Initiating Considerations On
Five Minute Life Changers
Happiness and Other IMPORTANT Matters

It's all too easy to get caught up in the rat race, and all too late discover . . . one's life has slipped by. We invite you to stop and take FIVE MINUTES out, to consider what is TRULY IMPORTANT to you. FIVE MINUTES is not enough to have a full consideration about any subject, let alone the subjects on which we focus here (the nature of happiness, the nature of Reality, practical spirituality). However, FIVE MINUTES spent with the right focus can be enough to INITIATE a consideration that may transform your entire life.

Beyond Believing — When I talk to people about my wife, I never say, "I believe my wife exists!". I don't have to: I know she exists. But curiously, that is the most common thing we say about God: "I believe in God". As a "believer", how certain are you of the reality of God? Why settle for just believing in God, when the tangible experience of God would transform your life?  
  A Critique of "New Age" Spirituality — "Do it yourself" spirituality may seem like the ultimate dream. But how much can it really attain? Did any saint, yogi, or shaman who ever realized anything great spiritually, practice "do it yourself" spirituality? Can we just "wing it" with spirituality and expect to actually get somewhere? In the area of genuine spirituality — in which the fundamental principle of growth is self-transcendence — why settle for the worst teacher of all: oneself?
Beyond "Spiritual Correctness": On Telescopes and Religious Means — We all know that not all telescopes are created equal, right? What about religions? There is a third choice besides the two extremes: "never talk about one's religion with anyone", and "start a holy war, taking extreme measures to champion one's religion". That third choice is based on discrimination and experience: our own, and the great body of recorded experience throughout history. For example, in choosing spiritual practices, it actually is essential to know that the Christian "heaven" is not the same as the Buddhist "nirvana"; that Christian practices have the potential to "take" you to the former, Buddhist practices, to the latter; and that just going to church probably doesn't take you anywhere (saints did a whole lot more than that!). Where do you want to "go", and what are you willing to do for it? These are the real questions of comparative spirituality.  
  There but for the Grace of God Go I: The "Outside Force" that Liberates Man the Machine — Are we machines? If not altogether mechanical, to what degree are we "machine", and to what degree, "free being"? Many wisdom traditions suggest that increasing spiritual maturity is what moves us along the spectrum from the "machine" end toward the "free being" end. But how does one mature spiritually? Grace — tangible help from the Spiritual Reality — is what makes the difference.
Beyond Globalization: Let the Best Culture Win! — As the great spiritual master Adi Da Samraj has emphasized, cooperation and tolerance are the necessary foundation stones for a new world order. To fully understand their importance, we first examine the old "cold war" world order and the current "post-cold war" world order, and track the consequences of the absence of one or both of these foundation stones, and the implications for the future. Globalization is not an end unto itself. At best, it is the "ground" in which, practicing cooperation and tolerance, we can "plant" and "grow" new cultures.  
  The Secret of Surrender — In any moment that we completely surrender ourselves — surrendering our struggle, our searching for a way out, our reactivity — the Revelation of God is bound to appear in some form. The moment of our death provides a great Gift then — with overwhelming strength, it forces us to completely surrender, and then it reveals to us the Fruit of doing so. But if we get this point, why not practice that surrender in every moment of life, and receive that Fruit in every moment?
Heat Management and Spiritual Realization — When we attempt to make a change in ourselves, there is a friction between the old tendencies and the new habit. Heat. The reason so few people realize anything great spiritually is: if you can't stand the heat, you will get out of the kitchen. So effective schools of transformation have to explicitly address this matter of heat. It can't just be ignored; any school of change that is founded merely on good intentions, positive thinking, or talking alone, will have students that drop the ball of change the instant things start heating up. A fundamental adaptation to tolerating greater heat is required.  
  What is the FASTEST Way Out of this Mortal Dream? — The human heart longs for perfect and unending happiness, because perfect and unending happiness is indeed possible: through Spiritual Awakening. The great spiritual traditions throughout history that refer to such Awakening really mean a literal Awakening from this mortal dream to a more fundamental Reality. You can think of it as a spiritual analog to the "awakening" in The Matrix — only, one awakens to a state of Absolute Bliss, rather than some dismal revelation about the true nature of things. What is the "red pill" here? What is the fastest and most direct Way to Awaken out of this mortal dream?
The Machine is in the Ghost — There is no question that much of the human being can be accounted for in a mechanistic fashion. Much of the body-mind complex is indeed a machine, and our knowledge for how to bring the body-mind into a state of balance draws heavily upon the regularities and laws noticed in the patterns of the machine: "Suffering from iron-poor blood? Add back some iron." All that kind of knowledge is very useful, but it doesn’t account for “the machine” being conscious. And it never will. Consciousness will never be found inside the human machine, because it's actually the other way around: the human machine is arising in a universal Field of Consciousness. "Consciousness" is not a "side-effect" of the material brain; rather, the material dimension of reality (including the human brain) is a "side-effect" of the universal Field of Consciousness. The ghost is not in the machine. . . The machine is in the Ghost.  
  True Freedom of Inquiry vs. Scientific Materialism — The philosophy of scientific materialism also has social force in the sense that it tends to enforce itself as the only acceptable view on reality. Should you or I actually claim that we have seen God, or that we have come into contact with a Greater Reality, we are likely to be subjected to ridicule — either covert or overt; in our contemporary, scientifically materialistic, Western civilization, all such experiences have tended to be immediately interpreted as hallucinatory by-products of the material brain, rather than evidence of a Greater Reality. But now science itself has developed to the point where it cannot use that dismissive argument any more: through brain scan technology and other means, neurophysiology knows too much about how hallucinations, delusions, etc. are produced, and can no longer claim that spiritual experiences are hallucinations or delusions, when "snapshots" taken of the activity of the human brain during such spiritual experiences indicate otherwise.
Spiritual Realization as Identity Shift — The ultimate Spiritual Realization possible is God-Realization, awakening from this mortal dream as the One who is "dreaming" it. And the shift in Realization from the materialistic sense of reality as a God-less universe to a universe in which one is standing as the Divine Being, is an extraordinary shift — as extraordinary as the evolution from single-celled organism to human being. So the Ultimate Realization is not likely to happen overnight, nor even in a single Realization. Instead, a progression of Realizations typify the Way. And at the core of these Realizations is a shift in Identity. For most of us, then, God-Realization will involve several permanent shifts in identity until the Ultimate Divine Identity is Realized. Ego-transcendence is required, because you can't fully "assume" the new identity without letting go of the old.  

Getting the SUBJECTIVE Facts Straight About New Spiritual Movements — Spiritual practice is a fundamentally different kind of affair from nuclear physics. An objective commentary on the enterprise of nuclear physics suffices, because nuclear physics, as an enterprise, is purely objective in its aims and claims: it has an objectively stated theory, and is corroborated by empirical experiments that are objectively observable, and objectively replicatable in other laboratories. In contrast, the primary reason why people become members of new religious or spiritual movements is inherently subjective: in almost all cases, they perceive a (potential) subjective benefit, now or in the future — whether they call it happiness, peace of mind, nirvana, heaven, or Divine Communion — that they find very attractive; and they deem that subjective benefit to be worth the subjective cost of membership (primarily in the form of a lifelong practice). For this reason, new religious movements need to be evaluated on a different basis — one comprised of specific subjective facts.


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