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Archive for 11/05/11

From the tunnel to the clouds

One day, a good man was introduced to me. He was intelligent and had great qualities. The person who introduced him told me: «He is a great man with a great problem: he lives in the túnel of the past, or in the clouds of what is about to come. Now, he needs to step on the present.»

I have met many people like that man: they seem to live anchored in the old year or dreaming about the new year. Remember the great celebrations to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year in every part of the world! However, the old year is each night when we go to sleep and dream with the angels: it is the end of the world, of our conscience. At the same time, each sunrise is a new year that God offers us: we revive the conscience, we come back to life.

How many times do we dawn looking back? The things I have done, the things others have done to me, the things I could have done. All this is finished: «the past is over.» Each awakening is an opportunity. In our dreams, we recover enough energy to wake up again, as new born. We learn from the past the things we do not have to do again. We prepare the tomorrow living the present with more intensity.

Adolfo confessed: «I do not understand the meaning of this phrase: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God”[1] I asked it to many priests, but I did not like their answers.» Escalada replied: «I was seeing the photographs of my childhood and youth. I recalled my relationship with people, whom I believed my friends. I could not see myself reflected in that world, in those past years. So, I started to tear the photographs of my childhood. I only kept some of them.»

Chose the present! “Here and now” are the happiest moments of your existence. If you want to recall something, look in your mind for the positive things. In the Old Testament, a town was asked to recall the acts of the Lord. Recall what makes you walk, not what paralyzes you!

I suggest a prayer called “Memorare.”[2] It was written by Claraval and it is prayed in order to ask the Mother of God to remember us, to recall the gifts she always distributes among her children.


[1] Lk 9, 62.

[2] Remember, Oh pious Virgin Mary! It has never been heard that any of those who have turned to your protection, asking for your help have been abandoned. Due to the fact that I trust you, I turn to you, oh Mother, Virgin of the virgins, groaning because of the weight of my sins I dare to appear before you. Oh mother of God, do not reject my plea before listening to them. Accept them mildly. Amen.

 Theology Articles

Gumersindo Meiriño

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Advaita – Non-Duality

The first Hindu philosophical system we shall consider is called Adviata, a system of non-duality proposed by Shankara in the 8th century after Jesus. According to Shankara, God (Brahman) alone is eternal (sathyam). The universe (Jagat), he taught, has only the appearance of reality. The illusory nature of the manifest world, in this system, is also known by the more often used word: maya.

Ultimately, the human soul (jivatman), he taught, is identical with God (Brahman). This can be explained with the analogy of water (representing God) and ice (representing us). Ice, as we know, comes from water and melts back to water. It could be said, that a block of ice doesn’t have an existence independent of water. Also, the block of ice always has a beginning and an end — it comes and goes, as we see with glaciers or icebergs.

The iceberg (or ice cube in your drink) is essentially one with the water in which it floats, though it is functionally different. The ice doesn’t become water. It is water. But it isn’t aware that it’s water. Because it’s solid, it imagines, let us say, that it’s an object like a stone. If this were the case, we could say it was in a state of ignorance. It would then need to free itself from this ignorance and realize that it is essentially water … or God.

Shankara proposed a way of wisdom known as jnana marga. The paths of devotion, bhakthi and action, karma can prepare the way, but jnana is the ultimate in his view. Shankara taught that ignorance can be removed only through wisdom or understanding and not by devotion or action, as they’re not the opposite of ignorance.

For Shankara also, God or Brahman is nirguna, without qualities. Brahman is impersonal. Human beings are essentially one with God, but they’re ignorant of this truth. They need to awaken out of ignorance and realize the liberating truth about themselves. According to him, ultimately every one of us can say ahambrahmaasmi, ‘I am Brahman, God and I are one.’ A person who realizes this truth while alive is called jivan muktha — liberated while alive.

In general, Shankara is considered to be a monist, but a better description would be that he’s a non-dualist: God and the universe, he taught, are not two independent or separate realities.

John Martin Sahajananda

Continued next week

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