Lectures on Meditation

and

Spiritual Growth

Tan Kheng Khoo

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STARTED TO LEARN MEDITATION from an abbot in a monastery in Northeast Thailand. The lineage here is Theravada Buddhism. Then I started to read voraciously on meditation and Buddhism. After several years I started to teach meditation in a small way to some students in a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist temple in Singapore. Then a Tibetan center called me to do likewise. I taught in the Tibetan center for 8 years. My Sri Lankan teaching impressed one of the students so much that when he started a Buddhist Library, he invited me as a first teacher of meditation in this library. My career as a meditation teacher was established. Teaching behooves me to learn more about the subjects of meditation and religion. .. One can see from the articles that I have been quite a pedestrian crossing quite a few frontiers. However I hope that finally, these essays will suit the palate of many seekers of various religions. They are for those who want to embark on a spiritual journey, but do not know how to go about it. They have a widespread of mystical paths of several religions. Dr. Tan Kheng Khoo

Lectures on Meditation
and

Spiritual Growth

Tan Kheng Khoo

Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................. 5 Meditation Practise Concentration Meditation ................................................................ Progressive Stages of Samatha Meditation ................................... Effects And Hindrances of Meditation ......................................... Vipassana Meditation ........................................................................ Mindfulness (Meditation in Action) ............................................... Meditation in Emptiness .................................................................. Kundalini and Qiqong Psychosis .................................................... 10 18 26 33 42 51 60

Death and the Spirit World Dying Unto Death ............................................................................. 82 Spirits, Ghosts and Guides ............................................................. 101 Near Death Experience (NDE) ..................................................... 115 Out of Body Experience (OBE) ................................................... 125 Perchance to Dream ........................................................................ 143 Healing the Subtle Bodies, the Body and the Mind Doctoring the Spirit, Healing The Body ...................................... Auras and Chakras ........................................................................... Cosmic Healing ................................................................................ Thomas Keating ............................................................................... Psychic Self-Defence ....................................................................... Freedom From Fear, Anxiety & Other Negativities .................. The Soul oul Universal Law of Karma ............................................................... Universal Law of Reincarnation ................................................... Our G-Plan and Sacred Contracts ................................................ Soul Mates and Twin Souls ............................................................ The Anatomy of the Soul .............................................................. Brain, Mind and Consciousness .................................................... The Existence of God and soul ................................................... 160 168 180 194 214 229 240 256 276 288 308 323 337

Introduction
The Path of Awakening
Some of us are lucky enough to experience a wake-up call in this life. The timing of this call varies with the individual. Very rarely one may experience it soon after adolescence as with Ramana Marhashi. Most of us get the call around middle age or the mid-life crisis. After graduating from school or university, one starts with a job or many jobs and raises a family at the same time. Between forty to sixty years of age after a successful career, the thinking person will start to ask this question: “Is that it?” Where is the paradise? The next frequent question is “Why am I here?” “Why am I born at all?” At this early stage hardly anyone will ask this famous question “Who am I?” This question will arise only after some practice. Quite often the wake-up call is triggered by some tragedy like a death of a loved one, personal financial crisis, or ill health of the seeker or a breakdown of an intense relationship. Sometimes it comes after retirement or in women after menopause. Rarely, the call just simply arises without any triggering factor, and in this instance it may come at any age after adolescence. The first step the seeker does is to turn to a faith for support. He will grab at any faith or religion that is introduced to him by friends or relatives. Or he has seen the religion advertised in newspapers or TV programs. Normally the religion encountered and accepted is accidental without previous thought or analysis. After that the seeker may move on to other religious groups, depending on what fascinates him or her. After tasting many dishes on the menu, he has now some knowledge of spiritual practice, he may stick to one religion or practice. Willy-nilly he would have come across some form of meditation, be it Buddhist, Hindu or Zen. If he reads avidly with his meditation and is guided by a proper teacher, he may come to realize that spirituality and not religion will be his true path. He will come to a realization that a U-turn in his life is mandatory. This spiritual path will be hard work, as he has to start letting go of all his previous ideas of acquisitions, desires, concepts and goals. It is the opposite of what he has been taught all his life. Now he has to add the element of

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‘Service’ in his life. “What is happiness and how do you achieve it in a movement or religion?” My answer is that you cannot achieve it with one stroke or with any religion. You must go beyond religion. It is a painstaking, tedious and lonely task of meditation, mindfulness and personal cleansing. There is no substitute for this hard work. It may take this whole life or many more lifetimes. My wake-up call came to me about 30 years ago when I was 43 years old. This is a time when I was the busiest with a job of running a laboratory and I was involved with about 8-9 charitable committees. There was no time to reflect what I was doing. I only knew that there was no peace of mind. I started to learn meditation from an abbot in a monastery in Northeast Thailand. The lineage here is Theravada Buddhism. Then I started to read voraciously on meditation and Buddhism. After several years I started to teach meditation in a small way to some students in a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist temple in Singapore. Then a Tibetan center called me to do likewise. I taught in the Tibetan center for 8 years. My Sri Lankan teaching impressed one of the students so much that when he started a Buddhist Library, he invited me as a first teacher of meditation in this library. My career as a meditation teacher was established. Teaching behooves me to learn more about the subjects of meditation and religion. After accumulating about 28 lectures, a student of mine very kindly offered to post these lectures as a website with a homepage. One can see from the articles that I have been quite a pedestrian crossing quite a few frontiers. However I hope that finally, the menu in this homepage will suit the palate of many seekers of various religions. These essays are for those who want to embark on a spiritual journey, but do not know how to go about it. They have a widespread of mystical paths of several religions.

Shikantaza
Shikantaza is the practice of doing each activity in our life for the sake of that activity, regardless of whether we are sitting, lying, walking, or standing, or working. However, this term has been used mainly with regards to zazen (meditation). It is the ultimate stage of meditation in the school of Soto Zen. It means that when we are sitting down to meditate, we are

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wholeheartedly sitting down to meditate and not working out our problems. And therefore the simplified translation of Shikantaza is ‘merely sitting.’ It also means that if the aim of meditation is to empty the mind of thoughts, then that is exactly what we should do. Emptying the mind is the most difficult thing to achieve in meditation. The function of the mind is to think, and thoughts of the past, present and future will inevitably arise when we sit in a semi-lotus with our eyes shut. The busier is our day, the more thoughts we will have. As a preliminary preparation, one should have as few problems in our daily affairs as possible. That is why going into a monastery where there are hardly any daily chores and where one does not have to earn a living is the ideal. But if one has to remain a working layman, then get a job with the least emotional outlay. In order to pacify the mind the most important philosophy to believe in is the G-plan. One’s G-plan was fashioned and concocted before one was born (read article on G-plan). If one believes in one’s G-plan, then one will realize that there is really very little free will. And one’s G-plan will inevitably unfold relentlessly, in spite of one’s efforts to the contrary. If that is the case, there are no grounds for worry and anxiety: whatever will be will be. Believing in the G-plan goes a long way towards minimizing anxieties and worries. Look for a simple job. Then the next most important exercise is to detach oneself from everything: assets, money, position and relationships. One’s daily mantra should be: "Let go." One has to practice Shikantaza on a daily basis, as often as one is able. Before one can start practicing Shikantaza, one should learn how to concentrate with Samatha meditation. (Read lectures on Meditation and Progressive Stages of One-pointed Concentration). Do this for six to twelve months. Then one may practice Insight Meditation (Vipassana lecture) for at least six months. So after these one to two years of preparation one can now embark on Shikantaza.

Just Sitting
Sitting in a semi-lotus position, one should move one’s body forward, backward and sideways to relax it. Then one can either shut one’s eyes or

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leave them open or half-open. When the eyes are shut, there will be many thoughts. When they are open, one may be distracted by what one sees in the room. Either way, one has to achieve a state of no thoughts. Do not try to trace the beginning of a thought. The best way is to let the thoughts plough through one’s consciousness without paying attention to them. It is like staying on the roadside of a busy street watching the cars go by. Do not try to identify the make of the cars. Do not try to find out who are in the cars. One starts standing there from 6 p.m. until 4 a.m. By 4 a.m. there will be either very few cars passing or no cars at all. Use the same method in dealing with thoughts. Let the thoughts pass through your mind. Do not look at them or work on them, even though they maybe immediate, cogent problems. Thoughts will finally come to an end if one ignores these thoughts. This deed can be much more easily accomplished if one is totally detached from work, possessions and relationships. Stay in that position of no thoughts for as long as one can. When it becomes very steady, one can bring that emptiness down to the heart chakra. In this way, one is deepening one’s emptiness into the Void. This deepening of emptiness must be practiced intensely and relentlessly. A time will come when a breakthrough will suddenly come about. This is when body and mind have dropped away (the eradication of the ego). This is the realization of non-duality. The light has shed into the Unconsciousness of Buddhanature. This is satori. This first satori will inevitably be weak. After this, one’s zazen practice must continue at the same pace and with the same frequency as before. The satori will gather strength at each successive episode of satori until the final one. Now in order to complete the full Shikantaza practice, one should also practice mindfulness in every action, conversation and thought outside of formal sitting. (Read ‘Meditation in Action.’) This is the reason for wanting an environment as in a monastery. However, the same environment can be gotten if one has enough resources to stay alone in a home in order to practice there. You are behaving as a monk in your own monastery without the chores and without the interaction of other monks. The practice here is to act, or have a conversation without having any thoughts. When you are to think, just work at that problem in your mind without any other distracting thoughts. You wholeheartedly concentrate on that problem alone and nothing else. At the beginning

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you have to slow down a little, but when you are proficient, you can carry on at a normal pace.

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Meditation Practice
Concentration Meditation
Meditation is neither a trance nor hypnosis. In a trance, the person is relinquishing varying portions of his mind to external agencies and is sometimes controlled by spirits or so-called ‘deities’. Consequently, he has varying consciousness of what is going on. In full trance he is totally unconscious. In partial trance he is partially conscious of what is going on. In hypnotism, the hypnotist is in control of the mind of the hypnotised, but the latter would never do anything that is inherently alien to his character. In self-hypnotism, the person intends to follow a trend of thought that he has previously preconceived. In both these situations of hypnotism and trance, the person is not fully aware, not fully conscious, and quite often not fully in control. This is not so in meditation. In correct meditation, the meditator should be fully aware, fully conscious and fully in control of the situation. The aim here is to transcend our physical, emotional and mental bodies till we arrive at our spiritual true self (soul), in the quest for self-realisation. The path here is to work through the mystical state to finally reach the transpersonal state, which is like coming home. From thence onwards, one is in this world, but not of this world. We are completely aware throughout this journey. Meditation is an arduous practice of controlling the mind towards a transformation of character. It is only a means and not an end. The repeated penultimate state of this practice is stillness and silence. It is only in this state that transformation can take place. Insight and wisdom can only arise in the pure awareness of silence and stillness. All the multifarious types of meditation in the world can be categorised into two: (1) onepointed concentration (Samatha) and (2) insight (Vipassana) meditation. In Samatha, there should be only one object in the mind during meditation. As one progresses, there will be happiness, joy, bliss, calm and tranquillity in Samatha meditation. At the final stage of this practice, one will become still and silent with only one object in mind. One is not in a trance

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or hypnotised state; in fact, one should be more aware in this final state of one-pointedness than before the start of meditation. Insight or wisdom is slow to arise in Samatha, because one is fixed in one’s object of meditation, and there is also the pleasure of bliss and tranquillity, which one tends to be addicted to. Therefore it is very difficult to achieve enlightenment in Samatha meditation. Whereas in Vipassana the ultimate state is stillness, silent and emptiness (of thoughts). In this Vipassana practice, one is finally left with pure awareness---- the presence of our true self. From this backdrop of awareness, the ‘little voice’ may be heard, i.e. the arising of insight is facilitated by emptiness. So in summary, in Samatha, one is left with one thought (the object of meditation), and in Vipassana there is only pristine awareness with no thought. In the final stages of these meditations, one has totally transcended the physical, emotional and mental in Vipassana, the meditator is already in the spiritual realm. He is now in touch with his true self (soul). In the absorption stages of Samatha, the mind has left behind the physical body, the emotions and most of the mental activity, except the object of meditation. In Vipassana, the transcendence is permanent, whilst in Samatha the transcendence is temporary. Let us discuss about some conditions of meditation. Place: Choose a room that is quiet and cool. It must be decorated with as little furniture as possible. If possible, lock your room and lift up the telephone. If there is an air-conditioned room available use it to shut out the noise and maintain an even cool temperature. Remove all statues from the room, and there should not be any altar in the room. This is because a very occasional statue may be spirited. One’s main aim is to go inwards. If one’s attention is directed outwards to an altar or a statue, then one is defeating one’s purpose. Bodhidharma meditated for 9 years facing a blank wall! If possible, always try to meditate alone. This is because the other person’s vibrations may interfere with one’s practice. Time and Dress: The two best periods are in the morning and late at night. After waking up, complete one’s ablutions including brushing teeth and washing the face. Then drink some beverage, so that hunger pangs do not distract one’s meditation, but one must not indulge in a full breakfast. If one is a beginner, wake up half an hour earlier than usual. In order to

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be completely awake, you may do some simple free hand exercises. While still in pyjamas, sit down to meditate. This is the best attire. No restricting clothes should be worn: no bras or belts. The other good time is before one goes to sleep. This is because it should be at least two hours away from dinner. A full stomach normally induces sleep, so the meditation is ineffectual. The other consideration is that after a hard day’s work, one may be tired and sleepy, and the meditation becomes a preliminary session for sleep. That is why we sit in a semi-lotus position and have an empty stomach. If sleep is too overpowering at this period, try and catch a half-hour catnap before dinner. This will keep you awake for the night session. Another good time is at twilight, but one could really meditate at any time of the day. Meditation period: One should start with 10 minutes per session. Do this for a week or more until one is quite comfortable with it. Then one may increase to 15 minutes. Again, this lengthened period should be tried out for another fortnight, after which the time maybe further prolonged. One continues in this fashion until one reaches a period of half an hour. This prolongation is entirely left to the discretion of the meditator. One should then stay at half an hour for about six months; after that one may proceed to 45 minutes. However one should try to meditate longer during holidays. Once you have reached ? or l hour, do not go back to 15 minutes. Also, if for some reason one is hard-pressed for time, then even 10 minutes is better than not meditating. However, the most optimum time is one hour or more per session. There is no such thing as meditating 3 or 5 times a week. It must be a daily affair, and preferably twice a day. If you are travelling, do it in your hotel room, but first imagine yourself surrounded by white light. If you have to miss half a dozen days per year due to extenuating circumstances, it is quite in order. Sitting position: The ideal position is the semi lotus. You may sit crosslegged if you want, but the place where the legs cross will be numb after a while. Therefore, crossing one’s legs is not advisable. The semi-lotus is putting one leg on top of the other: it does not matter whether it is right over left or vice versa. The full lotus is as the above except one tucks both

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set of toes underneath the crooks of both knees so that both soles are facing the ceiling. This position looks beautiful, but one cannot sustain this position for long. However, one may also sit in a chair with both feet resting on the floor. The chair should preferably be without arm rests. Meditation is essentially dealing with the mind, and therefore the body should be as comfortable as possible without falling asleep. That means if there is a carpet, use that, and the best thing is to have a cushion beneath one’s buttocks. If one wants to sit on a bed, it is also feasible, but the bed must not be too soft, and a pillow should be placed between one’s back and the bedstead. On the bed, one can straighten one’s legs. Again, it is vital one should not fall asleep, especially in this position. The most important point to remember in one’s posture is to keep one’s back completely straight. The neck should also be straight and the eyes looking straight ahead with the head erect. The eyelids should then be gently shut and the mouth close. Then give one big sigh to relax all the muscles of the body all at once. Some meditators do a song and dance about relaxing one group of muscles at a time. This is not necessary, because as one goes deeper into the one-pointed meditation, the muscles automatically relax by themselves. Object of Meditation: In the Buddhist texts, 40 subjects of meditation are mentioned, but the layman should choose one that is easily accessible and pertaining to the body, e.g. the mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati). The other two popular objects are visualising and chanting of sutras or repeating of mantras. Both these methods are external. Repeating a mantra and chanting a sutra gets us to be calm quite well, but when one arrives at the absorption state, the mantra and sutra must be dropped because the mind in the 2nd absorption cannot hold on to a thought. Both mantra and sutra are thoughts. This is also true of counting one’s breath. Visualisation is also external, and the visualised object is also a thought. In addition, visualisation is a very difficult practice, and most people fail with this method. We want to select an object, which is pertaining to the body, i.e. it is not external and from which we can easily go inwards. The Buddha attained enlightenment with anapanasati. Furthermore, we can carry this object of meditation with us wherever we go. Using the natural breathing process is the best. You either follow it by the

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movement of the abdomen or feel the air going in and out of the nostrils. In concentrating on the abdomen the coverage is more diffused than at the nostrils. That means concentrating at the nostrils is more focussed. The great point about the latter method is that the deeper you go into meditation, the shallower your breathing will be and therefore, one has to concentrate even harder. This is good. In this mindfulness of breathing, there is no imagination required. You must actually feel the movement of the abdomen or the air brushing your nostrils or at the upper lip. ` Samatha: One-pointed concentration with mindfulness of breathing as an object. After satisfying all the above conditions, sit comfortably with the full intention of meditating. This aim is important, otherwise the meditation practice could be reduced to a routine chore. Before one starts on the meditation proper, take a deep sigh to totally relax one’s body. Then ascertain not to allow problems of the office, home or relationships, etc to intrude during the period of meditation. Now assume the position as described above (either in semi-lotus or on the chair), and rests one’s hands on the lap. One open hand is placed on top of the other with the two thumbs lightly touching. It does not matter which hand is on top. Then close the mouth with the tongue pressed against the hard palate. Lastly, gently shut the eyes, and look at the back of the eyelids for a short while. Now take three deep breaths. During these three breaths, one notices that as you breathe in the abdomen moves out; and as you breathe out the abdomen moves in. After this the breathing must be normal for the rest of the session. Then one should start feeling the sensations of the body. This is an inward journey, so that the mind does not go out externally. Start with the eyelids and then the nostrils. Feel the sensation at these points. What is the feeling at the nostril with the air brushing past it? Then go to the upper lip, and then the teeth inside. Stop for a moment each time to savour the sensation that is present at that location of the body. One can now move down to the neck, thence the shoulders. Are they hard and stiff ? Then go down the arms, first the right then the left. The torso

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is next: the chest, the abdomen, the hips and down the thighs to the knees. Go further down along the legs and feet. Is there any tingling sensation? Are there any thrills or shivers? Then slowly move up to the head at the scalp and then the face. A few minutes are spent going through this process without hurry. This process is not to relax the muscles, but to centre oneself in the body. One need not go through every part of one’s body, but after some practice one can know when one has settled down inwardly. The mental and physical restlessness has now ceased. At this point, we stop looking at the feelings of the body. One can now come back to the breathing. At the nostril one feels the air going in and out. One can feel it at the opening of the nostril or at the upper lip. The breathing must be absolutely normal, and no control of the breathing is allowed. Do not count the breathing, as this procedure will dilute the concentration. One is actually feeling the air, and no imagination is involved. In order to prevent restlessness, one should only concentrate at one respiratory cycle at a time. Firstly, follow the inward inspiration ending with a pause. Then let the expiration come out naturally, also ending with a pause. That is all. Your goal is one respiratory cycle at a time and you have achieved it! Then one starts all over again with the next respiratory cycle, and so on until the end of the session. However, before long, thoughts will start to appear. If one has problems they will surface with the first thoughts. If there are no worries or problems, memories of the past 24 hours or days will turn up. Then planning what to do in the near or distant future will come about. Finally, random associative thoughts may take place as a continuous revelry. All these thoughts must be forcibly stopped by repeatedly coming back to the breath. This is repeated hundreds of time during one meditation session. One must not get upset with one’s own mind, whose function is to think. It is like a mother walking with a toddler on the pavement along a very busy road. On the road many cars, lorries and buses are travelling at varying speeds, and if your toddler child were to be crushed by one of the numerous vehicles it could mean instant death. So it is the mother’s love and duty to repeatedly pull the child back from the road to the pavement. The child is like our concentration, which has to be pulled to the breath time and again. The mother who is shoving the child back to the pavement cannot be upset with the child, because she loves him and the child does not know better.

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After practising for many weeks or months, there will come a time when the thoughts will become less and one can stay with the breath for longer periods. Thoughts are either pictures situated at the middle of the forehead or mental chatter at the ear. Either the pictures or the chatter will predominate. To one person mental chatter or commentary is the bugbear; to another, mental pictures are the source of distraction. No matter which type it is, repeatedly coming back to the breath will reduce the thoughts in due course. Just concentrate on one respiratory cycle at a time. Gradually stillness and silence will start to appear. In stillness, not only is one’s body to be still, but so are one’s thoughts must be still. That means one’s thoughts must not travel anywhere at all, not even to the neighbour sitting next to you. The attention must only be with the breath. This is the true meaning of stillness. Silence means no mental chatter or commentary. The silence is internal. Externally, there may be noises, which should not bother the meditator at this stage of progress. So with this internal silence and stillness, one’s awareness is greater and sharper. One is more aware of the slightest movement or noise in one’s environment. However, one’s one-pointed concentration is still at the breath. Before one started the session, the breathing is predominantly from the chest. Then as one goes deeper into alpha and theta states, one’s breathing becomes more and more abdominal. The breathing is also slower: from the normal 20 respiratory cycles per minute, it may slow down to 16 or 14 cycles per minute. Some of the yogis in India who practice pranayana (controlling one’s breath) may even reach 1 or 2 cycles per minute, but we are not practising pranayana. Our method is anapanasati. As one becomes more one-pointed, happiness, joy, bliss, calmness and tranquillity will start to creep in imperceptibly. It will come to a point when the meditator becomes addicted to his meditation. This is a good sign, but even this harmless addiction has to be broken off at a later date, because very little wisdom can accrue from this calm and bliss. Insight (Vipassana) meditation will then have to be practised. One final technique in this method is to separate a ‘watcher’ in our consciousness to watch all the activities that are being enacted. The ‘watcher’ is merely the same pure awareness that is behind all our thoughts. It is our true self (soul). It is that silence and stillness without thoughts. Therefore,

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let this watcher keep reminding oneself of the fact that one is sitting here, in this room on the cushion or carpet. Only 10% of the awareness is given to this task. The remaining 90% is used to concentrate on the breathing, and the distraction by thoughts. This watcher is separate from the body, the emotions and the thoughts. With this separation, one’s negativities will affect one less. ‘It is this body that is suffering these emotions and thoughts, not I. I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions, I am not my body.’ This watcher is not involved; the watcher does not judge, nor reject or accept any thoughts or emotions. It just knows and does not take sides: it is non-dual. With this watcher it is much easier to arrive at stillness, at which stage we are silent, but we are still left with one single thought, namely the breathing. This is one-pointedness. There is now no sadness, no pain or any other form of suffering; there is just the breathing. The meditator and the breathing have become one! To summarise, one sits in a semi-lotus position or in the chair. Then one heaves a sigh of total relaxation of the whole body in one fell sweep. Take three deep breaths, after which the breathing should be normal throughout the meditation session. Then see that the torso and neck are straight with the head looking straight ahead. Shut the mouth with the tongue pressed against the palate. Then gently close the eyes. Briefly look at the back of the eyelids. Then spend a few minutes feeling the sensations all over the body one area at a time. Feel the tingling and the vibrations. Feel the movement of ‘chi’ at different parts of the body. While one is concentrating on the body, one is at the present moment. Having established some form of calmness, separate a watcher in the consciousness to observe the body and the mind. The technique of this mindfulness of breathing is to merely concentrate on one inspiration and expiration at a time. Thoughts are forcefully pushed away as they arrive. Keep on coming back to the breath repeatedly, until one day, silence and stillness are achieved. Then stick to the one-pointedness as long as one can. This is briefly the practice of Samatha.

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Progressive Stages of Samatha Meditation.
There are forty objects for meditation as quoted in the Buddhist books. However, not all are suitable for lay people. The best object is breathing, and this is the method that Buddha used. He was enlightened with it. It is good, because we can take it wherever we go. It is there all the time. We can partly control it if we want to, or we can ignore it, and it becomes entirely automatic.

Beta and Alpha Waves
Looking at the chart, especially in the column on brain wave patterns (which are obtained from electro-encephalograms of meditators or people asleep) we notice that when we first start to meditate most of the patterns are of the Beta type, i.e. the pattern seen in normal waking consciousness. When one closes one's eyes and sits in a comfortable position as in meditation, one will automatically start to obtain Alpha waves in one's encephalogram. This happens even if one does not concentrate, but one must not work at any problems. Now when one continues to concentrate on one's breathing, there will be more Alpha waves appearing.

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This means one is deepening the meditation in the momentary or preliminary concentration. Therefore, from the Beta pattern of our daily waking consciousness, we can arrive in a short while to a calm stage of Alpha wave pattern. Of course, this momentary concentration stage ranges from superficial to very deep states of Alpha wave pattern. And it is when one is in the Alpha Wave, that the body starts to relax on its own.

Theta Wave (Access Concentration)
Now from the deep stage of momentary concentration, if we continue to concentrate correctly we will slip into Access concentration with some Theta wave pattern. In this range of Access concentration, we can stay longer and longer at our object of meditation, namely breathing. The body is even more relaxed, and now the mind is also beginning to relax. The mind is now more even, and not scattered anymore. The brain waves are taller and fewer, and they are more regular. More and more Theta waves begin to appear. As one is able to sustain one's concentration on the breathing, other phenomena begin to set in. In this Access concentration stage, the following symptoms begin to manifest: (1) Low intellectual activity (2) Rapture (3)Visions and dreams (4) Drowsiness

Low intellectual activity
During this relatively deep stage, intellectually one cannot carry out too difficult a mental sum, e.g. "What is the product of 85 x 397?" or "What is the date of last Wednesday?" In order to work out these sums, one must go back to Alpha wave or momentary concentration. Access concentration is when one is just about to fall asleep or having revelries, and a comfortable feeling has set in: both in the body and the mind, and the mind is not interested in any mathematical gymnastics.

Rapture
This phenomenon has a very wide range of manifestations. It starts with either mild vibrations in one area of the body, or itches as if insects are biting. Then the vibrations begin to increase in intensity, and they also become more continuous: so much so that, at the ultimate stage, they start from the bottom of the spine and move right up to the top of the head, and then down again along the front of the face and the chest, abdomen and finally the thighs and the legs. This process is repeated over and over again. This circular movement is called the "rotation of the bullock cart"

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by the Chinese Taoists. This "rotation of the bullock cart" is the most healing process in the world: it can even heal the terminal stages of cancer. Then there are other phenomena like when the entire body feels extremely heavy, as if one's arms are like lead, or one has become a huge giant. Or the opposite may occur: when one has been reduced to the size of a midget. Then one may cry with tears of bliss, and after this period of ecstasy, one feels that one has enough love for everybody on earth. There are of course, other changes and feelings which we will not go into.

Visions and Dreams
In the Access concentration stage, we tend to go into revelries, dreamlets and dreams. Dreams appear factual and the stories are as realistic as when we are asleep. Dreamlets are more ephemeral and they are rather short lived. This progression is much more common than visions, e.g. seeing Buddha, Jesus or Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy). The danger of the dreamy state is that the meditator tends to fall asleep. The danger of seeing vision is that the meditator tends to believe that he is being rewarded for having achieved such a high plane. One must then use awareness and alertness to prevent sleep, and humility and wisdom to eradicate pride. During these revelries and dreamy states, there is a nice sensual feeling about them, as the body is light and even weightless at times. In this dreamy and drowsy state there is hardly a care in the world, and therefore the meditator is lulled by this soft, blissful state, when sleep becomes an obstacle in his practice.

Drowsiness
This is an inevitable consequence of Theta wave pattern in which dreams are prevailing. This drowsy, somnolent state with slow brain waves is fraught with sleepiness. It does not take much to fall asleep. At this stage, sleepiness is the greatest enemy. We must then use more awareness and alertness to stay awake. Another technique is to open one's eyes while meditating. If all this fails, then go and wash one's face with cold water. During this period of Access concentration, either few or all the Jhanic (absorption) factors may appear, but they are present in a rather haphazard fashion. Sometimes Rapture or at times Sustained thought may predominate. They do not appear in the right proportions as in the absorption state. All the absorption states manifest the Delta wave pattern in their encephalograms. That means from the 1st to the 8th Jhana it is char-

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acterised by the Delta wave pattern.

The Jhanas (the Absorptions)
We can enter into the Jhanic states only when we are able to eradicate the five hindrances, namely (1) Sensual desire (2)Ill-will (3) Sloth and Torpor (4) Restlessness and Worry (5) Sceptical Doubt. At the first intimations of the 1st Jhana, there is only a very swift dip into it. Quite often the meditator does not even know that he has been in Jhana for those very brief periods of time. Then as time goes on he is able to stay longer and longer in that Jhanic state, and it is when all the five Jhanic factors are assembled in their right proportions that the meditator realises that he is in Jhana. The five Jhanic factors are: (1) Applied Thought (2) Sustained Thought (3) Rapture (4) Mental Bliss (5) One-pointedness with Equanimity. Applied thought means the very first application of our consciousness to the object of meditation. This initial focusing may not last long. But as our Jhanic concentration improves, we are able to focus our attention much longer onto the object, and this prolonged focusing is transformed into Sustained Thought, the 2nd Jhanic factor. Now as we go deeper into the 1st Jhana we are able to sustain our attention onto the object of meditation for long periods of time without interruption. Thus, applied Thought is no more relevant, because Sustained Thought has taken over. And as we go deeper still into the 1st Jhana, higher grades of rapture (five grades have been described) begin to appear. Mental Bliss is also becoming prominent: as extraneous or discursive thoughts are reduced and continue to disappear, Bliss will increasingly take their place. Needless to say, with the full establishment of Sustained Thought, One-pointedness concentration begin to be more tenable.

2nd Jhana
Now as one goes towards the 2nd Jhana, any flickering of thoughts is completely relegated to the background: they do not bother the meditator at all now, until finally these backdrops of flickering thoughts are completely eradicated. It becomes quite obvious that any form of discursive thought must automatically disappear if one were to descend into the 2nd Jhana. So that when we finally arrive at the 2nd Jhana, we are left with only Rapture, Bliss and One-pointedness. Applied and Sustained thoughts must also be dropped. At this point of time, there is also no more bodily pain.

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In the 2nd Jhana, there is only one thought, and that thought is the object of the meditation, namely "breathing". We are now approaching onepointed concentration. As there are now no more discursive thoughts, the mental stage is upheld by rapture and bliss. Rapture is now at its peak: one may even bounce up and down while sitting in the lotus position or the "chi" may circulate the "bullock cart wheel", as described earlier. The bouncing has been erroneously called levitation. Whatever it is, this rapture produces extreme pleasure as well. This peak rapture would also enhance the mental bliss that is now replacing the emptiness of thoughts. With this bliss, there is also no room for mental grief. The peak rapture, bliss and lack of mental grief will culminate in internal confidence, which was not present before. Lastly, the absence of thoughts and sound are most conducive to the unification of mind, which eventually takes place. With this fixity of the mind, One-pointedness is now stronger, but it is still diluted by rapture and bliss.

Sleep
When we fall asleep at night, we go through the same sequence of events as the above: Beta to Delta wave up to the 2nd Jhana. However, when we are asleep, we are not aware of the stages that we are travelling through. When we are in dreamless sleep, we are also in Delta wave, and there is no bodily pain as in the 2nd Jhana. Also in sleep, we do not bounce as in the 2nd Jhana. The greatest difference between sleep and meditation is that in the latter case, we are aware of every stage that we are going through.

3rd Jhana
In the 3rd Jhana, we maybe in a state when we are like a block of wood and no amount of arousal or beating can wake us up. On the other hand, when asleep, we can always be awaken up. As one approaches the 3rd Jhana, one would find that rapture is too coarse, and therefore it has to be reduced and then completely eradicated before one could comfortably arrive at the 3rd Jhana. Thus, in the 3rd Jhana, the only Jhanic factors left are mental bliss and one-pointedness. Having relinquished rapture there is now no more bodily feelings. That means there are no more bodily pleasure or pain. As there is now no more bodily function, one cannot also either see or hear. The yogin may seem to be like a block of wood, but this block of wood has no feelings at all: you can whack him and he will

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not be hurt. The mental bliss and one-pointedness ensure that the meditator is presently endowed with mindfulness, equanimity and discernment. These are qualities of the mind. The situation is that there is no sense of the body at all, and only the mind predominates. Lastly, even this blissful state has to go. It is not subtle enough for the 4th Jhana. Therefore, bliss must eventually be released in order to enter the 4th Jhana.

4th Jhana
Finally, we arrive at the last of the fine Material Jhanas. Here we are left only with the last Jhanic factor of one-pointedness accompanied by equanimity. Whenever there is only one-pointedness, it must be associated with its twin ---equanimity. He is totally absorbed with the breathing: he and the breathing are one. At this stage, there is neither mental bliss nor grief. There is also no physical pain or pleasure. There is only specific neutrality: free from attachment and aversion. And at the very late stage of 4th Jhana, the yogin may think he is not breathing, but the fact is that he is breathing, albeit very, very slowly and shallowly. As one progresses through all the stages of Jhana, one's breathing automatically becomes shallower and slower until it appears that the yogin is not breathing, both to himself and to the observer. The meditator is in this wonderful and rarified state of being: he is one with the breathing, and if the latter appears to have ceased, then he believes (wrongly) that he is in Nirvana! You could kill him for all he cares! Thus, we have come to the end of the fine Material Jhanas. Up to now, he is constantly with his object of meditation: breathing or whatever object he is using. That object(form) is there until the end of the 4th Jhana. From now onwards, there are no more forms. He will now enter the formless world: the Four Immaterial Jhanas. Seeing that hardly any lay people would be able to reach these states in the privacy of their own homes, these states will be merely enumerated without elaborating on them. In addition, the Four Immaterial Jhanas can only be achieved in conditions obtainable in the monastery. Further, it is also essential to have a master, who himself is thoroughly acquainted with these formless Jhanas, to guide one.

The Four Immaterial Jhanas (Absorptions)
5th Jhana : The Base of Boundless Space

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Still with one-pointedness and equanimity the yogin completely removes the object of his meditation(breathing, coloured disc etc.) and pays attention to the space that is left behind. 6th Jhana : The Base of Boundless Consciousness By surmounting the object of boundless space, the meditator withdraws to his own consciousness, which is also boundless. 7th Jhana : The Base of Nothingness One must now pay attention to the non-existence, voidness (sunnata) and secluded aspect of consciousness and space leading eventually to nothingness. 8th Jhana : The Base of Neither Perception nor Non-perception The Yogin on the one hand lacks gross perception, and on the other hand retains a subtle perception. Although this 8th Jhana is such a subtle and refined state it is still a mundane state, and it is only insight that can lead to liberation. For the sake of completion, the six super-normal powers (Abhinna), will be tabulated below, but the meditator is discouraged to pursue these powers for their own sake. The first five Abhinas are still mundane and do not signify enlightenment. Only the 6th super-normal power is of supramundane quality. For those yogins who are truly bent on achieving some form of psychic power, the yogin must be able to reach the 4th Jhana at will and for a set period of time. For instance, he sets his mind to be in the 4th Jhana for three hours, he will remain there for exactly that amount of time, and he will come out of Jhana when the three hours have expired. He has to will to acquire one Abhinna at a time until that power is achieved. He has to fervently will to acquire it before he starts the meditation, and on the way out also will to achieve it. It may take months or years to succeed. (1) Super-normal Feats (i) One can become many and vice versa (ii) One can appear and disappear (iii) One can go through walls and mountains (iv) One can go in and out of the ground as if it is water (v) One can walk on water as if it is earth (vi) One can fly though space

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(vii) One can go to the moon and sun It is almost certain that (iii), (vi) and (vii) are feats as a result of out-ofbody experience (O.B.E.). (2) Divine Ear : The yogin can hear sounds of divine origin e.g. admonition or premonition from his spiritual guides. He can hear sounds and voices far away as well as sounds of creatures nearby e.g. the noises of worms in his intestines. (3) Reading into Other People's Thoughts : He can directly tune in to others' thoughts like a radio signal. Whatever you think, goes into the ether and the receiver just tunes in. (4) Recollecting Previous Lives : One can recollect details or scenes from one or many previous lives. (5) Divine Eye (i) One can see the passing away and rebirth of a being. (ii) Clairvoyance: knowledge of the future and far away events. (iii) Knowledge of how one fares after death according to his good or bad karma. (6) Destruction of the Cankers (i) There is no more sense desire. (ii) There is no more craving for existence. (iii) There is no more Ignorance: it is completely replaced by Wisdom. (iv) Therefore there are no more wrong views. This 6th Abhina is the only supramundane one, and when this Abhina is achieved, then one is enlightened (Arahant).

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Effects And Hindrances of Meditation.
Immediate Effects
(1) Accumulation of saliva: This phenomenon happens to many people. What one has to do is to merely swallow the saliva mindfully, whilst not paying attention to the breadth. Immediately after this, one comes back to the breadth again. Thoughts are again being consciously pushed away, whilst concentrating on the air striking at the nostril during inhalation and exhalation (2) Numbness and pain in the limbs: Again this is quite a common complaint At first, one should try to tolerate the pain or numbness as long as possible. Later, as these effects become more intolerable and affect one's meditation, then one may stretch out one's legs until the numbness or pain is considerably reduced. After that, one may resume the semi-lotus position again. However if one is sitting on an armchair, then there is no grounds for such complaints. (3) Restlessness of Mind and Body: These effects are more difficult to overcome. In this instance, one should physically try to relax the body: tense the whole body and then relax it again. After this, concentrate harder on the breathing, it is only with time and experience that one can go deeper into theta wave, access concentration, so that bliss may arise to eliminate restlessness and worry. (4) Weightlessness or lightness: This phenomenon needs no remedy at all. It merely indicates that one is progressing in one's meditation. However, there may come a time when one may be deluded to think that one is "levitating" upwards whilst breathing in and downwards whilst breathing out. This is not the case: one merely has to open one's eyes to see the truth of the matter. The opposite of heaviness is a little more disconcerting to the meditator. The student will feel that the arms are as heavy as metal bars, and at times as though the whole body has assumed giant proportions. Again, this is another form of delusion, known as Maya or Makyo. Here again if one is bothered by it, then one may remedy it merely by opening one's eyes. And this will stop the feeling of heaviness immediately.

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(5) Warmth: This effect is almost universal. As one relaxes in meditation, one's blood vessels dilate. The dilatation of the blood vessels has the same effect as drinking wine. The whole body warms up, and some people could even get very hot to the extent of perspiring profusely. The danger now is not to catch a cold when you finish with your meditation. Clothe yourself adequately before you go to sleep, if it is your sleeping time. (6) Cold: Very, very rarely an individual may feel colder when meditating. This is very unusual. However it does happen. You either ignore it or put something light to cover yourself or wear a cardigan when you meditate. (7) Itchiness: Sometimes, it feels as if insects are crawling all over you. You just have to open your eyes to know that there isn't. Try and stand the itch: you either concentrate on the area or ignore it. If it becomes so unbearable, then scratch it, and return to your meditation proper. The itch or 'insects' is due to the hairs standing up at the beginning of rapture (this is called Piti in pali) (8) Smoothness and Roughness: In Samatha (one-pointed concentration), there may be some jerkiness while you are sitting. Sometimes the body tends to sway from side to side or forward and backward. Sometimes the body twirls around continuously. All these movements are due to one's internal tension being too wound up (i.e. one's tension due to stress is quite overwhelming), whilst the physical body is rather relaxed during meditation. This internal/external conflict causes these repetitive movements. There is nothing you can do about it: just let it be until one day your stress and tension are reduced sufficiently that these movements will stop on their own. (9) Involuntary movements: These are very structured gestures or mudras that look like traditional dances with hand movements. Occasionally, the student will stand up and dance! This is due to Kriya energy being activated by the meditation teacher (who is called Sadguru). The student sometimes become frighten, but actually it is quite harmless. The student may stop the Kriya mudras if she wills it, but when she does that her meditation becomes less deep. However, if she does not stop them she cannot arrive at stillness, which is a prequisite to a successful meditation.

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(10) Nimittas---visions and dreams: When we go deeper into theta wave, we tend to have dreamlets and visions. These are like television movies, in which we can only watch the sequence of events, but we cannot change the events or characters in the dreams. However, we can stop the show completely and nothing else. The visions are scenes of splendor or horror, or we may see Buddha, Jesus or Allah. Whatever it is, it is an illusion. The Japanese Zen practitioners call this Makyo (hallucination). What shall we do about it? We watch it and ignore it. Do not take it seriously. (11) Freshness of Mind: Some meditators will find that their minds are totally fresh after meditation. This is because they have managed to clear all the intellectual rubbish while practising one-pointed concentration. This freshness will in turn prevent sleep later on, and insomnia will ensue. What is the remedy? Meditate longer so that one goes deeper into theta or even delta wave. If the meditator is not sufficiently skilled to do that, then one should meditate only in the mornings. (12) Drowsiness: If one goes deeper into theta wave, one of the features in this state is drowsiness. This is much more frequent than freshness. The problem now is 'how to keep awake'. The first step is to be more alert and aware, and not to be so concentrated. If this fails then one should get up and wash one's face with cold water. Another method is to open one's eyes partially or fully. Whatever it is this, meditator would surely enjoy a good night's sleep. (13) Fear: This phenomenon is not uncommon, especially when one is meditating in the dark. Sometimes, one is fearful of spirits or ghosts appearing. One is also fearful of spirit possession. Another great fear is that one may go insane. Sometimes one is fearful of falling into a dark hole. Sometimes these fears are reinforced by hallucinatory visions of ogres, monsters and states of hell. All these illusions are constructed by the mind. There is absolutely nothing to fear. One merely has to open one's eyes. (14) Crying: This is not due to sadness. It is more often than not a result of rapture. Rapture has many manifestations that will be discussed later. In this instance the tears are bitter sweet. There is a rapturous sensation

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going through the body at the same time. Normally there is much peace at the end of this meditation session. (15) Bliss: This is another feature of deep theta wave: in fact it is a constant component of the absorption (Jhana) state. The more one clears one's mind of thoughts, the more bliss will result. As nature abhors a vacuum, emptiness of thoughts is quickly replaced by bliss. (16) Bright Light: This is a very rare occurrence. Most of the time it is Makyo (hallucination). Again to test its validity, one merely opens one's eyes. If it is Makyo, the light will instantly disappear. However if the Bright Light still persists, the whole room will be lit by it, and every one else should be able to enjoy it. This would signify one of the greatest bestowal of the Divine, and everybody would be in tears of joy and happiness. However, most times this happens only to one person when he is alone. It must be accepted with great humility, otherwise it will not happen again! (17) Five Gradations of Rapture (Happiness): As one goes down in Samatha meditation, one will experience the phenomenon of rapture (Piti). Rapture occurs in increasing intensity as one goes deeper into onepointed concentration (Samatha). These grades are named as such: (i) Minor: a shiver like raising the hairs on the body (goose flesh). It is the same effect as if one has suddenly seen a ghost. The itch and 'insects' crawling are due to this minor rapture. (ii) Momentary: flashes of lightning occurring at different moments all over the body. (iii) Showering: breaks over the body again and again like waves on the seashore. (iv) Uplifting: extreme lightness as a physical sensation as well as a mental uplift. This 'floating in air' sensation may lead to "bouncing" (1st or 2nd Jhana). (v) Pervading: whole body is completely pervaded, like a filled bladder or like a rock cavern inundated by a tidal wave (2nd Jhana) Rapture is one of the five Jhanic factors that will discussed later. The other four factors are: (1) Applied thought (2) Sustained thought (3) Bliss

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(4) One-pointedness

Long Term Effects of Meditation
Effects on physical body (1) Healthier: One's resistance to disease is increased. That means when colleagues fall sick, one can destroy the same germs or viruses in one's own body due to the increased immunity developed from our daily meditation. Similarly, as cancer cells are popping up in our bodies everyday the meditators can also eradicate these malignant cells as they arise. Conversely, stress reduces our immunity and it may be so reduced that the cancer cells takeover, and start to form a primary colony in the body. The danger of cancer is that it is wild and unruly, and will grow incessantly to the detriment of the healthy body. (2) Memory and Concentration: The meditator having achieved good concentration, has also a much better memory. He is now less tense and has an increased capacity to handle stress. He appears also to have increased energy with greater physical agility. He is able to sleep better, and the incidence of insomnia is greatly reduced. There is less tension headaches, and irritability. Aches and pains of the body begin to diminish. As mind-body co-ordination greatly improves, the meditator works more efficiently. (3) Personality: He is now friendlier, and has a more attractive personality. He has more time for others, and is more tolerant of other religions. He is now able to deal with emergency situations without panic. Although he is more patient, he is more charismatic. He is also more sensitive to other people's moods and feelings. Additionally, he is able to take losses and bereavement much better. This adds up to an increased ability to let go: to be less greedy and more charitable. (4) Psychosomatic illnesses: Conditions such as asthma, neurodermatitis and gastrointestinal problems (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome) begin to disappear as one continues to meditate. Weight is normalised. High blood pressure is also reduced. Mental-emotional effects After at least six months, one would notice that there is a reduction of anxiety neurosis and nervousness. Depression disappears completely. There are no longer feelings of inadequacy. Being much calmer than

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before, irritability has also more or less disappeared. On the positive side there is more self-esteem. The meditator can now solve problems better, because his mind is not cluttered with anxiety and unnecessary information. As one's thoughts become more orderly, one's thinking is much more organised, thus increasing one's creativity and productivity.

Spiritual well-being
Meditation tends to make us a better Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Our affiliations to our religions are strengthened. It also tends to foster trust with a greater capacity for intimate contact. One develops more compassion for our fellow human beings, and there is also a greater capacity for unconditional love, which means that the meditator does not expect any gratitude or thanks. There is an increased satisfaction at work and at home, and consequently we develop inner wholeness. We now know that life is meaningful. Of course, the greatest achievement would be our ability to let go: to have less greed, hatred, pride and selfishness. These four foibles when considerably reduced will affect our spiritual well-being tremendously.

Hindrances (Obstacles)
There are five primary hindrances to all types of meditation and our spiritual path. These are: (1) Sensual Desire: These are desires or cravings emanating from our six sense organs: they are the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin and mind. Of course, when you are sitting in meditation, the mind will give you the most obstacles. (2) Ill-will: Irritation, anger, hatred, envy, jealousy and depression. These negative traits will hamper one's meditation, as peace of mind cannot be obtained. (3) Sloth and Torpor: As one is more experienced in meditation one can go deeper into theta wave or access concentration. In this state, drowsiness is experienced and the tendency to fall asleep is overwhelming. The remedy here is to be more aware, using mindfulness to keep awake. If you have a very tiring day, then the evening meditation tends to be sloppy. If you are truly earnest about having a fruitful meditation, then get up and wash your face with cold water. Then continue your meditation with your eyes open. (4) Restlessness and Worry: Here the restlessness could be of the body or of the mind. If it is of the body, then one could do some form of exer-

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cises or hatha yoga to squeeze out the excess physical energy out of the body. If it is of the mind, then one should concentrate more at the object of meditation. (5) Skeptical Doubt: The main doubt here is that it is impossible to meditate, no matter how hard one tries. It is not true. Everybody can meditate. You must have patience, and a suitable meditation subject must be chosen. Persistence is the key word, but one must not be stressed by the attempt. These five hindrances can also be eradicated or counteracted by the five Jhanic factors: (1) One-pointed concentration eradicates lust. (2) Rapture abolishes ill will. (3) Applied thought extinguishes sloth and torpor. (4) Bliss eliminates agitation and worry. (5) Sustained Thought suppresses doubt and uncertainty.

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Vipassana Meditation.
Insight meditation (Vipassana) is the practice of moment-to moment awareness both in formal sitting as well as meditation in action outside of formal sitting. In sitting meditation we start briefly with breathing as a rising and falling process, after which the main subjects to be dealt with will be the mind and the states of mind. The latter include all the emotional feelings and the states of mind that we are experiencing during the sitting meditation. Whilst dealing with these 2 phenomena, we are not allowed any choice in the matter. We just merely watch the thoughts and states of mind as they arise while we sit. There should not be any attempt at modifying or suppressing the thoughts or states. This choiceless awareness is of paramount importance in the practice. The main object of this practice is to see the ceaseless stream of thoughts and the change of moods and emotions as they arise and fall at that moment. There should be no attempt at interrupting or interfering with this continuous flow. We merely watch the process of change and movement. That is to bring to mind the reality of impermanence of any state, which is invariably changing all the time. And therefore if we were to cling on to anything or state hoping that it will remain the same then we suffer. As we continue to practice Vipassana, we will also realize that there is no abiding essence or self in the three bodies: physical, emotional and mental. This is the Anatta doctrine (Selflessness) of Theverada Buddhism. This practice has to continue when we are out of sitting meditation, when we are doing our daily chores. We can meditate in any position and in every state of activity, but now we have to make a choice between the options that are offered us. Otherwise, we get nowhere. We have to choose to achieve our purpose of action. The accent here is again to be completely mindful and aware of every action. And lastly, we have to be aware of the reactions that arise when our 6 senses meet external objects. These latter two practices will be the theme for the next essay.

The ‘Watcher’ is the True Self
First and foremost, we must separate a ‘watcher’ in our consciousness to observe what is going on in our mind and body. The mind includes states of minds, emotions, feelings and higher spiritual realms. This ‘watcher’ starts off as being part of our consciousness, but as we become more and

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more silent and still, this ‘watcher’ expands itself to be an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent but impartial observer. When the practice is intense enough and prolonged enough then we will realize that this ‘watcher’ is really our True Self. In other words, it is the soul or Atman occupying that great expanse of emptiness. And if we can carry this realization with us wherever we go we are self-realized! This is the goal of every mystic. So in order to achieve this aim we must always remember to separate a ‘watcher’. This ‘watcher’ is merely to watch and observe the train of thoughts and emotional feelings as they arise at that moment and not later or before that moment. Later, when we are not in sitting meditation, it should continue to observe and watch our movements so that finally we can control and master our body and mind. But initially, we merely watch and take no action.

States of Mind, Emotions and Feelings
When these states arise, we must know them as they occur. We must not anticipate them or trace them back to their origin, as suggested by some teachers. We must see them and know them at that time of appearance. Do not modify or suppress them. Merely observe them. Look at them head on without flinching. By just watching them, we are practising separation and trying to realize our true self. Some of the states and emotions may be classified as below: (a) States of mind as depicted in the encephalogram: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta Waves. These states have been meticulously described in the article on "Progressive Stages of One-Pointed Concentration Meditation (Samatha)". We simply recognise which state we are in without doing anything about it. (b) Emotional States: Notice how calm or tranquil you are at the beginning of meditation. Or are you irritated or agitated? Is there anger or hatred? What about restlessness and worry? Is there joy or happiness? Is there a feeling of gleeful anticipation towards the meditation? What about drowsiness or sleepiness? All these emotions must be meticulously noted without agitation. There should also be no attempt at changing these emotions. You are merely the observer; otherwise you do not know yourself. All these emotional states are not you. They may remain there for sometime as emotional background or they may slowly wane.

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(c) Altered States: These are states like altruistic love, compassion, and forgiveness and at peace with the whole world. These states are normally not characteristic of that person. Thus lies the danger. If these states take over temporarily our normal emotions, and if we were to act contrarily to our normal character, then we would be in deep trouble! For instance, one may suddenly decide to give away all one’s assets to charity, and then find that there is no more to feed oneself and family. What a calamity! Other altered states may include visits to the lower and middle astral, and these may frighten the meditator, although these escapades are most rare. The feeling of divine love may be so overwhelming that the meditator becomes extremely grateful to God or Allah or Buddha that he can then take up that particular religion straight away without reservation. These altered states, of course, do not last. And when they wane, one drops back to normality again. This coming home to the normal world is something of a let down and can be very disappointing to say the least. (d) "Enlightened" State of At-One with the Universe: In this state you feel as if you are everything you see and feel, and everything outside you is part of you. If you were to focus on somebody, that person is you. The trees, birds and animals are all you. Nothing is exempt. However, this state does not last. It may last for hours or days at the most, but it eventually it will disappear. (e) Psychedelic states as in drug-induced states. There may be multicoloured, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional states, never experienced before in one’s life. You could be floating in this dizzy exotic environment with not a care in the world. You feel that you have reached paradise, and you congratulate yourself for arriving in heaven with no effort. But alas, it is uncontrollable, and finally it ends with a big bang, a let down and a very bad hangover as in a trip with drugs. (f) Makyo: hallucinations and visions. These visions and hallucinations tend to appear when one is in theta wave. The visions may be figures of Virgin Mary, Buddha, Kwan Yin or Jesus, all of which no living person has ever seen. They are not real. One can eradicate them by simply opening one’s eyes or just change the thought. The famous Zen saying: "When you see Buddha, kill him" is absolutely correct. These hallucinatory states may include the meditator flying in the air or diving into solid earth or

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wheezing to the moon or stars. There may be scenes of olden times or periods, giving a false believe that these are our actual previous lives from our Akashic records. They are not. They are merely hallucinations. Further, one may smell, hear or feel things that are not perceived by others. Lastly, one may experience an NDE (near-death experience) but this is extremely rare. All the above states and emotional feelings do not come in one continuous period of time. They appear intermittently throughout the session of sitting meditation, or more commonly they do not appear at all. Therefore, throughout the insight meditation we will see and perceive different states as we go deeper and deeper into Vipassana. For instance, we start the meditation feeling angry and irritated, but as the meditation progresses, we become calmer and then end up being tranquil. We know when we are in Alpha or Theta wave. Then after many months of practice, we reached states of divine love, compassion and at peace with the world. As these states turn up we know. Then deeper still, psychedelic states or hallucinations and visions may also appear. Then we merely recognise them as such and then we let them go. Every state, feeling and vision must just be seen and then dropped. There should not be any attempt at holding on to them. They are all transient and impermanent. One may not be able to repeat the same state or vision ever again. One also should not boast about their occurrences. These transitory states of mind are not for real and therefore it is quite useless clinging to these memories. They are like will-o’-the- wisp’ of the air. All these states come without premonition or warning, and they disappear in like fashion. They appear intermittently throughout that process of observing our thoughts. There is no order in their appearances.

The Mind
Assume the same sitting position as in the concentration practice. After going round your body (sensing different parts of the body) as taught in Samatha meditation, you again come to the breath. This time you notice the breathing as an arising and falling phenomenon. Then note the state of the mind. Further, fix your attention at your forehead between the two eyes. This is now your television screen and all the thoughts are now to be placed here. Past, present and future thoughts are to be screened here (Fig.1).

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They appear as pictures here, but the mental chatter will occur at the ears. Now again separate a ‘watcher’ who will observe the pictures and listen to the verbal commentary. One cannot concentrate on 2 things at one time. So you have to decide to pay attention either to the pictures or to the mental chatter. The attention must be total and not half-hearted. If you can look at the one picture in full bloom, it will disappear, and momentarily, there will be no thoughts. Soon another train of thoughts will arrive. This time it is even more powerful and you could be caught in its momentum for a length of time. This chain of associated thoughts will continue until suddenly you come to realize that you are in that chain, and there is again another interval of stillness and silence. These intervals of emptiness are initially not recognized, until many weeks of months of meditation have passed. Then when one is able to slow down the thoughts and reduce their number, then these intervals are even easier to detect. It is during Theta wave that one can more easily catch these periods of silence. If an interval of stillness appears, hold on to it. Don’t let it go. Try and lengthened it. Enjoy it. But alas, without experience it will slip away very quickly. Therefore, experience is essential in this practice. You can read as many books as you like; it is of no help whatsoever. It is practical experience that counts. Continuing with this Vipassana practice, there will come a

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time when you can keep that interval of still and silent emptiness long enough to enjoy the pure awareness. From this expanse of pure awareness, insights will arise. These are from ‘the small little voice’ arising out of the pure awareness. These insights are appropriate to your level of development, no more, no less. Perhaps after many years of practice and truly letting go, spiritual wisdom may then accrue.

The Objects of Mind
What are the thoughts that arrive at your television screen? Do not bring out subjects for contemplation. Just let the thoughts arise on their own. Inevitably, problems of the present will come about. They may be financial problems or situations of the immediate family. There may be some tension with regards to the office personnel. Relationships with sexual overtones feature quite prominently to certain individuals. Then memories of yesterday, last week or last month will turn up. After some time these memories will change to planning for the future. Whether they are of the past, present or future, these pictures must be seen at the center of the forehead, where the screen is. Later on, when all the problems are seen to, random associative thoughts will begin a chain of their own. These chains may gather such a momentum that one is unaware of them and one is caught in them. Then all of a sudden, one is brought back to the present practice, and then a short interval of stillness is brought to one’s consciousness. In this stillness one may note one’s state of mind: are we calm? Still agitated? Is there rapture? And so on. Some external noise will distract one momentarily. Then the thoughts will start to appear again, after another external noise triggers another memory. The above process will repeat itself again and again, but with diligence and practice the thoughts are seen more clearly and can be held for longer periods of time. With experience and prolonged practice, we can have longer and longer periods of stillness and silence. These intervals of no thoughts may be extended to a definite and perceptible length of time. This state of pure awareness is most exhilarating: it is unadulterated bliss! So the discipline here is to repeatedly go into this state of pure awareness which should be extended as long as possible. It is during this still and silent emptiness that insights will appear. What are the insights? It all depends on one’s spiritual development. If one is still worldly and materialistic, then the insights will be of that nature. If one has let go a fair bit then they will be of a

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higher plane. Sometimes precognition or clairvoyance or telepathy may turn up, but this is not a constant feature. They are more like fluke occurrences. The latter may be transmitted as voices or just plain knowing. These ‘psi’ phenomena are not repeatable. At the end of the day it is the character transformation that counts. Love, compassion and equanimity should replace our negativities like craving, anger, selfishness, pride and ignorance.

The Three Hearts
Firstly, there is the physical heart, which is just to the left of the sternum. Secondly, there is the emotional heart, which is just below the bottom of the sternum. Whenever one gets a shock or news of disaster it catches one at the hollow pit of the stomach, our second heart. Thirdly, there is this Divine heart. It is also called the soul or Atman. According to Ramana Maharshi, it is the size of the last phalange of the thumb and is situated just to the right of the bottom of the sternum. Now following from the above Vipassana meditation, when we have arrived at S.E.S. (Stillness, Emptiness, and Silence) for quite a long time, we can bring down our attention down to where the seat of the soul is: just to the right of the bottom of the sternum. And stay there as long as we can. This will reinforce our love and compassion for the service of mankind.

The Levels of Consciousness
In insight meditation, the watcher merely observes the thoughts and pictures arising in the superficial consciousness. Then with prolonged practice, the still and silent emptiness is achieved. With further practice, memories of the subconscious may surface (Fig. 2). The subconscious is defined in this paper as past events in this present life. Many levels of the subconscious may now occasionally erupt triggering the memory bank. The surfacing of any memory is on ‘the need to know basis’ and not on ‘I want to know basis’. These memories are there to unravel the knots in our psyche at that moment. Then as we continue to let go more and more and if our practice is on the right track, then we could be extremely privileged to peep into few of our Akashic Records. The trouble here is that we cannot be certain that it is truly the Akashic and not merely our hallucination. The Akashic is in the realms of the

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Collective Unconsciousness (of Jung). Of course, in this realm innumerable lifetimes may surface, and therefore many karmic causes may be elicited to explain the difficulties we are in at the present. Delving into past lifetimes in the Collective Unconsciousness may engross us for long periods of time, but at the end we have to let go even of this feat. It is said that Gautama Buddha was able to see every lifetime since his first human incarnation. Finally, we have to drop down even further to the Universal Consciousness that means into the realm of the Godhead. This supreme feat has only been achieved by a few prophets in the past while they are alive, and Buddha was one of them. It is in this rarefied realm that we realize that every consciousness (vegetation, animal, mineral and human) is interconnected. Nothing is outside this supreme Godhead. It is one without a second. This is the non-dualistic realm of the Unborn, Uncreated and Uncompounded. This is the state of Nirvana!

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The Dark Night of the Soul
Not all mystics go through this stage. After many years or lifetimes of purification and practice of meditation, the mystic arrives at this stage of purgation. It is the penultimate stage just before union with the absolute. It is the last struggle before one arrives at Unity or Ultimate State of Consciousness. In the Buddhist Theverada tradition, the last 3 fetters to be relinquished are (1) Ego-conceit, (2) Restlessness of the mind and (3) Ignorance. When these 3 are dropped, he becomes a saint. The eastern traditions do not stress much on the Dark Night. This experience is mainly described by Western mystics. The purgation is composed of utter despair and deprivation. The worst form of mental disease is a breeze compared to this sadness, deprivation and depression of the Dark Night. The mystic path hitherto has been strewn with illuminating experiences, especially if the mystic believes that God has been seen supporting him all along. He has been on this path of illumination up to now. And now he is crossing over to another path, which is ‘Unity with the Absolute’. This is now the final test of total detachment. He has to erase completely the residual ego-conceit and ignorance, and his motto should be ‘I am nothing, I have nothing, I desire nothing’. This is very similar to the last Buddhist fetters of Ego-conceit, Ignorance and Restlessness. The Christian mystic feels as if God who has been nourishing him all this while has suddenly abandoned him. The pain and emptiness is excruciating. The other name for the Dark Night is the Mystic Death. This period of purgation may last a few months or a few years. At the beginning, the pendulum swings from ecstasy to deprivation. As the practice continues, the periods of sadness and depression lengthen until near the end, when there is only the Dark Night and no delight at all. Of course, during these periods of ‘hell’, nobody could be blamed if he were to give up the mystic path altogether. However, if he were to persevere, as most do, the rewards are most exhilarating and exquisite as it is a prize of the spiritual realm and nothing mundane is comparable to it. He is now enlightened and he is united with the Absolute. Although physically he is in this world, he is now not of the world. Everything he touches turns to gold. He has been trying to achieve this state for many lifetimes. And finally he is in this non-dualistic state of Nirvana! The whole world should celebrate for this one individual who has joined the Godhead. He now knows that he has always been there and has never been separate from it!

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Mindfulness (Meditation in Action).
Mindfulness is the path to the deathless; Heedlessness is the path to death. The mindful do not die; But the heedless are as if dead already. Dhammapada 21 THE Dhammapada also says: (1) Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. (2) Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves. From these two verses we know we have to be aware of our thoughts as they arise, and then control them and finally master them so that the action that follows is pure and wholesome. In the essay on Insight Meditation, we learned to merely look at our thoughts by (1) observing (2) watching them. By looking at our thoughts head on they become fewer and slower in their appearances. This is a way of (3) controlling them. Now that one is dealing with meditation in action, one should also (4) master them as well by allowing only wholesome thoughts to arise and then, if necessary act upon them. In sitting meditation the thoughts that arise must be choiceless, but now that we are out of formal sitting, we should exercise control. That means these 4 actions of observing, watching, controlling and mastering should be done simultaneously in our meditation in action.

Awareness
Awareness means " bare attention" or "passive observation" without judgement, comment or interpretation of the facts with our intellectual knowledge. This means that we simply look with a quiet mind. If the mind has thoughts we look at these. If there are emotions, we again merely feel them. In "bare attention", we "look at" and not "look for" or "look into". When we look for something, we are expecting to find it, and when we do not we are sorely disappointed. We then lose energy and balance.

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Mindfulness
When a thought or an object first comes into our awareness that fleeting moment of pure awareness is uncontaminated by identification or label. This brief moment of mindfulness may last only a fraction of a second. It is before your cognizance of the perception, before naming of the object and judgement of the same. This is the moment of pure awareness. This pure quality of mindfulness vanishes before the chain of memories can arise to remind one of the pleasant or unpleasant object or incident. It is this unfocussed moment of pure awareness that we want to prolong in Insight (Vipassana) meditation. It is a very difficult but not impossible task. In mindfulness, the mind merely mirrors what is seen or heard at the very moment of occurrence. It does not take sides. It does not judge or condemn. It merely watches impartially. It should not affect the observer. There should not be any enchantment, pleasure or displeasure engendered by what is seen or heard. In the seen, it is only the process of seeing. Similarly, in the heard it is only the hearing. It is only the process and not the object. There should not be any thought or concept accompanying the seeing, hearing, touching and tasting. Thoughts arise merely as mental pictures or running verbal commentary with no reflection or analysis or categorization. We merely register what is happening now not a minute ago or the future. It is always in the present. There is no emotional or intellectual reflection, no analysis, no selection. It is totally passive and impartial. The perception does not pertain to self: it is purely third party. The "I" is not involved. There is no accent on any topic or scene: they are all the same. It is only the white screen accepting every picture projecting onto it by the projector. It does not discard or distort any frame of the film. Finally, the wisdom to be gleaned from this practice is that everything arises must pass away. Those who cling to this compounded ‘thing’, wishing that it would remain the same, will suffer discontent and conflict.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness
In Buddha’s Discourse on Mindfulness---Satipatthana Sutra, four distinct subjects were enumerated for the Vipassana practice. They are (i) the body, (ii) feelings or sensations, (iii) states of mind including emotions, and (iv) objects of the mind. The latter two topics have been dealt with in the essay on Insight Meditation (Vipassana), and they can be practiced

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during the sitting sessions. The practice in these two topics is entirely based on choiceless awareness. In formal sitting this is feasible. However, once you are out of formal sitting, you have to make a choice. In these two areas of meditation in action, we have to comprehend clearly four fundamental facts. They are (1) Purpose of our Action, (2) Suitability of the action and our own capability to do it, (3) The action must be within the Domain of Meditation, (4) The real state of things (reality) as they appear and the true nature of these phenomena. (1) Purpose of the Action: Every action or reaction must have a purpose. Otherwise we end up aimlessly in our activities. We may also be distracted from our original purpose. Therefore, our purpose must be held tenaciously till the end of that action. Needless to say, the purpose must be a wholesome one and it could be included into the domain of our meditation practice. Say, for instance, one is on the way to pay for one’s TV license on the last day. Half way there one meets a friend whom one has not seen for some time. So one stops to chitchat over a cup of coffee until alas the post office is shut for business for the day! One has to go over to the post office again the next day and pay a fine for being late. All this bother because one did not mindfully stick to one’s purpose. (2) Suitability: Before embarking on the task, we must ask ourselves whether the task is suitable in the ethical sense. Is evading income tax or parking along double yellow lines an appropriate act for a Vipassana practitioner? Is it a skillful act to queue up for dole when one is a millionaire? We must also realize the extent or limitations of our own capabilities for a certain project. Is the goal of the project set too high? Are we capable of raising such a large sum of money? If it is too ambitious we must fail. If it is not in our power to choose the course of action then we must exercise skillful means in the choice of our actions. (3) Domain of Meditation: In the Buddha’s days, some of the monks were given meditation subjects to hold on to throughout the day. However, when they are entering into any discourse with other people, the subject must be dropped temporarily. However, in our scheme of things, it is our intention to be mindful of every movement in our daily life. In this practice, we do not have to drop the subject matter. This method will be described in detail below.

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(4) The True State of Reality: In this comprehension, we have to bear in mind the delusional character of our minds. We are constantly deluded that desirable things are permanent or unchanging; we are deluded to think we can escape from suffering if we continue to chase after desirable things. We are also deluded by the seeming permanence of our body and mind, which we tenaciously hold onto as the "self". These 3 main delusions must be repeatedly broken by meditative wisdom. THE SIX CONTEMPLATIONS OF THE BODY Buddha suggested six ways of looking at the body. The last 3 categories will not be discussed in this paper. They are (iv) the body in decomposition, (v) analysis of the body in 32 parts, (vi) the four elements that make up the body—earth, heat, water and air. However the other 3 categories need some elaboration. These are (i) breathing, (ii) bodily postures, and (iii) every bodily action. (i) Breathing: We should simply be aware and mindful of our breathing as an arising and falling phenomenon from moment to moment. The breathing is not controlled and it should be allowed to be an automatic movement. We simply notice and register that there are pauses after each inhalation and exhalation. The arising and falling of the breath must be seen as a process of change and impermanence. This flow cannot be stopped; if it ceases we expire. This is the reality of life. (ii) Bodily Postures: We must be fully aware of our postures, as in sitting, standing, lying, and walking. The mindfulness must include details like, what is the texture of the carpet we are standing on? Is the floor we are sitting on hard or soft? What is the material we are lying on? All these details must be recognized at that moment in that particular posture. We must be mindfully aware of the surfaces and consistency of the chair, the bed or the ground that we are in contact with. We have to notice the postures we like best and the aches and pains that are attendant to each posture. Then we must also realize that the changing of the posture also relieves the pain. This is a relief of suffering. So we keep on changing our positions to cure the pain. So the reality to be gleaned here is that living incurs pain and constant change. The true self does not suffer, but body and mind do. This is the Anatta doctrine.

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(iii) Every Bodily Activity: This is the practice recommended here. From the time we wake up to the minute we fall asleep, we must be mindfully aware of every bodily activity from moment to moment. While the action is being enacted, there should not be any thoughts of other matters in our mind. There should be full concentration on what we are doing with an empty and silent mind. Of course, for a beginner one cannot perform this awareness for any length of time. For the first day, start with five minutes. Then one may increase the duration day after day until at least half an hour. Then one can further stretch it to an hour, and then to hours on end. When one wakes up in the morning, first notice the bed sheets covering the mattress. Also notice the blankets covering one self. Then register the desire to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Walk mindfully to the bathroom to relieve one self. Then with full awareness brush the teeth, wash the face and complete all the other chores like shaving or powdering the face etc Whatever has to be done it is done with full concentration and mindfulness. Then we have to change our clothes, put on our shoes, etc until we arrive at the breakfast table for our food. The process goes on until one cannot continue to be mindful anymore for that morning. There should not be any absentmindedness. The awareness is applied moment to moment. Walking Meditation Walking meditation is an essential component of all Buddhist, monastic practice. The principle here is the same as in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Moment to moment mindfulness in our walking without thoughts is the practice. Choose a straight path of ten to twenty spaces in either a secluded or unobstructed area, preferably amongst trees. Start at one end of the path. Stand straight with a relaxed body especially the neck. Both hands may be kept either in front or the back or at the sides: which is the most comfortable to the meditator. Stand still for half a minute. Then start walking. The pace is ever so slightly slower than one’s usual pace. Do not try to analyze or break the steps into separate movements like ‘lift, forward, and down’. Just walk normally. Do not walk in rhythm with your breath. This is a mistake. You cannot concentrate on two things at one time. Just mindfully walk and be aware of the sensations of the soles and feet. Do not walk too slowly, as this artificial pace brings out tension. Look ahead and straight, but do not look at anything in particular. Don’t look at your feet. Flowers, trees and people must be passed

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over with no interest spent on them. The mind must be empty and silent. Do not allow tension to arise in the body. Do not try to look good or appear graceful. Just be aware of the walking experience and the sensations arising thereof. Enjoy the feeling of walking. No problems and anxiety are allowed in one’s mind. Now having arrived at the other end of the path, stop and slowly turn around to face the other way. Again stop for half a minute, and continue your walking meditation as before. After some time, your walking meditation will develop into a nice swinging exercise to be relished. There is now no more strain or jerks. The pace can now be increased to your normal walking speed. Then a time will arrive when a ‘high’ can be achieved. There is this flowing to make one feel as if one is walking on air! At this point nothing distracts us. It is only the "walking". There is no ‘I’ or the ‘body’ walking. It is just "walking". Feelings and Sensations In Buddhism, there are six sense organs and not five. They are the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, and the brain. These organs see, hear, smell, taste, touch and conceive sense objects. When the eyes see an object, the eye consciousness must rise simultaneously for the contact to arouse a feeling or sensation. The sensation may be one of three varieties: pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent. EYE + EYE-CONSCIOUSNESS + OBJECT = SENSATION Sensation-----------> Pleasant--------------> Desire (reaction) ---------> Indifference---------> Dullness ---------> Unpleasant-----------> Aversion or Repulsion DESIRE leads to GRASPING or CRAVINGS REPULSION leads to ILL-WILL or HATRED INDIFFERENCE leads to IGNORANCE Similarly, other sensations are being elicited with noise, food, fragrances,

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surfaces and concepts. They can arise only if the person is conscious. If the person is in a coma, although his sense organs are intact, no sensation can be elicited. The most important point in this exercise is to be aware of the sensation as it arises. At that moment, we notice whether it is pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent not later or before the event. More often than not, we jump straight into the action of going towards or away from what we see or hear without being fully aware of the pleasant or unpleasant sensation. This type of action is without awareness and therefore unmindful. We must also use effort to register the neutral indifferent sensation; this is essential, otherwise we become dull. The object is there. It is neither attractive nor odious. Note it. We pause to be fully aware of the sensations and then purposefully act in a wholesome manner. This technique requires severe discipline because it is the action that seals our fate, as it is karma productive. If we simply realise our pleasant sensation and our tendency to be attracted by it and do not act, then no karma is produced. If we meet a person we do not like, we do not run away from him. We, instead, stay to converse with him with courtesy, love and compassion. This requires discipline and determination. A certain amount of forgiveness must accompany this act. Forgiveness is the erasure of bad karma. Therefore, this moment to moment awareness of our sensations is vital in our practice, but it is extremely difficult, as we have to interact spontaneously at that moment. However, if we have no other thoughts in our mind (preferably empty), then the action is simpler. The lesson to be gleaned here is that circumstances change very rapidly (anicca), and moments of emotional difficulty often crop up (dukkha). So if one is not identified with one’s body and mind (anatta), then the situation is not alarming at all. The action then becomes smooth and spontaneous as no ego is involved.

Mistakes in Vipassana
Although many teachers are very fond of teaching Vipassana, there are many errors committed by these teachers. The most common error is using Samatha objects for Vipassana. These are some of the examples: 1) Repeating mantras, visualisation, counting of breaths and chanting of sutras. These are all Samatha objects and not Vipassana. 2) Mentally focusing on the words and their meaning, like ‘rise and fall’

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rather than observing the actual abdominal movement. Instead of just feeling the sensations in the legs, do not focus on the words of ‘raising, forward and stepping down’. 3) One should not focus the mind on the walking movement and simultaneously try to co-ordinate the breath with each step. It is not possible to focus on two objects in the consciousness at the same time. When walking, simply observe and feel the walking movement only. 4) It is not correct to be vaguely aware of the abdominal movement or air striking the nostrils without focusing on the ‘rising and falling’ aspect of the movements. 5) It is not Vipassana practice when you are ‘thinking about’ the rise and fall of the abdominal movement, or ‘thinking about’ the air striking the nostrils, or ‘thinking about’ walking without actually focusing on the present movement. 6) Neither is it Vipassana, when one acknowledges the ‘rise and fall’ of an object after it has fallen away. Mindfulness has to know the present object ‘now’. 7) It is impossible to catch the mind moving, due to its rapid flux. Abhidharma says "There are 17 thought-moments in one second!’ It is somewhat easier to slow one’s thoughts in theta wave, and then merely watch the pictures at the third eye or listen to the mental chatter head on.

Conclusions
According to Buddha, practicing Vipassana on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is the only way to enlightenment. In the first two foundations one can practice in sitting meditation. In this instance the method is choiceless awareness: to observe, to watch and to control one’s thoughts and states of mind. The controlling is indirect in the sense that when you see your thoughts head on they diminish in number until your ‘thoughts come to an end’. This is the way of practice by Krishnamurti who surprisingly advocates no meditation. It is not known how one’s thoughts can come to an end without meditation. Then when one is practicing meditation in action, outside of formal sitting, the observing, watching and controlling must have another element of mastering. To master is to see that all thoughts, speech and action are wholesome. That means a certain amount of control and sieving is required in the planning for action. In the activities of the body, there is

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just the pure awareness of the movements with no thoughts in the mind. In perceiving the sensations resulting from the contact of the six sense organs, whether the feeling is pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent is noted right away, not one moment later. Of course, this act is very hard to follow. Of all the four foundations this act is the most difficult one. And that is why Buddha said: "this is the only way". One is able to realise that thoughts and emotions are not self with sitting meditation, when one arrived at Silence, Stillness and Emptiness of thoughts. One can intellectually know that the body is not self when one sees a corpse. But to fully realise that the body is not self, one must practice the four foundations diligently until the full impact of that wisdom suddenly appears. And it is only when the realisation of no self in the body coincides with that of the mind, can one claim to have entered the stream. This means in the Theravada lineage, one becomes a Stream Enterer. This is the first of four stages of Sainthood. At this point, one has the most 7 more lives to go, and every life is at least a human being (not in hell, not a hungry ghost and not an animal). This is the best breakthrough in the Theravada practice.

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Meditation in Emptiness.
" In true meditation there is no meditator or object of meditation. In true meditation there is no goal, not even for enlightenment. In true meditation, the silence, stillness and emptiness will lead to I-am-ness In true meditation the transcendence of I-am-ness will lead to beingness. Beingness is the impersonal witnessing of all events. In true meditation, beingness will finally be dissolved to Cosmic Consciousness." Dr. K.K.Tan

Introduction
There are many paths and meditation techniques pursued by millions of people. The most popular pursuit is to look for a guru who can perform some ‘miracles’. If he can materialize some ash or trinkets, if his teachings are irrelevant, it does not matter as most of the devotees would rather be entertained. If the guru is also healer, his teachings are taken as gospel, even though the teachings maybe that of self-aggrandizement. Devotional and social services with rituals are also easy to follow. These devotees behave like sheep. So to those who perform complicated rituals: the more complicated they are the more attractive they will be. What about the methods of meditation? They are usually of the concentration types, narrowing of the minds. These are useful for healing and for calming down the individual, but there is not much wisdom arising from these concentration techniques. The methods here are concentrating solely on one object, chanting, and reciting of mantras. They end up with the mind and the object becoming one and the practitioner does not go beyond the mind. Therefore these techniques do not lead to self-realization. They do not lead us to enlightenment. This essay is purely to discuss ways to realize one’s soul.

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The Aim
Let us remind ourselves that the soul is pure consciousness, which is part of Cosmic Consciousness. However it is covered by its 5 sheaths (see essay on the Anatomy of the Soul) and attached to the hitherto accumulated karma and samskaras. These dictate delusion and ignorance around the soul. In order to realize our soul we cannot travel towards it because it has always been with us. We cannot travel to a place when we are already there. We cannot work to perceive it because the ‘the eye cannot see the eye’. We just have to Be without trying. It is like ‘waiting without waiting’. We must stop identifying ourselves with the body and mind. That is why the true path always emphasizes that the body and mind are not Self.

Spiritual Disciplines
After prolonged Insight Meditation we would have arrived at emptiness of thoughts with silence and stillness. This interval between 2 thoughts may be extended to a prolonged visit to our primordial state of voidness, which is like viewing of our ‘original face before we are born.’ But this is not yet ‘home’. We have not fully realized the soul yet. It is only a preview. The letting go must be more profound and the surrender must be total. This is at a stage when the mind is suppressed. The function of the mind is to think, and at this stage thoughts are held at abeyance, but the soul is not realized yet. In order to realize the soul one must go beyond the mind towards I-am-ness and then to beingness. Beingness may be realized through correct meditation and Divine reasoning. In this practice one must give up completely any desire, craving or expectations. Just let it be. Flow with the Tao. The practice is to be in the ‘now’. One must be always in the present, moment to moment. Trying to be steadfast on this path of choiceless awareness one must also not have any negative reaction like anger, hatred, frustration and irritations. Pride and selfishness also are insidious poisons to be vehemently avoided. Then when we finally realise our pure consciousness by non-doing, we are able then to have an inkling of the timeless Cosmic Consciousness, its immensity and bliss. This nondual state is out of time and space. There is no good or bad, black or white or high and low. This pure consciousness of beingness and bliss (soul) appears only intermittently at the beginning, but it will become continuous as the letting go and surrender becomes total. This means that one must understand what constitutes the self. With this understanding, the self is shown to be nothing but memories. Memories are not real.

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Therefore, one must steadfastly remain in the present all the time. It is only in the present moment that the mind can come to an end. With this practice of merely seeing, hearing and tasting, there is no seer, hearer or taster. In this constant state of the now, the mind is silent. In this silence, one transcends the ego and the mind. The first state in this transcendence is I-am-ness. The next stage is beingness. This pure consciousness can now be continuously with us, except when we have to use thoughts for the execution of our mundane life. That means the body and mind become purely functional. There is no self performing or thinking. This is the time we can use the phrase ‘in the world and not of the world’. This state is still only self-realization and the Ultimate State of Consciousness is yet to be reached. That is another way of saying that realizing the atman one is only at the Brahman stage. The ultimate state is the Parabrahman (the Absolute) where one becomes part of the Cosmic Consciousness.

The Practice
Few spiritual practices can be said to conform to the above trying to break through from dualism to non-dualism. Shikantaza and Dzogchen are 2 such practices. However, these 2 practices will bring us only to self-realisation. No practice can bring anyone to the Absolute or Cosmic Consciousness. It is with Grace that one is allowed to return to the Absolute. That means one just has to wait at the Brahman stage without longing and restlessness. Then when we finally return to the Absolute we rest supreme. This is the eternal state beyond time and space. It is the primordial base of all existence. It is also the Unborn and the Uncreated. It is a continuous flow of Cosmic Consciousness that creates everything in the Universe. It is pure witnessing without a self.

Dzogchen
The principle of Dzogchen is the teaching of the nature of the mind, which is ‘voidness’. The method of the path is called self-liberation, because it is based on knowledge and understanding, and the practice is to experience the state beyond the reasoning mind. In Dzogchen, the inherent state of the individual is the primordial base of all existence, which is the original condition of all beings. And this is the true condition of the mind, which is beyond the limits of the intellect, time and space. It is voidness, which is absolutely empty of all things, absent of all substance and phenomena, and there is no self in this state. This is the nature

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of the mind. This mind is originally purified of all obstacles and negativities, and all attainments and qualities have been realized in its perfection from the very beginning. It has the potential to manifest all forms of energy. It is beyond time and dualism, pure and perfect. If one is ignorant of it, the obscuring veils around this consciousness must be removed. In Dzogchen not only is this primordial state of the Base void, but it also has 3 characteristics: Essence, Nature and Energy. The Essence is the void, and is the Base condition of all individuals whether they know it or not. It is pure from the beginning, and it is the basis of all manifestations of existence. The primordial state of Nature is clarity. Clarity is the very first phase of perception before mental judgment comes in. It is vivid and present before the mind comes into action. This initial state lasts only a fraction of a second and then memory and qualification enter to spoil the clarity of the state. The third aspect of the Base is Energy. All dimensions, pure or impure, material or subtle, are manifestations of one form or the other of Energy. It manifests without interruption. These 3 bodies of the Base, Essence, Nature, Energy correspond in the path to the 3 characteristics of the mind: the calm state, movement and presence. The calm state is that when no thoughts are present in the mind. This is the interval between two thoughts and the interval between two states and it is also present in deep sleep. Movement is the arising of thoughts without interruption. These two factors (calm state and movement) are there in all beings. Presence is the awareness of the calm state and movement without judgment. These are the 3 bodies of the path. In Dzogchen’s teaching of self-liberation, one of the methods used is the practitioner ‘meditates without meditating’. Tantra is used in transforming a passion e.g. anger into wisdom. Although at the beginning there is the dualism of anger and wisdom the experienced practitioner at his high level of practice does the following. He does not suppress or transform his anger. He merely observes it without judgment and without emotional overlay. In this fashion, the anger will dissolve by itself as if it has been left in its original condition to liberate itself. That means by utilizing Presence without mental judgment, the individual does not get worked up and no action is taken. That means the Dzogchen practitioner is never distracted maintaining the state of Presence in every moment.

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Shikantaza
Shikantaza is the final stage of the Soto Zen practice, and it has the same background of voidness as the natural condition beyond one’ s mind. The practice here is to go beyond one’ s mind. In the latest stages of Vipassana (insight meditation), there are no more thoughts and mental chatter associated with silence and stillness. Before one embarks on Shikantaza, it is prudent to practice Vipassana first. In Vipassana, one looks at one’s thoughts at the third eye area. The pictures are looked at calmly without emotional reaction and prejudice. There is no judgment, criticism or praise. There is merely a witnessing of the memories, planning and random thoughts. When they are fully looked at, they will eventually disappear on their own. With this impersonal looking coupled with an understanding of the situation, these thoughts will die off, never to recur again. This must be done with an emotionless viewing as if they belong to some one else. Mental chatter is also a thought. It is a mental movement associated with hearing. This mental commentary can be quite torrential and incessant. Again, if one merely listens without fear, judgment and emotion, the chatter will die off like a blowing away of a storm. Then stillness will emerge. It is not a forced silence as seen in concentration exercises. The emptiness is an opening for pure consciousness to seep through. In the beginning, this interval between two thoughts is very short-lived, but once experienced and maintained, it can be prolonged to a length of time. This is now the beginning of true and real meditation. If at the same time, the process of letting go or peeling of the onion is accelerated, one can begin to practice Shikantaza. In contrast to Vipassana, Shikantaza is not to abide on any object at all. Do not look at any picture that appears at the third eye. At the same time do not listen to any mental chatter. Just ignore all these pictures and mental commentary. In this Shikantaza practice, there is pure witnessing but there is no witness. This witnessing is ‘the one who knows’. The ‘one who knows’ is the Presence that merely watches events of the mind appearing and disappearing in the background of the white sheet. Presence is also there when one is in deep sleep. It is also there between 2 states. It is the background for everything that occurs in the mind. The white sheet is Presence and is also pure consciousness. Satori is the state of break through of pure consciousness into the mind. From thence onwards the unveiling of one’s pure consciousness progresses in stages until the final satori or full enlightenment. The Zen teaching is that even after full enlightenment, the practice continues until

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death! Being in Cosmic Consciousness daily is like being in Nirvana every day.

Descending down to the Heart Chakra
Some people after being successful in prolonged silence, stillness and emptiness of thoughts tend to bring the focus of attention down to the heart chakra. The attention from the third eye is brought down to the front of the heart. The focussing becomes diffuse. This diffusion is allowing ‘openness’ to settle on the meditator. This openness obliterates the tight focus and then it suffuses into total emptiness. At this stage even good karma and merit must be transcended, as they may become obstructive. In order to progress on the spiritual path, one must go beyond the silent and still mind to retrace back to I-am-ness and thence to beingness (soul). When one has a glimpse of enlightenment, it is called satori in Zen. A slight glimpse is called a mini-satori. As one progresses the glimpses become deeper and more profound, and theses are the mainline progressive satoris. The final stage of practice is Shikantaza proper.

The Non-technique of Shikantaza
In Soto Zen, enlightenment is simultaneous with the wondrous practice of zazen (meditation). The practice of zazen is never ending. Even when one has reached enlightenment, one continues with the practice of zazen as before. According to Dogen, zazen is not a mere means to an end. It is the end itself. This attitude is called wholehearted zazen or Shikantaza, which transcends the distinction between religious practice and enlightenment itself. When one is enlightened, everyday life becomes a religious exercise in expressing our gratitude to the Buddha. According to Dogen, the religious observances for each day express our gratitude toward the patriarch (Buddha). In living everyday the truth, we: "do with our heart what we must do today. Who can know the death of tomorrow?"

Shikantaza Zazen
In zazen, after positioning ourselves in the sitting position, the essence of zazen is "Think of non-thinking". How is this done? By thinking beyond thinking and non-thinking. This is the very basis of zazen. Zazen is not a step-by-step meditation. It is a practice beyond the subjective and the objective, beyond discriminating mind. There is no distinction

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between the clever and the stupid. To practice the proper way of zazen singleheartedly is itself enlightenment. There is no difference between the practice and enlightenment, or between zazen and daily life. Dogen said: Shikantaza is resting in a state of brightly alert attention that is free of thoughts, directed to no object, and attached to no particular content---- is the highest form of zazen, zazen as it were practised by all the Buddhas of the past. Although Shikantaza literally means merely sitting, it also mandates that there should not be any desire or profit and there should not be a goal of satori. The true sitting of Shikantaza is the transcending of the world and ego. Therefore the meditator must let go totally of the body, emotion and mind for it to be classified as Shikantaza. As in Vipassana the eradication of body, emotion and mind is the point of breakthrough. Then finally, one may with persistent perseverance arrive at Hishiryo, which is infinite Cosmic Consciousness. This may be achieved only when one is completely empty of memories and previous conditioning. Cosmic Consciousness is not about little worldly things, but it is totally beyond the mind. It is the Sunnata of the Mahayana--- total voidness with clarity. The Christian interpretation of the same experience by H.N. EnomiyaLassalle, is: "Satori or enlightenment is a transrational and immediate perception of self in connection with the nondifferentiated view of all created beings--- giving the impression of perfect unity, grasping the authentic self of one’s personality upon dissolution of the empirical ego, and coming into contact with the absolute insofar as it is the source of created being." It is an experience that allows for many variations in intensity and constitution, according to the disposition of the individual; but which is invariably accompanied with joy, peace, certainty, and liberation from fear and doubt. In Buddhist understanding, satori is a cosmic experience of universal unity opening the way to nothingness. Master Yasutani: Enlightenment means seeing through to your own essential nature and this at the same time means seeing through to the essential nature of the cosmos and of all things. For seeing through to essential nature is the wisdom of enlight-

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enment. One may call essential nature truth if one wants to. In Buddhism, from ancient times it has been called Suchness or Buddha-nature or the One Mind. In Zen it has also been called nothingness, the one hand or one’s original face. The designations may be different, but the content is absolutely the same. From the weak experience of the first satori one must continue with the practice and obtain numerous satoris until the ultimate one. From the experience of nothingness, one must continue and work hard to achieve the root of nothingness. This Ultimate State of Consciousness is the final enlightenment and the experience of Cosmic Consciousness--- Hishiryo. This is the true essential nature of the cosmos and all things. In summary, Zen enlightenment means while practising zazen the yogi must try to transcend body, emotion and mind. Shikantaza is the method of meditation and is the last stage of one’s practice. This method means not abiding or resting on any object. Every kind of thought must be allowed to go through one’s mind without working at it or even recognising them. Thoughts are normally of the world or of the self, including our desires, ill will and pride. So if these thoughts are not apprehended for analysis, then the yogi would have already achieved a great deal of letting go. Even if Cosmic Consciousness is achieved the experience is ineffable, that means it cannot be told or explained to some one else. That is why a master, a Roshi, must be there on the spot to recognize the satori. In conclusion, with a combination of these methods, one may hopefully realize oneself. Throughout the waking hours and outside of formal sitting meditation, one practices mindfulness with moment to moment awareness. This awareness must be choiceless. Then when a negative reaction like anger turns up, tantric Dzogchen is used to transform the negative emotion to wisdom. This method entails no action on the part of the practitioner. He merely observes the change of the negative emotion becoming a spent force. Presence is used for this exercise. This Presence is a mere observation of the anger without judgment or emotional overlay until the anger is spent. Then finally in formal meditation, Shikantaza is the method of practice. Shikantaza is practising to be a pure witness or mirror while meditating. The thoughts and mental chatter are not apprehended: they are allowed to pass through. There is absolutely no emo-

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tional reaction in this practice. After prolonged practice, it should bring one to no thoughts and then to the state of emptiness. When prolonged and sustained, this state of emptiness would be realized to be the True Self or the soul. This state of I-am-ness is further transcended to beingness. With Grace beingness is then finally dissolved into Cosmic Consciousness, the Ultimate State of Consciousness. It is now pure bliss, peace and non-dual. It is the Unborn, the Uncreated, and the eternal state of pure consciousness. All these words do not go near to describing the true state!

References:
1. Namkhai Norbu. Dzogchen, The Self-perfected State. Arkana. 1989. 2. Yuho Yokoi with Daizen Victoria. Zen Master Dogen.Weatherhill. 1976. 3. Taisen Deshimaru. Questions to a Zen Master. Rider. 1985. 4. Heinrich Dumoulin. Zen Enlightenment. Weatherhill. 1979.

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Kundalini and Qiqong Psychosis.
The seeker who dares to awaken the kundalini power without the grace and guidance of a guru might become insane, succumb to diseases, or even die. This is because he does not possess the necessary knowledge, steadiness of mind, or patience required for this difficult undertaking. Swami Kripalvananda

Introduction
I have been teaching Buddhist meditation for about 23 years. Being a doctor who is interested in psychiatry, I have always wondered whether prolonged and excessive meditation could produce mental imbalance. In these 23 years of running two courses per year, in every course the question of “zou hou ru mo”,????, inevitably turns up. It means “fire wild, devils enter”. In other words, “does one go mad with meditation?” In my 23 years of teaching, I have not encountered a single case of psychosis arising from my method of meditation practice amongst my students. However, about 20 years ago a monk came to me complaining to me about a student in a meditation retreat he just organized. This is a ten-day retreat conducted by a few Burmese monks. The retreat consists of sitting and walking meditation for about 16 hours per day. After 3-4 days, a 25 year-old student started to pick up his food from the air. Not being in direct contact with the student, I am unable to determine whether the student had a meditation psychosis or was he a schizophrenic to begin with and the retreat brought on the symptoms. This is not an uncommon outcome if the organization does not screen the students for mental disorders. About ten years ago, a middle-aged man stood up at question time and proudly announced that he has just completed a ten-day retreat with a group of monks. With great pride, he told the crowd of five hundred people that he had resigned from his job after the retreat. Then I asked how was he going to feed his family. Happily he retorted that because of this

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inability to feed them, his wife had divorced him and took his children away from him. From the way he spoke, I gathered that he was not in touch with reality, and he seemed quite pleased with himself. Retreats are intensive and with lay people the practice is excessive. About eight years ago a man of 39 years old approached me for healing. He attended a course of kundalini meditation in Vancouver. The teacher was a Hong Kong Chinese who obviously knew very little of kundalini. This man found that his kundalini was stuck at the chest, the 4th chakra. I was able to bring the blockage down only to his 2nd chakra and no lower but he felt better. He then went to England to take up law studies. He is a very intelligent man, but the studies in UK were too stressful and this brought on his 4th chakra blockage again. He came to me a year ago with much worse symptoms of shaking all over the body and convulsing while I heal him. He has now suffered for 15 years after being taught to raise his kundalini wrongly. Another middle-aged woman came to me with a stuck kundalini at the chest. Another teacher, who knew very little about kundalini, also wrongly taught her. Again I tried to bring down the blockage. But I was only partially successful. This lady also took the trouble of attending my course in meditation. She left me feeling better, but not totally cured. However she has now maintained a steady meditation practice and is leading a comfortable life. There have also been many lay people who had the inclination to go to the jungle monasteries in Thailand to practice for a period of two weeks to a few months. Normally it is for a few months. In this context they practice as monks or nuns, keeping to the rules of the Theravada Buddhism. This includes not eating after midday and keeping to the 5 or 10 precepts. These novices are often ardent and they tend to overdo their meditation practice. Consequently, some of them suffer from visual and auditory hallucinations with intense fear. Shaking, convulsion and feinting do also occur. All these side effects of excessive and ill-guided meditations will disappear when they stop meditating, especially when they return to their homeland. Now with the knowledge of all these cases and my commitment to teach-

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ing meditation, it behooves me to do some research on kundalini and qigong psychosis.

Kundalini
Kundalini is interpreted as a three and half times coiled serpent sleeping at the base of the spine. It signifies creative potential energy, which when awakened will move up along the spine upbraiding and purifying the 6 chakras on the way up to the crown chakra. It is the working of the energy of the glandular system combined with the nervous system to awake the brain towards total clarity. Some people interpret the culmination of this yoga of awareness as enlightenment. This kundalini needs the concentrated life force or prana to activate it. Prana is equivalent to Qi or Holy Spirit. Prana is the universal life force. In order to awaken the serpent, prolonged internal meditation is required to release the vast mass of energy stored up in it. Other methods will be mentioned later. The aroused kundalini will then travel up the sushumna as well as the smaller channels, ida and pingala (see Fig. below). No matter how the kundalini is aroused, either a lot or a little, it can bring out abnormal reactions in the body and mind. In order for the full awakening to be achieved the aspirant must be guided by an accomplished teacher, who himself has succeeded in total awakening. On the way up, the purification of the chakras can cause much bizarre physical symptoms, some of which are distressing to the yogi. During this sojourn all the nadis (subtle nerves) around and along the chakras and nervous plexuses are opened up. In order to understand kundalini more clearly, we must go into the concept of kundalini yoga and bring in the terms Shiva and Shakti.

Shiva and Shakti
The word kundala means coiled. The root shak means to have power. Kundalini then signifies a serpent with coiled-up power resting at the base of the spine. Tantric yoga posits that the entire universe is a manifestation of pure consciousness. This pure consciousness divides into two poles, neither of which can exist without the other. One aspect is shiva, identified as unmanifest consciousness, which is masculine and static. It is a state of formless being-consciousness-bliss (sat-chit-ananda). It is aloof and not interested in the affairs of the world. It cannot ‘become’ or change. One can reach this shiva consciousness only through deep medi

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tation. Out of this void everything in the world may arise. The other polarity is shakti, which is dynamic, creative and energetic. This mother of the universe gives birth to all things in the universe---matter, life and mind. These two polarities are united, but in the manifest universe maya causes an illusion of separation. Shakti is a projection of shiva, but maya veils the latter. This illusion is a process of involution, consciousness folding over itself. After many eons, the shakti will draw up all forms, when the universe is dissolved. This is evolution, when consciousness is no more interested with its manifestations. Energy always exists in two forms as 1) dynamic and 2) potential power at rest. In the universe manifestation a small part of shakti is involved in its manifestation, but the greater part remains dormant. The dynamic part is shakti in specific differentiated form, whilst the primal power remains as the coiled-up kundalini at the base of the spine. Shiva resides at the crown chakra. Ordinarily, only small amounts of the shakti energy is used for the normal functioning of the

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chakras and nadis for daily purposes. This latent power of the shakti can be conceived as the unlimited power of the unconscious. This latent force can be transformed to be an active one through appropriate means. Many methods have been described. This transformation is called the awakening of the kundalini. The coiled serpent of shakti has to be awakened and carefully guided up the nadis of ida and pingala but mainly along the central shusumna. The snake then has to climb up to the crown chakra by going through the ascending six chakras (see Fig): (1) Muladhara at the coccyx, (2) Svadhisthana at the sacral plexus, (3) Manipura at the solar plexus, (4) Anahata at the cardiac plexus, (5) Vishuddha at the thoraxic plexus and (6) Ajna at the pituitary. The 7th is the crown chakra, which corresponds to the pineal gland. The awakening and the purification process of churning through the chakras are always attended with varying degrees of physical and psychological signs and symptoms. The peak experience, bliss and widening of consciousness may accompany the physical symptoms of heat, vibrations and even convulsions. All these are due to the release of powerful energy from the shakti kundalini. Union with God in Western Mysticism is equivalent to this tantric yoga (yoking union) of uniting of the kundalini shakti with shiva (pure consciousness). With this union the aspirant becomes fully conscious and awakened. Sir John Woodroffe says: When Kundalini Shakti sleeps in the Muladhara, man is awake to the world; when she awakes to unite, and does unite, with the supreme static Consciousness, which is Shiva, then consciousness is asleep to the world and is one with the Light of all things. When the serpent is asleep, the man is awake to the world. When the awakened shakti has united with shiva, man is asleep to the world, but fully awake to the transcendent realm where no objects or forms are visualized. The universe is dissolved in the yogi, whilst he is in this pure consciousness of no form, no thought and no emotion. The body has still enough energy to function and to carry on with the ordinary duties of man, but his mind is with the Gods. Not all yogins can arrive at this final goal. Partial awakening is much more common, and partial awakening normally will generate lots of symptoms.

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How to awaken the Kundalini
The Preparation The preliminary preparation of withdrawal of worldly pursuits and purification of self are necessary because the flood of shakti energy may disturb, confuse and disorient the student. This preparation also includes physical and mental celibacy. The Hindus and the Taoists share this same view that the vital force of the semen must be retain and sent upwards towards the crown. The physical union between the male and female is forsaken and instead the internal union of the male (shiva) and female (shakti) takes place. Otherwise the outburst of energy can be of danger to the student. This sudden and massive release of awareness and energy can unbalance the student psychologically. Methodology of awakening the kundalini Although tantric yoga taught by an awakened teacher is the most potent and trust-worthy method, many other spiritual practices (sadhanas) may also partially awaken the serpent. The usual practices in India are firstly to withdraw from the external world and to purify oneself with pure thoughts, diet and proper exercises. Then he may indulge in one of the five forms of yogas: (1) hatha, (2) bhakti, (3) karma, (4) nana and (5) raja. Kundalini may be partially awakened even if all these methods are improperly or incompletely done and also because of past life practices. To an uninitiated student, the symptoms may frighten him. His practice will come to an abrupt stop, but with an experienced teacher or guru, the latter will guide him along gradually. The student must not force the issue or over do the practice. Tantra Yoga This yoga is par excellence in raising the kundalini. It centers on worshiping the Shakti, the mother of the universe. Tantric yoga does not mean sexual relationships only. In some forms of tantra a male-female relationship may be involved, but the genuine participants take it up to the realm of energy and consciousness and do not remain in the physical realm. They are now embodiments of shiva and shakti and are not physical bodies. In a purer form of tantra, Shakti is worshiped through meditation and mantra so that he is in direct relationship with the shiva and shakti within himself, and he unites them within himself. The practice is of course much more elaborate than what is described here and is totally guided by the guru.

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Under the guidance of a guru Without proper guidance by a guru, the partial awakening is not repeatable at will, although blissful experience of ecstasy and illumination may be encountered. However with the tutelage of an experienced guru, kundalini yoga may be guided to initiate the arising of the serpent. The supervision must be close and gradual. The mind must be purified first. What is a pure mind? A pure mind has no personal desires nor has it an inkling of revenge. It does not take advantage of the weakness or need of another person. A pure mind does not exploit the emotional dependence of another person. A pure mind does not result from simply being a vegetarian. When the student is ready, he is given a ‘seed’ mantra to concentrate on. This initiation is practiced conjointly with spiritual and physical exercises together with mental disciplines to prepare the student. Then more difficult forms of meditation are taught in order for the student to be sensitive to the force within, and be ready to channel up the force when it arises. All this falls within a systematic scheme of things. Shaktipat Diksha Then in further progression a higher initiation called shaktipat diksha is given. This involves the guru to transmit energy directly to the initiate to remove the final obstacles so that the serpent can be awakened for its upward journey. This can be done through a touch, a glance or a thought. Thence the guru’s power can be transmitted to the student immediately. Temporarily, the student may be transported to a higher divine consciousness, which may last for an hour or a few days. After this the serpent returns to its abode at the base of the spine. He is now transformed because he has experienced directly the awakened state, although he did not achieve it through his own effort. Some of his creativity has been kindled, and spiritually, morally and intellectually he has been elevated. However, now he has to practice himself and intensify his efforts for many more years so that the serpent may repeated be awakened and guided correctly up the spine. Special cases of kundalini arousal: Swami Muktananda (died in 1983) described the usual heaviness of the head, sensations of heat and pain at the base of his spine. He had invol-

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untary movements due to energy flows through the body and unusual breathing patterns. There were inner lights and sounds, visions and voices. Then the most unusual experience is this repeated sexual excitement that he described with great agony: “Every day brought new kriyas and new experiences. One day, my body and senses became possessed by sexual desire….I was meditating in my hut at Suki, and in meditation I was seeing the red light. I was happy. Then, in the middle of my meditation, came a kriya that was utterly humiliating…All the love and intoxication I had felt in meditation left me… Instead, in their place came a powerful sexual desire… I could think of nothing but sex! My whole body boiled with lust, and I cannot describe the agony in my sexual organ. Whether my eyes are open or shut, a beautiful woman would appear to entice me. The naked woman pursued me, finally standing in front of me. She began to torture me excruciatingly with only one apparent objective: she wanted no other sacrifice save my sacred vow of celibacy.” He traveled to Ghrishneshvara to a sadhana hut in Nagad. In this hut while doing his sadhana, he was asked to read a book in the cupboard. This book explained that this sexual desire is due to the piercing of the 2nd (Svadhisthana) chakra. This process is the turning of the flow of the seminal fluid upwards towards shiva. The naked, beautiful damsel was actually the Goddess Kundalini! After reading the book his progress was without obstacle. Gopi Krishna (1903-1984) Gopi Krishna was born in Kashmir and later lived in Punjab. He was an Indian householder, who after 17 years of unsupervised meditation, at 34 years old experienced the awakening of kundalini during his morning meditation. He was doing fine in an exercise of concentration on a lotus. In his own words: “I suddenly felt a strange sensation below the base of the spine, at the place touching the seat, while I sat cross-legged on a folded blanket spread on the floor. The sensation was so extraordinary and so pleasing that my attention was forcibly drawn towards it. The moment my attention was thus unexpectedly withdrawn from the point on which it was focused, the sensation ceased. Thinking that it was a trick played by my imagination, I fixed my attention on the lotus at the top of head, again the sensation occurred. This time the sensation went upwards and was so intense and extraordinary… My mind went towards it, and at that very moment it again disappeared.” The sensation came and went, until with a

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‘roar like a waterfall’, he became ‘all consciousness’ and ‘immersed in a sea of light.’ “ The days that followed had all the appearance of a prolonged nightmare…. The keen desire to meditate, which had always been present during the preceding days, disappeared suddenly and was replaced by a feeling of horror of the supernatural…. I could not bear to have a light in my room after I retired to bed. The moment my head touched the pillow a large tongue of flame sped across the spine into the interior of my head. It appeared as if a stream of living light continuously rushing through the spinal cord into the cranium gathered speed and volume during the hours of darkness. Whenever I closed my eyes I found myself looking into a weird circle of light, in which luminous currents swirled and eddied, moving rapidly side to side.” “The heat grew every moment, causing such unbearable pain that I writhed and twisted from side to side while streams of cold perspiration poured down my face and limbs. But still the heat increased and soon it seemed as if innumerable red-hot pins were coursing through my body, scorching and blistering the organs and tissues like flying sparks. Suffering the most excruciating torture, I clenched my hands and bit my lips to stop myself from leaping out of bed and crying at the top of my voice. Flesh and blood could not stand such strain. There was dreadful disturbance in all the organs, each so alarming and painful that I wonder how I managed to retain my self-possession under the onslaught. The whole delicate system was burning, withering away completely under the fiery blast racing through its interior. He could not eat. Neither could he sleep. He felt like dying. The heat was awful, scorching his throat, which was parched. When he got out of bed, he was unsteady on his feet, trembling. He was also on the verge of madness and self-violence. Then a miracle of thought came into his mind: “….burning in every fiber, lashed as it were by a fiery rain of red-hot needles piercing my skin. At this moment a fearful idea struck me. Could it be that I had aroused Kundalini through pingala or the solar nerve, which regulates the flow of heat in the body and is located on the right side of sushumna? If so, I was doomed. I thought desperately and as if by divine dispensation the idea flashed across my brain to make a last-minute attempt to arouse ida, or the lunar nerve on the left side, to activity, thus neutralizing the dreadful burning effect of the devouring fire within. With

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my mind reeling and senses deadened with pain, but with all the willpower left at my command, I brought my attention to bear on the left side of the seat of Kundalini, and tried to force an imaginary cold current upward through the middle of the spinal cord. In that extraordinarily extended, agonized, and exhausted state of consciousness, I distinctly felt the location of the nerve and strained hard mentally to divert its flow into the central channel. Then, as if waiting for the destined moment, a miracle happened. There was a sound like a nerve thread snapping and instantaneously a silvery streak passed zigzag through the spinal cord, exactly like the sinuous movement of a white serpent in rapid flight, pouring an effulgent, cascading shower of brilliant vital energy into my brain, filling my head with a blissful lustre in place of the flame that had been tormenting me for the last three hours. Completely taken by surprise at this sudden transformation of the fiery current, darting across the entire network of my nerves only a moment before, and overjoyed at the cessation of pain, I remained absolutely quiet and motionless for some time, tasting the bliss of relief with a mind flooded with emotion, unable to believe I was really free of the horror. Tortured and exhausted to the point of collapse by the agony I had suffered during the terrible interval, I immediately fell asleep, bathed in the light and for the first time after weeks of anguish felt the sweet embrace of restful sleep.” Lee Sannella classify all the above signs and symptoms of kundalini arousal into four categories: 1. Motor ---- any manifestation that can be independently observed and measured. a) Automatic Body Movements and Postures. These kriyas are spontaneous, although the devotee may inhibit them. They can affect any part of the body. The movements may be smooth, sinuous, spasmodic and jerky, or vibratory. They range from muscle twitching to prolonged trembling to the automatic assumption of otherwise difficult and maybe even impossible yogic postures (asanas, mudras, etc). The person may not know these practices beforehand, and if one is not conversant with them, dating these practices maybe impossible. These may include spontaneous crying,

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laughing, screaming, and whistling. b) Unusual Breathing Patterns. The yogin aspires to control the flow of prana in order to harmonize his bodily energies and increase his vitality. This is to prepare for the awakening of the kundalini. Pranayama comes from ‘prana’ meaning life force and ‘ayama’ meaning “extension, lengthening”. This word then means “breath control”, which also means controlling the life force. Therein lies the danger. Therefore rapid breathing, shallow breathing, deep breathing, or extended breath retention may come about in the manifestation of kundalini awakening. If these phenomena are spontaneous they may cause a great deal of anxiety. The masters warn against using pranayama to accelerate the kundalini’s ascent. c) Paralysis. Sometimes during deep meditation, one is locked in certain postures. As these partial paralyses are worrying, one can explain away these changes by emotional support and rational explanation to the devotee. The paralysis maybe a secondary manifestation of a primary underlying organic weakness stimulated by the arising of kundalini energy. 2. Sensory Phenomena a) Tickling Sensations. There is tickling, itching or vibrations of the skin or underlying tissues. They may extend as a deep ecstatic tickle and orgasmic feelings. These feelings emanate as a ‘bullock cart’ wheel: starting from the feet, up the legs, pelvis and moving up the back to the neck and the crown of the head and then down the forehead, the face, the throat, and the abdomen, where they terminate. b) Heat and Cold Sensations. Temperature changes quite often occur to either part or whole of the body. They may also move through the body but mostly without any pattern. c) Inner Lights and Visions. A variety of light experiences do occur amongst the yogins. The light may be white, red or blue. There maybe white and black spots in them. They can cover the whole body or localize to certain parts or organs of the body. Rarely, the whole room is illuminated, and if other people see this, this is the surest sign of the realization of the cosmic realm. Further concrete proof is the visible aura or halo of the enlightened person seen by other people.

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d) Inner Sounds. A variety of sounds or noises such as whistling, hissing, chirping, and roaring may be heard. These are very common. They vary according to the type of meditation practice. The typical transcendental sound is that mystical one called “OM”. e) Pain. Pain may be felt in the head, the eyes, spine and other parts of the body. They may appear abruptly and disappear just as fast. It may last for seconds or hours. The explanation is that the yogin may be subconsciously resisting the arising of the kundalini or the kundalini energy is purifying the chakras as it ascends the spine. Some tension headaches are said to be due to partial awakening of the kundalini. 3. Interpretive Phenomena a) Unusual or extreme Emotion. In the awakening, feelings of ecstasy, bliss, peace, love, devotion, joy, and cosmic harmony may occur. On the opposite side, intense fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and even hatred may also be felt. The first set of positive feelings tends to be present more in the later stages of the awakening. b) Distortions of Thought Processes. Thinking may be speeded up, slowed down, or altogether stopped. Thoughts may seem off balance, strange, or irrational. The person may feel that he is going mad. He may go into trance states, or he may become impulsive, alienated or confused. In deep meditation (as in vipassana), the myriad of thoughts in their subtlety and complexity tend to bewilder the meditator to a great extend. This is the stirring up of the unconscious, some of which is very unpleasant to the yogin. These fantasies can knock the unstable yogin off balance. c) Detachment. The individual feels that he is an independent observer of his own thoughts, feelings and sensations. He has become a ‘seer’, but not aloof. His normal daily function is unimpaired. d) Dissociation. When there is deep psychological disturbances, fear, confusion, or social and other environmental pressures present, the above detached seeing may lead to hysteria, akin to a schizophrenia state. Or he may become egotistical as he has been chosen ‘for a great a mission’.

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e) Single Seeing. The eyes of the yogin do not distinguish the object from its background. Both are seen as one. Turning the eyes inwardly, both inner and outer landscapes are seen at the same time. Many direct and indirect references have been made to single seeing or the ‘one eye’ to depict an advancement of spirituality. In Luke 11:34; “the light of the body is the eye; therefore when thine eye is single thy whole body is also full of light”. f) “Great Body” Experience. Sometimes in deep meditation or in the ascent of the kundalini, the body feels much larger than normal. There is an exaggerated sensation of the ballooning out of the physical body, which also seems heavy, like lead. 4. Nonphysical Phenomena a) Out-of-body Experiences. This phenomenon is rare amongst meditators. However they do occur. b) Psychic Perceptions. Clairvoyance, telepathy and predictions do occur with individuals who have succeeded in awakening the kundalini. Again, these paranormal experiences are sporadic and are not constant. Most of these abilities do not arise on demand. All the above signs and symptoms may arise after awakening the kundalini. But they may also come about in people who meditate constantly and regularly, without the arousal of the kundalini.

Kundalini versus Psychosis
From the above signs and symptoms, one must differentiate psychosis from arising of the kundalini. This is not easy, especially if the therapist or psychiatrist has not heard of kundalini. The awakened person can diagnose partial awakening in another subject. The psychiatrist can diagnose schizophrenia easily, but give him a case of kundalini arousal, he may fumble and label the yogin with partial awakening as pure psychotic. However, there are certain signs and symptoms which occur are more in one and not the other: Sensations of heat are much more common in kundalini states but are rare in normal psychosis.

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Vibrations or fluttering, tingling, and itching that move in definite patterns all over the body. These patterns may be irregular if the arousal is atypical. Bright lights are seen internally in kundalini arousal. Pain, especially in the head may come suddenly and it may also disappear as suddenly. It comes during a critical period of the arousal. Unusual breathing patterns are common in kundalini. Mudras such as automatic movements, gestures as in prayers and even dancing are almost exclusively due to kundalini arousal. In kundalini cases noises such as whistling and chirping are heard, but not negative intrusion of voices. In psychosis, voices give negative instructions to the patients to do harm to self or others. In guided and systematic kundalini arousal, the symptoms will disappear spontaneously over time. This is because it is a process of purification, and the process must be self-limiting. It is also therapeutic as they remove pathological elements in the body. The kundalini energy is always positive and creative if it takes its own gradual course and not forced. At the end of the kundalini process, the individual is usually at peace, and he is now able to handle much greater stress than before. The best course to take is to find a guru who himself has successfully awakened his kundalini and let him guide you to fruition. Without proper preparation, the individual is bound to deem himself psychotic when mental and emotional symptoms arise. There may well be many a patient in mental homes who are not psychotic, but merely has accidentally awakened his kundalini partially. The institutionalization of the man alone may drive him crazy! Therefore in assessing a patient, the psychiatrist (and not merely a GP), must be very cognizant of the kundalini process. With the above distinctions enumerated and his ability to ‘smell’ out a schizophrenic he may then come to a correct diagnosis. Without this knowledge all GP’s and most psychiatrists will diagnose them as psychotic. If the patient is sent to an awakened master, the guru will be more likely to tell the difference.

Must spiritual life begin only through the kundalini?
Gopi Krishna and some schools of thought avow that spiritual life and

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therefore enlightenment is dependent entirely on the awakening of the kundalini. This cannot be the case because there are many traditions (Buddhists, Taoists, Sufis and Christians) and other Hindus whose members attained enlightenment without the arousing of the kundalini. The adept, Da Love-Ananda (Da Free John), put forward the same idea as the Vedantists and Mahayana Buddhists that authentic spirituality is the transcendence of the ego, the body-mind and all experiential states. Enlightenment means there is no separation from Transcendental Reality (The Absolute). He said: You have been contracted upon yourself with emotional force, and no amount of thinking, considering, experiencing, desiring, exploiting, and manipulating yourself in the world can affect that contraction. No awakening of the kundalini touches it. It has nothing to do with the kundalini. You can have kundalini experiences until you are yawning with boredom, yet you will not have touched this emotional recoil at all. Seeing that it is the ego that prevents enlightenment, spiritual practice consists of consistently going beyond the wall of the ego, and reaching out and embracing all life beyond fearlessly, with an open heart. In an unpublished talk dated July 8. 1978, Da Love-Ananda remarked: The lust for the kundalini in the brain is exactly the same as the lust for the kundalini in the sex center. It is using that mechanism in a different direction. But neither direction is towards God…Attachment to the brain through inversion of attention in the kundalini, or the Life-current, is traditionally promoted as the way to God. This is an error that has crept into the spiritual traditions. The way to God is not via the kundalini. The awakening of the kundalini and becoming absorbed in the brain core is not God-realization. It has nothing to do with God-realization. It is simply a way of tuning into an extraordinary evolutionary mechanism. The way to God-realization is the one by which that mechanism is understood and transcended completely. Da Love-Ananda has had many experiences of completely raising the kundalini himself. He advocates the ‘Way of the Heart’ as the means to enlightenment. It begins and continues as taking responsibility of one’s own emotions: one’s lovelessness, distrust, moods, sense of conflict and

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fear. One then has to transcend the negative and the positive emotions and all psychic and paranormal experiences. The fire is in the heart and not in the perineum or in the brain!

The Dangers of Arousing of the Kundalini
Swami Kripalvananda in his Science of Meditation followed the advice quoted in the preface with two more paragraphs: Many seekers are found wandering here and there in search of a guru who will awaken their kundalini…. Although thousands may claim that they know kundalini and that their kundalini is awakened, it is doubtful if even one of them really had such knowledge or experience. To awaken the kundalini power is one thing, but to make it move upward into the passage of the sushumna is something else. In the beginning, as the kundalini is awakened, the seeker feels a lot of enthusiasm. But as he advances in (meditation), he begins to encounter various menaces of kundalini. Only one with great courage can cope with these menaces; it is simply not possible for all to do so. Sri Chinmoy reckons that there are two ways of arousing the kundalini: (1) the tantric process and (2) the vedantic process. He warns that the tantric approach is systematic and elaborate but quite dangerous. The vedantic method is simple, mystical but safe and no less fulfilling. The tantric method is dangerous because it deals with the lower vital and emotional life. It is also dynamic and courageous, but one has to be strong internally to conquer the vital forces of the kundalini energy. The vedantic method is safe because he purifies himself and expands his consciousness first before he deals with the obscure, impure lower forces of the kundalini. Further awakening of the kundalini does not mean God-realization. God-realization is much more superior, and at that moment all one’s chakras are automatically opened. According to Alice Bailey one needs to have ordered meditation of no more than 40 minutes per day. One’s development must take years with service. A normal and quiet life is imperative. Purification of mind and body and suppression of volatile emotions must accompany all this. One must not indulge in meditating for hours or arousing of any particular

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chakra. There should not be any fanatical dieting or curtailing of sleep. Together with these last two habits an intense interest in psychic power will inevitably end in ‘psychosis’. Pranayama or other breathing exercises should not be undertaken without expert guidance.

Qigong
Qi is life energy. It is the animating power or prana that enervate all things. A living person has this life force: a healthy person has more qi than an ill person. A dead person has no more qi left and thus there is no more warmth. To be healthy, the qi must be clear and unpolluted. It should not be turbid and it must be flowing smoothly and not blocked. Gong means work. Qigong means working with this life force, and learning to control and distribute the qi to improve the health of mind and body. Qigong is a whole system of exercise and meditation. The exercise includes postures, movements, massage and breathing techniques. Qi is accumulated and stored in the body. In disease, the polluted qi is cleansed into pure healing qi. Impure qi is eliminated by proper breathing techniques. Qigong is a practice because it is a daily exercise of 20 to 40 minutes. It is an enjoyable exercise. It requires only some time and hardly any money. There are techniques for every body of any age and physical condition. No equipment or large space is necessary. It can be practiced with standing, sitting or supine methods. With slight modification the handicapped can also practice some of the techniques.

Categories of qigong
It is generally divided into active (dong gong) and passive (jing gong): (1) Dynamic (active) qigong means movement of postures as in a dance or if a posture is fixed movements of the arms. Dong gong is yang and active concealing the passive ying. Movement is the external appearance, but internally the mind is quiet and tranquil. (2) Passive (tranquil) qigong is meditation with the body being still. Qi is controlled by concentration, visualization and breathing techniques. Jing gong is passive yin externally, but internally the mind is alert and

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actively yang. With the body still the breath moves the qi. Although dynamic dong gong is movement and passive jing gong is meditation, there is no rigid line drawn between the two. To balance yin and yang, in movement there must be stillness in the mind. In restful meditation, the mind must be aware with attention. In its application, qigong can also be divided into: a) External Healing Qi. This is similar to cosmic healing.

b) Meditative or Spiritual Qigong (Jing Gong). This is meditation (jing gong) which is practiced as a complement to the active dong gong (yang), the commoner or popular qigong. There is a tendency to subdivide it as Buddhist and Taoist, but whatever classifications the essence is to attain ‘a sound mind in a sound body’. c) Healing qigong is the major movement nowadays. Complemented with meditation, the active part includes stretching, deep breathing, low impact conditioning, and isometrics. This practice increases stamina and improves coordination. So basically one learns qigong in order to establish medical and health benefits. The remaining types of qigong should not interest us. The most popular type of easy daily exercise nowadays is Taiji Quan. A smaller number of people would go to a teacher for proper and graduated training for physical and mental health and this is now generally called qigong.

Dangers of qigong
Although most qigong techniques are innocuous especially when guided by an expert teacher, dangers may be encountered if one is too impatient or eager and does not follow the teacher’s guidance.

Qigong Psychosis
Kenneth S Cohen coined the terms qigong psychosis and qigong psychotic reaction in late 1970s. These are direct translation of the Chinese expression zou huo ru mo, ????, “fire wild, devils enter”. In 1994, the “Glossary of Culture-Bound Syndromes” of the diagnostic manual of

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the American Psychiatric Association states: Qigong psychotic reaction: A term describing an acute, time-limited episode characterized by dissociative, paranoid, or other psychotic or non-psychotic symptoms that may occur after participation in the Chinese folk health-enhancing practice of qigong. Especially vulnerable are individuals who become overly involved in the practice. More is not always better. The lesson here is that the individual should not overwhelmingly go overboard to practice qigong, both active exercises and passive meditation. Kenneth Cohen cites two cases of a Taiji Quan teacher and a Buddhist master. Both were teachers of qigong, but both were out of touch with reality. The Taiji Quan teacher, after ten years of practice, is hallucinating about his ‘third aura’, which is non-existent in any spiritual practice. He was told to stop teaching and to do 20 minutes of standing meditation every morning. After one year his delusion disappeared. The Buddhist master after spending 25 years of qigong is out of touch with reality. He was constantly talking to God by invoking deities, but he could not carry on a normal conversation with his friends. In 25 years of teaching qigong, Kenneth Cohen had met 5 or 6 qigong teachers and at least 50 qigong students who developed similar problems after excessive practice of going too fast ignoring proper instructions. Dr. Zhang Tongling, professor of psychiatry at the Beijing Medical University, runs a clinic for the obsessive qigong practitioners. In a series of 145 patients she found that hallucinations emanating from excessive practice of qigong without guidance is common. The advice given here is: proceed gradually step by step. Do not overload your qi circuits by trying to do too much too soon. Do not neglect the joys of life. Relax and not to be obsessed with qi all the time. Bruce Kumar Frantzis was fully trained in mainland China by one of this century’s greatest Taoist masters. He has written a book called ‘Opening The Energy Gates Of Your Body’. In the Appendix C of this book he described a few cases that went wrong: Case 1: Too much Qi is painful. This case concerns a man who was taught the basic ‘Hsing I Nei Gung’ practice of sinking the qi to the lower tantien (hara) in Amoy. After two

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years of practice the student became very powerful. When his teacher left for another city, this man began learning secret techniques from other teachers. He practiced these new techniques diligently. The combination of the new with the old ended in forcing the qi below the tantien into his genitals. He literally broke the barrier between the lower tantien and the genitals, emptying the tantien of qi. This resulted in mental and physical problems including involuntary semen emissions and hallucinations. His masters took three years to bring him back to normal. Case 2: Vibrating Qi In many qigong practices, there is a desire to deliberately trying to vibrate qi in the body, bones, tissues, brain etc. The breathing becomes rapid. The untoward aspects of this practice are that power usurps compassion. Symptoms of hallucinations and megalomania may also induce a mental illness. The shaking, the shutting and opening continue even after the practice is stopped, and this can damage the internal organs. This is like the partial awakening of the kundalini. Cancer patients when they practice this method tend to worsen their disease, because the primary cancer will send secondaries elsewhere. Fukien White Crane Psychosis will result when the enhanced qi goes up to the brain. This is quite common in the ‘Fukien White Crane’ type of practice. The madness starts with arrogance and breaking of bones due to the power. Some of the other symptoms are (1) Hallucinations with out-of-body experiences, (2) Things are moving much faster then they actually are, (3) Stiffening of the internal and external body, (4) Thirst for power, (5) Feeling constantly active and restless and unable to calm down. 6) Experiencing involuntary movements and body spasms. The remedy is to drain and re-pattern the vibrational qi. A personal case of qigong psychosis This is a good friend of mine. He was 64 years of age and retired from his profession. He started to practice qigong under a teacher. Everything was fine for a year. Then he started to feel strong and powerful. He used to tell me that he was so healthy and strong that he carried his own golf clubs and did not require a buggy to ferry him about. Then a few months later, he told me that he was radiant and light, and that he can put his arms

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up towards a tree and receives white light and energy from the tree. This sounded a little odd to me then, but there were no other symptoms. Suddenly one evening his son rang me up to say that his father was psychotic. He was meditating almost the whole night and then suddenly he began to shout vehemently. He was paranoid and insisted that there were evil spirits in the house. Then he began to cut round holes out of the carpet where he was meditating. Then he also put his hands around the wife’s neck trying to shake off or blow off the evil spirit in her. When I spoke to him on the phone, he seemed to confide knowingly that there are spirits around his house and he did not want to elaborate as he might anger them. I told the son to stop him from practicing qigong straightaway and to ask the psychiatrist to prescribe a certain drug. He slowly improves from then onwards. In this case he practiced only for 18 months. However, in the last few weeks he overdid it and even tried to meditate the whole night.

Conclusion
From the descriptions of the above two methods of spiritual paths, one can discern that psychosis may develop if the student over meditates, say several hours at one stretch. If the meditation is too intensive and the focus is on one or two chakras, then ill effects may arise. It is not so much the active part (dong gong) of the practice, but the meditative exercise that can go awry. In jing gong it is also the partial awakening of the kundalini that is to blame. In tantra yoga, it is not the physical exercise of hatha yoga that causes trouble. It is the meditative portion of the tantric practice that can go very wrong, especially when too much and too intensive energy is expended in the meditation. Generally, any form of meditation can give rise to psychosis. It need not be kundalini or qigong. A friend of mine had a skin disease twenty years ago. He was doing Buddhist meditation (samatha) in a stupa, in which urns of ashes of deceased people were kept. He thought he could self-cure himself if he meditated as long as he could in the stupa. He probably went into parajhana, where his Buddha-mind or consciousness vacated his body. He was in an ‘empty’ state. After two months of meditating in the stupa, he became totally unhinged. Apparently three different types of entities took over his personality: he spoke in three different languages through out the day. He remained possessed in this fashion for many years. Many lay people in the Far East would like to go to Thai monasteries and be monks for

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a month or so. There are no radio, television or books to read in these monasteries. They meditate about 8-10 hours a day and stop eating after midday. This monastery practice can drive quite a few crazy, especially if they are not guided. Most of them are not properly guided. So the answer is not to meditate unguided for long periods of time.

References
1) Kenneth S. Cohen. The ways of Qigong. A Ballantine Book. 1997. 2) B.K. Frantzis. Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body. North Atlantic Books. 1993. 3) Krishna, Gopi Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy in Man. Shambala. Boston and London 1997. 4) Krishna, Gopi. The Awakening of Kundalini. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1975 5) Edited by John White. Kundalini, Evolution and Enlightenment. Paragon House. St. Paul, Minnesota. 1990. 6) Lee Sannella, M.D. The Kundalini Experience. Integral Publishing 1992. 7) Arundale, G.S. Kundalini: An occult Experience. Wheaton, Ill, Theosophical Publishing House, 1970. 8) Chinmoy, Sri. Kundalini: The Mother Power. New York: Chinmoy Lighthouse Publishing, 1974. 9) Kripalvananda, Swami. Science of Meditation. Gujarat, India: Sri Dahyabha Hirabhai Patel, 1977. Available through the Kripalu Yoga Ashram, Sunnytown, Pa.18084. 10) Woodroffe, Sir John. The Serpent Power. Madras, India: Ganesh & Co., 1974

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Death and the Spirit World
Dying Unto Death.
"On the day when death will knock at thy door What wilt thou offer him? I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life. I will never let him go with empty hands" Rabindranath Tagore

“……so few know the art of dying. For dying, like living, is an art and if only most of us mastered the art of dying as much as we seek to master the art of living, there be many more happy deaths. The fact of the matter, however, is that the art of living is not different from the art of dying; in fact, the one flows into the other, and cannot be separated one from the other. He who has mastered the art of living has already mastered the art of dying; to such, death holds no terrors”. M. V. Kamath - Philosophy of Death and Dying

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Introduction
The Western world, the developing and developed world are all death denying. We do not talk or discuss death. The subject of death is taboo. Even in death we dress up the corpses as if they are healthy and alive. We lie to the children that grandma has gone for a long holiday. In the developed world with modern medicine we make belief that death can be conquered. The richer we are the more we believe that that conquest appears more probable. Most of the time we hear or read about death of other people with whom we have no close relationship or we do not know them at all. Most of us have not really sat down to contemplate or pontificate our own death. Even if we consider the impending death of the one dearest to us, it is not quite the same. To face and confront our own death is a very healthy exercise, but few of us exercise it. From the second we are born, we are inexorably marching towards our death. Death is with us like a shadow. We cannot shed it off. If we can live life with the comfortable accompaniment of death, then we can begin to live. After all we are the ones that fix our own date of death in our G-plan in the spirit world. No amount of superstition or avoidance can alter that date. Unless one has just embarked on a momentous project, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of people that date remains fixed. All the religious steps to prevent death or meritorious acts will not stop the onset of death. Even modern science will fail. Ecclesiates said, " To every thing there is a season . . a time to be born and a time to die. . ."

Reasons for fearing death
Death is a biological process, a function of the body, whilst dying is a psychological process, a function of the mind. Only humans fear to die. Animals do not. Of course animals will struggle to avoid the ultimate deathblow, but they do not plan to thwart the advent of death. There are reasons for this. Animals do not possess an ego and they live only in the present. They do not foresee the future as humans do. In old age, animals naturally retire to die somewhere secluded. Ernest Becker in the ‘Denial of Death’ says the fear of death is ‘the basic fear that influences all others, a fear from which no one is immune. . .’ Humans fear it so much that they become too afraid to live. Everything they do is to avoid death. In their ignorance they use all means to escape death. Humans try to instill

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immortality by accumulating money, build tall buildings in their own names and acquire or create works of art to deny death. With wealth they hope that medical science could put off death indefinitely. How deluded we are! Death must follow life as night must follow day. Up to date nobody has escape death: not even Jesus, Buddha or Mohamed. As humans can anticipate the future, they tend to project the most undesirable aspects of death in their mind. In the Western world, in reinforcing of the ego one identifies with the body and mind. So the demise of the body is equivalent to total extinction. In the Eastern tradition especially with meditation practise the ego is being reduced with each meditation practise. There is also less fear of death because of the belief in reincarnation.

Should the physician inform the patient the truth of his diagnosis?
The physician should never lie to the patient. The physician should inform the patient the seriousness of his disease and that the patient will be given the best treatment available. Prognosis as to how long the patient will live should never be given to the patient or close relatives. Nobody can ever foretell the outcome of a terminal illness. Nobody is ever sure of the degree of malignancy, the resistance of the patient and when will there be the discovery of new drugs. Always demonstrate an optimistic demeanour and a positive outlook. Be sincere and be involved. Be sympathetic and compassionate. The Five Stages of Coping Mechanism in the Terminal Ill The five stages are: Denial (shock) Anger (emotion) Bargaining Depression Acceptance (increased self-reliance) The above are the 5 stages classified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross after she

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has interviewed over 200 terminal ill patients. The interviews were made after they have been told about their disease. She is a psychiatrist who has pioneered the reactions to death and dying and put the plight of terminal ill patients on the medical agenda. Without her work we would not be in the present state of knowledge on this subject of death and dying. The patients have either been explicitly told or they will inevitably find out about their condition. Not all will go through the entire 5 stages sequentially. Not all the 5 stages will be gone through in the grief process. Some will be stuck at one stage and remain until death. Some will remain at one stage, but will move to resolution after some time. Some will skip a stage. If the medical or family supporters are not conducive, there may be regression back from an advanced stage to an earlier one. The close relatives or love ones will also undergo these 5 stages together with the patient during the illness or experience them after the demise of the patient.

First Stage of Denial and Isolation
The shock of the news of the terminal illness will drive the patient into loneliness and guilt. The shock will result in internal conflict and meaninglessness. Usually denial is a temporary defence and then they move on to the next stage. Out of the 200 cases of Dr. Ross, only 3 held on to their denial till the end. Most patients need to use denial at the beginning of the disease. As time goes on, the patient starts to look at the brighter side of things and may even daydream about much happier occasions. Much later the patient may start to use isolation as a compensatory defence. He may use contradictory statements as health and illness to express his ambivalence of facing despair and hope at the same time. Soon the patient may drop the ‘No, not me’ syndrome and become more realistic and begin to accept the inevitable outcome of the disease. The supporting medical and social staff should themselves acknowledge the outcome of the disease and the stages that the patient is undergoing.

The Second Stage of Anger
Having gone through all the years of study at the university and slogging away at a Ph.D., a man has finally begun to enjoy the benefits and profits of his self-own company. Being a CEO of the company has rewarded him with full control of everything. His family of 3 children has also turned

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out beautifully. And now suddenly, the diagnosis of a terminal cancer has been handed down to him. "Why me?" is the natural exclamation. "Why not that bum of a beggar at the corner of the street? He has been embarrassing everybody in the street and is of no use to humankind." These are expostulations that are quite natural for someone who has been stricken down at one fell swoop at the height of his career. This is definitely unfair. If there is a God, he must be a blind one! The denial of the 1st stage is now being replaced by the 2nd stage of anger and rage when one has realised that the diagnosis is accurate. The important thing is that the medical and nursing staff should not take these outbursts personally. It is just a reaction of a desperate victim. He should be helped with understanding and compassion. The best way is to sit down calmly and listen to the patient and let him spell it all out. Interject very occasionally with some wise and rational explanation. Be sympathetic and do not lose one’s cool on the patient. If you listen carefully, you may detect the reason for the patient’s anger from his childhood days. An angry person will end up as an angry patient in the 2nd stage. He will end up as an angry spirit when he dies!

The Third Stage of Bargaining
Gradually the patient will realise that if the terminal illness is true, it is quite useless in trying to deny it, and getting angry does not help the situation. Perhaps trying another tack like bargaining may help. Like a child, can he postpone the inevitable if he behaves himself ? Can he have some pain-free days if he promises to dedicate the remainder of his life to the service of God? Can God wait until his son is married if he goes to church every week from now onwards? All these bargaining pleas are either made in secret or privately with the chaplain or priest. If he donates all his organs for transplantation can the physician help in prolonging his life? When the priest or physician comes to know about these bargaining pleas, there is mostly some underlying guilt for neglecting the church or not donating money to charities. This stage is usually short-lived and does not last long. However these promises are usually not kept. After promising that this is the last time, another bargaining plea will arise if another occasion warrants it. The Fourth Stage of Depression After repeated surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the patient now

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realises that he is weaker and can function less ably. Two types of depression will set in. The first is a reactionary one. This type embraces cases that deem themselves as incapable of functioning as a female or a male. It includes those who have lost their jobs and are unable to support the family. Or the mother is now not able to look after the children and has to depend on the neighbours. These reactionary cases may be remedied by prosthesis of the breast or suitable makeup. Social workers can come in to help with the loss of jobs and earnings. Something can always come to alleviate the hardship or loss of self-image. However the second type of depression is the preparatory stage for the final outcome. This is quite a different kettle of fish. Not only is he losing a job, he is losing everything that he has: all relationships and all things material. Where will he end up? Is he ending up in hell? Or will he be annihilated into nothingness? His whole life is going to end up as a total meaningless journey: he is not needed and unloved. All these are preparing him for the final exit from this world. This type of depression cannot be erased by the usual encouragement to cheerfulness. This depression is a silent one and the patient wants time and space to plan out his demise. It is better not to be garrulous, but a holding of a hand or a stroking of the hair or sitting quietly with the patient is a correct approach. He might ask for a prayer or to read some passages from a favourite poem of his. Of course if he were to bring out all his ‘failures’ of his past life, listen to him. If she cries with sadness, give her a long hug, which will be the most therapeutic gesture you can offer. Once the patient is prepared to say farewell to all his friends and relatives, this preparatory stage should be communicated to the medical and nursing staff and the close relatives and friends. They must be told how to behave and react to the patient’s sadness. They must be told that this stage is necessary for the patient to move on to the next stage of acceptance and peace.

The Fifth Stage of Acceptance
The patient always needs time to arrive at this last stage of acceptance. With the help of an understanding medical profession, he is now not angry anymore. Neither is he depressed. He is now tired and weak and keeps on dozing off to sleep, the reverse situation of a new-born baby. He has come to accept the ending of his journey. There is peace, but it is not a happy one. There is now just numbness with very little feeling left.

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There is no pain and the struggle is over. This is the rest before the final flight to another realm. The relatives must now be made to realise the patient’s position. He has now not much interest in anything. He does not want too many visitors, and only a few may be allowed to stay, but on the condition that there is no chattering. He is not interested in newspapers or the television. He may just want to hold your hand in silence. The moments of wakefulness are getting less and less. A welcome visitor is most wanted at the end of the day, when the hustle and bustle of the hospital are all over. The patient can also demonstrate to the loving visitor that dying is not so frightening after all. Of course, an occasional case may try to ‘fight to the end’, but these cases may not arrive at this stage of acceptance easily. Do not mistake this last stage of acceptance as giving up too early. Allow the patient to die peacefully without frustrations. Do not fuss. Do not ask the physician to try harder.

Hope
There is always a strand of hope that underpins the 5 stages. There is hope that a new drug would be found for the particular illness. Or the doctor has discovered that another operation will do just the trick. A miracle might come about with the visit of a well-known healer. A miracle may come about by spontaneous remission. No matter how dire the circumstances are, a glimmer of hope is always in the background. Without hope there is no will to live. This hope is not overtly expressed, but secretly nurtured in most cases.

By-products of Dying
The two phenomena that occur in the dying are: Accurate prediction of one’s own date of death Deathbed Visions. Death Predictions In the first instance, the patient normally has no clairvoyant or predictive powers. However some of them will very accurately predict the exact date and time of his own demise. He would then make all the necessary arrangements (legal and domestic) before the oncoming date of death. These predictions are very rarely wrong. These are not to be confused with the predictions of highly developed adepts, who may predict their dates of death years ahead. I knew a Tibetan lama who was looking after

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a temple in Singapore. He predicted that he would die in 3 years’ time, and that he would die in India. His prediction came true to the month! He died in India in December. Deathbed Visions These are of two varieties. The dying would see deceased close relatives or friends or spiritual guides, who have come to escort them to the other world. Most of the time only the patient can see them. However, sometimes the visitors of the patients can also see these deceased individuals. A child is more likely to see these invisible guides. Sometimes, these invisible guides may come to the house months before the date of death. They are unobtrusive and do not excite any fear. Quite often the dying patient recognises the spirit and would converse with it, occasionally in the vernacular of the spirit. These visits from the guides are always welcomed by the patient and also by the attending close relatives. The dying person feels very at home with the visitor. The relatives are happy to have another deceased relative to accompany the patient over to the other side. This fact reassures them. Sometimes the spirit is a well-known religious figure, like Jesus, Virgin Mary or Buddha. These cases are most likely hallucinatory in nature, and they appear usually to very religious patients. The second variety is composed of scenes of the other world. The patient would stare and wonder at the beautiful landscapes or other celestial scenes, occasionally accompanied by heavenly music. In these instances, only the patient can see them. The joy and happiness can be seen in the patients’ faces when they are viewing these landscapes. These are similar scenes described by those who underwent a near-death-experience. The patient in both the above phenomena would have no more fear or depression after experiencing them. They now have accepted their situations and are looking forward to the impending journey. However, they may still be prevented to embark on their last passage by a close relative (wife, son or mother), who continues to cling to the patient unwilling to let the patient go. The attending physician or nurse then should explain to these close relatives and exhort them to let go of the dying patient. When the close and loving relative complies, the patient will then joyfully leave

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his or her body to sojourn to a happier realm.

Death of my brother in 1941
I would like to relate the death of my brother 60 years ago. He and I had typhoid before the 2nd world war in 1941. In the last hour of his life, he shouted 3 predictions, which all came true. The predictions were repeated several times. They were: The Japanese would come shortly to bomb Singapore. Nobody ever thought that this was a possibility. I have to be very careful, because my life would be in grave danger. This turn out to be true, as I was delirious for 6 weeks with the same disease, during which I experienced many near-death experiences. My 3rd sister, who was only 17 years old, would get married soon. This is most unusual as all my brothers and sisters automatically went through tertiary education. However, all the above predictions came true. My brother was only 13 years old. His deathbed vision: in the last minute before his death he saw a figure (his guide) at the top of the mosquito net who had come to take him away. He surmounted incredible strength and lunged onto that guide, breaking loose from 4 people restraining him. He died with froth in his mouth.

The Death Process
In order to understand and complete the entire process of dying unto death, we have now to discuss what happens when the spirit leaves the body. As we know from my essay on G-plan, our date of death is fixed by us before we are born (there are rare circumstances when death maybe postponed). So when our cosmic clock intimates to the person that his time is almost up, his heart seed atom will release atomic particles of impending death into the bloodstream. These atoms will stimulate the glands to manufacture a death hormone, which is carried by the blood to all over the body. This death hormone will loosen the electromagnetic hold of the physical atoms upon the atoms of the higher bodies, e.g. subtle bodies or auras. This is the beginning of the soul release. While the physical atoms are losing their grip, the spiritual body is strengthening and

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the liberation of the soul is being initiated. With old people an illness will appear (part of G-plan) and this is the beginning of the end of the body. Near this end stage, the patient should be allowed to return home to die, and drugs that blur the consciousness should be disallowed. Analgesics that reduce pain are permitted, but the patient must be kept aware as much as possible. When the patient is dying at home, he is being lovingly cared for and this alone will make him more relax. As death approaches, the patient experiences less pain because the death hormone blocks the sensation of pain via the sympathetic nervous system.

The Science of Death
The elderly person with a terminal illness knows that his time is up. With the circulation of the death hormone and the escaping of the soul electricity, the threads of the silver cord begin to loosen. The soul is now more attracted to the spiritual body and it begins its journey towards the brain. The crown chakra (through which the spirit enters the foetus) now begins to open up for the reverse process of death. This is in preparation for the release of the spirit-soul in due course. The patient’s life force starts to retreat towards the brain from the feet. As the life force leaves the feet they turn cold and pale. The hands and arms are similarly affected with the nails turning purple. The breathing is now laboured and the eyes are dimmed with a far-away look. The pineal gland is becoming extremely active. As the crown chakra expands in its opening, the porous brain is going to allow the soul to pass upwards through silver cord. The kundalini wakens for the upward journey, and the three permanent seed atoms prepare for their departure. The emotional seed atom sits in the 3rd chakra and is responsible for all the emotions of the patient. The mental seed atom sits at the 6th chakra and is responsible for all the activities of the mind. These 2 seed atoms are influenced by free will. The heart seed atom sits at the heart chakra and contains the akashic records, the samskaras, karma and the G-plan. Ramana Maharshi said that this Heart, which is the Self, is situated in the right chest next to the lower sternum. This heart seed atom and its contents are fixed and are not controlled or influenced by free will. It is the destiny of the individual. As the kundalini moves upwards, the emotional seed atom in the solar plexus departs first after the life force in its up wards movement reaches

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the solar plexus. After the emotional seed atom leaves through the silver cord, pain is no more felt. Since the mental and heart seed atoms are still in the physical body, the patient may lie in a death coma for some time, but normally it is only for a few moments. As the kundalini and the life force move further upwards, the patient becomes more psychic and his consciousness and awareness are both expanding. When the kundalini hits the pituitary-pineal centre at the crown chakra, the third eye is opened and the Clear Light of the Void appears. At this juncture many dying patients become very psychic. They are able to: Wake up briefly to say goodbye to the loved ones. Witness deathbed visions: people and landscapes. They maybe engulfed in spiritual white light and immersed in ecstatic bliss.

Have deathbed predictions.
Even before the emotional seed atom is transferred upwards, an etheric form emanates from the crown chakra. Pain ceases to hurt the patient after the emotional seed atom moves into the etheric (spiritual) form. At this point clairvoyants can see a cloud of smoke arising through the opening of the crown chakra and this smoke configures into a form very similar to the physical body lying on the bed. It takes the form of waves of varying colours rippling upwards to take shape as a human form. After the death hormone has saturated the pineal gland, the mental seed atom will travel through the silver cord through the crown chakra to the brain area of the spiritual (etheric) body. The silver cord is attached to the third eye of the patient at one end and joined to the back of the lower neck or between the shoulder blades of the etheric form at the other end. After the exit of the mental seed atom, the patient will go into a coma. The physical form is undergoing clinical death, but the spiritual awareness is much sharper. This death process will last from six minutes to half an hour. At this point, the patient is clinically dead, but the heart seed atom has not yet vacated the physical body yet. The silver cord is still intact. Normally the heart seed atom follows shortly after the departure of the mental seed

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atom. Before the heart seed atom departs from the body a luminous glow can be seen by clairvoyants over the heart chakra. Now that all the three seed atoms have escaped into the etheric form, the spiritual body begins to take the exact replica of the physical body. The facial features are now minutely sculptured onto the etheric form. The face is the same as that of the corpse, but the lines of worry and tension have disappeared, and the etheric form looks younger and serene. Half an hour after clinical death, another white light will appear to the deceased spirit sometimes after a buzzing journey through a dark tunnel, sometimes after climbing a flight of stairs. Mostly the heart seed atom would have left the physical body, but very occasionally it is still stuck in the physical body. This is because in some individuals it takes a longer time to form an etheric form. It is at this time that the physical organs begin to deteriorate and decay. The death of the organs takes between one to fifteen hours. The silver cord now begins to shred. Once the silver cord is totally severed, no healer in the world can revive the patient. This is the sign of final death. That is why we advocate at least three days before burial, because the heart seed atom is not released until the etheric form is more or less perfect. Then comes the breakdown of the silver cord. All these may take 2 to 3 days to complete. The etheric form will be built according to your lowest desires of the deceased. If there is a lot of hatred or evil, the etheric form will assume these features. Smoking, drinking and drug habits will be imbued into the vibrations of the etheric form. The same goes with carnal desires. This explains why spirits of drug addicts and alcoholics tend to remain earthbound in dens of drug addicts and pubs. Earthbound spirits cannot progress spiritually and this thwarts their development.

Deaths of accidents and violence
The procedure as described above for an elderly person with a terminal disease is the same as in cases of violence and accidents. Just remember that the body must be kept in a quiet and cool place after the violent or accidental death before embalming or burial. This is because it may take three days for the departure of the heart seed atom and the severing of the silver cord in some individuals.

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Death of a mystic or adept
In this instance the adept will depart immediately when he dies. All the 3 seed atoms will depart at the same time and the silver cord is shredded straightaway. The adept’s spirit will merge into the Clear Light of the Void immediately after the death of the body.

Death of suicides
A suicide death is viewed with a very different complexion today compared to 20-30 years ago. Today, there is more understanding and tolerance. It has not the stigma of yesteryear when it was viewed with shock, shame and horror. This is especially so with the young and healthy bodies. Suicides of the old and sickly can be more understood and therefore less condemned. Most onlookers do not understand the melancholia and suffering of a manic-depressive. It that state of deep depression, it takes very little to tip the patient into suicide. At this point, a psychiatrist is the best person to prevent the suicide by giving the right drugs. If a psychiatrist has been consulted, he is totally responsible for the suicide. Michael Newton in the section on suicide in his book, Destiny of Souls, classified those who say that they do not belong on earth into 3 categories: 1. Young, highly sensitive souls who are first time incarnating on earth, find it difficult adjusting to their human bodies. They find the earth cruel. 2. Young and older souls who have come from another planet less harsh than ours find that they are overwhelmed by primitive emotions on earth. They feel that they are in alien bodies. 3. These souls have always incarnated on earth since their creation but are not merging well with their current body. These souls accepted a sacred contract with a physical body-mind complex that is radically different from their immortal soul. Michael Newton’s cases are only a proportion of all suicides. A suicide, who shortened his life span say by ten years, will spend the equivalent time earthbound. During this period he is able to watch the pain and suffering of those relatives that he left behind. He is behoved to help and service

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these friends and relatives from the other side of the veil. When the time of penance is over he will then be able move up to his earned pigeonhole in the astral world. His chief guide would then reprimand him for repeating this suicide act and ask him what he wants to do now. He can return to earth in a short while (maybe as short as five years) or mark time in his pigeonhole. Some volunteer to be sent to a beautiful but extremely lonely place with water, trees and mountains with no souls are present. There will only be an occasional visit by his guides to assist him in his reflections and self-evaluation. They are not sent to bleak and horrible places of purgatory. In fact, the spirit friends, relatives and guides are all very sympathetic to the recently bereaved suicide, who is being looked after with tender care. This is because all of them including the suicide know that the next incarnation for him is going to be rough; the conditions and circumstances are going to be worst than in the life just completed. In every case the intending suicide had a choice to take his own life. A high percentage of suicides are repeats: they had done it before. They are so used to take the easy way out that they have this tendency to opt out when things go bad. It is selfish, because relatives that are left behind suffer the shame and agony of losing a loved one.

The Soul Weighs One Ounce
In 1907, a Harvard psychologist, Dr. William McDougall found that dying body lost about an ounce at the moment of death. Recently, an English doctor and separately a West German doctor confirm this same observation. This ounce is more than the air that is in the lungs. So their conclusions are that this is what the soul weighs. This soul-spirit has been photographed by a Frenchman who took several photographs of his dying son and later of his dying wife. Both sets of pictures show a misty cloud hovering above the bodies around the time of death. This cloud represents the spiritual body that clairvoyants see during the time of death. Other researchers have worked out that the soul of a person is about one thousandth of that person’s weight. For example a person weighing 154 pounds has a soul which weighs 2.5 ounces.

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How to reduce the fear of dying
After discoursing above on coping with the emotions of dying and the process of death, we must now discuss the steps to reduce the fear of dying. Firstly we must find out why we fear dying. This topic is explored in John White in his book on ‘A Practical Guide to Death and Dying’. He enumerated five principal aspects to the fear of dying: 1. Fear of pain -----i.e., torture to the physical body. 2. Fear of loss--- i.e., both separation from loved ones and companions, and loss of one’s faculties. 3. Fear of meaninglessness-----i.e., not being needed and loved any more, and therefore having been a failure. 4. Fear of the unknown-------i.e., journeying into the unfamiliar, often with a sense of foreboding about eternal damnation and punishment for sinful behaviour. 5. Fear of non-being----i.e. self-annihilation or the total disappearance of one’s identity. Armed with the knowledge that only the body dies and not the soul, one can then reduce the fear of pain. Firstly, analgesics are now easily and abundantly available and therefore physical pain can almost be totally eradicated. This fact alone should allay fear of future torture to the body. Believe that there is no such thing as hell or eternal damnation. With proper knowledge of the journeys of the souls there should not be any fear of self-annihilation. The above mental preparations should also increase the threshold of pain, especially if one can learn to self-hypnotise oneself. In other words, there may be pain, but there should not be any mental suffering. In the Eastern spiritual practices the yogi who is proficient in meditation will be able to die a good death, as he is merely discarding the physical body, which has outlived its usefulness. Saying goodbye to the body is a practice that an adept looks forward to, and literature abounds of anecdotes of these cases. There is no pain or anxiety or fear. There is only peace, tranquillity and joyful expectations! The adept’s disciples are asked to rejoice at the event of his passing.

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Forums on Subjects of Death
In the background, one must breakdown the taboo on the subject of death. This subject must be openly discussed in schools, universities and public forums. All superstitions and religious opinions should not be allowed to enter the discussions. One must bring out only scientific facts. For instance we know for a fact that the following prove the survival of the personality or the soul: 1. Mediumship 2. Apparitions of the dead 3. Out-of-body experiences 4. Reincarnation memories 5. Spirit photographs and spirit voices 6. Possession cases 7. Deathbed visions 8. Near-death experiences Even if you do not believe in every one of the above, at least one or two of the above should bring one to a strong belief of the survival the soul. We exist beyond death. Death is merely a transformation of consciousness, from one in the flesh to one in spirit. Immortality of the soul is confirmed in those who had experienced near-death-experience and out-ofbody experience. When one has seen a ghost, this fact should also reinforce our belief in the immortality of the soul. Mystics who have realised the Self will tell you that there is really no death. The transition from personal consciousness to cosmic consciousness is similar to going to sleep at night. It is our habitual waking up in each morning that assures us that sleep is harmless, although in deep sleep our soul visits the astral world nightly. So death is not really as fearful as we have been indoctrinated. It is merely a long sleep.

So what are the steps to take to reduce the fear of dying?
Admit your fear of death. Do not repress it. Do not exaggerate it to the extent of fearing to live and thus becoming a hypochondriac. Discuss it openly and hear other peoples’ views. Do not pretend to be fearless. Laughing at death. Jokes and laughter at death will help, but it must not be done at the expense of someone who is dying. Or the jokes must not

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be told in front of a relative of a terminal ill patient. Exercises in detachment of the body. Having been told that death itself is not painful but the fear of death is agonising, one must try not to identify with the body. Various methods of detachment to the body have been tried for thousands of years in India. These include sleeping on nails, meditating alongside corpses. Visiting charnel grounds where dead bodies are seen decomposing: nowadays can only be witnessed in India. Another method is to lie down and prepare to die, come what come may. With eyes shut one is prepared to lie still until death, as one is convinced that the body is not Self. One’s soul will outlive the body. During this exercise imagine oneself decomposing and truly dying. The mind should remain calm and serene. This exercise is repeated over and over again until one has no fear of death. Few people may also want to go through the exercise of pretending it is their last hour. Then write down in detail the death process, followed by the funeral with music. Imagine yourself in a coffin and the burial ground in which the coffin is placed. Go through your last will in detail. Write out your own death certificate. Write out your own obituary. Visit a funeral parlour and see the procedure of cremation at first hand. In other words, familiarise yourself with all the details of dying. Meditation. Meditate that the body can be broken down to 32 parts. Also meditate that the body is composed of earth, water, air and fire. Everything material is renewable: there is a beginning and an end to everything compounded.

Death is the last Stage of Growth
According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Laurie and Joseph Braga, death is the final stage of growth. Death is only the end of the physical body, but our spirit still lives on. It is trying to conform to the external definitions of who we are that spells our spiritual death. Each of us is unique, but we try to fit into stereotypes, culturally defined for us. That is the rub.

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Death is the key to the door of life. When we fully realise that our life span is limited, we are able to reject all the extrinsic roles and expectations put upon us by society. It is due to the denial of death that makes people lead purposeless lives. Thinking that we do not die is the reason we postpone all the essential things that make us grow. Live as if you have only today to live, and do not fret about tomorrow or regret about yesterday. In order to grow in these last months or years, commit yourself to serve and help other people to grow. Serve to eliminate the suffering of others and help others to recover from their depression, but always towards growth. Only when we understand that death is the touchstone to human evolution that we have the courage to act out our destiny. One must give up everything to gain everything. Give up all that is not you. Erase that self-doubt in order to love and trust your self, and you will become your true Self. In this way you become peaceful and you truly love and be loved. Do not look for approval from outside. You will know yourself. Practise life with compassion, love and wisdom for the sake of others. Seeing that death means only the destruction of the body and not your Self, it can be viewed as raising the curtain separating the physical from the spiritual world. In these last days, we would know the purpose of life only too vividly. Our purpose is to grow with wisdom and love and to service others. In this goal, we use action and communication. Silence is not enough.

References:
1. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. On Death and Dying. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1970. 2. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. Questions and Answers on Death and Dying. Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. 1974. 3. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. Death is Vital Importance. Station Hill Press. 1995. 4. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. Death The final Stage of Growth. A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster Inc. 1975. 5. John White. A Practical Guide to Death and Dying. The Theosophical Publishing House. 1980.

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6. Earlyne Chaney. The Mystery of Death and Dying. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1988. 7. Carla Wills-Brandon, Ph.D. One Last Hug Before I Go. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. 8. Michael Newton, PH.D. Destiny of Souls. Llewellyn Publications 2001. Ernest Becker, The Denial Of Death. The Free Press. 1973.

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Spirits, Ghosts and Guides.
Form is Emptiness, and Emptiness is Form. This famous Buddhist saying means many things. However I would like to interpret it this way: when any material form is reduced to its atomic proportions and then is further reduced to sub-atomic particles and so on, it will finally be transformed into energy. This energy is not visible to the naked eye, and hence it literally has become empty to us. Conversely, the space between the forms is not really empty. The forms that we see and feel are only 10% of 'things' that we can perceive. The other 90% are not discernible to our naked eye. The purpose of this article is therefore to acquaint you with the forms in this emptiness. There is copious evidence collected to prove life after death. These are: (1) Communication through mediums (2) Apparitions of the dead (3) Out-of-Body experiences (4) Near-Death-Experiences (5) Reincarnation memories (6) Spirit photographs and spirit voice recordings (7) Possession cases (8) Deathbed observations Many volumes of books have been written on them; and therefore there is no necessity to elaborate on them here.

The Dying Process
Just before death, the etheric body begins to loosen itself from the physical body. This process starts from the legs upward. Then the person experiences intermittent loss of consciousness until the loss is permanent. At this point of death, whatever pain or agony the person is suffering ceases, and a total sense of peace and tranquillity descends on to the person. He or she registers this transition with a calm and peaceful look on the face instead of the agonising grimace just before death. The body is now limp and flaccid. As these physical changes are occurring, the etheric body slowly disentangles itself from the physical body. The point of entrance through the Gates of Death coincides with the severance of the

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silver cord, which joins the physical forehead to the back of the head of the etheric body. From here onwards, no healer in the world can resuscitate the dead person. After the severance of the silver cord, the etheric body slowly emanates through the crown chakra as a cloud. When it is completely out of the body, it reforms into an etheric body that looks exactly like the corpse left behind on the bed. At this point, he may not know that he is dead. This knowledge will determine the future fate of his spirit. If he knows that he is dead, than he will either go straight to the astral world or he will linger on to say good-bye to his loved ones, after which he will depart to the astral. Friends, relatives or guides from the astral world will accompany him there. However, the ones who do not know that they are dead will remain earth-bound. The time spent saying good-bye varies between days and months. When they finally leave for the astral, they will shed their etheric forms, and enter the astral in their astral bodies. These are different from the etheric bodies, which are the exact replica of the physical. The astral body may appear in one of three forms. They can appear just as they are at the time of death; or they more likely appear as in their prime (e.g. 30-35 years old). It takes time to come to one's prime: it is not an immediate affair. The third form is entirely different from the above 2 astral or etheric forms, but the percipients can still easily recognise this 3rd form. This 3rd form frequently occurs in our dreams, and yet we can easily recognise the individuals. They can fly with ease, and may squeeze themselves through keyholes. If a person died with an arm or leg missing, the astral form will be whole again. However, if the spirit is earth-bound, then he will look just as old as when he died, and if an arm is missing, he will still be without an arm. After working on one's vibrations to improve them in the astral, one may then upgrade to the mental realm. This transition necessitates the shedding of the astral (emotional) body. This is a very painful process, and it is also called the second death, because all emotions of love, anger, joy, sadness and happiness have to be left behind. In the mental realm, one may assume a form as a 'ball of light’; this ball of light will still be recognised by friends and relatives. After much more effort and practice, one may further upgrade to higher spiritual realms and so on. These gradations upwards are interspersed by many earthly incarnations.

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Now where are all these realms? They are not anywhere faraway. These realms are all around us. We promote ourselves to higher realms through a heightening of our vibrations. We can move from one realm to another whilst remaining in the same spot. It is like increasing the speed of an electric fan: when the speed is slow the fan blades are discernible, but they become less and less discernible as the speed increases until the blades cannot be seen at all. That means if you are of the middle astral, you may not be able to see another spirit in the higher astral, even though both of you are on the same spot. As in the analogy of the fan, as one moves up in the spiritual realm, it becomes more difficult to communicate directly with one's loved ones on earth. This is because the faster vibrating spirit (higher speed fan) will destroy or burn the slower vibrating individual on earth. The higher spirit must do it through a medium on earth or through some spirits whose function is to transmit messages to the living. That is why people who claim that Jesus or Buddha came to visit them are totally mistaken. They are more likely to be the person’s own guides. Another point about communicating with the dead is that one must not repeatedly call back the dead. This is because if the recently departed has just arrived at the middle astral, and a loved one on earth repeatedly calls him back, he is behoved to stay earth-bound by these numerous calls. If need be, the deceased can be called back just to make sure that he is all right, or if some information is urgently required, but this practice should not be repeated at all. To summarise, the following classification may help:

Souls of the Departed
(A) Souls of the Living Dead (those who will finally reincarnate and with whom spiritualists can communicate): (1) Earth-bound Spirits: Souls who do not know that they are dead and are earth-bound. There are quite a number in this category. (2) Spirits: Souls who know that they are dead and are in the lower, midastral and higher astral. Most of our guides are in this category. The proper definition of a spirit is the entire individual without the physical body. He is composed of all the subtle bodies (7 or more), chakras, soul, core star, Hara and higher self, which is connected to the Godhead. As our spirit improves and ascend to higher realms, we will peel off the subtle bodies one at a time. Spirits also include all categories of liberated souls as mentioned below, and all types and varieties of spirits in between.

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(B) Liberated Souls: these are the souls who have outgrown earth life (enlightened) and have gone to another realm for further development. They are not contactable by humans. (C) Enlightened Liberated Souls (Bodhisattvas): These are the souls that are enlightened and have gone on, but have vowed to come back to the earth-sphere to help the living souls. They may be in spirit or maybe in the flesh. These are the souls that the occultists get in touch with if they are in spirit. Let us discuss the category of the earth-bound, which is the most troublesome and most perceived. Earth-Bound Spirits Many categories fall into this class. All of them do not know that they are dead: (1) Suicide victims (2) Murder victims (3) War casualties (4) Violent accidental deaths (5) Deluded ghosts haunting buildings (6) Obsession: Recently deceased spirits closely attached to living loved ones (7) Possession: permanent and intermittent (8) Poltergeists (9) Recently deceased spirits who have unfinished business still on earth (10) Others. All the above are deluded and do not realise that they have died. Suicides, murder victims and violent deaths belong to the same category in the swiftness of their deaths. One moment they are alive, and in another they are dead. They are not prepared for this suddenness. They are violently angry and probably full of fear. They do not know how to go to the white light, and if deceased relatives or guides are there to bring them across, they cannot see them. Therefore, they remain in that location for years, until they realise that they are dead and are brought across by spirit guides. There are numerous ignorant spirits still fighting each other in the battle-

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fields of Europe today. These are the dead victims of the Second World War. In some cases, these souls have already gone else where, but the energy of that violence remains. The incident will be repeated over and over again at the same spot and exactly the same time of the day. It is only an energy enactment of the thought forms. The whole scene will be totally mechanical and the thought forms will not respond to any human presence. If, however, they are actual earth-bound spirits and not thought forms, then when a human comes along there will be some reaction to the human presence. In these cases of violence, they do not know that they are dead because of the fear and suddenness of the incidents. Some of them persist in talking to their loved ones, who do not respond. One can see drones of these ignorant depressed spirits hovering and following their loved ones. There is extreme frustration, but they will continue until they finally realise that their efforts are totally futile. At this point, they may believe that the living are ghosts, and they are the living. The opposite situation is when the living relative continually bemoans the deceased, and wishes that the deceased were still with him or her, then the deceased will very likely remain earth-bound. Ghosts who haunt buildings and places are again people who have died and do not realise that they are dead. The classical case is the old man who died with a heart attack. When he 'wakes up', he will think that he had just fallen asleep, and thus does not know that he has died. He will continue to live in the house trying to communicate with the living in the house to no avail. He still feels that he owns the house. So when new owners come to stay, the first thing he will do is to try and get rid of the new comers. The latter mostly cannot hear him. A case in point is an old man, who used to own the house we bought. What he would continually say to all new comers is 'Please, leave my house!' After many years of ineffectual exhortations, he decided to communicate only to the more psychic of the new owners, namely me. Every evening at about 6.30 PM, whilst I am resting on the bed, he would come and sit on my bedside and chitchat with me. The conversations are of no importance. They are about what I did for the day. I would then tell him that I performed 10 post-mortems in the morning, meaning that 10 new emigrants had just passed on to his realm. Has he met them? Invariably, he knows nothing about it. His world is just my bedroom and no where else. When my old home was pulled down, and a new block of condominium was built over the land, he

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moved over to occupy one of the flats. That is why when brand new flats or houses are built over graveyards or where old haunted houses used to be, the ghosts will move over to the new house or flat. This means that a ghost is not only a spirit that does not know that he is dead, but he is also fairly stupid, moving over to a new flat at a twinkle of an eye and yet still does not realise that he is dead. Obsession This happens when a recently deceased entity is attached to a loved one on earth. Good examples are (1) husband and wife (2) mother and son or daughter (3) lovers and (4) father and son or daughter. I have seen examples of all of them. The spirit hangs around very closely to the living, trying to communicate with him or her, and influencing the living at every turn. Alas, to no avail. However, the consequences are rather detrimental to the living. The latter loses weight and energy; he suffers from insomnia, irritability, and loss of appetite and shows a steady deterioration of concentration. At the end, he gets exhausted and goes into a deep depression and end up with seeing a doctor or a psychiatrist, both of whom will be nonplussed. There is no diagnosis, and all the tranquillisers make matters worst. Finally, if the living is lucky, the obsessing spirit leaves on her own accord, or else the obsession may last for years, until the living, especially the remaining spouse, succumbs and joins the obsessing spirit in death. A spiritual person or healer can easily clear this obsession. This is how it is done: tell the obsessed person to visualise the deceased, and speak to her or him as if he or she is there in front of the obsessed. Inform the spirit that you are all right, and she should go to the white light to meet her other relatives and friends. Inform the deceased that by attaching herself to the living, she is actually causing a lot of harm to the living. If she is adamant, get her to think of a deceased relative herself. This will do the trick. The minute the deceased relative appears, the obsessing spirit will be whisk away by that relative to the white light. The above two measures may also be used to exorcise a ghost in a house. Possession Possession may be intermittent or permanent (that means throughout the day and night). The medium that channels spirit guides is an example of intermittent possession. However, in this instance, the possession is controlled by the medium's own guides. No other entity can come in except

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the one that has been agreed upon. On the other hand, haphazard possession is very troublesome and taxing for everybody concerned. The person who is possessed normally has his or her chakras open and often their auras are imperfect or damaged. This happens when the person is very stressed due to loss of money or loved ones. Or he has just recovered from an illness. In this state of deficient aura, if he is not fully conscious as in under anaesthesia or in a drunken stupor or under the influence of drugs, he may very well be possessed. A person, who is meditating and falls into a trance, thus losing awareness, is also quite liable to be possessed. The location of the victim is also important. Drug addict dens and pubs are good hunting ground for the predators. Hospitals, churches, temples, burial sites, cremation buildings, sacred sites along Ley lines and haunted houses are all vulnerable to possession. Therefore the ideal setting for a possession are (1) a victim who has a damaged and deficient aura, (2) he is not fully conscious or in a trance state at the time, (3) the presence of predators (marauding spirits) and (4) a highly charged and spirited location. The following practices are also conducive to possession: (a) games involving Ouija board (b) Tarot cards reading (c) funeral wakes (d) rituals in cemeteries, temples and churches and old consecrated grounds. Auric Attacks These are attacks on the auras of people as in the cases of possession, but the attacks are much less serious and the predator does not inhabit the victim. The most common type of an auric attack is when a relative goes and visits a patient in a hospital or attends a funeral wake. The places are identical to those enumerated above for possession, as these locations are loaded with ghostly predators. So after an attack, when the victim comes home he experiences symptoms of 'influenza', but there is no temperature present. He gets weaker and weaker by the day, even though he feeds himself voraciously. He puts on weight, but he gets more and more debilitated. This continues until he reaches a state in which he cannot even get out of his bed. Of course, the doctor has no idea what is going on, even after numerous tests have been carried out. Finally, the attack may wear off on its own, but it may take months or years. Basking in the sun and an overseas trip may help to clear the condition. However, a healer can put the patient back to health in one or two sessions of healing. These auric attacks are quite common, and very few people realise it. They are often

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misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. Poltergeists These are spirits in the building in which they cause things to fly about. Some times stones are thrown into the house with great precision without hurting anyone or breaking anything. In this instance when the stones are felt, they are felt to be warm. The worst case scenario is when huge pieces of furniture fly all over the room and crockery etc, crash to the ground. Pets and people have been excluded from being the cause of these activities. Quite often these incidences start when there is some psychological trauma inflicted on some teenagers in the house. The minute the individual leaves the house the poltergeist activity ceases. However, there are also cases, in which there is no evidence of psychological trauma in the house. In a few cases, spontaneous combustion may also be initiated by poltergeists. Materialisation and Disappearance of 'things' In some homes where there is a great deal of meditation or other ritualistic activities going on, 'things' start to appear in the house. These objects are usually medallions, Buddha statues, rings or even watches. They seem to be a result of apportation. That means an object of some sort will be dematerialised in one place and appear spontaneously in the house, where the religious ceremonies are being carried out. These objects can stay for a long time. On the other hand, things in an ordinary household would disappear and reappear again after a few days. This latter phenomenon is different and is more likely due to a ghost in the house. Very rarely perfumes or fragrances may be smelt: these are purported to be due to the presence of angels or guides. On the other hand, evil or mischievous spirits cause bad odours. The latter may by eradicated by raising the vibration of the house. This is done by meditation and service, which is of course quite a tall order. Exorcism may also be attempted, but there is no guarantee of a success. There are numerous other strange and peculiar phenomena, which will not be discussed here because of the lack of space. In the Souls of the Living Dead under (2) Spirits above: These souls who are already in the Astral may come back from time to time in order to visit or inspect their loved ones, and sometimes to give messages in dreams or appear in 'human' forms to them. Sometimes they hang around to protect

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the living loved ones. Then they return to the Astral again. Most of our guides are from this realm. Relatives, friends, and appointed guides who are sent from the astral realm to accompany the dying to the astral are also in this category. The two types of liberated souls (enlightened) are beyond the perception of our five senses. Type (B) have already gone to higher realms and are therefore not contactable by us. Type (C) are the invisible Bodhisattvas who are also not detectable by us. The Bodhisattvas that are in incarnation are usually not recognised by all and sundry: we merely guess that they are Bodhisattvas because of their relentless service to mankind. Projections of the Living It is well known that at the point of death, the dying can project an astroetheric form (simulacrum). A good example is when a favourite son were to die in a far away foreign country, his simulacrum will appear to his mother thousands of miles away just to say goodbye. The mother being not a psychic has never experienced this phenomenon before. A twin may do the same with the remaining twin. An ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia died in Penang and in the same hour, his etheric appeared in London to a relative of mine. His simulacrum shocked and frightened my relative, who promptly switched on the lights for the rest of the night. It was only the next morning that she heard the news about his death on the radio! The reason for this visit was this: about 30 years ago, this Prime Minister visited Australia, where my relative entertained him. It was a memorable time for him, because his horse won the Melbourne Cup! These exhilarating moments are lovingly kept in the memory bank. And therefore at the time of death, one usually makes the round of saying goodbye to relatives, friends and even acquaintances, like in this case, all over the world. This ex-Prime Minister hardly knew my relative, but the memory was exquisite. What is less well known is that a trained occultist can also project a simulacrum voluntarily. Alexandra David-Neel was a rare occultist practising in Tibet. She projected a thought-form that looks like a Friar Tuck. This practice went on for some time until one day she could not call back the thought-form. So she had to go to her Guru to dissolve the Friar Tuck who had been roaming the monastery independently! These thought-forms are entirely absorbed in their own affairs, and they appear to ignore their surroundings. They also do not display any reaction

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to the human activity nearby. Angels Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and the Jewish Qabalah are all equally explicit about the existence of angels. Qabalah has 10 Archangels and 10 orders of angelic beings. Protestants, however have very little notion of Angelic Hierarchies. These divine robots are perfect and non-intellectual and they do not evolve. Each is strictly conditioned by its own perfect nature to fulfil the job for which it was created. It is free from all struggle and inner conflict, but it is changeless and therefore it does not evolve. No angel ever goes outside his own sphere of activity. The angel who has healing powers cannot foretell the future. Their functions are many and diverse, and they do not have any direct contact with dense matter. An angel has only one specific function, which he does very well until he is taken off the job. The GodHead gives rise to: (1) Divine sparks (nuclei of Men's souls) (2) Solar Logos ----- > Angels Elementals Elementals are thought-forms generated by co-ordinated systems of reactions that have become stereotyped by constant and unchanging repetition. Repeated waves of birth and death of similar souls on earth constitute each epoch of evolution. When the souls (divine sparks) are withdrawn to the higher spiritual realms, they leave behind them co-ordinated systems of magnetic stresses as forms. Whenever any movement takes place an electric current is set up, and if a series of co-ordinated movements is repeated many times, these currents tend to make adjustments so that they create independent 'forms' of their own. These are now independent of the physical activities that gave rise to them in the first place. It is out of these co-ordinators that the Elementals are evolved. Therefore Elementals are creations of the created. There are many types of these Elementals. The great 4 divisions of the Elemental spirits are of (1) Earth, (2) Air, (3) Fire and (4) Water. Earth will give rise to earthquakes; air to tornadoes and typhoons; fire to vol-

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canic eruptions; and water to floods. Some of these Elements may be caught and trained to do bids for the human. We call these Jinns. Some of them are kept in bottles, and they are seen as wisps of smoke in the clear glass bottles. The tasks that are asked of them are to find out the past of other individuals and their present predicament. Then when the owner of the Jinns can present the accurate information to the victim, he or she will be terribly impressed. From then on, the con man can name the fee for future predictions. However, the Jinn cannot predict the future. There lies the trap; money is spent to no avail. However, knowledge of the past may also be useful as a subtle blackmailing point by the con man. Signs of Ghostly or Angelic Presence What are the signs that intimate to us the presence of angels, ghosts, spirits and guides? The following are some pointers: (1) Cold Spots: There is a drop in temperature only in one small area in the room. If one were to move out of that area, the temperature is back to normal. Or the entire room or building may be cold and chilly. (2) Apparition or vision: This is the commonest manifestation. The ghost may be a resident ghost or it may be a relative. If it is a resident, the viewer may be frightened, but after many appearances, one takes it as part of the ambience of the house. If it is a relative, he may either just want to communicate or he may have become a 'resident' without realising that he is dead. The ghost usually appears to the one who is the most psychic, as he has to expend energy to manifest himself. That is why some people can only see the head, and some others can see the head and shoulders, whilst the most psychic can see the whole body. (3) Voice: The voices are trying to communicate with the living, who may or may not want to answer them. A voice may be calling your name all day. It learned from a living relative who calls you all the time, and it also assumes a voice very similar to that relative. There is a superstition that one must not answer these calls, as the ghost may want a companion. If one is spiritually assured and is willing to help out with the ghost, then one may even carry out a conversation with the ghost telling him to go the

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white light. The ghost could be a singing one. Thus, one maybe entertained with an opera every night. However, one cannot choose the language or the composer of the opera! Therefore, it could be a nuisance. There also maybe switching noises, but the lights do not go off or on, only the switching noises are present. (4) Electrical appliances: Lights, radios and television sets come on and off on their own. Television programmes are changed without human intervention. Toasters, microwave sets and refrigerators break down repeatedly for no reason. Sometimes, even computers present messages from the other world, and intelligent repartees may be carried out with the owner of the computer. (5) Feelings: As you enter the haunted house, your heart beat increases, so does your respiratory rate, and periodically, goose flesh is experienced. This eerie feeling of the hairs standing on end may even affect those who are not psychic. After one leaves the house, one is extremely exhausted. Occasionally, one gets depressed after visiting a house. One may even return home with an auric attack. (6) Dark house: If the house is dark even in bright daylight, be wary. If you still like the house because of its locality, bring either a dog or a child less than 3 years old to the house. If the dog runs out quickly with its tail between its legs, and starts to yelp at the house, it is most likely haunted. By the same token, if the child starts to cry or howl, the house is spirited. With the dog’s and child’s tests being positive, and the house is dark, dank and cold, it takes a courageous person to buy the house. (7) Odours: Bad smells or odours may be there in the house when you first move in. Or the smell may emanate some time later. The smell is that of rotten meat or dung of an animal. This usually signifies a malevolent presence. You can either get an exorcist to remove the presence or increase the vibrations of the house yourself. The latter is much more difficult, because it involves long periods of meditation and selfless service. Of course, when you smell fragrant perfumes, you are blessed: these are due to the presence of angelic beings. (8) Pressure on the chest: This phenomenon happens when one is asleep. The timing of it is when you are just about to enter deep sleep or coming out

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of deep sleep. One feels this pressure on the chest. One finds it very difficult to breathe and when attempting to shout no voice comes out. One feels like dying. Then all a sudden the pressure is off. If one were to say a prayer or a mantra in the mind, the presence will vanish much quicker. (9) Doors and windows may open and shut even though they were securely locked. There may be tapping or rattling on the walls. This may be a nightly occurrence. In one house that I stayed in, punctually at 12 midnight, sounds of a pair of clogs keep running up and down the wooden stairs. When one stands to watch the proceedings, there are no clogs seen at all on the stairs. (10) Although all the doors and windows are properly shut, there may be a strong wind blowing, rattling the chandeliers and other hanging lights. Some music may accompany this wind. (11) A psychic can easily see a spirit at the corner of one's eye, but the second you turn around it disappears. This usually means the presence of a spirit. For a psychic, this happens very often throughout the day: this truly exemplifies the phrase emptiness is form. (12) Sexual seductions: The ghost can seduce either sex. A female ghost may seduce a living male, and vice versa. The person who is seduced normally will fall very ill and expire fairly soon, unless he or she is healed quickly. Sometimes, a male ghost would bring the deceased father of the living female to ask for permission to marry his daughter. A woman came to see me for help under exactly the same conditions. I told her to move house. She did that twice, but it was to no avail. He followed her every where, although she was determined not to marry him. Finally, she went to a Hindu Swami, who prayed away the persistent male ghost. The trick here is not to succumb to the suitor. (13) Timing: If a ghost appears at 3 am, he is most likely to appear at the same time every night. They normally like to appear at night, but a few may also appear during the day. They do not like crowds. The human body smells to them, and if there are many humans present they do not appear . (14) Sometime ghosts appear as balls of light. The green ball of light is one to avoid, because it signifies the restless ghost is frustrated with his

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earth-bound status (usually after a suicide), and they are quite determined to take a companion to keep them company. (15) Venue: These are the places to avoid: churches, temples, hospitals, crematoriums, cemeteries, burial grounds, old folks’ homes, old sacred sites like Stonehenge, Ley lines and old sacrificial temples e.g. in South America (Mexico). Houses that are left empty for more than a year is most likely to be acquired by roaming earth-bound ghosts. Even new houses may be haunted. It all depends on what ground the new building is on. (16) Statues and pictures: The more life like in size is a statue, the more likely spirits will inhabit it. So, in a home or more likely in temples, where many robbers, murderers and other evil people come to pray everyday, the chances are that the statues will be inhabited. The spirits follow these bad hats into the temple, and they see so many people praying to those statues, they would also like to be prayed to. So they remain behind in the temple when the murderers and robbers leave the temple and inhabit the statutes. Some huge portraits may also contain ghosts, especially if the paintings are of good quality. (17) When one visits cemeteries, crematoriums and even old folks' homes, one or more spirits may accompany one home. Therefore, one must white-light oneself when visiting these places. (18) Children and their Invisible Friends: Some children are born with invisible friends. Everyday at a certain location (it is either their bedrooms or the playroom) one hears the child playing and talking to an invisible friend. At an early stage, when the parents were to ask the child who is he playing with, he will say his friend 'Gobi' or 'Toto', and points towards the empty space. If the parent were to scold the poor child not to be idiotic, as there is no one there, the child will be confused and hurt. The child will from thence onwards refrain from mentioning the invisible friend. If on the other hand, the parents were very sympathetic to the situation and inquire more about the friend, and gently inquire what are they playing or talking about, then the situation will be fine. The child will continue with his or her invisible playmate, and no secrets need be kept from the parents. The invisible friend normally will take their permanent leave of the child when the child is seven years old and above.

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Deceased grandparents, who remain in the house as ghosts, always like to hang around the grandchild, who may or may not have met the grandparent. If they knew each other before, the child will be very happy and secure. If they have never met, then there may be screams and crying out at the sight of the grandparent, but finally there maybe some reconciliation. (19) Pets and Ghosts: Pet dogs and cats are able to see ghosts. If the ghost is a deceased owner, the dog or cat will feel very much at home. The dog will wag its tail happily and even go and snuggle up to the ghost. If the ghost is a stranger, the dog will bark at the same spot all the time until the ghost disappears. If the presence is malevolent, the barking is very severe and the dog 's hairs will be standing on their ends. The cat will also bristle its hairs if the presence is evil, but on the whole, cats take ghosts in their stride and do not fuss too much about them. At the most, they merely stare at them. When a pet dies, and if the pet is very close to the owner, it may come back from time to time to visit. It may jump onto the bed with the owner sleeping in it, and the owner may feel a small indentation on the bedcovers if it is a cat. If it is a deceased dog, the indentation is greater. But the dog is more likely to come rubbing itself against the legs of the owner, or the owner is more likely to hear footsteps of a dog running to receive him when he comes home from work.

Near Death Experience (NDE).
When I was ten years old, I had a NDE. This was before the 2nd world war. We had a hawker who was selling ice balls just outside our house. The hawker was a carrier of typhoid. He used his hands to make the ice balls. Ice was scraped into flakes and squeezed into a ball, and then sweet red syrup was poured all over the ice ball. We would then suck the sweet ice ball until it is all consumed. My two brothers and I contracted typhoid this way. As there was no antibiotics for this disease at that time, we had to depend on our own immunity to fight the disease. My older brother died of it. He predicted three things just before he died: (1) The Japanese would bomb Singapore very soon. (2) My teenager older sister would be

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married soon (this is most unusual as in my family, all of us normally would complete our tertiary education at the university). (3) That I had to be careful as my life was in danger. All these pre-mortem predictions came true. As for me, the doctors gave up the fight and left me to die. I was delirious, semiconscious and intermittently totally unconscious for six weeks. During these periods of unconsciousness, I had many attacks of NDE. These episodes were all similar. I would float up from my bed and go through the ceiling and the second floor out of the house to the top of the trees. The top of the trees was higher than the roof of the house. My bed was on the ground floor. When I reach the top of the trees, the ‘being of light’ is represented by a white disc with a face on it. This being would ask me: ‘do you want to go back to earth or do you want to complete your life now and proceed to the white light?’ I had a choice, and I would repeat the same answer that I would like to finish my life on earth. All these communications were transacted by telepathy. There was no bliss, no joy nor tranquillity. There was only resignation and apprehension, as I knew that when I return to earth it would be filled with suffering. I was merely a presence or a spirit: I had no form. There was neither a tunnel nor a rushing sound. There was no meeting of dead relatives or friends. These out-of body episodes were repeated several times during my six weeks of near-death sickness. The contents were all the same.

Near-Death Experience
NDE has been defined as an episode or illness in which the patient is rendered unconscious and is physically near death. The episodes during my illness that are described above fit into this definition. Although, Dr. Raymond Moody described this condition in 1975, NDE has been reported for many centuries throughout history. It is Dr. Moody that brought this condition to the fore and with all the modern gadgets for resuscitating near-death patients this occurrence has escalated to phenomenal numbers. In 1982 a Gallup poll estimated that roughly eight million Americans suffered near-death experiences, and about one in twenty Americans would suffer NDE. Further, numerous studies are being conducted prospectively, and more certain knowledge and information will appear in future.

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The typical case of NDE unfolds itself thus: a patient who is very sick or undergoing an operation or someone who has met with a severe accident or drowned, appear to have lost total consciousness. All the medical monitors at hand indicate that the patient is for all intents and purposes dead. A heroic rescue effort is being conducted and the patient suddenly recovers miraculously. Many minutes may have transpired. The patient wakes up angrily and abuses the rescuer. Alternatively, the patient may recover on his own without any attempt to bring him around. The patient himself could be in severe pain or be very sick before he became unconscious. The second he falls unconscious, the pain completely disappears, or if he is just very sick and his mind is rather hazy, his consciousness suddenly becomes very clear.

Out-of Body (OBE) ---Autoscopy.
His spirit leaves the physical body, and he floats up to the ceiling or just above the body. There he watches the goings on beneath him: most of the time he is being rescued or merely sees a body quite dead lying there below. If he tries to shout or call out that he is fine, nobody can hear him. He is being completely ignored. If he were to try and touch or move the rescuers his hand would go through the arm of the rescuers: he feels that the arm of the doctor or nurse (rescuers) is like electrified soft jelly. When he finds that his efforts are futile, he will stop trying. However, he hears acutely all the conversations that are being carried out in the room. Simultaneously, he also sees and perceives his surroundings in great detail. After a while, he floats through the walls of the room and goes and visits other rooms. In one of them he will see his relatives crying and wailing. And again his efforts to console them are useless. He merely continues to see and hear their conversations and their actions. During this OBE, only less than 10% can see themselves: they look similar to their own bodies, and some of these mentioned that they look much younger. Nobody else can see them. Their minds are absolutely clear: they could reason and reflect. There is no murkiness or haziness about their thinking. They also know instinctively that they are not dreaming. This is reality being enacted before them. In this reality they have a definite sense that they are dying. They can see themselves dying before their own eyes.

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During this period of OBE, the patient has absolutely no sense of time. It is timeless to them. He is in the fourth dimension, in which realm, there is no time and space: it could be a minute or many hours. Emotionally, these patients may be suffering a great deal of pain before the NDE, and the second the OBE occurs, there is peace, calm and tranquillity. It is so restful and joyous with clarity of mind. And even at this autoscopic stage, they do not want to go back to the body. However, a few of them feel rather sad. This is because they have been watching their relatives or love ones crying over their ‘dead’ bodies or being brutally resuscitated. It is their emotional reaction to the sadness of their love ones. It just shows that their minds and emotions are still intact. During this OBE state they can travel anywhere just by thinking of the locality. If one is in London, one can move to New York just by thinking about the latter. Their return to their bodies is usually sudden, and invariably the pain that they had before the NDE would return to them. That is why they are angry when brought back. At this point they also cannot tell others what happened. They find difficulty in choosing words to explain the NDE. Summarising, the patient suddenly loses total consciousness, and the pain and suffering immediately cease. There is now only calm, peace and well being. There is now no more fear. The OBE is accompanied by an acute sense of hearing and sight, while the mind is crisply clear with its logic and reason. His spirit is light and he can float to anywhere he likes.

Transcendental NDE
From the floating position some of these patients may proceed to experience events in another realm beyond the limits of this world. They will be pulled into a darkness or dark tunnel through which they are hurdled with a rushing or buzzing noise in their ears. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. This light pulls them towards it, and this light is filled with love, warmth and it does not blind them. Few of them do not speed through the dark tunnel: they simply float or hang around in this darkness. Some climb up a staircase. An occasional one does express fear initially in this darkness, but it is quickly replaced by peace and tranquillity. Once they are out of the tunnel, a light instantly envelops them. This light is very bright, and it is described to be white or orange with a yellow tinge,

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and it gets brighter and brighter when one gets nearer and nearer to it. The light is beautiful and filled with love.

Life Review
Invariably, a Being of Light is encountered during this period. He will be with the NDEer during the post-mortem life review. And he will be the being who will inform the NDEer to return back to earth. Relatives may also give these same instructions. This Being of Light is totally composed of love. He does not judge during the life review. This review occurs sometimes chronologically forward since childhood days, sometimes backwards and sometimes in a holographic clump. The patient merely notes the commissions and omissions in the very detailed life review. Sometimes, these omissions and commissions are being pointed out to them by the Being of Light. Some of them reckon that their whole life was reviewed, but the time to reel out one’s entire life took only a few seconds. Some remember only the major events, especially the negative ones. In an event in which one had hurt some one else, the perpetrator (the NDEer) will receive the pain and suffering incurred. Similarly, the giver will enjoy the happiness and pleasure that one had given to others. This karmic retribution is appropriate and just. The Being of Light is often interpreted as God, Jesus, Allah or Buddha, depending on the religious upbringing. This Being of Light does not judge: he is there to give a sympathetic hearing with compassion. His love is not incriminating at all. You judge yourself, and therefore, the judgement depends entirely on how severe you have been judging others. The basic question that underlies these reviews is ‘ what have you done with your life?’ Another important query is how much unconditional love have you dished out to others. With these two basic principles the NDEer returns to earth a changed person. Deceased relatives or friends may turn up with eager welcome wishes. The conversations are held either verbally or by telepathy. Very occasionally sign language is used. All these spirits appear radiant, and they all seem to have this glow like the Being of Light, but less so. Some children even see either a globe or a ball of light in their chests (heart chackra). All of them also appear much younger as in their prime. All are happy and cheerful.

Scenic Panorama (Heaven)
Some of NDEers see beautiful countryside scenes, like undulating downs

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with small clusters of well-pruned trees interspersed with meadows. Quite often streams and rivers are also depicted. There are even sheep and cattle to complete the exotic panorama. Flowers are much more beautiful and vibrant than on earth: the red is redder and the green is greener. The fragrances are out of this world. All these scenes depict calm and peace. There are also ponds and small lakes in the composition to make the scenes idyllic. The entire atmosphere is quiet and calm, but sometimes there may be celestial music emanating from the spheres, which complements the whole region. The above description truly gives the feeling of ‘heaven’.

Knowledge
Some of them are fortunate enough to be shown a holographic ‘library’, in which whatever subject they want to know will be shown to them on a screen surrounding them. An occasional one would be even more fortunate: he or she would be given the secrets of the universe in its totality. Anything he wants to know is given to him in its entirety with nothing held back. The answers are detailed and easily comprehensible, but they cannot bring the information back to earth. The information is presented as holographic words on the screen or as a broadcast coming out from the atmosphere without loudspeakers, and it is as a sense-around. Although no knowledge can be brought back, a desire to learn always accompanies the NDEer coming home to the earth realm. There is always a border indicated by a fence or a river beyond which the NDEer cannot cross. To them it is a point of no return: once they cross it, they cannot return to their human bodies.

Hellish States
A few, but not too many, had suffered states and visions that are negative and awesome. Firstly, some would have attacks of fear and panic, especially during the initial stage of darkness, which surrounds them with total jet, black atmosphere. Then despair and loneliness add to the gloom. Amongst the Chinese, they would see the hell taught to them in their books: corporal punishment of the most inhuman varieties is visualised. Many forlorn, depressed people are seen walking aimlessly in no direction. They all look downwards on the ground, and they congregate together as if to keep themselves warm. They are in an atmosphere of mist and dankness. Wailing and howling complete the gloomy atmosphere. Almost all of them descend

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to these ‘hellish state’, unlike the others who ascend to ‘heaven’.

The Return
Most of the NDEers would not want to return to earth, but a few would express a desire to return for the sake of the loved ones left behind. Whether they come to a border of no return or not or how much they would like to stay behind, they are told to go back either by the Being of Light or relatives or friends. They are shown the border, but ordered not to cross it. The return is accomplished by a force, like a magnet, which dragged them back into their bodies: the nearer they are to their bodies the stronger the force, and the return is like an elastic snap back to the physical. Most of them are very disappointed coming back to this world and body of pain and suffering. All these NDEers have to come back because they have a mission to complete, whether they know it or not. Some of them after their return are able to predict the future. Most of the precognition come true: one of these was predicted thirty years ahead! It looks as if they could tap into the Akashic records (empathetic resonance)!

Character Transformation after the Return
Fear of death. There is now either no fear or much less fear of dying. As the NDEer has literally been through death, there is now no doubt what death entails. He knows that his consciousness is imperishable. He has experienced calm and tranquillity in the other realm. There is also no pain or suffering, except during the life review. Unconditional Love. In the life review, there is one great lesson that he has learnt. And this is Divine love: a love that is unconditional and there is no expectation of thanks or gratitude. This is one commodity he has to cultivate in this life, and it has to be freely circulated. In fact this is the most precious treasure he has to accumulate incarnation after incarnation. For him this is the main cargo he has to carry home to his final destination---Godhead or Universal Consciousness. Empathetic Resonance. The word empathy means to take over the feelings of others: the pain and joy of others becomes one’s own. The word resonance means any thoughts, feelings and actions that may travel outwards from oneself to affect other people consciously or unconsciously nearby

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or at a distance. During a life review, the punishment and reward were instantly felt according to our good or bad thoughts or deeds. This is instant Karma in action. It also means we are all interconnected: our consciousness is part of the universal whole. There is no escape from karma, which is relentless, impartial and just. Whenever we hurt someone else by deed or thought the imbalance in this resonance must be re-adjusted, and that is why karmic retribution is so accurate, but it takes its own sweet time for the boomerang to return to the perpetrator. Everything in the universes is part of the whole, and therefore the readjustment is our karmic retribution. Quest for Wisdom: After seeing the ‘library’ or after the universal knowledge was shown, the desire to learn is now very strong. In the past the man could be very mercenary or avaricious, but now he has become much less materialistic. He realises that he cannot bring it along with him. Therefore he is now concentrating in gaining knowledge, and the best knowledge is wisdom. And the greatest wisdom is to let go. To let go is to relinquish wealth, fame, pleasure and profit. Just imagine the release and burden-free consciousness of a person set free: he will be in the same ecstatic state as in his heavenly NDE episode. Spiritual Change: With the above changes, he becomes more inward looking. If he has been religious, he will be more so. If he has not been religious, he will be more spiritual. The subconscious goal is the ‘the other realm’. He is now kinder, more helpful and more charitable. Selfishness is being replaced by selfless service. He now realises that there is a purpose in life: to accumulate unconditional love and gathering of wisdom. And unstinting service is one way to go about it. In addition, he may go and learn meditation or yoga to improve his awareness. He now would like to have moments of quiet and enjoys solitude. A suicide would not try again, after experiencing an NDE. He knows that each of us has a mission in life. Re-entering the Real world: A NDEer always finds it difficult to get back to normal life. Firstly, he cannot tell any one about his NDE. Secondly, his close relatives and friends will not believe him. In fact, quite often he is sent to a psychiatrist after he reveals his near-death experience. His spouse would find his change of character unacceptable, and tension would arise. His colleagues also cannot understand this character transformation, and

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they shy away from him. His bad habits are abandoned, and new ones are being acquired, e.g. pursuit of knowledge. Finally, he will adjust himself, especially when his relatives and friends learnt about his NDE, and they accept it. Realization and A Glimpse of Enlightenment: As time goes on after he has acquired enough divine love and wisdom, he will realise that his ego is in the way of his new found spiritual path. He realises that his ego fortifies his small self. Therefore, he has to reduce the size of his ego and become more humble until absolute humility takes over. One can only minimise the ego to just taking care of the functions of the body and mind. We cannot completely annihilate the ego as long as we are in this human form. However, with prolonged practice, we may come to realise our soul, when the ego is out of the way. This is the beginning of Self-realization---- the goal of all Hindus. In other words, the NDE has given us an opportunity for this Metanoia (change of mind). We will then be able to see that the Higher Self contains the small self and our Higher Self and soul contains the spark of God in all of us.

Conclusions
The doctors have managed to isolate a place in the brain where NDE occurs. It is situated somewhere near the right temporal lobe. This is merely the locality in the brain, from which these experiences take place, but it does not mean that all the experiences are hallucinations. The experiences are too finite and realistic, and all the stories conform to a pattern that fit our idea of the spirit realm that has been channelled to us by reliable mediums. From the above discourse, we can assuredly conclude that the Transcendental NDE is a visit to the next realm. That means the spirits of the NDEers have crossed over to the middle astral realm, and perhaps very rarely to the lower astral (some interpret this as hell). That means that the NDEers have actually died for the short periods of time, and have crossed over to the spirit realm where all the deceased finally end up. These states may not be identical to everyone who experienced Transcendental NDE. This is due to the fact that both the lower and middle astral realms are coloured by our own culture, learning and beliefs. The realm may have the same vibration for all, but our perception and inter-

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pretation vary considerably from one person to the other. Therefore the Being of Light is interpreted as Jesus, Buddha, Allah or God according to one’s upbringing and religion. The autoscopic experience is identical to all other out-of- body experiences of normal people: there is not the slightest difference here. So this part of the NDE just proves that we have a spirit that leaves our body when we die. The spirit merely hovers around the earth where our bodies are until it is time for us to cross over to the spirit realm (the astral), and then we rush through the dark tunnel to the astral white light. Experts in OBE state that a silver cord joins our physical bodies to our spiritual forms, which may travel as far as the moon and yet this cord is not broken. This is so as long as the person is not dead. As soon as the person dies, the silver cord is automatically severed. This is the reason why the dead can be raised by some powerful and advanced healers e.g. Jesus Christ. They are not actually dead: they are merely in suspended animation or in a NDE, when the silver cord is still intact and unbroken. However, once the silver cord is severed, no one in the world can revive the dead. The exquisite Being of Light is not God or Allah or Buddha. He is merely our chief guide. He is the one that has been overseeing our path on earth with the help of our personal guardian angels. So this Being of Light is there in our NDE to teach us unconditional love and wisdom. Lastly, although we are no more afraid of death there is also no desire to take our own lives at the slightest excuse. We know now that the second we die whatever misery or pain we have at that time will completely disappear. There will be peace and tranquillity instead. We realise now that we all have a mission on earth: and that is to cultivate unconditional love for circulation and to gather wisdom. Both these items can be gleaned from selfless service to humans, animals and vegetation.

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Out of Body Experience (OBE)
The term "out-of-body experience" (OBE) was coined by Tart in 1960 in order to distinguish it from other judgmental alternative names like astral projection, ESP projection, doubling, astral travel, etc. An out-of-body experience has been defined as: " An altered state of consciousness in which the subject feels that his mind or self-awareness is separated from his physical body and this self-awareness has a vivid and real sense about it, quite different from a dream". There must be a sense that the self is at some place other than in the physical body. In this definition, certain assumptions must be made. Firstly, the subject is in a better position than the investigator to decide whether or not he had an OBE. Secondly. the emphasis is on the sense of location of self-awareness rather than the complex and entirely variable visual and auditory experiences reported in the anecdotal literature, and thirdly, whether or not there is objective laboratory demonstration of a separation of self-awareness from its normal location in the brain seems not relevant.

OBE Surveys
Not many surveys of the incidence of OBE exist. In 1954, Hart asked 155 students whether they had ever had an OBE, 27.1% said they had, most of them had more than one experience. In 1968, Celia Green asked 380 Oxford undergraduates about having an OBE, 34% replied affirmatively. Palmer and Dennis published the first survey using a randomly selected group of 1,000 students and townspeople in a small town in Virginia. 25% of the students and 14% of the townspeople reported having had an OBE. Shiels collected data on belief in OBE from nearly 70 non-Western cultures. Despite cultural differences their beliefs are strikingly similar. This was felt as indirect evidence of a genuine event. A South African study analyzing 122 accounts in response to a press request, found that the OBE occurred often while the subject was asleep, relaxed, or dozing, and over 50% of the subjects claimed to have been in a normal mental state when the phenomenon occurred. Twemlow, Gabbard and Jones presented a paper in 1980 to the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco. It was called "The Out-of-Body

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Experience: Phenomenology". 339 subjects took part in response to an advertisement on OBE. The data was analyzed according to pre-existing conditions, phenomenological features and impact of the experience.

Pre-existing Conditions
There is no cause-effect relationship between these pre-existing conditions and the OBE itself. Majority of the candidates is in a relaxed and calm state (79%). Only 23% are in an emotionally stressful state. In the study, 27% are meditating, whilst 36% are dreaming. Quite a few of the latter describe their dreams as "flying or falling". Fatigue accounted for 15% of cases, and NDE was the cause for 10%. Other minor preconditions are cardiac arrest, drug, general anesthesia, severe pain, childbirth, etc. The last preconditions are accident, high fever, sexual orgasm, alcohol and driving a vehicle.

Stress
Some form of stress not infrequently precedes the ‘single’ OBE cases, and is usually associated with physical trauma. However, L of these single cases the stress is psychological. The same fear may trigger an OBE before visiting a dentist or undergoing anesthesia. The stress could be either short term or long term. Short term is within the last 24 hours. Long term means more than 24 hours, and if the long term is psychological rather than physiological, it is as common as in the short-term cases. If the stress is prolonged during a period of time the OBE may recur several times during this period. Sometimes fear of something eerie or frightening, like seeing a ghost, may trigger an OBE episode. Amongst the emotional stress cases, themes of loss, mourning and loneliness are common. Threats of death including illness, surgery, cancer and being in a war zone are also frequent precursors of OBE. Loneliness stands out as a fairly prominent pre-condition. Happiness or philosophical reflections may also bring on an OBE to some people. Those OBEs occurring during states of calm tend to be multiple and their OBEs were spontaneous in a relaxed state. Meditators feature prominently in the OBEs with mental calmness. OBE occurring during dreaming has been stated as ‘more real than a dream’ in the majority of cases. In childhood cases quite a number of their dreams depict fly-

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ing or falling. Most of these cases were certain that it was an OBE and not a dream. The cases of Near-Death-Experience do experience OBE and autoscopy exactly the same way as ordinary cases of OBEs. NDE cases are associated with stress and must be near death. Except for marijuana users, most drug users and alcoholics have a low incidence of OBE. The reason for wanting to have an OBE has been quoted as (a) curiosity or fun (b) psychical research (c) personal spiritual development and (d) the OBE is entirely spontaneous. Only 10% of the individuals questioned have been to workshops on OBEs. The psychological and physical profile of an ideal projector is thus: strong will; interest in new things; curiosity; lack of religious, scientific and social conditioning; a rational and non-mystical temperament; patient non-conformist; calmness; a good memory; studiousness; humanist interests; dynamic and self-controlled; mental disciplined; physical self-controlled; capable of advanced relaxation. He has ideally a single sex partner.

How to mentally prepare for OBE
These are the following steps that the prospective projector can prepare himself psychologically: One must maintain a strong desire to project and dream about it. One must have an awareness of a spirit or a true-self inhabiting the physical body. Further one must try and visualize the route or environment when you have succeeded in a projection. Before sleeping every night think and read about projection. Almost everybody who is trying to project has irrational fear. This fear may with some small stimulus turn to terror and panic. When sleeping at nights, we unconsciously pass over this fear when our normal consciousness shuts down and our higher self takes over. At this juncture, the fear barrier disappears. There are at least four reasons supporting the fear barrier: a. Fear of death. Being outside of the body is equivalent to death, and that is why we are always in a hurry to get back to the body in our earlier exper-

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iments. It is only after a dozen times or more that we are able to overcome this fear. b. Fear of not being able to go back to the body. The fear of not being able to get back is like being lost and is like death as well. After getting out more than a hundred times you may then realize that every time you are able to return to the body again. This will then rationalize into confidence. c. Fear of the unknown. This is a completely different realm from our earthly environment. This unknown territory, especially if it is the astral realm and beyond, encumbered by all sorts of beings and terrain that is far beyond our imagination. We can never fathom this New World where all our previous training, knowledge and expertise are useless and effete. All the worldly laws and rules, physics and chemistry and other sciences cannot be used to measure this New World. Even after hundreds of OBEs into that terrain we will still not be familiar with it. d. The last fear is of the possible effects that may impinge on the physical body and mind of the person experimenting on OBE. This is so because of our ignorance of the pathology of the spirit. In order to clear the above fears one has to repeat the OBEs very often so that familiarity and getting used to the conditions outside the body will finally replace the fears with confidence. The following preparation is solely for those who do not project spontaneously (involuntary projectors). For spontaneous projectors it is not necessary to undergo the ensuing steps at all. They may read these notes just to refine whatever they already achieved.

How to prepare for a projection
The bed of the projector should be comfortable, stable and quiet as possible. It should be a single bed, because of disturbing one’s spouse during the projection. The doors must be shut to prevent sudden intrusion by family members. Minimize noises by switching off the telephone, TV, intercom, alarms, radios etc. Use an electric digital clock to record the periods of projection. A dim night light may be useful to orientate the projector when he has projected into his own bedroom and when he returns from the OBE. A bedside table is helpful for the projector to keep

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pen, paper, tape recorder and a small flashlight to record the events of the OBE without disturbing the sleeping partner. Do not over eat and over drink (a distended bladder will interrupt the OBE). Personal hygiene should be attended to and keep the physical body warm. The clothes must be loose. All jewelry and metal objects must be removed form the skin. Lying on one’s back, place the feet apart and let the whole physical body relax totally. Rest the extended arms with hands open along the side of the body. Place the head in such a position as not to stress the neck. All arms, legs and neck must not be allowed to cause constriction to the circulation. Close the eyelids and relax the facial muscles completely. Avoid swallowing of saliva and do not have forceful respiration through the nose. Try and breathe through the half-opened mouth. Relaxation: this must be both physical and mental. One must not be in a hurry, and there must not be any sense of urgency. All appointments and telephone calls must be cancelled. The techniques for relaxation are generally at least 3 in number: a. Auto- or self-hypnosis. Although many methods have been enumerated in books, the best is to learn self-hypnosis from an experienced hypnotist. b. Meditation. The best method is that of concentration. c. Borderland sleep state. This is the most natural and the easiest. One relaxes both body and mind until one is at the borderland between sleep and wakefulness. The greatest danger here is to fall asleep. As you deepen into sleep, there will come a stage when the body is asleep but the mind is not. At this juncture, hold on mentally to any one subject as long as you can without falling asleep. The body is asleep but not the mind. However, one may still fall asleep many times through the initial attempts. At one point, you will find that the mental picture you are holding on will slip away. This is the time when you do not introduce another picture to take its place, but let the mental screen be blank and dark. Further on, a hallucinatory period will ensue ----full of mind pictures arising on their own. The busier the day before, the longer will these mental clips be. The next steps are to continue deepening your consciousness downward with gradual loss of control of your senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight.

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State of Vibration
The generation of vibration is the most critical. Once you achieve it you know you are on the right track. You enter into that deep stage of relaxation as described above. You hold on to that consciousness that is still awake, but the body is asleep. Then as the hallucinations or mind pictures have completely subsided, you keep on breathing through your halfopened mouth with the eyes closed. Now concentrate on the darkness behind your eyelids or the third eye’ area. Just stay at this point as long as you can. One should remain in this mental state of clear awareness and a completely sleeping physical body for as long as possible. All of a sudden a surging, hissing pulsating wave of fiery sparks appears to be roaring in the head. It is like a ring of electric shock without pain. This ring has the physical body as a central axis and it surges up and down the body. This vibration is not shaking and the frequency is fairly constant, immobilizing the body. The frequency and intensity may be controlled to be fast or slow, strong or weak. This ring of electricity is about 2 feet in diameter. It starts at the head and sweeps down to the toes and back to the head again. It keeps up as a regular oscillation, and as it passes through a section of the body it is like a band cutting through that section of the body. As the ring passes through the head a roaring comes with it into the brain. Once you have been through this stage of vibration, the next attempt is easy. There is no necessity to go through the entire routine. Just relax and think of the vibrations and they will come. Each successful attempt will facilitate the next one. However, in the early stages it may not be repeated. So do not be discouraged. There are no deleterious effects on the body and mind, but mentally you must acclimatize yourself. In order to be accustomed to this vibrational state, one must completely eliminate all fear and panic when the electric shock without pain is coursing through your body. The best thing to do is to stay quietly doing nothing and let the electricity fade away on its own. This usually takes about 5 minutes. After several episodes, you will realize that no harm can come to you, and you are not being electrocuted. Do not panic by sitting up and break the paralytic condition. As this is what you want to achieve, you will regret the panic and breaking of the circuit. It is essential to speed up the vibrations, because the scene is set for the disassociation of the spirit from the body. The acceleration of the speed

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will become automatic as you keep on trying. It will reach such a high state that you will not even perceive the pulsation. At this stage the body is warmth and tingling. Now you are ready to project. Once you arrived at this point, you cannot turn back. From now onwards, you cannot completely protect yourself from any future spontaneous attacks of vibrations. It can come about any time you relax! So beware.

The Process of Dissociation
Having been through the stage of relaxation and having experienced the full blast of the state of vibration one must now continue with the thought control. One must maintain that state of emptiness of thought or at most one thought. This is because during the vibrational state, many thoughts may trigger some fear or panic, and that itself will abort your OBE trip. Whatever it is try and maintain that ‘no thought’ stance as best you can. Experience of the spirit arm and hand. After the vibrational stage, stretch out an arm in a horizontal direction away from you. Do not raise or lower the arm. If you feel nothing, continue pushing until you can feel an object. Examine the physical details of that object: the grooves the clefts and the evenness of the surface etc. These are the details you may identify at a later time. Now, push against this physical object with some pressure. At the beginning there will be some resistance, but continue to push a little harder. Then lo and behold your fingertips and your hand will go through the object and further on a second object will be felt. Try and identify the second object by touch. Then slowly withdraw your hand back through the first object and return to the normal position of the hand. Thinking of the physical will return you directly to your physical. Lie still for a few minutes after your return. After returning to your normal physical self, verify both these objects with your physical eyes and hands. Do the details coincide with what you felt during the OBE?

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The other exercise you may be try out is thus: After producing the vibrations, stay lying on your back and leave your physical arms on your sides. Then with the eyes shut, lift your non-physical arms up to the center and let your fingers touch each other. Even with your eyes shut you will see that your physical arms are by your sides and the non-physical arms are above your chest their fingers touching one another. At this moment your sensations are from the non-physical arms. Try this test many times to prove the point that the non-physical components are really there. Then make sure that the non-physical arms have returned to the physical before you shut down the vibrations.

Methods of your separating the spirit from the body
1) The Lift-off method. This is the best method, which means lifting off from the physical. The goal here is merely to get out the spirit to familiarize the surroundings of the room and not to travel afar at this juncture. It is best to do in daylight at the first try. If it is done at night, use a dim light with a shade so that the environment in the room can be easily recognized. Now having achieved the vibrational state and abiding to emptiness of thoughts think of how nice it is to float up or out of your body. Allow this lighter part of your body to literally lift off from your body. Look forward to this lovely sensation. After one or more attempts you will certainly float up. 2) The Rotation method. After arriving at the vibration and no thought status, try and turn over as you do at night in bed. Use your body and not your arms or legs. When you have turned 180 degrees and facing yourself, slowly try to float up backwards. If you are not too gentle you may roll out on to the floor suddenly. No harm is done, but it is a little disconcerting, because you have to find your way back to the body again straightaway. However with care, this method will be successful. 3) The Dropping-Down Method. This third method is the dropping downward of the spirit into the bed and further below. In this type of dissociation, the lower limbs and arms may sink down before the rest of the body. This method is normally associated with spontaneous OBE. Try out the above 3 methods several times each and decide which technique you like best, and then stick to that. Whatever method you use when

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you finally return to your body, you will slightly jerk into place with a click. Familiarization of immediate surroundings. In the first several OBEs stay near your physical body and try to recognize all the surrounding features of your room. After many successful attempts, you may begin to move a few feet away at a time, but do not go further afar. To make sure that you return to your physical you just think of returning to the physical. The other method is to move a toe or finger of the physical body. Alternatively, move your jaw or tongue or swallow some saliva. At the same time, take big breaths several times. Never panic about not being able to return the body. Keep calm and cool. After returning open your eyes and sit up and then move around a bit. Repeat this process many times until you are very familiar with all the proceedings. When you try to see, do not open your non-physical eyes. Instead, think of seeing, and that you can see, and you will truly see. There is no sensation of opening your eyes. While trying to see, the darkness will firstly disappear and then dimly your sight will become sharper and clearer. Then turn around to look at your own body, but do not be alarmed: it is merely your own body! OBE at a distance. After being fluent and successful with your OBE in your room, now is the time to go further afield. Here you have to think of the person and not the place. Do not just think of a name, but think of his or her personality or character. Do the selection before you enter into the vibrational state. Do not inform the person that you are visiting him or her. After the separation, move about 6 feet away from your physical body and think of that personality. Try not to visualize a physical being. It is the inner person you are aiming at. As you are thinking of the person rotate slowly 360 degrees around yourself. There will be a point from which a magnetic pull is felt. Stay facing that direction. Now assume a diving position with your arms above your head and the 2 hands facing one another then stretch towards that direction and off you go. The speed depends on how much you can stretch. You will automatically stop when you arrive at your destination. To return, just think of your physical body, reach out and stretch, and you will return.

Terminology in OBE
When the spirit separates from the physical body, all the auric bodies emerge from the physical body, which is left behind as a corpse. But it is

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not a corpse because all the normal physiological parameters are still functional, e.g. heart beat, breathing and digestive processes, etc. When the arms or legs are twisted and start to numb, messages are sent to the spirit through the silver cord. Other names used for the spirit are Second Body, psychosoma or mentalsoma (when the etheric body is left behind). The 7 auric bodies intersect and cover the physical body, like Russian dolls. They are named (1) etheric, (2) emotional, (3) mental, (4) astral (5) etheric template, (6) celestial and (7) causal. If the spirit is propelled out into our physical world, it is covered by the etheric body and looks exactly like the physical body, but it carries with it all the other auric bodies. Celia Green calls this the ‘parasomatic’ body, when a form is seen by the subject and by others in the spirit world. When the subject does not identify itself with a body or a spatial entity, she calls it ‘asomatic’. That means there is only consciousness representing the spirit. Waldo Viera calls the spirit psychosoma when it is composed of the extraphysical body, which includes the etheric body, the emotional body, astral body etc. If there is no spatial entity, he calls it mentalsoma. The latter consists of only awareness without a body. Robert Monroe calls both forms ‘Second Body’. Some workers do come across a silver cord among their subjects, but not all workers can confirm that. The word Phantom used by J.H. Brennan should not be considered at all, as the word phantom connotes an unreal specter or apparition. Apparition is also used, but this phrase is more suited for a ghost. When the spirit is projected out to the physical world, it is called an etheric projection, and the spirit is clothed in its etheric body (psychosoma). When the spirit is projected beyond the physical world into the astral realm, it is called astral projection. If it is clothed by the emotional body, there is a fair amount of variation in form, sometimes appearing only as a blob of white light. When it is projected into the mental realm, it takes the form of the mentalsoma, and in this instant the form is either a blob of white light or just merely an awareness.

The Silver Cord:
Although not all projectors see a cord, nevertheless the incidence is described often enough to warrant a proper status. The cord is a cable or lifeline, which is fastened to the medulla oblongata of the spirit whilst the other end is attached to the third eye of the physical body. This cord

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appears to be composed of a bundle of pulsating cables, rather than a single cord. Once this cord is severed, the person is dead and no amount of healing can revive the patient. Both in OBE and NDE the cord is intact. Even in the bible, it is stated that the silver cord snaps on death. The silver cord is very powerful and the powerful forces that traverse through it prevent the intrusion of predators entering the inanimate physical body during the projection. This cord links the physical body with the spirit or the etheric body. Messages can be passed form one to the other. From the physical body, a full bladder or a twisted arm would tug the spirit back to the physical body right away. On the other hand, if the etheric body or spirit wants to return to the physical, it just passes the message to the physical to wiggle its toe or move the jaw, and the etheric would be spirited back to the physical with a jerk. This cord is not only elastic, but it can stretch for thousand of miles from Ireland to India (Arthur Gibson), and it can move to the astral realm without being entangled or over stretched. This cord can also pass through solid physical buildings, and when 2 to 3 subjects travel together their cords do not entangle. A constant warning by esoteric literature is that physical body should not be disturbed or else the etheric body may jerk back to the physical with a thud, and this may harm the person: the person wakes up with a headache or some bodily bruises. Also because of the cord, trauma to the spirit may be transmitted to the physical. This cord allows the spirit to control the physical to some extent. In some OBEs the physical body is performing some physical acts, like driving, walking, running and talking. In these instances the spirit controls and guides the physical body with the cord, so that the physical body continues to act appropriately. There is also no fear that the spirit will never return to the physical because of this cord. As the spirit approaches the physical, up to certain distance, there will be a sudden jerk of the spirit back to the physical, and a soft click would be felt. The characteristics of the spirit (etheric body, second body, psychosoma): This spirit has weight. It is estimated that it is about a thousandth of the weight of the body. A person weighing 154 pounds has a spirit weighing approximately 2.5 ounces. It is also subjected to gravity although much less so.

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The spirit is visible under certain conditions. It always gives off some light. It ranges between dim to bright light, depending on the evolutionary state of the individual and the environment. Alternately, the spirit may be able to radiate or reflect light in a known spectrum. The spirit may also shut down this luminescence when it is prudent for it to do so, e.g. when he is visiting a site in which his presence in that spiritual site is unwanted, and it is dangerous for him to be found out. Besides seeing the spirit in this form, some people can only visualize an etheric rim surrounding the spirit and not the body itself. In addition, the perceptual qualities of the viewer must be enhanced to see this form. The spirit has a similar sense of touch as the physical body. When the non-physical hands touch one another, it is identical to flesh touching flesh. Further, when the non-physical hands touch the physical body, this can be felt as well. The spirit or body is elastic. The arm may stretch out to three times the length of the normal arm. Sometimes the spirit may seem to appear as a waving piece of filmy cloth, but whatever texture, the form tends to be humanoid.

Movements:
There are at least 4 ways the spirit can move: a) The 1st is exactly how the physical body normally walks. b) The 2nd is an intermediate speed in which the spirit moves as speedy as in a fast horse or a car. The feet of the spirit do not touch the ground. c) The 3rd method is that of levitation. The etheric body floats up in the air and starts to fly at whatever height it wishes. Sometimes it is only one or two feet above the sleeping physical or it could go to great heights and fly to long distances sometimes at great speeds. d) Instantaneous travel. This technique must be learnt, but it is quite easy to acquire it. This method has been described above and shall not be repeated here, except that most times there is no sense of travelling. You think of a personality and then next minute you are there. He or she could be thousands of miles away.

Sleep and dreaming
What most people do not realize is that all of us go to the astral realm every night during sleep. All humans start to loosen our consciousness

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during the process of sleeping, from alpha to theta wave. Then when delta wave is reached, the spirit has totally dissociated from the physical body. This is the start of his nightly OBE. He could either have an etheric projection or he may slip into an astral projection. Most of our dreams are about this physical world and sometimes it is about the astral plane. Most of us do not remember our dreams about the physical world, and therefore more assuredly our astral dreams are nearly always forgotten every night. So the most frequent question is "how do you know that you are not dreaming?" The following is a series of comparisons and contrasts between dreams and OBEs: In a dream, one’s reasoning power and logic are diminished; but in an OBE, the intellectual capacity is either equal or greater than in the waking state. Very often the person remains as a spectator in a dream; but in an OBE the individual is actively taking part in the event and makes decision as adroitly as in the waking state. In a dream, the illogical and bizarre scenarios are accepted without question; in an OBE, there is none of the absurdity that is present in dream. In OBE, crucial judgements of events that unfold always pervade the spiritual consciousness. In a dream, one is unable to catalogue a sequence of events; but in an OBE, all events are noted in chronological order to the smallest detail. One does not dream in a waking state; however, in an OBE, it is possible for one to maintain lucidity before, during and after the entire OBE. In a dream, there is no such a process as a takeoff from the physical body; in an OBE, the whole process of vibration and leaving of the physical is fantastically unique and joyously experienced. It is not possible to prolong a dream; but it is possible to prolong the stay of a spirit outside the physical. Sensory excitement in a dream may result in the production of fantasies; in an OBE the slightest stimulation of the body will end up with the spirit being rudely jerked back to the physical by the silver cord. In an OBE, there are psychological factors not experienced in dreams. These are sensations of freedom and well being, mental clarity, gliding, flight and sometimes euphoria. In a dream, the images may be deformed and unreal; in an OBE the images are not deformed.

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In dreams, although the images are weaker they are easier to remember. This is because the spirit is either almost in alignment with or is in proximity with the physical body. In an OBE, although the images are clearer and more intense, they are more difficult to remember. This is especially so when the projection is at a far distance or in the astral plane i.e. when the spiritual consciousness is at a distance from the physical brain. Of course, if the projector is an experienced one and is highly lucid he will be able to remember just as well as in a dream. Time exists only for the physical body, and it does not exist for the spirit. Time influences the spirit only slightly especially during the takeoff and the return of the spirit. It is also very slightly affected when projecting in the physical world. As the spirit is projected further and further in the astral realm and beyond, the spirit is freer and lighter. The influence of time is more and more tenuous the higher one goes up the spiritual realm. Consequently, events occur much faster and the projecting consciousness cannot transfer them to the brain fast enough. This is due to the velocity and the absence of relative time.

Survey by Celia Green on OBE
Celia Green from the Institute of Psychophysical Research did a study of OBE with an appeal in the press and radio for first-hand accounts of this experience. Approximately 400 people replied and about half of them had more than one experience. Two questionnaires were sent out to the subjects, of whom 326 and 251 replied to the questions respectively. 68% of the subjects are women and 32% are men. This only means the percentage of the response and not of the actual projectors. The results of the survey are as the following: OBE may occur while the person is continuing to perform their normal function, while asleep and apparently completely unconscious under anesthesia. The subjects may be walking, gardening or performing other household chores or in public transport when the episodes happen. Twelve per cent of the single cases were asleep. 32.4% of the single cases occurred when the subject was anaesthetized or unconscious. In the surgical cases, some of them were able to watch their operations in detail. Sixty-one per cent of cases had only one experience. About 9% had 2, 5.5% had 3, 2.3% had 4, 1.7% had 5 and 20.9% had more than 6 experi-

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ences. The multiple cases are usually voluntary experimenters and they more or less can do it at will. Most of the involuntary cases have only one experience. OBE can occur at any age: The single cases are most likely to be between 15 to 35 years of age. The cases with multiple experiences usually start having them during childhood and some may lose their ability at a certain age. The earliest age is 18 months. Most the OBE last only a few minutes, but some may have OBEs lasting throughout their illnesses. Stress: Most of the single cases may be traced to some form of stress, like physical trauma. However, 25% of them the stress is psychological. Fear is often associated with the stress. The most often quoted types of cases are, going to a dentist, illnesses, war injuries operations, childbirth, interviews, air-raids etc. The spirit may posses an etheric form identical to its own physical body (parasomatic) or there is no form (asomatic), in which only a consciousness is experienced. In the cases with an etheric form, whatever sensory deficiency the person is suffering, the etheric form appears to have none of these deficiencies. The person with poor eyesight or bad hearing can see and hear normally. Eighty per cent of single cases are asomatic whilst parasomatic cases represent the remainder. Although the asomatic cases deemed themselves as ‘disembodied consciousness’, they felt themselves complete, as if they possess arms and legs. Some describe themselves as '‘pinpoint of presence'. Bilocation: Although, most are unaware of sensations arising from the physical body, sensations from the physical may still reach the subject’s awareness. This may lead them to feel the sensations appropriate to both bodies. There appears to be a psychological censorship weakly operating between the physical and the etheric, but proprioceptive sensations are most accessible to the projected consciousness. Eighty-four of OBEs claimed that their awareness is purely from their etheric position. Very occasionally, a psychological emotion, like fear may transmit from the physical to the etheric, but the latter is still quite detached. Very rarely, the consciousness may be equally divided between the 2 selves. Autoscopy: Eighty-one per cent of the single cases were able to see their own bodies from the outside. Recognizing his own physical self gives him

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the insight that he is in an OBE. And this insight itself may terminate his experience because of fright. The position of the spirit: Most spirits view themselves from above, behind or beside the physical, but rarely from below. If the OBE occurs indoors most times the etheric is at the corner of the ceiling. This is the position where he can view the greatest area of the room. Also he is the furthest away from the physical body. Relaxation: Amongst the subjects studied by Celia Green, 33% in single cases and 41.3% in cases of more than one experience are more relaxed. Only about 11% are tenser in both categories. Some of these cases deliberately go into relaxation exercises and meditation, and few of these enter into OBE as a by-product. In the latter cases, some give up the relaxation exercises and meditation because of the OBE. Paralysis: About 5% of cases experience paralysis before and after the OBE. Motor Control: Whilst in a OBE when the subject tries to move the physical body he may find that in order to carry out a physical movement, he needs great effort. Sometimes the subject may succeed in calling out even if it meant only making inarticulate noises. If they are anaesthetized, no movement can be enacted. In a few cases, the physical bodies were able to control a motor cycle, or continue talking or deliver speeches or even extracting a tooth as a dentist. Apparently, all the above acts were enacted without deterioration of their skills. Sensory Modalities: The single cases when questioned, 93% could see, 34% could hear, 13% could touch, 4% could smell and 3% could taste. In those who had more than one experience, 92% could see, 57% could hear, 28% could touch, 19% could smell and 9% could taste. Normally, when an etheric body tries to touch a physical object its hand would go through the object. When the spirit sees, it does not matter whether his physical eyes are shut or not. He sees 360% around him without turning around. Some spirits can see themselves in the mirror whilst others may not. Intellectual faculties: These are mostly unimpaired. In fact, they are usually

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enhanced and mental clarity is maintained. They have normal reasoning power and memory is normal. The mind is clearer and more active than normal. Most subjects found that the OBE is either timeless or time is at a standstill or time ceases to exist. The remainder reckons that time has slowed greatly. Detachment: The subjects must remain not frightened or anxious or worried. They are usually calm and detached; otherwise any emotional conflict would terminate the OBE. Once they are in OBE, the problems of the day seem trivial Connection to the physical: Only 29,6% of cases feel connected to the physical and only 3.5% reported to see a silver cord. That means the majority does not feel connected to the physical. Majority of involuntary cases does not have a transitional stage between the normal and OBE. This realization is usually sudden. However, in the experimental cases as described above, the relaxation, the vibration and the separation processes go to compose the transitional stage. Extra-sensory perception (ESP), travelling clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, and psychokinesis: These extra-normal attributes are all possible, but they occur to various individuals in varying proportions. Take ESP. This is very possible because the spirit is able to see and read about things in the room, which are not normally accessible, e.g. an envelope on top of a tall cupboard. Clairvoyance is perceiving things from a distance away, because the spirit can travel. Telepathy and precognition are rarities, but they do occur. For the experienced voluntary projectors, he may practice psychokinesis and succeed eventually.

Conclusion
From the above dissertation, it can be seen that anybody may experience an out-of-body episode, but it appears that only between 15% to 25% of humans do have at least one OBE. Remember that every night when we fall into deep sleep (delta wave) we already experience this out-of-body separation, except we do not remember the events that take place. OBE may take place as an involuntary or voluntary exercise. In the former variety it is often a single episode, whilst the experimenters (voluntary) nor-

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mally experience multiple episodes. In cases when the spirit is projected into the physical world realm the etheric body is the form we use. Without a form the projected presence may be an emotional, mental or astral body. If the spirit is projected into an astral realm or higher, then one may see and interact with other spirits, who have died, or we encroached onto their planes. There is no danger in OBE. One can always return to the body by moving some parts of the body, e.g. wiggle one’s toe. It is almost impossible for other spirits to enter our physical bodies while we are experiencing an OBE. There is a psychological guard and the powerful silver cord will protect our physical. While in a higher realm there is a possibility to travel forward and backward in time, as there is no time-space conditioning in those realms.

References
1. J.H. Brennan. Discover Astral Projection. The Aquarian Press. 1989. 2. Celia Green. Out-of-the-Body Experiences. Institute of Psychophysical Research. Oxford 1968. 3. Robert A. Monroe. Journeys Out of the Body. Doubleday. 1971. 4. Robert A. Monroe. Far Journeys. Doubleday. 1985. 5. Robert A. Monroe. Ultimate Journey. Doubleday. 1994 6. Waldo Viera, M.D. Projections of the Consciousness. International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology. 1997.

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Perchance to Dream.
"To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; for in the sleep of death what dreams may come. When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause." William Shakespeare (Hamlet) All of us dream. When someone says he or she does not dream, it is due the fact that he or she does not remember the dream. On the average an individual sleeps about 8 hours per 24 hours, i.e. he sleeps away one-third of his life. If he were 60 years of age, he would have slept for 20 years of his life. If he were 90 years old, he would have slept for 30 years in that life. Every night we dream about 2 hours in our 8-hour stretch of sleep, but we can only remember snatches of our dreams. On the whole, in one life time one sleeps about 5 to 6 years of that life.

Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
Sleep may be divided into two types: SWS and REM. The former (SWS) is named thus because the brain waves during this stage are large and slow. SWS is divided into 4 stages. The EEG (Electro-encephalogram) machine measures brain waves. At the start of sleep, stage one is registered, which is characterised by slow eye-rolling movements, a loss of alpha brain waves, and a lessening of muscle tone. Stage 2 is defined as comprising of a low voltage EEG, with mixed slow frequencies. A young healthy adult would have reached Stage 2 within 20 minutes of going to sleep. From now onwards, the sleep is deepened with larger and persistent slow waves dominating the EEG record. As far as deep SWS is concerned, the greater the amplitude and the slower the frequency, the deeper the sleep. Stages 3 and 4 are more synchronised and of higher voltages. Stage 3 is defined as having 20% to 50% slow waves of a certain amplitude, and stage 4 has over 50%. It is conventional to regard all the 4 stages as being slow wave sleep in contrast to REM sleep.

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At the beginning, most normal people start with SWS until at least 45 minutes later when REM sleep begins. After this, there is an alternation between REM and SWS sleep, with REM arising out of SWS every 90 minutes. REM sleep is characterised by jerky eye movements (noticed beneath the eyelids) and total paralysis of all muscles except those of the chest for automatic breathing. The first sign is the loss of tone of the neck and throat muscles. It is found that during this period dreaming occurs. In humans, the small muscles of the face and hands twitch sporadically, as in animals. The total body paralysis guarantees that the individual does not act out the dreams. The first REM sleep of the night lasts only a few minutes. Then as sleep continues its duration increases at each subsequent REM, until after several hours of sleep, REM sleep may last for 30 to 45 minutes. At the same time, SWS gets less and less as the night wears out. Therefore, there is some truth that most dreaming occurs in the second half the night. In REM sleep, there is penile erection in the males, and females have erect nipples, clitoral enlargement and lubricated genitals. The heart and respiratory rates become faster and irregular and the blood pressure also becomes irregular. Originally, it was thought that dreams or REM sleep was necessary for health, but now we know that this is not true. Preventing REM sleep with drugs has no bad effects on the individual. Half of the sleep in newborn babies consists of REM sleep, which may mean that this state is important in the development of babies. As animals also exhibit REM sleep, it is quite safe to assume that animals do dream as well. Dreams in REM sleep are more dramatic and exciting, whilst those in non-REM (SWS) sleep are calmer and less stimulating. There is no muscular paralysis in SWS, and breathing is slow and abdominal. Sleep walking, sleep-talking, bed-wetting and teeth grinding are all performed during SWS. Sometimes when one wakes up from a REM sleep one finds that one is still totally paralysed. All forms of movements with the large muscles are not possible. The best way to stimulate the muscles to come to life again is to move the small muscles of the face e.g. make a grimace. In this way the movement of the small muscles will lead to the recovery of the large muscles.

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Nightmares
Nightmares are normally emotional in flavour and the subject matter is of secondary importance. The emotions are fear, guilt and horror in varying proportions and the dream ends in the subject waking up. About one in 20 people suffer from nightmares once a week. That means several millions of people in the world have nightmares every night. The worst sufferers may have one episode per night, sometimes more. To some the disorder is so extreme that they dare not go to sleep at night and few even tended to be suicidal. Nightmares maybe the cause of some fatalities during sleep. Some of them wake up breathing rapidly with an increased pulse rate and sweating profusely. Some of them may be yelling themselves awake. Therefore someone with an underlying heart disorder could easily die in this nightmare. There are two types of nightmares. The first variety consists of only 4%, and is found in SWS. These mostly occur within the first one and a halfhour of sleep. There are no preceding physiological signs. The individual wakes up screaming with panic and terror. Then the heart and respiratory rates are seen to rise right away after that. Most of these people do not remember their nightmares the next morning. Some experts believe that this type of nightmare is due to a disturbance of the arousal system in the brain. Sometimes a noise can precipitate an episode. Witnessing some violence in their homes during childhood has traumatised some of these sufferers, and thus remains the cause of the nightmares. These SWS nightmares are sometimes called ‘night terrors’ and are common in children. They are quite often not accompanied by visual images or a story. The other type of nightmares is really anxiety dreams and they occur during REM sleep. They are by far the commonest. These are inevitably preceded by physiological signs e.g. increased respiratory and heart rates and rapid eye movement. Most of them cannot move due to muscle paralysis, and they are unable to shout out. Some scientists believe that this is the real cause of those who profess to be pressed by spirits in a haunted room. These REM nightmares are horrifying and the images in the stories are seen in gruesome details, quite often in colour. Some of these are recurrent. Dr. Keith Hearne made a survey of 39 nightmare sufferers. Most of them

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were women, but this female bias may be due to the fact that males generally do not want to relate their nightmares to others. The age of onset is usually the first 10 years of life. Six out of 10 said that trauma had preceded the onset. Nine out of 10 in this group reported that the nightmares recur some or all the time. It is interesting in the fact that REM nightmares happen during the first half of the night, when REM sleep is more prevalent during the second half of the night. There is evidence that nightmares occur more frequently in anxious people, and the pre-sleep level of anxiety is an important baseline. In sufferers of recurrent nightmares, the anticipation of another nightmare would lower the threshold even more. Conversely, any remedy to calm the individual before sleep either by medication or meditation would lesson the likelihood of another nightmare recurring. The 38 nightmare themes in the above survey are classified thus: 1. Witnessing horror and violence 2. Experiencing attack or danger 3. Flight from someone or something 4. Sinister presence 5. Being late and frustrated in travel 6.Suffocation 7. Hallucinating creatures 8.Paralysis 12 11 5 5 2 1 1 1 Total 38 Themes 4,6,7,and 8 are the reasons why dream workers do not believe these episodes are due to spirits or ghosts pressing upon the sufferer. From the above themes, it can be seen that most of them are either receiving or witnessing violence. As it turns out the contents of the dream are not as vital as the emotional makeup of the sufferers. Analysing their characters, they are principally (a) affected by feelings, (b) apprehensive, (c) tense, (d) undisciplined, and (e) self-sufficient. These anxious people have nightmares because their threshold is low. And any subject in their dreams could trigger a nightmare, which is enacted to fit the tense, apprehensive and emotional character of the sufferers. Therefore one can tell

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oneself daily prior to sleep ‘to remain calm and relax’ as it is ‘only a dream’. These are also prescribed as imagination exercises daily while one is awake. Another method is to get oneself awaken up just before each nightmare arises by some one else or by a ‘dream machine’, which sets out an alarm at a certain respiratory rate. All nightmares are there to remind us of some urgent business to be resolved. Therefore, instead of waking up in the nightmare, stand steadfast and find out who or what really is the terror. Then ask the creature or the monster what he wants. Normally when confronted this way, the creature changes to be a much nicer personality, and the message will be delivered in a direct or symbolic way, like ‘give up drinking or smoking’ or ‘you are gambling your fortune away in the stock market’. A case of lucid dreaming mentioned in Jeremy Taylor’s book, ‘Where People Fly And Water Runs Uphill’ is very illustrative: "A man was fleeing from a fiery dragon in a scorched and smoldering landscape. While running, he suddenly realised that he was dreaming (i.e. lucid dreaming). So he turned around to face the dragon and demanded the reason why the dragon was chasing him all over the place. The dragon replied " I am your smoking addiction". At the moment of this realisation the fire-breathing dragon began to change into a charming, friendly, family dog. Thereupon, he also noticed that the dragon was covered by a nasty, sticky brown slime, and noxious smoke was oozing out from every orifice including underneath the scales. He was revolted by this repulsive odour coming from the dragon. He then said: "Get away from me! I no longer want you in my life". At awakening, the dreamer could give up smoking straightaway without the slightest difficulty. He never smoked since."

The Nature and Characteristics of Dreaming
What is the actual duration of a REM dream? It is fairly prevalent to believe that dreams represent a time warp, in that it is fleetingly short at the end of each period of sleep. However, in the dream laboratory it was found that the period of dreaming corresponds very well with the period of the REM. Waking up the subjects at various

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intervals and asking them to describe their dreams confirms this. The researchers found that the longer the dream the more words are used to describe the dream. The number of words is proportionate to the length of the dream. Also, a spray of cold water is used at varying intervals on the subjects who are woken up at varying intervals of the dream. Here again, the subjects would dream of water in their dreams, which corresponds to the timing of the spray. However, there are experts who still believe that the duration of the dream is shorter than the story that has transpired. Does Everyone Dream? There are people who say that they definitely do not dream at night. However, when they are studied in the dream laboratory, these individuals do dream, but they forget them very easily. When woken up during REM periods, they confess that they do dream. When woken up after the REM period, they remember much less of their dreams than normal dreamers. In the morning when they finally wake up for good, they do not remember any dreams at all! Forgetting of Dreams Unless we are woken up during REM sleep and asked to specifically remember our dreams, we normally tend to forget our dreams, especially the earlier REM dreams. Those that spontaneously remember dreams in the mornings only remember the most recent ones. So every night most of the earlier REM and the non-REM dreams are forgotten in the morning. Why is this so? This is because dreams are not stored in the brain like normal wakeful events. This is the crux of the matter. In order to retain dream events, at awakening, one must not move or look at the clock or do something to shake off the dream. The same position is held with eyes shut and one must re-enter the dream scene in a systematic method. Dreams are normally illogical, chaotic and unmemorable, and therefore not startling enough to be retained. A frightening nightmare is a different story altogether, because we are woken up by the nightmare at that moment. Even when woken up during a REM dream, some time must be allowed for that dream to be stored in the brain. Otherwise it is very quickly forgotten. The Colour of Our Dreams When questioned about colour in their dreams during the day, about half

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would answer that they dream in colour. When awaken up during a REM dream, the percentage goes up to 70%. On further questioning, another 13% vaguely remember colour in their dreams. The theme of a dream is always the predominant feature and the colour element is glossed over. Therefore, we generally dream in colour, but this aspect of the dream is forgotten. Other Features of REM Dreams: 1. The movements of the eye are not scanning the images of the dream. They are merely automatic movements, and we do not dream throughout the period of REM. 2. Deprivation of sleep per se and not prevention of dreaming will produce some psychological distress. Dreaming, however, may have a function of resolving emotional conflicts. 3. We do dream during SWS (i.e. non-REM), but the incidence is much less. Primary process thinking and illogical stories are also carried out throughout the night’s sleep. 4. External stimuli (like cold due to falling of blankets or water sprayed) and internal stimuli (like hunger and thirst) do get incorporated into the themes of dreams. When one is cold in actual fact, the individual dreams of being in the arctic. When one is hungry, the dream will be about eating a wondrous feast. When water is sprayed on them, they dream of rain. Dream Recall (How to keep a Dream Journal) In order to work on your dreams, you must learn and practice how to recall, capture and write them down. Although we dream about 4 to 5 times per night, it is usually the last dream that we remember. The following steps are suggestions for you to take: 1. Keep a notebook or a small tape recorder beside your bed. It is better to have a notebook, because you still need to transcribe your tape recordings to the notebook at a later date. 2. Before you sleep, put down the date and one or two lines of the eventful incidents of the day. 3. In your mind, have the intention of remembering your dreams for the night, and instruct this intention to yourself either aloud or in silence. 4. Do not use an alarm if you can. If you have to use one, use a buzzer

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rather than a radio. Do not wake up fully. Lie still in that twilight zone with the eyes shut. Stay in the same sleeping position and try and remember as many details as you can of that last dream. Take your time, and do not think of anything else like office or shopping. After the first dream, try to remember the ones before that. 5. Try and write down your dreams while still in bed. If you do not remember any dream, identify your mood, and merely jot down your moods. Use a penlight if it is dark. 6. Give a heading to your dream. Try and capture as many details as you can, including names, places, periods and phrases. Always write down any quotations, phrases or poems first. 7. Do not censor or interpret your dreams. Be as outspoken and as outrageous as the dream. Do not worry how bizarre or ridiculous is the dream. Put down all the mundane or humdrum details down. Colour of the dresses and houses and the state of disrepair of the homes are all noted meticulously. 8. Feelings and physical sensations. Pay attention to your feelings and body sensations. Fit the feelings to the images, and enquire as to what the physical sensations are in relation to the story line. 9. If you cannot recollect a dream, just stay put in bed for awhile. Slowly move from one position to another and a strand or fiber of the dream may arise, and from there you can recollect your dream. 10. Even if there is no dream, write down your thoughts, sensations, and physical feelings, and in this process something may turn up. Certain periods of the month may be conducive to dreaming and certain hormonal levels (e.g. menstruation) may be inhibitory to dreaming. Julius Nelson found that his rise and fall of his dream recall varied with the lunar month. Similarly, women recall much less during the menstrual period than in the mid-cycle. 11. Read your dream journal periodically, or share some of the dreams with either a partner or a group. The journal must be frequently made use of. 12. You do not have to register a dream every day. If you can write down 2 to 3 dreams per week you are doing fine. However if you are serious about recording your dreams, a good dreamer should be able to record 600 to 900 dreams per year.

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Additional points to remember when keeping a dream journal:
1. Find a notebook that allows of some comments to be added on one side of the book. 2. Keep your journal in a safe place and well guarded, so that nobody is allowed to read it. 3. Index your dream theme. 4. Note recurring theme and locality. Lateness, trains, being pursued etc. 5. Are your dreams precognitive? Tie up any relationship of the dream to external events. 6. Does your dream overlap? Does any other person share the same dreamscape as you? 7. Draw as many diagrams and pictures as possible in your journal. 8. Re-entry into the dream. If for some reason one wants to clear up some points, like the location of the dream, or to clarify some teachings, one could go back to the dream after being wide awake for some time. Lie down on the bed as in falling asleep, then pick up a scene of the dream and let your consciousness flow back into that dreamscape. Once you are back in the dream, you are able to concentrate on the details that you have missed out in the first instance. The location, the message, or the exact words that have been used can all be retraced in detail. If possible, a Shamanic drum may be used to re-enter your dream. Sometimes, one can change the ending of a dream with a reentry. Rarely, one maybe able to make amends with our adversaries, if they turn up in our dreams. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. In chapter one of Jeremy Taylor’s excellent book called "Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill" he enumerates and discusses ten basic assumptions in dreams. We will now run through eight of these assumptions. 1. All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. This means that there is no such thing as a bad dream. Even nightmares are there to rudely awaken you for you to pay attention to a truth that you have been ignoring. Any dream that can be remembered is of value. 2. No dream comes to tell you what you already know. Even if you know the fact, the dream is there to remind you to move further along that path

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for growth and development. Sometimes you may know a truth, but the dream comes up to remind you to act on it. 3. Only the dreamer can say for certainty what meanings the dreams may hold. All the experts in the world may suggest meanings in your dreams, but the dreamer is the only one that can be right all the time, if he or she takes the time and care to interpret the dreams. 4. The dreamer’s ‘aha’ of recognition is a function of previously unconscious memory and is the only reliable touchstone of dream work. The dreamer himself is the only one that can remember consciously the insight of the levels of meanings, which are there unconsciously from the beginning. All dreams have multiple meanings and layers of significance. There is no such thing as a dream has only one meaning. The dream’s multiplicity of truths about one’s life can be dissected out if required. Every interpretation of a dream is incomplete on its own. 5. All dreams speak a universal language of metaphor and symbol at the archetypal level. This universal language of dream cuts across all racial, sexual, intellectual and social barriers. Everyone speaks the same dream language. 6. All dreams reflect inborn creativity and ability to face and solve life’s problems. Dreams are workshops of evolution. Our dreams are our aspirations of our future. Our hypocrisy and our lies about ourselves are all mirrored in our dreams, and it is from this point of facing the truth that we can start our new lives. 7. All dreams reflect society as a whole, as well as the dreamer’s relationship to it. 8. Working with dreams in voluntary groups builds community, intimacy, support and understanding. The above 8 points are truly pearls of wisdom from a dream expert who has been called ‘the most experienced and insightful explorer of the dream world today’. Much more time can be spent in analysing and discussing these points, but space does not allow it. However, another dream from Jeremy’s Taylor book is most illustrative of points (1), (3), (4), and (5). I quote the dream of a lady in an ‘empty nest syndrome’ in toto: "I am alone in the kitchen. I hear the sounds of a party going on down in my basement. I think to myself, ‘There haven’t any impromptu parties in my basement since my kids lived at home. What’s going on down there!’

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I go down to the basement and see all these people standing around talking and drinking, but now I can’t hear anything----it’s as though I have gone deaf! I move around and it is as though I have turned into a ghost---no one seems to be able see or hear me. I realize that I am carrying my handbag now. I didn’t have it with me before, but now I have it. And I know that there is a piece of rotting meat inside the bag, and I am afraid to open it up for fear the smell will offend everyone. So I wander around in the basement feeling more and more anxious and frustrated and hopeless until I finally wake up in a sweat." The dream group that she attends came to the interpretation that the ‘rotting meat’ is a cancer, the basement suggests the lower abdomen and the handbag localising it to the uterus. The prognosis is ominous because ‘she is turned into a ghost’. Although physically she felt fine, she went and did a Pap smear, which turned out to be normal. Her anxiety was not relieved and she got a specialist to do a sonogram (ultrasound) and this test found a thickening of the lining of the uterus, which on biopsy was diagnosed to be an aggressive cancer. Urgent surgery was performed and her condition was cured. She was due to go to Europe for a holiday. If she had not had the operation immediately, it would have been too late after the European holiday.

Lucid Dreaming
Hervey de Saint-Denys coined the phrase " lucid dream" in 1865 when he found that he was able to ‘dream on, knowing he was dreaming’. Lucid dreaming is when you are aware that you are dreaming while dreaming. Whilst normal dreaming is when you realise you have been dreaming only after you wake up. In lucid dreaming, you are watching yourself lying in bed and dreaming. You also know what you are dreaming. The awareness of you lying there dreaming and about yourself in the dream may shift back and forth. You may at some stage go solely into your dream and lose the lucidity of knowing yourself dreaming. Robert Moss prefers the name ‘Conscious Dreaming’, because the name Lucid Dreaming has been associated with one’s ability to control dreams. Nobody can control dreams, but one may influence dreams when in Lucid Dreaming. Moss also does not like the methods suggested to induce Lucid Dreaming, like looking at your hands during a dream, and keep remind-

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ing oneself that tonight one is going to be lucid. These methods according to him are not watertight. The best way to be lucid in dreaming is to realise at that moment that we are flying or changing shapes or squeezing ourselves into keyholes. When these fantastic scenes are realised, then one can be spontaneously aware that we are dreaming. Sometimes a noise may provoke us into lucidity: a telephone ringing, a doorbell or a voice. Once you learn about lucid dreaming and have a desire to experience it, you may struggle to be conscious while dreaming. One can acquire the skill to lucid dreaming. Whilst dreaming, one must hold on to the awareness of dreaming. This awareness must be held tenaciously, or else you return back to uncontrolled ordinary dreaming. Therefore, do not relax. There is much joy in maintaining this lucidity. A pre-lucid state is one that you suspect that you are dreaming. Then you test this state to find out whether you are dreaming or not. Once the test confirms that you are dreaming, you can push it into lucid dreaming. It takes time to induce lucid dreaming. It needs practice. Sometimes in a nightmare, you realize that you are only dreaming and that usually wakes you up. However if you realize that ‘as it is only a dream, it cannot really hurt you’, you may convert the nightmare into a lucid dream. When you become lucid during a nightmare, do not awaken, as there is no terror anymore. Continue the nightmare as a changed lucid dream. Another method is to recognise the dreamlike quality of your dream, and this will make it lucid. There should not be any emotional stress in this recognition. Also try to see any incongruity in your dream. This may trigger lucidity. What is the nature of lucid dreaming? It is much more realistic than ordinary dreams. Animals and objects rarely speak as in ordinary dreams. Your body rarely changes form in lucid dreaming. Although lucid dreams are exceptionally real, miracles do happen, e.g. flying, changing environment and travelling to distant places at an instant. Perceptions are vivid. The colours are very lifelike. All the other sensations like sounds, tastes, odours, etc are very real. The physical feel, the psychological attitudes and perceptions are all like waking life. The thought processes are not as sharp as in waking life, but sharper than ordinary dreams. When awake, the memory of a lucid dream is very clear. It is much more easily recalled than

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an ordinary dream, as it has generated much excitement. The whole range of emotions is present in lucid dreaming, but the dreamer usually remains calm in a lucid dream. Do not allow excitement to wake you up in a lucid dream. Two phenomena are usually associated with lucid dreaming. These are (1) false awakening and (2) flying. A false awakening is a state in which the dreamer is still dreaming, but he thinks he is awake. This state may follow a lucid dream or a non-lucid dream. When he finally wakes up he would realize that it was a dream after all. Flying dreams quite often precede lucid dreams, and lucid dreamers have many more flying dreams than ordinary dreamers do. Nearly 40% of students in Kentucky and Tokyo experience flying in their normal dreams. Psychiatric patients have a lower percentage of flying on their dreams. Perhaps, they do not want to be thought that they are crazy. Usually flying dreams are a prelude to lucid dreaming. One can also learn to fly in one’s dreams, and after the first successful attempt, flying becomes easier the next time around. Gliding a few inches above ground is another distinct possibility and this is considered flying. One advice to dreamers is to talk about flying and lucid dreams intently for a few days. Concentrating your thoughts on these subjects may bring about flying and lucid dreaming very soon. With this method unpleasant dreams may be changed to pleasant ones. Lucid dreams normally occur between 5:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. after a good stretch of restful sleep. Some observe that their flying dreams usually are the last dreams of the night. That means flying and lucid dreaming tend to coincide during this period of late morning sleep. Meditation and lucid dreaming: The meditator is conscious throughout the period of his meditation. When he meditates down to theta wave, dreamlets and dreams begin to appear. Even when he goes deeper into delta wave, he is conscious and aware all the time. That means when his body is asleep, his mind is still conscious and aware. In contrast to normal sleep, in which the dreamer tries to become conscious while dreaming. The meditator never loses consciousness throughout the period of meditation. The dreams come during theta wave, which is equivalent to

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R.E.M. sleep. The yogin then can change his lucid dream while meditating. He can explore anywhere he likes. He can heal patients miles away with his powerful distant healing. When he wakes up from his meditation, he remembers every detail of lucid dream in his meditation. That means he can be conscious in his waking period, in his meditative dreams and remain in the same consciousness after meditation with full memory of what has transpired. It also follows that as you progress in your one-pointed meditation, you will also progress in your lucid dreaming. This is especially so when one can separate a watcher in our meditation and remain detached to the events occurring in the dreams. Do not be excited, and do not fear any image that arises in the dreams. Be fearless and calm. Be detached and equanimous. With repeated successful experiences, the meditator will grow spiritually rapidly.

What are the advantages of lucid dreaming?
1. Firstly it makes us more aware of our thoughts and emotions. Being more conscious in dreams means we are more conscious in life. So the first benefit is the expansion of our consciousness. 2. Secondly, one is more likely to be able to enter a higher spirit realm and move forward and backward in time. 3. An experienced lucid dreamer is then able to see the multidimensionality of his consciousness. He is then able to move up to level 4 and then whisk down to level 2 with expediency. During all this time he is aware of these higher spiritual realms. This feat alone will enhance his spiritual growth greatly. 4. A healing process may be expedited with or without the help of guides. In this high spiritual state, any disease can be healed in accordance with his karma. 5. Shared dreams will now be a possibility. ‘Dream date’ may also be pursued with the connivance of a partner. 6. Lucid dreaming is also most valuable in the instruction of life after death. Most religions teach that our entire life is to teach us about how to die. The bardo states in the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’ is the book par excellence to depict life after death through lucid dreams by Tibetan monks. In other words, lucid dreaming is to relate to us what is life after death. Sleep is a little death, and lucid dreaming is witnessing life after death. 7. Lastly, with lucid dreaming, the process of out-of-body experience

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becomes second nature and one does not have to learn specifically to achieve OBE. An experienced lucid dreamer may actually see his etheric or astral body (dream body) moving out of his physical body, and then he is able to see his dream body move to higher realms. There is no fear involved. It is an instructive viewing. With all the above benefits, it is still a rare occurrence for someone to experience a lucid dream, even though he has done it before many times. If one were to make a study of dreams meticulously and in detail, one can definitely conclude that we cannot totally control our dreams or radically change our dreams. However, we can influence our dreams. A great lesson arising from the study of dreams will tell us that our dreams are messages from our collective unconsciousness to our waking consciousness. If, therefore one does not register our recollections of our dreams we are missing important lessons for our spiritual development. Remember that ‘all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness’. Our deep unconscious knows that we are going the wrong path and our habits may shorten our lives. So a series of recurrent dreams will emerge to remind us of our folly. If we do not recall our dreams to obtain the message, a nightmare will then arise literally to wake us up. These messages cry out ‘stop your bad habit’ and ‘what you are doing is very wrong’ etc. And if you are not aware of these warnings from your dreams, then the harmful or fatal outcome will eventually come to pass. One could really conclude that dreams and nightmares are guidance, warnings and lessons from our higher self or guides.

Guidelines for interpreting dreams
1. Description of the dream. Write down as detailed as possible all the elements of your dream. Particularly note the (a) settings, (b) people and animals, (c) objects, (d) feelings, (e) actions in the dream and (f) a diagram would help a great deal. 2. Recapitulate the whole dream using the dreamer’s own words. Edit a little to bring out the main theme of the story. The words used may sometimes trigger the meaning of the image and theme of the description. 3. Bridge the images to specific situations in the dreamer’s own life. Does the theme remind you of anything or anyone in your life? Does it remind you of any part of yourself ?

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4. Test your bridge. In what way does the dream element relate to his waking life? Is the match strong? If the match is weak, drop the bridge. Look for another match. 5. Summarise the descriptions and bridges at the end of each scene. Add thoughts to the summary, and it is here that the meaning of the dream may come to light. 6. Reflect. What changes or actions should the dreamer take in view of the lessons learnt from his or her dreams? Read the dreams of the past week 2 or 3 times so as to consolidate the lessons or insights. Then act on them. Dream dictionaries on the whole are next to useless. One cannot expect one interpretation of a theme to fit all individuals. A person’s dream is symbolic and metaphoric to that person alone. The dream comes in the wake of the person’s own term of reference, his background, emotional makeup and his existing circumstances. No two persons have the same set of emotional background and circumstances at the same time. If one is lazy and does not want to follow the above 6 guidelines for interpretation, one may buy 6 or more dream dictionaries and refer to every one of them to find out which dictionary gives the nearest interpretation to a particular theme. This is a hit-and-run method and could be quite misleading. Personal Dream: A good example of how symbolic is a person’s dream to the dreamer himself is exemplified by a dream of my own. In my dream, I am attending a funfair. The man manning the entrance and selling the entrance tickets was an anesthetist, a friend of mine. I asked him what was the cost of a ticket. He answered $2. So I dished out four 50-cent coins to him. This unusual form of payment went unnoticed by me. A ticket was then issued to me. It had a number ‘389’ on it. On awakening, I tried to conjure up a 4th digit to buy a 4-digit lottery with the numbers 3,8, and 9. My brother and I assembled several 4-digits with the ticket number, ‘389’. We then bought these 4-digits, but we were totally unsuccessful. In turns out that the 1st prize 4-D ticket number was ‘5555.’ This is my four 50-cent coins payment towards the $2 ticket into the fair!

References
1. Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. John Strachey. New York: Avon, 1965.

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2. Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Ed.Aniela Jaffe. Trans. Richard Winston and Clara Winston. New York: Vintage, 1965. 3. Jung, C.G. Dreams. Trans. By R.F.C.Hull. ARK Paperbacks, 1995. 4. Garfield, Patricia. Creative Dreaming. New York: Ballantine, 1976. 5. Empson, Jacob. Sleep and Dreaming. Faber and Faber Limited. London: 1989. 6. Hearne Keith. The Dream Machine. The Aquarian Press. 1990. 7. Taylor, Jeremy. Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill. New York: Warner, 1993. 8. Moss, Robert. Conscious Dreaming. Three Rivers Press. New York: 1996. 9. Moss, Robert. Dreamgates. Three Rivers Press. New York: 1998. 10. Delaney, Gayle. In your Dreams. Harper Collins. New York: 1997.

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Healing the Subtle Bodies, the Body and the Mind
Doctoring the Spirit, Healing The Body.
What's a former pathologist doing teaching Buddhist meditation? Dr Tan Kheng Khoo is an unusual man. He spent nearly 30 years examining dead bodies, before giving it all up to teach meditation. Today, he is one of Singapore's most famous meditation teachers, counting among his students, BG Lee Hsien Loong. Dr Tan's move from science to spirituality did not happen overnight. He practised at Singapore General Hospital, then ran his own lab for 14 years. He had already been meditating for 10 years, and was gaining prominence as a lay meditation teacher, when he left his lab in 1985 to teach meditation full-time. Along the way, he also studied at the College of Psychic Studies in London and even visited an abbot in the Thai jungles for advice. Dr Tan also heals people through esoteric methods like "energy channeling." His public lectures, at places such as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, are packed with hundreds of people. Peppering his conversation with words like "chakra," "prana" and "spirit guides," the former pathologist gives his views on the relevance of meditation in Singapore.

On Meditation.
Q: How is meditation relevant to people's everyday lives? A: When meditation is taught correctly, the person would not be as

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stressed as before. His health will improve, and at a much later date the whole personality would remain calm and tranquil. Then there will be less anger, but the most important change would be transformation of character. The best transformation is to "let go". Q: Why have you devoted your life to teaching this? A: Having seen Singaporeans so stressed up, and their goal in life being basically materialistic, I do not believe that Singaporeans should suffer so much. Their main aim is to achieve the 5 C's (cars, condominiums, clubs, credit cards and careers). The stress accrued in pursuing this goal is too tremendous. I believe that we are seeing much more cancers today than 30 years ago, and I believe that this is stress-related. Q: Do you find that interest in meditation is growing in Singapore? A: Yes, interest in meditation has certainly grown a great deal. This is because Singaporeans know that they are very stressed, and they have already resorted to tranquilizers and exercise, but to no avail. Tranquilizers are of temporary effect and also the person loses his clarity in awareness. He does not want to behave like a zombie everyday. A stressed person, also, is rather lethargic and therefore exercise is an uphill battle. So it boils down to a daily routine of meditation, which will definitely benefit the patient in many ways. Raymond is the man who looks after my courses in the Buddhist Library for seven years. He noticed that students would turn up very agitated and stressed out in their first year. However after two to three years they would calmly walk in and sit quietly for their meditation classes. The change is very noticeable. Q: Some of the topics you cover, such as "cosmic energy," "soul mates," and "spirit guides" seem very far out. What do these have to do with meditation"? A: If I were to give 10 lectures on pure meditation alone, I think the crowd will quickly dwindle to a fraction of my present numbers. Because I talk about spirit guides, soul mates, karma and reincarnation, these topics grab them, and this is how the hall gets filled up. I insist that they meditate everyday for 12 weeks. This is how I force them to meditate for at least 3 months with me. Q: But shouldn't people learn meditation purely for meditation, and not

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because of these sensational type of topics? A: It is not really sensational. My topics pertain to the science of the spirit, and this is one thing we know very little about, even amongst priests and monks. So I am teaching them to be acquainted with the spirit world. We're spirit first and body second. Q: Why is that important to know? A: Because when we die, we leave this corpse behind. After 70 or 80 years, we go home to the spirit world as a spirit. Singaporeans must know this. Most people on earth believe that they are wholly this body only, and nothing else. If they believe in spirits, it is mainly associated with ghosts, and that is wrong. We are always spirit first. Q: So why are we here? A: We are here to learn. And what do we learn? At the end, we learn how to love. In order to learn how to love, you've got to have enough wisdom to let go. Otherwise you'll be selfishly loving only yourself. And even then, the majority of people do not know how to love themselves. After many incarnations, when you are enlightened, the only thing you can take back is love. Of course, on the way, you would have accumulated wisdom and total humility. This process of purification must include service and charity. That is why I interpret "Anatta" of Theravada Buddhism as selflessness and not "no self". You service other people with your altruistic acts until you are selfless.

On Healing.
Q: What kind of healing work do you do? A: Just channeling of cosmic energy down to the patient. I open up the chakras (energy centres in the body) from the sixth (located in the forehead) to the third (located in the abdomen). Then I place my hands on the troubled spot for a period of time lungs, stomach, brain etc. I am able to help one-third of the patients completely. One-third, I am unable to help at all. The remaining one-third, I am able to alleviate their pain, suffering or disease, but not eradicate it completely. Most of my patients have been through Western medicine, and these doctors have already told them to go home to make a will. The best disease for healing is an auto-immune disease, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and multiple sclerosis, etc.

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Q: How would you explain "channeling cosmic energy" and "opening of the chakras?" For those not familiar with it, it sounds kind of strange. A: The sanskrit word for cosmic energy is ‘prana’. The Western word for it is ‘orgone’, and this is the same as ‘waiqi’. If you focus your eyes on the sky on a bright day, you will see numerous white spots, some with black dots in their centers. They swish about as in ballet dancing, but they appear and disappear very fast, in a matter of seconds. All these pranic spots are in constant movement and they come and go rapidly. We absorb this prana every moment of our life through our seven chakras. If we stop absorbing prana, we die very quickly. Take for instance, a case of stomach cancer, the patient’s third chakra at the solar plexus is blocked. I put my hands on the solar plexus, and prana will be channeled into the stomach area to unblock it. Q: How exactly do you siphon the qi or prana ? A: By putting my hands on the patient. Prana goes through my seventh (crown of the head), sixth, fifth (throat) and fourth (heart) chakras and thence into my arms and hands. I then put my hands, bristling with qi onto the patient. Try it for yourself—feel the warmth or heat of your palms. After one to two minutes, my face will be red after the laying of my hands. This is because the patients absorb only 50% to 70% of the prana, the remaining 30% is left within me. After I finish healing, the redness will automatically disappear. By laying the hands, I am turning on the tap. After that, I don’t have to concentrate at all. I can talk or think of various things, the waiqi will still continue to flow through. One does not need any prayer or rituals. However there is another category of healing which is called ‘distant healing’. Tn this practice, you merely visualise the patient’s face and send him white light to that organ or the area of disease. In this instance, the healer must be able to concentrate and visualise. Many patients have been helped this way. Q: Can you give me some examples of patients that you’ve healed or treated? A: There is one lady who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. This dis-

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ease is not very nice. There are multiple plugs of fibrous tissue in the brain and spinal cord. These plugs cause pain, blindness and paralysis, culminating in total incapacity. It continues as a slow and debilitating death. After my healing, the neuro-physician pronounced her completely cured. Perhaps he should not have said that.

On Letting Go & The Five "C"s...
Q: You emphasise the importance of "letting go" for patients? A: Yes. To everybody, not only to patients. But they must let go of numerous things. Firstly, material things. Secondly, relationships. Thirdly, ego and status. Then one must also let go of concepts, beliefs, one’s historical background, heritage and religion. It does not mean that we merely erase our memory of all these concepts. We must not be attached to them. The first pursuit amongst Singaporeans is the five Cs. When they get these, they are supposed to have settled down to a soft life. However, after achieving the five Cs, they have to maintain that status, and this stresses them. Relationship is different. In this case, emotional feeling reinforces the attachment, and that can be very tenacious and intractable. The other party is not inanimate and therefore may further strengthen the attachment so that it is so much more difficult to let go. Q: But why is that damaging? A: It is damaging to the extent of losing sight of your goal.! same time, if you are too indulgent and drowning your children with money and other material things, you spoil them. children will finally not be able to stand on their own feet..This is disastrous. Q: Is it possible to let go and still have all the five Cs? A: Yes. You can have all this stuff, if you are not attached.

New Harmony on Earth
Q: In your talks, you mention that we are entering the "Aquarian Age." What exactly is it?

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A: It is one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The Age of Pisces, which started around the time of the birth of Christ, has just ended. Each period lasts about 2,100 years. We are now about to enter the Age of the Aquarius, which should really start in the year 2,001. The Piscean Age has been aptly labeled as the age of materialism. The Aquarian Age is supposed to be one of increasing harmony, understanding and spiritual growth. In last 200 to 300 years, we have already been working toward this New Age. We are now realising that our consciousness is made up of many levels, and in this Age of the Aquarius, we will be rnore inclined to reach our higher self. This explanation would mean that we will be letting go of things material. And we will search for things spiritual, and all this will lead to a more peaceful life on earth. Q: Can you elaborate more on the Aquarian Age. Will the world be more psychic, intuitive or spiritual? A: Throughout the ages, many old cultures practice psychism and its attainment has been equated with spirituality. It is not. Spirituality is the result of letting go and to be empty. Intuition is your little ‘small voice’, which can be easily heard during the silence of your meditation. The individualistic attempt at enlightenment in the Piscean Age will be replaced by groups of seekers in the Aquarian Age. As a group, we share our ideas and knowledge. We teach the others what we know. In this way it is faster and

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there is less jealousy. That is why we are going to have more harmony. There have been dire predictions of the "end of the world" at the changeover into the next millennium. Although at every changeover of an age, natural disasters occur quite frequently, I do not believe that the end of the world is nigh. When we approach 2010, things will get much better. Q: Why is that? Why 2010? A: The changeover of one age to another is never an abrupt affair. It takes years to taper the outgoing age and it takes time for the new age to get a firm foothold. Therefore we estimate that it will take roughly 10 years into the millennium before the Aquarian Age comes into its own. I don’t believe that the world is coming to an end because humans are relatively young sentient beings, who still need the earth to practise. We humans have to keep on coming back to practise until we are enlightened, and up till then, we still need the earth.

You Have a Guardian Angel
Q: Can you tell us about your "spirit guides"? A: I have two guides and one ancestor. (These were identified and drawn by a UK specialist.) One of the guides is a tall Red Indian and the other is a shorter Buddhist monk, Tibetan or Chinese. The third figure is my great-great-grandmother who is not a guide at all. She was a healer, a

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herbalist and she hangs around me, while I am healing or teaching. (My Red Indian guide) is brave and gives me courage to face anybody without fear, men of authority or ghosts, etc. And this is quite true. The monk is always behind me. He will nudge me, if I make mistakes. However, I can see my own healing guide. He is a tall man in white. A patient and my son have also seen him. He is always near the patient while I heal. He stands there calmly, helping me to heal. There is another Egyptian lady who is often seen by me. My niece and the famous clairvoyant, David Cousin, have also seen her. She has a very long mane of black hair, which stretches to her knees. She is quite beautiful. She has been with me for 3,500 years. We have both been teaching ‘spiritual growth’ for 3,500 years. She had been my mother in one incarnation, and in another, my wife. She died in her last incarnation at 35 years of age. After that, she did not have to incarnate any more. So teaching spiritual growth is nothing new to me. Q: Does everybody have a guide? A: Yes. Everybody has at least one or two. Q: Are they the same as "guardian angels"? A: Yes. They are the same. One of them is always with you.

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Auras and Chakras.
Generally speaking, according to our understanding, the universe is composed entirely of energy. Matter is merely condensed energy. Solid matter like ice can be changed easily to water (fluid) and then to the gaseous state (steam). Beyond this state there is another state, which is associated with all animate and inanimate objects: --the aura. In the human, it is called the Human Energy Field (HEF). Many properties have already been gathered about this human aura (HEF). Some of the measurements are electrostatic, magnetic, sonic, thermal and visual. However not all its properties can be measured by our inadequate laboratory equipment, because some of these qualities are spiritual in nature. One property is notably significant: the small particles of the HEF are both particulate as well as having fluid-like motion. When these charged particles move in groups, physicists call them plasmas, and these plasmas obey physical laws. Associated with these studies, the scientists found another state, a fifth state of matter, which they called bioplasma. This is the Universal Energy Field (UEF), a state more rarified than the human aura (HEF). The eyes of an ordinary human normally cannot see both these states of matter.

The Universal Energy Fields
This UEF can be seen by our naked eye of a few people only. It is composed of tiny globules of orgone (prana) making all sorts of jerky movements in the sky. To see them clearly, it is preferably sunny and the sky is blue. They appear as very tiny white balls, some of which have black spots in them. In a relaxed manner, if you concentrate hard, you may see the whole sky filled with these dancing white balls in a rhythmic pattern like an energetic ballet. Of course when the sky is cloudy, it is not easy to see them. However, in a bright day, these pranic particles pulsate in synchrony as geometric points, webs of lines, points of light and spirals of clouds. UEF, which is also called bioplasma, is a state between matter and energy. Its known properties are that it interpenetrate matter and interconnect objects, and its density varies from place to place. We can sense it by sight, smell, taste, touch, sound and brightness according to our higher senses. It is also synergistic: separate and simultaneous action from different people produces an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual effects. UEF is always producing more energy all the time, opposite to

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what we know in our physical earth where slow decay of objects is the order of the day. This explains why a good spiritual healer is never exhausted. It is always associated with consciousness is present in mineral, vegetable, animal and finally human. It is more than three-dimensional. When the UEF is associated with any object, animate or inanimate, an aura is formed. In the human it is called the Human Energy Field. The human aura (HEF) has at least seven bodies, erroneously called seven layers. These seven bodies interpenetrate the human body as well as each of the seven auric bodies. Each body is of higher vibration than the one beneath it, through which it also penetrates and surrounds. Take for instance, the etheric body interpenetrates the physical body and extends beyond the latter by one quarter to two inches. The etheric has a finer composition or a higher vibration than the physical. In turn, the emotional body has also a higher vibration than the etheric body, and it also interpenetrates the etheric and also extends beyond it. A foetus while in the womb of the mother has not a permanent spirit in its physical body. The spirit goes in and out of the foetus until it is born. When the foetal head is just out of the vaginal canal, there is no aura around the head. As soon as the shoulders are out of the canal, a weak aura starts to appear. The spirit has now to stay within the confines of the body after it is born. The baby's aura is clear, bright and is either light blue or green. It has less width than the adult aura, i.e. not so broad. At the crown the aura tapers upwards, liken to a pointed knitted ski hat. This highly suggests that the spirit enters the body through the crown, and there is still some attachment to the spirit world. Some clairvoyants can see that the baby's spirit is still playing with his spirit playmates and hankering for its spirit mother who is also present. This dichotomy can last for sometime, depending on how unwilling is the baby to incarnate. That is why infant mortality is highest within the first six months of birth. When the infant finally accepts this incarnation the ski hat is transformed to the normal rounded aura around the head. In the first six months, one can feel the non-closure of the anterior fontanelle at the crown of the baby where the 7th chakra is situated. This opening of the skull will close up when the infant has finally decided to stay in the physical world, and this corresponds to the rounding up of the

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auric ski hat. Ordinary clairvoyants can only see the first three denser bodies. However, those clairvoyants who can go into the meditative state and gaze in a relaxed manner can visualize four more bodies, each larger than the one beneath it. The 1st ,3rd,5th and 7th show a definite structured pattern, while the 2nd ,4th and 6th bodies exhibit fluid like motions without any structure. Each body is more rarified and larger than the one beneath it. All of them interpenetrate one another including the physical body. One must remember that these auras are not layers as in the onion, but bodies of irradiating vibrations associated with that particular human body occupying the same space at the same time as the physical body. The structured auras contain every organ and structure that the physical body has, e.g. lungs, kidneys etc. Each auric body is associated with a chakra. The first auric body is associated with the first chakra, and is concerned with pain and pleasure. Beside its function with physical sensation, it also deals with automatic and autonomic functions of the body. The 2nd auric body is associated with the 2nd chakra, and it is associated with the emotional aspect of humans. The 3rd body is associated with the 3rd chakra and it deals with our intellectual processes concerned with linear thinking of the left brain. The 4th body is associated with the 4th chakra of love: erotic, platonic and unconditional. The 5th body is associated with the divine will and with communication (both divine and human). The 6th body is associated with the 6th chakra, which concerns celestial love, and is way above what normal humans are capable of. The 7th is associated with the 7th chakra, and is the centre appertaining to the higher self or mind.

The Etheric Body
The 1st auric body is the etheric. The etheric body is composed of small lines of light structures, sparkling like beams. It is the matrix along which all the organs and structures of the physical body are molded on. The etheric was there before the human tissues are made. It is the 'skeleton' blue print of the physical body. These webs of light are in constant motion. It is bluish-white in color to clairvoyant eyes. They traverse throughout the whole physical body. It extends L to 2 inches beyond the physical body, and pulsates about 15-20 cycles per minute, the same rate

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as our respiratory cycle. The general color of the etheric body varies from blue to grey. The 7 chakras associated with the etheric body are also of the same color. If one can see the internal etheric organs they are seen to be of bright blue. The best part of the body to observe this aura is around the shoulders, where the aura appears to pulsate, and the pulsation seems to quickly come down the arms, but they disappear very quickly.

The Emotional Body
This 2nd body deals with feelings. It has the approximate outline of the physical body, but it does not duplicate it. It has no definite structure, and it has a fluid consistency, which is in constant motion. It interpenetrates the etheric and the physical bodies, but extends from one to three inches beyond the physical body. Its colors vary from dark muddy to brilliant clear ones. Love, joy and anger when felt with intense energy show clarity, whilst confusion and depression depicts dark and muddy hues. All colors of the rainbow are seen in this auric body with its attendant seven chakras manifesting a color each of the rainbow. Chakra 1 is colored red, chakra 2 is colored orange, chakra 3 is yellow, 4th is green, 5th chakra is blue, 6th is indigo and the 7th is white. In the emotional body itself, blobs of multi-colored substance are seen moving all over, and sometimes these blobs may even fly off the physical body. There are no proper structures in this body; neither is there any organ seen in it.

The Mental Body
This third body mainly deals with intellectual processes and mental activity. It has higher vibrations than the emotional body, and it extends 3 to 8 inches from the physical body. It is bright yellow. It enlarges and becomes brighter when the individual is thinking hard. This body is structured, and thoughts can be seen in the aura, tinted by emotional colors. These thought forms are seen in blobs varying in brightness with superimposed colors from the emotions. Well-formed ideas when developed into habitual thoughts become powerful forces to be reckoned with. The lines of yellow light are very difficult to decipher over the multi-colored emotional body beneath it.

The Astral Body
This 4th body is that of love, and once you enter into this level you are also approaching the astral world. That means you will see spirit forms of

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other individuals in this realm. So be prepared. Normally, you enter this state only when you are asleep or in meditative state. You forget what you see when you wake up from sleep. The astral body is composed of the same colors as in the emotional body, except that there is much more rose color (love) in it. It extends ? to one foot beyond the body. The 7 chakras in this body have the same colors of the rainbow as in the emotional body. Again, an infusion of rose color is seen in all of them, as in the heart chakra of a loving person. The Etheric Template Body This 5th body contains all the physical structures in template or blueprint form. It is like a photographic negative of the etheric body, which in turn is the template of the physical body. So the etheric template is the perfect form, and when the etheric is damaged, it is this 5th body that heals it back to health. It extends 1 ? to 2 ? feet from the physical body. It is at this level that healing by sound is the most effective. This body is composed of a cobalt blue background with empty lines depicting the etheric body, like an architect's blueprint. These empty spaces go to form the etheric body, from which grid structures all physical forms are molded. It includes the chakras, organs and all the other structures of the human body. In addition, one may also see other spirit forms and beings at this level of existence, besides the individual that one is studying. The Celestial Body This 6th body is at the emotional level of the spiritual plane. It extends 2 to 2 l feet from the physical body. We can only reach this level through meditation and other transformative techniques. Through meditation we arrive at this stage of ecstasy (samadhi), filled with light and bliss. This feeling of love makes us feel that we and God are one. We have reached this level of consciousness where we are purely being, and we are connected with the rest of the universe. We have now acquired unconditional love and with the spiritual bliss we now can go beyond the physical realm. We can now even heal and communicate with the spirit beings in this realm. This body is composed of shimmering pastel colors of gold and silver. It has the appearance of irradiation of mother of pearl, opalescent needles from a central bright candle.

The Causal Body (Ketheric Template)
This 7th body is the mental level of the spiritual plane, and extends 2 ? to

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3 ? feet beyond the body. At this level we are now certain that God and we are one. This body is highly structured and is composed of golden threads and silver light. It is egg shaped, and contains all the auric bodies and chakras for this incarnation. This golden egg shimmers with golden pulsations. The outer coating is a L to ? inch thick, and it is the strongest part of all the auric bodies. This eggshell protects all that it contains, preventing penetration by spiritual predators. This golden egg also contains the main power current that runs up and down the spine, and it also nourishes the whole body through the roots of all the chakras. The karma to be worked out from the past life is present as coloured bands around the head in this auric level. There are also bands depicting this life's plans (birth vision) in this golden eggshell. This causal body contains our individual Akashic records. It is called causal because it contains our true being, and it is the ultimate cause of our true Self. This body persists throughout our many lives', and is not shed like the all the other bodies (e.g. emotional and mental). It also carries over with us our samskaras (propensities and habits) and karmic attributes. So our enduring qualities like intuition, insight and wisdom are brought over from our past lives, so does our negative karma. As we develop spiritually, we become more selfaware with love and compassion culminating in self-realization, and then the realization that we are also part of God. From thence onwards we will live with only the qualities of love, compassion, wisdom and service, living in this world and yet not of this world. The auras generally extend up to 3 ? feet beyond our body, but when we are performing in a concert hall or lecturing on our favourite subject our aura can expand tremendously to even fill half the size of the hall. When one is sad or very angry the colours change as well as the size and shape of the aura. Without these extreme circumstances, the aura normally depicts the physical, emotional and mental state of the individual at that moment. The more developed clairvoyants can also see the spiritual state of the individual by looking at his higher auric bodies, the 5th, 6th and 7th. He must enter into a meditative state first. These auric bodies are in constant movement with changes in size and in color. Each auric body also has many chakras, which are centers through which prana, or vital energy is processed for the use of the physical body. Let us now go to chakra system. Each auric body has many major chakras and minor chakras. We will confine ourselves to the major chakras for the time being. The 1st auric body

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is associated with the 1st chakra, and the 2nd body with the 2nd chakra and so on. Although the chakras are located in definite areas, they are actually part of their respective auric body. That means each of the 7 auric body has 7 major chakras in its own field. Therefore there are actually 49 major chakras all told. And at each location, seven chakras are piled up on one another to make up 7 'ice cream' cones all neatly stacked. Each chakra has a front and a back component. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th frontal chakras deal with feelings, while their corresponding back components are related to the individual's will. The 1st and 7th are paired together, as they are open-ended points of the main vertical power current (sushumna) which run up and down just in front of the spine. The tips of each chakra join or connect with the main power current (sushumna), and they control the exchange of energy between the auras through that chakra. The function of the chakras is to exchange energy with the UEF, which is sucked in or blown out through these open chakras. We therefore open up slowly a particular chakra, on which we are working, because we have to deal with the consciousness that enters the chakra with the energy from the UEF. Sometimes, there is too much consciousness for us to handle. We have also to open up our chakras for an increase of energy flow to remain healthy. Ill health is usually due to a blockage or constriction of energy flow through the chakras. Each chakra is like a lotus flower with a central core surrounded by a fixed number of vortices that look like petals on the surface. For instance the base chakra has 4 vortices and is colored red. These vortices rotate at a certain speed, and the chakra sucks in prana through the central core to process. The chakras rotate progressively at a higher speed as they ascend upwards; e.g. the mental rotates faster than the astral and the etheric. The prana is broken into its component parts, which are sent along nadis to the nervous system. Nadis are internal and invisible channels along which energy travel. It is then brought to the endocrine system and then to the blood system. The latter system will then carry the prana to all parts of the body, which is then nourished by it. The chakras to be described are the ones pertaining to the etheric aura. Each chakra has a surface diameter of about 3 inches, and is placed about 1 inch away from the skin surface. From this trumpet surface the cone of the chakra narrows down to a stem whose root ends at the main power

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current just in front of the spine. From this main power current another root will travel at right angles to the back of that chakra where another duplicate funnel spout out to face the back (Fig.3 on page 63). When the prana has been utilized it will flow back to the front of the lotus flower to be washed out like used air from our lungs. The rotation of the chakras is alternately clockwise and anti-clockwise. When the sacral chakra is rotating clockwise, the solar plexus is rotating anti-clockwise. Each chakra is related to one endocrine gland, and each governs a group of internal organs. These major chakras are at the points where the energy strands cross 21 times, and they also correspond to where the major nerve plexuses are situated.

The Base Chakra (muladhara)
This root chakra is situated at the base of the spine and has four vortices of orange-red color, mainly red. The endocrine gland associated to it is the adrenal gland, and it covers the spinal column and the kidneys. When this chakra is functioning well the person is well grounded and has a strong will to live. This chakra is located at the place where the kundalini fire (female serpent) is coiled up and asleep. The 2 nadis, the ida and pingala, arise from this center and move up along the main power current which is called sushumna (see Fig.). All these 3 channels join up to the brain at the medulla oblongata, which is at the base of the brain. The sushumna is the main power current along the spine into which all the other chakras are connected with their roots. The ida and pingala crisscross back and forth at the points where the five middle chakras are situated. This interweaving gives the picture of a caduceus, which is the symbol of the healing arts: the physician. These 2 nadis are responsible for the outflow of energy. Therefore this center is linked to the will power to survive, and when the person is spiritually developed, the kundalini is awakened to rise to the crown chakra. However, the arousal of the kundalini must be meticulously guided by an expert who himself has raised his own kundalini successfully. Associated with the will to survive is the fight and flight syndrome. This is the center from which one get up to fight for one's right or one's greed. This is also the chakra where fear is manifested. In some people, during moments of acute fear, the anus can be felt to open and shut many times. One's imagination and instinct accentuate the fear, when flight appears to be the solution at that time. This is the chakra

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that wakes us up in the morning to tackle the world.

The Sacral Chakra (svadhisthana)
This chakra is situated at the sacrum or the pubic area. It has 6 vortices and is colored orange. The endocrine structures associated are the gonads, testes in the male and ovaries in the female. The organs covered are the reproductive system and the water works, e.g. bladder. This chakra also governs all the fluids like blood, urine, semen, vaginal fluid and lymph. This center of sexuality is responsible for sexual relationship and power. When blocked, there will be diseases of the sex organs and sexual malfunction. The water works department may also be affected.

The Solar Plexus (manipura)
This chakra is situated in the area of the navel, and has ten vortices. It is predominantly yellow in color, and is associated with the endocrine in the pancreas. The organs covered by this center are stomach, liver, Gall bladder and adrenals. In an emotionally sensitive person there may be colors of green and red admixed to this multicolored chakra. This center is totally affected by emotions. Thus anger, rage and hatred are generated by this center. This is also the chakra that generates stress because of personal power and desires. Consequently, the organs stomach, liver, nervous system and pancreas are most often affected after prolonged periods of stress, especially when the person cannot control his feelings. Sudden shock accompanied by fear also emanates from this center. "Butterflies in the stomach" is the usual phrase used for this condition. This is a troublesome chakra, as it drags in the other chakras in times of panic and hysteria. Repeated bouts of anger will result in a stomach ulcer, which may end up in a cancer.

The Heart Chakra (anahata)
This center is located at the center of the chest, between the shoulder blades. It is essentially green in color, and has 12 vortices. It is about 6 centimeters in diameter. When it is clear and its rhythm steady, the person's heart is in good shape. The endocrine gland associated with it is the thymus, and it also governs the heart, lungs, blood, Vagus nerve and the circulatory system. The immune system is also under its jurisdiction. This chakra has a close relationship with the 12 golden petals of the crown chakra. It is the center for love: erotic, Platonic and unconditional love. In

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erotic love, the force goes downwards; in Platonic love, it is held at the same level; and in unconditional love, it shoots upwards towards the divine. In erotic love, it travels down to the solar plexus and then further down to the sexual center. The heart center being the gateway to spirituality, when unconditional love is developed, one can then move up towards divine love. This is the reason for its connection to the 12 petals of the crown chakra. This spiritual transformation must be balanced with the wants and needs of the lower 3 chakras. That means one's personal passion and desires must be transformed to universal love and compassion.

The Throat Chakra (visuddha)
This center is situated at the front of the base of the neck. It has 16 vortices, and generally blue in color. The thyroid gland is the endocrine involved. It governs the thyroid gland, vocal apparatus, lungs and the bronchi and the alimentary tract. It is also about 6 centimeters in diameter, but it can enlarge in those people who use their vocal cords, e.g. singers and teachers. It is brighter and faster moving in singers and public speakers. As it is sensitive to sound and vibration and colors, it is also prominent in musicians and composers. This center is also connected to the brow chakra, where the music, pictures and the stories are conceptualized, and then they are vitalized at this throat center. Its linkage to the crown center also permits the person to be able to listen to its ' little small voice': messages from our spiritual guides. It is also the center of communication to humans. It is the center of judgement of self and others. When developed to a high degree clairaudience and telepathy are the fruits.

The Brow Chakra (ajna)
The brow chakra is commonly called the third eye. It is located at the center of the forehead between the eyebrows. It has 96 vortices, and is associated with the pituitary gland. It governs the lower brain, the left eye, ears, nose, and nervous system. It is very closely related to the crown center. It is generally indigo in color. However, when scrutinized closer, there are really 2 segments: one is blue, and the other rose red. This center is mainly concerned with ideas and organization. It starts with visualization and conceptualization. Then the concepts when directed downwards will enhance one's ability to organize. When directed upwards, power of clair-

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voyance is a possibility. Of course, when integrated, one's inner vision can be transformed into outer reality. This twofold nature of the brow chakra when interconnected with the throat chakra can actively bring out creative imagination into productive works of art.

The Crown Chakra (sahasrara)
This highest chakra stretches right up to about 6 centimeters like a saucer above the crown of the head. Looking from above it shows 972 petals: 12 upper, central, golden petals sitting on top of 960 secondary petals below. It is generally known as the 'thousand-petaled lotus'. All colors are seen, but the predominant color is purple. The endocrine gland involved is the pineal gland and partially the pituitary. It governs the upper brain and right eye. It is the highest seat of the soul. The quality and character of a person can be gleaned from this chakra. The expanded size, the color, the speed of rotation, the brilliance and texture etc will depict the state of consciousness of an individual and its integration with the rest of the chakras. It will also tell us about the spiritual development of the individual. The shining core usually signifies meditation practice, and how expanded is his consciousness. The ability to enjoy lucid dreaming can also be detected, as this shows that the individual's consciousness is even expanded in sleep. If the core is too elastic, then one's consciousness can vacate one's body too easily; and as in the case of a trance medium, he can be possessed at the drop of the hat. As one can see, this is a very special chakra. It is often regarded as the chakra of a higher order, and is not part of the lower six. This is the center that can open up one's consciousness to the divine, to our higher self and finally to cosmic consciousness. When this center is aligned, the lower 6 chakras are also in a good healthy state. In kundalini practice, when one is able to massage the serpent up to this center, one is said to be enlightened. That is why, most of Buddha's sculptures and paintings show him with a bulging on top of his crown: it means that his kundalini has broken through to the divine reaches.

Minor Chakras
There are 21 minor chakras distributed all over the body: 1 in front of each ear, 1 above each breast, 1 where the clavicles meet, 1 in the palm of each hand, 1 on the sole of each foot, 1 just behind each eye, 1 related to each gonad, 1 near the liver, 1 connected with the stomach, 2 connected with the spleen, 1 behind each knee, 1 near the thymus gland, and 1 near

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the solar plexus. These are about 3 inches in diameter and are 1 inch distant from the body. The 2 in the palms are very important in healing. The 2 on the breast are important when suckling the infant. These minor chakras are at the points where the energy strands cross each other 14 times. There are even smaller vortices. These are where the energy strands cross each other only 7 times, and may very well correspond to the acupuncture points of Chinese medicine.

Acknowledgement
The classification and material of this article has been extracted from "Hands of Light" by Barbara Ann Brennan. The writer is greatly indebted to Miss Barbara Ann Brennan.

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Cosmic Healing
What is cosmic healing? It is channeling of cosmic energy or prana to a patient who is sick or in pain, physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. A clairvoyant studying the patient can predict the onset of a disease three to six months before hand. He does this by looking at the auras and chakras of the patient. The healer will then pass cosmic energy or prana to the patient especially at that particular chakra, which is malfunctioning. He does this either by distant or contact healing. This is a process of channeling prana to the patient who is usually depleted of cosmic energy at that chakra, or the chakra is blocked and not functioning well. This is similar to the situation when a mother bestow upon her child when it hurts itself or has fallen sick. She heals by hugging the child or holding the child’s hand. The ingredients in cosmic healing are (1) the healer, (2) the patient (3) the venue and the (4) techniques. Of course, the most important components are invisible: these are compassion, unconditional love and the purity of the healer. Does the patient need to have faith or belief in spiritual healing? No. Patients have been healed in spite of their non-belief and having no faith in the process. I have healed many patients without their knowledge (in distant healing). However, it helps a great deal if the patient believes and has faith in this type of healing.

The Healer
The healer must first and foremost know that he is not the healer; he is merely the conduit of the prana. At this point, he must realize that egoconceit should never be allowed to surface, as conceit will block the conduit. In his desire to help he must have compassion and empathy. Common sense is the utmost requirement. As he is only the conduit, the channel must be continually purified of the five contaminants: ill will, greed, selfishness, pride and ignorance. He must be ever vigilant of these defilements, and one way of pursuing this goal is daily meditation. If he is charging for the healing he must not over charge. Neither should he over heal for the sake of the enumeration. He must limit himself to a certain number of hours per day, and a break from healing is a must. That

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means he must take at least a few days off after a period of continuous healing. Otherwise, the healer is likely to be burnt out. Self-protection with proper attuning and closure of the healing process is mandatory. Or else a whiplash may ensue. The whiplash may ultimately culminate in a state where the healer is being burnt out, if remedy is not instituted. The whiplash occurs as a lack of energy or complete inertia. Because of the healer’s ego, he must not be attached to the patient. Do not be proud when the patient has recovered. Do not be despondent when the patient has not responded to the healing. Do not cling to the patient. Discharge the patient when the time is ripe. He must drink water between each patient. The healer must be in good psychological and physical health. He must be fully awake and fresh before the healing begins, and know when to stop (when he is getting tired). He must brush his teeth before the healing. There may be pain transference after the healing: so beware. However this pain will not last more than 2 days normally. There are many levels of healing. The following table demonstrates this fact.

Most of the Filipino and Taoist healers, masseurs (including Shiatsu), osteopaths, chiropractors, aroma therapists, etc use their own electro-

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magnetic energy. As their own magnetic energy is limited, these therapists become exhausted very quickly, especially when they are doing a good job. However, the spiritual healer does not get exhausted as he is continually supplied with cosmic energy (prana) from the atmosphere around him. That is why he always looks flush only when he is healing. This is because of the prana that is left behind by the patient, who does not take up 100% of the energy that the healer is channeling. At the Physical Level IV most of the therapists can only work at the physical symptoms. Their tools are drugs, injections, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, lasers and the human hands. When only hands are being used, the therapists used mainly their own electro-magnectic energy, which is easily exhaustible. The specialized physicians use mainly their skills, which they have acquired through many years of post-graduate studies and work. These therapists are very essential in the healing industry. In fact, all spiritual healers should use these physicians as their reference points. Facts, laboratory tests, x-ray investigations and other investigative procedures should be used to have a fuller picture of the patient, and they also should be used to monitor the progress or lack of progress of the healing process. No healer should ever tell the patient to abandon his physician. The healer is both alternative and complementary. The decision to leave the physician must be left entirely to the patient. In fact, the spiritual healer should be ideally a physician and a spiritually developed individual (e.g. priest). When a spiritual healer is not very developed he can only work at this physical level, thus utilizing only his own magnetic energy. At the Astral level (III) the patient comes with an emotional problem. The therapists that can deal with this variety of patient are the spiritual healer, psychiatrist, psychologist and the general practitioner. The healer here has raised his vibration up one level, whereas the other three have learnt special skills to tackle the emotions of the patients. Then at level (II) of the mental body, the spiritual healer has raised his vibrations even higher. At this level (II), the psychiatrist does not necessarily have a higher vibration than his GP colleague does, but he has been trained to deal with such patients. Lastly, at level (I) in the Spiritual category, the best person here is the spiritual healer. Of course, a priest, a monk, a psychiatrist, a psychologist and even a GP may be able to deal with this type of patient, but he has to be spiritually very advanced. Now from this discussion, it is realized that

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the quality and the spiritual development of the healer are paramount. If a healer is ignorant of the basic fundamentals of the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the human body, and if his spiritual development is only at level (IV), then he is quite a dangerous man. This is especially so when he is a layman, and does not have the faintest clue about signs and symptoms of diseases. A case of early cancer or tuberculosis maybe readily dealt with by a physician, but an ignorant healer can delay the treatment of the disease until it is too late. That is why I do not agree that everybody can heal. Only some people can heal, and only very few can do it well. A wellmeaning healer can alleviate some symptoms for a short while, but if the cause is not dealt with then the symptoms will recur. Some healers reckon that two healers working together at the same time are better than one. Another point to remember is that few people are born healers: they are usually found in the medical profession, e.g. doctors and nurses. When the doctor or nurse holds the hand of the patient in taking the pulse or examining the patient, the patient is already improving and feeling much better. RESPONSE TO TYPES OF DISEASES Physical symptoms like aches and pain are easy to remedy. These are headaches and neck pain etc. Then as one goes deeper into diseases like arthritis, gastritis and gastro-intestinal hurry (irritable bowel syndrome), these are more complicating. Heart trouble, strokes, diabetes and cancers are now the prevalent diseases, and all these must have their causes looked into. These more serious diseases will need many sessions to result in a cure. The active and dynamic diseases like cancers and autoimmune diseases are more easily healed. Dynamic cases like cancer and aids have very low immunity. The healer will combine his etheric energy with the patient’s and bring up the patient’s immunity. In auto- immune patients, the healer does the reverse, and reduces the high immunity of the patient to a more normal level. The slow growing, benign growths are more difficult to get rid off. The nearer the growth is towards normal tissue the more difficult it is to heal. Tissues like heart and skeletal muscle, brain, eye and kidney do not regenerate when damaged. That means healing is quite useless in cases of kidney failure, cardiac infarcts, destroyed skeletal muscle and stroke patients (after 1? years). The cells in these organs do not regenerate to restore the normal bulk. However, organs like lung and liver

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can regenerate up to their normal size when damaged. Neurotic patients are more difficult to heal than physical diseases. They fall into the astral level (III). In these cases the cause is almost entirely emotional in origin. That means more time has to be spent to probe into the causation from past history. Some of these may even be from past lives. Forgiveness is the best tool here. Psychotic cases of the mental level are even more difficult. Here the remedies of drugs and electro-convulsive therapy are commonly used, but a complete cure is almost never attained. The psychiatrist and developed healer may help both these latter types of psychological and psychiatric illnesses when patience, love, compassion and wisdom. Getting the entire home environment to be conducive to the healing process is very essential. Everybody at home must be in the team to help. Cases of possession and obsession may appear ominous, but as a matter of fact they are quite easy to deal with. Therefore, one can see that spiritual healing in its totality deals with the physical, the emotional, the mental and finally the spiritual. In summary, the spiritual healer must have unconditional love, compassion and empathy before he can start to heal. He must have common sense and a wide knowledge of medicine in order not to get into trouble. He must be humble and not think that he is the real healer, because he is only the channel. He must be purified and not avaricious or else the cosmic energy will be blocked and no healing can be done. He must take frequent breaks to replenish his own energy. He must white-light himself and close his own chakras after the healing session. He must keep all information confidential. The healer must establish a practice of meditation, awareness, purification and humility. He must not will any result to happen. He must let the Tao flow and flow with it. He must not be attached to the patient. THE PATIENT Most of the patients that come to see me are terminal cases who had been discharged by their own physicians. Or they are patients who have not improved with their own doctors. The remainder are those that normally prefer to seek alternative medicine. Very few come because their relatives or friends force them; and the last category are the ones that are simply curious. The first timer is usually apprehensive, as he does not know what to

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expect. As he is apprehensive, he is not relaxed. He will improve at the next visit. The first timer may not be convinced about healing. He may not have faith or believe in it. This does not matter. He can still be helped. But if he is full of faith and does believe, it makes the healing so much easier. The best is the patient who can surrender completely to his higher self and allows the cosmic energy to flow through him. He must be relaxed and preferably go into meditation. Rapport must then be established with the healer, with whom together they will begin to find the cause of the illness. CAUSES OF DISEASES

(1) Negative Thoughts and Emotions.
These are components of ill will. They include irritability, envy, jealousy, resentment, anger and hate. When these emotions are prolonged, they become attitudes. If the resentment and hate are regularly sent to the other party, the returning hateful emotions will be targeted at the perpetrator of these thoughts. On a daily basis, the sender of these emotions will gradually fall sick. The extreme of this situation is when the patient wishes the other person dead, the patient will finally kill himself with the hateful energies.

(2) Greed, Craving and Attachment.
In the 4 noble truths of Buddhism, it has been diagnosed that craving, clinging and attachment are the cause of suffering. Loss of material possession, relationship and status and position (ego-conceit) does dull the lustre of one’s aura. This in turn tends to send the patient into depression, from whence other illnesses could accrue. Accumulation of wealth leads to power, which will give the owner control over others, and lust for sex may become a seductive past time. Thus, money, power and sex are the 3 great motivating forces of the modern world. Greed and attachment for these 3 items when pursued to an unsustainable level will definitely lead to illness. Failure to achieve one of the above three will also lead to anger and frustration.

(3) Fear, Anxiety and Worry.
Constant worry and anxiety throughout one’s life are the best ingredients for sickness. And when worry turns to fear, which is quite usual in these

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cases, a steady depletion of one’s immunity is evident. This sequence of events quite often brings on depression. This lowering of immunity is manifested in the patient suffering repeated bouts of colds and influenza. Finally cancer or other serious illnesses will ensue, if nothing is done to reverse the situation. (4) Comparison, Judgement and Criticisms are other negative traits to be avoided. To keep up with the Jones’s entails a lot of effort and envy. Judgement also means criticism and resentment. Lastly frustration will result if one cannot keep up. Again a lowering of immunity will result. (5) Internal Conflict will take place when what one desires is in conflict with the law or social mores. This constant internal nagging is sufficient to cause illnesses to occur. Repressed sexual urge or having to put up an appearance of goodness will also produce internal conflict. (6) Grief, Desire for Revenge and Insecurity are all negative emotions which can damage one’s aura and block one’s chakra. Insecurity normally will result in a poor self-image. Prolonged grief for a diseased loved one is most damaging. It invariably leads to depression. From this point onwards, many diseases can add on to it. (7) Pride and Selfishness are the opposite of the above, and yet these traits may also damage one’s aura and chakras. Having these negative traits mean we have to keep ourselves taut all the time. We cannot relax. (8) Stress. In our modern times, stress is much more prevalent because the pace is much faster than before. There is now more greed, envy and anger, because of our materialistic age of Pisces. There appears to be more perfectionists around. Stress is entirely dependent on our own reaction to events outside of us. In could range from a very small incident to a very gigantic situation. The more affluent one is, the more sensitive is the person who is then more easily stressed. Examples of situations that may produce stress are: a) loss of job, money and loved ones, b) divorce or separation, c) retirement or entering a new job,

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d) illness or injury and release from the hospital, e) birth of child and child leaving home. One can go on ad infinitum. It could even include daily, badly cooked meals! Science has found out that when one is stressed there are chemicals that travel from the brain through the blood stream to all the peripheral tissues e.g. the muscles. The muscles will then tense up, or the stomach will secrete excessive acid. If the stress is prolonged, then one’s immunity will be eroded and an illness will ensue. This illness in turn will produce more stress. (9) Guilt and other Negative Thoughts. Some of the guilt that we harbour may be or may not be justified. These may include injury to others or divorce of our parents etc. Sometimes it is due to our conscience pricking us due to our religious upbringing. Whatever it is this type of negative thought may be changed or reversed with contemplation and meditation. Negative thoughts usually are accompanied by negative emotions, which will erode our resistance to diseases. Some people purposely create a disease in order to escape a situation, like having to move to another country. When that difficult situation is solved, the disease disappears. (10) Karma and ‘G’ (life) plan. Sometimes the disease is due to our karma accrued either in this life or in the past life. In this situation, we can do very little about it except to bear it and work on it. If in our ‘G’ plan, we have decided on a certain life style or environment, and in our life we veer from that plan, then an illness will transpire to remind us of our ‘G’ plan. ‘G’ plan is the life plan we contracted in the spirit world before we come into this world. (11) Obsession and Possession. In some cases, earth-bound spirits may be attached to their love ones who are still living. This individual will suffer from lack of energy, irritability, and loss of appetite and insomnia. This will continue until he loses weight with lack of concentration, and finally he ends up in a clinic complaining of severe inertia and loss of weight. The doctor runs a series of tests, which are all normal. There is no diagnosis. In this state the patient may finally expire, unless he obtains appropriate help from a spiritual healer. In possession, the individual’s character is totally changed, and a good healer can exorcise the earth

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bound spirit with one or several sessions. (12) Self Abuse. This is very commonly seen in those who are alcoholics, drug addicts and cigarette smokers. This problem is self-evident. There are many social organizations available to tackle these addictions. The healer may help to a varying extent depending on whether the patient is willing to cooperate and seek the other agencies as well. The drug addict or alcoholic is a frequent victim of possession. The earth- bound spirit who was a drug addict when alive, normally hangs around dens of drug addicts, because they are still addicted to drugs even though they are dead. So when a drug addict is in a semi-comatose state the spirit will move into the body of the living addict to more fully enjoy the drug. REMEDIES The patient must identify all the above causes first. Then with the help of the healer the patient must then deal with these negative traits. The most powerful weapon that is available is forgiveness. The patient must forgive himself first of all. Then he must ask for forgiveness from the other person who he has been resenting or to whom anger is directed. The patient must also forgive the other person who has done wrong to him in the past. This forgiveness must be genuine and right from the heart, and the message must also be transmitted to the perpetrator. The patient then must practice awareness so that if there is any negative thought, criticism or judgement that arises, straightaway that thought has to be changed. Changing jobs or environment can eliminate stress. It is more difficult to change one’s spouse, but a divorce may save the patient’s life. In this instance, a detailed and heart felt discussion is very necessary with the spouse. It may take several sessions before any result can ensue. Guilt is quite a damaging emotion, and in this case one should seek a wise friend or a counsellor in order to get rid of the guilt. The guilt could be totally unwarranted! The following acronym should help: The diagram on page 189 needs some explanation. In dieting one tries to avoid the red meats. Mainly vegetables, fruits and seafood are ideal. In some cases of the elderly, they have been very lonely, and when they fall ill, the entire family starts to gather around almost every day. The patient does not want to lose these visits, and thus there is no desire to get well. De-stress has

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been dealt with already. Exercise is essential, especially to a depressed patient. Path to enlightenment really means to let go of one’s attachments and clinging. This letting go is truly powerful in the healing process. If one is being stressed in one’s work or if one hates one’s job, it is definitely beneficial to change to a job that is enjoyable even though the pay is less. In the same token do not pursue a hobby that is has only social climbing qualities. Understanding means looking for the cause of the disease and eliminating it. Then one must do a U-turn in one’s habits and attitude in life. This U-turn must be a purposeful and determined effort. At the same time one should then convert our ill will, resentment and hatred to unconditional love. One of the most rapid ways to arrive at unconditional love is through daily meditation, which is practiced until total silence is achieved. This goal takes time. Surrender to your Tao means one must surrender to one’s God, Allah or Buddha. In other words one must not try to will for anything to happen: ‘Thy will be done’ should be the credo. The patient must be willing to accept any outcome, after eliminating the causes.

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Lastly, within the limits of his physical health the patient should try to service his fellow human beings, animals and vegetation. VENUE This subject has not been discussed enough in the books. The place where healing is done should be airy and bright. It should not be in dark and haunted buildings. It should not be crowded, and silence is the essence. As temples and churches are usually inhabited by earth bound spirits, they are not ideal. Trees should ideally surround the building with birds chirping. The room should not be cluttered with statues and other bric-a-bracs. The room should be very simply decorated.

Techniques and Methods of Healing
There are essentially two methods: distant and contact healing. We will describe firstly contact healing.

Contact Healing
Sit the patient down and make him feel at ease. Ask the patient about his condition or his symptoms. Enquire into whether he has been to a conventional physician, and what diagnosis was made. Also find out what treatment has been given and what are the results. What is the duration of the disease? Then at this first visit one can only tentatively inquire into the cause of the disease. However subsequent visits will definitely elicit the real cause of the disease and the cause should then be dealt with accordingly. The healer will then explain briefly what he is going to do and what will be taking place. The purpose here is to channel prana or cosmic energy to the patient through the healer. After this explanation, the healer must then attune himself: he visualizes a ball of white light above his head. Then he imagines white light showering down from this white ball of light through his crown (7th) chakra, the 6th, 5th, and down to his heart (4th) chakra. The healer then lifts his arms forwards and upwards towards the patient. He will straight away feel tingling sensations in his hands. He is now ready to heal. He can put both his hands on the shoulders of the patient or hold both hands of the patient facing him for a couple of minutes. The healer then puts one hand in front and the other behind the patient’s fore- head, that is his 6th chakra. He touches the

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patient lightly there. Then he proceeds down to the 5th, the 4th and the 3rd chakras. All these actions are done with one hand in front and one behind (this means adposing). The hands are left at these chakras for no more than 2 to 3 minutes each time. This is opening up the chakras of the patient, so that the patient is now ready to receive more cosmic energy through his chakras in his etheric body. At this point the healer will place his adposing hands on to the troubled area for at least 10 minutes. The healer need not concentrate at all. He may even carry on a conversation, or his mind can wander. The analogy here is that once the tap is open the water will flow on its own without interruption. The flow will stop only when the healing stops. However, the best results are obtained when the patient is completely relaxed. When the healing is completed, the healer should close up the chakras of the patient: the patient has his back to the healer, who then criss crosses his hands at the back of the patient, from the shoulders to the small of the back below. The healer then dusts the palms of his hands three times so as to sever the etheric connection with the patient, and the good, clean prana just channeled is not pulled back by the healer. Also the negative vibrations of the patient do not follow the healer. After the session the healer may ask the patient what he felt while the healing was going on. He now has to warn the patient that 5% to 10% of patients may feel more pain in the ensuing 24 hours after which there would be almost 100% relief. He must also inform the patient that he or she would be drowsy or sleepy for several hours after the healing. All healers have their own methods or style. Some of them start with a chant or prayer. Some of them make high pitch, squeaky or humming noises. Some of them play new age music while healing. More often than not the patient lies on a bed whilst being healed. Some of them do not touch the patient, the hands being a few centimeters away. With a few healers, perfume may be smelt during the healing. The fragrance corresponds to the Zodiac sign of the healer; e.g. the Pisces and the Gemini healers will emanate jasmine. There will always be healing angels nearby with a good healer. Sometimes the patient can see the healing guides, but most times the healer himself can feel their presence.

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Distant Healing
As long as there is no contact or proximity to the patient, it is deemed to be distant healing. If the patient is in the same room, but out of reach, it is considered distant healing. Of course the true definition of distant healing is when the patient is far away, and no distance is too far. The patient’s name is obtained, where his he residing and what illness is he suffering from is all made available to the healer. The latter will then go into meditation and visualize the patient who is labeled with the name. It is quite a good idea if a picture of the patient is shown to the healer. After visualizing the patient white light is sent to envelop the patient. Then another beam of white light is further directed at the locality of the organ that is having the problem. This is like a laser beam focussed at the source of the illness. The first white lighting is to protect the patient whilst his chakras are being opened by the healer. The total duration of the distant healing should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes. I find distant healing very effective. It is even better if the patient is asleep, while the healing is being carried out.

Results of Healing
For a genuine good healer, 1/3 of the patients will be cured. 1/3 will obtain improvement. The remaining 1/3 will have either temporary improvement or none at all. Why isn’t every body healed? What are the possible reasons? Let us discuss this. Although faith and belief are not absolutely required, the patient will not be healed if he deliberately blocks or resists the transmission of the cosmic energy. He will not be healed, if his anxieties and fear are much greater than the healing energy. The patient will not be healed, if he does not do a Uturn even though the inner cause of the disease is found. He will not be healed if the patient does not want to look for the cause. The patient may not want to get well, as in the old lonely lady whose illness has brought all her relatives to visit and to gather around her. Her need for attention outweighs the suffering from the disease. The patient will not get well if she wanted the disease in order to avoid a situation; e.g. moving to another country. If the disease is Karmic in origin, then it will not heal. Negative feelings, emotions and thoughts must all be meticulously eradicated, or else healing will not take place. This is especially so if there is a strong sense of guilt or the patient is enjoying the image of being ill. Of course, if the

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patient refuses to continue with the healing sessions because he expects a miracle at the first healing, then the healing process is aborted. The healing may not be physical. If the patient is healed mentally and emotionally, that may suffice. His physical illness may still persist. Some time the healer is sent only to heal the patient spiritually. In the last two types of cases, if the patient dies peacefully, I will deem it a success. Prayer. "The root of prayer is interior silence. We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, but this is only one expression. Deep prayer is the laying aside of thoughts. It is the opening of mind and heart, body and feelings---our whole being---to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond word, thoughts and emotions."

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Thomas Keating
"I give you my word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you." Jesus, Mark II: 24 NAB "Everyone prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand." Duke Ellington

Introduction
Christians and Muslims pray, whilst Hindus and Buddhists meditate. Superficially these two practices are different, but deep down the respective mystics of these religions inevitably would end up in the same void, the ground of Being or the Soul. The Soul here is used synonymously as the Atman or Buddha Nature. All these three names are interchangeable and also change from moment to moment. Similarly, in this essay the word God is used interchangeably with Buddha, Kuan Yin, Krishna, Allah, Godhead, Brahman, the Tao or the Absolute as higher authority. The Absolute being fairly neutral will be used in this essay. The Oxford Dictionary defines prayer as "a solemn and humble request to God, or to an object of worship; a supplication, petition, or thanksgiving, usually expressed in words." Christians would pray to God, Jesus, Virgin Mary, the Pope etc. The Eastern worshippers would pray to Buddha, Kuan Yin, the Dalai Lama and all sorts of Deities, e.g. the God of Rain, the Wind God, Krishna, Ganesh or Vishnu etc. Cult worshippers would pray to their cult leaders. All told, they would pray to a higher authority, which they think that could fulfil their requests.

A matter of Semantics
There is quite a confusion in the terms for meditation and prayer between the religions. In Christian monastic tradition, four words are used: lectio divina, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. Lectio divina is the listening or

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the reading of the sacred scriptures or Psalms or simply the Word of Truth, the Way and the Life. There was a time when most of the monks or Christian community cannot read. So these Words or texts of Revelation were read to the monks or community. By meditatio it means here more of a discursive type of prayer, the subject of which is some facet of life or a point in the scriptures. Simultaneously, one must also be aware of one’s own response so that one can guide one’s future conduct accordingly. The ‘word’ here means a phrase, which is repeated over and over again with one’s lips. This process is to interiorise the phrase until one has totally assimilated it, and how the whole being responds to this phrase. In this way, one changes the notional knowing of the words of revelation into total and implicit understanding of the word or phrase: from notional assent to real assent. In oratio, the words of revelation means revealing God and the response is to pray. This prayer grows with illuminating grace. The moment of light and illumination expands until it becomes continuous at all times. This Reality is so real that the whole being must say ‘yes’. This is contemplatio. This is a gift of light from God and one has no choice but to receive it with open arms. In the last stages of Christian contemplation, one’s mental and emotional faculties are all suspended. One is hopelessly at the receiving end of God’s immense wisdom. The only problem here is that when the individual awakens from the trance, the divine knowledge is ineffable. So in Christian meditation it is discursive thought over a religious point or a facet of life. In contrast, the one-pointed concentration of Hindu and Buddhist meditation finally ends in one thought, and that is the object of meditation, e.g. breath or mantra. Christian contemplation usually means emptying of one’s mind from all thoughts and worries of the mundane world so that the rays from God can penetrate the Cloud of Unknowing into the subject’s soul. At this juncture, the individual must be totally empty of all thoughts and emotions i.e. void. The stages of contemplation are actually descending deeper and deeper into the layers of emptiness into the ground of Being, which is the Soul. This is identical to the Buddhist Vipassana meditation of mindfulness and Shikantaza of Zen. Vipassana empties the mind by watching the thoughts until they disappear. Thoughts mean pictures and mental chatter. This emptiness will have to deepen layer after layer until one’s consciousness arrives at the

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Void, the ground of Being--- Buddha Nature! This is the same arena as the Christian Soul. Buddha Nature or Soul changes every moment. Every soul is interconnected.

Spiritual concept of the Soul and the Absolute
The Absolute includes every soul, animal, vegetable and mineral. There is a spark of divinity in the above four varieties of existences. They exist as consciousness. The Absolute is composed of all consciousnesses whether visible or invisible. There is nothing outside It. Everything, material or immaterial, is included in the One, without a second. All consciousnesses are interconnected and all are part of the Absolute. That means every human being has a spark of divinity (God) in him or her. It is situated in our heart chakra (chest). Therefore the highest form of eastern meditation or Christian contemplation, is to descend into the heart. This accounts for the Christian saying, Prayer of the Heart. Similarly, in Buddhist meditation, after achieving emptiness in the mind, one must descend down to the heart so as to disperse the emptiness into the Void! So the meditator or the pray-er must first arrive at the soul level of the ground of Being. It is at this point that the Absolute takes over with grace as all souls are part of the Absolute. The individual soul is already powerless: he has no more faculties at his command. The Absolute (God) then starts to infuse his love and wisdom into that soul. The Buddhist mystic undergoes the same process. He calls the Absolute the Source. Besides the confusion of terms as seen above, very popular books have been published and read for the wrong reasons. One of them is ‘ Centering Prayer’. This book has sold more than a quarter million copies. It is a renewing of an Ancient Christian Prayer Form. It is a simplification of the practice outlined in the Cloud of Unknowing. It is renewed by M. Basil Pennington. This prayer is actually a meditation and is very akin to Transcendental Meditation. It is composed of three simple steps:1.Relax comfortably in a chair with your eyes shut. 2.Choose a sacred word relating to God, Love or Jesus. Hold on to the word as a Love and surrender to God in your consciousness.

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3.Whenever you become aware of any sound, emotion or thought, gently return to the prayer word. After 20 minutes in this prayer, remain in silence with eyes shut for a couple more minutes. There is a question about this Centering Prayer (CP) being the same as TM of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The answer is that TM uses a meaningless mantra throughout the meditation, whilst CP brings out the prayer word of love only when distracted. TM can be invested with other religions at the ground of being, but CP must be true to Christianity. These differences appear rather flimsy, as the techniques are almost identical. In fact, John Main re-introduced it with a mantra as an effortless type of prayer-meditation. He chooses a sound-word, which is easy to let go during the meditation. He chose the mantra, maranatha, to be repeated throughout the whole period of his meditation. This differs from CP in that the word in CP is only brought out when distraction appears. My main contention here is that CP is actually a meditation exercise as in the eastern religious context and not a prayer. Now what about formal prayer itself ? Why do we pray? How do we pray? And when do we pray?

Why do we pray?
More than 90% of people in the East and West pray because they need help. They need material things. They are at a loss as to what to do with a problem. They are in dire straits and no friends or relatives can assist them. They may be aspiring to a higher position or station. They want a promotion in their job. A bigger house is required. He or she is interested in someone in the opposite sex. One can go on and on ad nauseam. So most prayers are of the petitionary type. Then there are prayers to solve personal or other people’s problems. These include asking for healing measures to self or to loved ones. One suddenly starts to pray again when one has been given an ominous diagnosis by the doctor. Other types are to keep loved ones in safety as in times of war or during national epidemics. Then there are prayers of thanks and gratitude. Quite a few would just like to have a conversation with God. This habit of praying for help stems from the time when we were young

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children. A family that prays together would perpetuate such practices. Most families pray to their respective Gods, Deities, Buddha, Kuan Yin, Krishna, Vishnu etc. This habit of the parents dies hard. Prayer suddenly is remembered when times are hard and when one is in desperation, especially at a time when the bank manager has turned one down for a desperately needed loan. Of course, the highest form of prayer is towards the union with God (Absolute), but this form of spiritual practice is only expected from a very small percentage of people, e.g. the Christian monks. The prayer is in the third stage, called oratio. After the first two stages of lectio and meditatio, oratio or prayer is actually a joyful response to the revelation of the Word of Life. This prayer is done with gratitude and love, because the monk has encountered Reality in his spiritual practice and this assent deepens into the revelation of the Absolute and Its Love. In the same token, although the Buddhist embarks on his journey of meditation, he has also arrived at the ground of Being, the Void. Both have arrived at the same place of the Void and emptiness. Both are helpless with their faculties suppressed. Both are being infused with grace, love and wisdom of the Absolute. So it is a matter of semantics. One is praying and the other meditating!

How do we pray?
For those who have been brought up in a praying family, there is no problem. Most of these would recite the Lord’s Prayer by rote every night before sleep. This is like taking a blanket insurance with not much wisdom and insight in the matter. The individual believes he has performed his duty and feels content about it. In spite of this insurance, things still do go wrong. So what to do? The form of prayer must change. Go to a priest or someone for specialist help. Anybody, who is ardent about getting a result from a prayer, must pray not with the mind and voice alone. It must be from the heart. One must pray humbly from the heart like a child. Prayer after all is to make contact with the Absolute. It is the service of the heart. We must, as a child, talk to the Absolute, and listen to Him. In this heartfelt prayer, gratitude must be included, as if one’s prayer has already been answered. We don’t have to know how it is answered. Just know that you have given the most powerful and ardent plea of your case in this emergency. St. John Vianney says ‘in mental prayer, shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and open your heart.’ Use short sentences from the bot-

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tom of your heart and soul. With sincerity surrender totally to the Absolute. With absolute humility, pour out everything as if your life depends on it. Do not camouflage your feelings. Know and feel that you are nothing and nobody. That is why we go on our knees to pray. Now all this outpouring can only be done if one is silent.

Pray in Silence
Be still and know that I am God is a quotation from the bible. The best is to pray in total silence. Internal silence is more important than external silence, which is sometimes beyond our control. Therefore, one should shut oneself alone in a quiet room. Kneel down beside a bed or a chair with clasping hands. Shut the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the mind. With silence in the heart God speaks as a little small voice. Thomas Merton has put it nicely: ‘The solitary life is above all a life of prayer. We do not pray for the sake of praying, but for the sake of being heard. We do not pray in order to listen to ourselves praying but in order that God may hear us and answer us. Also, we do not pray in order to receive any answer: it must be God’s answer.’ He continues: ‘The solitary, being a man of prayer, will come to know God by knowing that his prayer is always answered. From there he can go on, if God wills, to contemplation.’ Thomas Merton has brought out the quintessence of silence in his book, Thoughts in Solitude. Mother Teresa says: ‘Listen in silence, because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. But when you have listened to the voice of God in the stillness of your heart, then your heart is filled with God.’ She further suggests that after God has spoken, one’s heart is filled with God, love and compassion and faith, then one’s mouth can speak, i.e. pray verbally. In between formal prayers, one must also spend time to withdraw and be alone with God, to be silent, empty, expectant and motionless. After this stage of oratio, prayer, then we can proceed to contemplation, the real prayer. Contemplation will then bring us to union with God. In the Buddhist sense, the individual having arrived at the stage of Void will now be able to merge with the Source or the Absolute. This is final stage of Vipassana and Shikantaza.

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Pray as if your life depends on it
This is so especially for those who are in dire straits. There must be an earnestness and desperation without hysteria. However, the following story illustrates this point cogently: The Japanese Zen master Soen Nakagawa Roshi once had a student who was an American Jesuit priest. At their first formal interview of a sevenday retreat, Soen Roshi gave the Jesuit priest as his Koan, "What were Jesus Christ’s last words on the cross?" The Jesuit priest immediately replied, incredulously but matter-of-factly, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Soen Roshi promptly rang his bell and said, "No". The priest left disconcerted. For six days, the priest gave the same response and Soen Roshi each time rejected it. By the seventh day, the priest was completely frustrated and dumbfounded. At the last interview, he pleaded to have the answer to put him out of his misery. Soen Roshi compassionately complied in a most startling manner. Suddenly, the priest saw Soen Roshi become Jesus Christ on the cross, arms agonizingly outstretched, head thrown back in pure despair, the very embodiment of crucifixion, and heard him howl with the full force of his being-----MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME! This is a story in an article called, ‘Prayer by Zen’, written by Lou Nordstrom. It is featured in a book called the Power of Prayer, edited by Dale Salwak. The story illustrates very well the essence of praying earnestly and in desperation. One does not have to be so dramatic as Soen Roshi. A comparative case would be a wife, who is praying for healing from God, as her husband, the sole breadwinner, has just been diagnosed to have terminal cancer. It has to be an ejaculatory prayer of anguish and desperation.

When do we pray?
We can pray anytime, anywhere. Normally, a good Christian would pray before bedtime as an overall insurance. A Christian family would in addition, pray before meals. A desperate person would pray more often. However, St. Paul suggested to the Thessalonians in his first letter to

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"Pray constantly". Did he mean to pray in Spirit on every possible occasion? A simple Russian peasant tells the story of his life in finding out what is the meaning of ‘Pray constantly.’ This popular book is called ‘The Way of a Pilgrim’. His first teacher was a village gentleman who told him: "Ceaseless interior prayer is a continuous aspiration and a yearning of the spirit of man toward God. To succeed in this sweet exercise it is necessary to ask God frequently that He teach you to pray continuously. It takes time." After trying very hard for some time, he is no nearer to his quest. So he traveled more until he came across a book called the Philokalia, which contains complete and detailed instructions about ceaseless prayer. In it the book says: ‘Sit alone and in silence; bow your head and close your eyes; relax your breathing and with your imagination look into your heart; direct your thoughts from your head into your heart. And while inhaling say, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me," either softly with your lips or in your mind. Endeavour to fight distractions but be patient and peaceful and repeat this process frequently.’ This is ceaseless interior prayer taught to him by a reverent Father in a hermitage. The pilgrim went to the reverent Father many times in order that the prayer enters into the interior of his heart. He was told to repeat this short line from 3,000 to 12,000 times and more per day. So much so that he was found to be reciting this prayer every moment of his waking hours. While reciting this ‘Jesus Prayer’ all distractions, mental or otherwise must be subdued. This is identical to what Buddha taught his disciples 2500 years ago. He gave each of his monks a word or phrase like metta (loving-kindness), Buddho (the enlightened one) or annica, dukka, anatta (impermanence, suffering, and selflessness). That monk has to repeat the word or phrase throughout the day or week, stopping only when he is carrying out a conversation or eating his meals. On both counts it is ceaseless prayer. The purpose of this exercise is for the pilgrim or the monk to return to his source (Absolute). Although the religious texts superficially differ a great deal in their contents and context, the spiritual practices of their mystics do approximate in their paths. So to answer the question of when or how often do you pray, the answer is as often as you can and in the ultimate practice it is ceaseless or in the Buddhist teaching from moment-to-moment.

The Rosicrucian’s method of achieving what you pray for
Take 3 to 4 minutes to relax the whole body. Now come to the mind by paying attention to the third eye at the forehead. There are many thoughts

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there. Remove them by visualizing a situation or a scene you would like to achieve, like signing of a contract and shaking the hand of your future partner. Hold on to this scene as long as you can, the longer the better. Good concentration is required. That means an experienced meditator has an advantage. What is needed then is the ability to visualize with a good imagination and strong concentration. A small project may need only a few sessions, and a complex or difficult one may need a hundred creative meditations. The Rosicrucians believe that humans have the ability to create things in the material plane. Of course, after these meditative prayers we must also work physically and mentally towards the goal that we are aiming for. In summary, we must learn how to pray and spend great effort in praying and yet some teachers insist that it is a gift from God or the Absolute. Although most prayers are petitions or intercessions on behalf of others, gratitude and thanks must be included in all prayers. Some people reckon that to pray is to be weak, and yet if one calls it meditation it is all right. Although many people have had answers to their prayers and yet some do not. The outcome obviously is dependent on one’s character, way of life and most importantly G-plan. G-plan includes karma. If it were against one’s G-plan or Tao, the prayer would not be fulfilled. Of course the Absolute knows about your problems even before you pray, and some people believe that it is God that brings you to pray. If you are a Christian monk practicing oratio and contemplatio or a Buddhist meditator practicing Vipassana, the necessity to pray is obviated to some extent. The conscious mind superficially cannot read one’s own G-plan, but one’s own unconscious is cognizant of one’s own G-plan as it is inscribed in the DNA. Therefore, one would know whether one’s prayers would be fulfilled or not. Having an intuition that it will not be fulfilled, one would not even try praying. Thus far we have been discussing about mental and vocal prayer, but the ideal is prayer from the heart.

Other forms of prayers
Let us expand the meaning of prayer to a much larger context. This section would have to include practices like chanting, affirmations, reading of sacred texts, sacred music, praying dancing, rituals, etc.

Meditation
Meditations of the eastern religions must be considered as the highest

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forms of prayer. These are raja yoga of Hinduism, Vipassana of Theravada Buddhism, Shikantaza of Zen and Tibetan Dzogchen. These meditations all end up in the Void.

Affirmations
The soul is dyed the colour of thoughts said Heraclitis. However one cannot reach enlightenment or union with God with only affirmations. These are statements of aspirations in the mind conditioning therapy to be repeated as often as one is able. As an example, Dr. Emile Coue in the 1970’s invented this phrase: "Every day in every way I am getting better and better." Some of the prayers in religions were originally affirmations but degenerate to rituals of supplication directed to some outside higher authority. Looking at it in another way, it is a dialogue between self and Self. ‘I am beautiful, I am wonderful and I radiate perfect health!’ If you repeat this affirmation often enough, you will come to believe it to be true.

Body Prayer
The body has been taken as the temple of God. The most popular form of this prayer is "yoga." Hatha yoga is one of the five yogas of Hindu spiritual practice. The physical exercises involved postures, breath control, stretching and meditation. Watching an accomplished yoga exercise leaves no doubt to the observer that it is a body prayer. In addition there are also mudras which depict hands and finger postures in meditation which cannot be interpreted as anything else except praying. This is yoking or reconnecting to God.

Chants
Chants are said to be raising our voices to God. According to Robert Gass in his book, "Chanting": "Chant is singing our prayers. Chant is vocal meditation. Chant is the breath made audible in tone. Chant is ‘discovering’ Spirit in sound." We have been chanting for thousand of years. It ranges from the melodic Christian chants to the Tibetan Buddhist monotone and from the Rhythmic African chants to the Jewish Liturgical ones. In the mid-1990s, the Gregorian chants have been revived to top the music charts. Buddhists and Hindus have been using the sacred word ‘OM’ as a seed syllable of created existence. Lately Buddhists and nuns have been making the singing of sutras as a great enticement to the

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Buddhist religion. They are set to music of delicate tunes. The main purpose of these chants is to vibrate the body and mind upward to spiritual realms.

Spirit Guides
Many cultures have experienced many different forms of guides. All of them can be subdivided into these major categories: ancestors or dead relatives, masters and teachers, animals, angels and spirit guides. The last include soul mates that are discarnate and we may be their guides when we die. They are not to be worshipped, but are there to guide us to go along our G-plan. Some people can contact their guides through means like meditation, intuition or question in prayers. They may then receive answers through different ways of meditation, automatic writing and dreams.

Praying-Walking and Walking Meditation
On Prayer-Walking, Linus Mundy says: "It is an exercise that considers and serves every part of the human being, the mind, the body, the spirit (or soul). It is prayer–exercise that makes it possible for us to look inside and outside of ourselves simultaneously." While walking one does the usual prayer at the same time. All Buddhist monks and serious Buddhist must practise walking meditation. This is an exercise in mindfulness. Total attention is placed on the walking without any extraneous thoughts. The awareness is mainly on the placing of the feet on a straight, short path. One should not coincide the breath with the movement of the feet.

Praying Beads
Using beads for praying originated with the Hindus. They use a string of 108 beads to count their mantras. This method has been taken up by most Buddhists in Tibet, China and Japan, who also use 108 beads. These are called malas by these two religions. They are made of sandalwood, seeds, or inlaid animal bone. In the past, the inlaid bones were from the skeletons of holy men, but now they are made of turquoise, coral and yak bone. However, the Burmese use 72 black-lacquered beads. The Muslims use 33 or 99 beads, representing the 99 names of Allah found in the Koran.

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The Catholic rosary (usually made up of coloured glass or plastic or olive wood beads) originated in the sixth century for praying of the 150 psalms of the Bible. These beads are used to count the 150 Paters ("Our Fathers") once a week and these 150 beads became known as Paternoster. Thomas of Contimpre was the first to call them rosary after Virgin Mary visited St. Dominic in a rose garden (rosarium). It is not a coincidence that the word bead comes from the Anglo-Saxon bidden meaning to pray and bede meaning prayer. Besides the calming and tranquillising effect of the beads, they are predominantly there to ground us to the significance of the prayer we are reciting. This is touching of the holy practised by all religions in the world, except by Judaism.

Prayer Dancing
Sacred dance practised as an ancient rite in the worship of God is almost universal. It originated in Greek temples, Egyptian rituals and Judaism and early Christianity. It is just as common in the East. In Hinduism, Shiva is a dancing God who helps the individual to release the soul from illusion, as it represents the rhythm of the cosmos. In Japan, the Kabuki Dance Drama was launched by a shrine maiden in the 1600s. Again this is of religious origin. Amongst the peasant and tribal population, they perform the sacred dance for supplication for rain etc. It is also performed as thanksgiving for successful harvests and hunts. The Sioux Sun Dance held each year is a thanksgiving celebration to the Great Spirit. Finally, the Muslim Sufi dancing with its associated dervish whirls may end up in a trance of Samadhi. It is a religious act capable of converting the brain waves from alpha to theta waves. Its teachers believe that with the rhythmic and physical movements, the dancer may end up in communion with the Divine. The viewers of the dance may even be healed of their illnesses. The essence is that they are not dancing the dance, but are being danced by the dance. In practice, it is whirling the ego out of the body so that spirit may occupy the twirling body. This dancing prayer with music is an ecstatic practice towards the union with the Divine.

Rituals
All religions use rituals, whether with their prayers or not. Some Buddhist sects, Hindus praying to their deities, Christian priests, African shamans,

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Taoists etc use rituals. The author of "School of Kabbalah", Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi, said " The essence of ritual is that something done in the physical realm is related to the higher worlds. This may be a simple gesture of the hand or an elaborate ceremony. It can be working consciously in everyday life, so that quite mundane actions become full of meaning, or a carefully designed ritual acted out for a specific occasion…Ritual is the mode for formalising action and giving it not only meaning, but creating a contact with other worlds." Ritual when used as a prayer practice infuses a sense of the sacred when not performed by rote. With awareness it brings us nearer to a relationship with the Absolute. The trick with ritual is to remember the intention and be inspired by the myth. With intuition, ensure that the ritual harms nobody but benefits all. Keep it simple and be balanced. Be in touch with your feelings. Honour the power of the words and keep the imagination alive. These are the guidelines given by Rene Beck and Sydney Barbara Metrick, authors of The Art of Ritual. There are no rights or wrongs in ritual. If performed with intensity and in detail, one should be transformed. Do not be an automaton when acting out the ritual. So ritual can be taken as a form of prayer, as it takes you out of the present time and place. There is a book called "The Way We Pray" by Maggie Oman Shannon in which a comprehensive account of praying practices around the world is written up. There are many more practices then what are written in this article. If the reader is interested please consult the book.

What are the results of prayer?
Larry Dossey, M.D., extensively explores the answer to this question in his books. As prayer is so ubiquitous throughout the world statistics are difficult to come by solely on prayer. So the author utilised researches on healing with regards to medical benefits. Distant healing is treated as distant prayer: in fact there is no difference as the mechanism is the same. Publications quoted in his books are all of high quality and are published in medical and psychological journals. That means they are to be trusted. 1."Healing Research" is a book written by Daniel J. Benor in 1993. In it his definition of healing (and prayer) is ‘intentional influence of one or more people upon another living system without utilising known physical means of intervention’. His findings are:

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Researchers have performed 131 controlled trials: 56 of these showed statistically significant results at a level of < .01 or better (i.e. the likelihood that the results were due to chance was less than 1 in 100); 21 studies demonstrate results at a probability level of .02 to .05 (i.e. the likelihood that the results were due to chance was between 2 and 5 chances in 100). All the above means that it is very unlikely that the positive results are due to chance. They are due to prayer or distant healing. These experiments deal with healing (prayer) effects on enzymes, cells, yeasts, bacteria, plants, animals and human beings. 2.Jeffrey S Levine, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School, investigated the local effects of prayer and religious practices. He has uncovered over 250 empirical studies published in the epidemiologic and medical literature since the 19th century in which spiritual or religious practices have been statistically associated with particular health outcomes. Positive effects for both morbidity and mortality have been found for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and nearly every type of cancer, colitis and enteritis. These findings hold regardless of how spirituality is defined and measured, whether according to beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, experiences, and so forth. Over two dozen studies demonstrate the health-promoting effects of simply attending church or synagogue on a regular basis. These benefits have been found to be widely distributed, appearing in studies of all races and in different religions. Levine wants more investigation into why, what and how spiritual factors consistently reduce suffering and curing the sick. 3.NIH physician-researcher David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson surveyed 12 years of publication of the American Journal of Psychiatry and Archives of General Psychiatry. They found that, when measuring participation in religious ceremony, social support, prayer, and relationship with God, 92 % of the studies showed benefit for mental health, 4% were neutral, and 4% showed harm. 4.F.C. Craigie and his colleagues, in a 1990 review of 10 years of publication of the Journal of Family Practice, found similar findings for physical health: 83% showed benefit, 17% were neutral, and none showed harm.

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5.Larry Dossey, M.D. discovered that there were more than 130 scientific studies in the general area of "healing" many of which employ prayer. Over half of these experiments strongly indicate prayer works. Science has more or less agreed that prayer works but does not know how it works. Intercessory, distant prayer also works without the knowledge of the recipient. Therefore it is not a placebo effect. From the above evidence, one is pretty sure that prayer works, although not 100%. Neither do drugs and surgery work 100%. Another interesting feature of distant prayer is that it is nonlocal, meaning that information exists everywhere all at once. This follows Bell’s theorem: if distant objects have once been in contact, a change thereafter in one causes an immediate change in the other---no matter how far apart they are. The 3 characteristics of nonlocal events are 1) unmediated (the distant changes do not depend on the transmission of the energy or any sort of energetic signal); 2) unmitigated (the strength of the changes does not become weaker with increasing distance); and 3) immediate (the distant changes take place simultaneously). Nonlocal prayer therefore works under the same rules as other psychic phenomena: clairvoyance, telepathy, psychokinesis and distant healing. In all these quantum phenomena, no energy is transmitted. It happens all at once. Quantum theory does not explain the ‘how’, but we know that love, empathy and compassion are essential ingredients for the execution of the prayer.

Is there such a thing as negative (black) prayer?
In a 1994 Gallup poll found that 5% of Americans prayed for harm to come to others. This is a self-confessed figure. Therefore, there should be more than 5% in the general population. Larry Dossey even wrote a book about it: "Be Careful What You Pray For… You Just Might Get It." In this book he comprehensively investigated into this phenomenon. He lumped negative prayer with hexes, curses and all forms of negative thoughts towards others. Hex means to bewitch, to cause adversity or malediction. That means when you mutter a soft curse or have a black wish against someone else, you have executed a negative prayer. Even if you exclaim a comment like, ‘he ought to be shot!’ or ‘damn him!’ it is a black prayer. Very rarely a very good friend who is an alcoholic would ring you up at 3 am, wakening you up and you may mutter an expletive like ‘go to hell’. This is a black prayer. An exasperating swearing of the driver in front of you in

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a traffic jam is also a negative prayer. A consummate distant healer can in the same token activate a negative distant hex. It works both ways. When one prays for a football team, one is making a negative prayer against the other team. Similarly, in praying for one’s daughter to top the class, one is also praying against all the other girls in the class. In the bible, Elisha caused 42 children to be devoured by bears for making fun of his baldness (Kings 2; 23—24). Paul struck a sorcerer blind (Acts 13:11). And even Christ blasted an apparently innocent fig tree for not bearing fruit (Mathew 21:19, Mark 11:13—14). The Hindu marana, which is one of the 6 siddhis, is a death prayer. Marana can bring on a death of an enemy through mental means. In the Hawaiian Islands, the native shamans, the kahunas, practice ana-ana, the "death prayer". These kahunas can kill a person from afar with mental intent. If one were to delve into the literature, one will be able to dig out many more primitive methods of negative prayers. Voodoo curses are not black prayers as such, because the victim has to be told that a curse has been levied on him and psychology will do the rest.

Protection against negative prayers
Can we protect ourselves against these black prayers? The answer is yes. We are born already immunised against these curses and maledictions; otherwise life is not sustainable. It is like the normal immunity we received from our mothers when we were born. Further the person trying to bewitch us is quite often inept and their curses do not work most of the time. Some of the curses may also backfire on the perpetrator. Lastly, in our daily prayers, we can also protect ourselves as in white lighting.

What is prayer and how does it work?
The word prayer comes from the Latin precarius, "obtained by begging," and precari, "to entreat"----- to ask earnestly, beseech, implore. This covers the 2 commonest forms of prayer: petition and intercession. The former is to ask for oneself and the other is to ask for someone else. Then there are prayers of confession, the repentance for wrongdoing and the asking for forgiveness, lamentation, adoration, invocation and thanksgiving. Most cults and religious sects invoke their masters, deities or the Absolute. Prayer can be performed in private or public. It can be individual or communal. It can be in words, signs, gestures or silence. Although

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most prayers are carried out consciously, it may be performed subconsciously or unconsciously in our dreams. Those who pray are generally happier and healthier. Research has confirmed this fact. If the prayers belong to a religion it is even better. Research has also found that these happy people who pray have 4 characteristics: 1.They like themselves and they have high self-esteem. 2.They have a sense of self-control over their lives, their situations and their health. 3.They are optimistic. 4.They are generally outgoing and not focused on themselves. The above fall into the innate nature of humans: to obtain ultimate perpetual happiness by getting enlightenment or union with God.

How does prayer work?
The common concept of prayer involves the pray-er, the person who is prayed on and the Absolute or God. The whole process embraces all the three, the intermediary being the Absolute.

Prayer and healing
Most studies equate intercessory prayer with healing. Healers also insist that they should be armed with love, empathy and compassion for healing to work. These are the same qualities required by prayers. When a healer focuses on a patient, a two-way traffic is established. The healer knows the patient’s wants and he provides the healing energy or prayer to that end. When a patient knows he is being prayed for he gets well faster. One can use a directed method or a nondirected prayer. A directed prayer means one prays to heal the cancer or heart problem, telling the Absolute what to do. The nondirected method is to leave it to the Absolute carte blanche with instructions like, ‘Thy will be done.’ It is an open-ended approach. The Spindrift organisation in Salem, U.S.A., which has been

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showing that prayer works in laboratory research for a decade, says that both methods work, but the nondirected prayer works better. So when a healer does not visualise or strive to cure a certain disease, and his mind and emotions should be as empty as possible, the success rate increases. That means the healer does better if he ascends to a higher realm without desire.

What happens when a prayer or healing is initiated?
The patient or recipient of the prayer immediately gets healed or improved even though they are thousands of miles apart. Larry Dossey invented a term for this----nonlocal mind in 1989 in his book, "Recovering the Soul". This concept theorises "that consciousness cannot be completely localised or confined to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to discrete points in time, such as the present moment." A nonlocal mind works through the brain and body without being limited to them. This theory suggests that there is no energy sent out to the patient, because if it is energy, the effect would take time and it gets weaker the further the patient is away from the healer. Researchers have now established that the human brain is capable of establishing close relationships with other brains and may sustain such an interaction even at a distance. Bell’s theorem concerns subatomic particles, but recent scientists have found that it can happen too humans as well, especially if there is previous, reciprocal, emotional establishment. Emerging theories now are suggesting that consciousness is the fundamental, causal factor in the universe, and consciousness is not confined to the brain, body or the present time. Consciousness is present in everything in the universe including mineral, vegetable, animal and humans. It is also present in the air. This explains the nonlocality of prayers and healing. I was healing a patient with lupus erythematosus in Singapore. When I went to London to work privately, she e-mailed me that a rash has arisen on her face. I replied that I would heal her distantly. Within 15 minutes of my e-mail reply, her rash began to subside! I have encountered many such instant effects in my distant healing. As one goes deeper into this quantum problem, the interconnectedness of everything in the universe is often verified. When a healer can go inwards to his pure consciousness (soul), the distant healing or prayer is facilitated.

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Prayer and the unconscious mind
It is mentioned above that one could heal or pray in our dreams. In fact the Russians were the first to study how the unconscious mind can transfer information from one person to another. They found that it was possible even with very stringent shielding of the sender from the receiver. One of the members of this Commission for the Study of Mental Suggestion, R. Desoille, believed that there are four ways that information may be sent from the sender to the receiver. Everyone has a conscious and an unconscious mind. Thoughts flow easily from one compartment to the other. The four ways are: 1) Thoughts from the sender’s conscious mind are sent directly to the receiver’s conscious mind. 2) Thoughts are sent from the sender’s conscious mind to the receiver’s unconscious mind and they then surface to the receiver’s conscious mind. 3) From the conscious mind of the sender they are transmitted to his own unconscious mind. From there it is sent to the receiver’s conscious mind. 4) Again, thoughts are transmitted from the conscious to the unconscious mind of the sender, and then they are sent to the unconscious mind of the receiver. From thence they surface to the receiver’s conscious mind. This last pathway is a frequent one. That means prayer and healing from the healer or pray-er may be sent unconsciously to the recipient. In other words, after the healer has been told about the patient’s condition, unconsciously he starts to heal him even though the healer does not intentionally go through the ritual of healing the patient. Cases of this nature have been reported all the time. The author himself has experienced this many times. With all the above explanation, the important question is why are not all prayers answered? They are, but according to one’s G-plan. Our G-plan is the end all and be-all of our entire life. If what we are praying for is opposite to our G-plan, then we cannot get what we pray for. Although we do not get what we pray for, spiritually it is always in our best interest, maybe not for that present moment, but time will tell that it is for the best.

References
1. Larry Dossey, M.D. Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine. Harper paperbacks.1997 (original 1993).

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2. Larry Dossey, M.D. Prayer Is Good Medicine. HarperSanFrancisco. 1996. 3. Larry Dossey, M.D. Be Careful What You Pray For…. You Just Might Get It. HarperSanFrancisco. 1997. 4. Thomas Merton. Contemplative Prayer. Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd. 1973. 5. Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1958. 6. M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form. Image Books, Doubleday. 1982. 7. Maggie Oman Shannon. The Way We Pray: Prayer Practices from Around the World. Conari Press, Berkeley, California. 2001. 8. Mother Teresa. No Greater Love. New World Library. Novato, California. 1997. 9. Mother Teresa. In The Heart of The World. New World Library. 1997. 10. Edited by Dale Salwak. The Power of Prayer. New World Library. Novato, California. 1998. 11. The Way of a Pilgrim. Image Books, Doubleday. 1997.

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Psychic Self-Defence.
Is there such a thing as an auric or psychic attack? The answer is a definite ‘Yes’. The attack is basically at our subtle bodies, the seven auric bodies. These bodies are seen as layers of vibrating energies one on top of the other immediately adjacent to the physical body. We have at least 7 of these subtle bodies. They interpenetrate each other including the physical body. The physical is the 8th and is the densest and the slowest in vibration. The next layers are the etheric, astral, mental and four more subtler spiritual bodies. Each body is vibrating more rapidly and is larger than the one beneath. These auric bodies start to develop from the day we are born. In the first year of our life, they continue to develop and grow until it is fully mature at the age of two. From then onwards, these are our own suits of armour which protect us from assaults, insults and deliberate attacks from humans, spirits and elementals. These assaults are hurled at our auric bodies, but it is the astral (emotional) body that bears the brunt of the attack. The attack may be deliberate or accidental, and usually ends up with physical, emotional and mental consequences. It is mostly the physical effects that tell us that something is wrong, at which time we seek for help. Normally, we are protected by our aura (the entire 7 bodies). We normally protect and upkeep our aura with enough sleep, food and exercise, and we try to limit stress to a minimum. Although some people are more sensitive than others, illnesses and loss of material assets or loved ones may damage our auric defence. This lowers our defence, and consequently we become much more susceptible to auric attacks. Psychics, mediums and healers are also more prone to these attacks. When it comes down to who else is vulnerable, the businessman, the counsellor and even the housewife may have to protect themselves during their daily chores. The businessman because of competition and jealousy; the counsellor or welfare worker because their ‘hungry’ clients suck their energy; and the housewife spends a fair amount of the money in buying goods for the home, and the salesman may use more than just a sales pitch to sell. Lastly, the ‘holy’ meditating vegetarian is also more susceptible than the oily, meat-eating businessman who is actively pursuing money, power and sex.

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THE NATURE OF A PSYCHIC ATTACK An attack can be human or non-human, occult or non-occult, and finally either intentional or accidental.

Human
Under this category, the attack may be intentional or accidental. In the intentional variety, it can be occult or non-occult. Many of the forms to be described here are of the intentional variety. However, it is the accidental ones that we hardly know about. For instance, when we scold our children when they are naughty, the negative, angry energy we transmit to them could very well turn into an auric attack. This is not our intention, but nevertheless it happens. This form of reprimand to our staff and our relatives, especially our spouses, quite often becomes an auric attack. So beware! Then the petty jealousy and envy we cultivate towards our competitors could also end up as an attack. Majority of human auric assaults are non-occult. They include all the above varieties of accidental cases. Most of the intentional cases are also not of the occult type, because there are very few occultists left in our modern, developed societies. However, there are still few occultists left in this field, who will carry out your wishes for a fee. But majority of the occultists do not practice for mercenary gains. About 10 years ago, I tried to disentangle a friend from his young mistress during my meditation. I imagined them enveloped within one ‘sarong’, and I cut the ‘sarong’ asunder. It was an amateurish attempt, and I end up getting rather ill. The young mistress’s mother had the expertise of occult Siamese charms, and I was no match compared to her prowess. Malicious Human Action may be initiated by: (a) Hypnotic Telepathic Suggestion (b) Conscious Suggestion and Autosuggestion (c) Reinforcement of the suggestion by invisible agencies like (i) Thought Forms (ii) Artificial elements (iii) Mental concentration

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(iv) Ectoplasm (v) Jinni (d) Physical Points of Contact: (e) Magnetic links--- like talisman, wax and wooden dolls, ointments and drugs, and contaminated food. (ii) Possessions of victim’s nail clippings, hair, blood (including menstrual), sperms, urine, stool, metal watches, rings, bracelets etc. In the cases of malicious human action, the first thing to do is to eliminate physical and mental diseases. Doctors and psychiatrists can rule out neurotic diseases and insanity. The perpetrator may practice (a) hypnotic telepathic suggestion if he is very adept at it. However, it is much more efficacious if he (b) consciously suggests to the victim that he is about to aurically attack him. Invisible agencies like thought forms, artificial elements, mental concentration, ectoplasm and Jinni may reinforce these suggestions. Thought forms are concocted by the occultist and made real by intense mental concentration. This process is repeated until the thought form becomes seemingly solid and mobile to terrorise the victim. This process can be further reinforced by the sorcerer using elemental forms created by the mind with ectoplasm, which can be ensouled by the creator to have a distinct life of its own. However, this ‘creature’ is not everlasting as energy leaks from it, and it will lose its viability in due course. I knew an old Siamese lady occultist who adopted a daughter. This young daughter’s parents-in-laws used black magic to viciously attack the daughter in law. The hard-boiled egg given to her for breakfast when broken up would show dark blood elements. Many other methods were used. She stayed with the in-laws, and therefore it is easy for magnetised hairs or nail clippings to be obtained from her. The motive for eliminating her was money. Nevertheless, the old occultist friend of mine was having a battle royal with the in-laws’ sorcerers. It was a 24-hour affair. My friend’s instruction to her own real daughter, with whom she is staying with, was not to open their main door, while she is asleep. This instruction was carried out for months meticulously. However, one morning the daughter decided to just open the door for 15 seconds to retrieve a bottle of water just outside her door. This was enough time for the enemy to get into the flat while the old lady was asleep. The assailing force pummelled the old

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occultist into unconsciousness. The daughter saw nothing except that the mother was on the floor unconscious covered with bruises. She quickly left to consult a very close friend of the mother’s, who was a Buddhist monk. The monk instructed the daughter to sacrifice 2 chickens, cook them and offer them to the elementals that were attacking her mother. While the elementals were devouring the chickens, the monk revived the old lady, who had been unconscious, all this while. When the mother woke up, she recounted every detail of what the daughter did while she was out. All this while, the attacker, the victim and the monk were all at their respective abodes: they did not move an inch! The entire episode was enacted in Bangkok. Another illustrative case concerned my first teacher, who was the abbot of a very haunted monastery in the North East of Thailand. As a young abbot in Phuket, another monastery did not like this young monk to set shop near their doorsteps. So the opposing camp started to send missiles made of stones and boulders and arrows with fiery tips. These were all done with psychic power. My late teacher threw a psychic barricade around his own monastery, and not one of the missiles ever came near his monastery. At the time I went to my 1st teacher, he already had about 50 years of meditation practice. This was in 1975. All these itinerant forest monks must undergo training in occultism. Otherwise they cannot survive. There was another lady in Singapore who trained a Jinni to give her information regarding her clients that come to ask her questions. She needed to take at least 10 to 20 seconds to get an answer from the Jinni. The information was usually very accurate with regards to the past and the present. However, when it came to the future, her guess was as good as mine. That means the Jinni cannot tell the future! The unsavoury part of this relationship was that she had to keep feeding this Jinni with either chicken’s or duck’s blood. This sacrifice must be done in the cemetery at full moon nights! Elementals can be utilised by these occult practitioners who may use (1) water, (2) air (wind), (3) fire and (4) earth. So, theoretically these 4 elements may produce tidal waves, floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes induced by the power of the adept. Furthermore, elms and

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nature spirits may also be used positively to help to improve cultivation of a particular area e.g. Findhorn. Lastly, it is well known that jungles have oversouls or spirits of their own to protect desecration of the jungles. Mountain and jungle sickness is prevalent amongst novices who venture into these areas for the first time. Thought atmosphere in a place is used to engender nervousness, fear, anger and panic in crowd control and arousal. Adept speakers cleverly exploit mental-emotional energy in this instance. And a good speaker can arouse excitement in the audience to fever pitch. Sometimes a nervous atmosphere may even make an experienced stage performer nervous! Physical points of contact are utilised by possessing various parts of the victim like nail clippings, hair, etc and intimate belongings like watches and rings of the victim. These are then used to construct magnetic links e.g. talisman, wax and wooden dolls for the adept to work on.

Non-human Interference
In this category, spirits of the lower astral realm are mostly involved. They are mischievous or evil predators who roam the earthly realms to pounce upon those humans whose auras are deficient or weakened by disease or loss of loved ones and financial assets. These usually end up as an auric attack, easily cured by a healer. There are also the ignorant spirits that do not know that they are dead. They hang around their loved ones and obsess the living to the detriment of the latter. This is a form of spiritual vampirism. The places where these predators may be located are the usual cemeteries, funeral wakes, hospitals, temples, churches, haunted buildings etc. Then there are lodges where cults, occultists and exorcists practise: these should be avoided by the uninitiated. Due to curiosity, some of us tend to go into these venues and lodges and meet the unseen forces, and enter into situations beyond our depth. Calamity strikes, especially where perpetrators are indulging in Left-hand paths. The results could be disastrous, and it may then be impossible to extricate oneself. In these instances, the veil between us and the lower astral is torn, and the inhabitants of that realm together with the occult practitioners can create havoc to the curious and

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uninformed. By then it is too late to retract one’s step. Therefore, one must not enter into these dens of iniquities merely for curiosity sake.

Symptoms of an attack
The person under an attack may suffer the following: 1) Fatigue and malaise. There is usually a feeling of listlessness and lethargy. There is no desire to go out and do exciting or interesting things, as per usual. The tiredness is there soon after waking up in the morning, and lasts until one goes to bed at night. This inertia will intensify, if uncorrected, until the victim is exhausted. He goes to a doctor, who examines him and runs a series of tests. But alas, to no avail. The doctor is completely bewildered, and proffers an ambiguous diagnosis like ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’. Finally, the victim gets a nervous breakdown, and ends up with a psychiatrist or a healer. This is a form of spiritual vampirism. He may then lose his job, which may fortuitously begin the process of healing. This is because the attacks may emanate from the work place. Or he may travel overseas for a rest and holiday, and this action may also trigger a healing process. The latter healing may happen if the attacks are human and non-occult, and they are dependent on repeated daily or weekly reinforcements with food, drugs or oils. 2) Insomnia and Nightmares. The person under attack may find that he is unable to sleep at nights. These are of 2 varieties. One is the normal type which coffee drinkers suffer. The other is due the fact that the psychic attacks are usually timed at just before going into or just coming out of deep sleep. The commonest form of attack is when a victim is awakened up by a heavy weight or ‘someone' pressing on his chest. He is completely unable to move. He cannot speak or shout, and he finds great difficulty in breathing. The experience is terrifying, and the attack may seem interminably long, but usually it is no longer than a minute or so. When these attacks are frequent, he dares not go to sleep. What can make things worse is that some of them wake up with bruises of definite patterns on their bodies. At this point, they would have to come to a definite conclusion that these attacks are either occult or spiritual. The latter is of course due to spirits in the lower astral or they are earthbound. Some people take these chest pressures as bad dreams, but they are either

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due to the occultist sending out his etheric body reinforced with ectoplasm to attack the victim or due to a mischievous earthbound spirit. In the case of the occultist, the offender loses a lot of weight projecting ectoplasm for the assault. Consequently, if the victim just maintains his calmness with no panic, time is on his side. If he continues with this equanimity, the attacker will have to give up, as he will be exhausted himself. Nightmares are usually composed of recurring dreams of ogres or monsters coming to assault the victim every night. Or the victim may try night after night to throw himself out of the window as in sleep walking or injure himself. The above 2 varieties of attacks are truly terrifying, and that is why the victim dares not fall asleep. 3) Finale: If no help is sought with the above of signs and symptoms, the victim may end up wasting away. With the loss of tissue, insomnia and nervous exhaustion, the victim becomes a shell of skin and bones. Finally he expires without a diagnosis. This sequel is pretty rare in modern cultures, but it is not uncommon in the olden days in the jungles of Africa, where the practice of ‘bone pointing’ was quite prevalent. 4) External Signs. The most frequent one is rotten odours like decomposed flesh, dung or filthy drains. The other is the sudden appearance of slime. There may be also footprints of humans and animals from nowhere and are completely unaccountable. Lastly, there may be peculiar sounds and lights, and poltergeist activity. These are all merely external signs to reinforce the presence of auric attacks; otherwise they merely represent haunting of the building. PSYCHIC SELF-DEFENCE

General Measures
Given that most of us are not occultists, these general measures will ward off most non-occult and non-human attacks. 1) Stay Healthy: The most important step is to have enough sleep and rest. When a person is overworked and stressed by it, he is much less resistant to any form of attack by spirit or microorganisms. After relaxation, one must also have enough and proper nourishment and food. A

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pure vegetarian diet alone may not be nourishing enough. Fish or other white meat may be required, but try to avoid red meat. What diet to have is entirely dependent on the individual, but one should not go hungry at any time. In addition, the bowels must be kept open. Then exercise is of paramount importance. The exercise can be coupled with the experience of sunlight, which also strengthens the aura. Try and exercise in parks where other people are around, but not to walk or jog alone in woods or forests. Play games and do physical training in groups. Massages and aromatherapy may help. If one is always cold due the attacks, have hot baths or footbaths, and have a hot water bottle on the solar plexus before you sleep. Lastly, after returning from places of inimical atmosphere, take a hot shower and have a new change of clothes. 2) Earthing or grounding: In walking in the parks, one is already earthing oneself. However, in order to perform a proper grounding, one does the following: stand firmly on the ground with the legs slightly apart. Then imagine a root from each sole of the foot growing downwards deep into the ground. If one is sitting, then a single root should be imagined to grow downwards into the ground from the 1st chakra at the base of the spine. 3) White lighting: Again remain either standing or sitting. Then imagine a ball of white or golden light above the head. Visualize a shower of white or golden light from this ball pouring down onto you, through you and around you. Then from the center of your body this light emanates outwards to form an egg-shape aura surrounding you with the narrower portion of the egg beneath you and the bottom of the egg above you (Fig. 1). The aura must be as far away from you as your outstretched arms. The aura will also include the ball of light above your head. Then go to the most external casing of the aura, and strengthen it by imagining that it is thicker than the shell of a duck’s egg. This exercise should be performed daily, at least once a day, but sometimes more. The latter depends on whether one is going to unsavoury places or not. With this fortified aura in tact one should then visualize our connection with our higher self (spark of divinity). This could be identi

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Fig. 6

fied as the ball of light above the head or at a spot at the bottom of the sternum in front of the chest. This armour and protector (higher self) should repel most auric attacks. However, an experienced occultist can still harm us, but with great difficulty. Nevertheless, with repeated practice this aura can extend greatly in size, and will definitely prevent any intrusion by non-material entities whether asleep or awake. Destructive atmospheres and physical harm may also be deflected by this powerful aura. These may include violence, accidents, natural disasters and even diseases. Measures (2) and (3) work on the principle of ‘energy follows thought’. Whatever one thinks or visualizes is real and can be seen by clairvoyants. 4) Meditation: If one is not a meditator, one should not try to learn to meditate at this juncture. But if one is an experienced meditator, then by all means meditate more rigorously. At the end of the meditation, send the assailant love if he or she is not an occultist, and quite often this will do the trick. In due course, the assailant will stop sending you hate and angry energy. However if the assailant is an occultist, do not send love, for he will transform the love to hate energy which will be used against you. Therefore, for an experienced meditator, go deep into absorptions (Jhanas), and acquire peace, harmony and equanimity with the protection of God, Buddha or Allah. This will raise the consciousness of the victim to such a high spiritual level that the attacker cannot possibly reach. For malice, use compassion and unconditional love. For lust, use purity and selflessness. For vampirism, talk to the deceased spirit, as he or she is usu-

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ally a loved one. If the attacker is using either hypnotic telepathic or autosuggestion, one should purify one’s mind so that the suggestions cannot take root. Lastly, everybody who meditates must close his chakras after each meditation. One does not close the crown (7th) chakra, but all the remaining chakras must be closed sequentially starting from the 6th, the one at the 3rd eye. Then continue with the 5th at the throat, the 4th at the heart, the 3rd at the solar plexus, the 2nd at top of the pubic area and finally at the 1st chakra at the bottom of the spine. Each chakra is depicted to be an open flower, which is closed down to a bud, one at a time. Another method is to imagine that these six are light bulbs, and they are systemically switched off, one by one. 5) Mindfulness of the Body: During an attack, one should try and be aware of one’s physical body as much as possible, i.e. centering at our bodies. To the Buddhists, the best way of doing this is by concentrating on the breath. The breathing must be normal and even. That means the inspiration must be equal to the expiration. There should not be any increase in the respiratory rate, as in panic. In fact, the best way of breathing is normal, deep and abdominal in type. In addition, one should be aware of one’s emotions. Any fear, panic, and anger should be noted, and straightaway corrected. Normally, a meditator who has strengthened his aura and grounded himself should be able to overcome one’s fears, be it rational or irrational. An experienced meditator who is always calm should be able to withstand sudden fear due to subliminal influences e. g. ghosts, spirits or malevolent atmospheres. If the victim is not a meditator, be aware and remain as calm as possible. Do not allow panic attacks to set in. This is exactly what the attacker wants. At this juncture, the victim may also say a prayer or an affirmation. Perform the sign of a pentagram (Fig 2) straightaway, and this will do away with whatever spirit or ghost that is around. It will also shield you against any occultist attack. 6) Control one’s Emotions. Fear, guilt and desire are the most treacherous of emotions. They should not be harboured at all at any time. Fear has been touched on briefly in the last section. We need rational and calm deliberation with the help of meditation to eradicate the fear. Guilt is always played upon by the offender by oblique suggestions. The

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best antidote here is to forgive yourself, for who has never done anything wrong? The forgiving must be repeated if necessary. Then laugh it away for good. Laughter is a good cleansing fluid for quilt and fear. The last item of desire is more insidious. It is usually a hidden sexual desire from a past life relationship. The attacker would be using hypnotic telepathic suggestion utilizing lust and cruelty directed at the victim. The victim should by now have recognized that hidden desire in her. This must be strenuously resisted and she should stop seeing the attacker at all cost. This past life bond is very difficult to break asunder, and the victim may need the help of an adept for the severance. Another quick method is to give your whole body a good shake down, and this will temporarily squeeze out the fear, guilt and desire. 7) Contact Points. Finally, one should try to destroy or burn meticulously all one’s human sheddings. Hairs, nail clippings, menstrual pads, urine and stools should all be completely eradicated. One should also not give or allow to be stolen personal belongings like watches, rings or handkerchiefs. Neither should one be too eager to receive talisman, pendants, crosses and rings from people you do not know very well. Even though they may be from monks or priests. Negative or malicious energy may be breathed into these items, and if you are wearing them everyday, you may be drawn to that person daily or ever so often. This is one way how a monk or priest can perpetuate the loyalty of their donors. SPECIFIC METHODS OF DEFENCE 1) Heal the aura. The best thing to do this is to go to a reliable healer who should be able to do the job easily. 2) Clear the atmosphere. Use pomegranate leaves or a small brush to sprinkle consecrated salt water all over the house or that particular room. The consecration can be simply done by saying a prayer or repeating an invocation while the salt water is being prepared. This is done by sprinkling a spoonful of salt into a bowl of water. While doing this and while sprinkling the ‘holy’ water onto the walls of the house, repeat your prayer or invocation. 3) Break contact with troubling forces. Move to a new environment

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with a new set of clothes and with as little belongings as possible. If moving house is not possible, change your room. If you cannot change your room, change the direction of the bed. In moving to a new abode, it is better if one can cross running water (river or sea), as this will help by throwing off the scent of the attacker, but a spirit can still follow you. After arriving at the new place, bathe in salt water while chanting an invocation or prayer at the same time. Do it like a ritual. After this, strengthen your aura once again. 4) Disposal of belongings. Personal belongings such as clothes, shirts, jacket and raincoats etc should be sunned in the open for 3 days before giving them away. Similarly, furniture, chairs and mattresses should also be sunned for 3 days before they are disposed off. Of course hairs, nail clippings, handkerchiefs and menstrual pads should be burnt. As a reversal ploy, a woman who is angling for the man may prepare fried rice with her menstrual blood to feed the man. This is one way to entice the man for more. Similarly, night soil, urine, sperms and blood material should be meticulously dealt with, because they are all magnetized objects. 5) Ancillary measures. Small quantities of consecrated salt water or nitric acid in small saucers should be left all over the room or house. These are changed every few days. Whole cloves of onions and garlic may also be left in the room for human and non-human visitors. They should also be burnt after some time. 6) Magic Circle. Before one sleeps, imagine a Ring of Fire around the bed in a clockwise fashion (deosil). Do the same to your companion’s bed. Then white light both beds at once. 7) Pentagram. This is performed as according to the diagram (Fig 2) Start with the right hand down across at the level of the left hip. The next step is to move the hand upward to the center above the head with the 1st and 2nd fingers pointing to the heavens. Then move the hand down again to the right hip. Then swing your hand across to the level of the left shoulder with the fingers pointing to the left. Then, cut across with the hand ending at the right shoulder with the fingers pointing away from the body. Lastly, swing the hand across and down to the left hip again. This pentagram will banish all thought forms, elementals, nature spirits and

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ghosts. As with white lighting, the pentagram can be use to protect our cars, houses, pets and loved ones.

Fig. 6

8) Green pyramid. This is another form of visualization that can protect us from offending intruders. Either lie or sit down and go into silence, i.e. withdrawing from all external thoughts. Then visualize that you are encased in a green pyramid, whose base is beneath your floor, and the apex is above your head. Make sure that the sides of the pyramid are firmly attached to the base, and tightly converged at the apex. If you need to move, attach wheels to the pyramid, and if you want to look out, create a window. Then open your eyes to survey your surroundings. Finally, you may either go into meditation or sleep, and you can rest assured that the pyramid remains intact. Similarly, you can encase your car, house, and loved ones with a pyramid. This pyramid will prevent any intrusion from all sorts of predators. 9) Protecting the solar plexus. There are 3 methods you can protect your 3rd chakra. Firstly, close all your chakras, except the 7th. Then put a sheet of glass around your solar plexus, when you are interviewing someone, who is sapping your energy. You can still talk, but you will not be sapped. Secondly, you can create a brick wall around you. In this instance nobody can communicate with you. Lastly, like in the cowboy films, press your elbows to your sides and put your both hands in front your solar plexus with both thumbs hitch onto your belt or top of your trousers. In these instances, the person in front of you will not be able to absorb your energy.

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10) Gazing. When you are facing a potential attacker, do not gaze into his eyes. Look at his 3rd eye, i.e. the middle of his forehead between his two eyes. When you just concentrate on his 3rd eye he has no power over you. 11) Occult Police. Imagine a black Calvary cross on a circle of scarlet background at your 3rd eye. A Calvary cross is one, which the vertical line is longer than the horizontal line (Fig 3.) Then call for help. Either your own guide (guardian angel) or the roaming spiritual ‘police’ will come to your aid. 12) Mirrors. If you are worried that your house will be attacked put small mirrors at every window facing outwards. If you know that a colleague in your office is sending you negative or hate energy, put a small mirror facing him on your desk. The hate energy will revert back to the sender. Not all the ancillary methods will work for you. However choose one, and try it out. If you fail, try another. If you find one that works with you and you are comfortable with it, stick to that one. However, the most powerful ones are the general measures, through which most attackers cannot penetrate, unless the offender is a very experienced occultist. To the curious, Prevention is Better than Cure. Therefore one should avoid indulging in (1) Ouija boards, (2) Tarot cards and (3) seances. (4) Further, one should not join cults or organizations that profess the ability of performing black or white magic. (5) Avoid Lodges and organizations that act in secret. (6) Do not go to mediums of dubious background. They should be certified by a recognized and registered organization in that country. (7) Try to avoid religious ceremonies in which deities are seen to descend and possess a medium for that festive season. The medium involved will be seen to be striking about or moving violently. The energy generated is tremendously great, and you could accidentally receive that force with ill effects. (8) Do not attend retreats that you know nothing about the organization. Who is the leader? Is he known only by his psychic power? (9) Do not join and sign up in an organization, whose goodness and welfare are all hearsay, and is entirely dependent on the charisma of the incumbent head of the organization. (10) Do not chant at home over and over again any religious sutras especially in front of an altar. This will invariably entice earth-bound

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spirits to enter your home. These spirits were accustomed to these chants when alive, and now they are attracted to the same chants in a home. While in the house, they will attack the person with the weakest aura, be it any member of the household or a servant maid. She could be of any nationality: the only condition is that she must have a weak aura. The above are just a few activities to avoid, for ‘Curiosity Kills the Cat’ is a true adage.

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Freedom From Fear, Anxiety & Other Negativities.
Since birth until now all of us have been taught to worry, to be anxious, to be apprehensive and to fear. All the consequences of any future failure are spelled out in great detail for us. We are not allowed to perform poorly, let alone fail. This atmosphere is our prevailing condition of our growing up. In addition, we are repeatedly told of the shame we would bring to the family if we fail or not succeed! We are instructed to do well in our studies in order to earn a living. After we obtain a good living, we can then look for a pretty wife, who is preferably rich. So in the first quarter century of our life, we are asked to be attached to our mental-ego status, our material welfare and our relationships. Thus, during the whole of the first 25 years of our life we have many negative records made in our left brain. Now we can trace the multiple causes of our fears and anxieties. Before we go into that let us remind ourselves of the

Five Principal Reasons Leading to Fear of Death:
1) Fear of Pain: torture to the physical body 2) Fear of Loss: separation from loved ones and loss of one’s faculties. 3) Fear of Meaninglessness: not being needed or loved anymore 4) Fear of the Unknown: foreboding about eternal damnation and punishment for sinful behaviour 5) Fear of Non Being: self-annihilation or total disappearance of identity. All the following causes of fear are due to the Ego, which is not willing to be submerged by the unconditional love of the soul. We will go more into the antics of the Ego later.

The causes of fear are the following: 1) Karmic Inheritance All of us have been reincarnated millions of times. That means we have committed heinous crimes like murder, rape and theft in our past lives. In those incarnations we were told that we would have had to be burnt in hell

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forever or other eternal damnation but we did not! These quilt complexes are brought over to this life as our ‘shadow’, which means we have numerous underlying fears that the ‘hell’ promised us is still laying in wait to pounce upon us at any time. Every time we come down to be reincarnated we bring with us only a percentage of our total karma to be worked at usually about 10% to 20%. This is because we cannot handle 100% our karma in one incarnation. We bring down both good and bad karma, depending on our potential fortitude in the physical. Before we descend into the physical, we know that in order to eliminate the bad karma, we have to use love, compassion, service and forgiveness and other unselfish tools. But the minute we are born we have amnesia, and forget the promises we made to ourselves. And that is why we have this inherent quilt and anxiety the minute we are born. Not all parents teach us right and wrong; they teach us to be successful. So the feeling of quilt is inborn. While sojourning through this life, we have forgotten about our promises and our ‘G-plan’. But the underlying ‘shadow’ keeps us unhappy. As we progress through this life, we also further commit good and bad karma, which will come into fruition later in this life or next life. If it is bad karma we have accumulated, we will have added tension from the thought of future retribution. All this quilt, tension and stress will add to our fears and other negativities. The last point in this section is that we are reborn together with most of our friends, relatives, competitors and enemies. We are now given a chance to redeem ourselves, or to pay back the karma we owe our benefactors from the past. Further, we are also given a chance to promote service to our current relatives and friends, which is part of our mission in life. So do not waste it. 2) Genetic Inheritance In this section, we should realize that we chose our parents, and therefore we knew all about their physical characteristics, genetic makeup and the inborn diseases we will inherit from both our parents. For example, shortsightedness and diabetes are definitely inheritable. Then, some cancers, like breast cancer, are also more prone to occur in the same family.

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Similarly, high cholesterol runs in families, and therefore heart attacks and strokes again tend to occur more frequently in these families. Therefore, if we know about these inheritable diseases, we anxiously wait for them to turn up. This is an added fear and anxiety. 3) Environmental (a) Parents, siblings and relatives: These relatives exert an influence over us only to the extent of the way we think. This is especially so when we worship our mentors or parents or older relatives. The influence may be reversed when we know better as we grow older. (b) Teachers, colleagues and peers: these personalities exert the same amount of influence as the above except for a charismatic teacher. The latter could really influence the student very strongly and for a very long time, but here again the individual will outgrow the admiration of the teacher in due course (c) Communal, social and national: here it depends on the character of the person and the political climate of the country he is living in. Whether one would like to be in the in-crowd and how much one-upmanship there is in the community are all relevant to the issue. Take for instance the national characteristics of not wanting to be left out and fear of being wrong, backward and not keeping up with the Jones’s. The local word for it is ‘Kiasurism’. 4) Simple consciousness versus Self-consciousness. Everything on earth has consciousness. We started as mineral and moved on to vegetable. Then we graduated into animals, from which we finally arrive at our present state --- humans. As mineral and vegetable we possess only primitive consciousness. Then, when we became animals, we had simple consciousness. Finally as humans, we are endowed with self-consciousness. Primitive and simple consciousness is of the group variety. That means their consciousness recognizes only ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is no ‘I’ involved. The simple consciousness of animals makes them aware of only their surroundings as a group. They have survival instincts, but no free will. When one creature learns something it is passed on to its fellow creatures even though the other animals are in other islands to which places there is no possibility of any communication. Besides animals do not have a proper structured language. As humans we arrived at a higher stage of consciousness: --self-con-

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sciousness. At this stage, we are aware that we are aware. We can now think conceptually, and we are able to plan and therefore also start to worry. We also have free will. There is now a sense of sin associated with a quilt complex. Because of this mind of ours, we start to compare, and envy and jealousy become the mainstay of our worries. We feel that we are separate, and this individualization gives birth to pride. With all these complexes, there is an inherent discontent, because it is never enough. At this point of time, self-consciousness will begin to ask questions when one begins to mature. The questions are: ‘Who am I? ‘Where do I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘Where do I go from here?’ Although some of us who ask these questions may take several thousands of years to arrive at the next stage of super consciousness, nevertheless, the journey has already started towards ‘Christ Consciousness’. The anxiety here is only about when will I arrive at the next stage. There is no fear involved here. When we graduate from the primitive through to simple consciousness and to self-consciousness, we do not discard our primitive instincts. These instincts remain with us, but we have our mental concepts and inhibitive controls over our urges, desires and instincts. Therefore, our rational mind will continually conflict with our instincts, and if we give in to our instincts, regrets and quilt will dominate our subconscious mind. There is here a constant source of fear. The Four Basic Instincts: Pain Pleasure Hunger >>>>>>>> Food Homeless >>>>>>>> Shelter Insecurity >>>>>>>> Security Celibacy >>>>>>> Sex 5) Left Versus Right Brain The left side of the brain is the logical, analytical and linear aspects of our brain. Throughout childhood we instill our will and fear of failure in this side of our brain. Therefore all the negative records are made in this hemisphere of the brain. The right side of the brain is where we open our mind to erase or break the records in the left brain when we meditate. New positive records can

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be made. The right brain is spatial, intuitive, non-verbal and holistic. From the above catalogue of the qualities of the left and right brain, one can see how diametrically opposite they are. Consequently, in trying to adjust from left to right or vice versa one can understand how conflicts may arise. This is especially so in countries of Chinese origin in which Confucianism is the basic background of upbringing. Take for instance, a boy who is principally right brain is born left- handed. He is spatial, nonrational with no sense of time. Although he is holistic intuitive, he is also non-verbal. The teacher and the parents are forcing him to change into right-handed. This causes great conflict resulting in anxiety and fear in school. Being non-verbal, he is unable to answer the questions pose to him by the teacher. This gets him down and depressed which further accentuate his fear of school, parents and school- mates. Life is then quite miserable for him. 6) Fight and Flight Syndrome: When we are in the jungle, whenever we see an animal, the instinctive mind prepares us for either a fight or flight. If it is a tiger, we run like hell. If it is a deer, we prepare to kill it for food. In both cases, our mind stimulates the body to secrete lots of chemicals and hormones (e.g. adrenaline, cortisone and sugars). After the fight or flight, all these chemicals would be used up, and then we will have a rest. However, in the present context, in the concrete jungle, we meet our adversaries everyday in the form of our bosses or colleagues. Under these circumstances, there is no possibility of a ‘fight or flight’ situation. Therefore the hormones and other chemicals remain in our bodies. These cause tension in us, which again leads to anxiety, worry and fear. Diseases like gastric ulcer, hypertension and heart problems may ensue if these conditions persist. 7) Materialism, Relationship and Ego: (a)Materialism. These are usually composed of money, house, stocks and shares, cars and businesses etc. Most people in the developing and developed countries spend all their lives acquiring these possessions and objects. Therefore having acquired them, we tend to cling on to these possessions dearly and steadfastly. We do not want to ‘Let go’. The possessions themselves are neutral and harmless, but it is the possessiveness that causes us the worry, anxiety and fear of losing them.

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(b) Relationships. These involve spouse, children, siblings, parents, friends, other relatives, and colleagues, work mates, employees and employers. In this category, we are more likely to be anxious and worrying than fearful. However, a relationship is more tenacious than a possession; the other party is alive and has a mind of her own. Therefore the other person cannot be treated as a possession or a plaything. She can retaliate and take actions of her own to initiate your downfall! Therefore, there is a fear on the one hand of losing the other party, on the other hand, there is a fear of the other party rocking the boat. You want peace of mind, but your Gplan does not allow it. Hence, tension anxiety and fear. (c) Ego: The following tend to solidify the ego: social status, I. Q., academic achievements, positions in workplace, financial power and physical health. The possessor of all these qualities tends to be egoistic. However, the ego has a definite function. Its job is to look after the physical body primarily, but it also uses the mind to effect this function. It should only sound the alarm when there is any sign of danger. After so many life times, it has got out of hand and has become an alarmist instead. It tends to instill fear and quilt with destructive and negative feelings, when there is no danger at all. If it simply sounds the alarm when there is real impending danger; it is then performing its job. Otherwise, it simply causes too much anxiety and worry to the individual. On the whole ego has these qualities: fearful, quilt, shame, feels separate, alone, critical of self and others, takes self very seriously, manipulative, cunning, full of pride, boastful, braggart, rather be right than happy, loses peace with changes, blaming, suspicious, feels desperate, confused, judgmental, always comparing, competing, fearful of scarcity and deprivation, acquisitive, greedy, jealous tense, self-serving, controlling of other people, seeks to get love from outside. So one can see why with a dominant ego, one is predominantly endowed with most of these traits. Of course, fear, quilt and shame predominate. Under these circumstances, one needs the soul qualities to counter balance the ego’s negative foibles. 8) Suggestions by: Relatives and friends, media (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio advertisements), religions and superstitions. Our mind is like a radio receiving set. It receives information from the above either directly or from the ether, and we immediately assume that the information is authoritative

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and for our good. We do not bother to sit down and assess the validity of the information. Some of the information is very scary, and without verifying the truth of the news, we begin straight away to worry and fear. That is the essence of rumour mongering to frighten you! 9) Birth Traumas. Until lately, very few psychiatrists would correlate birth traumas to psychological symptoms. However, one can imagine the very harrowing process of ploughing through the birth canal with the foetal head. There is a tremendous amount of suffocation and anxiety getting through with amniotic fluid in the mouth or lungs: there is a great amount of aggression utilized for the foetus to survive. All these adverse traumas are buried in our ‘shadow’, and will be brought out under extreme stress situations, e.g. someone going amok and carry out a killing spree, or the frequently bad tempered spouse and father beating up wife and children. This may be related to the aggression culminated during the birth process. Then, there are symptoms like difficulty in breathing or asthma; there may also be shoulder pain, but no anatomical reason for it (this is due to the foetal shoulder pushing against the mother’s pelvic bone). There are also a host of aches and pain, which are totally inexplicable medically. All these symptoms are hidden in the individual’s ‘shadow ‘ due to birth trauma. However, if in the post-natal state, the mother showers love and care over to the baby, memories of these birth traumas may be encapsulated, and they do not surface at all throughout life. Also the traumas vary from person to person, and the reaction to the traumas varies from person to person. Therefore, a difficult birth does not necessarily mean that it will lead to a neurotic lifestyle, but many neurotic symptoms may be traced to a difficult birth. There are other causes of fear and other negative traits, which we will not go into. Therefore from the above causes, one may categorize most humans nowadays into three: 1) Sad Worrier 2) 2) Peaceful Warrior 3) 3) No Hoper. The majority of us fall into the sad worrier category, as the above causes

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may testify. However there is a small percentage of ‘old souls’, who knows the odds and the existence of a ‘G-plan’. These peaceful warriors take things as they come, and they know that their true selves are not involved. Adversities also come to them, but they tackle them like a warrior with no negative emotions, and the problems are always met with a smile! Lastly there is a very small category who have no initiative whatsoever: they are usually born with a silver spoon in their mouths materially, but they do not make any attempt to improve themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They dissipate away their lives indulging in gambling, drugs and sex, and they become quite useless citizens. These are the ‘no hopers’. REMEDIES 1) D E U S. This acronym is useful in a general sense. ‘D’ stands for desire to remove the fear and other negativities, that is a desire to improve oneself. It also stands for de-stress. ‘E’ stands for exercise, which must be done daily or at least five times a week. It also stands for enjoyment, especially in one’s work. The last item is for enlightenment: that means one must pursue activities towards it, e.g. social work to help others and most importantly to ‘Let go’. ‘U’ stands for understanding. Try and find out the causes of your fear and understand how it came about. Then forgive those whom you have been blaming. Then do a ‘U turn’ in your life. Change the direction of your life completely, and discard all at once your bad habits. Lastly convert all your selfishness and ill will to Unconditional Love. A lot of effort must be expended to achieve this, as it is a radical change. ‘S’ stands for silence, which includes meditation and seclusion. One must also surrender to one’s Tao, that is your G-plan. Lastly it also stands for service. Serve your fellow humans, animals and vegetation. 2) CONSTANT AWARENESS OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS so that we can(a) Stop the panic records as soon as they are being played. The action of stopping the record must be quick or else when the fear has dif-

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fused throughout the whole body it becomes a very difficult problem to solve. The symptom usually starts at the 3rd chakra (around the solar plexus), and when given time it will normally surge through the whole body. (b) So stop it and come to concentrate on your breath for at least five minutes. (c) Then end the session with thoughts of goods times or successful events. 3) TRANQUILITY OR CONCENTRATION MEDITATION: Twice a day of at least 30 minutes duration. This practice will (a) Enhance Left and Right Brain coherence and stops the Left-brain dictatorship. That means there is now a balance and the holistic, calm Right brain will not allow the panic to ensue. (b) Open up the Right Brain so that the whole brain plasticity can be remodeled and cells transformed by neurotransmitters in the brain. With this transformation, the balanced whole brain slowly will be in charge of one’s emotions. (c) Meditation also produces our own opium – endorphins. That is why people after jogging and meditation gets euphoric; they produce their own opiates. This helps. 4) AFFIRMATION. Either read something inspiring or repeat an affirmation. One of the best affirmations I have come across is this: It is a prayer by Dr.Reinbold Niebuhr (1934): ‘God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.’ 5) INSIGHT MEDITATION: This meditation decouples one’s intellect from its attendant emotion. For instance, when one thinks of one’s boss and fear arises, the fear can be decoupled from the thought of the boss. This process may be repeated day after day until fear or hate may one day be replaced by love. 6) REALIZATION OF THE TRUE SELF: our soul or true self is not our personality or ego. That means we have to meditate with awareness and discernment for years until we can see clear-

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ly that the physical, emotional and mental bodies are not the true self. Disidentification of these three vehicles and realizing the soul will definitely and eternally destroy any vestiges of fear and other negativities. However it is indeed a tall order to be able to accomplish this self-realization in this incarnation. 7) CONTINUE IN ONE’S FAITH OR BELIEF IN ONE’S RELIGION OR PHILOSOPHY. Do not switch faith or religion just because your good friends ask you to do it. Be a better Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim, if you are already one of these. 8) IMAGINATION: Whatever we imagine is real for that period, and a good clairvoyant can see your visualization. (i) If pleasure or pain is associated with our memories, we can then imagine similar memories, but associate pleasurable emotions with these imagined memories. This process must be repeated many times until pleasure is associated with the same memory spontaneously. (ii) Make new records for the future because we can: (a) vividly visualize during our imagination (b) control our imagination and our emotional reactions and therefore develop the pleasure (c) It takes a long time for this remedy to be completely successful as it took one million years of pleasure/pain to formulate and precondition our present instinctive mind. (iii) Imagine that you have perfect health, and this must be repeated day after day until it is obtained. This affirmation may help: " I am perfect. I control my mind and emotions. I am harmonious, tranquil, happy and relaxed" (9) GET A COUNSELLOR: After trying all the above, and still there is no improvement, try and look for a counsellor. The counsellor must be chosen very carefully. In this instance, the counsellor must be wise rather than intelligent. He must necessarily be experienced in the subject to be discussed. He must not be a smart aleck. Therefore to get this wise guide, try a doctor who has time or

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a priest or monk with worldly experience, or finally a spiritual friend who has no axe to grind. The counsellor must then possess wisdom, patience, compassion, time and empathy. He should not be a gossip. (10) Lastly, HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE In everything that is presented to you for the next 24 hours after a panic attack. That means no pessimism or negativity during this 24 hours.

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The Soul
Universal Law of Karma.
The Universal Laws of Karma
Our deeds still travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us what we are. George Elliot There are many universal laws, which are above the laws of any country. To quote a few, there are laws of gravity, electricity, interstellar planetary forces, weather, and the earth revolving on its own axis. There are also laws of ‘like begets like’ and ‘ as above so below’ There are innumerable more laws, which act upon and control the entire universe and us. These are the laws that no country or international laws or dictator can annul or eradicate. The laws that concern us most here are Karma and Reincarnation. For every universal law there is a reason for it. For instance, the law of gravity is there to prevent us from falling off the earth.

Definition of Karma
What is Karma? Karma is the Sanskrit word for action. It is equivalent to Newton’s law of ‘every action must have a reaction’. When we think, speak or act we initiate a force that will react accordingly. This returning force maybe modified, changed or suspended, but most people will not be able eradicate it. This law of cause and effect is not punishment, but is wholly for the sake of education or learning. A person may not escape the consequences of his actions, but he will suffer only if he himself has made the conditions ripe for his suffering. If he were to continue acting in such a way that the retribution cannot come about, because the condi-

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tions are not appropriate, then he may postpone the fruition of his karma. If he can suspend it until he is in the spirit world, then he may work at this particular karma in this intermission between death and next life. Or he may wait until another life in which he is more developed so that he can gleaned the educational value of this retribution. Conversely, his life could be so derelict that the blessings due to him cannot fructify until a later date or a subsequent life. All these fall into the category of suspension of karma to a more propitious period or life.

Why are we born at all?
In this section we will discuss the purpose of karma and why it is loaded with moral content. We have to start from the very beginning. After being through stages of mineral, vegetable, animal and birds we have been resting in the comfortable lap of the Source (Godhead or Absolute) for aeons. Then we decided to re-circulate as the last sentient beings, namely humans on planet earth. So in the Big Bang many of us would be released from the source at the same time. Innumerable showers of souls have taken place since the first arrival of man on earth. All souls in each dispersal would become soul mates. We have free will from the very first incarnation, and consequently we earned karma. The accumulation of good and bad karma dictates that we have to face them in each life, and resolve them as best we can. Our main aim is to learn through experience to become better souls. It is through the process of purification until we become perfect. In this way we may finally return to the Source or Absolute so that God (which is all-inclusive) may be a better one. It is so obvious that this cannot be done in one incarnation, because the karma accumulated is far too much. As we carry on in ignorance we tend to deem ourselves as separate individuals, and thus, we begin our journey of delusion. Thence onwards, we not only need more than one incarnation, but hundreds or thousands of them to clear the backlog. In order to reach the goal of being solely filled with love and compassion, we require a moral and guiding Law of Karma. So that at the end of our journeys our purity would be regained. With free will, we begin to make mistakes in our very first incarnation, thus incurring karma. Beneficial karma is also earned if we do things for the benefit of others. In other words a bank account of good and bad karma, (positive and negative balance) is opened in our very first incarnation. From here onwards, we will die and reborn many times with our soul mates and others. Every incarnation is endowed

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with forgetfulness of past events; otherwise it is impossible to go forward in our journeys. Without this total amnesia, we cannot perform with the knowledge that our dear ones were our past enemies. It is only in the intermissions between death and life that we realise that we have reared a family of enemies, who turned out to be very good and loving in this last incarnation. It is in the spirit world that we are able to practice forgiveness to our family members in retrospect. So even our adversaries can promote our spiritual progress. This classroom of planet earth is a very varied one. We have to learn all manners of occupations, professions and vocations to experience greed, anger, selfishness and pride. After acquiring these selfish traits in the separate self we then have to relinquish them to return back to interconnectedness. That means we have to be not only in all trades, but all nationalities, all sexes (including homosexual) and all grades of criminals as well as all classes of saintliness. With hundreds or thousands of incarnations for us to act out all these categories, we start to let go and transform ourselves to better souls.

Does Karma preclude chance?
Some authors think that there is no place for chance in the Law of Karma. They think that chance cannot play any part in the unfolding of Karma. What about incidents and happenings that are non-karmic in origin? Do they occur? Edgar Cayce certainly believed they do. Many a case was brought to him, and he deemed them to be not karmic in origin. Some of these are due the fact that an individual wanted to learn a lesson, say on starvation. He subsequently asked for a life where he starved to death. As we are learning and living with other people, the unfolding of their karma could accidentally involve us in a passive way. However, the purists would say that even here there is some linkage to the distant past. What about national karma, which implicates us, even though we have not erred? The rationale here is that we are members of a group, soul mates, and therefore ‘we live together and err together.’ The soul mates that stayed together and perpetrated certain negative activities together would finally find themselves born in the same nation. There may not be a 100% commitment in all these citizens, but with their silence they tacitly gave consent. Notwithstanding the occasional accident due to associations of soul mates, all in all karma certainly plays a predominant role in the major

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events of our lives. If accidents form the major part of the causes of events, then karma cannot function as a law. So the purists have a point here. True happenstance makes a mockery of the law of karma.

How is Karma caused?
Of all the sentient beings we humans are the only ones that possess selfconsciousness. That means we begin to ask questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I go from here? Then we begin to realise right from wrong because of the establishment of the self and selfishness. We can only become selfish because we have free will. If everything were fated, then we would have been robots without responsibility. This is the rub. With karma as the guiding law, we must be totally responsible for our actions. That means we have to suffer the consequences of our thoughts, speech and actions, whether they are wholesome or unwholesome. Selfconscious humans are now able to have concepts with which we can plan our future on the material side of things. Planning means intention. And it is intention that counts for most in karma production. If one’s intention were salutary then the karma produced would be good even though the result is negative. If the intention were evil or selfish, then the karma produced would be bad even if the result is beneficial. The next point to consider is that not every action is karma productive. For instance, one knows that the glass contains poison, and if one believes that one’s luck is so good that the poison would not effect one, then one drinks the poison. The result is fatal. This is not karma; it is stupidity. Similarly, thinking that one’s fate is so fine and powerful, he jumps from the 3rd floor of the building thinking that nothing will touch him. This again is due to stupidity and gravity kills him. These chemical reactions (poison) and gravity, which give immediate results, are not karmic in nature. Karma usually takes place for no apparent reason, for the cause might have originated from previous lives. We cannot remember the connection. Of course in this fast moving world, karma is coming back to us very quickly. For instance, a young man who, started to accumulate his millions through wheeling and dealing with unsavoury methods, became a multimillionaire by the time he reached fifty years old. But the present currency turmoil taking place in his region devastated him completely in six months. This is his karma returning like a boomerang. He ends up a bankrupt and may even go to jail for his illegal pursuits. Of course, if his

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karma is carried over to the next life, he will deem it as bad luck during that life because he cannot see the connection. Now summarising, we have free will, we have intention and we must be responsible for our thoughts, speech and actions. The fundamental and basic principle is simple--- whatever we do to benefit ourselves and to hurt others produces bad karma. Whatever we do to benefit others will generate good karma. Therefore any thought that is inimical to others should be avoided. Any speech that is detrimental to others should not be uttered. Any action that will benefit the self and hurt others should never be contemplated let alone be enacted. The above are general principles with regards to actions (thoughts and speech are taken as action here). The next thing to consider is desire and attachment. Ill will, selfishness and pride are also karma productive. Buddha said that craving is the cause of suffering. He elaborated that craving leads to desire, clinging and attachment. All these karma-productive traits not only end up in suffering but to rebirth, which is much worse. When we merely enjoy one of the sensual objects, and there is no attachment involved, karma is not produced. However, after enjoying the object, an attachment or clinging ensues this is fraught with karma. That means we can enjoy but not yearn for it afterwards. Yearning, clinging and attachments are all seeds of karma-production. One can desire or crave for physical things as well as mental-emotional objects. Concepts are equally dangerous. Desire and craving for sensual objects: Out of the 6 sense objects, sex is the most alluring. Being the force behind the reproductive system, it must be made strong and powerful for the humans to perpetuate the human race. If there is no pleasure in sex, the human race will die out in no time. The next object is food and wine. These cravings are accepted by our social customs, and therefore if anyone were to indulge in either, it is quite in order. However, together with drugs and cigarette, these are consumed to addictive proportions. These objects per se do not produce karma. One may become obese, alcoholic, or a drug addict, but on its own it does not produce karma. It is the craving and the attachment that is karma-productive. Emotional reaction and thoughts: the emotional reactions to the 6 sense

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objects as above at the first contact are: pleasure, displeasure or neutral. With pleasure, clinging and attachment will arise as emotional memories. These in turn will lead to constant yearning and longing, and these would lead to karma production. Similarly with displeasure, the aversion and resentment will also be karma productive. In other words, these emotional reactions would consolidate as emotional memories. When the latter are fixated as negative and positive thoughts with emotional desire and aversion they would generate karma even though nothing is done about it. Similarly, with only thoughts and concepts, these will also produce karma when these intentions are prelude to speech or action. So thoughts, speech and action will generate negative karma if the intention is to consolidate the self. Conversely, it will generate good karma, if thoughts, speech and action are for the sake of others. If these ‘actions’ are merely passing phases, then hardly any karma will be produced. However, if these ‘actions’ are fixated and the attachments are strong, then karma will surely ensue. Not all ‘actions’ will produce karma. Millions of things that you think, say or act are neutral. These are daily chores like eating one’s meals, opening bowels and having a bath. Watching T.V., reading and exercising etc are karma neutral. All these activities are not to aggrandise oneself or to hurt others. They are just done to keep one alive.

Varieties of Karma
Under this heading, we can consider karmic ties with our stars, planet earth, our country, locality, race, religion, nuclear and outer families, distant relatives, friends, work mates and underlings. The universe is about 6 billion years old, and planet earth is about 5 billion years old. From mineral through vegetable and animals the predecessor of man arrived on earth about more than three million years ago. The first "human" was Homo Habilis who lived in Africa about 2.5 million years ago. Then 1.5 million years ago man started to walk upright and he was called Homo Erectus. After more than a million years of evolution, modern man, Homo Sapiens, came into being about 200,000 years ago. The Neanderthal, who is the first Homo Sapiens, also existed roughly 200,000 years ago. Suddenly they became extinct 35,000 years ago. Therefore, most of us should have souls of at least 2 million years old. This would have ensured us of several hundreds or thousands of incarnations. Just

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imagine how much karma each of us has accumulated! Therefore at birth, the underlying karmic forces are exerting such an influence, that nobody is born equal. Firstly, we are born under a set of stars and our astrological horoscopes should be the blueprints for our G-plan (life plan). This renders the birthday and time most important for that individual, even though it is a Caesarean birth. However, each of us would have made plans in the astral world before coming down---our G-plan. Our group souls must have come down to earth time and again together. Very rarely an old soul might choose another planet. As humans we mostly choose the familiar, and like begets like. In discussing racial karma, the Jews, Germans and the Japanese mostly choose to come back as Jews, Germans and Japanese. The other races tend to mix up more. Looking at the heterogeneity of the populations of U.S.A. and parts of Asia these souls may choose to go anywhere, although the majority will return to their old familiar countries. At the moment of birth, armed with our G-plan, the stars aligned themselves for the life we are about to go through. The G-plan was entirely worked out on the basis of our karmic balances while we are in the spirit world. The soul mates that came down together had common karma to work through (group karma). The country that we were born in was also part of our karmic heritage. So the stars, earth, country, nationality and soul mates are all interconnected through the karmic cords that hold us all together. Then as we come closer to nuclear and immediate and distant families and friends, the karmic pot thickens. The planet earth is also called Gaia, named after a Greek Goddess. Gaia has its own spirit and karma. The way we are plundering and abusing Gaia it is no wonder that the boomerang effect of karma caused by humans is beginning to resound itself. Few examples of these are: deforestation by fires, underground nuclear explosions, the building of hydro-electric dams and planting with explosions of land mines, to name a few. This global karma is just beginning to make itself felt. The recent spate of earthquakes, volcanic explosions, hurricanes and tornadoes is just the tip of an iceberg. More and worse is yet to come. On the other hand, it is not going to be the end of the world, for wayward humans still require Gaia to practice on.

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In a mix population, there may be one nation, but there are many races. So in a mix population, if one becomes good friends or enemies with the other races this signify that one’s karmic net is truly wide. Therefore, racial karma in this instance is not identical with national karma. The United States, Singapore and Malaysia are in the same position. In the case of the Jews, they may not have a country to call their own for thousands of years, yet they remain a cohesive race spread all over the world. It is only in recent years that the State of Israel is born, and now the Jews can state that they are one race, one nation. National karma always supersedes racial and individual karma. Take for instance the present financial turmoil that is pervading the South East Asian countries. It has taken its toll on all and sundry, whether rich or poor, seemingly good or bad and whichever race. Most are affected, but a few have been left unscathed. These very few must have earned enough beneficial karma to protect them from this onslaught. These people are mostly unattached and non-materialistic. In fact these Asian countries have been working towards this turmoil for the last 20 years! There has been a persistent pursuit of wealth and materialism in these countries to a feverish pitch. There is no soul and no spirituality. Love, compassion and service have all gone to the wind. The spiritual individuals can see it coming a mile away, but not the economists. The geography or locality of a place also posses karma from the history and the spirit of the area. The bad overtones produced by the underlying spirits of deceased people as well as the earth and vegetation of the place very often affect adversely the people moving there to stay. The geographical karma is much more powerful than the individual karma. A former graveyard is a very good case in point.

Family Karma
The strongest karmic ties are seen in the nuclear family. The two greatest threads are (1) between husband and wife and (2) parent and child. We all chose to come down in these respective relationships. For many lives we come down in different permutations and combinations. If a very good friendship is established in one life, one of them may decide to be born as a son or a daughter to the other in the next life. (My son was a friend of mine in the last life). Husband and wife relationships in the past may not always be happy ones. In fact, quite often it is the opposite. Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama found that it is not unusual for one spouse to be the

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murderer of the other. In most cases, there is karma to resolve between husband and wife. Very few couples marry because of previous harmony or due to elevated spiritual growth. They do occur, but they are very few in numbers. The couples that marry because of sexual passion very often end up in divorce, because there is no karmic force to keep the marriage going. In the case of the couples that marry due to karmic ties, there is a motivation to continue with the marriage, because of the necessity to resolve the karma between the spouses. Whatever it is, both should ensure that there is no residual animosity between them when they leave this world. Longevity of a marriage is a good sign. And quite often, when one spouse dies, the other follows suit within two years, if one is dependent on the other. This happens in spite of the fact that there are numerous quarrels between them during marriage. That means both have resolved their karma to a greater or smaller extent. This general theme applies to homosexual couples as well. In a heterosexual marriage, the husband who is suffering from pathological jealousy (a well known psychological condition) could very well be a very promiscuous man in his last life. Now in this life, he is suffering from this disease in which he continuously suspects his wife, who was his spouse the last time, of infidelity. The marriage becomes a very difficult one and it requires a Herculean endeavour to sustain the marriage. The ironic part of this inherited disease is that the man with the disease is quite often unfaithful himself! Most of these marriages end in up divorce, because the husband suspects every man that turns up, sometimes ending in a situation in which the poor wife is locked up whenever the husband leaves the house. In the olden days, a chastity belt was used. It is essentially a male disease. Twin souls: Do twin souls marry? Of course they do but very seldom. The reason is this. Twin souls are the last two souls in the same pod to separate and individualise. They were in a sublime state when they left each other to experience and learn from their repeated incarnations. When they are together there is only bliss and harmony. There is no acrimony. And when they do get married, it is truly blissful. There is no dissension, no quarrels or heated discussions. That means they do not learn. Some twin souls, after realising this, they divorce! However, when they are in the last or penultimate incarnation then they will come together for the journey back to the spirit world never to return to earth again. That means it must be their last or second last life on this earth before they get married.

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Parent and child: This relationship is always very strong. Mostly it is of love and attachment. The doting mother on the son or the adoring father and daughter are classic examples. They both chose to come down in this relationship after experiencing many previous relationships. These include cases of adoptions. There is no difference between an adopted child and a biological one. The sacrifice of a parent is sometimes so stupendous that one can only call it madness. It is beyond reason. It can only be compared to that of a religious bigot. So now we can envisage the tremendous karmic bonding that brings this relationship down to earth. Of course the reverse may take place. The parent or the son could just merely exploit the other until the other meets with disaster, and there are no qualms about it. Therefore, one should always look back to their previous lives to get some sort of an answer to what is going on. The doting mother and son could have been lovers in the previous life, during which she could not do enough for her lover. A father could be the previous husband of his daughter. With a strong sexual appetite he commits incest on his daughter. This is a reason why there are so many cases of incest between father and daughter. Please remember that one can always divorce the spouse but not the offspring, and that is why the karmic bond of an offspring is so much stronger than that of a marriage.

Siblings and close relatives
Two siblings can be very close. When one sees this proximity it is so obvious that there is a strong karmic bond between them. There could also be a very intense and animated rivalry, which can be deemed as karmic in origin. In twins, the closeness manifested gives one no doubt about their past relationship. Except for some unusual cases, sibling rivalry does not go beyond adulthood. Most of the siblings use the parents as stepping stones for venturing out into their own G-plan. In this instance, a good friend is even closer than a sibling is. From here onwards we move away to cousins and in-laws etc, widening the circle to include more and more distant relatives. The principles enumerated above all apply as well, except that generally the karmic ties are less and less intense as one move towards the periphery.

Underlings: workers, servants and maids
There are usually some karmic ties between the boss and the employees, especially with the long serving ones. A servant maid would look after the

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home as if it was her own. She would treat the children better than the mother. There are cases where when the servant dies; she bequeathed her property and other asset to her employers. I used to run a laboratory for 17 years. There were 35 employees in the firm. Thirty-two of them resigned within one year after I sold the laboratory. This signifies to me that they were there just to serve me and not the new owners. Your maids could have been your employers in the last life. They are now experiencing the treatment that was dished out by them in the past. So be careful: do not ill-treat your maids! Some of your employees were your friends in the past. They would like to return the kindness you have shown to them. When the debt is paid, they leave.

Classification of Karma
Edgar Cayce classified physical karma into three varieties: (1) Boomerang (2) Organismic (3) Symbolic. Boomerang Karma: This type of karma is the exact translation of Jesus Christ’s teaching, "whatsoever man soweth, that he shall also reap". The principle here is that whatever a man does to someone in one past life, he will suffer almost an identical incapacity in the present life. One of the examples is that of a blind Professor who asked for a reading from Edgar Cayce. The professor was told that in Persia in about 1000 BC he was a member of barbaric tribe, who used to blind its captured enemies with red-hot irons. The second case is about a girl who suffered an attack of polio at the age of one. She was crippled with the disease and both feet were stunted. At a Cayce reading, she was told that in an Atlantean incarnation she made people "weak in the limb and unable to do other than follow…." Organismic Karma: In this type of karma the individual abused his body and organs in the past life. This resulted into a malady concerning the same organ in the succeeding life. An example given was a man who was a glutton in the court of Louis XIII. Then in one of the following life, he suffered from an intense illness of indigestion that it required several hours to digest a meal.

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Symbolic Karma: A young man suffered anaemia since childhood. A Cayce reading revealed that five life times back this individual ruthlessly seized control of Peru and became its ruler. "Much blood was shed, hence anaemia in the present incarnation" says the reading. Therefore, shedding of blood 5 life times ago has now caused him to have blood deficiency. In a severe case of asthma, the patient was told: "You cannot press the life out of others without seeming at times to have it pressed out of oneself." In another case of symbolic karma, is about a boy who began bed-wetting as a child. Notwithstanding all the specialists that he went to he continued to bed-wet until he was 11 years old. In a Cayce reading then, he was told that as a minister of the gospel in early Puritan days in Salem he used to duck ‘witches’ into a pond. A cure was suggested: The mother should suggest to the boy when is about to fall asleep that ‘he is good and kind and he is going to make many people happy’. This recitation went on for 10-20 minutes after he has gone to sleep. This cured him immediately on the first night. The condition never returned. Now at 16 years of age, he is very tolerant of others, and always gives excuses to justify others’ misdemeanour. Note that the cure did not refer to his past life activity. All the above incidents are physical results of retribution of a psychological realm. The retribution is never exact or literal. Karma is a psychological law, and the physical manifestation of the retribution is merely a means to adjust a psychological wrong. Therefore it cannot be exact, but an approximation. However, the ramifications of the three different types of karma as classified above are both interesting and telling. The people, the social and environmental circumstances are all different in the present life of retribution as compared to the lives of causation. The people that suffered in the past are not the same people who are delivering the punishment. Also the environment and social circumstances differ considerably in the two lives. In the Symbolic cases, one needs to be a sleuth like Edgar Cayce to work out the symbolic linkage of the action and reaction. The Edgar Cayce cases are indeed most illustrative. One can also see that the emotional and mental manifestations of past causes can be very varied and complicating. Under these circumstances, there is never a direct one to one relationship. Therefore the vagaries of

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karmic manifestation is never straightforward. That means in order to work out the neuroses and mental diseases, as effects in this life from causes in the past are almost impossible.

Can Karma be suspended, modified or eliminated?
Karma does not come about as regularly as the night that follows the day. It can be suspended for the following reasons: There must be a time and place to repay our debt. In modern society, when we borrow a large sum of money to buy a house, we usually ask for a period of time before we can completely pay the entire dept. We have a choice here as to the length of time we need to pay off the debt. As humans we have freedom of choice. Normally, in a housing loan we can pay back by instalments. In karma, although we may do the same, we prefer to gather strength in the intervening centuries and perhaps clear some of them in the spirit world. However, the major portion of the karma has to be paid back finally in one life. In the intervening period, we would have developed spiritually, and consequently we are able to face our karma with greater wisdom and strength. In addition, we would also like to choose the time for its appearance because the conditions are more appropriate. Can karma be modified or changed? The answer is a definite "Yes". Firstly, we must recognise that we have injured the other person. Then we ask for forgiveness from that person. At the same time we must also forgive ourselves and the person in order to lay the pathway for the karma to be modified. Paripassu we ourselves must U-turn or grow spiritually. How do we do that? We must purify ourselves of our foibles. Then we must now extend service to others to such an extent that it becomes our goal in life. Lastly, we should either pray or meditate to increase our vibrations. With all these practices we are able to postpone the retribution from appearing now to a more propitious time. In the same token, we should be able to modify our karma to a much more palatable form. In the Buddhist sense, we make sure that the conditions are not ripe for the present and hopefully after many decades or centuries of development we will be stronger to face the karma when it does appear.

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Can karma be eliminated? Again the answer is "yes" but it is almost an impossibility for most of us. One has to realise the Self or the soul first. That means we have to reach a spiritual height of Christ Consciousness. Christ Consciousness is not the exclusive property of the followers of Jesus Christ. It is the same as Bodhicitta in the Buddhist parlance. It is Self-Realisation or Moksha of the Hindhus. This is the stage when our consciousness has reached the ultimate state, which is beyond the Causal Realm, a divine state. In this state we have transcended all states of consciousness below and we are in the same plane as the Absolute in Cosmic Consciousness. In this plane, all karma is annulled without exception. How many of us can be enlightened in this life? The paucity of these enlightened saints in one generation makes this method of elimination of karma like an impossible dream.

Where is Karma stored?
Every individual has at least 7 major chakras and 7 auric bodies. In the Buddhist teachings, the storing of karma is dependent on whether the action is intentional or unintentional. If it is intentional, then repercussions accruing from these actions will arise depending on the conditions ensuing. The repercussions may be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. The recipient will then suffer or enjoy the result accordingly. However, if it is unintentional, the recipient may not suffer or enjoy the consequences. For instance, a wound inflicted by someone else in the previous life will only reappear as a birthmark in the present life without any physical handicap. Generally speaking, actions whereby there is attachment to the results will be stored in the astral body. In actions where there is no attachment to the results karma is stored in the causal body. The causal body is never shed no matter how developed we are, and it follows us life after life. It is in this body that the Akashic records are kept. This is the body that stores our past karma and our samskaras. Our G-plan (life plan) is also seen here. All these can be detected around our head and shoulders. When one has developed to the ultimate consciousness (enlightened) one would be residing in a realm beyond the causal realm, and all karma is then annulled. If one is still struggling physically to survive with attachment, then the 1st chakra is involved in the karmic manifestation. If one has great sexual desires the chakra involved is the 2nd. Strong emotions like anger, hatred,

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jealousy, joy and depression are stored in the 3rd chakra. With love and compassion the 4th chakra is the centre involved. The 5th chakra deals with attachment to purification, teaching and singing. The 6th chakra is involved with attachment to knowledge and wisdom. All these karma are stored in the respective chakras of the astral body (4th auric body). Whereas, the results of actions without attachment will be stored in the causal body, whether they are intentional or unintentional. This is because the perpetrator of the action is not acting for self but for others. So all altruistic acts and services without attachment fall into this category. When karma is stored in the astral and causal bodies, the karma that has priority to manifest is the one with the most energy in it i.e. there is strong attachment in the desire. And normally this pertains to those in the astral body. Seeing those in the causal body are without attachment, they remain in the background until there is enough energy accrued for them to manifest. Therefore the survival tendencies, the sexual urges and the emotional volatility all tend to manifest in the current incarnation. Also a dominant karma will suppress the manifestation of subsidiary or weaker karma. The individual has to develop through many incarnations to come to a level where he can transcend all these tendencies, desires and attachments, that means he must progress in his spiritual growth.

The Eradication of Karma
This has been lightly touched upon earlier. We will now enumerate the steps we can take to achieve this. It will have to take many lifetimes, but the fact that we realise that we have to walk this path is itself very salutary. The disciplines involved are (1) Purification. (2) Service (3) Meditation or prayer. Purification: In this category, we basically have to work hard at letting go of (a) craving, desire and attachment. (b) Ill will, which includes anger, hatred, jealousy, envy and other negative emotions. (c) Pride (d) Selfishness. Service: In this category, we have to service the mineral, vegetable, animal kingdoms and humans. In humans, we have to help our immediate

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families, distant relatives and friends and fellow colleagues and underlings, Meditation or prayer: In this category, it is better to meditate. In meditation we expedite the process of letting go. The main goal of meditation is to empty one’s mind, and it is during these periods of emptiness that we can reach the causal realm temporarily only to come to earth again when we stop meditating. Summarising, one does not need to resolve every karma earned. In order to eradicate all our karma, we merely have to be enlightened!

Reference
Cerminara, Gina. Many Mansions. Neville Spearman.Ltd Hiroshi Motoyama. Karma and Reincarnation. Judy Piatkus (Publishers)

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Universal Law of Reincarnation.
As night follows the day, so the law of reincarnation must follow the law of karma. One cannot commit karma and expect it to finish with it in one life. So there must be many lives to resolve one's karma. Once karma is initiated, it must (1) continue until it is spent. In this process, karma must have its repercussion in the forms of (2) consequence and (3) compensation. So we have 3 laws here. The Law of Continuation: Some of our tendencies, traits, habits, talents and abilities can be carried over to the next life and the next, but not all of them. Our merit and good points may pass over. For instance our ability to meditate. Our kindness and our loving and compassionate nature may be carried over to future lives. However, intellectual abilities like our computer expertise may not. Our emotional memories are more likely to be carried over than the intellectual ones. The Law of Consequences: Having free choice, we make mistakes as well as good deeds. Consequently, we receive negative and positive sequelae to make us responsible, and thereby we learn from these negative and positive responses. The lesson here is not to make the same mistakes. We should also learn that to hurt others we punish ourselves. In this way, life after life we learn to ascend the spiritual path. The Law of Compensation: As we progress in our spiritual path, we have to experience innumerable facets of life. For instance, we must experience different races and take on different religions in order to round up our education. Then to know the extremes, we must change sex in different incarnations, and this practice must also include homosexual ones. In some lives we have to be physically strong and some weak. In some we have to be intellectually active and in others mentally subdued.

Definition of Reincarnation
Reincarnation must be properly defined. It is often mixed up with other terms. These are (1) Rebirth, (2) Metempsychosis, (3) Psychic collectivism, and (4) Pre-existence. Pre-existence was accepted in early Christianity. It postulates that there is a pre-existing soul. This soul is born in a human

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body, and after death returns to the spirit world. It is with exception that a soul is able to return to earth. This is no more the prevailing Christian view. Psychic collectivism embraces all ideas, which include that, the mind only becomes individualise when it enters a body at birth. After death this mind or soul is absorbed by the earth as vapour. This adds vitality to plants, animals and humans. This view state that the psychic field of vital energy is individualised temporarily at birth. Metempsychosis or transmigration means alternate incarnation of human and animals, or if one behaves badly one will incarnate into an animal. Rebirth or psychic transfer is discussed here in specific reference to Theravada Buddhism. This is because of the 'anatta' doctrine, which states that there is no soul or personality. At death, only the mental and psychic traits, characteristics and propensities return to a general pool. Then at the next rebirth these samskaras are issued to another personality who is not the old one. That means there is no individual soul or personality being transferred from the past life to the new one. The analogy given is that 'the light of a dying candle goes to lit another new candle'. This passing on of the baton does not speak of the intermission between death and life. Materialism is another belief that has to be dealt with. This hypothesis states that there is no soul. In addition the mind including thoughts, concepts, emotions, feelings etc is a by-product of the body. When the body dies, the mind dies with it. There are no consequences, no responsibility, no improvement and no spiritual growth. There is no purpose to life: everything leads to nothing. The Epicureans are attuned to this concept. Reincarnation: this hypothesis is the most likely situation. It postulates that there is a pre-existing soul before birth and continues after death. The soul incarnates hundreds or thousands of times, depending on which religion or philosophy one follows. The series of incarnations is to promote spiritual growth so that the soul can arrive finally at one with the universe. There are at least six facts that support the thesis of reincarnation: (1) Near Death Experience. (2) Out of Body Experience. (3) Mediumship and channelling. (4) Hypnosis and other forms of regression. (5) Spontaneous past-life recalls.

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(6) Induction by other techniques other than hypnosis. Volumes of reputable research in various fields support the above facts with scientific authenticity. University professors and scientists have all researched thoroughly into these topics that they are now accepted without a shadow of a doubt. This article will now work on this premise that reincarnation is the valid hypothesis.

Historical and Geographical Background to the Belief in Reincarnation
Reincarnation is not solely an Eastern or particularly an Indian doctrine. Neither is it a well-defined one. Reincarnation has been loosely accepted by different cultures as a hotchpotch of ideas with false righteousness by the clergy to blackmail the flock into discipline. There is a fantastic amount of delusional speculation in the subject. In a 1969 Gallop poll of Christians in the western countries, there were only 10 % to 26% of believers in reincarnation. Ten percent of the Dutch, 12% Swedish, 14% Norwegians, 18% English. 20% Americans, 22% Greeks, 23% French, 25% Germans and 26% Canadians believe in reincarnation. In 1980, 29% of the British believe in incarnation. This is a jump of 11% in ten years. In 1978, a TV poll in Brazil found 78% Brazilians believe in reincarnation! These Western believers were presumably influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, certain African tribes, Druses etc. Further, the esoteric teachings of Theosophy, Spritualism, Spiritism of Allan Kardec and Anthroposophy all contribute towards this high percentage of western believers. In Judaism, there is a strong belief in pre-existence, but a weak belief in reincarnation. In Christianity, with a background of pre-existence in some quarters, there are a few passages in the New Testament pointing towards reincarnation. There are passages found in St. Mark, St. Mathew, St Luke and St. John alluding to reincarnation. The obvious one is when Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah in a previous life. John 9:1-3 and John 17: 24 are good examples indicating belief in reincarnation.

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The Second Council of Nicea in Constantinople in 533 AD did not meet to reject reincarnation. Its main purpose was to decide whether Christ consisted of one or two natures. A secondary consideration was to condemn the views of Origen, who strongly believed in pre-existence and thereby was sympathetic to reincarnation. When his views were condemned, it was erroneously concluded that the meeting was solely to reject his views on reincarnation. Therefore it can be seen that reincarnation was not the purpose of the council meeting. Origen's sympathetic bias towards reincarnation might not even have been on the agenda for discussion. Annie Besant and others initiated this erroneous speculation. The subject of reincarnation is not explicitly discussed in Islam. Zoroaster, the Persian sage, managed to influence some Sufis towards reincarnation, but it is only for a few lives. It was the Sufi Jalal-Ud-DenRumni that taught the evolution of the soul through mineral, vegetable, animal to human and then to angel. The Druses, a partial Islamic sect, believe that the soul immediately re-enters a baby that is being reborn. The Jains believe that the soul is immediately connected to a conception. That is why under these circumstances, the last thought moments of a dying person is so important. Kabbala believes in pre-existence of the soul, which mostly has only one incarnation. This one incarnation is mainly for purification. If the individual fails he becomes a woman in the next life! Modern philosophers, teachers and pundits all believe in reincarnation in a variety of permutations and combinations. Authors, musicians and artists and other famous thinkers also believe in reincarnation in some fashion or the other. The subject is very complicating and there is no one finite view. Throughout this diversity and contradictions there is only one major theme of wanting to come back to earth. The religious tend to treat it as reward and punishment. The 'untouchables' in India are deemed to be punished for their bad behaviour in the past life. The esoteric sects believe it is for spiritual growth. The remainder takes it as a process of a universal law, which cannot to be avoided. Some religions deem it as punishment even for simple superstitious acts of neglecting religious rituals etc. This view is as wrong as the one concerning the untouchables. Another very

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erroneous view is that reincarnation is synonymous with fate or destiny. A wide range of estimates is seen in the number of incarnations of each individual. It ranges between a few in Persia to the Indian number of 840,000. Some teachings do not include intermissions i.e. periods between death and rebirth. Theosophy: Theosophy has an elaborate doctrine, which has been greatly modified since its inception. It has a wide spectrum of esoteric teaching which involves involution of the monad (soul) and the evolution of the physical vehicle (body) simultaneously in one individual. It uses a language quite different from other esoteric disciplines. Theosophical viewpoints after much modification are now left vague and contradictory. However, these inconsistencies do not alter the theme of moralist karma, intermission and reincarnation. The three tenets of Theosophical thought on karma and reincarnation are (a) these are natural laws that cannot be redeemed; (b) they are for reward and punishment; (c) they are also for guidance, evolution and healing. Memories of past life recalls are extraordinary according to them, because in their view the physical brain and astral brain decompose after death, and therefore these memories are not available except in the higher causal body. So only highly developed people can access their past. Anthroposophy is even more complicating. Rudolf Steiner, the main force in Anthroposophy, agrees that karma is a spiritual law of cause and effect, which pervades all inner and outer human thoughts and acts. He was a true Gnostic, which meant he kept on obtaining esoteric knowledge at first hand to all manners of spiritual mysteries. Therefore his interpretations of causes and effects keep on changing from period to period, i.e. his doctrines changed time and again. He definitely advocated karma and reincarnation, but his conclusions of what causes leading to what effects are totally at variance with all hitherto teachings. The declarations of his esoteric intuitions are told with feelings and effects, but there is hardly any justification for them. Neither is there any rationale. His concepts are incoherent and contradictory, but full of atmosphere. Hinduism: The first Hindu view is that all souls arose from the Source or Godhead. After many incarnations, they forget that they are divine and that they originated from the Source. But after many incarnations, they

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learn that they have to realise who they really are (i.e. self-realisation), and from thence onwards the journey is towards returning to the Source. The second view is that we started as being minerals, going through vegetables and animals and finally to humans. It is only the human that can attain self-awareness and with it freedom of choice and responsibility. From then onwards, the law of karma comes into play. After many incarnations (840,000 of them) and after liberation (moksha,) the human soul does not need to come back to earth or other planet for growth. It will now carry on as an angel in the spirit world. These earthly incarnations and intermissions which, are totally guided by karma is called Samsara. During Samsara, the human soul progresses through four stages: (1) Lust (kama)--pursuit of pleasure. The sin here is anger. (2) Materialism (Artha)---The sin here is greed and avarice. (3) Morality, integrity and religiosity (Dharma). (4) Enlightenment (Moksha)---release from Samsara and no more earthly incarnations. So one can see that the basic laws of karma and reincarnation are essential for human spiritual growth to return to the Source or Godhead. The soul before birth possesses a general karmic pool or mass (Sanchita karma) the sum total of karma earned form past lives. He brings a portion of ripe karma (Prarabdha karma) down to earth in this life. It is from this ripe karma that he constructs his G-plan. Then while living this life he incurs more new karma (Kryamana karma). A small amount of new karma is resolved in this very life, but the remainder is carried over and added to the main pool (Sanchita karma) for the future. In Hinduism, there is no place for predestination, luck or fate. However, these views on Hindu karma and reincarnation closely influence their attitude towards the caste system (the untouchables must have behaved pretty badly in their past lives). Metempsychosis or transmigration of souls to animals is part of this philosophy. Buddhism: This religion is another eastern teaching that solidly supports karma and reincarnation. Its doctrine is very similar to Hinduism except on the question of the soul. In Theravada Buddhism, the anatta doctrine is the tenet of its teachings. There is no soul or Atman in man's spirit (Jiva). What is carried over to the next life is not an entity or personality, but a collection of habits, tendencies and characteristics. This lack of Atman is translated into an-atman and finally to the anatta doctrine. This

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transference is like 'an almost burnt out candle which lights up a new candle.' That is why in Buddhism it is called rebirth rather reincarnation. Intermission between lives is not elaborated here. On the other hand it is said that Buddha himself was able to remember all his previous lives, meaning that he was able to recognise an ongoing personality through all his lives! In the Jataka stories, metempsychosis is also taught, but there is no surety that Buddha was the source of these stories. In fact, Buddha never wrote a word, and other people wrote everything in the Buddhist literature. Another small point in Tibetan Buddhism: it is said that a developed lama, called a sprul-sku (tulku), can preserve its personality. This is because he is so developed that his will and power can work against the disintegration of his personality He can even predict his future incarnation. He writes down and describes the whereabouts of the place and house in which he is going to be reborn. The expert detectives who will be looking for this boy were his former associates. After some divination procedures, these lamas will venture out to look for the boy. The two to three year-old boy will have to recognise possessions and relics of the deceased sprul-sku (tulku). Lastly, Mahayana Buddhism has an added feature of a Bodhisattva ideal. This plan says that a person who has reached the height of enlightenment has a choice to be reborn in order to help his fellow sentient beings towards enlightenment. Therefore the Bodhisattva has the freedom to choose not to reincarnate or incarnate. That means he can postpone his entrance into nirvana to a day when "every blade of grass is enlightened". Reincarnation is not much discussed in Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism.

Primitive Cultures
At least 100 tribes in Africa believe in reincarnation: only 36 of these believe in reincarnation proper while 47 of them believe in metempsychosis. The Zulus also believe that we come to perfect ourselves until it is not necessary. The strongest belief is in West Africa: Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana. There are all sorts of theories concerning how the reincarnation process comes about. Another area is where the Druses originated: Southeast Turkey, Lebanon and Northern Israel. Reincarnation beliefs in

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these two areas probably arose from ancient Egypt. A third area is Asia, which encompasses India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Nepal, Tibet and Indochina. The next is Japan and finally Southeast Alaska. Europe: here the Celts believed that after a few lives they might reach a 'white heaven'. Metempsychosis and a Bodhisattva ideal are also believed in their culture. The ancient Teutons believed that people reincarnate in the same family. The Danes, the Norse, the Icelanders, the East-Goths, the Lombardians, the Letts and the Saxons all have some kind of reincarnation beliefs. The Americas: The Tlingits of South-eastern Alaska and North-western Canada had elaborate views and practices of reincarnation. According to them the returning soul can choose its mother. They pay great attention to birth marks as features of the new-born's previous identity. The Indian tribes of America and Canada also believe in reincarnation. So do the Eskimos. Some of the latter even believe in overlapping reincarnations i.e. a soul is born before the previous personality has died. Many Red Indian tribes of North and Central America have strong belief in reincarnation. Some in metempsychosis. The Incas, the Mayans, the Dakotas etc all believe in some form of reincarnation. Australia and Oceania: There is a universal belief in reincarnation amongst the Australian aborigines. Similarly, reincarnation belief is found among the tribes in Borneo and Celebes Papuans, the Maoris, the Tahitians, the Fijians etc. So looking at the above survey we can conclude that there is quite a widespread belief in reincarnation throughout the populations of the world. In order to study the chronological sequel of reincarnation, let us begin at the end: death.

The Mechanism of Death
When we emanated from the source it is the form of a spirit, which in Sanskrit is called, Jiva. The Jiva is the life force containing the soul and all levels of our consciousness including the Akashic records. The soul is called the Atman. (1) At the point of death, all the seven or more auras will involute into the

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spirit, which will move over to the heart chakra in the chest. (2) All the auric bodies with all the karmic seeds will now congregate at this chakra where the atman is situated. A light is seen above the heart chakra. (3) The Jiva including the soul, all the auras and the seeds of karma and all levels of consciousness will now flow out through the crown chakra. During sleep, when the Jiva leaves the body it is tied to the body by a silver cord, which will pull back the Jiva before awakening. Now at death, the silver cord is severed and this is the point of no return. The Jiva normally leaves through the crown and is seen by clairvoyants as a cloud of smoke. Sometimes it may leave through the 6th chakra at the 3rd eye or other chakras. (4) The Jiva or cloud of smoke will reform into its etheric form, which is exactly like the corpse that it has just left. This etheric form will remain earth bound until it has bidden farewell to his relatives and friends. Then it will shed its etheric body to go to astral world. Some ignorant spirits full of attachment may remain earthbound for years (up to more than a thousand years). (5) The Jiva then passes through a dark tunnel or climb a flight of stairs into a world of warm, bright light, where a radiant guardian angel is waiting to welcome him. This personage radiates warmth and light, and straightaway one feels very comfortable with him. (6) A panoramic review of one's last life in three dimensions is then reeled backwards for one to see and feel. There is no recrimination here. Only the omissions and commissions are noted. These have to be worked at in the near future. The question is always asked: 'what have you learnt from your last incarnation'. (7) In the astral realm the etheric body has already been discarded. The astral body is much more malleable and plastic. In this realm, one indulges in one's emotions trying to resolve them at the same time. Then when all the emotions are fully tested, one moves onto the mental realm. This can happen only when one has developed enough to be upgraded to the men-

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tal realm. The astral body has now to be discarded. This is equivalent to the second death. This second death is very painful, because one is losing all of one's emotions (joy, happiness and sadness etc), and going up to a realm where only thoughts are available. In the mental realm, a person, who has been working a great deal with his mind hitherto, will stay here much longer than one who has been working with his hands. (8) Again, according to one's development, one may ascend to higher spiritual realms e.g. the causal etc. (9) After working out our entanglements in the astral, mental or higher realms we may decide to descend down to earth again for another lesson. In these higher realms we are dealing mainly with the effects and not the causes. The time spent in this intermission varies between individuals. (10) On the way down to planet earth, the Jiva must spiral down slowly. It has to visit each lower realm to re-acquaint itself for its sojourn on earth. For instance, it has to spend a bit of time in the mental and then the astral realm to prepare itself for earth. Thoughts and emotions have to be reacquainted before the etheric gown can be assumed again. The Jiva with all its auras and levels of consciousness is now ready to descend into the new-born.

Intermission Periods
The Jiva will spend varying periods of time in the spirit realms during the intermission. The time spent depends on the development and the accumulated karmic mass of the person. Col. Leadbeater of Theosophy constructed a very elaborate table for different types of souls. The table is included here just to show what Gnostics can conjure up! 1500 to 2300 years : mature, advanced souls; initiates 700 to 1,200 years : those who are going along or nearing the path of initiation; 5 years in Kamaloka and up to 50 years in the Manas plane 600 to 1,000 years : upper class; 20 to 25 years in Kamaloka, short stay in Manas

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about 500 years : upper-middle class; 25 years in Kamaloka, no sojourn in Manas 200 to 300 years : lower middle class; 40 years in Kamaloka 100 to 200 years : qualified workers; 40 years in Kamaloka 60 to 100 years : non-qualified labourers: 40 to 50 in Kamaloka 40 to 50 years : good-for-nothings and drunks; only in Kamaloka About 5 years : the lowest class; only in the lower part of Kamaloka or earth-bound,vegetative. The Kamaloka is equivalent to the middle astral realm, in which one works through one's emotions. The Manas is the causal realm, which is above the law of karma. I suppose that the above is just typical examples of the different grades of people. Even then, it stretches the imagination a little too much to accept this table as gospel truth. Hans Tendam after scrutinising the literature together with his own experience and research has suggested three patterns of reincarnation. These fall into: (1) Population I: It is of people with hardly any awareness of their intermissions. They are asleep, hang about, or wandering around. This category is very common, but not found in induced regressions. Professor Ian Stevenson's childhood cases are classic examples. Most of them have no G-plan, as there is hardly any intentional karmic lesson to learn. The intermission is short. It varies between few months and 16 years with an average of 8 years. They are also reborn near where they died. The purpose of this lot is to gain experience and slowly to grow in understanding. These short intermissions continue for sometime until they become more aware and they will then move over to the next category. (2) Population II: This category is mainly for personal development.

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They are aware when they die. Before the next incarnation, they take advice with consultations from their guides in order to resolve karma and spiritual growth. A G-plan is then constructed. This of course is not ironclad as fate. They are aware of their intermissions and relationships with others. Using their hitherto earned capabilities, attitudes and propensities they want to try and improve their spiritual status. The span of their intermissions varies between 15 to 130 years with an average of 60 years. (3) Population III: Having learnt so much in the past centuries, this group now is fairly developed, and they are ready to contribute to others. They have also aggregated a circle of friends who are equally advanced. These teams are now devoted to help others in their reincarnation problems, acting as guides and advisors to the less initiated, either incarnate or discarnate. There is less urgency to reincarnate, and there is now a free choice to incarnate and when. Their intermission span is between 60 to 420 years with an average of 230 years. This group of individuals is growing in size as the entire world is steadily developing, and the individuals in this group will also be specialising in their expertise. This means that there is wide variation in intermission periods, as some of them have to incarnate for special tasks, depending on the conditions and circumstances on earth. They will be using their free choice to go down, as their compassion and love grow stronger. Generally, intermission periods have been decreasing steadily in the past centuries, and this will explain why the population on earth has been increasing. There is little evidence to say that new souls are being ejected from the source currently. That means every one of us had our first incarnation at least a couple of million years ago.

Sex Change
There are different beliefs amongst theosophical writers. Some say that we remain in the same sex for 3 to 7 incarnations. Others claim that we alternate 7 male and 7 female incarnations. Some change sexes easily but not others. Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophy) states that alternating male and female incarnation is the rule. Exceptionally, one can remain in the same sex for two to three incarnations, but 7 incarnations in the same sex is maximum.

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On the average, the probability of sex change between two subsequent incarnations is from 15 to 25%. Only 20% of people do not remember a sex change. That means in a series of incarnations, 80% would have had a sex change. Some individuals are in favour of one sex against the other. In the above category of Population I, the majority of them would be coming back in the same sex. This sex change explains why some females are very manly, whilst some males are very feminine, even though they are straight. Homosexuality: Almost certainly this is due to the result of a sex change. After being a female for several lives, the individual decides to change into a male in the next life. The body changes into a male, but the mind still remains a female, and this incomplete transfer renders the individual a homosexual. There are at least 15 to 20 % of gays and lesbians in the world, and the figure is still increasing. Transvestites and transsexuals fall into the same category of a change of sex from one life to another, but the transformation is incomplete.

Physical Traits
According to the Theosophists, the more developed the person is the more he will resemble his previous self, especially his face. The other idea is that if the soul is in contact with the foetus from the moment of conception, it is more like to resemble the former self. Some people may carry some features in their faces for several incarnations.

Confirmatory evidence of reincarnation
The following are experiential evidence of reincarnation:. (1) Near Death Experience (NDE): During the sojourn in the astral realm, one of the main features is the past life recall of the life that is ongoing. More developed individuals could also glimpse at lives in earlier incarnations. (2) Out -of-body experience: It is very rare to experience past lives in OBE's. There is, however, one outstanding case. Oliver Fox left his body to visit some Tibetan temple. Instead he had a past life experience, in which he was being tortured to death chained to a frame. His name was Theseus, presumably a Greek.

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(3) Channelling through mediums in trance consciousness is strong proof of reincarnation. Similarly, sensitive clairvoyants may be able to reel off a series of the other people's past life without the slightest difficulty. In this case the sitter can verify what is told to him with other mediums and psychics. Nowadays, there is no shortage of clairvoyants. The stories usually tally. (4) Clairvoyants: These psychics can usually recall their own past lives as well as others. They do not mix up the two. Some of them cannot tell their own past at all. In this category, an English boy living in the late 19th century was able to recount vividly many of his own past. It is edited in a book called The Boy Who Saw True (annotated by Cyril Scott) (1953). Joan Grant remembered her past lives in trance, and these are recounted in her autobiography, Time out of Mind (1956). The Winged Pharaoh (1937) is her 1st book about her past life. (5) Psychics and Clairvoyants who can read other people's past lives: Many fall into this category, but only a few have written down their experiences. The best known is Edgar Cayce. He gave details of patients' past lives to explain away the symptoms of current lives with a moral lesson attached. Joan Grant is another. Quite a bit of literature is available on this subject. Lately, Brian Weiss has written best sellers: 'Many Lives, Many Mansions' and 'Through Time into Healing'. Weiss does it through hypnosis. (6) Information on reincarnation by discarnates: There are quite a few famous theses published via mediums either in trance or fully conscious. (a) Alice Bailey channelled tomes from a Theosophical Master, the Tibetan. (b) Madam Blavatsky's Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. (c) Dr. Mona Rolfe lectures in trance and is famous for her book ' The Spiral of Life: Cycles of Reincarnation' (d) Allan Kardec's book ' The Spirits Book'. Although it is written in 1857, most of what is written in the book is in accord with what we accept today. This book is regarded as a bible in Brazil, and thus explains why 87% of Brazilians believe in reincarnation. (e) Arthur Ford was able to recount his own and other people's past lives. After his death, Ruth Montgomery received messages from him through automatic writing. The material is about reincarnation in general and about some famous people in particular. (f) Jane Roberts channelled Seth

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in trance. He is a gnostic spirit-philosopher. He tells us that all our lives are occurring in parallel, because time is not linear. That means while living in the 20th century we are also acting out our lives in centuries past and future. Therefore karma does not exist: we are deluded by it. He discredited himself by predicting that in the year 2075, man will be able contact their inner being. He is using linear time in this prediction!

Spontaneous Recollections of Past Lives
The 7 types of spontaneous recollections are: (1) Recognition of places at first sight: Guilfoyle had a survey and found these percentages: 35% never had, 50% had once or twice, and 15% more than twice a feeling that they had been there before. Muller (1970) found that 6% of his subjects had intense feelings of recognition at the first visit. This must be differentiated from déjà vu, which does not point to a past life. Deja vu is more like the consciousness moving ahead of the body. (2) Recognition of people at first sight: This is quite common, but one must not jump to conclusion too quickly. Liking or disliking someone at first sight may not be past life experience. An intense affinity or mutual affection, which developed spontaneously, may be a relationship from the past. Certainly love at first sight is from the past. Uncommon familiarity and being totally comfortable with the other person are good pointers. Intense hatred at the first meeting is also a good possibility of a disagreeable past. (3) Recognition in Dreams: Dreams are not a common way in recalling past life. This is because we mostly forget our dreams, which are also pretty unconvincing as evidence. Unless it is a recurring dream, which should also be lucid (that means we know that we are dreaming) and vivid. The accompanying emotions are also intense, and we can describe the details years later. When one dreams of one's past life, the person is usually in the dream, but not when dreaming of other people. (4) Recollections triggered by objects, photos and books: Almost anything can trigger a recollection, and it may end up in a dream. Lenz found that 9 out of 127 cases had memories triggered by listening to

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some music, seeing a painting or an object. (5) Recollections triggered by a similar situation: This is rare but it happens, as we are told that we repeat the same mistakes, life after life. (6) Recollections under extraordinary circumstances: The conditions from which a memory can arise are (a) during a life-threatening accident, (b) under anaesthesia or semi-conscious (c) under great stress and strain as in war or other activity that entails lack of sleep, (d) depression and despair due to a great loss. (7) Spontaneous Recollection: Many well known people do proclaim their past incarnations, but without proof they were treated with little credibility.

Spontaneous Recollections in Children
The most well known investigator in childhood cases is Ian Stevenson. He has collected at least 2000 cases and examined them thoroughly in 200 of them. One hundred and five of them are from Northern India, 80 are from Sri Lanka and a few dozen are from Turkey, Lebanon, Alaska, Thailand and Burma. In the 105 cases in India, 60 were boys and 45 were girls. Out of 80 Sri Lankans, 38 were boys and 45 were girls. Usually their memories start at three and diminish at 7 to 9 years of age. Only a few got clearer as they got older. Some of them remember only fragments, some merely incidents, such as death. Very occasionally, the whole story is told to someone, and after that they tend to forget the recall. Stevenson describes the cases in detail in his publication: Cases of Reincarnation Type (1975-83). The intermission between death and birth in these childhood cases is between 1 and 4 years. He found changes of sex in 6 to 16 % of his cases, varying from region to region. According to the Tlingits, children are always reborn in the same family. In Turkey, reincarnation usually takes place in a nearby village. If a child can recall his past life, it usually implies incomplete death, followed by being earthbound with a quick reincarnation. In 40 to 50 % of childhood cases, the death was violent in the past life. Birthmarks usually signify scars from past lives.

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Five to ten percent of cases returned to the same family. They may return as a nephew, niece, sibling or one's own child. The median age of the last death was between 28 and 32. Similar behaviour, idiosyncrasies and preferences are seen in the consecutive lives of the two personalities. Stevenson found very little karmic relationship between one life with the next. This is probably due to the very short intermission periods of 1 to 4 years. In these cases there is not much awareness. Neither is there much planning for the next life. The intermission period is mostly spent in hanging about or sleeping. Stevenson found sex change in 6 to 7.5 % of cases.

Induced Regression to past lives
(1) Hypnosis: this is the commonest method used at the present. There are different levels of hypnosis. The deeper one goes the less one is aware of the present, until one is completely transported to the past. At this deepest stage, one is totally in the past and the present is not in his consciousness at all. The stages as graded by Hans Tendam are memory, recollection, reliving, regression and identification. Memory is like normal memory. Recollection means you see images, hear noises and voices and smell the food from the past. In reliving, one in addition will have emotional feelings as well as thoughts. The next deeper stage is that of real regression, in which you are totally in the past, but there is no consciousness of the present. This is the stage when past life regression takes place. In identification, which is even deeper, the past becomes your present. There is now only one personality, which is totally in the past, and the patient takes the past as the present. An excellent proof of real regression is the occurrence of xenoglossy, i.e. speaking of a language that is never learnt in this life. (2) Trance: a trance without the classic hypnosis is now fairly commonly used. A deep trance may be required at the first sitting, but a lighter one will do the trick in subsequent sittings. There may be some self-hypnosis involved here. (3) Imagination and Visualisation: Therapists use methods of relaxation together with a mild hypnosis to induce the patient to the level of recall. From here he slowly brings the patient into reliving and then to

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regression. A garden scenery is imagined and then the patient will be walking in this garden. It can be any other scene and in one of them an emotional problem may arise. The physical symptom may be associated with this scenario, and when the whole story is told, the symptom may disappear. This is the technique of the waking dream. The feelings in these cases must be intense to be of value. (4) Magnetism: The therapist touches the patient with one hand and sweeps down the body with the other. This is called making passes. The patient goes through deeper and deeper levels. At deep levels past lives may be recalled. This method is seldom used nowadays.

Akashic Records and Past Life Memory
The Akashic records our every thought speech and action since our first incarnation. In fact everybody's records are thus registered, and therefore we are all inter-linked and interconnected. Our memories do not fade and they remain clear and brilliant as ever, even if the events are tens of thousands of years ago. The Akashic registers our emotional feelings and thoughts and senses whether we are conscious or not. This is remarkable. There is limitless capacity, unlike the memory in our computers. We can access this memory at any point in time, be it thousands of years ago. There is no rewinding of the tape. These memories are also structured around associative points. We can see the events without any feelings. We can look at ourselves in the past as impartial observers. We can go through the same scene and feel the emotional reactions as well as others' feelings. We can also look at the situation from a different angle and perspectives. In a trance or with a shift of consciousness, we can go to our past lives in the whole of the Akashic: a recent life is just as vivid as a one from the far past. Emotionally charged events come sooner than ordinary ones. Traumatic death experiences usually come out first. Clairvoyants usually can see a past situation similar to the present one. Some blockages to the entry to a specific past situation are encountered: traumatic death experiences and acts related to secrecy. There is probably no such thing as a 'reincarnation wave' in which a whole country of souls is reincarnated at the same time to one country. We come

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back life after life with our friends, loved ones and relatives. They come in different combinations, but it is the intense relationship that we have developed with each other that make us reincarnate together time and again. In some lives, we are friendly, but in the others we are hostile with one another. On the whole it is love and compassion that bring us back to earth again. This is the reason for the phenomenon of 'love at first sight'. The older souls with more awareness in population II and III are the ones that return with their small groups of acquaintances. In conclusion, there is enough evidence as enumerated above to state categorically that reincarnation is a fact and not a superstition. To recapitulate there is evidence in (a) NDE (b) OBE (c) Clairvoyants and paranormal sensitives who are able to see their own as well as others' past lives. (d) Spontaneous recall. (e) Induction by therapists using hypnosis, magnetism, imagination or visualisation and trance. ( f) A past life regression heals the patient. Then in summary, after scouring through the historical records and properly conducted research in a scientific manner we arrive at these parameters: (1) We most probably reincarnate hundreds or thousands of times. (2) Our intermissions are between a few months to several centuries. The older the soul, the longer the intermission. (3) Almost all of us change sex, but the frequency varies a great deal. There is no set rules for this. Some authors state categorically that at least 80% of their subjects change sex. (4) The more mature souls with awareness do have a G-plan, but this is not hundred percent adhered to. (5) When regressed to a past life, this process may heal the person, especially if the symptoms have no discernible cause.

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References
1. Exploring Reincarnation by Hans TenDam Published by Arkana. 2. Edgar Cayce On Reincarnation By Noel Langley. Published by Warner Books. 3. Many Lives, Many Loves By Gina Cerminara. Devorss Publications

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Our G-Plan and Sacred Contracts.
"Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. What is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course is therefore, to remain silent." Sri Ramana Maharshi

G-plan
G-plan is a blueprint or chart that we formulate for our forthcoming incarnation while we are still in the spirit world. "G" may stand either for God or for Ground. After spending one to two hundred years in the spirit world, we decide that the only way to progress further is to reincarnate once more. Being in the spirit world there is knowledge of our own spiritual level or status. We also know about our past lives and how much we have progressed or how much we have botched up our spiritual path. Then we are also able to assess our own tendencies, habits and propensities, and then work out an incarnation in which these foibles and bad habits can be gradually or quickly diminished. We know that our bad habits and tendencies will inevitably recur to a greater or smaller extent in the next incarnation. We then have to fashion a life in which we can diminish or eradicate these foibles or negative traits. This is easier said than done, because we have earned a certain amount of negative and positive karma hitherto. Therefore the conditions of our next life must also fit in to the limitations of our karmic pie (see chart attached). So in order to glean the utmost for our spiritual growth, one has to choose a country, a type of profession and degree of education for the purpose of promoting spiritual growth. It does not mean that the more educated we are the greater advantage we will have in order to achieve our quest. Sometimes we have to even choose a poorer lifestyle or a handicapped physical body for this incarnation, remembering that our sole purpose is to increase our vibrations. Therefore being very rich or highly educated or extremely good looking are not necessarily conducive to our mission. Having gauged our conditions for rebirth, we then have to fit our wishes to our karmic balance. For instance, if we have been a banker or a broker

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for six lives in order to eradicate greed, and at the end of the six lives we have become even greedier, then we will be denied a future life to be banker or broker. Even though we recognise that to be a broker or banker is ideal for eradicating greed, our karmic credit /debit does not allow us to take on those disciplines again. Our karmic balance may not allow us to live in a country of our choosing, and therefore we have to accept the next best country offered to us. Also in our past lives if we have been very cruel, and we had severely injured or maimed other people, then we may have to come down to earth this time as a handicapped person. Or if we have been emotionally tortured our loved ones for selfish reasons, then our next life would be filled with emotional hardships. Therefore, from the chart on karmic pie we can see that there is very little free will left for us to manipulate. Thus, summarising the conditions for our future birth, we have decided on our sex, our parents, spouse, children and other relatives; then we have also agreed to have sacred contracts with our close and ordinary friends, associates, our colleagues, workmates and underlings. The sacred contracts must also include situations that will arise with these people. Further, our race, country of birth and country that we are emigrating to have also to be arranged. Lastly, we must also decide on poverty or wealth, sickness or health, success or failure in life, and emotional hardship or ease. That means our free will can only be used to purifying our "samskaras". Samskaras is defined as impressions or accumulated imprints of past experiences, which determine one’s desires and actions.

Every Incarnation is Solely for Spiritual Growth
The purpose of every incarnation is for spiritual growth and increasing of our vibrations. The methods used are essentially three-pronged (1) purification (2) service and (3) acquisition of love and wisdom.

Purification
In this category, we try to reduce our foibles, negative tendencies, bad habits and characteristics. These are generally categorised as (1) Craving, (2) Ill will, (3) Selfishness,

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(4) Pride and (5) Ignorance. 1) Craving. This generally embraces (a) desire, (b) lust, (c) greed and (d) covetousness. The attrition of these traits and foibles is slow. It is easier if one has the wisdom to let go. The wisdom entailed is to realise that our life is of limited duration, and every one has to die one day. The only question is ‘when’. This ‘when’ is part of our G-plan. Besides this finality of death, we must also realise that we cannot take anything along with us when we go to the spirit world. So we delude ourselves by saying that we are accumulating for our children and not for ourselves. We are lying to ourselves and to others. Besides our children have their own karma and G-plan, and what we give them may be squandered in one month or a year. Similarly we cannot take our "name" or status with us. Even if a statue is erected in commemoration of our earthly achievements, the memory of our good deeds will be erased from the mind of the general public in no time. 2) Ill Will. Ill will includes (a) envy, (b) jealousy, (c) anger, (d) hatred, (e) irritability, (f) resentment and (g) depression. These negative traits represent self-poison. Every time we are angry or jealous we are the ones that suffer. Every burst of anger is equivalent to a spoonful of poison. We hurt ourselves. Anger against the self becomes depression. None of these traits give us pleasure. Negative karma is earned at the same time. This is the worst foible to have. We brought most of the ill will with us from our past lives. 3) Selfishness. Whatever we do, say or think is normally for one’s own self or one’s immediate family. That means altruism and compassion are not a daily function of our life. We must possess the opposite trait, selflessness, in order to serve others. Yet again, selfishness generates negative karma. Family selfishness gives rise to rivalry and animosity, whilst national selfishness leads to war. 4) Pride. We are proud of many things: our nationality, colour of our skin, place of birth, intellect and education. We boast of our wealth, the fame of our families and the positions we hold in our jobs. We are proud of our physique and our good looks and our eloquence. We like to hear

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complementary statements of ourselves e.g. our I.Q. and our humility. We like to tell people how pure and spiritual we are and that we are on the spiritual path. All these boasting and accreditation are merely boosting of our ego, which is like inflating of a balloon. This balloon must inevitably burst. 5) Ignorance. Ignorance includes delusion, illusion, wrong views and doctrines about spiritual paths. Most religions have been teaching wrong beliefs especially of life after death. The concept of God and soul is also wrongly taught. The teaching of hell and heaven cannot be further from the truth. There is no such place as hell. Karma and reincarnation are poorly taught or not taught at all. It is a false belief that God punishes and rewards. It is a false belief that humans will ever reincarnate as animals. We falsely believe that if we scrupulously learned the religious texts and adorned a robe or religious garb, we are spiritual. By going to church every Sunday, we can be looked upon as pure and clean. If we can quote chapter and verse of Buddhist, Hindu and Christian texts, we can be deemed to be holy. This is so because we can hide our true intentions, and nobody can read our minds as in the spirit world. Ignorance can only be replaced by wisdom. And wisdom can only be gained by eradication of greed, ill will, selfishness and pride. Therefore one can see what a tall order it is to overcome the above 5 poisons. It cannot be done in one life. It requires many incarnations, and the number of incarnations is dependent on how diligent one is in each life. For some of us thousands of incarnations are required for this purification. The earliest incarnations do not warrant a G-plan, because as primitive people we are not aware of the existence of cause and effect. These primitive people belong to population I, which has a short intermission period in the spirit world of between 5 to 16 years only. Most of you reading this article are in population II. Those in population II normally spend more than 100 to 200 years in the intermission period. Of course the very developed beings in population III with intermission periods of more than 230 years can also come down as early as 15 years to complete their projects on earth.

Service
Pari passu with the above purification, one has to service the human, ani-

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mal, vegetation and mineral kingdoms. In servicing, we are practising compassion and empathy in unselfish acts. We are now not exercising greed and ill will. In service we promote the welfare of others at our own expense. Universal service means helping and not hurting humans, animals, vegetables, and minerals. There is consciousness in each of these kingdoms. Mineral has the smallest and human has the largest. Humans are the only ones that have individual souls. Animals, vegetation, and minerals have group souls. When it comes to service we have to start with our human race. The first area of work must be our immediate family. If we are married with children that should be our first port of call. If one is unmarried then it has to be one’s parents and siblings. Charity and duty must begin at home. Not only do we have to provide food, accommodation and clothing to our nuclear family; we also have to ensure their peace of mind. And ensuring their security and safety does this. But the most vital assurance of confidence we can give them is being there to advise and counsel them whenever they need it. Some parents pour money and luxuries down their throats, but when it comes to giving them a few minutes of their time they cannot spare the time. Parents should be available for help when urgently required. But, of course, the children should be understanding and catch the parent only after working hours, unless it is most urgent. This applies to our parents as well. Whenever a parent needs us urgently we have to make ourselves available straightaway. This is because if our parents did not agree in the spirit world to have us as their children we would not be reborn to practise the spiritual path. Our debt to them is huge. Buddha said that if one carries a parent on one’s shoulders and walk round the world with the parent, one still would not have paid back one’s debt to the parent. Normally a parent would not bother an offspring unless the parent is really in need of help anyway. Beyond the nuclear family, close and distant relatives come next. Try and service them when help is needed. After this we enlarge our circle to close friends and working colleagues. From here onwards we have to look after our underlings and those who work for us, e.g. maids etc. These menial servants give up their own homes and families to look after us. The least

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we could do is to take care of them as if they are part of our own families. When they are sick, we should send them to see their doctors and pay their medical fees. If they have problems in their homes we should allow them to return to their families. The last category to be assisted is strangers. When you assist a stranger do not be surprised by unexpected karmic kickbacks. However, one may also be cheated every now and then. So what? You probably owe them anyway! As humans we have to maintain a compassionate attitude and behaviour to animals, vegetation and minerals. These should not be abused and should be treated with tender care and love. Our treatment of them should not be inferior to that of humans.

Acquisition of Love (Agape) and Wisdom
Agape: This last prong of the trinity is both important and difficult. The love to be acquired is divine and unconditional. It is not erotic or platonic. It is selfless, and purely altruistic. This form of love must not demand gratitude or thanks. It is completely bereft of selfishness. There is no thought of reflective glory or earning of merit. It is a very satisfying commodity when given with wisdom. This is the divine love that Jesus advocates. When performed repeatedly, it becomes second nature to the giver, and this is engraved in the person’s character. Finally, this love becomes universal, at which time that person is becoming at one with the universe. The essence of God or the Universal Consciousness is agape. Therefore if you are already imbued with agape, one becomes Godlike. This selflessness (anatta) automatically rights us from the horizontal stance to the vertical. When vertical we are connected to a high powered cable and our presence become electrified. Wherever one goes one bestows beneficence. It is a natural consequence of our presence and there is no need to try to do anything. The benevolent emanation is spontaneous. Wisdom: This quality arises from the elimination of the five poisons (greed, ill will, selfishness, pride and ignorance), especially ignorance. In working towards its eradication, remember that whatever assets we accumulate due to greed will last only till the end of this life. Majority of us cannot live longer than 90 to 100 years. So if we are already 60 or 70 years old there is very little time left. How foolish are we to continue with this grabbing to no avail! We must also be wise enough to realize that the

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minute we die, the memory of our existence will fade very quickly, whether we are famous or notorious. The surest and fastest way to abolish ignorance is to steadily Let Go. This letting go must be done in stages. It is like peeling an onion. As we peel, we shed tears of our letting go. Firstly our assets, thence our relationships and finally our egos. These are difficult steps but they must be persistently taken with awareness. After letting go half way, the process becomes easier because one finds that it is really not very difficult after all and one becomes lighter throwing away our excess baggage. Do not however broadcast your success at letting go. It must be done in secret.

Constructing Our G-plan
From the above facts, one must then construct a G-plan accordingly. Using what we know about ourselves, we then have to formulate a blueprint that will promote our spiritual status: 1) Our past lives. 2) Our level of spirituality, i.e. our vibration rate. 3) Our Samskaras, (impressions; accumulated imprints of past experiences, which determine one’s desires and actions) good points, foibles, handicaps and tendencies. 4) Our major weaknesses, e.g. for money, power and sex. 5) Our strong points and our skills must be taken into account as well. 6) The state of our karmic pie (see diagram). 7) We can only bring about 10% of our total spirit down to earth for practice. This 10% is the soul for the coming incarnation. Therefore the same proportion of good and bad karma must come down with the soul. We also have to determine what weaknesses and habits we want to improve. 8) In a scale of 1 to 1000 units of vibration, if we know that we are at 500 units, how much do we want to increase our vibration in the next incarnation? 100 units? 50 units? 9) How long do we want to take to attain this increase of vibration? From ten to ninety years on earth? That means the date of birth (DOB) and date of death (DOD) are fixed. 10) We have to determine our sex. 11) Profession, vocation and hobbies. 12) The country of birth, nationality and country of emigration. 13) State of health and major illnesses. Our emotional makeup is also vital.

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14) State of wealth or poverty. 15) The people that we want to go down with, e.g. family, work colleagues, friends etc. 16) On top of all these parameters, we have to try and attain some of the three-pronged goals: (a) purification, (b) service and (c) acquisition of love and wisdom. From the above parameters, one should then sit down and work out a blueprint by which our spiritual status can be improved (by X percent). We must then try to achieve this goal with our Curriculum Vitae as stated above within our karmic pie. This is our G-plan. Some people would call this the main Sacred Contract, but I call it G-plan to distinguish it from the rest of the contracts with our tribes, friends and colleagues. Much more time would have to be taken to draw numerous sacred contracts with all the people, animals and plants that we will encounter in our next incarnation. The G-plan is almost immutable. It is like we have constructed a tunnel of our next life, in which we have a little leeway above and below the main path in the tunnel (see diagram). However all of us almost never break out of the tunnel. It is through repeated breakdowns with heinous crimes, killings, massacres and genocide or gigantic cheating and swindling that we break out downwards of our tunnel (G-Plan). Examples here are Hitler, Stalin, Sadam Hussein and Pol Pot. On the other hand, we can also breakout on the upside. The examples here are Buddha, Jesus Christ and Mohamed bearing in mind that these sages might just be merely carrying out their G-plans. That means what has been outlined as "G-plan" is truly our predetermined future life. When we are born, we start at the beginning of a tunnel, which inclines upwards, because we intend to increase our vibrations during this life. At birth, the cells in the body have our G-plan engraved in their DNA. Our life invariably has its ups and downs, and therefore range up and down within this tunnel, and usually not breaking the borders (see diagram). However, we may break through either upward or downward, if we perform admirably or dismally in the extreme. That means we either outperform or underperform in order to dismantle our own G-Plan. This happens very, very rarely. One may breakout upward when one suddenly decides to give up the rat race and become totally spiritual. One then starts to practise prodigiously to expand one’s consciousness to the aware-

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ness of no self, and at the same time one has to surrender totally to one’s Tao. This quantum leap normally happens to those who have practised for many lives before. In the opposite case the other individual breaks down through his tunnel, as he persistently and repeatedly does not uphold his aspiration of his G-plan. His spiritual guides failed over and over again to influence him otherwise. In the astral world, before his present incarnation, the latter has been intimated about the possibility of his breakdown, as he has tried many times before the same path without success. That means, he has been forewarned of the possible downturn while negotiating the conditions of his G-plan. As soon as he has broken down out of the tunnel, his life is full of misery. Either his health is in a total wreck or he is in abject poverty. Nothing is right for him. Nobody respects him including his own family. There is no way out until he repents and jumps back onto the tract of his G-plan again. At this point his guides and friends will come to help out. He does not have to do it alone, but if he is adamant, then he continues to suffer.

Sacred Contracts
Now that the man has written out his G-plan, he has now to go around in the spirit world contacting all the people who will play a part, whether big or small, in his next incarnation. These are his parents, wife, siblings, his children, friends, distant relatives, work-mates, colleagues, his underlings, superiors and casual acquaintances etc. Every one who may play a part in his future life would have to be contacted and contracts made. Of course his children would have to come to him instead to initiate their contracts. Similarly, those who need his help in the next life would have to do the same. These are spiritual contracts and are spiritually binding. They must be beneficially to both parties or everybody concerned (e.g. all members of the one family). These contracts must also involve all the spiritual guides of every participant of the contract. That means that both the humans and their spiritual guides must work hard to carry out the contracts. Quite often it also means that the entire tribe or archetype will partake in the execution of the contract. If the process is a very difficult one but is within one’s G-plan, the success of the project may appear miraculous. A lot of horse-trading is carried out at this stage. Some of the participants are unwilling partners to the contracts. That is why not all contracts succeed. These contracts are not as binding as one’s G-plan. However, the same conditions as enumerated above, karmic balance, sam-

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skaras, past relationships and the respective goals of all concerned must be taken into account. This means that the negotiations must be meticulous and all encompassing, and if possible no stone is left unturned. But the best-laid plans may still falter or fail. These contracts will have to involve many families and sometimes they are enacted in different countries. A world war necessitates numerous sacred contracts. A noble prize also requires a sacred contract. Similarly, the concentration camps and genocide of different countries need elaborate contracts drawn. Coming down to the nitty gritty of individuals, the strongest contract would have to be with the marriage partner. Next come the children and parents. Siblings, distant relatives and friends then follow suit. Sometimes a life long friend has a much stronger contract than even the spouse’s. Then business partners, work colleagues and club or sporting mates have also to be contracted. These contracts will have to involve the locality, the country and the organisation that they work in. So the contract will have to stipulate the venue as well. All and sundry must benefit. Contracts must also be made with enemies, rivals and competitors. At the end all events and processes must end up as experiences for everybody concerned. It is the experience that counts the most. In other words everybody wins. Nobody loses. We gain in experience even when we lose out or tragedy strikes us. "Every day is a good day". For some, dying and death is the best teacher. Although our soul and our body cells know when we are going to die, the conscious mind does not. If someone runs another down in a car and causes spinal injury to the extent that the victim is paralysed from the neck downwards, this incident warrants a contract. A handicapped child must also have a contract signed with his parents and siblings, as everybody in the family suffer accordingly. Sometimes the parents suffer more than the child. Any form of congenital disease, long standing injury or mental and physical handicap that requires constant and prolonged help or assistance will need to have a contract made with the caregiver. At the end some good will transpire out of all the horrors, tragedies, pain and suffering of a war. The dead and the maimed and their relatives must learn from war and genocide. An economic recession or individual financial disasters must also provide lessons to the victims. If lessons are learned, there are no victims. All these so-

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called disasters or tragedies are part of a cleansing process. A cancer striking an individual hits the whole family. The patient must know the reason for the cancer, and the family must also learn from the victim how the cancer came about. From this lesson, the entire family must then know what attitudes in life one must avoid. There are no losers if one were to look at it from a spiritual point of view. FACTS, CONDITIONS & SITUATIONS THAT ARE AGREED UPON BEFORE BIRTH · Grand parents & parents · Spouse or Spouses, mistresses and lovers · Siblings · Children · Other relatives, enemies and friends. · Race · Country of birth · Sex · Profession , vocation and hobbies · State of wealth (rich, poor or mediocre) . State of health (deformities, blind, deaf, major illnesses like stroke and heart diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases.) · Dates of Birth and Death · Country of further study · Country of emigration · When and where to embark on the Spiritual Path · Date of meeting Guru - or no necessity to have a guru · How difficult is one’s life going to be emotionally (and mentally for some) · The amount of travelling and where · Are we going to be a care-provider to a loved one or a stranger? · Success or failure in one’s life profession or vocation.

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Karmic Pie
Total Karma Earned Since First Incarnation Before Birth Portion of Karma to Be Resolved or Utilised In The Next Incarnation

At Birth

At Death

either

or

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Soul Mates and Twin Souls.
There is much confusion about soul mates and twin souls. Very often these two terms have been used synonymously. They are not synonymous. One can and do have many soul mates but one has only one twin soul. In order to understand how these terms come about one must begin from the beginning. Aeons ago, many dispatches of souls or sparks of divinity were discharged from the Source or Godhead. These were destined to be human souls. The numbers in each dispatch vary considerably. The least number is a few, but the numbers may go to millions. The usual numbers are in the hundreds or thousands. The numbers are dependent on the maturity of the souls and the main purpose of their journey. The more mature or spiritually advanced they are the lesser number will be in the outburst. The first timers will be in the hundreds of thousands or millions. This process has been going on from time immemorial: there was no beginning and it looks as if there is no end. Take an average group of a hundred and twenty eight souls in the one discharge from the Source. They begin to cool on the way down to the physical world. There are many, many worlds in just as many universes. This group of souls has decided to target planet earth. They start to descend through the pre-angelic and angelic realms in a very hazy and dreamy fashion. Very little is remembered of this period. Memory of the remaining journey down the celestial, spiritual, mental, astral and etheric realms is just as blurred. The entire journey down to the etheric/physical realm takes thousands of millions of years until they arrive at a physical planet. In the first incarnation, the group went into rocks as minerals. The entire group of souls took form in the same mineral, e.g. jade or calcium. They remain in these rocks until they were about to be upgraded to vegetation and that was when the planet had to disintegrate into smithereens. The life span as a rock took millions of years. In the next stage the total soul group of one hundred and twenty eight souls would have to change planet. This time round they would go into the vegetation kingdom. Again all of them would remain in the same family of plants as they progressed. If the leader decides to be an orchid, the remaining soul mates would become the same type of orchid. From

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thence onwards, the whole group would grow spiritually by dying and being reborn into different types of vegetation, e.g. bushes, flowers and trees of various types etc. It is in this kingdom that we first learnt about death. We were destroyed by being trampled upon or eaten by animals or humans. After millions of years of being in the vegetation kingdom, we then moved on to the animal kingdom. Hitherto and including the animal kingdom we remain as group souls although we have already been individualized. At this stage the total group of 128 souls tend to remain as one type of animal. As group souls we do not have self-awareness. We only know the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Again having reincarnated through many categories of animals, we arrive at being Australopithecus afarensis more than 3 million years ago. Then Homo habilis (the handy human) lived in Africa roughly 2.5 million years ago. Homo habilis walked upright and has the same dexterity as modern man. He had a brain half the size of modern man. This is the first precursor of man. The Australopithecus had a brain capacity of 400 cc. Then roughly about more than 1.5 million years ago Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus, which has an average brain capacity of 850 c.c. The Neanderthal is the transitional stage between the H. habilis and H. sapiens. The Neanderthal who was the first H.sapiens came about 200,000 years ago and became extinct 35,000 years ago. It has the same brain capacity as modern man, but its skull structure is more primitive than modern man's. The Neanderthal is the first human ancestor to bury his dead. This is about 60,000 years ago. However, around 35,000 years ago, the Cro-magnons completely replaced the Neanderthals and totally populated the earth. The Cro-magnons has a brain capacity of about 1,400 c.c. At this human stage, the Cro-magnons begin to ‘know that we know’. From this point onwards, the Cro-magnons began the human journey in earnest. We began to feel instinctively when we met our soul mates: there was an instant attraction to all the other 127 soul mates, but we still did not know that each of us has a twin. In the vegetable and animal stages we tended to move in the same group, and we were always not very far from each other including our twins. However, as humans we may be dispersed thousands of miles away from our soul mates. And as soon as we meet any one in our soul group we instantly feel an attraction to the other. In the primitive stages of our human evolution we certainly would not be able to differentiate between our soul mates and our twin. It is only very

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much later, nearing the time of the return journey to the spiritual realms that we are able to recognize our twin.

The Breakdown of the Group and Its Return
Taking the example of a group of 128 souls as above, the breakdown goes like this. It is first broken down by half i.e. 64 in each. Then these two sub-groups are further divided into 32, then 16, 8, 4 and ultimately two. The final division is when the last two is separated into twin souls. As the breakdown proceeded from the total group of 128 down to the last twin, there is pain and suffering at every separation, until the last divide the pain is the most excruciating. At this juncture, both twins vowed to seek out each other no matter how long and what hardship it entails. Of course, when the twins meet and merge back again, their task will be to conglomerate and amalgamate the entire group of 128 back to the same original whole again. When will this process start? It will be when the entire group is about to finish with their education on earth. That means in simple religious language, they are about to be enlightened. Or some would have been enlightened already, but there would also be a few stragglers left behind on earth. There could be a long wait at this border of astral/etheric realm, as some of the stragglers may take a much longer time than their fellow soul mates. However, there is some compensation at this juncture because most of the group would have found their twins and some would have already merged with their twins. Although most twin souls tend to be near each other during the last 2 lives, not all are so fortunate. So a few souls may have to wait for their twins at the border. Every member of the original group must be enlightened to merge together before they can start the journey of crossing over to the spiritual realm. So one can see that from the beginning as primitive man one is able to feel the presence of a fellow soul mate. There is no logical reason for the attraction or liking of the soul mate. The feeling is just there. At this primitive stage, one cannot recognize the soul mate as a twin, although the twin attraction may be the strongest of them all.. That is all. There is no reason or accounting for it. Throughout the hundreds of thousands of incarnations, we have wives or husbands and lovers, and if they are not our twins or soul mates the attraction wanes in the next incarnation. One must also marry or have lovers from other soul groups, some of whom have been antagonistic towards our own soul group. Hence the intense

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quarrelling and bickering in marriages. However, one must remember that no matter whom we marry or have as our family members every experience in every incarnation is part of our spiritual growth. The reason we separated in the first place is to gather experience and learn to love unconditionally. That means we have to breakout of this mold of inbreeding with our own soul mates and whatever knowledge and wisdom we gather from other soul groups is to enrich our experience. Even in the same soul group, every one of the 128 is a different soul. And although the twins are very similar in character and have almost identical vibrations, they are again different. Their vibrations in this cohesive total group would have encoded the tendencies, characteristics and the level of development into every soul of the group. In other words, the larger the group emitted from the source, the less developed will the soul mates be and therefore the mutual attraction is less powerful than the much smaller groups. The smaller the group and the longer they stayed together, the more developed they are and, therefore, the stronger will be the mutual attraction. This principle will continue until the very Old Soul who will incarnate as an avatar who is composed of a small group of 2, 4 or 8 souls, which do not subdivide. These remain fused as one Old Soul, a sage or an avatar. Although an avatar has to go through the same rounds like the rest of us, he always takes the leading position in whichever kingdom he is in, e.g. lion in the animal kingdom, an oak tree in the vegetable kingdom or as a Buddha or Lao-tzu in a human.

Soul Mates
Soul mates are from a unique group that was discharged aeons ago from the Source. They cohered and were merged for ages as they descend through all the realms down to the physical. The older and wiser groups would have stayed together longer and the more similar they would be, because they would have shared more characteristics when they are together. They would have imbibed through osmosis so many peculiarities, traits, and tendencies from one another. When the 128 souls are distributed throughout the 7 billion citizens of the world, the chances of many soul mates meeting per incarnation are fairly slim. From all the many acquaintances and friends that we meet and know in this life, how many have turned out to be close friends? No more than a handful. Normally it is only one or two. This number would be the same for soul mates.

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How do we recognize our soul mates? The best way is to improve our own soul quality in order for our mates to appear. That means we would recognize the soul in the person. When we meet a soul mate, there is an instant liking. Then as we come to know him or her better, we find that there is agreement in things that are important. Our attitude towards life situations is the same, although our interests may be different. The quality of our soul level is very similar: we have compassion, empathy, and realize that the purpose of life is to let go. There is no jealousy arising, and the harmony and love that are flowing to and fro would make us happy in each other’s presence. The love energy between two soul mates can only be surpassed by the love between twin souls. Whilst the love of twin souls is always with the opposite sex that of soul mates can be with both. Strong and lasting homosexual love between two individuals is almost always between soul mates and not twin souls unless one of the twins has decided to change sex for that particular incarnation. Neither is it likely between souls of two different groups. A twin in spirit may guide a grounded twin. Each soul is supposed to experience everything in the universe before its return to the source. It is definitely impossible for a single soul to do this. Therefore, the scheme of group soul has been formulated in order that each soul can go out and experience as much as possible, but there is no necessity for each to gather all the experiences. When they finally assemble together they would have accumulated and aggregated enough knowledge and wisdom for the whole group, as the sum of the total cargo would be adequate for the entire group to pass the test. The total experience and knowledge is assimilated by all and sundry, and therefore every soul in the group would be just as knowledgeable as the whole group. The second point in the function of the grouping is the return. Alone, the single soul cannot find its way back to the Source. They can only find their way back when joined as the original group. The group is now greatly enlarged because of its cargo of love and wisdom, although the numbers are the same as before. One can see the joy and happiness of the whole group joined together as a cohesive whole, bubbling its way back to the Source, joining up with other groups on the way up. As a group the karma earned must now be shared by all. When one soul

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goes astray, the entire group has to pay for it. So one soul may delay the cross over and ascent of the whole group. However, as some of the souls in the group have done well, so the entire group would also enjoy the fruits thereof.

Soul Mates within a Family
Do soul mates tend to aggregate in one genetic family? The answer is not often. If they do incarnate in one genetic family, it would be mostly two to three in number. The usual number is two. Genetically they would be sister and brother, father and daughter or mother and son or husband and wife. Except as husband and wife, twin souls very rarely incarnate in the same family. This is because of the incestuous tendencies in the other combinations. Some cases of incest between father and daughter is due to the fact that they are twin souls. In the other combinations, certainly favoritism would arise, and that would lead to jealousy and guilt. The soul mates in the same family would not know of the reason for their fondness for each other, let alone for the other members outside the soul group to realize this affinity. Needless to say, the best arena for spiritual practice is in the earthly family. The diversity of souls from different soul groups and the different levels of maturity provide the right mix and background for all the members in the family to practice. The more advanced members of the family will be able to pull up the less developed members. The challenges, the inequalities and the petty jealousies are all excellent material for growth. Although the souls in one family usually fall into a vibrational range, some of them may come from different soul groups and even from different universes. In the latter cases, the number and extent of conflicts can be quite horrendous, testing the members of the earth family to breaking point. Then there may arise misunderstanding, tension and embittered battles, which will be the perfect scenario for evil forces to intervene. At this point, drug and alcohol addiction, child and wife abuse and murder etc could enter this power play. Heavy karma is then incurred. This precipitate evolution is forced upon the family, as they were too tardy and lackadaisical hitherto. The resistance to growth has resulted in the pain and suffering as a wake up call. Therefore, we can now understand the process in the genesis of family karma. Companion Soulmates: this is a subdivision of soul mates in which cou-

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ples in the same group soul have created strong relationships over many incarnations. They may incarnate as husband and wife, brother and sister, father and daughter or mother and son. They may also come down as just mere friends. These companion soulmates might have incarnated together for hundreds of times, but they are not twin souls. Their love for each other is the strongest amongst soul mates, but still it has not the same magnitude as that of a twin soul.

Soul Mates as Married Couples
The love between two soul mates is very intense and strong. In fact quite a few of these love affairs have been written up as famous love stories e.g. "Wuthering Heights," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Gone with the Wind." That means when soul mates marry, they appear as if they are twin souls, but the discerning can pick up certain telltale signs, which can differentiate one from the other. Although their love and harmony are usually of a grand affair, there will still be fuel for spiritual growth. Fuel in this instance means fodder for disagreements and misunderstandings leading to fights and even separations. In every crisis, if one is willing to learn from the mistakes that accrue from the crisis, then it becomes a spiritual lesson. On the whole, there is much more harmony and peace in a household headed by two soul mates than a family headed by two souls from different groups. All soul mate relationships are purely for spiritual growth. We achieve this by transforming ourselves, and we can only transform ourselves by learning from others and by interacting with them. This learning must be repeated over and over again until the lessons are learned especially through knowing ourselves. This could then lead to the soul mates loving themselves and then one another. Both would then be able to establish a spiritual ideal that becomes a guiding principle for the whole family to practice with. The ideal soul-mate parents would tend to set an example to their children hoping that the children would grow up to be uprighteous. Lastly, the married soul mates must work up their relationship into a state of unconditional (soul) love. This love does not ask for any return, thanks or gratitude, but the one would always place the needs of the other above his or her own. After achieving this type of love to our soul mates, we

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then learn to do the same with the rest of the family. This commodity of divine love should then be spread to whoever comes into our acquaintanceship. And in this way we should be able to treat everybody as if they are our soul mates even though they are not from the same soul group.

Soul Mates as Platonic Friends
There are true friendships without sexual involvement. These could be man-woman friendships or that of the same sex. The friendship is truly platonic and one friend would literally place the wants and needs of the other above his or her own. Idle speculators always misunderstood this type of soul-mate relationship, and they have been wrongly labeled as homosexual or extramarital relationships. These friendships are invariably life long. They often triumph over all sorts of adversities and hardships. The divine or unconditional love of soul mates is here as much as a married couple, but no sex is involved. Some of these are companion soulmates.

Soul Mates as Comrades
Within some group souls, there may be a coming together of more than two to three soul mates for a single mission or purpose. These enlarged gatherings may be seen in political, religious, academic and military groups. There is also an occasional special, select unit, organized to tackle a unique task. You can imagine how concentrated and excited is a group of researchers embarking on a completely new find, a break through that is of Noble Prize status. Then, also is the secretive and subversive political nucleus, which is enthusiastically working under cover to topple the existing corrupt government. All the core groups in these earthshaking endeavours are soul mates with one aim for the good of mankind. In religion, the exemplary groups are Jesus and his 12 disciples. Jesus is the grand old soul, the avatar. His 12 disciples are from the same group soul. Similarly, the other avatar, Gautama Buddha, was also accompanied by his soul mates. These were his disciples who became enlightened saints, e.g. Sariputta and Moggallana. From these examples we can see the dedication with which these soul mates pursued their goal of forming a new religion for the good of mankind. Near the end not all their disciples had uniform faith. One can now question whether Judas was truly a soul mate of Jesus. Or was he from another soul group? I prefer to believe that he

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was from the same group, or else Jesus would not have been crucified. Because of his crucifixion and his ‘rising from the dead’ that a new religion was formed.

Groups of Advanced Souls Descending to Service
Throughout the history of the earth, there have been periods during which groups of advanced souls descend to enrich earth’s art and scientific stature. In music, the era of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Haydn has never been repeated. No other period has seen such giants coming down during such a short span of time. One can also cite the great master painters like Leonardo daVinci, Michelangelo, Raphael etc coming down to improve the artistic quality of the earth. Then you have the great thinkers like Newton, Copernicus, Galileo and Einstein. These geniuses do not come down together at the same time, but they each bring down their scientific and philosophical thoughts during a short span of time e.g. within a couple of centuries, which is short in cosmic time. Then in psychology one has Freud, Jung, Adler, Rank and Reich. These masters definitely put psychology on the map. At the moment, you have the transpersonal psychologists in California, e.g. Ken Wilber, Stanislav and Christina Grof and Roberto Assagioli. Again throughout history, authors of great literature came down in waves in different countries like Russia, China, England and France etc. These soul-mate groups may not come down at the same time, but their theme is singular and so is their locality: e.g. Europe and the United States. The giant musicians are mainly from Austria and Germany. The psychologists are from Europe. So one can see that their mission or purpose is to propagate divine music or disseminate art or uplift the standard of science. Each group has one aim, and their sole purpose is to promote that aim. One may also guess that the great English writers appearing during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries may come from the same group.

Twin Souls
Twin souls are the last two souls to individualize. They are the last two peas from the same pod. At that final separation, they vowed to be reunited after they have completed their earthly duties, before they cross over to the spiritual realm for the ascent back to the Source. Whilst they were still fused together in the same pod, their sexual gender is androgynous

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and not male or female. It is only when they finally separate into individuals that they take on their basic gender of male and female. This basic gender will be with the twins throughout their repeated sojourns on earth until they meet again to merge. Once they merged they revert back to be androgynous. Whilst they are alone, whether they are on earth or in spirit, although they are either basically male or female, both contain the yang and yin elements. In other words, both contain male and female characteristics in each of them, and each of them has to balance the male and female elements to suit their sexual agenda for that incarnation. A basic male will adjust more yang into his psyche. Similarly, a female will have more yin in hers. A basic male who wants to be physically female for a particular incarnation may do so, as he has both elements in his etheric and other subtle bodies. Another sure pointer to the fact that we have both gender elements in us is at the stage of adolescence. A young boy growing up to be an adult male may have homosexual tendencies like having a crush on another male, usually someone he hero worships. Then when he finally overcomes the traumas of adolescence, he becomes a full-blooded male again, without the slightest homosexual tendency left. This is also true of female adolescence. We have many soul mates, but each of us has only one twin soul. A twin soul has every ingredient to be a whole individual. He is not a soul cut into half. However, as he has shared the same pod for the entire journey downward towards the physical earth with his twin, that attachment and longing for the twin is always there in the subliminal consciousness. The incessant throbbing of desire for the other twin is never far beneath the subconscious. It becomes more and more cogent when the soul nears the heightened state of enlightenment. That means that as soon as we become humans we have been working and practicing to achieve the ideal state to merge with our twin. This could have taken us hundreds of thousands of incarnations. As twin souls are so alike to start with, they must make the rounds to develop and learn other things so that when they merge the fused twin souls will be much richer. After the fusion, the entity will not be twosome but threesome! According to Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, ‘a human meets his twin soul twelve times during his incarnations on earth.’ Prior to the ultimate meeting, some of the incarnations

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are fraught with suffering, like Romeo and Juliet. That means that even though we meet our twin it does not mean a blissful marriage for us. Pain and suffering beset the twins like the rest, but their love with one another is always steadfast. I believe that the last incarnation is different. In this last lifetime, both will be carrying out a mission for the benefit of mankind, and this last life on earth should be free of health and wealth problems. I may be wrong here, but I presume that this should be the case. Otherwise they cannot carry out their duty or mission well. Edgar Cayce and his twin soul, Glynn Davis are a good example. Both were healthy until they died. Glynn died much later, and she was the one that carried out Edgar Cayce' s work till the day she passed over. Glynn Davis was Edgar Cayce's secretary for years. She was hard working, dedicated and methodical and she is the one that recorded all Edgar Cayce's readings for posterity. The twin souls were dedicated to the same service for mankind.

How to Prepare for Our Twin?
We prepare by growing spiritually, so that we become whole and independent. We have to increase our vibrations by eradicating greed, lust and anger. From our normal selfishness we repeatedly convert it to selflessness. The greatest task is to humble ourselves, otherwise pride would blind us to our twin. Then comes a stage of divine discontent, which can be obliterated by forgiveness. Forgive oneself first and then forgive the others. Then learn to love oneself and then others. In the life before the one in which we would be meeting our twins we should be well developed spiritually. Our mission is known, and we would be pursuing our life plan with determination and joy. There would be self-discipline. One twin could be running parallel jobs without realizing the presence of the other. And yet, one twin is helping the other through energy interchange. This process is not recognized by both. The best way to increase our spiritual status is to go inwards. Summarizing the methods for preparation to meet our twin: Spiritual discipline: Adopt a spiritual discipline, which includes meditation. The latter would accomplish silence and stillness with emptiness of thoughts. In that silence and stillness a small little voice will surface to let us know what further steps to take. This discipline would also help us to eradicate lust, greed, anger, selfishness and pride. It is of course a slow

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process, but with meditation it is faster than any other method. In the depth of that emptiness and stillness, bliss will automatically arise, and if one is able to retain that bliss, joy and happiness will be our lot throughout the day. ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Let go: While on this path, the essential goal would be to let go. One must be satisfied with what material comfort that is available to us. ‘Enough is enough’ should be everybody’s motto. The pursuit of the 5 C’s in the developing and developed countries has been the bugbear. They work furiously just to acquire (1) cars, (2) condominium, (3) credit cards, (4) career, and (5) clubs membership to neurotic proportions. They forget that we cannot take it with us. A story here would illustrate this point brilliantly. A young student is sent overseas to study certain skills. This overseas country has a currency control. No money may be brought in or taken out of the country. However the student may earn a living to feed himself and pay for his tuition fees. The scholarship is for ten years. So he took a part time job while studying the skills that he was sent to learn. This part time job was so successful that in two years he made it a full time job. Then he acquired a flat, a car with credit cards. He joined prestigious clubs of that country, and he made his lucrative job his career, forgetting what he went there for. The skills that he went to learn were compassion, wisdom and unconditional love. All these were totally forgotten. So by the end of ten years at which time he has to go home, he failed miserably to acquire these skills. Neither could he bring home all his wealth because the foreign country does not allow any expatriation of its currency, and also his home country does not use money. The currency in his home is karma and merit. This is exactly what happens to all of us, except that the length of overseas study is between 50 to 80 years and not ten. And the country of our foreign study is planet earth. Our home is the spirit world. Our path and skills: We are all endowed with certain skills, carried over from past lives. We follow our propensities and the one that gives us the most happiness should be grasped and developed as a profession or vocation. It may not be lucrative at all, but nevertheless it is satisfying. With this talent as his lifework he may be able to earn a living as well as provide a service to mankind. That means if one’s job were to help the handicapped, the aged sick or retarded children then one’s occupation would also be part of one’s spiritual growth. If our work is to teach the young,

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equally one should put one’s heart and soul into the teaching and not merely take the teaching as earning one’s keep. The teacher should also instill spiritual qualities in his instructions. Nature and Nurture: In our recreation, one should indulge in nature. Exercising on the beach or in the woods or amongst the trees is par excellence. Walking in the woods, swimming in the seas and gardening to grow flowers and bushes for beauty should be actively cultivated. Other forms of recreations should include appreciation of classical music. Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and Mahler are the music of choice. If one is not familiar with these composers, try to learn to appreciate them. Loud, rock music especially of the hard metal variety should be avoided at all costs, because these types of music would definitely end up in deafness and it also arouses our third chakra to unseemly proportions. Lastly, one should care for this body and mind. Proper food, vegetables and fish, and avoidance of alcohol, drugs and smoking constitute clean living. Then enough rest in the form of sleep should do for the ordinary person, but for the spiritually minded, meditation is a must. The penultimate step: From now onwards we must behave as if every relationship could possibly be the ultimate one. She or he may not be the right one, but at least we know how to behave when we finally meet the real twin. Every time we enter into a relationship, we treat the other person as if he or she is our twin. The other person’s happiness must be above our own. We go to great lengths to make the other happy and secure even to our own detriment. One must remember that at this penultimate stage, both twins are on the verge of enlightenment and periods of loneliness or solitude invariably accompanies the seekers. These periods of loneliness are a false sense of separation from our soul. Therefore, meditating inwards to realize our true self is an immediate solution. When our true self is realized, bliss is there. The loneliness and sadness will vanish right away with the light accompanying the soul.

Recognizing the Twin
Twin souls have the same vibrations. They come form the same mould, although not from the same womb. They are like one person bisected into two, but not one soul divided into two. Therefore, even after millions of

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years of separation, when they meet they know instinctively that that this is the twin. Their vision, feeling and purpose are one. They see the same vision from the same spot, unlike two other people with two different sets of eyes, which see the same scene juxtaposed with one another. The twin souls see the same scene with their combined third eye. The scene arouses the same feeling in both, although both are of different personalities. In fact what they see may even be complimentary. This must be the case, as they are now brought together for a single purpose. The feeling for each other is nothing less than divines love. The unconditionality of their love equals loving your neighbour as thyself or loving the other as yourself. One does not love the other despite the other’s faults; one loves the other for the other’s faults as much as for the other’s virtues. The love of twin souls is an ideal to be copied by all. The harmony and care do not allow of envy, irritation or exasperation for the other. Pain and suffering are not allowed to emerge from either party. If there is any infliction of pain it is due to an error of omission or lack of awareness. There is absolutely no intention to hurt.

The First Meeting
As mentioned by Omraam Mikhael Ivahov, twin souls meet about twelve times in our human incarnations. That means before this last sojourn, there could have been at least eleven previous meetings. Every meeting would have been melodramatic, memorable and electric. According to Sufi teachings, twin souls are like two Roman rings interlocking with each other. They may come very close when they enter a relationship in an incarnation, which means the two rings almost superimpose. But when they separate due to disagreements or reincarnating in different countries, the rings try to break away, but it is not possible. They remain inter-linked throughout their sojourns on earth and during intermissions in spirit. There is always a varying amount of common space between the two rings. During any twin-soul encounter, it is bound to be hypnotically momentous. A special feeling of energy seems to pass from one to the another beyond their control. This passage of energy is both nice and exciting. This is twin soul recognizing one another without involving the intellect. These twin souls encounter the same feeling and the same quality of love and it means the end of their loneliness. However, not all meetings of twin souls end well. Some cannot even get together. Some divorce

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after marriage, and they die without fulfillment. Of course, these are not their last incarnations. Now in the last meeting before their ascent to the spiritual realms, both twins are either enlightened or nearly so. Therefore at this stage the recognition must be mutual. As they are so developed their mission in this last incarnation has a common purpose. Having the same aspirations, both would be working for the good of humanity. Their same intensity of love and compassion would make them persistent in their common pursuit. One could be the leader or innovator whilst the other is the steady workhorse. Both must be preferably, in either in arts or in science. So that the effort is not dissipated by one being in the arts and the other in science. However, this fact is not essential. Their common goal is generally to uplift and enhance the quality of humanity. Both could be in the healing profession or in the promotion of arts etc. Even if they do not work in the same place, having the same vision their work could become complimentary, since they have the same preferences, tastes and predilection. Their mental capacity is of the same order. Their tastes in food, music and sense of humour are all the same. Both will either like the mountains or the sea. Their handwriting and the lines on their palms are similar. At this stage of development, they both possess a polished sense of humour and are good-natured. One could go on ad nauseam. You have to meet a couple of twin souls yourself to see how much in unison they behave. Of course, as human beings there may be twin souls who still have some differences and friendly competition may ensue. The outcome is the betterment of humanity. The so-called fight would not last long and the makeup is the sweeter. Sometimes twin souls appear to be doing the same thing at the same time, e.g. writing letters to one another at the same time. Before the meeting, the twins usually can sense that the time is coming near for them to meet. Then when they meet during the last incarnation, the charged electricity and explosion would indicate in no uncertain terms that ‘this is it’. However, this is not the end. Rather, it is the beginning of an ongoing process in this last incarnation. Both have still to develop and practice. Both have to continue to work at themselves so that their perfection will entitle them to journey in the spiritual realms forever never to return to earth.

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When they do meet, the age difference is of no consequence to them. The disparity could be as much as fifty years, but it is totally of no importance to the twins. They do not try to change each other for both accept each other as they are. Both are usually in the same state of health: both are either healthy or both are in the same state of incapacity. Both normally have strong telepathic linkages, and if one is sad so is the other. Conversely, happiness in one very often infects the other even though they may be thousands of miles apart. Lastly, both tend to incarnate into similar social circumstances; otherwise some difficulties may arise due to the disparate social status.

False Twin
Sometimes in our enthusiasm we see a twin when he or she is not one. In a joyful relationship, the mistake is understandable. However, the mistake may be stretched until both parties are hurt, more so by the dreamer. We grab at the similarities and enlarge them to fantasy level. Then when the relationship is dying, when everybody else can see it, the illusion is still perpetuated to our great cost. With our karma we formulate our G-plan (life plan) before coming down to earth. Our G-plan can still be modified or changed because of our freedom of choice. On the other hand in the matter of our twin, there is no choice. From the moment we individualize, our twin is destined to come back to us in the final incarnation. No amount of imagination or wishing can bring forth our twin at the time we want it. In our loneliness, we are very vulnerable. We ourselves may construct the delusion and the make belief will drive us further away from our true twin. So-called gurus, who will pronounce to a lonely woman that she is his twin soul, may also accentuate the illusion. After some time the guru will discard this ‘twin’ and go for another. The same ploy is used. Because he is a guru the woman tends to believe him implicitly. Sometimes the guru even mentions that he has two twins! This false guru dazzles the disciple with his light, as the victim wants to believe because of her loneliness, and it is better to have a twin who is a guru than to have one who is an ordinary person. The time to meet our twin is beyond our control. It entirely depends on

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the spiritual progress of the twins. After sounding the warning above, I would like to end this section with a cheerful note. As we cross over to the Aquarian age, there will be many meetings of twin souls, much more than hitherto. This is the good news. That also means that at each meeting the twosome will emit a light much brighter than the sum of two. It also means that with so many twins joining up throughout the whole world, there will be a great proliferation of lights across the globe, and this on its own will change the consciousness of planet earth. We would certainly be entering the age of enlightenment during this Aquarian age.

Twin Soul Sex
When they do meet, physical sex will not be the end all and be all of all pleasures. Of course, they still enjoy sexual pleasure, but it is no more the ultimate. It is love between two bodies as well as two souls. At this present age very few twins are already consummating their union in spirit. Physically they do not have to be together. They may be thousands of miles apart, but their spirits meet and conjoin. The joy and pleasure is much more satisfying than physical lovemaking. This is the opinion of all those who have experienced it.

Twin Soul Difficulties
When twin souls first meet even in their final incarnation, some of them will have differences in physical, emotional and intellectual content of the two personalities. Firstly, one soul has to adjust his difficulties within himself. Then he has to match whatever he has to the other. That means he has to clear all his own foibles, needs, cravings and ill will before he meets his twin as a fully satisfied individual. He should be ready to serve the other by putting the requirements of the other twin before his own. And vice versa. The struggle between themselves and together will definitely go to enhance the twinship. This is so because they have different psychological background and different personalities with emotional divergence. There will be normal conflicts when the two have such a close relationship, but the conflicts will be rapidly resolved. This is because their goal is the same. The emotional conflict is almost unbearable because they are twins. So in order not to see the other suffer, they tend to solve the problem as soon as possible.

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As they have been travelling by themselves, they have earned good and bad karma of their own. Once they meet and work together, they must now try and clear both karmic debts jointly. Similarly, good karma earned by both independently will be enjoyed by both. In fact, as karma is created at the soul level, both have been influenced by the other’s karma imperceptibly. There will definitely be stress in some couples, and in these they may even break up temporarily. Some couples will have to suffer together because of joined karma. There are so many possibilities in so many combinations and permutations. In some, the different backgrounds and karma would have brought together two very different individuals. This fact does not bother them at all. In this instance, "opposites do attract". All the differences go to complement their lives. So differences in physical, emotional and psychological make up do not tear them apart irrevocably, because their souls are joined together like Siamese twins. The compatibility here is at the spiritual level. That alone counts.

Obstacles to be encountered
The obstacles within the individual should mostly be solved by the time of the meeting. However, there may be few external obstacles that present themselves. One or both twins could have already been married when they meet. The eternal triangle is usually dealt by the almost enlightened individuals with accommodation to the existing families. If one were to hear that someone has walked out on the family to be with his or her twin soul, one can rest assured that it is not a twin soul union in their final incarnation. The already committed twin is too responsible and would continue to honour the pre-existing marriage. The twins will know that there must be a very good reason for this inconvenience. It could be a test or because of unresolved karmic obligations. The twins would then remain as loving friends or colleagues without marriage disruptions. This is due to fact that they are no more powered by passionate physical sex, as their love is above that. They may meet at night in spirit for the purpose of uplifting a common cause. They may meet in either the astral or mental world. They know that their separation is temporary and nothing in the world can stop their final union. Of course very occasionally their meeting could precipitate a marriage breakup, but this is with a marriage that is already collapsing. The breakup may induce some benefit to the

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aggrieved members, who can start anew with their own new partners. With this in mind, the twins who are uniting in this last incarnation, would have cultivated fidelity, joy, love and trust, and their union would be as solid as a rock. However, there may still be a few cases, where one soul has not reached the same level as the other. One partner may outgrow the other, and the demands of the less developed may be irksome to most other partners. However to the developed twin this mild set back must be met with tolerance and patience, otherwise the growth may be stunted. At this juncture it is a shame to let the stunting be a deterrent for further growth. For instance, if one soul were to suffer from some neurotic illness, this fact may be detrimental for both. So the care-giving partner has to sacrifice his smooth progression to confront the neurotic partner with the truth of the difficulty. This may rock the marriage, but it has to be done. You do not spare the rod because you are afraid to hurt the naughty child. The soft stance will hurt the child more at a later date. This self-sacrifice must be persistent and long standing otherwise it will not work, for most neurotic diseases are brought over from past lives. The effort is worth it for it is for the mutual good of both, and the reward is enlightenment with the ultimate union with one’s twin. Thence the cross over to the higher spiritual realms never to return to earth again!

Conclusion
Every body on earth has been drawing closer and closer to his or her twin soul, whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not. The journey of this search started the minute we individualize aeons ago. In the earlier stages, we were ignorant of this treasure hunt. We just obeyed our instincts and desires. It is only now when we are crossing over to the Aquarian age that we are much more aware of the reason for this path. There appears to be some degree of urgency in this search, just because we are nearing the end of our search. When we are going to meet our twin is not for us to know. It can be tomorrow or even the next life. As in the mystic path, when one finds oneself in the ‘dark night of the soul’, one knows that the time is nigh. At this stage of our search, the loneliness is intense. This darkness of sadness, suffering and pain has no end in sight. However, lo and behold one’s twin suddenly turns up at the next corner! She could be the nurse, doctor or the social worker. Or the twin may be

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at the church gathering that you started to attend. One never knows, but the twin will certainly appear. If it is not in this life, then it will be the next life at the latest. So do not despair. The twin will definitely turn up. You have no choice in this matter.

References
1. Twin Souls – A Guide to Finding Your True Spiritual Partner by Patricia Joudry and Maurie Pressman MD. Published by Element Books. 2. Cords That Cannot Be Broken – A Study Of Twin Souls by Judith Merville. Published by Regency Press. 3. St. Germain: Twin Souls and Soulmates channeled through Azena Ramanda and Claire Heartsong. Published by Triad. 4. Edgar Cayce on Soul Mates—Unlocking the Dynamics of Soul Attraction. By Kevin J. Todeschi. Published By A.R.E. Press

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The Anatomy of the Soul.
" There are no conditions to fulfil. There is nothing to be done nothing to be given up. Just look and remember, whatever you perceive is not you, nor yours. It is there in the field of your consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents, nor even the knower of the field. It is your idea that you have to do things that entangle you in the results of your efforts. The motive, the desire, the failure to achieve, the sense of frustration----all this holds you back. Simply look at whatever happens and know that you are beyond it." Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Introduction
Every soul is pure consciousness. It arises from the Absolute, the Parabrahman. In the Absolute everything is included and nothing is excluded. In the Absolute there is no individuality, no individual essence and no mind. There is absolutely no differentiation and it has been in this state from eternity. From this Absolute (non-beingness) a Beingness emerges. The sprouting of this droplet of pure consciousness is named the atman, the soul. The characteristics of the soul (atman) are sat-chitananda in Hinduism. Sat means Being. Chit is consciousness. And ananda is bliss. In other words another description of the soul is ‘blissful being of consciousness’. Beingness is at the level where gods and deities reside. On further differentiation, Beingness becomes I am. This is the moment an individual being is designated. As soon as I am is infused into an individual soul it is called spirit before birth. At this level before birth, Beingness and I am are composed of pure consciousness. The second I am incarnates into a human body and when it identifies with the body, this consciousness is contaminated by the mind. Beingness can be felt every morning for a few seconds at the time of waking before the mind intrudes to take over. Beingness is also present during deep sleep when there is no self or individuality. From birth the soul begins to acquire all attributes of an individual until the characteristics, qualities and samskaras consolidate into an ego. Summarizing the above process, the Absolute (Cosmic Consciousness) gives rise to Beingness (pure consciousness), which in turn differentiate into I am (the individual consciousness). Although after Beingness sprouts out from Cosmic Consciousness, it will develop its

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individuality only when I am comes into existence. From here on the spirit (composite soul) will release into each incarnation a small percentage of itself. When this atman identifies with the body-mind as a separate individual in the world, it becomes a jiv-atman. A general estimate is that an average person would bring down 10% of its composite soul from the spirit. Much later after numerous incarnations when the individual is much more developed he can siphon more and more down into his physical body when the need requires. This may explain why some of these developed people possess varying amount of psychic powers, depending on their proclivity to these powers. On the other hand some enlightened saints do not have the slightest inclination for these powers at all, but they still may bring down more than 10% to utilize the wisdom, love and compassion acquired so far.

Anatomy of the Spirit
The soul is not a unified entity. It is a composite structure like that of an orange. There are many ‘cotyledons’ in one soul. There is a suggestion that more cotyledons are added as each spirit matures with wisdom. That means each composite soul is multifaceted and multidimensional. Whilst still in the spirit world, this total composite soul is called a spirit. Before the spirit (beingness) arises from the Absolute, there is no knowledge of individuality. It is pure universal consciousness. As soon as I am is formed the spirit becomes an individual consciousness. Now it is time to enter into the time-space continuum i.e. earth. This process of coming into the world is repeated many times. However, at each incarnation only a small percentage of the spirit is sent down to experience life. This small portion of spirit is called jiv-atman (incarnated soul).This soul is still part of and strongly attached to its own spirit (the composite soul). The main reason why the spirit sends down only a small percentage is because while gathering experience and love, it also has to work out the karma it has accumulated from past lives. In the Absolute, there is no karma because there is no individual. Karma can only be earned when I am exists. At the peak of experience after many lives when suffering and sorrow are untenable the individual decides to opt out of the rat race. At this stage his total karma is too large to be cleared in one life. So only a portion is sent down in each incarnation to be dealt with, but new karma earned in that life will also be added to the total karma of the individual. During these earthly incarnations, experiences and gathering of love and wisdom must also be

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carried out. So how does the individual spirit deal with this heavy load? It is dealt with by apportioning out a percentage of the spirit to each incarnation.

Evidence that the Spirit is a Composite
The following are some of the facts and legends to suggest that the spirit is not a unified whole:

The Goddess of Mercy--- Kuan Yin
Although this is a legendary, celestial Bodhisattva, Buddhism expounds the fact that this deity has multiple components. The progenitors of Kuan Yin are the Tibetan Avalokitesvara (Chenresigs), Tara and the Chinese Princess, Miao Shan. Kuan Yin is all these three combined and more. Avalokitesvara (Alvalokita) was born from a ray of light that sprang from Amitabha Buddha’s right eye. His existence was known four to five thousand years ago. He is the secondary emanation of the energy of compassion. According to the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, Avalokitesvara (Avalokita) had 337 earthly incarnations. All these incarnations were males except for one, in which he was a female Balaka horse. Therefore Avalokitesvara is almost always male but he has the ability to assume the female form. Avalokita has been worshipped from India, Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia to Cambodia in the eighth to the eleventh centuries. In the seventh century, Avalokita was introduced into Tibet from India. The mantra OM MANI PADME HUM has always been associated with him. As a Bodhisattva of compassion both in India and Tibet he has often been depicted in statues as a tall, huge male Deity composing of eleven heads with a thousand eyes and a thousand arms, the easier to succour as many people at the same time. On the other hand Kuan Yin has always been a female Goddess for centuries. Avalokita is Indian and Kuan Yin is Chinese. And yet both represent the same being. How did this transition come about? This came about through a tertiary embodiment of compassion, Tara, of Indo-Tibetan origin. Tara is a beautiful female divinity who is able to manifest herself in 21 different guises in order to succour sentient beings. She was "Born of a tear shed from by Avalokita in sorrow for the world’. She is accredited to have 2 functions: (1) rescue beings from present woes and (2) assisting them to rid themselves of delusions binding to samsara.

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These are the very duties of Kuan Yin! As the Chinese would prefer a more appealing deity than the multi-headed and multi-armed Avalokita, the female representation in the form the beautiful Tara is just the embodiment they want. Thus the male Avalokita is now embodied in the female form of Tara. In Tibet, there is a green and a white Tara. White Tara normally manifests during the day, whilst Green Tara usually appears at night. There are also other Taras e.g. a Red Tara. From this lovely form of Tara, it can be seen that there is no difficulty of assimilating the Chinese Princess Miao Shan, a historical princess of compassion, in to the ultimate Kuan Yin. Many stories abound with regards to Miao Shan as a possible reincarnation of Kuan Yin. All the stories tell of the purity and the dedication of Miao Shan and her personification of compassion. Miracles galore are also associated with these stories. The main point to emerge from all the above stories with regard to all these Bodhisattvas is that they can be at many different places at one time to succour many sentient beings. This multiple component of a single soul is what one would garner from the Kuan Yin mythology, although most worshippers of Kuan Yin do not take Kuan Yin as a myth. They take her as a real Bodhisattva. That means if a thousand supplications are made to her simultaneously, she is able to help all of them all at once. As a matter of fact multiple requests have been answered simultaneously all the time. That means she is multidimensional in the true sense of the word, and that her soul has at least 1,000 cotyledons.

Bilocation
Bilocation is quite often reported with normal individuals and highly developed personalities. A wife who has just left the husband in the sitting room suddenly sees him in the bedroom as well. A healer who is sleeping peacefully in the early hours of the morning in his own bedroom is seen visiting patients in hospitals, especially when there are cries for help. Several friends and relatives simultaneously in different parts of the world see the spirit of a person who has just died

Padre Pio of San Giovanni of Rotondo in Southern Italy.
This Roman Catholic priest was born on 25.05.1887 in Pietrelchina and died on 23.09.1968 in San Giovanni. At 15 he entered the Capuchin Novitiate at Morcone and was ordained a priest at the age of 23. On the

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20th September 1918 he was marked with 5 stigmata wounds: his two hands and two feet and the heart at San Giovanni Rotondo. These stigmata bled every day for 50 years. The blood had a fragrance like a perfume, which usually betrays his invisible presence. He never suffered from anaemia throughout these years. He was also endowed with bilocation, prophecy, telepathy and the gift of tongues. He was particularly attached to his Guardian Angel. He also had to struggle and fight with all sorts of internal enemies of the most grotesque varieties. All these battles were his lot to prove his love for the ones he loved. Besides his first love for Jesus, his forte was in the confessional. With his telepathic powers he was able to tell those that came to confess all their sins before they open their mouths. This was a great advantage over all the other priests, and numerous parishioners return to the Sacrament of Penance totally guided by him. During the Second World War, British pilots, who were flying to bomb an Italian city, saw him in the sky re-directing them away from the target. These British planes finally went back to England without accomplishing their task. The most relevant psychic power of his is his ability to bilocate. He is known to be praying in the chapel, but others have seen him doing chores in different places far away from where he is praying! A few days before he died, all his wounds disappeared. On 2nd May 1999 in Rome, he was beatified and is now known as Blessed Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the place he was born.

The Five Constituents--- by Shinji Takahashi
This modern Japanese teacher was born in 1927 and died in 1976. He was a scientist by training and had a very successful business in the electronic trade. He was a founder of a spiritual movement called ‘God-Like Association’. He has written several books and quite a few articles. One of these is called ‘The Five Constituents’. The two books that are well known are (1) The Man Shakyamuni and (2) The Nature of the Mind. According to this modern Japanese teacher, each spirit is composed of 6 components. There is a core and 5 other constituents. Although the constituents have different and distinctive physical characteristics, they share a fair amount of common strengths and weaknesses, and the six have a common path and goal. The core is responsible for the whole path of the total spirit and has to correct the karma of the constituents, but each constituent is only responsible only for its own karma. The core overseers the

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behaviour and activities of the entire group. He is the conductor of this small orchestra and decides what tune is to be played at each incarnation. The core has a much more responsible task. The core must attain enlightenment on its own. When each constituent comes to earth to practice, it must choose an environment, with which it is easy to attain enlightenment. The other five in spirit will act as spiritual guides to the one in incarnation. The core or its friend or the constituents’ friends would also be helping the one practising on earth. In this programme there are four possible combinations of the five constituents with its core: 1. A male core with five male constituents. 2. A female core with five female constituents. 3. A female core with two female and three male constituents. 4. A male core with two male and three female constituents. The third and fourth combinations are composed of three males and three females each and these two combinations tend to balance the population of the earth. If a war depletes the male population, the first combination will predominate the subsequent post war generations. The second combination will come into play when some disease has decimated the female population. In normal circumstances, the core will incarnate first followed by the five constituents in rotation. However if one of the constituents has been a laggard or went astray, he or she will have to comedown to earth for repeated incarnations until he or she has caught up with the group. This combination of the core and five constituents fits in nicely to our idea of a composite soul. In this scenario, the core is the dominant component of the composite soul, the spirit.

Seth---As Channelled through Jane Roberts
Jane Roberts channelled this teacher, an energy essence personality in the sixties when she was alive. Seth at that time need not incarnate into the physical world anymore. Seth reckons that all of us are living parallel lives at the same time. That means each spirit, which is a composite soul, is living numerous lives simultaneously. There is no past or future. There is only NOW. The spirit partakes of every life simultaneously. He is acting

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out many personalities in 1685, in 1755, 2050, 2000 and 3000 at this very moment. In fact in her tapes she was able to record subjects who are able to move from one personality in one century to another in a different period very smoothly with no difficulty. This is done in one sitting! This holistic viewing can only take place in the Now, not of the past or future. In this way one can change one’s life by changing one’s belief. The present is the point of power. By altering one’s belief, one can change the past so that the present and the future in this new line of behaviour can totally change one’s predicament or illness. Even in normally fatal diseases, one can change the outcome of these diseases by changing one’s beliefs. In the same rationale, all these parallel lives are to Seth the reincarnation lives of that one person. So if one is suffering now, he will bring in an unwholesome past life to explain away his present awful life. According to Seth, the reincarnation lives of people are really being enacted simultaneously now in the present. While one is living this life knowingly, that individual also has a host of lives running in a parallel fashion, but the other lives are being suppressed, so that the present life holds the total focus of his consciousness. The daydreams and normal dreams of that individual are also the parallel lives of that individual. In other words, Seth’s teachings are par excellence in expounding the multidimensionality of the composite soul. The spirit is composed of numerous component souls, which are enacting their realities in different centuries as different individuals, but in actual fact these lives are all part of the one spirit!

The Anatomy of the Soul
Once the soul incarnates, this jiv-atman will have the protection of 5 coverings (koshas).

The First Covering of Bliss
The first covering is that of bliss. Although this first covering reflects the blissful nature of the soul, it is also the creator of our ignorance. When a desirable object is obtained, the happiness that manifests is from this blissful covering. When righteous people are rewarded for their good deeds, the resulting bliss is due to this covering. When one meditates up to the Jhanas or absorption states bliss is there. All the joy that exists in any happy individual results from this covering. One is naturally happy. It is also present when one is in deep sleep. It may also be present when one is awake or in a dream state. This superficial state of happiness is an illu-

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sion. This blissful covering is fed by the soul, which is a ‘blissful being of consciousness’.

The Second Covering of the Subtle Bodies---Auras and Chakras
The auras with their chakras are the second covering. These are the subtle bodies. They are sustained by prana, the life force. It is through these associated chakras that prana can be fed to the individual. It is also due to prana that the physical body is kept alive. Prana vitalises our human body. It is as essential as oxygen. It provides us with energy, without which we cannot act. If any chakra is blocked and no prana can be absorbed, the organs under the influence of that chakra will be diseased. There are at least 7 auric bodies. These auric bodies interpenetrate each other, and each body is of higher vibration than the one beneath it. The first auric body is the etheric body, which is the framework for the physical body. It interpenetrates the physical and extends about a quarter to two inches beyond the physical body. The etheric body came before the physical body. It duplicates every physical organ. This is the aura that every person can see with the naked eye. Similarly, the next aura, the emotional aura interpenetrates the underlying etheric and physical bodies. Each aura is more rarefied than the one beneath. Although we know that there are at least 7 auric bodies, some clairvoyants reckon there are more. These seven auric bodies are: (1) The Etheric Body, (2) The Emotional Body, (3) The Mental Body (4) The Astral Body, (5) The Etheric Template Body (6) The Celestial Body and (7) The Causal Body. Ordinarily, clairvoyants can see only the first 3 auric bodies, but in order to see the more subtle ones, the clairvoyant must go into meditation. If a yogi can see the 6th aura, the Celestial Body, he probably has reached the ‘I am’ state. When he can see the 7th body, the Causal Body, he has reached the ‘beingness’ state. Beyond this is the Absolute. Each auric body has at least 7 chakras attached. That means with 7 auric bodies, there are at least 49 chakras throughout one human body. All the chakras are located in the same anatomical positions, so that each locale has a pile of 7 chakras packed like ice-cream cones. An 8th chakra has also been mentioned.

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The Third Physical Covering
The moment one is conceived, the physical body is formed. Although physically it grows the fastest, it may also be short-lived. This body can die any day after birth, and its life span is between one second to more than a hundred years. Food and water sustain this physical body. The moment one identifies with the body, one is trapped into samsara, the cycles of birth and death due to ignorance. If both arms and legs are amputated, the person can still live. Therefore it cannot be the true self. Thinking that the body is the self is the most delusional of all our follies. This identification with the body coincides with the perception of objects, which will be claimed as mine. This corporal foundation of the ego then starts to desire material possessions and this is the beginning of a full conceptual separation from the Absolute. This is the beginning of suffering and sorrow.

The Fourth Covering of Emotion and Intellect
The fourth covering is composed of emotions and their associated intellect. According to the teachings of Vedanta, this covering is the discriminating faculty with its powers of intelligence and the organs of perception. It has the faculty of knowing and acting. It is also this fourth covering that identifies itself with the body and it’s sense organs. In other words it is an essential component of the ego, which is a false self. It is the individual in the man. It acts by being propelled by emotions and it accumulates karma and samskaras. With all the previous tendencies and impressions the individual earns negative and positive karma, which are kept in the auras. This 4th covering of the emotion and intellect is invariably mistaken for the soul, but it is only a garment of the soul. The other trap is that this covering of the intellect shines with a bright light because of its proximity with the shining soul, which resides in the vicinity of the heart chakra. Again this bright light is also mistaken for the soul.

The Fifth Covering of the Mind
The fifth and last covering is the mind. Together with the organs of perception, it forms the mental covering. This is the locale where ignorance dwells. It is the mind that can differentiate objects to the extent that desires arise, and the sense of I and mine is developed. Ignorance fuels the mind with craving and desire, thus leading the individual to bondage

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life after life. This is the way the universe of subject and objects is formed. The mind creates the attachment to the body and things of the world. Paradoxically, it is also the mind that can unravel our attachment and lead us to discrimination and dispassion. Thereby we can be free to work our way towards enlightenment. It is the greatest delusion when the mind is identified as the soul. Similarly, the mind causes us to be reborn time and again in pursuit of the 5 poisons: desire, anger, pride, selfishness and ignorance. Therefore it is paramount that we purify our minds first with meditation. When the mind is purified by correct meditation then all lust and desires will disappear. Thence the path leading to self-realisation is made easier. With meditation, the mind can be seen to be transient, and therefore cannot be the soul. Behind all thoughts there is our primordial voidness and silence. This is Beingness. Karma and Samskaras Around the soul with its 5 coverings there are also the attachments of karma and samskaras. The latter are impressions and accumulated imprints of past experiences, which determine one’s desires and actions. In other words, when one dies, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th coverings maybe sloughed off at death depending on the developmental state of the individual. The 2nd (physical) and the 3rd (auric) coverings are the first to go. The 4th (emotional) covering will be dropped when the spirit goes to the mental realm. Then when the spirit ascends to the spiritual realms the 5th (mind) covering is also shed. The first, blissful covering still remains endowed with its karmic attachments and samskaras. The minute one is reborn the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th coverings will reconsolidate around one’s soul (jiv-atman). These coverings are associated with one’s karma and samskaras. That means we start life at that stage from which we ended our past life. It is with our karma and samskaras that we worked the blue print of our G-plan in the spirit world before birth. In other words, if we are not yet enlightened, in the spirit world we are still deluded by maya and the blissful covering of our soul. This is the situation even though our ego (body, emotion and mind) is not present in the spirit world. Maya is the principle of ignorance and the creator of illusion. It is there as long as we do not realise our own soul.

The Ego
Let us summarise the sequence of events leading to the formation of the

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ego. The Absolute, the Ultimate State of Consciousness, sprouts out a portion of itself to form a Beingness. This Beingness, which is destined to be a human, then differentiates into I-am-ness. Up to this stage, although it is destined to be separate, there is no knowledge of individuality yet. The Beingness is still in spirit. It is in this realm that the G-plan is formulated. The Hindus call the G-plan prarabdha, which is defined as this present life’s destiny according to one’s karma. The knowledge of individuality comes much later, after birth. After sexual intercourse by the parents, and at the moment the ovum is fertilised by the sperm a portion of the spirit is sent down to the new embryo. This portion in incarnation is called jiv-atman. This newly conceived being has still no idea of individuality. After nine months in the womb, a baby is born. Even at this stage the baby does not have the sense of a separate individual. The infant continues to deem that it and the mother are one. This symbiotic life continues until the child is 8 weeks old. The separate feeling comes only after he has learned to sit, crawl, walk and talk. This sense of being a separate individual continues to be built up until adulthood. Before the child reaches the age of seven, he or she would have developed a personality of its own. Before long or even before seven years, in some an ego is established. The ego is made up of the physical body, the emotions and the intellect. The first identification with self is the physical body. The child feels it when he hurts himself, when he is hungry and when he wants to urinate or defecate. Narcissism may not be exhibited before the age of ten; but it may be implanted in him during this period. Narcissism is in full bloom in the teens, when he or she begins to take pains over his or her appearances. This narcissism may continue until death, although normally it subsides after middle age. The blowing up of the ego to enormous proportion is the peak of suffering Late in adult life the idea that the body is self begins to wane with deep reflection. He now thinks that the mind (emotion and intellect) is the true self. ‘I think, therefore I am’ is now the credo. And this is the period onwards when the ego is consolidated and enlarged depending on the standard of education. The higher the education, the greater will the ego be expanded. In the same vein, the reverse psychology is that a low standard of education may result in an inferiority complex. Whatever it is the

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majority of people do not realise that the ego is only a projected image of the mind. In truth it has no reality at all. With this mental projection, the ego can be blown up, and often times it is blown out of proportion to the individual’s real worth. It then becomes a bubble very vulnerable to pinpricks. The formation of the ego and the pumping up of it to such an enormous size can only happen due to Maya, the cosmic illusion. This is the primordial illusion of identification with the body-mind complex as self, separate from the rest. This great pride usually accompanies the academic, the highly educated and the materially successful. Therefore whilst in incarnation and for some even in the spirit world after death the ego is the greatest obstacle towards enlightenment. In the astral and mental realms, the 4th and 5th coverings of the soul are still in tact. That means the emotions and mind are still present. The 4th covering will be sloughed off when the spirit is promoted to the mental realm. Beyond the mental realm the 5th covering is also shed in the higher spiritual realms. Therefore with further development, the ego is finally destroyed in the spiritual realms. Hitherto, this illusion of the ego life after life prevents us from realising who we really are. With ignorance, there is no way the ego will allow one to return to I-am-ness. However, long before I am can be realised, the practitioner must absolutely disavow that the body and mind are not self. This is essential. Contemplation of the truth and correct meditation into emptiness are crucial steps in the spiritual path. Let us follow the steps again: 1. The Absolute (The Ultimate State of Consciousness) - Cosmic Consciousness 2. Beingness - Pure consciousness in spirit 3. I-am-ness - Pure consciousness in embryo 4. Birth à Infant à Baby -Symbiotic life up to 8 weeks (individual consciousness) 5. Crawling and walking child-----Sense of individuality is being formed (individual consciousness)

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6. 1 to 3 years a personality is formed, and the body is deemed as self (first intimation of ego) 7. 3 to 10 years, the mind intrudes itself as a dominant force, the ego. 8. After 7 years the body, emotion and intellect would have consolidated the ego 9. Enlargement and inflation of the ego continues until the peak of sorrow and suffering 10. Thence onwards this individual on the spiritual path would ask the questions ‘who am I?’ and ‘why am I here?’ 11. The true spiritual path is the reversal of the above sequence of steps.

Recapitulation
Our Source is the Absolute, the Ultimate State of Consciousness, which is also Cosmic Consciousness. The Absolute is non-dual and has no past or future. Everything is in the Now. Everything in every universe is included in It. Nothing is outside It. From this ocean of Cosmic Consciousness a droplet of pure consciousness emerges. This is Beingness. This spirit possessing no mind has no idea of individuality. It knows only It is. This is the Causal Realm, which is free from karma or samskaras. It is thoughtfree and word-free. Although there is potential to be an individual, there is no sense of an individuality yet. The moment I-am-ness is infused into the atman (the soul), the potential of being an individual is instituted. The soul at this stage is called a spirit and is in the Celestial Realm. One step down in the Etheric Template Realm, karma and samskaras of that individual is infused into this spirit at this level. This infusion may take place in the lower levels as well, depending on the stage of development of the individual. So it may take place in the Astral, the Mental, the Emotional and Etheric as well. The infusion of an individual’s samskaras and karma fits in well with Gautama Buddha’s Annata doctrine (that is karma and samskaras is infused into the individual only after I-am-ness is in place within a conception). In the Etheric Template and lower realms the spirit is a composite structure and it is termed Self by some. In these realms a

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G-plan with its sacred contracts is formulated. When the spirit sends down a portion of itself into a conception, the Beingness has already differentiated into a ‘I am’. It then further descends down the next stage to form an embryo. From the higher realms, e.g. the Celestial, the spirit has to spiral down the other realms, (namely, the Etheric Template, the Astral, the Mental, the Emotional and the Etheric) before the atman enters the embryo. These are the coverings (koshas) and the garments of the atman and they are required as equipment and vehicles to experience the earth. As soon as that portion of atman is entrenched in the embryo it is called jiv-atman (the atman in a body). It is only in the physical world that the five coverings (koshas) are in place. This I-am-ness in the embryo is the forerunner of an individual. Throughout this embryonic stage, the brain is still not well formed, and therefore, the mind does not exist. As the mind is not yet formed there is no conception of self. At birth, although the infant has the sense of I-am-ness, its brain needs further development and therefore the sense of ‘I’ includes its mother. This symbiotic life usually lasts about 8 weeks. After these 8 weeks, the child now begins to realise it can separate itself as an individual. From thence, the child will grow into a toddler; then it develops into a teen and finally into an adult. Throughout this development consciousness in the guise of I am has identified itself with the body, its emotions and finally its mind. With this threesome the ego is formed. The jiv-atman, which is transformed from Beingness and I-am-ness, now adds another layer in the form of an ego. The mind deluded by Maya is now the strongest force here. The individual needs food and water to sustain the body, but prana (life force) is crucial to the working of the entire body-mind. Prana acts through the chakras of the subtle bodies. At the background of everything, it is pure consciousness (Beingness) that sustains the soul. Without the pure consciousness from the beginning, there would be no being. This prompts the koan ‘what is your original face before you are born?’ This koan is asking ‘who am I’ in another way. All these questions would finally lead us back to I-am-ness thence to Beingness and finally to the Absolute. In correct meditation in emptiness, one must hold on to this I-am-ness or Beingness as long as one can. The purpose of every soul’s journey on earth is to learn and experience unconditional love and wisdom. To carry out this exercise, the I-am-ness requires a body-mind. Without the body-mind, Beingness and I-am-ness cannot be expressed, and therefore no lesson can be learned.

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Summary
The Absolute is the ocean of consciousness, which sprouts out a Beingness, which knows only ‘It is’. At this stage, there is still no individual, no mind and no word. This Beingness is still pure consciousness, and it then becomes ‘I-am-ness’. This I-am-ness is now a potential individual. It is this I-am-ness that recognises its body and then the rest of the universe. From then onwards this I-am-ness identifies with the body and the mind, and the desire for objects follows. This is the beginning of sorrow. So the lesson here is not to identify with the body and mind. The primordial voidness is present in deep sleep, as well as in the I-amness and Beingness. This is our daily return back to the Absolute in the state of non-duality. And that is why when one wakes up after a good night’s sleep, one is thoroughly fresh. In the morning when one wakes up, the clear perception of the body is there, but the mind has not come in to identify with it yet. This clarity is the state of Beingness (non-dual). It is pure witnessing. It then slowly differentiates into I-am. Once I-am identifies with the body-mind one goes back to duality and becomes the usual self with all the hang-ups. In meditation, the state of silence, stillness and no thoughts may equate with I-am-ness, which may be transcended to Beingness. If one is persistent enough, one may finally recede into the Absolute! Then one’s work is finished.

References
1 Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination (Viveka-Chudamani), translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. Vedanta Press. 1947. 2. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. The Nectar of Immortality. Blue Dove Press, San Diego, California. 1996. 3. John Blofeld. Compassion Yoga. A Mandala Book. Unwin Paperbacks. 1977. 4. Jane Roberts. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Bantam Books. 1974. 5. Jane Roberts. The Nature of Personal Reality. A Seth Book. Bantam Books. 1974. 6. Shinji Takahashi. The Five Constituents. Private Publication.

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Brain, Mind and Consciousness.
“There is no way I can control the consequences. Life is an impersonal flowing and I cannot control either my life or anybody else’s life. This understanding is that I have no control, I am just a dreamed character and therefore all I can do is to function according to my natural characteristics. An even there, the understanding is that there is truly no “I” or “ME” except the body-mind organism as a reacting agent.” Ramesh S. Balsekar Consciousness Speaks

Introduction
These three items are not very well delineated, and confusion abounds in the usage of these terms. For instance, all these terms have been used interchangeably: brain, mind, ego, intellect, mental body, thought, memory, imagination, visualisation, concepts, analysis, mental projection etc. Then the term consciousness is equally muddled by loose usage of the term. These are some of the terms used pertaining to consciousness: subconscious, collective unconscious, super-consciousness, transcendental consciousness, personal unconsciousness, meditative consciousness, and transpersonal consciousness. It goes on and on. In fact, there are only three entities to be considered. These are the brain, which is the hardware; the mind, which is the software and Consciousness (pure Consciousness), the originator of the hardware and the software. The rest of the items mentioned above will fall into place at the end of this article. The least confusing term is that of the brain.

The Brain
The brain is the hardware that is part of the physical body. It contains all the hard disks, the floppy disks and all that go to form the personal computer and the monitor screen. This hardware comes as solid pieces that can be recognised and has a name from the manufacturer. The solid

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pieces represent the human body and the manufacturer’s name is equivalent to the name that is given by the parents. The brain (the P.C.) processes all the software instructions from the mind. These instructions go into millions per day. The efficiency of the P.C., the brain, is totally dependent on what the manufacturer (parents) put in (I.Q.). The parents also contribute to the physical, emotional and mental makeup of the offspring. A very important point to remember is that the hardware itself has characteristics of its own even before the infusion of the soul. This point would have been taken into account in the formulating of the G-plan. That means the hardware itself must contribute important features to the final product of the offspring, more than usually recognised. The soul is the not the only contributor to the body-mind complex. For instance, diabetes, myopia and even more serious ones like cystic fibrosis are well known inherited diseases. Most of the physical characteristics can be traced to the genes of the parents. Similarly, the parents may also contribute to some extent to the intellectual capacity of the product. However, most of the emotional makeup comes with the soul, although a small proportion may be inherited from the parents. Therefore before the infusion of the new soul, the hardware of the offspring already has its own characteristics to some extent. This is different from the real P.C. in which there is no trace of what the metal was before it goes to make up the new P.C. In other words, the physical body alone without the soul has already some tendencies and habits inherited from the parents. The following diagrams will indicate to you how intricate the brain comes prepared for its functions. It is much more than any giant computer can muster in the commercial world. One can see that all the functions of motor and sensory activities are all mapped out when born. The motor and sensory activities are very well delineated and any damage in a limited area would affect only certain motor, sensory, speech, auditory or visual functions. (see Fig. on page 325) The versatility of the functional brain is astounding, but it is still hopelessly outstripped by the multifaceted, multidimensional and multifarious capabilities of the mind, which can process innumerable cognitive activities, memories, concepts, analysis and visualisations in one sitting!

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The Mind
EGO There is no software in the world that can come near the scope and modalities of the mind. The mind is the most intricate and efficient and the greatest software in the universe. The mind is part of the ego, and the ego arises from Consciousness. In fact, everything emerges from Consciousness. In order for Cosmic Consciousness to function in the physical world a vehicle must be used. This vehicle is the ego. The ego is composed of the physical body, the emotional body and the mental body. Let us simplify these three instruments into two components, the body and mind. The mind represents the emotions, feelings, thoughts, memories, intellect, all previous conditioning, samskaras and concepts. Although we break them into two, they are really one psychophysical complex. When the body is inflicted with pain, it is the mind that suffers.

The Parameters of the Mind
Synonymously, the mind has been called the intellect and the organ of analysis. The parameters of the mind include memory, thoughts, concepts, visualisations, and projections of the future, intellect and learning of knowledge. There is also a wide range of emotional content like joy,

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happiness, sadness, depression, agitation, fear of loss, anxiety and worry. All these are the chief components of the mind. There are innumerable more facets to the mind. So with this tremendous amount of software content, it is no wonder that the person deems the mind as Self. The ego is merely a psychophysical robot, which is a convenient vehicle to travel the planet earth. Most of us mistake the body as Self. Self in this article denotes the soul, the atman, which is an offshoot of Cosmic Consciousness, whereas self is the ego, a necessary vehicle to function in duality. When one drives a car, the car is not the self, neither is the chauffeur. The true Self is the owner of the car and the employer of the chauffeur. The most disastrous consequence of taking the ego as Self is that the person thinks he is a separate entity. It is quite in order if he is in duality and has no idea of being separate, as in animals. However, if he assumes that he is a separate entity from the rest of humanity, then he is in dualism, and this is where the trouble begins. This is the greatest calamity. He has forgotten that he is part of the Absolute and has never or can never be separated from Cosmic Consciousness. Enlightenment is realisation of this fact. In one’s spiritual path, one has to reverse the behaviour of dualism to acting in duality. Once you deem yourself as separate, you begin to feel that you are special and superior or inferior. Then you start to accumulate and covet objects. This is the beginning of craving and suffering. If one is thwarted in the acquisition process, anger will arise. Both the craving and anger are the result of ignorance. Of all the ‘sins’ in the world, ignorance is the greatest. The most important component of the mind is memory. Memory teaches us an experience from which we base our reaction to a recurrent incident. The child who has been burnt by fire will be very wary of the next fire he comes across. Similarly, the memory of the hot chilly will warn the diner to go slowly on the chilly in the next meal. By the same token, a string of memories gives us the false impression that these events are an actual chronicle of a true Self. Therefore although memory provides us with experience for future reference, it also falsely makes us believe that memories are the real activities of a true Self. Memories are components of the mind, which in turn are merely facets of the ego. All are not real. The ego is manufactured by pure Consciousness to experience and act in the phe-

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nomenal world. Consciousness is the only true Self. Intellect is another facet of the mind that is useful in the learning process. This is especially so with regards to structured education and research. Intellect is like an animal. The more you train the animal, e.g. a dog, the more efficient it becomes. So it is with the intellect. The intellect may be trained to be so efficient that it will expand its ingenuity to research extensively into all matters pertaining to a topic. However the intellect is only part of the mind. It is also ephemeral like the mind. Both these items are not there in deep sleep. Intellect and memory both deteriorate in certain diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease. If these were one’s true Self, they will not deteriorate or disappear. Thought is the main comprehensive term, which include memories, concepts, visualisations, intellect etc. It is thoughts that delude us to believe that the mind is real. Thoughts arise from nowhere and vanish into nowhere. If thoughts are the true self, then where is the Self when one meditates until there are no thoughts? During these periods of emptiness of thoughts or voidness, there is still the presence of awareness. This awareness is the true Self. This awareness is also accompanied by bliss, which is the first covering of the soul. Therefore, when one clears the mind of all thoughts, a pure and empty mind will allow pure Consciousness, Self, to shine through. This happens in deep sleep, where there are no thoughts and only bliss prevails. The Self is present in deep sleep, in dreams and in the waking state. The problem is that in dreams and waking states, the ego blocks the presence of the Self. In deep sleep the mind is held in abeyance and the ego is absent. As the mind is absent, there is no memory of our merging back to our true Self during deep sleep. As the ego has falsely presented itself as a separate individual, one tends to protect that separate self with selfishness and acquisitions of objects. As a separate self, one would like to believe that the false self is special and therefore pride is used to elevate oneself. Pride reinforces the delusion. One is proud because one forgets that one is only a bubble on the surface of the ocean. Everything is part of the ocean. At the height of one’s proud existence, doubt and fear will be there to remind one of the frailties of the situation. Pride is the trait that inflates the ego, and thus ‘ego’ has become synonymous with pride. Ego is not pride, for all of us have

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egos, but not all of us are proud. However, if one eliminates the mind and its machinations the Self will reveal itself. When the mind is totally destroyed, pride, doubts, fears, anger and all the other negativities will disappear with it.

The Two Minds
Now that we know about the unreality of the mind, what happens after the total destruction of the mind? How does a person function after enlightenment? He is left with a working (functional) mind. The enlightened person is devoid of the concept of the ego as Self. There is no ‘me’ involved. He is now in duality but not in dualism. The thinking mind which draws on memory to project worries and fears of the future, is absent in the enlightened person. He is left with only the working (functional) mind. These are not two different minds. It is only a notional division that facilitates the explanation of the remaining functional mind after enlightenment. After enlightenment there is no ‘me’, ‘I’ or ‘myself ’. The non-self merely allows Consciousness to act through his psychophysical organism. The working mind is required because he still has to live and function in this world. The working mind must to some extent identity itself with his body and the person must also be able to draw on his memory to know his environment including names of people, places and things. The working mind, however, has no anxiety or fear of the future because there is no self-interest. These negativities are the attributes of the thinking mind. The working mind functions only in the present. Memory is used only in relationship to the working of the present. The working mind may also be called the silent mind. The thinking mind is the loud one, and it instils doubts and worries by asking about the future: ‘Are you doing the right thing?’ ‘What if there is a recession?’ ‘Are you sure you will not be retrenched?’ If the thinking mind keeps on intruding into the working mind, the latter cannot function efficiently. The thinking mind tires a person disproportionately and time is very laboured. On the other hand, the working mind has no sense of time and 2-3 hours would have passed without the individual realising it. So in the spiritual path, the individual has to utilise the working mind more and more and oust out the thinking mind step by step. This is part of his evolution. Of course the sooner one dis-identifies the ego as the Self, the faster will the thinking mind be eliminated. In performing the present task, the working mind will also draw on the memory to decide the present course of action, but does not worry

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about the outcome of the present task. He must also identify with the body to function but without self-image. The working mind simply answers to the call of his name, but he has no aggrandised idea attached to his name. The thinking mind would have. The working mind is also the witnessing, but if the working mind is fully occupied in the job, there is no need for witnessing. This is because the working mind functions in the timeless without a ‘me’. The working mind is the same as what the Buddhists use in insight meditation. In every action, one must totally be mindful of the action, and no extraneous thought is allowed to accompany the action. This exercise of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is to utilise the working mind solely on the job in the ‘now’. In this exercise, the thinking mind is prevented from intruding. The practitioner should be totally absorbed in that particular activity. The working mind has no judgement, no fear or anxiety and no projections into the future. Success will also be facilitated if the practitioner also truly believes that he has no control over the outcome of his work. Stay in the moment and work in the now and the future will look after itself. There should not be any thought like ‘I’ am doing this. The thought ‘I’ will drag in the thinking mind. When the working mind is wholly on the job, it is not a blank. It should be one hundred percent mindful. In sitting meditation, it is even easier to distract the meditator. Random thoughts, associative thoughts, memories and daydreaming are all devices used by the thinking mind to prevent the working mind from its task. Animals do not have a thinking mind. They have only a working mind. The rabbit does not plan the night before to avoid the fox the next day. The deer has memory of the tiger eating up its fellow deer and therefore it is running away from the tiger as fast as it can. After escaping from the tiger the deer goes about doing its usual things with no plans about the next attack. While running away from the tiger, it does not worry whether it will succeed or not. It just runs. The animals do not worry about what will happen when the next drought hits them. Does that mean that animals are enlightened? No. They do not have self-awareness. They are group souls and they only know the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. They know nothing about self-realisation or care about it. When they are hungry they eat. When they are tired, they sleep. They do not seek the spiritual life!

Daydreaming
Where does daydreaming come in? Just before falling asleep or during

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meditation or when somebody has nothing to do and is quite relaxed, the thinking mind will introduce this device to distract the working mind from the present. It may happen when the working mind is on a task, the thinking mind will step in to distract the working mind. In this instance the working mind cannot be fully on the job. This is another method by the thinking mind to prevent the functioning of the working mind. Daydreaming begins in random thoughts and then it goes on and on in its own trail until one realises that half an hour has passed!

The Usefulness of the Ego and the Thinking Mind
Do not confuse the ego with the thinking mind. The ego consists of the body and the mind, which is notionally divided into the thinking mind and the working mind. Cosmic Consciousness in order to practice and experience personal consciousness needs an ego to function in duality. That means a body-mind complex is required for this task. Putting on the body and using ego as a vehicle is fine, but one must not take it as the true Self. Similarly, the working mind is required for the same purpose, but the second the psychosomatic self deems itself as separate the thinking mind sets in. This is the beginning of suffering. Enlightenment is the total destruction of the thinking mind. When in deep sleep and in deep meditation, the thinking mind is in abeyance and not destroyed, but it will arise again when one is awake. When awake the thinking mind starts to take the self as Self and to think of the past and future which will then be compounded by worries and anxieties. This is how the ego experiences the physical world. The existence of the physical body is vital, as it carries the brain, through which the mind works. Sri Ramana Maharshi said ‘The Self is the electric dynamo, the mind is the contact switchboard, and the body is the lamp’. At the end of our life span, the mind switches off the current and the life force is withdrawn from the body. Both the body-mind complex and life force are manifestations of the Self. All these activities are a Lila, a play, enacted by Cosmic Consciousness as an ongoing stage production in the universe. The play involves all universes at once, and therefore an individual who tries to see a tiny segment of the Lila from his own point of view will not understand it. In order to protect the body, feelings are there to sense the pain and pleasure. Finally after many incarnations, the mind, in despair, sees the futility of craving and acquisitions and thereby initiates dispassion. With dispassion and with wholesome and righteous living he begins to walk the spiritual path. This is the first step

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towards searching for his true Self. It is a difficult search, because the true Self is already in him. The self can never find the true Self inside or outside of himself. The self just has to be the Self.

Consciousness
Let us start from the Absolute or Cosmic Consciousness. This Totality is one and there is no second. Nothing is outside the Absolute. When we are within this Totality we are Consciousness-at-rest, and we are not aware of anything. There is no mind or individuality in this Totality. To be aware, a Beingness will have to emerge from Consciousness-at-rest. With awareness, Beingness develops the sense of I-am. When this transformation occurs, Consciousness-at-rest becomes Consciousness-in-movement. This is the Big Bang. So when I-am manifests in a body-mind organism, an ego is formed to function in this duality of planet earth. Consciousness-at-rest and Consciousness-in-movement are not two separate Consciousnesses. They are one and the same. Consciousness-at-rest is potential energy and it becomes Consciousness-in-movement, actual energy. That means when the individual is manifested in a body-mind complex, the atman (soul) becomes a jiv-atman in this phenomenal world. The jiv-atman is the soul (atman) with its five coverings. Then concepts become the main human language. Every thought in the human mind is a concept. In Consciousness-at-rest there is no awareness of anything in this noumenal state. Both the sense of presence and the sense of absence are not there. After all manifestations at the big bang, Consciousness is still present in everything. It is present in the inanimate objects like stones and trees. It is present in animate beings like animals and birds with sentience. It is present in humans with sentience and intellect. In humans, the intellect deludes the thinking mind into thinking that the individual is separate. The separate individual now needs security, shelter, sex and sustenance (food) to stay alive. Sex is required to preserve the species. In this endeavour the individual becomes selfish with craving, with anger arising when thwarted. So Consciousness-at-rest in the noumenal state is non-dual and does not know any other. Consciousness-in-movement in the phenomenal state must contend with duality and dualism. In the dualistic world, polarity is a mandatory condition of this phenomenal world. One cannot have white without black, short without tall and good without bad. ‘Short’ on its own

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has no meaning. In addition the phenomenal world has only one constancy and this constancy is change. The individual does not like change and does not want change. In this climate, he is bound to suffer, especially when the thinking mind projects fear, anxiety and insecurity into his future, as he dislikes change. In order to have no fear or insecurity one must destroy the thinking mind whilst leaving the working mind to function. To destroy the thinking mind one either follows a spiritual path of meditation or practices self-inquiry of ‘Who am I’. The meditation must culminate in emptiness of thoughts and finally voidness, when the thinking mind is eliminated. Self-inquiry should arrive at the same goal. In both cases, only working mind remains.

Other Types of Consciousnesses
Let us now clear the entire jargon of consciousnesses. Many names and usages have been bandied about. The following is a whole list of them: Superficial consciousness: This is the waking consciousness of the individual who is aware of what is going on during waking hours. It includes will power, temporary memory and analytical and rational faculties. It also embraces all the thoughts that are brought up in the mind. Unconscious: this includes the automatic functions of the lungs, heart and intestines and all bodily functions without the individual being conscious of it. Subconscious: Some of the components are emotions, permanent memory, habits and protective reactions. These allow the person to be lazy and economical with reactions. The subconscious also includes habitual activities that do not warrant the conscious mind e.g. a seasoned driver driving a car. Meditative consciousness: This is the consciousness of an individual during meditation. Obviously it varies with each individual’s expertise in his meditative practice. Super-consciousness: This is an expanded consciousness in which the thinking mind is temporarily absent, and one’s consciousness is quite free to roam. With Super-consciousness some individuals may be able to

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exhibit psychic powers, e.g. remote viewing and OBE. Transcendental consciousness: The ultimate aim is to transcend the body, the emotions and the intellect. The transcendence is either temporary or permanent. Permanent transcendence means enlightenment. Pre-consciousness: This is the state when awareness or consciousness has not set in, e.g. that short period between waking up and identification of the ego. Collective Unconsciousness: C.G. Jung coins this phrase. It implies that there is a spiritual realm in which every thought, saying and action of everybody is deposited. It includes all our samskaras, karma, archetypes and G-plans. This library is a depository for every sentient being. It also includes all our Akashic records. All the above consciousnesses are in the phenomenal realms. It includes the Collected Unconsciousness. So are Gods and Deities. In the Absolute, there are no divisions, no mind, no individual and no movement. This is the Consciousness-at-rest.

Self-enquiry: A Method of Eliminating the Thinking Mind
How does one destroy all the software in all the discs of the computer? The surest way is to introduce a virus into the system. The most potent virus is the method of Self-enquiry as advocated by Ramana Maharshi. All other methods require the use of the mind to eliminate the mind. For instance take the two types of meditations: concentration and insight (awareness). In concentration, the mind uses an object like breathing or mantra to focus on until there is only one thought left. The outcome of this method is that the subject and the object are absorbed into one and both will disappear when the meditation is deep enough. This is at a very high stage of Neither Perception nor Non-perception. However, when returning to normal activity the mind rises again. In Insight meditation, thoughts are looked at impartially until they disappear. The meditator is not allowed to dwell on any thought. This process will continue until the mind is empty of thoughts and is silent and still. In this method the subject watches the object (thoughts) until the disappearance of the object

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and the subject is left looking at an empty screen in the background. Thus, one is left with just awareness, which could be suppression or destruction of the thinking mind. In suppression, the mind will rise again. If it is destruction, the yogin is enlightened. Insight meditation uses the mind to empty its contents i.e. the subject allows the object to disintegrate by exhaustion. In Self-enquiry, there is no object. The practitioner has to investigate into the origin of the subject (ego-self). The mind goes in wards and not outwards like concentration methods. The mind has to inquire ‘who am I’ constantly. In this way the mind has to breakthrough the coverings of the Self. To say that ‘I am a father, a lawyer, or a husband’ is a wrong approach, as this refers to various names given to the body. ‘I am not the body’ must be realised and believed so implicit that it becomes second nature. When the body is hurt, it is the mind that suffers and not the body. After seeing corpses, the realisation that the body is not Self may sink in somewhat. ‘I am not the emotions’ can also be tested out, as joy and sadness are ephemeral and changeable. They do not remain for long. They come as reactions to events and objects outside of us. Lastly, what about thoughts and memories which are the main components of the mind? These come and go, as they like. One cannot stop them. Where do these thoughts come from? ‘Who do they belong to?’ If they are truly ‘I’, surely I can control them? Where are these thoughts when I am in deep sleep? The crux of the investigation is to continuously go to the root of these thoughts. They arise only when ‘I’ am awake and not in deep sleep. That means when one is awake, the mind identifies itself as a false self. Do not veer from this line of enquiry: keep on hammering on what is this mind? Where does this ego come from? Do not bring in extraneous topics like soul or God. Just continue to look for the root of the mind, the false ‘I’. With persistence and perseverance, thoughts will start to diminish. There will be more and more intervals between thoughts until a long stretch of emptiness supervenes. This stretch may be only a suppression of thoughts and not a true death of the mind. However this Self-enquiry must now be carried over to one’s daily activity. Every free moment should be occupied with this enquiry. There should be no let up. Every thought must be followed to its root thought, which can be traced to the arising of the ego or ‘I’ thought. This must be seen to be unreal and not the true Self. It must be repeated again and again ad nauseam. Finally the

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thinking mind will be eliminated and destroyed without residue. While this practice is being carried out, the practitioner must also exercise dispassion, detachment and desirelessness. There should not be any craving or anger and ignorance will finally disappear.

The Spiritual Heart
During sitting meditation, after some achievement in emptying the mind, one’s focus must be brought down to the chest, just to the right side of the sternum. This is the spiritual Heart. The true Self resides here. And in merging the empty mind with the Heart, the process of realisation of the Self is hastened. The Self is located not where the physical heart is. It is in the chest, just to the right of the lower sternum. This is the seat of the Self and is at the Heart seed atom. When the body dies, the physical heart stops pulsating, but this spiritual Heart continues to beat until the Heart seed atom escapes to the etheric body above the corpse.

Recapitulation and Summary
1. The body (brain) and mind are not the true Self. 2. Pure Consciousness (soul) is the Self. 3. In order to realise the Self, turn inwards and be the Self. 4. Exercise dispassion, desirelessness and detachment. 5. Forgive yourself and others. Understand, accept the situation and surrender to your Tao. 6. You have no control over your life. Your G-plan is your Tao and therefore it is beyond you. 7. Do not feel guilty. As long as you are not enlightened, cause and effect will still prevail. Once you realise your Self, you are no more in dualism, but must continue to live in the dualistic world (in the world but not off the world).

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8. Polarity is the universal law pertaining to the phenomenal world. Opposites must prevail. Therefore one cannot remain young, rich, and beautiful without the opposites. 9. The only constancy in life is change. Nothing remains static. Accept this. 10. Practice sitting meditation everyday: preferably insight meditation. 11. Outside of formal meditation, look in wards and practise Selfenquiry. Persistently look for the source of your thoughts and who is thinking those thoughts. 12. When performing any activity, be wholly mindful of that activity without the thinking mind intruding. 13. With the practice of Self-enquiry, you will arrive at a stage when silence and emptiness is achieved. At this point, bring down your awareness to the spiritual Heart, which is at the right side of the chest. 14. If this practice is continuous, Self-realisation is inevitable, but no one can foretell the time of Self- realisation. No amount of extreme exertion will bring it on. It all depends on Grace.

References
1) Ramesh S. Balsekar. Consciousness Speaks. Advaita Press 1992. 2) Sri Ramana Maharshi. Consious Immortality. Recorded by Paul Brunton and Munagala Venkataramiah. Sri Ramanasramam Tiruvannamalai. 1998. 3) Ramana Maharshi. The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Edited by Arthur Osborne.Samuei Weiser, Inc.1962 4) The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Forward by C.G. Jung. Shambala Publications, Inc. 1988. 5) Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Edited By David Godman. ARKANA. 1985.

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The Existence of God and soul.
I died a mineral and became a plant. I died a plant and rose an animal. I died an animal and I was man. Why should I fear? When was I less than dying? Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar with the blessed angels; But even from angelhood I pass on. All except God perishes. When I have sacrificed my angel soul, I shall become that which no mind ever conceived O, let me not exist! for Non-existence proclaims ‘ To Him we shall return’ " Love Is Like the Sun" By Yogi Amrit Desai

Is there a God? Is there a soul? These are the questions being asked since time immemorial. Their existence depends entirely on our definition. For anybody who has not seen, smelt or tasted a durian fruit and starts to describe a custard apple as a durian, then the durian does not exist as he describes it. If religions that have never seen, smelt or felt God begin to describe God as a bearded old man sitting up in the sky watching everything we do, rewarding and punishing us, then these religions are off the mark entirely. When Buddha said that "God does not exist", he meant that God as defined by his peers did not exist. Now what is God? God is everything in the universe or universes: it is in the stones, vegetation, animals and every human being. It is in everything seen or unseen, felt or unfelt, heard or unheard. Nothing is outside of God. Everything visible or invisible is included. It is all One and not two. Everyone of us has a spark of God or divinity in us. That is why miracles have been and are being wrought by some. It is because they are not miracles, but the acts of God. God is actually in its pure and undifferentiated form an immense source of energy, and every human, animal, vegetation and mineral has a minute spark of this pure energy. This is also referred to by some as The Flame Of Life, the true Self, or the soul. As God is made up of a powerful mass of energy of love, bliss, consciousness and power, so is our soul. This spark of life (soul) is eternal: it never dies. There is no gender in

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God, but during the journeys of the soul, it can take on feminine, masculine or androgynous characteristics. Now when we pray or talk to God, he is not the one that answers. It is one of the sparks that is much nearer our physical realm. It is one of our guides or soul mates. God is also known as the Great Spirit, Godhead, or the Source. These are all synonyms. Therefore for puny humans like us, it is quite impossible to know what God is. Just look at the sky in a clear night and try to count the stars that are there and multiply that at least a million times and you will only arrive at the possibility of one universe. Now multiply that again by at least a trillion times. And then you may have an indication of the magnitude of what God is composed of. God is the sum total of all these Universes and more, and we name all these universes The Spiritual Universe. That means it is quite impossible for us to gauge or try to visualise what God is or its magnitude. Nobody has any idea. Not Buddha, nor Jesus nor Mohammed could guess it. Although, intellectually we cannot comprehend what God is, we, on rare occasions, may feel his love. When do we feel this emotion? After a very good session of meditation. When we are in utter despair and about to give up everything. Or when we are alone on a mountain looking at a glorious scene or a magnificent sunset, when we are not beset with any worldly worries. The emotion chokes us in the throat. After a very tiring, long day, we fall into a very deep sleep, and we wake up to a world that seemed to have changed for the better: we know that we have been with God. Against great odds, by a miracle, we have been snatched from the jaws of death, we know for certainty that God was instrumental in this rescue, and a job is waiting for us. That means God is literally everything visible and invisible and is composed entirely of love and wisdom. Nothing is excluded. All is included in the One. There is no two, i.e. nothing is outside of God. That means you are God, and so am I!

The Journeys of the Soul.
All souls or consciousness start as sparks from the Source (God). At any one time numerous sparks or clumps of souls spurt out from the Source. Although some times we call this the Big Bang, it is really routine explosions to send off the morulas (clumps) of souls on their journeys. This is an ongoing process. These morulas are in multiples of two. They vary between two and thousands. They vary in their ages. The younger they

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are, the more souls are despatched together: these are the novices who are starting on their very first journey around the universes. The more experienced they are the smaller will be the clumps. The oldest and the wisest will appear as a unified ball, as the component souls have already fused together from their numerous round trips across the universes, and these

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old souls or fused clumps do not divide into individual small souls. These old clumps or souls are very rare: they are either one single total soul or are fused twosome or fused foursomes. They are wise and powerful but they also must go through the entire round of progression and differentiation like the novice one-celled soul, but they go through the rounds at a much quicker rate. . These rare sages are the true representatives of God. They are what the Hindus called Avatars. In any form of incarnation (mineral, animal or human) they are the leaders. They are also the founders of religions. But we are jumping the gun here: let us start from the beginning. At each Bang numerous soul groups break out from the Source, and each group is composed of kindred soul mates (morulas).

When the morulas of souls start to descend down to the etheric/physical, they spiral down the Great Pillars of Light, Consciousness of Immensity, Cosmic Consciousness, Celestial Plane and the Astral Planes to our physical plane. Spiralling down these planes into denser and denser atmosphere, in the first round down, they are in a dreamy state and the memories of this downward journey is very, very hazy indeed. In fact, it is like our visiting the astral world every night and not remembering a thing. These morulas migrate as groups of thousands or millions until they

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become minerals on the physical plane e.g. planet earth. Therefore in their first incarnation as minerals they remain as group souls. This grouping of souls will continue until they graduate from animals to humans. At this point we must accept the principle of re-incarnation. Otherwise it is not worth while discussing the subject any further. The first incarnation on earth is that of mineral. Masses of the same group souls will incarnate into one type of mineral, say calcium. As in everything in the universe we must have both the positive and the negative together, like Ying and Yang, male and female etc. There will be benign minerals and noxious minerals. There is no good and bad or the saint and the devil in this world of duality. These opposites coexist for the total benefit of the universes. A lifetime as a mineral in the rocks may last for million of years. This is really not long as compared to our cosmic lives in the higher spiritual realms as mentioned above (e.g. Consciousness of Immensity and Celestial Planes), when we were pre-angels and angels. Going through these stages took aeons, and therefore remaining as rocks in a dreamy stage is of no hardship at all. The way to graduate from this mineral stage is by the disintegration of the planet. And from that stage onwards, we began to individualise. This is the time when twin souls are formed: it is the last two cells to break apart to formed individual cells. And in the future, when they ever meet again there will be a strong affinity between them. The greatest manifestation of this affinity will be in the human incarnations. Here, although we individualise as algae, lichen and moss, we remain as group souls, and we are almost as static as the mineral. From here onwards, we reincarnate many times as different types of vegetation e.g. bushes of flowers, grass, trees, vegetables etc. At this point we have to tolerate being trodden upon by animals, pulled out and plucked by humans as food. The implication here is that in the vegetable kingdom for the first time we learn about death. The souls realise this possibility during this phase of development. They are prepared for it and are willing to go through it for the sake of gathering experience. Every cycle and every phase of differentiation and growth is to enrich us with experience. We are preparing ourselves towards the peak of our career as humans. It is at the human stage that we reincarnate many times in order to gather knowledge and wisdom to return back to the source. Now after graduating from the vegetable world, we then jumped over to

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the animal stage, starting as bacteria and viruses. In normal human understanding, we are now "alive". These souls are small and tiny, and quite invisible to normal human eyes: we need microscopes to visualise these early creatures. From these microbes we develop into larger animalistic forms. We go through being insects, crustacean, vertebrates, invertebrates, gorillas, monkeys, whales, dolphins, etc. After innumerable incarnations in the animal kingdom, we would arrive as a mammal like a gorilla. And the next incarnation would be humans. As insects, birds, fish, and other mobile animals, we are still living in groups. If one in the group learns something, the knowledge is passed on to the rest of the group, even though there is no possibility of any form of communication. This is the benefit of being group souls. However if one out of a pack of wolves is adopted and domesticated by humans, then it is transformed into a dog. This dog then takes on the intelligence of the master. The dog can now read the mind and emotion of the master. It can be trained to perform all sorts of tricks. This applies to other types of animals as well e.g. bears, dolphins and monkeys. When one’s pet dies before the owner, the spirit of the pet, like a cat or dog, will wait in the astral for the master to cross over. Human spirits that are lovers of animals will look after these pets. Again the animal also realises that at any time it could be killed and be eaten by other animals or humans. There is no fear or foreboding until the last moments. Of course, the yelping and squealing is only a natural protest against death. However this does not mean we can be cruel in the process of killing: they must be slaughtered in the most humane fashion. It is the same with vegetation: the wanton destruction of luscious forests by fire also incurs lots of bad karma. The greatest hurdle now is this jump from the animal group souls to the individual soul of the human.

The Human Soul
We have now arrived at the individual soul of a human. In the past series of progression from mineral through vegetation to animal, the souls have been in groups. Now we have reached the final stage of self-awareness of the individual soul. There is no going back to be reincarnated into animal again. As we cannot retrogress from animal to vegetable, humans cannot be reincarnated back to animals. This is one of the Universal Laws. Now that we have this self-awareness, we begin to know that we know. Thence these questions will arise: (1) Where do we come from? (2) What are we doing here? (3) Where do we go from here? (4) Who am I? These are basic ques-

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tions that any thinking man would ask. However, when we first incarnated as primitive man these are of course not the questions that we asked. We have to go through the cycles of rebirth from the physical barbarian through the emotional, anxiety-stricken individual to the intellectual, thinking man. We would have taken up to at least two million years to arrive at this intellectual stage. But not all of us are in the same stage of development. Most of us are still under the delusion that the more we acquire materially, the happier we will be! But, we would come to the conclusion that no amount of material objects can make us happy. Of course, not all of us develop equally. In the last few thousand years, Buddha, Jesus, Lao-tzu and Mohammed have all reached this conclusion that materialism is nothing but a burden, and they all had preached the same wisdom. But we are too deluded, and therefore we have to keep being reborn until we learn our lesson of being altruistic, selfless, and humble and without ill will. Then with wisdom we can safely service the entire universe or at least our planet. Purification, service and gathering of knowledge are the main pillars of spiritual growth. Once we have completed our sojourns on planet earth, we can then practice in the astral realm, and we do not have to return to earth again evermore. The journey back to the source will now begin in earnest. Before we do that, let us digress a little. Although we have been practising as individual souls, we have been moving from the spirit realms to the physical earth in droves of soul mates, which were originally from the same morulas or groups of souls that started at the beginning from the Source or the Great Spirit. There is an exception to this, and it is the wise, old soul that did not breakdown into individual souls. It was a fused ball of wise old souls. These rare old sages when they are in vegetation, they are huge old solid trees (e.g. oak trees) When they are in the animal phase, they would be lions, elephants or whales. As humans, they would be rare sages (e.g. Lao-tzu) or avatars and appear only very occasionally to help out with mankind. The ordinary individual soul mates will move around in the same circles in every incarnation, and those that are not in incarnation at the same time will be in the astral acting as guardian angels to their soul mates in the flesh. At a much later time these soul mates will have to meet up again and join up together. This joining up could start on earth when twin souls meet. These were the remaining two souls that were the last to break up before they individualise on planet earth. They may or

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may not meet at each incarnation. If they do meet the tendency is to marry, and yet they may not, because they are looking for challenges in order to learn. If they do meet in their last incarnation, then they will probably be together. Please remember that there are other planets on which the souls can practise. If they move to another planet, all the soul mates will go together. The changing of planets is, however, very uncommon. When they are transforming from mineral to vegetation, they have to change planet because the former has to disintegrate. Rarely from vegetable to animal they may want to migrate to another plant.

Now let us concentrate on the housing of the human soul. The human soul is covered by a physical body, and at least four layers of subtle bodies which are not visible to the normal eyesight. They are the etheric, emotional, mental and spiritual auras concentrically. Auras are also present around the mineral, vegetable and the animal kingdoms. But in the human, they are most developed, and they vary from person to person, and they change continuously from one second to another. To the clairvoyant eyes, they interpenetrate the adjacent bodies, including the physical, and they look like mosaics of moving stream with different colours. The layers vary in thickness, and all the layers together extend up to our

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out stretched arms all around us. These are our armours of protection. They change in colours and intensity with the change of physical health, emotional moods and mental well being. When we die these housings will extricate themselves around the soul, and each layer will drop off one by one as we ascend the spiritual realms. Now where is the soul located in our physical body? As it is a divine spark of energy, which is part of God, it is not discernible even to the most powerful clairvoyant. According to Sri Ramana Maharshi it is just to the right of the bottom tip of the sternum in the chest. He reckons that it is the size of the last phalanx of the thumb. In Barbara Ann Brennan’s monograph the core of the soul is also in the chest, but it is to the left centre of the chest cavity. Since time immemorial, millions of seekers have been looking for the soul, but they are unable to find it. One should not spend any effort looking for it. One should travel inwards in meditation disavowing the physical body, our emotions and intellect as self. These affirmations: " I am not my body. I am not my emotion. And my thoughts are not Me." are the best before and after any meditation practice. In fact, when a small boy or girl sees a dead body, it is easy for the child to realise that the body is not self. After meditating for some time, one could also experience first hand that our emotions and thoughts are not self. If they are you then you could easily ask them not to intrude, but try as you may the thoughts will still come in. If one is angry at the start of one’s meditation, and when calm descends on the meditator, the anger automatically disappears with no effort. Bliss will spontaneously occupy the mind, when thoughts start to vanish. In a deep stage of insight meditation, there are no thoughts, but there is silence and stillness and what is left is pure awareness. This is almost the equivalent of the soul or the true self. When it is completely quiet, silent and still with no residue of any thoughts then one truly has arrived at the soul. Of course, this is a very difficult feat. It can only be achieved when one does not try at all. It is a non-doing. The most important asset to have at this time is patience. You just have to wait and wait and wait. Once you have arrived at this stage you have come to self-realisation. When you have self-realised then you can look forward towards going home: there is no more earthly incarnation for you. You now have realised that you cannot die. You will live the rest of life utilising the physical, emotional and mental bodies as instruments for living, and that they are not you. You will now call upon your higher self any time to enhance your

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sojourn on earth. You are in the world, but not of the world. The spark of energy (soul) in the chest cavity is only a fraction of your total soul. It is estimated that only ten percent is sent down (or encased in the body) for purification. in the ordinary person. Of course, if you are very developed and near "enlightenment", you can siphon down much more, and things like the Akashic records, telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition may be available to you. But it is not necessary so, as many enlightened saints are not interested in these psychic abilities, and they do not posses them. What about our tendencies, habits, and characteristics? And which of our subtle bodies or soul that our memories of past lives reside? How do we recognise our soul mates? These are all very interesting points that we should discuss.

Firstly, our Akashic records (records of everything we do, say and think) are recorded in the Akashic. These are kept in the causal realm and the facts are available only to our higher self. So with spiritual development, our higher self can tap into these records and make them available to us if required. The Akashic records date right up to our first incarnation as

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primitive man and may be even earlier e.g. animal life. Buddha, on the night that he was enlightened was able to remember every life of his since his first human incarnation. Since the first human incarnation, we develop habits, tendencies and characteristics (samskaras) and these are lodged mainly as emotional memories. That is why we assume these samskaras automatically as we grow up, without any prompting from our parents or peers. These are therefore kept in our astral emotional body. Facts and events are kept in the mental body. At birth, we must have total mineral amnesia, but some emotional memories do break out as we meet our soul mates in the course of our lives.. So when we meet some one in the street or at a party, we immediately like the person very much or we hate him straightaway. This is emotional and not intellectual memory, because we cannot remember the events and facts that cause us to like or hate the other person. Before we come down from the spiritual realm in order to be born we have to spiral down the mental and emotional (astral) realms before we touch down to earth. This is to re-acquaint our mental-emotional bodies what we are about to experience again with the new bodymind complex. It is also to remind us of what we have been through since our very first human incarnation: it is like a quick review of all our past lives, so that we know what to expect when we are born again. There must also be amnesia at birth. Otherwise it is impossible to carry on our present life with all the memories of our enemies and love ones gushing out every time we meet someone. Our total soul which includes the higher self is connected to every member of our soul group, be it sixteen or sixteen hundred thousand by an etheric thread. This etheric network holds the entire group together so that when one soul meets another in the group, there is an immediate attraction. Remember that the more advanced the group, the smaller is the number. This total soul group then is in turn connected to the other soul groups. It then becomes an interlacing network that connects every soul embracing all minerals, vegetables, animals and humans. Then this entire network further inter-connects the whole hierarchy right up to the Godhead (Great Spirit). That means all the universes and us, the tiny souls, are all part of God. Nothing is left out. There is only One and nothing is outside it. Now after we have graduated from the human experience, we do not return as humans any more. We will now practice in the astral as spirits or angels up through to the mental and the spiritual realms slowly working

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ourselves up these rarer and faster vibrational ethereal realms. On the way up we start to join up with our twin soul; then we would look for another pair to make a foursome. This doubles up to eight, sixteen and thirtytwo and so on until we reach our original number, with which we began at the Big Bang. This is the reverse process of that downward path towards earth, where we became group souls as mineral, vegetable, animals, and finally break up as individual souls at the human stage. Now after completing the human earth life we are going home towards the source with our cargo. What is the cargo? It is aeons of learning and experience culminating in love, compassion and selflessness. The love and selflessness is so great that we are happily sacrificing our individual self for the sake of the whole group. At the end of the day we arrive at the source to make the Godhead a better and a more evolved God! Is this possible? It is a definite and resounding YES! If we are part of God (all be it a very tiny fraction), when we improve God improves, when we evolve, God evolves. Let us not forget that it is not only one soul that returns to the source with its cargo of love, knowledge and experience. The returning groups of souls go into millions at a time, and this is an ongoing process. These cycles never end. After resting within the source, we would begin all over again the journey of coming down towards the physical once more. But this time the quest will be different. We, the souls will be different this time round: we are now older and wiser. Some of us may be

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leaders or subleaders. The cargo may also be different. Whatever it is, these cycles are never ending. There is no beginning, and there is no end. It is an interminable eternity.

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Spiritual Practices
Beyond the Mind, I am No-thing
In order to realise the soul (atman), we must return to the Source. The Source is Unity. It is the One without a second. The Vedanta calls it the Parabrahman. It includes everything visible and invisible and nothing is excluded. From the beginning, all of us are discharged from the Source in batches (group souls). Each soul is thus a pure consciousness pinched off from the Source, but still connected to it. In the early stages of progressing as mineral, vegetable and animals we remain as group souls. However as we graduate to humans, the souls individualise to be separate human beings. The early humans tend to live in tribes for protection and economy. At this stage, they need mainly shelter, security, sex and food. At about 35,000 years ago when the Cro-magnons totally replaced the Neanderthals, man began to be more self-consciousness. But these Homo Sapiens only begin to ‘know that they know’ some time later. It is from here onwards that the law of karma came into its own in full force.

The Coverings of the Soul
As soon as each soul incarnates into the human body, each soul (atman) takes on 5 coverings (Koshas) to house it and for protection. These are (1) the covering of Bliss, (2) the covering of the physical body, (3) the auras, which are the subtle bodies, (4) the emotional body associated with some intellectual faculties and (5) the mind and its 6 sense organs. These 5 coverings protect the soul as well as being the vehicles for spiritual progress. However, the physical, emotional and mental bodies start to consolidate as an ego of the individual by stressing its separateness from others. This separation is facilitated by the presence of the 1st covering of Bliss and accentuated by the 5th covering of the individual mind. The covering of Bliss is the main source of our delusion---Maya. Following this separation process, the ego appropriates selfishness and pride with craving and desire. If the individual does not get what he wants, he becomes angry. Pride, craving and anger come from the mind (the 5th Kosha), and these

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traits are karma-productive. So for at least the last 30,000 years we have been accumulating karma. At each birth every soul brings along with it its Samskaras together with its portion of karma to be spent in this life. Samskaras are the tendencies, habits and imprints and impressions accrued from past lives. That means at this stage, every discerning individual is perpetually restless with suffering and there does not seem to be a way out. These lives of sorrow will continue until the individual decides to do something about it. At the peak of his sorrow he goes on to a spiritual search. He seeks for gurus, temples and ashrams, but to no avail until he is asked this question of "Who Am I?" Who Am I? When confronted with this question most people do not know how to answer it. They will say I am a father, a doctor, a rich man, a clever man or a smart guy. Others will say that they are good looking, athletic, old or young and hard working or lazy. We can go on ad nauseam but these are all the wrong answers. Then when we look up the spiritual books, most of them are no better. Your inquiry may take the following: Start asking what is permanent throughout one’s life. You will find that nothing is. You can only find what is not permanent. This is because the True Self is non-dual and inexplicable. One cannot describe it even though at this stage it is occasionally experienced. So we begin to earnestly question the purpose of life. Even those who are very successful materially, there is no peace of mind. The meticulous search brings us to the fact that the self is mainly composed of the body and mind. Having seen that the corpse is always left behind after death, we mistakenly believe that the mind with its emotions is the True Self. On further analysis, this is also found to be false. The realisation is that the self is nothing but a series of memories, experiences and acquired knowledge. All these may be forgotten and yet the self is carrying on as per normal. It is memory that gives us the illusion of a continuous self. The soul is Realty and consists of pure consciousness. This Presence is always there, ever bright and luminous. This Presence is the empty background against which all our dualistic mind-set is carried out. It is taking oneself as a separate individual that brings forth all the suffering and sorrow. Although one’s soul is void in nature, it is from this void deck that gives the soul its omnipotence. Let us now reiterate what is the false in us. The mind is the projected image of the ego and this image is supported by memories of the past. Memories give the

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illusion of continuity, but the individual has no independent existence. Maya consolidates this illusion of a continuous self. The mind can never be the True Self, as the mind is composed of momentary perceptions and experiences, which are connected to time. The True Self transcends time and is therefore timeless. We have been falsely taught that ‘I think, therefore I am’. This particular philosophy has been one of the greatest obstacles to enlightenment in the history of mankind. Then we begin to acquire knowledge and so-called truth from gurus and books? Even if these teachings are true, they are still second hand. Second hand knowledge cannot be the truth. Truth must arise afresh in an empty and quiet mind. This stillness and emptiness is beyond the mind, and this silence is the primordial background where the soul resides. The soul, which is pure consciousness, is really part of Cosmic Consciousness. When totally silent, it appears as Presence. Therefore in order to return back to our soul we have first to eradicate the ego and the self, which are obstructing the appearance of Presence. The first possible scenario is when Presence is seen as independent of the object and is a mere witness. Then one becomes pure consciousness when the witness itself is finally dissolved. At this stage, one realises that one cannot find the permanent Self because the seeker is what is being sought. The temporary self can never find the permanent Self. The eye cannot see itself, the eye.

Conditioning
Conditioning is the most insidious and intractable of all factors. We have been conditioned by our (a) birth and family (parents and siblings), (b) school, colleges and universities, (c) work mates and colleagues, (d) religious institutions, (e) social clubs and stratification of societies, (f) members of the professions and vocations, (h) nationality, race, languages, dialects and sex, (i) the tradition, (j) samskaras from past lives, etc. Therefore one can see how deeply mired one is in view of all the above conditioning. It is possible that a very heavily conditioned life 5 centuries ago can impose upon the individual a very miserable present life. This is especially so when so much pain and suffering is inexplicable in this life. This is karma.

The Mind
Now trying to find out what is the mind, we have already discovered that it is at least made up of memories, planning, experiences, beliefs, ideas and

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ideals and all the above conditioning. The latter include Samskaras from the past. Religious conditioning may be so strong that it may goad us to defend that religion even to the extent of killing. This historical truth has been repeated many times. So in de-conditioning oneself, the layers to be peeled off, as in an onion, are numerous. Every layer peeled is associated with pain and conflict. However, the de-conditioning must continue until all the false layers are destroyed, and then we find that in the centre of the onion there is nothing but emptiness. Emptiness is our true nature, which is pure consciousness. It is imbued with light and bliss. One can see now that the de-conditioning process can be long and painful. That means it may take several lives. Some Masters say that time is against us, as Reality is timeless. We cannot use time to see the timeless, but the timeless can embrace time and space. Timeless Reality is always there, being the witness of every transaction of the individual. Our True Self is really not involved and does not partake of any activities of the individual. But if we are so covered by our delusions and false beliefs, how can we ever go near trying to uncover the timeless in such a short while? Therefore in order to come to the last stages of our development, we still need time.

Time is required to clear the trash can
We can see for ourselves that the mind is filled with thousands of years of conditioning and memories, and therefore one cannot delete all of them at one press of a button! At the moment of practice, we have ideas, ideals, prejudices, fears and desires of becoming. All these are the layers of the onion. The process of peeling requires the wisdom of letting go completely the constituents of the mind. Even if the latter are of high philosophical content, they must also go. This is because we are dealing with beliefs, which are not facts, experienced by ourselves. A belief is not a fact. That means, in true meditation one must try to understand that all contents of the mind are false and second-hand. These thoughts come and go in the background of voidness. This voidness is the white sheet of paper that all our thoughts and memories are written on. All thoughts appear and disappear on the white sheet, but the white sheet remains forever.

The Thinker and his Thoughts
It will help if one realises that the thinker and his thoughts are really one. They are not separate. As long as there is a thinker looking at his thoughts,

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there is conflict in that individual. Therefore if there is no thinker separate from his thoughts, there is then only thinking. Thinking is only a process and not an individual. Thoughts are just images on one’s mindscreen. And these are ephemeral and changeable. Therefore thoughts cannot be the True Self. In the same token, if the thinker and thoughts are one, then the thinker is also not real. It is by this process of Divine reasoning that one can go deeper into other states of mind and uncover the thousands of samskaras of impressions, ideas, prejudices and fears from the past. Our inherited tendencies since birth are also very binding, especially if they are religious in nature. It is in delving deep into these states of mind that one can see where our beliefs and ideas came from. It is the unfolding of the layers of our belief systems that we realise how false the contents of the mind are. Even if they were true they were just beliefs from memories. Therefore whether they are true or not they must be erased, as these are merely our memories. Truth must be experienced NOW. It is experienced and immediately released. Experiences of the past or planning of the future cannot be Reality. One can only "Be" at the moment and not to "Become" at a later date. The Being must be from moment to moment. An experience of the last moment is also a memory. And looking forward to the next moment cannot be the truth.

A Glimpse of Reality is a Powerful Insight
When Reality is experienced in the "Now", although one may not know what it is, one’s fears and apprehensions will begin to recede. This insight of Reality is quite powerful and the person tends to erase away the fear of death. The faith in Reality has also begun to disperse away the conflicts and struggle of life, because one realises that there is no separation of individuals. Every one and everything are interconnected. Nothing is outside this ‘Unity’. Everything and every one of us are part of Cosmic Consciousness. There is now a certainty that there is no such thing as evil, sin, devil and hell. All these are only present in the minds of certain individuals. There are no such entities in Reality. This is Divine reasoning.

The Demolition of Self by Attrition
At this stage of development, we have to realise that in order to be with Reality, one must destroy the self. The self is the enemy of the truth. Therefore, one must disintegrate the self by erasing all the components of self. The contents of the mind must be understood to be nothing but

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intellectual fabrications and these cannot be analysed out of one’s mind. Anything that is already in the mind is old stuff. The old is never the truth. The new is ever fresh and one cannot anticipate it. Reality is the truth that is living from moment to moment in the Now. That means one must be aware all the time. While performing certain act, no thought of the past or future is allowed to accompany the action. The action must also be spontaneously fresh and not a reaction. Therefore always remember that you are alive now, full of alertness and awareness, with the heart full of unconditional love. In this way of true living, one slowly erases all memories of the past, which is the self. The final blow of killing the self is to stop wanting and craving, and most importantly to stop becoming. Just flow with the Tao and surrender totally to Reality. In this practice of full awareness, the self will be slowly disintegrated by attrition. Each time a belief or ideal is found to be false, a layer of the onion is being peeled off. After discrediting each component of the mind by finding it to be false, the mind becomes a little more silent. This continues until there is total quietness in the mind. This silence and stillness can then allow pure consciousness (Presence) to seep through intermittently. Depending on the intensity of the practice, this seepage may become a flood of pure consciousness. During this period, even new concepts have to be dissolved. Otherwise a new memory bank is formed. As one goes deeper into the silence, the Truth becomes clearer. This total silence is transformed into complete emptiness, which is perfect Love. This voidness is not the absence of thoughts due to suppression. It is the still and silent voidness that is our primordial nature. We were originally void and silent, full of love. Then the ego took over and became full of self. The True Self is nothing but Unconditional Love. When truth is realised, nothing matters anymore. Every day is a good day. There is now no more suffering or sorrow. One becomes younger and younger from day to day. Living daily in pure consciousness is like being soaked in the Infinite and the Uncreated, and this Presence being felt every moment of the day. Every moment of one’s life is accompanied with peace, joy and bliss. There is no more conflict. There is no more contention, stress or irritation. There is no more desire to become. There is no more struggling or searching for the truth. One is the truth!

Acquisition of Virtue
So from the above, we can see that in the past we have conditioned our-

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selves by setting ideals, concepts and beliefs. In this way we have imprisoned ourselves conceptually. We try to escape from this mental bondage by becoming virtuous. As there is a lack of understanding of this dilemma, controlling the mind here is totally useless. Without understanding, one cannot escape from this deep, mental conditioning, as fear is the underlying support of this conditioning. This is because one tries to bring in another idea to counter balance the controlling concept, but it is of no avail, as only mental conflict will ensue. As long as there is mental conflict there is no peace. When there is peace without fear and confusion, silence is the natural outcome. So without conflict, strain and struggle, one can be creative with peace and silence. The only way to live is to be aware moment to moment. One should not be concerned with ethics, or to become virtuous. When one is aware one does not have to become virtuous, for in living in the moment there is no fear or conflict. There is only Love and Wisdom. One is just BE. In this way there is no more self.

Purification of the Mind
In the past, when religious doctrines teach us to be good we take a stand against evil. Because of the ego and the self, trying to be good and ethical becomes a battle of the opposites. Having taken a stand, we are now separated by the distinction of being in the ‘good’ camp opposed to the ‘bad’ camp. This distinction between good and bad prevents us from acting spontaneously. It only permits us to react according to the rules of the game of opposites. One can see now that the limited self must dissolve away before Reality can express Itself. That means this image of right and wrong is a falsehood that continues to obstruct the appearance of Reality. In the separation of good and bad, right and wrong our mind is suffused with self-righteous falsehoods. Using rituals like mantras, chanting, prayers and wrong methods of meditation will only entrench us more into a morass of deluded religious practices. One must drop every ritual, every religious belief and wrong practices propagated by religions and ‘Gurus’. No one in the world has an authority over the Real. Not even the ‘Holy’ books. The person must liberate himself by letting go of all beliefs and concepts. One can only let go when there is understanding that they are merely second hand precepts, concepts and mental fabrications. They are not real.

The Soul is Pure Consciousness
Once the mind is emptied of its contents, then the resulting pure con-

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sciousness can express the Real. As long as the mind is filled or partially consumed by all the false formulations the consciousness that is percolated will be equally confused. Individual consciousness is percolated consciousness. That means individual consciousness is muddied and befuddled consciousness. In other words, the mind is the sieve. If the holes in the sieve are blocked by falsehood, then the consciousness that is filtered through is of poor quality. It is tainted by the confused mind. Hardly any creativeness can be expected from this poorly filtered consciousness. Creativeness is beyond the mind. Consciousness does not exclusively remain in the mind. It can move in and out of the mind. In order to clear the mind of beliefs and formulations, one uses Divine reasoning, which is looking at the truth with clarity. Clarity is pure perception. This is the moment one sees an object, which is recognised and named. However, before the mind comes in to qualify the object, this fraction of a second is pure perception, which is clarity. Once the mind takes over the object, it is coloured or tainted by memory. But Divine reasoning can only bring us up to the end of the mind, as reasoning is useless beyond the mind. Reasoning does not function in Reality, even though it is Divine.

Love is Creativeness in Action
Individual consciousness is the entry point for Divine Consciousness. However if the mind is totally cleansed then Presence can bring in the creativeness that is ever present in Cosmic Consciousness. That means an individual can be overwhelmingly creative, when the mind is completely and totally cleansed out. The mode of creation is through Love, which is creativeness in action. Love cannot be measured or defined. It is Creative action and not reaction. So once one is filled with Creativeness in one’s consciousness, the only way of expressing Reality is through Love and affection. Without Love, affection and wisdom, Reality is not expressible. It is there, but it cannot come out without Love.

Reality is Timeless, Unknown and Ineffable
When one has penetrated beyond the mind into Reality, one realises that it is timeless, unknown and indescribable. That means it is impossible to put into words what has been experienced--- ineffable. It is also Eternity and omnipotent. Although this Unknowable is indescribable, it is also unending. The Unmanifest Reality can manifest anything. It can also make anything visible from the Invisible. This is the extent of its omnipotence.

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It is the Unborn, the Uncreated and the Unknowable. The only expression of the Reality is Love.

The Practice
We have dealt with the theoretical side of Reality. Now what about the practice itself ? Let us start with meditation: Correct meditation is ‘meditating without meditation’ Meditation utilising the method of concentration by narrowing the mind to one object or one-pointedness is not correct meditation. This narrowing of the mind will not bring us to Reality. Correct meditation does not narrow the mind down by using a mantra, chanting or visualisation. True meditation should liberate the mind into stillness and silent openness. It is the stillness, emptiness and silence that will allow the pure consciousness to appear on its own. The stillness should not be forced. It should be a natural process of letting go of all thoughts and the self. One should not abide on any object, memory or ‘high thoughts’. All thoughts and mental chatter should be allowed to die on their own naturally. In this natural death of the mind, the blissful emptiness may then appear intermittently at the beginning. With practice this repeated return to our primordial base of silence and stillness will allow one to widen the interval between two thoughts. From the above then, one can conclude that all other methods and techniques of meditation are useless towards achieving self-realisation. The only helpful systems are mentioned in my article ‘Meditation on Emptiness’. In this essay, two systems are mentioned: (1) Dzogchen and (2) Shikantaza. (1) Dzogchen is the theoretical reasoning and understanding of what is beyond the mind. This teaching stipulates that the mind is empty before the arrival of thoughts and void before we are born. It gives the same explanation as what has been explored above. It uses Tantra to deal with negative emotions. The practice is ‘meditation without meditating.’ (2) Shikantaza is the method of ‘merely sitting’. It is a practice of ‘thinking of non-thinking’. In fact it should be beyond ‘thinking and non-thinking’. That means every thought must be allowed to pass through the mind without dwelling on any one of them for even a second. One should not look at any thought or listen to any mental chatter. Just let them pass. Therefore

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thoughts are allowed to come to an end on their own accord. There should not be any coercion or suppression of thoughts as in concentration meditation. Before one embarks on Shikantaza, it is prudent to practice Vipassana first. In Vipassana (Insight Meditation), one looks at one’s thoughts at the third eye area. The pictures are looked at calmly without emotional reaction and prejudice. There is no judgement, criticism or praise. There is merely a witnessing of the memories, planning and random thoughts. When they are fully looked at, they will eventually disappear on their own. With this impersonal looking with an understanding of the situation, these thoughts will die off, never to recur again. This must be done with an emotionless viewing as if they belong to some one else. Mental chatter is also a thought. It is a mental movement associated with hearing. This mental commentary can be quite torrential and incessant. Again, if one merely listens without fear, judgement and emotion, the chatter will die off like a blowing away of a storm. Then stillness will arise. It is not a forced silence as seen in concentration exercises. The emptiness is an opening for pure consciousness to seep through. In the beginning, this interval between two thoughts is very short-lived, but once experienced and maintained, it can be prolonged to a length of time. This is now the beginning of true and real meditation. If at the same time, the process of letting go or peeling of the onion is accelerated, one can begin to practice Shikantaza. In contrast to Vipassana, Shikantaza is not to abide on any object at all. Do not look at any picture that appears at the third eye. At the same time do not listen to any mental chatter. Just ignore all these pictures and mental commentary. In this Shikantaza practice, there is pure witnessing but there is no witness. This witnessing is ‘the one who knows’. The ‘one who knows’ is the Presence that merely watches events of the mind appearing and disappearing in the background of the white sheet. Presence is also there when one is in deep sleep. It is also there between 2 states. It is the background for everything that occurs in the mind. The white sheet is Presence and is also pure consciousness. Satori is the state of break through of pure consciousness into the mind. From thence onwards the unveiling of one’s pure consciousness progresses in stages until the final satori or enlightenment. The Zen teaching is that even after full enlightenment, the practice continues until death! Being in Cosmic Consciousness daily is like being in Nirvana every day. It is living in this

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world and yet not of this world.

Meditation in Action
When one is outside of sitting meditation, what does one do? The answer is to be mindful moment to moment. However, together with this mindfulness practice, one must also give up the 5 poisons of desire, anger, selfishness, pride and ignorance. There should not be any grasping or wanting to be something or someone. Love and compassion should be vigorously practised. The awareness practice is spelt out in detail in Buddha’s teaching of Four Foundations of Mindfulness. In this very difficult practice, one must be aware of every action at every moment. While acting, doing or performing any task, one’s attention is purely on the task. The mind should be left empty. The mind should not be wandering all over the place trying to solve other problems or planning what to do in the next hour or so. Neither should the mind be allowed to wander of to somewhere else geographically. It should be left empty or concentrating on the task at hand. Even when listening to a lecture, one can leave the mind empty if one does not indulge in commentaries and do not allow the mind to wander. When one is planning daily chores, sit down and work them out. And that should be the sole purpose. The periods of practice need to be gradually lengthened. Starting with ten minutes on the first day and prolong it day by day until one is fully aware all day. When this final eventuality occurs, one will be in total stillness while one is performing all activities. One is now just a neutral witness like a mirror with no emotions and no identification is made. There is no viewer. There is just the viewing. At this stage there is only bliss, peace and calmness. Of course, if in one’s previous practice one has already arrived at this silent awareness, then Presence would be automatically instituted as the mirror-witness.

Contemplation
Every day some time must be devoted to contemplating the theories enunciated above. Slowly day by day, break down all the belief systems, theories and mental formulations hitherto accumulated. Repeatedly know that it is the self that is obstructing enlightenment. Realise what constitute the ego and the self. The ego is composed of the physical body, emotions and the mind. The ego can be inflated or deflated. Use this theme: ‘I am not my body, I am not my emotions and I am not my mind’ as if it is a mantra, whenever one is not in meditation or performing a task. When this theme

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is repeated often enough and believed to be true, there will come a time when the principle is realised. Without Insight Meditation, it is more difficult to realise that emotion and thoughts are not ‘self ’. It is easy with the physical body, as one would have seen quite a few corpses in our life time, and this fact alone would make us realise the stark reality of ‘I am not the body’. On a daily basis, work out what composes the mind and together with emotions what constitute the ‘self ’. It is only with this regime of emptying the mind on a daily basis can pure consciousness seep through. The consciousness is made the purer day by day with the ongoing process of letting go. The mind-sieve is being cleaned up at the same time. This means letting go of all things material and mundane with no desire to become anything. There should not be any craving for enlightenment. With this process, the practitioner will come to realise that the thinker and thoughts are one. Both are empty. There is only the process of ‘thinking’. No one is thinking and the thoughts are just fabrications of the mind, and they are ephemeral shadows on the mind-screen, to be erased in the next instant when a new thought comes along. From this stage onwards there is only seeing without a seer. There is only hearing without a hearer. There is only thinking without a thinker. However, these contemplations must continue even after the Truth has appeared again and again. At this stage one has only arrived at the individual soul level. This is the Brahman stage. There is yet a final stage to be reached, and this is the Absolute, the Ultimate State of Consciousness. It is the Parabrahman. In this final state there is absolutely no individuality. There is only the non-dual background of silence and stillness from which all dual activities are enacted. We are now in the background witnessing the flow of the river, completely uninvolved with all activities in the dualistic world. One is now merged with Reality. God is in me and I am part of God. I Am that I Am. Cosmic Consciousness is Unity and includes everything in every universe and the practitioner is part of It. He knows now that he is the same consciousness behind the earth, the ant, the orchid, the dog and every individual. He knows that he has never been separate. He now knows that even if he wants to be separate, it is not possible to do so. The analogy here is that the wave of the sea realises that it is only a wave and has no independent existence. That means the practitioner has selfrealised himself as the soul (atman)---Brahman. But then he must go one step further by realising that he is also the ocean---Parabrahman. After

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realising that he is also the ocean, he now just merely witnesses the antics of the wave without identifying himself as the wave anymore. That is why the Zen yogi does not stop meditating even after he has selfrealised himself. Self-realisation is merely at the individual soul level. The Ultimate State must be reached. Once one is ensconced in the Ultimate State of Consciousness, there is nothing else to do. There is nobody there. One has now become a polished mirror.

References
1. M. Macdonald-Bayne. Beyond The Himalayas. 2. Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination (Viveka-Chudamani) Translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. 3. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’ Talks on Realizing the Infinite: The Experience of Nothingness. Edited by Robert Powell, Ph.D, Blue Dove Press. 4. Jean Klein. Open to the Unknown. Third Millenium Publications. 1992 5. Jean Klein. I Am. Third Millennium Publications. 1989.

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What Comes After Enlightenment?
“Being is the eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death. However, Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don’t seek to grasp it with your mind. Don’t try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still, when you are present, fully and intensely in the Now… To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of ‘feeling-realisation’ is enlightenment.” Eckhart Tolle

Introduction
This essay is not to discuss methods of enlightenment but what comes after the psychophysical organism has realised his true Self. Enlightenment basically means to the enlightened that he is not separate from the rest of the world and that no one is enlightened. He is still composed of the same physical body, emotions and mind, but the thinking mind is no more in existence. That means there is no more ‘me’, ‘I’ and ‘mine’. He does not think, say or do things for the sake of himself. After enlightenment, the Absolute or Totality acts through his psychophysical organism as an instrument. How does he come to this state? There is no sadhana (spiritual practice) for that individual to undertake to realise his Self. What has happened is that he simply retraces back to his source of origin, and realises his true Self as pure Consciousness. This moment of enlightened is almost like an accident. There is no method, technique or path, which can bring the individual to his source, but there are sadhanas to bring the yogin to the edge of the river. At the edge he just waits for enlightenment to happen. Enlightenment means destruction of the thinking mind, after which he lives in impersonal Consciousness. When circumstances demand it he will move back to personal Consciousness from time to time. Under these conditions in duality he still needs a working mind. The working mind is necessary to drawback on memories, etc for the individual to function.

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There is an old idea that when a person becomes enlightened he is quite helpless and has to be looked after hand and foot. This is not true. We will go into this later. There are many similes of the process of enlightenment. Here are some of them. (1) Cosmic Consciousness is equated with that of electricity, which is neutral and is all-powerful. However, as soon as the electricity is plugged into a fridge, a computer or a bulb, the electricity lights up the individual equipment as a separate item. The computer is different and separate from the fridge, and if there is sentience in them, they will deem themselves as separate individuals. (2) A cabdriver in the city thinks that he is in total control of the taxi. In reality, the owner of the taxi-company is in full control of all the taxis and the drivers through the radiotelephone. He directs the drivers to the customers and pays their salaries. The owner of the taxi-company in fact owns everything on earth, animate or inanimate. The taxi is the body, the driver is the mind and the owner of the firm is Cosmic Consciousness. (3) The large cinema screen is taken as Cosmic Consciousness or the ground substance. The film projects a story line onto the screen, and the animation makes the characters seem real. The room has to be darkened for us to see the story. While the film is being projected we are being deluded that the characters are real and true. The minute the film is finished, the lights come on; we realise that they are merely shadows on the screen. Without the screen, Cosmic Consciousness, there would not be any characters or story. (4) The ocean represents the universe and therefore it includes everything. When ripples or drops of seawater come up onto the surface, the ripple or droplet assumes that it is separate. When the droplet is evaporated by the sun to form part of a cloud and then becomes a raindrop, it is more likely to deem itself as separate. At the end of a long journey when it understands that it is part of the ocean this understanding will destroy this ignorance. Then it knows that it is not separate. When this happens the droplet becomes self-realised i.e. enlightened. The last simile is the best. It is very apt.

What happens at the time of enlightenment?
The descriptions here are all from recent enlightened advaitists. The person cannot hasten the process. When it is going to happen, it will

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happen. No amount of spiritual practice, sadhana, can bring on enlightenment. Other people are unable to see the transformation in the enlightened (jnani). Some times, the jnani himself realises it only days or months after the event! What transpires at this event varies from person to person. Ramana Marhashi and Eckhart Tolle both had great fear at the time of enlightenment. With Ramana it is fear of death. Ramana lies down as if his body is dead, but his Consciousness is still aware of a current of energy playing on his rigid body. The fear dropped off, and from then onwards he is ‘perpetually absorbed’ in that current of energy in his daily chores. In Eckhart Tolle’s case, he felt reborn. His deep depression (with suicidal tendencies) was replaced by bliss and peace. He remained in this state of peace and bliss for the next 5 months. Tony Parsons was just walking in the park, when it happened. The stillness and presence descended upon him as the timeless eradicated ‘him’, the experiencer. From thence onwards ‘he’ did not exist. R. Balshekar was translating a talk for Maharaj, when he suddenly became almost like an automaton: the translation was being done for him and his voice became louder and clearer. Most of these people have various grades of bliss, rapture and peace. All of them finally either got used to these states or they wear off. Some of them cry out with joy. Some of them realise that they have finally returned to their original Self. Some behave as if they are insane. There is no uniform formula. Enlightenment is an impersonal understanding that there is no 'one' being enlightened. It is an understanding that there is no comprehender; there is no longer a separate entity or a doer. It is a surrender to the fact that there is nobody surrendering to anything. It is a vertical impersonal experience. It now becomes an awareness witnessing the functions of the psychophysical complex. The witnessing is like a mirror with no separate entity mirroring the events or actions of the individual. He still functions in duality for the rest of his life, but he does not experience dualism anymore. Duality is a condition of the phenomenal world in which the opposites are mandatory, but dualism is the delusion that one is separate. There is only Consciousness acting through everything in all the universes. Nothing is separate and there isn't an 'I' or 'me'.

Suffering of the corporate body.
Physically there is no change. In time to come he may age more slowly,

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because there are now no more worries, anxieties or problems of a personal nature. The Absolute functions through his psychophysical complex, whether the individual realises it or not. This is true also with the unenlightened. Physically the body suffers and feels the pain and joy, but there is no one suffering the pain. The pain is there, but there is no suffer. The psychophysical complex may even groan or scream with pain, but there is no 'person' suffering. The pain and the screams are merely witnessed by the impersonal Consciousness.

Emotions
As the psychophysical organism is free of a personal entity, there is no involvement in others and their problems. Similarly there is no mental projection of enjoyment in good company or listening to music or eating good food as before. The pure awareness merely witnesses the situation as it arises, and there is no involvement in that situation. Love and wisdom prevail in those with these qualities prior to enlightenment. If the individual was an angry one, after enlightenment anger still prevails as a reaction when irritated, but no one is angry.

The Mind and Intellect
Mentally and intellectually, the individual may be just as intelligent as before, but his aim in life may change. From a menial worker, he may be transformed into a teacher of spiritual growth. The individual, who was never interested in writing, suddenly becomes a consummate writer. Public speaking becomes second nature to a former shy and fumbling talker. In the religious line, they are converted into tireless workers in their respective religions with insurmountable energy. Some may resign from very onerous jobs to go into seclusion. Some may suddenly start to heal. With the grace of enlightenment, most of them accept and surrender to the Tao or G-plan. Enlightenment means not identifying one’s psychophysical organism as a separate doer, but its impersonal Consciousness must still continue to identify the organism as an individual for the rest of his life. Otherwise he cannot function. He must answer to his name and know where he is living and who are his friends and relatives. He is now merely acting as a psychic operating-centre to activate his thoughts, voice and body movements. The Absolute is the functioning centre of his pure Consciousness. This is

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what Ramana Maharshi meant when he said that there is a centre of energy working on his body. Another good example is when a man gets an out-of-body experience while performing a complicating task, like a surgical operation. Although his spirit is not in his body, he is able to perform the surgical operation impeccably. The spirit outside his body is the functional centre and his shell of a body is the operating centre. The enlightened man (jnani) is truly in this world and not of this world.

The Ego and Mind
In the unenlightened, the ego is composed of the body, emotions and a mind, which can be notionally divided into the working mind and the thinking mind. In the enlightened, the ego is devoid of the thinking mind. This thinking mind is the conceptualising component, which is always separating the ‘me’ from the others. It draws on memories to project fears, worries and anxieties. It also forms images of future successes and failures. The working mind is only concerned with the functioning of the moment. It also draws on memories to work for the present. It does not judge or differentiate. So in the enlightened the thinking mind is no more in existence, and the mind becomes silent. Words just flow out without prior imaging. The thinking mind is the source of trouble: all negative thoughts arise from the thinking mind. It therefore interferes with the smooth functioning of the working mind. When an unenlightened uses only a working mind, as when he is totally engrossed in what he is doing, time goes by very rapidly. In no time three hours have passed by. Neither is he tired. The working mind does not exhaust a person. In an emergency, the enlightened does not panic being devoid of a thinking mind. He acts quickly and instinctively with only the working mind. The mental chattering and daydreaming are both of the thinking mind. The working mind is a silent witness, if there is anything to witness. If there is nothing to witness, it goes deep into pure Consciousness. In one’s practice of the spiritual path before enlightenment, the thinking mind gradually gets subdued on the way. When the ‘me’ becomes less obtrusive, the working mind takes over more and more. Of course the working mind also must use memory to bring in judgement for the execution of the present action. In identifying with the body and there is no image of a doer attached, then it is still the working mind. Habits are not necessarily that of a working mind only. If there is judging or evaluating a situation from the personal point of view it is from the thinking mind. To help staying in the working mind is to truly believe

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that flowing of one’s G-plan or Tao is beyond one’s control. Just do it without worrying or anticipating the consequences. While using the working mind, one must totally be present and the mind is not a blank. One could call it an intuitive mind. Most imaging especially when projecting the dire consequences of the future is of the thinking mind. However, drawing images from the past to execute the task at hand is that of a working mind. Summarising the above, the Absolute or Cosmic Consciousness acts through the psychosomatic organism of either an enlightened or unenlightened individual. The enlightened merely reacts to the situation or external circumstances without the thinking mind and there is no 'me' or 'mine' involved. The unenlightened on the other hand will deem himself as a separate self, acting out his experiences with a 'me' and 'mine' fully in the background. As less and less of the thinking mind is being used, the individual will be less and less stressed, worried and anxious until one day he functions only through his working mind. The ego is still there, but this ego is devoid of the thinking mind.

Can an enlightened individual perform criminal acts?
As the enlightened person does not deem himself as a separate individual and all his actions are unselfish, it is highly unlikely that he will perform criminal or antisocial acts. All his actions are for the benefit of other people. If in order to save 100 people he hurts one or a few, he will not hesitate to do so. All his actions are spontanesous and he has no malice aforethought. None of his actions are premeditated except at that moment of execution. He has no worries for his future. He does not seek gain or fame. There is no self-gratification in his actions. In this way, humility, compassion, love and wisdom are his guiding principles. Although the enlightened does not resort to criminality, his reaction sometimes do not conform to social mores, e. g. his predilection to sex. To explain away his promiscuity, he tends to say that he is above the social etiquette of the general public. Or a more likely explanation is that it is merely the psychophysical organism's normal reaction to that organism's instinct. It is like when he is hungry he just eats. When he is sleepy, he sleeps. When he is sexy, he likes to have sex.

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His Auras
To those who can see auras, they will be able to visualise that the jnani’s auras are much larger than normal. They are also clear without smudges. The main colour would be purple. Any body remaining in the same room as the jnani would be embraced by his auras, which can fill up the entire room. This embracing aura is very healing, especially if the jnani is a healer. Otherwise peace and tranquillity will be emanated by this aura.

Bliss
Enlightenment is also being with his soul, which has its 5 sheaths. The soul is also known as Sat-Chit-Ananda. Sat is being. Chit is consciousness and Ananda is bliss. Having disassociated oneself with the body-mind complex (body, emotions and mind), he is left with his auras and the 1st covering of bliss. The auras are just his normal armour, which he cannot discharge. He is now left with bliss, which is also a component of the soul. That is why the very first reaction of enlightenment is the utter bliss and joy, but having entrenched himself in the pure consciousness of his soul for sometime, the bliss becomes a normal accompaniment and it is nothing special.

How does the enlightened view the world?
The enlightened realises that Totality or Cosmic Consciousness is the same as individual consciousness, and therefore he is not a separate entity. He and the myriad of entities, vegetation and insects are activated and powered by the same Consciousness. However, the unenlightened does not know this, and he identifies himself with his psychosomatic organism with its attendant suffering. He has the erroneous view that he is separate and that he controls his life. That is why some sages deem the entire world as unreal, because the trillions of ‘things’ are merely the manifested shadows of the Unmanifested, Cosmic Consciousness. These diversity of beings and other ‘things’ are the ripples on the surface of the ocean: everything is part of the ocean. Everything in the universe is powered or activated by the same electricity (Consciousness). All there is, is Consciousness. Every mineral, vegetable, animal and human has the same Consciousness. It is only the human that has ‘self-consciousness’, and therefore he suffers the most, because of his thinking mind. With enlightenment and the destruction of the thinking mind, there are no more concepts with its trail of fears, doubts and worries, because the ‘me’ is not present.

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How does the enlightened react?
He reacts spontaneously with no aforethought, but according to the genetic makeup of that particular psychosomatic organism. A large dose of his samskaras (innate tendencies) is infused into this makeup. So if the particular jnani has characteristics of impatience or anger before, he will still be impatient or angry after enlightenment. If he is addicted to cigarette smoking, he will continue to smoke cigarettes after enlightenment. If he has a predilection to sex, he will continue to be attracted to sex. But after all his activities are witnessed and finished with, there is no more attachment after the event. There is no pining or stalking of the sex object in the intervening period. His basic understanding is that he has no control over his reactions: he cannot predict how he will react to his addiction or succumb to a weakness, which comes with his psychosomatic organism. The Absolute or Cosmic Consciousness simply acts through that psychosomatic organism with that failing or addiction. He accepts the changes that come about in his daily life. He does not plan for the event to come about and therefore there is no disappointment. He does not follow a discipline or become a recluse because it conforms to a jnani. As there is no personal doer and as he may have to live with other people, his natural behaviour will have to include co-operation and harmony. His surrender to circumstances is spontaneous and not because of an image he has to build up. He does not have to lead, or to teach or to heal. If doing nothing all day long is his style of living, then he will be seen as a loafer, even if he had been a most industrious worker before enlightenment. There is no telling what transformation or changes a jnani will make to his life. Every conversation, action or thought is spontaneous and his lack of control makes him look like an automaton, but he is not. He merely witnesses the events as a mirror. The above are the views of an enlightened advaitist.

How does a jnani see the unenlightened (ajnani)?
A jnani does not differentiate between a jnani and an ajnani (unenlightened). To a jnani everybody is powered by the same electricity or Consciousness, and therefore he views all sentient beings as the same. The ajnani, who is veiled by ignorance, cannot recognise a jnani and sees him only as a person who performs action like any other person. So he treats the jnani like any other person without realising that the jnani is devoid of the essence of a personal self. This jnani is propelled and activated by

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Cosmic Consciousness without a doer performing the acts. A jnani knows that it is the same Consciousness that acts through every sentient being and every form in the universe. Both (jnani and ajnani) are equal to him. Every single individual is unique in that its psychosomatic organism has inherited characteristics from his genes. Every individual must also act out his own G-plan with his samskaras. These do not change with enlightenment. Even his addictions remain.

Is the jnani subjected to karma and cause and effect?
The psychosomatic organism definitely is subjected to karma and causality. If he breaks a law, that law will punish his psychosomatic organism. Jesus Christ was a good case in point. He was crucified according to the law of that country at that time. However, as there is no being or doer in him, he went headlong into Jerusalem on that day knowing full well that he would be crucified. Being a jnani, the ‘me’ was not there and therefore ‘he’ did not suffer. The psychosomatic organism suffered, but not ‘him’. This reminds us of a Buddhist Zen Koan, in which a monk was asked whether an enlightened person was subjected to karma. He answered wrongly: ‘No’. As a consequence of this mistake, the monk had to be reincarnated 500 times as a fox! The retribution of course was an exaggeration, but the lesson was well taught. A jnani does not create future karma, but its psychosomatic organism is subjected to past (prarabdha) karma. Of course after his death there is no more karmic effect because he will not be reborn again unless he has decided to be a Bodhisattva.

Witnessing is just Being.
In witnessing, there is no observer. It is the state of Consciousness witnessing when there is something to witness. If there is nothing to witness, Consciousness goes deeper into a state of rest of non-witnessing. Ramana Maharshi calls this the ‘natural state’. It is like the automatic gear in a car. In witnessing, the car automatically changes gear when accelerating. But Consciousness automatically goes back to neutral i.e. non-witnessing when there is nothing to witness. In this non-witnessing state, the jnani hears the sounds and sees the sights without any personal involvement at all. If this state continues, he goes into samadhi. However, when a reaction is required, the non-witnessing state moves back into a witnessing state again. It is automatically smooth and spontaneous. In the jnani, his Consciousness is impersonal and is similar to the Consciousness

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of an ajnani in deep sleep. In deep dreamless sleep, the ajnani does not identify his Consciousness with his psychosomatic organism but he does so when awake. The jnani does not identify with his psychosomatic organism when awake. To him it is an awakened dream, when awake. In this state he does not witness his thoughts. His thought gets witnessed. This means there is no one witnessing. In this pure witnessing, there is no ‘me’ involved and therefore there is no judgement or comparison. The jnani is just like a mirror: what is mirrored does not effect him. He mirrors only what is presented to him, who himself is a non-entity.

The Inherent Characteristics of the Jnani
Due to his G-plan and prarabdha (karma to be spent in this life), the jnani still has to suffer or enjoy the effects of karma. Additionally due to his samskaras he also has desires and anger. When desires and anger arise, he may or may not succumb to them. However he does not hold any lingering anger against what makes him angry, neither does he scheme and plan to acquire the objects of his desires. When these desires, thoughts and anger are over, they are all totally forgotten. If the psychosomatic organism has inherent fear, the jnani may also have fear and even terror, but then it passes. That means pain, pleasure, grief and gratification etc will all arise depending on the individual organism. All these will be witnessed and acted upon if necessary and then they are all cut off. If he is hungry, he eats. If he is thirsty, he drinks. If he is sexy, he may or may not go and look for sex, for this process involves some one else. If the above emotions arise with accompanying personal involvement then he is not a jnani. The jnani knows that these desires, emotions and anger are beyond his control: he is merely the instrument for the Absolute to act through. Therefore, enlightenment does not make that individual perfect. He simply becomes whole and awake. With understanding, he is peaceful, blissful and tranquil.

Lack of motivation and consistency
As the thinking mind is absent, there is no motivation for his action, which is spontaneous, not judgmental and not confusing. His actions may also not be reasonable or consistent. If before enlightenment, the individual is full of love and compassion, then the transformed jnani will also be full of love and compassion. If these are not his qualities before enlightenment, then he may not manifest them too readily after enlight-

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enment. However, agape, compassion and wisdom are usually the basic qualities of the Absolute. Totality is unadulterated, unconditional love!

Moral Issues concerning a Jnani
Is a jnani virtuous? Having destroyed the thinking mind he is now merely a psychosomatic organism. He is absolutely without self-interest. Everything he does is for the benefit of others, who are not treated as separate. He knows that he and the rest of the universe are charged by the same electricity or impersonal Consciousness: there is no difference between him and others. Therefore he needs not go about to be virtuous. He simply acts. Selflessness and humility are now part of his normal character. He does not have to be selfless or humble. He simply is. This is in contrast to the hypocritically, assumed virtue and humility of the so-called pious people and clergy. In them, there is no spontaneity or naturalness. The altruism of the rich is always overtly seen and advertised. The false humility of the powerful is often too obvious. They try too hard, whereas the jnani does not have to pretend. He just simply is what he is. He knows what Jesus said: ‘I and my father are one. The kingdom of God is within.’

Summary
Every unenlightened or enlightened being has a unique psychosomatic organism, a body-mind complex. Every form in the universe is charged by the same Cosmic Consciousness. This Consciousness is impersonal until it inhabits a psychosomatic organism, when it becomes personal. The jnani knows that every one on earth is propelled by the same Consciousness, but the ajnani is veiled by ignorance and believes that he is separate from others. In this way he thinks that he controls his own life, and all his activities will either fail or succeed by his efforts. His ego consists of his body, emotions and mind. His mind is notionally divided into thinking and working mind. The thinking mind is the one that makes him suffer. All negativities, fear, and anxiety arise form the thinking mind, which always regrets the past and fears the future. In the jnani, the thinking mind is totally destroyed, and he knows that he is selfless. The jnani knows that Cosmic Consciousness acts through his organism and he has no control over it. So he flows with the Tao. He cannot explain the Tao to his unenlightened friends, because the Tao that is named is not the Tao. The jnani in all probability will not be reborn again when he dies, unless

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he wants to come back as a Bodhisattva. The psychosomatic organism has its own inherent characteristics, which are derived from its samskaras and genetics. When the organism is born angry, he may remain angry throughout life whether enlightened or not. However, he does not carry the anger over even to the next second. He is very natural and spontaneous. There is no pretension at all. He does not have to put up an image of being saintly or virtuous. In fact he is as imperfect as before enlightenment, but he is whole. Generally, he is healthier, because there is no fear, anxiety or worry due the absence of the thinking mind. However, if a major illness is in his G-plan, he will suffer that illness. All his actions are for the benefit of others, whom he deems as part and parcel of Self (Cosmic Consciousness). Love and compassion are accentuated if they are there before. He is characteristically wise because it is the wisdom of Totality that shines through him.

References
1) Ramesh S. Balsekar. Consciousness Speaks. Advaita Press. 1992. 2) Sri Ramana Maharshi. Be As You Are. Edited by David Godman. Arkana. 1985. 3) Tony Parsons. The Open Secret. Open Secret Publishing. 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2000. 4) Tony Parsons. As It Is. Open Secret Publishing. 2000.

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Are Spiritual Practices Useless?
Doctrines, processes and progressive paths, which seek enlightenment, only exacerbate the problem they address by reinforcing the idea that the self can find something that it presumes it has lost. It is that very effort, that investment in self-identity that continuously recreates the illusion of separation from oneness. This is the veil that we believe exists. It is the dream of individuality. The only likely effect of extreme effort to become that, which I already am, is that eventually I will drop to the ground exhausted and let go. In that letting go another possibility may arise. Struggle in time does not invite liberation. Life is not a task. There is absolutely nothing to attain except the realisation that is absolutely nothing to attain. No amount of effort will ever persuade oneness to appear. All that is needed is a leap in perception, a different seeing, already inherent but unrecognised. Tony Parsons

Introduction
Most modern ‘enlightened’ teachers have been teaching recently that all spiritual practices do not lead to enlightenment. They do not encourage meditation or reading, and they reckon that all other forms of yogas do not help. Further they also advice against any desire to be enlightened. To them most gurus are unhelpful except themselves. Their instructions are that one continues with one’s life as usual, and if one is to be enlightened, it will come on its own without any effort. Therefore, the teachings of Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and Mohamed are useless and inappropriate in the modern context. They quote the examples of a few enlightened people like Ramana Maharshi, Eckhart Tolle and few others (the lady mentioned by Tony Parsons in his book), who became enlightened without any practice. Remember that both Ramana Maharshi and Eckhart Tolle were very depressed at the time it happened: both their minds were totally absorbed by the negativity of a deep depression. The only way out is to lose their minds! This is similar to the practice of solving a Zen koan by the total eradication of the mind.

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On the whole, the above message of the modern teachers cannot be taken seriously. If what they say are true, millions of practitioners including monks and priests must immediately drop what they are doing and start or continue with a secular life. That means they should continue to speculate on the stock and property markets, continue to climb the corporate ladder with sharp knives and do not think or do anything spiritual.. Therefore no practice and no desire for enlightenment is required. Almost exclusively, these modern ‘gurus’ are advaitists, practitioners of advaita (non-dualism).

The Essence is Effort without trying too hard
One must remember that for the ‘enlightened’, this is the last incarnation of a series of incarnations. With this fact in mind, it is not appropriate to announce that all sadhanas (spiritual practices) are useless. This incarnation is the culmination of many past incarnations, in which the individual might have had numerous sadhanas. Therefore in this life he is just ripe for the picking, and the fruit merely drops without any effort. When this happens the modern guru says no sadhana is required. Even in this incarnation, earlier on the jnani (enlightened) could have tried too hard in the past many years and failed. He failed because he did not let go enough and not because the sadhana is useless. A classic example was Ananda, Buddha’s cousin and attendant. Buddha predicted that he would be an arahant (saint) before the 1st council meeting of arahants. After Buddha died Ananda tried very, very hard to be enlightened. Up to the eve of the council meeting, he still could not make it. So he decided to give up and go to sleep. In the process of laying his head down onto the pillow, he became enlightened. The lesson here is that Ananda gave up trying! That means those who tried many methods before and gave them up disillusioned and suddenly find themselves enlightened are those who stop trying. As long as one is still unenlightened, one is subjected to karma and rebirth. In this unenlightened state there is always a tendency to escape from suffering by trying too hard. Even in the pursuit of liberation Buddha’s teaching of ‘craving is suffering’ holds true. If you ‘crave to be enlightened’ the craving becomes an obstacle. The practical examples are the athlete who is too anxious to win or the boxer who is too up tight and he loses the fight. These two examples exemplify that to succeed one must be totally relaxed.

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Although sadhana does not lead one directly to enlightenment, it does bring one to the river’s edge. At this edge, the yogin (practitioner) just have to wait for Grace to ferry him across the river. At this stage, he must totally surrender to his Tao. The waiting period maybe a night or life times. It all depends on how much purification has transpired before coming to the edge. He must also wait without waiting: that means no anxiety about his goal. In fact he should forget about enlightenment altogether. If enlightenment is going to come in this life it will come: no fuss, no agitation and no stress.

Sadhanas that may bring one to the edge of the river
There are as many methods as there are countries in this world. There are also as many techniques as there are religions. This article cannot cover every sadhana there is in the books. However the author will try to choose some practices that may bring the practitioner to the edge. These methods do not need a guru. The advaitists would accuse me of advocating dualistic methods towards the goal of non-dualism. They say that this will not work. Nevertheless, Roshi Baker said ‘Enlightenment is an accident. However, meditation is accident-prone’. This is exactly my thesis. If you do not have a goal and take the first step, then there is no journey. If you embark on a journey, some one may come along for you to hitch a hike. If you do not take the first step, then you will be reborn and suffer many more times. If you reach the river’s edge, Grace may turn up without warning to ferry you across. Therefore let us prepare for the journey which may take us many life times.

One Must Maintain a Proper Philosophy
There must be some disenchantment or even disgust with the suffering of life hitherto. Then there should be a desire at this early stage to rid oneself of the pain of living. The journey will begin with the search for religion, beliefs and spiritual practices. Then one may approach teachers or gurus to guide one along. Grabbing books to read in order to find the magic pathway becomes a voracious hobby. Travelling to temples, churches and ashrams could be next on the agenda. The most treacherous point here is to be caught by a religion run by fanatics. Monetary donations, charitable works and communal helping hand promote good fellowship amongst the members. This fellowship gives one the false sense that one is on the right track. After many years of searching, learning and meditation, one may

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find that there is actually no improvement in one’s spiritual status. Going through libraries of spiritual books and attending innumerable weekend retreats still do not yield any spiritual benefits. Climbing up the ladder in the ashram to become a senior devotee is the same as going up the corporate ladder to be a senior manager in a commercial firm. Although the goal may appear different, the acquisition movement upwards is the same. When one tries to please the guru in the ashram it is the same as one trying to please the boss in the office. So after many years or decades of sadhana, one is disenchanted. Hopefully the aspirant is also detached and dispassionate. When the disgust with life increases, his psyche is totally imbued with detachment, dispassion and desirelessness. Now he has complete dis-interest in worldly matters, and he should become calmer with much less anger. His daily actions should now be more selfless and humble. He is now slowly eroding the dominance of the ego mind. It is the ego that previously subjected him to such suffering due to interminable wanting and craving. Wisdom now informs him that the craving can never stop, and after the massive acquisition of material assets and honours, when he dies they have to be left behind. These acquired assets and honours also do not quench the thirst and suffering. However, while all desires must be eradicated, there will still be a lingering expectation of enlightenment. This lingering must not be allowed to rise to the level of a desire. In fact it is better if he forgets all about enlightenment. At this level of development, he should completely surrender to the Tao and realise that whatever will be will be. It is entirely beyond his control. His G-plan is fixed before his birth. There are no grounds for him to worry about anything in the future. If he has to die tomorrow he will. He cannot prevent it. If he wants to die tomorrow, but it is not his time, he will not die tomorrow. The flow of the Tao involves even the smallest of detail such as what he is going to have for dinner tonight. So armed with the knowledge that he has no free will and no control, he should now carry on earning a living and practise his sadhana without that intense desire as before. He should just wait without waiting. The main core of his practice now should be living in the present. The awareness should be from moment to moment with no regrets of the past and no fear of the future. So one’s mental attitude must be to accept the inevitability of one’s Gplan. The practitioner must also observe detachment, dispassion and

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desirelessness. This practice is to clear the mind of anxiety and worry. So with these armaments, let us discuss some sadhanas that may bring us to the edge.

Concentration Meditation
Concentration meditation is concentrating exclusively on one object until the subject and the object are merged into one. The Hindus use this technique exclusively before Buddha came onto the scene, when Insight meditation was introduced. Concentration meditation is an indirect method and frown upon by most serious seekers. One chooses an object to concentrate on exclusively until the subject fuses with the object. In this meditation process, one has to reach a fairly deep stage of 4th Absorption (Jhana) for the subject to be absorbed with the object. One now has to transmute this fused subject-object into nothingness. By removing the fused subject-object he ends up in Boundless Space, which is the 5th Jhana. Then the next 6th stage is the withdrawal inwards of one’s attention to Boundless Consciousness. The 7th Jhana is that of the Base of Nothingness. And the last (8th) Jhana is the Base of Neither Perception nor Non-perception. In the scheme of the four Theravada stages of Sainthood, one must be in the penultimate stage of a Non-Returner in order to achieve the stage of 7th and 8th Jhana (see later). The essence here is to disintegrate the subject-object element and allow one’s concentration to turn inwards towards one’s own pure consciousness, the true Self. This Self of pure consciousness is beyond even the 8th Jhana. It is at this last step of coming home to one’s original source, which is really beyond concentration meditation. That is why yogins tend to look down on concentration meditation.

Hindu Meditation
1) The Hindu equivalent here is Salvikalpa Samadhi where one’s Selfawareness must be maintained by dint of effort. As long as Self-awareness is held on with effort, one is with realty. When Self-attention wavers, Selfawareness is obscured. The possible equivalent of concentration meditation to Salvikalpa Samadhi is up to the 2nd Jhana (absorption). 2) Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. In this state there is no body-consciousness, and there is a temporary awareness of Self or Presence without effort. As the individual is like a block of wood, the senses and the body

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are not functioning. This is a temporary erasure of the ego, and is the penultimate stage before enlightenment. Once out of meditation, the ego returns. That means he cannot hold on to realty or Presence permanently. This stage is equivalent to the 3rd to the 8th. Jhana. 3) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Sahaja means ‘natural’ and nirvikalpa means ‘no differences’. He is now an enlightened psychosomatic organism (jnani). Having destroyed the ego permanently, he sees no difference between himself and others and the rest of the world. He can function normally in the world with only the working mind, as the thinking mind is eliminated. He is now in the world but not of it. He also realises that every manifested thing arises from the Unmanifested. This state cannot be achieved with concentration alone. One must practise a method that will return one to its pure personal consciousness. This Being or Presence can then return to impersonal Consciousness, which is part of the Unmanifested Cosmic Consciousness. This stage can only be reached when there is silence, stillness and emptiness of thoughts. That means another technique must be used, e.g. Insight meditation.

Insight Meditation
In Insight meditation, the yogin allows thought (object) to exhaust itself and finally retires back to the origin of the thinker (subject). He will find that the thinker is also the thought and at the final stage of insight meditation there is neither. Thence he will arrive at his true Being.

The technique of Insight Meditation
Firstly, notice what state of mind one is in: agitated, calm or joyful etc. Then go to the objects of the mind. The procedure here is to have a watcher to impartially see the images at the third eye on the forehead and/or listen to the mental chatter at the ear. There should not be any modification or suppression of these thoughts, and full attention must be given to them, until they die on their own accord. After some time, thoughts become fewer, and later intervals between thoughts may be discerned between them. In realty, these intervals are not intervals at all; they are the background screen of Cosmic Consciousness, which includes our Presence. So if one can stretch these intervals into long periods of silence and emptiness, then the yogin is at one with Totality in these intervals. At the beginning it is only a suppression of thoughts, but when the practi-

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tioner becomes adept at it, he truly can recede into impersonal Cosmic Consciousness. All at once, the watcher becomes pure witnessing. He realises that there is no one watching or witnessing. This is the state that J. Krishnamurti repeatedly wanted his students to be in without formal meditation. His famous phrase is ‘when thoughts come to an end’. But to arrive at this state without meditation is almost an impossible task. This is the state when one knows that the mind is false and unreal. He is now not deluded by the wrong edict of ‘I think, therefore I am’ anymore. He now knows that the mind is merely an instrument to be used while living in this world, and that mind is not Self.

The Essence of Insight Meditation
The essence here is to have a watcher who does not take sides, criticise or judge. It does not modify or suppress the thoughts. The fact that he can stay away at a distance to watch the movements of his thoughts means that sooner or later he will realise that thoughts are not Self. This also applies to his emotions. In this context, he remains as an impartial mirror. And when there are no more thoughts or sounds, there is nothing left to mirror, this watcher recedes back to its original Self. Thence the watcher becomes a witness. Witnessing is also Presence. The individual ego has disintegrated and the yogin has come home to the Absolute. The mind has now lost its individual identity and has literally become ‘no-mind’. With prolonged practice of Insight meditation, the yogi’s consciousness would have enjoyed retracement to the Absolute numerous times, and thus has become familiar with the Absolute. This familiarity with Totality will make it easier to empty one’s mind while performing tasks outside of formal meditation. Having dealt with the mind, let us dwell a little on the disidentification of the body. The practice here is in being mindful of every action, outside of formal meditation.

Mindfulness (Meditation in Action)
The details of this technique are well set out in my essay of the same name. Buddha said that his teaching of the ‘Four Foundation of Mindfulness’ is the only way to enlightenment. In this treatise, being aware of every action and feeling is the right way to practise. One must also be aware of all reactions to any sensual input. When one is performing a task, thoughts can also come to an end, if attention is fully placed at the task. There should not be any thinking of the consequences of that particular

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action. There should not be any worry or anxiety of other problems not pertaining to that particular action. When walking, just walk. While eating, just eat. In order to avoid thinking, bring one’s attention to the physical body. Feel the sensation, vibration or tension, if any, of the body. Do not allow the mind to wander to other things. Outside of formal meditation, one must be aware of emotional states. You will be able to feel that there is an underlying emotional state of dissatisfaction, unease and restlessness. This feeling may be just beneath the surface most of the time. It can augment to some form of pain when stressed out. However, if it is not brought out, it can be felt during sitting meditation. When the meditator encounters it, the restlessness and unease will make it difficult for the yogin to continue meditating. When he is active carrying out his routine chores that feeling is comfortably submerged. So while sitting in a bus or train or in the doctor’s clinic, just put your attention into your feelings. Does fear of the dental drill bring out any more body-pain? While sitting in the waiting room or train, do your losses in the stock market or your job situation bring out any more agitation in your emotions? These feelings and emotional upset are the working of your negative thinking mind. If that is the case, stop your negative mind. So while waiting for the dentist or doctor, just shut your eyes and bring your attention to the body without any thoughts. Go through this procedure with your body:

The Physical Body
1) With eyes shut and no thoughts in the mind, focus on your breathing until you are fairly calm. Do not control or change the rhythm of your breathing. If you can detect the heart beating, stay with the heartbeat for a while. The third item that you can follow is the peristalsis of your gut. Feel or listen to the movement of your gut. All these are automatic movements of your internal organs that you have no control, except your breathing. When you have spent some time with them, you will be rid of your trepidation or anxiety. 2) Now go round the entire body, starting from the nostrils, the upper lips, teeth, the neck, the shoulders etc until the entire body is covered. See whether there is any tension, itch or pain anywhere. Do not do anything to these feelings if they are present. Just simply note them. As soon as the

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nurse calls for you, these feelings are not felt any more. They are still there, but not felt. In some people, there is much anger, which can be presented as a bundle of energy siphoned off to certain parts of the body. When the individual identifies with his anger, a pain will arise. Sometimes it arises certain parts of the body, say in the solar plexus or in the head. However if the pain is simply watched and not acted upon, this will disidentify the individual from its pain, and the pain will gradually disappear. This is invoking the silent watcher in the disidentification of the pain-body. If in some people the pain recurs, it means the person is attached to the pain. He is happy to have the pain. Therefore if he ‘wants out’ he must be the silent witness persistently to remove the pain. That means he needs many doses of ‘watching’, to be in the present to clear the pain. 3) If there is time you should go deeper beneath the skin, and feel the ‘chi’ or prana that is flowing through your body. This is most easily felt as tingling in your fingers. Be more vigilant and feel this chi going through various parts of the body. When you are apprehensive in a situation you will notice ‘butterflies in the stomach’. This is the turmoil of chi at the 3rd chakra. When you are very angry quarrelling in a traffic jam, the agitation in the 3rd chakra is also there but the anger overwhelms the butterflies. Sometimes when one is sitting down and is confronted with an embarrassing situation the 1st chakra is also activated and the individual feels it as an opening-and-shutting movement of the anus. The butterflies and anal movement will all disappear once the individual notices them over time. Being aware and confronting the situations as they turn up will dissipate these aberrant chi movements in due course.

From the physical outer body go into the invisible inner body
The soul is Presence, pure consciousness. It is connected to and part of Cosmic Consciousness, the Unmanifested. The Unmanifested supports and gives rise to all the manifested including one’s physical body. The soul is covered by 5 sheaths: the mental, emotional, physical and auric bodies and bliss. The soul is Sat-Chit-Ananda, when translated it is BeingConsciousness-Bliss. So from the above practice, one would have transcended the mind, emotions and the physical body. We will now explore the auric bodies, which are interconnected with the physical as well as intermingling with outer space. We have come to the stage of feeling the

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chi, which is the tingling in the fingers and the rest of the body. In order to facilitate entering the inner body, one must forgive oneself and others. Remain still in a meditation pose with the eyes shut or open and go deeper into the body. We are now trying to feel the auric (subtle) bodies. Once we have penetrated the auras we can go into a limitless and formless realm of the Unmanifested. So starting from feeling the chi one will be able to enter into the unfathomable Cosmic Consciousness. Chi is orgone or prana running along one’s meridian lines of the etheric body, which is the first of the 7th auric bodies. Starting with chi one can then feel the entire energy field, which has no boundary. At this depth one can eventually drop into the realm of the soul, one’s personal consciousness. From personal consciousness one then moves into impersonal Consciousness, which is part of Cosmic Consciousness. In this realm, there is total silence and stillness. This is temporary enlightenment. After staying in this blissful state for sometime, one will have to return to the physical and back to the world. It is like returning back to one’s awakened dream world, which is unreal. That is why some gurus reckon that the phenomenal world is unreal. However, after this one episode of visiting the Unmanifested, that person is now not the same. He is truly reborn, and knows that he will never die. He now realises that he is truly ‘God’. Once this hideaway is discovered, one can always return to it especially when one is emotionally stressed. This is a haven for all mental and emotional traumas. However, if one can continually be in touch with the realm of the Unmanifested, this Presence will be with one throughout one’s waking life. This is enlightenment. There are gradations of enlightenment. As time passes, these roots will be more securely embedded in that foundation of the Absolute. That means one becomes more and more enlightened as one gets use ‘to be in this world and not of it’. The multiple satoris will eventually lead to the final maha-satori. The physical benefits of going into the inner body are: (1) One ages more slowly (2) One’s immune system is enhanced Let us compare this process with the 4 stages of sainthood of the Theravada Buddhism.

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Stages of Sainthood in Theravada Buddhism
STAGE FETTERS TO BE ABANDONED (1) Realisation that there is no essence in the 5 heaps of body and mind (body, emotion & mind). Stream-Enterer (Sotopana) (2) To be convinced that rites and rituals do not lead to enlightenment. (3) To believe in the Buddha and His teaching. Once-Returner (Sagadagami)

(4) Partial Eradication of Craving and Hatred.

Non-Returner (Anagami)

(5) Complete Eradication of Craving and Hatred.

(6) Eradicate attachment to the realms of subtle forms. (7) Eradicate attachments to the formless realms. Sainthood (Arahant) (8) Subdue restlessness of the mind. (9) Annihilate ego-conceit. (10) Destruction of ignorance.

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It is interesting to see that the above practice breaks down the path to sainthood into 4 stages. The best breakthrough is that of the StreamEnterer. He enters the stream when he transcends the physical, emotional and the mental bodies. The practice here is Vipassana: Insight meditation and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness with observance of the 5 precepts. Once he becomes a Stream-Enterer, he will be born at the most 7 more times. None of these births will be beneath a human. He may even achieve sainthood in one life. Note also that the 2nd and 3rd stages are solely to eradicate craving and hatred. Lastly, in the penultimate stage, he still has restlessness and ego-conceit. This conceit is due purely to the fact that he still considers himself separate because of his accomplishment as a NonReturner. This last vestige of separateness will be sloughed off after he realises that he is merely a ripple on the surface of the ocean (removal of ignorance). The suggestion here is that when the modern ‘enlightened’ gurus announce that they are enlightened, they may only have become StreamEnterers, and not yet fully enlightened saints. Indeed to become a StreamEnterer is already a wonderful break through. Another reason for this belief is that some of these jnanis are still addicted to cigar smoking, alcohol or sex. A few of them still have their anger, although they do not carry over their anger to the next minute. These traits do not conform to the Theravada’s idea of sainthood, which must be absolutely free of craving and hatred. Lastly, a few of the modern jnanis also like to maintain a guru-disciple relationship, although they do not profess it. This is egoconceit, which should be eradicated in a saint.

Zen Buddhism
There are two varieties of Zen Buddhism. The first is Rinzai Zen. This type uses a Koan, which is a riddle that cannot be solved by the rational mind. The practitioner after many months or years trying to solve it comes to the end of its tether and becomes almost insane. He is like a man out of his mind, completely gives up and drops down in exhaustion. In this total surrender he becomes no-mind, and in a flash he realises his first satori. This is like throwing the baby out with the basin of water. The second type is Soto Zen. This variety is almost like Theravada Buddhism practising sitting meditation alternating with walking medita-

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tion. The last stage in this type of Zen is Shikantaza meditation. (See the essay on Meditation on Emptiness). This method is highly recommended. It consists of not looking at any thoughts, while sitting. Merely let the thoughts plough through the mind without holding on to any of them. Do not apprehend any pictures and do not listen to any mental chatter. This is like standing at the roadside watching the cars wheeze by and not looking at any car or the contents of the cars. Neither does one listen to the noise of the road. At the end of the day, in the dead of the night, the traffic would stop, and there will be no more cars or noise. This is the state when thoughts and mental chatter die down, and the meditator is left with emptiness of thoughts and silence. This emptiness is not a suppression of thoughts, but a natural arrival to stillness and silence of the true Self--Being. This is returning to the Source of the Unmanifested. In order to manifest individuality it has to reverse the process back to the individual mind when the whole world also comes into being.

Self- Enquiry
Sri Ramana Maharshi (1896-1950) has been the greatest advocate of this practice. This is not a meditation, but a constant enquiry as to who is the one behind the psychophysical complex. His famous question is ‘Who am I?’ While doing one’s daily chores continue to hold on the feeling of ‘I’ or ‘I am’. At the beginning one may have to sit quietly to initiate this practice. If thoughts drag one away from this ‘I’-thought, bring it back to the ‘I’-thought. It helps if one is practising Vipassana at the same time, where a watcher is established. The watcher is the thinker. Do not follow the thoughts, but keep on returning to the thinker or watcher. Continue to come back to the ‘I’, the watcher. To him this is the most direct way to lead one to the true Self. This method may not directly bring one to the Self, but at least it brings one near to it. At the beginning of the practice, it is a mental perception or a thought. As the practice progresses, one starts to feel the ‘I’ in the body. The attention here is to the feeling of the inner body, as described above in the section of going into the inner body. Continuing in this manner, the feeling will dissociate from thoughts. If the attention is kept to the feeling, thoughts will cease to arise, and temporarily, the individual disappears. At this juncture, one cannot use effort any more as the individual is not present. The progress is now automatic. Then the feeling of the inner body or subtle bodies (auras) will deepen spontaneously to settle down into Being. The practitioner has now

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reached the source, which is Being. When this happens, the practitioner rests with his Being. Being is the source of the I-thought. This is not enlightenment yet, as thoughts will continue to intermittently arise to distract one. At this level of progress, the individual is no more present and thus no more effort is necessary. Although the practice tends to be automatic at this stage, the old mental conditioning of the ‘I’- thought still arises every now and then. Self-realisation can only be established when the ‘I’-thought with its mental tendencies is totally destroyed for good. When this occurs, the thinking mind of the ego is completely eradicated, and the individual can then be pronounced enlightened. From the above description, it can seen that there is period of transition between an ajnani (unenlightened) to a jnani. That means a period of oscillation between Being and ‘I’-thought continues for some time before full enlightenment. Although it looks simple, it is indeed very arduous as it has to be practised almost every available minute of the day. This practice is not a meditation of any kind. In fact, Sri Ramana remarked: Do not meditate----be! Do not think that you are----be! Don’t think about being----you are!’ The last practice to be discussed here is surrender.

Surrender
General Considerations Sri Ramana said: 'One must completely surrender all responsibility for one’s life to God or the Self. For such self-surrender to be effective one must have no will or desire of one’s own and one must be completely free of the idea that there is an individual person who is capable of acting independently of God.' The difficulty in surrendering to God is that in most religions, God exists as the superpower to whom we dedicate our lives. This practice in duality is very tough, as bargaining and negotiations would surreptitiously intrude into the devotee’s mind. The author prefers to use G-plan in this practice. a) Knowing that your G-plan is constructed by you, you must yield to your G-plan as it unfolds. The other appropriate phrases are ‘flow with

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your Tao’ and ‘thy will be done’. In this context, once you have surrendered there should not be any expectation of anything happening in your favour. Questions like ‘when will my suffering end?’ and ‘will I now be enlightened sooner?’ have no more meaning to the total surrender. In this practice, one merely waits without waiting with no expectations. Your G-plan would even determine the type of meal you are going to have tonight. b) That means it is useless to worry over anything at all. So do not be anxious and do not worry. c) So understanding the above, accept everything that comes your way. Do not desist or resist. d) Forgive yourself and the other who caused the trouble. Truly forgive and not just using lip service. e) Finally, totally and completely surrender with no conditions and no bargaining. This surrender must be undertaken with a positive mind, and not ‘I don’t care anymore’ attitude.

Specific situations
Having accepted the flow of the Tao, one must now see the problem of the moment and act accordingly without recriminations. Acting positively means no anger, frustrations or despair. The Taoist phrase ‘wu wei’ does not mean doing nothing. It means no inner resistance, but be alert to a plan of action. Take an example of an illness. If one is stricken with a heart attack, stroke or a cancer, how does one react? Initially the individual would panic and go into a hysterical fear and may even freeze. Take cancer. If one is told that one has cancer, the first thing is to remain calm and go into the inner body. Ask the physician as many questions as feasible regarding the cancer. Then when you are home, meditate more often and longer. Go into the Now or the present by constantly going into the inner body. Rally as much support as possible from spouse or friends and sit down to a comprehensive plan of attack of the cancer. At this point remember to surrender totally with a positive mind. With weakness after surgery and side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy most patients would not mind

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subjecting themselves to a form of surrender. However, there is usually some bargaining in these cases. In this instance then the surrender is not total. The surrender must be absolutely and completely total. Then there are situations of an abusive spouse or a dominating or a bullying boss. These are perennial problems, which are quite common. So how does one go about it? One can do one of 3 things. The first is to walk away: that is to divorce the spouse or leave the job. The second is to withdraw into one’s Being by going into the inner body and becoming nonresistant. Then accept the situation, forgive and then finally, surrender. The third option is to completely surrender and then confront the other without recrimination, anger, despair or fear. Remain cool and calm while discussing the problem with the adversary. This third option may have to be repeated many times before changes can be seen. All other crises and problems in life situations may be dealt with in a similar manner.

Recapitulation
Looking at the menu of methods described above there are many dishes that can be tasted and tried to bring one to the edge of the river. However, there are also other disciplines, which are not mentioned. For instance, the Way in Taoism, Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism (especially Dzogchen) and Western Mysticism are all valid spiritual practices. However, the disciplines enumerated in this article can all be practised without any initiation and without a guru. They can be practised with or without a spiritual friend or guide. In order to facilitate one’s practice, there should be some pre-conditioning in one’s mental attitude. Try to exercise dispassion, detachment and desirelessness. One would have been wholly disenchanted before embarking on any of the above practices. If one succeeds to some extend in these 4 D’s, then there will be fewer thoughts to deal with. These abstinences should also help letting go of material assets, relationships and egotism. Of course the letting go will be gradual, but if one is practising correctly and persistently, the letting go will become self-generating at a later stage. The letting go will also make the dispassion, detachment and desirelessness much easier to carry out. Then this process will end with the yogin having no desire, no ill will, no pride and unselfish. All this will bring the practitioner to the edge with very few obstacles.

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So how does one go about it? Having the above mental attitude, start to meditate (formal sitting). Firstly try to use concentration to reduce the number of thoughts. Very quickly, embark on Insight (Vipassana) meditation. This should be the main practice until silence, stillness and emptiness of thoughts are obtained. Practice this for sometime, then carry on with Shikantaza. Outside of formal sitting, carry out mindfulness of every action moment to moment. One must do only one thing at a time. That means not reading and listening to music simultaneously. Not smoking, driving and listening to the news at the same time. While performing tasks, concentrate on the task at hand and do not think of the consequences of the task and do not let thoughts roam elsewhere. Additionally, one should try to go into the inner body to feel one’s auras as often as possible. Start with feeling the chi circulating throughout the body. The chi pulsates with the heart. Without thoughts let one’s consciousness move deeper into silence and stillness to visit one’s Being. This Presence will be felt with joy. Try and stay in Being as long as one is able to. Slowly and surely one will arrive at the edge of the river. Then wait. Wait for Grace to carry one over the river, but there should not be any anxiety about it. Wait without waiting. Now, come to the title of this essay. Are all spiritual practices useless? Of course not! If it is, then all spiritual practices of all religions in the past should not produce a single enlightened person. From historical facts this is not the case. Numerous saints and enlightened individuals erupted out of their arduous practices and disciplines. Wayne Teasdale in his book has written a comprehensive book (The Mystic Heart) on Saints and their spiritual practices. These include details of all practices of all religions. These practices have not gone to waste. Without their practices we would not know what enlightenment is all about. The reality is that every one of us is already enlightened, but only few of us know it. Only few have removed the veil to come to realise their true Self, whilst the rest of us are still covered by our ignorance. That means we have to try to unveil our ignorance by removing the deluding mind, and this unveiling constitutes spiritual practices. It is certain that those very few that encountered spontaneous enlightenment without a spiritual practice must have practised for many lives before.

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References
1) Eckart Tolle. The Power of Now. A Hodder Book. 1999. 2) Tony Parsons. The Open Secret. Open Secret Publishing. 1995. 3) Tony Parsons. As It Is. Open Secret Publishing. 2000. 4) Francis Lucille. Eternity Now. Truespeech Productions. 1996. 5) Sri Ramana Maharshi. Be As You Are. (Edited by David Godman). Arkana. 1985. 6) Wayne Teasdale. The Mystic Heart. New World Library. 1999.

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Milestones on the Spiritual Path to Enlightenment.
Actually there is no real teaching at all for you to chew on or squat over. But not believing in yourself, you pick up the baggage and go around to other people’s houses looking for Zen, looking for Tao, looking for mysteries, looking for awakenings, looking for Buddhas, looking for masters, looking for teachers. You think this is searching for the ultimate and you make this into your religion. But this is like running blindly. The more you run, the farther away you are. You just tire yourself, to what benefit at the end? Zen Master Foyan

Introduction
Before we embark on the subject, let us pause to consider what is the spiritual path? Spiritual is not religious. Spirituality is open to everybody irrespective of his or her religion and this includes those with no religion. Spirituality can be defined as a movement away from the external world and it is a journey in wards towards the soul. It is usually heralded by the ‘small little voice’ within us, whether we practice meditation or not. Quite often it is triggered by some tragic event or emotional trauma. Most times it is initiated by feelings of disillusionment. A person might have accomplished his life ambition as a musician or a surgeon. Or he might even have become a millionaire as a businessman. These successful individuals could very well be at the peak of their careers! And yet the ennui is there. These individuals usually would have passed their middle ages, say between 40 to 50 years. There must also be a lack of satisfaction with what they have achieved. ‘Is that all?’ is the usual question. Some may even end up with disgust. Beginning with disillusionment, disgust, disengagement, detachment, desireless and dispassion will follow if the individual embarks on a spiritual path. This article is to outline the course of events starting from the spiritual call to enlightenment.

When does one embark on the spiritual path?
Normally one does not think of these things until one has lived through adolescence and adulthood. Quite often the feeling of dissatisfaction

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comes only after one has achieved the peak of one’s profession or trade. A family would have been raised successfully, and every aspect of one’s life is in tiptop condition. But where is the paradise or heaven that has been promised? The reason for this disillusionment is because this is only the success of the personality but not the soul. The little small voice of the soul has not been heeded at all. To reach the soul one’s journey must be inwards. In some, the undercurrent of ‘dis-ease’ has always been there since adulthood, although there is no precipitating crisis to make it surface. A death of a very dear one can also bring our awareness towards the soul, and the question of ‘why am I here’ keeps on cropping up. The person himself might have been through an illness or a near-death experience. Having recovered from the harrowing episode, he questions the futility of one’s successful external life. All his achievements have not brought the promised ‘heaven on earth’. However, a near-fatal accident may shake up the complacency of the individual, as he discovers suddenly that life is indeed tenuous! A rather common precedence is through a bout of depression. Ramana Maharshi, Eckhart Tolle, Tolstoy and John Bunyan are some examples of depression sufferers before they embarked on the path. Count Leo Tolstoy had everything. He had fame, money and a wonderful family and yet there was only emptiness in his life. Then he did a U-turn, and became a simple peasant helping people that came his way daily. He serviced them and meditated everyday. He forsook all his courtly duties and station as a count. Then he found peace. Some people are luckier. The wakeup call comes in the form of a book or a lecture from a guru. Sometimes it is their love for a certain kind of music, e.g. Mahler, and the music seems to herald a call. Or their appreciation for art or nature may suddenly turn them on to a spiritual path. Falling in love with the right person, who is already on the path is one of the strongest motive or inducement to walk the path. But then, not all of us take heed of these numerous wakeup calls. We keep on saying that it is the wrong number and the call is not for us. The time is just not ripe for them. Some have survived a mortal illness plus a close call with a motor accident and yet they carry on merrily their usual ways of seeking money, fame and pleasures relentlessly. Only when a cancer

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strikes a person that he may ask the correct questions. Even then he might still continue to buy shares and properties till the last day of his life---for what purpose? We may read in the obituary everyday of friends and relatives who have passed away but the greatest wonder is that we do not believe that we may end up on that page one day. Normally, the calls are mostly not dramatic. It comes as boredom and ennui after all the successes and achievements of life: money, fame and family. There is no trumpet and fanfare. Neither is there any electrifying vision. Everything remains the same. Why is there no peace or satisfaction? Where is the bright light? The world remains as drab and as unexciting as before. What else is there? A common trigger for women is menopause. After menopause at midlife, there is no more necessity to serve the husband and the children. She is now able to seek spiritual nourishment. Although there is no external signal for male menopause, nevertheless it happens. Male menopause comes after midlife and the man becomes crotchety. After the initial period of irritation and impatience, he will mellow towards an androgynous state. He is willing to step down to a humbler and menial job. He enjoys the grandchildren much more than his own children when they were young. Then when the menopausal spouse wants to venture into spiritual paths he is quite amenable. He may even follow suit. Sometimes dreams or recurrent dreams may be the importuning wakeup call from the soul. Some of these dreams are too vivid to forget especially when the recipient is ripe for the plucking. Looking at all the above calling cards, the most dramatic and cogent one is great pain and suffering, as in mental depression. Occasionally the depression can even initiate a suicidal attempt, at which time a sudden and inexplicable U-turn happens. So where do we go from here?

How to look for a Spiritual Path?
Normally a strident call would also provide a ready made path, e.g. after listening to a very charismatic teacher on spirituality. If one is an agnostic, one tends to follow that teacher’s lineage or discipline. If he is a Zen Roshi, then the novitiate will become a Zen Buddhist. This practice is very common in the 60’s and 70’s, especially amongst the Americans, English and Europeans. These seekers may spend years in the Far East. They

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shave their heads to become Buddhist monks and Hindu Swamis. After ten to twenty years, they would have had enough and they disrobe to return to their own countries either to teach or to further practise. A few would have stayed behind in the East. Most of those that returned home and disrobed find that the practice in the East is not practicable at home. Thence there will be modifications of the eastern religions to fit the western style of living. However, pitfalls abound these fusion religious communities. This is so because the strict ethics of the eastern religion is often dissolved in the western free society. So new spiritual paths will evolve with these modified eastern teachings. Some of the seekers who have left their own religion when young may join the new eastern religions to become ardent devotees. Some of them who were disenchanted with their own religion when young may go back to their own religion and start anew. They are born again. This time they appreciate the old religion with new pairs of eyes. From this renewal they study the bible avidly and even begin to give bible lessons themselves. Finally, there are those, who have disavowed the standard established religions, will roam about to find a new age teacher who does not follow any traditional religion. These are the ones that advocate DIY (do it yourself) spirituality. If these gurus are charismatic the following could be explosive. If these foreign gurus are not enlightened and they come just for ego trips or more likely for monetary gains, then the crowd will peter out eventually. The seeker must be discerning. At this juncture it may be prudent to enumerate the type of gurus we should avoid: 1) One that declares that he is enlightened. 2) One who says that he is the only teacher who can lead you to enlightenment or to make you enlighten in a set number of months or years. 3) One who issues certificates to students to validate their stage of enlightenment. 4) One who exhibits supernatural powers flagrantly like materialising ash, trinkets etc. 5) One who charges a great deal for their initiations and lessons.

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6) One who dresses in a far-flung fashion to attract crowds. 7) One who sleeps with his disciples. 8) One who drinks, smokes and takes drugs. 9) One who teaches only to select few on the grounds of status or finances. 10) One who does not charge, but urges you to donate generously to his temple or ashram or church. Or he may over charge you for some spiritual remedy or protection. 11) Be wary of teachers who propagate abstruse theories of no-concept, no-method, no-path, and no-technique. These teachings appear highly impressive and abstract, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. How does one practise with no rules, no methods and no teachings? 12) Be wary of spiritual groups that compete for power in the hierarchy of the organisation. Most of the organisers are in their twenties and thirties and they are there for power and not for spirituality. 13) Be wary of organisations that put the safety of their members in jeopardy: like rock climbing or walking in busy streets in a city waving their hands madly or insists on forms of asceticism that break down the health of the devotees.

Do we need to go the mountains?
The answer is a categorical ‘NO’. In fact there is also no necessity to stay in a temple or ashram. There is no benefit in shaving your heads to be monks or priests. It is romantic and adventurous to go into the forests or to climb mountains, for this change of scenery is like going to a picnic. To be spiritual is a commitment to an inward journey towards enlightenment, and this journey is not an external one. Our every day problems are the curriculum of the class. Our textbooks are the spiritual books written by teachers who have been through the mill: you have to be discerning here, as there is a lot of rubbish in the bookshops. You merely have to attend

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lectures or courses given by local or foreign teachers: the guidelines here is that the less they charge the better they will be. Better still if it is free. Resign from all committees including the religious or spiritual ones. Do not be entangled by ego trips. Start practising with your own family, friends and work mates. Find a teacher that does not need a translator, as you will be learning from the translator and not the teacher. Follow a teacher that teaches a simple technique of meditation. It does not have to be a specific religion. There should not be any pressure to get you initiated or converted to a religion. Feel comfortable with the organisation. The tempo and procedures should be leisurely and calming. Try to estimate the wisdom and sincerity of the teacher. Sincerity and humility are the best qualities to look for in a teacher.

The Spiritual Path itself
The path could be easy or very difficult depending on the individual’s history and character and the path he has chosen. At this stage it should be mainly an inner journey as well as letting go of outer commitments. The most important thing is the desire to transform oneself. Some take it as a struggle, but others deem as a breeze. The conversion must be of both the heart and the mind. The inner journey must begin with understanding and awareness fortified by some form of contemplation and silence. The outer path must start with the will to persistently walk that spiritual road reinforced by ethics. The composite journey is like peeling an onion shedding tears all the way, until one finds that there is only emptiness in the centre of the onion. Eventually one ends up by completely letting go. For the uninitiated it may help to lay down a few guidelines: 1) 2) 3) 4) Start with a belief and ending with a faith. Purification. Contemplation and silence. Service.

Belief
One must start with a belief that the path one is embarking will finally transform one. Hopefully the belief will become a faith. At the end of this journey faith may transform into Grace. The arrival of Grace is beyond anybody’s control. Grace does not depend on how much effort one has put in currently. It must also take into account one’s spiritual

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development in previous lives. Grace may come to some one who hardly practises at all in this life. Another person may try very hard throughout this life and he gets nowhere, but his efforts will be accredited to the next life. One should believe that steps 2, 3, and 4 would do the transformation. That means that this inner belief should be supported by outer effort, will and determination. The culmination of this exercise is the ability to let go. The outer effort is purely to reinforce the inward journey.

Purification
This principle is the most emphasised in all religions. This is because if one is to proceed on to any form of contemplation, one’s unethical acts and immorality could pose as obstacles in one’s attempt at contemplation. There is no prudery here. It is merely a practical erasure of one’s guilt and conscience for one’s contemplation or meditation. All forms of contemplation should finally end up with one’s union with the soul or God or the Void. Impure acts and immorality are like boulders, nails and potholes on the path. The general principle here is that the practitioner should not hurt any one else physically, emotionally and mentally on this journey. The Ten Commandments of Christianity, the Hindu Yamas and Niyamas, and the precepts of Buddhism are there as guidelines. All other religions have similar edicts. If one is able to obey the commandments or follow the precepts, one feels much lighter. The following are goals in the process of purification: Forgiveness: The main step is to forgive. Forgive oneself first, then the others. Utmost sincerity in the forgiving is mandatory. Simplicity: Then one should move on to simplicity. In Christian terms it means poverty. All monastic life should be a simple one. In a religious institution, materialism and power distract the most. These distracting influences are eradicated by simplicity. It also makes us pay more attention to what is essential and real in the spiritual path. In meditation, simplicity will create fewer thoughts. Chuang Tzu said: “ The man of Tao remains unknown. Perfect virtue produces nothing. ‘No-Self ‘ is ‘True-Self.’ And the greatest man is “Nobody.” Humility: Pride is spiritual materialism. Humility is the antidote to pride. There is no way that a proud man can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only a child can enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because he is endowed with

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these qualities of humility, simplicity and innocence. A proud man always deems himself superior to others. That is why it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich or proud man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The spiritual path is to humble oneself until there is no difference between oneself and others. In fact until one is ‘Nobody’. Non-craving and non-desire: When we crave and desire we want something. This wanting is opposite to simplicity and humility. Buddha said ‘Craving is the cause of suffering’. The spiritual path is mainly to get rid of suffering. It is the disgust of the mundane life that brings us to this path in the first place. That means we must practise the 5 D’s: desirelessness, detachment, dis-entanglement, dis-enchantment, and dispassion. This is Buddha’s method of getting rid of suffering and consequently no more rebirth. The letting go should lead us to charity and altruism. Love: This commodity is to counter ill will, anger and hatred. There are 3 types of love: erotic, brotherly and unconditional (divine). We may start with the first two, but we must end with unconditional love. Ill will quite often is the result of failure to achieve our desire, which is also an obstacle to simplicity and humility. When our pride is hurt, we get angry. When we are continually hurt we turn to hatred. All these negative traits cannot arise if our nature is filled with love. Selflessness: This quality erases selfishness, self-centredness and selfrighteousness. Selfless service with compassion means always thinking of other people first. It is a trait that evolves with practice: the more you serve, the more selfless you become.

Contemplation and silence
Under this heading, we have contemplation, meditation, prayer and movements leading to quietism. Contemplation essentially includes most of the Christian practices, e.g. lectio divina of the Catholic Church, active and passive contemplation of the other Christian mystic traditions, and Centering Prayer of Thomas Keating. We will not go into these specialised contemplation techniques due to lack of space.

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Meditation: There are as many types of meditation as religions. There are Christian, Zen, Theravada, Tibetan Buddhist, Transcendental meditations and many others. The author is partial to Buddhist meditations as these are the most structured. In the Theravada tradition, there is Samatha (concentration) and Vipassana (insight). After accomplishing Vipassana, one may move on to Shikantaza practice, which is the final stage of Soto Zen meditation. Read my essays written on these subjects. Shikantaza is found in my essay on ‘Meditation in Emptiness’. Therefore, no meditation technique will be described here. Just remember that all meditations in the world fall into two categories: concentration and awareness. Meditations in action----movements towards achieving quietism Then there are meditations in action, which include yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Dervish dancing, Subud Latihan and martial arts. Vipassana also includes awareness of every action outside of formal sitting, which is fully described in Buddha’s The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Lastly mass, liturgy and other congressional prayer and singing of hymns and bhajans can trigger deepening of consciousness, but this is a rare event. The aim of all forms of meditation and contemplation is to empty the mind of any thoughts leading to the Void, which is the essence of our true Self. The Void is very deep and one can continue downwards for many layers in the maturing of one’s enlightenment.

Service
“What we do for one, we do for many.” “ When we serve others, we serve ourselves.” These statements are never truer. When a situation arises for us to help someone it is an opportunity given to us. Never let it pass. Service must be done because of our compassionate love to others, whoever they maybe. It must be our instinctive response to the suffering of others. We must be altruistically available all the time within the limits of our capability. We must not assume a job for which we are not equipped. We must serve with the utmost humility without condescension. The empathy must be there even though the sufferers are strangers. It is easy to help our own kin and friends, but we must succour our enemies with the same fervour. You may say that it is a tall order. Otherwise one’s help is not universal. If you serve for a fee or for status it is not pure. You must serve because it is your second nature: ‘love thy neighbour as thyself ’ is truly very difficult to practise.

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You can serve with material things like food, clothing and lodging. You can serve with emotional support, love and care. You can serve with wise advice and teaching. You can also serve by just being there. You can merely sit and listen to the anguish and pain of the victim. Provide warmth to the victim and elevate the suffering spirit. In selfless service, we do not look for good results or expect commendation. We come in to help because a need has arisen. It is only with much experience and education that we learn how to serve with humility. There should not be an attitude of a well endowed helping a down and out. There is only serving with no server and no one is being served. The best type of service is to instruct dharma to those who have ears to hear. The instructors need not necessarily be teachers, priests or monks. They can be friends, relatives or even enemies. Indirectly one may utilise animals, nature or books to instruct. This excellent service of giving dharma must have the result of letting go. Children can also teach parents and they usually do. The above arms of the spiritual path are well exemplified by the Hindu tradition of the four paths (margas) of awareness. They are jnana yoga, bakti yoga, karma yoga and raja yoga. The word yoga means to yoke one’s soul to unite with the Godhead (Brahman). 1. Jnana yoga is intellectually learning about the true Self. Using mental analysis, he strips away what is not self: body, emotions and mind and their offshoots are all not the true Self. With simple meditation he is able to see that feelings, thoughts and sensations are all false. Then with prolonged effort he becomes a jnani. The accent here is not deep meditation but prolonged analytical contemplation. 2. Bakti yoga is the path of pure devotion to God. He spends his whole life totally devoted to looking after the temple or a guru and singing bhajans for long periods. He may travel to a site where a deity has been visualised or to a shrine of Krishna. This total dedication and devotion to God or guru has similarities in Christianity. 3. Karma yoga is selfless service to God or others as described in the sec-

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tion on service. This compassionate service has no doer. No credit is expected. There is no merit involved. It is selfless service performed by nobody. 4. Raja yoga is the practice of intense and persistent deep meditation. It must also include jnana yoga, as knowledge of the map of the path is essential. The accent here is deep and profound concentration, but finally the practice of awareness must be embarked upon. It is in this practice that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the Void. A consummate Hindu practitioner would have to cover all four margas, but essentially specialising in only one. For a serious seeker, he would discover that he has to transcend all the superficial and ritualistic practices of the traditional religions. Religions are there for the majority, but only a few could master the intricacies and intensity of deep meditation of a mystic. In other words, these ‘postgraduates’ have to become mystics of their faiths, e.g. Sufism for Islam, Kabbalah for Judaism, Buddhist Mysticism and Christian Mysticism.

Milestones on the Spiritual Path
Roberto Assagioli describes a breakthrough on the spiritual path as: “A harmonious inner awakening is characterised by a sense of joy and mental illumination that brings with it an insight into the meaning and purpose of life; it dispels many doubts, offers the solution of many problems, and gives an inner source of security. At the same time, there wells up a realisation that life is one, and an outpouring of love flows through the awakening individual toward his fellow beings and the whole of creation. The former personality, with its sharp edges and disagreeable traits, seems to have receded into the background, and a new loving and loveable individual smiles at us and the whole world, eager to be kind, to serve, and to share his newly acquired spiritual riches, the abundance of which seems to him almost too much to contain. Such a state of exalted joy may last for varying periods, but it is bound to cease. The inflow of light and love is rhythmical, as is everything in the universe. After a while it diminishes or ceases, and the flood is followed by the ebb.” This particular breakthrough applies to all that have the good fortune to

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experience it. To most of the recipients, this may be the first and only one. To those on the path for a long time, they may be repeated until the individual is transformed. To those who have been spiritually struggling all their lives this mystical state of awakening will also wane, but the memory remains with them for the rest of their lives. The awakening can come gradually to some, but it also can break out in an explosive manner with others. It can come to ardent truth seekers, but it also can arise suddenly to those who never practise at all! This act of Grace in conversion is most enigmatic and unpredictable. Some have struggled all their lives and never had a glimpse of it and after several decades of practice the ordinariness of life is recognised as the ‘fruit’. It does seem unfair to the long-suffering truth-seeker not to have any breakthroughs, and yet breakthroughs come to non-seekers. But we forget that the non-seekers might have practised hard and long in their previous lives. These old souls are merely enjoying the fruits of their previous paths. Some of these breakthroughs appear to be of the same quality to those who practise and to those who do not. Majority of those in the latter category does not have lasting benefit from these experiences. These psychic or mystical occurrences are usually more startling in nature in these non-practitioners. Some of the recipients are not on the path and so they have not the faintest clue what hit them. These are signs that life does not consists of only the material things that we can see and feel. Then there are also true signposts, which herald the stages of progress on the spiritual path. These latter signposts are of permanent value, and they seem to clock in the mileage of spiritual progress, but there is no definite timing and sequence to their appearances. So let us visit some of the ubiquitous phenomena which are not cast in stone. These may be by-products of true spiritual progress.

Ubiquitous siddhis which anybody may enjoy
Siddhis These are psychic or mystical phenomena, which may or may not be permanent. Mostly they are transient. The psychic ones are of the paranormal variety: telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and apportation with poltergeist effects, prophecy and cosmic healing. Divine ear and divine sight are the other rare phenomena. These qualities have no bearing on the spiritual maturity of the individual. Those who have successfully attained some steps up the spiritual ladder may enjoy some of these psychic abilities as by-products. These by-products are not what were sought. With the non-seekers, these qualities are usually not permanent.

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They come and go ad random. The more the recipients feel elated with these psychic abilities the more elusive are these traits. These instances of precognition are pure flukes. It can never be repeated at will. Each time the precognition episode happens, the mind is relatively empty. It is not crowded with thoughts or worries. Conversely, it does not mean that every time one experiences emptiness in meditation, a precognitive message will turn up.

Peak Experience
The next group of phenomena comes under the heading of peak experience. This term is coined by Dr. Abraham Maslow who said: “A peak experience is, to a degree, absolute. Emotional reactions in a peak experience have a quality that can be characterised as awe, reverence and humility. In a mystical/philosophical peak experience, the world is seen united into a total entity; in the love or aesthetic peak experience, the experience itself is given the quality of the complete world. Fears, anxieties, and inhibitions are momentarily replaced by fulfilment, individuation, and great maturity.” Peak experiences are our healthiest moments, clear, free and unencumbered, living at our optimum potential. They can come at intense emotional moments like child bearing or having passionate sex, or during meditation, in a quiet countryside or wandering in native jungle. People experiencing it tend to lose track of time and space. However these are not considered to be true spiritual breakthroughs. They may or may not have lasting value. If they are the preliminary of an actual breakthrough, then they are significant and maybe the first of a recurring phenomena--mini-satoris. Other peak experiences are like skiing rapidly down a snowclad mountain or racing a car at 300 kilometres per hour. There are also ‘mystical’ experiences as follows: Suddenly, one finds oneself in very peaceful and tranquil environment during an ordinary moment; whatever object one sees is lighted up; there is a distinct feeling that one is facing God but without a face. Quite often the person zooms out of his own ego and there is ‘nobody home’. Peak experiences maybe the starting point for the genuine breakthroughs to follow. Majority, however, are merely peak experiences, which are not repeated and later on to be forgotten. All peak experiences are pleasurable and should not be taken as a true sign of spiritual attainment. The episode could mislead the recipient that he has ‘arrived!’ Some of these peak experiences are mere lifting of the veil for us to have a peek at the other side. It is an encouragement to those on the

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spiritual path. To those who are not, they give them a false boost to their ego-spiritual status. Taking psychedelic drugs is one good example. One gets high with it and a brief vision of the other side is witnessed, but it is not sustainable unless one takes another dose and another. At the end of which one becomes a junkie!

Real Signposts on the road to enlightenment
What about the real breakthrough episodes? These normally follow many years of struggle on the path. Although they are true signposts, some of these occur to those who are non-practitioners or to early truth-seekers, and these breakthroughs may be squandered. After some time they are forgotten. If the unveiling of realty happens to some one who has been arduously struggling on the path, then the episode is received gratuitously. Comparing these real ones with the spurious ones, it is like comparing the real person with his photograph. These real breakthroughs have the concreteness to the extent that they appear more real than life itself. One common example is Light. The entire environment is lit up, even though it is night. There is no sense of time or space. Sometimes there is a feeling of no past, or future: everything is in the now. The peace, tranquillity and calmness are immeasurable: one could happily die at this moment. With increased consciousness, there is sensation of bliss and joy. There are no worries or anxieties in the individual. Quite often after the event, the perception of the world is totally different. There are no words to describe the beauty of the world: every leaf, every insect and even the dung in the streets are exquisite and alive. Nothing is dead. Some of them see themselves as whatever they see: they are the road, the trees or the dog or the lamppost. In other words, they are part of everything. Some may see the cosmic dance in the form of energy and particles of prana. They gyrate and move in waves like ballet dancers colliding and disappearing in moments. Their own body molecules also partake in this Dance of Shiva. Music and art may also bring about these moments of ecstasy when the picture comes alive and the music brings tears of choked emotions to the listener. The lasting effects would be from thence onwards. One now sees with different eyes and hears music with enlightening ears. It is never the same as before. Some would suddenly be filled with love and compassion for no reason. This

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infinite power of love would extend even to enemies. Compassion is for everyone who is sick and poor in this whole wide world. Empathy is another quality that is engrafted in the person’s character. Empathy is the power of projecting one’s personality to the other, who is suffering. When totally extended it also means to suffer the pain of the sufferer. In others, they cry and laugh at the same time. These crying and laughing episodes may last for hours, after which they normally subside. After this kensho, much more work has yet to be done otherwise it is wasted. Most of the above occurrences are transient. They do not last, but in a few their characters are transformed forever. In some (those on the path), they are repeated over and over again until they are fully enlightened. These mini-satoris would finally culminate in a maha-satori (great enlightenment). To those who have been working on their path for a long time, these occurrences are not world shaking to them. They occur just as blips on their ascending paths. To some, looking at a countryside scene initiates a sudden realisation that there is a reason to everything existing. His soul is part of everything existing: no questions are necessary. But what is the structure of this spiritual rationale is not important and this expanded consciousness will have a lasting effect. It must also be remembered that true and ardent seekers may not experience these phenomena or psychic experiences, but their characters are transformed all the same.

The Dark Night of the Soul
Not all breakthroughs are pleasurable. Some are visions of death. Some are reminders that we have not let go enough. The best known of these is described by St. John of the Cross as ‘The Dark of the Soul’. At this point the seeker is desultory, dispassionate and depressed. There is no interest in life whatsoever. There is only sadness throughout the days. The good thing about this syndrome is that it may be the penultimate stage before enlightenment. This syndrome will be elaborated in another essay.

Divine Consciousness and Unity
With the advanced seekers, who have been practising for decades, their breakthrough visions may have a higher quality. They may be vision of

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angels and spirits. They may feel or ‘see’ God. This is the state of Divine Consciousness. Inevitably and finally they will travel inwards into themselves to join up with God. Once union with God is accomplished they have achieved Unity. So from Cosmic Consciousness they upgrade themselves to Divine Consciousness and finally ending in Unity.

The Void
Unity is the experience of joining with God, but at this final stage there is no experiencer. There is only the experience. And that is why these experiences are ineffable: no words can explain the experience. The Void means there is no God, no self and no experience eventually. The second the individual is united with God, there is no more individuality. This state is very well characterised by the Void of the Zen Buddhist: “All things are characterised with emptiness: they are not born, they are not annihilated; they are not tainted, they are not immaculate; they do not increase, they do not decrease. In emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no thought, no confection, no consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no form, sound, colour taste, touch, objects; no element of vision, till we come to no element of consciousness; there is no knowledge, no ignorance, till we come to no old age and death, no extinction of old and death; there is no suffering, no accumulation, no annihilation, no path; there is no knowledge, no attainment, and no realisation, because there is no attainment. In the mind of the Bodhisattva who dwells depending on deep meditation there are no obstacles; and, going beyond the perverted views, he reaches final Nirvana. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future, depending on the deep meditation used, attained to the highest perfect enlightenment.” (Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism) In Nirvana, the emptiness is absolute: there is no form, sensations or even consciousness. There is also no creation or dissolution. This is equivalent to the Vedantist’s deepest meditation of unconscious samadhi or meditation without seed. Associating features of a genuine breakthrough One can see now the path to awakening is not one single road. It is composed of many roads with side lanes and many ups and downs into valleys and

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hills. One can easily get lost on the way, which gets very treacherous in parts. Whatever it is, there is always one of these associating features in the breakthroughs: a) expansion of consciousness b) a temporary loss of the limitations of the self and c) an infusion of timelessness, divinity, knowledge, joy, peace, light and creativity. Light is a special subject on the spiritual path. So let us discuss it a bit more.

Light
Light almost always signifies spiritual effluence. The haloes and white light surrounding saints and prophets mean that they are either enlightened or they have reached the Kingdom of Heaven: e.g. Buddha and Jesus. Not only are they surrounded by light, they themselves irradiate luminescence. Dr. Richard Bucke (author of ‘Cosmic Consciousness’) found himself engulfed by a flame colour cloud, which actually is his own effulgence. It was accompanied by exultation, joyousness and intellectual illumination. With others, light can also be seen in all the objects present or in the entire room or landscape. The objects may also be seen with shimmering outlines at their peripheries. The light may be white, green, blue, red or violet, in fact all the colours of the rainbow. Although ghosts are quite often seen in white, some appear as balls of green. Balls of white are also interpreted as from the spiritual dimension. Most times, these bright lights are accompanied by peace and joy to the viewer. To some a deep understanding of the complex universe comes with it. To others it represents God. Occasionally, a sense of timelessness and joy accompanies the appearance of the light. This light is the same white light at the end of the tunnel in Near-Death Experience. To the percipient, it is like opening of the third eye. To the mystics, it is the lifting of the veil to have a preview of the other world. The episode is invariably transient. In experienced meditators, the closing of the eyes quite often is accompanied by light behind the eyelids. This is the light of the inner eye. And at times this inner light comes as a ball of white light. In such cases, the meditation room is seen to be brighter when the eyes

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are opened after meditation. This somewhat brighter room is still the effects of the inner eye. However, when the room is seen to be very bright with or without meditation this is the light of the outer eye. It is the flooding of the room by the divine. This is shifting of consciousness of the individual. Most times, only the solitary percipient can see the light, but very occasionally every body in the room can see that the entire room is filled with effulgent, bright light and the effect is heavenly with everybody kneeling down for thanks giving. In cosmic healing, very occasionally shafts of white light can be seen directed at the patient, while the healing is in process. No matter how one interprets light in the above examples, it signifies the lifting of the veil allowing us to see the next higher realm.

Insights that arise when the veil is lifted
Many insights have been recorded in the literature and these include those received during near-death experiences (NDE). Only three such profound understanding will be highlighted here: 1) There is no such thing as time. Now is eternity. There is no past or future. Every incident in the whole world that has happened in the past or going to happen in the future is actually happening now. So Now is the only door to eternity. 2) Everything, every person, every animal and vegetable are interconnected. Nothing is excluded. This entire composite is God. That means everything visible or invisible is part of the Absolute, the Godhead. There is nothing outside this Absolute or Unity. 3) All the mysteries of the universe are instantly understood, but this noetic knowledge cannot be brought back to normal consciousness. It is ineffable. There are many others, but we shall not go into it.

Milestones of true spiritual progress
All the above experiences and phenomena are milestones on the map of spiritual paths. Most of them are transient experiences, and some are signposts of real spiritual progress. In order for these progressive stages to be

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engrafted onto the seeker, a transformation of the seeker’s character must take place. And this is translated into wisdom. This is seen in his altered behaviour, his ability to let go and his exhibition of love, compassion and service. So let us now elaborate a little on these consolidating features of someone who has been converted by breakthroughs. We will name these features as signposts.

Signposts: signs and symptoms of an awakened individual
The seeker who has ‘arrived’ will appear to the outsider as radiant and smiling. He is a fountain of youth. A spiritual person ages much less slowly than usual or even looks younger. The radiance around him is due to his inner light or aura shining through. He is always smiling and laughing because life is a cinch: he knows he can never die and nothing in life is important. In other words he has no problems. He has already let go of everything including his ego. He is dispassionate, detached, and desireless. Nothing awakens his desire or greed. He knows that he has to leave this world with all its materialism one day. He realises that to get angry is to hurt oneself. With his prowess at meditation, he remains cool, calm and collected. Not flustered and no panic, there is no stress in his life. Having realised that he is nothing special and he is actually part of everything else he has become selfless. Adding to this he also realises that the further he climbs the spiritual ladder, the healthier he becomes. Lately, the American doctors have found out this obvious fact: spiritual health equals physical health. As he progresses, he finds that he is backed up all the way by Cosmic Consciousness, deities and God. His aura or radiance will inevitably attract all and sundry. They crowd around him for no reason. He is never in a hurry. He does not need an audience or students. There is no intention to cause an impact and to keep a low profile is his motto. When one scrutinises him further these qualities will be discerned: Simplicity. Humility. Joy and happiness. Calm, cool and collected. A great sense of humour which is never at the expense of others.

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Shying away from publicity. He keeps his supernatural powers to himself, except in the case of healing. Selflessness manifests as service, which is non-discriminatory. Divine love, wisdom, compassion and empathy are embedded in his bones. There is no partiality to any religion. Every race, religion or cast is part of one family. There are no untouchables in his mind. The list can go on ad nauseam. As can be deducted from the above dissertation, the author does not advocate any particular religion. In fact with expanding consciousness he realises that all religions tend to prevent higher practice. At this level, all religions must be transcended by the yogin to move up. It also means that every path is unique to the individual. Therefore there are millions of paths, all of which are correct as long as one is not side tracked by powers, the occult and ritualistic practices. Practices like Kundalini yoga, Chi Kong and the sectarian esoteric disciplines must be practised with care, as psychosis is rather prevalent amongst these practices. The gurus of these disciplines must themselves have awakened. Never be in a hurry. One should take decades rather than weeks for the journey. After all one has many more lives to go!

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
This is a book written by Jack Kornfield describing the return to the market place after enlightenment. The Zen master has an apt koan, ‘Before enlightenment, you chop wood, after enlightenment, you also chop wood’. In other words, what does one do after all the beautiful excitement, ecstasy, light, joy and exultation? One returns back to normal life to find that the baby and pets still have to be fed. The laundry still has to be done. One still has to go office to earn a living. As the splendour wanes in the course of time, the memory tends to fade but never forgotten. Many times the return home will precipitate slip backs and downfalls due to old habits of behaviour. These painful periods are excruciating, because these fallbacks are unexpected after climbing up those mountain peaks many times.

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The Zen teaching is that after the maha-satori, one must still work hard at the spiritual path. One continues doing zazen until death. In the case of the Zen practitioners, there may be repeated kenshos until the final satori, after which they continue to work at the same pattern and the same pace of practice. However, the seeker with many kenshos may still slide back. One mistake and the benefit of years of practice is erased. The higher one is on the spiritual scale the smaller the margin of error and the steeper is the slide down. Having said all that, there will be much transformative change of character in most of those who have been practising for a long time. Some of the above sterling qualities would still be entrenched in them. It must be emphasised here that the old anger, craving, habits and samskaras are still with the ‘successful practitioner’, even after 30 years in the mountain. Once aroused, the emotional desire and anger may still arise. It is the innate characteristics of the hard ware that came with the individual’s birth. What was transformed in the path was the software of the personality. The feelings of the samskaras are still in tact. The best and most reassuring fruit is that the seeker becomes happier and joyful everyday until his letting go is total. Joy and compassion are now his second nature. With this progression, he is less likely to retrogress. He has totally surrendered to his Tao. He is truly a nobody using only his working (functional) mind. His thinking mind and self (ego) are totally eradicated. There is no enlightened person left: there is only enlightened activity.

References
1. Roberto Assagioli. Self-realisation and Psychological Disturbances, in Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof, eds. Spiritual Emergency. New York: Putnam, 1989. 2. R.M. Bucke. Cosmic Consciousness. New Hyde Park, NY; University Books, 1961. 3. J.M. Cohen and J-F Phipps. The Common Experience. Quest Books. 1992. 4. William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Collier Books. 1961.

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5. Jack Kornfield. After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. Rider. 2000 6. Harry R. Moody and David Carroll. The Five Stages of the Soul. Rider. 1998. 7. Abraham Maslow. Toward a Psychology of Being. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968. 8. Wayne Teasdale. The Mystic Heart. New World Library. 1999.

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Western Mysticism I - The Dark Night of the Soul.
"That the mind itself has a higher state of existence, beyond reason, a superconscious state, and that when the mind gets to that higher state, then this knowledge beyond reasoning comes. All the different steps in yoga are intended to bring us scientifically to the superconscious state of Samadhi… Just as unconscious work is beneath consciousness, so there is another work which is above consciousness, and which, also, is not accompanied with the feeling of egoism… There is no feeling of I, and yet the mind works, desireless, free from restlessness, objectless, bodiless. Then the truth shines in its full effulgence, and we know ourselves-----for Samadhi lies potential in us all---- for what we truly are, free, immortal, omnipotent, loosed from the finite, and its contrasts of good and evil altogether, and identical with the Atman or Universal Soul." Vivekananda Raja Yoga, London, 1896

Introduction
The word Mysticism has numerous meanings defined by various writers. There have been many mystics in the Christian church, which have always been viewed with suspicion. However, it was from some of the enlightened ones that a codified system of meditation (orison) had been established. It is more a state of feeling than knowledge. In this article we would like to define exactly what the word means. Of all the definitions that have been used so far, the one given by Evelyn Underhill is the best. She defines it as: Mysticism is the art of union with Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater or lesser degree; or who aims at and believes in such attainment. The first question that arises is ‘what is Reality?’ The second is ‘how does one unite?’ The question of uniting with God will be clear as this article unfolds. As for the word Reality, at this moment we will equate it approximately with God or Godhead, the Absolute, Truth. In approaching the Ultimate, the mystic will have to traverse through many terrain or steps upward to the Absolute (transcendence). Or he has to go inward into emptiness, which consists of numerous layers of emptiness (immanence). The mystic also experiences in these intervening steps

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mystical states. A high percentage of people do undergo some psychic states in their life times. So what constitutes a mystical state? There are four criteria that will qualify a state to be a mystical one: 1. Ineffability. No words or expression can describe the state of mind, which must be directly experienced, as no amount of description is adequate. 2. Noetic quality. There are illuminative revelations concerning knowledge and insights of truth, which the normal consciousness cannot fathom. These widespread pieces of information may not be brought back when the mystic returns to normal consciousness. 3. Transiency: The mystical state does not last. Rarely it can be sustained from a few minutes to one or two hours at most. After the state has faded, memory of it is not perfect. If the mystical state recurs it will be recognised as such. These discontinuous states will recur and recur until the final union with God is reached. This state should then be with the mystic until death. 4. Passivity: Once in the mystic state, the mystic’s will seems to be controlled by a superior force. The mystic then may be associated with a secondary or alternative personality, such as trance state, automatic writing or prophecy. These secondary phenomena may not be remembered and have no bearing on the maturing of the mystic’s inner life. In some, however, they are remembered and they also influence the life of the mystic between the times of their recurrences. The first and second criteria entitle the state to be called mystic. The third and fourth are less marked, but are usually found. When the mystic state conforms to the above criteria, most Christians feel that they have experienced a contact with God. Dr R.M. Bucke calls it Cosmic Consciousness about 100 years ago: “The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe. Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence------

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would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of moral sense, which is fully as striking, and more important than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.” The above preamble can be applied to all forms of mysticism. Generally, mysticism can be classified as eastern and western. As most of my previous spiritual articles are on eastern mysticism, this essay will be largely based on western mysticism. The eastern ones are a) Buddhism with their meditations on one-pointedness and insight meditation. b) Zen or Chan meditation culminating in Shikantaza. c) Hinduism’s raja yoga with Nirvikalpa Samadhi as the goal. d) Taoism with its multifarious spiritual practices in meditation, Chi Kung and tai chi etc. e) Sufism in Islam. f) Kabbalah in Judaism.

Western Mysticism
Nuns and monks in the Christian religion compose most of the literature on this subject. Roman Catholicism plays a dominant role in this topic. The more enlightened ones laid down a codified system of mystical theology. The basis of this system is ‘orison’, prayer or meditation, the methodical elevation of the soul towards God. There are many descriptions of the mystical paths towards the peak. The more popular ones are a) Mystic Way consisting of the three steps. b) St Teresa’s seven castles and c) Evelyn Underhill’s classification under five headings. The most convenient classification is Evelyn Underhill’s five headings, as follows: 1) The Awakening of the Self to cosmic consciousness of Divine Reality. 2) The Purification of the Self. 3) Illumination which includes many stages of contemplation. 4) The Dark Night of the Soul or Mystic Death (purification of the spirit). 5) Unitive Life: The Self is one with the Absolute.

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1. The Awakening of the Self
This is the true conversion, which is of a much higher plane than mere religious conversion. According to Starbuck it is primarily an unselfing. It is cosmic consciousness pressing on individual consciousness. Often it breaks in suddenly and becomes a great new revelation. The person emerges from his own smaller limited world into a much larger world of being. It is the most momentous alteration of consciousness in human experience. As Omraam Mihael Aivanhov aptly puts it: "So many people do not manage to find the meaning of life. They do not know that to find the meaning of life is to find an element that only the divine world can give us. And the divine world only gives it to those who over many years endeavour to reach it. Indeed the meaning of life is the reward for the patient, constant inner work a person has undertaken to do on himself. When they have reached a certain state of consciousness, they receive from Heaven an element that is extremely precious, like a drop of light that impregnates all the matter of their being. From that moment on, their life takes on a new dimension and intensity and they see everything with new clarity, as if they had been given the gift of knowing the reason for everything. And even death no longer frightens them, because this particle they have received from Heaven uncovers before them a world where there is no more danger or darkness, and they feel they are already travelling the infinite road of light." This momentous breakthrough is extremely intense as human experience goes. It is mostly abrupt, but rarely it may be gradual. The third variety is not a conversion as such, but a gradual and increasing lucidity intermittently accompanying the pain, misery of mind, and inward struggles towards the Way of Purgation. In this type of conversion, purgation goes hand in hand with it sliding into the third stage of Illumination. Here, there is already a slight swing of the pendulum between the superficial and cosmic consciousness. Preceded by long and dim struggles and restlessness, usually the conversion takes the form of a sudden and acute realisation of a magnificent reality of the cosmic world. Sometimes a sadness of the heart arises for no apparent reason. No words can describe this true awakening. The mists and veil of normal consciousness are swept away leaving the sharp outline of the Everlasting Hills. This imposition from without is sudden and has a supernatural feel about it. The conver-

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sion of St Paul on the way to Damascus is a good example: light, voice and ecstasy completely transforming his life. Quite often a Light, an Attraction and Power accompany the conversion. The light indicates the potential of belonging completely to God, the Attraction subduing the heart, which is delighted and the Power to resolve to carry out acts of service. De Sanctis put it another way: a sense of liberation and victory, a conviction of the nearness of God and a sentiment of love towards God. It is a sudden, intense and joyous perception of God immanent in the universe, of the divine beauty and unutterable power and splendour of the cosmic world and the promise of a new life. Some mystics like St. Francis of Assisi are given visions. He saw the Crucified Christ who said: ‘Francis, go, repair My house’. After this he found himself another man, giving untiring toll to repair the Church. Having been a lover of beauty, this man was transformed to begin associating with beggars, tending to lepers and performing acts of charity and selfhumiliation. Catherine of Genoa had another vision of Christ. She has been extremely wretched and has a strong hatred of herself when she went to confession. The sudden intuition of the Absolute was followed by an internal vision of Christ bearing the cross. During this same period, she was internally taught the whole practice of orison (prayer, meditation and contemplation). This divine Love increased the hatred even more, crying out, ‘O Love. No more sins! No more sins!’ An utterly new life began at this point. In 1347, Rulman Merswin, a retired businessman at 36 years was having a walking meditation in his garden in Strassburg. He swore to surrender his own will, person and goods to the service to God. Back came the reply of a light shining upon him and a voice of adorable sweetness. He felt as if he was lifted from the ground and carried around his garden several times. This new consciousness of the Divine compelled him to undertake acts of mortification. Merswin’s contemporary, Suso, an artist and embryonic ecclesiastic, had an ecstasy lasting between half to an hour. When he returned, he swooned to the ground, crying, “Oh, my God, where was I and where am I? Oh, my heart’s great joy, never shall my soul forget this hour”. He walked like a robot after that. His soul was full of marvels, heavenly lightnings repeatedly passed

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through his body. And it seemed that he walked on air. This foretaste of heaven initiated a chain of mystical development. Some of the post conversion mystical developments are: a) entering into a new world of existence, where all objects are glorified and beauty is seen in all material things. The woods sing heavenly music, and animals glow with enchantment. b) To Walt Whitman the glory is permanent, “light rare, untellable, lighting the very light.” c) This new mystical consciousness is viewing now the World of Becoming, after the sharp break with the old way of seeing things. d) Escaping from the limitation of the old conventional world, it has broken into an unlimited divine whole of another Reality. e) At that breakthrough he is not separate from the ‘One’. Summarising, the awakening breakthrough is the viewing of man’s spiritual consciousness usually in two directions of apprehending Reality: eternal and temporal, transcendent and immanent, absolute and dynamic aspects of Truth. This glimpse of God shows that He is both Being and Becoming, near and far: pairs of opposite which the developed mystical experience will carry up into a higher realms. Normally only one of the perception will manifest at the first breakthrough. The first is the splendour of the expansive, formless ineffable vision of the vague existence of the next world. The Godhead is seen as transcendent to, yet immanent in, the created universe. The reaction of the self is the awe and rapture of the impersonal glory of a transfigured world. To be a spectator of Reality is not enough. The awakened person must participate in this transcendent life. He is required to change his life in a costly and drastic fashion. From the above descriptions of the breakthroughs of the various people, they all conform to the four characteristics of the mystic state. Their knowledge of the things seen, heard and felt in the world of Reality possesses that noetic quality that was mostly ineffable. Memories are there, but describing in detail in words is not possible. The episodes are all of short duration (transiency), and whilst they are in the trance states they are powerless to use their own body-mind faculties (passivity).

2. Purgation or Purification of the Self
This new awakened person has to embark on a slow spiritual path of transcendence and of transformation of character in order to reach higher

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levels of consciousness of Reality. The path to union with God is to eradicate the false self and the false beliefs of this world. That means erasing evil, illusion and all imperfections of character, which are not in harmony with Reality. Having realised that our superficial consciousness is finite, we have to aspire to the infinite --- Reality. Although virtue is not specifically named, the acquisition of goodness must be made a perquisite to the spiritual marriage with God, the only Reality. That means purging of all ‘sins’ like lust, pride, sloth, anger, gluttony, envy and avarice. Humility, charity, selflessness, meekness and calmness should replace these seven ‘sins’. For purgation to be complete pain and suffering must be endured as a pleasure and not a chore. After the awakening, the return to normal life shows up the contrast between the clouded contours of our faulty life of perverse self-centredness and the sharp radiance of the Real. This realisation alone brings the mystic to look at his old world with contempt and all geared up to climb the mountain of transcendence. In this context he is prepared to suffer great tortures and pain. “Let me suffer or die” said St. Teresa. Whilst Suso ‘departed from outward things to go into true interior silence and bury himself in the desert of a ‘deep contrition’. The torment of contrition and acute consciousness of unworthiness is the first oscillation from the mystic pleasure back to the present state of pain. In order to orientate the mind to truth or turning the self from the unreal to the Real, one has to get rid of self love and to erase all interests of the surface consciousness. In other words, Purgation is self-simplification. Purgation is the cleansing of the part that is to remain and stripping of that part to be done with. 1) The Negative aspect is the purging away of the superfluous, unreal, and harmful things, which dissipate the precious energies of the self. This is the process of Detachment or Poverty. 2) The Positive aspect is the raising of the remaining permanent elements of character to the highest or purest state. This is Mortification, a deliberate recourse to painful experiences and difficult tasks.

Detachment
The Catholic Church spells out the essence of detachment as voluntary Poverty, which is the stripping and casting off of material and immaterial wealth, from all finite things. The next element is Chastity, which means the total cleansing of the soul of all personal desire. Lastly, Obedience is the

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abnegation of selfhood and the mortification of the will leading to a holy indifference to the flow of the Tao. This act of inward poverty leads us to destroy our selfhood, which in the past has individual desires and rights. Now the self is merely an insignificant drop of seawater in the ocean. “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” means detachment and purity (detachment of the heart) will lead to that humble spirit of obedience, which expresses detachment of the will. So these 3 aspects are manifestations of one thing --- Inward Poverty. In other words, God being pure Good can only merge with a pure soul. The mystic must deprive himself of all material things and fellow creatures, even though the latter are themselves pure. And yet after the Illumination stage, the mystic is encouraged to love ‘all creatures, which are in God, as God in all creatures.’ This is a corollary of “blessed are the pure in heart”. We can only truly enjoy the things that we neither possess nor desire. “That thou mayest have pleasure in everything, seek pleasure as nothing. That thou mayest possess all things, seek to possess nothing. In detachment the spirit finds quiet and repose, and it covets nothing. For as soon as it covets anything, it is immediately fatigued thereby.” It is lust, not love that poisons the relation between the self and the external world. This fatigues the soul. The division of ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ will colour the mind with cravings and fear of loss. We are truly slaves of our own property. We drag along with us a chain and not a treasure. In aspiring to the view of Reality, possessions cloud the view; claims, desires and attachments pose conflicts of interest in the mind. All these detract the mind from the silence and emptiness of contemplation. Actually, Poverty should be solely a mental rather than a material state. St John of the Cross says: “ The soul is not empty, so long as the desire for sensible things remains. But the absence of this desire for things produces emptiness and liberty of soul; even when there is an abundance of possessions.” Of course, this is easier said than done. This immediate answer to Antoinette Bourignan who asked God on what to do should be used as standard practice: “Forsake all earthly things. Separate thyself from the love of the creatures. Deny thyself.” The mystic then should be crying joyously, “I am nothing, I have nothing, I lack nothing!”

Mortification
This is part of purification. It is the positive side of it. The processes here are to erase the elements of the old character, which were subserving the

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needs and desires of the old self. The object here is to kill the attachments and self-interests of the former self. The new being must have its character built up to face the challenges of the transcendent self. In order to forge the new path, the old personality must be totally sublimated. This process must be repeated until the old habits and tendencies have faded and died. Mortification can only stop when the new self is wholly pursuing the challenges of transcendent life. The consequence of mortification is not death of the person, but death of the old attachments. There are many degrees of dying and there maybe many deaths per day, but there is also a joy after each death. The greater the death, the greater the resultant joy. All the physical and mental tortures are required to release the personality from its inclination to human pleasure and satisfaction. Once the self is completely emptied of these cravings, then the mortification can stop. All cravings of the senses must be killed or mortified. Not only must there be no thought of anything related to the flesh, there should also be no pleasure relating to mental fantasies of any kind, including ecclesiastic and political ambitions. The old person must also be purged of pride and prejudice, preferences and distaste and any form of selfhood. The desire for penance does not only ensure all forms of austerities and the most primitive of accommodation, but the slightest attempt at grooming is considered sacrilegious. The mystic must be always be willing to serve others rather than to attend to his own needs. Ownership of any property is out of the question. The new being must deem every person or creature as lovable and such unhealthy habit of kissing of lepers is encouraged. All forms of insects and animals are also part of God’s kingdom and nothing is too base. The last point is the actual process of physical torture. The olden days more so than now, numerous ways of crucifying one-self are thought out and experimented. Sleeping on a bed of nails and using instruments of torture are common place. The more pain these instruments incur, the more they are egged on for more torture. When the time for them to stop, they will be told abruptly through the spirit. These forms of self-torture and austerities are still quite commonly seen in India. One of them is to go about completely naked and eating of dead bodies at the funeral pyre. When all this is practised in solitude, some mystics may have glimpses of

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ecstatic visions near the end of the purgation period. In fact near this end stage, Purgation and Illumination already start to alternate or exist together --- the beginning of the swing of pendulum. This complementation of the light and dark sides confirms the mobile or unstable nature of the early mystic consciousness. It often sways between the extremes of pain and pleasure. The vision of bliss to despair from now onwards tends to dog the psychology of the mystic. In a rare case these oscillations are so prolonged that the mystic bypasses the Illumination stage and move onto the Dark Night of the Soul directly.

3. Illumination
After the prolong purging of the self, the mystic has arrived at the stage of Illumination, which is peculiar only to mystics. The consciousness can now visit and start a relationship with God intermittently (this is not union). The essence of illumination is the successful transfer of self-centredness to a God-centred world. Having completely disentangled himself from worldly attachments, he is now certain that God exists and is establishing a relationship with Him. The artist or poet may have also this intimation of God. But his is not in a progressive stage of endeavour, but a one-off situation when the artist or poet writes his masterpiece. The nonmystical artist can only communicate to the living in the form of art in this one dimension. But the mystic has succeeded in bridging the gap of simultaneity and succession: the creator and the created. The artist’s eyes have merely cleansed the doors of perception. The mystic’s illumination is not only endowed with light, life, love and joy, but is also supported by humility, surrender and charity. This stage is often mistaken for the final union. It is not. There is still the mystic and God, two separate entities. There are numerous attempts to present this state by artists, poets and composers as an equal to mystics and psychics. Sometimes it is not possible to distinguish them. In connection with this stage of illumination, the experiences may be characterised into 3 types: (1) Consciousness of the Absolute, which is not yet union with the divine. This is the betrothal and not marriage. (2) The illumined vision of the world. In Blake’s words “the doors of perception are cleansed: everything appears to man, as it is, infinite.”

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(3) Increasing powers of the intuitional self: (a) auditions, (b) speaking to God, (c) visions, and (d) automatic writing. These psychic phenomena increase the whole tenure and perspectives of the mystic’s life. This subject will be discussed in the next article. The first and second form of perception of the transcendent and the immanent are expanded by the mystic so that he can apprehend the World of Being and the World of Becoming all at once. The mystic normally progresses under one of these 3 forms. Often all forms are present, but one is always dominant. A. The Consciousness of the Absolute, or Sense of the Presence of God This consciousness is joyous and pleasurable. It is the most consistent feature of Illumination. The mystic is certain that he is going towards God. The happiness is not there throughout the whole period of Illumination because periods of purgation do still turn up now and then. This ‘sense of God’ is more real than all physical forms or other sensual feelings to the mystic. The mystic is so sure of his touching God that even though he is criticised by his peers or his experience is contrary to his religion he remains steadfast in his belief. This is the immanence of God in the soul of the mystic, as St. John says, “That He will dwell in the soul and He will make her perceive this presence.” This ‘immanental’ presence (of St Teresa) does not obstruct one’s normal duties in one’s daily routine. However in those artistic or unstable types this infusion of Absolute into the soul may render the individual into psychic and uncontrollable phenomena of ecstasy and rapture. To others in deep contemplation, the mystic is lifted to this presence of God, when seeing, feeling and thinking are all suspended. This period is filled with joy and gladness. This orison of union in the Illuminative State, to some, is indistinguishable from true union. This is merely a foretaste of the Ultimate State. The crucial distinguishing feature here is that in the Illuminative Path the individual consciousness still remains separate and in the Unitive state the individual is totally obliterated. In fact the individual’s faculties may even be heightened with regards to mundane things. To a few, they simply wallow in the peace and tranquillity of this stage of Illumination. This illumination is invariably accompanied by a radiance that grows

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brighter all the time and it never blinds the eyes. This light is full of splendour and brighter than the sun and it floods all space. It is akin to the light at the end of the tunnel in Near Death Experience. This is the transcendent way when the soul ascends to the supernal plane of perception, where all the mysteries of heaven are hidden in its silence. This cosmic external vision of infinity is expansive and outgoing towards the Divine Light, but the soul must first traverse the Divine Dark in its ascent. So it is either transcendent or immanent, positive or negative and it is both near and far. The introvert, however, turns its focus inwards to its heart, where God pours his love into its soul, whereby the soul may return to its source. B. The Illuminated Vision of the World It is also shown to some that every tree, ocean, mountain and anything that the eye can see is filled with God. There is nothing in the universe that is not God. That means that when God visits a soul, It also exhibits its power to the extent that the soul must respond with utter humility and delight. This is immanence. This means that in the illuminated consciousness, God is seen in all things. If one could see God in a flower, one has already progressed somewhat in one’s spiritual path. The seeing of divinity in the smallest of things, like grass and herbs, is looking with the inner vision and not the external eye. To know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being with great certainty especially of those we love is to live fully in the Illumined State. We then can enjoy ‘all creatures in God and God in all creatures.’ The illumined self is then conscious of the living reality of the World of Becoming, which must include all things divinely created. This also means that the mystic has reached quite an advanced state of transcendental consciousness. Seeing beauty is simply viewing Reality through the eyes of love, and this may mean there is radiance even in cow dung or human spittoon. This cleansing of the doors of perception is the result of the mystic’s progress towards the Absolute life. He is now not distracted by things of the phenomenal world. His consciousness has been taken over by the New Man of the transcendental personality. He has now new vitality and increased intuitive powers. This consciousness of illumination is now able to adjust the inner to the outer life to a fine balance. He has advanced enough not to distinguish

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between the inward personal relationships and outward apprehension of the Real: the world is seen and known in God, and God is seen and known in the world. The Divine Light shines on both. However the illuminated mystic is placid because he has to indulge in the growth process of enlightenment. Although there is peace, there must also be an active discipline achieving higher reaches of spiritual realms. Having felt or glimpsed the presence of God, there is no turning back. The craving and perpetual hunger for full enlightenment or union with God is too strong for the mystic to relax and flow with the tide. He is restless to move forwards. He is now destined to plough through the turbulent seas of the Dark Night. We have completed the first part of the Mystic Life, and we will now embark onto the Mystic Death.

4. The Dark Night of the Soul
This is the fourth stage of the mystic way. It is the penultimate stage before the final part, The Unitive Life. The second stage was the purification of the senses. The Dark Night is the purification of the spirit. After the jubilant stage of Illumination, there is still a subtle identification of one’s spirit to the mundane self, although there is no more lure or enticement of the senses. This identification is seen in the fact that the soul is still deemed as separate from God. The Dark Night is then the last cleansing of the soul before merging with the Absolute. This is the beginning of the second mystic life, which is the great swing back from the Illuminative Way. The Dark Night is the pendulum swinging back to darkness, stagnation, blankness, solitude and pain. The oscillations of ‘states of pleasure’ to ‘states of pain’ start with equal duration of both states, but as the path proceeds, there is less and less pleasure until the mood is totally abysmal, depressed and bitter. There is not the slightest reprieve of joy at this stage. After the period of Illumination, the consciousness becomes fatigued and darkness and deprivation set in. Coupled with negativity and misery it is the onset of The Dark Night of the Soul. 1. Psychologically, it is a period of negative reaction to the stress of a continuous and active transcendent life of Illumination. The exhaustion and lassitude is the result of continuous strain of the brain and body of a mys-

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tic who is in an overworked service with contemplation, perhaps accompanied by voices and visions. To a true mystic, this is a new purification of the spirit to the gateway to a higher plane of transcendence. Here they part company with the nature mystics, poets and artists. Many mystics suffer the oscillations of the pendulum for years. Some call it a game of love with God. When the Dark Night has truly set in, they are plagued by evil thoughts and temptations and totally lost in falsehood and illusion. This will lead to the breakdown of mental stability and morality, both in their spiritual and worldly life. They are deemed to have an unbalanced mind. Loss of health and friendship kept pace with internal grief. There is no more power of concentration or understanding. The old temptations of the world keep creeping back to entice them. The Dark Night of the Soul is not only a state of exhaustion, but it is also the growing pain of an organic process of attaining the Reality of the Absolute. It is like a child who is first attending school after its childhood period of comfort and protection at home. The mystic feels the same loss of confidence, as if forsaken by God. The former calmness and passion are lost in this forsaken state, and when she tries to elevate herself she sees only dark clouds of unknowing. There is no map of guidance. This period of suffering may last for months or years before a new and unified consciousness is formed. At this stage, the mystic realises that it has to totally abandon the old self with its weakness and imperfections and to gauge the distance to the Absolute. 2. The transcendental aspect of the Dark Night. As far as the mystical journey is concerned, the Dark Night is merely the intervening stage between the Illuminative and Unitive Life, no more, no less. To some it is an emotional anguish of a lover, to others it is an intellectual darkness and confusion and to the rest it is a passive purification. The latter amounts to a state of utter misery with which the self can do nothing and the greater power is allowed to do anything with the mystic. This is now the complete cleansing of what was not touched in the first purification. After seeing the illumined light, the self is now back to do a drastic purification of the heart, the source of love and will, the total personality of the whole man. The main object of the illumined man is the love of Reality. In the Dark

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Night this light is withdrawn and thereby the suffering is most bitter, more so than the first purification. The following are some characteristic forms by which the Dark Night presents itself. A. The mystic feels that God has abandoned him. The anguished soul now suffers pains and torments of death and hell. His friends and colleagues have also let him down with contempt. This ‘mystic death’ and its deprivations have not only come with the absence of God, but there is also the loss of impersonal support of the transcendental Ground or Spark of the soul. That means God has left one forever and one’s foundation of the spiritual world has also collapsed. What is left here is the belief that one-day he will be redeemed. B. To the mystics, who believe that the self must conform to the transcendent, the pain of the Night is less arduous. However the new vision of the Good overwhelms one’s own sense of sin and imperfections. Comparing the purity of God the soul can only see imperfection, aridity and emptiness of understanding in oneself. C. Another negation is a combination of a sense of sin and abandonment by God. There is now no more interest or energy. There is only emotional ennui and boredom, which the self detests. This lassitude is due to emotional fatigue. This autumn period is a necessity for spiritual growth. The previous joys, warmth, love and intimate sweetness have all but gone. The lack of interest is reinforced by his loss of memory of his past learning and good work. At this lowest point he has only fear and misery. 1. Some mystics suffer from stagnation of will and intelligence. There is no will to suppress or control impure thoughts and desires. Every vice is reawakened. Vision of lust and evil are of frequent temptations. Externally mental activity is dull and dim. The whole self seems to have been enveloped by the Cloud of Unknowing. This form of the Dark is not uncommon to some mystics who find themselves completely impotent to this distress. 2. The highly strung and temperamental types, who rapidly oscillate

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between pain and pleasure, would like to see God urgently. Their idea for ultimate Reality can only be satisfied by death. This negative ecstasy or rapture causes desolate feelings of helplessness and rises to a height of anguish. They cannot remember their own existence and the catatonia makes action and movement very painful. This separation from the Divine tortures mostly the soul rather than the body. Although the soul is tormented by the supernatural fire, the body heat is failing, and this stage can easily end one’s life. There is a thirst that cannot be quenched by any form of fluid or water. All the above forms of the Dark Night have but one purpose, which is to finally purify the will and the stronghold of the self. It is to eradicate the spiritual joys when contemplating Reality. It is also to abolish the spiritual gluttony of the childish happiness hitherto engendered in illumination. In Illumination, the soul enjoyed the divine light and its sweetness. Though the “I” is spiritualised, the “me” was happy and rich whilst in the transcendent divine nature, in spite of the mortification of the first purgation. But before the self can merge with God, all personal joys and gratification must be totally eradicated. Therefore the final purgation of the Dark Night must come to pass. The delights and enjoyments of the Illumination are not piety, holiness or perfection. They are incorporated in a foundation of selfishness with a will, desires and imagination. Between the self and God is still this selfishness of will. This last has to be shredded and thrown to the winds. The Dark Night is a purgation of the will or a “self-naughting” so that the soul can then have a direct contact with the Absolute. This process is also called a “ passive purgation”, because it will run its natural course whether the self wants it or not. This has to come as a death of the mundane self in the form of deprivation, detachment and desolation of the spirit as the first purgation did to the senses. Having been thus stripped, the motto of “I am nothing, I have nothing, I desire nothing” is most apt. This is total surrender, seen in mystic paths of most religions. This utter humility sinks the soul into ‘nothingness’, again a result achieved by some eastern religions. The essence of the Dark Night is also to transform the realisation of multiplicity to unity, to prepare for the union of the soul with the Absolute. This transmutation can only be accomplished by the ‘baptism of fire’, i.e. the pain and suffering of the Dark Night. As the Dark Night takes some time to complete itself into the Mystic Death, so it also takes some time for the Dark

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Night to be dissolved. Rays of light will start to pierce the Cloud of Unknowing. The new man is now conscious of the illumination of the Uncreated Light and he is being joined with the Absolute Life of God. The self-naughting of the personal will has now resulted in a new stage of reality per kindness of the Divine Will.

5. The Unitive Life
How does the mystic student know what it means by the Unitive Life? As this life is wholly ineffable, one can only glean a little of what it is like by the symbolic expression of those who have been there. In practical terms, they exhibit themselves as supermen in their good works or their art, etc. They are national heroes or social reformers with highly intuitive characters. Their energy is superhuman. Though they live in the world, they are never of it. They act and behave at a much higher level than us. Generally, their symbolic expressions can be subdivided into either a) the transcendent-metaphysical or b) the intimate-personal. The former is called deification, whilst the latter is named Spiritual Marriage of his soul with God. Both terms are subjective and not an objective description of the union. The Unitive State is the result of arduous years of suffering in the Dark Night, and after the total destruction of selfhood. The naughted soul is now free to participate in Eternal Life. The marks of this state are 1) a complete absorption in the interests of the Infinite; 2) a consciousness of sharing Its strength, which results in a complete sense of freedom and serenity resulting in some heroic effort or creative activity; 3) the establishment of the self as a “power of life,” a centre of energy and a source of spiritual vitality. With these three characteristics, psychologically the Unitive Life means the final and successful establishment of that higher form of consciousness after struggling through the Mystic Way. The self, having attained the light and freedom, is transformed and unified. There is no more stress, and therefore the energy is released for creative purposes. The Divine Self has replaced the old primitive self. This new personality in this Universal Life possesses amazing strength, total calmness and intuitive power to deal with all circumstances. This real, eternal Self has finally realised its destiny---just to be. The mystic’s union with God is described as a droplet being swallowed by

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the sea, the Ocean of Life and Love. “I live, yet not I but God in me.” Having completely removed the obstacles of separation, he is now “that which he beholds”. According to the Sufi, he is now not only travelling to God, but is also in God. A) Deification. To the impersonal mystic deification means he is imbued with the Eternal Divine Light, consumed with Eternal Divine Love and is a partaker of the Divine Nature. Deification is a symbolic metaphor hinting at transcendent Reality, which is beyond the apprehension of normal humans. To those enjoying Unitive Life, they deem themselves as co-equal with Deity after they have annihilated their selfhood. To those who are reborn, Reality is a place and not a person. Although frowned upon by non-mystical types or lesser men, most Christian mystics long for deification exemplified by the following: “the Body of God deifies me and feeds me; it deifies my spirit and feeds my soul in an incomprehensible manner”. This is a necessary corollary of the Incarnation or humanising of God. “He became man that we might be made God.” Also one must be deified to know the secret life of God. It truly means a divine transfusion of the awakened soul with God-like properties. Deification is like the firing of a piece of black iron, which becomes red and white, emitting light, and finally turns to liquid. The iron therefore is like the cold soul made incandescent when hot, a process enacted by divine love. The values (love and will) of the person is reduced to a minimum when divine love has carried us above all things to be one with the Truth which is God. Now our contemplation is at a plane of Beatific Vision of Goodness, Truth and Beauty most of the time. The deified man’s consciousness being together with the Divine Being is a forerunner to transcendental reality, a place when ordinary men can achieve only after death or enlightenment. The deified man after self-naughting has stripped himself off the I, the Me, and the Mine when he attained the Unitive life. He has no personal will as it has been swallowed up by the greater Divine Will. His being remains, but in another form, in another glory, and in another power after his complete renunciation of his worldly attachments. B) Spiritual Marriage. The metaphysical aspect of Reality must be experienced personally and emotionally and this encounter is usually expressed in the language of love. The usual terminology of theological philosophy is too arid to express the intimacy of self-fulfilment of the Union with

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God. Some of the language used borders on the “erotic.” The Divine Union in which the ‘heart speaks to heart’ is also the infusion of a greater life into the personal consciousness of the mystic. It is a tightening of the bond of their growing intimacy and splendour. This speaks of complete fulfilment of Perfect Love, a one spirit with God. In order to obviate the sexual connotation, some authors use the term ‘glue’ or ‘ghostly glue’ as in this passage, “And when in Thee I shall love myself, nothing else but Thee do I love, because Thou art in me and I in Thee, glued together as one and the selfsame thing, which henceforth and forever cannot be divided.” The Mystic Way has been a growth of love to climb up towards its source. After eradication of all worldly attachments, the final step is union or spiritual marriage. The coupling together of the lover and the loved also has to bring forth duties and responsibilities. This union also confers on the mystic a new vitality for creative work and be a cause of other good things to happen. From the history of the mystics, we find that having been infused by the Absolute, they were superhuman in their personal achievements of their visions. There is no more resting in the Quiet, but there is active practising of the Eternal Life. Because of the mystic’s union with the Absolute, he is able to receive the powerhouse of the supernal energy and vitality infused into his human body to serve the temporal world with acts of goodness and piety. Thence he has accepted both the absolute World of pure Being and the active World of Becoming as a mature mystic to “incarnate the Eternal in time.” He is enjoying the fruits of the Divine Goodness, Truth, and Beauty” in the transcendent Absolute and also energetically creating Eternal Wisdom as a normal citizen of the temporal world. He is trying to salvage the world as well. Although he appears as a superman outwardly, it is his knowledge that he has earned eternal life in himself that gives him internal satisfaction and confidence. As a ‘secret friend’ he has been working up the Mystic Way towards the Godhead, and having united and married God, he himself has now been reborn as a ‘hidden child’. This child has now inherited the earth. “Tranquillity according to His essence, activity according to His nature; absolute repose, absolute fecundity” is how he dominates his existence because he is the secret child of the Absolute participating in this dual character of activity and rest. This exemplifies the richest and noblest flavour of Western Mysticism. In this fashion, the intellect is immersed in the vision of truth, the will, in the interest of the Transcendent, conquers

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new worlds with new strength to match and the heart begins to live upon high levels of joy. This new-born ‘child’ is now so joyous and happy that he is in constant laughter and playfulness so that it could be mistakenly viewed as premature senility. The other consequences are that they begin to love animals and nature, and songs start to spring out from their lips. All these tend to lead to utter peace and tranquillity internally in the mystic who have been lovingly ensconced in the lap of God. As an example, let us go into St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul and find out about his method of contemplation.

Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
Juan De Yepes Y Alvarez was born in the sixteenth century in Spain. He was inducted as a Carmelite monk at the age of twenty-one, and was ordained as a priest four years later. He was a junior contemporary of St. Teresa of Avila and was asked to organise the Barefoot Carmelites in a life of austerity and contemplation. In his effort to transform the Carmelites he was imprisoned in Toledo, and during this confinement he wrote some of his best verses. This was the time he attained his union with God. He did this by renouncing the pleasures of the world so that this lover (contemplative) could attain union with God. He became famous for his concept of the Dark Night of the Soul. It is only without earthly desires that his spirit can soar up to the heavens for the spiritual marriage. Even the thoughts of Christ’s crucifixion or God’s resplendent qualities must not be entertained for the union. The soul must be emptied of all forms so that the formless spirit can attain Divine union. In this loving thirst of the Divine, he suffered great pains with insipid worldly life. His depression and desolation came about because of his cutting out all senses and his erasure of thoughts making him dead before death. He cut out all fetters to the world so that he could climb up higher and higher to the Divine realms. This difficult journey was punctuated with bleak nights and exhaustion, but he still persevered determinedly because of the frequent embraces of the beloved. The sweet and tender caresses can only be described by someone who had had the actual experience. He spent his final 5 years in solitary confinement in contemplation of the

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Divine. He died at 49 years and was canonised in 1726. We will cite the whole poem of the Dark Night of the Soul first and comment on it afterwards. This is the soul’s spiritual path on the way to union with God through love. The first two stanzas are of purgation of the 1) the sensory part and 2) of the spiritual part. The last six stanzas describe the wonderful results of the spiritual illumination and union with God. The Dark Night of the Soul One dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings ----ah, the sheer grace---I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled. In darkness, and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised, -----ah, the sheer grace---in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled. On that glad night, in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look for at anything, with no other light or guide than the one that burned in my heart. This guided me more surely than the light of the noon to where he was awaiting me ---him I knew so well---there in a place where no one appeared. O guiding night!

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O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the lover with his beloved, transforming the beloved in her Lover. Upon my flowering breast which I kept wholly for him alone, there he lay sleeping, and I caressing him there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze blew from the turret, as I parted his hair, it wounded my neck with its gentle hand, suspending all my senses. I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on my Beloved; all things ceased; I went out from myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies. There are 2 levels in this poem. One is his personal experience. And the other is his doctrinal reflection. In the first purification, God is likened to a mother, who suckles, nurses and carries the child. Then the mother has to wean, and teach the child to grow up in walking and learning etc until the child has grown into an adult. This is purifying the sense. The latter cleansing is that of the spirit and is likened to fire working and transforming a log of wood. The Dark Night of the Soul is divided into 2 books. Book One containing 14 chapters refers to the passive night of the sense. Book Two consisting of 25 chapters explains the passive night of the spirit. What is at

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stake here is the cleansing and purification of the whole individual until it is pure enough to merge or unite with God whose holiness is immaculate. Personal effort must be at first initiated, but latterly God must come in for the journey to continue. That means human effort can only prepare the self for God’s intervention. Poverty, purity, nakedness, void and death are only emptying oneself for God’s grace. The emptying of self permits divine intervention into the fullness of God. In the latter part of the passive night of the spirit, St. John calls it the spiritual betrothal. The last six stanzas read more like a lover’s poem than a theological thesis. The individual undergoing the dark night will suffer privation, erasure of the intellect, aridity in the exercise of love, loss of memory with regards to all possession and generally afflicted by torments. Depressed and disillusioned he cannot fathom how to escape from this misery. The mental faculties are bound and restricted; all external help is useless. The belief that God has abandoned him appears to him a hopeless situation. This is because the only desire left in him is his overwhelming love for God. It is much better for the reader to study the texts of the two books of The Dark Night of the Soul himself. St. John’s own commentary and explanation of his doctrine are elaborate and lucid.

Reference
1. Evelyn Underhill. 1993. Mysticism. Oneworld Publication. 2. St. John of the Cross. (1542-1591). The Dark Night from The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross. Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez. 1991. Institute of Carmelite Studies. ICS Publications. 3. William James.1961. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Collier Books. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 4. Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman. Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages. 2001.Conari Press. Berkeley, California.

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Western Mysticism II - The Cloud of Unknowing.
This essay is the continuation of Western Mysticism I. In it we will discuss the psychic phenomena that often come along with the Mystic Way and the contemplation and meditation techniques of Western Mysticism.

Voices and Visions
These psychic phenomena have been debated as to whether they are true supernatural happenings or are they hallucinations and neuroses. They are so common among mystics that one must look at these phenomena rationally without emotion or bias. The historical background of the mystic must and do play a part. His thoughts of Christ may very well bring on a vision of Christ. His prayers to God could also produce messages and instructions from God. The internal yearnings and desires can very well presage such voices and visions. What he hopes to see or hear can turn up in a deep and intense meditation. But still, predictions of some mystics have come out to be true all the time. The mystic might have been given raw materials from the transcendent realm, but when he re-constructs the ineffable raw material, the visions or voices will turn up according to his educational background and emotional colouring. That means voices and visions are the expressions of the creations of (a) of thought, (b) of intuition, and (c) of direct perception. Of course the product may not fully represent the intuitive message received, but it does not mean that the symbolism is useless. The common psychic phenomena of Western mystics are audition, vision and automatic writing. We will discuss these briefly.

Audition
These are voices giving instructions, encouragement or dialogues. The messages are crisp and clear. They are usually classified as (1) Intellectual, the inarticulate voice, which the mystic finds it difficult to define. (2) Imaginary, the distinct, interior voice, which is perfectly articulate speaking only within the mind. (3) Corporal, the external voice of hallucination,

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which appears to be speaking to the subject by the outward ear. 1. Most mystics find that the first variety, intellectual, is the best and most comforting. They are mostly translated as messages from God. The content is usually of transcendental quality and is often attributed to divine truths. It brings in new knowledge of inspiration. It sounds very authoritative. 2. The interior voice is not so authoritative and does not simultaneously translate into words. They do not seem to come directly from God. It arrives as a knowing. Sometimes the re-arrangement of one’s own thoughts cannot be distinguished from these automatic messages from mystic intuition. This true audition most often rises up during the absorption state of meditation when the mind is without thoughts, but the message is most distinctly understood, more so than spoken words. It may also break in during normal daily activities. 3. This last corporal variety is the exterior voice, which appears to be speaking externally to the ear of the subject. Mystics on the whole distrust this form of communication. St. Joan of Arc and St. Francis of Assisi are the types that hear these voices, giving them instructions to do something. Sometimes music is heard instead of words. Dialogues between the Divine source and the mystic also fall into this category. The dialogue identifies the self as separate from the Divine realty, and quite often it takes the form of questions and answers.

Vision
Mystics on the spiritual path quite often see forms from the other world, deities and angels. The figures are interpreted as ghosts or diseased persons. They also may hear sounds and voices supposedly pertaining to the divine. Fragrances and awful odours may also be experienced. Most of these should not be relied upon as true occurrences from the divine realm. Most true communications from God do not come through the body senses. As individuals tend to bring on their own desires and fears through their senses, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa warn us against taking these illusions and hallucinations as true intimations of the Divine Realm. As in audition, the mystics classify vision as (1) Intellectual, which is substantial or inarticulate, (2) Imaginary, which is interior and distinct,

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and (3) Corporal vision, which are exterior words. The last category is mere externalisation of memories, thoughts and intuitions, and cannot be depended upon. 1) The intellectual vision is presented to the mystic, who does not look for it. The vision is encountered by a sense that is neither sight nor feeling, but has a quality of both. It is intimate but indescribable: definite yet impossible to define. The phrase “formless vision” is most apt. Sometimes uncalled for, God instils into a soul love, fire and sweetness and this delights the soul so much that she is certain that God is in her. In this instance the feeling of the soul is much more certain than seeing God in person. When God is in the subject, she cannot behold anything else. This intellectual vision is connected with the consciousness of the Presence of God. This is because it can be located precisely in space and it is so personally and concretely defined that it is more convincing than bodily sight. This divine presence is usually attributed to Jesus Christ. The presence is also always there for more than a few days and even stretching to a year. This perpetual presence will definitely enhance the mystic’s service to a higher keel. The word vision is quite a misnomer, as nothing is seen, and everything is felt. The purer the “intellectual vision” the more it approaches the state of pure contemplation. 2) In Imaginary Vision, it is the inner eye that sees without any sensorial hallucination. It is the imagination that is spontaneous and automatic. It arises like a dream from the subliminal mind from a combination of love, belief and intuition. It may come in two forms: (a) symbolic, and (b) personal. a) In the symbolic form an image is used to illustrate a truth. They appear to mystics who live with symbolism. It is equivalent to a very imaginative dream, which touches the transcendental, but the mystic interprets it as an elaborate instruction from Divine Reality. That means there is a great amount of poetic licence. Sometimes in this ‘dream’ voices and vision are combined. In deep meditation, the mystics who are skilful in visualisation can whip up elaborate dreams which depict the more accurate impression of Reality than his own discursive mind.

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b) Personal. The vision here is very vivid and is related to the mystic’s beliefs and spiritual passions. The vision is more of a ‘presence’, which is frequently of Christ. Although the image is indistinct the mystic is surer about the identity than seeing with the physical eyes. The picture is like an impressionistic painting as a living person who sometimes speaks and reveals deep mysteries. The vision comes and goes as fast as lightning, and this brief encounter is interpreted as a real contact with the Absolute. The accompanying feeling is great joy and bliss and a certainty of being touched by God. This vision is ineffable but distinctly beautiful and irradiated by an unearthly white light, which is entirely different from that of the sun. c) This is a special category of imaginary vision, Active Imaginary Visions. The visions here quite often follow an emotional crisis and it entails the mystic acting out its mission. He is no more a mere observer. Quite often it is like a dream in bizarre situations. The mystic, subsequent to these visions, normally ends up in a new level of consciousness, strengthened by the awareness of the Absolute. It may in some initiate them into Unitive Life. They depict travelling to heaven or hell, or moving up the scale in the spiritual realm. The other celebrated active vision is that of St Teresa in, which she saw an angel piercing her with a spear of gold into her heart. This caused pain and yet sweetness and love.

Automatic Writing
This is the rarest psychic phenomenon experienced by mystics. Most literary works penned by mystics have to some extent an element of automatism, but we are talking of an extreme form here. Like poets, the mystic has no control of his will and the process of writing is far removed from his surface consciousness. It is as if the mystic is in a trance. The work is out of character to the mystic. Its style is widely discursive; its tone is rich with a strange mixture of intimacy and remoteness. Quite often a touch of prophecy is included. All these suggest coursing along the edge of subliminal consciousness of Reality. Blake insisted that he was ‘under the direction of Messengers from Heaven.’ The automatic writing is always spontaneous and the hand cannot keep up with the new knowledge welling up from the deep reaches of the inner mind. One can go on infinitum with these psychic excitements, but space does not allow more discussion on dialogues with God, clairvoyance, clairaudi-

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ence, telepathy and prophecy. These are but by-products of the mystic path and their essential nature is not of paramount importance. Non-mystics as well as mystics may experience all the above psychic phenomena. And with the mystics they may appear at any stage of their Mystic Way.

Orison
We will now discuss the meditative processes of the Western Mystics. The general term used by mystics is orison. The overall outline is the withdrawal of attention of all external images, duties, plans and thoughts so that the inner mind is emptied in order to ponder on the transcendent towards union with the Godhead. In this exercise, he must be alone, but he must be tutored. Orison generally includes all forms of prayers and meditation but particularly meditation. Christian meditation is called Introversion normally. Introversion can be subdivided into Recollection, Quiet and Contemplation. Recollection actually means one-pointed concentration until the stage of absorption with the object of meditation, which is usually God. At this stage he is said to have arrived at the Quiet stage. The deepest stage of absorption is the merging or the union with the object of meditation. One-pointed concentration is explained in detail in my article on Samatha Meditation. The last stage of concentration with form is in the 4th stage of absorption, where subject and object are merged into one. The early stages consist mostly of pushing away all thoughts, desires and planning and sticking to only that one object. Another method to arrive at the Quiet is similar to Insight Meditation, where the awareness of the mind finally sinks into nothingness. This nothingness or void deepens for many layers inwards until the mystic approaches the ground of the soul. The whole process is called Introversion. To the Christian mystic this is the inward journey to the centre of Divine Immanence, where angels and God are within us. To some of them, they experience flights of ecstasy or rapture, a sudden Divine Transcendence surge, which is a glimpse of God. These occasions are rare compared to the more common slow and deliberate inward concentration towards the emptiness of Divine Immanence. The Christians use a term, “Orison” or degrees of prayer. It is not the ordinary type of petition or asking for something, but it is more of a

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yearning of the soul for the Divine. This orison is an act of love or a supernatural intercourse between the soul and the divine. Orison covers all steps from the beginning to the merging with God. It includes all forms of prayers, meditation and contemplation. It is a discipline of the mind, which should be cleared of external and extraneous objects into a stage of emptiness. Going deeper and deeper into the layers of silence and emptiness a passage will be found, and this will lead the mystic to the Divine. This journey is sometimes dark and bare and sometimes full of light and joy. To the mystic it seems free and easy. This training and purging is a progressive cleaning of the mirror, a progressive self-emptying of all that is not real. It should finally attain that consciousness that can see Reality, which ironically is without image. It is a Void! Christians called it naked orison. Amongst the famous mystics, terms like orison, contemplation, recollection and introversion had all been mixed up and a term had been misused for various stages of growth. So the student is totally confused and bewildered. Therefore let us tabulate the degrees of orison, which is actually the entire practice, into three divisions: Recollection, Quiet and Contemplation. This is a continuous slope up wards and not a jagged stairway. Recollection starts with Meditation and develops into the ‘Orison of Inward Silence,’ which is the true Quiet. Quiet goes deeper into Ordinary Contemplation. It then grows through Contemplation proper to that Orison of Passive Union, which is the highest of introversive states. The object of this contemplative prayer or orison is to develop a ‘transcendental new man.’ Roughly the Meditative or Recollective stage goes hand in hand with Purification (read Mysticism I). The stage of Illumination is characterised by “Quiet” state of orison. The Unitive Way is accompanied or propelled by Contemplation proper. During this upward path of degrees of orison, the mystic would occasionally have a glimpse of the Absolute, but this state is not sustainable as he has not arrived at Unitive Life proper. So in Recollection, the unruly mind is brought into discipline by concentration. All surface thoughts are eradicated. In Quiet imagination, will and desires are subdued and stilled. This is the ground of the soul. In Contemplation the mystic has finally met God without any intermediary. Now let us look at the mechanics of these subdivisions.

Recollection
Strong will must be utilised to begin the process of recollective concen-

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tration. All thoughts, images and planning must come to an end. They must be repeatedly pushed away by effort and will. This task of expelling all thoughts and images is very arduous. This difficult early beginning must be fought strenuously and persistently. In order to help, use an object of meditation, say the breath or word or a phrase. One can visualise as well, but visualisation is extremely difficult. This concentration on one point is the beginner’s practice in all eastern religious meditation. The term Recollection is a misnomer. It is not remembering. One should completely wipe out all memories and thoughts except one, the object of meditation. Continuing in this fashion, there will come a day when the consciousness becomes more and more narrow and is fixed to that object. This fixation is the beginning of absorption. The mind then enters into itself or God enters into the mind. He cannot hear or see and does not receive any mental messages. This stage of emptiness (except for the object) is blissful, full of joy. He is also quite aware of his own presence but no thoughts can enter his mind. His mind has only one thought and that is his object of meditation and from thence he detects the Divine Presence, but only just. Thus summarising, Recollection is the exercise and discipline of erasing all thoughts, images, and memories and planning in order to retreat into that ground of the soul. This ground is silent and still but with one thought (the object of meditation) in the entire mental field. This exercise is achieved mainly by the will and yet one feels the presence of the Divine when entering this groundswell of the soul.

Quiet
The next stage of orison is that mental state of Interior Silence or the Prayer of Quiet or Simplicity. This is the deeper retreat into absorption. It is equivalent to the Buddhist third and fourth absorptions where there are no thoughts allowed in. Even the bliss of the 3rd absorption must give way to pure one-pointedness of the 4th absorption. From here the mystic can descend deeper into boundless space and thence to pure consciousness until the Void of nothingness. The last absorption is the 8th, which has such subtlety as in ‘neither perception nor non-perception.’ In other words it is ineffable. The mystic is now quiet, silent and at peace. Temporarily he has no more I-hood and feels that he is no more separate. He has power and beauty. However there is still some sense of his own personality. That means he has not yet merged with the Absolute. He has glided into a consciousness of the infinite, totally shut off from any sens-

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es of the body. He is only aware of the power and bliss of impending Reality. He can just wallow in this Being and is beginning to abolish his separateness with the Absolute. Having suspended all thoughts, memories and planning and feelings, he is now aware of nothingness, a Void. But this Void is not empty. If he were to concentrate harder, he will be able to detect something omnipresent and intangible. It is ‘That’ which has always been there since birth. So now he is able to immerse himself in this Divine atmosphere. There are then two aspects of the summit of the Quiet: 1) there is the deprivation of all senses onto emptiness, the Divine Dark and 2) there is this sense of awe, an intimation of the Divine Light full of joy. It is a sweet, calm and gentle silence. This is a supernatural state. After depleting himself of everything of the phenomenal world, he has now entered the silence and stillness of the Divine Ignorance. This is “the Cloud of Unknowing.” This ignorance is not a defect but the highest of perfection. As it is a supernatural action of the soul, one should not have the slightest movement of the body or the slightest flickering of the mind. In fact, it is beyond the mystic at this stage: he cannot think nor move in this absorption. He could have pre-timed this period of quiet according to his availability of time. However, he must not wallow too much on the bliss and peace of this stage. He should really be swallowing the wisdom that is being poured into him during this period of Quiet. This is surrender for self-renewal. Although there is no more intellect, the personality is not lost. He is being influenced by the Absolute. In this state he is really both active and passive. He may appear immobile, but in reality he is really being fed with spiritual energy that is penetrating every fibre of the soul. This process cannot be seen by the onlooker, but a certain glow or shine can be discerned by the astute observer. Although he is in this plane of utter stillness and silence, he does not desire any favours or miracles. He must only be actively in Love with God. From here the Orisons of Quiet and Silence will indubitably flow into true contemplation. Knowing that the Quiet is only a transitional state the soul’s stillness is ruffled by its joy! The self is now ready for the next stage of contemplation.

Contemplation
The mystic has arrived at a situation where he can have a temporary union with the Divine, which is closed to other people. He is now going to ener-

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gise himself in the area where intellectual awareness is completely shut and his domain of work is at the heart. As he is now in the 4th Jhana and above, he appears as if in a trance: he cannot hear, see or feel and remains rigid. Contemplation proper then is a manifestation of that indivisible power of knowing which is at the ground of being of all true artists and spiritual mystics. Thought, love and will are united and feeling and perception are fused. That means the whole personality is propelled by mystic love leading to good, beauty and truth. The mystical literature depicts it as contraction of the consciousness to a single focus and eventually merging with the object of meditation: typically the 4th Jhana. Although all faculties are suspended, the self knows that it is in this state of onepointedness and nothing else. Delacroix describes it as such (a) it produces a condition of indifference, liberty and peace, an elevation above the world, a sense of beatitude. The subject ceases to perceive himself in the multiplicity and division of his general consciousness. He is raised above himself. A deeper and purer soul substitutes itself for the normal self. (b) In this state, in which consciousness of I-hood and world disappears, the mystic is conscious of being in immediate relation with God Himself, in participating with Divinity. Contemplation installs a method of being and of knowing. Moreover, these two things tend at the bottom to become one. The mystic has more and more the impression of being that which knows, and of knowing “that which he is.” In other words, he knows Reality. This is because in most mystics their objects are either of Infinite Life, God or Reality. The contemplative then knows that he is in contact with God and his freedom is immense, where reason and logic do not apply. However, the mystic cannot sustain this vision for long. In a flash, for only an instant, he is allowed to view the invisible things and how they are made. Quickly after returning to his normal consciousness, he can only hold to a memory of “That which Is.” This memory remains forever with the fragrance of immortality, but it is ineffable. He just knows that he had a temporary merging with God. The characteristics of William James apply here: (1) Ineffability and (2) Noetic quality. Having said all the above, contemplation really covers a whole range of psychic conditions, depending on the temperament and emotion of the mystic. It could be peaceful. It could be rapturous. In some, psychic phe-

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nomena are common, e.g. voices and visions. In others the Quiet is coupled with darkness. From this darkness it may go out into the light. Great Bliss is associated with this absorption. In the remainder they will realise it only after the contemplation is over. In order to distinguish from other introversive states, we find two marks that make them real: (1) His experience of the All is given to him. The totality is Absolute and is revealed to him. It is not symbolic as in earlier types of meditation and in vision. (2) This Reality is apprehended by participation and not by observation. The passive receptivity of the Quiet is developed into an active response to the Divine. By a free act, God is disclosed to the soul, and the soul rushes out willingly to lose itself in Him. A divine osmosis is set up between the finite and the infinite. This is the passive union of contemplation, a temporary condition of ineffable happiness and ultimate reality. Only God can choose this union and man cannot reach it by reason, knowledge or any form of exercise. The successful contemplative would have seen Truth by Truth. Remoteness and intimacy, darkness and light are terms to describe these opposites: joyful beatific vision against an unfathomable Abyss, a Divine Dark. This is the Cloud of Unknowing, which represents the relationship with the transcendent and not the transcendent itself. There was nothing to observe, but it is his impression of the Absolute during this communion with Reality, which is One. The ineffability makes these descriptions sound like feeling states, but they are not. The emotions expressed can be classified as (a) Transcendence and (b) Immanence. (a) The Contemplation of Transcendence. The metaphysical type uses the unfathomable Abyss of Pure Being. This concept is born of the mystic’s own uselessness, his unworthiness and ignorance compared to the Absolute Godhead. He would like to lose himself into this Divine Reality. This passionate desire governs his utmost goal for the Unconditioned Godhead, this Wholly Other, for whom no words or symbols can be used to describe It. This spiritual humility can only see him through the Darkness of the Cloud of Unknowing. At this height, the air is too rarefied for normal human beings. As for locality, it is as the Boundless Space of the 5th Jhana. He feels simply in God, which is Divine Ground: no form, no image, but unfathomable Abyss. This is the dwelling place of God. It is neither heaven nor a dwelling place of man.

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No thought or emotion has ever entered here. Once the mystic has entered here, he finds that it is familiar ground. (b) The Contemplation of Immanence. The other avenue to God is through the heart, where the soul resides. Where the absorption enters this depth of emptiness, it has to proceed downwards through layer after layer of Void. Thence when he arrives at this sacred ground of the Divine Dark, he feels joy, confidence and affection. Utilising love as a medium, he now has a sense of intimacy, nearness and sweetness of the Infinite Life. This attainment of ‘That which Is’ is the most joyous communion with the Bridegroom, a rapturous immersion in the Uncreated Light. With this grace of contemplation, he enjoys indescribable peace and delight. In this instant with the Divine Life, he has learnt the world’s secret, not by knowing but by being. In this type of contemplation, this adorable Friendship is mostly described as a Person and not a State. This orison of union is where God meets the soul in his Ground, the secret depth of personality where he partakes in the Absolute Life. Even more intimate is how Mechthild of Magdeburg described it: “Orison draws the great God down into the small heart: it draws the hungry soul out to the full God. It brings together the two lovers, God and the soul, into a joyful room where they speak much of love.” Although Christian mystics tend to be both personal and intimate with the Lover identifying it with Christ or to the unknowable transcendent Godhead, both are truly One. Whether they walk the path of transcendence or immanence, the goal of the Godhead is the same. In some contemplatives both types of perception exist together, light and dark occurring alternatively. Both however, can enter the Divine Dark only by eradicating all thoughts and emotions of the phenomenal world, thence they can ascend to that ray of Divine Dark. The latter is God, which is unknowable in His absolute Reality. In this Cloud of Unknowing, there is no reason, sight, sound or movement of all faculties of the mind. This transcendence must be done by the whole man, which is then free and unfettered (the removal of the 10 fetters of the Arahant). This surrender with humility and intellectual ignorance is the prelude to the entrance into the Cloud towards the Absolute. To the mystic after inhibiting thought and rejecting images in the orison of the Quiet this is one way of enter-

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ing the Dark. Another way is by detachment and introversion in order to enter the naked Ground of the Soul, where God lives. At the first entrance, the darkness means ignorance, confusion and dimness, the unknowing. One just waits in this darkness and does not fret. After withdrawing energy from the other centres of intellect and feeling, there remains a radiance of the heart, which comes spontaneously. This union with Love results in the birth of mystical wisdom and the hiding of the soul within a lovely and sweet solitude. These two facts sustain the soul in splendour, unmatched by any pleasure on earth. In this orison of union or Spiritual marriage, the mystics apprehend the passionate aspect of the Infinite Life. This Divine Embrace is a personal surrender of the finite to the Infinite, the bride to the Bridegroom, heart to Heart. This surrender is so complete and ecstatic that it approximates to a trance, where the soul may cross over from contemplation to ecstasy. It is so real that there are physical as well as psychical effects. St Teresa called it a drowsiness (the soul is asleep to the worldly things) in which she was deprived of all emotions and thought. Being dead to the world, she lived better in God. In this short period of time of union, the soul knows nothing, but after the union, she was certain that her soul ‘has been in God and God in it.’ This certitude will last for years even though the union lasted a very short time.

Ecstasy and Rapture
Ecstasy is considered by the mystics as a more advanced stage of orison of union, the oneness with the Absolute. Although it is deemed to be a state above that of contemplation, it may also be experienced by all grades of personalities, religious or otherwise. The shaman, the temple medium, the hysterical or the psychotic and the ultra-sensitive may all go into the trance of ecstasy. This range of persons is not equivalent to the contemplative mystic in their spiritual attainment. To the outsider, the body of the subject is the telling factor, where either stiffness or tremors and unconsciousness are the main features. In contemplation, the mystic refuses to attend to the external world, which is a blurred vision at the fringe of his conscious field. In ecstasy, he cannot attend to it even if he wants to. We can study the ecstatic state in three aspects: (a) the physical, (b) the psychological and (c) the mystical. A) Physically it is a trance, more or less deep or prolonged. The mystic may

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glide into it gradually from a period of absorption or contemplation. Or the subject may go into a trance suddenly when an idea, a word, a piece of music, some chanting or some temple bells, comes into his awareness. These latter individuals may or may not be spiritually advanced, e.g. mediums, sensitives or psychotic patients. The advanced mystic calls this sudden episode Rapture. There are of course gradations of Ecstasy or Rapture. During trance, breathing and circulation are depressed. The body is more or less cold and rigid, remaining in the exact position of the onset of the trance. There may also be anaesthesia, moderate to complete, and anaesthesia may also happen in pathological states. The trance includes two phases --- (a) a short period of lucidity, and (b) a longer period of complete unconsciousness, which may pass into catalepsy lasting for hours or days. This happens in both union as well as a nonmystical trance. Phase two lasts longer; the breathing apparently stops and more obviously the medium cannot speak or see. In both, the limbs become cold and stiff. So this state of trance can happen to sensitives, mediums or mystics in ecstasy. Per se therefore ecstasy has no spiritual value. Ecstasy therefore occurs in those whose consciousness is very mobile and a tendency for the subject to remain on one idea or intuition. In the hysterical patient the ecstasy is an illness. In the mystic it is the strength of the spirit overpowering the soul. So in the former, the religious call it the action of the devil, but the rapture in the advanced mystic it is God communicating high things. In the latter, the goodness is for life, whilst in the diseased mind it is bad for life. Sometimes the good and the bad types of rapture are seen in one person. This happens when the mystic is failing in health. In some sickly persons, the rapture may heal the illness. B) Psychologically, it is concentration on one thing to the extreme. It is withdrawing the attention from the circumference to the centre. It is always paid for by psychophysical disturbances or rewarded in healthy cases by lucidity and an acute intuition on the mystic’s subject. Ecstasy is then a mono-ideism (complete concentration on one thing to the exclusion of everything else), which is contemplation exalted to the highest pitch culminating in a trance. Will started the process, but will cannot stop the

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trance. He cannot see, hear or feel: this is the 3rd-4th Jhana of Samatha (Buddhist concentration). Naturally, the same conditions persist in the higher Jhanas. In order to achieve union with the Divine, everything external must be blotted out so that the whole person’s energy can be concentrated in this unification of Ecstasy. In this extremis, there is no more energy left in the body-mind complex. The energy is solely for the soul to unite with the Divine. In both the healthy mystic and the morbid ecstatic, a mere symbol or sight or sound or thought can trigger a sudden trance. Thus the symbols for some mystics are very important, e.g. taking of the Holy Communion or hearing of certain psalms. In the trance no feelings of pain are felt, but the pain is there after they awaken. Exceptionally the mystic may levitate whether standing or sitting. C) Mystically speaking it is an exalted act of perception. It is the greatest reach, which the spiritual consciousness can attain to the Pure Being or Eternal Life. Everything concerning the phenomenal world is erased: thought or feeling or I-hood or space or time is all suspended. This is the 7th-8th Jhana (the 7th is nothingness and 8th is neither perception nor non-perception). He is totally free in this ‘passive union’ and is truly living temporarily in the Eternal Life of God. It is difficult to describe in words this Ecstasy as he can only feel in this darkness and cannot see, but this invisible contact is much more complete than the tail end of the orison of union. His certainty is made more definite by the beatific and exultant feelings than in the last stage of the Cloud of Unknowing. There is no image though, but the paradox of life is solved. To the saints, Ecstasy is more excellent than union, because in Ecstasy, there are greater fruits and there are more multifarious operations than union. Union is uniform and staid. Ecstasy ends up in the higher reaches of spirit and is truly unstoppable. In this entrancement, what was the Object of his ecstatic perception? The mystic calls this elevation of the soul out of the body of flesh ‘ravishing.’ It is a lifting the mind or soul into God by contemplation. It is always agreeable and full of gladness. What news of God can he tell us? In this short moment of Ecstasy he enjoys supreme knowledge of or participation in Divine Reality. That Divine Love draws out the soul into God only for a short while, but when he comes back he is inundated with life and joy. It is because he has had his fill of Divine Wisdom, which was given with exuberant love. Although

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he says that he is conscious of nothing, he must have knowledge that is stupendous, but ineffable. Although he was into God, there was no room for reflection or self-observation. He was solely in Eternity. He “knew all and knew nought.” He was so merged with the Absolute; he could not perceive it as an object of thought, as his faculties were all suspended. The ecstatic consciousness is not self-conscious: it is intuitive, not discursive. In other words, when he returns he knows that he was with God and learned much wisdom, but he cannot translate it into normal worldly language. While alive on earth, he cannot understand what he learnt or deduce the meaning of Existence given to him. He knows it because of his experience. While the soul is united with God, he forgets himself totally. The soul disappears but not entirely. He has acquired certain qualities of divinity, but he is not yet divine. The soul is rapt by the power of resplendent Being, above its natural faculties into the nakedness of the Nothing. According to Plotinus, “Ecstasy is another mode of seeing, a simplification and an abandonment of oneself, a desire of contact, rest and a striving after union.” To the Pagan ecstatics, Ecstasy is also “Tranquil and alone with God, mingled for an instant of time, like two concentric circles with the Divine life, perceiver and perceived made one.” The secret of ecstasy is in self-abolishment when united with God, the mystic receives the communication of Life and Beatitude, in which all things are consummated and all things are renewed. At this peak, it is not easy to distinguish between ecstasy and the last stage of contemplation (orison of union). When the contemplation becomes expansive, outgoing and receives a definite fruition of the Absolute in return, its content is already ecstatic. This ineffable ‘awareness’ entails more of symbolic vision rather than pure perception of the Absolute. Therefore one could argue that ecstasy is more likely the name of an outward condition rather than that of an inward experience.

Rapture
In the orison of Quiet or of union, at the end of a culminating point in contemplation, a gradual onset of ecstatic trance begins. However, the ecstasy may suddenly come about in someone while in normal consciousness. This is strictly the meaning of Rapture. Mystic life consists of having a relationship with the Absolute. An art of contemplation is accomplished in the Mystic Way. This genius must begin with a voluntary attention (concentration) to his supreme object of meditation. Sometimes

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the genius of this orison is too strong for the other elements of his character, and this ends up in psychic disturbances. The latter is abrupt and uncontrollable, as in the ‘fine frenzy’ of the prophet, composer or poet. This is Rapture, a violent expression of genius for the Absolute. It temporarily or may permanently injure the nervous system of the self. It often yields splendour and value for life. This is an accident and not a mystical intent. Therefore, Rapture can occur at any stage on the spiritual path, e.g. mystical conversion. It need not occur at the end of contemplation. There is still the unforgettable knowledge of an exalted intuition of Perfection and Reality: Certitude, Peace and Joy. This is quite characteristic of ecstatic perception. Ecstatic trance comes on gradually, but Rapture comes as a shock, quick and sharp, as a flight of the spirit on the wings of an eagle to the heavens. This flight upwards sometimes is accompanied by bodily levitation when the senses are still intact. During this period, the body seems weightless and buoyant, not knowing when the feet touch the ground. While sitting it is like a bout of bouncing on the buttocks. Ironically, the body feels dead. So the outward sense of immobility coincides with the sensation of the body being lifted up. In Rapture, except for levitation just described, there is normally no bodily movement or speech, but the power of hearing and seeing is still there except that things heard and seen are far away. However, as in ecstasy, breathing and pulse rate are rather slow. Sometimes the hands and feet are cold and occasionally even breathing appears to be absent. This period of rapture is short in duration. These raptures increase the vitality of the person, who awakens to a more vigorous life. Having imbibed the heavenly secrets only for a short time, these supreme states of ecstasy can leave the mind inebriated and the person incapable of normal and mundane duties for days. When he is back to normal life, his strength is much stimulated. Thence with practice, he now can approach new levels of Reality with greater facility. These ecstatic raptures not only make them more knowledgeable but also contribute to transforming the individual to a higher consciousness. So with a good ecstasy, he comes back, strengthened, humbled and exultant, all ready for more hard work of pain and sacrifice for the love of the Absolute. This ardent love for God pulls him into the Infinite Sea. In this state all earthly desire is absorbed in the heavenly glory. In this mystic way, ecsta-

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sy and rapture remake the soul into Goodness, Truth and Beauty, which is God. Thence the soul is able to pass wholly into God without obstacles. I will now try and summarise two of the famous teachings on Western Mysticism.

The Cloud of Unknowing
The most intriguing teaching is “The Cloud of Unknowing”. This small and concise work is available in the Penguin Classics. An English monk wrote it in the latter half of the fourteenth century. The author was only 24 years old. From analysis of the language it points to a province in the East Midland of England. The fact that he did not put his name onto the work meant that he was afraid to do so. This is not a casual or whimsical work. He has thought this out thoroughly. During that period in the 14th century, the belief is that God is indescribable, but it is not unknowable. He can be reached and known by love and love alone. We are able to approach Him only by his grace. He must love us first especially through his revelation in Jesus Christ. We may try to reach Him by prayer: vocal and mental. Mental prayer is usually deem as meditation. Christian meditation is not the same as the Buddhist or Hindu meditation. Christian meditation is usually the systematic reflection of a truth or phrase from the bible. Ejaculatory prayer is normally short and secret words sent up to God outside the regular times of devotion. After a while, meditation is dispensed with and direct communication is practised in the form of mental conversations with God. Then comes a stage when the soul is in love with God. From here onwards it could be a struggle. The soul thinks that he has given everything to God, but truly he has not. Although he wants God, but he is unable to receive His grace because the soul has not completely surrendered himself. The love must be so absolute that there should not be anything between the soul and God. There is not only a cloud around God, but he must also establish a Cloud of Forgetting beneath the soul. The Cloud of Unknowing around God prevents any direct contact. The Cloud of Forgetting must be so solidified that nothing concerning earth and heaven should come in between the self and God. It is God alone that one loves. One should not even contemplate on God’s good attributes. These do not count. In fact

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they obstruct the scene. So in this journey of transcendence, there is much pain and suffering, because it is unable to reach its loved one.

An outline of ‘The Cloud of Unknowing.
The Call with Grace God in his love for a young disciple is calling him to ascend the scale up the spiritual path. The disciple, although undeserved, must respond by a great longing and love for God. This involves spiritual awareness, a forgetting of the past and everything worldly and an intense dedicated determination to reach out to God by penetrating the Cloud of Unknowing. In order to facilitate this penetration, a Cloud of Forgetting of all worldly things must be constructed so that no thoughts may be entertained. It is only through God’s grace that the soul may begin to contemplate Him. Throughout the soul’s journey, he is also sustained by God’s grace. In this text of 75 short chapters, the word grace appears more than 90 times. The soul must prepare for this life by reading, prayers and meditation. He must be a willing and co-operative soul for this privilege of grace. He must have a naked intent directed to God. Loving God This purpose of loving God must be so absolute that nothing is allowed to deflect it. “Look that nothing live in thy working mind but a naked intent stretching into God” (Epistle of Privy Counsel, Chapter 1). This intent is the dart of longing and love persistently piercing the Cloud of Unknowing wrapping around God. Through love God is known, not through the intellect: ‘He may well be loved, but not thought. By love may he be gotten and holden, but by thought never’ (Chapter 6). In contemplation the mind is blank and empty, which is the Cloud of Unknowing. In this emptiness, the soul must concentrate on God, which is the divine in his soul. He must only concentrate on Him and not God’s qualities or goodness. The latter practice will detract from the purity of the contemplation. In this fashion sin is also totally destroyed, as sin cannot be alive in the presence of God. The by-products of this contemplation are humility and charity. The author used Martha and Mary as examples of the above. Love begets humility and charity and encourages activity (karma yoga). Martha is tireless in her active daily chores whilst Mary sits besides Jesus listening with love. Jesus reckons that the contemplation of Mary is

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of a higher order than Martha’s activity. Throughout the book Love is placed in the highest order of contemplation. Nothing can replace it. In order for God’s grace to infuse contemplation to the mystic, he has to read and pray first. When it comes to contemplation the book persists that the mystic uses love to penetrate this Cloud of Unknowing over and over again. The cloud is the emptiness after the preliminary preparation of reading the scriptures and meditation (orison). Together with the Cloud of Forgetting he is in total emptiness or trance to be lifted up by God’s grace in contemplation. Uphill Battle and Sin All this needs hard work and discipline. Everything else in this world has to be forgotten at the same time. This part of the practice is most difficult, because one also has to forget oneself. Then there is also the lure of the flesh together with its seven sins of lust, pride, sloth, anger, gluttony, envy and avarice. It serves no purpose by analysing all vagaries of sin. So it is much more beneficial if sin can be grouped as one ‘lump’ of sin. Although one has to be on guard with the ‘devil’ from the beginning, the devil’s power will progressively decrease as the contemplative improves in his climb upwards. At this stage it is an uphill battle. Not only is the forgetting has to be absolute, the rest of the world does not understand, including his colleagues in the same religious lineage. The contemplative will be criticised, abused and reprimanded for being slothful. According to the author when the mystic is ostracised, he would be more subjected to the tricks of the ‘devil’, and he would deviate from the path towards God. That is why, some of these mystics have to withdraw from the task. Peculiarly, the book suggests that those bad sinners appear to do better than the less sinful. The U-turn must be very abrupt and finite. However these sinners normally find the contemplation more difficult at the beginning. There is, however, some compensation with a contemplative life. The contemplative’s aura has been transformed into brighter colours, and consequently they become more attractive to other people, some of who were

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previously avoiding him. The contemplative has become more cheerful and poised in his stance. Other people suddenly begin to come for advice. He may also be mixing with sinners and yet uncontaminated by them. But in order to overcome temptation there are two methods suggested: (1) to look over the shoulders and straight towards God, and (2) when temptation is unavoidable the contemplative must totally succumb to God, who will then come down to protect him by bringing him up into the spiritual realms and dry his ghostly eyes. Thence he lumps all sins including himself into the Cloud of Forgetting as a ‘naked intent unto God’. He must identify the soul with sin until he sees God. In the mean while this practice will bring a fresh of goodness and mercy of God; it will keep the soul humble; and finally the separateness with God does not exist.

Contemplation
Contemplation is not an emotion. It is not a reaction to a beautiful sunset or a serene atmosphere in nature. It is an awareness of God at the core of one’s being. During contemplation, this awareness may not be pleasurable or blissful throughout. The mystic is slowly being transformed into a higher being sometimes with no discernible movement. Yet it is not a static situation. The soul is growing imperceptibly but inevitably towards God. At times he may be awed and humbled as to be entranced, exalted, daunted and finally lured towards enlightenment. In some of them, bliss does appear but it is ineffable. He can only allude to its beauty and glory. He can give metaphors and to give advice as to what course to take, the pitfalls to avoid etc. The author of the Cloud does give a simple map of his way. In chapter 26 he did suggest the splendour of this bliss of contemplation. He said that when God sent out a beam of ghostly light to pierce the cloud between God and the soul, he would see things so fantastic and bountiful that he cannot come to talk about it. He does, however, get so inflamed with the fire of love that his desire for God is redoubled. The book puts it down in Chapter 48 as ‘full wonderful sweetness and comforts’. It is so wondrous that ‘all nature quaketh, all clerks be foolish, and all saints and angels be blind’ can only be known in the Cloud of Unknowing (chapter 13). Although the glory of contemplation cannot be written, the life of it is chronicled in chapters 68-70, where it is stated that ‘Nought’ which is the ‘All’. God is ‘an unmade ghostly thing’ and he is nothing and nowhere. We must then puri-

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fy ourselves until we ourselves become nothing (Cloud of Forgetting). Thence we become the unknowing itself to experience the ‘full blind and full dark’ in this life endowed with an ‘abundance of ghostly light’.

An Outline of ‘The Interior Castle’ by S. Teresa of Avila (1515—82)
St Teresa and St John at the Cross (1542—92) were jointly reforming and expanding the Carmelite Order. St John was a junior colleague of St Teresa. St. Teresa already had written in her book called Life the four stages of mental prayer that lead to the ecstasy of Divine Union. She testified in 1577 that God showed her that the soul was like a castle made entirely of diamond or clear crystal globe, in which there were seven dwelling places. In the centre God dwelt in splendour. From the centre God illumined beautifully all the dwelling places to the outer wall. The nearer the inhabitants got to the centre the more light they would receive. Outside the castle all was dark with toads, vermin and vipers. While watching the castle the light suddenly went off, the castle was covered with darkness and was ugly with a stench. The poisonous creatures were able to enter the castle then. This is a state when the soul is in sin. The spiritu