Monday, July 29, 2013


The essence of the practice of mindfulness is this---staying awake. The essence of Buddhism is this---waking up. Other religions may use those or similar words to describe this very same phenomenon, for there is a universality about truth. At the risk of stating the obvious, we could not speak of anything being the truth if it were otherwise.

The Bible has a lot to say about mindfulness, even though for the most part other words and expressions are used to describe the practice—for example, words such as watchfulness and wakefulness. There are many verses in the Bible that speak of watchfulness. Here is one such verse: ‘I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me’ (Hab 2:1). When you are mindfully present and attentive to the action---both internal and external---of the present moment, from one such moment to the next, you are standing upon your watch. Here are some more Bible verses on watchfulness: ‘Watch thou in all things’ (2 Tim 4:5); ‘Be watchful’ (Rev 3:2); ‘watch in the watchtower’ (Is 21:5). There are numerous other such verses, and almost as many verses on the similar idea of wakefulness. ‘Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem’ (Is 51:7). ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead’ (Eph 5:14). (Note. All this is metaphorical, figurative, and symbolical language. That is the nature of all sacred scripture.)

Now, I would be misleading you if I did not tell you that many of the Bible verses on watchfulness and wakefulness refer not so much to mindfulness as that term is understood in the psychological sciences as well as in Buddhism but more to a preparedness and alertness so as to guard against sin and temptation [see eg Mt 26:41] as well as (in the context of the New Testament) an expectant waiting and preparedness for the second coming of Jesus [see eg Lk 12:36, 37]. However, Biblical watchfulness and wakefulness still involve many of the same traits and qualities that characterize mindfulness---traits and qualities such as vigilance, alertness, attention, detachment from worldly things, perseverance, heedfulness, and sobriety, together with an ongoing awareness of one’s environment as it continuously unfolds. I have read in Bible commentaries that watchfulness and prayer are inextricably united. When the Bible says to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), the Bible is referring to a special type of praying---one that is more in the nature of mindfulness, the latter being the presence of an active, watchful mind.

Whatever the spiritual tradition, mindfulness, watchfulness, and wakefulness, are not a matter of waiting for the future or for the occurrence of some future expected event nor are they a matter of passing time or, heaven forbid, killing time. No, we are talking about the practice of a vigilant alertness to the ever-changing action of the present moment. This is the true, inner meaning of Bible verses such as these: ‘On thee do I wait all the day’ (Ps 25:5); ‘Wait on the Lord’ (Ps 27:14); ‘I waited patiently for the Lord’ (Ps 40:1). Waiting, like the concepts of watchfulness and wakefulness, is a Biblical form of mindfulness.

Here’s another wonderful Bible verse, a real favourite of mine: ‘Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’ (Is 40:31). God is life---the very Spirit of Life---and that life is your life, and my life---right now! When you pay ‘bare’ attention to, and are choicelessly aware of, the action of the present moment, from one such moment to the next, whilst inhaling and exhaling air ([Greek] pneuma, air, and also 'spirit'), you can be said to be waiting on the Lord. In metaphysics the expression ‘the Lord’ often refers to one’s own experience and understanding of the moment-to-moment activity of the I AM-ness or be-ing-ness of life, the one power and presence of life, individualized in you and as the very ground of your being and life experience as well as your ‘ruling’ consciousness. 'The Lord' for you is not necessarily 'the Lord' for me, and both 'Lords' may signify something falling far short of the fulness of the Divine. (The words ‘the Lord God’ have a slightly different meaning, but that’s for another day.)

So, when you ‘wait on the Lord’ by remembering to be awake, and stay awake, to whatever is unfolding as your life experience, you will renew your strength. Not only that, you will mount up with wings like eagles, you shall run and not be weary, and you shall walk and not faint. Notice the successive actions so beautifully described in that verse from the Book of Isaiah: flying, then running, and then walking. Yes, even as your energy diminishes, you can keep on going. Now, all that is metaphorical language, but I think you get the point. When you live and act mindfully, you will experience a constant refreshing and re-invigoration. Each moment is a renewal and resurrection experience. You die each moment, to be resurrected into newness of life the very next moment. What a wonderful way to live!

Awake, awake. Pray without ceasing. Stand upon your watch. Wait on the Lord. Practise mindfulness---and arise from the dead. Angels can do no better.


Monday, July 22, 2013


The essence of mindfulness, and mindful living, is this---there is only life manifesting itself in all things as all things, and that one life is forever unfolding moment by moment. Everything is forever being renewed, for each new moment in consciousness is a refreshing. So, when we live mindfully, we co-create and recreate for ourselves moment by moment a new heaven and a new earth.

There are two accounts of creation in the Bible. The first account of creation is written from God’s point of view, so to speak. It is an account of life as God, who made it, sees things. If you have a problem with the word God, then simply say that it is an account of life as it really is. What is recorded in this first account is not literally true but it is true nevertheless. The second account of creation is written from our point of view, and it is in many ways a gross distortion or misrepresentation of the real or true. It’s the way we see things, and life, when we are not seeing them as they really are, that is, when we are not living mindfully.

Now, in the first account (see the first chapter of the book of Genesis), God made man and woman in God’s very own image and likeness such that what is true of God is also true of you and me. Not only that but God saw that his creation----all his creation---was ‘good.’ Note that word---‘good.’ This is a spiritual or metaphysical statement about life per se. It is good in absolute terms, notwithstanding that there is still relative good and relative bad, the latter being variations in degree, but not kind, from the whole, absolute and perfect.

Now, when it comes to the second account of creation (see the second chapter of Genesis) God is presented, or rather seen, by the mythical couple Adam and Eve in crude, anthropomorphic terms. (Sadly, so many conservative Christians still see God in that way.) In the mythical Bible story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the two protagonists were told by God that they could freely eat of any tree in the garden except the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’ As respects the latter, God warned that if Adam and Eve ate of that tree they would surely die. Well, guess what? Naughty Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, and God expels them from the garden to prevent them from eating of a second tree, the 'tree of life,' and living forever. The disobedience of Adam and Eve is known in traditional Christian theology as the ‘Fall of Man.’

Here’s my take on the story. The tree of life is a symbol of the one presence and power that is life itself---the very livingness and oneness of life, the very ground of our being, indeed the ground of all being. The tree of life is Beingness, or Be-ing, itself. I AM-ness. Oneness. It is the impersonal principle of life that is forever becoming personal as you and me and all other things. True it is that this power of life can be used positively or negatively, that is, either for relative good or relative bad, but it is one and the same power at all times. The power is like electricity---it can be used to light or warm a room or it can be used to kill, but it is the same power nevertheless. Go into a darkened room, and turn on the light. The darkness in the room disappears. The darkness is not a thing-in-itself; it is just the relative and temporary absence of light. So it is with relative good and relative bad. There is only one presence and one power active in the universe as your life and mine and as the life of all other persons and things. This presence and power is 'over all and through all and in all' (Eph 4:6); it is 'life, and that life [is] the light of all humankind' (cf Jn 1:4); it is the medium in which all things 'live and move and have [their] being' (Acts 17:28), and 'there is no other' (cf Is 45:5).

Thus, I do not accept the view, promulgated by traditional Christianity, that there are two warring powers at work in the universe, one good and the other bad. No, there is only one power or principle at work, and it is fundamentally good. ‘Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity’ (Hab 1:13). Unity, not duality. There is one presence and one power for a couple of reasons. First, all things live and move and have their being on the one level or plane of existence. Secondly, a single logic or principle applies to all things and how they are related to each other. If that were not the case, we could not speak meaningfully of things at all. In those two senses, all things are ‘one,’ but not in any monistic sense. If there were two supreme cosmic powers at work in the universe, forever being at odds with each other, one such power would surely counteract, indeed cancel out, the other. The belief---or rather misbelief---that there are supposedly two powers at work in the universe is the so-called ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ the fruit of which Adam and Eve did eat. Our mythical forebears sought to believe that there were two powers at work, and they paid a high price for it. So do we, if we seek to affirm and identify with a supposed power or authority other than life itself.

So, this second account of creation is a parody---a distortion in human consciousness of the real and the good. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the illusion of duality as opposed to the vision of oneness and unity represented by the tree of life. The illusion of duality is the result of false or erroneous thinking on our part whenever we ‘eat the fruit of the forbidden fruit’ by giving power and authority to that which is false and untrue, and by otherwise acting mindlessly. Every time you identify with some false self---some ‘I’ or ‘me’ in your mind in the form of some like, dislike, craving, or attachment---you are eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Every time you cease to be choicelessly aware of life as it unfolds from one moment to the next, you are eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. In short, every time you think, feel, or act mindlessly, you are watering and fertilizing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There really is evil and sickness in the world, but as I see it that is largely due to the widely held misbelief that there are two cosmic powers at work. If all people affirmed the existence of only one power---the tree of life---evil and sickness would in time disappear. However, that will never happen---not in this world at least---because too many of us, including me, still give power and authority in our daily lives to the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Each moment of each day you have two choices. You can choose to live mindfully, or you can choose to live mindlessly. You can live with awareness, and be aware that you are aware---or you can live unawares. The choice is yours---and yours alone. To use the metaphorical language of the Bible, you can choose to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree---that is, the tree of knowledge of good and evil---in which case you create for yourself a false reality of ‘self’ and bondage to self, or you can choose to eat of the tree of life. God is the tree of life, God is life, and that life is your life and my life---right now! There is no other life. There is only life. Affirm that fact---and mindfully live it!

Yes, God---that is, life---sets before you in each new moment of each day both ‘life and death, blessing and cursing.’ The message of the Bible, indeed that of all sacred literature and ancient wisdom is this---choose life, that you may live (Deut 30:19).

Saturday, July 13, 2013


‘… Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.’
John 7:33 (KJV).

‘Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said
unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.’
John 13:33 (KJV).

The words above, from the New Testament, are said to be those of Jesus, and the traditional interpretation of these Bible verses is that Jesus is saying that he will soon ascend to the Father (that is, God) in heaven. Now, there is another interpretation of these verses that points to a most important metaphysical or spiritual principle---a principle that you can apply in your daily life, especially when you are confronted with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety.

When we experience an emotional problem such as fear or anxiety we tend to focus far too much on the problem rather than seek out and apply the appropriate solution. Often we are so transfixed by the apparent magnitude of the problem—the negative emotional state---that we become locked in and seemingly unable to lift ourselves out of the emotional quagmire. The result? Our negative emotional state deepens, making it ever so much harder to be dislodged.

The important principle contained in these verses is this---spend only a little time living in the problem, and then ‘ascend’ in consciousness to the solution to the problem. Now, I don’t mean ascend literally. As always, we are dealing with figurative and symbolical language here. Indeed, the solution to any problem is always to be found on the same plane or level of consciousness as the problem itself. Just as there is only one way of being, one order or level of reality, so it is that there is only one plane or level of consciousness. Thus, you do not need to ‘expand’ your consciousness or anything like that.

The reference to ‘a little while’ means that we need to get a clear understanding of the emotional problem, and that requires that we spend at least a little time identifying the situation, but we are not to dwell in that state or magnify the thoughts and emotions felt (that is, the ‘little children’ in us). Instead, we are to ‘go’ unto the ‘Father’ within, that is, the source and indwelling presence of all power, life, and healing. So, if, for example, the emotion be that of fear or anxiety, we ‘ascend’ to a mindset of confidence, security and courage, reminding ourselves that we need never feel overwhelmed by thoughts of fear, lack, or limitation.

The regular practice of mindfulness helps us to dis-identify and disassociate our little selves from negative thoughts, feelings, and emotional states.

Now, there is very important. We do not necessarily have to substitute an altogether different state of mind whenever a negative thought or emotion arises in consciousness. More often than not it is sufficient to simply observe and note the thought or emotion, but give it no further thought or attention than that. In its own way, simply doing that is going unto the Father within. For me, the ‘Father within’ is the presence of a nonjudgmental, choiceless awareness of life flowing through me and as me and as my life experience from one moment to the next.

When we live in and from that state of awareness the ‘little children’ (that is, the negative thoughts or emotions) ‘cannot come,’ in the sense that the thoughts and emotions are simply left behind. You simply do not allow them to travel with you. So, wherever you go in consciousness, they ‘cannot come’---and that is wonderful news indeed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Is there a problem in your life at present---perhaps an illness, a disability, a lack, or a limitation of some kind? Well, although there will always be a number of things that need to be done in order to be free of the problem, here is one very important thing that you need to do---see yourself as you would like to be.

In traditional evangelical Christianity it is said that Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, conquered sin and bought for us a ‘robe of righteousness,’ such that, although we are all said to be dead in sins, if we repent and accept Jesus as savior and lord, God then sees us clothed in a robe of righteousness. We wear this robe, and God sees us so robed. Another interpretation of the foregoing is that when God looks at the person (you or me), God sees only Christ (God’s Son) in all his perfection, Christ himself being the robe of God’s own righteousness.

Well, all that is quite difficult to understand, and I am of the view that the interpretations set out above have carnalized and literalized in the one person of Jesus what is otherwise a most important spiritual or metaphysical truth of general, indeed universal, application. First and foremost, the Bible is a psychological and metaphysical document, despite what others have made of it. It’s all about how you can have an abundant life right here-and-now as opposed to your safely securing the eternal destiny of your not-so-immortal soul. It’s all about how you can discover, in this life, the wonderful ‘kingdom’ that can only be found within you. In the Hebrew Bible, this kingdom is called ‘Israel,’ as well as the ‘secret place of the most High’ (Ps 91:1), and in the New Testament of the Bible the kingdom is described as the ‘pearl of great price’ (Mt 13:46) as well as ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col 1:27). This kingdom is a state of consciousness, filled with all those things we ordinarily associate with the idea of ‘God’---things such as power, vitality, wholeness, love, joy, hope, and peace. One more thing---this kingdom in you is ‘greater than that which is in the world’ (cf 1 Jn 4:4).

The truth is, there are always two ‘images’ of ourselves. One image is of us as we presently are, in all our imperfection, and the other image is of us as we could be, or as we would like to be. Now, if we want to change for the better, we need to envision ourselves as we would like to be. If, for example, we are sick in some way, or in bondage to some condition or state of consciousness, we should see ourselves as healthy or as free, as the case may be. There is an old Oriental maxim, ‘What you think upon grows.’ Of course, we may have to do a number of other things as well if we are to have any chance of achieving our goal or objective.

The ‘robe of righteousness’ is a bit like Plato’s theory of forms (or ideas). It is the ideal or the perfect---the spiritual as opposed to the material. We could not appreciate beautiful things unless there were a form called ‘beauty,’ and we could not appreciate goodness unless there were also a form called ‘the good’ or ‘goodness.’ Also, we could not talk about the sky being blue unless there were such a thing called ‘blueness.’ These ideals or forms are eternal (that is, unchanging), timeless, and paradigmatic, and, as I see it, the forms are expressed or instantiated in actual things and persons. Indeed, these ideals or forms are, in a very real sense, the efficient ‘cause’ of all the changing phenomena we see in the visible world.

We come to know these forms through the process of instantiation or exemplification in particular things. Perhaps it is more correct to say that particular things are known only through the forms that are instantiated in them. All creative and constructive ideas, visions, and possibilities point to the reality of these forms or ideals which exist, not on some supposed higher order or level of reality or plane of existence, but rather in and as things themselves---including you and me---in varying and ever-changing degrees of manifestation and expression. So, if sickness be your problem, the robe of righteousness for you is perfect health and wellness, and if bondage to alcohol or some other drug be your problem, the robe of righteousness is sobriety or clean time. Get the idea?

This robe of righteousness is said in the Bible to be a ‘garment of salvation.’ There’s another grossly misunderstood word---salvation. Now, the word salvation comes from the same Latin root as the word salve and refers to a healthy kind of wholeness. Salvation is not primarily connected with sin, which is simply a symptom of an underlying morbid condition. Sin means ‘missing the mark’ (as in archery), that is, not being all that we could be, and what, in truth, we really are. When a person is ‘truly saved,’ that negative condition is offset. In short, salvation is all about health and wholeness and not just holiness. Actually, the word health means wholeness or holiness. Yes, the words health, holy, hale, heal, as well as whole, all come from the same Anglo-Saxon root.

Each one of us ‘falls short’ (says Plato, as well as the Bible) of the ideal---that is, the perfect, unflawed, unchanging form. We may fall short in terms of our physical or psychological health, or we may fall short in terms of our conduct or behavior. However, whatever be your problem, first envision, and then continue to hold fast in your mind, the vision of yourself as whole, perfect, and free. You may presently be experiencing illness in your body or mind but know this---there is a part of you that can never be ill. What is that part? Well, it is the life itself in you and as you. Your body or your mind may grow old, but life itself can never grow old for it is birthless and deathless. I love these lines from Sir Edwin Arnold’s beautiful ‘translation’---or rather poetic version---of the Bhagavad-Gita (dubbed The Song Celestial’):

Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever.

Can you envisage, that is, envision or imagine, a perfect man or woman? Can you feel ‘at-one’ with your ideal or desire? It’s hard to do in the abstract, but not so hard to do when you narrow it down to some particular sought-after quality, which is what I suggest you do. Never forget that the power to change your life is within you---within every one of us. If, for example, you are sick, envision yourself as well, for what you seek is available at least in potentiality if not actuality. Now, there is a Bible verse that wonderfully encapsulates the essence and modus operandi of this metaphysical approach to healing and wholeness, and it is this: 'He calleth those things which be not as though they were' (Rom 4:17). Got that? You affirm that which is not, that is, that which you wish to see actualized, as if it were true already---for in truth it is already ... at least in the realm of pure ideas and forms.

Of course, you have to be sensible about this, but in the realm of ideas and forms there is no sickness, lack, or limitation of any kind, and we can learn to use our mind to help create desired experience through desire, vision, and intention. In my work as a wellness instructor and practitioner I often use this form of healing which is sometimes referred to as ‘spiritual mind treatment.’ You do not deal with the ‘material’ person (what is now) but rather the ‘spiritual’ person (the sought-after ideal, what could be). Even if healing in the physical sense does not occur, or does not fully occur, I find that there is invariably a change in consciousness for the better, and that is a healing in its own way. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out, ‘Even a thought, even a possibility, can shatter us and transform us.’

So, see yourself not as imperfect and sick but in perfect good health, and hold fast to that vision irrespective of circumstances or appearances to the contrary, the aim being to induce a state of consciousness in which you become more fully aware of that which already is a reality, at least in the spiritual realm (that is, the realm of ideas). That, as I see it, is the true, inner meaning of the Bible verses that urge us to ‘glorify God in [our] bodies’ (1 Cor 6:20) and to ‘exalt the Lord our God’ (Ps 99:9). Then there’s the Bible phrase that says ‘magnify the Lord’ (cf Lk 1:46). I could go on.

In short, exalt, magnify, and glorify your sought-after objective, and affirm with feeling and conviction that which you know to be true about the ‘ideal’ (spiritual) you---for example, that you are strong, healthy, vibrant, energetic, and alive---and be prepared to do what is otherwise necessary to achieve your goal, ideal or vision. ‘In the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs,’ wrote the New Thought writer James Allen.

Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Prov 29:18).

Thursday, July 4, 2013


‘The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many
waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.’ Ps 93:4.

Life can be very hard and tough at times, and unless we too are mentally tough we run the risk of going under, so to speak. The regular practice of mindfulness can help you to stay afloat, even in the face of the ‘mighty waves of the sea.’

As I have pointed out in several other posts, the Bible is an Eastern book, or collection of books, and much of its teachings are ‘occult’ (that is, hidden) in the sense that there is often a deeper, inner meaning to the literal words. This deeper, inner meaning quite often comes to light when you realize that much of the Bible is written in a ‘sacred language’ that is common to most other sacred books as well as myths and fairy tales.

So, when we come to the words ‘the Lord,’ we are talking about the activity of your ‘I am-ness’ (that is, the state and ground of being) in you, from one moment to the next. Metaphysically, the words ‘the Lord’ refer to the creative power of life and thought operating within each of us, as we understand and apply that power. If, for example, you attach your ‘I am-ness’ to negative emotions and mind-states such as anger and resentment, you will inevitably act out those emotions in your daily life. Now, the expression ‘the Lord on high’ refers to an elevated state of consciousness characterized by peace of mind, equanimity, and serenity. Please note that when I use the word ‘elevated’ I am not referring to some supposed higher order or level of reality or plane of consciousness. No, the word ‘elevated’ simply means enlightened, awakened, and mindful. You are in an elevated state of consciousness when you refuse to allow yourself to be moved or deflected by internal or external states of affairs.

The word ‘water,’ or ‘waters,’ when used in sacred scripture, refers to your mind or consciousness as well as the contents of your mind. The latter include mind-states of all kinds as well as moods.  If, for example, there is anger and resentment ‘in’ you, there is much ‘noise’ (mental and emotional turbulence) and when things really get heated up in your mind there come ‘mighty waves’ (torment). We have all experienced these mind-states.

The regular practice of mindfulness helps us to stay grounded in the now, no matter how much noise there is, and even when there are mighty waves. When you are present mindfully, you watch and observe the waves of the sea (the content of your mind), you hear the noise of the waters, but you do not react, judge, condemn, or dwell upon those events. The latter are not you, the person that you are; they are ‘illusory,’ not in the sense that they are not real, but in the sense that they have no separate, independent, permanent existence apart from the person that you are.

Mindfulness is a powerful means to self-liberation and the development of mental toughness. Here’s one way it works. You feel anger building up in your consciousness. Something ‘internal’ (eg a thought or memory) may have triggered the emergence of this mind-state, or it may have been something ‘external’ (eg some words spoken by another person). Instead of identifying with and dwelling upon the anger, saying, ‘I am angry,’ you simply observe the content of the mind-state, interiorly saying to yourself, ‘There is anger in me,’ or ‘Anger, anger.’ The anger is not you, it is simply something happening ‘in’ you. You have a choice. You don’t need to identify with it. Just observe and note---and then let it be. It will pass. All such mind-states come and go. They have no power to hurt you or others unless you choose to attach your ‘I am-ness’ to the content of the mind-state. Take responsibility for these mind-states, and make a decision to do something positive about them (for example, letting them be, and then letting them go as they will in time), but do not claim ownership of them. Don’t make them ‘you,’ that is, the person that you are.

Yes, the life in you, as you, is mightier than the noise of many waters, even mightier than the mighty waves of the sea.