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July 27, 2008

Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: The Seventh Jewel

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 The Seventh Jewel

Transcending the great illusions of time

and personal identity.

In these words Jan writes about our need to “transcend” the great illusions of time and personal identity: “Watch the stories you tell yourself. Notice the ways you define yourself in relation to other people, to events, to ideas. Observe yourself interpreting phenomena, how you feel about them, how you behave in response to them….Each time you decline to become engaged in the workings of the storytelling mind—obsessed with past and future, with your sense of identity—you will feel an ease come into your awareness, a relaxation of whatever has had you in its grip” (pp.188-189).
These, then, are the jewels that I have found in Jan Frazier’s When Fear Falls Away. But here’s a secret. The jewels in Jan's book are countless. I have selected what I appealed most to me. I bet you will find words in When Fear Falls Away that appeal to you personally. Words I didn’t even notice. They will resonate with you as if Jan is speaking directly to you. As if she wrote the book with you in mind.

Good luck to you as you find yourself a copy of this book and similar books that bear witness to our true divine self.  

May more and more people experience what Jan Frazier has realized. Let's count our blessings!
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July 26, 2008

Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: The Sixth Jewel

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The Sixth Jewel: Noticing

We can’t anticipate anything as the outcome of our spiritual practice: “Do not anticipate” (p. 74). No spiritual practice guarantees the shift. Yet the key to Jan’s awakening appears to be her “practice of witnessing my reactions to events in my daily life” (p. 44) which led to her noticing the subtle interplay “between outer and inner reality” p. 44

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July 25, 2008

Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: Fifth Jewel

 

The Fifth Jewel

The Reality of A Plane of Pure Consciousnes and Peace Within

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This appears to be the central idea of When Fear Falls Away : “Underlying apparent reality is a plane of pure consciousness, a condition of unwavering peacefulness...” p. 43.

Art Credit: The Peace Mandala by Susan Loy and Cathryn Hankla.

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July 24, 2008

Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: Fourth Jewel

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Fourth Jewel:

Skills of the Awakened

 

Three skills help us to adapt to the shift: the ability to function in both the outer and inner worlds like a frog in water and on land, the High Indifference, and Equanimity.
The first skill, the ability to shift focus between the inner world and the outer world, helps us to function in the world with a constant awareness of the universal consciousness in the background, (p. 59) and (p.186-187).  

The second skill is involves
detached compassion for human suffering. It is  “the High Indifference” Franklin Merrell-Wolff talks about (p.60). This involves being “both serenely indifferent and deeply concerned” (p. 65).
Finally Jan Frazier reminds us that the shift makes it easy for us to be emotionally balanced and more level headed. In other words, the awakening pulls us out of our daily emotional roller-coasters. 
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Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: Third Jewel

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The Andromeda Spiral Galaxy from Astronomy Journal

Third Jewel:
Closing the Gap Between the Illusory Self-Image and the Real Essential Self

     Close the gap between who you think you are and who you actually are: Who I think I am is nothing compared to who I truly am in essence. The mind, through thinking, blocks us

     from experiencing who we truly are.
Our
essential divinity is implied in the realization that “All of the universe is the manifestation of the divine.” Since we are part of the universe we are divine.

What we experience in the presence of enlighten
ed masters is the manifestation of our own divine nature. Our moments of clarity, and peace, and awe whether in the presence of great teachers or nature remind us that “This is what is possible for you” (p.72). “When you feel this, it is your own divinity you are experiencing” (p.94).

Watch this video some time. First with eyes open. Then close your eyes and imagine the trip to outer space.

The Hubble Deep Field

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July 23, 2008

Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: Second Jewel

 

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Whirling Dancers

The Second Jewel:
Enlightenment - The Best Kept Secret

Enlightenment, the Great Liberation, “complete freedom,” the “ultimate destiny of every soul” (p.46), involves mainly quieting the mind. 

This is all we need to do: The  “busy work of the mind that you ne
ed to let wind down, run out of gas” (p.188). Remember that the mind at rest is a reality (p.188).

It is actually very simple: “God, I swear, this is the best kept secret. Everybody can do it. I know this. I could have done it all my life” (p. 37). “I’m here to tell you it is possible” (p. 188).

    Jan is convinced that “You can have this. Look at me. This is possible for you. It is your birthright. Wish for it. Just ask. Ask big” (p.58).  Know that you must find this truth within without making a guru of someone ( p.184).

“Oh it’s good, it’s the best thing that ever happen
ed, by a long shot. Not to me only, but to everybody. Ever ( p. 39). It feels like facing death (p.185). Only it is more powerful than death. “Realization is a death of a kind” (p.  96).

It is the source of the ultimate joy:  “I am so glad to be alive. Consciousness is a total gas. I just want this to go on and on….Oh my God. It is going to go on. Forever!.. even past death” (p.53).

 

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Seven Jewels: Distilled Wisdom from Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away: First Jewel

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For the past two months our book discussion group of has been reading Jan Frazier's When Fear Falls Away.
We had the honor to talk with Jan. We have posted our comments, ideas and insights about When Fear Falls Away on our IMCM Ddiscussion group, a community on Gaia.
To wrap up the book discussion, I am posting what I consider the seven main ideas that I am taking away from Jan's book.

If you haven't yet read When Fear Falls Away, get yourself a copy. The following posts will make more sense to you then.
 

First Jewel: Transmutation of Suffering

Suffering “the bitter soup of stress, guilt, anger, frustration, worry, and general discontent” p. 45, is a universal human condition. “Most people go to their graves believing suffering is unavoidable. How sad that is,” p. 187.

Jan Frazier reminds us several times in When Fear Falls Away that “It doesn’t have to be this way.” In other words, we have an inbuilt mechanism to deal with all the sufferings we face in life.

We can choose to not be afraid and to not suffer. “We have choice in the matter” p. 36 and p. 47. “I have always had this choice,” p.42. “It could be otherwise” p. 46. The external world and the circumstances of our lives are neutral. The awakening helps us perceive the good in everything.

Suffering then becomes an invitation to recognize who we truly are. Suffering is also a gateway to our divine state p. 45. For “in the presence of extreme suffering, transmutation takes place,” p.182.

When the eyes of the seer changes everything changes, p. 98. “I can choose anything to think of, any experience I’ve ever had, any love I’ve ever lov
ed, any mistake I’ve ever made…and it will look different to me in this light,” p. 99.
This reminds me of John Milton's words in Paradise Book 1 254-255: "The mind is its own place and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n."
IMCM Discussion Web Site

 

 

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July 22, 2008

Reflections On Change: The Great Shift Last In the Series

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Times of great change are upon us. Changes so great we will look back on the paradise of yesterday with wonder. Did we live it? Great indescribable transformations are upon us.

Rise early. Sleep late. Prepare to eat unfamiliar food. Console. Is that what it takes to wake up?

The Awakened will notice the changes, unaffected. For them everything remains the same.

The change will either transform you or you will transform it. Do nothing.

 

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July 17, 2008

Reflections on change: Rate of Change Imperative: Fourth In The Series

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Observing the life cycle of butterflies is a popular summer project in libraries. The Mountlake Terrace Library in Washington State, USA, set up a small butterfly observatory this summer. It is exciting to see kids and adults young at heart stop by to look at the transformation of the eggs to butterflies. After about two or three weeks, the children's librarian released the monarch butterflies from the cage.

As we go through various forms of transformation a crucial point to note is the rate of the change that is taking place. In the case of the monarch butterflies, it is easy to link the eggs and the pupa and the butterfly because the changes are relatively fast from our human perspective.

Just as the butterfly life cycle lasts a few weeks, the average life cycle of a tortoise is over 150 years. In other words, since we humans live between 70 and 80 years on average, it means that an individual without building on the knowledge of others will be unable to have a full grasp of this creature's life.

The movement of satellites and planets is another example. The 28/29 day moon cycle is visible to all of us. The yearly solar cycle is 365/366 days. In these two instances, the rate of change is large enough for us to notice. But there are other rates of change that are too big for us to perceive within our short life spans. 

To prove a point: Please answer the question: What is your birth astrological sign? Whether you believe in astrology or not you are very likely going to give me your sun sign. But the western astrological sun sign you think is your sign is likely wrong from an astronomical point of view. Ancient astrologers used the time the sun entered a specific constellation as the beginning of a sun sign. They used the date the sun left that sign as the end of the sign.

As a result of the rate of change or phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes the sun does not enter these constellations at the same time every year. Gradually, what used to be the date the sun entered Aries, became the time the sun is entering Pisces. Today Western Astrologers kept the 2000 year old positions of the signs of the zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.. Astronomers are using the current positions of the signs.

OK. I know this can sound a bit confusing without getting into too much detail. The point I am making is there are different rates of change. The rate at which things change or the duration of cycles is different but extremely important in understanding our world. If we fail to pay attention to these rates of change as well as cycles, we will not understand what is going on around us. We are likely going to misread events be unable to take charge of our destinies. Moments of great change are likely to take us by surprise. We may waste time resisting inevitable change.

 

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July 12, 2008

Reflections On Change: The Constant In Change Third in the Series

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This is the hallmark of history’s great minds. They go beyond the obvious changes we notice to discover the mediating constants. We see this in mathematics, servant of science.

Take the perfect circle idea. We have constructed circles of various sizes from the 19 millimeter-diameter US penny to the large ancient 421-meter-diameter Avebury Stone Circles, the largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to about 5,000 years ago. Yet the diameter and the circumference ratio of these two circles, known as the Archimedes’ Constant, (π)  pi is the same.

Then the spiral. The nautilus shell and sunflower grow in an identical constant ratio called the golden mean, the golden section or the divine proportion, represented by the Greek character phi φ. This proportion is related closely to the Fibonacci numbers 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, where you add the last two numbers to get the next.

Adolf Zeising (1810 – 1876) identified this ratio in various forms of growth patterns in branches, leaves, skeletons and even crystals. The Golden Mean represented for the German intellectual  "the ground-principle of all formative striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art, and which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical; which finds its fullest realization, however, in the human form."

Spirituality builds on science by seeking to discover the Constant beyond the constant. Spirituality is how I transcend daily the unreal to reach the Real, the changing to the Changeless, the finite to the Infinite. This begins when when I notice and ask certain questions related to change.

What remains when we have swam over and over again like salmon in the moving stream in the river’s constant flow?

When ice heats into water and boiling steam? Is it H20? The formula?  See? See?

When the egg metamorphoses into a butterfly through a caterpillar and a pupa?

And the changeless. Is it within or outside? Or is the permanent nowhere or equally there?

What remains, for example, when the weather changes?  When it thunders with lightening, the tornado uproots trees like a million elephants dancing carelessly and playing happily through the fields? Is it the sky and space, the nothingness holding it like a container?

These questions are applicable to social, economic, cultural and political changes as well. For here too the Changeless is mother of the changing.

 

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July 11, 2008

Reflections On Change Second in the Series

Flowing River

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus who lived around 540  and 480 BCE said that there is nothing permanent but change. He also said that you cannot step into the same river twice. The flowing river becomes a symbol of constant chnage.

The weather, the two or four seasons depending on whether you live on higher or lower latitudes, the phases of the moon, the rising and setting of the sun, the planets--all function first as agents and then as symbols of change. In the same way, the states of water from solid, liquid and gas point to the different changes in life. 

The egg of birds, insects and certain animals evoke change in us. Of these, the transformation of an egg into a caterpillar then pupa and finally into a butterfly symbolizes the spiritual evolution of human beings in many cultures.

For example, the Chinese Taoist sage Zhuangzi who lived around 350 and 300 BCE dreamed that he was a free-flying butterfly unburdened by the problems of life. On waking up he became aware that it was just a dream and wondered:  "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

These and many other symbols of transformation point us to the realizations that change wears many masks and appears in many areas in our lives. Change comes into our symbolic home as an imposition by uncontrollable natural forces and man-made actions.

But change lives within our walls as well urging us to transform our living spaces as commands of our nature, of our essence, of our core being. We grow because must. We have no choice. 

And yet at times change knocks gently on the doors of consciousness allowing us the freedom to invite her in.

Whether it is personal, national or global, change sneaks in on us in one or all these different ways: as a member of the family, as a guest we can invite in or reject, or as an irresistible intruder.

Beyond the appearance of constant change, beyond the saying of Heraclitus that nothing is as permanent as change, maybe there is something permanent beyond change. This will unfold in the series.

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July 08, 2008

Reflections On Change First in the Series


Human history is built on change. Our early ancestors may have depended on lightening generated fire that burned leaves and wood. The first cooked meat may have been the carcas of an animal cooked by wildfire. Now think of the various ways we now cook to appreciate how far we have come as a species.
Yet the humble beginnings of this enormous progress  occurred when someone invented how to make fire with stone.

As with man's fire making invention so the mastery of the wheel, chariot, guns, farming methods, record keeping, writing, and the formulation of ideas from simple creation myths to complex theories of an ever expanding universe.

The history of human progress resembles hiking up an endless range of mountains. Each summit we attain opens us to increasingly expanding horizons. Every mountaintop we reach helps us to look below with humility at how much humanity did not know. But each ascension equally tells us that a summit we have attained already bears the flags of those who have already reached there just as the lunar astronauts planted an American flag on the moon.

The living will always have to deal with the question of change, of progress, of where any dominant civilization is taking the world.

And so in the following postings, I will be reflecting on change. How does it occur? Can we place value judgments on the results of change at any point in human evolution? What roles do individuals play to alter the course of events of the fast moving train they ride called life?

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July 06, 2008

Sunday Meditatiion: Stillness in the Storm

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Calmness rests in the eye of the storm.

In the eye of storms of mass unemployment, bankruptcies, foreclosures and what have you, the still mind can find peace.

Life's powerful hurricanes may be hammering many of us or people we know.

For our own sake and on behalf of loved ones, let find a time today to enter the silence within in the eye of life's tornadoes.

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July 05, 2008

Jesse Helms Death End of An Era?

 Jesse Helms joined the the clique of American politicians who died on July 4. He was 86. John Adams, Jr., the second president of the United States, and Thomas Jefferson, who succeeded him, both died on the same day on Independence Day, 1826.  James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, passed away on the Fourth of July 1831.

 Jesse Helms, the conservative Senator from North Carolina for more than three decades died at dawn yesterday, leaving behind a mixed-bag legacy. The Republican White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said: “America lost a great public servant and true patriot today.”

 Republican senate minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, wrote in a communique that "Senator Jesse Helms was a leading voice and courageous champion for the many causes he believed in.”
 The many causes he believed in did not include civil rights for minorities. "Senator No" voted against creating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.

 When he retired from Senate in 2001, David Broder wrote an article about the deceased Senator. The Washington Post reporter commented:  "What really sets Jesse Helms apart is that he is the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country -- a title that one hopes will now be permanently retired. A few editorials and columns came close to saying that. But the squeamishness of much of the press in characterizing Helms for what he is suggests an unwillingness to confront the reality of race in our national life."
 His death, one hopes, was the end of an era.

 

LA Times Obituary
 

David Broder on Jesse Helms

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July 04, 2008

4 July Celebrations Happy Birthday America

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Happy Birthday, America. 

Everyone loves to ride the high speed train called the pursuit of happiness.  Invite friends and neighbors over. Be part of the community.

Enjoy the chocolate. The barbecue. The hotdog. The fireworks.
Just don't set the whole place on fire. Have fun!

Happy Independence Day, America.

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July 02, 2008

Countdown to July 4th: Comedy R Us: Humor, Comedy and Laughter in America

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You have probably heard the story of Archimedes running home naked from a public bath shouting "Eureka! eureka!" "I have found it, I have found it!". He had figured out how to prove that the king's crown was made of pure gold or not.

Well, I had an eureka moment this morning. Nope, I wasn't solving a problem for any king or president. I am not a mathematical whiz like Archimedes.

For some time now, I have been wondering about what keeps Americans sane. After a lot of thinking it hit me that it must be...you guess it: Laughter.

Americans love to laugh at themselves, their wives and husbands. At their children and parents, grand-children and grandparents. Americans love to poke fun at their celebrities and leaders, demons and their God. Americans laugh at everything and that keeps most of them from falling off the cliff.

What will Americans do without their humorists and comedians? Imagine a world without Jay Leno. Conan O'Brien. David Letterman. Stephen Colbert. Ellen DeGeneres. Bill Cosby. Whoopi Goldberg. Chris Rock. Peter Sagal. Garrison Keilor. Jon Stewart. Bill Maher. Weird Al. -- . -- . --. Fill in the gap with the names of people who make you laugh. Don't you want to laugh simply thinking of these people?

Lewis Black, the Comedian who observed that "Republicans are a party with bad ideas and Democrats are a party with no ideas,"  best described the importance of comedy to this country when he remarked: "There's no measure to the value of comedy-- it's sanity maintenance, it's what keeps people on their toes, it's what provides humility, it's the insulation -- not only does it open us but it insulates us from everything."

Archimedes used to say "Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth". American comedians will probably say today: "Give me an audience I can make to laugh and I will make them go through anything in life."

Let's honor the great tradition of American comedians and humorists this July 4th.

Here are some links to comedy sites. Do you have any suggestions of funny sites you want to share?.  USe the comments box below.
Will Ferrell meets his landlord: Watch the Landlord
Funny or die
Colbert Report Official Site  http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/index.jhtml
The Comedy Zone  http://www.comedy-zone.net/
Larry Weaver's Website:

American Comedy Archives
Photo Credit: Ben Cohen, Stephen Colbert, and Jerry GreenfieldPhoto: Getty Images

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July 01, 2008

Countdown to July 4th: Remembering the Righteous Living Who Sustain Us

Lamed vav.jpg  July 4 for me is a time to celebrate the resilience of the American Spirit, terrorized but unbowed, assaulted but unvanquished. Americans have developed coping mechanisms to absorb the shock of battles for the self: contact with nature, rediscovery of the mystery of the Inner Self as more and more citizens embrace a simplified lifestyle.


But what sustains this country goes even deeper. From the Jewish tradition comes the consoling legend of the Tzadikim Nistarim or Lamed Vav Tzadikim, the thirty-six holy men and women whose righteousness protects the world from destruction that would have come any time mankind’s cruel intentions and actions reach critical mass. The Lamed Vav Tzadikim are usually poor and obscure. Hardly anyone guesses that they carry the pain and sufferings on behalf of the world.

Of the millions of Christians in
America who search for the kingdom within, surely a handful has seen the glory of the Lord. Of the millions of Buddhists and Hindus in America on the path to enlightenment, surely a handful has attained Self-realization. From US New Age seekers to devoted sacred groups’ members, from Alchemists to Theosophists, Earth-based Native-American spiritualities to quantum science inspired explorers of inner landscapes, there must be Americans among the Lamed Vav whose consciousness shields the rest of us.

The righteous whose lives sustain the United States of America and the world will be on my mind this July 4.
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