Mindful Musings

“Cycle of Birth and Death”

The Prince of Birth and the Prince of Death

Contended in the darkness

The Prince of Death announced:

“I am the culmination and window into the beyond. Therefore, I am more important!”

The Prince of Birth retorted:

“You may be the window into the beyond, but I am the inception point and the rite of passage back into the wisdom of form. Therefore, I am more important!”

In response, Brahman broke into laughter at the audacious claims of his two devotees

And playfully declared:

“Birth is such. Death is such. Birth or death what’s the fuss?”Death is Sure as Birth

Mindful Musings

“The Uncomfortable Side of Comfort”

By: Forrest Rivers

The Wheel of Life - Samsara | Thangka Mandala

Clay, a dear friend of mine once said: There is nothing more uncomfortable for the seeker of truth than a comfortable place. I think his comment is wise. Comfort can breed complacency if one is not present or self-aware. Finding a comfortable place—be it at a long-term job, geographic location or even in a romantic relationship—can trap one in a monotonous routine challenging for personal growth. Now, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with wanting to lay down roots. For that is an inborn yearning we all have. However, we should be mindful of the fact that change is as essential to the soul’s evolution as food and water are to the body’s sustenance. So, at the moment when you begin feeling exceedingly comfortable in your “place”, stop for a moment and also access that space within yourself that acknowledges the discomfort which lies in feelings of comfort. After all, all happenings in this glorious Universe are always changing and in constant flux. The seasons change, stars are born then burn out and whole galaxies are created and destroyed. God designed things this way. If all of creation is tied in one infinite web, why would we not also spin along on the same wheel of change?

 

Mindful Musings

“Dust off Your Spiritual Lamp”

Spiritual Photosynthesis: How to See Mystical Light and Shekinah ...

By: Forrest Rivers

All the world’s mystics have discovered that the Self is more than our bodies and more than our minds. Why, then, do too many of us spin upon a wheel of despair driven largely by our own feelings of inadequacy? I can only attempt (key word here) to answer this question by posing another one: have you ever dug through your forgotten belongings only to find an old lamp covered in dust? If you have, then you noticed that as you flipped on the switch very little light shined.  So, what did you do?  Chances are, you simply wiped it away until a purer radiance shown.

The lamp metaphor can easily be applied to our own feelings of insecurity. Fortunately, there is something you can do when the negative emotions of shame, doubt and self judgement rear their ugly head (as they so often do). Meditation is that sacred cloth used to wipe away the dust of your childhood fears, pain and feelings of inadequacy. When we start to meditate regularly, it becomes increasingly difficult to run away from our higher selves…our “Atman” to borrow a beautiful Hindu phrase.

In the depths of meditation, the spark of God that lives within all of us reveals that very truth our minds try to keep concealed: self-judgment is a glitch in our own perception and is merely a small bump in the road on the higher path to self -realization.  When we dust off our spiritual lamps through the awe filled trance of meditation, self judgement is transformed into self-acceptance.

Mindful Musings

The Smoky Mountains vs. the "Smokey Mountains”: Who's Right?

“A Faithful Silence”

By: Forrest Rivers

It is a beautiful day outside and you decide to hike to the top of a glorious mountain. When you arrive at the trailhead, your mind is anxious and your thoughts wander in every direction away from the present—the here and now. For the first 20 minutes of your walk, you are totally consumed by reflections upon the past and possibilities for the future. In your restless mind of untamed thoughts, emotions and impressions you replay your countless dramas from yesterday and make big plans for what you will accomplish tomorrow. Such worries over relationship troubles, workplace dramas and recent personal failures coalesce with wild imaginings of your hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled. At this phase of your journey, you are feeling anxious and alienated from your inner self.

You continue walking along the trail in this uncomfortable and distracted state until the miraculous happens. Your mind begins to quiet and your heart tunes in to the glory of your natural surroundings. You then start to notice those wondrous happenings that you took for granted only moments ago. On your way up to the rarefied peak, you are swept away by the harmonious songs of the Earth. Through a new pair of eyes, the first thing you realize is how the warm life-giving rays of the sun stir all living creatures into action. As a child of the sun, you begin to feel an indescribable kinship with all beings of the forest. You then quiet down even more and tune in to the heavenly sounds of swaying tree tops and the whispering wind. You then smell the sweet aroma of spring’s blooming flowers and hear the faint sound of flowing water off in the distance. It is at this point, that you have entered into a natural and sacred space that has been called Zen, Oneness and Satchitananda by mystics across various faiths.

As you bask in the wonder of this heightened state of awareness, your body feels light as air and your vital energies come into balance. As the top draws near, you hardly recognize the being that has become, but yet, who has always been. Arriving at the mountain top, you now feel an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation for the perspective of the Eagle. Standing at the summit of a rocky abyss, you recognize the soft grooves etched into the great blue hills. You then feel wildly comforted by the vast jungle forests that rests upon the surrounding mountain tops and stretch as far as your eyes can see. Looking out at the vast expanse of glorious Earth, you begin to understand just how inconsequential you are in the grand scheme of things. However, somewhere inside you know that in being nothing you are indeed everything. You then walk back down the mountain in a faithful silence.

Mindful Musings

“A Ballad of Hope Amid a time of Crisis”

 

By: Forrest Rivers

 

The year was 2020

The world was plagued by a pandemic

that inflicted mass casualties across the land

Countless millions watched in horror

As loved ones fell victim to the virus

Many more struggled to find work and food

As the world’s exploitative economy

Suffered a catastrophic collapse….

Meanwhile, corrupt and greedy politicians

Stood callously by

As the number of homeless multiplied and starved around them

With little assistance coming from their maniacal rulers

Some people resorted to looting and organized crime

To get their needs met….

But set against this backdrop of death, fear and deprivation

A movement of higher consciousness was well underway

Driven into isolation to control the deadly virus

Citizens of the world came to have gratitude

For all the little things they had taken for granted:

Smiles from passing strangers,

Sentimental hugs,

Uplifting time spent with dear friends and family

And the sweet joys of live song and dance

Were all things sorely missed and remembered

Nostalgically….

Such expressions of gratitude

So intrinsic to what it means to be human

Triggered cosmic waves

Of beautiful but unintended consequences

For humanity’s awakening amid this age of crisis….

Sequestered in their homes for months

Some discovered a love for art and creativity

While others found God in books and through online talks

From enlightened teachers….

Souls fortunate enough to have nature out their front door

Planted a garden or communed with the Earth

Through walking, swimming and biking

And, inner reflection became a powerful tool

to confront despair for many more….

The ancient practice of meditation underwent a resurgence

As did faithful prayer and mindful attention

To each passing moment

And, the spirit of service

That was heartlessly neglected by society for far too long

Began bubbling within the hearts of each man, woman and child

once more….

FINALLY,

The day came

When it was safe for all to emerge from their houses

But when they re-entered the storm of form

What they found was not the same world as before….

A revolution had been born

And seeds planted

As all showed a genuine love for one another

And displayed reverence for the Earth

Consuming less and communing with Her more

Everywhere,

The Renaissance in art was felt

As Creative expression flourished

Like rivers flowing into the infinite blue ocean

For the first time in half a century

Young people everywhere

Chose to find meaningful work

Rather than chase the almighty dollar….

Of course,

Many day to day things remained the same….

Grocery stores were still frequented

Children still attended schools

And people still drove long distances

To see kindred spirits in kind—-

But inwardly,

Humanity had awakened from its stupor

Of vanity, greed and self-absorption

Upon entering this new world

Every step felt lighter

And the sun seemed to shine

With a greater luminosity

To herald the coming

Of mankind’s arrival

And to celebrate

Its most profound realization yet:

All things in life are ONE

And filled with the eternal bliss of the Universe

The age of crisis had given way

To mankind’s enlightenment

And the old adage that darkness gives way to light

Assumed a new and precious meaning

In this sacred season of spiritual revival.

 

Mindful Musings

“Creation Song”

By: Forrest Rivers

****Originally published on themindfulword.org

The many emerged from the One
As a divine demonstration
Of love, beauty, spirit and truth
Yet, this infinite presence
That was at once the spark and the flame
Sought to fully know IT’s perfect self
Through the wonders of form

And so, IT began to sculpt
IT’s own cosmic clay
Into various expressions of IT’s own divine being

As the great laws of the Universe
Began to take hold
A boundless array of realities
Came to pass
Before finally bursting open
Like spring flowers in bloom

It was set against this glorious backdrop
When the Supreme Soul
Molded the Earth out of IT’s own formless essence
And unveiled the most spectacular event
Of past, present and future
Merging into form
As ONE

A glorious work of art
This magnificent sculptor of the Cosmos
Imbued each of IT’s own mystical qualities
Into the Earth’s sacred elements
As water, air, fire and soil
Became manifestations
Of IT’s own vital life force and purified center

Immersed in the sheer joy
Of IT’s own power of Creation
This Godhead of Wisdom planted the magical seeds
That were to blossom
Into trees, mountains, rivers and oceans

As planetary forms continued to sprout
Mysterious patterns of the unfolding
Could be intuitively felt
As evolution became the vehicle
By which the One came to know the multitude of the many
And itself…

Soon, reptiles, mammals and the great-winged pilots of the sky
Joined in on this airy dance of eternal peace
But just as the cosmic void seemed to swallow whole
The illusionary folds of both time and space
A peculiar being was born that gradually multiplied in numbers…

The human race appeared upon the celestial mosaic
Neither separate from nor superior to the rest of creation
These strange two-legged creatures
Were merely one among an infinite number of life forms
To emerge on this blue sphere of wonder
And, like a leopard’s blazing speed
Or an eagle’s godly soar above
The Great Mystery also bestowed a unique and special power
Upon mankind:
The ability to reason

So long as their scheming minds were only harnessed
To satisfy their basic needs of survival
Humankind found eternal truth and meaning
Through the higher planes of spiritual reality
And a delicate balance was achieved:
Between the rational and intuitive intellect

From the very start of humanity’s epic journey
Through the wisdom of form
Wise indigenous souls
Of the Earth
Held this fragile balance of mind and heart
With astonishing ease

For countless generations, these native ancestors of the land
The Original dwellers…
Maintained this precious equilibrium
Through the unwavering love and devotion
Of Grandmother Earth and all HER divine manifestations

The Sun and the moon
All of the diverse plant and animal life
The majestic forests and deserts
The ancient flowing lakes and rivers
And even the silent passing of the seasons
Were venerated as holy expressions
Of Absolute Being

The enlightened ways of these native souls
Continued to thrive for countless millennia
Until, for reasons only known by the Creator
A brutal culture rooted in hubris began its long and steady ascent
Into prominence
Through inflicting unimaginable cruelty
Upon the Earth’s well-being

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As tiny cabals of these “two-leggeds” extended their influence
Through using the mind to sequester truth and knowledge
They unknowingly lost that inborn spark of wild
That bore the fruits of intuitive wisdom

With the harmonious ways of the original peoples
Now being subjected before the forces of blind belief and logic
First Religion, and then Science
Came to replace the authentic connection of spirit
Found through the Earth and within…

Though appearing to stand in direct opposition
To one another
These twin forces of the mind
Pursued in common life’s answers to existential questions
That could only be arrived at
Through the intuitive heart space
Of focused contemplation

As the ego’s yearning to “know” grew ever stronger
The Indigenous path of inner communion
With the Earth and self—
Gradually gave way to an exterior search
That produced only conditioned faith and grandeur

As the path of ego fully enveloped the purity of soul
Patterns of structured doctrine emerged
That coalesced into the formations
Of institutions that blinded and deceived

As hungry aspirants claimed what they thought
Were their rightful seats to power
The human race moved ever further
From its exalted state of intimacy with the Earth

Bloodshed, genocide, slavery and the devastation of the natural world
Were the shameful outcomes of unchecked egos
As this era of reason multiplied through three “great revolutions”
Known as the crops, machines and computers

But finally, one day
The time came when the Omnipresent One
The Supreme Mover and Shaker of the Cosmos—
Willed for the ways of the original Earth Dwellers
To make a long and heralded return
And they savoured the opportunity to lead humanity back into the light

Emboldened by the strength of their own awakening
Humankind embraced its brethren once more
In the forests, lakes, oceans and mountains
And forged a new covenant with Creation

Overjoyed with tears of elation
The Lord of Love shined IT’s light brightly
And merged again with ITS own boundless potential.