The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sant Kabir

Inner Sound Meditation: Nada- Bindu Upanishad ( From Radhasoami- Reality )

"Who else is Christ but the Sound of God." (Gnostic Acts of John)"In the beginning was the Word" (Logos--AUM--Tao--Shabda--Nada--Sound Current--Song of the Creator--Holy Stream of Sound--Audible Life Stream--Music of the Spheres--Akash Bani--Bang-I-Asmani--Anhad Shabad--Naam--Vadan--Saut-e Sarmad--Kalma or Kalam-i-Ilahi--Sarosha--Harmony of All Harmonies--The Voice of God that vibrated: "Let there BE, and all all became"]).

Excerpt from the Ancient Nada-Bindu Upanishad on Inner Sound Meditation. The Yogin being in the Siddhasana (posture) and practising the Vaishnavi-Mudra, should always hear the internal sound through the right ear. The sound which he thus practises makes him deaf to all external sounds. Having overcome all obstacles, he enters the Turya state within fifteen days. In the beginning of his practice, he hears many loud sounds. They gradually increase in pitch and are heard more and more subtly. At first, the sounds are like those proceeding from the ocean, clouds, kettle-drum and cataracts; in the middle (stage) those proceeding from Mardala (a musical instrument), bell and horn.. At the last stage, those proceeding from tinkling bells, flute, Vina (a musical instrument) and bees. Thus he hears many such sounds more and more subtle. When he comes to that stage when the sound of the great kettle-drum is being heard, he should try to distinguish only sounds more and more subtle. He may change his concentration from the gross sound to the subtle, or from the subtle to the gross, but he should not allow his mind to be diverted from them towards others. The mind having at first concentrated itself on any one sound fixes firmly to that and is absorbed in it. It (the mind) becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa (the Akasa where Chit prevails). Being indifferent towards all objects, the Yogin having controlled his passions, should by continual practice concentrate his attention upon the sound which destroys the mind. Having abandoned all thoughts and being freed from all actions, he should always concentrate his attention on the sound and (then) his Chitta becomes absorbed in it. Just as the bee drinking the honey (alone) does not care for the odour, so the Chitta which is always absorbed in sound, does not long for sensual objects, as it is bound by the sweet smell of Nada and has abandoned its flitting nature. The serpent Chitta through listening to the Nada is entirely absorbed in it and becoming unconscious of everything concentrates itself on the sound. The sound serves the purpose of a sharp goad to control the maddened elephant – Chitta which roves in the pleasure-garden of the sensual objects. It serves the purpose of a snare for binding the deer – Chitta. It also serves the purpose of a shore to the ocean waves of Chitta. The sound proceeding from Pranava which is Brahman is of the nature of effulgence; the mind becomes absorbed in it; that is the supreme seat of Vishnu. The sound exists till there is the Akasic conception (Akasa-Sankalpa). Beyond this, is the (Asabda) Soundless Para-Brahman which is Paramatman. The mind exists so long as there is sound, but with its (sound's cessation) there is the state called Unmani of Manas (viz., the state of being above the mind). This sound is absorbed in the Akshara (Indestructible) and the Soundless State is the Supreme Seat.""

THE AUDIBLE STREAM: THE SOURCE OF ALL BEING by Julian P. Johnson, in, Path of the Masters.

THE CENTRAL FACT IN SANTON KI SHIKSHATHE Audible Life Stream is the cardinal, central fact inthe Science of the Masters. It is the keystone of the arch. It is the cornerstone of the structure. It is the structure itself. And it is the Path of the Masters.One might say that the Master and the Life Stream constitute the Path of the Masters. The great spiritual Current is not only the central fact in the Science of theMasters but it is the supreme fact and factor of the entire universe. It is the very essence and life of all things. It is perhaps less known than any other important fact of Nature, yet it is the one determining factorof all Nature. That is indeed a pity. This great truth or fact is significantly spoken of in the first chapterof the Gospel of John:"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made."Here it is definitely stated that something which is called "Word" is identical with God, the Creator.Although not at all understood by the Christian church, this statement is an important announcement of the stupendous fact of the Audible Life Stream.It is often called the Sound Current. But that is not agood name for it because it is not sufficiently definitive.The Indian name is simple shabd, meaning sound.But that is not definitely clear. There are many sounds. Logos was the Greek term used by the Neoplatonic school, whose masters were familiar with portionsof the Eastern Wisdom. Logos means the divine Word.It is this divine current, wave or stream going forth from God himself and flowing throughout the universe.It is not only an emanation from God but it is God himself. When any man speaks in this world, he simply sets in motion atmospheric vibrations. Butwhen God speaks, he not only sets in motion etheric vibrations but he himself moves in and through those vibrations. In truth it is God himself that vibrates all through infinite space. God is not static, latent : He is superlatively dynamic. When he speaks, everything in existence vibrates, and that is the Sound, the Shabd;and it can be heard by the inner ear, which has been trained to hear it. It is the divine energy in process of manifestation which is the holy Shabd. It is in fact theonly way in which the Supreme One can be seen andheard-----this mighty, luminous and musical wave,creating and enchanting.Now, this great fact of Nature, so little known to either ancient or modern thought, is the vital substanceof the Science of the Masters. It is cardinal and central in all their teachings. It is the one thing which distinguishes Santon ki Shiksha from all other sciences or systems. It is the very foundation of their system of yoga. It is the key to all of their success in unfolding their spiritual powers and controlling their minds.It is the one sign by which a real Master may be known and recognized from all others. No one is or can be a genuine Master unless he teaches and practices theAudible Life Stream; because it is impossible for anyone to become a spiritual Master of the highest order unless he consciously utilizes the Life Stream to gain his development. NAMES OF THE SUPREME LOGOS. It is commonly called Sound Current in India,among those who speak English. But the best translation which we have been able to discover is: Audible Life Stream. This appears to carry its deeper meaning and is more comprehensive and inclusive. It is, in fact, a stream, a life-giving, creative stream and it can be heard. The fact that it is audible is extremely important and that idea must be conveyed, if possible,in any name that is applied to it. This current or wave contains the sum of all teaching emanating from God.It is his own Word. It includes everything that God has ever said or done. It is God himself in expression.It is the method of God in making himself known.It is his language. It is his Word.This Sound sometimes is called Name; in Sanskrit or Hindi, NAM. But in English, we are not accustomed to put so much meaning in the word 'name'. It isonly correct if we understand that 'name' or Namstands for all that the Supreme Being is. It is just another way of saying Word and Word is what God says. It is equally what he does. It is the whole of the divine being in action. To distinguish God in action from God as divine Essence, we call him Shabd or livingWord. The name of anything or anybody is the sound symbol which stands for the reality itself. The name conveys to thought everything which belongs to the reality for which it stands. When the Master is said to give "NAM" it means that he gives the Current, theReality for which Nam stands. He literally gives theAudible Life Stream itself. (Just how the Master can give it is discussed in Chap. XII : 4).This divine NAM, or Sound, or Word, stands for all that God is or has ever said or done. It include sall of his qualities. As said before, it is the only way inwhich the universal Spirit can manifest itself to humanconsciousness. So when the Supreme Being manifests himself as Sat Nam in Sack Khand he there becomes fully personified, embodied, and brings into manifestation all of the qualities of deity. As Sat Nam he becomes personal Creator, Lord, God, and Father.There he becomes the Fountain out of which theAudible Life Stream proceeds. This stream may be perceived and heard by all who participate in it throughout all worlds. It may be seen and heard by such asattain an awakened consciousness under the training of a Master. When a man hears it, he hears God. When he feels it, he feels the power of God. This Shabd is,therefore, the Divine Being expressing himself in something that is both audible and visible. This current must not be understood to be like a river running in one course. It is more like a radio wave flowing outin every direction from the grand central broadcasting station. In fact, it comes from the Supreme Creative center of the universe of universes.This wave has two aspects, a centrifugal flow and a centripetal flow. It moves outward from the central dynamo of all creation, and it flows back toward that dynamo. Moving upon that current, all power and all life appear to flow outward to the uttermost boundsof creation, and again upon it all life appears to be returning toward its source. It is the latter aspect ofit with which we have to deal mostly.Upon that wave we have to depend for our return to our original home. When the Master makes the connection or as we say in radio, "tunes us in," it is then that we begin our homeward journey leaving all perishable worlds behind us.This Word is called Nada (pronounced Nad) in the Vedas. In Vedanta, sound is always spoken of as creative. Sound or anything that sounds is the creative energy. It is referred to as the Nada Brahma meaningthe primal word of Brahm. By this Nada Brahma all creation was brought into existence. The whole of the visible and invisible universe is the manifestation of this Primal Nada.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Tribute To Bob Lewis: A Boy's Life In The 1950s

I just had my 66th birthday. I don’t know, I guess you start having flashbacks to your early days. But anyway the other night I was having trouble sleeping-- sleeping off and on; and at one point it flashed into my mind: “What ever happened to Bobby Lewis?” Bob Lewis was a classmate of mine in elementary school in a small New Jersey town in the 1950s. He was also in the local scout troop with me. I haven’t had any contact with him in about 56 years- and have hardly given him any thought at all. But I finally realized only a few days ago what a major influence for good Bobby had been in my life. I was about 10 the last time I saw him. Fifth grade.

As for me at the time, I could have hardly been described as a well-adjusted kid. People considered me “serious.” I stayed mostly in my room at home and was ill-at-ease around people. I thought a lot about questions such as “ If God created the world, what was here before that?” and I’d drive myself crazy trying to imagine space as being somehow “bricked up;” but then I’d realize that packed-up bricks were something- not nothing- so that they couldn’t have been here either- nor the space which they would have filled- which was also “something.” I gave myself some relief from these metaphysical conundrums by reading comic books intermittently or by playing with my toy cars and trucks.

My report cards were good; but I was starting to have problems vis-a-vis “conduct.” I was bored all the time; wasn’t paying much attention to the teachers; and was doing “class-clown” stuff to interrupt the classes and get attention. And I was starting to develop a problem with “sick headaches” which would often last for as long as two days during which I’d have to stay in a dark room with the back of my head feeling like someone was pounding it with a mallet; and I’d be throwing up constantly. I was really turning into a wreck of a kid.

One day, as I was leaving school Bob Lewis, whom I hardly knew, came up to me and said “ Hey, Al, you want to go get some praying-mantis cocoons?” Well, I knew what a praying mantis was and they basically gave me the creeps; but a cocoon I didn’t know from a hole in the wall. But for some reason I answered “OK.” And that was the beginning of my friendship with Bobby, a friendship that was all too brief and which I’ve forgotten about almost entirely for 56 years.

The town we lived in- Wood-Ridge- was about a mile square and was bordered on one side by a woodland area that I knew very little about prior to exploring it with Bob, who knew every square inch of it and just about everything about its flora and fauna. He knew exactly where the mantis and butterfly cocoons were and when they would hatch. He knew where the various kinds of turtles and chameleons and frogs were. He knew all about the plants and berries and mushrooms and what was good to eat and what wasn’t. He could identify all the birds and small animals that inhabited the woods. He knew where the good trees were for climbing. And he revealed it all to me all so knowledgably but in a way that somehow conveyed a sense of total wonder. He could have written an article for Boys Life magazine.

And then there was Bobby’s basement. Good Lord, it was a world in itself: The electric trains and the model planes and ships; the gadgets and the gizmos. The transition from nature to technology was incredible; and again Bob knew all the whys and wherefores and hows; and he gave of his knowledge with generosity and not a shred of ego. What he enjoyed was to be shared unreservedly. His enthusiasm was so catching. And it took you out of yourself.

That was the thing about Bob Lewis: He didn’t seem to have a bit of ego. His interest in the world around him was all-consuming and in-depth; and it didn’t even occur to him to be involved in any kind of nonsense. He was completely non-obtrusive. He wasn’t self-assertive; he didn’t argue; he didn’t fight; he didn’t gossip; he didn’t criticize; he didn’t complain. I think I remember a couple of times when kids tried to tease him about something or another. His reaction was a kind of good-natured non-reaction that said: “I have better things to do.” He could handle anything. In a certain very real sense Bob was a man at 10.

I guess my friendship with Bob went on for about a year. We explored the woods in summer, fall, winter and spring and also got into the local Cub-Scout troop, which kept us busy with projects. Needless to say, my psychological and physical health had taken a decided turn for the better and life was looking pretty good.

Well then came the transfer. My family was Catholic and I guess Bob’s family was Protestant if they were affiliated with any organized religion at all. The Catholic church in town was stressing the importance of getting a “Catholic education,” which conveyed pretty clearly to parishioners that they were missing the mark if they were sending their kids to public school instead of the parochial school run by the parish. So my folks finally decided to transfer me to Catholic school for my sixth-grade year. The whole transfer procedure is vague and foggy in my memory; but the September after I had completed fifth grade in public school I found myself in sixth grade in Catholic school.

Catholic schools in those days discouraged their students from associating with non- Catholic groups. For instance we were forbidden to join the YMCA but had to go to CYO ( Catholic Youth Organization ) instead. There was still a strong tinge of the “outside-the-Church- there-is-no-salvation” mentality; and Catholic kids were encouraged to stick together and not consort with the opposition. This was all well before ecumenism. A lot of people today would deny that that was the case; but nevertheless it was.

So that was that. I found myself in a new world. Public school- and Bob Lewis- were part of my past. I never met up with him again. I guess he went on and graduated from elementary school and the public high-school. And I went on and graduated from Catholic school and then attended a Catholic prep school which was located in another city. And life continued. And except for a rare passing thought I totally forgot about Bob for fifty-six years- until the other night when I realized what a God-sent gift he had been to me and how much I owed him.

A good person like that can be swallowed up by a not-so-good world; but somehow I don’t think that was the case with Bob. As I mentioned earlier, he could handle things. And he had it together. I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually became an Eagle Scout. God I wish I could know what became of him.

Sorry I flew the coop, Bob. And whatever you became and wherever you are, my dear friend and teacher, thank you. I pray life has been kind to you and that it will always shower you with every blessing.