new age spirituality

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Cosmic Consciousness by Ali Nomad


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During what is historically known as the Dark Ages, the esoteric meaning of religious practices became obscured. This is true no less, and no more, of Oriental countries, than of European. The long night through which the earth passed during that time and since, but foreshadowed a coming dawn. In the still very imperfect light of the dawning day, truth is seen but dimly, and its rays appear distorted, whereas, when seen with the "pure and spotless eye" they are straight and clear and simple.

Indeed, the very simplicity of Truth causes her to pass unnoticed.

While to the superficial observer; the student who is mentally eager but who lacks the wonderful penetrating power of spiritual insight, there seems to be a great complexity in Oriental philosophy, the fact is, that the entire aggregation of systems is simple enough when we have the key.

One of the stumbling blocks; the inexplicable enigma to many Occidental students, is the problem of the preservation, of the Self, and the constant admonition to become selfless. The two appear paradoxical.

How may the Self acquire consciousness and yet become selfless?

Throughout the Oriental teachings, no matter which of the many systems we study, we find the oft-repeated declaration that liberation can never be accomplished and Nirvana reached, by him "who holds to the idea of self."

It is this universally recognized aphorism which has given rise to the erroneous conception of Nirvana as absorption of all identity.

Hakuin Daisi, the St. Paul of Japanese Buddhism, cautioned his disciples that they must "absorb the self into the whole, the cosmos, if they would never die," and Jesus assured his hearers that "he who loses his life for my sake shall find it."

Christians have taken this simple statement to mean that he who endured persecution and death because of his espousal of Christianity, would be rewarded in the way that a king bestows lands and titles, for defense of his person and throne.

This is the limited viewpoint of the personal self; it is far from being consistent with the wisdom of the Illumined Master.

He who has sufficient spiritual consciousness to desire the welfare of _all_, even though his own life and his own possessions were the price therefore, can not lose his life. Such a one is fit for immortality and his godhood is claimed by the very act of renunciation--not as a reward bestowed for such renunciation.

By the very act of willingness to lose the self we find the Self. Not the self of externality. Not the self that says "I am a white man; or a black man; or a yellow man; or a red man." That says "I am John Smith"--or any other name. The awareness of this kind of selfhood, this personal self, is like looking at one's reflection in the mirror and saying, "Ah, I have on a becoming attire," or "my face looks sickly to-day." It is the same "I" that looked yesterday and found the face looking excellently well, so that there must have been consciousness behind the observation, that could take cognizance of the difference in appearance of yesterday's reflection and that which met that cognizing eye to-day.

Eagerness to retain consciousness of the personal self blocks the way of Illumination which uncovers the real, the greater, the higher Self--the _atman_.

This constant adjuration to sink the self into The Absolute, is what has given rise to so much difference of interpretation as to the meaning of _mukti_, liberation. It sounds paradoxical to state that it is only by giving up all consciousness of self, that immortal Self-hood is gained.

Thus has arisen all the confusion as to the meaning of "absorption into a state of bliss." How may the Self realize a state of selflessness and yet not be lost in a sea of _un_ consciousness?