Conversation with Zoe and Buddha: Have You Been Practicing?
Buddha: Have you been practicing? Are you practicing stillness? How are you experiencing this practice? Ask yourself this. I will help. Become aware of the practice: this awareness is as important as the outcome of the practice.
Buddha: Many of you are feeling the changes that are happening on the planet and in your own personal lives. This is correct. The vibratory field that you are amassing as a collective is speeding up and changing. More is felt and more is worried about. I ask you all to look within and to center yourself. Do not become too concerned by matters and that re happening far at sea: instead focus on keeping your balance, your own stillness. Practice this. Some days and some times are better than others. Nevertheless practice all the same.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: All Is Impermanent
Buddha: Begin now to look at the world the way we see it. This world is of temporary form- always shifting, always moving out, shifting each of your every lives. This world that you live in is bigger, bolder and greater than the individual life that you currently inhabit.
With this knowledge learn to respect the earth. Learn to keep the earth’s greatness in your mind and with every choice that you make be aware of consequence. I say this to each and every one of you.Yet do not become fixed on the permanence of damage or sustainability or even on life itself.
Think of yourself as in transit. You are always moving from one form into another. Birth, life stages, days, places that you visit- always moving in and out of form. Not just within the lifetime of the soul but within the lifetime even of the day. One moment is always different from the next, yet you remain. So treat your host with respect and dignity, your host the earth. You are traveling through this lifetime and leave it well.
Begin to recognize that there are those that have gone before you who knew and understood this and worked to leave no footprint of themselves upon the earth. Take a step towards this. This will do two things: Firstly this will give the respect to the earth that it deserves. Secondly this will begin to train you in the nature of your reality right now as you sit and read these words. This moment, whilst real now, will be gone in a moment from now. Take from it what you need. Recognize the impermanence of all and become still and settled within that. Great is the suffering of the many who try and fix points through time, through desire.
Whilst great things can be achieved within a lifetime, within a year, within a month, a week, a day, all is just single moments threaded together. All is impermanent.
I taught to think of moments, of actions, of words spoken to others, of thoughts, all of these as beads on string. Each bead represents that thought, that moment, that desire, that action. This will be the legacy that the soul will carry forth from you. You will with you a string of beads and on that string will be your decisions whether you have been conscious of them or not. This is what you will take to what id beyond form. I taught that this is all that is important- a string of beads- and that isn’t even real in form but metaphysical.
Today I will teach you to value the impact of your life, your choices. Delve into your thoughts, your desires to help you become aware of the impact of your life and your choices, conscious or not.
Life is different today. Different in the fact that impact is greater, desire is greater, restlessness and suffering is greater and this happens at a time when many of you have more of that which is in form. Therefore switch your focus from your daytime job to give you things, material forms, and instead focus on your inner world. This is your real job and it matters not what you do in the world of form. What matters is how. Bring conscious awareness into your life, into your moment and learn to keep the focus on your internal world. learn to become aware of when you become out of yourself and learn to hold the moments where you are inside. Inside your body, inside your life, inside what you are doing- this is where you meet the present. This is where you are doing you inner work.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: In Times of Fear and Uncertainty Look Within
Buddha: We are living in a time of collective madness. We are living in societies and civilizations, not all but most, where people are living with a collective consciousness below that of hysteria. The threat is believed to come from every angle: from economic downturn, from terrorists, from immigrants, from racial minorities.
Within this context many of you will become uncomfortable, unable to function to the best of your abilities and unable to accept this way of being for yourself, for your community, for your country anymore.
When these times arise there is only one place to look that is not in defensive strategies, that is not in armament either of weapon or money. The time to look is the time to look inside and to learn to become one with what you find there in. There is nothing to be frightened or fearful of inside of yourself. There is nothing inside you that, with focus and dedication, cannot be turned into gold. So during this time look inside without fear. There will be great reticence initially at doing this for what is hidden has been hidden for good reason or so the mind has told you. But it is illusion as I repeat there is nothing that is within any human alive that cannot be turned into gold, that cannot be turned into the seeker and even the finder of better states of being.
I have been asked, “Why look within? Why will looking within and becoming at peace with what one finds be a strategy in uncertain times such as these?”
You are connected to the collective mind, to the consciousness of humanity. For the consciousness to change be the change. If enough people in uncertain times become stable and solid and stalwart then peace will be able to return. Think of a life or death situation that is being faced by a group of people. If there is one that is able to find the peace, the strength, the courage to stay in the moment and to deal with what is happening, that one is able to impact the hysteria of the many; not always successfully but impact would be made.
Now think if there were two or three or four, the odds are getting better aren’t they. So in uncertain times when one is concerned with ones material future switch to ones interior future and begin the work. By creating stillness, by allowing the system to harmonize, you will not only make more logical and grounded steps you will also impact the collective of everyone around you.
Conversation with Master Buddha and TMichael: Gay Marriage
TM: I’ve been reading news accounts of the battle between those who favor gay marriage being sanctioned under law and those who oppose it. Some oppose it on religious grounds and some on biological grounds in that it doesn’t facilitate pro-creation naturally. What is your view on the religious grounds for or against gay marriage?
Master Buddha: If a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, there is a probability pregnancy will result, and a second probability that child birth will follow. This is commonly known and understood in modern society. That wasn’t always the case—many centuries ago it was a mystery how offspring were conceived by the vast majority of human population. There arose from the mystery many superstitions around conception and child birth. Conception and child birth require the engagement of male and female contributing each their part. This is a biologic fact. It doesn’t require a social bond to be successful. As a matter of modern fact, it doesn’t require that they ever physically engage in person (artificial insemination).
TM: Ok, I’m with you so far. Creating babies follows sex between a man and a woman, or by artificial means. A long time ago, and I hope a very long time ago, people didn’t quite make the connection and so developed superstitious beliefs around baby-making.
Master Buddha: So, by biologic fact a gay male marriage cannot produce offspring between the two partners, but can enlist a female outside the marriage to perform that role. The same of course then for two female partners. This means that gay couples are capable of producing offspring by proxy of a third partner if they so desire. This is the same for heterosexual couples who are unable to conceive a child. It merely accommodates the biologic fact.
TM: If it’s a biologic fact, then how does it become a religious issue or even a social concern?
Master Buddha: I’m pulling this apart for you, because it can get very tangled. At some point in human history there was a shift in social belief that the chief role of marriage between a man and woman was to create offspring. To ensure that their offspring would not just be running around in reckless abandon they also created social convention around the single-family household and the early beginnings of property rights. The child belonged to the parents and the household and was subject to their supervision and responsibility, and they together as a household subject to the larger society and community.
TM: You’re saying it was a social evolution, not a religious one. Is that correct?
Master Buddha: It is difficult to separate religion from social, because religion is a social enterprise. This is why this subject is so impossible for some people to intellectually grasp. I will continue now to explain.
Religion is a social enterprise, which means that humans have created religions and formed into social sects in order to propagate their religious beliefs and social tenets.
TM: Hold on a second, almost all religious people will say that religions were created by God, or Gods through prophets or enlightened intermediaries (present company included), and that they are followers of that particular religious teaching. God laid the foundation and they followed his word to build on it.
Master Buddha: Please refer to other conversations we’ve had on the subject of truth and how it is convoluted with faith and a state of not knowing everything. Humans will posit truth on a great many things, but that doesn’t make it true. It is merely their belief in what is true. Let’s assume for a moment that religions were founded on direct expression of truth from God or Gods. Humans, as you suggest, interpret that and build on it to make it a social belief system. The filter applied is still of human origin, and therefore subject to the ignorance of humanity.
TM: I don’t mean to stray from our topic, but this seems important to clear up, because so much of what follows is dependent upon this point. You’re saying that religions are social institutions and are birthed and propagated as social tenets, not the word of God.
Master Buddha: I don’t wish to belabor the point of origin of religious beliefs, and so for our discussion I said we could assume that religions spring from the word of God or Gods. Humans the take that word and add to it their interpretations and filter it into social conventions by which they live. That means that religions become social entities imbued with human constructs of socialized behavior. May we continue?
TM: Yes, but maybe we have to come back to this at some point.
Master Buddha: The great problem for humanity in building laws that govern society is that they cannot separate social convention from religious teachings. Gay marriage as it relates to law must pass through the filters of social convention, which is conditioned by religious beliefs. So you can easily see the conundrum. And this provokes a challenge to the truths held by those who believe that the word of God prohibits such human relations.
For them the syllogism flows like this:
God has said that the purpose of a man|woman relationship is to create babies and form single-family households and rear their offspring.
Gay couples cannot create babies directly.
Therefore, gay marriage is not sanctioned by God, and must be excluded from human options.
For religious believers, denying this logic is tantamount to denying the word of God. It will then undermine a society based upon the word of God and eventually lead to the ruin of society. How it reconciles with many other words of God in which it produces conflict and contradiction is inconvenient, but doesn’t cause their belief to waver. They must default to the only intellectual escape possible, which is that God is mysterious and knows more than humankind, and so it isn’t the place of humanity to question this contradiction. It is for humanity to follow the things that are clear as well as the things that aren’t without fail. God will sort it out later.
TM: Yes, I believe you’ve stated that correctly according to what they believe. But is that correct?
Master Buddha: The question is presented incorrectly. Let me re-frame it. What is the role of religion for humanity and what is the role of social convention in creating laws that govern human behavior?
TM: So, you won’t just come right out with an answer to settle the question will you?
Master Buddha: I’m taking an approach that will help you understand the issue and formulate an answer. As we have stated previously in these conversations, the role of religion is to represent spiritual theories for individuals to ponder in an effort to expand their imaginations and range of possibilities for living a better life. Religions form from spiritual ideas and concepts, that in the pure state apply to an individual. Religions become social institutions because they are comprised of like-minded individuals. The purpose of which is to share and discuss the spiritual idea and concepts.
Humans have taken religions in this social form and expanded them into governance entities. Therein lies the problem. It sets up massive conflicts between different religions and between members of society who subscribe to those different religious beliefs. The only way for a system of religious-dominant laws to work without constant and violent conflict is too segregate inhabitants by religion and assign each to their own geographic place. Since that isn’t practical today, you must have a different way. Democratic societies have created a separation of religion and government. Ideally, this should work in a pluralistic religious society. But, it doesn’t work as perfectly as intended, because those who are aligned with religious beliefs that have been interpreted to guide their daily lives in an integrated society, immediately come in conflict with behaviors they find inconsistent with their beliefs. The resulting dissonance cries for resolution. They seek to alter laws to remove the dissonance.
TM: I can see why you’re not so popular with Christians and Muslims. From what I observe both religious groups would love for everyone to line up with them to rule the world according to their beliefs. In that scenario they could outlaw all the behaviors inconsistent with their beliefs and presumably find the harmony in governance.
Master Buddha: Well, secretly all religious groups wish for that scenario, but some are more vocal than others.
TM: Years ago when I visited Nepal and spent some time in Kathmandu, I noticed the incredible non-hostile melding of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians. But back to our topic. How do we bring this conversation to a conclusion?
Master Buddha: Gay marriage could only be subject to religious scrutiny within a purely religious context. Religious context is confined to individuals and their peers for introspection. Social institutions that are erected for governance must take into consideration that there are many types of life styles and it is the responsibility of government to create laws that promote harmony among the differences while removing violence. The fact that gays must seek legal sanction within your laws informs us that the separation between government and religion is not yet a reality.
TM: Will it ever be?
Master Buddha: It’s possible of course, but only when people representing religions surrender to living peacefully with others with different beliefs and abstain from their agendas of hegemony in thought and behavior.
Background to Conversation with Buddha and TMichael on Smoking Cigarettes
Note from TM: This topic may be a bit off from the typical spiritual topics we talk about, but it’s one that I have been wondering about for some time from a spiritual perspective. Many people I know, including myself, have struggled with trying to quit smoking cigarettes. We all know about the health issues associated with smoking, yet continue. Is there an understanding about smoking cigarettes that could help people quit?
Master Buddha: It’s a good topic because it bridges the material and spiritual realms. On the purely physical level smoking cigarettes is well known to create a physical addiction. That is not so difficult to understand or accept.
It weakens the breath capacity and reduces the nutrients that can be carried by the blood. Additionally, it carries with it potentially harmful chemicals throughout the body. This is the part that is established. Just a small amount of common sense can grasp this and say that it is not necessary to smoke cigarettes to achieve good health and that to the contrary it degrades health.On the emotional and mental levels other addictions are at work. Smoking also creates an illusion of power. And this is much harder to give up than the physical addiction. Power can mean different things to different people, but I mean it I the sense that one feels powerful to do whatever one needs to do. If one feels weak in some way, he will compensate by finding some way to feel powerful. This is why so many people begin smoking as a teenager—a time in which a great sense of weakness is experienced. Others experience the attraction to smoking during emotionally upsetting moments. Still others enjoy smoking when they are drinking alcohol (this is more complicated because the source of weakness is not so apparent).
It should be obvious that real power is not gained from smoking cigarettes, but that is exactly what makes it a illusion. For those who derive power from it, it is real, and thus an effective illusion.
There is a proverb that states, “The best way to eliminate is to substitute”. In order to do this in a way that supports substituting real understanding for an illusion, one must understand that the apparent weakness for which the illusion is compensating, can be addressed through self-awareness and contemplation. Some people, when quitting smoking, will substitute another substance or activity that supplies the power they seek. This could be substituting one illusion for another; perhaps one that is less harmful in other ways. The real benefit will come from a true understanding of the weakness perceived in the first place, and then proceed to cure it. Some people can make the behavioral change without this deeper understanding I’m speaking of, and for them this is a success. For others it requires the deeper contemplation and cure. Most likely the underlying feeling of impotence, or weakness, is affecting them in other ways as well and this approach will be more helpful.
The worst thing that can happen is for one to come from an approach of judgment, self-loathing, guilt, shame or anger at oneself. Be gentle with yourself as you begin to unravel the complexities that lead to behavior that is inherently harmful. At one point, however erroneous, the smoking habit derived from an intent to cope by providing a power that compensated for a weakness. Seeing that error in choice and seeking a new one confirms self-love and care.
Buddha: We wish to speak to you today about extremes. Because extremes move in different ways from a perceived central point, are they any different? No. To clarify, if one is looking to get fit, becoming a couch potato could be extreme, exercising for five hours a day could be perceived as extreme. Are they any different? While the behaviors of a couch potato person and someone who is exercising five hours a day may seem radically different, extremes are extremes.
People who move into extreme behaviors are cut off from their center, so, although we are speaking about extremes, we are actually speaking about those who are devoid of center.
At Wimbledon, the most prestigious court is center court. I like this! One of the best thing or compliments that can be given to a person is that they are centered. Would you trust someone more or less if you described them as centered? Would it be easier to love someone more or less if they were centered?
Humans were designed to be centered yet many spend their lives rushing around in extremes. What do I mean? I mean that ‘centered’ means feeling strong, feeling safe and sound within your own being. How many people actually spend time practicing this within their day-to-day activities? Equally, as there are so few people who practice feeling centered, there are also fewer people who exist in their center; center is all there is.
I ask that all readers find their center. How do you know where your center is? It’s the mind state that makes you feel ‘centered’. I try not to play with words. Sometimes I resist the opportunities to play with minds other times I don’t. The irony is that it is the mind that takes one out of ones center! But let’s not toy here.
To get into your center stop, breathe. You can still do all that you need to do in your day-to-day activities. You can go to work, be at work, come home from work, cook, sleep: centered. You can wake up the children, feed the children, take the children to school, get on with your daily chores, collect the children, feed the children, feed yourself: being centered. Or you can become un-centered and end up in extremes whereby you are in a rush to get to work, rush to complete your work, rush to get home, rush to cook, rush to get to bed. Similarly you can become lost in the chores or lose you own center by focusing on the children’s centers. Are the children fine, are the children fed, are the children ready are the children this, are the children that? These are extremes. I will speak about child rearing at a different time for now it is suffice to say if you are lucky enough to be raising children physically, then be aware- as they say on the airlines, fit your own oxygen mask before you fit that of the child’s. In this case center yourself. A centered parent will raise centered children: simple as that.
So this is your message today from the center to the center, saying find your center. How do you do that? Stop, breathe, be present. Once you have this go about your day to day activities and you will be successful. Success follows center. Spend a minute now thinking about how mundane tasks feel when you’re centered and how mundane tasks feel when you’re not. Similarly think about a big event. How does a big event feel when you’re centered and how does a big event feel when you’re not.
This exercise itself should conclude the importance to you of being centered at all times.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: Uniting with the Body Using Breath
Buddha: Today we are going to focus on respiration: in and out. Why have so many of my teachings, and those who have followed me, focused on the breath? Firstly, as everyone is aware, breathing happens with or without you. Secondly, when you consciously engage your breath you are consciously engaging with the state of being that is happening whether you are aware of it or not. This is one of the easiest, and always the most successful, way of being in the present moment. You cannot escape your breath for breathing is happening to you. But when you join with what is happening to you and offer no resistance, then oneness is developed. There is nothing quite like this. There need be no association with thought. So observation of breath and conjoining of being is my favorite tool for teaching people to become still and whole.
After a few breaths the system becomes energised. Energised not only from the oxygen it has been breathing, but from the release of energy that happens when one becomes present in any given moment. By being conscious of the breath, conscious and conjoining with what is happening and offering no resistance, a huge energy release is borne. It’s akin to a star burst. This is you, one, in ones full potential in any given time simply by being aware of the breath conjoining with being, activating energy. It is from here and only here that transcendental states can be reached.
And what is the message? The message is that one does not ever escape the body to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One doesn’t ever go anywhere else than where one is to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One simply stops, observes the breathes, star burst happens, and the transcendental experience can take place. Simple isn’t it?
In my life as Buddha, I tried everything I had ever heard of to achieve greater levels of spirituality, to reach nirvana. I tried everything that meant leaving the body, in some ways looking back now, killing the body. I also had had from my previous times experiences of indulging the body and all the body was doing was being! Simply responding to what I did with it. If I ate it would digest it, if I drank it would absorb, if I fell it would bruise, if I laughed it chortled. What a close relationship you have people, spiritual beings, with your body. This is something never to be overlooked, but something to be nurtured. This is your best friend. Look after it, but more importantly be one with it through oneness with it. The star burst happens the transcendental state can take place. Care not for what it looks like only its levels of health. If something needs fixed or restored work towards that goal in whichever way you know how. Do not criticise and judge it for being something that it is not, for it is and your development will happen through your uniting with the body, not from desecrating it for it being not something that is a construct of the mind.
So for all of you breathe, enjoy, relax, come and meet me [Buddha laughs].
Buddha: Lets speak more about mind. As you know there is no one conscious reality, there is no one consciousness. Instead, there are interlinking realities. And what is that interlinking reality? Love: love inter-relates all. What do we mean by love? The ability to be joyous in just being.
The flower is just a flower. A rose doesn’t try and be a lily; it simply extends the best of itself to try and meet the sun as a beautiful expression of the creative wonder of God. And this is what we want for humanity. If you are a rose don’t try and be a lily. If you are a lily don’t try and be a chrysanthemum. Simply be, learn to be.
There is nothing to do there is no way to be, other than through the suspension of mind. Yet, interestingly, it is mind that inter-relates all. There are many paradoxes to this as there are many layers of reality. What is real for your cat Zoë, is real. What is real for the bird that the cat is watching, is real. What is real for you watching the cat watch the bird, is real. What is real for me is the connective force that unites all of us, of which I am part, and the willingness for a transcendence. The transcendence of the current state of humanity. This current state is nothing but a state mind. When enough people change their state of mind there will be a change in the state of reality. This is not hard. It is easy to do and it starts with every individual taking account of their lives, their works and choosing to wake up.
Spending your time as a rose trying to be a lily is exhausting. Ultimately you will fail. But understanding that you are some sort of flower that through becoming peaceful with the self turns out to be a rose will be a wonder. And this is what we wait on: the return of the rose.
How do you know if you’re a rose trying to be a lily? It hurts. How do you know if you’re a lily trying to be a rose? It hurts. You are reaching for something that is beyond your form, beyond essence, beyond your blueprint, yet you bend and twist and dye, and contort. And ultimately there will be no peace, there will be no stillness, there will be no wholeness- there will only be pain for a rose cannot be a lily and a lily cannot be a rose. How do you know if you are a rose? You are a rose and you have peace. How do you know if you are a lily? You are a lily and you have peace.
What is peace? A fundamental feeling that all is well and all is well with you.
All that is not well can be resolved. Some things will take large efforts, some things will take smaller efforts. But ultimately only a rose can be a rose and ultimately only the lily can be the lily. To try and be something else is to inflict pain. This is not the purpose of a rose even though it has thorns! This is not the purpose of a lily even though its pollen can be toxic! A rose is a rose and a lily is a lily. Let that be for now.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: It Simply Is (Part 3)
Buddha: So once peace has been established, once there is recognition of it is, then there can be resolution. But this resolution need not be the end point, for what does this resolution mean? In some cases the end of suffering will come from having peace with what simply is. When the mind can let that go there can be an immediate and everlasting end of suffering with this issue. However, in other cases this will not be so.
There will be an immediate end of suffering and then there will come the realisation that action, rightful action, action borne out of the desire to end forms of suffering entering into one’s life, to end one’s karma with these particular issues will ensue. An example is, “Why, why, why, this hurts, this hurts, this hurts. I want this car, why can’t I have it. I feel so unhappy I can’t have this car. Life is poor, I am poor.”
When there is an understanding of it, there will be a resolution and for some this will mean an acceptance that a perception of poverty is acceptable. And for others there will be the understanding that, ‘Yes, it is and this is not the way I wish to live my life therefore I will take action’. But rightful actions are very different from the actions coming from the needs to satisfy our desires that will lead to suffering. So some actions will end suffering, some actions will lead to suffering.
This is why we ask you to consider the concept of rightful action. Does this lead me out of my karma of pain or does this lead me into another karma of pain? How does one distinguish which is which? One simply knows. If one is unsure one finds a place of stillness and asks the question once more. There is nothing difficult in this. If one is unwilling to find a place of stillness to ask a question of oneself, then one is creating karma of pain and suffering. This must be made clear. This is the end of this lesson.