Challenge your Perception of Reality

Challenge your Perception of Reality

Challenge your Perception of Reality

I’ve always loved engaging in a psychologically-stimulating discussion with someone. Thinking “outside the box” should be a regular practice to keep ourselves from getting stagnant. Once you step outside, you’ll realize just how small our boxes are.

Since I’ve become a student of Avi’s, my mind hasn’t for one minute been in a thinking rut. He has stirred up thought processes that I would never dream up but that are so easy to embrace because he speaks the truth, and you know what they say, “the truth will set you free”! His knowledge of existence and life and thoughts is never-ending and so very fascinating. It all makes so much sense!

I’ve selected a very thought-provoking video from our YouTube channel for this week. It’s only a little over 8 minutes long, but will have you traveling different pathways in your mind….. take the challenge.

Theresa

https://youtu.be/9ehtdgR2ac0

To get updates as we add videos to the channel, remember to subscribe!

“The Silent Path” – An awesome book review!

“The Silent Path” – An awesome book review!

“The Silent Path” – An awesome book review!

We recently received a professional book review from Midwest Book ReviewThe review will be published in the May issue of their publication, Midwest Book Review. 

The review is a great summary of the key points of Avi’s book, pointing out what a reader can expect to learn. 

Check out the review. The book is available on Amazon at the provided link.

The Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest Possibility

Avi

Meditation Farm

978-0-578-63706-8                $16.95

Ordering: https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Path-Awaken-Highest-Possibility/dp/0578637065

Website: www.meditationfarm.com

The Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest Possibility provides the perfect introduction to meditation for newcomers to the practice. It speaks about cultivating individuality and purpose in life against the onslaught of collective thinking pressures.

Avi points out that few modern systems “are working for the liberation of the individual.” Most are juggernauts of collective melding that work for themselves. This is why meditation can provide answers that society cannot. It’s individual-centric, and just as society cares little about inner pursuits, so the foundation question “Who am I” cannot be addressed by society, but marks a path of self-inquiry that meditation supports.

Those who embark on this journey will realize new possibilities, from renewed purpose and identity to revised approaches to life itself. And that’s what The Silent Path is all about.

Readers already contemplating a personal journey towards enlightenment will find The Silent Path intriguing in many ways. For one, it points out that a spiritual path and a religious path are different: “Spirituality has nothing to do with religion. If spirituality is a living garden where beautiful flowers are growing, religion is a museum where all those once-beautiful flowers are now wilting…While religion emerges out of the mind of man mostly for his selfish desires, spirituality takes birth in the longing heart of an individual. Spirituality is an existential longing to know who you are; it is the desire of the universe to know itself through you.”

Later discussions synthesize and further illustrate this concept: “Spirituality is always a leap of faith. It’s like walking to the edge of the mountain and jumping off without worrying whether you are wearing a parachute, or if someone is down there to catch your fall. That moment of trust when you reach deep within and take the leap, is the moment of your spiritual liberation. The rest of the journey is simply to realize the fact that you have already found what you are looking for.”

Readers unfamiliar with these processes may initially believe this discussion will revolve around philosophical or ethereal concepts of higher purpose, but there’s a grounded benefit to many of these approaches that translates to improved everyday life. One example lies in pain sufferers: “When you watch the pain intensely, the energy of watching completely transforms the way you experience pain. Although the source of pain is in the body, it is the mind that makes it real. Mind controls everything, including the sensations of physical pain. When you gain control over your mind, you gain control over physical pain as well.”

As Avi applies the concepts and approaches of spiritual enlightenment and meditation to every facet of daily living, readers come to understand that the benefits of following this silent path go beyond enlightenment on the spiritual realm to permeate every facet of life.

As an anecdote to the Culture of Doubt, The Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest Possibility is more than just uplifting. It’s simple, achievable, and easy for anybody to digest. It offers a course of action and a set of admonitions that should resonate with a wide audience, lies within no single religious realm, and can be understood and applied to all lives, across the board.

Those with an interest in self-help and spiritual growth will find The Silent Path an excellent beginning to embarking on a different life journey grounded in the pursuit of happiness and renewed purpose.

Jumping off the Train

Jumping off the Train

Jumping off the Train

Isn’t it kind of a revelation to know, “Wow, there is something real?” We don’t know it, because we’re distracting ourselves with so many other things. We can all get something from the beautiful passage … “You cannot find yourself: You’re not a ten-dollar bill that is lost somewhere in a jacket pocket to find.” You are already found. You only have to step away from the distractions.

We are the sky that is always cloudy; that is the human experience. It’s always filled with something. A cloud is filled with something –  that is all a cloud is. If what it is filled with disappears, the idea of the cloud disappears, and the sky behind it will automatically reveal itself. If we are able to understand the nature of our identity, the identity of the body, the identity of the mind, and how we are using this identity to accomplish things in the world, then we would ask, “What is it that we are really trying to attain to?”

We are constantly thinking about tomorrow. We are reflecting on what has happened, we want to change a few things, we have certain desires, and we are projecting that into the future. That is the very nature of the mind, and that is how we have always been, at least in this life. That has been our life: Constantly keep thinking about something, and keep your entire attention and focus on doing those futuristic things. Once you accomplish that, you start dreaming about other things, and you keep on moving on.

If we can clearly understand: Is this the only process that we call life, or is there something more to life? Is the experience of life all about moving on, moving ahead, or is there something in reality? Is there something in this moment? We keep distracting ourselves because once the clouds have gathered, you look up – you’re looking for the sky, No matter how hard you try, you’re only looking at the clouds. Once thoughts have invaded us, we have chosen to attach ourselves to this world, this life, this thinking process. That itself is the distraction. There is no other distraction. In that sense, there is nobody who is not distracted. Even the most peaceful, relaxed, individual is still distracted by his thoughts, if you want to use the word distraction.

In a way, finding ourselves is going beyond the most basic assumptions that we have made about life. That requires a very strong will that requires consistent effort, consistent learning, and consistent understanding. We would not be able to just do it using a momentary thought. But what is a thought at the end of the day? All thoughts are connected to each other. When one thought is giving instructions to another thought, they’re still secretly conspiring to keep you blinded.

Our thoughts are the most dishonest of all things that you can find in the universe. Everything in existence is honest, if you think about it. Existence lives by the law of life, it dies by the law of life, and it’s always straight. It’s always honest. It says, “This is who I am. This is what my situation of life is. This is what I can do.” As long as we are close to this process, we have some hope, but we are not in that process.

We are constantly – every single moment – fooling ourselves into believing in our own thoughts. Whatever our thoughts tell us, we simply listen to it. Then, when we try to go beyond this process, we just use another thought (that is also our own). It’s our game, our mind, our thoughts. We keep on justifying our actions for ourselves. The Truth is there somewhere, and you have a desire to search for it. Because you are alive, because you’re born spiritual, there will always be a desire.

There’s a lot of difference between that desire becoming a reality and you just simply staying with that desire. For a lot of people, Awakening will simply remain a desire, because they’re not willing to be ruthlessly honest with themselves. And poor creatures, they don’t even know how dishonest they are with themselves. If, even for a single moment, we can sit and watch our thought process and see how dishonest we are to ourselves – forget about others – because they don’t know you. Whatever you tell them, they listen. If you tell me tomorrow, “I did this, I did that, this is what I’m doing,” that is what I will believe. I cannot get into your mind and see what you’re doing, what thought process is running.

Leave out others.  We’ve made a living out of fooling others; that’s the whole world. You will not be able to find a new motivation to stay away from that because everybody’s in the same mess. We’re all concerned about our own self-interests, our own individual realities, and we will be like that. At least, when you decide to pick up the spiritual path, when you decide to search for the Truth, you have to internally become extremely honest with yourself. That is the only way you can continue to see how you are being tricked by your own thoughts.

You are a victim. You are not the perpetrator of a crime, you are a pure soul. You are a pure self. You are the most beautiful thing that can ever happen. You are aliveness. You are Consciousness. You are Divinity itself. When you can trick, when you can deceive yourself, when you can keep lying to yourself, then you should very clearly know that that is not you. Somewhere, something has gone wrong. Your mind has entered and has completely taken over you.

Now, the whole challenge in this process is, how do we stop somewhere in the middle? This freight train of thoughts is going all the time – going at breakneck speed. To be able to stop this train, and reverse its momentum, or to step away from it – literally, stepping away from thoughts is like jumping off a moving train. That is what is so difficult. Thoughts have momentum. Desires have momentum. Our Truth has momentum. Our lies also have momentum. So, they are carrying us in some direction. All of our desires have given us some destination in the future, and it is carrying us toward that at breakneck speed. You are sitting on the train, and somewhere you have figured out that, “No, this train is not reality. I have just been tricked into getting onto this train.” There’s another reality outside, which is perfectly still.

We are all like children who were born on the train, will live on the train, and will die on the train. All the time we’ll be feeling the vibration of the train, we’ll be moving back and forth, and we have learned everything by being on the train. So what is the train? It is a train of thoughts. Imagine how honest should an individual be to be able to say the very thing, “I am relying on my own mind, my thoughts are my enemy.” You can do that only when you put something else above your idiotic individual mind and thoughts.

        

Creativity: The Flow of Life

Creativity: The Flow of Life

Creativity: The Flow of Life

When we talk about emotional intelligence, we’re talking about a higher form of intelligence. It is not only higher when compared to other animals, it also has a hierarchy within the human race itself. Most people actually don’t exercise this ability to watch their emotions and direct them in a certain way. When you are in control of your emotions, when you are observing your emotions, when you can direct your emotions in a certain direction, you can see the impact of emotions on your life.

Emotions are the glue that binds two thought processes together. Two thoughts have no relationship with each other except through some emotion. If you take away emotion, then two thoughts are simply random thoughts. If you don’t connect the clouds and the rain with the body, there is really no emotional connection at all.

All these are random processes: Someone is mowing, a flower is blooming, a bird is singing somewhere; life is happening all around us. If you were to take away the emotional glue that connects you to this process, everything is simply a momentary process: There’s no life here. Life is a connection. If you take away connection, then it’s just a painting with no meaning. That’s what life is: It’s colorful, it’s changing, it’s a three-dimensional painting and everyone is painting, but there is no connection to the painting, and there’s no relationship to the painting.

Emotion is what binds everything. Emotion is what gives us meaning. Emotion is what helps us to reflect on our place in this whole scheme of things. Most people don’t even know that they have all these emotions. Most of us think that We are victims of our emotions; we don’t have any control over our emotions. When anger takes over us, we simply have to react in an angry manner. We don’t have the choice to stop that anger. Emotional intelligence is the power to exercise your choice to stop an emotion and channel it in any direction you want.

This is not a totally alien concept, because a lot of us actually know what this is. Some of us actually use it but a lot of us know what it is. A situation happens, you get angry, and immediately some other force subsides that anger; it helps you to control that anger, and immediately a sort of intelligence comes in–a sort of thought process comes in–where you say, “Oh, I’m getting angry. Why am I getting angry?”

The moment you start interpreting your emotions, you are choosing to be intelligent. Because emotion is a force, it just happened to you. When you are able to pause that emotion, when you are able to say, “Now I’m getting angry, now I need to do something about it,” or “I want to see why this is happening.” Whatever it is that you do with that moment of anger (except for totally bursting out in anger) is a sign of emotional intelligence. When you burst out in anger without exercising any control over it, that is the sign of lack of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a fancy term we use, as if it is something totally separate; as if it is something that we need to acquire. It is within us. We are all emotional creatures and we think we are right. We actually think that logic and reasoning and systematic approach is our whole life, but in reality it isn’t. In reality our life is shaped by our emotions. Knowing how to direct these emotions in a certain direction is emotional intelligence.

If a tree falls ….

If a tree falls ….

If a tree falls ….

The fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?”

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody was around, did it really fall? That’s a very fundamental, existential question. Why do you ask such a question, when we have absolutely everything in existence happening all by itself, and you are just a small part. When you have absolutely assumed that the forest is already there for you to take a walk in, the sky is already there for you to contemplate on, and everything around you is ready-made and you’re just one person in the middle of the game of life, then that question doesn’t make any sense.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, we still ask the question, Did it fall? When you understand the nature of reality for what it is, can you understand that existence is pure perception? Without the perceiver there is no perception; without the watcher, there is no watching; without the one who is inquiring, there is no inquiry; without the one who is listening, there is no song. So, if a person is not there to hear a tree fall in the forest it did not happen.

Everything that you have perceived in your life, you have perceived through your own personal experience. When somebody says that a tree fell in the forest, you have to imagine a tree falling in the forest. There’s got to be a sound that’s already in you to be able to imagine that tree falling in the forest. If you don’t have that imagery at all, if you have never experienced it, then it is impossible to even talk to you about such things. That itself means that you supply something very important to the process of creation.

There’s a difference between your imaginary world and your real world. In your imaginary world, you can create whatever you want. You can imagine a tree falling, you can imagine dinosaurs gathering themselves up from bones, you can imagine a lot of things. But for something to actually happen you need to participate in the process. To experience a tree really falling you have to be there watching and listening. The question is not about the tree, or the tree falling, or you listening to the tree falling. The fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?” Every time you think about this, if you think that you’re just this reality or just this physical body, then you’ll miss the whole point.

Meditation is like a Diet for your Mind

Meditation is like a Diet for your Mind

Meditation is like a Diet for your Mind

When I meet people here and there and the conversation always turns to meditation (usually prompted by “what have you been doing lately?”), I’m often asked questions like “What is meditation? What do you do while you’re sitting? What do you think about while you’re meditating?” 

It’s kind of hard to explain meditation, because we’ve not been exposed to such inward spiritual things in our society, and most of the time “being quiet” is imposed as a sort of punishment.

The best way I can think of to explain it is by using the term “Self Control”. We’ve heard that term all our lives. What does it mean? Well, it means to resist temptations of the body, like eating too many chocolate cookies, drinking too much alcohol, or mental self-control, by not doing things we know aren’t right such as spreading malicious gossip or perpetuating negative thought processes when they arise.

So, there IS something other than our minds and our bodies–it’s our SELF. It’s the force that is directing our minds and bodies when we have “self” control. The only way we can have self-control is to be in the present moment. There’s no way to control your sugar cravings tomorrow or yesterday–it’s only good for right now. Think about it, and it really makes a lot of sense.

Meditation is simply a diet for your mind. You sit still for a while and don’t think about anything. Yep, nothing-nada-zilch. If (when) your mind starts off on a thought spree, reel it back it, just like you’d slam the fridge door shut right before you grab the ice cream.

As in dieting, it takes time to see the effects of meditation. You don’t lose weight right after eating a healthy meal, but if you keep eating healthy over a period of time, you’ll definitely see the results in the mirror. You won’t feel results after one meditation, but if you persist, just like in dieting, you will experience results like less stress, more creativity, and just an overall happier outlook on life. Come on people, it’s time to put our minds on a diet! – Theresa

Standing for Truth

Standing for Truth

Standing for Truth

When you are confused, always take the side of truth. Nothing a human being has ever done matters more than this. Truth is, was and always will be the yardstick on which we are measured. While the truth is the best path to take, it is also one of the most difficult paths to stick to. You can be pushed away from the path of truth very easily.

The world has become a complex and confusing place. The sheer pace at which things are changing makes it easy to get confused and lost in this fast-paced, ever-changing, shape-shifting reality. The only reliable source of strength and inspiration for the individual is the truth he or she believes in.

Now, why is it so important to discover our truth and stick with it? Apart from the moral argument that truth is right, there is also a very important practical aspect to the truth. Truth provides us a sense of direction; it acts as a guiding light to help us make sense of the confusing darkness around us. The moment we decide to compromise on our truth and integrity, we simply lose the way.

Truth offers us the internal certainty that is necessary to face the daily challenges of external reality. We are living in a world where everybody is fighting for our attention. We have to constantly choose between our influences and focus on what is important to us. How is it possible to focus when we are not sure about what we want, and how we can be certain about what we want if it is not deeply rooted in the truth we believe in?

Without internal truth, honesty, and integrity we are like a dry leaf that is drifting in the wind. Without this internal certainty, our future, fate, and destiny are simply a matter of chance. We will not have any control over our present or the future. We will not have the necessary strength and motivation to pursue our dreams and desires.

Truth fills us with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Truth lifts us when we fall. It cushions our fall and puts us back on the path. Truth gives us meaning and purpose to our actions. It helps us to weed out unwanted distractions and helps us to stay clear and focused. Truth is the best friend who will walk with you and support you in your most challenging situations.

Just reflect on the lives of some of the most creative and successful people of history; Einstein, Da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, and so many others. What drove them towards such incredible excellence and success? The common connecting factor of their lives is the truth. They were all possessed by the truth they believed in. They were guided by an internal truth that shaped their lives. Without a clear sense of the truth that we believe in, life will always be uncertain.

Don’t Worry About What you can’t Control

Don’t Worry About What you can’t Control

Don’t Worry About What you can’t Control

why not just live in the present moment and enjoy life as it comes?

I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this remembers where they were and what they were doing when 911 happened.  I had just walked into a conference room at work to attend an all-day “Stress Management” class with about 20 other colleagues. The guy sitting next to me asked if I had heard what happened…

Stress Management.  What an appropriate topic for the day! Turns out that the guy teaching the class was retired military and had worked at the Pentagon for 20+ years, so he was particularly distracted by the entire event.  We didn’t have smart phones then, nor even television in the room so we had to go to our cars to listen to the radio at breaks to keep up with what was happening. 

He did an amazing job with the class, but the one take-away I’ve never forgotten was “Don’t worry about things you have no control over”.  That is so true!  Hard to accomplish, but true. 

What is worry, anyway? It’s such an important word that it’s used as a verb and a noun. As a verb it means  to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” As a noun, the definition is “A state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” Worry is simply allowing the mind to have its own way concerning a particular event or train of thoughts.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you’re depressed you’re living in the past, and if you’re stressed you’re living in the future.” Think about that saying, and you’ll realize how true it is. We have no control over the past because it’s already happened. We can definitely learn from it, but don’t relive it or dwell on it. We can shape our future, but the future can’t happen until it’s in the present moment, so why not just live in the present moment and enjoy life as it comes? When you think about it, if we’re “in the moment” then it is impossible for us to worry, period.

As Avi teaches, the most effective way to step away from worry is to be in the present moment. To get into the moment, sit quiet, breath slowly, and watch your breath. Your body is always in the present moment, so just focusing on your body or a part of your body will keep your mind from wandering everywhere. Every time your mind starts to go to a worrisome thought, bring your focus back to the breath or your body. It’s a continuous battle, but being mindful and living in the present moment is without a doubt the ultimate weapon to combat worry. – Theresa

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

“The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering.”

What is meditation? What is the message of Jesus? What is the message of Buddha? Their message is that there is a zone within us; a zone where there is peace and tremendous joy. When you touch this joy, you know that it’s internal and you know that it’s real. In this zone, the pain of the body goes away; the pain of the mind goes away, and you experience existence in its most natural state.

While you’re having sex, or when you drink alcohol, use drugs, or take part in whatever it is that you do to escape, you are basically connecting with that zone. That’s when the peace comes. You don’t smoke to be happy, you smoke to forget the pain of the body, or you drink alcohol to forget the pain of the body. Now for me, any “sudden jerk” in trying to connect with that zone–that inner zone–without a systematic process is just like smoking and drinking and having sex.  It’s like walking into someone’s house and seeing them drinking and being blissful, being happy, and then walking into someone else’s house and they are crazily jumping and dancing and speaking in different tongues. It’s the same thing. They’re experiencing some kind of joy, but once they step out of that experience they can’t carry forward that experience, so they feel depressed and sad.

This is where systematic practice is required to help you understand what mindfulness is, what meditation is, and how to gradually get into it. Life is a very long phenomenon; it’s not like you just live for 10 days. It only takes a few years to get to the point of experiencing this bliss. All we need is to develop the narrative. We need to develop the conversations. People should start talking about the scientific way of exploring the inner life and they should get into the practice of naturally touching those internal zones. In all my years of meditation, I have never done anything crazy. I’ve never danced, no drama, never have psyched myself up. Once in a while I used to connect and feel all this is good, but then I quickly stepped away from this knowing that those feelings weren’t the “real thing”–They were not permanent. 

For me, I wanted to be in this zone permanently. I didn’t want to just start something accidentally. I wanted to be able to find that zone again. If you approach meditation gradually you might not experience tremendous energy and crazy things happening all of a sudden, but gradually you will experience it and enjoy it. It’s a better idea to experience gradual enlightenment because you need to know the path, you need to know how you got to that zone so that you can go back to it at will. 

Ultimately, what is the purpose? The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering. Do you want to go beyond pain and suffering for one moment and fall back into it? I mean it’s like this: Do you want to go beyond your pain and suffering completely and experience tremendous blessing one moment and then fall back into the body consciousness where the pain is still there, or do you want to gradually reduce the pain of the body, and gradually reduce the pain of the mind by connecting with that zone again and again, by going deeper into meditation? The pain of the mind reduces by understanding it, by watching the thoughts. In that understanding, you grow. This is why I say the best meditation without any doubt comes from the middle path.

When you touch the inner zone through external means such as sex or alcohol, it’s only momentary, and as soon as “the high” is gone, you’re right back to where you were, only feeling worse, because you’re not experiencing that bliss anymore.  The middle path is simply integrating quiet, meditative time into each and every day. Be mindful throughout the day, and watch your thoughts. There won’t be any “sudden light”, but the light will gradually get brighter and brighter until every day of life is full of bliss and you can live from that inner zone without external stimulation.

What matters

What matters

What matters

I’ve never climbed in the Himalayas but I’ve read a lot about those who do. And it is there climbers encounter above twenty-five or twenty-six thousand feet a place known as the Death Zone. It is so named because at that altitude there is a variety of conditions that if not overcome will painfully kill you.

Of course the most obvious one is the thin air. Even with supplemental oxygen the body won’t perform with its usual efficiency. And because one’s faculties are typically impaired there,  a climber is more exposed to falling, various forms of edema and other potentially fatal results. Weather is also likely more extreme and dangerous, causing many climbers to bivouac in places where survival is unlikely at best.

A very small percentage of climbers ever experience the Death Zone of the highest mountains in the world and for good reason. It’s just too dangerous.

However, in life there are some reasons we might live in our own Death Zone of sorts. In fact, we can’t avoid it. It’s living knowing that at any moment our life on this earth could end. We could be gone or someone we love simply won’t be around. Morbid? Creepy? A little out there perhaps? Yes, in some ways. What would we do if death were looking us in the eye all of a sudden? 

I think the answer gives us some essential things to think about doing NOW without living in some sort of dark, fearful place in the process.  Let me suggest a few. 

First, make the most of every moment you can. No, none of us can savor each second of every experience, but we can slow down and enjoy people and opportunities a bit more.  We can quit cramming so many things into our lives and running by people we love as though they are hardly there. We can stop and watch our kids and grandkids longer, spend a few more minutes with a spouse or friend and just enjoy little special moments of nature that occur every day all around us.

Second, take inventory. Be brutally honest about how many things you’re doing that really matter for the long-term versus those that are just because everyone’s doing them. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with leisure, goofing off now and then and simply having fun. But are we letting the temporary push aside the eternal and the things we think we should invest in for our gain steal time from the people we want to invest in because we love them?  Have we pushed the most important things and experiences into the I’ll-do-them-someday-when-I-have time category?

Third, say what you want to say now. I’ve often thought we should have everyone’s funeral before they die if possible. That way people can say to another’s face what they want to say about them and would likely say once they’re gone. Well, in a sense and in the same way we would be wise to say what we want to say to people before one of us is gone. Do we need to forgive, tell them we love them or that we are proud of them, let go of some past hurts or remind them of how much they meant to us?  Do it now.

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