Spiritual End

Isn’t this blog just a bunch of naval-gazing? Shouldn’t I be concentrating on the experience of existence rather than simply contemplating it? Isn’t spirituality a means to an end, not an end in itself. To be here in the world is to live as an embodied being. After all, how did the Bhagavad Gita end? Arjuna didn’t don a robe and dedicate himself to God. Krishna successfully convinced Arjuna to stop his whining and get out there on the battlefield. As he said in the beginning: “Why such weakness in a time of war? Stand and fight!”

There’s a saying: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” And what I take from that, is this. At some point along your spiritual journey, you have to drop it and get back to living life. You’ve been stopped at the rest-stop for awhile, you’ve refueled and refreshed, now get back out there! You can’t stand on the sidelines talking to God forever, that’s not what THIS is. THIS is earth, the realm of physical existence — do THAT.

And no offense, but you’re not a spiritual teacher. It’s not something that interests you. And the proof is in the pudding: no one cares — nor would you want them to. You care about new technology, culinary delights, entertaining shows and movies — I mean come on, you’re not a spiritual guy, that’s not you — you took this spiritual pitstop as a way to get back on your actual path — that’s all it is.

What wakes you up in the morning? Some spiritual endeavor? Service to others? Hell no! You’re excited by new technology. You stop and stare as Teslas roll past you in the street. Almost a decade ago, during a depressive episode, your spirits were kept high by the impending release of the second-gen MacBook Air (you actually drove with your friend to New Jersey to purchase it!). You don’t stare at nature with awe, you stare at those robotic creatures from Boston Dynamics with amazement. When your son asked you your superhero name, you thought: hmm, OM-Man, no, Enlighten-Man, no, Mr. Technology? — that’s a bingo! Would you prefer to see angels ascending into heaven or a Falcon 9 rocket launching and self-landing? You know damn well which one you’re more excited over. Would you prefer to visit a Zen temple in Japan or use an advanced Japanese toilet-seat? Jets of water all the way!

Arjuna was built for battle, you were built with an appreciation for technology. Unfortunately, I have no idea what you should do with that appreciation — but obviously something to do with technology would be barking up the right tree. Aren’t you the guy that couldn’t even understand spirituality until it was framed by a simulation-theory perspective? But once you “get it”, there’s nothing left except getting back into the game. You don’t sit there reading the rules over and over, you play. Now go! Stand and fight!

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Spirits from Beyond

I was just reading the first part of the 1843 story A Christmas Carol, and found the chain metaphor an interesting one. Scrooge’s deceased partner Jacob Marley was wrapped in chains he forged for himself through earthly endeavors. He toiled ceaselessly in his business and thus wore the fruits of his labor.

As Jesus said: No man can serve two masters: for either he shall hate the one, and love the other, or else he shall lean to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and riches.

And in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: At the end of time, he, who having abandoned his mortal frame, departeth thinking only of me, without doubt goeth unto me; or else, whatever other nature he shall call upon, at the end of life, when he shall quit his mortal shape, he shall ever go unto it. Wherefore at all times think of me alone and fight. Let thy mind and understanding be placed in me alone, and thou shalt, without doubt, go unto me.

It’s interesting to think we’re creating the chains in this realm that we’ll carry into the next. It reminds us to heed the focus of our time and energy lest we carry a burden we wish not.

At the very least, if we’re to carry chains, we should forge them from the things we adore. Yet in spiritual lore, the goal is to remove the bonds entirely. And we do that by detaching from the fruits of our labor while we endeavor.

We perform action not as a wretched creature lost to life, but as a master actor fulfilling his role on stage, aware of an ever-present audience, and joyfully performing the part we were meant to play.

Lighted Pathway

Initially, our physical senses seem to be a doorway into the world. And why not, what we see is what we get, right? But eventually, what we receive does not align with what we perceive. This causes confusion and angst.

We then struggle with the stress of this inner conflict. We try altering the exterior to match our beliefs. But our ideas, as well as the outer world, are moving targets which we ever fail to reconcile.

Left with despair, we give up. But this capitulation is not an end, but a beginning. We stop believing that truth is obvious. We cease in trusting sensory data. We no longer hold tight to our previous beliefs.

In a way we’re lost, yet we see a light far ahead in the distance. And so we walk. We stumble of course, but recover and dedicate ourselves to the path. The closer we get, the more brilliant the glow, and the more revealed to us.

With an expanding view, our perspective broadens, the dark and scary world is no longer so. We trust in the underlying goodness of life and observe our surroundings more like a motion-picture, all while appreciating the spectacle before us.

Through this lens, life is no longer criticized. We come to exude open-mindedness, forgiveness, and patience. We want nothing but the best for all. And in this resplendent light we find ourselves, finally aligning with our essence.

Bhagavad Gita Translation

Bhagavad Gita -- Richard Lawrence

The Bhagavad Gita is the story of a man’s dilemma during a family feud. In the middle of impending violence, he is desperately confused about whether he should participate in the bloodshed. God, in the form of his charioteer, explains the nature of life to this distraught archer, eventually extinguishing his fears. And as a witness to this conversation, we the audience receive insight into our own existence.

How should we think of death, how should we live our lives, what makes us do the things we do, what is our purpose? The significance of the Bhagavad Gita is that it fills in these blanks, providing a pleasant story to explain what cannot be seen. Whether the story is true doesn’t matter, the ideas it provides are “good enough”, and serve as effective tools for dealing with our discontent.

So, in order to better learn the intricacies of the Bhagavad Gita, I set out to write it in my own words, and in doing so, created my own translation. This translation is available through several outlets and in various forms. One translation is never enough, so perhaps my perspective will shed a different light, helping to illuminate the ideas encased within.

Amazon Kindle & Paperback: http://amazon.com/dp/B00F3QM74I/
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