Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Path to Heaven (our Source)

It is said that the path of heaven can only go through hell.  If this experience is known, and the way to heaven is hell, then perhaps it must be reasoned that the path to hell is everywhere heaven is not.  If one can see that there is no true duality in our existence unless we have created it, then one can see that there is, in fact, no place that heaven is not.  Yet, perhaps the hell that we experience in heaven's absence (or the veil that separates us from experiencing the heaven that we are in), is nothing more than our creation.   It would be like a guppy in a large bowl who can only see the water saying "there is nothing but this water, no bowl, no air; nothing but this water".  The things beyond his grasp are not absent, they are simply not seen and therefore not known.  If he has not seen it he cannot know it, and therefore cannot experience it.  Yet it is there.

The path to heaven does not appear to me to be something we "get to".  We do not walk aimlessly through this life until we finally die and then see heaven.  The guppy will eventually get to the bowl or the air if he just stays still. Encountering the bowl or air is not incumbent on any action on his part.  Eventually the veil will be lifted.  It is no different in our quest for that which we were told exists, but that which we can't remember experiencing.  We were there before we were "born" and will be there after we die because, in essence, we have never left it.  Rather, we have created water to separate us from the bowl and the air.  We wonder aimlessly through the water.  We fight the currents and wonder why we haven't moved or have fallen backwards.  We dive to the depths and wonder where all the air is and, in fact, question whether the air exists at all.  We create the veil of doubt because of our own actions if they don't work out to the purpose we have also created.  Yet, nothing changes but in your mind.

I believe Jesus was an enlightened man dealing with guppies swimming about.  When he said to follow him, that he was the path to heaven, what exactly did he mean?  Did he mean that being Christian got you to heaven?  No, Christianity did not exist when Jesus did.  Did he mean that preaching and teaching would get you there?  No.  So what did Jesus mean when he said to follow him to heaven?

Look at the stages that are known about Jesus.  He lived as a man, learned his religion's traditions and virtues, and then discovered an enlightened path along the way.  He saw the bowl and the air and although he couldn't tell you much about them, he knew not only how he got there but that they existed.  So, he tried to tell us how to get there so that we could know, and thereby experience, heaven.

Heaven is all around us, but we can't see it.  It isn't because it is some mystical place to which we are not privileged, but rather because of the veils of distraction we have created that block us from viewing it.  Perhaps Jesus wished to offer us an extreme example of what is necessary to lift the veils and move beyond the distractions.  Perhaps, as I believe, this is what he meant by "follow me".

Jesus lived as a man.  He fasted (ascetic), prayed (meditated), and practiced compassion and love.  Those things alone are not enough to know heaven.  In order to know something, you must first know its opposite.  You know day because of night, light because of darkness, yin because of yang.  Therefore, in order to know the paradise that is heaven, you must first know that suffering that is hell.  I don't believe that many of us could relate to Jesus' life as "suffering".  We aren't given that information (although fasting for 40 days and nights would seem to suggest some ascetic form of suffering).  So we are given the extreme in order to understand that suffering must be part of any experience of heaven.  Without it, we simply would not know what heaven was.

So Jesus suffered and died, which in my experience is an analogy for the suffering and death we face before knowing heaven.  That can happen in this existence we call life without the death of the body.  Death is nothing more than the lifting of the veils we have created in order to understand a much deeper reality; a reality that is, at its most quantum level, our Source.  What we call "heaven".  I have died many times in this existence, and as each layer is removed I get closer to the core.  As each veil is lifted I begin to see.

So, in effect, every path to heaven must go through hell.  It doesn't matter if you believe that Jesus existed as a man or see him as God.  It doesn't matter if you don't believe that God exists or have a wonderful relationship with God.  It remains the same for each of us. 

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Each Cell of a Tree is Just Like Me!

Observance is a gift that should not be overlooked.  I love to just sit quietly and observe everything around me without interfering.  It's refreshing to see the universe spin around me, how it all works just exactly as it should.  I can inhale and get air, I can exhale and give a gift.  All without doing anything at all.

I was stuck, as has been the case a lot lately, sitting at an airport gate just waiting.  Sometimes I find work to do, but this time I just wanted to sit and watch.  Some people where hurriedly rushing about, others were taking their time, some had family and friends and others, like me, were alone.  Some were sleeping, some were being frustrated for one reason or another, others were reading or watching TV.  And some were just doing what I was doing - observing it all.  

I realized something in a memory I had.  I wondered if I viewed this activity from above if it would look like the video of the bloodstream I saw once.  A rush of activity with each pulse of the heart followed by stillness.  In that stillness there was still activity, and  in the rush of activity there was stillness.  It all seemed chaotic yet it all had beautiful purpose; an organization of creation inspired by what was necessary.  When I viewed this video, as I viewed the activity around, me I realized that each component of this activity was individual in nature yet serving a much higher purpose.  Each cell was itself, yet fulfilling a purpose it was created to fulfill.  I have no idea whether or not that cell realized what it was doing, but I realized that it had very little choice no matter how much choice it thought it had.  I must fulfill its purpose, for its purpose was being fulfilled with each passing moment.

With this, my mind shifted toward a tree.  I love trees...they embody what I see as a "microcosm of existence".  Each tree has a component that is individual in nature yet cannot survive without the others.  A branch is a branch.  A leaf is a leaf.  A trunk is a trunk.  Roots are roots.  They are individual components of the universal thing we call a "tree", each integral to the other, each necessary for the other to fulfill its purpose.  In this way, the purpose of the leaf is to give the roots an opportunity to live their purpose.  It is no different when we view anything we can see in this existence; our ecosystem is built on this premise as is our entire universe.  Everything serves everything else.  Nothing serves everything and everything serves nothing.  Light and darkness serve each other.  Both are individual, yet cannot be without the other.  It is a consistent theme in our universe.

Our greatest gift to the universe is just to be.  The cell of a tree's trunk doesn't spend its time worrying about whether or not the cells of its root are working.  They are too busy doing what they need to do.  Our red blood cells don't worry about what the white cells are doing, they are busy fulfilling their purpose.    It isn't selfishness to do what you intend to do because when you fulfill this purpose you provide a gift to others so that they may do the same.  In this way, I am not an individual, but a part of a whole.  I create so that you may create.  You are so that I may be.  Without each other we simply do not exist.

We are no different from the cells of a tree, or the cells of our own body.  We are as temporary as every cell in our bodies (most of which renew every year).  We were before we are and will be after were gone, as this existence is but a transition.  A mighty oak was once a tiny seed, it just kept on fulfilling its purpose without question and will continue to do so even after it has fallen.  We are no different, we are not separate, we are ONE.

So, as I write this on a plane I see all of the people around me.  We are individuals, but one on a plane.  I will look at the ground as we land and see the rush of activity coupled with beautiful stillness.  I will see an entire universe below me, all necessary for it all to be.  This story never ends, this story never dies, and this story never gets old.  After all, it is our purpose.

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Monday, June 21, 2010

"I Did Not Know" (A Practice of Inspiration)

I simply did not know.  I felt the energy the first time our eyes met; like the shock of cold water running down my sunburned back it felt oh so good while exposing what was oh so bad.  I needed it, I needed you but was not ready.  Or so it seemed.  I was an infant, and there you were demanding that I run when I had so much to learn before I could walk.  You weren't demanding, I was demanding.  I could have let you go to your own wonders, yet I selfishly demanded that you walk this path with me.  I was begging for it to be whole; the voice within me saying "this is it" while the voices around me were saying "this is over".  So I ran, blistering my feet softened by self-loathing.  So I ran, abrading my knees with each stumble, scarring my legs with each fall.  So I ran, until you were broken and I was healed.  I learned to run before I learned to walk and I forced you to crumble with the stench of my fear.  The fear that kept me still even as my legs were making the motions you required of me...of what I had to require of myself.  I ran as to not lose you.  I ran as to not have to let go of the only piece of me that felt real

Yet I did not know.  The tear-stained site of where your smile once stood remained proof of my ignorance.  My longing heart broken by the steel coursed remembrances of time simply did not know how to beat.  Such pitiful displays of weakness bound us together by sheer force of will - shear force of fear of what lie on the other side of knowing.  My sheer force was destructive; yours moved mountains.  My force caused pain; yours created love.  My will laid barren a once beautiful oasis; yours spawned life anew from a craggy cliff.

So what do I owe this practice of inspiration, this creation brought from the example you have given me?  Your love, my dear, the cooling spring in the desert, the chilly breeze on a hot summer's day.  Your steadfastness in the most uncertain of times; your example of what love is in the midst of a torrent of fear.  My hand is all I have to offer, my heart is all I have to give.  It is yours as I have no need for it beyond you.  Perfection is not my middle name and sorrow follows me as surely as this shadow reminds me of who I am without the Light.  Yet now I know, for you have shown me.  Now I know.

All I know I learned from you.  Others taught me fear, you taught me love.  My life had been a story of suffering, you gave me an opportunity to see.  I am but a sapling, but you helped me break through the soil.  I did not know how great life could be until I realized how bad it was.  How bad I was making it.  Yet from that seed nurtured by what Love Is I stand, a sapling in the woods with you as my Sun, my Rain, my subtle air.  I inhale in joy as I bask in the Love you have given me.  I feel your touch as I enjoy all that being is spirit provides.  In this I know.

What was born from what I did not know I surely now know.  I did not always see this sun, I sometimes lose sight of the way, yet from the darkness I stand still and all I need do is listen.  Listen for you.  Yes, now I know.  I am home wherever I can hear you.

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

The Stone Cutter

I received this story from a Facebook friend and was so touched by it that I felt it worth sharing.

The Stonecutter
Author Unknown

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

Just a lovely story, uncompromising in both its simplicity and its message.  

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ