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Mon Jan 28, 2019, 10:20 PM

Serendipity. Or some might say the hand of God at work.

I study in a wide variety of spiritual matters. One of my favorite authors is Ram Dass, a born Jew who practices Hinduism. I'm sure many readers of this group have heard of Ram Dass. I was reading an older book by him recently called Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook. I've had a regular meditation practice for over 6 months now and that is really pleasing to me. I had tried meditation on and off several times in years past and I was never able to stick with it for more than a few weeks.

I feel like I'm saved now...like I'm definitely on the path and making progress. I never lose faith now days, but sometimes doubt and skepticism creep back into my consciousness enough to cause me some irritation. That comes from years of being an agnostic and cultivating a skeptical frame of mind. I'm not knocking critical thinking. However, skepticism can get into overkill territory where you throw the baby out with the bath water. That's where I was for several years.

I read about Christianity, New Age, Buddhism, and Hinduism, mostly, when I'm checking out spiritual authors. Like I said, I was reading Ram Dass's book the other day, and I ran across a passage where he was talking about mantras. He said that a very simple mantra was just to repeat Ram over and over again which is a Hindu name for God (Ram Dass's name means servant of God).

I had heard of this mantra before and had tried it with some good results, but for some reason I had not returned to it for a while. I guess you can say that it's easy to get seduced into entertaining idle thoughts rather than working at raising consciousness and keeping the mind on God. But I did not know how powerful this simple mantra could be. If I had fully understood, I would have taken it much more seriously. When you chant the name of a god for an extended period of time you are calling that deity into your life. It can be very powerful, make no mistake about it.

I'm a truck driver so I have a lot of time to sit and chant mantras. Ram Dass said in the book to try to chant a mantra for three hours a day. So I did that the other day, and something strange happened.

I have been feeling really light lately. My awareness is more keen than it has ever been thanks to my daily meditation practice. So I went off to work the other day feeling light and really present and decided to chant Ram. Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram. But strangely, instead of feeling more light and focused, I started to feel worse. I started to become acutely aware of my impurities, and how I was subtly coming from an egoic place in my spiritual practice.

I felt downright bad after I had chanted for three hours. I tried to keep going, to work through it, but I couldn't. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

I came home and reflected on it a bit. Then I realized that this was God's message to me for where I'm currently at in my spirituality. God was telling me, "Maybe you aren't quite as enlightened as you think you are. I still see some more work that needs done." And then I think God showed me which way to go if I wanted to sort this out.

I got an email from the Ram Dass web site the other day asking me if I'd like to make a donation to help keep his guru's ashrams going. In return they would send me a prayer book used in one of his ashrams in India transliterated from the Sanskrit and translated into English. I sent off a small donation and they sent me the book called Prayers of Love.

Unknown to me until I got the book, there are five little sayings of wisdom on the back cover of it. The first one is, "Constant repetition of God's name, even without feelings of devotion, in anger or lethargy, brings out his grace. Once this is realized, there is no room for misgivings."

Given current events in my life, the statement alone, in the way it came to me, looks to me like a shining example of God's grace, worth infinitely more than the pitiful donation I made to obtain it. May God bless you. Peace.

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Reply Serendipity. Or some might say the hand of God at work. (Original post)
Tobin S. Jan 2019 OP
violetpastille Jan 2019 #1
Tobin S. Jan 2019 #3
alittlelark Jan 2019 #2
Tobin S. Jan 2019 #4
c-rational Jan 2019 #5
Tobin S. Jan 2019 #6
c-rational Jan 2019 #7
safeinOhio Jan 2019 #8
Tobin S. Jan 2019 #9
safeinOhio Jan 2019 #10

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 10:56 PM

1. Peace to you!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances


I'm particularly working/trying the "give thanks in all circumstances" part of the instruction. I should make it a mantra. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

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Response to violetpastille (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 11:00 PM

3. Thank you!

Maybe like you I will try to post here more often and bring this group back to life. It's a good concept for a group.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 10:58 PM

2. Beautiful explaination....

I fully understood your words. I am also on a journey.

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Response to alittlelark (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 11:02 PM

4. Thank you!

I used to think that reality was meaningless. Now I think everything means something.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 11:23 PM

5. Good for you Tobin S. Feeling light is a good thing. I have been practicing a mantra meditation

for about 4 and a half years and have found it very helpful in being present, reducing anxiety, and getting better sleep - practical benefits. Study has also shown be the only time a human being can be happy is in the present moment, but we (me too) spend too much time in the past (regrets) or the future (anxiety). My practice has helped me be less attached to outcomes and more accepting.

Regarding God, I am not sure there is one you can point to out there, rather I have come to believe it is within and in all things and no things. A quote of the day I get in my daily email once said God helps those who help themselves. I can live with that. Rather than "God" I prefer the terms/concepts Atman and Param Atman, representing the Self and Universal Self. An analogy is that creation (God) is the ocean, and we are a drop of water. After forming, we go back to the universal. Keep up the practice and a final thought, once in Philosophy class we were asked to complete the sentence ""I am...." After a bit of discussion I came to realize this sentence is complete. Peace.

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Response to c-rational (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 11:29 PM

6. The Hindus believe that, ultimately, God is everything including humans.

It doesn't matter to me what you call it: Self, God, Ram, Allah, Atman, Consciousness, Love, Truth. It all means the same thing to me. We're speaking the same language.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 11:34 PM

7. Agreed and thank you for your post.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 02:23 AM

8. Words can not explain what words can not explain...

Lao Tzu....The Tao that is spoken of, is not the eternal Tao.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 10:06 AM

9. Words can point to want words cannot explain, though.

But I'm not even trying to do that here.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 10:08 AM

10. I'm terrible with words.

I didn't see that

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