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Ascension books by MSI (Maharishi Sadashiva Isham)

Excerpts

"Ascension" Excerpt

"Ascension" at Amazon.com

"First Thunder" Excerpt

"First Thunder" at Amazon.com

"Second Thunder" Excerpt

"Second Thunder" at Amazon.com

"Orah The Deathless Dancer" (Third Thunder) Excerpt

"Orah-The Deathless Dancer" at Amazon.com

"Enlightenment" - A Translation of the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali Excerpt

"Enlightenment" at Amazon.com


First Thunder

Chapter 1

Spring Crocuses

My old Chevy truck, last with me as it had been the first, carried me to Seattle, burning only slightly over a quart of oil every two hundred miles. Mother welcomed me, but I knew her too well to miss her disappointment. The daughter of a devout Presbyterian and the sister of a Missionary, she felt violated by my life. None of her core beliefs about divorce, employment, responsibility, family or honor were unshaken by my fall.

My plans pleased her even less. During the long drive home from Missouri, I realized that above all I needed time to nurture and heal. I wanted to understand why my life had run aground on the reefs of outrageous fortune, why my business and marriage had been ripped apart by the hurricane of despair; I desperately sought a new course for the foundering ship of my being. Why was the Universe so callous, so hateful? I had only wished to be a good person. Why was the desire to be an honorable citizen, husband and father not enough?

I recognized now that even during the best times in Missouri, I had felt an emptiness inside, a strange and painful hollowness no amount of prosperity had ever filled. My new cars, my limestone castle, my family, the honor of friends and community -- nothing satisfied the undercurrent of discontent moving just beneath the calm surface. The tragic lie of false peace!

I still hoped there must be answers somewhere; but I was sure no one I knew had any -- scrape away the veneer of their belief in God, Science, family or wealth, the same emptiness was growing in them, a destructive mocking authority that found joy only in pain. No, everyone on Earth was as lost and confused as I: everyone believed in struggle, in suffering, in sickness, in death. I did not feel life should be so, but I had no alternatives to the imperious demands of my melancholy. The answers from religion, science, philosophy were incomplete, incapable of offering more than a sugar-coating of belief over the raging cancer of inevitable ruin.

So began my withdrawal from the world. I could find nothing of interest to do. I no longer ran, I no longer read, I called no one, I saw no one except my mother who gradually lost all hope in me but at least housed me and fed me and talked to me -- from time-to-time.

I donít know how long this soul sickness would have lasted as I descended from thoughts of self-violence to immersion in a dull apathy that left me staring at the walls of my room, praying for sleep so I could stop regretting the past; nor do I know how it might have ended in a final cataclysm of despair or rage had nothing different happened. (I do know this, however: never again will I harshly judge those who end their own lives or surrender control of themselves to jailers of the body or the mind.)

But finally something different did happen -- at last the winter of my life ended with the first buds of spring. The Universe moved on, God or an angel was moved to compassion, some good karma returned from a previous existence -- for whatever obscure reason, a new theme ascended through the frozen wasteland of my heart.

This new movement began simply enough -- a former high school friend called late one Friday evening. His name was Ollie Swenson, he had just returned from the Greek island of Patmos off the coast of Turkey, he had something he wanted to share with me, could I ferry over to Bainbridge to see him?

I remembered Ollie best as the linebacker on our varsity team who negated my single touchdown interception by clipping the quarterback, but he had through much of high school been my best friend. We lost touch when he went to Washington State University in Pullman to master agriculture; I had gone to the University of Washington in Seattle to become a research physicist. I didnít know if he had changed his desire or not, but mine transmuted drastically by graduation, due in part to my terminal romance with a Missouri farmerís daughter.

What would he be like, my old high school buddy, Ollie? I remembered he married his teenage sweetheart, a pleasant girl who grew up near his grandparentsí home on Bainbridge Island; I also vaguely recalled hearing he was divorced. What had carried him to Greece? And why an island?

Fearing he wanted to sell me insurance or interest me in some new pyramid scheme, I nevertheless agreed to come to Bainbridge on Saturday.

When I walked off the ferry and met Ollie, at first I did not recognize him: he looked about as different as I could imagine. I remembered him with a crew cut, bulging out T-shirts at 240 pounds. Now he was quite slim, maybe 170 -- trim, not malnourished -- and his hair had grown long and was flowing in dark waves all around his tan silk collar. He was beardless, but something about his brown eyes reminded me of a feral animal -- free, wild, unpredictable.

There was more to him than this, a feeling I couldnít pinpoint or readily describe. He was calm beneath the wildness; there was an aura of wisdom about him. This did not come from his appearance, nor from his greeting (he hugged me warmly, then kept his hand lightly on my arm as he escorted me to his Honda), nor even from his words; this deep serenity and knowingness radiated from his presence itself. I did not understand it, yet it resonated with something deep inside me. I did not know it, and yet I also felt I knew it well, as if it were speaking to an integral part of me, a part with which I was hardly familiar and yet was my fundamental reality.

His peace resonated within me; at the time I did not have the words nor even the thoughts to understand this, but I did recognize I felt extremely comfortable in my old friend Ollie Swensonís presence. Why?

Someone was waiting for us in his Civic. Someone wearing a bright red blouse and gorgeous golden curls. Ollie opened her door; she stepped out gracefully. The curls flowed in glorious profusion around a flawless face. Her azure eyes were deep yet warm. I felt myself blushing. Stunning beauty always makes me feel like a school child standing before the principal.

"Iíd like you to meet Sharon Alice Stone," introduced Ollie. "She is the most exceptional woman Iíve ever known."

"Sharon Stone? The movie star?" I asked, attempting weak humor, entirely missing Ollieís point.

Sharon smiled at me genuinely, oblivious to Ollieís praise, unoffended by my poor joke (doubtless far beyond stale to her, I realized with growing chagrin), and embraced me warmly. I hugged her awkwardly as Ollie finished his introduction of me, "...The best defensive end Shoreline ever had," which did nothing to lessen my embarrassment.

"Come on," said Ollie, "we can talk back at the house. Sharonís made us some lunch." I squeezed into the back of his Civic, Sharon settled like a feather into the front passenger seat, then turned to talk to us. Neither of them fastened their seat belts. I reached for mine but soon gave up, realizing it had been swallowed by the seat. When in Rome, I thought, mostly listening to Sharon chatting about her childhood in Oklahoma.

"Why did you leave the Midwest?" I asked, briefly reliving the horror of my past few months there. "Tired of the cold?"

"Following my heart," she laughed gaily. "Seeking larger meaning than I was finding in Tulsa."

"But why Seattle?" I persisted, her easy manner causing me to feel more relaxed. "Three hundred days of rain a year makes all Seattle-ites gloomy and introspective, didnít you know?" My past month of an Eeyore-like existence was not easy to drop on instant demand -- even in the presence of Ollieís transcendent peace and Sharonís joyful beauty. Even Pooh and Piglet canít reach me, eh? I thought, judging myself again.

But they both laughed generously and brightly as Ollie replied, "Thatís three hundred days of clouds, old friend; it doesnít rain so much, only forty inches or so a year -- hardly ever on Bainbridge, as a matter of fact. Part of the rain shadow, you know. A real banana belt. Plus these days, espresso grows on every street corner. Starbuckís coffee capital of the world, thatís our Emerald City. People are much too hyper to be depressed here."

Sharon added earnestly, "For the first six weeks, I had no idea why I was here. I had begun to think maybe I was insane, as my former boyfriend tried to convince me. But then I met Ollie three days ago; now I know why I came to Seattle." She looked at him and smiled with radiant warmth.

Will anyone with such gorgeous lips ever look at me like that again? I thought. My heart longed to ask her what she meant -- Why had she come to Seattle? What had she found? -- but something inside me was afraid of what she might say. I didnít want my life to become more complicated. Even though it was killing me, it was all I had of security in a painful world.

So instead, I asked the vastly easier, "How did you two meet?" What were they? An instant romance? They didnít seem to be affectionately touching. Certainly not like I would be if she were my girlfriend, I thought, then felt embarrassed again. This time my feeling was embellished by contempt for my arrogance and self-loathing for my stupidity. What could I offer any female these days? Poverty and failure? May life was ashes; I was the original fool. Ollie was staring at me in the rear view mirror. His brown eyes were dancing with mirth! It was not a judgmental laughter mocking me; it was a pure and simple happiness singing there. It felt as if he were looking right through me. How much had he intuited of my thoughts?

He smiled warmly at me and said, "I had a feeling I should walk over on the ferry last Thursday. Sharon was sitting alone on the Observation deck, crying as if her heart were breaking. That was just too sad: it was a gorgeous Seattle day -- the Olympics and Cascades were out; Mt. Rainier was floating like a vision of dream heaven over the city; even Mt. Baker was visible in the distant North. When the sun shines in Seattle, itís like nowhere else on Earth. The sky was a fabulous royal blue, the Sound a deep, royal aquamarine, the forests a dark, fathomless green, the sunlight glittering over the water a royal pathway to the gods. I felt as if I were in the Wizard of Oz, Seattle truly deserved its nickname of the Emerald City -- and there was poor Dorothy, completely missing this glorious Pacific Northwest moment, crying her eyes out on the Observation deck, oblivious to all the wonder and joy. I realized I had to talk to her, to offer her an alternative to life as she knew it... Here we are."

He pulled into his driveway, lined with old Douglas fir -- not first growth (there are precious few left of those primeval trees anywhere -- a logging tragedy inherited from our careless ancestors and continued by our own thoughtless generation) but some ancient second growth. Bainbridge was probably logged fairly early in Washington State history, I thought, impressed by the size of the hundred year old trees. I remembered suddenly I had been here before -- this was once his grandparentsí farmhouse. It dated from the turn of the century, by its appearance; apparently several acres still went with it: no new homes were encroaching.

The yard was unkempt, but someone not too many years before had sculpted it to perfection. The weeping cherries and flowering crabs and plums had already strewn the ground with their blossoms and were fading, but the azaleas were bursting in glorious crimson, violet and gold profusion and the rhododendrons were counting down to their annual explosion with thousands of mature buds. It all appeared a little slice of paradise.

Ollie took us around his grounds before we entered the house. In the back, he had built a huge Japanese garden complete with weeping cedar and hemlock and an enormous koi pond with waterfalls and stream beds. "Take me a while to get it back in shape," he said, a touch of melancholy kissing his tones. "I hated to leave this for Patmos. But it turned out to be the smartest thing I ever did."

"How long were you in Greece?" I asked, mostly to be polite -- my attention was captivated by the size of some of his bonsai's -- I had never seen larger or more beautiful specimens. Even in neglect, Ollieís garden was magnificent.

He noticed my true interest; instead of answering me, he said, "That one is nearly three hundred years old. Mo Takata gave it to me when I graduated from Pullman. His great grandfather brought it over from Japan. Interesting it should be so attracted to you. It doesnít often respond to many. Too old, I suppose. See how it sparkles, Sharon?"

She smiled at him and said uncertainly, "I think Iím beginning to, a little."

"What are you two talking about?" I asked, impatient with what seemed mystical nonsense.

"It doesnít matter," Ollie chuckled good-naturedly. "Come on in, letís have lunch. I told you Sharon made a great fruit salad, didnít I?"

Something about his manner soothed me instantly. We entered the kitchen and sat on wooden chairs that looked as old as the house. There was a bright blue plastic cover on the table; the walls were a pretty yellow; a skylight above let in ample light; all-in-all, Ollieís kitchen was airy, very pleasant and well equipped. Sharon dished up three enormous plates of her fruit salad. The porcelain serving bowl was so full it looked as if they were expecting about half a dozen others.

"Your mom about?" I asked past a bite of fresh strawberries and watermelon. I remembered her warmly. Ollieís father had been a full-blooded Norwegian, a builder by trade; he was killed when Ollie was young; sheíd raised their five children alone. Her name was Gladys, but we always called her, "Happy Bottom" -- which she always took in the best of humor.

"She died two weeks ago," Ollie said without any discernible sadness. "Thatís why Iím here and not still on Patmos with Lance and the others."

"Oh! Iím sorry," I said sincerely. Iíd liked her a lot. Sheíd always seemed an ideal mom.

"Thereís no need," he replied warmly. "She lived a full life and died peacefully. I donít think sheíd have accomplished much more, even if sheíd lived another twenty years. My only regret is I didnít have the chance to share what I learned in Greece with her. Sheíd have loved it."

"Tell me why you were there," I said, putting down my fork. I liked the fruit, but would have been happier with something a little denser. A Big Mac, in fact, would have suited me just fine.

Ollie, perhaps simply desiring to be a good host, followed my lead, put down his fork and pushed back from the table. He studied my face intently for a moment, then said, "Do you remember Alan Lance?"

"No -- oh, you mean the All-State fullback over at West Seattle? Vaguely. We partied together after games a few times. A really nice guy. Why?"

"We became good friends at W. S. U., but I lost sight of him after we graduated -- I went into the landscaping business, you know, with Mo Takata and his sons; he moved out to Sedro Wooley to work his uncleís dairy farm. I pretty much forgot about him, but three years ago, he called me up; I went to see him. He looked completely transformed; I liked what he said and decided to return to Greece with him. Heís still there, on the little island of Patmos, with a dozen or so others."

"What are they doing?" I asked, wondering if that was the very question that would begin what I was afraid was going to be a sales pitch.

"Studying, mostly," he replied with a far-away look in his eyes, "but not in the sense you are likely to think. Most of their work is done in Silence, seeking to understand the inner Self."

"They meditate many hours every day?" asked Sharon, looking up at him as she popped an enormous cantaloupe ball into her mouth. She was obviously enjoying the sweet fruit very much -- she had already made a big dent in the large bowl.

Meditating, I thought. I have entered the Land of the Weird. I wondered how long before I could gracefully leave. Did I even care if it was graceful? I had no fondness for cults or anti-Christian practices, no desire to get involved.

Ollie seemed aware of my discomfort. He smiled at me, then answered Sharon, "Well, they Ascend eight to twelve hours every day, normally. But itís not exactly meditation, itís not some strange Eastern or ĎNew Ageí kind of thing. Itís more like prayer -- but even that word doesnít convey what Ascension is." He looked affectionately at me. He didnít seem to be frothing at the mouth, just sincere. And earnest. "Both words lead to misunderstandings, based on previous and common uses of them. Most people think of concentration or mysticism when they hear of meditation; Ascension is effortless and systematic. Or they think of religion when they hear of prayer; Ascension requires no beliefs of any kind. Thatís why we call it something new, we call it Ascension. They -- and I -- practice Ascension, which comes from an ancient Teaching, never before widely available in the world. It is a type of silent inner prayer or meditation that everyone there believes came from the Apostle John."

"Patmos!" I exclaimed as an old college memory collided with the present. "Isnít that where St. John wrote his Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation?" I had once thought of visiting there -- when I was in the midst of a short-lived burst of "Born-againism." My fundamentalism lasted until I realized I couldnít resolve my root belief in a loving, caring God with a God who could condemn 99.99% of humanity to eternal damnation.

"Exactly," answered Sharon, smiling approvingly at me. "Ollie has been studying and Ascending with a group of monks who believe they are following the true but hidden teachings of John -- and of Christ."

"Oh now, come on," I said, my temporary enthusiasm transmuting to a repulsion born of fear. "Every sect of Christianity, every cult on the Earth from Waco to Guyana says, ĎOur way only! All else are doomed to hell. Why, we wonít even be buried with those miserable sinners -- weíll have our own private graveyard so weíll be easy to find during the Second Coming.í I donít need this." I pushed my chair back and stood to leave.

Ollie did not stand, but looked at me with eyes filled with fire. It was not anger, I sensed -- it was intensity of commitment.

"Patience, number 70. Let me explain before you storm out."

Hearing my old football number triggered a flood of past memories of my friend. I had been very close to him. Could it be so bad, just to listen for a little while? After all, he hadnít asked me to do anything, nor even to believe anything -- at least, not yet. And I had asked him what he was doing in Greece -- and, to be fully honest, who could say? Maybe if I could cut through all the silliness, he might know something which would help me -- my life wasnít working as it was going, that much was certain.

"Well, all right," I said gruffly, sitting down again. I was still flushed and not sure that I was making the correct choice, but perhaps I owed my friend this much. "Just keep it short, OK? Iíve got a lot to do today." A bald lie which fell flat even to my ears.

Ollie didnít say anything, instead slid his chair up and leisurely ate his fruit. Meanwhile Sharon, to all appearances oblivious to my rage and discomfort, emptied the rest of the bowl onto her plate and set herself the task of finishing it. Fruit must be all she eats, I thought, observing that the quantities she was consuming would give terminal gas to many others -- myself included. I poked at my mostly full plate but ate little more.

Ollie finished his lunch, sat back again and said to me, "You remember my true love was baseball?"

"Sure, you bet!" I exclaimed, grateful the subject had turned to something less threatening. "In fact, werenít you scouted during the playoffs, our senior year?"

"I was. Two agents came. I knew they were there, so before the game, I went up to the umpire as they were talking with him and said, ĎHey, if I hit the ball over that fence, is it an automatic home run?í He kind of sneered at me and replied, ĎSure, kid, but donít worry, itís never been done, by much better hitters than you.í I could tell he was thinking I was some kind of case. But when I saw that pitch coming in the seventh, I knew I would hit it over the fence; after I did, both the Cubs and the Red Sox said they wanted me in their training camp."

"But you didnít go," said Sharon simply, wistfully eyeing the empty bowl and my nearly full plate.

I pushed it over to her; she gave a little gasp of surprise or joy and leapt at it as Ollie answered, "No, I wanted to be educated. And I wanted to master agriculture. So I chose what I really wanted."

"Riches and fame or happiness?" I asked sarcastically.

Ollie ignored the tone and answered earnestly, "I chose what I thought would bring me the most happiness, yes. The most growth. And the choice worked well for me; I was successful materially and enjoyed my job. I love working the earth, sculpting beauty in three dimensions. But when I saw Alan Lance again after all those years, I realized he had something more than I, something for which I longed but thought I would never find. I couldnít quite identify it, but he was radiating a kind of peace or understanding I did not know."

"Born again?" I said, but the sarcastic tone was gone -- his description exactly matched what Iíd been feeling in him -- a serenity and wisdom I longed to share.

"Not at all. Or not in the sense that you mean it. But that is exactly what I asked him three years ago. Lance laughed and explained he had learned a series of techniques called ĎAscension Attitudesí that were transforming him. He told me his life was changing on the basis of new experience, not new belief, and said I would discover the same thing if I could be bold enough to try it.

"He said there were twenty-seven techniques in all, divided into seven ĎSpheresí of Attitudes, each Sphere consisting of about four techniques, each Sphere more subtle and more powerful than the one before. He said that humanity as a whole was going to learn to Ascend, and commented this was all prophesied by St. John nearly two thousand years ago and also by every other great culture on the Earth at one time or another, including the Egyptians, Mayans, Hopi, Chinese and West and East Indians; but most if not all of these prophecies had been distorted or misinterpreted or lost."

"How could Alan have discovered those techniques?" I asked with little interest, believing nothing.

"He met a monk in an orchard on Samos, one of the Greek Islands. This monk said he was one of a hidden order that had retained the full Teachings of Christ through John; for the first time in history, they were desiring to share these with the world. Think of it! The original Teachings! Unadulterated by centuries of distortion, poor translation and selfish revision." He stopped and looked at me as though he expected me to comment.

"This all sounds too fantastic, Ollie. Alan Lance, star fullback turned dairy farmer, stumbles across the authentic teachings of Christ? Come on, you canít believe this, youíre sounding like a psycho." I had never stopped wondering how I might leave without violating the bond of friendship; the desire was at times intense, at others subdued, but always there, gnawing at me. This whole escapade was ludicrous. I wanted to get out of there, to go back home to my room.

"You may go back home to your room anytime you wish," said Ollie with perfect sincerity.

My jaw dropped slightly -- was my thought so transparent? "I -- I donít care to leave," I stammered. "At least, not yet."

"I have no desire to convince you," Ollie continued, again smiling at me. "I donít want to browbeat you or convert you or anything like that. Iím only telling you that Ascension is available. Either you will resonate with this opportunity -- or not. I donít care if you believe it came from Christ or from Joe the Hot Dog man down on Pier 59. Nor does it matter in the practice of Ascension if you believe in it or not. Belief is not required, it is absolutely not required.

"I called you because I heard you lost your business and family and were in Seattle at your motherís, seeing no one, withdrawing from the world. I know what I have can help you, but you are not expected to know this. All I ask is for you to suspend your disbelief just long enough to give the First Attitude a fair chance. If you can do this, it will transform your life. The self-destructive internal programs youíve picked up from childhood will melt away as you experience the Silence within; your constantly running habits of judgment will be replaced by a constant appreciation of the wonder and beauty of the world. No stress, however large or small, can withstand the power of this Teaching. Ascension has cured me of my childhood traumas; it has led me to an understanding of the world I often dreamed about but never thought possible to live.

"Every word I have told you today is true. This is not my belief, it is my experience. Each of the twelve Ascension Attitudes I have been given -- each of the three Spheres I have been fortunate enough to learn -- is magical, transforming, unequaled in my personal history. I do believe this Teaching came from the Christ -- it is that good. But again, donít take my word for it! If you wish to learn even the First Ascension Attitude, if you can be that bold, come back here tomorrow again at noon.

"This much more I can tell you -- you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You only have to be willing to take a stand for Life -- you need only to be willing to say to the hurt and crying self inside that the guidance of your ego has led you nowhere but to destruction. Your ego wishes to kill you; it is making you very uncomfortable right now, because deep in your heart you know what Iím telling you makes perfect sense and is consistent with what the best part of you knows to be true. That part longs to be innocent again, to be free, to believe it is possible to find meaning in this harsh world, to remember that life is filled with magic, with wonder, with joy, with Love, with Truth, with Beauty -- and another part of you wants to keep you locked in your motherís house, staring at the walls, waiting for death to free you. Part of you feels you deserve to suffer, that anything that happens to you that is bad is not only warranted, it is probably not even enough. You have to decide which voice you wish to hear!

"The fact is, Iím here now; youíre here now; something inside you must be ready to learn the highest Teaching or you wouldnít be here. Your time and your world is ripe. The simple truth is: no one can even read about Ascension without being ready to read about it. Your challenge is to recognize the part of you that is responding to my words and realize that it stands for your lost dreams and true hopes. You need to acknowledge the way youíve been living your life is not only pointless, it is leading you nowhere you want to go. Partly you need to see that you are worthy of miracles in your life. You are a child of God, a creation of omnipresent Love and Power, therefore worthy of all success and happiness. Truly now, truly! Do you think you deserve to suffer?"

Ollie ended his monologue and sat back further, watching me, waiting for my reply, wondering, perhaps, about the effect of his words. I glanced at Sharon; she had stopped eating to stare at him, my unfinished fruit still before her, a watermelon ball stuck on her fork, her hand part way to her mouth, her arm frozen in space. Had she never heard him talk this way? Did he have a different approach for everyone he felt drawn to contact?

Finally I swallowed hard then confessed softly, "Sometimes I think I must. I donít understand why God let my life get so messed up. I donít know if you can help me; I guess I would like it if you could." What did I have to lose, after all? Sitting in this bright kitchen with Ollie and Sharon was like a vision of paradise. With a shudder I remembered my dark room in my motherís gloomy forest. Even as my mind had rebelled at the thought of trying anything new, my heart had been opening to the presence of peace I felt in Ollie. "What do I have to do?" I asked, with almost complete sincerity. Was I really ready to move ahead?

"Not much. Come back tomorrow at noon -- I want you to think about it overnight, see if youíre really ready to move ahead, if youíre willing to try anything new." A thrill shot up my spine as I realized he again used the words I was thinking. Ollie grinned at me, apparently noticing and understanding my surprise. This did nothing to lessen my confusion. Who was this guy? An empath? A walk-in from the Pleiades, replacing the Ollie I had once known?

"So, if youíre willing, come tomorrow; Iíll teach you the First Attitude. If you take to it (as Iím sure you will!) Iím qualified to share the first twelve with you over the next few months -- I can teach each of the first three Spheres. Try it and see. As Lanceís Teacher told him, ĎIf you want a different fruit, plant a different tree.í Plant the tree of Ascension in your garden, water it well, tend it and see if it matures into the Tree of Life for you -- see if its fruits of Peace and Joy and Health donít suit you better than the painful fruits of fearful ups and sorrowful downs youíre harvesting now."

The phone rang from the living room, Ollie said, "Excuse me a moment," and went to answer it. It was perched high atop a mountain of sheet music on the Baldwin Grand that filled most of that room -- I remembered Gladys had once been a concert pianist; it was her music lessons alone that enabled her to support her children after her husband died.

"Hello?" he said. "Yes, oh, itís you! Nice of you to call again. Yes, tomorrow will be all right. No. No..."

I glanced at Sharon; she had resumed eating, was just now stabbing the last of the strawberries. Apparently she felt my eyes, for she looked up at me and smiled.

"Never heard him talk that way?" I asked.

She shook her head and answered, "I guess you needed him to be that forceful. If you have mountains of stress, it might take dynamite to remove them."

I replied it was probable I had mountain ranges of stress, but suddenly Ollie was shouting into the phone, "No! That is completely wrong! The world needs this Teaching! It has to be released! John never intended this to remain a secret tradition for monks only! No one has the right to keep it from the world! I tell you, this has to come out, and it has to be now... No, I donít care what you do... No... No, I donít believe what he says. I tell you, you have it completely wrong... Fine. Tomorrow then." He slammed down the phone and leaned into the piano, breathing deeply to regain calmness. Finally he shuddered, straightened slowly, turned back toward us with a forced smile and came back into the kitchen. He looked grim and pale.

Another Excerpt - The Basics of Ascension-First Thunder Chapter 8

"First Thunder" at Amazon.com

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Second Thunder

Introduction

The Vision of the Source Universe

Dance with me, children of this latter age.
Dance with me as I sing of the One.

This is an invitation to share my vision.

Other worlds lie just beneath the surface of our rational minds.

In one, infinite yet unconscious forces interact mindlessly in chaotic patterns, creating and destroying as if randomly, by accident.

In another, gods and heroes struggle against manifest evil in the all but hopeless quest to save their worlds from destruction.

In yet another, every moment without exception unfolds in perfect harmony with the will of the Creator-Of-All-That-Is.

The experience of alternate universes is more often than not repressed in our modern age. This is tragic, for repression leads to confusion, to distorted perception, to fear.

There is nothing in life to fear. Para, the Source Universe which has given rise to all others, floats throughout Eternity as a radiant golden sphere, bathed in the azure flames of the infinite Light and unending love of the omnipotent One. That Universe is perfect. And since it is the Source of all other created universes, all must also be perfect. Apple trees create only apples. Love creates only love. Perfection creates only perfection. It is only identification with the projected dream-worlds that leads to suffering.

Even then, it is dream-suffering. Only our age-old yet moment-by-moment decision keeps us bound to our individual dream-creations.

This can end at any moment: Para surrounds, underlies and permeates every particle of the dream worlds. Because this is true, anyone anywhere at any time can experience the One Ascendant Reality. It can be found anywhere, but is most easily discovered inside your heart. It is the essence of every good thing: life, consciousness, joy, love.

The experience of Para results in a state of consciousness named by various Earth traditions: salvation, nirvana, enlightenment, infinite Awareness, Satori, Cosmic Consciousness, Eternal Freedom, praying without ceasing, the peace which passes all understanding, Perpetual Consciousness. The name is supremely unimportant; the content of this experience is everything.

Whatever we choose to call it, no suffering of any kind is possible in this state. Life is lived in permanent joy, in infinite love, in unbroken contact with the Source.

In an instant of frozen time, no longer than the gap between two heartbeats, a being fully and permanently in contact with the Source Universe shared his vision with me. This was a free gift, a wordless joining of his infinite mind with mine.

In the years that have passed since that magical, suspended instant, I have only begun to appreciate what this means to my life, to remember that which I long ago knew fully well but then forgot. I am an Unbounded Being. Living in a human body, I experience the infinite Ascendant continually. The Thunder books are an attempt to explain this state of consciousness, to describe the Reality of the wonder of this experience.

Words are finite, limited tools, most loved by longing minds. They will forever fall short of the experience of Truth. Truth is lived and can be shared; the best words can do is point the finger of understanding at it. Words can say, "The Moon is there." They do not and cannot give the experience of the Moon. At their best, they will inspire one to seek the experience they describe.

Seeking the Black Ishayas records a series of visions and experiences I had while studying with the Ishayas. The total elapsed time was only several days, but the total vision time was of many years.

The experiences flowing through me were far removed in space and time
from the reality of this world. They were of a series of other lifetimes that
uncannily paralleled the outer occurrences among my friends, particularly Edg
and Sharon, at and around the Ishayasí monastery.

During this period, I fought a life and death struggle with my ego. It
nearly mastered me on four separate occasions -- not coincidentally, after the
instruction in the Second Sphere Solar Technique, the Lunar Technique, the
Earth Technique and the Second Cognition. The visions inspired by learning each
of these techniques coincided exactly with changes in my personal life that
were intense and, in one case, as terrible as I could have ever dreamed
possible: the loss of Sharon.

If I had known from the beginning how much I would give up to gain enlightenment would I have continued on? Probably not. Only in hindsight do I see the beauty inherent in my personal tragedy.

Everyoneís path is different. The incredible ease with which some grow under the Ishayasí care never ceases to amaze me. I look at my life and it seems I have always chosen the hardest possible path -- and yet I know there was no other choice for me. And there are others who have suffered much more greatly.

Whatever it takes. That is the only attitude that is real, the only attitude that works, the only attitude that assists one to reach the goal. Whatever I have to do in order to realize enlightenment, that I will do. This was the viewpoint I adopted in the Himalayas, and the only one that could have carried me through my trials to the end.

For those who seek enlightenment, no other frame of mind can be substituted for this one. No other frame of mind will succeed. One must be willing to give up everything -- every belief, every judgment, every attachment -- then only can there be progress. For it is exactly where one digs in oneís heels and says, "So far and no farther" that the ego draws the battleline.

It is not possessions, it is attachments which cause trouble. What must be given up? Nothing. What must one be willing to give up? Everything. When one is ready to be free from everything, life begins in earnest. The dawning of the True Light is never far behind.

The Thunder series describes the opening of the consciousness of the human race to ever deeper and subtler experiences of enlightenment. There exists a collective consciousness of humanity that underlies and permeates all of our beliefs and experiences. This collective identity is responsible for most of our world-views and individual experiences of reality. To change this collective belief system is typically quite slow, as it takes continual effort on the part of many over a long period of time.

In this and the subsequent books, the collective consciousness of humanity is personified and individualized as Lord Gana, a semi-divine prince who lived far before recorded history. Since Gana is the representative of all humanity, his struggles to master his own beliefs and judgments have the effect of transforming everyone else. At times aware of his universal status, at times ignorant of it, Gana moves through various life-experiences in the attempt to master the lower aspects of his nature and rise to complete consciousness. This continues with ever-greater complexity as his understanding of the connection of the individual to the Universe unfolds.

Gana does not work alone. He is never long without divine inspiration -- which most often takes the form of an unusual master of form transmutation, the Vidyadhara Airavata, also known as Heramann. Airavata is quite old and quite wise, the last of the ancient Vidyadharas, an intelligent race that was prevalent before the descent of our current human species. Usually unaware of his subtle and Eternal connection to the underlying essence of the incarnations of Gana, Heramann is nevertheless often drawn to assist him in his growth.

The omnipotent Power of the upward current of the Laws of Nature is also always present to support Gana; but he is not often aware of this. This force is personified as his feminine aspect, Almira. Almira is the second half of Ganaís soul, ever conscious; she is the Goddess, always in divine communion with the One; she is the Earth Mother, the Source of all Good for humanity, the personified Holy Spirit.

Gana is also ever watched, protected and guided by the incarnate wisdom of higher consciousness, portrayed in the Thunder books as his seven Teachers Vasuki, Mordom, Rodavi, who was later reborn as Joab, Vaga, Atri, Brihas, and Matri. Their relationship to Gana is one of gentle guidance and discipline.

All the other characters in this History are either manifestations of partial aspects of Ganaís infinite mind or else are his creations. Some of these creations are positive and represent the creative forces of nature: his children and the peoples he attempts to save from destruction and guide to higher levels of understanding. And some of these creations are negative, the destructive forces of nature personified and given form by Ganaís incomplete understanding of life: the Emperor Valin and Valinís agents and minions, the Asurs and Rakshasas. In both cases, although having independent form and life, all his creations remain rooted in Ganaís mind.

Thus the rest of the Thunder series is a history of humanityís age-old attempts to achieve a stable and upwardly directed civilization. They stand also as a description of an individualís journey to enlightenment through numerous births.

Either reading is correct, for we are continually creating our own world. We project our beliefs and judgments outward; these return to us as our experiences of others, of history, of life, of matter. Each of us dreams our own world -- this means that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own creation. And therefore, each of us can change any of the rules governing our world at any time, resulting in a completely different world-view and a completely different world. Full realization of this simple fact is an acceptable definition of enlightenment. It is the Ishayasí hope that learning of the different levels of reality woven into this work will assist others to rise more quickly to the recognition of their primary authority in their own worlds. Then the healing of this Earth will be the sooner accomplished.

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Orah, the Deathless Dancer

The Fall of Etan, Volume 1
Third Thunder, Book 1

Introduction

Ancient visionary experience, because of the long passage of time and the changing world, has lost its usefulness to humanity. The ancient visionary structures have become fragmented, have lost their holistic nature -- and therefore their practicality has decayed. Ancient visions made sense at the time of their creation, for they were representative of Truth in their spatial and temporal environment. But the times have changed and the visions have not.

Therefore, although much beauty can still be appreciated in the old stories, the life has flowed out of them, leaving empty shells where before were the living mechanics of contact with the Divine. Revitalization of the human condition comes from re-creation from the Source, not from re-translation of the past.

The physical, human mind -- a structure of earth -- needs a modern vision of its highest purpose. With all the fragmentation in today's world, it is imperative to have a clean, undistorted vision of the Source. To uplift the quality of human thought to its true, glorified Reality is, in part, an annihilation of any understanding of the human as weak, sinful, decayed or limited.

The path of communication with the Higher Self must be revitalized from the root. This path is not created out of Idealism -- it is created out of the blood and guts of human life-experience. This explains why the ancient myths were often violent. But it is not necessary to focus long on the problem, on the decay -- there has been enough of that already. What is necessary is to acknowledge the reality of negativity, then focus on re-creation. The period of acknowledgment can be brief compared with the time devoted to reconstruction.

The human being is a divine machine that needs to be re-centered. This does not happen through a process of "shoulds" and "should  nots"; it happens from the introduction of new experience of the One. In terms of visionary experience, re-centering occurs through the process of identifying the different internal characters, discarding those who do not serve the growth process, strengthening those who do, destroying that which is useless, creating that which is useful.

We are filled with myriad sub-personalities: to understand and integrate all our internal characters, it is necessary to have a comprehensive vision of the highest nature of our God-Self. The path to perfection, then, is to recognize the perfect parts of our inner being. We are all filled with misplaced and misunderstood gods and goddesses. We need to reconstitute the rainbow bridge from the Cosmic Mind of the Divine to the minds of the human.

The gods and goddesses form a model of the inner life which (when working properly) shows us how to deal with the different aspects of ourselves. They are models of how to resolve the conflicts between the various sub-personalities and how to manifest a higher, truly holistic personality. All the tales of the gods describe the nature of the inner life for the purpose of gaining perfection. What makes one imperfect? The false concepts, beliefs and judgments -- it is precisely these that the tales of the gods and goddesses seek to heal and remove. Humans are part and parcel of the Divine -- we are those stray sheep who are being led homeward to perfection by the breath of the wind, by the scent of Mother Earth, by every story of the nature and experience of the gods and the goddesses.

The THUNDER series is written as mythic stories because these are the highest form of expression of visionary experience. Myth is a process of growth into joy in which every step is one of joy. It is a map to understand our existence, a treasure map of our great hidden inner resources. Myth fulfills the longing of the right brain for emotional experience as thoroughly and completely as the logical form and analysis of the structure of Creation fulfills the left brain.

The visions described in the three volumes of THIRD THUNDER occurred while was studying with the Ishayas in their monastery. During this time I was instructed by Durga in the Third Sphere Ascension techniques of the Ishayas. During this instruction, I began to recognize clearly that the significance of human life is not to be found in the external world but in the internal. I had thought that Sharon was lost to me forever; I learned in the Third Sphere that such thinking was a projection of my erroneous and painfully limited beliefs -- nothing more. The internal is the Real; the external is the dream.

I had understood this before intellectually, but the power of the experiences recorded in these three texts convinced me on the basis of my own expanding awareness that the external is the domain of illusion; the internal is the domain of the Real.

Modern humans have by and large reversed the dominance of these two. It is common to believe that the external is the only reality and the internal is subject to illusions and cannot be trusted. The Reality is quite other. In the language of A Course in Miracles: "Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind." This was proven to me in the Himalayas. The three volumes of THIRD THUNDER describe the expanding appreciation of Reality of a soul rising to full Unity Consciousness.

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Enlightenment

Introduction

The Yoga Sutras of Maharisi Patanjali are the most concise formulation in history of the mechanics of the growth of consciousness from the Waking State to the highest degree of human consciousness, Unified Consciousness. They present a systematic and complete understanding of the psychological, emotional and physical transformations that occur as an individual develops full enlightenment. This process of development is called Ascension, or rising beyond the boundaries of ignorance.

Maharisi Patanjali was also known as Govinda Yogindra, the "The Light-Filled King of the Yogis." He was commonly considered to be the Teacher of the first Shankaracharya, who revitalized the knowledge of Ascension some five centuries before the birth of Christ. Maharisi Patanjali was a fully consciousness human being. Maharisi, literally means "great sage." A rishi, a sage, is an individual who has Ascended to the first stage of enlightenment, Perpetual Consciousness, which is characterized by recognition that the inner Self is Infinite, not limited by space, time or causation, one with the omnipresent One, the Creator of All that Is.

A Maharisi is an individual who has Ascended to Unified Consciousness, in which the inner experience of Infinite Awareness is also experienced outside, as the essential Reality of everyone and everything. Patanjali was established in this ultimate level of human consciousness. His text of Yoga was designed to help anyone rise to this state of human perfection.

Sutras are very short and concise statements. Sutra literally means "thread." The Yoga Sutras are the threads that together constitute the tapestry of Yoga. Yoga comes from the root, yog, which means to join together. So the Yoga Sutras are the threads that join together. Yoga is the science of joining together the individual lower self with the universal higher Self, the indivisible spark of God that resides within everyone. Yoga is not a belief system or a religion nor even a philosophy -- it is an extremely practical methodology for systemically expanding the conscious mind. Said another way, Yoga is the Science for overcoming the self-destructive and limiting beliefs and internal programs that keep individual life bound to the experiences of the Waking State of Consciousness -- the state in which life is alternately happy and sad, loving and hating, healthy and sick -- in short, dual. Yoga provides a systematic ladder for climbing beyond the often painful experiences of the Waking State of duality into the state of non-changing Unified Consciousness, a.k.a. full enlightenment.

This is not a mystical nor even a difficult or complicated process. Those who have thought that Yoga was difficult and/or complicated were doubtlessly basing their thinking on their personal experience, but that level of experiencing is not the whole story of human life, as this text will make clear. Perfection is within every human. Given this fact, it is surprising that so very many have failed to realize this.

Part of the problem has been very faulty translations of the texts that can serve in the development of consciousness. The Yoga Sutras are a prime example. Properly understood, they provide a straight and broad path for realization of the highest degree of human consciousness. Improperly understood, they are at best useless and at worst quite damaging.

Indian society is today caught deep in a quagmire of mistaken belief about the mechanics of realizing enlightenment. The custodians of the system of Yoga have so poorly managed its essential teachings that practically no one in the world anymore understands that Divine Union is perfectly easy to attain. The typical interpretation of the path to enlightenment is through renunciation, or giving up of the world. Expansion to Infinity by giving up! Nothing could be more ludicrous, given a true perception and understanding of higher consciousness.

Without full enlightenment, the attempt to understand, translate or teach the Yoga Sutras is doomed to inevitable and inglorious failure. The reason for this is only partly found in the vast dissimilarity between Sanskrit and our Western languages -- even the commentators on the sutras who wrote in Sanskrit did a woefully poor job of understanding Patanjali's meaning. The root cause of the perennial failure of the translators and commentators has to be traced to the dissimilarity of the translators' and commentators' level of consciousness with that of Patanjali. Even those commentators who were experiencing a low level of enlightenment did not much succeed in unraveling the knots of Patanjali's meaning. The greatest of the authors and commentators of antiquity was Vyasa. But the commentary attributed to him is deficient in several significant respects. It must be that Vyasa did not actually write it and someone borrowed his name for it, or else one of his later followers tried to embellish it and instead ruined it.

The prime problem area of all the commentaries is in the interpretation of key verses that make the practice of Yoga seem complicated or difficult or suitable only for those that are renunciates -- those that have dedicated their entire lives to being monks or nuns. With this as the standard interpretation of this system of mental development, small wonder that Yoga has been considered valueless by many in the West! Who wants to give up all enjoyment of life to realize enlightenment? Give up enjoyment to realize Infinite bliss? It even sounds absurd! Fortunately, it is absurd. It is not necessary; it is actually easier to continue with a regular, balanced life in the world and add the effortless and natural techniques to Ascend from the Waking State and accomplish Union. The mind is quickly absorbed by the experience of the Infinite when it has the use of valid techniques for the growth of consciousness; it is never a laborious, difficult or slow process.

As the growth of consciousness proceeds, every area of life develops -- heart, mind, body, environment. Yoga, properly understood, is not a system of giving up life. It is a system of adding to life.

When the world hears and understands this Teaching, all the age-old problems which have seemed so intractable for centuries will melt away with graceful and perfect solutions. There is no problem, mental, emotional, physical, societal, or environmental that can withstand the wholly beneficial power of Infinite Mind. When the world hears and understands this Teaching, world peace will be assured for all ages to come. When the world hears and understands this Teaching, global health and happiness and progress will be achieved for all future time. May this day come soon!

First Quarter:

Ascendant Consciousness

YOGA is the Science of Union. The union of what with what? The union of the Waking State of Consciousness with its most expanded state. This fully developed state is called enlightenment. There are four stages of this development of higher consciousness; these are discussed in the four quarters of the Yoga Sutras.

The first stage is called Ascendant Consciousness. Ascendant Consciousness is the experience of the conscious mind settling down into its own essential nature. The self of the Waking State, with its myriad of contradictory and self-defeating thoughts and beliefs, is only a shadow of the Self that lies within. The Self within is quite literally indescribable (Christianity has done as well as possible by calling it, "The peace which passeth understanding" (2) for it lies forever beyond the power of any words to describe, beyond the ability of the mind even to contemplate. It can, however, be experienced -- this is the purpose of the Yoga Sutras, of Yoga in general, and specifically of the First Quarter of the text. The experience of this transcendental Union is the topic of the first fifty-one sutras.

(2) "The peace of God, which passeth understanding..." Philippians 4:7. Cf., John 14:27.

The First Quarter of the Yoga Sutras describes Ascendant Consciousness. Ascendant Consciousness is called satori in Japan, Samadhi in India, often "the Fourth" in the ancient literature, the One or the Absolute or the Transcendent or the Infinite or Unbounded Awareness or Pure Consciousness in English. This experience is a fourth major state of consciousness, distinct subjectively and physiologically from Waking, Sleeping and Dreaming. In this text, we typically call it Ascendant Consciousness, for it lies beyond the normal experience of the Waking State. The name is irrelevant, the experience is everything.

To qualify as a distinct state of consciousness (unlike an altered state of consciousness, such as one produced by hypnosis or biofeedback), the physiological correlates must be significantly distinct and so must the subjective experience. The Ascendant State of Consciousness is characterized by expanded awareness and deeper rest than that of sleep -- the mind requires less energy to experience consciousness without thought; this causes the body to settle down to deep relaxation. In that silence and rest, stress dissolves.

The experience of the Ascendant is not enlightenment, but it is required to grow into enlightenment. The Second Quarter of the Yoga Sutras defines the first stage of enlightenment, Perpetual Consciousness; the Third Quarter deals with the second stage, Exalted Consciousness; and the Fourth Quarter describes the ultimate fulfillment of human evolution, Unified Consciousness.

The Yoga Sutras have been misinterpreted as the means to walk down the path to enlightenment. They are not. They are a description of the nature of enlightenment. Patanjali included no actual techniques of Ascension or Yoga in this text. His descriptions of the mechanics of enlightenment are so brilliant and clear, however, that many of the sutras have been widely misunderstood as actually being the techniques themselves. One purpose of this translation and commentary is to correct such unfortunate misunderstandings. Attempting to move ahead in consciousness by taking the Yoga Sutras as techniques for Ascension is impossible -- that would be rather like attempting to build a working electrical system and wire a house by reading a text on the nature of electricity.

Pada I. Sutra 1

Atha Yoga anushasanam.

Now, the Teaching of Yoga.

The typical experience of the adult human mind is that awareness is rarely in the present moment. Scientists have estimated that the average adult thinks some 50,000 thoughts every day; these are almost without exception concerned with the past or the future or the distant. There is little or no experience of life as it is Now and Here. When we do rarely for an instant slip beyond the continuous barrier of our unending thought streams, we find that life suddenly becomes vastly different from our typical Waking State experience. Instead of being caught by regret for the past or worry for the future, we are free to experience life as it is right now, free from self-defeating beliefs and judgments, free from the limitations imposed by past experience, established in peace and joy.

Therefore the Science of Yoga begins and ends in the present moment. Everything to be understood about the transformation of life from suffering to permanent happiness, from failure to success, from ignorance to enlightenment is to be found in the present instant of time. Life in freedom is the result of learning to turn from the imperious demands of our past experience. Nothing can be done for the past, it is over; nothing can be done for the future, for it never comes; all that can be done is to make the present Ideal. Then the future will take care of itself. Perfection of the present instant is at once the goal and the means of the Science of Union.

In this, the very first sutra, Patanjali describes the entire process of the growth of consciousness from bondage and suffering to enlightenment. With the grace of a consummate artist, he opens his sutras in a wholly traditional manner that nevertheless contains in seed form the entire story of the 195 sutras that follow. All the rest are a commentary on the first three words: Now, Teaching, Yoga. But Patanjali is generous. In case anyone fails to catch this (and we have to assume, since no other commentator has mentioned the magnificence of the teaching in this first sutra, that very few if any have caught this), he will elaborate in detail.

The first word, Atha, is built up of A + th + a. "A" is the representation of the Universal sound of creation, the cosmic hum, the Alpha and the Omega of the West. It contains in the fullness of its silent vibration the totality of all that is at this moment of time. "Th" is derived from Dha, which means "bestow" or "give" or "compassion." The Universal wholeness of "A" with compassion gives the totality of the Universe. And to what is it given? Back to "A" again! The Wholeness gives itself to Wholeness, over and over again, eternally. The Eternal Now is recreated from within its own Self. Atha therefore describes the essence of the Ascendant: it is universally expansive, it is ever new, it is eternally the same. "A" is fullness; it moves from fullness to fullness by passing through fullness; it recreates itself perfectly in itself. The Universal Force for Good of the cosmos manifests itself in the Universal Force for Good in the individual. The Universe is contained within and furthermore is given to every spark of individuality. And all of this is contained, continually new and ever-new, in the present instant of time, in the Now. All of this and much, much more is hidden within the vibratory matrix of Patanjali's first word, Atha.

"The Teaching of" translates anusashanam. Anu means "again" -- this is the repeated sequence of experiencing the Now over and over again until it becomes permanent. A wise Teacher repeats the lessons with great patience and compassion until the student fully understands. Yoga or Ascending is a process of gradually refining the perceiving mind and senses until consciousness fully remembers its Infinite status. Anusasanam can also be translated as "rules, royal decree or governor" -- the role of the Eternal Now is to be forever in charge of the life, of the process of the growth of consciousness, of Yoga, of the creation of Ascendant Consciousness.

By deriving the word a different way (from sham instead of from shas), this first sutra could be translated, "The attitude of repeated Praise creates Union with the Now." Praise is one of the fundamental tools of Ascension. Another valid translation is, "Sitting in stillness again and again creates Union with the Now." Stillness, sham, can also be translated, "quietness, tranquillity, cessation." When the mind stills its noisy activity, consciousness experiences the Now, which is eternal peace. All activity ceases in that silence. By repeating this experience over and over, the mind becomes habituated to the Silence and stays there permanently, even in the midst of the most dynamic activity.

Which is the correct translation? They all are. The glory of this discourse is that so many equally valid meanings can be found in a single series of vibrations. The Yoga Sutras are a perfect expression of a fully enlightened mind. Anyone who desires to free life from suffering need only follow through on this wonderful, magical Teaching. All secrets of space and time are open to those who sincerely ask; there are no limits to the human other than those we artificially impose.

Life is meant for freedom, joy and continual progress. How is this to be accomplished? By freeing our experiencing machinery from bondage to past experience. Union with the universal Higher Self is easy to accomplish; it is only necessary to turn the mind away from the noise of the internal programming and experience the perpetual peace of the present instant, already present within.

Force or effort is often included in the typical translation of this sutra -- it is commonly said that Union is the result of repressing or restraining the movements of the mind. This thinking betrays an unfamiliarity with the natural condition of the mind. The natural condition of the mind is silence. If you drop a handful of pebbles into a still pool, the surface erupts in chaos. If you continually barrage consciousness with the movements of thought, it will be impossible to see what consciousness really is. But let the movements still -- even for an instant! -- and consciousness recognizes its Union with its higher Self, the omnipresent spark of Eternity that exists inside everyone, everywhere, always.

It must be emphasized that this sutra does not tell how to still the movements of consciousness. Nor does it suggest that strenuous effort is required. It is precisely the misinterpretation of sutras such as this one that has led to the demise of the effectiveness of the Science of Yoga. If we wish the mind to still, introduction of strain or effort will not serve us. On the contrary, by trying to force the mind to calmness, we will raise the physiological rate and tire the mind. Have you ever studied hard for a test? It is tiring work. Stimulants such as caffeine will succeed for only so long -- eventually the mind will be exhausted and impose stillness -- but it will be the stillness of sleep, not the stillness of expanded consciousness.

What is required to still the mind is an object of attention that charms the mind, thereby allowing it to settle down to more and more universal and silent levels of functioning. This object could take any number of possible forms, but the one universal requirement of the practice of Ascension must be that it is increasingly effortless. If it is desirable to still the mind, it is necessary to begin from where the mind is, active in the midst of motion.

Systematically quieting down the mind is the purpose of the Science of Yoga. It is not only natural, it is extremely easy. There are only three requirements. There must be 1) a functioning nervous system, capable of thought. There must also be 2) a suitable vehicle for the mind to follow in this process of stilling, a vehicle which naturally and effortlessly pulls the mind inward to ever deeper levels of silence, until even the faintest level of activity is Ascended and the conscious mind experiences its true form, the higher Self. And there also needs to be 3) competent guidance to ensure the necessary feedback that verifies the correctness of the practice. Thus it is extremely difficult for tapes or books to teach techniques validly, for the third requirement is missing. Even if the prospective student is proceeding completely correctly, how would he or she would ever know without verification from a qualified instructor?

What happens if the movements of thought do still?

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