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This collection of words for the week is based on high-ranking words appearing on search engines. Each word is approached from the standpoint of spiritual growth. It is viewed both experientially and intuitively while gathering wisdom approaches from the writings of revered teachers.
Perspectives from viewers are welcomed and invited. Please email us your viewpoint and let us know if you wish to be included on the Wisdom Forum page. Just click on "Contact us."
Introducing A Word for the Week:
Sunday, April 27, 2003 - essence
Quick definitions for essence are:
noun: any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted;
noun: a toiletry that emits and diffuses a fragrant odor;
noun: the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work;
noun: the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience .
Once I knew a girl named Essence. It was the name given to her by her mother, and therefore must reflect the mother's perception of divine energy made manifest in the cycle of reproduction, having come forth through the miracle of birth as the female newborn infant.
This morning I've pondered this evocative noun, meditated upon it, and contemplated how the essence of spiritual practice could be expressed briefly in a feature such as this is. Intuition often leads us directly to the answer.
That is how I came to pick up a book with an answer. In her chapter titled "Not Causing Harm" Pema Chodron says, "Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice." [When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron, Shambhala, Boston, 1997]
This is only an answer, not the answer. What comes to you when pondering the essence of spiritual practice? We're interested in your input.
Saturday, May 3, 2003 - memory
Quick definitions for memory are:
noun: an electronic memory device
noun: the power of retaining and recalling past experience
noun: the cognitive processes whereby past experience is remembered
noun: something that is remembered
noun: the area of cognitive psychology that studies memory processes
In the same recently established tradition of allowing intuition to direct an application of a word we may use often in daily conversation as well as in spiritual practice, the first book that comes into my hand this morning, opened randomly, has a most intriguing use of the word "memory." The book is The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, Vol 1, by Drunvalo Melchizedek. The discussion on pages 137-144, where I opened to, is about immortality and the death of the body. Based upon Drunvalo Melchizedek's definition of eternal life, let's pose this question: is memory the key to immortality? Are there now, and have there been, beings living an earthly life who, when leaving their bodies behind, maintain unbroken memory – continue to maintain integrity of consciousness when going beyond this dimensional existence?
What comes to you when pondering memory's function in collective consciousness and beyond earthly life? We're interested in your input.
Due to interest expressed in the word memory, it is being held over for a second week.
Sunday, May 11, 2003.
Sunday, May 18, 2003 - adroit
Quick definitions for adroit are:
adjective: quick or skillful or adept in action or thought
adjective: skillful (or showing skill) in adapting means to ends
This word applies so directly to the works of teachers presently in our lives that it's no wonder it is a popular word appearing in online searches. The general view, in considering skillfulness in action or thought, would focus on intellect. In spiritual evolution, we become adroit when we develop willingness to let go of opinions, expectations, moment by moment. Rather than "willing" outcomes, our skill, our adroitness, grows when we practice slowing down the incessant mental chatter directing oneself to one or another action; allowing clear view of simply what comes next to appear to us, free of preconceived biases. Gradually we become adroit in "willingness" rather than "willing," and what Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy calls "effortless effort." [Buddhism From Within, Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy, 2003, Shasta Abbey Press]
Sakyong Mipham regards this kind of practice as one of the most courageous paths. He offers his encouragement to become adroit at acknowledging thought and then returning to focus on one's breath throughout all that we do on our path toward one-pointed mind free of discursiveness. [Turning the Mind into an Ally, Sakyong Mipham, 2003, Riverhead Books]
What arises as you contemplate development of adroit methods toward awakening? Your input interests us and all wisdom seekers.
Sunday, May 25, 2003 - adroit
Writing of Volume II in The Third Verse Trilogy, The El-eventh Hour (notice the slight but significant change in its title), continues at this date with completion of Chapter 17. Due to the exclusive focus demanded by this work, we are temporarily holding over this "Word for the Week." Viewpoints about this or previous words continue to interest us. Feedback and suggestions for future words to include in this feature are welcome. ____________
Sunday, June 1, 2003 - self-realization
A quick definition for self-realization is:
noun: the complete fulfillment or development of the self and all its possibilities.
A definition in the Zen tradition appears in The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, found under the word kensho, Japanese, literally, "seeing nature"; "Zen expression for the experience of awakening (enlightenment). Since the meaning is 'seeing one's own true nature,' kensho is usually translated 'self-realization.' Like all words that try to reduce the conceptually ungraspable experience of enlightenment to a concept, this one is also not entirely accurate and is even misleading, since the experience contains no duality of 'seer' and 'seen' because there is no 'nature of self' as an object that is seen by a subject separate from it."
This week's term could easily generate the longest page on this web site. It arises out of a recent email exchange with a family member whose perspective is framed by a lifelong basis in fundamental religion, yet we readily agreed that in our casual encounters with a mutual acquaintance, we confronted an untamed ego.
Our acquaintance no doubt considers himself a self-realized being in the same sense that Abraham Maslow explored and advocated -- one whose potentialities are fully developing, whose inner nature comes to full expression. Valuable consideration about this matter of self-realization's truth can lead one through findings by so many scholars and spiritual teachers that a definitive compilation may be impossible. It's of interest to present two angles of self-realization and invite others from you.
One viewpoint that comes to mind arises from the work of Hameed Ali who wrote under the pseudonym A. H. Almaas. His primary concern addressed the need for behavior, for external actions and interactions, for living a balanced and aware life, to arise from meditative practices. Sustained spiritual practice, Ali stressed, needs to effect positive behavioral change.
In a circumambulation of the topic of self-realization, a Zen passage comes to our attention from Master Dogen of the thirteenth century as quoted in David R. Loy's article "What Are You Really Afraid Of" in the Summer, 2003 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review:
"To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly."
What arises as you contemplate self-realization? Your input interests us and all wisdom seekers. Please click on "Contact us" to let us know.
Sunday, June 15, 2003 We apologize for the lapse of one week due to intensive focus demanded by writing of Volume II in The Third Verse Trilogy, The El-eventh Hour. This feature resumes with the addition of a recently-popular online word -- egress.
Quick definitions for egress are:
noun: the act of coming (or going) out; becoming apparent
noun: (astronomy) the reappearance of a celestial body after an eclipse
noun: the becoming visible
verb: come out of
At first, consideration of egress in the spiritual context seems curious, until given closer attention. It could be said that egress in the verb usage applies to our emerging from delusion into the light of clear seeing, our evolution along the wisdom path: the very heart and pith of what Siddhartha's meditation arrived at in those pre-dawn moments. Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy put it so elegantly: "He saw: saw the world with a clear sight, saw it in a way never seen before. Or maybe I should say, He was, is, and will be the truth, together with the whole universe." [Buddhism From Within by Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy, 2003, Shasta Abbey Press]
"The becoming visible," "the act of becoming apparent," then, is intrinsic to our spiritual life. Much more can be said about the egress of our becoming, our recognition of truth that lives within each of us and always has.
What arises as you ponder about this way of viewing what Rev. Daizui terms "the greatest adventure of them all: the positive spiritual evolution of the universe"? We're interested in your thoughts on this, and welcome your contributions to the Wisdom Forum page. Just click on "Contact us" to submit them.
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