Posts Tagged ‘religion’

The battle for Good and Evil along Highway 218

April 26, 2015

The sun was shining when we drove on Highway 218 to the Eastern Iowa Airport for our trip to New York City. On the way up I noticed 3 consecutive billboards along a section of highway between Washington and Iowa City. Were they telling drivers a story?

The sequence of signs seemed to indicate a battle between the forces of good and evil, and a way to deal with the conflict. It cracked me up, and I pointed them out to my son. We didn’t have time to stop and take pictures, but planned to do so on the way back.

It was raining on the return trip home, but we managed to access both sides of the highway using conveniently placed crossings. Nathanael lowered the window and captured the billboards with his iPhone.

Click on each photo to enlarge them, and then on the return arrow left of the URL to get back to this page.

On the right side of the highway, I saw a familiar sign advertising the Riverside Casino, promising more winners more often.

Riverside Casino

I looked across to the other side of the highway and there was a double sign. The bottom one spelled out, JESUS.

JESUS

Then further up on our side of the road was a sign for an Iowa Crisis Line that said, Overwhelmed? Let’s Chat.

Overwhelmed? Let's chat

Was it offering a chat line for people overwhelmed between both opposing billboards competing for our attention—the evils of gambling and salvation in Jesus? Makes you wonder if each sign was deliberately placed to counter, or take advantage of the other? I thought to myself, Only in Iowa!

See the poem and video from that trip: A NEW YORK HAIKU, and a few links about my nephew’s film, The Driftless Area, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

New York poet laureate Marie Howe reads “Annunciation” to Krista Tippett On Being

September 22, 2013

New York poet laureate Marie Howe speaks with Krista Tippett about her poetry on the NPR show, On Being. Closing the interview, The Poetry of Ordinary Time, recorded In The Room, April 2013, Howe reads a poem in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus, describing the Annunciation, which, her friend and mentor, Stanley Kunitz, said no one had ever gotten right. She wrote several versions, tore them up, and then this final one came through her.

Marie Howe said it had nothing to do with her. It just came through her, a reminder that the best poetry comes through us when we get out of the way. When we are emptied of our small self, “by being no one,” transcend our senses and turn within and are open to the higher Self, then that great creative force of Love within us creates, and the miracle of life, of poetry, happens. You can hear “Annunciation” by Marie Howe on SoundCloud.

Thought this screen save from the video is most appropriate with the poster of Mother Mary holding the infant Jesus!

Marie Howe reads her poem Annunciation to Krista Tippett for On Being

Marie Howe reads her poem “Annunciation” to Krista Tippett for On Being

Annunciation

Even if I don’t see it again—nor ever feel it
I know it is—and that if once it hailed me
it ever does—

And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t—I was blinded like that—and swam
in what shone at me

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.

This amazingly beautiful and profound poem can be found at 1:36:02 at the end of the interview, but she starts talking about it at 1:34:45. There are more audio clips of Howe reading her poems posted at the On Being blog. They are also available on their SoundCloud, with other audio clips. Here is the complete unedited audio interview recorded on March 16, 2003, at the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph Minnesota.

Also see An Evening with New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe.

This relates: David Whyte describes the mysterious way a poem starts inside you with the lightest touch. Whyte also uses a biblical reference, comparing poetic revelation to Lazarus walking to the light.

Enjoy reading: The Millions Interviews Marie Howe-Words Can Sustain and Save Us, published January 11, 2018, where Marie describes what the writing and reading of poetry has done for her, and what it can do for the rest of us. This Q&A particularly reinforces the point Marie Howe made to Krista Tippett when writing “Annunciation.”

TM: Do you think of writing as a spiritual act at its core?

MH: I do, because it involves a wonderful contradiction which is in order for it to happen you have to be there and you have to disappear. Both. You know, nothing feels as a good as that. Being there and disappearing–being possessed by something else. Something happening through you, but you’re attending it. There are few other things in the world like that, but writing is pretty much a relief from the self–and yet the self has to be utterly there.

Craig Pearson interview and articles on awakened consciousness, transcendence and enlightenment

February 22, 2013

Since the theme of The Uncarved Blog deals with Transcendental Meditation, consciousness & enlightenment, and poetry, I’d like to introduce someone to you who has been studying these ideas in great people’s lives for some time now and has complied them all in a book.

Craig Pearson-EECraig Pearson, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming book, The Supreme Awakening, Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time — And How We Can Cultivate Them. He has spent many years researching the expression of higher states of consciousness in the writings of great philosophers, saints, scientists, artists, and writers. Find out more here: http://craigpearson.mum.edu

Dr. Pearson is the Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. He has served the University in a variety of roles over the past 33 years, including Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, Director of Maharishi University of Management Press, Director of Freshman Composition, and Professor of Professional Writing.

In this interview for Issue 5 of Enlightenment Magazine, Linda Egenes asks Craig Pearson about humanity’s age-old quest for enlightenment. Dr. Pearson highlights his answers with examples of exceptional people throughout history who had described experiences of higher states of consciousness. Here is an excerpt from The Quest for Enlightenment: Transcendence in the Lives of Great Seers and Thinkers.

Enlightenment: What is the relationship of enlightenment and human potential?

Dr. Pearson: Enlightenment is a term that has been used for thousands of years, in traditions east and west, to refer to the most fully developed expression of human potential, far beyond the ordinary.

Enlightenment: How common is it?

Dr. Pearson: Although this extraordinary experience has been described by individuals in different cultures over the millennia and is celebrated in the world’s spiritual traditions, it seems to be exceedingly rare. But obviously it lies within the realm of human potential.

Enlightenment: What has Maharishi contributed to the understanding of enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is often credited with reintroducing the concept of enlightenment in a systematic manner in our modern age. He has put forward a comprehensive understanding of enlightenment that embraces the great traditions and thinkers who have described this experience across time. Maharishi was also the first to promote scientific investigation into enlightenment, bringing the phenomenon of spiritual development into the arena of modern science.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi describe enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: For Maharishi, enlightenment is the ultimate development of one’s inner potential as a human being. It means being established in the highest state of human consciousness.

Enlightenment begins with experiencing the reality of your innermost Self as unbounded and eternal and being established at that level. This means the consciousness of an enlightened person is no longer subject to the ups and downs of emotions, mind, and body but steadfast, anchored in inner silence.

Enlightenment brings the ultimate unfoldment of one’s creativity and intelligence. It means living in harmony with all the laws of nature and easily fulfilling your desires. It means being of maximum use to yourself and others and creating a powerfully nourishing effect in one’s environment.

At the highest stage, enlightenment means experiencing the universe as the expression of your unbounded Self. It is a state of perpetual freedom and bliss, supreme fulfillment.

Enlightenment: Can we relate this in any way to our day-to-day experience?

Dr. Pearson: Although this vision of human development may seem idealistic, we have all had experiences in this direction. Some days we just feel happier inside, more appreciative of others—life is easier, fuller, richer, and more rewarding. We may have moments of enhanced mental clarity or heightened levels of creativity, when we surprise ourselves with how quickly the solution to a problem may come. Athletes sometimes experience the zone—periods of peak performance that are effortless and euphoric.

At these times we are using a bit more of our potential. But enlightenment is far, far more than this. It goes far beyond just having a good day. People who have had experiences of enlightenment report that words simply cannot capture the sublimity of the experience.

Enlightenment: You have researched how individuals from different historical epochs and different parts of the world have shared this same experience. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Pearson: In traditions throughout time we find remarkably similar descriptions of this extraordinary experience of human life lived to its fullest—in the writings of great philosophers, religious figures, artists, scientists, and writers, as well as in the great religious traditions of the world. The terminology may vary from tradition to tradition and age to age. But when you have the clear and precise description of enlightenment provided by Maharishi, it becomes easy to appreciate what these people are talking about.

Enlightenment: So the experience is universal?

Dr. Pearson: Yes. And the recognition that many have shared this experience throughout history is not new either. Some scholars have called it the perennial philosophy or the primordial tradition. The perennial philosophy holds that although various spiritual and philosophical traditions appear different on the surface, at their core all traditions share common, universal principles.

Enlightenment: What are these universal principles?

Dr. Pearson: The perennial philosophy has three basic tenets: (1) Underlying the diversity of the world is a field of unity. (2) We can subjectively experience this field of unity deep within us. (3) The purpose of life is ultimately to experience and live this inner, divine reality of life.

This inner field goes by different names. Laozi called it the Tao. Plato called it the Good, the One, and the Beautiful. Aristotle called it Being. The Greek-Roman philosopher Plotinus called it the Infinite. In Judaism it is called Ein Sof, in Christianity the kingdom of heaven within. In more modern times, Ralph Waldo Emerson called it the Oversoul.

These different names are not referring to mere philosophical or spiritual ideals. They point to the inner reality of life—a reality that can be experienced directly and, when experienced, brings fulfillment beyond words.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi talk about this inner field?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi characterizes it as an unbounded field of pure consciousness, an all-pervading ocean of creativity, intelligence, and bliss, beyond space and time. Maharishi asserts, moreover, that this field of pure consciousness is identical with the unified field of natural law that modern physics describes mathematically. Thus the inner field that gives rise to all our thoughts and feelings is the same field that gives rise to the entire universe.

Enlightenment: And we can experience this inner field of pure consciousness?

Dr. Pearson: Every human being has the natural ability to experience this field. It simply requires “diving within,” allowing the mind to settle inward, beyond the thinking process. This is called transcending.

People throughout history have described and celebrated this experience. It is a simple and natural experience—but by most accounts seems to be rare and fleeting. People have lacked a technique for experiencing it systematically. This is the gift Maharishi has given us—the Transcendental Meditation technique, a simple, natural, effortless procedure by which anyone can dive within at will.

Until Maharishi started teaching in the West, the understanding of how to transcend had for the most part been lost. The Transcendental Meditation technique, which has its origin in the ancient Vedic tradition, provides direct experience of pure consciousness. It is easy to learn and practice, validated by hundreds of scientific research studies, and practiced by millions of people throughout the world.

Read the rest of this fascinating article, which includes experiences from Rabindranath Tagore; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Hakuin Ekaku; and a woman known as Peace Pilgrim.

Many other experiences have also been written up by Dr. Pearson and posted on the TM Blog. Here they are, from recent to earlier posts:

‘Freedom and Self-Realization’: Excerpts from Jack Forem’s book on TM
Howard Thurman: Experiencing “the Great Silence” within us
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook: Connecting with the “deep soul”
The Buddha: Rapturous Joy Transcending Any Other
Meister Eckhart: It is in the purest thing that the soul is capable of
D.H. Lawrence: Sitting in a Timeless Stillness
St. John of the Cross: Transcending all knowledge
William Wordsworth: We are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul
Emily Dickinson: The Soul’s Superior instants
Albert Einstein: There is Neither Evolution nor Destiny; Only Being
Zhuangzi: Why don’t you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything
St. Teresa: A state of great quiet and deep satisfaction
Johannes Brahms: In tune with the Infinite
Rumi: I have passed beyond all thoughts
Plato: And this state of the soul is called wisdom
Jesus: The kingdom of God is within you
Henry David Thoreau: We become like a still lake of purest crystal
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty
Walt Whitman: The luminousness of real vision
Alfred, Lord Tennyson: A state of transcendent wonder
Helen Keller: I feel the flame of eternity in my soul
Laozi: His mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky

Update: Craig Pearson’s book, The Supreme Awakening, is now available. Executive Vice President Dr. Craig Pearson was interviewed on KHOE’s “A Chat With The Dean” by Dr. Cathy Gorini on his new book, “The Supreme Awakening – Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time, and How You Can Cultivate them.”

Listen to a presentation Dr. Pearson gave in Dalby Hall on the book, which was recorded for broadcast by KHOE.

Listen to Dr. Pearson on KRUU FM, Writers’ Voices recorded Feb 21, 2014.

Listen to Craig Pearson on KRUU FM show, Writers’ Voices, discussing his new book, The Supreme Awakening.

Here is a video of Dr. Pearson’s recent presentation on his book, The Supreme Awakening, in Dalby Hall on the MUM campus seen on the MaharishiUniversity channel.

Craig Pearson has since updated his book with new entries. Here is an informative interview by Jeanne Ball, April 20, 2016, in the Huffington Post: The Supreme Awakening: What Did Buddha, Emerson, Einstein and Saint Teresa Have in Common?

“Sanctifying Morning” is a poem by Ken Chawkin on one way to be “spiritual but not religious”

February 17, 2013

Sanctifying Morning is a poem I wrote four years and one month ago today. It may remind you of the phrase, “spiritual but not religious,” how millions of Americans now identify themselves, a trend I was not aware of until I learned about it from Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda. TM* is my way of being spiritual but not religious.

Sanctifying Morning

Charcoal in a church,
Incense-filled smoke,
Knees on the ground,
Wafer on a tongue —
Prayers ascend the sky.

It’s Sunday morning,
And I have my own rituals.
The smell of burnt toast sanctifies the morning air.
Orange rinds round out the debris of breakfast.
Fumes float upwards from a hot coffee cup.

Having pacified the body’s urges,
With no work to be done today,
Though the senses focus outward,
It’s time to bring them within,
And prepare for this peaceful morning.

I retire to my meditation room,
Sit comfortably, and close the eyes.
Thinking my mantra, effortlessly,
I descend to the depths of my mind,
And transcend.

My body follows —
Breath slows, and suspends,
Heart beats quieter,
Brain cells speak softly, in unison —
I’m at peace with myself.

This is the true communion of the spirit
Within the church of the Self.
No pews are required here
As one prepares to meet the maker
Of one’s life.

© Ken Chawkin
January 17, 2009
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

*TM stands for Transcendental Meditation. It’s not a religion. To me, it’s a spiritual practice that is compatible with any or no religion. Today millions of Americans admit to practicing some form of meditation. Members of different faiths practice Transcendental Meditation, including monks, nuns, priests and rabbis. Even atheists and agnostics meditate. You may too, some day, if you haven’t, already.

Publication and Update

Carrying the Branch-Poets in Search of Peace

Thanks to Iowa poet and editor Rustin Larson for selecting “Sanctifying Morning,” which was later included in Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace. The book was published by Glass Lyre Press October 1, 2017 and edited by Ami Kaye. My poem is found on page 132. These other poets also submitted their poems and participated as editors soliciting poems and curating their sections for this anthology: Diane Frank, Lois P. Jones, Gloria Mindock, and Melissa Studdard. All profits after printing go to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

It is also an honor to be included among so many distinguished authors and poet laureates, like Robert Pinsky, W. E. Butts, Joy Harjo, Rita Dove, and Jane Hirshfield, to name a few collected here.

Blogger Chris Rice Cooper was the first to review our anthology, (January 17, 2018): Receiving & Giving Peace in the anthology CARRYING THE BRANCH POETS IN SEARCH OF PEACE . . . She put a lot of work into it with photos, excerpts, and links to an alphabetical listing of the poets and their websites. Next to my photo she provided the link to an article: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin.

After describing the different problem areas the poems deal with, Cooper says, “In this specific piece I’d like to focus on the poems that offer suggestions of acts and thoughts that we as individual human beings can do or think to bring peace into our own lives, the lives of our communities, and the lives of the entire world.”

Surprisingly, she includes my poem in her review: “In Ken Chawkin’s poem “Sanctifying Morning” the speaker of the poem experiences his own peace by having “church” in his own body, in his own home where he retreats to his meditation room and meditates mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

She concludes by saying, “There are numerous lessons to be learned from this anthology but the top two are:  we must love the enemy within and without ourselves; and we must transcribe our experiences down, rather on paper or canvas – only then will the next generation receive their rightful inheritance – their own branch of peace.”

Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviews Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

November 8, 2012

Writers’ Voices host Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviewed author Philip Goldberg on American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, at KRUU FM studios, October 12, 2012. The show is now available online: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14325.

Philip Goldberg, American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West by Cheryl Fusco Johnson

Philip Goldberg with Cheryl Fusco Johnson in KRUU FM studio  Photo: Ken Chawkin

Los Angeles-based author Philip Goldberg is a screenwriter, Huffington Post religious-issues blogger, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His book American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West was named one of the top ten books on religion in 2010 by the Huffington Post.

The American Library Association’s Booklist Online awarded it the same honor in 2011. Philip has authored or co-authored nineteen books and has much to say about spirituality, publishing, and how both have changed during his lifetime.

From Cheryl’s Blog: Philip Goldberg: How He Became a HuffPost Blogger

Many people ask Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, how he became a religious-issues blogger for The Huffington Post. During our Writers Voices radio interview today, Philip explained what happened. Waiting at a bookstore to begin giving a book talk, he was thinking about how few people were there to hear him speak. A woman came into the store looking for something she thought she’d left behind. She noticed Philip standing by a sign advertising the topic of his talk and said, “You should be a blogger for The Huffington Post. My daughter’s an editor there.” Was this a lucky break? Or was it a just reward for the many years Philip spent researching spirituality and honing his writing and speaking skills through repeated practice?

Listen to an earlier show on KRUU FM where Dennis Raimondi interviews Philip Goldberg on Speaking Freely about his latest book American Veda, Nov 22, 2010.

Here is an article about Philip Goldberg and his book American Veda: ‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’.

And here are two related articles by Philip Goldberg: George Harrison: The not-so-quiet Beatle, article by Philip Goldberg in LA YOGA Magazine and Huffington Post: Transcendental Meditation: Topping The Bestseller List Since 1975

Red Dirt Report reviews both “American Veda” by Philip Goldberg and “Transcendence” by Norman Rosenthal.

Dana Sawyer, professor of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art, reviewed American Veda for tricyle: How Hinduism Seeped into American Soil.

My Empowered World also posted the tricyle book review adding photos: From Emerson to the Beatles. Watch a video of MEW’s Luzzette McDonald’s Interview with Author – Philip Goldberg about his books American Veda and The Intuitive Edge. Answering Luzzette’s final question about the one empowering tool he would recommend Phil mentions meditation. He says all the other practices are improved by having a good deep meditation practice. Phil mentions his TM practice, which he has been doing since 1968, and concludes saying he thinks of it as the empowering tool for all the other empowering tools.

See this related article by Phil on THEWORLDPOST: Beatles in India: The Retreat That Reverberates Across the Universe.

 

You Are God: Who? … Me? By William T. Hathaway

October 6, 2012

You Are God
Who? … Me?

By William T. Hathaway

The statement “You are God” seems an absurd and presumptuous blasphemy, so it needs to be clarified. According to pantheism, it’s not just you who are God; all of us are God. And it’s not just all of us who are God; everything is God. God is the universe in synergy, the whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

This contradicts mainstream Western theology, which is based on a split between creator and creature. According to this view, God made the universe with us in it and is now observing our behavior, rewarding us or punishing us based on our obedience to His rules.

The religions of the East and the mystic tradition of the West have a different view. They feel that God became the universe, manifested it, is it. Rather than observing the universe, God lives it. The universe is God’s active side, engaged in time, space, and matter. God is more than the universe, but there is nothing in it that isn’t God.

But if it’s true that we are God, why are we in such an ungodly mess? Because our unity with God is a living reality only in a higher state of consciousness. Reality, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said, is different in different states of consciousness. Ordinarily we experience three state of consciousness: deep sleep, dreaming, or waking. Each has its own reality with distinctive physiological parameters of brain waves, blood chemistry, and metabolic rate.

Waking state is the realm of duality. We are bound in the relativity of time, space, and matter, so we perceive separations between ourselves and others. In waking state the idea that we are God is nonsensical. It contradicts our perceptions.

But it’s possible to experience a fourth state of consciousness that has its own reality and physiology. It’s called transcendental consciousness because it’s beyond the other three, existing at a more fundamental level. Here the duality and materiality of waking state are only surface conditions. The deeper underlying reality is unity, where the separations fade and everything, including matter, is experienced as one unified field of consciousness. Here your individual thinking mind merges with the mind of God. You’re no longer just a part of God. You transcend the boundaries of your small self and expand into the one great Self, the divine spirit animating the universe. All separations between you and God disappear, and you become One.

In transcendental consciousness you really are God and you really are experiencing a sacred life. The most effective method I’ve found for achieving this state on a regular basis is Transcendental Meditation. But even with TM, it’s usually a fleeting experience. In transcendental consciousness the mind is without thoughts. It reaches the source of thought, where it becomes pure Being — alert and aware but without an object of awareness, consciousness experiencing itself. This state is so blissful, so all-encompassing, so divine, that we think, How wonderful! And as soon as we have that thought, we’re no longer there.

But as we come out, we bring some of the energy, intelligence, and joy of this unified field back into our waking state of consciousness, where it enriches our life. And ironically, one of the ways it enriches it is by giving us a deeper appreciation of our separateness from God. The sense of separation we experience in waking state is a great aid to devotion. It’s easier to love something external to us, even if this externality is only partially true.

Each experience of transcendental consciousness also heals our nervous system of stresses we’ve accumulated in the past. It is these stresses, or karma, that make our mind unable to stay in that state while we’re thinking and acting. Once those stresses are gone, which usually takes many years, our mind and body function in that state permanently.

This is enlightenment, the height of human development in which our unity with God is a living reality, not just a concept. In this state we live the sacred life 24/7.

*

William T. Hathaway is a peace activist, award-winning author, and adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His latest novel, Summer Snow, tells of an American warrior in Central Asia who falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are available on a page of the publisher’s website: www.peacewriter.org.

Published with permission from the author.

Also see Radical Peace: People Refusing War, by William T. Hathaway, later republished on other websites listed at the bottom of the article as Conscious Peace: World Peace Depends upon Our Collective Consciousness.

Here’s a related article God? ~ Dr. Evan Finkelstein.


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