Category Archives: Travel

All Is Impermanent: Buddha with Zoe

All Is Impermanent, ‎
All is Impermanent

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.

And this is all for today.

© Zoe 2015

Money: Buddha with TMichael

Money, ‎

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Money

TM: I’ve received quite a few inquiries about money and requests to talk about it.  There has been a great body of writing on this from a spiritual perspective.  What do you say to someone who asks, “What is the proper relationship to money, how much to have, how to use it, how to get it, etc.?”

Master Buddha:  First of all, there isn’t just one way to view this because each person has his or her particular orientation to money given his or her life path.  Anything I say must be understood as general statements and then I can offer examples of individual circumstances to show how some principles may apply.

As viewed from the spiritual perspective, meaning from a non-material realm, money is as worthless as a bicycle would be for travel across an ocean.  It is purely a human creation.  So your question presumes a spiritual oversight that doesn’t exist except in the form of advice and counsel that may be offered from time to time.  That is the spirit in which I present these ideas today.

Let me attempt to simplify the concept of money in relation to a person.  Humans have decided that money shall represent a value of some thing.   Those things may include the physically inanimate object (house, car, etc.), a personal action (one’s labor), a promise for future delivery of value (speculation), restitution for past value (grievances resolved), a gift of love or social obligation, so on and so forth.  The second premise is that the value of money shall equal approximately the value of that thing in the exchange.  Sometimes the values are not equal, and if they are too unequal, then one or the other person feels either elated or cheated.

The third premise created by humans is a system of ethics regarding transactions between one another using money or the thing valued as the currency.  This is a point of departure between the diverse cultures of the world.  The one dominant force has been the Western philosophy governing the use of money.  The ethics of the Western system have varied over the past two hundred years, but for the most part they have represented an idealism that while noble in its aim has not achieved its goal.

TM: So is it possible to answer my questions?

Master Buddha: I’m getting there, but needed to frame my response for clarity.  The proper relationship to money must take on a general perspective representing larger society (we’ll call general ethics) and the particular relationship of an individual to money.  From the general ethics, the idea of freedom to choose one’s occupation and one’s level of income and expense, is I think the best arrangement.  As we have discussed in these conversations there is a point that one must consider that individual freedom intersects with group harmony.  This means that it is necessary for individuals to contribute to the whole in a way that brings harmony to the whole and doesn’t disturb the peace of the many.  This is the greatest insurance for all.  The current system in Western society doesn’t achieve this goal, but with modification it could.

TM: I’m not clear on what you mean.  Are you saying that there needs to be a balance in interest between the range of individual freedom and the needs of the whole population?

Master Buddha: Yes.  For example, in Western society a person is permitted to amass unlimited wealth.  On the other end of the scale a person is permitted to starve to death or die due to exposure to the elements because he cannot afford shelter.  What is preventing Western society from implementing safeguards at the bottom end of the scale?

TM: We don’t allocate budget for it because we’ve determined other things are more important.

Master Buddha: And the contradiction is that your idealism states that you cherish life above all.  Your military runs to all ends of the earth to rescue those in peril.  Your governments send aid to foreign countries in an attempt to prevent starvation and lethal diseases from spreading.  Yet in your own domestic domain you have families living in such poverty that their lives are at risk daily.

TM: It isn’t a perfect system for sure and most Westerners will agree that we can do more to clean up our domestic programs.

Master Buddha: What do you think is stopping you from doing this?

TM: We have an overly complicated and increasingly corrupt political system that can’t philosophically agree on just how much we are our brother’s keeper.

Master Buddha: It is first and foremost the obligation of your governments, using the general treasury, to prevent starvation and health-related problems derived from poverty.  This cannot be left to the generosity and goodwill of individuals.  It must begin with your domestic sphere first.  It is there that you work out the ethics of being your brother’s keeper as you phrased it.  Once you have mastered that step then sharing that wisdom with other cultures is a natural extension.

TM: We have the resources to do what you suggest, but not the collective resolve to do it.

Master Buddha: This is true, but you asked for a perspective on the proper relationship to money.  You will have to work out the politics in order to deliver a just relationship.

TM: Okay then, maybe you can state what a person should be required to do in order to receive assistance that raises his status above poverty.  That’s where we fail; we can’t agree on that.  Some people say we should be self-reliant and others want to give to others with little or no requirements for self-responsibility.  So, what is the answer?

Master Buddha: Ah you see, now you are into the business of designing a society that grapples with such ethical obligations yet stumbles at the final step failing to complete the mission.  If the US government felt the collective will of its citizens favored a system whereby no citizen would be permitted to fall into poverty, could they achieve that?

TM: Yes.

Master Buddha: Then it must be that the collective will of its citizens do not favor such a system.

TM: How many citizens create a collective will?

Master Buddha: Enough that under your political system you could legislate and implement the system.

TM: Then you must be correct.  Sadly it must be true.  But you still haven’t answered my question of self-responsibility.

Master Buddha: Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  Your society has through its own design created an array of citizens from the genius to the infantile.  Your society is responsible on a par level with the individuals that make up society.  It will take many generations of enlightened governance to correct the mistakes and injustices created by past policies and practices.  It will likewise take time for individuals to climb out of their ignorance or unfortunate circumstances due to conditions beyond their control.

Wandering your streets are the insane and the helpless.  They cannot take responsibility for themselves in any way.

You have many people who are indolent and averse to responsibility through personal predilection and familial training.  They will have to be educated on a new understanding of their responsibility.

You have a growing number who have turned to crime and are either incarcerated or among the general population.  They will have to be educated, and until they are they will remain incarcerated because you have no other way to assimilate them.

There are those who through no fault of their own have fallen upon hard times due to major shifts in the economy.  They will need to be retrained in new occupations and helped along the way.

When there are enough enlightened citizens there will be a more enlightened government and they will realize the long-term commitment required to correct your system.  It is a race against the clock.

If you do nothing to correct this situation, because as a society you think it isn’t your responsibility, then you will suffer the consequences of doing nothing.  The consequences will include a greater divide between the economic classes, thus more poverty; less efficacy in minimum education achievement among the lower classes; increased criminal activity; reduction of individual freedoms due to crime prevention measures; compartmentalization of community along class lines further reducing the efficacy of government and the erosion of community infrastructure.  You can probably project from there what will transpire next.

If however, you find the collective will to make a long-term commitment to correction, then you will begin to see minor changes for the good.  It will take patience beyond one, two or three generations.  That is perhaps the greatest challenge for a society that has come to expect immediate gratifications of its goals (even though this hasn’t really been the case).

TM: What can you say to the questions regarding individuals and their relationship to money?  What are some guidelines to follow is really what I’m asking.

Master Buddha: As individuals you must graduate through levels of ethical refinement regarding the role of money in your life.  What is good for one person may not be good or right for another.  For that reason do not be hasty in judging others for their view in earning or handling their money.

As Master Jesus and I have maintained throughout these conversations, release judgment from your view.  Find your relationship to money based upon your path and your understanding and allow others to do the same without inveighing their choices.  When you have come to peace with your relationship to money then you may offer a helping hand to others who may wish to hear from you.

© Zoe 2015

I Want My Spirituality Now: Jesus and TMichael

I Want My Spirituality Now,
Spirituality now

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Spirituality and Patience

TM: Oftentimes I feel the undercurrent of impatience in spiritual matters.  I want it all to happen immediately and in complete fullness.

Master Jesus: The knowing is not of the mind or of logic.  It just is and you know it by feeling it, not thinking it.  It is a hard corner to turn if the mind is doing the driving.  For the ego and the mind, knowing from the heart represents self-destruction, which in turn, goes against survival instincts.  The mind is so clever in that way.  It’s a house of mirrors.  Everywhere you see a way out; that is indeed just another mirror.  There is no escape through the mind or by the mind. That is my point and yet it appears I am appealing to your logical mind to embrace this, but that isn’t the case.  I’m strengthening your soul to tap your spirit that holds the key to your power that unlocks your heart that alters the mind that frees you from the illusion.

TM: I suppose the biggest frustration I experience with spirituality is the shroud of secrecy surrounding it.  Of course, we are fascinated with what we can’t sense in our physical world.  But it seems like you could make things appear in our sensory form that would make things much clearer and universally understood.  Why don’t you do that?

Master Jesus: Have you never the noticed the many similarities found in all the world’s religions and customs?  Throughout the centuries, humanity has received the transfer of knowledge from the spirit world.  This has been in many forms including human incarnations of master teachers, appearance of masters in visible spirit forms, demonstrations for non-believers of feats beyond human ability and inspiration channeled directly to humans in all fields of earthly creation.  Remember that until recently the population of humans worldwide has been relatively developed in isolation.  In the last few hundred years has commerce between continents developed to such a point that sharing of cultures has become more prevalent and thus an education in how other people interpret social and religious events.

The stage is being set for what you are clamoring for, but it can only come when there are universal points of recognition and understanding.  Again, it is human tendency to view things from a present and provincial point of view without the longer time interval needed for events to ripen.  We are making more revelations worldwide now than in any period of human history.  You take it for granted because you don’t have the memory of all the other epochs.  Also, you have instant communication tools that never before existed, which makes news travel so much faster.  What was once a communication barrier is slowly being lifted to make it possible for teaching to be at once universal in language and delivered to people worldwide instantly.  That’s quite an opportunity, wouldn’t you agree?

TM: I agree it’s an opportunity.  But where’s the evidence of revelations in a universal language and experience that everyone can breathe the big Ah-ha at the same time?

Master Jesus: It’s coming.  There has to be preparation.  That’s where these writings and many others are going to lead.  You have to accept that revelation of truth is not an easy task, because it generally differs from what the majority has accepted through faith and experience as truth.  You have already said so yourself in your own wrestling with what we have to say.  Do you think you’re so unique in that regard?

TM: No, I know what you mean and it’s very frustrating and so I keep putting my hope in the spirit world to be so awesome in power that you can instantly overcome these obstacles in human ignorance and make it all better.  Childish I know, but it’s part of me nevertheless.

Master Jesus: When someone is in the pain of the moment it’s natural to want relief immediately.  But what if the pain was due to psychosomatic causes instead of real flesh and blood injuries?  You would take a different course of treatment wouldn’t you?  Emotional distortions and mental delusions require a longer time period to work through.  It isn’t so cut and dried as strapping on a bandage or committing to surgery.  Humanity has evolved to the point that these other issues are predominant and that’s the field we’re working.  The chief reason why physical wars and threats are no longer sufficient to quell dissent and discord within and among nations is that people will no longer accept the servitude explicit in that arrangement.  They will literally die fighting against it.

TM: But in Iraq and Afghanistan people were living under horrific oppression of their freedoms and they did nothing but endure it.  Where was the revolution?

Master Jesus: Had the US allowed it to run its course you would have seen the revolution.  Everything within its time and when outside interests force revolution before its time, then the forces of premature revolution become the new oppressors and will have to reckon with real agents of revolution eventually.  The US will discover this is true.  The old ways of command and control through wars and might do not work any longer.  You are witnessing the decline of those methods in this generation.  Just three generations ago if anyone had made these statements it would have been received with such incredulity as you cannot imagine.  But today you sense that it’s true, even if you’re not sure, you know it’s possible.

TM: I don’t know.  I hear what you’re saying and I believe it to some degree, but we still witness so much violence that it’s hard not to see the opposite condition.

Master Jesus: Your impatience is staggering at times.  And it’s not just your impatience, it’s all those who wish for immediate solutions to problems that are ancient.  That’s not an excuse, but an explanation that what has been created by humanity over millions of years cannot be rectified in one generation without the will of the entire populace behind it, and that simply isn’t happening.  So, your hoped for solution is that there be some sort of divine intervention to set things right, to speed up the process.  We have covered this and you understand it, right?

TM: Yes, I do.  Thanks for reminding me though.  You know what I really want?  I want for you and Master Buddha and all the rest to walk among us; sit in the chambers of our governments and address our leaders and representatives; visit our religious institutions and seize the pulpits; lead the classrooms in our schools; and really just be among us everyday to provide the guidance we need.  It’s the physical presence I want.

Master Jesus: All in good time, my friend.  The leadership you’re seeking is already among you.  It’s just that their voices cannot be heard at this time.  Well, not entirely heard, but they are growing in number and positions of strength.  For one who listens they can be heard.  Soon all will hear and then you can decide what you want to do.  I repeat, it is humanity’s decision and will that determines the next stage for Earth. As much as you would like to shuffle it to others it is yours.  You will be given a fair and informed opportunity to make your collective decision.  Don’t look for someone to take that responsibility for you.

TM: Our orientation to spirits, gods, heroes and the lot is deeply engrained.  We like being rescued in the final hour.  You’re saying that’s not going to happen?  There is going to be an Armageddon?

Master Jesus: That’s a loaded question in many ways.  The struggle is within humanity—it is your Armageddon.

TM: In reference to biblical scripture and even esoteric revelations, there is a war in the heavens between light and dark forces, good and evil, the mark of the beast, all that stuff.  A lot of folks say it’s happening now.  Explain what you mean by ‘humanity’s Armageddon’.

Master Jesus: Humanity has created crisis within itself.  It’s the crisis that has been prophesied.  But it’s not external forces using humans as puppets as your stories are telling.  That is part of the illusion created.  Humans have so convinced themselves that there are forces of evil and darkness that are in constant pursuit of them that they literally believe it is a race to the finish between good and evil.  The problem is that they can’t decide if they are inherently good or inherently evil.  Which is it?  If they are good, then Satan (or any substitute for him) is using every trick in the book to lure them into devilish insanity.  If they are evil, then they must use all their being to return to God and forsake their wicked thoughts and ways.

I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a real experience of evil at the level of illusion, but it simply isn’t real on the spiritual plane and ultimately it is the spiritual plane that counts.  We’ve been through this discussion and I understand how difficult it is to accept that much of what you experience in life isn’t real.  Eventually you’ll see and that’s all I can say for now.

TM:  It’s very frustrating to hear that.  Because I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t.  You say love is real and everything else isn’t.  But how do I know what is real love and what is the illusion of love?

Master Jesus:  You don’t know it; you feel it.  But you can’t feel it if you live inside your mind.  And your mind manufactures the belief system to keep you in the illusion because knowledge is perceived as power and safety.  As long as that is the cycle then that is your trap as well.  You are imprisoned by your beautiful mind; that mind that is so wonderfully creative.  You have to admire it.  That level of creativity is astounding.  But it isn’t serving you to stay there.  Love is from the heart and uses the mind in a reality that isn’t inverted like humanity’s.  That is the next stage of evolution.

TM: That’s a hard corner to turn it seems.  I don’t trust that I know my heart from my desire that may spring from thoughts or my lower nature.  How do I know the heart and trust that is the source of my desire?

Master Jesus: The knowing is not of the mind or of logic.  It just is and you know it by feeling it, not thinking it.  It is a hard corner to turn if the mind is doing the driving.  For the ego and the mind, knowing from the heart represents self-destruction, which in turn, goes against survival instincts.  The mind is so clever in that way.  It’s a house of mirrors.  Everywhere you see a way out; that is indeed just another mirror.  There is no escape through the mind or by the mind.  That is my point and yet it appears I am appealing to your logical mind to embrace this, but that isn’t the case.  I’m strengthening your soul to tap your spirit that holds the key to your power that unlocks your heart that alters the mind that frees you from the illusion.

TM: In other words, that understanding is buried within me?

Master Jesus: Your spirit knows all that I’m saying.  Your soul struggles in the space between spirit and human consciousness.  Integration is the aim and the purpose of life on Earth.

TM: But what then?  What happens when there is integration?

Master Jesus: That is for another time.

TM: One thing mastered at a time?

Master Jesus: That’s right.

TM: So what can people do to help this process along?

Master Jesus: It’s different for each person, but let me offer stereotypical descriptions.  For those beings who are on the path so to speak—they have stimulated their spiritual awareness and are questioning their everyday experiences looking for spiritual significance in what they do—the path will lead to actions that set an example for others who have not yet awakened.  Those actions will consist of sharing, compassion, non-violence in relationships, acceptance and a willingness to separate their identification with aggressive materialism.  They will exhibit an increasing kindness in their daily affairs and less concern for what they own.  As a matter of fact they will feel that they have too much and begin to sell or giveaway many of their belongings without any effort to replace them with new items. Material acquisition will no longer satisfy their emotional needs.

It is no secret that many people in the West have buried themselves under mounds of debt in order to acquire vast stores of material items.  As this trend reverses it will bring relief to the pressure that many people feel to keep up with the pace of spending and earning.  At first it may feel a little painful or lacking in some way, but very soon after that brief phase they will find gratification in the challenge of living within their means and reducing their means in order to enjoy the many insights they are now experiencing.

TM: Our US economy and to a growing degree the world economy is based upon increasing consumption and production.  The fear, of course, is that if it stops or slows down real economic problems go into effect.

Master Jesus: This is truly the belief and one that has been carefully planted to keep the factories rolling.  The group of people who will at first experiment with reduction and gradual separation from this practice will discover that the economic destruction and collapse is false.  Your economy has these periodic problems anyway.  Those episodes seem more severe because you’re still in the old paradigm of earn and spend without cessation.  Once enough people do it willingly and with a sense of grace, the severity will not be a part of the experience.

TM: As a brief aside, who planted the idea “to keep the factories rolling”?

Master Jesus: It’s just part of the story of developing materialism and wealth and power.  There is nothing sinister or improper about how the story came to be.  Commerce through the advances of the industrial period has served humanity in many positive ways.  It has run it’s course in its current form and now it’s time to change it.  The citizens of Earth have created this and are the ones to change it.

TM: What can other people do who may not fit into the description you gave?

Master Jesus: Witness.  They may not be ready to do anything other than observe and that is okay because eventually they will see that their fears are unwarranted.  For the more advanced souls, teaching the ones in the middle will be their role.  Thus you have these three major segments.

TM: It sounds like it’s more a profile of Western society and countries with strong economic positions.  What will it look like in the weaker economic countries?

Master Jesus: The profile will shape up to be similar, but the pace will be delayed.  They will not spend as much time at the levels experienced in the stronger economic countries.  And by stronger and weaker we are clearly referring to a definition that measures production and consumption.  Since many people in the weaker economies have not developed habits of over-consumption they will not have the same sort of withdrawal fears that people in the stronger economies face.  For many, just having the basics will be satisfactory.

© TM 2015

Humor is Essential for Spirit: Buddha with TMichael

Humor is Essential,…e-human-spirit/ ‎
Humor is essential

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Humor is Essential for the Human Spirit

TM: What does it take to live a spiritual life?

Master Buddha: Dedication, perseverance and a sense of humor.

TM: Did you have a sense of humor during your life as Siddhartha Gautama?

Master Buddha: Not at first.  I was spiritually ambitious and burning with desire.  That’s not very fertile ground for humor.  Later in that life I developed an understanding of the importance of humor.

TM: Is it as important as dedication and perseverance?

Master Buddha: In some ways maybe more so.  The ability to laugh at one’s self is priceless.  I see so many lives that tread the path of holiness and they are so miserable because they cannot laugh.  So much seriousness kills the spirit.

TM: I’ve learned to laugh at myself more recently and I can say it makes a big difference in reducing the amount of judgment I have for others and myself.

Master Buddha: Life is for experience and for fulfilling purpose.  That can be pretty serious.  It can also be very funny if you know that all of the mistakes and all of the pain go to the same place when it’s all over.

TM: Where is that, where do they go?

Master Buddha: They go to hell of course, right with the soul who created them.

TM: I take it that was a joke.

Master Buddha: Is it funny?

TM: Sort of, if you don’t believe in hell.

Master Buddha: And if you do?

TM: Well, you might not find it too funny.

Master Buddha: I tell you there is no hell.  Furthermore, I tell you that the idea of hell was created to keep you in line.  Has it worked?

TM: Maybe it has for some people, but probably not for most folks.  It seems there are a lot of loopholes to slip out.  It never seemed too enlightened a concept to me.  I mean it sounds like something humans would do to one another, but it doesn’t sound too godlike.

Master Buddha: Yes, but don’t you know about the battle, or perhaps feud I should say between God and the Devil?  God gave the Devil his due by giving him the real estate of hell and all the sinners that go with it. That’s a fair settlement wouldn’t you say?

TM: Okay, now I know that’s supposed to be funny.

Master Buddha: I’m doing my best to break your reverence for everything.  You can stop pretending that you believe everything must be taken so seriously.

TM: You’re right, I’m afraid of offending people, so I tend to show respect for all points of view.

Master Buddha: Does that mean that you cannot find the humor in all points of view?

TM: No, but like I said, I’m afraid some people will be offended by you or me finding humor in their beliefs.

Master Buddha: Do you find offense if someone finds humor in your beliefs?

TM: Well, since I find humor in my beliefs I don’t get offended.  But I don’t know if others feel that way about their own beliefs; so, I just avoid making light of their beliefs.

Master Buddha: That’s very polite and considerate of you.  Do you have thoughts about their beliefs and do you usually think funny thoughts, silently to yourself?

TM: Yes.

Master Buddha: Then maybe you should share them with others and let them tell you if they are offended or not.  Maybe they would have a good laugh with you.  Did you ever consider that option?

TM: Not really.

Master Buddha: I’ll tell you a story about a man who traveled the world in search of the perfect religion.  He stopped in every village in every country and sought out the priest.  He asked each and every priest, what makes your religion so perfect?  And after each description the priest gave he would laugh uproariously, falling over on his side, rolling on the ground.  At first the priest would recoil in horror and offense that this stranger would be so rude to laugh at his religion.  But eventually seeing and hearing the stranger laughing so uncontrollably, the priest would crack a smile at first and then after a few moments he would start to gently laugh and then he would also fall over with laughter.

The villagers in seeing this would think that their priest had gone mad.  They would try everything they could to restrain the priest.  But to no avail.  The priest would laugh and laugh for hours until he would fall unconscious in sleep.

This happened in one village after another as the man traveled throughout the world.  When he at last he had covered all known villages and had laughed with every priest, he decided to compile his notes about every religion on earth and why the priests believed them to be the best religion in the world.

When he examined his notes he began to laugh uncontrollably again. In every language and in every way the priests gave him the same answer.  Their religion was the greatest because the Supreme Being, God, had decreed theirs the best, the greatest and the one that all men should follow.

It was this news that he shared with each priest he encountered after the fits of laughter.  In that state of ecstasy, they all embraced him and thanked him for reminding them of their own arrogance.

TM: Thank you for that story.  But, really I think the man would have been hung in some places.

Master Buddha: You underestimate the power of pure enlightenment. Laughter is one of the best pathways to pure enlightenment.  At any rate it is necessary from time to time to keep one’s balance.

TM: We use humor to ridicule oftentimes- to belittle others and their ways.  I think that is what feels bad about humor and then it takes on irreverence, especially as it relates to one’s religion.

Master Buddha: Ridicule would be ineffective unless one has a powerful attachment to the importance and inviolability of one’s religion.  It seems to me that if one is so sensitive to receive ridicule, then perhaps the weakness is in his faith that his religion has any value at all and must be held together by his defense of it as being beyond reproach.

I once encountered a monk who delivered the most eloquent and beautiful sermon on the virtue of humor.  He told of his journey to a foreign land and of his many blunders with language and custom.  His audience was all smiles and laughs as they recognized themselves in each anecdote.  Why can’t we have that acceptance about religion?  Is it somehow more important than its adherents?  There is a problem here that goes deeper than offense at irreverence.  There is a problem that a man can only resolve by finding his true spiritual nature through a religion that he so identifies with that he has the strength and the courage to laugh at himself and his religion occasionally.  Life is experience and religion is also experience.  This means that it must be accepted as fallible and in need of evolution.  Man must not guard it as if it is a treasure that belongs only to him, and is so fragile that it will break at the slightest injury.

Religion is a living thing.  It is nurtured in the way all living things are nurtured.  It must learn.  And to learn it must not take too seriously what it already thinks it knows.  Otherwise there is no room for new insights.  Without new insights how is it to grow and learn and allow for nurturing?

TM: What about humor in our popular culture; it reflects where we are socially, but often in a mean-spirited way.

Master Buddha: You’re correct in your emphasis on ridicule and mean-spiritedness, but really this is the stuff of children.  It hurts one’s feelings to hear such things because of the attachment you have to the importance of such things.  The more that you clutch onto your beliefs, whether religious in nature or secular, the more offended you’ll be at the suggestion they are unimportant or faulty in some way.  There is no escape then from the mode of defense.  And to be in the mode of defense requires much serious vigilance.  This excludes humor from one’s life.

Without humor, expressions that should effortlessly pass through get stuck.  When you have a thought or a feeling at the level of consciousness and you stuff it, what do you think is happening to the energy behind it?  Humor allows for the movement.  Otherwise in its place we have judgment.  And with that we have stuck energy.  With stuck energy we have the root cause of disease and physical distress.

TM: I think I’m afraid to let go of the beliefs and I defend them because I don’t know what will replace them.  Maybe it will be worse than the ones I eliminate.  And then where will I be?

Master Buddha: You’ll be stuck if you don’t release the attachment to your beliefs.  Yes, certainly you could adopt beliefs that are no good to serve you and your fellow beings.  But remember, that at the point you have decided to openly question your beliefs, you have opened the door to your spiritual nature in a way that can and will inform you. It will not lead you astray.  It will take you where you need to go regardless of your opinion or protestations.  You may at any point stop the course, but if you feel that despite your discomfort or resistance, it is the right path, you’ll continue.

It is rare to find one who has no doubt whatsoever.  There is a difference between doubt and denial.  A strong attachment to beliefs relies on denial to guard its gates, so to speak.  Doubt can leave the door ajar and permit examination.  There can be a gradual release of belief as one becomes familiar with a new idea.

TM: It seems like there must be some value to the fact that the majority of the population holds steady with certain beliefs as a sort of social glue.  What would happen if everyone just shed his beliefs and tried on new ones?  No one would be able to function in a society where you couldn’t anticipate anything.

Master Buddha: This is quite the conundrum for people who begin to tread the path to enlightenment.  How does one explore new beliefs while remaining in the world that is governed by set beliefs that demand conformity?  This is not so hard to understand once you accept that everything will be okay if you are out of sync with the collective consciousness of humanity.  The mass of humanity is in sync with this collective consciousness and it is this fact that terrifies you and holds you back; yet at the same time it urges you to rebel against it. Remember this, most of humanity is subject to the magnetic pull of the collective consciousness.  They have no awareness that it should be any other way—they are present with it and do not question it from a philosophical perspective.  It is the way of life for them.

Those who have crossed the threshold of awakening and sense there is more to experience in life will not be satisfied.  They will agitate for change in their lives and also in society as they press against the forces of conformity.  This is the tension that is necessary to move the mark of progress for humanity.  It is the birth of new consciousness and it struggles to break free from the confines of its womb, which is represented by mass consciousness.

TM: Is this break more difficult in Western society than in Eastern?

Master Buddha: Yes, largely because in Western society, the individual surrenders much authority.  The irony is that while that is true, the individual is encouraged to compete and excel at the cost to everyone around him.  On the one hand you are worthless and not capable of making your own decisions about life and on the other hand you must lift yourself up by your bootstraps in order to prove your worthiness.

It is a system of behavioral conditioning that says that you are incapable of excellence except through the authority of (fill in the blank).  You may do your own thing, so to speak, as long as you don’t cross this boundary that has been established by the authority, be it religious or governmental.  The great problem for Westerners is that they feel they are the freest society on Earth, and yet their happiness seems to spring only from being in a position of economic and military dominance.  That again reflects the notion of being “the world authority”, which satisfied their belief system of being free.  If they are the authority, then they must have overcome some other authority, which means they must be free.  It is a convoluted psychology and one that will require a good deal of working out.  With the spreading of Eastern thought, many in the West are beginning to question this foundational belief system.  That takes us back to your question.  Yes it is difficult to break with a system that breeds insecurity and at the same time encourages development of the little ego to compensate.

TM: What about dedication and perseverance?

Master Buddha: Human nature changes slowly, in the individual and in the group.  Dedication and perseverance provide the counter balance to the insatiable impatience of humanity.  It isn’t more than a mental discipline to favor patience.  It is also a matter of the emotional nature in regard to one’s desire, but the impetus of impatience comes from the mind.  Dedication and perseverance represent the noble virtues that humanity identifies with, and so can provide the strength of character needed to thwart the ill effects of an impatient mind.  It is a bridge technique and once greater understanding is reached, it too shall be cast off.  Humor endures beyond the shedding of dedication and perseverance.  That is why I say it is the greatest of the three, yet they work together at one stage to assist humans to the next level of understanding.  Where a healthy sense of humor can dissipate despair, dedication and perseverance keep despair abated because of the promise of a better life earned.  Humor eliminates it immediately.

TM: We really admire dedication, loyalty and perseverance.  Those are character traits held dear by most people aren’t they?

Master Buddha: Yes, but your question began with what does it take to live a spiritual life.  Not what do most humans admire in one another. I’m saying that humor is a compassionate, loving way to accept one’s ignorance—of oneself and ignorance of others.  The opposite of humor about these things is judgment.  That means defending against your lessons, which in turns makes the lesson nearly impossible to accept without accepting blame for ignorance and the consequences associated with ignorance.  That means that one is shamed as one consequence, or one must feel guilt for being ignorant, or one must feel she is lacking in some way that points to self-inadequacy.  The intent of judgment is to undermine self-confidence.

TM: This always gets around to judgment is seems.

Master Buddha: It’s important to understand the harmful role judgment plays and that there are other options to using judgment.  Humanity has relied on judgment because it has been believed that humans are inherently evil or at least bad and that judgment is the way to keep everyone from enacting the evil things in their hearts.  If you could stand back from humanity as we can, you’d see how steeped you are in this belief and this stuck position.  You cannot advance any further by using the system of judgment.  This is the end of the road for it.  It will only bring destruction on a huge scale if your systems of thought persist in this way.

TM: That sounds gloomy.

Master Buddha: It is.  Judgment is the root of hate, for oneself and for others.

TM: Others might say it’s the reverse.

Master Buddha: They go together and so what difference does it make, where there is one there is the other and their presence makes it impossible to embrace love.  That in turn makes it nearly impossible to learn, to evolve.

TM: Yet, arguably humanity has evolved, and quite rapidly in some ways, wouldn’t you agree?

Master Buddha: The speed and progress of humanity is relative and really you haven’t anything to compare it with unless you are suggesting that perhaps you could compare it to the progress of a rock.  In which case I could agree that humanity is faster in progress.  But what does that suggest?

TM: I don’t know.  I’m not defending the use of judgment, I’m expressing that most humans probably believe we’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time.

Master Buddha: Whatever role you believe judgment played in that progress is now over wouldn’t you agree?

TM: It won’t be so easy to just throw it away if you believe that it was instrumental in the progress you’ve made.  Aren’t there different levels of judgment, like this is good and useful and that isn’t?

Master Buddha: That is a different context entirely and one, by the way, that can be used to subtly judge while pretending to be open and neutral.  So, you’re right in stating there are different levels of how judgment is applied.  So maybe we can start with the most obvious way regarding human behavior.

This method of judging one another’s behavior as to good or bad has it roots in an innocent and useful social practice.  Early agrarian societies needed standards of behavior in order to coordinate the community toward those practices that would yield the greatest results for survival.  This included provisions for food, shelter and defense. It wasn’t too long after that however that some people, mainly priests and rulers, discovered that if they could devise, interpret and defend the judgment of behaviors intended for the good of the community then they could derive much power for themselves.  And it was from that point that political interests and greed for wealth and power became the motivating force behind the creation of the principles men and women were to be judged.  It has only grown more distorted and corrupt ever since that time and it will only grow worse.  So, that is why I say it has run its course.

© TM 2015