Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

It was at a university book sale where I was first introduced to the ideas of Taoism. Hidden away deep in the philosophy section, I picked up what initially seemed like a strange esoteric book – the Tao Te Ching. It was a short text, under 100 pages, that was filled with often puzzling language […]

Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known-Book summary

Jiddu Krishnamurti “Freedom from the known” is a hand-book meant to transform the human life by projecting the mistakes humans are committing, in various fields of social, political, religious, personal and relationships. Krishnamurti has focused on changing the perspective or thinking of an individual. We mostly live our life based on old beliefs, ideals, truth, […]

J. Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known-Book summary

Nietzsche and Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism)

There are some good reasons to believe that Nietzsche was interested in Eastern philosophy during his lifetime. In the Antichrist he states: “Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin—it […]

Nietzsche and Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism)

The Mystery Of The Human Aura Scientifically Defined

You may suddenly feel uncomfortable when in a crowded room and not know why. You don’t instantly like a perceived villain on TV yet a word is spoken. You suddenly feel your personal space is being violated once a complete stranger nears you. Then there are certain people, complete strangers who you are instantly attracted […]

The Mystery Of The Human Aura Scientifically Defined

Covid19, the call for spirituality?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Another year, another lockdown, another bad news, the ambiance is apocalyptic. With the outbreak of new variants and economical cataclysm, one can’t help asking what would come next. Oddly though, Covid19 being this unfortunate event, imposes spiritual practices.

It is a scientific truth now that the coronavirus spreads through sneezing and speaking droplets. If the world shuts up for fifteen days won’t we be able to win over the virus? Silence is a spiritual discipline.

Another scientific truth goes about social distancing, another wrong word for physical distancing. Learning to be alone is a spiritual discipline.

Lastly, we know that overeating leads to chronic diseases. Since the virus outbreak, food awareness was spread; less is more. Here is also the importance of fasting, known with the fancy word intermittent fasting or simply IF. Fasting has been around for thousands of years as a spiritual practice in all religions.

Being alone, quiet and in a fasted state is a meditative spiritual practice.

A summary of Buddhist meditations

Since the subject of meditation is less clear than I anticipated I decided to sum up a description of a Buddhist to save you 1 1/2 hours of listening. The core of the Buddha’s way to liberation consists in the practice of meditation It was by meditation that the Buddha reached enlightenment himself and it […]

A summary of Buddhist meditations

Since meditation has taken social media by storm and everyone is trying to do some kind of meditation, this post clarifies in details the differences between each type of Buddhist meditations.

To those of you who are interested in meditation (especially in hard times of pandemic and financial instability and insecurity), I urge you to check this post of my expert friend and learn step by step meditation.

Why I don’t do seated meditation

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There is nothing wrong with sitting comfortably and meditating, just like the common taught method of meditation. However, I feel there is something in this that doesn’t work for me. Meditation is an individual practice, although done sometime in groups. The meditative experience remains different to each one of us. This is a why a seated meditation doesn’t work for me.

Longtime ago, thousands of years ago, when meditation was invented as a technique to calm the mind and bring awareness to people, life back then was totally different. People used to walk all day to bring water and food and walk back home carrying whatever they gathered. They laboured their lands, picked fruits and vegetables, hunted animals, cooked and cleaned, guard their herds. Surely at the end of a long active day, they needed to sit down, close their eyes and meditate.

Nowadays, especially in big cities, life is busy in a different way. We sit down for too long, counting on machines and vehicules to do the daily chores. Food is abundant and easy to get, as long as we can pay for it. Then, why to sit even more just to meditate? We should meditate while moving more.

yogaMeditation is commonly refered to as a prolonged concentration on breath and on being present. Which means it can be done in any activity. Put your heart in it, concentrate on the present task, focus on your breath and you are meditating.

 

The five benefits of slowness

Usually criticized for being counterproductive starting from school, slowness (often understood as laziness) has been the antidote to success and ambition. So, the world revolved into one huge running field with one aim: fortune. If the State promoted activity in the sense of having a job and being ambitious, it is for 2 reasons: making people busy (so they are unable to think of important issues) and therefore making them pay taxes. The more you move the less of a thinker you become; the more you move the richer you become, the more taxes you pay. It’s a double-bind equation.

In this scenery and ideology, many types of work are considered slow: philosophy, painting, writing, poetry, teaching etc. These types of activity don’t include speed and fury. Socially speaking, they don’t include climbing the social or professional ladder: once a painter, always a painter. No titles, no fitting in the crowd, artists, philosophers etc. are misfits.

Slowness is not idleness which is inactivity also known as slothfulness. Therefore, here are the benefits of slowness:

  • Thinking: it is mainly an individual and lonely activity, evolving with time. To think deeply about existential matters needs time.
  • Creativity: there are days where creativity is absent. But to be inspired requires a constant awakening of the mind, which means less running and more contemplating.
  • Freedom: which is solely a faculty of the mind and it comes with time. To be free is to be ungovernable by others.
  • Spirituality: I haven’t heard of any type of spirituality that promotes speed to reach enlightment.
  • Silence and stillness: they are fuel to the mind and the body

In a world of speed, slowness is so old-fashioned. However, were we meant to be fast? Aren’t diseases multiplying? Isn’t confusion the keyword?

we did not inherit the original sin! Kierkegaard on Adam and Eve!

painting by Albrecht Durer.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is a Danish philosopher who is widely considered to be the founder of existentialism. Believing in free will, Kierkegaard thinks that anguish or angst is what motivates any free action, or as he calls it a “leap”. So, what is the link between angst and the original sin?

Angst, or anguish, is a feeling of suffering when facing emptiness in life or when facing many options. Any action taken would be a leap, good or bad and ugly. Angst is therefore, not fear. One is scared because of a scary object. However, angst has no object. It is the vertigo in front of many possibilities.

Kierkegaard analyses the story of Adam in Eve in terms of angst. God had forbidden them to consume the fruit of knowledge, better known as the apple. Adam and Eve broke the divine law and ate the fruit. This was the first illegal action in history, and they were the first outlaws.

In Kierkegaard’s theory, Adam had an alternative (assuming that Eve was tempted and weak in front of the snake, known as the devil): to do God’s will or to follow Eve’s recommendation. Facing these two options, he acted out of angst and leaped. The rest is history.

To Kierkegaard, we didn’t inherit the original sin; since one cannot inherit the crimes of their ancestors. We, humankind, inherited angst and freedom.

Ode to dancing

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The sound vibrates from the heart of the earth all the way to our spine; extend your arms and feel the energy. That same cry of the universe celebrates its birth, and still on lingering intensely through our bodies. OM, life is singing, the sky is thundering, the ocean is roaring and the wind is blowing. Everything moves to the sound of life, from planetary rotations to Sufi whirling, from falling leaves to flitting butterflies. Fast and light, slow and heavy, spinning to party, spinning to pray, spinning to music, this is the highest ode to life. Rumi (Jalal ud-din), the Persian and mystical poet wrote once:

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion”.

Sufi spinning is an active form of meditation performed within a worship ceremony. This is sought through abandoning one’s ego or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun. The influence of the Persian poet Rumi (Jalal ud-Din) on Sufis is significant. It was his meeting with the dervish Shams-e Tabrizi on 15 November 1244 that completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, Rumi was transformed into an ascetic.
Shams had travelled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could “endure my company”. A voice said to him, “What will you give in return?” Shams replied, “My head!” The voice then said, “The one you seek is Jalal ud-Din of Konya.” On the night of 5 December 1248, as Rumi and Shams were talking, Shams was called to the back door. He went out, never to be seen again. It is rumoured that Shams was murdered with the connivance of Rumi’s son, ‘Ala’ ud-Din; if so, Shams indeed gave his head for the privilege of mystical friendship. Later, Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the divine and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of whirling Dervishes developed into a ritual form. Rumi wrote:

“The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries”.

If religion, any religion, isn’t of that beauty, then it is not a religion and doesn’t deserve to be one!