Are we to renounce all judgment and evaluation of what would be better or worse for ourselves?  Are we here to be in a sense just passive observers that surrender to Being and follow Divine Will?"  The answer is Yes and No, since ultimately this Divine Will is your own will, the will of your Higher, Authentic Self; this is made more clear the more you Practice.  Your subconscious is oftentimes in conflict with your True Self (and the pain-body is always in conflict with it); a common example of this dynamic is having an impulse to do something loving (i.e. an expression of De) that is blocked by fears/insecurities/Mara-thoughts.  Resolving this inner conflict will also resolve your conflict with the Dao, and in so doing you engage in the process of co-creation of a better life and world (i.e. "Heaven on Earth").  The word Islam literally means "surrender to God," which also points directly to the crucial importance of a Higher Will in our own liberation.  Our role is to become co-creators with the Yin/Yang Creative Power, in an ultimate win-win scenario; our personal lives and natural desires are actually very important, they are part of the Divine Flow expressing itself. 

---

So returning to my previous point on how having sound judgment is crucial for a better life and society, such judgment is completely delusion-free, but when that judgment is overtaken by anger or craving it then becomes poisoned, it becomes an unproductive tool, no longer serving our liberation. 


"He who has not abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, is called Mara's Prisoner, captured in Mara's snares, subject to the Evil One's will and pleasure.  But he who has abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, is no longer Mara's prisoner; he is freed from Mara's snares, no longer subject to the Evil One's will and pleasure."

~ The Roots of Good and Evil by Nyanaponika Thera (Buddhist Publication Society, 1986), p. 22

[foot note on that page: "Mara: the personification of the forces antagonistic to enlightenment."]

We need to strive for enlightenment accepting the dangers of this world and how we can make matters worse or better for ourselves.  The Buddha said there are Seven Factors to Enlightenment, to defeating the influence of Mara, ending our mental slavery.  The more we increase these Factors the closer we will be to the goal of Nirvana; keeping these Seven Factors in mind is very helpful for developing the positive and clear mind needed for Liberation:

The Seven Factors of Enlightenment

1.     Mindfulness (Sati) [maintained in all situations]

2.     Keen Investigation of the Dhamma (Dhammvikaya) [investigating things of importance, especially Guidance and Kairos Moments]

3.     Energy (Viriya) [a.k.a. Right Effort]

4.     Lightheartedness/Rapture/Happiness (Piti) [a.k.a. "Develop Your Positive Mind"]

5.     Calmness (Passaddhi) [maintained in all situations]

6.     Concentration (Samadhi) [applied during meditation and when needed]

7.     Equanimity (Upekkha) [e.g. not making artificial and superficial/quick judgments/assumptions]


Also crucial to keep in mind are the Five Hindrances the Buddha warned us about:

    1.    Sense craving
    2.    Anger / Ill Will
    3.    Sloth / Torpor
    4.    Restlessness / Worry
    5.    Doubt and the "Inner Critic" (i.e. Mara-thoughts)


The Kokikai Aikido Principles listed below also perfectly compliment (and largely encapsulate) this Practice and are very good to keep in mind daily too:

1.     Keep awareness on your center point, in order to develop calmness and balance.  [This point is basically at your center of gravity, just below your belly button, inside your body.  It is also known as the "lower dantian" and should be the focal point for deep belly breathing, and can be kept in your awareness during everyday activities, wherein you "act from" the point, helping keep your mind more grounded and able to concentrate.] 

2.     Relax progressively.  (mind and body) ["Progressively" means: relax, and then relax some more, and then some more..., i.e. you can't relax enough, the goal is total relaxation.]

3.     Maintain good posture (in everything).  [Meaning physically and mentally.]

4.     Develop your positive mind.  [e.g. through recalling affirmations, wisdom teachings, focusing on Beauty, or bringing back the Inner Smile.]

These Principles also compliment the Tantric teaching of maintaining an "inner smile" (a way of developing your positive mind, it just means smiling "inside," which may or may not also result in a noticeable outer smile) and also to breathe from your belly (where your center point is).   I have also heard of a practice that combines these two: "smile at your belly," which is said to be very effective in grounding yourself, developing your positive mind (and disconnecting from Mara-mind).  You may find, as I have, writing these 4 Principles down and keeping them with you on a reminder card, as the key is of course consistency of practice.

~~~

To put all this in big-picture context again: Most of us, if not all of us, are not really satisfied with our lives, the lasting good-energy/satisfaction we seek (cryptically called "eternal life" in the Bible) eludes us because we have not been "saved," we have not found "Nirvana," and instead remain in the Dukkha (the Buddhist term for dissatisfaction) of unenlightened life.  So recognizing the need for salvation from "Samsara," we must then turn to the dynamics of salvation, the phenomenology of Grace, which is what this Liberation Practice is focusing on.  These dynamics have been spoken of for thousand of years, but in an unclear way, and also mixed with false teachings; yet thankfully pure wisdom is still salvageable in Buddhism, Daoism, and especially Christianity.  All of the Buddha's Seven Factors of Enlightenment, like all of the Life Rules, are actually the details of the 5 Loves/Greatest Commandments. (Factors 3 and 4 fall under Loving Attention to Positive Energy, and all the other Factors of Enlightenment are aspects of Loving Attention to the Truth, which is not surprising in this context, since Enlightenment is knowing the full truth of our reality.)


What is of most interest to discover is how the Greatest Commandments, Seven Factors, Five Hindrances and Four Principles relate perfectly for helping us fulfill a particular phenomenon in daily life that tests our spiritual development, a phenomenon that is of the utmost importance to our liberation/enlightenment; it commonly goes by the name of Kairos.


The Greatest Commandments


Jesus said the most important commandments are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength," "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31 & Matthew 12:28-31, 22:36-40).  Jesus said, "On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:40)  Some helpful Bible commentary I found is good to add here: "There is no commandment greater than these, because all the precepts of the Divine Law are included in them.  So that our Lord here teaches us that we ought continually to have these two precepts in our minds and before our eyes, and direct all our thoughts and words and actions by them, and regulate our whole life according to them."  I've found that to be exactly true, but what's been needed is a more specific explanation of what the ambiguous terms "God," "heart, soul and mind" mean, and what the details of self-love and love of others is, so that one can actually carry out the commandments fully in their daily life.  

“Heart” translates to emotional loving-kindness, “soul” to the subconscious mind, and “mind” to our normal waking conscious mind.  These three elements were logically included in the commandment to make it clear that the love must be complete, it must be full true love, not lacking within yourself in any way.  Emotions, the subconscious and conscious mind must all be aligned and synergistically united in a love for God, ourselves and others, in order to fully reap the benefits of such a way of being.  The goal is to become perfect in love; that is the full meaning of "Therefore be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).  Needless to say this is no easy task; I have only become more aware of the details of this Practice through repeated failures revealing repeated lessons and truths, not through achieving perfection.  (This book is as much for myself as anyone else!)

To understand the details of really loving Divinity/Dao, yourself, and others, the commandments that comprise "the whole Law," firstly you need to understand that to love someone or something is to give full attention to them or it, and to serve them or it.  So the "Greatest Commandments" can be clarified by simply stating it altogether as follows:

Balance the following when making decisions, in order to stay in a positive flow of life:

1.      Loving attention to Divinity/God

2.     Loving attention to Yourself

3.     Loving attention to Others

In order to make the right choice we must be giving comprehensive loving attention to all these key aspects of Reality.  It is critical to understand that the three aspects of Divinity (Father/Creator, Son/Kairos, and the Holy Spirit/Divine Guidance) must be given loving attention, as well as loving attention to Oneself and Others, in a balanced and equal way.  Loving Divinity, Others and Yourself was given as the Greatest Commandments for a very good reason, its consistently beneficial effect is true to our reality of daily-life experience.  The Divine, Others and Ourselves are the key parts of our Reality, and if we are neglecting a key part of Reality while seeking harmony within it, we are engaged in an exercise of futility.  Simply, you can't be out of touch with Reality and expect to be happy too. 

The ambiguity of what it means to "love God" is cleared up when understand the Triune nature of God as we experience Him on earth, i.e. The Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"For The Spirit is God, and it is fitting that those who worship him worship in The Spirit and in The Truth.”  (John 4:24, Aramaic Bible in Plain English translation)

"The Tao is like a well, used, but never used up.  It is like the eternal void, filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden, but always present."


~ Tao Te Ching, chapter 4, Stephen Mitchell translation


What I find is the best basic definition of God(dess)/Dao, based on qualitatively consistent experiences, is that it is an omniscient intelligence that consists of and gives pure Love & Truth, offering us Guidance and opportunities for the evolution of our consciousness.  So loving such an omniscient/omnipresent loving intelligence equates to following its loving guidance and the truth of reality/creation which it provides us (what's really been happening and is currently happening, rather than a distorted view of Truth/Reality).

The Holy Spirit


"The Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth,...dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:17)

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and then He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The same verse in my translation that combines multiple different Bible translations:
"Trust in the Lord completely, and not your own opinions, but with all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in all the decisions you make. With whatever you're doing, put seeking God's interaction with you first, and then He'll crown your strong effort with success." 

"I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. ...
And When you seek Me, you will find Me available to you, if you seek me with all your heart and soul." (Jeremiah 29:11,13)

"Look! I am sending my messenger [The Holy Spirit], and he will make clear the way before me. Then the Lord [Kairos opportunity] you are seeking will suddenly come... The messenger of the promise will come [first]."  (Malachi 3:1)


The Holy Spirit, also called the "Helper" and "Comforter," helps and comforts us through loving Guidance.  In the Dao De Jing the Holy Spirit is reffered to as the "Valley Spirit," i.e. the Divine Feminine Spirit.  It is the "Mother" that "gives birth" to (i.e. guides us to) the "Gate of All Marvelous Things, i.e. Jairos.  This Guidance is the Holy Spirit of God, and comes to us through a few avenues: 1) Wisdom Teachings , 2) Revelation , and 3) Intuition/Conscience.  If we are not loving God by constantly and actively seeking His Guidance with all our heart and mind, then we will invariably never achieve our higher destiny, because only the omniscient and perfect loving Divinity can lead us to that destiny, we are humanly incapable on our own of knowing everything that is most helpful for us to know.  The above verses encapsulate much of the crucial daily practice of following Guidance, in more plain modern language one thing you must keep in mind is constanlty checking options before you when making decisions, e.g. which street to walk on.  And seeking this aspect of the Heavenly dimension that we must always be seeking first, must be done all the time, otherwise you may not even meet the opportunity, having gone the wrong way.

I understand that if those words don't have any daily-life experiential relevance to you they will be too vague (and may sound too fantastical), so the following will point out the details of what "acknowledging God" actually means.  I can't overstate how important opening up to and following Guidance is; there is a very good reason why we should not depend on our own understanding alone, and that's namely because we are not omniscient (and often misguided by lies as well) but God is omniscient, and is under absolutely no delusion whatsoever (experience will prove this to you the more you pay attention to it); so this is not "blind religion," this is about being an intelligent human being, doing what is most productive and rewarding for oneself (and others, since God always guides in a way that benefits everyone; again remember we're dealing with loving omniscience, i.e. infinite awareness and intelligence).  And the reason I underlined "in all you do" in the above Proverb again is because that's actually really necessary, e.g. even when just walking to the store or whatever; we must stay alert to Guidance always if we want to be saved/redeemed/reborn and realize the wonderful in this world that's overrun with evil.  The title "The Good Shepherd" is perfectly appropriate, that's exactly how we can experience the Divine in our lives.  The more we realize that, the more the following rings true:

"He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows." (Psalm 23:3-5)

"Let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." (Galatians 5:25)

There is no assumption needed about the Guidance, all we really need to be on the look-out for is Truth being revealed.  Following Guidance is fundamentally just expanding on the Loving Attention to Truth aspect of the Greatest Commandments.  Through giving such thorough loving attention to Truth, we are shown the Way, and that Way leads to "everlasting life," i.e. to lasting satisfaction realized through fulfilling Kairos; "The Way, The Truth and the Life (Satisfaction)" are actually all intertwined into one, just as Jesus said they were.

When we are only concerned with seeing if any coincidence, stand-out or circumstance is plainly pointing to some helpful/guiding Truth, we keep ourselves away from delusion (namely in the form of assumption and daydream), and instead connect with the Divine Spirit of Truth which/who wants to help us.  If Truth is revealed through an amazing circumstance that's wonderful, but don't get stuck on the circumstance and then go looking for more of that circumstance, just focus on the crucial and helpful Truth that was shown to you.  If something that arises is not clearly and simply a truthful answer or pointing in a clearly good direction, then never-mind it, because then it's not the Spirit of Truth!  There's no need to try and figure out the answer you've been seeking through interpreting synchronicities (or stand-outs, or dreams, etc.), one should actually never try to interpret such things.  For example thinking every coincidence might be Guidance as sign/omen can easily become the aforementioned wild goose chase that leads to nowhere (i.e. a delusion); when Truth comes it comes clearly; if that revelation of Truth comes "coincidentally" at just the right time, that's an awesome revelation (demonstrating the awesomeness of omniscient/omnipresent Divinity/Dao), but that's something totally different than an omen to be interpreted by us unenlightened human beings. 

Speaking of bunk omens, the same definitely goes for Astrology, Numerology, Tarot Cards, Palm Readings, Dream Interpretation etc.  These can seem legitimate because sometimes they may have some truth to them, but that truth always coincides with lies (have you ever been shown 100% accuracy all the time with any of those?  Me neither).  Remember that the combination of truth and lies is the very combination utilized for effective propaganda, and also remember the purpose of propaganda is to mislead you.  Again, true Divine Guidance is never a mix of Truth and lies, it is 100% helpful Truth, always, because the Divine is 100% Good, and truly Omniscient!

So all that important stuff said, let's get into the details of Guidance, a.k.a. The Thread of Dao, a.k.a. "The Holy Spirit who leads into all truth." (John 14:17):

1) True wisdom teachings are few and far between, and are often lacking needed clarification (clarification I hope this page delivers to you); the 5 Loves of the Greatest Commandments is an always-true compass that points us to the right choice in any situation.  The Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path, and the teachings of Lao Tzu, are also true wisdom teachings, when rightly interpreted.

2) Revelatory Guidance can come through the phenomena of a) Meaningful Coincidences, b) Something standing out ("Stand-Outs"), and c) Circumstantial Feedback, but it's very important to not see any of these phenomena as "omens" to be interpreted.  "Reading omens" is really playing with assumption, and to assume is to believe you know something is true that you don't really know is true, and so you're believing a lie (and remember whose territory that belongs to) at the moment when you assume, no matter what turns out to be the truth (the truth usually being not what you were assuming it was in my experience!); the key point here being that lies and Divine Guidance never mix, and interpreting signs/omens is lie-based

a) Meaningful Coincidences, are also known as "synchronicities," but the problem with the former term is that it's not clarified that the "meaning" referred to is not something that you interpret, i.e. that you assume to be the meaning, the meaning is always the same: this is an important moment, a Kairos Moment.  I've made the mistake of letting my imagination run wild with possible meanings, and that just results in distraction and disturbance, which in turn serves Mara-mind; take it instead as a "heads up," a helpful and gracious "stay awake"/"look for the Kairos."  Synchronicities happen at the Kairos Moment to help you recognize them, it's additional Grace from God, through the Holy Spirit; it's only saying "look into what's happening" when the special Moment arises, just as your Authentic Self wants to anyway You could experience the "meaningful coincidence" of getting a clear answer to a question you had just asked (perhaps asked in prayer), or a piece of personally important information finds you "randomly" at just the right time, but that is actually an immediate revelation of Truth, it's not a synchronicity because a) synchronicities happen on their own and b) involve a coincidence of things occurring.  Synchronicities should not be looked at as omens or signs, but rather as a metaphysical phenomena highlighting something that has arised that is of crucial importance for your life, a Kairos Moment that you might have otherwise missed. So don't hesitate when this happens!  Trust the Guidance and personally-relevant Truth that arises (practice Yin), and at the crucial Moment when the "door" appears, calling you to take immediate Right Action (practicing Yang), do so! 

b) Stand-outs are things standing out to you in an unusual way, that happen before a Kairos Moment.  The standout can be something standing out to you visually or audibly, and/or something that has come to your mind intuitively/spontaenously as important to focus on.  Things standing out visually have a unique experiential quality to them, they pop-up more from the background of everything around them.  An example of this phenomena may be what's spoken of in the Bible as a "burning bush," which God spoke to man through, which is a perfect metaphor for an unusual thing standing-out and "speaking" to you.  But again, it's not an "omen" to be interpreted, what is saying to you is always: "look into this soon," and you'll either be able to right away, or when it pops up again in a soon-coming Kairos Moment (thereby forming a synchronicity as well).  The Guiding/Helping/Comforting Holy Spirit is not solely interested in leading us into a Kairos Moment for our deepest heart's desire, it can also be for something else that would bring you more "life" (more satisfaction); the consistent thing is that it will make your life much more satisfying.  I have had enough consistent countless experiences with this sequence to be sure that it's not my imagination, we really do receive "lead-ups" to upcoming Kairos Moments.  I've come to believe the following Bible verses are speaking exactly to this type of Guidance, which by leading us into the particulars of the next Kairos Moment, is "testifying all about" Lord Jesus Kairos that is about to return again, "disclosing what is to come" in the near future:

"But I will send you the Helper--the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me." (John 15:26)

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth... He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13)

So "let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives" (Galatians 5:25) so that we don't miss the special Divine opportunity that has been prepared for us personally, that comes "special delivery" to each of us; it's personal, it "has our name on it," and so the title Spirit of Truth is very fitting in that it is designed to the truth of who we really are and what we really want.  We must not be drawn to the "false messiahs" that may cross our paths via other means than Kairos that can't actually give us lasting satisfaction, and can actually make our life worse; if we observe carefully we will see that these other offerings aren't what we're really hoping for anyway, and that what we really do want only comes our way through Kairos opportunities.  Jesus also spoke of these false messiahs when he said "I have come to you representing my Father, and you refuse to welcome me, though you readily enough receive those who aren{t sent from Him" (John 5:43).  Again he spoke directly to this crucial truth here: "Truly, truly, I say to you, the one not entering in by the [Kairos] gate to the fold of the sheep, but climbing up another way, he is a thief and a robber [of your happiness]" (John 10:1).  Those entering into our life in some way other than Kairos are not sent to us as part of the saving Grace of God, and my life experiences have proven this to be true countless times, for my entire life to this day.  In Daoist terms we can put it simply this way: "That not delivered by Dao bodes ill."

Also in a very personalized way, there is the Guidance of physical and energetic feedback:

c) Circumstantial Feedback is in-motion circumstances pointing us in the right way, but it does so in an immediately truthful way.  You appear to be pointed toward or away from something by something happening around you physically and/or energetically, and then, using your awareness, attention and common sense, you see that it is the best way to go (or the way you should not go, depending on whether the feedback is positive or negative).  This feedback is like someone suggesting something for you to evaluate before making a decision, it should not be taken as truth in itself without that evaluation, the latter would be the foolish practice of omen-interpretation.  True Guidance is not seeing something that you automatically believe is telling you one thing or another (which can lead to going on a "wild goose chase" or "chasing windmills"), just going with the immediate belief/assumption without any consideration; Guidance (including Intuition, and all its other forms) is always a suggestion/pointer that is counting on you using your natural sense of what's right and wrong, what's pleasing and unpleasant; it is not trying to undermine your free will, it is just trying to point out some truth to you that you would find helpful.  We each have a sense of what's pleasant (Good-Energy-giving) and what's unpleasant (Bad-Energy-giving), and so following the personal truth of both, we are also Guided, as by a mystical shepherd, a very Good Shepherd.  Recognition of what's good and bad is actually critical for aligning with Dao, and this moral component of Divine Flow is synergistic with your own conscience, your own natural feelings, and your own valid likes & dislikes.  If you deny your own common sense, feelings, conscience, healthy desires, healthy likes and dislikes, you are denying and not giving loving attention to Yourself or the Truth (two of the 5 Loves), and therefore you can't rightly interact with the Divine Flow, because then there's no complete individual really there for the Divine to interact/communicate with!  Guidance is customized to each individual, taking into account their unique individuality; in this way it honors who you truly are while encouraging you to no longer choose against your True Self; it's a wonderful win-win.  A big part of the Practice is "coming into our own," realizing that our Authentic Selves in no way conflict with the Divine, and so should be honored; your individual natural personality, with its unique tastes, is not to be dissolved, it's to be fully lived.  And by doing so, we can fully recognize the "rod & staff" of God that is trying to guide us; the rod being negative feedback (what the shepherd uses to push the sheep), and the staff being positive feedback (the hook of the staff used to pull the sheep toward something).  Both are used as guiding/directional means for us to recognize and follow in everyday life circumstances, but if you take on a delusional "it's all good" New-Age belief, or otherwise ignore your own natural conscience and sane likes & dislikes, then you'll miss the Flow, time and time again.  If you ignore your own feelings and conscience, you're not loving Yourself or Truth (part of the Greatest Commandments), and so you will miss the Flow that was leading you somewhere it would have been better for you to be (to give and/or receive something positive, or to avoid disturbance/danger).  Many times I've had the experience of disturbing things happening, and I "got the message" and went away from them, and that led me to the Divine timing/placing of a Kairos Moment around the corner; so don't lose faith when a bunch of shit comes your way!  Responding rightly to Circumstantial Feedback, to your healthy desires, likes/dislikes and conscience, does not mean we should respond with craving or anger, ever.  Mis-identification with Mara-mind (and its lies) is a Delusion, and Craving and Anger are the two other Poisons of Samsara (a life of repeated dissatisfaction).  So when you see something you like, you may move toward it in some way, but not with craving.  Likewise if something arises that you naturally/sanely dislike, you may move away from it, but not while filled with anger.  Calmness (one of the Factors of Enlightenment) can only be maintained in either situation without the Poisons of craving or anger being entertained.  Remember when you are confronted with what you dislike: Don't react with anger.  That which you naturally (without any assumption) dislike, or that disgusts you, may be a "blessing in disguise" in that it could be the push you need at that very moment to get to elsewhere where your treasure is waiting!  I have had this very experience many times, the lesson is to be true to yourself while keeping a cool head, the lesson is not to abandon all likes and dislikes altogether (i.e. amorality), as nonsense New Age philosophy teaches.  One way the Spirit has definitely preceeded Kairos for me is when my original plan for the day isn't working out (e.g. a store is closed, etc.) and I then follow circumstantial Flow to a new place where a Kairos Moment manifests.  To add even more specificity to this dynamic of taking negative people/expereince as Guidance that I have learned is ideal, the second someone shows clearly negative behavior toward you, keep away from them, don't interact with or "have fellowship" with them at all.  This, I've learned from many experiences, is key to maintain personal integrity and alignment with Divine Flow.  But, if someone hasn't done that, and is merely involved with something else (including apparent worries), not giving you bad or good attention, don't negatively assume that they wouldn't appreciate a friendly greeting and question from you.  Don't wait for a welcoming smile, expecting that is forgetting the "mustard seed" characterisitc of Kairos Moments, and that you too probably are not wearing a smile 24/7!  That said, art of what we need to give loving attention to also is the energetic/vibrational level of our reality.  People give off good or bad energy that we can tune into and take into consideration, balanced with the other 4 Loves of the Greatest Commandments.  This energetic feedback is not limited to human-to-human meetings however, e.g. places can also give off good or bad “vibes” that are part of God's guidance to us.  Loving this aspect of God means paying attention to the positive energy (or lack thereof, i.e. negative energy) you perceive, and aligning with it (or dissociating from it, if the energy is negative).

And also worth noting is that if you aren't receiving any Guidance to go away or toward someplace else, then just relax and stay where you are, if you nervously wander about aimlessly the Kairos Angel may pass by where you just left!


3) Intuition/Conscience is Divinity found within our consciousness, "the still small voice" of God, otherwise translated as the "gentle breeze" of a pressing Intuitive thought for a certain action/non-action, also called "the word God sows upon our heart" by Jesus; it oftentimes arises at times when you are about to make a choice to do or say something, e.g. the intuition may be to say something, or to not say something.  The reason is always because one or the other is the most beneficial to all involved, even though you may have no idea why at the time (it will be clear however that it is at least not harmful).  Intuition and Conscience are often intertwined, for Conscience is our God-given sense of right & wrong, we naturally feel regret when we commit the wrong, hence we are guided by our conscience, it shows us the right way.  In fact Intuition and Conscience are really the same thing, we only perceive them as different; when the Goodness of the Intuitive thought is completely clear, we call that Conscience, but when it's not, we call that Intuition.



Kairos & Freedom





"A thousand years a poor man watched
Before the gate of Paradise:
But while one little nap he snatched,
It oped and shut. Ah! was he wise?"


~ William R. Alger, "Swift Opportunity", Poetry of the Orient (1893), p. 281.

The answer to the above question is no, he wasn't wise, because perfected wisdom would be demonstrated by continuous alertness for the manifestation of a Kairos Moment.  Kairos was a Greek word for time, but time that is different from normal chronos time, it is instead a special moment of time.  The Greeks also personified the characteristics of Kairos
symbolically into a "god," alternatively spelled CaerusCaerus/Kairos was the god of the "fleeting moment of a favorable opportunity."  He was envisioned as someone always on the move, hence the wings on his feet.  And in one hand he carried a razor blade, or in other depictions, scales balanced on a sharp edge; both symbols illustrating the fleeting instant in which the opportune moments he personified appear and disappear.  His hair was also perfectly symbolic of what it's like to experience Kairos in your life; he had a large, bushy forelock that hung out in front of his face, which you could grab a hold of when he was coming toward you closely, but the back of his head was completely bald and slick, symbolizing that once he passes you by, you can't grab a hold of him any longer, the moment is gone and can not be re-captured; you always have to wait for him to come around again.  Caerus/Kairos was also shown as young and beautiful, because these divine opportunities are always fresh and new, and add true beauty to our lives.  This "grabbing hold" of Kairos when "he" (as another person in the real world of your life) appears requires immediate, unhesitating action on your part.  And as I've learned from hundreds of failures at this, that immediate action/engagement is only possible if you are always expecting him, at all times of your daily life.  Each of us has our own particular version of Kairos, it depends on what our top heart's desire, and our top fear, happen to be; this is because Kairos Moments simultaneously bring up an opportunity for you to receive your heart's desire, and overcome your number one fear; in this way they are custom-designed for outer and inner revolution/transformation, a complete/holistic liberation from your disatisfactory life.  The needed constant expectancy, along with having to battle through your top lie-based fear, makes Kairos Moments very difficult to fulfill, and I haven´t even gotten into all the details yet.

This is such an important topic that, before getting more into it, I will quote passages from the book Chasing Kairos at length that explain this phenomenon very well and serve as an excellent introduction:


"Chasing Kairos begins with looking for the extraordinary in what seems ordinary. It is about finding the miraculous in the seeming mundane. ... To experience abundance we have to first be made aware that these opportunities exist. ... Ultimately, each Kairos is a divine invitation to experience God, if you let him, toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose. ... [T]o find a "divine time-out" by His abundant grace is a privilege and joy that will change the way you look at life by shifting your focus continually towards this truth and way of life. ... Know who you are and what you're called to do just as much as what you're not called to do and who you are not.  Identify your needs, as well as the things that bring you joy as an individual. ... [I have learned] not to expect heavenly moments to come at a certain point in a certain way limiting God in the process by trying to tell Him how and when to please me.  But rather, it is about keeping a childlike heart that is ready to run wild... I'm preparing to embrace life in all its fullness whether it presents itself tenderly, peacefully and relaxing, or powerfully, [or fearfully], invigorating and inspiring, funny, solitary or joyfully. ... As we become better at practicing active contentment... it can position us with arms wide open for more of these life-giving intervals, as long as we are... keeping our eyes and heart ready to recognize divinely orchestrated opportunities. ... Chasing Kairos begins with learning how to rest and pause for a moment, particularly, when we feel rushed or like we "can't afford to waste time." This attitude is the nemesis of all enjoyment, driving us to hurry... [and] we end up rushing right by the very things already lined up to enrich our daily lives. We need to remember that life's special moments often come unannounced and disguised as something we didn't think was needed, regarded it as being out of place or not worthy of our attention. We may never know all the hidden treasures we could have discovered, if we had only learned to frequently stop for just a moment. Catching them reminds us of these moments being truly priceless. ... Faithfulness and  gratitude should always let us hope for the next kairos out of our relationship with God. Shifting our attention back on His ability to astonish and love on us can help us stay aware that the next kairos could be just a moment away. I find this joyful anticipation of life to be a piece of heaven in and of itself. Without the element of hope for more of life and more of God my level of gratitude is limited. It puts me at risk of living in the past and that's not what Chasing Kairos is about."


~ Chasing Kairos: Where Happiness Comes From, by Clarissa Fitzgerald

There is crucial content in the above quote for sure, though it is missing some very important elements of the Kairos phenomenon.  First of all, we don't want to chase these moments, to chase something implies a mindset of craving, and we never want to crave, as that will sabotage our ability to fulfill Kairos.   The other super-critical element to understand is that fulfillment of these Moments requires immediate engagement (after we "stop for just a moment" as she said); this means not even one second of hesitation to engage, and that engagement must be of a sort that prolongs the the engagement with the person beyond the one moment that it is coming and going withinAnother missing element is the recognition that Kairos Moments always come unexpectedly, and with fearful feelings/doubt/worry/negative assumption. 


Returning to the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, they are in fact exactly the qualities I've discovered one must embody in order to notice and fulfill Kairos Moments.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Embodying the Seven Factors of Enlightenment = "rightly handling" of Kairos Moments.  When I fail at them, I fail at them in particular ways, and those particulars were already specified thousands of years ago by the Buddha.  For example, I notice that I've failed at Kairos by failing to "investigate the dhamma/truth," i.e. I fail to immediately investigate the truth of the matter concerning something (delivered by Kairos for only a moment) that has positive potential (leaving "a stone unturned"), and/or I fail to do so with Lightheartedness, Energy, Calmness and Concentration, and/or I was not Mindful nor was I maintaining Equanimity (being free of assumption), all
other Factors of Enlightenment.

Other on-point wisdom teachings from other traditions, namely Daoism and Christianity, also speak exactly to what Kairos is, and what is needed to align with it.

In Daoism, living in alignment with Dao & De, is called "wu-wei," which is often translated as "non-action," but it doesn't mean you just sit around doing nothing, it means the Pain Body is no longer controlling & manipulating your behavior to be non-virtuous; instead you choose to follow the Dao/Flow, which includes intuitive impulses and the natural, spontaneous impulses of your passionate Authentic Self.  So non-acting means more not acting in the theatrical sense of the word, and instead being fully authentic; and when being more natural/authentic you may actually be more active than you were before!  Acting, in the sense of being inauthentic, actually supports Mara, it is anti-evolutionary behavior.  The difference is where the actions (or non-actions) are originating from.  They can come either from the very limited knowledge (and negative habits/beliefs/fears) of the external & internal Pain Body, or they can come from a source full of wisdom and love (Dao & its perfect De ). 

Following Dao & De instead depends on initially (and regularly) focusing on the present moment fully.  You've probably heard about the benefits of a mindfulness practice before, of "being here now," but what isn't explained so well is the  crucial reason why, beyond the benefits of greater peace of mind and efficiency: to align with and fulfill Kairos Moments, which the Dao De Jing calls the "Gateway to All Wonders."  By becoming aware of the Flow of Dao, a Flow that requires perfected De to fully align with it, so you can interact, support. collaborate and synergize with it,  for liberatory experience.  Being present, alert to inner and outer Flow (e.g. Intuition and Truth/Energy), free of a rushed, worried, angry or otherwise disturbed mind, remaining open to and expectant for Kairos opportunities to act for the good, is the Practice in a nutshell.

"The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations... and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws ((at opportune moments)). This produces a tremendous energy which is usually locked up in the processes of mental evasion and generally running away from life experiences. 

Clarity of awareness may in its initial stages be unpleasant or fear inspiring. If so, then one should open oneself completely to the pain or the fear and welcome it. In this way the barriers created by one’s own habitual emotional reactions and prejudices are broken down."

~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

This "welcoming of the fear" means, most importantly, welcoming the challange of overcoming the fear that arises at the Kairos Moment.

"Devekut [is a Hebrew word that means]: The Cultivation of Rapturous Union.  Devekut is... accomplished [when]...the flow between the soul and the Infinite One runs free.  ... Devekut is the union itself, the union maximized [i.e. a fulfilled Kairos Moment]. [T]hese are the stages in cultivating devekut:  First, we must accept the possibility that [such] rapture is possible.  (This is often the most difficult step.)  Then we must keep ourselves always ready to receive the divine shefa, [the divine] flow...  Finally, we come to accept all of life with joy and an open heart, permitting it to consume us--and letting it go without rancor when it departs. [i.e. we look at all things without negative assumptions, maintaining a rational equanimity and optimism, affirming a negative judgment only at times when it is absolutely clear and right to do so, and we never react with anger to trespasses, "letting it go without rancor," so that we maintain the always critically needed peace of mind.]"

~ The Way of Flame: A Guide to the Forgotton Mystical Tradition of Jewish Meditation by Avram Davis, p. 79, 83.

Seizing the opportunity/Kairos Moment is no easy task at all, we usually totally miss it; as Mark Twain said, "I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one."  It's no small thing to significantly change another person's day for the better (or even their life for the better), and likewise for ourselves, so it's critical to recognize the potential Grace and be ready to align with it, by rejecting the opposing Mara-thoughts and feelings that arise to spoil what could be beautiful.  If we don't reject those thoughts and don't recognize the significance of the Kairos Moment, and keep walking by (literally or figuratively in other circumstances), cynically thinking something like "Oh, what could that have mattered..." (a follow-up Mara-thought, justifying the previous one, a common sequence), the level of satisfaction in our life will invariably not increase, because Kairos is the means to recieve that which would give us greatest satisfaction.  Both this recognition and rejection require the same thing, deep present moment awareness; so that needs to be a top priority throughout our waking hours.

“We must be very attentive in order to be able to receive. When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, very often it's no louder than the beating of your heart, and it's very easy to miss it.”
~ Boris Pasternak, (quoted by John O'Donohue)

"Opportunities are there for only a second so you got to see it, just like a shooting star."
~ Kazi Shams

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."

~ Benjamin Disraeli


Special moments of opportunity for significant positive transformation (Kairos Moments) only give a very small window to us for taking courageous action; these split-second decisions/actions/behaviors reveal whether our mind is in alignment with the Grace that has become available.  The reason this process is of a spontaneous nature is because it's in the interest of your personal development that you are not given time to think the decision over (and temporarily override subconscious fears & beliefs that still need to be resolved); that would not be true growth/evolution.  We must honor our intuitive impulses, our wholesome desires, our Authentic Selves at these moments with the noble/bold/passionate energy the Greeks called "Thumos," which corresponds to the Daoist term "De," since this bold courageous action is actually the perfection of true virtue, the perfection of love, though others may disagree and tell you it's inappropriate!.  (This popular disagreement is a big example of the false virtue of society that Lao Tzu talked about; see my upcoming book The Clarified Dao De Jing for more on this.)

"God opens the door to these moments, and the openings don't last long.  One gift of a noble-thumos moment is that it is a test of our commitment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourself. ... Thumos rises.  And then it falls.  It doesn't point the way toward courage and toward a more muscular faith for long."

~ Unleashing Courageous Faith by Paul Coughlin, p. 83

Just as the Kairos Moment rises and falls, so does Thumos, our inner authentic and courageous impulse; the goal is to meet Kairos with Thumos in perfect synergy, thereby "fulfilling the opportune time ["kairos"] when the Divine realm ["basileia" in the Greek, usually translated as "Kingdom of God"] has drawn near ["is at a hand"] (Mark 1:15)

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and recieve that grace to help us in our time of need."  (Hebrews 4:16)

The above is a very crucial Bible quote, which, by the way, also destroys the salvation-only-in-the-afterlife doctrine, like many other crucial verses in the Bible do.  (See my blog post on the Bible for more on this.)

We must fulfill the positive potentiality of opportune moments when the Divine/Dao comes close to us.  The saying "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance" holds very true in a spiritual context, we really must maintain continual vigilance/mindfulness in order to align with the transformative grace of Dao.  

"The idea of the direct method is to seize this floating life while it is flowing past and not after it has flowed away.  Whilst it is flowing, there is not time to make any recollection of memory or to construct ideas."

~D. T. Suzuki, The Non-mental

"If you don't expect the unexpected, you will not find it."

~ Heracleitus

After the Buddha's enlightenment it's said that someone asked him if he was some kind of god or magician and he replied simply "I am awake."  We must fully wake up to the Karmic Reality of Kairos and Thumos, of Dao and De, of Grace and Righteousness, in order to liberate ourselves from Samsaric patterns/levels of existence.

"Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober." 

~ (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

This ultra-wakefulness can be supported by the mental exercise of considering that today may be your last day:

"If we live as if we were going to die each day, we will not commit sin."

 – Saint Anthony (251 – 356 AD)

This quote is very similar to the more well-known saying "Live every day is if it was your last"; both are pointing to a crucial key of practice.  If you knew today was really your last day in this life, wouldn't you probably be more confident and authentic, more alert to everything happening around you, more kind, less intimidated, less rushed, less likely to react with anger?  Therefore this is a good exercise to keep in mind, and the truth is this may actually be your last day (who knows?) so it's actually rational to treat it as such, since the benefits are so great, and there are no drawbacks (unless on your last day you would for some bad reason decide to be extremely careless).

"Through detachment we are able to perceive the higher Flow.
Through desire we can perceive the grace of the Great Integrity.
Move in harmony with the present moment, seizing opportunities fearlessly as they arise, remembering that any day may be your last."

~ Dao De Jing, chapter 1 (my translation)

 

"True understanding in a person has two attributes: awareness and action.  Together they form a natural Tai Chi.  Who can enjoy enlightenment and remain indifferent to the suffering in the world?  This is not in keeping with the Way. Only those who increase their service along with their understanding can be called men and women of Tao."

 

~ Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching, verse 53 (Stephen Mitchell translation)


"In dark night live those for whom the world without alone is real; in night darker still, for whom the world within alone is real. The first leads to a life of action, the second to a life of meditation. But those that combine action with meditation cross the sea of death through action, and enter into immortality through the practice of meditation."  

~ Isha Upanishad

Our life stays at a lower level until we gain spiritual traction (i.e. consistently aligned with the Factors, Lessons, Loves & Principles) to higher ground (i.e. a more satisfying/heavenly experience).  Thus united with Dao and De, we are fully prepared for and in harmony with Flow and Kairos Moments/Grace.  This preparedness means constant mindfulness practice during mundane activity, it means training yourself to never rush, to never worry, etc. and to hold a positive self-concept free of self-sabotaging negative beliefs and to have unwavering faith in God's Grace; it means to follow your true nature and Dao instead.


Jesus & Kairos


"Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and He said to Peter, "Alas, none of you could keep awake with me for even a single hour!" (Matthew 26:40)

"Then Jesus returned and found them sleeping. "Simon, are you asleep?" He asked, "Were you not able to keep watch for one hour?" (Mark 14:37)

"And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his servants instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch (like a gatekeeper)! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: keep watch for Him!”" (Mark 13:33-37)

The parables of Jesus referring to the "The Kingdom of Heaven" (i.e. the dimension of Heaven manifesting on Earth) and the "Coming of the Son of Man" also perfectly fit the phenomenology of Kairos Moments symbolically.  For example in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains: “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of its riches, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." (Mark 4:22)  The "word" is Kairos, and though one may "hear" it, i.e. see/hear the opportunity as it arises, we can still not fulfill the time, because of some worry that also arises in our mind at that time (a Mara-thought), and because of our trust in other things in our life/the world being more important/valuable than what has arisen in the Kairos Moment ("the deceitfulness of its riches"); thus the Kairos moment is "choked" and bears no fruit in our lives; this is exactly as it happens, as I can testify based on my own manifold repeated experiences.  Likewise in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus says: "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived.  The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And then the door was shut." (Matthew 25:10)  The "door" is the Kairos door/window of opportunity, and the virgins who went to the "wedding banquet," i.e. fulfillment, were the ones that never slacked in readiness for the arrival of the "bridegroom," i.e. Kairos.  And just as real-life experiences of Kairos always show, once the opportunity is missed, the "door is shut" and we can't go through it anymore; we can only wait for another Kairos opportunity to come around later, and try to be ready that time (obeying the Greatest Commandments fully).


We can
see also that Jesus personifies Kairos himself (He is "the Word made flesh/human" (John 1:14)) via symbolic events like the calming of the waters/storm with his saving presence (Matthew 8:26, Mark 4:39, & Luke 8:24); Kairos Moments often occur during an internal and external "storm" of worry/fear and outer distraction, fully testing our faith and level of loving attention.  "Why are you so afraid?" Jesus asked. "Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:40).  This is described too in 1 Kings 19:11-12, the "whisper" of God (representing the Kairos opportunity) often follows a series of disturbances, so don't lose your cool, or faith, when that happens; it can actually be taken as encouragement that the Kingdom of Heaven is indeed at hand!  The doors to the Heavenly dimension of Life constructed for us by God call for our faith to be stretched and strengthened, thus being of benefit to us within and without, for the maximum benefit.  As we can repeatedly observe by observing the nature of Kairos Moments, God wants revolutionary change in our minds and our lives, He doesn't orchestrate Kairos for mere half-measures or partial improvement, it's for real revolutionary change.  Through the Grace of Kairos we can understand God's Will and Nature, and He is certainly no "half-stepper!"

Also the stories of the new disciples that dropped everything immediately to follow Jesus is very fitting to how we must behave to align with the grace of Kairos, especially since what they were dropping were nets, to catch that which they thought would fulfill them.  Jesus said to leave that behind and he would make them "fishers of men" instead, which is also very fitting in the context of Kairos since Kairos Moments always involve another person that must be "caught" before they, and the opportunity to perfect your love with them, passes by.

"They immediately left their nets and followed Him." (Mark 1:18)

The Kairos message is a very crucial teaching of Jesus, hidden in plain sight, a coded message lost to Christianity for centuries.  I am not reducing who Jesus was/is to only the Kairos phenomenon, but it is definitely a large part of what his message was about, and what relationship with him is about, unbeknownst to most Christians.  Making this Jesus/Kairos connection even more clear, the Greek word for "Lord" is kurios, which is very close to the Greek kairos, and in fact alternate spellings for Lord in the Greek dictionary have it spelled "kyrios," making it an almost exact match, almost an exact homograph (
a word that has the same spelling as another word but has a different sound and a different meaning); and it may have even been a homophone too (two different words that sound exactly the same when spoken), depending on the local dialect, making it all-together a perfect homonym (a word that is both a homograph and a homophone). 
And then there is the oral tradition of focusing on the name Lord/Kyrios; today
some phrases you will hear very commonly spoken in Christian circles are: "In the name of the Lord," as well as "Jesus is Lord."  Additionally pointing to this kairos/kyrios connection, there is a very strong emphasis on this title "Lord" for Jesus throughout the Bible, evident by it oftentimes being put in all capital letters (LORD), and, even more importantly, talked of in a way fitting with the kairos phenomenon, by the name/title of Jesus being given special association with salvation:

"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life [through him], and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."  (1 John 5:13)


"We trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Psalm 20:7)

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2)

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Jesus, the Lord, said: "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name." (John 16:24)


"It is His name--faith in that name being the condition--which has strengthened this man whom you behold and know; faith in the Lord has made this man sound and strong again, as you can all see.
(Acts 3:16)


"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, do not abandon those who seek you." (Psalm 9:10)

I have found many other crucial clues pointing to Kairos as the hidden meaning/code of Jesus, i.e. Jesus/Christ/Lord/Kurios = Kairos.  Once that code is utilized in reading the Christian scriptures and commentaries, they become much more meaningful and practically useful in our everyday lives, they become profound and accurate wisdom that was previously hidden in coded language.  For example, read the following with this Kairos = Jesus code in mind:


"Behold, I come to you unexpectedly. My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Revelation 22:12)

"And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. You know that Christ is righteous, and so likewise know that those who practice His righteousness are (re)born through Him." (1 John 2:28)

"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. ... because you did not know the timeof your visitation."  (Luke 19:42,44)

"Through Him [Jesus] you are made full." (Colossians 2:10)

"Even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him." (1 Peter 1:8)

"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Luke 12:40)

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:13)

"Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me."  (John 7:33)

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me [Lord Jesus]. In my Father's house [i.e. dimension] are many rooms [i.e. Kairos potentialities]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place [i.e. a Kairos Moment] for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3)

"Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be earnest and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."  (Revelation 3:19-21)

"And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us [through Kairos, by seeing it happen repeatedly in our lives]. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. As we live more with God in this way [more familiar with and aligned with Kairos], our love grows more perfect, so that we are no longer ashamed and embarrased at the time of judgment [the Kairos Moment], and instead have confidence and joy [when meeting the Lord/Kairos]. ... If we are still afraid [at the Kairos Moment] then this shows that we are not fully convinced that He loves us [in this way, through Kairos opportunities]."  (1 John 4:16-18)

Jesus said: "Those who reject me are rejecting God who sent me." (Luke 10:16)

"Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. ... Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; ... the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. ... Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes [us] to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter? Let us come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows. But forced obedience, far from being easy and light, is a heavy burden. In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for your souls."

~ Matthew Henry, (http://biblehub.com/matthew/11-30.htm)


"But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ [and following his commandments perfectly when he returns, no longer sinning].
"  (Galatians 3:22)

And remember what "sinning" means exactly, it means not following the Golden Rule, it means not treating others as you wish to be treated, e.g. you don't become suddenly unfriendly to a friend for no good reason, or withhold kindness to a friendly stranger; both cases being examples of assumptions

"His hour is not about claiming a measure of fame or making a name for himself. It is about proclaiming salvation in his name. It is in the name of Jesus, Christians believe, that the world will be saved. This is kairos time - not "saving time" but a time to be saved." 
(from the book Moments of Truth by Joe Nassal, a quote that comes so very close to the crucial truth of this code, without saying it directly, in a section titled "Jesus' Sense of Timing")

Additionally, also perfectly fitting my own experience (and I'm sure that of countless others) with Kairos Moments is that the Moment is often not recognized when it's happening, you don't see that it's a Divine opportunity, thinking it's just another ordinary moment, and this is also exactly what is described multiple times concerning Jesus, i.e. He was right next to someone, talking or walking with them, and they didn't recognize Him.  (John 4:25-26, John 20:15, John 21:4, Luke 24:15-16).  Similarly Jesus said he didn't "know" those that professed to know him, because of their sin.  He said "I never knew you: begone from me, you doers of wickedness," meaning that he returned at a Kairos Moment they never really met, i.e. they didn't align with and fulfill the Moment because they were instead aligned with the wickedness of Mara-mind (namely lies and lack of love).  Some translations say "lawbreakers" instead of wickedness and that's very fitting too when you realize the laws being referred to are the Greatest Commandments, which he called "the whole law."  If you think relationship with Jesus is simply reciting his name, it's not, for he is someone that interacts with you in your daily life, not just someone you pray to from a distance.  See: Matthew 7:23, Mathew 25:12, & Luke 13:27.

Jesus said he was the only way to God and lasting satisfaction ("eternal life"), and time  has just proven that more and more true to me, now that I understand that he was speaking of Kairos Moments.  Kairos opportunities aren't easy, they are the "narrow gate" that "only a few enter";  on a scale of difficulty from zero to ten, I'd say they are consistently a 9.86 (pi squared).  It has taken me many years to finally accept that these challenging Kairos Moments are indeed the only way to a life of lasting satisfaction.  Everything that comes into your life through other (and easier) means inevitably does not bring you lasting satisfaction, it will not be your true Holy Grail, your true higher destiny.  Jesus spoke to this directly when he said:

Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."  (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus: "Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail." (Luke 13:24)

Jesus: "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:9-10)

Countless times (today included!) I held hopes in something that didn't come through Kairos and discounted another Kairos Moment when it arose as unimportant, and the truth is: that which doesn't come through Kairos inevitably amounts to nothing on the qualitative level (this is what Jesus called "following a stranger" in John 10:5); what I kept thinking had potential in fact had none, and that which I thought had no potential (presented in the Kairos Moment) was undoubtedly full of potential.  This is a very hard lesson to learn.  Even after years of thinking and writing about Kairos I have not demonstrated real complete faith in it as the only way for me to be saved from unhappiness, I still have not fully accepted the reality of Jesus/Kairos as my personal Lord and savior that repeatedly "calls to me by name" (John 10:3), i.e. the Good Shepherd who knows exactly what will satisfy me uniquely and personally, who knows "the desire of my heart," what would be my true "treasure" (Luke 12:34), and offers me opportunities for exactly that to be fulfilled.  We must recognize the perfectly customized and character-perfecting Grace of Kairos Moments and live our lives in continual faith and expectancy for them, ready to obey the requisite Greatest Commandments of comprehensive love at any moment of our lives

Careful attention to the details of one's daily life can make the phenomenon of Kairos Moments apparent to us, but as to how this happens, how it works that everyone and everything can be utilized as part of this Divine dynamic, that I don't claim to understand, it's obviously the work of an omniscient and omnipresent Divine intelligence, nothing less could do it or would want to; I just know that it does indeed happen.  Perhaps it has something to do with the quantum mechanics of our reality, with the "uncertainty principle," "observer effect" and "particle entanglement," etc. and/or to do with the multiple enfolded dimensions of String Theory and/or the complexities of the Relativity of Space & Time; whatever it might be, I bet the full truth of it is beyond our ability to fully comprehend (which should be no surprise to us as we're talking about Divine omniscient infinite intelligence!).  And besides, understanding the quantum physics of Grace isn't what's beneficial, it's the experience of fulfilling Grace that is; zooming in too much on the quantum detail misses the practical necessities of the human experience.  What's clearly beneficial is understanding how it works in a practical sense, how to go with that Divine Flow of Life that enables us to become spiritually mature, empowered and fulfilled human beings.  You can analyze the atomic structure of a ripe plum but that's not as good as biting into it and enjoying the wonderful flavor!  We are obviously here to do the latter rather than getting caught up in the former; "mad scientists" creating dangerous genetically modified foods is more recent evidence of that!

The Symbolic Meaning of Baptism

We must "take the plunge" at these special moments that arise in the River of Life, “losing our life for Jesus/[Kairos]” (Matthew 16:25, John 12:25, Luke 17:33), be "baptized in the name of Jesus," i.e. taking the good risk at a Kairos Moment that is unattached to our current circumstances/relationships/so-called obligations, in order to "find (more satisfying) life," being raised up “a new man,” having realized a personal long-sought after healthy desire (our “Holy Grail,” which we would have then finally drank from).  We must "put on our new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy" (Ephesians 4:24).

Jesus said: ‘Truly I say to you, no one will ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven [only] if I bid him, but rather because you yourselves are full [of faith].' (Secret Book of James).  The Kairos Moment is the bidding, but that is not enough to enter, we must be full of faith, free from fears, and take the plunge, and be “baptized.”  This is definitely not a dipping your feet in the water first kind of thing, "cold feet" need not apply; indeed these Moments are so demanding of allegiance to the Truth, the Way and the Life, that you must love those more than your own parents or children!  To make the point ultra-clear, in can even be said (actually Jesus did say) that you must hate your current life (no matter how comfortable it may be on its plateau of mediocrity) in order to be a true disciple, no longer settling for less than your higher destiny.

"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

___

"Be glad for all that God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always." (Romans 12:12)

"Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)


Jesus said he was the Truth, the Way, and the Life, and we can see that those three things, also much else associated with Jesus, also fit the Kairos phenomenon perfectly.

Jesus said , "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  He is the only way to enter "our Father's house", he is the only "gate/door" of entry to that perfect Grace, and the lasting satisfaction that comes with it.  Like with “heart, soul and mind,” the details of their meanings have usually been misunderstood, skimmed over, or sometimes given some metaphysical importance, but not everyday practical significance.  The Truth, Way and Life are in fact descriptors of crucial aspects of Kairos  Moments; the key thing to realize is that these aspects are the exact attributes that we need to be paying attention to in our earthly lives in order to make the best choices at those crucial Moments.  The original Aramaic for the “I am” in that passage is ena ena, a repeating “I” which can be said as the “I-I” or “I and I,” that is, the Divine and I.  So here Jesus wasn't just talking about himself as the Truth, Way and Life, he was describing aspects of God's grace.


The Truth

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Denial of various truths is very common among humans, and that denial of truth keeps people disconnected from the Grace of God.  Truth may be the truth of some details in front of us we are neglecting to give proper attention to, or the broad truth of an abusive/toxic relationship that is ignored and denied.  (The latter would also be a violation of the Self-Love part of the Trinity/Greatest Commandments.)  It can also be some truth that you had already realized, but then didn't act on at the appropriate time.  Love of truth also means constant conscientiousness; checking one's conscience for the Truth of what's good or bad in any given circumstance and choosing the good only.  Again this isn’t a commandment to adhere to good ethics just for goodness sake; when you break it you will fall out of a positive Flow of life and will miss Kairos opportunities, it has a very real karmic effect on your life (careful observation of one's own life can prove this to anyone).

In whatever myriad of form truth exists in, remember the truth is not what you may assume is true, it's what's actually true; don't be deceived by assumptions that arise in your mind masquerading as truths.  All assumptions are actually lies, whether they turn out to be true or not (usually not), because you are acting on an idea as fact when you don't really know it's fact; this assertion that you know the truth when you really don't is a lie (to yourself and others).  

Seeking and honoring the truth, and living by it, is absolutely necessary to align with and fulfill a Kairos Moment, i.e the "everlasting life" (lasting satisfaction) that comes through that Salvation offered to us.


But, just like the doubting apostle Thomas, we also doubt the truth of Kairos when it appears; we don't think this event with seemingly little potential, a "mustard seed" in daily life, is worth engaging with. 


"Stop doubting.  Believe in me."  (John 20:27)

We doubt it's "the real thing" for no good or rational reason, just as Thomas doubted Jesus was actually the real Jesus in front of him when he returned after being crucified.  So, we need a faithful mentality, an investigative mentality, and a participatory mentality.  Kairos Moments always require participation, and that participation is always the same fundamentally, it is an act of comprehensive love, loving yourself, others and Divinity, fully and evenly.  Don't worry if you don't know exactly what do or say when the Moment arises, if you even just boldly "touch its cloak" (Matthew 9:21, Mark 5:28), i.e. engage with it with bold comprehensive love, the rest will follow naturally follow; when you are put on the "trial" of a Kairos Moment, "don't worry about how to respond or what to say.  God will give you the right words at the right time" (Matthew 10:19). 


"The Way"

The Way is the means to fulfilling the grace of the Kairos Moment, which Jesus spoke to when he said we must love our neigbor as ourself.  This is because Kairos Moments always involve other people, specifically other people you don't know very well, i.e. a stranger.  To give love freely to a stranger is a more pure love than when it is just given to someone you already know and love  and can expect something in return from (Jesus spoke of this in several differnet ways too, as I explain in my upcoming book Lord Jesus Kairos.)  So the way is basically to give unhesitating ego-less/fearless/bold love to strangers in passing (suddenly coming or suddenly going) Kairos opportunities to do so.  Again there are many Biblical examples of this, which I cite and explain in my aforementioned book.


The Life

As said above, "life" is actually referring to satisfaction.  The original Greek word used for life is zoe, and this is not referring to simply biological life (that's bios in Greek) or the psychological life of a person (that's psuche in Greek).  Zoe, I discovered with some research, is talking about a quality of life, namely a positive life experience, i.e. a satisfying life, or simply, satisfaction.  So Jesus' many statements about him giving "eternal life" to those that receive him is actually saying that lasting satisfaction is imparted upon them when they do so.  This holds perfectly true when understood in the context of the Kairos phenomenon as the vehicle for the deliverance of Divine grace, a vehicle that this is the one and only way to attain lasting satisfaction in our lives, as your experience always has shown and will continue to show, if you look objectively and accurately at it.  So to love this aspect of Lord Jesus Kairos means to love satisfaction, i.e. to value and prioritize true satisfaction, and not settle for the lesser that this imperfect and corrupted world by itself gives us.

~~~

Keeping these three aspects of Saving Grace in mind, also remember that in complete contrast, the Devil/Mara, being evil, expresses itself as the exact opposite, i.e. Lies, Misdirection and Negative Energy.  Both good and evil exist in our world, if we are naive and think only the former happens we neglect the reality that Stevie Wonder exceptionally pointed to in his televised 2015 tribute show when he talked about the importance of love in this world of "spiritual warfare":


“I love you, first of all, because the God that I serve says that we should love everyone.  I also love you because it feels better to love than to hate.  And I believe that if we can just come together, because we must come together, because we are at spiritual warfare. And we must, without question, let the world know that love is king and queen. ... Love is the key.”

“Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute,” February 10th, 2015

In order to "fulfill the time" (fulfill Kairos) one absolutely must be following the Greatest Commandments, i.e. giving Comprehensive, Pure and Bold Love, perfectly; it is the prerequisite for the "eternal life" (i.e. lasting satisfaction) that is offered by this "living bread," it is the way of realizing the full potential of being human, it is the way for our full spiritual maturation to be realized.  Speaking of perfection, it's an unpopular idea in a quick-fix-loving culture no doubt, but it's apparently why we are here all the same; better that we face the reality rather than comfort ourselves with some bunk new-age perspective that says "there are no rules!" and "no one can ever be perfect!"  My life has shown me repeatedly that those are definitely lies; there are rules to the spiritual life, and if we doubt that we can ever follow the Greatest Commandments perfectly than we have lost before we have even begun!  We need to just accept the reality about life and ourselves, and focus more and more on the solution: our spiritual/moral refinement via the Greatest Commandments & Kairos/Lord Jesus, in order to be saved from repeating our failings, and the subsequent dissatisfaction that comes with such repetition.  Becoming free from sin (i.e. no longer missing the mark), we can rise up and align with a higher level of experience.

"Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin." (John 8:34)

"So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus [Kairos]. Therefore do not let sin control your mortal body [i.e. your behavior] so that you obey its [i.e. the devil's] desires." (Romans 6:11-12)


For this and much more on a Christian perspective on Kairos, please see my upcoming book Lord Jesus Kairos.


Love is Bold!


"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you take the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you bring forth what is within you [your Authentic Self], what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”  ~ Jesus (Thomas 70)

The Kairos Moment exit ramps from Samsaric existence that can arise any day or time that we must be patient and watchful for, i.e. the grace of God/Dao, made available to us,  is what I believe is  being referred to in the following quotes when they encourage us to "wait upon the Lord" who is "striding ahead of us" and "with us wherever we go" (i.e. custom-designing opportune upcoming situations for us through the quantum/spiritual level of Reality), and to act boldly/courageously/spontaneously when these situations/moments do arise.   Please don't get hung-up on the masculine-only language in these very old writings used for "God" and the reader, this all obviously applies equally to women, for whom "doing manfully" means simply its definition, i.e. doing/living bravely.


“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
~
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

~ (Joshua 1:9)

"Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord."
~ (Pslam 27:14)

"
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."
~ (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

"Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day (Kairos)  will take you by surprise." 
~ (Luke 21:34)


We might think that acting spontaneously and boldly is "inappropriate," but this is actually a devilish lie that is the complete opposite of the truth.  Acting spontaneously and boldly at Kairos Moments is perfectly appropriate, and is a demonstration of being mentally free; it is an act of love and freedom; to believe it's inappropriate is to be believing in a false morality, i.e. a corrupted Knowledge of Good & Evil, which keeps us from the "Tree of Life/Satisfaction."  Unhesitating boldness is actually absolutely necessary in order to fulfill Kairos Moments, and that's what a person who is truly comprehensively loving would do at those moments.  Kairos is calling us to be completely free from mental slavery to lies; to think that a sort of "meekness" that keeps you from acting boldly/spontaneously is a virtue, is actually to mistake meekness/humility for allegiance with the Devil.  This false morality has of course been indoctrinated into people heavily through the State schooling system, that strongly discourages any bold or spontaneous actions in the classroom, and by the corporate workplace, that discourages the same. 

"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

~ Basil King

"Fortune favors the brave."

~ Virgil (70 B.C. -19 B.C.)

Carrying out inspiration requires that we no longer shrink back from our True Selves (hence Lightheartedness and Energy are 2 of the 7 Factors); irrational fear often leads to hesitation and failure to act when one must, or if action is taken, it is not with the adequate positive energy needed to fulfill the Kairos Moment of opportunity.  We may not be able to control whether fear arises (like with anger), but we can choose to act in a confident and unintimidated way despite their presence in our minds.  Those are things we have control over, hence their inclusion in the Life Rules.  These Rules by the way, I hope you'll see, are not just some random assortment, some "best-of" motivational/inspirational quotes or something.  They've all been repeatedly verified by my own life experiences (and observations), for years.  If there were any more significant ones that fit the restriction of Never or Always I would add them, but over and over it keeps coming back to these 20.  (And those 20 have all turned out to be the details of the Greatest Commandments/5 Loves, so remember the fundamental direction is not complicated; if you feel overwhelmed or confused resist that interference and re-focus on the Greatest Commandments.)

"So do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward. You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised. For, “In just a very while little, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls."  (Hebrews 10:35-39)


A worry-free, positive, relaxed, balanced and aware mindset is based in the Ground of Being and expressed as the Authentic Self.  This is another level of the interconnection/interdependency of these two aspects, again as illustrated in the Yin/Yang symbol (the Tai Chi).  When you engage in the "magic play of a Sage who dwells in the Dao and moves in De," you merge more and more with this Higher Consciousness and Energy, become more free from previous limitation, depression, frustration and dissatisfaction, and begin to gain control over your destiny (in the sense that it will become better), rather than sleepwalking through life unaware of how lower consciousness was creating a lower/unhappy experience.

The inspiration to act for some greater good may be for a long-term goal, or may come suddenly in a window of opportunity for you to act, in which you can give something beneficial.  This is where the idea of Sacred Activism comes in; Kairos Moments always bring us satisfaction, but that satisfaction may be solely from the act of doing something of service for other people, animals and the Earth.  And when we miss these opportunities to serve, we will face continued dissatisfaction, just as we face that when we miss an opportunity to receive something specifically for ourselves.  This experience shows that we are not here on Earth to just gratify ourselves, but to also be of benefit to others; full satisfaction comes from fulfilling both potentialities, and the line between the two can become blurred wherein we are simultaneously giving and receiving in a wonderful Flow.

Other Perfect Symbols of Kairos

And of course there is the phenomenon of rainbows, another Divine manifestation, that look like a bridge, and that manifests only when the right balance of sun (Yang) and water (Yin) are occurring, and that also quickly fade away before our eyes; all of these characteristics also perfectly fit the Kairos Moment phenomenon.  We need to be in perfect harmony with equal Higher Yin & and Yang (which means living the Greatest Commandments) in order to cross over the temporarily manifesting rainbow bridge that takes us to a more satisfying life.


 Also perfectly symbolic of Kairos Moments is the "Dream Catcher," the "dream" of course being our heart's desire, and the net to catch it when it passes by representing the properly prepared mind.  This image below of a Dream Catcher with the Yin & Yang symbol within it is even more fitting, since that prepared mind equates to a mind that practices the receptivity to Dao needed (Yin) and the bold action that's also needed (Yang) to catch the dream.


Interestingly as well, perhaps being an example of what is called "synchromysticism" (multicontextual meaning that was not intended by any person), the symbol for Kosher foods is a five-pointed star, with the letter K in the middle of it, a perfect pictorial representation of the Five (equal) Loves  (torward 1)God, 2) the Holy Spirit, and the 3)Truth, 4)Way and 5)Life of the Son), and Kairos being the central turning point for salvation:


Speaking of Kairos as a central turning point in our lives, that requires boldness to fulfill, that happens to fit the name of an album by Jimi Hendrix: Axis: Bold as Love.

Similar to the above symbol, I also found the Kairos phenomenon perfectly (and much more beautifully) represented in Nature by the 5-pointed epidendrum flower, with the outpouring of beauty at its center:


In the realm of the arts, the fictional super-hero character Batman synchro-mystically fits the exact characteristics needed to succeed at Kairos Moments.  Firstly, he is a detective, a line of work especially emphasized in the earlier stories about him, even being referred to as "The World's Greatest Detective."

Living in Flow and fulfilling Kairos Moments both require us to be a sort of detective of everyday life experiences, we need to look deeply into what is arising to perceive the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, that leads us to "The Holy Grail" offered by Kairos.  We need to "leave no stone unturned" in our daily life, by first seeking them out, investigating our surroundings for any passing possibilities to be loving and bold with another person.  The goal is to make sure throughout our day that we never miss out on something great because of lack of a detective mindset and a misguided timidity; indeed the stone we fail to unturn could well have been a cornerstone in our new and better life.


"For it stands in Scripture: “See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” To you who believe, then, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone...” (1 Peter 2:6-7).

More on the consistent characteristics of Kairos Moments will be given in an upcoming section, but first here are some excellent quotes that speak specifically to the risk taking characteristic of leaving no "stone unturned," stones, i.e. opportunities to interact with others, interactions that are not immediately clear as to whether they will be received well or not, hence the risk, namely the risk of rejection.  Before we begin the quest to fulfill Kairos we must first consider the cost/risk, and decide that we are willing to pay it, if we are going to succeed at the upcoming 1-second window of opportunity.  Jesus spoke of this prerequisite directly when he said: "But don't begin until you count the cost."  Otherwise we will be "unable to finish the work" (Luke 14:28, 29) because we will stumble at that brief moment, not having our plan of action at the ready.

"Only a real risk tests the reality of belief
."
~ C.S. Lewis

"It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win." - John Paul Jones

"You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together." - Earl Nightingdale

"Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves." - Walter Anderson

"Creative risk-taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity." - Gary Ryan Blair

"Risk! ... Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth." - Katherine Mansfield

"Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can and surely will at times fail. Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed or risking love, can be terrifying too. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk." - Joyce Brothers

"Don't worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try." - Jack Canfield

"The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing." - Leo F. Buscaglia

"Nothing worth having comes easy." - Theodore Roosevelt

Usually not recognized as very important, the reason Bruce Wayne took on the name Batman is because bats were what he was most afraid of since he was a child, and rather than running from this fear he faced it head-on, even to the point of personifying a bat and putting its image on his chest, symbolic of him fully embracing his fearA crucial element found within the Batman origin story, i.e. how Bruce Wayne became Batman, is that he had to confront his fear first, and then he became a hero; he had to boldly seek out and engage with his fear, and he did exactly that by seeking out the bat cave and entering it, despite his fear that bats are harmful and would attack him; he had to prove the fear wrong through this seeking and engagement, and the same holds true for us with whatever our fear is.  The fear of rejection/failure is certainly one of the most commonly held fears by humanity (if not the most), and Kairos Moments can give us a perfect opportunity to conquer that fear by presenting us with a perfectly orchestrated situation that requires of us a need to take a risk in a good way.  Again this risk-taking was referred to by Jesus as "paying the cost," and I'll bring that up again in the next section on Jesus & Kairos.)

"Face your fears and they will lose their power over you." - Gill Washington

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. ... You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt


Kairos Moments, crafted by the Divine for our maximum benefit/maturation, usually involve whatever our biggest fear/false-belief is, like fear of rejection (probably originating from an early childhood trauma of real or perceived rejection that instilled the fear of rejection along with the false belief/lie that there's something fundamentally wrong with you, and that's why you were rejected).  So this element of facing the #1 fear and lie, along with his repeated behavior with crime-fighting showing an emphasis on courage and boldness, along with the detective-work of investigating, make Batman, even though in comic-book fashion, a very good example of the type of person we need to become to do justice in the world for ourselves and others through Kairos.  Additionally, a more recent image from the Batman franchise combines the Bat logo with the S for Superman, which I realized further expounds on the Kairos phenomenon, because the S can stand for Savior/Salvation, which Superman is definitely associated with in the comic books and movies.  By facing our greatest fear/weakness (the Bat) at Kairos Moments, we can find Salvation (the S), so both images superimposed on each other make for a perfect symbol for Kairos Moments, synchro-mysticism in action once more.  The enemy which seeks to "steal and destroy" our higher destiny arises (with tension and lies) simultaneously with the saving grace that can give us "a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10).  This makes for a mini "Armageddon," symbolized about 2000 years after it was first written about here:


"Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear." - George Addair

Similarly the well known and long-standing story of a Knight,
Princess and Dragon is a generic premise common to many legends, fairy tales, and chivalric romances (perhaps originating with the  ancient Greek tale of Perseus, who rescued the princess Andromeda from Cetus, a sea monster/dragon); the monster/dragon in these stories parallels the bat in the Batman story.  And the satisfaction Batman receives for stopping crimes like that which killed his parents when he was a child is equivalent to the Princess as the satisfying reward for the Knight for facing his own fear/danger, the Dragon.  This underlying premise is made even more sophisticated within the stories of the noble Knights in search of the Holy Grail.

The Holy Grail

The well-known story of the Knights of the Roundtable searching for the "Holy Grail" actually fits the Kairos phenomenon perfectly.  The Grail, representing a Divine manifestation on Earth, can only be grasped by someone "pure in heart and free of sin" (which is what living in alignment with the 5 Loves is), taking the "leap of faith" that is necessary at the Kairos Moment.


In the story, one of the knights lets the Grail slip through his fingers because he failed to ask "Whom does the Grail serve?," i.e. he doubted that it was for him, so he hesitated, and then the Grail disappeared, leaving him to search again in the wilderness/wasteland for years.  This all perfectly represents the Kairos phenomenon as experienced in real life, although thankfully, in my experience we don't have to wait years for it to come back around again, though I can understand why that more dramatic element would be in the story.  Grasping the Grail is a delicate matter, if we are sloppy and careless we will certainly fail at the short window of opportunity; the mindset that the knight needed to succeed is the exact same mindset that we need to have in order to succeed at Kairos Moments, a mindset of alertness, courage, passion, purpose and love; a mindset that never forgets what it is that would bring us the most fulfillment, a mindset that will not be unfaithful to our True Self and settle for whatever the lesser "secure" and familiar in our life is, doubting that our ideal is attainable; doing so doesn't serve us or anybody else.  There is even more depth to the story of the Holy Grail that's very relevant to Kairos Moments and the Liberation Practice as a whole, the following quote covers this well:

"Another popular version describes the quest of a young knight named Perceval. He was a guest of the Grail King, a man who had long suffered from a serious injury to his manhood [not being a fully matured, confident and authentic person]. During feast, Perceval witnesses a strange procession walk through the hall, young virgins holding such implements as candelabras, a platter, a spear the bled of its own accord, and a cup that glowed with light.  Now, the situation was that the Grail King would be healed if Perceval asked a certain question. Trying not to be rude, Perceval held back his natural curiosity, and said nothing [following a false morality, a Mara-thought, instead of following his natural inclination and intuitive impulse, which are true virtues].  Some time later, he learned what had been expected of him, and realized that he had failed the Grail King, whose serious wound might have been healed. Feeling terrible, he dedicated himself to finding the Grail Castle again and asking the right question. After a number of adventures, he does just that and the Grail King is healed.

     There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story that I will not get into here. One of the most interesting, however, is that the hero (Perceval) achieves his final quest not by answering a riddle or performing some great deed, but by asking a question.  The questions are either a simple "What ails thee, Uncle?" or "What is the secret of the grail? Whom does it serve?"  The answer is not as important as the inquiring mind [a.k.a. "investigation of the dhammas"] that asks the question. Here we find the central element of Western philosophy, encompassing individuality, freedom, compassion, curiosity, and good will. It defines the personal goal of who we are as men. The ultimate achievement of life has nothing to do with power or riches or prestige. It has to do with the quality of who we are as people. ...  The final lesson of the grail is this: there is a grand mystery to life that calls for our awareness and participation, and therein lies our fulfillment of life. We are part of it, and should live our lives accordingly. There are special moments when this mystery confronts us directly. Instead of turning away, we should embrace these experiences as something meaningful and apply them to our understanding of life.  It is then that life expresses itself as a Quest for the Holy Grail. Our every experience, no matter how mundane, becomes a spiritual lesson. In such a quest, our every action is judged by our dedication to truth, either adding to or subtracting from our spiritual growth."

- quoted from http://www.chivalrynow.net/grail.htm

Is all of this concerning Kairos just coincidental and my imagination run wild?  With so much pointing to Kairos as a perfect fit (more of which can be found in my upcoming books Lord Jesus Kairos and The Clarified Dao De Jing), probably not.  But really it is your own life experience that will show you the significance of Kairos Moments more than anything else.  Once you start really paying attention and recognize them (unfortunately always afterward in regretful hindsight in my experience thus far!), you can cross that rainbow bridge.  Aligning with Kairos Moments is no easy task at all; they are actually calling us to perfection, perfection through the Lord/Kairos/Jesus, but it is an attainable perfection, ultimately its "yoke is easy," and "burden is light," and will actually result in more "rest for our souls" (Matthew 11:30), i.e. it's actually ultimately not burdensome to take up this discipline, it actually leads to our liberation.  The following quotes speak to this truth that the difficult Liberation Practice ultimately leads to a life that is much less difficult:

"It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult." ~ Seneca

"The sage treats all things as though they were difficult, and hence, never has difficulty." ~ Lao Tzu, Dao De Jing, chapter 63

In clarified words, when we give strong effort to remain wakeful and with the Flow at all times, that it makes even everyday mundane activities difficult, but in doing so real difficulties and dissatisfaction are actually removed from our lives.  The needed level of Awareness, of Presence, isn't achieved through casual effort.  As the Dao De Jing also says (in chapter 15), we must be as careful as someone crossing over an iced-over stream, as alert as a warrior in enemy territory; this is not partial care or alertness!  Again and again in my life I've experienced being off the mark at key moments due to my limited care and awareness, due to the fact that I was somewhat sleepwalking through life.

Also to help clarify the Kairos phenomenon (it took me a long time to myself, long after I first became really aware of it), below are some crucial things to keep in mind about it, namely some key characteristics of Kairos, and key logic concerning Kairos.

Summarized Characteristics of Kairos
  1. The Kairos Moment will always present (potentially) exactly what would bring you lasting satisfaction in some way, and this lasting satisfaction, this perfect match for you, never finds you via any other circumstance.
  2. This potential is however not at all clear or certain at first, it's never a sure thing, it seems unlikely to be what you're really looking for at the time; this unlikeliness was illustrated by Jesus by saying the Kingdom of Heaven (the dimension of Heaven that intersects with Earth at Kairos Moments) is like a "mustard seed."  So something very unlikely, but not containing zero potential, should be expected; it never will appear sure right away that it's worth your effort and risking of rejection, so it requires charitable agape love on your part, a pure selfless giving.  to be given boldly/courageously/fearlessly, without unconfident or self-concerned hesitation.  Then you can investigate fully with questioning and sharing everything on your mind until the truth is known for sure.
  3. The Moment will always have either internal or external resistance to its fullfillment, "storms" that further test your adherence to the Greatest Commandments; they happen either at the same exact time as the K.M., or soon afterward (when you could still be affected by it).  Internally the storm is usually associated with a fear you still haven't conquered, e.g. fear of rejection/failure, but it can be prideful thoughts too; externally it can be other people or things serving as a distraction, whether they are friendly (pride-inducing) or unfriendly (fear-inducing).  These "storms" need to be fully expected in order not to be thrown off by them time and time again.
  4. The Moment will usually happen when your faith has waned, i.e. when your expectant watchfulness has faded, even if just for a few moments, "when you least expect it."
  5. "Endurance until the end" is necessary, i.e. beginning the interaction boldy is not enough, you must continue to confidently ask questions and share all authentic comments that arise in your mind, otherwise the potential will not be realized, the interaction "will not bear fruit," because you were "lacking a strong root," i.e. a strong root in the truth and faith in yourself, the other person, and the grace of God (on other words, not obeying the Greatest Commandments perfectly).


Key Logic of Kairos That Needs to be Grasped

  1. Brief Moments (1 or 2 seconds in duration) of potential to fulfill a healthy desire do oftentimes arise for people in their everyday lives, and because 1 or 2 seconds is insufficient to investigate and discover what the potential is in reality, it's physically necessary to engage with the person in order to extend the period of interaction beyond a couple seconds so that proper investigation can take place.  This engagement must also logically be done immediately if you are about to part ways with the person, because in these scenarios without an immediate engagement that prolongs the interaction the person/opportunity will be lost, as that is part of the unchanging nature of the Kairos phenomenon.
  2. If you are doubtful that Grace is delivered in this way, the only way to prove it's not is to do Step 1.
  3. If you are fearful of rejection/failure/embarrassment (or whatever else), the only way to prove that the fear is rational to act on is to do Step 1.  And in fact regardless of what happens, acting on the fear would still be irrational because it is irrational to assume that a negative outcome would occur every time you faced your fear.
  4. Believing that taking the easier route of not facing your fear (e.g. not taking the risk of failure) at Kairos Moments will make your life easier overall is irrational and false; missed opportunities make your life overall more difficult.
  5. The uncertainty of the potential presented should be expected and accepted, not taken as reason to let the opportunity to interact pass by.  Even if you only perceive 1% potential, purely on a superficial basis, that should be taken as reason to act immediately, because nothing more than a slight and superficial potential can be shown in 1 or 2 seconds; immediate and prolonged investigation is needed to discern what greater depth there is.  In this way the most discussed two lines in all of John Keats's poetry, ”Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know" ring very true in the context of Kairos Moments.  All you need to know is that you see Beauty, and act on that Truth, so that you can discover greater Truth.  All you will see in that brief Moment is something that you find Beautiful in some way, again because that's all that's possible to be shown and known in such a brief Moment.  When/if thoughts come up in your mind saying something like "This probably isn't really what I'm looking for," it probably is!  No matter how unlikely it seems, again even if it seems 99% unlikely, verify what the Truth is!  A meager evaluation of 1% mustard-seed potential may very quickly turn out to be way off the mark, and that's no accident, it's actually Mara-thoughts trying to sabotage the opportunity (and your happiness) once again.  Remember seeming unlikeness is a consistent characteristic of Kairos Moments, expect it to be unclear.
  6. Realize too that it's true that the uncertainty of the Moment is actually a key element within it that makes for its potential to actually be greater, and that's because receiving something you really want through a bold and loving risk-taking action will make reception of that desire even more satisfying to have.  If we were just given everything we ever wanted without having to do anything noble to receive it, having those things wouldn't be as satisfying.  Remember that we are talking about Divine Grace here, so it is perfect, and part of that perfection is that it will deliver not only exactly what we want and would satisfy us, but God delivers this gift via means that make it even more satisfying through risk-taking, and even more so by being the means to confront and conquer our fear!  It's completely transformational externally and internally, making it of maximum benefit.  Again God doesn't mess with half-measures when sending His Son (Jesus Kairos) to save someone from an unhappy life.  Therefore it's rational for the Moment to be seemingly low in potential, thereby increasing the risk that you're taking and the quality of love you're giving, and thereby increasing the later satisfaction when the potential is realized and fulfilled.  This maximum satisfaction is the lasting satisfaction that Jesus often referred to, but in the unclear/unproperly-translated words "eternal life."

So, next we will look more deeply into the details of perfecting our Virtue, for the benefit of others, and ourselves.


The Details of Virtue


"Marcus[Aurelius] links... three philosophical exercises to their corresponding virtues.  We thus have the following schema:

Discipline                  Corresponding virtue

Of Desire                   Temperance (sophrosyne); Absence of worries (ataraxia)

Of Inclinations             Justice (dikaiosyne)

Of Assent                   Truth (aletheia); absence of hurry (aproptosia)

Marcus enumerates the three virtues corresponding to the three disciplines in the following terms: "Absence of hurry, love of our fellow-men, obedience to the gods."

- Philosophy as a Way of Life by Pierre Hadot, p. 198-199

The above three virtues actually correspond exactly to the Greatest Commandments; "Absence of hurry"/Never Hurry is an act of self-love, "love of our fellow men" is obviously love of others, and "obedience to the gods" fits loving attention to Dao/Divinity/Reality.  Having discovered these virtues of Marcus Aurelius after writing on the Greatest Commandments, for me is more verification that this truth has always been there, and has been discovered by people throughout the world, throughout history (but often lost in a jumble of other teachings of inferior quality).

The Practice is at its core one of spiritual/ethical maturation, and so all opportunities to mature should be welcomed, and the negative consequences of those missed as necessities of a process of evolution, a process that will keep offering you new opportunities, so you have no reason to become discouraged.  We can have a rational faith and optimism based on patterns we've experienced in our lives, specifically remembering all the opportunities for growth that have come in the past, and recognition that they keep on coming, every day.  When we see over and over the key importance of loving attention for others, self-love and attention to God/Dao, the truth of "you reap what you sow" becomes clear on a very personal experiential level.  And by Dao giving us love and truth we are given the the divine example to follow, by giving love and truth to ourselves and others. 


Following the Divine example, we can see that the words of St. Francis of Assisi that "it is in giving that we receive" are actually true to life, because love is of course the paramount form of giving, the Greatest Commandments are really all about giving.  Another similar saying to the previous is "giving is its own reward," and that's true, along with it also possibly bringing us closer to the reward of things we personally desire as well.  Also we have "He [i.e. God] will render to each one according to his works" (Romans 2:6), which also points to this "meeting the universe halfway" dynamic that must occur for significant progress.  Without more clarity on what this "giving" and "works" translates to specifically in everyday life (i.e. the Noble Eightfold Path and Greatest Commandments/Life Rules), coupled with the requirement that they be followed in every situation, 24 hours a day, these sayings have often been little more than nice-sounding thoughts for most of us.  Something else to further the needed clarity: if you follow Mara-thoughts concerning your giving, thoughts which wrongly tell you when the giving is not worth doing, you will be misled once again.  We should just give for the sake of giving; plus it makes us feel good right away to give (the instant reward), and that good feeling will also give us more peace of mind, peace which is crucial for the Liberation Practice.  Additionally, part of understanding this karmic dynamic includes the qualification that there should be no expectation of receiving something material in return with our giving of love; to do so would be to still be coming from a mindset of craving, which is a type of mental disturbance, one of the "Three Poisons," that keeps us in Samsara; therefore all that should concern us is giving love to ourselves, others and Dao equally.  And as I said before, Kairos moments are actually each crafted so that they are calling for this supreme form of Love, there is never the clarity that your love will be returned to you from the person you give it to in that Moment.


"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)


"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched."  (Proverbs 11:24-25)

 

If we ask: "What are these Greatest Commandments/Rules of Life with their karmic rewards and punishments training us for?", we can see that following them makes us more mature, empowered, alive, lighthearted, authentic, confident, assertive, loving, aware, happy and revolutionary beings; it's humans realizing their full potential, being the best and most satisfied people they can be.  Such an inherent karmic structure to our Reality, by the way and worth mentioning, fits the bill of a loving Creator.  Thus we can see that the Divine will is for our own empowerment/evolution/maturation, which is something that makes sense for us to want deeply as well; when our will matches that Divine will in certitude, then we will realize more fulfilling and happy lives.  We have to really want to be more confident, authentic and loving, we have to have that higher intention and give consistent effort toward it, otherwise we will keep missing the positive potentiality of Kairos Moments that are custom-made for each of us, giving openings for exactly what would make us more empowered and satisfied (and also do real good for others), even beyond what we may have imagined.  This confidence and authenticity takes courage, as e.e. cummings said "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." 


Succumbing to Mara's influence is ultimately an expression of cowardice (like the influence of the ring of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings) and is called "disobedience to God" in Christian terms.  This cowardice/disobedience not only betrays the Divine will for mankind, but it betrays others and ourselves, undermining our own happiness; we become our own worst enemy by being an enemy of Dao/God.

"Behold, God enjoins justice and the doing of good and generosity toward one's fellow men, and He forbids all that is shameful and all that runs counter to reason."

~ The Koran, (16:90) 

When we start to see the way life works more deeply, we begin to understand that we receive a level of reward contingent on our level of evolution in aligning with true Virtue, with Divine Nature.  We see that the same dissatisfying patterns (the correct interpretation of the term "Samsara"), whether in dysfunctional relationships, or very stressful work, etc., have been a direct result of us failing to learn and follow the lessons Life/Dao has repeatedly been showing us when we miss that alignment, when we "miss the mark" (the meaning of "sin").  We can see how similar choices in similar circumstances, patterns of pivotal bad decisions at opportune moments (the definition of Kairos, usually just mistranslated as "time" in the Bible), that were lacking love of self, of others, the truth of the situation (love of "The Truth"), Guidance ("The Way"), and Positive Energy ("The Life"), lead to similar "dead-ends" in our lives, rather than something lastingly fulfilling and beneficial.  These 5 expressions of love (which are the "Greatest Commandments" given by Jesus), or lack thereof, equate to certain everyday behaviors respectively; without recognition of these particulars, we remain ignorant of the important details of love and the karmic reality in which it plays.  These particulars, revealed via experiential life lessons, show certain rules of life that need to be followed, i.e. what prevents mental disturbance & falling out of Divine Flow, and what increases peace, happiness & spiritual progress.  Diane Dreher hits on this crucial truth in her translation of chapter 21 of the Dao De Jing:  "The greatest wisdom is to follow Tao. ... within [it] are vital principles, principles of truth... The Lessons of life inherent in Tao."  These lessons, that I've been shown repeatedly for years and to this day, teach us the particular rules, the crucial specifics of the Practice that always hold true and need to be remembered; all of the following are based on real life experiences, it's not just ideas that I think are good, I was shown that they are good and worth remembering.  Each of the "Never..." Life Rules I also discovered correspond to one of the Three Poisons of Samsara (which makes perfect sense, since that Dharma is also a true wisdom teaching), so I indicate which Poison it is in bold lettering.  Again making perfect sense, all of the Life Rules also turned out to correspond to the Greatest Commandments to love the truine God (as the Guiding Holy Spirit, and the Truth, and Life/Satisfaction of the Son), and Others as Ourself, all also indicated in bold.                

The Life Rules

1.   Never Worry[Love of Truth, because to worry is to believe the lie/delusion that worrying is productive, and Love of Satisfaction/Positive Energy because worry disturbs the mind.]

2.   Never Rush. (but that doesn't mean hang around unnecessarily and be late for people or an event, or that you can never move quickly).  [Love of Truth, because to rush is to believe the lie/delusion that rushing is productive, and Love of Satisfaction/Positive Energy because rushing disturbs the mind. Rushing energy can include ravenous over-indulgance of something like sweet foods, the result being an experience that is no longer personally pleasurable and can cause friction with others as well.]

3.   Never Assume[Love of Truth, because to assume is to believe the lie/delusion that you know something is true when you really don't know. e.g. if you don't hear what someone said clearly, don't assume to know what they said or assume that it wasn't anything important or that it wasn't something that needed to be replied to.  This avoids troublesome misperceptions on both sides.]

4.   Never React With or Hold Anger or Craving[Love of Satisfaction/Positive Energy, & Truth, because anger and craving are forms of negative energy, and also to react with anger or craving is to believe the lie/delusion that doing so is productive/healthy, it never is; for the sake of fulfilling Kairos Moments one must always defer their anger.  Avoid being too easily offended, e.g. a child acts strngely toward you.  Avoid/reject impatience, which is actually just a form of reacting with anger]

5.   Never Be Intimidated[Love of Self, & Truth, because to be intimidated is either a) to believe the lie/delusion that you know that someone is a threat when it's not clear that they are), or b) to believe the lie/delusion that the negative viewpoint of another person is legitimate, and thereby the response of being intimidated is also legitimate.  It's always rational to choose to not be intimidated, because an intimidated mind is a disturbed mind, which only makes matters worse for yourself (by hindering awareness and critical thinking ability that can serve your safety/self-defense/escape if there is actually a real threat); hence it's Love of Self, & Truth.  It's also always rational to reject intimidation when exposed to a toxic-personality; we may believe changing our behavior in order to avoid a particular toxic-reaction is the better way to go, but no matter how likely that outcome is, we should not change our natural behavior for them, because it can (and probably will) be used against you, by the behavior fitting the negative projection the toxic personality was putting on you; the crucial truth to love in order defeat that lie is: "It's better to always be yourself (Love of Self & Truth) regardless of what negative reaction comes from the toxic person."  Being intimidated also enables/supports the wicked behavior of someone purposely trying to intimidate someone, and so thereby you're still loving and practcing a lie in that way too.  ]

6.   Never Commit to Something You're Uncertain Of[Love of Other, & Truth, because to make such a commitment is to believe and act as though you're sure of something when you're not, which is to believe a lie/delusion, often resulting in additional interpersonal problems/disturbances.]

7.   Never Daydream[Love of Truth, & Satisfaction/Positive Energy, because daydreams are by definition a distraction from the present moment/Reality/Truth, and a better life is only gained through present-moment awareness; daydreams are distinguished here as different than Creative thought; Creative thought is different because it is focused on the present-moment, or the future in a productive way.  Daydreams can often be imaginings filled with the Poisons of anger or craving, or they can just be pointless distraction, in any case, to engage with whatever daydream is to disconnect from Reality, to be engaged in delusion that undermines the Liberation Practice, again remember, a Practice which requires present-moment awareness/engagement.  Daydreaming can also be dangerous, even when just momentary, it can make you unaware and unresponsive at a critical moment where your immediate action is needed to prevent a bad outcome, or align with a great possibility offered in a Kairos Moment.  So to daydream is to believe the lie that daydreaming is perfectly harmless.]

8.   Never Fool Around.  (different than being playful, it's actually being delusional, and results in doing something regretful and/or unconscientious, though at the time you go ahead, believing the lie that it's not regretful or unconscientious, that it's "no big deal."  So always err on the side of caution when in a so-called "playful" or "silly" mood, it may be be Mara-mind impersonating such harmless behavior with something toxic.)  [Love of Other, & Truth.]

9.   Never Speak of, Share, Watch or Listen to Anything Grotesque or Disturbing Unnecessarily.  [Love of Satisfaction/Positive Energy & Other, and Truth because to do so is to believe the lie/delusion that it is necessary and/or harmless to do so; it's definitely not.]

10.  Never Fuss[Love of Truth because to fuss is to give excess attention to things that shouldn't be fixated on (e.g. watching negative/toxic "news" and entertainment, repeatedly looking at nearby toxic people/things, "harping on the negative" in conversation, or fussing with something physically unnecessarily).  When engaged in fussing/fixating one is believing the lie/delusion that such fussing is productive.  This may seem like an unimportant Life Rule, but it's definitely not.  Mara-mind may often convince us to fixate on something that shouldn't be fixated on, and in so doing it a) wastes our time, b) disturbs our mind, and c) takes us out of a good Flow; all of which are antithetical to the Liberation Practice.]


 

1.   Always Be Mindful of What You're Physically Doing, and What's Happening Around You. (e.g. your posture, your breath, what you're holding, who you're passing by on the street, etc.  And at times the general mindfulness should transition to relaxed concentration, it's opposite is being stressed and distracted; tension can influence you to not look clearly at someone or something, so reject that energy if it arises in your mind.)  [Love of Truth & Satisfaction/Positive Energy.]

2.   Always Stay Sober and Support Your Health[Love of Satisfaction/Positive Energy, & Truth.]

3.   Always Act With Confidence.  (Believe that you are a fundamentally good person, not inherently flawed because of the lie/delusion of "inherited sin" or because of past mistakes.  Love yourself by not believing lies about yourself and also by honoring your healthy desires/like/dislikes when such circumstances arise, e.g. if you don't want something say so confidently and immediately without second'guessing yourself.)  [Love of Self, & Truth.]

4.   Always Follow the daily Guidance of external & internal Flow/Dao/Nature.  (for navigating through daily life circumstances, getting into synchronization with Flow, increasing the likelihood of positive Kairos Moments and decreasing haphazard, unproductive and otherwise negative circumstances; be open to "divine delays" and "happy accidents."  Discerning Flow is not "reading omens/signs," it is recognizing Truth, moment by moment.  Something may be pointing you toward the Truth, but it's your own recognition of the Truth that is followed, not pointers/signs themselves; the former must follow the latter to stay in Flow; this is key to understand in order to avoid the unproductive delusion of reading "omens.")  [Love of the Holy Spirit's Guidance.]

5.   Always Share Every Authentic Thought That Arises When in an Interaction with Someone Else.  (If the intuition/conscience/authentic thought is to offer kindness to someone, don't ever withhold it, doing so can severely sabotage your life for the worse; hence Jesus emphasized the importance of treating your neighbor as yourself. especially when you have an Intuitive impulse to do so; if the idea is not to be done immediately,)  [Love of the Holy Spirit's Guidance & Truth.]

6.   Always Reject Aggression, Subjugation and False Implication in any form.  (including passive-aggressiveness and projection, and any level of involuntary servitude, and projection of some false quality/action on yourself by others)  [Love of Self & Truth.]

7.   Always Prioritze Peace, Quiet and Relaxation. (tension and disturbance are anthetical to the Liberation Practice; to fill your life with unnessary noise is extremely foolish, to believe it is harmless is to believe a lie/delusion) [Love of Satissfaction/Positive Energy, Self, & Truth.]

8.   Always Be Willing to Serve a Greater Cause.  (when opportunities arise to do so, and/or you feel the urge to; when we don't act immediately at these times, we are probably believing the lie/delusion that the particular action at that time "doesn't matter," "can be done later, "or that "it's rude/inappropriate," when all turn out to be completely false; do/say sometging against lies/injustice right away, no matter hoe "insufficient" or "risky" Mara-thoughts tell you it is.)  [Love of Other & Truth.]

9.   Always Consider Very Likely Outcomes.  (different than assuming; the consideration being referred to, used for decision-making, is just the operation of common sense, sans assumption, e.g. take note of it, if it is likely uou will forget it later, like the name of someone new you just met.[Love of Truth.]

10.   Always Seek & Expect Kairos Moments to Engage With.  (remember to remember that they can arise at any time; this alertness and expectancy is for a perfect opportunity for you to recieve and give satisfaction/positive energy, and for the circumstantial/internal "storm" that will also arise in opposition at the same time or shortly beforehand, testing your mindfulness and concentration; Kairos Moments are in this way mini-armageddons.  So with boldness, courage and good cheer, move forward with relaxation and concentrtion, and without hesitation.[Love of the Holy Spirit's Guidance, & Truth.]


One's intuition, natural healthy desires, and the Dao will all communicate differently to everyone depending on their individuality and circumstances; what will hold true for anyone is that in order to align with the Flow one must follow the 5 Loves/Life Rules, not doing so will inevitably take you out of Flow.  The Rules are aspects of the 5 Loves that hold true in any situation; other acts of love vary depending on the situation.  If we constantly use living-the-equalized-5-Loves as our compass for decision-making, then we will stop making the mistake of falling for Mara/pain-body ideas that lead to poor daily choices.

"Always Be Mindful" is really the main rule, because real spiritual progress depends on how often we maintain it.  To live the 5 Loves consistently (a commandment is calling for consistency after all!), we necessarily must live an exceedingly mindful life.  If our mindfulness is only occasional, then we will surely be misled by Mara-thoughts, miss Guidance, and miss the full positive potential of various circumstances during the times we have let our guard down, i.e. when we have slacked in our mindfulness of the 5 Loves; if we could just live one day perfectly what a difference it would likely make! 

The circumstantial/existential Flow organically arises on its own, it's the stream of Life carrying Grace.  The right mindset to perceive it is poetically put this way by John O'Donohue:  "I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding."  If we learn to be in tune with this divine communication and flow of events, free of a worried/rushed/etc. mindset, then we will make steady progress, no longer sabotaged by Mara-thoughtsWhen you start paying more attention to the everyday "mundane" time of your life, you will see that the extraordinary can arise within it; life-changing opportunities to give & receive can come at any time in any place.  Zen philosophy rightly emphasizes the "ordinary" as the means to enlightenment, and to holding a "beginner's mind" that constantly looks at the world from a fresh perspective, not dulled and limited by a jaded, irrationally negative mind-set; however Zen also often wrongly endorses an irrational amorality and belief in in no-Self/Soul, which undermines an otherwise effective practice (as explained in my Wrong Understanding essay on Buddhism). The I Ching advises us perfectly this way:

"It is in the quiet contemplation of what is correct that we become detached from anxious emotions about the situations that face us.  This detachment gives us the balance and calm to choose solutions which are in accordance with higher lawsIn so doing we gain the aid of the Creative in everything we do."

~ The I Ching, translated by Brian Browne Walker, Hexagram 20 / "Contemplation"

I can't emphasize this point enough: Never Worry, Never Rush, Never Assume, etc. means not at all, not even a tiny bit.  That tiny bit, even for just a single second, is what can take you out of a good Flow and into a crappy one, making you feel worse when you realize the full potential of your life was once again sabotaged, as I have learned experientially countless times.  And the same of course goes for the Always rules, it really must be always; if you violate any of them for just a moment it can have regretful consequences.  It's not just major life decisions that are important (like with career, marriage, living location, diet & lifestyle, etc.), it's the minor choices we make every day too.  Time and time again it was when I let myself act, even just slightly, in a rushed, worried, unconfident, unmindful, etc. way, that I fouled up some interaction that could have been beneficial to others, myself, or both.

"Blessed are those who do His commandments (all the time)... but outside (the gates) are... whoever loves and practices a lie."  (Revelation 22:14-15)

Repeated life experiences have shown me that violation of these Life Rules, which is also a violation of the "Greatest Commandments" in various ways, always has a negative effect in our lives.  We are given “love-tests” on a daily basis, and our lives are mainly shaped by our performance (i.e. our adherence to the Commandments) during those love-tests; our whole life can actually be thought of as one continuous love-test, though some moments are more of a test than others for sure.  What makes moments more of a test is when they consist of circumstances wherein it could seem more reasonable to violate the Commandments/Life Rules, and rush, worry, assume, react with anger, etc., but it's still not a time to do so, because it would still be "loving and practicing a lie" to do so.  We must be aware of all lie-based behavior that we might engage in, and stay on top of it, like Archangel Michael on top of the devil, armed with the crucial truths that nullify the power each lie has over us. 



Again what's so very crucial to understand is that the opposition to our spiritual development/enlightenment/salvation is mainly lies, and that fits the main description of the Adversary, the Devil, he is the "Father of lies."  As I pointed out alongside all the Life Rules, each of them correspond with Love of Truth and are countering specific lies that are the foundation for behavior that takes us out of Divine FlowEvery time you follow thoughts of worry, rush, assumption, fear, anger or craving, you are believing a lie, you are falling for the Devil/Mara's tricks that sabotage your life.  When you begin to see clearly when your behavior has been lie-based, and therefore unnatural, and when you can instead act fully aligned with truth, then you can align with Grace as a free human-being.  We must "renew our minds" regularly with the corresponding truths (affirmations) to destroy the influence of these lies over us, otherwise we are still in a sense obeying the Enemy, and not God/Truth/Love.  And it is impossible to serve both God and the Devil, "no one can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24) that are diametrically opposed to one another, as God and the Devil certainly are.  If you believe the idea of being a slave to the Devil is just fantasy, see if you can go even one day without ever worrying, rushing or assuming!  I have yet to accomplish that, even after being aware of this reality for some time; knowing is half the battle, and to make that knowing perfect and without any doubt we must regularly renew our minds with the crucial truths that counter each of the lies, as I have stated them in the Life Rules.  When you discover certain types of assumptions you have been making it's even better to call out that specific behavior when affirming that assumptions are lie-based, just as when you discover particular lies you have been believing about yourself, or Grace/God/Life.  For example, if you've been assuming people are bad in some way even though you don't know them at all, affirm: "To believe I know someone is bad in some way when I don't know them at all is to believe the lie that I know something about them that I really don't."

The Bible says that God is looking for opportunities "to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him" (2 Chronicles 16:9) and "Blessed is the man...[who's] delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1-2).  Also in commentary on Ecclesiastes 12 we read that keeping the commandments should really be our only concern, the "whole of man," most of our other concerns being nothing more than vanity.

So focus on those Life Rules, on daily meditation, and daily affirmation of the particular crucial truths to counter known Mara-lies still operating in your subconscious, and maintain a relaxed mind, receptive to Guidance and what's happening in the Now. 

"The Power of Now"

My experiences over the years has verified this consistently: when a Kairos moment arises as part of a Flow, it will be more significant than you would normally think it would be.  Through tuning into our own Inner Flow and Authenticity, and outer Divine guidance and Flow, paying very close attention to the seemingly mundane, we may find the extraordinary emerges through Kairos Moments, moments that are usually never expected or noticed.  We need to take care to stay deeply present and fully aware of what's happening; then we can fulfill Kairos Moments that can bring us greater satisfaction than we could ever gain through our own efforts alone.  Being deeply present has immediate benefits too, regardless of whether a Kairos Moment is fulfilled or not; everything we do will be done better and with less stress.  This is very important to keep in mind, as Lao Tzu said, we must "be as careful at the end as we are at the start, then there will be nothing spoiled" (Dao De Jing, chapter 64).  If we go on "auto-pilot" through stretches of our day and are only committed to being fully aware and aligned with the Greatest Commandments sometimes, being less haphazard, that wont be enough, just as eating less animal products isn't necessarily enough to prevent heart disease and other health problems, you have to eliminate the bad behavior completely. 

When we are immersed in the present Reality fully and committed to the Greatest Commandments fully then there is no room left for Mara to sabotage our lives, we crowd him out with the full sensory experience of life coupled with pure conscious awareness aligned with comprehensive love

"Make the most of the times [i.e. every kairos opportunity], because the days in which we live are evil." (Ephesians 5:16)

We never know the minute or the hour a moment will be very significant (it's usually when we least expect it), so again the practice must be continual mindfulness of inner and outer Reality.  Since we must have that continuity of alertness, every moment must be treated as potentially sacred, or in the words of Albert Einstein: 'There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."  It's easy to skim over the crucial truth that we need to be alert every moment, I know from my repeated failures, but don't be mistaken, if you think you can slack off for even a few seconds, that's exactly when Kairos will arise, by design, instructing you to perfect your obedience to the Greatest Commandments.  Perfect faithfulness to God and His Grace, perfect love to Others and Yourself; this is not easy, but it is surely doable, if we commit to it 100%, if we really make God #1 in our lives.

The Life Rule that includes "Always Be Mindful of What's Happening Around You" is speaking to this spatial awareness/alertness that is important beyond safety, as when walking across a road; this awareness is key for fulfilling Kairos Moments and upgrading your life significantly.  Something of significance could be right next to you, but you may not act skillfully or even look clearly at it, being rushed, worried, etc.  Any time you find yourself clenching up internally in some way, take a deep breath and become more watchful everything happening around you.  Today with so many people with their heads down into "smart" phones while they're out, they could be sitting next to a new good friend and never know it (or mess up the full potential of the interaction because of the distraction), or be next to someone that needs help and also be oblivious to it.  I have recognized this happening to myself after the fact, I try now to only use my phone now when no other interactions are possible, preventing the evil tech from sabotaging a Kairos Moment by greatly reducing my awareness.

Always Carry Out Intuitive Impulses is a rule of self-love/trust, and trust in and love of God; we must honor that soulful part of ourselves rather than let ourselves be dissuaded and distracted by lesser things.  When
you get Intuition to do something, but you ignore it, and later regret doing so because you see how it would have kept you and/or others in better circumstances.  Ignoring Intuition is ultimately ignoring God, being in disobedience to the perfect omniscient knowing and loving intention of the Creator, and that's always a foolish thing to do! 

Part of being aligned with inner & outer Nature is to "Always Honor Your Innermost Wholesome Desires," since by being true to our heart's desire we align more with Dao; the two are synergistic.  We honor our natural desires first of all by getting clear on what exactly ignites and holds a deep natural desire within us.  Secondly we honor these natural desires by recognizing and acting on the opportunities that come our way (in Kairos Moments) to actually fulfill them.  We can't accomplish either if we are letting false beliefs and tension cloud our perception, so again rejecting the lies and prioritizing mental peace is absolutely crucial.  Right Concentration is one of the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path, and we must develop this faculty if we are going to pierce through delusion (e.g. assumption) and see what is clearly in front of us, good or bad.  The following quote explains this very well:

"The root cause of many failures in life is lack of concentration. Attention is like a searchlight; when its beam is spread over a vast area, its power to focus on a particular object becomes weak, but focused on one thing at a time,it becomes powerful. Great men are men of concentration. They put thier whole mind on one thing at a time. ... A calm person has his senses fully identified with the environment in which he places himself. A restless person does not notice anything; consequently he gets into trouble with himself and others and misunderstands everything... Never change the center of your concentration from calmness to restlessness. Perform activities only with concentration. Always center your whole mind on whatever you may be doing, however small or seemingly unimportant it may be. Also learn to keep your mind flexible so that you can transfer your attention at a moment's notice. But above all do everything with one hundred percent concentration. Most people do everything half-heartedly. They use only about one-tenth of thier attention. That is why they haven't the power to succeed... When you use that focusing power of God, you can place it on anything and be a success."

- Where There is Light by Paramahansa Yogananda, p. 63-64

And Jesus too spoke of the crucial importance of concentration here:
"Jesus told him, 'Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God."  (Luke 9:62)

Back to the Life Rules, it's good to repeat that an important thing to remember is that there are no exceptions to these rules (I know from years of violating them, to this day!), there is no down time with spiritual practice, the times we think it doesn't matter to lack love in these 5 areas will inevitably be times that it does matter, i.e. times you will lose a positive Flow and get negative feedback from Reality.  No matter how mundane (or how hectic) the situation at hand, maintaining deep Presence is key in order to live in this more loving way, in order to reject internal & external Mara-ideas and instead align with Dao & Buddha-Nature (outer & inner Flow).  This can seem a daunting task at first, but as you succeed at following these laws of Nature more and more, you will feel more and more good energy, and your life will become better and better; little things can quickly add up to big things, and so refocusing back on the present moment fully again and again becomes the rational priority.  This is a process of actually be becoming more your True Self, maturing into the truly free and loving individual that you always were at your core, no longer acting by the direction of inner & outer saboteurs.  This discipline may at first feel strange and burdensome, but the effort is surely worth it; the results of this inner-cultivation will be a transformed life.  Always, every second of the day, no matter what else you're doing or what else is happening, be actively looking for the Guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God that comes through His son, Lord Jesus Kairos; this must take priority over all else, no matter how seemingly important the other thing is, in order to not miss the opportunities offered by Kairos Moments; this is the missing needed details of the Greatest Commandment to "Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind."

The countless times I've recognized my mistakes in hindsight (usually on a daily basis) with a very frustrated regret (with gnashing of teeth, just as Jesus said would happen), I've known full-well the truth of dissatisfaction/suffering being an integral part of Samsaric experience.  This comes as negative circumstantial feedback that shortly follows a missed Kairos Moment, as well as immediate negative consequence as you see immediate negative consequence to your failure to act correctly, like someone misunderstanding your behavior and having their feelings hurt.  What's helped me the most get through the regret of these failures without it spiraling down into anger and deep depression is remembering that new opportunities to get it right, new exit ramps ("rainbow bridges") out of Samsara, keep on re-appearing, Divinity keeps giving us new chances to be a better person and to have a better life.  Realizing the full potential of these chances requires an unrushed, unworried, unassuming mind, (along with the rest of the Life Rules & Seven Factors); studying those lessons/teachings daily and meditating daily is essential, our habits and beliefs will not change on their own.  Then we can gain the greater conscious awareness of Mara-ideas and the inner tension that accompanies them, then we can take the moment needed to contemplate whether an idea that pops in our mind is toxic or not, and reject it if it is, rather than go with it like we normally do.  Then we can harmonize with Dao and our Authentic Selves, then we can start having a better life.  Although the needed effort/dedication/consistency is very demanding, remember the otherwise mundane experiences of everyday life regularly hold hidden treasure, so you can think of yourself as a full-time treasure-hunter trying to discover the subtle that others usually overlook. 

Crucial Bible Meanings Lost in Translation

Speaking of this treasure, the famous line in the Bible "For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also" (Matthew 6:21 & Luke 12:34), is actually, I believe,  mistranslation, specifically mistranslating the word "heart."  This is made apparent firstly because "your treasure" is speaking of your heart's desire, so that makes the statement out to be "where your heart's desire is, there will be your heart too," which is just a redundant/meaningless statement, not a wisdom teaching as we should expect from Jesus.  Once it became clear to me that our treasure is actually also where our fear is as well, I looked into the original Greek for the word heart, and sure enough, it can be rendered as emotional turmoil, i.e. fear, making the statement actually "For where your treasure is, there will be your feat also," and that's indeed crucial wisdom.


"Many are called, but few are chosen."  This doesn't make sense, since to be called and chosen are the same thing; the mistranslation is made apparent by the repetition, just like with "Where your treasure (heart's desire) is there will your heart be also."  "Chosen," when the original Greek word ἐκλέγω is researched in Christian use, actually means "to obtain salvation through Christ," and with that meaning the statement makes perfect sense, and transmits crucial wisdom too, just as the treasure/heart passage does when properly translated.  Many are indeed called to the salvation offered by Kairos Moments, but very few actually obtain this salvation through Christ

Another poor translation you've probably heard before is "The wages of sin is death," but "sin" actually translates to "missing the mark," and "death" equates to dissatisfaction (obviously you don't literally die whenever you commit a sin; if that were so us humans would probably go quickly extinct!).

 

Devotion to the Divine


Faith

"What is faith? It is confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead."  (Hebrews 11:1)

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must fully believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."  (Hebrews 11:6)


"Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always."  (Romans 12:12)

Jesus said that if we have faith, and never doubt, then we can "move mountains" in our lives, i.e. we can overcome major obstacles (Matthew 21:21).  And when do we show doubt most?  Exactly at the times that have the most potential for positive change, Kairos Moments.  Jesus isn't talking about not doubting things you already don't doubt; again Grace is designed for outer and inner transformation.  Galatians 3:23-24 says this: "Before this faith came, we were held in custody under the Law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  So the Law became our guardian to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."  The Law being the Greatest Commandments, that hold us in custody/disatisfaction until we obey them completely and have perfect faith in Grace.  Are we really fulfilling the Law of Jesus?  Have we been faithful to his commands and trusting of His promised return?  If you don't really, 100%, believe in yourself, anyone else, or in the Grace of God, you will remain imprisoned in the disatisfaction of Samsara, in Satan's world.  If you really believe in God, then you would really believe in Grace; if you aren't fully expecting Guidance and a Kairos Moment custom-designed just for you to make you life a lot better, then your lack of faith is revealed.  We absolutely must have faith in our True Selves ("bringing forth that which is within us"), and faith that the Divine knows what would satisfy us and will provide opportunities to experience that, possibly through other people.  This faith isn't "blind" though; once you truly "know thyself" through meditation and how Grace works through Kairos (and recognize that it keeps arising on a regular basis), your faith is based on real experience, so it's not really "a leap of faith" to take, though overriding the Mara thoughts does take courage and tenacity.  If you find (like I still do with myself) that you still mess up aligning with Grace/Kairos (by following a sabotaging Mara-idea) even after you have become familiar with how Grace/Kairos operates, then this shows that more consistent daily Meditative/Affirmation Practice is crucial to become a true believer in oneself and a true disciple of the Divine.  Remembrance of all the times you didn't go with inner & outer Nature, and how it resulted in more of the same dissatisfaction, should also give you more confidence and motivation to trust yourself, others and God/Dao/Flow more next time (journaling is very helpful for that).  

So don't forget: Deep Present Moment Awareness & Faith in Yourself & Grace are the Keys to the Doorway of Heaven.


Arguments Against the Existence of Divinity

If you think it's more plausible that this amazingly complex and finely-tuned cosmos and the incredible life within it is somehow a cosmic accident, or some other atheistic theory, I'm not going to argue against that in depth here, but I will point out that you are making a metaphysical assumption too, and if something definitely appears intelligently designed it's certainly not "superstitious" to then hold that as a possibility; e.g. the more one learns about biology, DNA, the Golden Mean in Nature, etc., the more that possibility seems rational rather than irrational.  As for the age-old question of why a loving Creator would also allow such terrible evil to exist, we can see that theoretically it makes sense that in order for acts of love to be genuine they must be done with free will, and if there is free will there is the ability to choose evil (i.e. to disobey the natural divinity within and around us), so it could be an inescapable part of a reality like this, which appears to be for the purpose of conscious evolution.  (There is more in-depth quality reasoning on this to be found in the book Godforsaken by Denish D'Souza.)  I find lack of full knowing as to why evil exists does not outweigh all the real understanding we have concerning Nature/Dao favoring the good; also if we are honest with ourselves we must admit that we have all committed evil acts to some degree, so the question of why let evil exist is really a question of why let any human life exist.  Also, lets not forget, there is the matter of an opposing force to a loving Creator (e.g. "Satan" in Christianity and "Angra Mainyu" in Zoroastrianism).  After all, we can observe this dynamic in our own minds with the autonomous pain-body complex vs. Divine intuitive thought, i.e. the "Battlefield of the Mind."  

The most common arguments I hear against a Creator are a) “There's evil, and a perfect God wouldn't create or allow for evil,” b) “Darwinian Evolution explains the ultra-complexity of life” and c) “If there is a Creator there would have to be a Creator of that Creator, and so on, which is not possible.”  All three of these arguments are not solid: a) To not know why a loving Creator might allow for evil doesn't mean there can't be any reason for it (and many people believe in such particular reasons) b) Darwinian evolution has a lot of discrepancies and gaps, and c) to say a Creator must have a Creator of its own is just human assumption, there's no solid reason why that must be true; an eternal and un-created Creator that creates universes is theoretically possible.

In any case, debating over why Reality is the way it is doesn't serve much purpose, we just don't know the full truth, and holding one unenlightened view or the other doesn't change the fact that we are here, and we want to make the best of it, and there are some important things we do know to be true, so, back to the Practice.


Prayer

When you ask a question in prayer be prepared for the answer, which will be clear (needing no interpretation), to be revealed to you "randomly" through external everyday life ("The Ten Thousand Things").  When we ask a question in prayer, or ask for something in prayer, it should always be with the added qualifications that 1) "If it does not conflict with Your (God's) Will,/The True Higher Good" and 2) that it be "In Jesus' name," (i.e. come to us through the Lord/Kyrios/Kairos Moment of Opportunity), rather than just fall in our lap with zero righteous effort; God's Will is for us to spiritually mature, not just be spoiled children of His:  "In Christ [Kairos] you have been made complete [fully matured]." (Colossians 2:10).  Prayer that does not have these qualifications is to "ask amiss." 

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."  (James 4:3)

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us."  (1 John 5:14)

"Whatever you ask for in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified through the Son. [And then, repeating himself, emphasizing his "name" even more, Jesus says] "Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"  (John 14:13-14)

Also we should never make demands upon God, but rather requests, and we should never "test" God, as in give God certain limited parameters to respond to us within, which is an evil, and so that never produces any good.  For example, we are called to ask for Wisdom (James 1:5) , but not to set the terms on how the Wisdom is received; to pray something like: "Okay God, if this (X) happens, then that will mean that the answer is (Y)," is to pray in such a way that is egotistical, it's not humbling yourself to receive from Divinity; as Divinity deems best.  Additionally with such tests or demands on God, X might actually happen, but that doesn't mean it was the answer from God, it may turn out to not be the true answer; if anything it could just be a lesson from God to not set the conditions for truth to be received, to interpret imagined meanings from signs!  Again if you don't get this lesson, you will find yourself, as I have in the past, following "signs," that are "giving answers" that turn out to be 100% false. 

"God said, “Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3)

Much of New Age teachings on prayer/intention/imagination/visualization are actually Satanic in that they are pointing you in the exact opposite direction of the way that actually works, they are dead-end roads, and not only that, they often simultaneously denounce the right and true Way.  For example, in one New Age book I looked at recently that a friend had taken out from the library, it said things like: "Focus on your imagination," "Your consciousness creates the material world," "It takes zero faith, just imagination," "Nothing is really wrong," "God makes no demands," "It would be better if God didn't exist," "Don't judge anything," and "Make laser-like intentions."  All of these ideas are false misguiding egomaniac blasphemous moral-relativistic Satanic trash, being followed by naive unsuspecting readers; I'm glad I'm no longer one of them!

On the other side of the spectrum, pointing us in the right direction, is the "Lords Prayer," given by Jesus:

"Thy kingdom [of heaven] come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one [a.k.a. Satan].
"

So the main message being that when Kairos (the "kingdom of heaven") comes, may our will match His will for that Moment, a Kairos Moment that also requires us to be of bitterness toward others in order to fulfill, hence the "forgive the trespasses of others" part as well.  When the Moment is fulfilled properly we make life on Earth more heavenly, for ourselves and others.

And as another Anarcho-Primivitist aside, the main way we can no longer "trespass" on one another, i.e. never committing aggression on each other, necessarily means recognizing individual sovereignty and a fair share of sovereign/private land & water as a birthright.  The "kingdom of heaven" in social and purely material terms, is literally a heavenly (i.e. nonviolent) kin's domain (i.e. family homestead), and that translates to specifically a sovereign veganic homestead, free from the outer slavery of social-systems.  Just as we must reclaim our inner sovereign territory ("the kingdom of God"), we need to reclaim our outer sovereign territory, the aforementioned "kingdom of heaven."  First though we must be free of the inner slavery of Mara-thoughts that try to convince us that such a free & natural way of life is actually wrong in some way (I've heard plenty of nonsense/toxic-ideas against it!).  Then we will have "our daily bread" in much greater abundance as we live more self/community-sufficiently & ethically, receiving abundance from the Earth and our good karmic actions.  And again the word Paradise comes from the Arabic Pairi-daeza, which literally means "an enclosed garden;" an enclosed garden equates to a sovereign homestead, and to be free of unheavenly violence and destruction, would necessarily be veganic.  So both religions point to the same origin, and destination, for humanity.

Returning to the spiritual side of this, another thing important about the Lord's Prayer is that it is recommended as the way to pray, i.e. rather than asking for specific things, Jesus tells us that God knows what we need before we ask him (Matthew 6:8-9).  Which shouldn't surprise us since God is omniscient!  "In this manner therefore shall you pray," (followed by the Lord's Prayer).  We are also told our duty is to "Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be given to you besides.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:33-34).  "All these things" is referring to the things we need for our personal lives, "our daily bread"; in other words if we align with the Divine Will (a.k.a. The Dao) then all things that we need will come into our lives as a consequence of that alignment.  However, this teaching is apparently contradicted by what follows in the next chapter of the Book of Matthew: "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened for you."  What to make of this contradiction?  Do we need to align with the Divine's Righteous Flow of Life, or do we simply need to ask for things we want and need and that's it?  The latter is obviously less consistent with daily life experience, and Jesus' teachings (e.g. saying to not worry about food, clothing, etc. as God already knows that you need these things), which emphasize comprehensive love and virtue being the focus, not petitions to God.  


"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5)

The brother of Jesus, James, points us to another form of prayer: asking a question, not asking for a thing, but asking for knowledge and wisdom.  Laura Day, the author of the book Practical Intuition, says in that book that intuition is actually all about asking questions and receiving answers, and since intuition is a form of Divine guidance, when we see intuition in this light, we can see how the "Ask, and it [the answer] shall be given to you" can actually hold true to our reality and daily life experience.  Interestingly the misleading petition-for-things interpretation of "Ask..." has become the main focus of many Christian denominations, and also much New-Age and "New-Thought" philosophies, philosophies which are markedly absent of the direction to surrender to a higher power and be on the side of love and justice.  Instead they tell us we can simply imagine or visualize our way to a better life, with little to no moral undertaking necessary.  This is not only an amoral teaching, it's irrational.  If two basketball teams both visualize/imagine (or ask/pray for) winning before the game begins, one of them will probably still lose!  As I pointed out highly suspect contradictory teachings in Buddhism in my essay Wrong Understanding, there has unsurprisingly also been corruption of the message of Jesus as well, and just like with the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, they clearly stand out as a totally incompatible/different/irrational perspective from the rest of his teachings.  And just like with this aspect of Buddhism, not only is the most irrational and unfitting part of the teaching accepted without question, many people actually make it their main focus in that tradition too; this is a common manifestation of Mara-mind: neglecting what's important and true, and furthering what's unimportant and false; hence we have Christian books that revolve around the misinterpreted "Ask and it shall be given to you" teaching, going on about it in delusional metaphysical ramblings, just as we find in Buddhist books that focus exclusively on the idea of No-Self which also are full of nonsense.  As I also mention in the Wrong Understanding essay, the Buddha taught that one of the "Five Aggregates" that we cling to that causes us suffering is lower intention, i.e. a narrow-minded/egoic idea of what is for the best.  Certainly we can all think of times when we thought we knew what was best and it turned out we were wrong (a dynamic humorously shown in the movie Bedazzled, starring the beautiful Elizabeth Hurley as the wish-granting Devil); this being the case for us unenlightened beings, couldn’t asking for specific things be just another expression of this misguided lower intention?  And wouldn't that asking also indicate lack of faith in and openness to the Divine Will/Dao to "give all these things" to us when we follow Guidance and fulfill Kairos, thereby violating the commandment to love God?  The answer to both questions appears to be yes.

Again, it's not that we should abandon or suppress our natural healthy desires, it's that we should wake up to the fact that Dao (a.k.a. The Way) provides perfect opportunities for the fulfillment of those desires, better than anything we could make happen on our own.  The Way knows and delivers them without us having to ask/pray for the specifics; hence praying instead (and only) for "Thy Will be done" is recognizing that this Will is always operating in our own best interest (while simultaneously in the best interest of everyone else).  Dao/God knows what would really satisfy us and what would actually be another "dead-end."  Crossroads for both will come our way, but we will only figure out which is which and choose correctly when we are fully aware and aligned with the Way, the Greatest Commandments, i.e. when we are aligned with the Divine inner & outer Flow.  

The teaching in the Bible to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is an important one but has been made into an impossible/irrational request with that wording; Bible commentators do in fact say that obviously it doesn't mean to be on bended knee praying 24/7, but that it is an "an exhortation to live in a devotional frame of mind."  But when you are setting aside time to meditate/pray, definitely don't break it up with other activities as well. 

“And he who submits himself completely to Allah, and is a doer of good, he has surely grasped a strong handle. And with Allah rests the end of all affairs.”

~ Al Quran (31:23)

“Those who realize Brahman shall conquer all evil and attain the supreme state.”
~ The Kena Upanishad


Trauma, Stress, & The Breath


Overcoming Trauma

As I've already said rejecting any lies you are still believing in subconsciously is of the utmost importance, because that Mara-idea will undermine the entire Practice; for example, if you still subconsciously believe "I am not lovable, something is fundamentally wrong with me" because of some childhood trauma, then you will not be able to Always Act with Confidence & Authenticity, or Always Carry Out Intuitive Impulses, because anything that requires self-love/trust will be countered by that false self-concept still being held onto.  That lie will be undermining your ability to practice a balanced 5 Loves (The Greatest Commandments), it will undermine your alignment with the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.

We need to overcome fear and lies with love and truth.  Trauma can instill a fear (e.g. of rejection) and belief in a lie (e.g. that there's something fundamentally wrong with you).  With the character Bruce Wayne, this was a fear of bats and a belief that they would always hurt him.  If you perceived that your parents rejected you as a child because "there's something wrong with you" (a common conclusion by small children to make for that event), you would then be afraid of being rejected in the future for the same reason by other people you want to love and be loved by.

What often happens psychologically with trauma is: 1) you experience something traumatic, 2) a lie is planted at that moment to explain what's happening to you 3) you believe the lie 4) you suppress the memory of the traumatic event, along with the painful emotions experienced at that time, and the false belief formation that accompanied it 5) the lie operates subconsciously throughout your life, accompanied by strong negative emotion, which usually nullifies any critical thinking from taking place which would allow you to become aware of and reject the lie.

You don't want to reject/suppress the emotions or traumatic memory, you need to pass through and see through them, so that you can pinpoint the fear & lie within that's been sabotaging your life, and reject that.  Back to the big picture: the Devil/Mara rules mainly through humans being controlled by fear & lies, and it's most effective for him to plant those fears & lies in people's minds during early childhood, particularly during a traumatic event (which is unfortunately very common), and utilize the natural defense mechanism of childhood psychological suppression (i.e. when a child's mind experiences something it can't handle the mind automatically by design suppresses it so the child can continue to function), so that the fear & lie is shrouded in that memory & emotion suppression.  Again you don't want to suppress the memory or the emotion, but you do want to fully reject the fear & lie that was planted at that time; the healing process is receptivity and rejection respectively, not just the former.

Fears & false beliefs become embedded in the mind, staying as long as we don't consciously become aware of them and reject them.  This awareness can be increased with a regular practice of meditative contemplation on when and how these fears & beliefs came into being, and for many of us this point of origin was a traumatic experience during childhood.  (This trauma can actually happen on day one, by harmful hospital birth protocols like unnecessary C-sections, immediate cord clamping, blinding with eye solutions, injecting with needles, being wrapped very tightly in an artificial blanket, etc.  Some call these protocols satanic, and the more you look into to it the more credible that claim actually appears, there being no really good reason for any of it).  If a traumatic event can't be identified as the source of the disempowering belief, then one can still work on letting it go through the same critical thought process, since there will be no rational reason to hold on to them regardless.  This process is very important because this is how you can reduce (and hopefully eliminate) the negative influence of toxic fears/beliefs that come up in your daily life; otherwise they'll continue to "run the show," even after you become aware of them.  For example I've noticed a pattern in my life wherein I react to a certain circumstance in an unconfident way, based on a negative, false, and irrational belief about myself.  Now since I've noticed the pattern it hasn't just gone away on its own!  We have to retrain our minds (or "renew" our minds, as said in Romans 12:2), we need to face our fears whenever we get the chance to, and replace those beliefs in negative lies with beliefs in positive truths (via affirmations).  

Stress Awareness

In this vigilance to no longer miss the mark, having stress awareness is just as key as intellectual awareness of Mara-ideas, the former can overrun the latter if we pay it no concern.  Just as knowing the three intellectual qualities of the pain-body (irrationality, lies and immorality) is of great value, being able to recognize this emotional "red flag" is equally crucial, it is the other signature of Mara.  There is a particular inner feeling that always accompanies Mara-ideas that is key to become aware of.  In one sense it varies in that the main feeling may be anger/hate, sadness/despairsome form of fear (e.g. lacking self-confidence), or a more subtly negative form like egoic/selfish pride, but in whatever case, there's always an inner clenching tension that arises, compelling us to stumble forward with something unskillfully, or that restrains us from acting authentically/skillfully/lovingly, resulting in negative consequences (and/or inhibiting something good from happening).  The key is to recognize that when tensions arises, we have a choice of whether to go with it or not, and that choice is mainly determined by our belief, i.e. our belief that the tension will help us, when the reality is it doesn't help us at all.  This is "loving and practicing a lie" as Jesus says in the Book of Revelation puts it, the practice that is antithetical to the Liberation Practice, which is based in Truth.  So as I concluded in the previous section, well worth repeating, we need replace those beliefs in negative lies with beliefs in positive truths, in this very important and fundamental case, the truth that stress absolutely never serves us and should never be followed.  (What should be followed is the Truth, Guidance, and Positive Energy, as Jesus also said.)  Stress always lessens are awareness and critical-thinking ability, and so it is always to our detriment, since awareness and critical thinking are crucial for aligning with Dao & De. 

Once you start to become more stress-aware, you will probably notice in hindsight that usually when it first arises you don't suspect that this time it is the pain-body arising, i.e. when it does arise its emotional force can cloud our mind, and so the self-awareness and critical thinking needed to identify it is lessened, a sort of catch-22.  There can also be an egoic denial of our susceptibility to this negative influence, a denial that, being just another false and irrational Mara-idea, serves as a self-preservation mechanism of the "autonomous complex."  This is not all insolvable though, we can wake up to the toxic ideas and accompanying rushed/tense/clenched feeling that arises within ourselves just before we make poor choices; this is accomplished by relaxing ourselves physically and mentally as much as possible, especially by utilizing deep breathing regularly, adopting a daily meditation practice, and making sure that the crucial truth that stress absolutely never serves us and should never be followed is added to our daily affirmations; all of this will greatly help us break the Samsaric pattern we've been going around in, following Mara's tension-filled evil persuasion.  


Emotional Awareness

It takes strength and courage to overcome past hurts and new negative emotions that arise within our mind that are obstacles to our liberation.  In the life rules a) Never Rush, b) Never React With Anger, Fear or Craving, c) Never Worry and d) Never Follow Negative Imaginings all point to the feeling/emotional side to pay attention to, as does Anger, Craving/Lust and irrational Fear/Delusion being the "3 Poisons of Samsara" in Buddhism; the Seven Factors counter all of those negative emotions, as do the Greatest Commandments, since love is the supreme good feeling that has no negative ones within it.  Emotions were also one of the five things ("aggregates") the Buddha said we needed to recognize are non-Self in order to become liberated; by not identifying with negative emotions we then have the space between us and them needed to observe the latter rather than get carried away by them.  A simple analogy for this: We need to take the t-shirt off in order to see clearly what's written on its back.  In speaking of negative emotions like this, one could get the impression that this is similar to New-Age philosophies that have an "it's all good" perspective on everything that makes any negative reaction a fault; this is not what I'm supporting here.  Never React With or Hold Anger isn't saying any time you're bothered by something you've done something wrong, such an idea is ludicrous, there is plenty to be bothered by in this corrupted backward society, and a sane/conscientious mind can't help but be bothered when exposed to it (e.g. remember even Jesus overthrew the tables of the money-changers, though his mind was probably collected as he did so).  The key words there are react with and hold.  So this does not mean you don't have any judgment or reaction at all, hence Always Reject Aggression and Slavery, but the manner of the rejection should be without anger (so your mind is clear and your actions skillful).  The rejection definitely needs to be done though, in order to support and be one with the positive Flow of Life.  For example, if someone does something passive-aggressive to you, like underhandedly suggest (via words and/or tone) that you are at fault for something that you are not, or that you are something that you are not, this needs to be rejected in order to destroy their projection (rather than fit into it by backing off) and support the truth.  This rejection should not be filled with anger, but instead with assertive self-loving confidence; anger will just be used against you by the toxic person, or Mara.  We should forgive those that have wronged us but not forget; to ignore the truth of what's happening would be lacking self-love and love of Dao/Reality, it would be delusional.  The best way to deal with those who have an active pain-body that is so strong that it makes them unreliable as a friend or partner (and who are not interested in becoming aware of and rejecting it it), is to let go of hatred toward them, but also disconnect from them to a large degree, or totally.  We need to disengage from what's toxic, and align with what's healthy, for our minds and bodies, like deep breathing.

The Breath

I mentioned the breath in the context of Tantric practices, but it is by no means limited to that tradition as a main topic of discussion.  One tradition wherein it seems to not be important, Christianity, I believe actually is, but its importance has been lost in translation.


"Truly I say to you, except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

In the commentaries on this saying we learn that the English word "converted" is actually a poor translation of the Greek
στραφῆτε, which actually means a "turning around" or a "returning," and so in this context, a returning to the disposition of a child.  And one crucial aspect of a child's disposition that differs from most adults is their way of breathing.  You may have heard someone in the health field encourage "breathing like a baby" (i.e. deep belly breathing, a.k.a.
"diaphragmatic breathing" or "abdominal breathing") for its benefits to mind and body (e.g. increased relaxation and oxygen), but this is too often overlooked, not recognized for being as supremely important to our lives as it is.  The misfortune of downplaying the importance of proper deep breathing is compounded by it being disconnected from the aforementioned religious/spiritual value as well, a value of enabling something that Jesus called nothing less than "entering the kingdom of heaven!" 

"One of the best actions we can take, with courage, is to relax." - Message I found on a tea tag.

A kingdom is a domain, so this is pointing toward a heavenly domain or dimension, that we can access while here on Earth.  Elsewhere Jesus says to "seek first the kingdom of God [or Heaven] and its righteousness," so we know that this kingdom is connected with a higher morality, and therefore if we are to enter into it there would necessarily be a positive moral change with ourselves.  Returning to the commentaries on Matthew 18:3, there is this crucial statement: "
The divine agent in this moral change, in which child-like qualities assume the character of manly virtues, is the Holy Spirit."  And the Holy Spirit can also be translated as the breath (the literal translation of spirit is breath)!  So taking all of this into account, we see that the teaching is to return to deep breathing (the way babies usually breathe), so that we may enter a dimension of life that facilitates our maturation in courageous virtue, and reception of heavenly grace.  This fits exactly with what was being said
and quoted earlier in this book concerning Kairos and Thumos.  What prevents us from fulfilling Kairos Moments, from "entering into the kingdom of heaven," is the tension that always comes with the toxic thoughts of the Devil that arise in our minds, which undermine our courage to be our true authentic selves; so in order to overcome that, we need to "relax progressively" and "develop our positive mind," by returning to our breath, specifically deep belly breathing (our belly being where our center is, so hence also the appropriateness of the "keep awareness on your center" Kokikai principle).  Also in Tantric teachings we find that one of its "top secrets" is the importance of the "complete and healthy baby's breath" in order to achieve higher states of consciousness and experience with a lover. 
By consistently returning to the breath (i.e. meditating) in our daily life, and by combining meditation with action, we also follow the advice of the ancient Vedic Sages who said to maintain meditation throughout daily life, in order to cross "the sea of death" (i.e. the broad Samsaric level of dissatisfying experience) and enter into the "kingdom of Brahman" (sound familiar?), no longer participating with the wicked sabotaging of Divine grace. 


"Those who combine action with meditation, cross the sea of death through action, and enter into immortality, through the practice of meditation."
~ Isha Upanishad

"Those who realize the Self enter into the peace that brings complete self-control and perfect patience. ... Free from evil, free from sin and doubt, they live in the kingdom of Brahman."
~ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (Eknath Easwaran translation) 


"When the mind is calm, empty, and still, clear thoughts rise to the top and wisdom is received. In the vast emptiness, your mind is open, reflective, radiating intelligence, and seeded with enlightenment. ... Profound insights occur when a free mind relates, integrates and attunes to the dynamic organic rhythm... With regular practice in conscious breathing, you can help your mind return to its natural state. Imagine the breath as entering your mind, alleviating the attachment in order to free the energy and enable you to re-access the process of clear thinking. Throughout your day, remember that the nature of your mind is to be empty, free, clear, and relaxed. During conversations, meetings, and times for reflection, maintain the rhythm of your breath, maintain the clarity, and new ideas will come to you."

~ Miraculous Living by Rabbi Shoni Labowitz (Fireside, New York, 1996), p. 63


In one of those Matthew 18:3 commentaries I also found the kingdom of heaven equated with the "kingdom of grace": "
The first step toward entering into the kingdom of grace is to become as little children... hanging wholly on our Father who is in heaven, for a supply of all our wants.  We may further assert... [that then we will] be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God."  And again Kairos Moments are the vehicle of grace, they are the "windows of opportunity" that briefly open from a heavenly dimension of our reality.



Other Issues of Importance


"The Law of Attraction"

In New Age spiritual teachings you'll often hear of the supposed "law of attraction," that brings into your life what you're a "vibrational match" to.  This so-called "law of attraction," based on the nonsense that "like always attracts like" (which makes all victims always at fault!), is bunk philosophy that circles around, but never hits on, the most crucial element at play in our lives: false beliefs, i.e. lies we are believing in, lies usually about ourselves.  False beliefs (usually formed during a childhood trauma), support more experiences that support the false belief, which is what really causes the "attraction."  For example, if a young girl is abused she will likely start to believe "There is something wrong with me" as an explanation for why she was being mistreated (since she is too young to consider the possibility that the abuser is actually at fault).  This belief is carried into adulthood, wherein she "attracts" other abusive relationships; that is, because she doesn't have a positive sense of self-worth, believing the aforementioned lie about herself, she aligns with (this alignment including what work or creative endeavor she thinks she's capable of, and even the way she takes care of her body, the way she dresses, etc.) and accepts situations that fit the lie that there is something fundamentally wrong with her.  This goes on and on until the person becomes fully conscious of the lie, and, through enough thorough analysis of the belief (zeroing-in on the false premises, irrationality and unkindness at its core), along with enough repeated affirmations of the crucial truth that perfectly counters that lie ("enough" being when the person finally, 100%, believes the truth that rejects/destroys that specific lie 100% consciously and subconsciously), in this case the affirmation being "I am perfect" (since who we are fundamentally is perfect, but while living as an unenlightened human we are aligning with and identifying with the imperfections of the 5 Aggregates).  Any affirmation short of this will leave loop-holes open for it to still operate, for it to keep shaping their worldview and behavior in a way that in turn shapes their life circumstances that seem to support the lie, i.e. the "self-fulfilling prophecy" that makes it seem more and more true.  It remains untrue, but they keep "attracting" more situations (actually keep aligning with situations) that seem to "prove" the lie is true, supporting the downward spiral/repeated pattern (a.k.a. "The Wheel of Samsara").  Once they fully reject the internal lie then they won't enter into or go along with external relationships, etc. that support it; then the spiral/pattern stops.  This is the crucial truth that's never (as far as I've seen) communicated in the bunk spiritual New Age propaganda that permeates mainstream society; the really key thing is identifying and rejecting the lie; without that crucial action one can't really move forward. 

Returning to the aforementioned example, if you're also dealing with the same "There's something wrong with me"/"I'm unlovable" lie too (it seems this is actually the most common false belief that has been programmed into humanity), then you may notice that it is not necessarily active all the time, some situations bring it out more than others.  For example, if you're walking down the street and some little kid randomly calls you a name, it's probably not going to bother you, you'll just shake your head and move on; but if it's an adult, especially an "authority" figure, who calls you a bad name (or otherwise projects something bad on you), you are more likely to be shaken up by that right?  And why is that?  Did who you are change between the kid and the adult?  No, the only thing that changed is who was saying the negative thing about you, and your belief that the latter person somehow, automatically, has a valid perspective, simply because of their age, appearance, and/or position.  This belief is, of course, false and irrational, age/appearance/position does not = accurate perception ability, yet that's what you're subconsciously believing at the time.  Who is saying or projecting a lie about you shouldn't matter at all.  Whether it's a punk kid or a respected priest, you should remain unshaken, but the only way that will happen is if you have rejected the lie 100%, completely consciously and subconsciously.  Everyday life situations serve our spiritual/psychological maturation by giving us scenarios that reveal what false beliefs still exist in our subconscious; if a certain scenario/situation causes you to tense up and doubt yourself, then even if most of the time you're a confident person, that reveals that you are still believing the lie about yourself to some degree, and that degree is actually reflected by the number of types of external situations that activate the lie.  So in this way the statement "life begins outside your comfort zone" holds true; your life continues to be corrupted, continues to be held back, as long as you don't move out of the (dis)comfort zone that reflects your false belief about yourself.  Situations that reveal, through your mental/emotional/behavioral reaction, that you're still believing a lie about yourself will keep arising until you pass those tests; when there is no situation wherein you believe and act on the lie, then you have completely overcome it, then you have rejected it 100%.  Then "life begins" anew, no longer corrupted by that false belief.

The God Complex

Some spiritual folks use the term co-creation in a way suggesting, or even proclaiming, that we humans are Creators, just like a true God/dess, that we "create our own Reality."  There is some truth to that, namely that our beliefs direct our actions that shape our lives, but that by no means equates us with the Creator of the Universe!  We shouldn't become delusional about our capabilities, you and I aren't certainly aren't omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent, we don't know how to create universes or life forms, or what the full truth of Self/Soul is, everything that happens after death, etc.!  Yet despite that obvious reality, it is very tempting (and extremely narcissistic) to play with the belief that we are God, the fundamental idea being "The whole world revolves around me!  It's all just my dream, and if I become fully lucid within it, I can control everything!"  Even Christians come at the "we are creators" idea through some reasoning based on false premises, by first saying that Jesus was God (which he clearly wasn't, e.g. based on his own testimony distinguishing himself from the Father multiple times), and then talk of the "Christ within," thereby finding a line of "logic" that allows them to be the Creator too; it's part of the bunk new-age "We're all One!" doctrine, it's yet another Devilish distortion of Christianity.  Remember, Lucifer wanted to be God and refused to humble himself before Him!  People following Devilish doctrine today are, knowingly or unknowingly, following in the footsteps of the Enemy, of the pure Evil that hates the purely Good.  On the more obvious side, there are the "elites" at the top of the social-system pyramid who want to be omniscient and omnipresent (through global surveillance and supercomputers), and omnipotent (through the latest military technology); yet they chase after an unattainable goal; God remains well beyond any powers they can gain through money and technology.  They even want to take his place as Creator, through disastrous genetic engineering of plant and animal life; it appears they are fully possessed by the spirit of Satan, destroying themselves and the world around them in a power-crazed run for "glory."

On the other end of the delusional spectrum, there is the other anti-God doctrine that our ultimate nature is "empty, " i.e. there is no Self/Soul (something the Buddha did not actually teach by the way, as I explain here).  So one false teaching says that we are (or could replace) God, the other being that there is nothing Divine about us whatsoever.  Both are lies, the former also being an extreme form of megalomania, the latter lie also being an extreme form of self-deprecation.  A good self-concept and metaphysical perspective is neither narcissistic egoism or defeatist discountenance; both are distortions of the true reality of our lives.  The truth of co-creation is more accurately called a cooperation with Creation.  We should humbly recognize our limited awareness and understanding as to exactly how to achieve a better life (e.g. what connections need to made, where and when to find them, etc.), so we must be open to receive Guidance/information that leads us to alter our plans, and be open to spontaneous situations for something better than what we may have originally been focused on. 

"Liberation emerges from the destruction of the impurity of action."

~ Shankara

Veganism, Nutrition & Drugs

It's important to understand the role morality plays in our ability to have the peace of mind that is necessary for Insight.  The universal teaching of the importance of compassion, found in so many teachings (e.g. "Love your neighbor as yourself") is not just promoting something that would be nice; principled living is necessary for achieving enlightenment.  It is central to the Buddha's "Way to End Suffering" otherwise known as the Noble Eightfold Path, a teaching I highly recommend studying in depth.  The moral instruction therein is in large part basically saying to be as loving as possible in various aspects of our lives; e.g. Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are really just giving the details of what a more loving version of those actions and lifestyle would be.  A loving mind is a peaceful mind, and a peaceful mind can become a wise and happy mind.  

Our compassion must of course include the Earth and other sentient species besides our own (animals are sentient, experience suffering and don't want to be killed too), so if you're not on-board the veganism train yet, I suggest getting a ticket soon.  Watching the excellent video "Eating," and reading this essay, should tell you everything you need to know.  Loving yourself is also a part of this (you are part of this universe too after all), so taking care of your body is very important as well.  Basically that means a good diet (veganic) and regular exercise/stretching.  If you doubt the superiority of a veganic diet nutritionally, watch "Eating" and do some research into the other sources, like nutritionfacts.org and pcrm.org, listed here.

Nutrient deficiency, coupled with toxins accumulating in the body, result in poor health and a mind not operating as it was designed to.  Many people's behavioral problems subside dramatically after they start getting the nutrients they need, and stop ingesting toxins (like artificial colors, etc.).  Ill health results in a stressed body & mind, and don't forget who uses stress all the time to sabotage the happiness of humanity: Mara/Satan.  Speaking of evil, and how it seeks to lessen our mental faculties and keep us in bondage, please see my post titled "Toxins & Tyranny" for more on examples of that, especially the forced "medication" of the public with fluoridated water and salt worldwide.

A proper lifestyle and diet is very influential toward whether we will succeed at the Liberation Practice or not.  Of course if you are very unhealthy, that is going to distract from and hinder your ability to align with your highest potential delivered via the Grace of God.  The same is true for drugs of all kinds; when the mind is intoxicated, whether by alcohol, hallucinogens, caffeine, or even refined sugar, this hinders our awareness and ability to act skillfully.  And as should be clear to you now, awareness and skillful action are indispensable to liberation.  I can testify personally to the dramatic negative effect all these drugs have, there is without a doubt a mind-body connection, and when we take substances that lessen our awareness and/or increase tension, we're undermining the prospect of lasting deep satisfaction for short lesser satisfactions.  To believe drugs are "not that big a deal," or "okay in moderation," is to lack understanding of the requirements to receive saving Grace, namely continual awareness, with sound/un-intoxicated mind.


An Anarcho-primitivist Aside on the Mostly Negative Nature of Modern Technology & Mass Media

I mentioned the distraction of smart phones, and that actually touches on a major problem for modern day humans that deserves noting.  Modern technology in many ways undermines a genuine spiritual practice; if you look objectively you'll see it rarely if ever is the means by which significant good is accomplished (this is due to its bad karmic origin, it exists only because of the concentration of massive wealth/resources by social-systems of slavery).  And the media content on this modern tech (TV, movies and video games) is massively negative and toxic, promoting immorality, irrational levels of fear, distrust in others and Life, and desensitization to violence and suffering; all of these effects are diametrically opposed to the Liberation Practice!  Many people take a very casual nonjudgmental stance with media violence/toxicity, but this aloof perspective is flawed and naive; for example, the unnatural levels of exposure to violence, whether real or virtual, has a definite correlation to an increase in violent acts (see the 2014 edition of the book Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill for lots of evidence if you doubt it).  On top of it contributing directly to copy-cat acts of violence by many young people, whether it gets to that point of influence or not, the aforementioned mental effects completely undermine the necessary qualities, perspective and engagement with Reality needed for liberation from a life of unnecessary suffering (i.e. we need a non-aggressive, faithful and fearless mindset, which is the opposite of the mindset that this media content increases).

"Filling kids' lives with iPad apps and video games distracts them from self-reflection opportunities.  When children are given time to go "inside themselves" without need of any external stimulation, they come to value their own thinking processes and capabilities in important ways.  Too much time with externalized images on screens prevents children from knowing themselves.  And they can't value what they don't know."

~ Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill, by D. Grossman and G, DeGaetano, p.112



Conclusion


"Buddhism is 2,500 years old, and any thought system of that vintage has time to develop layers and layers of doctrine and ritual.  Nevertheless, the fundamental attitude of Buddhism is intensely empirical and anti-authoritarian.  Gotama the Buddha was a highly unorthodox individual and real anti-traditionalist.  He did not offer his teachings as a set of dogmas, but rather as a set of propositions for each individual to investigate for himself.  His invitation to one and all was "Come and see."  One of the things he said to his followers was "Place no head above your own."  By this he meant don't accept somebody else's word.  See for yourself."  

~ Henepola Gunararana, Mindfulness in Plain English, p. 38

"Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed."  (Proverbs 12:19, New Living Translation)

It is in that spirit that I offer what I've shared here.  Only your own experience can verify any of the truth or usefulness of it, you have to investigate it for yourself and see.  The Buddha's Way to the End of Dissatisfaction (The Eightfold Path), Jesus' Greatest Commandments (The Life Rules), and the teachings of Lao Tzu are all describing one Liberation Practice; all those teachings are perfectly complimentary and overlapping, they are just different aspects of the same Truth.  While our minds are still effected by the "Three Poisons" (craving, anger and delusion) that keep the wheel of Samsara turning, we will undoubtedly need the reminders/directions of these teachings, but when we truly purify/liberate our minds we will then be able to follow The Eightfold Path/Life Rules as if it was second-nature to us, it will be our natural authentic way of being that we express spontaneously all the time. 

So to summarize and simplify the combination that's needed for success, it is: Relaxed detachment to see Flow/Truth no longer having our view distorted by toxic thoughts/negative subconscious beliefs, craving and anger, and honoring your healthy desires by recognizing and acting on them (in a non-craving way), when the time is right to do so.  When you have complete faith that the Dao will bring you opportunities for what's really best, then you have no reason to crave any longer, you understand craving is unnecessary and foolish.  All we have to do (though easier said than done) is stay with the Dao, moment by moment, and be ready to act authentically/naturally/lovingly.  This readiness takes meditative preparation as discussed earlier, to be able to overcome the obstacles of self-sabotaging subconscious beliefs/habits founded by the influence of Mara-thoughts.  Giving serious effort every day toward Concentration-building (single-pointed) Meditation, Affirmations, and Awareness of Awareness is the training we need to succeed at living skillfully, and thereby receiving the most life as to offer, as well as giving the best we have to offer (both of which give real lasting satisfaction, a.k.a. "eternal life").  Much of this Liberation Practice can be seen as preparation, preparation for the saving Grace of Kairos that needs us to be at our best in order to "fulfill the time."  So for example when the intuitive thought comes up at a crucial moment, you will follow it rather than speak or think over it, being grounded and aware, unrushed and adhering to the commandment to love Guidance along with the other Loves that can also be supporting it.  The really nice thing about this discipline though is that it is instantly rewarding, we will instantly have more peace and less stress as we live more mindfully and do tasks with more concentration.  In this way, doing the laundry, or making a cup of tea, can bring you some satisfaction already; satisfaction knowing that your succeeding in the present moment, you're not being distracted and hoodwinked by Mara-thoughts, and if a Kairos Moment were to occur right then, you would be ready for it.

Knowing what is the crux of the Practice and what is not is crucial.  If we focus on meditation and comprehensive loving attention sometimes, but then get into many other sorts of spiritual practices, we may just be following subtle Mara-thoughts that are trying to keep us off the true path.  For example, returning to the topic of the popular practice of Visualizing/Imagining, which as previously mentioned is claimed by many teachers/authors as the best means to attain liberation from suffering, is, in reality, just a more focused expression of lower intention, and therefore is a very unproductive practice.  Of course it can be helpful to visualize like when we want to help ourselves remember something for later (e.g. visualizing ourselves doing something we want to remember to do), and for planning (e.g. a route to walk someplace through territory we are familiar with).  But if we are using visualization to focus on something we think is best for us (and others) when we really don't know if that is the case, then we are violating the 5 Loves Commandment that keeps us in a positive Flow of life; we are clinging to the Aggregate of lower intention which will bring us only more dissatisfaction.  We've all heard the phrase "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it," yet the true wisdom of that statement is not as well known.  More on these issues with visualization here.

One way to consider the validity of this Practice is to think of all your past actions/habits/endeavors as a process of elimination; have any of those ways really worked at attaining lasting peace, satisfaction & happiness completely?  The final words of the Buddha were "Strive for your own liberation with diligence and great care," and can you honestly say that you have been striving with diligence and great care?  I can't yet either.  Have you really tried a comprehensive and specific Practice as described here consistently?  Me neither.  If we answer no to these questions then we have no right to complain too much; let us have some faith in the saving-power of the "creative force of the universe" Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in the opening quote, a saving-power that commands comprehensive love.  We cannot rationally deny the existence of saving Grace while we still disobey the prerequisite to receive it.  This recognition should give us motivation to follow the rational and principled way of living that has been discovered to be part of the design of this Reality, and humble us to recognize that alignment with truth, rationality and kindness has indeed been very lacking on our parts when compared to the unwavering perfection we are called to. 


May we all reduce our suffering and help reduce the suffering of others; may we stay awake to and follow the Divine Flow, and cross over rainbow bridges constructed of love that fulfill us and serve others.


"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life."  (Proverbs 13:12)


"Days pass and the years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles. God, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing; let there be moments when Your presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness, and exclaim in wonder: How filled with awe is this place, and we did not know it!"

~ Jewish Prayer


Peace.