Exploring Your Inner Space

Exploring Your Inner Space

As a student and volunteer at Inner-Revolution, one of the tasks I work on daily is editing and uploading Avi’s video talks to YouTube. I truly enjoy listening to all of them, but once in a while one of them really resonates with me. One of the students asked Avi “What is Space” thinking that the question would stump him–NOT! I uploaded four separate videos from that one talk, all of them amazing, but this one just blew me away. I know the description on the YouTube channel isn’t very professional, but truly, I was at a loss for words.

When I began my spiritual journey, I searched constantly for inspiration that was not full of bullshit. Avi speaks the Truth and it shows. If you watch his videos, the puzzle will slowly start to piece itself together.  As I wrote in the description–“Wow, just freaking wow”.

To get more from our YouTube videos, you can click on Avi’s picture in the upper left corner to subscribe to our channel and never miss a beat!

Now, for the video…

https://youtu.be/l6rSTkURp1Y

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From Religion to Individuality

From Religion to Individuality

Christianity is the last big religion

Another Christianity, another religion like the way Christianity has happened, is an impossibility, so Christianity is the last big religion. Islam is also there, but Islam is still new. If one of these two religions goes away first it will be Christianity, because people are becoming totally different. People are becoming more scientific and logical. That is why even in America, look at the youngsters; they are not gravitating towards Christianity. The children are not turning towards the churches; they are turning towards something else.

Islam is completely different. Islam is a very new religion compared to Christianity, and Islam has a completely different force and grip over people that you could not believe. Do a simple experiment: take a group of Christians and a group of Muslims and devise a game to break them apart. In this game, the objective is to stay together longer than the other group. Take my word: Play this game one thousand times and every time Christians will lose, because their sense of being together is not as strong as the Muslim sense of being together. The Muslim sense of being together cannot be compared to any other religion in the world. If there are four Muslims in a group of a hundred people, they connect more to their religious heritage and their Islamic roots than any other connections made in the group. Islam is very deeply rooted.

Slowly, however, the world is moving towards the individual. There was a time for kingdoms and there was a time for governments. There will be a time for individuals, too. A time when only an individual will matter. People will not identify someone with the country he is from, or what race or religion he is. Nobody will care. Twenty years ago, the first questions people would ask each other were, “What religion do you belong to?” or, “Where do you come from? What group?” Now this has almost become a “politically incorrect” question to ask, and does not happen as much.

A time will come when people will ask you what your qualifications are and what you are capable of, and that will be enough. When people become smarter, they will realize that an individual’s qualifications are what he has accomplished in life, not what he has been given. The understanding will be that a child is born into a religion, but it is neither a sin, nor a boon, to be born into a certain religion. A child is just born into a religion, that is it. What will matter is what did they do after that? What have they done in their life? This is what will matter.

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What is Mysticism

What is Mysticism

“One of the most beautiful qualities of human existence is this sense of mystery”

One of the most beautiful qualities of human existence is this sense of mystery, which says there is something out there worth striving towards, something that cannot be grasped by any of our senses. Everything we do seems to be moving in the direction of that mystery.

Somehow science does not like mystery; it wants to unravel mystery, because mystery has been mistaken as ignorance. Mystery however, is not ignorance, and neither is mysticism. Mysticism is not about not knowing something. Mysticism is a deep understanding that there is something we do not understand about life—something that is still elusive to us, beyond our reach.

Einstein never believed in any personal god, although he was a part of religion. His entire endeavor was to create an objective science that could be empirically proved through experimentation. He moved away from all dogmas, concepts, and ideologies that were in the domain of religion. He wanted to experience and explore life scientifically. In fact, he was one of the greatest scientific minds ever to have lived among us, and still he had a beautiful understanding of mystery. Here is a passage of Einstein’s:

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself to us as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms. This knowledge, this feeling, is the center of all true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men.”

Although Einstein spent all his life in scientific endeavor, he deeply believed in the mystery of existence. In fact, all of the greatest artists, the greatest minds, have come through the process of embracing this mystery. When you accept this mystery you can start inquiring newly. Only then can you ask, “What is this mystery? What is life? Who am I?” All of these questions are a part of mysticism.

In fact, the whole journey of humanity is to understand mysticism. This existential quest of man has led to the disciplines of meditation and yoga, as well as the mystical practices of silence, solitude, and prayer. All of these practices have been created to understand the mystery of existence.

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Why I Dumped Religion

Why I Dumped Religion

“Life is much more of an individual responsibility than the church wants us to believe.”

I didn’t grow up in a “religious” household.  I mean we didn’t pray before we ate, but we did the cursory “Now I lay me down to sleep” at night, and we didn’t attend church as a family.   My parents took my sisters and me to a Baptist church and dropped us off.  Then they would go back home until it was over and then come back to pick us up. I always wondered “why?”

Then “it” happened.  I was twelve years old, had just finished choir practice on a Sunday afternoon, and the choir director said, “If anyone here hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you are going to hell.”  WHAT?  Going to hell?  What have I done so wrong to deserve to go to hell if I died today?  

So, I did the most natural thing to do.  I went up front and told him I didn’t want to go to hell.  That’s it.  Nothing else, I just didn’t want to go to hell.  The next step was to say this in front of the whole church—scary!  When the invitation time came at the end of the next church service, I went up front and stood in front of the preacher.  I was mortified and couldn’t speak.  Not an  “in the spirit “ sort of way, just terrified of being in front of all those grown-ups!  He sort of guided me through the appropriate things to say, I was dunked in the lukewarm water of the baptistry a couple of weeks later (I always wondered if people peed in that water) and I was saved—whew!  No hell for me.  I did always wonder what about everyone who never heard of Jesus?  What about all the millions of people who lived before him?—I got no answers, and that was just the beginning of questions without answers. 

Fast forward to adulthood, several years of not going to church, then my late husband and I decided to go to church.  We selected a Baptist church and started attending.  It was wonderful.  The preacher was one of those talking/teaching type preachers whom everyone loved.  You almost felt as if you could raise your hand and ask a question during one of his talks.  There were so many nice people close to our age, and the Sunday school class was amazing…. Everything was going great.  Then the preacher “got called” to Texas—for more money, I’m sure. 

The church leaders set up a pulpit committee to find another pastor.  They searched for about a month or so, and one Sunday morning we heard “Dr. Wonderful”.  He stepped up to the podium, started shouting and slobbering, blowing his nose and crying, and it was like that throughout the entire sermon.  It was really hard to get past all the drama to hear a message.  The “hallway talk” was that no one liked him and we were worried that he might get chosen.  I’m serious—I heard of no one who liked the man. 

A business meeting was called for one Wednesday night, and if you know anything about Baptist churches in the South, you know that Wednesday night has a very light crowd.  This Wednesday night the church was packed—probably 350-400 people came to vote.  The chairman of the pulpit committee stood up and asked for everyone in favor of the pastor to say “Aye” and someone shouted out “Let’s have a written vote”.  The chairman went nuts!  They didn’t want people to vote their true opinions.  Ended up that we didn’t do the “aye” thing, but actually had to stand up—lol. 

Here’s the dramatic ending—when he asked who was in favor of this man, THE ENTIRE CHURCH stood up except for my husband and me and one other couple.  We were dumbfounded.  When he asked who was opposed, we four stood up, gathered our belongings, and walked out.  I was appalled at the blatant display of hypocrisy!  Everyone was afraid to express their opinions in front of their fellow church-goers. 

I was always told oh, just look over the people in the church, it’s the Lord you’re seeking.  Excuse me—religion IS people.  Church IS people.   Since that time, I’ve figured out that what Jesus was teaching is an individual thing, it is inside us, it can’t be found in a church, and it’s not hanging on a cross. We’re not born sinners, we’re just born.  One man dying cannot save the entire world–if you think about that, it’s a ridiculous idea!  Jesus said that the way is narrow and few will enter.  Sooo, another question I have is, if the way is narrow, then how can it be the right way if soooooo many people are going that way?  If Jesus were to come back tomorrow he would be astounded that we’ve clung to the cross instead of his teachings.  He wanted us to be free, and all religion has done is put shackles and blinders on people so they have absolutely no idea that Truth even exists, and much less where or how to find it. 

I’ve also learned that the Bible has been grossly misinterpreted and edited, and nobody is going to hell—or heaven for that matter.  Life is much more of an individual responsibility than the church wants us to believe.  The Bible was written by men, edited by men, used for political purposes, and shoved down people’s throats with threats to kill them if they didn’t accept it. 

This, along with questions like If they knew that Jesus was so special when he was born, then why wasn’t someone following him around taking notes and remembering stories? He didn’t show back up in the Bible until he was in his 30’s.  If he could walk on water then why hasn’t anyone else?  Why is he called “Jesus of Nazareth” when there wasn’t even a town called Nazareth?  How did Noah fit 2 of every animal on one boat?  If we were created naked, then what’s so freaking bad about being naked?  Why can’t anyone explain what the Kingdom of Heaven is?  Are we going to wear robes and sing all the time?  That won’t be fun, and honestly, really, none of it makes a bit of sense. 

Getting rid of the religious “baggage” has been without a doubt the most liberating experience possible.   I’m on the spiritual path now, under the guidance of an amazing teacher, Avi.  The path is narrow because it’s not easy.  Jesus said to keep knocking and it will happen.  I’m knocking relentlessly, have never been surer of anything before, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. 

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You are dreaming

You are dreaming

Everything you are is a thought. That is why Buddha said, “You are nothing but your thoughts.” The inquirer has not even taken birth. It is thoughts who are inquiring. That is why to break away from the clutches of thoughts you need a trick, not just effort. You need to figure out a way to trick your own mind into letting you be all alone. One part of your mind should leave another part of your mind alone. That is the biggest challenge in meditation, because all thoughts are interconnected.

This is where silence comes in. By introducing silence into your world of thoughts you are saying, “No, this is my zone of silence and I don’t want thoughts to interfere.” That zone of silence will eventually expand and you will entirely step away from your thoughts. When the first cloud breaks and you watch the sky, that will be the moment, and it always happens suddenly.

Just keep seeking. Remember, it is not you who is obsessed with thoughts; it is thoughts that are obsessed with thoughts. And they just keep passing like clouds. They are never still. They never ask one question long enough. If they ask one question long enough, then they will realize the sky that contains them. They are simply going somewhere, and in their unconsciousness they are asking questions like: Where are we going? Where do we come from? Why do we look like this? In all their inquiries the sky is not involved at all.

“In a spiritual inquiry, you have to observe your very questioning process.”

So, that is why a spiritual inquiry is different from all other inquiries. In a spiritual inquiry, you observe your very questioning process. In a spiritual inquiry, it is not the question that is so important, rather it is the one who is asking the question. Being with the question, and continually asking the question are the most important things. You have to continue to ask a question till it dissolves completely.

When you realize the truth, you will see how simple it is. You will wonder as to how stupid you must have been to think that all this was real. How idiotic we must be to believe that all of this is actually physical and is happening somewhere outside. Everything is a part of our imagination. Everything, including our bodies, our minds, and the world we live in belong to the imaginary realm.

You have been projecting this whole reality on your screen of consciousness. You have been giving it the perception of depth, the perception of space, and the perception of distance; you have been supplying all of this to your dream. If only you can become still and watch what is happening, you will realize how close you are to the truth.

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You are something else

You are something else

Question: Why am I obsessed with my thoughts?

You are actually not obsessed with thoughts. Try and understand this. You do not even know that there are thoughts. You are so far away from thoughts that you do not even have a clue that all of these thoughts are happening to you.

What you think you are, at this point in time, is itself just a thought. Therefore, one thought is contemplating on another thought and asking the question, “Why am I obsessed with another thought?” It is because they are in the same family, they share the same origins, and they are all living together. You are not at all in thoughts. In reality, you are somewhere far away from thoughts. You never indulge in a thought, and you never want to entertain a thought.

It is like this. Let us say that you are the sky, and being the sky you ask, “Why am I obsessed with clouds?” I will say that it is not you who is asking this question, but rather it is a cloud. One cloud is asking the question, “Why am I obsessed with other clouds?” However, as the sky, you do not even know that clouds exist; you are so far away from clouds. You tend to think that clouds are inside you, but clouds are not inside you. Clouds occupy one small layer of you. You are vast. You are much bigger than clouds. Similarly, when you inquire about thoughts, it is basically one layer of thoughts that is inquiring about another layer of thoughts, although you yourself are much, much vaster than thoughts.

“Only a process of being silent and still can reveal what is hidden behind the cloud of thoughts.”

That is why only a process of being silent and still can reveal what is hidden behind the cloud of thoughts. You will never be able to intellectually answer the question of why you are obsessed with thoughts, because you are not obsessed with thoughts, you are too transcendental. You are just a pure consciousness, a pure awareness, and you never indulge in anything. You just know how to be alive and observe everything, that is all.

But thoughts can conspire against you. They can gather in thick clouds and completely block you out. Just like a bunch of clouds can block out the sun. Even though the clouds think they have blocked out the sun, we know how vast and far the sun is from the clouds? If the clouds try to get any closer to the sun they will just disappear, they will just evaporate. It is the same relationship between the Self and thoughts. Thoughts occupy a certain layer that you call your mind. Your body is also a part of that. Everything you know as of now is a part of that layer of clouds. The real you is somewhere very far away, simply sitting, and experiencing everything. You are too close to your thoughts when you are inquiring. As you step away from thoughts, you will leave them far behind.

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