Thomas F. O'Neill
Mysticism for the Modern world
I have always been intrigued by the mystical approach to self knowledge and spiritual growth. The eastern mystical approach has always seemed more holistic to me than the Judeo-Christian stand point. The stand point that you must believe in their point of view in order to achieve their final destination (Heaven). Otherwise you will go to the other alternative destination (Hell).
When I reflect back on my youth and my spiritual development I have come to realize that I have never really accepted the Judeo-Christian view of reality. It is mostly due to their dogmatic beliefs on creation, original sin, and the Good vs. Evil duality. I have also come to realize the power and influence of the world's mythologies on the Judeo-Christian beliefs and the polarizing concepts of Heaven vs. Hell, God vs. Satan, and Devils vs. Angels. These religious beliefs are a reflection of mans search for meaning through the power of myth.
That is what led my interest in eastern mysticism because of its personalized and individualized approach to spirituality. I never accepted one religion as being the sole approach to spiritual enlightenment because I believe every person must find their own personal path in life. In my quest to understand the history of the eastern mystical approach to spiritual development. I learned about a small group of Buddhist monks that broke tradition with mainstream Buddhism in Tibet approximately 2000 years ago.
It was Padmasambhava – which I am unable to pronounce. He is also known as - Guru Rinpoche. He was a Buddhist master who went to Tibet approximately 2000 years ago and profoundly changed the Tibetan consciousness with his introduction of the tantric path of Buddhism. His followers are the Monks that I am writing about they followed and developed the tantra path to spiritual enlightenment.
Their writings and spiritual insights have been preserved and studied not only by religious scholars but by modern day scientists.
They had a profound insight that thought can change the physiology of the human body and subtly change ones environment. They wrote about how loving thoughts and negative thoughts can transmit from a person and affect ones environment in a very subtle way. They also believed 2000 years ago that their energy is eternal. Their concept on thought as being physical energy was unique and profound for that time period. I find it fascinating that modern day science has only begun to discover that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
They wrote extensively about the power of the imagination. They believed in creating an image of what one ought to be in ones mind, and never allowing the image to fade away. The mind will slowly aid in developing that image more fully and soon what you have created within you will be how others perceive you. Their energy field had a positive effect on all living things because of their devotion to spiritual development.
Passages in their literature reflect the great importance and enfaces that was placed on interpreting the meaning of their dreams. They used examples of how dreams become our reality when we are asleep. We participate in the dream for a reason and we dream out of necessity. They wrote that there is a deep meaning in the dream. We can learn about ourselves and others through our dreams.
They wrote that when we wake up from our sleep we are in a higher state of awareness. We can then analyze and compare our dreams to learn more about ourselves, our relationships, but most of all it will help us gain a deeper insight into our psyche. Life for them was like a dream state and death is simply moving into a higher state of awareness.
They believed that we move through various levels of awareness after death similar to waking up from a dream state. We will be able to analyze our life experiences after death from a higher state of awareness just as we can analyze our dreams when we awaken from sleep.
They wrote extensively about the concept of reincarnation. They believed that just as we can remember more than one dream so to will we remember each incarnation. We will remember each incarnation in our higher state of awareness after death. We will be able to learn about ourselves and our relationships. In our higher awareness we will analyze our thoughts and actions within each of our various incarnations. As if we were analyzing our dreams in a higher state of awareness. They believed that when we become incarnate in the world our goal in life is to raise our awareness to a higher level. Those that accomplish this goal will raise humanity to a higher awareness as well.
They wrote about human desires and that the reason we are alive on earth is out of our desire to participate in the world. We learn about ourselves and others by participating with others just as we participate in our own dreams.
The concept of Karma was a dominant premise throughout their writings. They wrote about how our outcome in life is determined by our thoughts and actions. They believed that just as our thoughts determine our dreams so to do our thoughts determine our outcome in each incarnation. When we learn to control our thoughts, our actions will correspond with them.
Spiritual exercises were essential to their spiritual development as well. They wrote about the various spiritual disciplines that aided their predecessors in moving through various levels of awareness. One of their goals was to learn to control their outcome by dissipating or doing away with their deep desires. They believed their desires is what drives their ego to incarnate into the world.
It was their belief that through many lifetimes of spiritual discipline they well eventually have no desire to incarnate into the world. Through their spiritual insight they will also be able to assist others from a higher state of being who are working through their own Karma.
They also wrote extensively about the interconnectedness of all reality. Our thoughts and actions subtly change us and the environment in which we live. We are our thoughts so to speak. When we change our thoughts in a more positive way we change our own outcome towards greater wellbeing. We subtly change the living beings around us in a positive way as well.
I find their philosophy to be intriguing because it places full responsibility for ones outcome on their thoughts and actions rather than on religious beliefs. Their writing is also profound because science is only beginning to unravel their deep insight 2000 years after it was written in the deep caves of Tibet.
It was through their insights into the deep interconnectedness of all reality. How we are constantly and subtly changing our environment and physical being through our thoughts. These insights have captivated and stirred a deep interest among today's scientists, and environmentalist. They see a correlation in how our attitudes and actions have had a negative impact on our environment, especially, for those who are focusing on global warming, and the depletion of our rain forests. It is a reflection on how our thoughts and actions are having a negative impact on our environment.
For the ancient Buddhist dreams were the windows to the soul. For the last hundred years or so modern psychologist have also placed a great enfaces on the importance of dream interpretation. They have discovered that our dreams can influence our behavior just as much as our thoughts influence our dreams. Some modern psychologists suggest that where we are emotionally at any particular moment in time will be reflected in our dreams. Our dreams are metaphors in motion and a window into our psyche.
Most psychologists will interpret our dreams as mere symbolic images of our emotional wellbeing. But some have described their Dreams as being that spiritual creative spark. Many great painters, writers, and musicians, have been greatly inspired by their dreams throughout the centuries.
The proper interpretation of our dreams is a gateway into our deep psyche. Through our dreams we learn about ourselves, find ourselves, heal ourselves. Our dreams can also aid us in the right direction toward a more fulfilling life. The ancient Buddhist have found that the more they have grown in self-awareness. The more they have grown spiritually. Through this process they have become more aware of the importance of following the deep meaning of their dreams guidance. The ancient Buddhist intuitively understood that our dreams are symbolic but they are also the soul’s way of communicating its knowledge to the conscience mind. Because the soul knows what the mind seeks.
The ancient Buddhist approach to spiritual enlightenment was more intuitive than relying on the scientific knowledge of their day. As they evolved spiritually they came to understand things that not only defied common sense but the scientific understanding that the ancient people relied on in order to find meaning and purpose in life.
As they grew spiritually their perception of themselves in relation to others shifted and everything that once provided them with meaning and purpose shattered. Through their spiritual growth they discovered a deeper meaning and purpose in life. Thier deeper meaning and purpose was in life itself. Life was beyond their intellectual grasp of understanding but their purpose and meaning came in the experience of being alive.
The ancient Buddhist literature is not science literature but modern psychologists have found their writings to be intriguing. In today’s world Buddhism is being applied to self help books.
The Buddhists of old believed that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy was seen by them as being eternal. This belief has also surfaced in modern science. Quantum physicists have also discovered that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This discovery was one of the major breakthroughs in sub-atomic physics in the 20th century.
There are also scientists that are conducting experiments with some of the spiritual exercises that the Tibetans wrote about 2000 years ago. These scientists are conducting bio-feedback and bio-electric experiments with artificial limbs with the hope that someday our bio-electric energy and thoughts will interface with electro sensitive computers.
It is also within the ancient Hindu Sanskrit’s of India; many dating back well over 4,000 years, intuited, what science is now catching up with. Buddhism and its spiritual traditions are a continuum of ancient Hinduism.
The Hindus believe that we can learn much from what we read but we can learn a great deal more about ourselves from what we write. It was from that premise that a rich collection of wisdom pored forth from the ancient Hindus whose only desire was to embody spiritual enlightenment.
In today’s world with the advent of the super information highway, called the Internet, with its instant global communication, and the acceleration of knowledge. Such Technology is causing an evolution in our collective consciousness. We are intuitively recognizing on a global scale the interconnectedness of all things both in terms of the universe and within our quest for knowledge.
Advancements in technology are causing us to shift our perception of ourselves in relation to others. At the same time there is also a collective hunger whether we are consciously aware of it or not for self knowledge. This is being reflected in the pop culture with the popularity of self help books. The quest for self knowledge and spiritual enlightenment predates the written word. But it is continuing to push us forward in our modern times at an accelerated rate.
This innate drive for self improvement is moving our conscious awareness forward collectively because it is part of our human evolution. We are also on a threshold of a major shift in our human development due to our desire to find a balance between knowledge and its proper application. This is being reflected in terms of science, technology, and within our spiritual quest for self knowledge.
Human consciousness is evolving at an accelerated rate and we have seen extraordinary advancements in science and technology in the past 25 years than in any other time period in history.
Long before the written word was invented the wise have sought to achieve a balance between what they intellectually thought to be true with what they implicitly and intuitively knew to be true.
The power of the human intellect and what it has achieved in just a short period in our human evolution is only a shadow of what is to come over the next 100 years.
Science and Technology doubles every three years due to our internal drive to better ourselves and to push humanity to greater heights.
If and when we properly apply and balance our intellectual drive for knowledge of the external world with our implicit and intuitive self knowledge we will accomplish what the wisest of the wise have sought to accomplish sense the birth of humanity.
The wise of ancient times understood that knowledge without wisdom is knowledge non-applied. Knowledge and its proper application can only be accomplished with the proper balance between knowledge of the world around us with our self knowledge.
I find it fascinating how Science and Spirituality in our modern technological age are complimenting one another. They are just beginning to merge and penetrate the depths of reality through collective experiences, with its spiritual wonderment, imagination, and the power of the human intellect.
Thomas F. O’Neill
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