God is Real | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

God is Real

From a talk given by Bo Lozoff at a meditation center in Tallahassee, FL, December 11, 2005.
I see meetings like this as just this very classic, traditional situation that's been going on since the beginning of time: there's a world that's gone mad, and small pockets of people meeting here and there to talk about the Great Rumor. There's something incomprehensibly real and wonderful at the heart of everything and the ugliest stuff going on. Governments and societies and cultures have always been sort of going mad and falling apart at the seams. There's enormous suffering and cruelty. Enormous. This isn't new. The stakes may have increased since we have the capacity to destroy the planet, but we always knew the planet wasn't eternal anyway: the sun is going to go out. So we have this situation that has always been going on. What we call civilization has always been about self-protection and self-gratification and aggression and fear, and we're all raised into that, pretty much. Our parents want us to be safe, though it's impossible to do in the world as it has always existed. It's not safe. It's not safe out there. It's not even safe in here, I promise that.
And they've wanted us to have stuff to make us happy and comfortable, although stuff has never made anybody happy or comfortable for more than a few minutes. American children are statistically the unhappiest children on the face of the earth: the most suicides, the most homicides, the most drug addiction, the most antidepressants. And American children have more stuff and more comfort than any other kids who have ever existed. Denial is an amazing thing.
So against this backdrop of total illogic and futility, there's this dream: have a nice little place and a little picket fence and maybe a boat. People will like me and I'll get raises and all that. Meanwhile there are children being sold into slavery to make the shoes that we're wearing. So the dream has never been real or true and it's absolutely impossible to sustain. What we call the "American Dream" is unsustainable, and has never been real for anybody. So against the backdrop - "Well then, life doesn't work" - there have been small pockets of people getting together saying: "Have you heard also? I have."
"Did He really rise from the dead after being crucified?"
"Did He really sit under the Bodhi Tree until all illusion and ignorance fell away?"
"Did He really receive the revelations of the Koran in a cave from an angel?"
Are these just rumors or is a single one of them literally, precisely true? If one of them is true it doesn't matter whether we decide that all of them are true or not. If one of them is true then it means YESSSSSSS! GOD IS REAL!!!
Now I know that at least one or more of them are true and I can't explain or defend how I know. It doesn't matter because if you don't know, you have the age-old, wonderful, traditional decision to make of whether you believe somebody who says "I know." Many people know. Many people have known. It's faith until it becomes knowledge. Once it's knowledge, you can be crucified and not give up that knowledge.
There is a reality that doesn't just offset this world of duality and struggle. It is impossible to describe how much bigger it is - how much bigger is good than evil, how much bigger is union than separation, how much bigger our divine nature is than our temporal nature. It's like a mountain and a pea - there's no balance at all.
And we have the opportunity, without looking away from those who need us and all the suffering that goes on in this world, to open into that larger realm and learn how to be in both at the same time, in a way that works, in a way that is sustainable. And that, to me, has always been what Dharma practice is about, what meditation and yoga are about, what scriptural study, spiritual study, and studying with a guru or teacher are all about. Every one of the beings who has broken through has said, "And this is your nature too; it's not just me." The Buddha said, "Don't follow in my footsteps: seek what I sought." Jesus called Himself the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. The Dalai Lama honestly refers to himself as a simple Buddhist monk. I've spent a fair amount of time with the Dalai Lama and he really is a simple Buddhist monk and simultaneously he's a genius, a very rare person and the repository of all the Tibetan traditions which are incredibly complex and esoteric.
The Human Kindness Foundation was founded upon three principles. After reading the scriptures of most of the great traditions of the world, I saw three principles just singing off the pages of the Bible, the Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, The Mahabharata, Greek mythology and the writing of the Greek philosophers. I saw three principles that were just indisputably identical. If you distill any of those great philosophical or religious traditions down to some practical advice, one thing they all agree on is: don't want too much stuff-it'll get you in trouble. It puts you into a dynamic of wanting and acquiring and protecting and defending and repairing and replacing. And all this precious divine energy, this mysterious energy that can move mountains and raise the dead, winds up paying off a BMW. So all the great traditions have said live simply, live modestly. You have an inefficient use of your energy when you spend too much of it around your comfort and your toys. Live simply.
The second principle they ALL agree on is, for your own sake, don't devote your life to your personal success. Devote your life to the common good. If you devote your life to personal success, you will never ever have enough to satisfy you. There's always more. If you devote your life to the common good, you'll have plenty of personal success, and you'll be in tune because you'll magnetize toward the part of the common good that draws you and you were created for. Each of us was born with an individual nature as well as being born with a universal nature. And our individual natures, like magnetic shavings, get drawn by certain stimuli: working with the environment or working with prisoners or working with the elderly or working with children or selling shoes with a great deal of compassion. I don't have as much skill talking with children as I do with convicts so I gravitated toward a life with convicts. By the end of this tour I may have been in a thousand prisons. I haven't been in a thousand day care centers. It's not my pull. I'm glad there are people ho go there. So we naturally gravitate toward our individual Dharma and here we are, that little thread in this enormous tapestry that we can never see the whole of with these eyes. So dedicate yourself to the common good and you'll find your niche.
The third principle they all agree on is: spend at least a little time every day being humble, alone and silent before the Great Unknown. I'm always telling people it takes time to be deep. If you're not willing to spend time to be deep, you know what's going to happen? You're not going to be deep. You may philosophically think you're deep. You may intellectually believe in being deep. But it's not free. It takes time - especially in as noisy and agitated a world as we live in today, where multi-tasking is a positive thing. If we don't commit ourselves to some time, even if it's ten minutes, of truly humble spiritual introspection every day, we're not going to become deep. Don't think that you're above this, because that would be really arrogant. Don't think, "Oh, not me." Every good person who has ever been caught by the world is just as deep as you and me by nature. And we have to give some of our time to reminding ourselves that we really are like children before the Great Mystery. And we submit ourselves to the intelligence, the beauty, and the profundity of Life.


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