Bliss of Divine Lovers

In my previous blog I began to describe the story of my awakening which took place over a year 559431653651575289_1407716052ago. I believe it is a valuable record of my personal journey and possibly an inspiration for other mages. Kundalini – (the secret Fire or the Serpent as some people call it) is one of those mysterious forces of nature never identified or explained by the modern science. As far as science is concerned kundalini doesn’t exist. And yet a direct experience of its power is totally undeniable. I have recently come across the book titled Biology of Kundalini but I had no chance to read it yet. I am going to continue my research into this phenomenon as it is an experience that have totally changed my life.

In my previous blog I began to describe my magical and unusual love story between myself and Aariel- one of the older Kia agents. I have only managed to describe the beginning of out story, the night I believe my awakening began. It is now time to mention another very important aspect of this story, something I feel you should know about…

Aariel’s personal connection with Kundalini

Aariel agreed to me sharing details of our story on Kia. I was really rather surprised since he couldn’t know or understand my personal perception bias. I will urge you all to remember that whatever I say about him it is my subjective impression and I can never be certain he would agree with it. The reason I decided to share his personal story is iris110because of its magical significance and all the synchronicties surrounding it.  I really hope he wouldn’t mind that.

Some of you who remember Aariel may also remember his claim he experienced kundalini awakening at the age of 16. He mentioned that a few times on Kia discussions. but I’m the only one who knows all the details:

At the age of 16, spring 2001 Aariel experienced first major breakup in his life*. After the breakup with his girlfriend and a few other misfortunes Aariel felt the need to isolate and spent many hours wandering outside in nature. He remembers feeling very peaceful and blissful in a strangely sad way.  One night he had a beautiful dream. He arrived at the bottom of a white tower. Rose petals were scattered at its bottom. A beautiful girl was awaiting him on the top. She introduced herself as his true love. Those of you who are familiar with Rosicrucianism and its alchemy are sure to recognize the symbols. I find it absolutely incredible to think somebody had a dream like that without any prior knowledge of them. The girl was an obvious symbol of Gnosis  or Sophia awaiting him. (Aariel developed interest in neoplatonism so I assume he figured this out although we never discussed it)

After he woke up from the dream Aariel was in a state of high ecstasy. His heart was filled with enormous bliss and he described it as an opening of his heart chakra. Aariel never heard about meditation before but he started to meditate spontaneously soon after he woke up, trying to hold this bliss inside him, trying to make it last. Soon after that he began to research occultism online and arrived at Qabalah and the Tree of Life. He continued his meditations daily. By the end of the summer his kundalini started to stir in his body. This is where everything went wrong. He experienced sensations of something crawling under his skin. In his own words he was too young and inexperienced to handle it. The creepiness of the experience was growing each day, turning into madness. He has never recovered. During our many conversations he admitted he was never able to come back to bliss from the summer 2001. He considered himself a flawed god, a wounded healer doomed for eternal suffering. This story is so magical and so sad, almost like a fairy tale of some kind…

I hope you’ll understand why I felt the need to share this with you! He was the first person I ever met who experienced awakening of the secret fire and my own fire awakened only weeks after he cast his  “love spell” on me. This is couldn’t be a coincidence!

My visions of the elf  from 2010 finally made some sense to me (look into my previous post in you can’t remember it ). The thing that strikes me the most is the elf’s mentioning he was going to lead me to the alchemical wedding. That’s another Rosicrucian term and I rarely use it in my daily practice. For the months to come Aariel and I often explored Rosicrucian symbolism as it kept coming back in odivine lovers2ur visions and dreams. Both Aariel and had slight aversion to Christianity so I am not sure why our minds decided to stick with these archetypes.

I’m not an expert on Quabalah but I know that the energies/emanations from the higher planes of the Tree of Life often get distorted when crossing beneath the Veil of Paroketh . I named this phenomenon a Dreamweaver, which is also a name of my personal magical system. I am hoping to explore it in my future writings. Dreamweaver comes to us in thousands of different forms and we can never be sure what their real identity is. The entities we meet in our visions and dreams can sometimes be actual deities in disguise or the spirits, sometimes they’re merely products of our imagination, sometimes both**. Messengers often use your surrounding as their communication tools. In case their tool is a mind of another person I believe this person should be treated with additional respect for allowing this. It is not uncommon for the medium to be unaware of the messages they channel. Either way they’re still a vital element of the process.

First Two Weeks of Awakening- the Bliss, Osiris and Isis

For the first two weeks of my awakening I was in a state of bliss unlike anything I have ever experienced. I felt as though I was floating in space, like I was a Star, a goddess, an ancient infinite being brought back from sleep. I was overpowered with joy and love for my new divine lover who has awakened me. Aariel himself was also really ecstatic. We often fell into deep trances during our conversations and it wasn’t too long before we visualised each other as divine lovers Osiris and Isis. It was absolutely mind blowing for me, especially after I obtained a copy of the Tantric Thelema book. I realized the book itself described a guided ritual- series of meditations spread over the course of weeks, maybe months. The ritual was designed around Thelemic core deities- Nuit- The Infinite Space and Hadit -the Inner Flame, Spark of Light. These two are seen as the divine lovers whom Sam Webster compared to Shiva and  Shiakti. And then there is Ra-Hoor-Khuit- the embodiment of the Holy Union of the lovers, the great warrior born when the Spark of Light ignites inside the Great Void- a highly Tantric and very sexual symbol indeed. Meditations described in Tantric Thelema prepare for the ritual of Arising as Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

I was stunned to discover all this. As I continued reading into the book and continued my meditations I often found myself ahead of time. I recognised the ritual as a variation of the I.A.O. formula, the first formula I have memorised and used in my magick. As it happens it was also Aariel’s favourite formula. Without any prior discussions we had visions of each other as Osiris and Isis- two mystics on their search towards enlightenment, both of us calling upon higher powers and then suddenly our calls have been answered somehow through each other. In Tantra it is a common practice to envision spiritual forces as your lovers. Rumi- one of the most famous Tantric mystics wrote many such ecstatic poems:

love-quotes-rumi jalal-ad-din-rumi-quote-the-minute-i-heard-my-first-love-story-i  love-cloud

The outside observer, especially unfamiliar with Tantra, could assume that Rumi’s lover is a human, most likely a woman he was in love with. That’s not true. His lover described in these poems is the Divine Realm. Aariel and I used a very similar style when talking to each other during these first few weeks. I remember feeling astonished as I am not usually a good poet. These words just came out of me somehow, spontaneously.

And then this strange idea came to my head: in the original myth of Osiris and Isis she brings him back to life. It made so much sense to me all of a sudden. I believed the whole purpose of myself and Aariel attracting each other was to help him complete the process of the kundalini rising.***

It was really mythical- I believed he awakened me with his mantra, calling for arrival of Sophia, his true love. At the same time I have already given permission for Tara to be my personal guide. I’ve described the nature of Tara before. She’s a Bodhisattva- an enlightened being prepared to teach and serve other sentient beings. Suddenly she became present in my conscious mind. I was overtaken by a deep wave of compassion  Even though I believed I have entered the eternal bliss I felt my joy would never be complete as long as other people were still suffering. I made a conscious decision to “go back to earth” to help him, as well as the others.

If everything turned out like I wanted it, and my love would have helped Aariel to recover that would have been a truly incredible story. Sadly this whole vision was a trick of the Dreamweaver, my fantasy. Just like Kiakitiki in 2010, Aariel disappeared from my life two months later. I have not heard from him since.

 

 

 

 

* Another synchronicity as it was exactly at that time – spring 2001 when I’ve experienced my first unfulfilled love and my first Tantric experience. Soon after I’ve entered the dark night of the soul. One day I may describe that story but i don’t believe it is necessary right now.

**The very nature of deities, angels etc. is a mystery to me. For a long time I believed them to be archetypes and I know that’s how Aariel saw them as well. In this context there is no difference between a “real” thing and an “imagined” thing since they’re both creations of  human minds. However my recent research and opinions gathered from the other mages made me wonder whether these entities have actual lives of their own. Following an example of Tara Berserkr – she originated as an abstract idea in my own head. She was totally made up to begin with. Now, over a year later she began a life of her own. It is possible that in a few years she’ll become as real as the human form she currently inhabits. There are times when I wonder if she was actually created by me. Is it possible she’s a live manifestations of some forces greater than myself? A voice from the Collective Unconscious? One of the translations of magical words Abracadabra is supposedly “I will create as I speak”. Words hold an undeniable power and the origins of human language are still a mystery.

*** I will need to come back to this term a bit later. In a meantime I encourage you to do some research of your own. Secret Fire is very dangerous and you need to be mentally prepared to face it. According to Aariel’s claims schizophrenia is a widely known side effect of unsuccessful attempt to harness the Serpent .

The Love Story, Land of Synchronicity, Beginning of the Whole Journey

 

Somewhere around Winter Solstice 2014, I have experienced something that could be described as Full Blown Kundalini Awakening- the most profound and life changing experience of my life. It’s now Feb 29th, 2016. Over a year has passed since my kundalini awakening and I feel finally ready to share some reflections about my journey. A year ago I officially announced myself as an awakened spirit. I felt slightly nervous back then, feeling unsure of what was ahead of me. I had a slight precognition of the difficult times ahead and I wasn’t wrong about this.

Kundalini could be best described as a flame that ignites your body and mind, like a powerful flame torch that burns everything. On the physical level it made me feel a lot more powerful. During first few months I was in a constant state of euphoria, with slight (or sometimes strong) visual and auditory hallucinations. It reminded me a light LSD trip. My general stamina and physical fitness improved massively. I felt an increased need for exercise- mostly cycling which was my long term hobby. I have also started to learn fire spinning, in particular the contact staff. Physical fire is a nice metaphor- just like the kundalini itself it is wild and unpredictable. If you’re not careful you can burn yourself. It is through the still mind and concentration that you learn how to play with it. If you want your mind to be flexible you need a strong root in your body. Physical exercise is crucial for me.

As my body strengthened, my confidence went up. My movements, gestures and posture changed significantly.  I’ve gained a strong sense of inner power that is ever present with me. People’s attitude towards me changed as well. I got treated with respect although I have occasionally aroused sudden outburst of aggression in others. I will discuss them in more details as I continue to describe my journey. I have also noticed significant increase in my sex drive and I’ve started to attract younger men. I’ve often felt like alive manifestation of Child Horus- bold and strong and really young still.

On the mental level- my journey took the most unexpected turn. After a few months of the constant rise and deep spiritual insights last spring (2015) I’ve become a bit of a decadent. It was almost as though my mind decided to enjoy its new care-free state and wanted to play. It felt like some past karma suddenly activated in my system. Over a decade ago I wanted to become a rockstar. It was a childish dream about life full of parties and adventures and it ended with a huge disappointment. For a few years afterward I felt really down. I lost faith in my dreams. Later on I got interested in Buddhism and the whole “lack of desire” idea. I lead a simple quiet life and I got convinced it wP1420549as all I needed. I was happy to some extent only often overtaken by waves of nostalgia. Since 2011 my need for for adventures began to grow. By 2015 things went a bit mad. A sudden sense of power awakened with the rise of kundalini gave me a new fresh outlook on life. New opportunities opened up in front of me. Life full of sex and drugs was obtainable to me once again I got completely indulged in it. Hardly what you expect from the “spiritual master” to say the least. However for a Thelemite of a sort it seems like a predictable course…

 

Before I move onto the description of the more recent events I still need to tell you more about my connection with Aariel, one of the old Kia agents, who became my online friend a few weeks before my kundalini awakened. It’s a strange twisted and sad love story that started all of the later madness.  I am quite confident now that he is not going to go back to Kia and even if he does he’s going to use different name. Therefore I feel less reluctant to share details of our story.

The night of my awakening- First synchronicity

On the night of my awakening (around the Winter Solstice 2014, don’t have an exact date) Aariel and I were chatting through facebook when I suddenly started to fall into trance. I was overcome by a wave of laughter and shivers and I started to feel a little uneasy. I asked him to stay up with me and support me, especially as it was very late and I had to go to work the next day. I felt as though my mind was invaded/overtaken by some entities from the outer space. Some of them introduced themselves as the Secret Chiefs.

At the same time Aariel was also in a trance receiving “messages from Sirius” as he described them.  We were both a bit incoherent and my memory of it all is quite vague*. All I remember is feeling very confused and detached. I wasn’t even sure where I was.

I told Aariel- “I am being replaced by one of the Great Chiefs (Secret Chiefs)”

And then I asked
-“Can you sing one of your mantras for me?” (mantra was his favourite magical tool. Somehow I thought it would calm me down even though I wouldn’t be able to hear it. We didn’t use a video call.)

He replied  -“You have become the mantra. Its secret, as chiefs are. But if you listen to your inner voice closely you will hear me calling across the astral distances. Or are we already together on the astral plane?”

I replied- “Fuck knows where we are now. I will try to focus- Who am I talking to?” (meaning asking him who he was)

He replied the – “To the elements. To the earth, air, water, fire. And the great spirit. But you are also talking to nothingness. I am ultimately nothingness.
Its so cool to snuff out all thoughts and desires and just become nothing.
I’m afraid Romans are intercepting our messages and we will both get crucified.
I sometimes imagine you to be all the elements and that you surround me everywhere I go”

I asked- “Who are you referring to?”

-Aariel replied; “Whoever inhabits your body right now”.

-The answer arrived “My name is Ra- Hoor- Khuit”.

Ra-Hoor-Khuit is one of the Thelemic three core deities. Thelema was a philosophy I followed during my late teens and early twenties- the same time I had a band and the same time I felt a strong affinity with Odin. I was intrigued, wondering why Ra-Hoor-Khuit suddenly popped into my consciousness. Their presence was absent from my life for years. The very same night, a few hours later I randomly typed up Heru Ra Ha  into google and the first thing that came up was the Tantric Thelema book by Sam Wesbster. Parts of it are available online and for anyone interested I would recommend your own research into the symbols described in there and their meaning. What blew my mind back then was the fact this book combined two of my favourite magical philosophies- Thelema and Buddhism. I felt as though someone handed me a missing link, the last bit of a puzzle needed to unlock my full potential. It was also a sudden reminder of Tantra which has become my main focus in magick since that day.

My very dialogue with Aariel from that night was also surprisingly Tantric in its nature, especially his mentioning of myself as the mantra. Mantra was a magical tool associated with goddess Tara.  Later on Aariel admitted he created a mantra about me, visualising me as the four elements surrounding him from all directions. He said that this way I’ve become a manifestation of the goddess present with him every day so he was never going to feel lonely…**

Two major synchronicities were present in here:

1.)  First one is to do with my visions and dreams. In 2010 when Aariel (under name Kiakitiki) and I first started to communicate through Kia I received a few strange visions of a young elf. He came to horusme in my dreams but sometimes also in my waking state. He introduced himself as my private alien guide (or HGA) from my past, who’s name was Akan. I had doubts about this elf’s identity as he seemed very sexual and Akan was never erotic in his nature. Anyway the mysterious Akan-elf told me that was going to lead me to the alchemical wedding (a Rosicrucian term). He said “Invoke me every day of your life and you’ll never feel lonely”.***  That’s an outstanding synchronicity provided the fact Aariel actually wanted to contact me at the time. Obviously he never knew anything about my elf visions but he later confirmed an elf to be one of his magical identities he used during the astral travels.

My contact with the elf in 2010 lasted for a few weeks. Soon after I was overcome by some serious doubts. The elf disappeared and I dismissed the whole thing and forgot about it for years. Soon after that Kiakitiki disappeared as well. He came back to Kia under the new name- Aariel and I had no idea he was the same person although I recognised him as soon as he mentioned his homeland to be Croatia (end of 2014). What’s even more interesting is is the fact Kiakitiki changed his name to Aariel. Aariel/Ariel is a name of an archangel connected with an element of earth. One of his possible manifestations is a forest elf. Aariel himself never knew that when he chose the name. It was me who fed him that information and he was very surprised…! In other words our magick selves got somehow entangled back in 2010 and it took over four years for this contact to manifest on the physical plane…

2.)  Second, equally breathtaking synchronicity is the nature of the mantra Aariel created. First of all he created it a few weeks prior to my awakening, when we started to chat through facebook and he felt very exited. He said he created a mantra in order to “call my spirit into his life”. I don’t know much more about the mantra itself but it doesn’t take much to deduce it was a kind of a love spell. And it worked. We fell in love with each other. On top of that I need to emphasize the fact Aariel was totally unfamiliar with Eastern philosophies. Whatever his understanding of mantra was, it was totally intuitive. Meanwhile as soon as I obtained the copy of the Tantric Thelema book I found a very similar meditations in there- a mantra of four syllables representing four elements. During Tantric meditation designed by Sam Webster the elements dissolve in the body of Nuit- the Great Void or as some could say nothingness. Nuit as Infinite space is not exactly the same as nothing but these two concepts are closely related. As I said I don’t know the details of the mantra Aariel created as I have never seen it or heard it. English is not his first language so it is hard to say whether he really meant nothingness or the void. Sadly Aariel is no longer with us to share it.

In later months of our contact topic of this mantra became a source of my major annoyance. I’ve became convinced that it was partially this mantra that caused my kundalini awakening. Aariel was not comfortable with this idea and didn’t want any credit for it. It is a shame as it could have been a very important record of magical workings.

 

 

 

*What’s more intriguing, I’ve tried to copy our dialogue from its original place on facebook and paste it into a word document so I could have it saved somewhere. I tried to do that over twenty times.  The file got corrupted every single time until I finally gave up and had to type it up manually.

** In Tantra Shiakti is associated with the matter, the world of the elements whilst Shiva is the spirit, the static element. Aariel never knew that.

*** Wondering what the Kia Abramelist crew could tell me about this…

 

 

 

Tara Berserkr- the Berserker

5f44573203f93c27d5e05e316dc2de07  Berserkr (berserker)

I adopted Tara as my magical name back in 2012. However I didn’t feel ready to announce it publicly until I had a ‘surname’ for it. There are hundreds of Taras out there. I wanted my one to be special.

Berserker came to me slowly as a combination of a few different things. First of all in May last year (2014) during my stay in Croatia I had a dream:
In a dream Dana (my sister) and I walked up a hill. It looked a bit like Calton Hill in Edinburgh, an old place of pagan worship. Every year Beltane Fire Festival takes place up there. The hill in my dream was somewhat different though. On its very top there was a tree – a very powerful and old looking. It glowed with a very br979851517471261221ight light/ flame- orange, red and yellow. The light was spreading across the sky. I was walking towards it and I felt almost weightless. Something in my head told me that this was an ash tree, the gateway to another dimension. As I got closer I was suddenly knocked down by a very powerful force- similar to what happens sometimes during the sleep paralysis experiences. I fell on the back of my head. Some people run towards me. Dana looked scared so I told her: “on’t worry, tell them I’m having an epileptic seizure” That’s how the dream ended. I don’t suffer from epilepsy by the way..
I knew straight away that there was something significant about this dream. As soon as I got back home and regained internet access I started researching symbolic meaning of ash trees. Somehow Yggdrasil escaped my attention. This is strange as I knew about Yggdrasil before- over a decade ago when I developed a strong affinity with Odin. In later years my fascination with Odin eased off somewhat until I almost forgot about him.

It was only during my visit in Inverness at the end of the August last year (2014) when Dana jokingly called me a “berserker” in relation to my rage attacks I suffered from as a teenager. In medieval Norse and Germanic history and folklore, the berserkers (or berserkr as I prefer to spell it) were described as members of an unruly warrior gang that worshiped Odin. They were commissioned to royal and noble courts as bodyguards and ‘shock troops’, who would strike fear into all who encountered them. Adding to their ferocity, and in order to intimidate the enemy, they would wear bear and wolf pelts when they fought, giving them the name Berserker, meaning “bear coat” in Old Norse. Dating back as far as the ninth century, the berserker Norse Warriors were said to be able to do things that normal humans could not. According to ancient legend, the berserkers were indestructible, and no weapon could break them from their trance. They were described as being immune to fire and to the strike of a sword, continuing on their rampage despite injury. They often fought empty handed discarding all their weapons.
According to some sources berserkers threw their shields away as a reminder that their ultimate identity was no longer their social persona. A warrior’s shield and weapons were the very emblems of his social persona and status. In biting or discarding the shield the berserker achieved the unity with the animal w136834_1311939629_600orld. This idea fits well to the Thelemic concept of the beast.
Some people believe that berserkers trance was achieved by consumption of amanita muscaria- the fly agaric mushrooms. Another theory suggests that their rage attacks were actually epileptic seizures! Sounds like a complete nonsense to me although it makes my dream more significant, especially since I didn’t know this connection at the time of my dream.

As soon as Dana mentioned berserkers I immediately remembered my dream. I remembered also that Odin was my chosen deity during my late teens. I began to search Odin’s background to refresh my memory and I found incredible insights that fit perfectly with my personality:

Odin – “Master of Ecstasy” or The “Furious One “ is one of the most complex and enigmatic characters in Norse mythology, and perhaps in all of world literature. He’s a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but he has little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention. He’s the divine patron of rulers, and also of outcasts. He’s a war-god, but also a poetry-god, He’s worshiped by those in search of prestige, honor, and nobility, yet he’s often cursed for being a fickle trickster. The ecstasy that Odin embodies and imparts is the unifyingFem_barbarian factor behind the myriad areas of life with which he is especially associated: war, sovereignty, wisdom, magic, shamanism, poetry, and the dead.” (http://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/odin/ )

Odin’s connection with shamanism is especially significant to me. Not only he put himself through series of ordeals and initiations. He was even willing to take his own eye out in search for wisdom. In berserkers he gave them mad courage in fight. They were his chosen, favourite type of warriors. There was even a theory that berserk possessions were not by the animal spirits but Odin himself. I realised that this MAD courage was necessary for me to complete my shamanic initiation.

 

 

 

Tara + Berserkr

The moment I announced myself as Tara Berserkr Anton’s immediate question was: “Aren’t these two deities contradictory?”
As it turns out they’re not.

First of all berserkers just like many Tara worshipers were placed quite low in their society. Even though during the battle berserkers were feared and admired, in everyday life people avoided them and treated them like freaks. Sometimes they were even ridiculed and bullied.

There are also other similarities in in the cults of Tara and Odin:

Odin was himself a tumblr_mobhnun6La1rs05z4o1_500practitioner of seidr- magic and shamanism concerned with “discerning and altering the course of destiny by re-weaving part of destiny’s web!” Seidr not unlike many Tara’s cults was practiced by women, hedge-witches as you could call them. Seidr wasn’t a fitting activity for men, to say the least. A man who practiced seidr could expect to be labeled ergi (Old Norse for “unmanly”) by his peers – one of the gravest insults that could be hurled at a Norseman. While there were probably several reasons for seidr being considered ergi, the greatest seems to have been the centrality of weaving, the paragon of the traditional female economic sphere, in seidr. Still, this didn’t stop numerous men from engaging in seidr, sometimes even as a profession. A few such men have had their deeds recorded in the sagas.” (http://norse-mythology.org/concepts/seidr/ ) Therefore seidr and Tara’s cults both attracted females and feminine men.
A great irony with seidr is that Odin himself was its practitioner! This is one of the biggest paradoxes of Odin. Even now he’s perceived as a very macho/manly type of God whilst in fact he has prominent transgender qualities. Some sources claim that Valkyrias were not so much female helpers but rather aspects of Odin himself. This brings on a very strong trickster aspect to his personality. Perhaps just like Tara he realised that gender roles were a social construct and didn’t apply in the world of spirit.
One more interesting aspect of Tara Berserkr relates to the concept of a wrathful Bodhisattva. Three types of Bodhisattvas exist in Buddhism- peaceful ones, joyful ones and wrathful ones. Even though the wrathful ones appear to be the 4ec4fe7836ef98408adf68040e71eac7most scary (according to Sam Webster) they’re in fact the most compassionate ones. Their lack of tolerance towards pain of Samsara makes them act in quite reckless, often violent ways. They’re ultimate destroyers of illusions, passionate warriors just like thelemic Ra-Hoor-Khuit. In this context Tara Berserkr becomes an enlightened mad warrior as well as a simple citizen, placed quite low in the social hierarchy. Disguised just like Odin the Wanderer, leading simple life full of magical insights, connected with the land and people around me.

Tara Berserkr- Nature of Tara

 

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Eastern philosophies have always been central to my own magical path. I often forget that many western mages overlook them completely. I started to read my first books on Taoism when I was 15 years old- “Tao of the Pooh” and some Allan Watts. They have changed my perception of the world in a very profound way. Eastern minds appear to be more fluid and flexible than their western counterparts.They describe the world as a constant movement. In this context even gods appear very different. Taoism and Buddhism in particular rarely talk about gods as actual entities. They’re seen more as forces of nature. In this context when I think about Tara I see her more as a principle than an actual being.

She arrived to my life through the holistic therapy circles in my late twenties.

Tara

Tara as a goddess appea11036253_10206337905800801_2318082299891267337_nrs in both Buddhism and Hinduism.  She takes on slightly different forms depending on the region:
– In Hinduism her name means a “Star” or a “Shining One”, depending on a translation. She is a form of Durga or Parvati. Her Tantric manifestations include Durga, Kali and Parvati. I feel close association with her ‘Star’ aspect as this interpretation fits with the Thelemic perspective. Tara is a great magical name for me. It’s a good replacement for my birth name Maria (Holy Mary) who is a beautiful and compassionate deity. Problem with Maria is that she has no dark aspect to her. Holy Mary is simply to sweet for me. Tara as the ‘Star’ is seen as a beautiful but perpetually self-combusting thing. She is perceived at core as the absolute, unquenchable hunger that propels all life. https://cittashanti.com/2011/08/01/tara-the-star-goddess-first-philosophical-feminist/ From what I understand she was supposedly a mother of demons in Tibetan mythology.

-In Tibetan Buddhism Tara is a female Bodhisattva. I allowed myself to copy a bit from the wikipedia page in here:

She is known as the “mother of liberation” or the ‘saviouress’- the deity who hears the cries of beings trapped in Samsara. Tara is a Tantric meditation deity whose practice is used by practitioners of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and understand outer, inner and secret teachings about compassion and emptiness. Tara is actually the generic name for a set of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas of similar aspect. These may more properly be understood as different aspects of the same quality, as bodhisattvas are often considered metaphors for Buddhist virtues
The most widely known forms of Tārā are:
Green Tārā, (Syamatara) known as the Buddha of enlightened activity
White Tārā, (Sitatara) also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity; also known as The Wish-fulfilling Wheel, or Cintachakra
Red Tārā, (Kurukulla) of fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things
Black Tārā, associated with power
Yellow Tārā, associated with wealth and prosperity
Blue Tara associated with transmutation of anger
Cittamani Tārā, a form of Tārā widely practiced at the level of Highest Yoga Tantra in the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, portrayed as green and often conflated with Green Tārā
Khadiravani Tārā (Tārā of the acacia forest), who appeared to Nagarjuna in the Khadiravani forest of South India and who is sometimes referred to as the “22nd Tārā”

Funny enough many colours of Tara resemble eight magicks of the Chaos Star even though their meanings are slightly different. As you see Tara is not exactly a goddess, at least unlike the western type.

She is a Bodhisattva -an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva). This can be interpreted in two or rather three ways:

-EITHER as a higher being who decided to reincarnate in the human form in order to help other beings on Earth
– OR as anyone who, motivated by great compassion feels an urge to help other 93df6dbb4827a5567c150b7053df883bsentient beings. Quoting Sam Webster and Tantric Thelema: “One who dedicates their life, however imperfectly, to the benefit of beings beside one’s self, has become a Bodhisattva. They no longer seek enlightenment as a way to escape cyclic existence. Bodhisattva seeks enlightenment in order to be more helpful to beings since attainment of enlightenment brings with it greater power and skill”*

I believe that on some level both these interpretations could be seen as the same thing. The higher being could be interpreted as your hidden potential, your Holy Guardian Angel. At some point it overtakes your conscious mind by which point you perceive yourself as a being transformed/transmutated into a higher plane.

 

There is also a legend associated with Tara that I find particularly interesting:
In this story Tara was a princess, who just like Buddha himself attained bodhiccita- the “Thought of Enlightenment” to save all beings. Up until then, only males had performed this deed and since it was unheard of in a woman monks told her she should pray to be reborn as a man. After a lengthy discussion Tara informed the monks that in the realm of Bodhisattva there was neither male or female but only androgynous being. She then made a vow that until Samsara was empty she would always return in a female body…This brings a nice feminist twist to the whole story. Even these days it is not uncommon for men to consider women as intellectually inferior. I like an idea of a female saviouress- nice counter balance to the Christian idea of Jesus and Buddhist Dalai Lama.

On more thing about Tara that I found interesting is the fact that Tara was a deity widely worshiped by the ‘common folk’, especially in the power circles of women who were themselves trained in crafts of all sorts. Only men allowed in these groups were those who recognised the value of the Divine Feminine. This reminds me a lot of the modern Wiccan witch covens.

Cult of Tara is therefore rooted in everyday life. The original meaning of the word Tantra means “to weave”- a clear association with the simple life of the common people. Quoting a zen proverb: “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water”. Followers of Tara weren’t treated like kings.

Tara has been ever present in my life since 2012 as a gentle goddess of wisdom. She helped me to appreciate simplicity of life and to find spiritual aspect of the mundane things. The thing she didn’t succeed with was breaking me out from my fears and anxiety issues. As I mentioned previously Tara tries to save people from pain of Samsara. Samsara literally means 17170042298833255cjvNbN4wc“running in circles”. It’s the most boring and stuck up feature of the human minds and the root of our suffering- the inability to break out from our own limitations.

Even though Tara helped me to find joy and peace  in my life I still had severe problems with anxiety that often paralyzed my moves. Part of me was too afraid to follow my ‘call’. I was worrying how it would affect my marriage and my future life. I didn’t want changes. Finally I managed to break through…That’s where I discovered the berserker.

 
*It’s a common mistake for many people to assume that ‘helping others’ means engaging in the social activities. This is not necessarily true. Some of the world’s biggest crimes were committed with good intentions. An enlightened being becomes aware of other people’s limitations. Those who go out there shouting and trying to preach other people are not enlightened. Sometimes best thing you can do for somebody is to let them be who they are. A Bodhisattva tries to radiate compassion and love in everything they do -simple smile to a stranger, simple friendly gestures in everyday life. In order to generate Bodhisattva into your being you need to spend a fair bit of time in solitude. You need a state of presence, a quiet and aware mind. I suspect that for many this will mean prolonged times in the solitude. It’s not the quantity but the quality of your actions that matters.

Rebirth In the body of Gaia

Rebirth in the body of Gaia is the peak of the shamanic initiations. In the body of Gaia your own physical body becomes one with the power of the elements. Gaia as the Mother Earth is the goddess of the wild currents, storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis. It’s only in the arrogance of our limited western mindset where we see her as tranquil and peaceful creature that could be easily conquered. She gives us her nourishment and her refuge and illusion of the order in the cycle of seasons. However she can take lives away as easily as she gives them. She’s the goddess of death and life, the goddess of light and shadow. She is the only World that we know of, the only one we have ever inhabited. Pewp24bb7d7c_05_06ople of all cultures worshiped her power and paid her respects throughout the centuries.

It was only through the Monotheistic religions that she became the symbol of evil. They were the ones who demanded that our physical bodies should be bound and punished. They proclaimed the superiority of the mind above the body. Gaia has always been  perceived as a female, the Mother, the giver of life. This is probably why in their ignorance religions dis-empowered females…

 Now with arrival of the New Aeon Gaia comes back to us in a new form as Babalon- the Sacred Whore.

Love of the physical body is the key to the true wisdom of life. Without it we will always live in conflict and tension. Learn how to love your own body.

In the west human body is perceived as a machine- clockworks and parts that are set in place to play certain functions. If a part breaks it gets replaced. Everything is done by force.

Ancient Chinese saw the body as the garden that needs balance and nourishment. tumblr_n3mpo8AZRB1ttzaedo1_500In the garden everything is done with care. When the plants get dry you need to give them some water. However when they get too wet they will decay. It’s all about the balance. Sometimes the garden dies down. This is unavoidable, just like an illness. Attitude to illness was also different in China. The peace of mind was considered as a recovery, even if the body was still struggling. Sometimes death was considered a healing.

Our culture teaches to treat our bodies like slaves. It demands that we stayed awake whenever they want us to be awake. We are forced to control our secretions. We are forced to control our moods. We’re not allowed to be tired, angry or depressed. We are supposed to be well functioning robots. This is not what we are. We are like gardens.

Some of us may be more like rocky gardens, others like marshlands. We can’t all be the same- sunny and full of flowers. Let our minds to be gardeners of our bodies. A gardener needs to be wise. We can’t force the flowers to grow on the dry sandy ground. We can’t make the trees grow on top of the rocks. This doesn’t mean that our garden can not be beautiful in its rockiness.When you recognise your own nature you will know how to make your body flourish. And then your mind will flourish too.

Pain is a part of life. It can’t be erased. Pain can be transformed with the power of the thought. Accept it the same way you accept changes in the natural world. It might be that a seed of a plant hurts before it bursts open. It might be that a plant hurts when it rots. If there is something you can do about it- do it. If not accept it. Learn to see yourself a work in progress, a process, part of the universal movement. The dance of life and death. This is what you really are. A small chunk of time and space-perfect in its own way.

7. Reprogramming

When discussing the concept of karma I mentioned that karma manifest itself in our actions. I mentioned that our actions are the effects of our learned behaviours, and I mentioned that these behaviours tend to be repetitive. I have explained how a decision making process interrelates with our beliefs. I’ve arrived to conclusion that as soon as we change our beliefs we will change our actions. Unfortunately the whole process is not all that easy.

In reality we have very little control over our decisions and we rarely understand our own actions. Our personality forms over the course of many years and most of it is rooted in our subconscious. Every minute of our lives we are bombarded by thousands of different stimuli from the outside environment. Our brain learns how to filter through this information. Only its tiny fraction makes its way to our conscious memory. We rely on the so called “common knowledge” and we usually never bother to verify it. As soon as you learn to tie your shoes you tend to do it the same way for years to come. We form many life long habits and we rarely feel the need to change them even if they’re not practical.

We form habits in the way we talk, walk, eat and in many other areas of our lives. We even form habits in our emotional reactions. Modern neuro- science teaches us about neural paths created in our brains. Each time we take a new action, something we have never tried before, we create a new connection between neurons inside our brains. The next time we repeat the same action our brain follows a preexisting path/connection of neurons to conduct it. The more times we repeat a task the stronger this connection becomes. Eventually the action becomes automatic. In a similar way if we repeat a certain reaction/behavior many times over and over it becomes a habit. We don’t think about it, we just do it. This is why change of one’s karma is so difficult. The only way to change an automatic reaction is by overwriting it with something else. Those of you who ever tried to make corrections to the way you walk, smile or speak will surely now how difficult it is. As soon as you loose concentration and forget about your intentions you immediately come back to your old way. Changing the old habits takes hell lot of work.

Similar process can be observed when trying to overwrite our perception of reality. Even the most powerful illumination is not going to cause a permanent change unless we make a conscious effort to do so. When looking back at my personal path I notice many such illuminations that never lead to a permanent change. Thanks to my habit of writing a diary I can “move” back in time to see what I was thinking and doing many years ago without having to rely on my memory. Very often I find notes about things that I completely forgot about even though they were very important to me back then. I also tend to find thoughts and reflections about things that haven’t really changed still despite my constant effort to do so. One of them is my life long tendency to low moods. My moods even seem to follow certain patterns during each year. What amuses me is the fact that my outside circumstances changed a lot during these years. If it was the outside circumstances that influenced my moods I should have seen more variety. It becomes kind of obvious that their source is inside and not outside of me.

Realisation that I have stuck on some level is an illumination of its own, even though it is perhaps not an ecstatic one… This struggle with low moods is the main reason why I started researching on the topic of karma. I realised that even though I wanted to change, some powerful force was holding me back and I needed to identify it. This search helped me to understand just how complicated beings we are. My own struggle made me more compassionate towards other people since I realised how difficult it is to change who we are. Changing old habits is way more difficult than learning new things. When you do something for the first time your brain doesn’t have a preexisting connection to follow. When learning a new thing you give it your full attention and concentration. To over-write the old habits we need to learn how to be alert and focused at all times. This is itself is a huge challenge as it goes against one of our most common habits of switching off and drifting away.

In our culture we get conditioned to boredom. Most of our lives we spend on performing routine tasks like school or work related activities. Most of us don’t enjoy them so we condition our minds to switch off and submerge in a stream of thoughts. We fantasize about our future actions, think about things we already did or are planing to do. If possible we distract ourselves with the internet, TV and the radio. We pay little attention to the actions we currently do. The art of life in a present moment becomes a skill of its own. Since a few of years I have been training myself to live in the present and so far I have failed. It usually takes only a few minutes before my mind starts to create thoughts. It can start from an innocent observation. For example when looking at the sky, I will say to myself “nice sunshine” and soon afterward the other thought follows”I wonder if it is going to last”. From there I can easily drift off thinking about plans for the rest of the day trying to decide what to do in case if it rains. Before I know it I depart the present and spend whole ten minutes imagining what my evening will look like. If by any chance my plans involve other people I might even consider topics of our potential conversions. This will lead onto memories of our past conversions and maybe even arguments we had recently. At this point I can start feeling irritated or tense or maybe even angry. And then I catch myself- “I did it again!” I have just spent a the whole fifteen minute walk completely unaware of what was happening around me.

Our streams of thoughts have the life of their own too and they too follow certain patterns. If you ever try to observe your thoughts as though you were an outside observer of your own mind you will notice how your thoughts jump suddenly from one subject to the other without any apparent connection between the two. When looking deeper you will see that the connection might have been really subtle. Jump might have come from some outside trigger like a smell or sound that reminded you of something but it might also been an effect of arsing emotion. If someone made you angry you’re very likely to think of other times when they made you feel in a similar way. In this case your emotional reaction is likely to follow a preexisting neural path and it can become very exaggerated. Arguments between family members often follow such pattern. The outcome of such an argument can be painfully predictable and for as long as people don’t learn how to redirect their reactions they will continue fighting for years to come. The only way to reprogram an old habit is by rewriting it with something new. A change of circumstances might be helpful but in the end it is the inside not the outside of you where the change needs to occur.

I mentioned that enlightenment can be a painful process for many people but what I want to add now is that not everyone is afraid of pain. Pain has always been associated with the learning process and in most cases it’s unavoidable. On the other hand learning on its own is also exiting. It seems to me that most people forget about that. When you learn how to walk you will fall many times. And yet somehow we all did it. Children never seem scared or tired o learning no matter how difficult it is. On occasions when they hurt themselves they can become upset for a while but it never lasts for too long*. By the time we’re adults we try to avoid effort at all costs. We’re no longer interested in learning unless we can see some immediate gain in it. We grow impatient. Why and how this happens I don’t know.

 

*This is not always true in case if learning is forced upon them by somebody- like learning at school. Plus I’m sure some people are naturally more lazy than others.

6. Expansion of a reality tunnel

In last chapter I discussed briefly the death of ego in its relation to the enlightenment process. I explained that ego is deeply connected with samsara, cause of most human suffering. Most people are not willing to give up on their egos but sometimes the reality forces the change upon us. Every time we are faced with events that “break” us and make us feel as though our lives were ruined what we really face is a powerful resistance of our ego. Our egos demand that things would stay the way they were before and it refuses to accept changes. Events like death of a loved person, loss of precious property, natural disaster etc. are examples of how the outside forces can disturb our lives. We can not control these things and very often we can not prevent them from happening. When something like that happens many people suddenly feel as though all their pride and self- boost were wiped away. They can not pretend to be in control any more. These are the moment when human ego gives up. Pain of the loss is so severe that the only way to deal with it is by acceptance.

How much we learn from what happened to us is another thing all together. Some people prefer to believe that every event in our life is directed by higher forces, others prefer to believe that everything happens randomly. None of these attitudes bring many advantages on its own. As long as we passively wait for what the life brings us and we don’t make effort to move forward we will feel hopeless and powerless. Only thing that makes a real difference to our perceived quality of life is our reaction to the unpredictable or undesired events that we face.

Death of ego can be a very slow and painful process but it is unavoidable. Physical death of a person completes this process. No matter how powerful someone’s ego is during their lifetime its existence is linked directly to the lifespan of the physical body it inhabits. Buddhist mystics believe that because of that death is a terrifying experience for most people. Last seconds of an average person’s life are spent in the agony when their mind finds itself slowly drifting away from everything it has always been connected with. All their belongings, achievements, even memories are falling away from them and there is no way of stopping it from happening*. This is why Buddhist mystics spend all their lives training preparing themselves for the conscious dying. They believe that physical death is the final and biggest initiation of a person’s life. When properly prepared one may experience death as a journey- similar to the shamanic journeys. Although unlike with all previous journeys time traveling consciousness never comes back to its physical body but instead it moves on to the higher forms of existence.

Since none of us can avoid physical death it seems prudent to try being prepared for it. Unfortunately our culture not only denies such a need, it also treats the very topic of death as a taboo. Death is always seen as a tragedy and never as a positive thing. Our culture is based in the reality of human egos. The realisation that the world of ego is just an illusion brings realisation that death itself is also illusionary. Our perceived separation from the surrounding world makes us feel as though we were an individual being born at some time and place and living independently of its surrounding world. If we manage to make our consciousness shift onto a “higher” planes of existence we experience ourselves as part of the great whole- part of never ending movement of energy within the universe.

Matter and energy constantly move and shift from one shape onto the other. We are no more than one of those shapes. When you think of yourself as an element of universal movement you perceive yourself as limitless, infinite being. In my opinion this vision is a lot more beautiful than Christian concept of heaven as a static world that allows our egos to live indefinitely in their present forms. Personally I consider such an option as incredibly boring.

If you think of death as merely another CHANGE it becomes more apparent why it is so difficult for us to accept. As I mentioned previously we usually don’t like any changes that we can not control. Mental preparation for death could therefore start by conscious training towards more flexibility and tolerance of all changes that come our way. To make this process more pleasurable we can start practicing what I would call “expansion of a reality tunnel”. The more ego-less states we experience every year/month/day the easier this process becomes. Strong meditative or ecstatic states, powerful trances and other mind-altering techniques help us to detach from our everyday egotic self. They help us to break out from our attachments and awaken more open child-like attitude to life. Altered states of mind help us to break out of our everyday life mode of thinking and help us to see ourselves and things around us from a different perspective. Intentional inducing of such states can help us to speed up the process that could take us years to achieve otherwise. In many ways it is a sort of spiritual short-cut.

It is worth pointing out that these techniques aren’t always as successful as we would wish them to be. That’s because each time we recover from a trance/mediation we immediately come back to our egotic self. If our ego/our belief system are very strong it can take a lot of reprogramming before they finally give up.

 

 

*Although that doesn’t match many reports of the close to death experiences when people report traveling through a light tunnel and are filled with the feeling of bliss

5. Enlightenment and Death of Ego

Enlightenment

In my previous articles I mentioned idea of enlightenment/awakening* which I defined as breaking out from the “wheel of karma”. Wheel of karma was defined as a repetition of certain actions and habits that eventually limit our ability to learn new things in life. Reality Tunnels were defined as mental constructs, our belief systems. Karma is both the cause and the effect of our suffering in life and it is the main obstacle we need to overcome if we seek for the spiritual awakening. Overcoming/ overwriting a preexisting karma is very difficult. From the scientific point of view that’s because neural connections once created in our brains are always present and the more we repeat certain action the stronger this connection becomes. (For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts- you might need to do so if you want to understand my line of thought.)

In order to to understand why it is so difficult to break out of karma we need to first have a look at the concept of awakening and enlightenment. According to the Buddhist philosophy full enlightenment manifests in the state of nirvana -”the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished”. This state is not easy to describe since only people who understand it are those who have already experienced it. They always say it’s a blissful and liberating experience. I personally never met a person who achieved a full permanent state of nirvana (although having said that I don’t know if I would be able to recognise them). I definitely wouldn’t trust any such claim and every person who names themselves a “spiritual master” is suspicious to me.

Anyway even if we haven’t reached the full elightenment yet I believe that most of us have experienced what I would call a “micro- enlightenments” many times through our life time. If enlightenment could be described as an “ultimate disillusionment” I believe that it is preceded by the moment of awakening/ illumination. Illumination is a moment when illusion dissolves in front of us and we stand face to face with a new revelation of some kind. I have experienced many such illuminations during my life time and I am sure that you have as well. These micro-illuminations are the moments when we realise something very profound for the first time in our life. It can be as simple as reading about scientific discovery that changed our vision of reality. It can be also something more dramatic like for example close encounter with UFO or OBE.

Even in case of a really “mind blowing” illuminations the depth of this experience is only recognisable to ourselves. People around us are not be able to share it with us. To us every such moment feels almost as if suddenly everything around us smashed into pieces (in a good or bad way). To everyone else things are just as they used to be and they don’t understand what we make so much fuss about. Coming back to the concept of reality tunnels I would say that every such illumination is the moment when our reality tunnel expands and reveals part of reality we have never noticed before. This is a personal experience and other people are excluded from it unless they happen to experience a similar thing at the same time when we do.

Other people may seem unimpressed with our awakening for a few reasons: It is possible that they have already experienced it and that they don’t find it exiting anymore. (A bit like when teenagers who only just discovered sex don’t understand why their parents gave up on it). The other possibility is that other people have never had a chance to share a given experience (like someone who never had sex before) or it’s even possible that they did but they forgot about it somehow.**

Those of you who have experienced such an illuminated states before (and I’m guessing that’s everyone) will surely agree that it has an enormously refreshing effect on us. In case it was a positive experience (down to earth example-like learning that you have passed the exam ) it fills you with joy and fulfillment. In case it was a painful experience (eg. like learning that you have failed the exam) it fills you with anger and despair but even then it can bring sensation of catharsis- purification which has a sense of inner beauty in it. Either of the two states is preferable to the state of not knowing (like the moment when you approach the notice boards to see the results). Illumination (either as pleasant or painful experience) gives us an “knock out” effect. After initial shock when we get back to our senses we feel as though we gained some important lesson. We feel wiser. This is a micro-enlightenment. Path towards the “final” enlightenment is built out of many such micro- illuminations and micro- enlightenments. The faster you move through them the quicker you get there. Unfortunately quite often we move on very slowly and we need to repeat the same lesson many times before we remember it.

Those who follow this path in big “jumps” experience bits of both “heaven” and “hell”. They climb the highest heights and fall into the lowest lows. I can’ think of a more exiting way to live even though I admit that it can be tiring.

For me personally path towards enlightenment is what gives meaning to my life. Every moment of illumination even if it is painful is more meaningful to me that any so called “achievements”. I’d rather spend all my life getting nowhere in terms of possessions and social recognition than having to sacrifice the excitement of learning I gain from new experiences. Having said that, simply chasing the state of excitement is not going to bring you to the enlightenment. Moment of illumination can bring excitement but the enlightenment itself is the quiet grounded phase that comes afterward. In my eyes an enlightened person is like a symbolic laughing Buddha or quiet Taoist master sitting under a tree with a smile on his face. This person doesn’t need any more excitement, they can simply enjoy every moment of their life and enjoy simple things that other people consider mundane. This is also why I believe the real “masters” are difficult to spot.

I’ve spend many years wondering why most people seem completely uninterested in following this path. I could list thousands of individual reasons here; the most obvious one being that people are to busy with other goals. One thing that all these goals/reasons have in common is their connection with the world of Samsara (illusion of the mind). This applies even to such noble goals like the world peace or fight with injustice. Peace and justice make sense only in the world of dialectic and they need their opposite- war and injustice in order to exits. In the world of nirvana there is no need for them anymore.

The path towards enlightenment is an inward process. Its effect becomes visible to the outside world as your karma/ your behaviours gradually changes and you become less demanding and less aggressive towards other people. Some people fall into another extreme and they become very detached and uncaring. I remember Crowley mentioning that mystics can be extremely cold and even cruel towards other people. If that’s the case with you it means they still have a long way to go. After all enlightened person knows their connection with everything else. As explained before our perceived separation from the surrounding environment is an illusion. Your environment is an extension of your own body. An enlightened person knows that they are interconnected with their environment and by hurting others they hurt themselves really.

Death of Ego

Process of enlightenment equals gradual abandoning of Samsara. Mystical teaching of all cultures (including Christian gnosticism) describe this process as a gradual death of ego. Death of ego as a concept makes us feel uncomfortable since our culture glorifies ego. We are taught that a powerful ego is what creates a strong individual. We tend to think that death of ego equals death of a person. In fact that’s entirely untrue. Death of ego is a death of illusion. The stronger the ego the stronger illusion it creates and the stronger resistance it meets from the rest of the world. People with stronger egos often have the hardest lives, especially when it comes to relationships with others.

Ego is the very foundation of everyone’s reality tunnel. In my previous writing I partially explained that a belief is a form of attachment to a certain idea. What I haven’t explained properly is that our entire identity is based on these attachments. The moment I describe myself as eg. a woman I immediately become associated with a whole network of concepts that have been linked to the idea of a womanhood. This will affect the way I feel about myself and it will affect the way other people treat me. Depending on the circumstances I may develop a personal pride or complex built purely on my association with the idea of womanhood.

We all have many such associations built into our reality tunnels. They can relate to our nationality, class, gender, culture, religion etc. They can be also more personal, like associations with our social circle and our position in it. These associations are responsible for our norms of behaviour and in consequence they influence our actions. Each of these associations is the modern equivalent of tribalism where by associating with one thing we immediately separate ourselves from other things. Human ego is based on associations with things we feel familiar with but in order to define these associations we also need to define their “opposites”. These “opposites” may be easily turned into the “enemies”. Fight between two nations is a classical example of this process.

Humans ego is also a very territorial creature and it likes claiming ownership of the things. Statements like “my” body, “my” partner, “my” house is how human ego defines its positions within the physical world. In the ego perception things that are “mine” are not “yours” and if “you” try to take them away from “me” it will fight. That type of territorial-ism is a very basic animal instinct and it was needed there to guarantee our survival. However over time we managed to project it onto the abstract concepts like religions, opinions, habits etc. which aren’t vital for our physical bodies but instead they guarantee the survival of our egos. Without them we wouldn’t be able to define who we are and ego needs to be defined. It needs to be segregated, separated and solid. Its power over our lives can be so strong that some people allow themselves to be killed in its name. People who die in the name of their beliefs die in the name of their egos.

In order to reach enlightenment we need to lose our egos. This often means that we need to depart with things we consider very precious to us. This “departing” doesn’t need to be taken in a literal way- we don’t need to physically leave everything but we need to be ready to change ourselves and accept changes when they arrive. Most the time we don’t feel ready for this so when a sudden change arrives we are trying to stop it. We try to fight the reality***.

I believe that this tendency to fight changes makes enlightenment a painful process for most of us. Without the fight process of awakening would be mostly built out of pleasant illuminations. Liber al vel Legis claims that “ the existence is a pure joy”. Similar idea is present in zen. Zen uses parable of a lake where all our sadness is like a wave on the surface. Deep inside we’re always full of joy. I read these things years ago and I always found them more inspiring than Buddhist teaching of existence as a “constant pain”. However over the years I got more interested in Buddhism simply because my life was constantly full of suffering. I always wanted my existence to be joyful but I struggled to feel in that way. Now I know that my suffering was largely self inflicted. To stop suffering one needs to stop fighting with the flow of events. The moment you realise that is the moment you feel ready to abandon Samsara.

This is not an overnight process. In order to free from the power of the ego we need to break out of the Wheel of  Karma- the repetitive pattern of cause and effect we all create during our lives. Unfortunately this is way harder than it sounds… I will post the next chapter soon.

 
* Enlightenment in Buddhism is defined as a “pure and unqualified knowledge”. Awakening is a moment of realisation. They’re not exactly the same thing but they’re very connected and I used these terms interchangeably when I first wrote this article

**The mind’s power of denial is truly profound. I have on several occasions experienced highly ecstatic revelations which I then managed to push to the back of my head and I forgot about them for years to come…

***It’s worth pointing out that acceptance of changes is not the same thing as being passive towards them. This where I think some mystics get it wrong. If someone tries to rob you or hurt other people you’re fully in your right to oppose them. What acceptance of changes really means is an ability to let go of your anger and fear. The acceptance of changes restores your inner peace.

 

 

4. Karma and Reality Tunnels

In my previous post I’ve explained briefly what Karma is. Now I would like to explain its direct connection with Samsara/Reality Tunnels. Karma/action is present in everything we do. Even lack of action is an action of its own…When you make a decision to stay “out” of something (classic example with people who don’t vote) you still make an impact on your surrounding environment. Your decision still has consequences of some kind. Sometimes its a “better of two evils” kind of choice….

It is not always easy to decide what the best choices are in life. We are not able to see all the angles and all the factors involved. The less you know and understand from the surrounding world the more likely your decisions will be the “wrong” ones. Our perception is severely limited by our capacity to learn and take on new information. The stronger your beliefs and opinions are the less flexible your mind is.

Simple denial of what doesn’t fit in with our vision is the easiest way. For example when reading an article you will automatically pick up and memorise bits of information related to the subjects you already know. You will dismiss the bits you can not understand. Later when telling your friends about what your read you will repeat only the bits you managed to memorise. This way you immediately distort the original message. You’re not consciously aware that you do it. It is possible that the author’s message was completely different to your interpretation. Most likely you will never bother to verify it. Unless someone else confronts you about it or if you hear someone quoting bits you never even noticed in there.

Each reality tunnel poses limitations of their own. Most of us never understand that. Your mind rejects everything that denies its own vision of reality. As a principle in our everyday life we are looking for confirmation and appreciation of our views. We happily associate with people who share our beliefs and we avoid those who don’t. If taking part in a discussion we are more likely to support people we agree with even if their argument doesn’t hold. We can literally spend years expanding on the knowledge of what we already know. This will obviously make us experts in a given domain but it doesn’t bring us much closer to the enlightenment itself. This is because enlightenment comes from expansion of our realty tunnel, not from expansion of our knowledge. These two are not the same thing.

In most cases only way to break out of our reality tunnel is by experiencing something that literally shakes up our belief system and forces us to change it. Even then it may not happen automatically and after an initial “shake up” we usually end up in a state of crisis. Every crisis can be seen as a transition state during which time we try to restore our damaged vision of the world order and forget about the very thing that caused the “damage”.(Note that the world “damage”doesn’t need to be taken literally). Depending on how strong the “damage” was we either come back to our old reality tunnel with a bit of a “scar” on its “walls” or if the “damage” was profound we will be forced to accept a new version of reality. Complete change of reality tunnel might not be possible, I certainly never came across any writings suggesting otherwise. However the more variety we experience in life the more chance we have to expand our reality tunnel.

To understand just how difficult it is to change a reality tunnel one needs to understand that is it not our conscious opinions and thoughts we need to work with. In every single moment of our lives our subconscious filters out most information we receive from the outside and only tiny fraction of it makes its way to our conscious memory. Because of that we may spend most our lives without ever questioning what we see.

Even though each reality tunnel is different (we are all unique individuals) they overlap with each other just as our lives mix with other people’s lives.. Depending on how much variety you experience in your early years your reality tunnel will be more or less open to other possible explanations of reality. I guess modern psychology teaches lots about it. The older you get the more difficult it is to change your reality tunnel and you might need an extremely strong stimulus in order to do it.

This is where concept of reality tunnel resembles significantly concept of “wheel of karma”. According to reality tunnel theory our beliefs about the world are rooted in our experiences of the world and environment we live in. On the other hand when interpreting our experiences we refer to our preexisting belief system. It really is a vicious circle and in many ways it could be metaphorically explained as a “wheel of karma”. As long as we repeat our old patterns we don’t learn anything new about the world, therefore we will constantly move in circles; just like metaphorical circle of reincarnation. Even though each circle differs a bit from the previous one overall they represent the same pattern. However each time we avoid repetition we allow our reality tunnel to expand and we discover more possible versions of reality. Ideally we finally reach enlightenment and realise that there is no such thing as one fixed reality and with that we realise our endless possibilities. Until that point we are practically trapped in the “wheel of karma”.

Even though constant expansion of our consciousness brings clear benefits most people are totally unwilling to change they way they think or feel about the world. We convince ourselves that it’s our circumstances, not ourselves that need to change. Buddhists believe that only by constant repetition of the same mistakes and suffering carried with them human will start making a conscious effort to free themselves from the wheel of karma .Only when you’re dissatisfied with your life at some point you will finally ask yourself a question- “is there anything I could do differently?” Or “how do I always end up in a similar situation?” This is a starting point for a real change. However even then we are likely to search for solutions around us rather than inside us.

Sometimes change of environment may prove very inspiring and it can somewhat force the change of attitude upon us. If that happens we experience feeling of “awakening”. It seems to us that we suddenly discovered some “occult”, hidden part of reality. This is a direct experience of expansion in our reality tunnel. However sometimes even after moving to another place or changing our friends circle we somehow end up attracting people and places that resemble what we have just abandoned. Many people experience something similar with personal relationships -you have a new date and after couple of months you realise that they resemble your ex.

How does it happen? The answer is quite simple- we feel attracted to what we feel familiar with. The more variety you experience the wider your range of “familiar things“ will become. This is where concept of karma strikes really hard- the less flexible your mind is the more limited your possibilities for the change are. Most people feel scared of things that seem unknown/strange and they avoid them at all costs. If they move to the new town they’ll be subconsciously looking for people who resemble their old friends. If they meet a new date they’ll be attracted to someone who resembles their ex. You might not be consciously aware of this process, you might feel fed up with your old friends and partners. It’s just that your subconscious will filter out everything that is different to what you already know.

To accept a new possibility equals admitting that what we might have been wrong about something. Most people don’t like to admit that. So if you’re one of those rare people who likes “strangeness” and mystery you should consider yourself lucky- by definition your reality tunnel will make the world more interesting for you. If you grew up in a small tight environment surrounded by people who shared your life views you may spend all your life barely learning anything new. This is why I believe we shouldn’t resent closed minded people. Even though they can make our lives really difficult at times, they are already “punished” for who they are. The world of endless possibilities is inaccessible to them. All they will ever see is a tiny chunk of reality they believe to be the whole world.

Buddhists believe that we may need many incarnations before we finally realise how much correlation there is between our mind state and the outside world. Their final wisdom is that the world is a constant movement and therefore our mind should also be constantly in movement. Theoretically if we achieved this mind set we could change into something different every second of our life. Positive thinking mystics believe that we will all achieve that state at some point after many reincarnations. Since I am only dealing with Karma of one lifetime in here I predict that only tiny percent of us will manage to achieve this. For most people one life time is simply not long enough to allow such a vast evolution of mind. We might be able to speed up this process if we consciously dedicate our lives to the expansion of our reality tunnels. Some mystics, magicians, artists and scientists are in this group. If you feel like one of them/us- nice to meet you. We are probably less than 1% of the whole population!

 

 

3. Karma

Finally I arrive to the discussion of Karma. Concepts of karma and Samsara are very closely related and it is hard to mention one of them without touching the other. Karma seems to be a direct imprint of Samsara into the person’s life. It represents cycle of cause and effect present in the world of Samsara. The word Karma is often translated as “action”. Whilst Samsara relates to the world of social constructions Karma seems to represent our position within that world.

Buddhism and Hinduism connect the “wheel of karma” and cycle of rebirth as two aspects of the same process. The most popular understanding of karma is that it is some sort of a “load” we are born with and we need to work with it through our life time. If we manage to sort it out we can eventually free from its influence and reach enlightenment. If we mess up we produce even more Karma and our entanglement in Samsara gets deeper.  Just like Samsara is not only built of suffering Karma is not only built of the bad stuff even though it is often described in in terms of difficulties we face through our life time.

Common way of understanding karma in western culture is based in Christian morality and its punishment for sins. I heard people say things like “don’t do that or karma will get you”. It’s as though the universe was watching them and sending certain happenings down their way as a punishment. I don’t believe that this type of reasoning has anything to do with actual meaning of Karma. Karma in Buddhism is a blind force. It’s a simple cause and effect thing like Newtonian physics. Concepts of Maya and Samsara refer to the qualities of the human mind. In a similar way Karma is not concerned with any supernatural forces that rule our lives. Karma is the direct impact of our actions on our surrounding environment.* It is true that the outside circumstances have an impact on our lives but they do not determine our actions (remember that karma=action). What determines our actions is our reaction and interpretation of these circumstances. These are based on our beliefs about the world and our place in it.

In fact it is our beliefs, not the outside circumstances that severely limit our capability to achieve happiness. Only thing that makes a real difference to our perceived quality of life is our reaction to the unpredictable or undesired events. Two people faced by the same tragedy may react totally differently. Our attitude towards life and its twists is the only thing in the world we can truly change. Our minds is the only thing we can ever control.  As someone said somewhere “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, life is about learning how to dance in the rain”.

 

*Obviously our lives are tangled up with the lives of others. We may not see or experience direct effects of our own actions. Good example of this is destruction of natural environment. It’s the future generations that suffer for this, not the people who performed the original damage. I think that this is why Buddhism teaches about Karma in the context of the reincarnation cycle. The very moment you are born some type of Karma affects your life- even the name you were given, place of your birth etc. Some aspects of your future are already predetermined for you from the day one.