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..:: Balance ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                  

             The wise observation preceding this week’s SYNERGY article is deceptively simple – “Don’t fight, and you cannot be beaten” –  and also appears to be supremely impractical – how is one to avoid conflict in this life of turmoil? In many ways, the key to the life of peace resides in the attainment and maintenance of a consistent state of inner and outer balance. If I can just find my center – the calm focus of my being – amid the turbulence of existence, and learn how to shift my consciousness in such a way as to maintain that center’s stability, then I will always know as much peace as I can, regardless of the extent of the unrest surrounding me.  

            The ego is not the center noted above. On the contrary, the ego is dedicated by its very nature to disturbing the mind through seeking and focusing upon desire and desire objects. This is the first partial explanation of the cryptic advice above, of not fighting. Why do we struggle? Because we expect to attain to or obtain something that we believe we do not possess, when, in truth, we always have what we need to live a happy and contented life. You might say, ”How can this possibly be true? How can anyone possibly claim that we have all that we need? I want a bigger house, a bigger, faster car, more money in my bank accounts, a younger, more beautiful lover!” One who looks without for satisfaction will wander eternally. One who looks patiently within will eventually discover that my words written here are indeed correct. The first step in attaining balance consists of turning away from external sources of gratification, no matter how enticing or available they may seem to be, and focusing the search within. The material world exists as a complex series of distractions designed to keep us asleep to the Truth that lasting peace can only be found through undertaking the inner journey of Enlightenment. It may be true that we must all learn this lesson the hard way through bitter, or hopefully only bittersweet, experience, but learn it we all eventually will. In this sense, the Divine gift of life really is perfect – the outcome of spiritual grace is guaranteed to manifest eventually, once sufficient Karma has been expressed and released in the physical form.  

            The process of experiencing and releasing Karma is the focal point of life as we know it. This single theme explains in the simplest, clearest terms why we are here in the physical form, and what we must do to live holistically balanced, fulfilling lives while in that form. The constant partner of Karma in this process is Tantra – the two are inseparably woven together like a fine silk tapestry depicting our individual – and also collective – expressions on the ever evolving fabric of existence as we interact with each other on all levels of manifestation. It can be said that what we are releasing with every Self-realized action is Tantra expressed in the form of Karma. Selfishly motivated thoughts and actions simply leave the Karmic lesson unlearned, and the Tantric motive intact, to surface again repeatedly, until the release is attained, and Enlightenment is subsequently incremented.  

            We experience and express Tantra in response to the phenomenon of sexual reproduction. If we were somehow asexual creatures, and to the extent that we perceive ourselves as asexual, Tantra is not a factor in behavior or consciousness. This condition is frequently seen in the elderly following the decline and disappearance of sexual activity – these people often seem to have lost all of the literal sexual differentiation of their character, leaving only socially gendered distinctions and behaviors present as the shell of their once vital sexuality. In contrast, individuals in the breeding window between adolescence and old age must experience and express Tantra through the agency of the Kundalini energy. The Western equivalent condition to the Kundalini energy is libido – the root driver of existence in Freudian psychology. We have the choice of directly expressing this libido in overt, healthy ways, or of repressing our libido, thereby causing neuroses and psychoses in the process, but the act of expression will occur. The Kundalini is the carrier of our consciousness as sexual beings, and is expressed in the well-known seven stages portrayed in the Hindu Chakra System. We are all located somewhere in this network of sequential, developmental psychic levels, as we progress through the occasionally exasperating trials of Karmic and Tantric evolution! 

            As the Soul becomes more enlightened, the tendency is to Ascend through the Chakras to ever more refined levels of Tantric expression, although this process may take many life times to see such progress occur, and the progress itself is often two steps forward followed by, hopefully, only one step backward.  Spiritual evolution can be permitted to occur, can be encouraged to occur, but cannot be compelled to occur – any attempts to manipulate the process will inevitably result in setbacks. Apart from mild, patient acceptance of the Tantric process, and acknowledgement of the primacy of Karma as the governing factor in living, nothing more can, or should, be done to augment it. Don’t push the river! It was there long before you were, and will be there long afterwards. Just as spiritual evolution can only be permitted to occur, not enforced, so it is that the holistic personal balance can also only be permitted to occur as the result of healthy life and life style choices. 

            There is not much point in attempting to compel the action of redirecting the emphasis in living from external gratification to internal enlightenment to take place any faster than it will naturally. An extroverted libertine is an extroverted libertine because that is what must be the case for the Karma of that individual to be expressed and released – this is the Kundalini energy active at the level of Svadhisthana, the second Chakra, the reproductive center, and it is a stage that inevitably will be passed through on the long road to Ascension in the Spirit. All that can be hoped for regarding such individuals, and all that is really necessary, is that that they be offered the benefit of the Truth of Consciousness as expressed in the Tantric texts, and the understanding that their stage of activity is just that – only a stage, and not particularly even a very high one at that! It is often extremely difficult for the young in particular to see beyond their glandular infatuations, and presenting them with advanced Tantric perspectives on sexuality by assaulting them with the information is often a disastrous mistake.  It is better to simply offer the information in a positive, non-judgmental context, and allow things to progress from there onward as they will. 

            As growth and maturation take place, the all-consuming fire of youthful passion begins to cool down – frequently with the onset of child-bearing and upbringing in young adulthood – and calmer heads and attitudes will tend to emerge and prevail. At this point, the advocacy of the inner path becomes more feasible for the spiritual guide and mentor. The responsibilities of parenthood naturally redirect thought and sentiment along more introspective, contemplative lines, creating an inherently more receptive mindset to self-examination and self-evaluation.  As the personal understanding of the complexity of life’s issues increases with the perspective of added years, so too does the intuitive grasp of the implications of Karma and Tantra, whether or not the literal grasp of either concept has taken place. The advent of Enlightenment is not required for the advance of wisdom with age, although an individual who has had exposure to the Principles of Enlightenment will be helped greatly by this. It is even possible for Ascension to occur for one who has little or no information within consciousness about the process – spontaneous Ascensions have been documented throughout the annals of history. 

            The Ascension of the Zoroastrian prophet Zarathustra, and his vision of the Light of Ahura Mazda was such an event – the  pivotal event that, in fact, gave birth to the systems of conceptual thought that eventually diverged into Cabala, Islam, and Christianity. These spiritual descendents of Zarathustra frequently err, however, in one key region – all of the Bedouin spiritual traditions that grew out of Zoroastrianism have in common a comprehensive intolerance for any other spiritual belief system. This intolerance is possibly the single starkest contrast between the Western traditions and the Eastern traditions – such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Daoism. Western spiritual history is marred by continuous, bloody conflict on a cross-cultural scale that is truly grotesque in its scope and magnitude. One has only to look at the political situation in the Middle East to see that this conflict has not dissipated to this day.  

            It is quite possible that Zarathustra was an essentially insecure, rigidly structured individual who needed the type of extreme psychological contrast between good and evil that formed so much of his vision on the Iranian Plateau so long ago, as an expression of ego validation. This is an inherently lopsided mental posture that is the obverse of the type of flexible, dynamic balance advocated in this article. The extreme moral contrast stipulated by Zarathustra permitted absolutely no compromise between the two poles of good and evil – either one was on one side or the other in a cosmic battle of absolute light verses absolute darkness.  Zarathustra produced a system of practices and proscriptions that defined the characteristics of good and bad people and practices, and specified consequences for good and bad behavior, that have been transmitted in fundamentally intact form right up to the present time in the so-called modern traditions already noted here.  

            One even sees the affect of this intolerance everywhere that the Western traditions have penetrated in the world. Almost no existing Eastern belief system has not been touched by this pernicious phenomenon. Even the originally gentle and compassionate systems such as Hinduism and Buddhism have become notably intolerant under the influence of first the Aryan, then the Persian Islamic, and finally the American materialistic influences. The more focused one becomes on external material processes as the source of meaning in life, the less important inner investigation seems to be. As Hinduism, for example, has reacted to this quandary, it has become increasingly dogmatic and repressive over the millennia of South Asian history. 

            In response to the burgeoning intolerance of today’s Post-Modern world, I am reminded of one of the observations of the great Bengali Avatar Ramakrishna – all faiths are equally valid as investigations of the Truth. And I feel compelled to add to this that the apparent absence of faith in a given individual case in no way can be taken as an indication of fallen character – it is the personal relationship with the Soul and conscience as our inner spiritual guides that really determines the coefficient of good or evil present in someone, not adherence to any external philosophy. 

            Time is on the side of the spiritual guide regarding the transition from Left to Right Hand Tantra – in other words, from what may well be a very base expression of sexual activity, to enlightened sexual activity, and finally to Ascensionist practices that recognize the Kundalini as the spiritual driver of human awareness, and the Yoga lifestyle as the method of raising Kundalini through the Chakras. The intolerance driven by personal psychological insecurity is the root of all social evil in the world today. Rather than turn our fears against each other in irrational hatred and condemnation, we need to look within and confront what we fear where it lives and grows in the roots of the mind. This requires courage and determination to achieve, as does the subsequent process of forgiveness of self and others for the sin of vulnerability, but it is our only hope for survival. We must stand together in compassion, understanding, and tolerance if we are to stand at all. In this way, the holistic balance of body, mind, and spirit can be achieved, and inner peace attained and offered to our spiritual brothers and sisters everywhere.

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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