Messages from Petros, 2000 - 2005
The following short teaching messages were originally posted on the Petros-Truth electronic forum on Yahoo Groups.
Quotations from famous gurus and classic texts have been assembled here.
Much illusion in the world --
Yet all of it is -- Truth.
Learn the Source of both illusion and truth,
and you will find YourSelf.
Yet so hard to do!
A friend makes it
-- "Introductory 1," 1/11/00
The "teaching," such as it is,
arises out of a felt Need in the one who questions,
or poses what is felt as a Problem.
In the absence of the Question,
the teaching lies dormant,
like a seed unsprouted.
It arises only when the Need is there.
In the meantime is only silent abiding, awaiting.
-- "Nothing to teach, nothing to say," 1/11/00
'Consciousness' is what I, following the lead of my teachers,
yet somewhat arbitrarily,
name that which is irreducible,
Really, 'consciousness' requires Two poles:
the object (the entire spherical field that is seen)
and the subject (the root and terminus of all sensation, presumed to be in a
When there is Not Two,
how can there be 'consciousness?'
Yet there is This,
irreducible nameless Something . . .
Consciousness . . . God . . . Self . . . Not-Self . . . Source
call it what you will!
-- Not Two Consciousnesses, 1/12/00
Some say, 'there is no freedom in intellectualization.'
There is freedom neither in intellectualization,
nor in aversion to intellectualization.
Intellect arises when the need is there;
intellect subsides when the need passes.
Marks projected upon a screen do not alter the screen;
absence of marks projected upon a screen are not favored by the screen
And another thing:
'Freedom' is also a concept.
'Bondage' is also a concept.
'I seek Freedom' -- thus speaks the neophyte.
'I seek release from Freedom and Bondage' -- thus the advanced neophyte.
-- "Intellectualization," 1/12/00
one breathe . . .
Or is one breathed?
Turn attention to the breath . . .
One seems to be "in control."
Attention drifts away from breath,
It continues regardless.
-- Breath Inquiry, 1/15/00
Focus on the act of attention --
Is one "doing" it?
Does one pay attention,
Or is one . . . how to say it? --
and by what
-- Attention Inquiry, 1/15/00
The mind makes many escapes for itself:
Seeking, in spirituality and in materiality;
Experiences, visions, and wondrous imaginings;
Desire for some kind of finality, nirvana, moksha, whatever it is called.
But none of these avail.
Even 'effort' is an escape
from what is Here Now.
The mind cannot even will itself to end these escapes;
When the time comes, their futility reveals itself
and the search ends.
-- Escapes, 1/18/00
Why speak of 'Truth'?
Why use the word at all?
It is only a word,
with no meaning outside itself.
It is the most used word in 'spirituality'
and the most misused, the most abused.
It is not a doctrine, not a method, not a procedure, not a ritual.
It may be the same as
'Self' and 'no Self.'
But all are words,
with no meaning outside of themselves.
-- Why the word 'Truth'? 1/18/00
There was a time when mere understanding was enough.
Now we see this was the action of the mind wanting to possess.
Understanding no longer suffices.
It may be safe now to say that,
Whenever we feel we "understand" something,
We can immediately discard that thing as useless,
For it is nothing else than what we already possess.
-- Understanding, 1/23/00
The 'highest teaching'
does you no good
if it does not work
Instead, use the teaching
made for YOU.
-- 'The Highest Teaching,' 2/2/00
For all of the effort that we put into the idea of
Few of us have the self-honesty to admit that,
if we had the choice,
We would be perfectly happy to keep all our 'good thoughts'
and stop only the 'bad ones.'
So, before we set out on this endeavor of 'stopping thought,'
let us be sure we know exactly what we want.
-- Stopping Thought, 2/5/00
For all the talk of 'original' thought versus 'borrowed thought,'
we never stop to wonder if an original thought is really possible;
and if it were,
would anyone besides ourselves be able to understand it?
-- Original Thought, 2/500
Whatever there is to be seen, you can go beyond --
That which is seen is only a phantom, your own creation.
It is not the final veil.
Penetrate the veil,
Go beyond all vision,
And return to the place where you already are.
-- Go Beyond 2/8/00
The Desert is like the Ocean,
able to swallow up anything --
the "I" itself.
Desert places are empty of the most distracting thing:
Impressions are samsara; without them, it is not there.
If you are empty, really empty inside,
you can be the mirror of the desert,
and it can come into you.
is why the Saints have always gone into the desert,
to find the Truth there --
not "around" them, but actually within.
The desert is the same as meditation.
--- The Desert 2/12/00
You become what the forces surrounding you
make you into.
(If you are truly "empty" inside, that is,
having little or no resistance to such forces.)
This is purity of responsiveness.
This is the "mirror of flesh" we may become.
Thus saints are called "selfless" by ordinary people,
and no one person can describe such a one:
For each person sees only him or herself in such a one,
but does not recognize it;
Thus like a gem, the realized one shows different facets
to different viewers.
-- Becoming 2/12/00
What you submit to.
What submits to you
-- Victory thru Surrender 3/4/00
you end the search
when you find the one
who isn't there
'Mahamritanjeya': This is a Sanskrit term purportedly used by the eternal sage Babaji to signify the great ('maha') triumph over death or mortality. It is the perfect signification of that transformation of the self through which one enters into the state of physical immortality; it is cognate with the Christian idea of 'resurrection,' and the Gnostic promise that he who understands my words 'shall not taste of Death.' It is the result of Awakening. 5/11/00
One of the central insights that comes to one who has been "practicing the understanding of truth" (i.e., meditating) for some length of time is that what appears to motivate our bodily actions, and even our subtle mental decisions, is not some internal entity or "me." There may be a sense of an "I," sometimes personal, but gradually less and less so. It is eventually understood that actions derive not from ourselves, but begin outside ourselves, while the body-mind serves as a regulating machine, magnifying or diminishing these influences. 6/3/00
One can discern the intensity of a person's desire to engage the Work of Truth by how deeply that person is willing to "get in over his head" in life situations. A running away into familiarity is a running from real, transformative Work. 6/7/00
That condition of 'nonduality' cannot be an object of contemplation or discussion. As soon as something is discussed, contemplated, or argued for, it becomes that which is 'dual,' a concept or an idea. There may be many aspects of 'Truth' or living which are capable of being discussed in various forums, but in and of itself that condition cannot be immediately a topic. There is nothing particularly mysterious about this fact, which has been oft noted, but rarely accepted. 6/19/00
Krishnamurti uses seemingly "ordinary" language, but his words are weighted with special and often profound meaning. One only gets the feel for it by reading or listening to many of his dialogues; then repeated patterns and emphases become evident. Krishnamurti was not a writer, he was a speaker, and it is really best to listen to taped recordings of his dialogues with people, to get the feel for the interchange between himself and his audience. His use of questions is irksome to some people, but for K., the question was itself the form of inquiry. When he asks a question (e.g., "Can we be free from the past, from all that is known?") it is meant to "float" awhile over his audience, to be pondered and digested, not answered. One can note a very clear sense of frustration and disapproval from K. when an audience member tries to jump in with an "answer" too quickly. 6/22/00
Only in the absolute silence of the Heart, which is not a silence of the "mind" merely, or any kind of enforced quietude, can the knowledge of one's own Truth be opened up to one. In this silence, ordinary events, phenomena, and sound carry on as always, but without involvement from oneself. 7/1/00
In the way of the Truth, which is the understanding of what you are, there is no need for experience, for anything learned from outside oneself. All that you require is within, and you will discover that this has always been the case. There is only a gradual unfoldment of this understanding, and often this may appear to be a form of experience -- until it is seen for what it is. 7/30/00
On the Path there is no beginning or ending, nor, logically, any points along the way you can identify until after you've passed them. There is only a continual moving forward, which is not necessarily opposed to the sense of great stillness that one will frequently enjoy. And the moving forward is itself only a matter of perspective. 9/20/00
There may be many things in our lives that we may initially appear very willing to let go of, but if there is no pain associated with such sacrifices they do not advance us toward transformation. When there is a certain amount of suffering in a sacrifice, when it comes to us as if unbidden, spontaneously, there will be a period of suffering -- then we can know that ransformation is taking place. 11/10/00
Since it is impossible to truly speak of Awareness, as it is beyond words, words can only be general pointers. The best teachers of truth have understood this point and in their dialogues one should be able to distinguish between the words they are speaking, which may be intended only for less advanced students, and the mere fact of their Presence, which is there to be intuited on a non-verbal level for those who are able. The words are there to direct Attention in its purest form. If you can imagine what it might be like to sit in the presence of a teacher whose language you do not understand, letting his words go past you uncomprehended, yet still paying the deepest attention to the whole context of the situation (presence, posture, attitude), you will get an rough idea of the difference between content (the words) and context (the whole situation.) And enlightenment has to do with the latter. 11/13/00
Our spiritual work is largely about learning to better and better absorb the energies that are constantly flowing around us (energies in the form of emotions, situations, and such) and transform them into inner structures that we can use to live and progress on. When this is working well we function as symbiotes with the universe around us, exchanging energy back and forth. Vampirism is something that we hear a lot about these days and it is certainly a spiritual reality; but it is a one-sided affair, really a sort of parasitism. It is almost a parody of real spiritual work, in that the individual practicing it draws energy from people and situations around himself and gives nothing (or something negative) in return. It also seems as if vampires are incapable of growth, but can only sustain themselves in a stagnant repetitious fashion. (4-2-01)
Don't "do," just BE. Being is what you're doing all the time anyway. If you try to "do" you'll never (consciously) BE. If you just allow yourself to BE, the "doing" takes care of itself. Which it always has, but you just weren't so aware of it! (4-9-01)
In the metaphysical scheme of things, we should look at this Christian holy day as, symbolically, the death of the ego (or separate sense of "self"), and entry into a subtle state of awareness (symbolized by the body in the tomb) which ends in a Resurrection -- a return to the revivified body of flesh, but with the higher consciousness intact and operative. It is a return to a "mundane" universe, but one that is not the same as before. (Good Friday 4-13-01)
Everyone pays lip service to the so-called "facts of life," which is to say the fact of death. It is acknowledged in mundane life but it never ceases to surprise me how little the average person allows the fact of death to affect him or herself. They mourn and go on. What seems to distinguish the saints (I'm thinking of Ramana Maharshi in particular, but it could apply to any of them) is that they did not allow this "fact of life" to be simply acknowledged and then go on their merry way with business as usual. They pursued this fact to its very end with rigorous, even obessive (to us) logic. It became the new "center of gravity" for their lives and utterly changed how they lived their lives. It might just be that it is only this willingness to be unreasonable, to go "all the way" about what matters most, that distinguishes the spiritual hero from the average joe (bloke.) (6-8-01)
The mind creates its own categories and its own limitations, then tries with futility to break out of them, which of course is impossible since it is continually generating the conflict. The concept of bondage is twinned with the concept of freedom, and in this mental artifice the mind bounces back and forth. I think it comes from a lack of trust in one's own self to know what is already right, prior to these creations. People seem to trust themselves in very limited areas of competancy, such as work, but do not trust themselves in the thing that matters most. (6-11-01)
Watch out for anyone trying to sell you on liberation or on their idea of liberation. What you're not told is that you have to buy into their concept of bondage first. At some point you bought into the concept of bondage (most likely unwittingly) and now you're about to be given another concept to put on top of that one. I think we know the "way out" of this by now. (6-18-01)
Attending satsang with Ammachi the other day in Burbank I found myself preferring to leave the ballroom and sit in the hotel vestibule just outside, deep in meditation. Rather than listening to disciples' testimonies and Ammachi's public sermon I somehow found it more enriching to simply meditate on the other side of the wall in relative solitude. I was able to enter into a profound meditative state thanks to her proximity, without actually seeing or hearing her directly. It has often been said that many public gurus offer a fairly mundane verbal message for the public, while offering more subtle blessings for those prepared to receive them, and this seemed to be an instance of this effect. Incidentally, I also saw Bhagavan Das in attendence and he too was clearly in a fairly strong meditative state in Ammachi's presence. (6-22-01)
There can be -- or there ought to be -- no ownership either in material goods or in love, from an awakened perspective. There is only the activity of relationship, which is a sharing and an exchange of energy of one form or another (whether material, emotional, or something else). When this is understood much needless suffering is eliminated for all parties concerned. (6-24-01)
A book such as _Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson_ written as it is by a being such as Gurdjieff is really more than a "book," something to be read for mere data or to accumulate some "information" about a topic. The very organization and structure of such a book, and the words that its author used, express something intangible about his inner nature, his thought processes, his view of "self," and so on. There is a transformative effect in carefully reading such works however difficult or obtuse they appear on superficial glance. I mention this book as an example, there are many others. (6-29-01)
The expression of sexuality should be, at best, a movement toward greater and greater openness and acceptance of the other and of oneself. There can be nothing "casual" or recreational about such an expression (contrary to popular ideas of sexuality) nor can there be anything stultifyingly traditionalistic (as in the conservative religious view.) Ironically, both the conservative and the liberal view of sexuality work toward enhancing the egos of the participants -- one taking pride in pleasure and performance, the other taking pride in advancing a tradition and procreating a biological line. Both are limitations which block the awakened viewpoint. (7-2-01)
After awakening there is just as much of you left as before, but there is not the same tight attachment holding you all together. You may find yourself being even "more" you than you were before, for now you are able to be yourself consciously. (7-13-01)
Keep staying in that unmoving place that is no-place, the hub of the universe, and you may find yourself nicely undone -- unwrapped of tightly-wound conditioning -- and left in that untouched state that the Buddha elegantly called "pristine." And pristine it is! (7-16-01)
Reaction comes from the past -- from memory, from conditioning, from expectation and presumption and negative imagination. Response, on the other hand, arises from the immediacy of circumstances, from an interaction between the mind of survival and the environment; it is open to creativity and newness and allows one to discover optimal ways of confronting challenges and, when necessary, tragedy. (9-17-01)
Mandalas are the pictorial representation of the Rectification (right ordering) of the contents of consciousness as accomplished by the Seer. Not only the Buddhists and Hindus possess such designs, but the Western seers, too, like Boehme and Blake and -- in literary form but still "visual" -- Swedenborg. Mandalas are not the highest manifestation of the Real, because there is still a Seer and a thing Seen, obviously. Only when the mandala itself is surpassed is the Real perfectly reached. Take this symbol as your mandala for unity in awakening: imagine an Eye in the center of a heart, representative of perfected vision and perfected vitality or emotion. It is the Witness, the observer, in the very Heart of What Is Observed. It is subject and object wed, the union of the ajna (third eye, in the center of the forehead) and anahatta (heart) chakras. -- from Keys to the Gate of Divine Truth by Petros (1997)
There are teachings which are in essence 'word' teaching only -- they only affect how we describe things and conceptualize what is in our mind. There are also world teachings which are vastly more powerful, in that they affect how we perceive our world itself -- and even whether or not we perceive a world at all. When we can consistently absorb this deeper level of learning, we can expect to enjoy deeper levels of self-transformation. (11-9-01)
Can you lose everything, without fear? Sure. One can always start all over again from nothing. That's how the universe got started after all -- from nothing. It was very much an undercapitalized enterprise, but so far has turned out to be fairly successful as universes go. So you have to create something from nothing. How? You get to decide the "how" part of the equation; that is also part of the game. (11-12-01)
The higher self is not without its means. It is smarter than the lower or ordinary self. Its activity may not always be evident to the conscious lower self, but it is there working in the background and will see us through both the ordinary and the extraordinary tumults of mundane life. (11-16-01)
I am asked why I still participate in satsang (i.e. group meetings) with various teachers who pass my way (living in L.A., we get more than our fair share of gurus and wanna-be's in the neighborhood). Well, you might as well ask why one keeps associating with friends. It is the most normal thing. More than this: the ancient texts are in agreement that "association with truth" (the literal meaning of "sat-sangha") is one of the most important activities for humans at any stage of the path (and also for those who have realized that there is no-path.) A devotee can no more resist coming to satsang than a drunk can resist going to the tavern. Satsang is the tavern of the spirit, we could say. (11-19-01)
It is rightly said that awakening comes out of a feeling of desirelessness. But it is hard to start from the position of desirelessness when that is the desired end-point! So, you might as well work from the point of desire, since it is unavoidable, and "run it out" until the point of desirelessness comes at its own time. It's not as if we have a lot of choice in the matter regardless. But at least keep in mind where you're going eventually, which is desirelessness. (12-3-01)
True method is to take the path as the goal; it is to begin with enlightenment and grow deeper with that day after day. True renunciation is to abandon any thought of 'self' and 'other,' or of 'path' and 'goal.' (2-8-02)
What is Ours
Only that which is fully conscious to us is truly "ours" -- truly exists for us -- for we are nothing but consciousness, or else we are nothing at all; and only impressions consciously received can benefit us, transform us, bring us to and keep us grounded in the real dharma of our self. Anything done unconsciously (e.g., the autonomic functions, or most types of channelling and other spiritistic phenomena) is done "to" us or "through" us, but it is not our essential self; it belongs to the cosmic "machine." When help from "outside" does come (often called grace, in religious systems) it comes to one consciously and immediately generates the higher emotion of divine gratitude, leading quite naturally to bhakti (devotion) and single-pointedness. That can be the door to the nondual. (2-18-02)
Discussion vs. Satsang
You can tell the difference between a "spiritual discussion" and satsang based on how you feel when you leave. Discussions leave us exhausted at the end -- too many words sapping our energy. Satsang leaves one invigorated and feeling a renewed sense of purpose, as well as a renewed creativity. (2-25-02)
Kundalini and Awakening
On Kundalini and Awakening: Someone wrote: "What is the connection between the raising of kundalini and awakening?" P: Actually, I haven't found the connection to be absolutely mandatory. In my own case, my experiences of kundalini have been very subtle and rarely strategic -- that is, they are spontaneous when I detect them at all. Many great teachers have pointed to the need for kundalini arousal, but more as laying the groundwork for awakening or enlightenment, or preparing the physical and mental vehicle, rather than as a direct cause-and-effect process. Thus awakening may easily come without any detectable kundalini phenomena; and it is quite possible (and widely observable in fact!) to experience potent kundalini effects without becoming enlightened as a result. (3-1-02)
Realization and Devotion
Self realization (enlightenment) and devotion ("bhakti" for those in the know) seem like opposite frames of reference -- the former nondualistic, thelatter dualistic -- but they are actually complementary. Self realizationmay lead to true nondual devotion; and such devotion is nothing like the "ordinary" dualistic kind at all! Or, it may be that ordinary devotion can lead some into the nondual state. Then, a "self" engaging in devotion isreally not there anymore, but yet devotion itself may continue on a higher plane. (3-17-02)
Mantra and Meditation
Much effort has been put into finding the "right" mantra for a particular person -- and the meaning is taken to be all-important. In fact the meaning of a mantra is of much less importance than how it feels to you. Even more important is the amount of energy and focus one puts into the recitation of one's mantra during meditation. With the right intention and focus, one can enter into pure meditation and the actual mantra chosen becomes a secondary issue. (5-13-02)
Beyond Personal Awakening
The awakening of oneself to a recognition of one's personal enlightenment, or nonexistence as a separate 'self,' is but the first doorway through which one passes on the spiritual journey. What lies beyond this is a mystery to most, but all we can say at this point is that the journey involves a broadening of one's life and concern to include others -- a core working group or fellowship (satsangha) -- and ultimately the life of the cosmos as a whole. (5-17-02)
When you stop believing in your personal search for truth or perfection or wisdom, And allow that which always was and is eternal to come into play, To work in and around you, You go through any limitations and blockages you thought you possessed. (5-31-02)
Removal of Obstructions
While it is finally true that what we perceive to be obstructions in our spiritual practice may be just that -- perceived obstructions, not "real" -- nonetheless as long as an obstruction is perceived by oneself, it is a thing to be overcome. Bring attention back to the perceiver of the obstruction, and center one's awareness in that space. Suddenly you may find the obstruction behind you. (6-7-02)
Mind of God
When the "Mind of God," the higher and unspeakable wisdom that follows a deepening of awakening, descends to make its habitation within one's mind and body, its effect is not only purifying but radiant. It purifies, as if spontaneously, the physical/psychic structure of various obstacles that had previously frustrated the ego-I, and also radiates outward into its environment, having an effect upon others, to the degree that they are sensitive to it. (6-10-02)
What surrender means is that one learns to open oneself more deeply to the universe, to the world; and that one suspends ones fears and doubts and resistances to what 'IS.' Gradually one becomes more and more a channel for the forces of the cosmos, and for the teaching which expresses those forces in human terms. (6-30-02)
Fasting from Enlightenment
Identification with form is fasting from God/Truth. As mundane fasting teaches one to appreciate food, so does identification with form and desire teach one to appreciate enlightenment, the non-identified condition. (7-21-02)
To counter the mind's habitual tendency to label every experience, every event, you have to create a space for yourself in which that tendency is seen to be no longer useful. You see it for the game it is. In that space you notice that no label is "real," that it's just your activity doing it. In that space is freedom, without comparison. (8-16-02)
Awakening is "easy" because we are only trying to get what is already there. The only difference is knowing this rather than not knowing it. There is no theory that can stand in the place of actually "getting it." A theory is just a way the mind keeps itself from becoming awake. (8-19-02)
Previous Lives and Awakening
It doesn't matter whether one believes literally in the concept of incarnation or merely finds it a useful hypothesis, or a poetic metaphor. Some people have noted a sudden understanding or vision of their prior incarnations at the time of awakening, or else such a vision has actually catalyzed their awakening. It's as if you suddenly see your "game," and see that there is nothing new or original about it, that you're simply re-enacting ancient patterns and conditionings. The point is that awakening means getting a viewpoint outside of this "lineage" or pattern, and feeling released from it. (8-23-02)
Guru as Function not Person
The Guru is a function, not a person. This function expresses itself through many, even infinite, forms, including the physical universe itself. It exists within the devotee also, but does not always come to express itself, nor does it need to. The Guru-function is most commonly witnessed (and most easily enjoyed) when it expresses itself in human form. But it is only the devotee's innate ability to recognize this function that makes it valuable to the devotee. Without a student, the guru-function is superfluous, unrecognized. (8-26-02)
Experience vs. Belief
When you really experience your world, it is truth for you. If however you only "believe" in it, it is untruth and unreal. Once you deeply experience your life, you can be done with the experience too, and move in the space that is freedom; but not everyone knows how to experience deeply. (8-30-02)
Ego and Inquiry
In self-inquiry, we look at the objects that the mind has made and ask, "Who or what is the subject?" Constant attention on this subject -- this "ego" -- is the first fruit of self-inquiry. Constant attention on the ego is the foundation of self-realization. Doing it stops the train of thought. (9-2-02)
Nonduality and Duality in Sadhana
The only real "problem" with duality, if you want it to be a problem, is becoming identified with it. Sadhana (practice) is simply being aware of when you are identified with duality, bringing full attention to your identification. You might say that bringing attention to your identification is the doorway to realization. At the end of sadhana, in realization, there won't be any identification with either duality or nonduality. Then when you want something to do again, you can re-identify with duality! (9-6-02)
Good Time for Practice
There is never, it seems, a "good" time to practice awareness, but if you think about it, it is exactly the bad times and the worse times that are the best opportunities for the practice of awareness, if we really want to do it. All it takes is unwavering intention and the ability to remember that bad or difficult situations exist (for us) only to give us the opportunity to practice awareness. Now all you have to do is remember this advice. (9-13-02)
Recapturing Blissful Experiences
Blissful experiences are a great help early on the path, as they give you a certain motivation to continue. They can be a dangerous "hook" and blockage, however, when you hold onto them or continue to try to recapture them and make them the whole focus of your spiritual life. This includes activities like visiting every new "guru" or taking every program or seminar that comes to town, in the hopes of recapturing some great insight or feeling you once had. Anything that comes and goes in this fashion cannot ever be the ultimate truth. That most basic Fact of your existence is not something that can be felt, for if it were a feeling, it could be lost again. (9-16-02)
Proximity and Growth
While it is true that many people can gain a sense of the power of enlightenment through nothing more than mere proximity to an enlightened Master, it is not always the case that such proximity brings one to full awakening. It can give one a much-needed boost, but such shortcuts are not a substitute for regular, sustained growth, which comes from practicing awareness and developing higher consciousness as a daily habit. (9-21-02)
Making it your Own
Only that understanding which you make your own, which you incorporate into your own being and your own life, even your physicality, can properly be called truth for you. Anything less than this remains only an intellectual theory. The only way to make any understanding your own is not to allow another to proscribe your understanding for you. (10-11-02)
Transience of experience
Meditation on the transience (impermanence) of all experience, of all phenomena, leads one to the recognition that even what we think of as who we are -- the "me" -- doesn't really exist as a solid thing. One recognizes that suffering is not "my" unique suffering, but the existence of suffering in the universe. This recognition is inherently freeing, and also opens the door to higher obligation. (11-11-02)
The way things are
The dharma only describes the way things are in reality, apart from our conditioned expectations, fears, and delusions, all the things that result from not looking deeply enough into reality. The way things are is also our true, unconditioned nature. All practice is only an instrument to mirror this back to us so that we, unaccustomed to who we are, can see it clearly. (11-18-02)
Clinging to Freedom
Clinging or attachment is always a problem in spiritual development, but especially so when the object of the clinging is what one takes to be one's freedom. This is a most insidious and subtle sort of clinging, making even harder to overcome. It is one of the final obstacles to going beyond freedom and attachment. (11-25-02)
Possibility vs Position
Accepting possibility is allowing the Universe to make things happen with spontaneity; it is an act of affirmation in yourself and in your world, that anything can happen. It is the opposite of taking a position, of standing on a fixed belief or expectation, which only makes you vulnerable to disappointment and disillusionment. (10-4-02)
Inquire always within oneself, not being taken in by any outward or inward object, thought, emotion, or belief. Inquire, "To whom does this apparent object appear? To whom do these thoughts appear?" and let the question be felt rather than heard as words. 1/03
No shelter in concepts
Beware of letting "enlightenment" become another concept for the mind to seek shelter in. It is common today among superficial seekers (and teachers) for enlightenment to be a substitute for the concept of "God" or salvation, representing some sort of more subtle idea of personal security or guarantee of immortality for those who have deluded themselves into thinking they have advanced beyond such naive belief systems. This sort of enlightenment is not the truth at all. Enlightenment must always represent a move away from any sort of security, comfort, or personal consolation to the ego. If you are vigilant and watch your mind, you can often catch it when it starts slipping into this safety-zone. The truth is always beyond any kind of personal consolation. It is never a way of avoiding death/transformation, but of surrending into transformation at every opportunity. 1/03
Master as a door to yourself
A spiritual Master is among other things a door through which you pass on the way to yourself as you really are but did not know you it. Any Master, from the least to the greatest, is only a door through which you must eventually pass and leave behind you as you leave the small room of the ego-identification and enter the vast open space of truth. From your own viewpoint it is only yourself that goes through the door and to the other side, not the Master; he is left behind you. 1/03
Transmission or no transmission?
From a purely nondualistic way of looking at awakening, we have to say that there is and can be no "transmission" of this force, since after all there is no one to transmit, no one to receive, and actually no force at all! The funny thing is, in practice, one meets with purported teachers of awakening, gurus, and quasi-gurus, and one finds that something has happened -- not in every case, but in some cases -- and this something seems to meet the traditional definition of a "transmission" of energy or awareness. Then the transmission makes itself obsolete, and ceases to exist any longer. What remains is purity without transmission. 2/03
AUM for World Peace (11 March 2003)
Petros is advocating a special Cosmic Invocational Meditation / AUM for World Peace on the Spring Equinox (March 20), in which groups around the world will gather at dusk (if possible) and chant AUM while sending forth their intention for a nonviolent resolution to the impending conflict. For information about this effective method of meditation can be found at http://home.earthlink.net/~xristos/cosmed.htm.
War and Sadhana (Q&A)
A student wrote me: "My meditative practice has gone to pot since the war began! I'm finding myself spending way too much time analyzing the news and engaging in protest activities and I feel a sort of loss of my focus. Advice?"
I'm glad someone brought this point up. I think anyone who's fairly intelligent and "aware" (in any sense of the term) has to pay attention to what's going on in the world, and be involved in it at some level, regardless of his ideological stance. It's certainly not for me to give someone a political opinion although I do want anyone who is serious about being a student to pay attention to events, question all sources of information, and do his/her own homework when it comes to discovering truth. But I've seen a lot of people get so caught up in the emotionalism and shrillness of the news that, like you say, their spiritual practice takes a back seat, and that is never acceptable. Events change and situations come and go according to the law of transitoriness, but any moment spent identified with these situations is a moment lost to your spiritual growth. One has to keep things in perspective and keep one's priorities straight.
As for the peace movement, well, too much of it just isn't all that "peaceful" in my opinion. There are well intentioned people in it, but too many are caught up in their own ego-trips and in advancing their peculiar political agendas, and far too many bring an emotional harshness and lack of awareness to their protest. This is why I've always advanced programs like the recent "AUM for World Peace" in which the spiritual emphasis is forefront. It's about keeping up the high-frequency vibrations. Take a look at what Peace Pilgrim did years ago, simply walking around the country, without any agenda other than heightened awareness, and you'll have a good idea of what is needed. There is sadly little of this in today's public dissent movements (especially in the Arab world, which sorely needs such solutions.) 3/03
While the ancient role of discipleship is always called for, we in the modern world, accustomed as we are to crass individualism and materiality, are not expected to walk into devotion blindly or irresponsibly, counting on some higher power or authority to protect us. To be a conscious disciple of truth is to take full personal responsibility for our practice, and to combine a surrendered intention with a watchful discrimination. 4/03
Authenticity in a teacher
An authentic teacher will empower the student, showing how to live in such a way that the natural inner process of unfoldment is not hindered by the student's conditioned egoic motivations and presumptions. The teacher will not empower the student's conditionings, however; and this is what is commonly misinterpreted as a robbing or denial of the student's power. In fact, conditioning is never one's own truest self, but always belongs to what is outside of us, and to lose this is to lose nothing essential to our growth. 4/03
Creating the help that you need
When you find yourself in a 'stuck' place, mentally or spiritually, you will inevitably create for yourself the help that you need to get past that place, and it will come to you as if from outside -- perhaps in the form of a Master or just a good situation. The reason is you created the 'stuckness' in the first place. Just as the barrier was created unconsciously, so is the help created unconsciously. When you grow in awareness there will be fewer and fewer situations in which you find yourself stuck, for you won't create them, unless you really need them. 5/03
Fact vs. Truth
People ask me about the difference between 'facts' and 'truth' (with or without the capital 'T'.) A fact is a relationship between two objects or ideas in the world. It's conditional, just as the objects or ideas involved in it are conditional, relative, changing and ultimately transient phenomena. Truth on the other hand has an aura of imperishability about it, and independence from conditional relations. Obviously no object can fulfill this definition; so truth always means the subject, that is to say, the viewpoint around which facts appear, revolve, and disappear. 5/03
Cosmos Viewed as Nothing
The more and more deeply we look into the nature of the cosmos (including ourselves) the more it appears to be really nothing at all. It's just that there's so much of it, we get fooled simply by not considering it. But it only takes a moment of really looking "between the cracks" to see how the whole game is set up. The first realization of this tends to elicit humor -- a sign of true seeing. 5/03
Awareness is Undivided
Recognize in any situation, and in any state of mind, that awareness of that situation or that state of mind is always undivided no matter how divided the situation appears. Awareness of confusion is not confused, and awareness of complexity is not complex; awareness of duality is not dual. That awareness never changes, and no complexity of experience touches it, any more than the images on a screen can touch the light bulb that projects them. Also, it is the nature of experience and phenomena to be multifold and divided; it is not a "problem." 5/03
Inquiry as freeing attention
The nature of ego is to attach itself to self-created objects, veiling them in ignorance of their true nature as oneself. Inquiry is the process of moving through that veil of self-imposed ignorance back to the free attention that originally is. It is not a process of discovering an "answer" to life, but of continually rejecting all attachment to mind-created answers. 8/03
Petros' Canadian Dharma Journey 8-14-03
Petros will be setting off this morning for his first Trans-Canadian Dharma Tour, travelling through southern parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia to meet with various spiritual students and practitioners and to bring the Dharma to any who may express an interest. As always on such journeys he dedicates the fruit of his movements towards the enlightenment of all beings. Students may continue to write us with questions as usual, though they should expect some delay in response time due to logistical difficulties. It is expected that Petros will be back in Los Angeles by the end of the month.
Honesty and Assumption
Absolute honesty with oneself is critical in spiritual progress. This means, first, the willingness to abandon assumptions about what honesty will or must look like. It requires questioning the motivation for your honesty -- whether it is motivated by a desire for egoic self-expansion or nonegoic self-surrender, which alone is transformative. 8/03
Navaratri (= "Nine Nights") is a nine-day festival of dance, music and devotion, taking place this week, and dedicated to the worship of the Divine Mother in the trifold form of Durga (the warrior goddess), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), and Sarasvati (goddess of the arts and of wisdom.) Today is also the 50th birthday of Mata Amritanandamayi Ma, which is being celebrated at her ashram with a mass gathering for world peace.
Consistency and Inconsistency
Before awakening, inconsistencies create problems because you are seeing from the point of view of the mind. After awakening, inconsistencies are seen as non-problematic, being part of the nature of mind itself, which is divided and analytical. This can be seen because you are seeing from above the mind. 10/03
Knowledge, Conditioning, Freedom
Accumulation of knowledge, even knowledge of spirit and profound things, will never lead one beyond the conditioned mental frame of reference. Real wisdom is recognizing the need to go beyond knowledge, to freedom. 10/03
Sudden or Gradual Enlightenment
People speak of "sudden" versus "gradual" enlightenment as if these were two different qualities of enlightenment, or two different and mutually exclusive types of enlightenment. Even sects have been formed around one or the other of these imagined possibilities, as if the opposite possibility were illusory. In fact, the difference has to do with the person making the distinction, not any inherent quality of enlightenment itself. People who cannot bear the implication of "sudden" enlightenment will believe in the gradual variety, and people who are impatient of "gradual" enlightenment will believe in the sudden form. In truth, enlightenment is always here, under the cover of your beliefs. 11/03
Nothing to Identify with
It seems a difficult thing, for the unenlightened mindset, to relax into acceptance of simple beingness, without identification. Yet, in truth there is nothing to identify with. Seeing that your stresses and complexities are all groundless, you awaken once again. 11/03
Questions of the Mind
Questions come from the mind and though they appear to seek answers, they only multiply themselves endlessly. Recognize that they originate only in the mind, in the intellect, and come to be centered in your being rather than your intellect. That is the only way that questions come to an end. When you come to be centered in this way a new life begins. 11/03
Rules for Engaging the World
The basic rationale behind our method of engaging or relating with the world around us is to remain 'clean' or unattached to it. In this way, one's evolution through the course of one's awakening and ultimate enlightenment is not hindered, and one avoids being sidetracked or 'stuck' anyplace. 12/03
my pilgrimage and explorations through India this month one thing
that has stood out in my mind as worthy of note is the all too
obvious gap between what passes for religion among ordinary people
and what constitutes true
spirituality, or recognition of the Truth of Reality, among those who dedicate themselves to spiritual awakening. Religion is the generally mechanical repetition of rites and structures that is infrequently analyzed or considered
profoundly. It arises after a real outbreak of "spirit," not before -- that is, spirituality is prior to religion when looked at in this light. The process is astonishingly fast; it doesn't take centuries for a spiritual movement to devolve into mechanical religiosity, but can happen in a matter of moments, in the period between an inner awakening and the time it takes the personal ego to solidify the vision and make it into a "structure" to be exploited for some other end. (Vrindavan, India) 3/13/04
Wisdom as Whole, Knowledge as Fragmentary
Wisdom is not the accumulation of knowledge, but the abandonment of what you believe to be knowledge. Knowledge is always fragmentary, while wisdom is holistic. Knowledge is of the mind, while wisdom encompasses the mind. 4/26/04
Ego and Enlightenment
Any activity of the ego (the illusory self) to attain enlightenment, to wake itself up, is futile from the beginning to the end. There is no specific action that the ego can perform to "attain" enlightenment. It can only happen that the ego may come to see itself as only an activity of the whole. When this happens, then awakening is at hand. 4/30/04
Sorcery and Liberation
Sorcery can be engaged from the position of entrapment (the usual case) or it can be engaged from the framework of liberation (much rarer); in itself it has no power to liberate, but is more likely to deepen the entrapment of the neophyte. 5/7/04
need be no motive in awakening to what is real, for motive belongs to
the world of linear thought and egoic action. What arises instead of
motive is a clear seeing of what is real and an understanding of
than content. 5/14/04
Reinterpretation of Experience
The able practitioner is capable of reinterpreting experiences from a perspective that makes them neither sources of attachment nor repulsion, but merely interesting variations in the universal scheme of things. This reinterpretation is an act of intent and remembrance -- intent to become free of attachment, and remembrance of one's practice. 5/31/04
Dealing with Suffering
Pain is physical, suffering is mental and emotional. There are straightforward physical remedies for physical pain, but not so for the inner kind of suffering. What then do we do? We learn that it passes, and we learn to let things slide as we go through life. By not attaching to suffering, it doesn't take root in us. 6/7/04
Spirit and Life
must be integrated with mundane living, not separated from it.
Separated from ordinary life, spirituality is nothing but abstraction
and egotistic indulgence. Integrated into life, it becomes a motive
transformation, and proves itself. 7/22
Who are We in Reality?
Who are we in reality, behind all seeming appearance? Can we be merely the physical body as perceived by the senses and mirrored in the mind? Can any part thereof be the locus of the true "I"? Can the combination or sum of the parts and systems thereof be the the "I" in any but the conceptual sense? In short, can the object which is "known" be at the same time the "knower?" Is there even a "knower" transcendent to what is known? -- To identify oneself with a body, transient and limited by countless conditions, is evidence of lack of true knowledge of what is real. To recognize that one is the only Knower behind all appearances is the only real knowledge, and is unconditional. 9/13/04
Engagement with the World
is negligence in our practice of spirituality to avoid engagement
with the world of events that we see around us every day and that
affects us in many ways, both visibly and subconciously. It is not a
denial of the fundamental
nondual nature of phenomena to be involved with the world in whatever fashion is appropriate for our individual natures. In fact, it is too seductively easy to sink into a false sense of spirituality which is wholly introspective and disconnected from the world of people and their conditions. But such withdrawal is not enlightenment, it is naive solipsism. 9/24/04
The Pickpocket and the Saint
"When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are his pockets."-- Neem Karoli Baba. This statement is not a condemnation of pickpockets, as Baba judged no one. What Baba meant by this statement is relevant to all of us. Every seeker comes to the teacher seeking a certain something determined by prior history, expectations, and immediate needs. These expectations and needs narrow the vision of the seeker, limiting the full potential of what otherwise could be received from the teacher if the seeker were more open. Baba warns us to be aware of this tendency in ourselves. 10/4/04
Fastgiving for Peace 11-23-04
In the U.S. later this week, people will be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, which was originally designed to represent a communal expression of gratitude towards the Universe for the abundance of existence and the possibilities of unity and spiritual meaning in daily life. Like many things in today's world, it has become somewhat commercialized and trivialized, though not as completely as other holidays. For the fifth year in a row, Petros is encouraging devotees to reinforce the spiritual basis of this day by preceding and following it with a day of fasting. The money saved by not eating on these days should be contributed to some worthy and appropriate cause. The energies released by this fasting will also help to make the holiday itself more meaningful and less of an egoic indulgence.
As we approach the end of another calendar year, our thoughts may turn to the inevitability of change. When we embrace change and the challenges of a new year in our own lives, we find that our transformation is accelerated. Resistance to change only makes it harder and does not delay or alter its inevitability. On the path, only a continual "yes" to the processes of change moves us forward in a substantial way. 12/30/04
Challenge to Turn Outward
The constant challenge as we advance on the endless path is to turn attention outward, not inward. The beginner's tendency to introspection and world-excluding meditation can show one where one needs to go, and is a necessary purification process, but once beyond the portal, inwardness prevents us from fully expanding as we were always meant to. 1/28/05
Recognizing is Not Being Deceived
Conscious awareness, recognizing itself as the source of appearances, is not deceived by appearances and has power over them. Conscious awareness, not recognizing itself as the source of appearances, is deceived by them and finds itself subject to them. 3/6/05
Actual Inner Guru
There is an inner guru, but it is to be distinguished from the ego's projection of a pseudo-inner guru, which deceives and only reinforces the ego's tendencies. The actual inner guru, if it is properly developed, will counteract the ego's false projections and combat the ego's errors, not reinforce them. 5/19/05
The Spiritual Game
The "spiritual" game is the game of the ego on its last legs, in desperation, seeking a "way out" -- but unable to extricate itself from its own circular processes of self-consideration and self-projection. It's an "advanced" game for sure -- more advanced than the typical worldly games played by most -- but just as much an entrapment as the others, perhaps even more so, as it's more subtle and so easily mistaken for freedom or "truth" (themselves nothing more than advanced "spiritual" concepts.) The only hope is seeing this game for what it is, but that is not easily done. Even harder is giving it up, for who wants to abandon "spirituality?" 5/28/05
Continually Deepening Investigation
What we are up to is a continually deepening investigation of truth, which involves both going inward and going outward, but not haphazardly. What sincerity in the pursuit of reality demands is an ever deepening commitment to oneself and and ever vigilant rejection of the whole marketplace of spirituality, with its easy answers and regurgitated techniques. 7/8/05
Mind Passes by the Obvious
We miss understanding the real nature of things by our expectations that it must be something complex. The mind is habitually seeking complications, and passes by what is most obvious, preferring the search for its own sake. 8/12/05
Self-Development Generates Energy
The work of self-development and inner evolution is the only human endeavor that returns more energy than you put into it. The new energy expands you into new realms of understanding, always growing and evolving. 8/23/05
Ego is the escape from infinity. 9/14/05
the U.S. tomorrow, people will be celebrating the holiday of
Thanksgiving, which was originally designed to represent a communal
expression of gratitude towards the Universe for the abundance of
existence and the possibilities of expanded awareness in daily life.
Like many things in today's world, it has become commercialized and
trivialized, though perhaps not as completely as other holidays.
For the sixth year in a row, Petros is encouraging devotees to reinforce the real basis of this day by preceding and/or following it with a day of fasting. The money saved by not eating on these days should be contributed to some worthy and appropriate cause, or used to reinforce one's individual work. The energies released by this fasting will also help to make the holiday itself more meaningful and less of an egoic indulgence. 11/23/05
(NB: In 2006, Fastgiving was moved to the day before and after Thanksgiving.)
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