Thursday, June 16, 2016

Self-Mastery--Essential Practices by Maher Sagrillo

Self-Mastery--Essential Practices by Maher Sagrillo:

In the modern age, with its endless and intoxicating distractions bombarding us and pulling our consciousness in many directions, it is vital for us to develop and follow a personal discipline that keeps us focused on the real purposes and meanings in our lives, so that we can slowly attain the fruits of our practices.
When we live for instant gratification, or live to chase “happiness” — as many have come to conceive of it — we ultimately end up disappointed. Hence the old adage that, “one who chases happiness is sure to avoid it”.
This is the strange irony: The human spirit does not gain authentic and lasting happiness from satisfying base desires and from being briefly satisfied with some outer stimuli because it forms nothing lasting or solid.
Instead, people become truly and authentically happy when they place such things as discipline, values, purpose and meaning above immediate gratification. Then we can attain true fruits of the spirit — which in turn makes us truly, authentically happy — without ever striving for it as an end goal in itself. Eventually, through practice, one comes to realize that their spirit is already everything they truly need, and so much more. The whole inner world is rich with all the soil and seeds needed for any growth, and this growth is true and sincere, because it is unique and comes from within.
Sacrifice, discipline, and attainment makes us joyful because, and when, they enable us to create something true and meaningful. We are willing to put aside the distractions and take on the real work and challenges that push us beyond our ourselves and our cravings.
Below are practices for cultivating oneself and attaining lasting, meaningful happiness:
Contemplation: Think before speaking or acting on anything. If you don’t have a good reason, don’t do it or say it. Speaking little is ideal. Think for yourself and don’t use other people’s reasoning unless you really understand it and can’t think of anything better after exhausting your own ideas. Beware of biases, cognitive dissonance, logical fallacies, and wishful thinking.
Emotion: Find the roots of worry, anxiety, fear, etc., to solve them rationally, emotionally, and spiritually. Never let emotions lead, but also do not deny or suppress them; try to understand, resolve, and grow from them.
Stillness: If you cannot rationally decide on what to do, don’t do anything. Return to the Tao and act from there. If you get emotional, you lose Tao. Go elsewhere and wait until you return to calm, think over your emotions, and consider your next actions.
Will: Once you’ve thought something through, put all of your power behind it. Do not allow doubt. You cannot travel effectively nor enjoyably while constantly questioning and doubting the craftsmanship of your map.
Discipline: It takes about three weeks without interruption to form or discard a habit. Aim to feed good habits, and be very wary of feeding poor habits. Remember that your spirit and responsibilities are more important than your happiness.
Simplicity: Keep all matters as clear and simple as possible. Use reasoning to sublimate things, reducing them to only what is really important and matters. Let go of burdensome emotions, desires, memories, and thoughts.
Health: Thinking clearly, deciding specifically, avoid your own and other peoples’ toxic behaviors. Distance yourself from toxic substances, foods, habits, people, ideas, and avoid producing further toxicity in the world. Feed the body nutritious foods, meditate to calm/focus the spirit, and contemplate to strengthen/order the mind. Exercise regularly, even if it’s brief, and expend your energy fully.
Compassion: Even if someone has a poor behavior towards you, be compassionate, noble, polite, but distant from their toxicity. Have genuine empathy and understanding for others, even in the face of hate.
Truth: To thine own self be true. Always be honest and sincere in your actions, thoughts, estimations, and judgements. Weigh truth rationally and to its logical limits in any given context. Accept that many truths are not enjoyable or pleasant, and that things often have far more than one “truth” to them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Physical Strength As the Basis of Enlightenment

Something a little different----thought provoking-----much like what Cerutty taught---written by Angel Millar, it's called-----Physical Strength As the Basis of Enlightenment------

physical-strength-spirituality“First of all our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards,” said Swami Vivekananda. “Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the [Hindu religious text of the Bhagavad] Gita… You will understand the Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger.”
We in the West have inherited the Christian image — and I would say, largely a false image — of the spiritual or enlightened man: self-sacrificing, passive, slender, and in a sense anti-physical.
Where Christianity has declined or disappeared, this image and the assumptions of the religion — equality, a focus on — or a belief in — the poor and the outcast, and strong suspicion of the physical body, especially physical strength — have become the major motifs of politics.
But the traits we associate with spirituality and intelligence are not necessarily accepted by either non-Western or pre-modern cultures. 
If we look to the East, we find that the Buddha — a prince in his earlier life — was said to be skilled in martial arts; Krishna revealed his teachings on the battlefield, urging his disciple to fight. Then, of course, there are the Shaolin warrior monks, who developed Kung-Fu. So, too, in pre-Christian Europe, the gods prepare for a final cataclysmic batter: Ragnarok.
“God is not to be reached by the weak,” says Swami Vivekananda. “Never be weak. You have infinite strength within you. How else will you conquer anything? How else will you come to God?”
If we have infinite strength, physical and mental, isn’t it a blasphemy to cultivate weakness within ourselves? Certainly, it is. Yet, today, across the West, we see not only a loathing of the strong, muscular physical body in regard to men (and feminine beauty in regard to women), but we see college students calling for the banning of ideas with which they disapprove (but have never engaged), the banning of speakers with which they disagree, and even for the establishment of “safe spaces” on campus.
This is both an anti-intellectual and anti-body environment. Although the figure of the false Jesus-like male invariably turns up here, against both physical and mental strength, it is essentially an anti-spiritual movement.
It is a movement, or, really, a mob, designed to keep people locked into certain beliefs, but not to understand them. Learning, understanding, awakening, self-development, and character or cultivating inner strength all require the individual to consider ideas different to, and even contrary to, his beliefs. He may or may not change his views. But he should at least understand his own better by doing so.
True spirituality, as would be understood by Swami Vivekananda, ancient tribes, martial arts lineages, Buddhism in the East (especially Vajrayana Buddhism), Hinduism in India (especially Tantra), and even Freemasonry (with its symbolism of death — the dagger, and so on), requires not safe spaces but dangerous spaces — that is to say, spaces of cultivation through a kind of positive-opposition to the disciple, student, or initiate. Such spaces are not reckless, but designed to push the individual beyond what he believes his limits are (but in fact are not).
Cultivating physical and mental strength means cultivating inner and outer peace. It is not only an act of self-reliance, it is a real self-sacrifice — sacrificing one’s pettiness through focus, the pain of physical exercise and inner-growth — to one’s society that should benefit from having more men and women who are noble in mind, body, and spirit.
Today, we have come to mistake the shallow appearance of niceness for the substance of inner peace, attained through strength. This is an enormous trap.
“Nice guys” are usually not that nice. A man whose body is weak, and who is easily intimidated must avoid violence. Such a man is not peaceful. He is merely forced to be subservient. “Peacefulness” and “enlightenment” and “spirituality” become a pose — excuses not to engage in confrontations. It is not merely a case of avoiding physical violence, but even in expressing his feelings to his girlfriend, for example, if it could lead to a heated discussion. Because he does not do what he believes is good for him, and because he expects others to act as weakly toward him when he wants something from them, inside of the “nice guy” boils resentment that he does not get his way.
We see this frustration played out in other ways, imposing itself on society.
In the past, weak-bodied priests talked viciously about God’s “love,” and warned of hell fire for anyone who disagreed, while religious schools often meted out harsh punishments to boys and girls, traumatizing them for life.
Today, we see a new expression of the same old fear: Large groups of “peaceful protesters” screaming, shouting, threatening, committing acts of vandalism, and even sometimes physically attacking a lone individual who has had the nerve to say something with which they disagree. All of this happens for some alleged ideal — usually some secular variation of Christianity’s universal harmony among mankind — which melts away the moment it becomes an inconvenience. Alone, each member of the mob is utterly without strength.
As Swami Vivekananda said, “strength is life, weakness is death.” Choose life. Cultivate physical strength. Make it a foundation for authentic inner peace, for cultivating higher qualities, confidence and focus, and make it a shield against the winds of modernity that blow this way then that, ever changing, always howling, always empty.