One of the greatest rewards of living in a human body/mind is that we have two worlds to live in: the outer world and the inner world. The outer world, as most of us know, is the world we perceive with the five senses. It is the world that we think of as the “real” world.
The inner world is that which exists mostly inside the mind. It’s the world that many people consider the opposite of real. They discount it mostly as just imaginary—perhaps they think of it as being the opposite of real. But isn’t that unfortunate?
Isn’t the inner world the one we really live in all the time? And isn’t the outer world the one that might be partly or wholly imaginary, depending upon the time, place, and our mental state? For after all, we can’t always trust the body’s senses. And, isn’t the outer world one that we construct inside our mind based on inputs from the senses? It might all be a dream.
Regardless of which world appears to be more realistic to you, a person who lives in only one of these worlds is missing a large part of life. In our Western societies, most people view the outer world as the only real world, and pay very little attention to their own inner world. Such a person lives in what I view as a narrow, one-dimensional world. I call that person a sleeper because he has no knowledge of the spiritual being within him.
By adopting a path of inward exploration called Zen, a sleeper can discover his own self-nature, which is usually the first experience of receiving Enlightenment. And, it’s the beginning of a transition that lets the student experience this life as a paradise.
Take some time to read about Original Zen as it was taught by Bodhidharma in the 6th century B.C.E.
I rarely write or talk about this subject. Ninety-eight percent of the world’s people disagree with me, and I hate to be such a pariah. But for reasons not entirely clear to me, I’ve decided to put some of my thoughts out into the Universe. My answer to the above question is both Yes and NO. It all depends on what definition of “god” you’d like to use.
No, the god(s) taught by and accepted by nearly all organized religions do not exist. They are mythical beings spawned by the imagination of believers down through the centuries. But YES, there is a form of energy inside every living person which collectively might be called “God.” It is also called the “god within,” and it is much more real in terms of actual human experience. However, it too cannot be scientifically proved—which means that a certain stretch of optimism and skepticism may be necessary to find it and use it.
People who develop a consistent practice of Zen meditation (or similar practice) over a period of time sometimes have enlightening experiences that allow them to discover and have contact with this so-called “god within.” Is such an experience self-delusion? Or is it a genuine discovery of knowledge that can transform a person’s life into a kind of paradise?
From what I’ve seen and read, people who haven’t had the experience pick the first answer (i.e., those people must be crazy and/or deluded). But people who have had such an experience do, in fact, appear to be fundamentally changed and for some reason nearly always appear to be happy.
Thus, I try to avoid using the name “God” when I write, chiefly because everybody imagines I’m talking about one of the religious creations. Instead, I’ve borrowed the term Universal Spirit which, although it too is scientifically unproven, seems to be the most accurate name I’ve ever heard and corresponds with my own experience.
To borrow from George Lucas: Whatever it is, and whatever your experiences have been, may the force be with you.
When others about you are losing theirs (borrowing a line from Kipling). Doing that gives you an advantage in the game of life. You may also have a lot happier and perhaps more successful life if you know how to stay calm in the event of emergencies and disasters.
I’ve been asked if it’s possible to learn how to stay calm? Some people think that is a skill you either have or you don’t. My answer is unequivocally: yes, you can learn to stay calm and centered under great stress. Here’s how:
Zen meditation is the art of calming yourself by relaxing the body and stilling the mind. In the practice of Zen, over time you learn to “be” in a higher place in your mind, a place that looks down upon and observes the conscious thinking mind. When you become an experienced practitioner of Zen, you are able to exercise great control over your mind and body. And you’re especially able to exert a calming influence over yourself in times of great stress.
Life has probably thrown you situations where you could have performed better and achieved a more beneficial outcome if only you had been able to think fast on your feet—in the moment. That is a skill you can develop. And you can do that by studying and learning the art of Zen meditation.
Begin today by reading about Original Zen that was taught over seven thousand years ago by Bodhidharma, the world’s greatest Zen master.
This little piece of word play is a mondegreen for “world peace.” It is seen on bumper stickers and textbook covers. I once saw it spray-painted on a railway bridge in Berlin, Germany. The humor makes the idea stick in your mind. And for me, it temporarily removes some of the sadness about our lack of peace in this world. Oh sure, we all want world peace, but what are we willing to do about it?
Here is one possible answer I’d like you to consider: Creating inner peace promotes outer peace.
If you create peace inside yourself, you will naturally project some of that peacefulness outside yourself—not only to the immediate area around you, but it will also influence other people you know and interact with.
A person who is at peace on the inside is less concerned with world domination. Such a person is also less concerned with wealth and power. Inner peace seems to be an antidote for hate, violence, and aggression. But can that change the world?
When groups of people focus on their own inner peace, one result is a larger, more peaceful area around and among them. If that can be done consistently and on a large scale, it will manifest a culture of peace. This is what creates a movement. And movements can change the world.
Zen is the practice of inner peace and a search for inner knowledge. To help you get started, I’ve put together a little ebook Original Zen which is based chiefly on the teachings of Bodhidharma, the world’s greatest Zen master.
Did you know that people who meditate regularly are less vulnerable to addictive behaviors? Google it and you will find evidence from a number of sources. So, what is it about meditation that can help you break free of your addictions?
The answer is simple: Attaining the true meditative state is primarily about mind control. In order to achieve that meditative state, you must learn to still your conscious mind. You must learn to stop thinking for a few minutes now and then. That is also called Zen meditation.
Achieving the Zen meditative state means that one part of your mind must develop control over another part. You must learn to center yourself in a higher level of your mind where you can “look down” in a way to observe the actions of your conscious mind thought machine. Once you achieve that separation (both during meditation as well as going about your daily life), you will slowly develop control over the thought process.
As part of that self-training and practice, you develop the ability to “live” in a higher level of your mind and more easily influence activities of parts of your mind lower in the hierarchy. You learn to tell your conscious mind, “No!” when it wants to misbehave. You learn to notice when your conscious mind leans toward behaviors the higher you wants to avoid. You learn how to steer it away from undesired behaviors.
We’ve gone over this before. Maybe a hundred times. No, wait, I exaggerate. Yes, I’ve gone through it lots of times, but not here. In this blog, maybe just once or twice.
Zen is the pathway to discovering your own inner nature and finding the knowledge that is stored deep inside you, which is knowledge you were born with.
It is not a religion. It does not have a belief system. It is a pathway of discovery. That’s all it is. But the discovery is inward. That’s the trick. Try it. It’ll take you to places you’ve never been. And it’s very simple. Just sit down in a quiet place and make your mind be quiet.
If you try it and you like it, read about the Original Zen that was taught by Bodhidharma himself, the world’s greatest Zen master.
In western civilization, the fear of death is so common and widespread that most people feel uneasy just talking about it. I try not to be uncaring about peoples’ fear. But that is such a silly fear. I feel empathy for their suffering. I’m reminded of my big brave Doberman and how terrified she is of the vacuum cleaner. She can’t understand that it’s just a noisy machine. Likewise, most people can’t understand that death is just a normal transformation and nothing to be afraid of.
Yes, your body will die. But the spiritual being within you will not. It is a fundamental law of our universe. Energy and matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it is merely transformed from one state to another. Your spiritual being is an energy form. After your flesh and blood begins its transformation back into the dust from which it came, your spiritual being will go on to its next adventure. Yee hah! To me, that is exciting.
Apparently, when a human spirit enters a fetus, usually somewhere around the fourth month in its mother’s womb, that spiritual entity brings with it memories from its previous adventures. Now, I know that people in our culture are very skeptical about past-life memories. But when they do some of the work and start recalling some of those memories, attitudes change very quickly.
Once you know that you’ve lived before—and therefore that you’ll live again—you will be able to laugh at death. Just as I do.