[This is my irregular newsletter. If you’re getting it for the first time and wish you hadn’t, let me know and I’ll remove you from the list. If you got two, I apologize. Let me know and I’ll remedy the duplication.]
WHEN EAST MET WEST AT WOODSTOCK
You could hardly avoid the reminders of Woodstock’s 40th anniversary last month. Probably, like me, in addition to feeling old, you enjoyed seeing all the iconic images of that seminal event. But no Woodstock image is more significant than that of Swami Satchidananda addressing the multitudes. I wrote an essay about that, placing the moment in the context of the transformative legacy of India’s spiritual traditions in America. It’s in LA Yoga magazine: http://layogamagazine.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=400&Itemid=1
ARE WE ALL HINDUS?
Did you see Newsweek’s August 31 edition? In it, Lisa Miller has a short piece titled “We Are All Hindus Now.” She doesn’t mean that vast numbers of Americans are going to Hindu temples or doing pujas to Ganesh at their home altars. She means that, according to surveys, a large and growing number of people hold a pluralistic world-view, in line with the core principle of Hinduism, as expressed in the ancient Rig Veda: “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.” I was thrilled to see this for two reasons, 1) I think it’s a sign that the collective consciousness is more evolved than people realize; and 2) it represents mainstream confirmation of the central thesis of the book I’ve been working on, in which I contend that Vedic teachings have transformed American spirituality. You can read the article at: http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155.
The Woodstock essay and the Newsweek reference are on the blog on my website, along with other items. If you’re moved to comment on any of it, please do. I’d love to begin a dialogue there: http://www.philipgoldberg.com/blog.htm.
Actually, I’d like to place my essays and blogs somewhere online where more people would see them, but I’m totally behind the curve on such things. If you have suggestions, let me know.
You will enjoy these well-made documentaries about two of the most important spiritual figures of the past century. Both are available on DVD with additional content.
- “Ram Dass: Fierce Grace,” a film by Mickey Lemle. The story of the Harvard professor / LSD renegade / revered spiritual teacher, author of the seminal Be Here Now, and role model for a generation of seekers, the film is particularly notable for its portrayal of Ram Dass in the aftermath of his 1997 stroke, the lessons of which he called fierce grace. See www.lemlepictures.com.
- “The Challenge of Change,” a film about Jiddu Krishnamurti, directed by Michael Mendizza. As you probably know, Krishnamurti was discovered by the Theosophists as a boy in India and was groomed to be the World Teacher. He rejected that savior role in 1929 and, based largely in Ojai, California, became a brilliant and relentless voice for spiritual freedom and the power of the human intellect. Available through the Krisnamurti Foundation of America: www.kfa.org.
Selected quotes from the two aforementioned icons.
- Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the Mystery.
- I had to turn around and honor my incarnation instead of treating it as some abysmal error that somebody made.
- At this moment there are people dying of incredible suffering. There's violence. There's fear. There's also spring coming. There are buds on the trees, there are beautiful babies cooing, there are dogs jumping, butterflies flying. So what should you do? You want to be sad or happy? If you block out any part of it you're going to block out some of the energy, and then you're not fully alive.
- I maintain that truth is a pathless land and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.
- It is important not to divide life into the worldly and the non-worldly. It is important not to make the distinction between the worldly and the so-called religious…. We are concerned with the totality of life, not a particular part of it which is considered religious in opposition to the rest.
- That which is eternal cannot be sought after; the mind cannot acquire it. It comes into being when the mind is quiet, and the mind can be quiet only when it is simple.
SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION
A man wanders through his village every day, cursing at God. The townspeople regard him as an offensive blasphemer, but they can’t get him to stop. One day he clambers onto the roof of a temple and announces that he is going to die. He sits down, closes his eyes and peacefully leaves his body. Just then, magnificent music fills the air. So enchanting is the sound that all the villagers stop what they are doing and listen. “Who is making this glorious music?” they wonder. “Who in the village has such a gift?”
They search, but find no one playing and no one singing. When the music stops, the people run to the wisest man in town: “Did this music come from the heavens? Could it possibly have been for that obnoxious madman who profaned God all the time?”
“Yes,” affirms the wise man, “the angels welcomed him to their presence.”
“That is impossible,” they protest. “Why would the celestials honor such a person?”
The holy man replies: “If you remembered God one tenth of the time he did, you too would be liberated.”
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION
All my books are available online or directly from me. They’re described on my website: http://www.philipgoldberg.com/works.htm. These two are out in relatively new paperbacks:
Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path—Living at the Heart of Paradox: http://www.amazon.com/Roadsigns-Spiritual-Path-Living-Heart-Paradox/dp/1591810507/sr=8-2/qid=1164481805/ref=sr_1_2/002-9273882-7364851?ie=UTF8&s=books.
The Intuitive Edge: Understanding Intuition and Applying it in Everyday Life: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Edge-Understanding-Intuition-Applying/dp/0595416659/sr=12/qid=1164482288/ref=sr_1_2/002-9273882-7364851?ie=UTF8&s=books.
My columns on “Spiritual Wellness” are archived at the online newsletter Healthy Update:
GLOBAL SPIRITUAL CITIZENSHIP
I’ve been working with colleagues at the Forge Institute to launch an initiative linking deep spirituality with social and political change. We hope it will capture the attention of like-minded people. It’s at http://www.globalspiritualcitizenship.org. If you are in agreement with its principles, please sign the Call, send it to others and let us know if you have good ideas for how to disseminate it.
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