Friday, May 18, 2018

The Purpose of Life

Nothing like starting the day by tackling a weighty subject such as the meaning of, or the purpose of, life. But that's the way it usually happens: kundalini drops the spark of an idea into my consciousness and I find myself trying to put meaningful words around that spark.

If I were to say that the purpose of life is to become more aware, would you say that's lowering the bar? Notice I don't say the purpose is enlightenment. That might be too difficult to defend as there's a lot of uncertainty as to what enlightenment actually is.

Awareness, on the other hand, is a simpler concept.
"In the normal state of awareness, our consciousness seems to be a small bubble in and around our head. When we look out, we see a universe of staggering proportions in which we are dwarfed into utter insignificance. In the mystical state, the position is reversed. The individual consciousness perceives itself as being a drop in an infinitely vast ocean of awareness, and the phenomenal universe becomes dwarfed into near insignificance. The transition from the normal to the mystical state has sometimes been likened to that of waking up from a dream. In a dream, we believe that what we are experiencing is ‘real.’ But when we wake up, we realize that the waking state is more ‘real’ than the dream state. Similar is the case when we go from the normal state to the mystical state."
~ Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 91). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
So if we can expand that "small bubble in and around our head" to become more aware, rather than less aware at the end of life than we were at the beginning, does that not constitute a life whose purpose has been consummated. Can we say then: The purpose of life is to become more aware over the course of a lifetime.

In fact, doesn't just thinking about awareness make us more aware, as this Google Ngram seems to propose:

Google Ngrams Track Word Usage Frequency
Notice how the usage frequency of 'awareness' dips around the the time of 9/11. Does that not bear witness to a mounting incidence of extremism which gathered momentum around that time — a time when civility and manners went down the drain, taking a backseat to alienation, wanton violence, ideological fanaticism, and, finally, the Dogs of War.

Individuals targeted other individuals simply because they wore turbans. A man or woman as a human bomb became commonplace.

Apologists ascribe these incidents to religious fervor, but more often the bombers are revealed to be unsophisticated youths manipulated for political purposes.
"One consequence of the materialistic view of science is that since we are extinguished at death, there is no incentive to limit our behavior according to any moral or ethical standard. The only reason left to live is to enjoy life as much as possible, as any actions taken in this life, whether good or bad, could have no consequences once we die."
~ Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 174). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
When people get caught up in a fever of settling imagined scores and resentments, the small bubble gets even smaller. And that's what we mean by becoming less aware —a limited paradigm composed of more 'self' and less 'other.'
"We all have a set of beliefs about how reality works. The various faiths of mankind, and science too, each have their own general perspective on how Creation happened and continues to unfold. This perspective is called a paradigm.
"The structure of each person’s paradigm is a result of their upbringing, education, faith, and/or knowledge of science, combined with the experience of the world that they have throughout their lifetime. Each person’s paradigm determines what he or she believes to be possible, or not possible. Paradigms are very useful, even essential, as they give us a framework that we can use to function in the world in an effective manner.
"For the vast majority of people, their paradigm is generally taken as a given. In other words, it is accepted as true, without need of proof or validation. As a consequence, few people — scientists or otherwise — actually stop to seriously question the validity of their own particular paradigm. Most people also do not realize that their paradigm is based on assumptions that they are not even aware they are making.
"Each person has her or his own unique paradigm. Throughout life, we are constantly coming into contact with others who have a paradigm that is different from our own, to a more or less degree. Human nature being what it is, our usual response is to reject those paradigms that diverge too far from our own. This is also usually the case when we are presented with factual data that contradict our own paradigm."
 Consciousness: The New Paradigm - Bradford, Michael. (p. 17-18). Institute for Consciousness Research. Kindle Edition.
Recent history is as rife with examples of persons becoming more aware through spiritual practices, as it is with persons with mental health issues or political motives believing mass murder, war, and acts of terror serve some greater purpose.

Is there any justification for a school shooting? Does the school shooter leave this earth with greater or lesser awareness?

What about the politician, the money lender, the star athlete, the inveterate gambler, the NFL fan, false guru, well-meaning gossip, the scientist whose inventions kill millions?

How does one become more aware over a given lifetime?

It's not a one-time, momentary cataclysm; it's a process open to anyone and everyone:

How do I know? I started at the bottom; that's how. I was an "outer-directed puppet" with "no inner aim or real will." Asleep for most of my life, yet harboring some spark that led to eventually becoming an "inner-directed, cosmically oriented man," when I look back over my trajectory, the distance between my beginning state and where I am now seems greater that the distance between Earth and the stars.

What stage are you at?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

In The Beginning was the Word: Music, Lyrics and Revelation

            ‘Woe to the downpressors
        They will eat the bread of sorrow
        Woe to the downpressors
        They will eat the bread of sad tomorrow’
        ~ Guiltiness - Bob Marley

       ‘Rockets, moon shots
        Spend it on the have nots
        Money, we make it
        Fore we see it you take it'
        ~ Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye

Words reveal ideas, truths and concepts through layered meaning and context, and this can be heard at its most powerful in musical lyrics. Certain musicians have sung powerful lyrics about life, love, and change and I contend that these people are reaching depths of emotion that, when manifested through words, engage with audiences in similar ways that some prophets in the past did.

I suggest that these musicians are following in the shamanic traditions of the past, with one foot in spirit world and one foot in the real. I believe that we are living in a new spiritual reality. Here the shamanic, devotional, and esoteric practices of the past have been transformed into contemporary artistic movements.


Revelation — the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence.

Revelation is traditionally given orally. A prophet (who is, I suggest, a highly enlightened shaman) discloses a new and important spiritual insight or foretells the future in front of the people. People would usually rejoice, weep, or have some kind of an emotional reaction and then create followings around this person sometimes using imagery of the prophet as means to worship.

Concept: Sameer Patel
Design: Nazira Hanna

At the core is a connection between an individual who is orally transmitting words and an audience. Sometimes these words are sung, for example, it is is said that Mohammed sang the words he received from Gabriel and the audience who first received this words were enraptured. Sometimes the words are poetic for example the Indian epic The Mahabharata which also contains the Bhagavad Gita was originally an orally transmitted poem. I contend that prophets had the ability to fully control their voices, convey layered meanings, which helped people transcend the relative nature of reality to understand higher truths. These prophets understood that use of melody, rhyme, rhythm, and meter added layers to words that accentuated the meaning and understanding and, in certain cases, helped people achieve transcendental changes. On a subtle level, I believe that prophets of the past, especially in the West, channeled energy downwards from the crown, and, they may not have been born with these gifts, but realized them from a full and transcendent spiritual awakening.

This type of channel from the higher more cosmic chakras gave the prophet the ability to talk about spiritual insight and prophetic visions. Some mystical awakenings were truly creative. For example, take the 12th century mystical poet Rumi, especially after he was awakened by the wandering mystic Shams. When the words were transmitted in the fullest way, the people hearing them experienced ecstatic responses including emotional releases, shaking, and for a few, even awakenings.

Now contrast this with a few modern day singers — rappers and musicians. These people have the ability to use their voice and engage audiences en masse creating powerful emotional responses. These artists and musicians have a deeper connection with something greater that allows them to express music, lyrics, and words which resonate emotionally and spiritually with audiences.
Using posters and merchandise, their fans build shrines in their houses to these artists;  they attend their concerts when the artist is in their city. They may claim the artist’s music changed them or helped them feel better emotionally.

As in the introduction, I believe that some of these musicians are unknowingly akin to modern day shamans with one foot in ‘spiritual realms’ channeling truths to reality. They experience complex emotions, perhaps by delving into dark recesses. They are inspired by dance, mind altering substances, and their connections to their people, culture, and their origins.

Rather than organized religions codifying this oral tradition, it is the modern corporate and economic system that now takes and disseminates these words to the masses. It is my belief that these musicians, without the proper awareness or guidance — in a contemporary secular system where the spiritual model has been replaced by a commercial one — may suffer a number of destructive  repercussions if they use their talent for purely personal ends.

Modern day artists need to understand the value their gifts and, if they choose to commoditize them, they need to be more attentive to their own energies and the people they choose to work with. Indeed, it is worth noting that in the past certain self-proclaimed prophets were not able to handle their gifts, one example exists in the apocryphal stories of Simon Magus, a man who had spiritual gifts and was happy to show them off, but not the strength of character to stay detached from his siddhis.

On the subtle, energetic level both the prophets of old and certain modern music artists have opened their throat chakras, sparking the ability to envelope words with power and meaning. Most of these musicians are not on the same level as the enlightened prophets of the past, however, these similarities exist for a reason: these musicians are spiritually connected people manifesting truths audiences want to hear. Unlike the prophets of the past, these modern artists drive their energy from the heart chakra.

The Heart-Based Model
The modern Kundalini movement is based on a new model that has the heart and creativity at its center, rather than a model with an
upwards or downwards energetic movement. Instead of rapturous stories about the love of God channeled from "above," these artists with their heart connections transmit stories about the love of others — humans, individually and collectively — and all the associated tumultuous emotions that this love brings out. Modern musicians and artists who are born with awakened throat and heart chakras are able to mesh their voices with emotional, layered, and meaningful words from their experiences that connects and resonates with others: some artists who've  experienced heart-based Kundalini awakenings express their spiritual essence through art and creativity.

I maintain that we have subconsciously moved our spiritual systems into everyday art forms and the industries that surround them. In the past, people worshiped gods and spirits; now teenagers worship rock stars by streaming the music, buying the merchandise, and attending concerts. What they are really doing is connecting with the spirit of the music and the words. As society secularizes love, we transform our prophets into profitable artists who sing about the love of a woman or a man rather than the love of god, but in essence we are still searching for that connection to the divine.