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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Journey Beyond God

Now published on Buzzword: John Alexandra's remarkable book, Journey Beyond God takes the seeker beyond the usual religious conventions and the 'God' invented by fearful humanity to the underlying secret behind all transformational systems. Subtitled The How of Now, this is a practical guide to mysticism in all the great traditions. Here is a brief sample from the start of the second chapter.


The only aim of spiritual exercises is to gain control of attention.
 Ramana Maharshi

 Yoga is constraint placed upon the variations of consciousness. Then he who sees is present to himself.  Otherwise, he remains identified with the variations.

Do you remember yourself when you were three?
    Moss by a mountain stream. A dewy rose in the sun. And an open-hearted child. Sheer exultation of being.
    The child sees the world as a miracle iridescent with possibilities. It sees trees praying to the sky, grassfields bowing to the wind. Even the thin peal of a schoolyard bell leaves a timeless shiver in the air.
    And are its clouds of glory a half-remembered thing? Is its heart's heart linked to a unity known before birth?
    Remember your first freshness? What a wonder the world was then. Marvels jostled to reveal themselves and somewhere everything was in tune.
    Before grim knowledge spoiled you, Odyssey's called you on the wind and the song of your blood became perception. You breathed elation's sacred air.
    An infant's thought-unclouded eyes can be as fathomless as the glaze before death - enough to agitate its parents into self-reinforcing baby talk. The child knows nothing and everything - as if it's not a child at all. So to teach it to be one becomes every parent's task.
    As an infant, we saw directly - a discernment not easily found. We were well informed for a creature so recently born. So were we completely infants? Or potentials facing a new experience?
    Some believe death thrusts us back into the morning of our lives and cite child prodigies as proof that expertise is transported through the womb. Some see lives as fixed roles that, like actors, we are obliged to play out.
    We can be diverted for a lifetime by such theories. But theories don't feed hearts.
    In the brief years before thought's pale cast enveloped us there was freshness of perception. Why?
    Because life was filtered entirely through our senses and instead of 'thinking' we experienced. And because we received impressions directly, everything was vivid.