Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life After Death: There is no Self


Introduction

"...There is rebirth of character, but no transmigration of a self. Thy thought-forms reappear, but there is no ego-entity transferred. The stanza uttered by a teacher is reborn in the scholar who repeats the words.
Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their souls are separate and self-existent entities. Thy heart, O Brahman, is cleaving still to self; thou art anxious about heaven but thou seekest the pleasures of self in heaven, and thus thou canst not see the bliss of truth and the immortality of truth."

Buddha

While some believe it's impossible to know whether there is life after death, belief in immortality is timeless. People of all times and places in history have believed that the human soul survives death. If there is no consciousness beyond the grave, then life has fooled almost everyone from the Pharaohs of Egypt to Jesus of Nazareth.

When we talk about rebirth or reincarnation, some people laugh at the idea. They consider such belief is passe and obsolete. Others may think such question is in arena of religion. After all, it concerns what is after death.


All Existence is Spiritual


THERE was an officer among the retinue of Simha who had heard of the discourses of the Blessed One, and there was some doubt left in his heart. This man came to the Blessed One and said: "It is said, O Lord, that the samana Gotama denies the existence of the soul. Do they who say so speak the truth, or do they bear false witness against the Blessed One

And the Blessed One said: "There is a way in which those who say so are speaking truly of me; on the other hand, there is a way in which those who say so do not speak truly of me. The Tathagata teaches that there is no self. He who says that the soul is his self and that the self is the thinker of our thoughts and the actor of our deeds, teaches a wrong doctrine which leads to confusion and darkness. On the other hand, the Tathagata teaches that there is mind. He who understands by soul mind, and says that mind exists, teaches the truth which leads to clearness and enlightenment."

The officer said: "Does, then, the Tathagata maintain that two things exist? that which we perceive with our senses and that which is mental?"

Said the Blessed One: "I say to thee, thy mind is spiritual, but neither is the sense-perceived void of spirituality. The bodhi is eternal and it dominates all existence as the good law guiding all beings in their search for truth. It changes brute nature into mind, and there is no being that cannot be transformed into a vessel of truth."

Identity and Non-Identity


KUTADANTA, the head of the Brahmans in the village of Danamati, having approached the Blessed One respectfully, greeted him and said: "I am told, O samana, that thou art the Buddha, the Holy One, the All-knowing, the Lord of the world. But if thou wert the Buddha, wouldst thou not come like a king in all thy glory and power?" Said the Blessed One: "Thine eyes are holden. If the eye of thy mind were undimmed thou couldst see the glory and the power of truth."

Said Kutadanta: "Show me the truth and I shall see it. But thy doctrine is without consistency. If it were consistent, it would stand; but as it is not, it will pass away." The Blessed One replied: "The truth will never pass away."

Kutadanta said: "I am told that thou teachest the law, yet thou tearest down religion. Thy disciples despise rites and abandon immolation, but reverence for the gods can be shown only by sacrifices. The very nature of religion consists in worship and sacrifice." Said the Buddha: "Greater than the immolation of bullocks is the sacrifice of self. He who offers to the gods his evil desires will see the uselessness of slaughtering animals at the altar. Blood has no cleansing power, but the eradication of lust will make the heart pure. Better than worshiping gods is obedience to the laws of righteousness."

Kutadanta, being of a religious disposition and anxious about his fate after death, had sacrificed countless victims. Now he saw the folly of atonement by blood. Not yet satisfied, however, with the teachings of the Tathagata, Kutadanta continued: "Thou believest, O Master, that beings are reborn; that they migrate in the evolution of life; and that subject to the law of karma we must reap what we sow. Yet thou teachest the non-existence of the soul! Thy disciples praise utter self-extinction as the highest bliss of Nirvana. If I am merely a combination of the sankharas, my existence will cease when I die. If I am merely a compound of sensations and ideas and desires, whither can I go at the dissolution of the body?"

Said the Blessed One: "O Brahman, thou art religious and earnest. Thou art seriously concerned about thy soul. Yet is thy work in vain because thou art lacking in the one thing that is needful. There is rebirth of character, but no transmigration of a self. Thy thought-forms reappear, but there is no ego-entity transferred. The stanza uttered by a teacher is reborn in the scholar who repeats the words.

"Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their souls are separate and self-existent entities. Thy heart, O Brahman, is cleaving still to self; thou art anxious about heaven but thou seekest the pleasures of self in heaven, and thus thou canst not see the bliss of truth and the immortality of truth.

"I say to thee: The Blessed One has not come to teach death, but to teach life, and thou discernest not the nature of living and dying. This body will be dissolved and no amount of sacrifice will save it. Therefore, seek thou the life that is of the mind. Where self is, truth cannot be; yet when truth comes, self will disappear. Therefore, let thy mind rest in the truth; propagate the truth, put thy whole will in it, and let it spread. In the truth thou shalt live forever. Self is death and truth is life. The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying, while moving in the truth is partaking of Nirvana which is life everlasting."

Then Kutadanta said: "Where, O venerable Master, is Nirvana?" "Nirvana is wherever the precepts are obeyed replied the Blessed One.

"Do I understand thee aright," rejoined the Brahman, "That Nirvana is not a place, and being nowhere it is without reality?" "Thou dost not understand me aright," said the Blessed One, "Now listen and answer these questions: Where does the wind dwell

"Nowhere," was the reply.

Buddha retorted: "Then, sir, there is no such thing as wind." Kutadanta made no reply; and the Blessed One asked again: "Answer me, O Brahman, where does wisdom dwell? Is wisdom a locality?"

"Wisdom has no allotted dwelling-place replied Kutadanta. Said the Blessed One: "Meanest thou that there is no wisdom, no enlightenment, no righteousness, and no salvation, because Nirvana is not a locality? As a great and mighty wind which passeth over the world in the heat of the day, so the Tathagata comes to blow over the minds of mankind with the breath of his love, so cool, so sweet, so calm, so delicate; and those tormented by fever assuage their suffering and rejoice at the refreshing breeze."

Said Kutadanta: "I feel, O Lord, that thou proclaimest a great doctrine, but I cannot grasp it. Forbear with me that I ask again: Tell me, O Lord, if there be no atman [soul], how can there be immortality? The activity of the mind passeth, and our thoughts are gone when we have done thinking."

Buddha replied: "Our thinking is gone, but our thoughts continue. Reasoning ceases, but knowledge remains." Said Kutadanta: "How is that? Are not reasoning and knowledge the same?"

The Blessed One explained the distinction by an illustration: "It is as when a man wants, during the night, to send a letter, and, after having his clerk called, has a lamp lit, and gets the letter written. Then, when that has been done, he extinguishes the lamp. But though the writing has been finished and the light has been put out the letter is still there. Thus does reasoning cease and knowledge remain; and in the same way mental activity ceases, but experience, wisdom, and all the fruits of our acts endure."

Kutadanta continued: "Tell me, O Lord, pray tell me, where, if the sankharas are dissolved, is the identity of my self. If my thoughts are propagated, and if my soul migrates, my thoughts cease to be my thoughts and my soul ceases to be my soul. Give me an illustration, but pray, O Lord, tell me, where is the identity of my self?"

Said the Blessed One: "Suppose a man were to light a lamp; would it burn the night through?" "Yes, it might do so," was the reply.

"Now, is it the same flame that burns in the first watch of the night as in the second?" Kutadanta hesitated. He thought it is the same flame, but fearing the complications of a hidden meaning, and trying to be exact, he said: "No, it is not."

"Then," continued the Blessed One, "there are two flames, one in the first watch and the other in the second watch." "No, sir," said Kutadanta. "In one sense it is not the same flame, but in another sense it is the same flame. It burns the same kind of oil, it emits the same kind of light, and it serves the same purpose."

"Very well said the Buddha and would you call those flames the same that have burned yesterday and are burning now in the same lamp, filled with the same kind of oil, illuminating the same room?" "They may have been extinguished during the day," suggested Kutadanta.

Said the Blessed One: "Suppose the flame of the first watch had been extinguished during the second watch, would you call it the same if it burns again in the third watch?" Replied Kutadanta: "In one sense it is a different flame, in another it is not."

The Tathagata asked again: "Has the time that elapsed during the extinction of the flame anything to do with its identity or non-identity?" "No, sir," said the Brahman, "it has not. There is a difference and an identity, whether many years elapsed or only one second, and also whether the lamp has been extinguished in the meantime or not."

"Well, then, we agree that the flame of today is in a certain sense the same as the flame of yesterday, and in another sense it is different at every moment. Moreover, the flames of the same kind, illuminating with equal power the same kind of rooms, are in a certain sense the same." "Yes, sir," replied Kutadanta.

The Blessed One continued: "Now, suppose there is a man who feels like thyself, thinks like thyself, and acts like thyself, is he not the same man as thou?" "No, sir," interrupted Kutadanta.

Said the Buddha: "Dost thou deny that the same logic holds good for thyself that holds good for the things of the world?" Kutadanta bethought himself and rejoined slowly: "No, I do not. The same logic holds good universally; but there is a peculiarity about my self which renders it altogether different from everything else and also from other selves. There may be another man who feels exactly like me, thinks like me, and acts like me; suppose even he had the same name and the same kind of possessions, he would not be myself."

"True, Kutadanta, answered Buddha, he would not be thyself. Now, tell me, is the person who goes to school one, and that same person when he has finished his schooling another? Is it one who commits a crime, another who is punished by having his hands and feet cut off?" "They are the same, was the reply.

"Then sameness is constituted by continuity only?" asked the Tathagata. "Not only by continuity," said Kutadanta, but also and mainly by identity of character."

"Very well, concluded the Buddha, then thou agreest that persons can be the same, in the same sense as two flames of the same kind are called the same; and thou must recognize that in this sense another man of the same character and product of the same karma is the same as thou." "Well, I do," said the Brahman.

The Buddha continued: "And in this same sense alone art thou the same today as yesterday. Thy nature is not constituted by the matter of which thy body consists, but by thy sankharas, the forms of the body, of sensations, of thoughts. The person is the combination of the sankharas. Wherever they are, thou art. Whithersoever they go, thou goest. Thus thou wilt recognize in a certain sense an identity of thy self, and in another sense a difference. But he who does not recognize the identity should deny all identity, and should say that the questioner is no longer the same person as he who a minute after receives the answer. Now consider the continuation of thy personality, which is preserved in thy karma. Dost thou call it death and annihilation, or life and continued life?"

"I call it life and continued life," rejoined Kutadanta, "for it is the continuation of my existence, but I do not care for that kind of continuation. All I care for is the continuation of self in the other sense, which makes of every man, whether identical with me or not, an altogether different person."

"Very well," said Buddha. "This is what thou desirest and this is the cleaving to self. This is thy error. All compound things are transitory: they grow and they decay. All compound things are subject to pain: they will be separated from what they love and be joined to what they abhor. All compound things lack a self, an atman, an ego."

"How is that?" asked Kutadanta. "Where is thy self? asked the Buddha. And when Kutadanta made no reply, he continued: "Thy self to which thou cleavest is a constant change. Years ago thou wast a small babe; then, thou wast a boy; then a youth, and now, thou art a man. Is there any identity of the babe and the man? There is an identity in a certain sense only. Indeed there is more identity between the flames of the first and the third watch, even though the lamp might have been extinguished during the second watch. Now which is thy true self, that of yesterday, that of today, or that of tomorrow, for the preservation of which thou clamorest?" Kutadanta was bewildered. "Lord of the world," he said, I see my error, but I am still confused."

The Tathagata continued: "It is by a process of evolution that sankharas come to be. There is no sankhara which has sprung into being without a gradual becoming. Thy sankharas are the product of thy deeds in former existences. The combination of thy sankharas is thy self. Wheresoever they are impressed thither thy self migrates. In thy sankharas thou wilt continue to live and thou wilt reap in future existences the harvest sown now and in the past."

"Verily, O Lord," rejoined Kutadanta, this is not a fair retribution. I cannot recognize the justice that others after me will reap what I am sowing now."

The Blessed One waited a moment and then replied: "Is all teaching in vain? Dost thou not understand that those others are thou thyself Thou thyself wilt reap what thou sowest, not others. Think of a man who is ill-bred and destitute, suffering from the wretchedness of his condition. As a boy he was slothful and indolent, and when he grew up he had not learned a craft to earn a living. Wouldst thou say his misery is not the product of his own action, because the adult is no longer the same person as was the boy?

"I say to thee: Not in the heavens, not in the midst of the sea, not if thou hidest thyself away in the clefts of the mountains, wilt thou find a place where thou canst escape the fruit of thine evil actions. At the same time thou art sure to receive the blessings of thy good actions. To the man who has long been traveling and who returns home in safety, the welcome of kinfolk, friends, and acquaintances awaits. So, the fruits of his good works bid him welcome who has walked in the path of righteousness, when he passes over from the present life into the hereafter."

Kutadanta said: "I have faith in the glory and excellency of thy doctrines. My eye cannot as yet endure the light; but I now understand that there is no self, and the truth dawns upon me. Sacrifices cannot save, and invocations are idle talk. But how shall I find the path to life everlasting? I know all the Vedas by heart and have not found the truth."

Said the Buddha: "Learning is a good thing; but it availeth not. True wisdom can be acquired by practice only. Practice the truth that thy brother is the same as thou. Walk in the noble path of righteousness and thou wilt understand that while there is death in self, there is immortality in truth."

Said Kutadanta: "Let me take my refuge in the Blessed One, in the Dharma, and in the brotherhood. Accept me as thy disciple and let me partake of the bliss of immortality."

Re-Incarnation

Reincarnation is in my opinion an overly simplified concept, designed to be easily understood and accepted by the general population. But the theory of reincarnation falls down sharply when closely examined. That is, if you understand how standard linear time sense behaves in higher dimensional levels, i.e., time sense fluctuates.
As far as it goes, the theory of reincarnation is clear enough to explain some very complex esoteric matters in a simple way; without giving people headaches whenever they think about it. It also allows for the illusion of the continuation of present consciousness, unchanged and progressive, with only an occasional memory loss to mar its course; marking the division between each Re--Incarnation. This makes it easy for people to accept the bones of the incarnation process.
It gives them the benefit of a rational afterlife belief-system containing the simplified essence of the whole truth. This allows a measure of independence and security, and a reassurance of the continuance of self, i.e., life after death and reincarnation = a kind of immortality theory that people can easily accept and relate to.

But the whole truth of reincarnation is so extraordinarily complex it is not so easily grasped.

At the top of the dimensional structure is ONE consciousness. A SINGLE mind (call it universal consciousness, The Great White Spirit, the mind of God: pick one?). Or split it into three if you like: Father, Son & Holy Spirit, or many more if you prefer the demigod perspective, i.e., Hindu beliefs, etc. However you conceive this structure, at the top of it all rests a single consciousness: the original spark of consciousness that created and is continually creating the entire multi-dimensional universe we call home. But grasping and relating to the ONE is not an easy thing to do. The ONE is so far above our understanding of what consciousness is, it becomes incomprehensible to the human mind: except of course in the abstract; which is the only realistic way this can be perceived and related to. The most popular way of relating to the ONE is through abstract simile, i.e., God is like the father of all fathers, or, God is like the mother of all mothers, et cetera.

Beneath the ONE are layers of consciousness (relating to subtle dimensional levels, i.e., the astral dimension, mental dimension, etc) where the ONE fragments and splits into multiple parts, with each lower layer splitting again and again into many more layers and parts, and so on, until you get to the physical dimension, the dimension of Maya, the dimension of solid illusion where we as energy-cum-physical beings can experience the limitations of the physical universe through our physical bodies. This, in a way, makes us human beings the myriad eyes, ears and consciousness' (in the physical dimension) of the ONE great universal mind above us.

At the very top of the dimensional spectrum, at dimension ONE, there is NO time. Mystically, this is understood and experienced as The Eternal NOW. This means there is NO TIME. There, time does not exist and everything, the past, present and future, are happening all at once in the eternal NOW. Every layer beneath this takes on a little more time sense (steadily increasing in time sense) until we get back down to the physical dimension; to our Real-Time dimension of solid illusion (our normal physical universe) where time becomes relatively linear once again.

To support this: whenever you experience higher dimensions, say during OBE, you will always notice a significant variability in time; in your sense of time passing during each experience. Modern physicists are already working mathematically in several different dimensions above but related (or linked) to the physical universe. The great physicist Einstein stated that at some point in the dimensional spectrum there must be a point where time does not exist, where past, present and future coexist simultaneously.

I have traveled to and experienced higher dimensional levels where there is NO concept of time at all. But the sensation and perception of time passing is also quite variable in the physical universe, and time sense is entirely relative to your state of mind. Look at how time flies when you are happy, say when you are spending time with someone you love. But oh how it drags and drags like a heavy stone while you are bored, or while you are waiting or experiencing something you dislike.

In a way this can be likened to a simple pyramid structure:

The Eternal Now

The above diagram shows the ascending and descending layers of the ONE consciousness, splitting into more and more parts as it descends into the real time universe (the here and now). Each part of the layers directly above the physical dimension can be more easily related to, if you consider each as being an Overself or Oversoul, or Higher Self (pick one?). In our dimension, each of these split into many separate parts (hundreds or even thousands of people; how many is unknown). And if you take into account this flow of multiple consciousness units from above, from the eternal NOW, it is also likely this spreads throughout all of time and space: possibly with each Oversoul splitting into countless people; all who have ever lived in the past, all those living in the present, and all those that will live in the future. The bottom line is that these are all living simultaneously in the shadow of The Eternal NOW. And if you also take into account the countless worlds in our universe that probably contain many other race, not to mention a plethora of parallel universes, the mind simply boggles. And yes, I think I am definitely getting a headache at this point!

If you look closely at and ponder the mind-split effect (see Astral Dynamics, or The Treatise on OBE parts 7 & 8) you'll see before you the underlying principle of incarnation at work. As above so below. And if you apply the mind-split effect to incarnation, you'll see the ONE great mind splitting and reflecting (or incarnating) into many billions of parts, into many billions of people.

Now, if you take the above as read, you will see that the linear concept of reincarnation is just a little off the mark in explaining the higher nature of reality. It leaves too many questions unanswered and has too many holes in it's logic. Its way too simplistic an explanation to fit the enormity underlying the reality of incarnation.

In my opinion, what is really happening is this:

We are all essentially a part of the ONE at the very highest level of consciousness. There is NO time at the top (or you could say there is ALL time at the top) so everything happens in the eternal NOW. Therefore, logically, a single person would incarnate throughout time: past present and future, living and experiencing multiple lives. But these are lived all at the same time, all at once, all in the eternal NOW. And therefore, if all lives are lived at once, then it is also likely each 'person' incarnates many times in the same timeframe, i.e., that you are incarnated many times in the present, and are living many different lives simultaneously in this present time, in the present NOW. This also applies to the past, present and future; meaning you are now currently living throughout all time. Scary concept maybe, and definitely headache material, but its also extremely logical.

I believe the above, with a healthy application of like-attracts-like and opposites-repel, also accounts for what are commonly called Soul Mates. Individual incarnating spirits would logically attract like-minded spirits to them from among their own spectrum of incarnating brethren, i.e., from among those incarnating from their own shared Oversoul.

The Buddhist concept of the Overself is fairly accurate in describing what is happening at a higher level of consciousness. This is a step up from the simpler concept of linear incarnation, living life after life, as taken for granted by most NewAge people today. Although the Buddhist theory also includes linear reincarnation, you will find there are many gray areas between fact, theory and experience.

Past life memories...or past life associations?

In my opinion these may be caused by closely related links (call it a soul family clan) between some spirits contained within a single Oversoul unit. These links are not limited nor divided by our primitive concept of linear time, but are all connected through the higher soul clan in the eternal NOW. They are all existing simultaneously at the higher level where they connect. Therefore, when a person remembers or feels connected with, or affected by, dramatic events from what is considered a past life filtering through into their present reality; these events are actually happening right now, in the eternal NOW. This may account for why these links can be so keenly felt. Even though the actual events that are affecting or being felt as stemming from a past life that may have happened thousands of years ago, it is actually happening right now, in the eternal NOW. And this goes a long way toward explaining why past life memories can have such a profound effect on us.

I think past life experiences can also be felt and experienced (shared) in varying degrees, by all the individual members of a closely related soul clan. They are not remembering events that happened a very long ago, they are being 'felt' and experienced by all parts as if they were actually a part of that other time, as if these events were happening NOW.

The above hopefully sheds some new light on the ancient but little-realized belief that we are all brothers and sisters in spirit, all God's children; regardless of sex or race; or even of species for that matter. Ultimately we are all ONE at the highest level, all ONE in the eternal NOW. (RB)

The Catch Basket Concept


I found the following article, yet again, while searching through my computer files. I had completely forgotten writing it. It seems a shame to waste it, so here it is. It explains a little about who I am and where I am coming from, and why I write the books and articles I do. My life; it's been a learning process in every sense of The Word.

In the mid-to-late nineteen-eighties, I experienced a serious belief system challenge. Glaring contradictions arose at every turn, between my ongoing hard-life experiences and popularly accepted New Age concepts of spiritual reality. I struggled to comprehend and integrate my experience with this paradigm, being forced time and time again to accept illogical compromises. But adaptation of my life experience soon became impossible and I began suffocating under its awkward burden. The popular model rapidly became unworkable in a practical sense. Either I was going crazy and experiencing consistent, repeatable delusions, as were all the people I was helping, or something was decidedly rotten in downtown Denmark.

Like many people down through the ages, I had spent my life searching for spiritual truth and meaning to life. For many years, I had sat in development groups, prayed, meditated, visualized and read until my eyes burned and my mind reeled under the massive contradictory onslaught. I developed psychic abilities, had spectacular OBE's, visions and mystical experiences. I made good progress, but still I need more. . .

I was eventually reborn and transformed when I raised my kundalini to its highest level around 1987 (this was when the enigma of my life became apparent to me). But raising kundalini, in itself, does not bring instant enlightenment. Kundalini has to be raised regularly and mastered, just like any other ability. The first time kundalini is raised it causes 'abstract' enlightenment, not actual enlightenment. You know everything while kundalini is raised, but cannot realize this when you return to a normal level of consciousness (the base level of consciousness in the normal waking state). There are no shortcuts, and there is no way of avoiding all the hard work and hard-life experience necessary for the abstracts to filter down into your conscious mind and physical reality.

All of this gleaned me glimpses of the greater spiritual reality above, with a few tantalizingly abstract snippets of abstract higher truth thrown in for good measure. But my increasingly strong contact with the greater spiritual reality provided me with a flood of contradictions to the popularly accepted model. This intellectual burden grew and grew as my belief system was stretched way beyond its design limits. It rapidly approached critical mass.

I was offered a solution in 1990. I had a major experience where an angel, or my higher-self (hard to tell which, and somewhat of a moot point really) manifested to me as a powerful objective voice. I could have recorded this had I a tape recorder handy; it was that audible. I was wide-awake and standing up. I had just stepped out of the shower and was about to start my evening meditation, around 9 pm. It was the most beautiful voice I have ever heard: deep, masculine, eloquent, loving, forgiving and wise. The atmosphere was intense. I felt like a small child might feel when standing before God in a great cathedral for the very first time. The sense of awe and loving fatherly forgiveness is overpowering. As I write, just revisiting my living memory of this causes tears of deep spiritual longing to flood down my face; such is the emotional impact of this experience.

NB: This was the same objective voice that had spoken to me a couple of years earlier, when it then instructed me to begin teaching myself how to write. Since I barely finished grade eight, this was no mean feat in itself. I had worked hard, and by the time of the second visitation, had already mastered the basics of English and grammar. Even so, I still felt I had not done enough. But direct contact with spiritual beings from the greater reality always has this effect, especially when they come to you.

The voice asked me to sit down, and then proceed to explain a great many things to me, the most important of which was advice on how to proceed on my quest for higher spiritual truth and knowledge. I was instructed to dismantle my belief system, and then to intelligently rebuild it from scratch. I was told to be disciplined in my approach and to use personal experience, logic and commonsense to build a new foundation belief system, upon which to continue my quest for true enlightenment.

The foundation belief system lies deep within the subconscious mind. This comprises a set of conceptual mental filters and shields, which are fundamental to one's physical and spiritual existence. These shape and affect your thoughts and perceptions by filtering ideas and inspirations, making these conform to a central theme, as set by your foundation beliefs. All knowledge lies within your heart. But accessing this is extraordinarily difficult. Everything has to pass through your conceptual filters before it can be perceived or realized.

If one's fundamental beliefs are even slightly flawed, information trying to pass through becomes distorted or blocked. Imagine new truths as being delicate square crystals, and flawed conceptual filters (contradictory beliefs) as being coarse round holes. New truths are effectively blocked. If one forces them through, the results are splintered octagonals, i.e., fractured, distorted or incomplete truths.

Therefore, if a higher intelligence (be it God, one's higher-self, holy guardian angel or spirit guide) tries to pass contradictory new truths through a flawed belief system, these truths are conceptually blocked or distorted. The greater the fundamental errors in one's belief system, the greater will be the distortion. All things being equal, this is why some people can receive inspiration (be it scientific or spiritual) and others cannot or receive only poorly.

This concept that you create your own spiritual reality is nothing new. Versions of this can be found in a great many books of spiritual philosophy. But actually realizing how this works and applying it to one's own foundation belief system in pursuit of higher truth and knowledge is an entirely different matter.

I was given detailed instructions on how to accomplish this. The next day I sat down and made a list of all the things I believed in concerning my spiritual reality. I then analyzed and erased all the things I had not actually experienced or proven for myself. After many days of pondering and revising, I ended up with a very small list indeed. It went something like this:

  • OBE is real: I've had Astral projections all my life.
  • Clairvoyance is real: I've seen auras and visions all my life.
  • Healing is real: I've both given and received it, seen and felt its power.
  • Kundalini is real: I raised mine to its highest level in 1987, and many times since.
  • We survive death: I've seen people after their deaths and have visited the spirit worlds.
  • A higher force is concerned with human existence and its spiritual evolution: I've experienced this many times -- the voice I heard above is just one example.
  • Angels, masters, deities and good spirits are real: I've interacted with these many times.
  • Bad spirits are real: I've experienced poltergeists and psychic attacks, been possessed and self-exorcised, and helped many people and children with similar problems.


Gone were personal spirit guides (while I had learned to believe I had one, I had never actually met or openly communicated with him). Gone was the involvement of spirits in just about everything spiritual and psychic (I had no hard experience to support this, only vague assumptions). And gone was the entire organized spirit structure above us that I had been taught to believe in (I had no real proof this was accurate). I also had a quandary. Apart from angels and other such exalted beings (which have such power and presence they are impossible to mistake for who they truly are) I had no reliable way of telling good spirits from bad spirits. Therefore, logically, I had to reject all lesser spirits until I discovered a reliable method of discernment.
The above might sound extreme, but it is eminently logical. Given the source, I took the advice I had been given to heart. I would learn to live this new way of truth and to apply it to my life.

My final list was real and true, as I had personally experienced everything on it. As instructed, I would build on what was real and discard everything else. I was told to shelve items of 'possible' truth aside, until proven or disproven. However, this is easier said than done and I went into what I can only describe as spiritual shock. I felt empty, alone and depressed. I had to keep stopping myself from talking to my spirit guide during prayers. If I was to do this at all, as instructed, I had to go all the way.

In time, this new foundation belief system settled more comfortably within me. I got over my emptiness and began filling my aching void with practical truth and knowledge. From this point onwards, slowly and surely, everything started to come together in my life. As instructed, I began writing a journal of my thoughts and ideas. I used the writing process to nurture my inner genius, to free up the flow of inspiration between my physical-self and my higher-self. This flow, I had been told, was blocked not only by my previously flawed conceptual filters, but by the vast differences in consciousness: between the level of consciousness of my normal awake mind (my base level of consciousness) and the more rarified and abstract level where my higher-self resided within me.

I turned my unanswered questions into journal articles. These contained everything I experientially knew to be true about each subject. I found myself putting in many logical subtitles and question marks to represent gaps in my knowledge. I used the writing process (revision, sleep, revision, sleep, and so on) to coax the truth from my dreams, and from the deep recesses of my higher spiritual-self. As instructed, I began shutting myself away in a dark, silent room for several hours at a time, discovering a profound new level of deep trance thinking. I thought, dreamed, meditated and wrote on seemingly unfathomable arcane matters.

In time began receiving inspirational ideas. My dreams and visions swam with sparkling clues; tiny pieces of the jigsaws I was trying to build. My logical and inspirational processes began working overtime, far more powerful than ever before. I found myself waking many times during sleep, compelled to reach for pen and paper to record new ideas. Mundane conversations and events triggered intellectual storms through the mental associations they caused, necessitating much frantic note-taking as inspirational ideas surfaced like glistening dolphins leaping from the murky waters of my subconscious mind.

In time, I accepted this process and began working with it. I felt like I had been reborn. This is how I developed my Catch Basket concept. During the day, I set my catch baskets by pondering unanswered questions. These are baited with rich crumbs of personal experience, tantalizing ideas and juicy pieces of logic. In the morning, I check these for fruits that have been cast into them from above. I record everything and add each small harvest to my questioning articles. Pretty soon, these began fleshing themselves out and filling in the mysterious gaps.

In truth, my work teaches me just as much as it teaches those I share it with. Over the years since I began this process, my catch basket repository began groaning with ripe esoteric fruits. As instructed, I began pouring these into the articles, tutorials and books I eventually began writing.

Over the years since my arcane riddle began, my inspirational process grew into a finely-tuned subtle mechanism. Now, if I have a serious question the answer always comes to me. Sometimes it surfaces immediately, sometimes days, months or even years later, but the clues that lead me to the answers always come. This has given me drive and purpose, plus an ever-increasing fascination for this many-splendored thing we call mortal life. Whatever the future holds in store, I look forward to living it with great interest.

I hope the above explanation of where I am coming from is of some help to people who might be struggling with their own beliefs. It is neither my intention nor my joy to cast doubts upon anyone's heartfelt theories and beliefs. But if my work causes you belief system discomfort, then how solid were your beliefs to begin with? While faith is a priceless jewel, if one accepts anything blindly one risks polluting one's essential foundation belief system with the curse of mindless dogmatism.

Please keep an open mind to the possibilities I have introduced here. The popular New Age spiritual model contains a great deal of beautiful, comforting philosophy. But it can fall down quite badly in a practical sense, especially when applied to dark supernatural problems. If one clings to this model, the development of new concepts and the gathering of higher spiritual truths becomes virtually impossible. The parameters of current popular spiritual models simply do not allow for this. Because of this, many people today bend the rules and invent elaborate explanations to get around these problems, while dogmatically holding true to popular beliefs. But this increased complexity prohibits a more direct approach. It leads to belief system obfuscation and ineffective methods being developed.

A Little Sage Advice To Close On:
Question everything, especially the sacred cows of dogma. Always think for yourself. Experiment and learn from all that life has to offer you. Listen to and consider the wisdom of others, and try on their ideas as you might try on a new coat for size. Never buy a new coat just because it seems to fit; it must be practical, within your price range, and look good on you too. And above all, build your own foundation belief system from the wealth of your own personal life experience.

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