Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chapter VII: The Law of Synchronicity

  “Look within. Be still. Free from fear and
attachment, know the sweet joy
of living in the way.”
~ Buddha

Chapter VII: The Law of Synchronicity

At the beginning of his lectures and workshops, 
the American Monk Dr. Steven L. Hairfield 
likes to ask his audience:

“What if what you term as God heard everything you thought and considered it a request for it to give you what you were thinking? Would you change the way that you think?”

He also asks this “Do you feel as though something is about to happen?” These questions generally trigger a myriad of thoughts and surprise in the visions and minds of the listeners present. It opens the doors to the world of spirituality and consciousness of being, and it indeed sets the thought process in motion. He himself was asked these by one of his teachers while in the Far East.



Monday, April 2, 2012

"I remember working very lovingly and diligently in the rice fields near the monastery, especially one particular day. I had spent the majority of my time helping the others bring the rice in shortly after the harvest. It is a lot of work bringing it in and then separating the rice from the plants after they had dried in the fields. After a wonderful swim in a nearby river I felt refreshed and sat down for the evening meal with my brothers. Late that evening, Rinpoche Kiela appeared before me and asked, “Young man, have you really looked up at the stars in the night sky since you have been here in the Himalayas?” “No, master, I have not,” my voice betraying my joy over the idea, thinking it the perfect way to relax after such a long day of work. “Come with me,” he openly invited.

As we walked out onto the roof I looked up and became instantly transfixed. “Whoa!,” I thought as I exhaled slowly in complete awe as my peripheral vision made a futile attempt to absorb what I saw, the limitless depth and expanse of a crystal clear sea of twinkling stars all around and on top of me. Billions of them! Never in my life had I seen so many. So close. “What do you see?” Kiela asked, breaking the infinite silence. I told him. Being always the teacher he asked a somewhat surprising question, “What else do you see in the reflection you are viewing in this night sky?” I answered somewhat easily, knowing now the implied meaning behind his questions, “I am witnessing a perfect flow or harmony in motion.” He smiled while I continued, “Everything is working in complete union.” He nodded and informed me, “It is time you truly learn the ideas behind the sixth principle of karma.”

I have always enjoyed the way the Masters teach in the Far East because one never knows when the lessons appear and they always used life as an example for the teachings. This style has been attempted by me in this part of the world and I have not found that it works very well. It appears that most do not understand the metaphors that are used so I have had to become a little more direct in the manner in which they are shown to the western mind set. We are very interesting in our lives and mannerisms. In an earlier chapter I had discussed how automated we are and moving people from this is not a simple thing to accomplish but it is worth it in all aspects of individual living, it is freeing and empowering. Allow me to continue.

He began with this concept, “No matter where you go in life, there are many things you will do. Some will seem very special and important to you, and some will seem very insignificant and irrelevant. You must treat them all the same. Do you remember the caterpillar?” My answer to which was yes because in that lesson no one thing was insignificant from anything else. Did you know that a vast number of people do not consider something as simple as a night sky can be such a wonderful teacher of harmony and how life can be so synchronistic? In truth it is this way in all things and it comes down to whether we agree with it or not this is the only thing that shifts harmony into disharmony. You see, the only thing separating importance and irrelevance is a judgmental mind. We tend to express a stronger commitment and perseverance towards those matters which we judge as important; on the other hand, we may very well become lackadaisical in what we do or even procrastinate from that which we judge as trivial. Rinpoche Kiela continued, “All things are important. In truth, no one thing is more important than another, and both should be treated with the same level of diligence, no matter the importance or seeming insignificance and this includes each and every human in our world along with each and every experience.”

He stated, “This is the basis of the next principle of karma, the Law of Synchronicity. All things are perfectly equal.” He went on, “All of life is like this night sky,” he pointed to the dark sky, “All of life is a perfect flow of harmony, and it does not matter whether a person agrees. In truth, life itself does not get out of harmony. Humans do.” I was actually surprised at his last words as we sat and watched in pitch black silence, allowing the blanket of stars to embrace us. From where we sat, under the expanse of the universe, what master Kiela said made sense because there was no discernable difference between any of the stars, each twinkling absolutely in harmony, equally. What a perfectly magnificent view of life in motion, each part in total acceptance with all the others while moving in perfect unison. In observing this it seemed that none of it was aware of anything else except only knowing there is not even one iota of insignificance about it. This same idea applies even when looking at a beach and all of the grains of sand as each grain is just as important as the other or else the beach would not exist. These are simple concepts flowing in harmony with each other while being impervious to everything else in life just simply being a beach or a universe even the mass of humanity.

Rinpoche Kiela softly offered, “It is time for us all to learn how to live in a very synchronistic fashion,” or living in “sangha” as the Zen traditions call it. This simply means for us to lift ourselves above the physical pulls of life, to simply look through the eyes of our divine nature. This is an aspect born right along with us and part of our makeup, to see all people as our equal in all respects no matter their system of belief. Unfortunately, we have not yet accomplished this on a world-wide scale, for synchronicity still lies dormant within the majority of us. So how do we live our life in this fashion, in total peace and harmony, when life itself is so hectic? This question just answered itself if you had read it closely. If you think life as hectic then it is so for you, a planted seed of karma along with its particular return activity. Life is hectic solely because you are interrupting it by seeing life possibly as it is not, or attempting to control it which you cannot. If you are, in fact, doing these things, then it is genuinely suggested you let go and relax, release your grip before arthritis sets in. Allow life to be exactly what it is! Simply step out of the way and learn to “allow” this is all that is required. It is realized that this is interesting to implement in this part of the world and I personally know that it is difficult to teach yet it does work.

Unlike all of nature around us and the stars above us they only operate in harmony and flow, we humans appear to hold onto the need for control, always so urgent and ever-present. We have come to believe that some one has to be in control, even if it is our self; yet, in truth, no one need be. Which world-renown philosopher, scholar, Master, Guru, or spiritual text flatly declares that some one must be in control? Call me if you know of such a person or text, and it will be shared with you that person or author is coming directly from their ego. And this is an aspect of us about which we have already discussed at length in an earlier chapter, and from which a Karmic return is guaranteed. You see, in monastic living no one is in control. Yes there is a Llama to oversee the facility, in my case Rinpoche Kiela, but he is not whom you can label as a boss. A Master, yes. Not a boss. No monk needs to be told what they need to do because they can easily see and do what requires attention in that moment, on a voluntary basis, working in union with each other without an inkling of opposition. They honor all of life and each other, recognizing every thing as awe-fully important, no matter how seemingly small it may appear, from the tiniest insect to the entire planet. To them there is only equality. And equal with you and me.

   “Yes that may seem to be easy to do in a monastery in the remote foothills of the Himalayas, away from city life, a family, with children, a job, a car, traffic, and...and...and,” you may ask me.  Placing all judgment aside, life in a monastery is not at all a walk in the park, oh no, coming from one who lived in one for many years. But living in equality, peace, and harmony is truly not all that difficult to accomplish in this part of the world either, for it all comes down to how one views the world, life, and people, more importantly them self. So…how do you see the world, life, and people? Here is the key question to ask yourself, “What is important to me, and what is unimportant?” Your answers may very clearly reveal how duality has slyly entered your life, a subject that was shared in the last chapter. All things are equal means just that. No exceptions. Yet we still do not see it that way. God, our Father, Super Mind, the Creative Principle, no matter your personal name, can not create with inequality built-in because, if it does, then this makes God an ego-based concept. Thank itself that it is not!

Feeling the item as insignificant, an ego-based human will pay no mind and easily step over sidewalk litter rather than take a slight moment to drop it in a nearby receptacle. This is truly an act considered as a compassionate move to Mother Earth and the rest of humanity. Yes, I realize this is a small gesture, but imagine everyone picking up after themselves and what they see around them, would the world become very clean? Seeing a cleaner environment, perhaps we would be less inclined to discard items out the car window. Is this an insignificant act? Is a clean world a small thing? From the eyes of equality, the Law of Synchronicity, this is our natural state of living if we but only enter this level of realization. Earlier, I related my story to you about the tiny, simple caterpillar and, if it did not have life, then neither would we. One part of creation may not survive without the other. The truth is a clean world simply requires clean people. We are not talking of physical cleanliness we are talking of our inner nature which means we should not judge negatively or even feel this way nor create a negative act. Let us all create harmonious acts and we have a world of harmony. This is cleanliness. Which begs the question are we clean? It begins with a clean mind and a clean mind is free of clutter meaning no judgments and now, karmically speaking we have a clean world. This also covers our emotions that today are filled with so many variants on life when all we might have is one emotion while the rest is also unclean. To Kiela if we clutter our selves internally as we are wont to do then the same is going to occur in the outer world and there is no way around this. Does this all seem trivial to you? If so then truly consider this principle as the thing that you may be overlooking in your own life it may be worth the journey.

   Along with equality comes the next idea that we would like to present, it is the concept of our connectedness with all things in our world. Yes it was talked of earlier in the introduction but we would now like to further this concept for you as it applies to this law. Under the Law of Synchronicity, the notion of separation perishes from all thought,   the fervent belief that we must live in struggle or chaos silently and easily slips into oblivion. Figuratively speaking, it is my hope that my repetition does not beat your horse to death; yet, I feel this requires a repeat. Every thing is connected, from the tiniest insect to the human; in fact, from a single atom to the farthest star in the farthest galaxy, for this is what Rinpoche Kiela explained to me that evening, “We are just as important as the stars in the night sky. We are the only ones in our world who have the ability to realize these stars are even there. Does any other creature realize their existence? Instead of understanding our connection to them, we have established the notion of separation from them along with all things, which is falsehood. Not only this, but we have even separated ourselves from what we term as God, our Creator.”

He continued, “No living thing is truly separate from any other, for one may not live without the other. On the other hand, you in your part of the world seem to treat everything almost as being insignificant and separate from you, except that which you individually consider and judge as most important.” If I may ask, “Is your career most important?” “Or is your family the most important to you?” “Or do you feel in your heart that the love of your life is the most important?” If your answer is yes to any one or all of these questions, I submit to you that the last principle of karma, the Law of Mirrors, is reflecting right back to you all those aspects and people of your life who are truly in control of you. Of course, it is fully understood that they are a major factor in your life; yet, to have a life of synchronicity, you must find equality in every aspect of it before life can truly flow as it is meant to. The intention for one to understand here is that you the individual are the most important idea in your life. This is not to say that you are to be arrogant or be filled with self importance it simply represents the idea that for any other thing to be important to you then it must be in you first. By so doing it actually brings things closer to you and may even give you the impression of a closer relationship to all of life. All things are special including you simply treat all things in this manner and separation melts from you.

   Have you ever stopped for awhile to purposefully and genuinely observe wildlife in their natural habitat, to watch how they operate within their environment, with life, to notice their interactions with others in their family unit and other species? It can be both a learning and amusing experience, for I have noticed a few things about them: 

1) They remain constantly present, fully in the moment and know this is the only place they are able to live, 

2) their marked territory is neither smaller nor larger than is simply required to satisfy their food source and family protection, only protecting it for these reasons, not because they feel superior or inferior to their neighbor, 

3) besides building and maintaining their home, playfulness is a genuine and necessary part of growth, 

4) they “go to work” to feed the family unit. It appears wildlife lives as we humans do, right? There exists a big difference in one aspect. They live in perfect harmony, seeming utterly unconscious of any inequality and time. They interrupt nothing; we interrupt everything. Why one must ask do we do this?

We are the only living creature with the ability to truly think independently of life, and herein lies our break from synchronous flow. It is our independence of life. Have we become too independent? While studying in the Far East, it is vividly remembered how rarely I ever knew either the day of the week or time of day simply because I rose with the sun and went to bed with it at most times. No, I did not take the sun to bed with me! You gotta love English literalism and possibly this is the issue for us as we are for the most part very literal. Only my rooftop stargazing during those brilliantly clear nights interrupted bedtime. They were well worth the small interruption if one could term it as such.

Independent thought, in and of itself, is not at all erroneous; rather, my point is, we utilize our thought, our independence, in an extremely erroneous fashion. Those in the Western culture are taught to only focus on how and what to think with their lower thought forms. Generally speaking these are more regarding the external environment and physical possessions, thus providing miniscule attention to higher, non-physical endeavors and divine thought. Herein lies the key to the proper use of our mind, being mindful as the Zen monastic traditions term it. Although our mind is one of the most amazing and powerful aspects we have, we take it all for granted still to this day. It seems that we are treating our ability to think independently as though it is an insignificant, ho-hum activity. Yet in all honestly we genuinely believe there exists absolutely no consequence to all what goes on between our ears.

From what I have personally experienced with my master teachers in the Far East, this body organ cannot, by any means, be labeled as inconsequential or be taken for granted, since I now realize the truth of the matter. It is our very own mind which shapes our lives, and we are the only creatures in this reality that are capable of accomplishing this task, shaping our lives to what ever we so choose. Do we shape them in the manner in which we choose? More times than not in reality this is simply not the case even though one may think so. Do you recall the second law? If not then you may possibly want to take another peek into what it offers. Look at our world today and you now see just how we use this transcendent attribute, mind and thought. The connection or even disconnection is now shown to us only because it may not be denied. This is so because of our connection to consciousness and each thought that emanates from us contributes to the idea of consciousness. This is why it is advised that we know what our mind is doing in all moments as it is our personal contribution to consciousness. As the individual thought goes ultimately goes the masses be it positive or negative thus global or local karma.

   What was learned from my teachers is that the inhabitants of our world, overall, totally misuse their ability to think. It appears the world prefers to think only for physical material success, ego-based domination and/or control, even for destruction just to prove a point. How truly fascinating! It appears we would rather use our faculty in this fashion rather than in the fashion for which it is truly designed, our divine nature, which has been embedded within us all along since the beginning! While on the rooftop with Rinpoche Kiela that starry night, he said something which really surprised me. It was something that I had never even considered and I believe this to be the case with most of us in this part of the world. It comes from the way that we have all been taught.

Consider for a moment what he shared with me that night. “Our ability to think independently is as our Creator is. It is divine.” The ability to think and realize what we think will place the individual in overwhelming awe the moment they recognize what this truly means and the extent of it. Our mind may be material and operate in the lower realms, or it may reach much higher and operate in the divine realms. Our choice! Simple as that. The truth is, we need merely align with it and nothing more because it is already present; therefore, when we put forth only our divine nature then, according to the principles of Karma which you are now getting to know quite well, only divine nature shall return to us, no other. On the other hand, when any thing is taken for granted we invariably overlook its significance, and the Law of Synchronicity awakens, fully illuminating its guiding reflection right at us, hoping to snap us back to attention, to remember the importance of all things."
 

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